6 Reasons Why SEO and Content Marketing Are Important for Your Business [2 Mini-Case Studies Included]

A solid search engine optimization plan can do wonders for a business that executes it well and consistently over time. Here are six reasons to make sure you don’t forget about SEO at your own company.

  1. SEO Enables People to Find Your Business
    Search engine optimization (SEO) is important because it helps your website be found on Google. Google is your major priority when it comes to search engine marketing because it controls 77.82% of the search engine market space on desktop computers of December 2016. Google absolutely dominates the competition in mobile search with a 93.76% market share.
  2. Ensures Your Business Shows for the Right Keywords
    By properly optimizing your website, Google can find your website and rank it for keyword terms that your prospective customers and clients are looking for every day.
  3. Potential for Consistent, Long-Term ROI
    Your company can see significant long-term ROI with search engine marketing because once you rank the traffic can be very consistent and plentiful.
  4. It’s Integral to the Way Modern Buyers Discover Products and Services
    Businesses that overlook SEO are leaving a major piece of the online visibility pie on the table. With so many people using their computers and smart phones to search Google, it is natural that you would want your website to be found via Google searches.
  5. The Fat Head vs. The Long Tail
    With SEO, you can rank for major keyword terms for your industry as well as longer phrases made up of 4-5+ keywords. An interesting and counter-intuitive concept is that you can potentially get more traffic from these multiple keyword phrases, despite each individual phrase getting little traffic on its own. In total, the low traffic keywords work together to bring you multiple sources of search engine traffic that are very targeted to what you have to offer. By getting traffic from very targeted searches, the person’s intent is more in line with what you have to offer and your chances of converting them into an email subscriber or customer are much higher.
  6. You Build a Foundation
    The reasons above are the foundation for why every business should take building a blog for their company website seriously. By building a blog with proper SEO tactics and quality content, your website naturally becomes a tool to help drive traffic to your business when combined with appropriate promotional strategies.

Real World Examples of SEO Fueling Client Business Growth

B2C eCommerce – The graphs below show what the combination of on-page keyword optimization and healthy online promotion achieved for one of Clicked Studios’ client.  Prior to this combo strategy, the client averaged 50% less in gross revenues from their eCommerce website than in the current year.  Over the course of their existence, the online store increased their online visibility by gaining back links from 150+ relevant websites.

Healthy Backlinks from Referring Domains Through Steady Online Promotion

As a result, revenue climbed steadily into the $20,000/mo. range, which is now double that of the previous year including the typical seasonal dip.

Doubled Revenues from Link Building and Promo

B2B Traffic Generation – In this next example, another client who is in early stages of search engine optimization and high-quality content creation doubled the amount of new incoming visitors to the website after only a modest couple months of work.  In the graph below, you can see that traffic increased by 193.59% for new sessions and 229.39% for new users from the year before and is expected to rise as efforts continue and build on previous month’s accomplishments.

High Quality Content Creation and Outreach Results

 

Will you be focusing on SEO and content marketing in 2015?

Let us know what your plans are for SEO and content marketing in 2015.  Are you currently working on it or just thinking about it?  Write a comment below and keep the discussion going.

Why do we like, comment, and share on Facebook?

Why we like, comment, and interact on social media like facebook

Photo Credit

Why do we like, comment and share while  using Facebook? What’s the reasoning behind it? Why do millions of people do these activities on a daily basis?  What drives some people to even become addicted to social media?

I first looked inward to find the answer. It struck me as literally the digital version of giving a thumbs up that all my friends see. Every time I like something on Facebook I can quickly and easily display my approval. Going beyond my personal thoughts, what does liking say about us all as a whole? I searched all over the place and discovered many studies have been performed to figure out why we do what we do on Facebook.

The first big reason I found for liking is that clicking that button seems to act as a currency that makes us all feel more involved. Facebook knows this quite well and up until recently, they cashed-in on what you and I “like” by sending data to advertisers.

