Thursday, March 22, 2018 by Kristen Hicks
Monday, March 19, 2018 by Casey Kelly-Barton
Why Having An SEO Optimized Website Is ImportantMaking a website for your new business or blog is all fun and games until a marketing person asks about your SEO and SERP rankings. They ask because they care, but if you're new to selling or sharing online, you may not know exactly what SEO and its related terms mean or why they matter. SEO matters a lot, so let's take a look at why. Then you'll be able to ask your marketing friends for their tips on earning the featured answers box on SERPs, optimizing for voice search, and other stuff that's fun and games for them.
Defining SEO and SERPsSEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a very precise way of saying you're doing all the right things to get found in searches that people do on Google, Bing, and other search engines. A SERP is a search engine results page, the screen full of links you get when you search for, say, "what does SERP mean?" SERP ranking refers to a site's position on that results page, the higher up the better. Now that we've defined our terms, let's look at why SEO matters so much.
SEO Helps People Find Your WebsiteAs of this writing, there are 1.8 billion sites on the web, and a new one goes live every second. Don't take that statistic as discouragement—the web is crowded because it's an effective way to reach people. Do take it as evidence that choosing your domain name, building your site, and posting your content are the first steps, not the only steps, to reaching your audience. How much does SEO matter? A few years ago, I watched a startup business without an SEO program fail to appear on the first SERP for the keywords that made up its domain and business names. The owner went to great lengths to choose the domain name according to all the best practices for search results: location + type of business. This person even named the business to align with the URL. It was a perfect choice and a minor miracle that the domain name was available, and with good SEO it should have been a lock for the top spot in search results. But there was no implementation of on-site SEO, no keywords included in the site copy, no link building. And no page one results—those all went to competitors with less-than-ideal names but strong SEO programs.
SEO Helps You Connect With Local CustomersConnecting with an audience is vital for every site owner, especially those who also run brick-and-mortar shops or depend on local clients. SEO is a must for sites that cater to locals, because most local searches now happen on mobile phones, when the customer is ready to buy something. Appear in those search results, and you're likely to get traffic that converts. Don't rank well in those results, and you're invisible to your target customers. The relationship between local searches and mobile users is so important that Google is gradually shifting to a “mobile first” site index that will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in search results than sites that don't perform well on smartphones. And because most of us talk to our phones rather than key in search phrases, the mobile-local search trend is making voice-search keywords more important than before.
SEO Matters for SERP RankingsEarlier, I mentioned a business that failed to appear on the first SERP for its keywords. How much does showing up on the first page of search results really matter? Won't potential customers carefully review the first few pages of results before they decide who to contact? Overwhelmingly, the answers are “a lot” and “no.” First page rankings matter because most searchers don't look past the first page of results, but appearing on the first page isn't necessarily a golden ticket. That's because the site with the #1 position on a SERP gets about a third of all the traffic, with a marked decline for each position below it. The #6 site on a SERP can expect less than five percent of the traffic from that search. The higher your site ranks, the more traffic you'll see. If you run a local business, SEO can help you land the most coveted voice search position of all: zero. Zero's not nothing—it's the spoken answer searchers will hear after they ask their phone where the closest dog wash is, or where they can get their mascot suit dry cleaned in Houston. It's called zero because it comes from the answer box on the results page, not the list of URLs. Want to earn position zero? Work on implementing rich snippets as part of your SEO program.
SEO Best Practices Help Your Business Shine on Other PlatformsKeeping up with current SEO practices is work, but it can pay off in ways beyond search rankings. As Pete Roesler wrote at Inc., “good SEO works on any searchable platform.”
- If you cross-list your merchandise on marketplaces like Etsy or eBay, knowing how to research, refine, and use keywords can help you make more sales.
- The same goes for marketing on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. People often search social media by keywords and hashtags for things they want to buy.
- If you're a service provider, include your SEO keywords in your listings on professional and local business directory sites so people who need your expertise can find you.
