Want More People to View your Content? Improve your Page Load Speeds

How and Why to Make Your Pages Load More Quicklyload speed

If one of your goals is to best optimize your site for search, then you might be aware of the importance placed on having your pages load quickly. There are a variety of good reasons why you’ll want to make sure this is so, among them…

  1. It’s definitely a Google ranking factor.
  2. Average human attention span is now down to 8 seconds.
  3. The typical retail site loads at longer than 7 seconds, and it’s believed that just a one-second delay can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

With these reasons and many others, it’s time we take this seriously. Let’s have a look at 5 ways you can get your pages to come up faster.

5 Tips to get your pages to load more quickly

Google PageSpeed Insights – A major ranking factor, the speed at which your pages load is actually super easy and free to check out. Google provides a free tool called PageSpeed Insights which grades your page and suggest fixes you can make to make things quicker, and it works on both desktop and mobile.

Limit redirects – Make sure you don’t have more redirects than you actually need, because they are prone to causing pages to load slower resulting from more http requests. You’ll require some for your responsive mobile version of your site, so don’t eliminate those!

Reduce the number of plugins – Undoubtedly we are plugin fiends, but this can have a detrimental effect on page loads. You’ll want to get rid of plugins you don’t actually need. If you suspect other plugins, you can try deactivating to check out what the page load speeds are without them, and act accordingly.

Be sure to optimize your images – Images can have a large impact on your page load speeds, and to make the best of this try not to have too many on a single page, use JPEGs if at all possible, and compress them as small as is feasible.

Compress your pages – Enabling compression on your pages can help them load a stunning 70% faster. If you aren’t handy with code, there is a tool named Gzip which can do the dirty work for you. This alone can make a large difference in how fast your page loads.

What You Should Focus on for Local SEO in 2015 To Grow Your Business

In this post I want to talk about the best Practices for Local SEO in 2015focus

The first page of Google is where you need to be when potential prospects are searching for your business online.  As Google keeps refining their local algorithm, we’re finding that local SEO is taking on even more hats we need to wear. You truly need to be mindful of an ever-growing number of aspects that make up local SEO. While that is true, what’s also true is the opportunity here for those willing to put in the work to get it right.

Toward that goal, we’ve listed several best practices you’ll want to be aware of when it comes to local SEO for 2015. Fixing some of this should help boost your business.  Some might not be new to you, while others will. Bear in mind, it’s a stew, and all of it works together to make it tasty!

9 SEO best practices for To Boost Your Local Business Rankings

1.  Site speed – Make your site a speed demon: it matters as a Google ranking signal.

2.  Optimize for Mobile – With half the traffic on the Web these days emanating from a mobile device, it’s crazy to ignore this any longer. Make a responsive mobile version of your site today.  Check out this video blog post I made about a big announcement from Google that should light a fire under your butt if your website currently isn’t mobile-friendly (hint:  mobile-geddon is coming).  ;-)

3.  On-page SEO – Ensure that your title tags, descriptions, internal links and website schema are all representing your business the way they should.  If you don’t know what that means that’s ok, I can hook you up with a web ninja that knows.  If “your web guy” says that doesn’t matter he may be the problem…  ;-)

4.  Get more Reviews and Citations – Reviews are starting to overtake citations, but for now both are still important.  Get them both.  You need to be consistently asking for more reviews and should be building more citations over time.

5.  Quality inbound links – Get more high quality links preferably as a result of your content, and whatever you do don’t buy links.

6.  Give your content a local flavor – As much for visitors as for anything, making sure your content appeals to the local audience is a good idea.

7.  Be sure to Geotag your images – Putting specific geographic information into your image tags is helpful for Google to rank you for local terms, as well as locate you in Maps.

8.  “Get social” and Encourage social signals – The active employment of social media, both as a way of sharing your content and advertising it, can do wonders for your reach.  It doesn’t have to be this big burden.  Here is what I aim to do most of the time:

  • I write one blog post a week (like this one), share it on my Facebook Fan Page for my business, post it on my Google Plus page, email it to my email subscribers, pay for some Facebook ads to have that content put in front of my target market (business owners), and even share it to my personal social media profiles on Twitter and Facebook.  This process takes me all of 10 minutes to get done.  Give it a shot and this will help boost the ‘social signals’ for your site too and not to mention drive a bunch of targeted visitors your way!

