If your budget for your company’s online marketing is limited, you may wonder how to appropriately allocate your funds between things like the design of your website and the content you’ll use to fill that website. Both are necessary to promote your business online, but design is usually a one-time cost (with some money set aside for web maintenance and possible future redesigns), whereas content is a long-term investment. As far as which is more important and should get a larger percentage of your budget, it depends largely on your goals.
According to Inspired Mag, the average user only reads a quarter of the content on any given web page they visit. That makes it seem like content is unimportant, and when it comes to a site visitor’s first impression of your business, the web design is undoubtedly most important. In the matter of seconds, a visitor makes the decision as to whether or not to stay and whether or not to potentially become one of your customers. When it comes to “design,” it’s not a matter of the aesthetic look alone, although that’s a large part of it. Design also includes:
- The site’s ease of use
- The site’s compatibility with both mobile devices and PCs
- Easy access to all important information (such as your company’s physical address, phone number and email address)
- Limited use (if any use) of pop-ups and advertisements – these should not be distracting, if your company feels it must use them at all
When originally creating your website, it all starts with the design.
Digital Current discusses the importance of and shares tips about effective content creation. As essential as design is, content still has a large role to play in the success of your company’s website in the long-term. Even after a person has seen your compelling website design, they need something to repeatedly draw them back to your site. Repeat visitors are the most likely to convert into buyers and loyal customers of your brand. Content offers visitors something new to look at every time you update (which should be at least once a week, if not more often). While they’re reading or watching your new content, they’ll be reminded of your brand and may remember to buy again.
Which Is Easier to Produce?
Both website design and content production are best handled by the respective professionals most suited to produce them. Only experts know how to make a website both look good and operate without errors. Professionals are most experienced at writing content that’s both compelling and likely to prove search engine optimized.
Allocate a larger portion of your budget for your website design before you launch your site and then pour more of the money into content over time. If your website is effective and designed well, it shouldn’t need much maintenance or require a redesign for many years. Whether you outsource design and content production, you do it all in-house or a combination of both, focus on designing first, but don’t underestimate the importance of content later.
In 2016, you’d be hard-pressed to find a corporate or small business website that hasn’t embraced search engine optimization. For more than a decade, SEO has proven to be an effective method for grabbing the attention of prominent search engines and attracting scores of new visitors. When most companies set SEO efforts into motion, their primary aim is Google. As Statista reveals, Google is far and away the most widely-used search engine worldwide, so it makes sense for businesses to seek its recognition. Unfortunately, trying to curry favor with Google may actually hinder a company’s SEO endeavors. Going about search engine optimization in the wrong manner, whether intentional or unintentional, is liable to elicit penalties from the world’s most beloved search engine. The following tips can help your company’s efforts to avoid the infamous “Google penalties.”
Produce Natural, Organic-Sounding Content
If there’s one thing Google hates, its keyword stuffing. This refers to the practice of overloading a blog post, feature article or any other piece of text-based content with search engine-baiting keywords. Although skilled writers are able to organically insert keywords into the content they produce, individuals who are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of SEO have a tendency to openly embrace keyword stuffing. There’s no question that doing this can help boost a site’s search ranking in the short term, but the instant Google becomes aware of what’s going on, that site’s ranking is going to take a nosedive. Additionally, keyword-stuffed content is of little to no practical value to readers, so it’s not really conducive to attracting repeat visitors. There’s nothing wrong with sufficiently-spaced-out, organically-inserted keywords, but being shamelessly excessive with your keywords is bound to cost you.
Exercise Caution When Selecting Guest Bloggers
While guest blogging can be an effective way to drum up new interest in your site, it can also work against you in certain instances. With all the new visitors they attract, guest posts often bring in a plethora of outside links. If these links are relevant to your company and the industry it serves, there shouldn’t be any problems. However, if they’re far-removed from your industry or offer little in the way of relevance, a Google penalty may be in your future. This isn’t to say you should swear off guest blogging entirely – in fact, you definitely shouldn’t – but you should be very selective about the people you ask to produce guest blogs and make sure their work meshes seamlessly with the other content found on your website.
Frequently Review Google’s Guidelines
Since the actions that result in Google penalties are constantly being updated, it’s in your best interest to review the company’s webmaster guidelines, which can be found at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en, at least once a month. This will ensure that you stay abreast of each actionable offense, enabling you to make changes to your site and its content accordingly.
Google penalties can put a huge damper on your business’s best-laid SEO strategies. In many respects, getting on Google’s bad side essentially constitutes biting the hand that feeds you. Even inadvertently going against the aforementioned search engine’s increasingly elaborate rules stands to plummet your site’s Google ranking. Remaining in Google’s graces gets more difficult by the day, but being exercising caution with your keywords and guest blogs and staying current with the company’s webmaster guidelines can help you avoid drawing the ire of the world’s favorite search engine.