SEO Helps You Get the Most Value from Your ContentGood content isn't cheap, even if you're creating it yourself. The time you take to write blog posts and product descriptions, shoot and edit photos, and create videos or podcasts is a real investment, and SEO can help it generate better returns. Rather than turn out content and hoping it goes viral, help it find the right audience by using the most relevant keywords. As your audience grows and comes to rely on your for, say, tutorial videos on furniture refinishing, you'll establish the kind of trust and authority that leads those people to seek out your online shop when they need refinishing products and supplies.
Good SEO Can Help You Refine Your Website's DirectionA good ongoing SEO program can help your site by keeping your content and decision-making processes focused. For example, if visitors who convert are coming to your site through searches for “indoor herb garden lighting,” but the visitors who don't convert are arriving through searches for “herbal bath products,” you know where to focus your content and/or your product offerings. Setting up and maintaining your SEO program takes some time but it's critical to the success of your website. You can use our DIY guide to the basics of SEO to get started, and you can use the SEO tools that are included in the HostGator Website Builder. You can also save time by letting the experts at HostGator's SEO Services handle it for you.
Friday, February 23, 2018 by Mary Walton
How to Use Your Thank You Pages To Increase ConversionsYour thank you page is much more important than you may think. So many businesses are focused on getting the sale, that once they get it they simply thank the customer and leave it at that. If you follow that approach, you're actually throwing away a key opportunity to strengthen your bond with the customer and keep them coming back for more. The right content on your thank you page can go a long way towards increasing customer engagement. Here are five ways you can make the most of this unassuming page and bring up those sales numbers.
1. Offer a Loyalty DiscountThis is one of the more obvious options you can take with your website. Once your customer has ordered, offer them an exclusive discount with you for next time. They can then go back and use that discount right away, or at their leisure. Giving the customer this discount gives them a reason to come back. Maybe there was something else on the website that they were looking at, but decided against as they didn't have the cash for it. If they have that discount, that purchase seems a lot more feasible. NatureBox offers a discount, and they encourage their customers to share (a tip we'll get into below):
2. Play a VideoThe thank you page is actually a great place to post a video related to what the customer has just bought. This can easily be customized to make it fit to whatever the customer is buying from you. "Video is becoming the most popular way to show content," says content manager Della Jones from Elite Assignment Help. "It's a way to get a lot of information across visually, without overloading the customer." For example, if your customer has just bought some seeds from you, you can show them a video about how to plant them. This little bit of extra content can be just what you need to boost engagement.
3. Encourage Customers To ShareYou'll have seen this tactic yourself if you've been online shopping recently. Many sites are now using social sharing on their thank you pages to great success. How does it work? Simply add in some links to popular social media sites, and ask customers to share their new purchase with their friends. This spreads awareness of your brand, while helping your customer feel more excited about their purchase. When they do this, they're much more likely to come back - and they'll bring their friends, too!
4. Invite Them to SubscribeDo you have an email marketing newsletter? (If not, you should.) When someone buys something from you, tell them about your newsletter. You can simply state, "While you're here, why not subscribe to our newsletter?" The key here isn't to go all out and describe it in detail, but give the reader some of the highlights. They've already bought something from you, so they may well be interested in your newsletter. Many companies have tried this trick, and found that their newsletter subscriber numbers rocketed as a result.