9.  N.A.P. data – As always, making sure your business information is consistent across ALL your platforms is critical. If you are anything like the local businesses I analyze on a daily basis, you should probably start with this.  Getting you business NAP information updated is crucial.

Given all of this, doing well in local requires you to cover a number of areas, but always keep your focus on making your SEO work for you, and not the other way around, by keeping sales and conversions front of mind at all times.  Improving your SEO doesn’t have to be a big task but some simple tasks done weekly can pay off big dividends down the road.

If you would like help improving your Local SEO let’s set up a time to talk.

To your success,

Kyle Battis signature

4 Tools to Help You With Your Online Marketing

Today I wanted to share 4 Tools Designed to Save you Loads of Timemarketing tools

Most of us really enjoy tools, particularly when they save you loads of time and money. That’s the best and highest use of these tools, to give us the info we need to make changes that will have a real difference in our businesses.

Below are some tools that I have used with some of my online marketing and I hope that you like them.

Every year there are incredible tools that can help you save a lot of agony and time, and you would do well to save as many hours of manual labor as you can with the use of a couple of them. Here are 4 tools that can help with productivity, in no particular order of importance.

4 Tools to increase productivity in your business

Canva I use this tool all the time for Facebook ad creation so its a good tool for that.  If you’re at all like me, fumbling around in Photoshop is not your notion of a good time, never mind the final results! Canva to the rescue! Canva is a free tool that enables you to easily create amazing graphics using a very simple interface. You’ll be very impressed at how easy this is.

SproutSocial – If you’ve ever seen this site, you know what a analytics wonderland it is, and how much you can use the intelligence it offers. Not merely an analytics tool, you can also employ SproutSocial to post and engage with your audience right from the platform. Very cool tool suite.

Moz – Long a favorite among people needing to learn more about their site’s SEO, Moz continues to offer great tools to gather data about your site, keywords, you’re your competition in a comprehensive fashion. There’s not a whole lot this suite of tools can’t do in this realm.

Mention – Want to know what people are saying when it comes to you and your brand? You can track keywords, brand mentions and more from nearly any device, plus discover the sentiment of the mention, in order to save you time and reputation.

The objective of tools like these in not only to provide you with information that would otherwise be difficult to gather, but also to give you more time back in your day for other marketing activities.

Make sure to take full advantage of this!

I hope one of these tools are helpful!

 

What is Social Proof and How Can You Use It?

What is Social Proof and How Can You Use It?social proof

If you really have no clue what the concept of social proof is all about, let’s define it right now. Social proof is the idea that people will shape and conform their ideas and beliefs to the prevailing wisdom of the crowd, as long as it is believable.

This profoundly popular and powerful tactic is admittedly very appealing. Getting large numbers of people to cast votes in your favor, merely by virtue of what they like or follow is a notion no marketer could let pass idly by.

Let’s look at 5 types of social proof, and let the ideas begin to flow.

5 Amazing types of social proof

Celebrity – No doubt if you can get a celebrity endorsement or testimonial, you have something quite valuable. These work best when the person in question is either extremely likable or somewhat controversial.

Scarcity ploy – In this consumer-driven society we live in we all live with the fear of missing out. This is because you or someone else has just informed them that they really need this right now, just like dozens others just like them have gone for this limited time, one-time only offer.

Expert social proof – There’s something about placing your trust in someone who has been there, or is viewed as an authority or expert on the subject that conveys just enough trust to get people to buy into the offer. This is where the term “influencer” emanates from, and is a powerful technique in sales these days.

User generated – Having your customers leave unsolicited reviews is something that happens frequently. (And more often if you encourage the practice!) It’s what you do with these that counts. Visitors to your page often see this as the tipping point because these “testimonials” carry an air of authenticity that a paid endorsement and other social proof only wish it had.

Peer pressure – The power of social media can extend into the personal lives of users, when they are recommending things to their friends. There’s an unwritten obligation to take this more seriously, and perhaps give it a chance, based solely on their friends recommendation. I guess the lesson here is be careful who your friends are!

The Mobile First Mindset Business Owners Must Adopt

When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps.

As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, Google’s algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, Google has made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices.