Reasons We Use Facebook

  1. Using Facebook makes us happy.  This is confirmed by pupil dilation in studies where people use Facebook.
  2. Elan Morgan’s 2-week experiment demonstrated it’s a quick and easy way to show we approve a post, picture, or video.
  3. According to Medical News Today, positive feedback from Facebook is seen as ‘reward’. It always feel good to receive multiple likes or comments from your peers.
  4. We reveal something about ourselves the more we use Facebook more.  A  study by PNAS.org of more than 58,000 people showed, that based on  someone’s likes, you can figure out whether that person is:
    • White or African American with 95% accuracy.
    • Gay or Straight with 88% accuracy.
    • Democrat or Republican with 85% accuracy.
    • Male or Female with 93% accuracy.
    • Age with 75% accuracy.
  5. A study from the Psychology Today has shown to us that within the digital world, when we use social networks such as Facebook to chat or comment, that users generally felt more empathy towards friends. The simple act of liking and interacting with your peers online induces a sense of belonging and happiness.
  6. Because we get something out of it.  A Syncapse study found that a vast majority of people within the study tend to make these decisions based on understandable reasons.  Here’s what has been found:
    • 49% support the brand they like
    • 42% get a coupon or discount
    • 41% receive regular updates from brands they like
    • 35% participate in contests
    • 31% share personal good experiences
    • 27% share interests/lifestyle with others
    • 21% research brands when looking for specific products/services
    • 20% see friends that have already “liked” or are a “fan”
    • 18% a brand advertisement (tv, online, magazine)
    • 15% recommended to fan the brand

The Why of Commenting

We have something to say and it’s more satisfying to comment or receive comments compared to likes.

Research shown by Molra Burke, who is studied 1,200 Facebook users in an experiment, has found that personal messages are more satisfying to receivers than one-click communication of likes.

Burke says, “People who received composed communication became less lonely, while people who received one-click communication experienced no change in loneliness,” she said…. Even better than sending a private Facebook message is the semi-public conversation, the kind of back-and-forth in which you half ignore the other people who may be listening in. “People whose friends write to them semi-publicly on Facebook experience decreases in loneliness.”

Commenting for me involves being engaged. We as humans need social interaction with other people, so it comes to little surprise that we’d be inclined to satisfy this need through conversations with our peers while using Facebook. Especially within the groups we join. Passion leads to conversation when multiple individuals like the same categories.

The Reason People Post Status Updates

This is how often people update their status on Facebook according to research done by  Pew Research

  • 10% of Facebook users change or update their own status on Facebook on a daily basis.
  • 4% update their status several times per day.
  • 25% of Facebook users say that they never change or update their own Facebook status.

The primary reason is that posting relieves loneliness.  A study found that when students updated their Facebook statuses more often, they reported lower levels of loneliness. We all want to be acknowledged and have the attention of someone, posting a status makes the endeavor of obtaining that attention far easier to obtain.

On the opposite side of the coin, we stop posting because of self-censorship. Researchers at facebook conducted a study on self-censorship [that is, the posts you write and never actually publish,] and found out over the course of 17 days, while tracking 3.9 million users that 71% of users type out at least 1 status or comment and decide not to submit. On average, users change their mind about 4.52 statuses and 3.2 comments.  You can check out data charts for this over at BufferBlog.

Why We Share

A worldwide poll done by Ipsos offers some findings, noting that around the globe, people primarily:

  • share 61% interesting things.
  • 43% important things, funny things.
  • 37% let others know what they believe in and who they really are.
  • 30% recommend a product, service, movie, book, etc.
  • 29% add their support to a cause, an organization or a belief.
  • 26% share unique things.
  • 22% let others know what they’re doing.
  • 20% add to a thread or conversation. 10% show they’re in the know.

The New York Times did a spectacular study on why we share a few years ago that is informative on the topic of social media sharing. This study managed to identify five major factors for sharing:

  • To bring valuable and entertaining content to one another. 49% of respondents say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action.
  • To define ourselves to others.  68% of respondents said they share to give others a better sense of who they are and what they care about.
  • To grow and nourish our relationships. 78% of respondents said they share information online because it enables them to stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with.  
  • For self-fulfillment. 69% said they share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world.
  • To get the word out about causes they care about.  84% of respondents share because it is a good way to support causes or issues they care about.                                        

Why do you like, comment, and share?

With all the science and research aside, why do you personally spend time on Facebook and other social networks liking, commenting, and sharing?  We’d love to know so post a comment below.

Sources

A Website is Not Enough in Today’s Digital Economy

Presented originally at the 2016 Missouri Meetings and Events St. Louis Regional Expo.