5. Offer More ContentThis tactic often works best for B2B companies, or those looking to sell a service to the customer. Once someone has made a purchase, your thank you page can offer them some bonus content that they not have thought to look at before. For example, if the customer has just booked tickets for a seminar, you can offer them a free eBook or white paper that's related to it. These could even form a good starting point for the seminar itself, as you can give customers some information before they even get there. HubSpot uses this approach for their webinar registrations:
How to Write a Good Thank You PageNo matter what you want to do with your thank you page, you'll want to ensure that you're putting it together carefully. Here are some tips to help you write the best copy and keep those customers engaged: Keep it short and sweet: Your customer has just bought something, so they're about to head elsewhere. You don't want to hold them up for too long, or they may get irritated. Keep your thank you page short and to the point. Give them what you're offering right away, and they're more likely to come back. Always proofread and edit: As it's the last page your customer sees, you may think that you don't need to worry too much about what it looks like. You'd be wrong, as it's just as important as anything else on your site. Check over your copy after you've written it, to ensure that your grammar, spelling and general flow are correct. Nothing's worse for the customer experience than reading a webpage that's full of errors. Ensure the page loads quickly: This sounds obvious, but you've got to ensure the thank you page loads quickly. If it doesn't, the customer will just click elsewhere and leave without seeing it. Test the page first and see how it loads, before you make it live. The faster it loads, the better. Be upbeat: Your customer has just bought from you, so be excited about it. Thank them for buying with you, and continue the positivity by offering extra content or a special discount to them. It's something only they get as a customer, so show them how much you appreciate their purchase. Customize where possible: Depending on your business and what you're offering, you may be able to personalize the thank you page. This may be simply by using the customer's name to thank them. It could go one step further though, by showing videos related to what they just bought. Be creative and show them they mean something to you.
Tools To Help You Write The Best Thank You PageNow you've got some ideas for your thank you page, you'll need to start putting it together. Luckily, there are lots of tools online that will help you create the perfect page. Here are just a few that you can put to good use:
- Grammarix and Via Writing: These sites will help you correct your grammar.
- Boomessays: The Huffington Post recommend this site as somewhere you can order custom text from.
- State Of Writing and My Writing Way: These sites both contain useful writing guides.
- Cite It In: Always cite sources, this tool will help.
- Essayroo & Paperfellows: Get in touch with writers here if you need help.
- Word Count: Check the length of your text here.
- My Writing Way: This writing blog is packed full of ideas for you.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by Shayla Price
How Bloggers Can Defeat Writer's BlockWriting isn’t simple. It takes time and involves lots of conscious thinking. And as a blogger, you can feel stuck in a rut. Sometimes you probably get frustrated at the thought of crafting another blog post. That’s okay. Many bloggers like yourself struggle with writer’s block. Henneke Duistermaat, a copywriter and business writing coach, gives more insight: “Writing is hard work. There’s no doubt about that. But you can make it even harder by accepting writer’s block. Don’t become a tortured genius. Choose to get on with writing. Experiment. Find out what works for you.” Ready to face your fears? Here are five ways to overcome writer’s block.
1. Review Your Past Writing AchievementsBloggers live on the edge of perfection. You want every post to reflect your brand flawlessly—the headline, the images, and the stories. In the attempt to be perfect, you can easily get trapped in your own mind. Rather than posting your blog post, you may delay the publication date for several weeks. On top of that, doubt can slowly creep into your soul. You start asking yourself: Is this post good enough? Will readers really enjoy it? Should I start from scratch? To get out of this slump, it’s important to recall your past writing accomplishments. These accolades showcase how great you truly are. Awards, certificates, and positive comments are all reminders that you can achieve success. So take a quick inventory of what you’ve achieved within the last few years. For instance, your blog may have won first place in a competition. That takes hard work and talent. Use that excitement to fuel your next project. Right now, you may feel unworthy, but you do have what it takes to produce compelling work. And don’t forget to take a step back and be thankful for your current writing journey. Your blogging matters, and writing is one piece of the puzzle. Move beyond internal conflict by looking at your past success.