Click below to watch this video:

Google has made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and they’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. They recently announced two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:

Read more here:
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html

Is Your Site Mobile Friendly? Find out with this test from Google:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

5 Choices for an E-Commerce Solution

See these 5 E-Commerce Solutions that Can Work for You!e-commerce

How many of us are born knowing how to set up and implement an e-Commerce system? I thought so. But really, selecting and setting up an e-Commerce solution for your small business doesn’t need to be such a daunting endeavor. It just takes finding the right system, and we’re going to take a look at several of those right here, right now.

When comparing solutions make sure you keep your own needs front of mind, as it is very easy to opt for a solution that is a lot more than you really need. That said, let’s check out 5 e-Commerce solutions that are suitable for startups.

5 Terrific E-Commerce Solutions for startups

Volusion – A great solution for startups as it is supremely affordable, starting at $15 per with no transaction fees and a free 14-day trial period. Volusion offers a website builder, hosting and a shopping cart. They have a number of SEO features built into the platform, as well as professional templates and 24/7 support.

Square Market – This choice will provide you with a way to get your storefront up in minutes, with a wealth of features including personalized store logo and images, flexible promotional codes, adjustable tax rates, size and color options, social media links, online marketing tools, mobile-ready storefronts and more. There are also no monthly fees, and merchants are charged 2.75% per sale.

Shopify – Another entry-level solution that gives a 14-day free trial, and charges $14 a month with no transaction fees. With over 100 templates to pick from, Shopify is drop-dead easy to set up, and Shopify Mobile (Shopify’s own mobile credit card reader) and Shopify POS (Shopify’s iPad point-of-sale system) can make selling anywhere a reality.

WooCommerce – If you use WordPress as many of us are, one of the better choices available is WooCommerce, which easily integrates into your existing WordPress site, and can still take advantage of the many plugins and advantages WordPress has to offer.

BigCommerce – One of the bigger dogs in the fight, BigCommerce features a wealth of features, and is slightly more complex than some of the others we’ve been talking about. This may be a step above your needs and is a solution aimed at mid to high volume businesses. Still modestly priced though at $29.95 with a 1.5% transaction fee for starters.

Are You Making Any of These SEO Blunders?

Learn How Not to Commit These SEO Blundersseo

Getting ranked well in the search engines is not an easy task, so shooting yourself in the foot by making costly SEO mistakes is, well; not advised.

Many times it’s unintentional, and other times it merely misguided. However it occurs you can be sure the results are exactly the same: lost rankings, penalties and lost revenue.

So to help you avoid these expensive and foolish mistakes, let’s take a peek at 5 common SEO goofs that can cost you big!

5 SEO Mistakes you don’t want to make!

Poor On-Page SEO – The bottom line is, Google has more than 200 ranking factors that it uses to properly categorize and rank your website. A lot of this can be found in the on-page SEO that is done, not done, or done badly. Ensure each page has a proper title tag and description, images are properly tagged, and be sure page load times are quick.

Not diversifying your keywords – The days of stuffing your pages with the keyword you wished to rank for are gone. You still need keywords, but make an effort not to hit visitors over the head with them, and be sure to include relevant verbiage throughout the page as well.

Duplicate content – It can be very easy to unintentionally create duplicate content these days. Tag pages, http and https versions of the same page, and several other tripwires make it easy for Google to discount your pages when they see these.

An intentionally bloated link profile – You can’t always control who links to your pages, but if you’re going out and intentionally acquiring thousands of incoming links to your site that are not obtained naturally, you’re asking for it. Buying links is a good way to get a Google penalty that will be tough to come back from.

Your pages aren’t indexable – There are number of technical issues that can stop Google from finding and indexing your pages, which would obviously be bad. These include broken links, bad redirect and flash, among others.

14 Google Tools For Small Business Owners

Google small business toolsGoogle has an amazing array of tools for small business owners and I personally use many of them to help me run my various businesses.  I put together a list of 14 tools that may help you run your small business more effectively.

Here they are:

1.  Google My Business

What it is: Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.  Google My Business puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ so that customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using.  Give customers the right info at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, hours of operations in Search or a phone number they can click to call you on mobile phones.

Why it’s useful: Most importantly, it gets your business on the Google Maps listings.  This is absolutely critical to get your business in the search engines and this is one of the first steps any business should take.

Google My Business helps you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews, use the +1 button to endorse your content, and re-share your Google+ posts across the web.  This can help with your local search engine rankings too!

 

2.  Google Apps For Work

What it is:  Google Apps for Work (formerly Google Apps for Business) is a suite of cloud computing productivity and collaboration software tools and software offered on a subscription basis by Google. It includes Google’s popular web applications including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Calendar, and Google Docs.