Presentation Transcript

1. A WEBSITE IS NOT ENOUGH IN TODAY’S DIGITAL ECONOMY Presented by Frank Spohr Clicked Studios, LLC © 2016 • All Rights Reserved • www.clickedstudios.com
2. CREATING A NEW WEBSITE OR REVAMPING AN OLD WEBSITE RARELY EQUALS INSTANT SUCCESS
3. MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, NEW WEBSITE LAUNCHES AND…
4. NOTHING HAPPENS
5. OR IT PERFORMS WORSE!
6. DUE TO THOSE UNFORTUNATE OUTCOMES, TODAY WE’RE GOING TO ADDRESS WHAT IT TAKES TO REALLY MOVE THE NEEDLE FORWARD IN ONLINE BUSINESS
7. A LITTLE ABOUT FRANK SPOHR
8. HELPING COMPANIES BUILD THEIR WEBSITES AND GROW THEIR BUSINESSES SINCE THE YEAR 2000
9. 2008 – FOUNDER AND CEO OF CLICKED STUDIOS TOP RANKED WEB DESIGN FIRM IN ST. LOUIS ON GOOGLE FOR NEARLY 5 YEARS RUNNING
10. TAKEN A DATA & ROI DRIVEN APPROACH WITH SEO, SEM, CONTENT MARKETING, UX, UI, DESIGN, PSYCHOLOGY, CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION, AND PPC TO HELP COMPANIES LARGE AND SMALL GROW THEIR TRAFFIC, GET MORE SALES, AND SELL MORE OFTEN
11. WHAT WILL YOU GET OUT OF THIS PRESENTATION?
12. 1. AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW A WEBSITE TIES INTO A LARGER DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY
13. 2. DIFFERENT WAYS TO GENERATE WEBSITE TRAFFIC and what to expect from each…
14. 3. LEARN ABOUT A COMMON, BUT MAJOR MISTAKE MANY COMPANIES MAKE WITH THEIR WEBSITE THAT NEGLECTS LONG TERM GROWTH FOR SHORT-TERM SALES
15. 4. WHAT YOUR PRIORITIES SHOULD BE WHEN PEOPLE VISIT YOUR WEBSITE
16. SO WHY IS A WEBSITE ALONE NOT ENOUGH TODAY?
17. TOO MANY BUSINESSES PUBLISH AND PRAY HOPING A NEW DESIGN OR PAGE IS WHAT THEY NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. THEY PUBLISH AND THEN…
18. TOO MANY FACTORS MAKING IT HARDER THAN EVER
19. 1. JUST HAVING A WEBSITE DOESN’T GET PEOPLE’S ATTENTION. EVERYONE HAS ONE THESE DAYS.
20. 2. EVERYONE IS BLASTED WITH COUNTLESS ADS & OFFERS EVERY DAY. YOU BETTER HAVE SOMETHING INTERESTING & UNIQUE BEFORE YOU EVEN BUILD YOUR WEBSITE.
21. 3. EVEN WHEN YOU DO GET PEOPLE TO VISIT YOUR WEBSITE, ON AVERAGE 98% ARE NOT READY BUY. COUNTLESS REASONS WHY, BUT THIS IS THE HARSH REALITY.
22. WE LIVE IN A BUSY WORLD!
23. HOW DO WE FIGHT THIS?
24. UNIQUE OFFER + PREDICTABLE WAY TO REACH CUSTOMERS + WEBSITE WITH SPECIAL CONTENT + MARKETING AUTOMATION + INTELLIGENT FOLLOW-UP
25. UNIQUE OFFER OFFER SOMETHING OF VALUE WITH YOUR OWN UNIQUE TWIST ON IT. CAN YOU OFFER SOMETHING FASTER, STRONGER, MORE DEPENDABLE, MORE USEFUL, OR BETTER DESIGNED?
26. PREDICTABLE WAY TO REACH CUSTOMERS NO MORE POSTING TO FACEBOOK OR WRITING A BLOG POST AND HOPING FOR THE BEST. WE’LL LOOK AT HOW PROFESSIONALS GET TRAFFIC ON SOCIAL NETWORKS AND SEARCH ENGINES PREDICTABLY.
27. WEBSITE WITH SPECIAL CONTENT MORE THAN A BROCHURE SITE. FOCUSED ON PROVIDED INFO AND VALUE. BUILDS RELATIONSHIPS