In this day and age, it’s important for every company website to feature a regularly-updated blog. Whether you’re a massive conglomerate or a small business, a well-written blog can drum up interest from prospective clients, keep existing customers engaged and increase your site’s visitor numbers. However, in order to enjoy all of the aforementioned perks, you’ll need to produce a blog that’s worth reading. In 2016, there’s no shortage of business-oriented blogs, and if yours isn’t up to snuff, interested parties can easily get their fix elsewhere. When setting out to create a blog that’s fresh and consistently entertaining, the following pointers are sure to come in handy.
Even if you have a seasoned writer handling the bulk of your blog posts, periodically enlisting the aid of guest bloggers can be an effective way to spice things up. When shopping around for guest bloggers, look for prominent figures in your industry – preferably people who aren’t in direct competition with your company. Journalists who specialize in matters concerning your industry also make good guest bloggers. Additionally, the subject matter covered in guest posts should be well outside of your resident blogger’s area of expertise. If the name of a certain guest blogger carries quite a bit of weight, you can expect to see a sizable increase in your visitor numbers. Assuming these new visitors like what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll continue visiting your site on a regular basis.
Natural Keyword Incorporation
In an online marketplace that’s increasingly dominated by search engine optimization, keyword incorporation has become many companies’ go-to SEO strategy – and for good reason. If properly executed, keyword incorporation can boost your Google ranking and point scores of new visitors in the direction of your website. However, getting these people to your site only represents half the battle; keeping them engaged in what truly matters. As Time reports, the average Internet user takes only 15 seconds to decide whether or not a new website is worth her time. Needless to say, if first-time visitors arrive at your site to find a blog post that’s packed to the brim with haphazardly-inserted keywords and phrases, they’re liable to write your blog off as a glorified ploy for attention from prominent search engines. With this in mind, if you’re dead-set on incorporating keywords and phrases in your posts, instruct your writer to do so as organically as possible.
If you want your blog to incorporate a variety of voices, reach out to your staff for ideas. Even if the same person writes up all the posts, she can collaborate with individuals from various departments to cover a wider range of subject matter. Not all of the people with whom she collaborates are going to be skilled wordsmiths, but they can still provide her with detailed notes and valuable info. Expanding the scope of your blog can go a long way toward expanding its audience.
Over the last decade, blogging has become an art form. Not surprisingly, as the number of business blogs has increased, people’s expectations have done the same. As such, a boilerplate, by-the-numbers blog isn’t going to do your company any favors. To ensure that your blog is able to entertain and maintain visitor interest, reach out to guest posters, naturally incorporate industry-centric keywords and never underestimate the power of collaboration.
Businesses and bloggers alike are concerned about blog optimization and increasing traffic to their websites. They worry about creating compelling content and paying for the right advertizing campaigns to spread the word about their blogs, and these are both valid concerns. However, there’s something far simpler too many bloggers overlook: adjusting how you update your blog. Get more traffic with far less effort than you might think.
Include More Photos and Videos
Even if you initially attract visitors to your website through a stellar online marketing campaign, you won’t encourage the visitors to return if all they find is walls of text. While the content is important, you need to break up the visual presentation of your blog with more photos and videos. Find more professional-looking photographs at stock image websites. (It’s important you have permission to use photos on your blog; simply downloading a photo from the Internet may result in you being sued by the owner of the original image.) Purchase a plan and make use of unlimited relevant photos.
Videos are especially important. According to Crazy Egg, videos have a 41 percent better click-through rate than plain-text results in universal search engines. If your blog pops up during a keyword search relevant to your industry because of a video you host on the blog, you’re more likely to attract visitors. Include a video at least once a month, but make sure you have permission to share the video or make one yourself.
Update More Often
Break longer posts into multiple-part series, and keep blog posts in the 500-1000-word range. Much shorter and your content won’t prove worthwhile to readers, any longer and you waste an opportunity to get multiple days’ worth of updates and may bore casual readers. Plan your updates for days or even weeks in advance, and do your research to include more sources to give your content a more reliable reputation. If you set the posts to update automatically, you won’t even have to be in front of a computer to update throughout the week.
Change When You Update It
HubSpot claims Tuesday and Wednesday are the most popular days of the week to publish blog posts. Try changing your update schedule to include one or both of these days; this is especially important if you only update once a week or a couple of times per week.
However, just because these are the best days for the majority of blogs doesn’t mean they’ll prove the best days for yours. Experiment with the update schedule to pinpoint the days that bring you the most traffic. For example, compare a month of updating on Tuesday or Wednesday to updating on another day of the week and see if the general rule that Tuesday and Wednesday prove more popular for bloggers applies to you.
When it comes to attracting repeat visitors to your blog, how you update your blog is as important as what you update it with or how you market it. These simple changes take minimal effort and are worth experimenting with. Adjust how you update your blog, and be rewarded with better blog optimization.