Why it’s useful: Its a very powerful way to run your business using some free tools.

3.  Google Calendar

What it is:   This is an excellent calendar app that can help you schedule your week.  If you’re like most small business owners I know you have many plates spinning, a lot of commitments, and a busy schedule to manage.

Why it’s useful:   Google Calendar helps you spend less time managing your schedule and more time enjoying it.

 

 

4. Google Voice

What it is: Google Voice enhances the existing capabilities of your phone for free, regardless of which phone or carrier you have. Use a single number that rings you anywhere, get transcribed voicemail messages delivered to your inbox, and make free calls and text messages in the U.S. and Canada.

Why it’s useful: Many business owners don’t want a land line anymore and with Google Voice you can run your business from your smart phone.

 

5.  Google Webmaster Tools

What it is: Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google search. Learn about any problems Google is having indexing your site. Identify search queries that drive traffic to your site, as well as any links to your site. Simply add and verify your site, and you’ll start to see information right away.

Why it’s useful: Even if you don’t want to get fluent in how Google Webmaster Tools works (and you probably shouldn’t be spending your time on that) you should check that your webmaster is and is taking advantage of it.

 

6.  Google Analytics

What it is:  Google Analytics lets you measure your customers’ behavior. Track sales and conversions across ads, videos, websites, tablets and smartphones. Understand which parts of your website are performing well, measure the success of your social media programs, and create better-targeted ads. Free for users with less than 5 million page views a month.

Why it’s useful: This is a great tool to see who is visiting your site, what search terms they are using to get to your website, and more.  Its worth sitting down with your Webmaster periodically to walk through and see what things jump out for you.

 

7.  Google Alerts

What it is: Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your queries. Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you’ll receive. Google Alerts is a great way to keep tabs on your competitors and on your industry.

Why it’s useful: I personally use google alerts to keep tabs on what is being published about me, my business, and even my competitors.  Also, I like to keep up on what’s happening in my industry by having alerts set up for key terms in my industry.  You can do the same for yours.

 

8.  YouTube

What it is: YouTube allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. It is a great resource for free instructional videos on all topics, including those related to your business. If you’re interested in creating videos, YouTube offers Creator Hub, a suite of tools and programs, educational resources, and support.

Why it’s useful: YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world and getting videos created by you and your business online can help your business show up in the Google search results to prospects looking for what your business has to offer.

 

9.  YouTube Trends Dashboard

What it is: A handy tool to figure out what’s trending on YouTube.

Why it’s useful: What are women aged 65 watching? What are men ages 25 to 34 in Cincinnati sharing most often? With the Trends Dashboard, you can tap into the zeitgeist quickly and easily.  Compare the “Most Shared” (across Facebook and Twitter) with “Most Viewed” to get a sense of what content gets viewed often but shared infrequently.  Knowing your audience can help you create content for your website that matches their search behaviors.

 

 

10.  Google Chrome

What it is: This is Google’s free web browser and its a great one at that.  Their slogan is “One browser for your computer, phone and tablet.”  I personally use it on my Macbook Air, my iPad, and on my Samsung S5.

Why it’s useful:  Its a great way to have a smart browser that syncs across all of your devices.

 

11.  Google Cloud Print

What it is: Google Cloud Print connects your printers to the web. Make your printers available from anywhere, to you and anyone you choose. Access Google Cloud Print from your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device.

Why it’s useful: Its a quick and simple way to print from any device without having to jump through technological hoops.

 

12.  Google Trends

What it is: A site to discover how popular certain searches have been on Google historically, as well as what’s popular right now.

Why it’s useful: Want to be ahead of the curve? This is a great place to start. It’s a feature-packed site; you can survey trending YouTube videos as well to find out what people are talking about now.  This can give you ideas for YouTube videos you should make, blog posts to write, and more,

13. Google + Hangouts

What it is: Turn any Hangout into a live video call with up to ten friends or simply call a contact to start a voice call from your computer. Enhance your call with Cacoo for online drawing, SlideShare for sharing presentations, and Conceptboard for whiteboard collaboration.

Why it’s useful: This is a great tool to have video meetings with other team members, prospects, and customers.

14. Google Keep

What it is: Google Keep lets you easily jot down whatever’s on your mind via a beautiful, simple interface.