28. MARKETING AUTOMATION TOOLS TO HELP YOU BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE OTHER 98% OF WEBSITE VISITORS WHO WEREN’T READY TO BUY ON THEIR FIRST VISIT.
29. INTELLIGENT FOLLOW-UP USING MARKETING AUTOMATION STRATEGICALLY TO BUILD TRUST FIRST… AND THEN PROMOTING NEW OFFERS, EVENTS, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, ETC. OVER TIME.
30. HOW IS THIS ACTUALLY USED IN THE REAL WORLD?
31. FIRST, AN ASSUMPTION…
32. YOU HAVE A GOOD OFFER AND YOU’VE DIFFERENTIATED YOURSELF FROM THE COMPETITION
33. SKIP THIS STEP AND YOU’RE DEAD BEFORE YOU BEGIN
34. GOOD NEWS EASIER THAN EVER TO GET TRAFFIC IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO.
35. WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO THOUGH? SPEND TONS OF TIME FINDING ARTICLES AND LINKS TO POST TO THEIR FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN, ETC.
36. OK… STRATEGY BUT TAKES TONS OF TIME TO IMPLEMENT 3, 6, 12 MONTH WAIT FOR RESULTS RANDOM SPIKES IN TRAFFIC SOCIAL NETWORKS MAKING IT HARDER TO REACH YOUR AUDIENCE ORGANICALLY (ALGORITHM UPDATES)
37. ANOTHER POTENTIAL WAY SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING FAT HEAD = HARD LONG TAIL = EAS(IER) SOMETIMES
38. THE LONG TAIL SEARCH PHRASES WITH 4 – 5+ WORDS IN THEM THINK “home insurance reviews 2016” instead of a fat head term like “home insurance”
39. THE LONG TAIL IT ACCOUNTS FOR 89.4% OF ALL SEARCH ENGINE TRAFFIC
40. GET SOME LONG TAIL IDEAS Www.wordstream.com/keywords Www.moz.com/keyword-explorer Www.keywordtool.io
41. USE THOSE TOOLS TO GET STARTED RIGHT NOW GENERATE A LIST OF 10 – 20 LONG TAIL KEYWORDS AND YOU CAN START WRITING ARTICLES WHERE YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO RANK. TIME TO SEE RESULTS: 2 WEEKS TO SEVERAL MONTHS
42. WHAT IF YOU CAN’T WAIT WEEKS OR MONTHS TO GET TRAFFIC? LONG TAIL SEO IS GREAT, BUT IT ISN’T THE BEST IF YOU’RE IN A TIME CRUNCH.
43. THE ANSWER PAY-PER-CLICK ADVERTISING WHEN DONE THE RIGHT WAY
44. WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY? REMEMBER HOW WE MENTIONED WEBSITES WITH SPECIAL CONTENT? THAT’S HOW!
45. SPECIAL CONTENT HOME PAGE VS. SERVICE PAGE VS. LANDING PAGE
46. HOME PAGE
47. SERVICE PAGE
48. LANDING PAGE
49. PROMOTING A HOME PAGE VS. A LANDING PAGE AN EXAMPLE OF A LOSER CAMPAIGN VS. A WINNING CAMPAIGN
50. A LOSING CAMPAIGN Sending Traffic Straight to Home Page Cost per click: $1.20 Number of clicks (people clicking to see website): 100 Cost of this traffic: $120.00 ——- Percentage who buy product at your website: 2% Number of customers (100 visitors X 2%) = 2 customers ——- Product Cost: $47.99 Revenue generated by campaign = $95.98 ——- Net Loss ($95.98 net rev. – $120 ad spend): -$24.02 98% of people do not buy and leave website never to return. Sales are made, but it is not enough to recoup ad costs. Advertiser must stop campaign or go broke.