2. Practice Free Writing When PossibleWhen you sit down to write, it can feel like a chore. You’ve got a specific topic and an outline to help guide you. However, this method can restrict your thinking. Following a strict writing routine can become stifling. You may lose your sense of creativity and possess no desire to write from your imagination. Give yourself the flexibility to think outside of the box. Free writing is a technique where you write without worrying about the spelling, grammar, or topic. You’re writing with no fear. And that can be exhilarating! The aim is to put words on the page. You can come back to correct any mistakes during the editing process. It’s all about releasing your mind from the burden of writing. Jeff Goins, best-selling author of four books, offers his viewpoint: “Start somewhere, anywhere. Write a few lines. Say anything. And see what happens. Don’t think about it too much or make any fancy announcements. Just write. It doesn’t need to be eloquent or presentable; it just needs to be written.” Also, switch up your writing utensils. If you usually type, use a pen and paper. Stop editing while you write. Enjoy the freedom to make errors without judgement.
3. Spark a Conversation With a FriendInspiration comes in many different shapes and forms. It’s time to ditch the closed-minded attitude and gather new ways of thinking from external sources. When you want to boost your writing skills, try talking with a friend or two. Ask them about their day and their thoughts on random subjects. It’s a chance to travel in someone else’s shoes and learn from their daily experiences. You’ll pick up on what makes them happy and how they solve conflicts. All these intimate details are optimal for knocking down writer’s block. You also may want to make an effort to watch your favorite television shows. Creativity can flow from simply admiring characters on the screen. Maybe you’ll get inspired to create a suspenseful cliffhanger or build your own content series. If you’re not a TV fan, read books and articles in different literary genres. Exploring outside of your normal reading habits gives you the courage to do something out of your comfort zone. So instead of writing the same old serious video script, consider publishing a funny vlog. Pick up a new book or start chatting with a close friend. You can break through writer’s block with the help of another perspective.
4. Eliminate Any and All DistractionsWriting is an art form that needs your undivided attention. Multitasking as you write can destroy your focus and drag you down. Think about all the distractions that occur while you’re writing. The phone rings and it’s the dentist office reminding you about an upcoming appointment. An email lands in your inbox and your beloved brand gives you a store discount, leading you down a black hole of shopping for two to three hours. These distractions keep you away from your writing. While you may have bought an awesome new pair of pants, you still haven’t made progress on your blog post. Before you disconnect from the world, you should assess what time of day works best for you. Uche Ibe, a blogger at We Love Singing, explains: “One simple way to do this is to try writing at various hours throughout the day, gauge your focus and energy levels, and compare what you wrote. If you find that you struggle to write in the morning, then it’s probably best to make time for writing at night.” Carve out time in your schedule to write. When you create time blocks, you have room to focus only on writing and nothing else. From Slack notifications to unexpected errands, it’s difficult to write with constant interruptions. You can make writing a priority with a dedicated schedule.
5. Start Dancing Around Your RoomPhysical activity spawns innovation. By moving your body, you open the door to expanding your mental energy. Then, there’s more room for you to write with a clear mind. Stanford University researchers found that “study participants who went for walks saw an 81% increase in tests measuring divergent thinking, a thought process associated with creativity in which you generate lots of ideas.” That’s huge for doing something as simple as walking! Fuel your brain by taking a walk around your block or even jogging for a few minutes at your local park. Not only do you reduce the pressure of having to write, you also add a healthy routine to your lifestyle. Of course, you probably want to kick it up a notch. So turn up your music and dance in your writing space. No one will judge you. The objective is to relax and to have fun. By not scrutinizing your every move, you can bring in positivity and combat writer’s block. Whether you exercise, dance, or just walk, a little movement can go a long way. Blast a few tunes on your iPod and get moving today.
Conquer Writer’s BlockWriting is a mental task that requires hard work. It’s no surprise you may feel depleted and experience writer’s block. Move past this hurdle by looking back at your past writing achievements for inspiration. Gain a new perspective by calling a friend. And of course, regain your energy with a little movement, like dancing or walking. Eliminate your fears. You can conquer writer’s block. Did you like this post? Check out these articles:
Friday, February 16, 2018 by Syed Balkhi
Here's How To Make Customers Out of Your Social Media FansWondering whether your social media marketing investment is paying off? Your potential customers are already spending hours on social media. If you’re not investing in social media marketing, you’re missing out on a cool opportunity to attract leads and customers. Let’s take a look at a few strategies to turn social media users into leads and customers.