Why it’s useful: Share any one individual note with a collaborator, create to-do lists, drop an image into notes as needed, and organize notes using eight color options.  Don’t want to forget to do something? No problem: You can easily turn any note into a date or location-activated reminder.

Give one or more of these tools a shot and you may soon find yourself using them every day.

To your success,

Kyle Battis signature

Vince Vaughn & Co-stars Use Viral Marketing Stunt To Promote New Movie – Check Out These Hilarious Stock Photos

vince vahn viral marketingI’m a movie buff (my parents owned a movie store when I was a kid) and a fan of Vince Vahn so this viral marketing promotion caught my attention.  On March 6th their new movie “Unfinished Business” is being released and iStock by Getty Images and 20th Century Fox are celebrating the fun side of corporate life with a series of free stock images showcasing the film’s stars: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco.

As mentioned above, the actors have a movie coming out Friday “Unfinished Business” that centers around the workplace so some creative person at the movie studio came up with this viral marketing promotion and guess what – it seems to be getting some traction.

I found multiple mentions of this ‘marketing stunt’ in a Google search, saw three different marketing groups talking about it on Facebook, and I even saw one of my online marketing compatriots using them for some Facebook ad promotions.  ;-)  (you can bet your bottom I will be doing the same).

This is one of the most unique ways we’ve seen yet to promote a movie. And yes, the pictures are free to the media because they are stock images.

According to IMDb, which I have loaded on my phone at all times so I can be kept abreast of the movie scene says the film is about:

“A hard-working small business owner and his two associates travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every way imaginable – and unimaginable – way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit.”

Should be an interesting movie!

If this topic of Viral Marketing is of interest you may want to check out this article about the Granite State of Mind viral video that became wildly-popular especially here in New Hampshire.

Here are some of the photos:  

iStock-Unfinished-Business-1

iStock-Unfinished-Business-2

iStock-Unfinished-Business-3

iStock-Unfinished-Business-4

iStock-Unfinished-Business-5

iStock-Unfinished-Business-7

iStock-Unfinished-Business-8

iStock-Unfinished-Business-9

iStock-Unfinished-Business-10

iStock-Unfinished-Business-11

istock-unfinished-business-hed-2015

Hope you got as much of a kick out of these as I did.  ;-)

Kyle Battis signature

 

 

Sources:  

Adweek

prnewswire

 

What Are the Current Trends in Small Business Web Design

Want to Know What’s Trending in Website Design for Small Business?Web Design

If you are looking to redesign or possibly put up your first small business web site, it is a good idea to take a quick look at what is trending now as regards web design for small businesses.

Some have come about due to advances in technology, and others are just cosmetic or related to user experience. Nevertheless, judge each with an eye open as to their best uses for your particular site, and not necessarily for any buzz or good press. Even though infinite scrolling may work for Facebook doesn’t mean it’s suitable for your site.

So let’s dive right in and see what’s trending now in web design for small business in 2015.

5 Small business site design trends for 2015 That You Should Know About

Infinite scrolling – Oops, I gave it away. Infinite scrolling has become the “it” factor this year. This is where your content flows in one interrupted page. Obviously this is helpful for some social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but for others it is a case by case affair. One advantage is that you can keep your reader engaged on a single page. One disadvantage is that moving them on to your eventual goal page can be problematic.  I don’t personally use it on all of my websites but it has its place.

Using a responsive design – Since more than half the Web’s traffic now emanates, at least originally, form a mobile device, it is simply not an option to not have a responsive web site design. You need to make sure that all visitors get the best experience you can muster, so this is less of a trend than a necessity.

A clean spare look – Lots of white space and lean blocks of text are what readers want these days, and the extra space gives your pages an uncluttered, relaxed feel. This works with the mantra of keeping things simple and direct, and leaving your visitors with fewer distractions and choices.

Play with fonts and color – Don’t feel totally constrained when it comes to fonts and color. Make a statement and paint your web canvas with the look and feel of the message you wish to convey. This doesn’t mean making large textual sections in a stylish, hard to read font, but selective use of creative fonts and colors can spice things up quite nicely.

Don’t neglect social media – Make sure your readers are able to share your content easily to their followers across the Web. Who knows if the person who wants to tweet about your post has a few hundred thousand followers who might enjoy what you have to offer too!  Its important to meet your customers where they are spending their time in this day and age.

To your success,

The NH Strategic Marketing Team