51. A WINNING CAMPAIGN Sending Traffic to Landing Page to Get Emails First Cost per click: $1.20 Number of clicks (people clicking to see website): 100 Cost of this traffic: $120.00 ——- Offer a free guide, tip sheet, free trial, etc. this time. —— Opt-In Rate: 30% Total people who opt-in = 30 subscribers ——- Subscribers given freebie to deliver value and build trust in your brand. Additional emails sent to build relationship and FINALLY THE OFFER IS MADE. —— Purchase Percentage: 15% Total Purchases = 15% X 30 subscribers = 4.5 customers Product Price: $47.99 —– Revenue generated by campaign = $215.96 ——- NET PROFIT = $215.96 – $120.00 = $95.96 Actual ROI tends to be higher since you can keep emailing people over time and convert additional subscribers into purchases.
52. THE MOST IMPORTANT DETAIL PRIORITIZING THE EMAIL OVER THE SALE ALLOWS YOU TO KEEP SELLING TO THE SAME PERSON. INSTEAD OF THAT PERSON BEING WORTH A 1-TIME SALE OF $47.99 THE PERSON HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE WORTH HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP.
53. HOW DO OTHER COMPANIES USE THIS STRATEGY? SOFTWARE COMPANIES PLACE ADS ON SEARCH ENGINES TO GIVE AWAY FREE DEMO IN EXCHANGE FOR EMAIL.
54. HOW DO OTHER COMPANIES USE THIS STRATEGY? BUSINESS COACHES ON FACEBOOK INVITE YOU TO FREE WEBINAR OR GIVE AWAY FREE GUIDE IN EXCHANGE FOR EMAIL.
55. HOW DO OTHER COMPANIES USE THIS STRATEGY? RETAIL STORES OFFER INTERESTING GADGETS AT COST OR FREE + S&H TO BUILD LARGE LIST. EMAILS SENT ON BACK-END TO MAKE BULK OF PROFITS.
56. HOW DO OTHER COMPANIES USE THIS STRATEGY? SUBSCRIPTION COMPANIES GIVE AWAY FREE MONTH IN EXCHANGE FOR EMAIL TO PROMOTE SPECIAL DEALS TO PEOPLE WHO DO NOT BECOME PAYING CUSTOMERS AFTER TRIAL ENDS.
57. HOW DO OTHER COMPANIES USE THIS STRATEGY? RESTAURANTS GIVE AWAY COUPONS IN EXCHANGE FOR EMAIL.
58. 5 PRORITIES YOU CAN TAKE HOME
59. 1. IF YOU HAVE THE LUXURY OF TIME, LONG TAIL SEO IS A POTENTIALLY LOW-COST WAY TO GET PEOPLE TO YOUR WEBSITE.
60. 2. IF TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, ROI CAN BE SEEN QUICKLY WITH PPC ON SEARCH ENGINES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS WHEN YOU STRUCURE YOUR CAMPAIGN CORRECTLY
61. 3. FOCUSING ON BUILDING YOUR LIST IS A PATH TOWARDS MORE LONG-TERM REVENEUE
62. 4. (EXTRA) WHEN DECIDING TO SPEND ENERGY BUILDING YOUR LIST VIA YOUR WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS, CHOOSE YOUR OWN LIST. DON’T BE A VICTIM TO CHANGING SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY POLICIES.
63. 5. YOUR WEBSITE REALLY IS THE LAST PART OF THE PUZZLE. MAKE SURE YOUR OFFER AND PROMOTION STRATEGY ARE IN PLACE FIRST. A WEBSITE IS WORTHLESS WITHOUT THESE.
64. Q&A Find Me Online www.clickedstudios.com Follow Me on Twitter @frankspohr Like Us on Facebook www.facebook.com/clickedstudios