You’ve read up on the importance of running a company blog that you update at regular intervals with content relevant to the products or services you sell. You know that blogs and social media are an essential platform for capturing consumer interest. After all, Dream Systems Media reports that blogs and social media comprise 23 percent of all total Internet usage time. However, you’re not sure what to do with email newsletters. Where does email fit into the marketing equation when social media and blogs seem so much more relevant to the modern Internet user? The answer may surprise you.
Direct Marketing to Most Avid Consumers
Some blogging platforms allow visitors to subscribe to email alerts that let them know every time your company updates its blog, but these are not the same as email newsletters your company puts together and sends independently of your blog. Email newsletters should showcase:
- The latest and most important news about your company, products and services
- Information about new products and services, including exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming offerings
- Highlights of company community efforts, interviews with staff members and other fun, seasonal content
Some of this information will be covered in your blog, but few consumers read every post of your blog. The biggest supporters of your company should sign up to get the most need-to-know news delivered to their email inbox’s. Incentivize signing up for the newsletter by offering coupons, special offers or exclusive content.
Blogs’ Relevance to Newsletters
According to HubSpot, websites that use email newsletters that also blog get two times as much traffic to as the websites that don’t maintain a blog. A newsletter’s success does not mean you should stop updating your blog. In fact, you can link to the latest or most important blog updates in your newsletter and drive traffic to your website with every newsletter you send out. Encourage interactivity and you’ll get even better traffic numbers. Ask your newsletter readers to head to your blog to fill out a survey, for example, or to leave feedback.
How Often to Send Them Out
Updating your blog at least once a week, if not three times a week or even daily, can prove beneficial to your company because it puts more original content on your business website, which will improve its search engine rankings. Plus, you can play around with SEO and increase your blog’s chances of getting higher in search engine results relevant to industry keywords. However, the goal of your newsletter isn’t related to search engine results. Instead, it’s to communicate directly with the consumer base that adores your business the most.
In that case, don’t clog your most ardent fans’ email inboxes with frequent updates, as this will lead many to unsubscribe or view it as spam. At the most, send out newsletters twice a month. However, once a month or even quarterly is more appropriate. Any less often that that and you’re not taking full advantage of the platform.
Even if email is one of the oldest forms of Internet communication, that doesn’t mean it’s out-of-date. Company email newsletters are another avenue of getting more traffic to your site and more sales. Because you don’t shouldn’t send them out as often as you update your blog, they take less effort to put together than you might think and are worth adding to any company’s marketing strategy.
Regardless of the size and scope of your business, it’s imperative that you maintain a regularly-updated blog. In addition to keeping both current and prospective clients in the know, a well-written blog helps illustrate the fact that your company is constantly moving forward. Conversely, irregular updates and shoddily-composed posts are liable to create the impression of a stagnant, unpopular business. When composing a blog post – or any other piece of web content, for that matter – it goes without saying that you want it to be seen by as many people as possible. The following tips will prove invaluable in getting your company’s blog noticed and bringing more foot traffic through the door.
Businesses of all sizes have utilized search engine optimization, commonly known as “SEO,” to great effect. After identifying the key words for a blog post’s subject matter, take measures to incorporate those terms into the body of the post. When doing this, you’ll want any sentences that feature the keywords to sound as natural as possible. Modern web users are very adept at identifying blatant keyword inserts, so it pays to get creative when including them in your blog posts. If you don’t have any experience with search engine optimization, consider enlisting the services of a highly-rated SEO company.
Be Consistent With Tone and Content
If your company’s blog is all over the place tonally and content-wise, prospective clients won’t know what to make of it. As Forbes’ Jacquelyn Smith points out, it’s important to define the type of audience you wish to reach and tailor your content accordingly. Of course, this isn’t to say your posts should be redundant. Maintaining a prevalent tone while presenting new material is one of the cornerstones of good blogging. In many respects, this process is similar to writing for a television series. Even if a show’s setting, mood and characters have all been established; talented writers can come up with original and entertaining ways to utilize them.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Facebook, Twitter and various other social media giants can play an integral role in directing traffic to your company’s blog.
Each time a new blog post goes up, make an announcement through your business’s social media accounts. In addition to informing your followers that a new post is available, encourage them to share and re-tweet links to your website. A handful of shares can result in a substantial surge in web traffic. Depending on how many followers a user has, a single share or retweet can reach thousands, if not tens of thousands, of prospective clients.
In recent years, blogging has become something of an art form – and in some respects, a science. According to Business Insider, blogs are increasingly popular tools through which to promote companies and inform consumers. However, with countless blogs, both personal and business-related, flooding the web, getting yours noticed can be an uphill battle. By putting the previously discussed tips into practice, you’ll be setting the stage for increased web traffic and a sizable uptick in new business.