1. Make your links clickableMarketers often focus on getting more likes and shares for the links they share on social media. Along with other success indicators, emphasis should also be given to click-through rate for the links you posted. Driving more clicks to your links will help you drive huge traffic to your site. In order to ensure that the links you post on social networks are enticing enough, it is essential to add Open Graph (OG) tags to your site. OG tags are for social networks what meta tags are for Google. It helps you automatically preview your link by pulling out an image, heading and description when the link is being shared. This preview influences your users’ decision to click on it or not. Always keep your images according to the optimal size of your preferred social site. If you’re targeting Facebook and Twitter, you might use an image with the size 1024 x 512 for perfect fit.
2. Become an early adopterThe early adopter advantage is huge when it comes to social media marketing. For example, in just 19 months, Zynga became one of the fastest companies to reach $1 billion valuation, just because they were one of the first companies that have adopted social gaming for user acquisition. Similarly, Spotify was an early adopter of integrating their app with the Facebook news feed, which helped them grow tremendously from 3.4 million to 5.3 million users within just two weeks. If you’re looking for a rapid growth, be sure to jump on the social media bandwagon as early as possible whenever a new social feature is released. Below are a few tips that you’ll find helpful if you’re looking to increase customer acquisition.
- Choose the right platform: Don’t spread yourself too thin by focusing on all the different social channels. Instead, identify where your potential customers are and create a strategy for gaining traction on one or a few platforms in particular.
- Seize opportunity at the right time: As social features mature, social sites will likely change the way they treat the app integration. It’s vital to seize the opportunity at the right time or you’ll fall behind.
- Create an independent product: Social platform like Facebook is always in flux, so there is no guarantee that your app integration will work well all the time. It is in your best interest to create an independent product that doesn’t heavily rely on social media integration.
3. Build social proofNon-app businesses can also leverage social media for user acquisition. Innocent Drinks is just one example. Wondering why brands invest in social user acquisition? It’s because people have a tendency to follow the choices of other people, such as their friends and family. By building social proof, you can create a positive perception of your brand in your niche circles. In fact, studies show that 7 out of 10 customers trust product recommendations from family and friends. Only 32% people trust content on your website and even fewer trust your ads. Keep in mind that at its core, social networks are publishing and sharing platform. Rather than hard selling, build a relationship with your fans and followers on social media. Starting a hashtag campaign can be helpful to spread the word out about your product. Tourism Australia, for example, encourages their fans to share their photos on Instagram during their Australian visit with relevant hashtags.
4. Retain your existing customers with remarketingSocial media is a great remarketing platform that lets you connect with people who have shown an interest in your product or services. With remarketing, you can show a customized ad to your existing and prospective customers, prompting them to return to your site. In fact, it takes 3 to 4 visits for your prospects to visit your website to actually think of doing business with you. With remarketing, you can encourage them to return often and entice them to take action that you deem to be of value, like subscribing to your list or purchasing a product. Target people who have shown an interest in your preferred social network by implementing a remarketing pixel on your site. The pixel will add a cookie on your visitors’ browser, which your ad network can identify. This way you can target them with a customized ad you’ve created just for them. Follow the following remarketing tips for the best results:
- Use onsite retargeting: Create an onsite retargeting campaign that targets users on your site who have engaged with your remarketing ad and show them a custom marketing message. This strategy of showing a custom message to the specific audience has proven to convert an additional 2 – 4% of your visitors into leads and customers.
- Spend your remarketing dollars wisely: For the best ROI, it is advised to filter out people from your remarketing list who haven’t spent significant time on your site. This way you can save your remarketing dollars by not targeting people who are not likely to do business with you.
ConclusionSocial networks are great platforms for building brand awareness and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche circles. They can also be used to connect with your customers and retain them for the long run. With the right strategies, you can turn social media users into leads and customers for your brand.