Mail Bag Q&A: What domain should I pick and how does that effect SEO?

In this mail bag Q&A, we cover a question we get all the time, “what domain should I pick and how does that effect SEO?”

After we outline a few principles below, you’ll be ready to pick the perfect domain name for your business’s website.

Your Domain Name from a Branding Angle

When coming from a branding angle, it is important for it to be short, memorable, and easy to spell. This becomes even more important if there are TV or radio campaigns behind it where the domain has to be recalled by a prospective buyer and then type it into the browser address bar. While still important, you can loosen up these guidelines a tiny bit when it comes to print materials where the user may be able to refer back to the marketing piece to get the domain name.

Your Domain Name from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Angle

When coming from an SEO angle, you can get a small benefit from including keyword terms in your domain name (i.e., it is 1 of over 200 ranking factors used by Google). However, if you’re doing the right sorts of digital promotion where you’re getting relevant back links from other websites and mentions on social networks, a normal “branded” style domain name will rank just fine. As a matter of fact, Google prefers brands.

Does it matter if I use .COM or a different extension like .NET, .TV, .IO, or .whatever?

Generally, .COM is recognized as the premiere domain name. It is more legitimate looking than some of the 3rd party domain names because it is the most commonly used domain name by big brands with the most exposure. From an SEO perspective, it doesn’t really matter what domain extension you use because ranking in the search engines mainly comes down to relevant back links pointing to a site with high quality, relevant information. If you were only hoping to be found via search engines for something like the-keyword-i-want-to-rank-for.tv, it might be a hair stronger than just simply yourbrand.com or yourbrand.tv. This is splitting hairs though on a very small factor (and you can actually get burned with exact match domain names if your content quality is poor so make sure you find the right balance).

How to Pick a Domain Name for a Business in Practice

In the end, out in the real world, Clicked Studios prefers a well branded domain name supported by a solid search engine marketing campaign that builds a strong foundation of signals (links, social mentions, and citations) that Google wants to see from a reputable website worthy of ranking in the first spot. Sometimes when you cannot get a domain name you want, look to what BaseCRM did for their website. Get creative and stick an action word on your brand name such as “get” and you’ll get a domain name like “getBase.com”. The domain as a result is easy to remember and action oriented. Combined with strong digital promotion, the domain has a strong foundation of relevant back links propelling them to the top of Google for “mobile CRM software” despite using none of those words in their domain name. A quick look on Compete and you’ll see that their estimated traffic is between 50,000 to 250,000 per month. Not bad for a domain name lacking exact match keywords. 🙂

How Content Marketing Drives Search Engine Marketing

Ranking on Google

Everybody wants to rank at the top of Google, but the reality is that Google only wants to place people who deserve it. Publishing a web page and placing a few keyword phrases on it does not guarantee you will rank. As a matter of fact, there are no guarantees with search engine rankings since Google is 100% in control of its ranking algorithm. However, there is one thing that comes really close to a guarantee. If you’ve been following the digital marketing landscape for the past couple years, you might already know it. If not, the answer is great content marketing combined with a solid promotional strategy.

Content Marketings Drives Shares and Links Which Drive Rankings

With solid content marketing, you create high quality content pieces that your target audience wants to read and share. The reason they want to read and share it is because your content helps them solve a problem. Do this and you’re well on your way to seeing a return on your digital marketing efforts. In turn, people who like and share you content create social media signals and link back to your web page from their own. This in turn creates quality back links, which are HUGE in Google’s eyes for ranking you well.

To give you an idea of the quality of content I’m talking about for your own website, check out this executive coaching infographic created for The Leadership Crucible. This particular content piece received 85 social shares within the first day or so of it being released. In particular it got shares from other industry thought leaders (I’m talking about authors, Forbes contributors, etc.). As a result, it also quickly shot to the first page of Google for “executive coaching infographic”.

1st Page of Google Result for Executive Coaching Infographic

The True Path to Content Marketing and Search Engine Success

Keep in mind though, there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes of content marketing. A piece that shares well and ranks well (or quickly, for that matter) requires thorough research, high quality production resources, establishing connections with influencers in your industry, and follow through. While the content piece popped out of the gate, the reality is that it took a month of prior work to make the content piece good enough to do well in a competitive industry such as leadership coaching. One way I frame this in my own mind is to remember a quote from Abraham Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

If you liked what you read or have a question, leave a comment below. We love hearing from you at Clicked Studios.

Mail Bag Q&A: How do I make my website accessible for visually impaired individuals?

In this this mail bag Q&A, a person who runs a company focused on senior home care asked, “how do I make my website accessible for visually impaired individuals?”

People with visual impairments may use screen readers to listen to a website’s content instead of trying to read it. It is important to make sure text is presented within the code instead of images and special components as much as possible. Should text be saved in an image or video, one step to provide accessibility is to provide a transcript. Additionally, since a visually impaired user may not be able to see images, it is important to use ALT tag in the code so that a description of that image can be provided for a screen reader. Another major accessibility concern is making sure links are clearly labeled so that a user knows where the link leads. For example, clearly label a link as the name of the page it should link to instead of using words like “click here” or “click this”.

Generally, the majority of accessibility relies on the group or individuals responsible for creating content to create duplicate versions of content that are accessible. For example, if creating an image or video, there needs to be a text or audio version available as well. Here’s a checklist of general accessibility guidelines provided by the W3 Consortium, an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards.

Q&A: How Do I Get More Unique People to My Website?

We received an email asking the question, “how do I get more unique people to my website?” Since this is a pretty hot topic these days, we figured we’d share our response to help everyone get a better understanding of the broad digital strategies one can use to generate awareness for their website.

To generate awareness for your website you have a couple broad options.

  1. Digital Media Purchases – This would include things like purchasing CPC or CPM banner ads with re-targeting (not to be confused with re-marketing) on niche websites, Google Adwords, and targeted Facebook ads.
  2. Content marketing – Essentially, building valuable content on your company blog and then promoting it to the right websites and social media influencers to gain new traffic sources and the added benefit of search engine rankings for a second source of traffic.
  3. Guest Posting – Similar to content marketing, but the difference is that you reach out to authoritative blogs within your industry to write content on their website so you can leverage their audience in exchange for your knowledge and insight.
  4. Social media marketing in the context of joining conversations online where people are talking about issues within your industry. In a broad sense, these conversations are happening on the typical social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn plus forums, Q&A websites, video sites, etc.

The Biggest Mistake We See Brands Making on Social Media

Pros and Cons

As I’m sure you guessed, each of these 3 strategies have their pros and cons depending on your offer and brand.  Each one has different long-term and short-term costs along with timelines for how quickly they start generating traffic.

Mail Bag Q&A: How do you create an easy to use website?

In this Q&A, we have a question from a person wanting to know, “how do I create an easy to use website?

Creating simple and easy to use websites is built upon a concept called Hick’s Law. It states that the more choices you give a person, the longer and less likely that person is to make the choice you desire him to make. With that idea in hand, an easy to use website minimizes the number of choices you give a person at any given time in the navigation of the website. In order to achieve this, one must decide what messages and actions are the most important ones to them for display on the website. Sorting these messages and actions by level of priority in relation to one’s business objectives is the best way to figure out how to design a website. An easy way to think about this is with the concept of lead generation web pages with high conversion rates. The best ones historically have shown to use very limited navigation elements, if any at all, combined with a large bold message and minimal form elements to collect a prospect’s information. Another easy and recognizable example is Google.com. It’s core objective is to get people to search, so they present a very clean and minimal user interface with the search text field boldly placed in the center of the web page.

Ignore These 3 Tips To Expose Your Website to Malware

WordPress Malware Infections on the Rise

Photo by Ivan Arce

In a little over a month, over 100,000 WordPress websites have been hit by malware infections due to outdated versions of the Revolution Slider plugin according to SC Magazine.  With the rapid spread of this threat, it is more important than ever to make sure you website is hardened against these attacks.  If you fail to do so, you are at risk of having your website taken down by your web hosting company, being black listed by Google, and unwittingly spreading malware to your customers.

Unfortunately, over the past couple weeks we have spent a fair amount of time helping people who have been hit by attacks like this.    One particular case involved a company with 22 websites hosted on one web server that got hit by a malware infestation that moved through every single website and infected 705 files.  As a result, the hosting company immediately turned off all 22 websites!  While we were able to help fix the problem, the company would have had a much better couple of days if they had spent a few pennies on prevention instead of many dollars on the cure.

In today’s post, I’m providing 3 major tips that you can use right now to help you stay safe and prevent a potential catastrophe from happening to your online presence.

Continue reading

The Value of Good Design and Standing Out with Animated Emails

The value in good design is that it can separate your brand from the rest of the pack. Going above and beyond by just a little bit can provide the perception that you are leaps and bounds ahead of your competition, which can lead to disproportionate rewards in your favor. Disproportionate rewards are seen throughout the business world for top performers via the Pareto Principle and in actual studies like this one by the prestigious business consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, where the top 33% performers were found to be compensated 66% higher than the next group of performers under them.

Another great example is how Apple’s design concepts fetch a premium dollar in the tech marketplace. In the web design world, I came across a nice example of how a virtual meeting company called UberConference helps differentiate themselves by sending an animated “thank you” email after sign up instead of the typical boring static email.

Animated HTML Email

I think this email makes a great example of a small way you can make a difference with your designs that pack a large pop when it comes to creating a positive perception of your brand. While most companies go about their business sending basic transactional emails, UberConference takes advantage of this touch point with people to create an unexpected experience that is more likely to make people take notice and remember them. It is in the most basic sense, Seth Godin’s Purple Cow.

On a closing note, here’s another graphic featured in one of Asana’s announcement emails visually demonstrating one of their new features instead of simply just talking about it.

Asana Animated Email

Have you seen another example of an animated email that got you to stop and take notice? Share it below in the comments section.