What is Google AMP pages?
05 Apr

What is Google AMP pages?

AMP is an open source project designed to help web publishers create mobile optimized content that loads instantly on any device. According to Google’s statement, the idea is to deliver webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously. Google also wants the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant — no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using. Google’s goal with AMP is to deliver the best possible mobile experience to its users.

Why AMP is so important and what are the benefits of AMP?

The primary goal is to aim for faster, more engaging mobile web experience in an open ecosystem.

While AMP is flexible, responsive and can be used to build entire sites, it doesn’t support all pages and user experiences. It’s primarily designed for publishing and content sites. It’s currently not as well-suited, for example, to e-commerce experiences.
It’s no surprise that one of the main benefits of website pages developed with AMP is that the pages load like lightning on mobile devices. This is vital since studies show that mobile users usually abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load; therefore, businesses that adopt AMP could benefit from mobile abandonment rates going down and conversions possibly going up.

Although AMP is not yet meant to be a standalone ranking factor, mobile friendliness and page load speed times are well known ranking factors. As AMP greatly improves page loading times and mobile friendliness it is highly likely that a website developed with AMP will be rewarded with higher rankings than slower and unresponsive sites.

Here are the necessary steps on how to implement AMP pages on your website.

How can I Make AMP Work for my WordPress Site?
01 Apr

How can I Make AMP Work for my WordPress Site?

Here’s where things get interesting because you can actually integrate AMP to your WordPress website with just a few steps.

  • Install the AMP WordPress plugin
  • Activate the plugin – what it will do is append /amp on all your pages but what it won’t do is redirect mobile visitors to your /amp pages
  • So the next step is to edit your .htaccess file – you could use an FTP program to do this.
  • Lastly, you will want to edit the CSS to make your Accelerated Mobile Pages look and feel more like your site.

Need help setting up AMP with your website? Give us a call today at 855-225-4535

8 marketing trends for 2017
14 Mar

8 marketing trends for 2017

Regardless of the year, visibility continues to be an important aspect of marketing that won’t change—Here are 8 marketing trends for 2017.

1. Personalized everything. As we work to individualize everything from Coca-Cola cans to shoes, mass customization has transitioned into personalization. For some businesses, this will mean ensuring touch points are specific and individual. For others, it’s simply streamlining the purchasing process and making it more responsive.

2. Increased focus on customer experience. Customer experience has been always the heart of marketing for every industry. While it has always been a marketing focus, today’s successful businesses have embraced customer-satisfaction whole new philosophies to create effective marketing strategies and positive digital transformations. Keep up with your customers.

3. Marketing technologists and data scientists. As companies aim to connect social media channels, along with other online marketing strategies, they must incorporate technology needed to implement and support it. Expect Chief Marketing Technologists to lead this initiative from now on.

4. Meet Analytics 2.0, the Engaged and effective measuring. Talk of measuring marketing has always been a subject of much attention. It’s no secret that Facebook and other websites don’t tell a complete story about your business’s facts, and what we have most of the times becomes too complicated to deal with, or even understand. Now—and in the upcoming year—measurement will be done with purpose. Expect business objectives to tie back to profit, revenue, customer retention, and satisfaction, and implement Analytics 2.0 to revolutionize the measurement methods.

5. More and more social media marketing. What do you expect from your Social media strategies? It should always sell more than concentrating in blasting messages or post updates. It’s a fact that your customer’s attention spam are decreasing daily. Use social media for the frontline marketing of sales and services. Use it to engage with consumers, do not spend time blasting unnecessary messages or irrelevant posts.

6. Get great and B=better video content or your business and services. Yes, content is still king, the usual web content, Social content, testimonials and reviews, blogs, papers, and press releases will continue to be crucial aspects of marketing, however video content will be the trend moving forward. Expect virtual and augmented reality to take us into the future. Brands that fail to incorporate or to implement visuals and videos will be left behind.

7. Embrace the “Internet of Things (IoT). Although still at infancy, businesses more often are looking into leveraging the power of billions of connected devices and how they communicate with each other. Collecting and making that data useful, though, will be key. Beacons, sensors, edge devices, smart TVs, smart homes, smart fitness apparels, and more are all producing data that can be useful for your business, creating more opportunities to get closer to your customer. IoT will transform how we leverage tech and data.

8. Consumer behavior learning technology. This means technology that knows your likes, dislikes and needs, and can guide you on where to eat, when to travel, or where to shop. Data crumbs from across the web is used to understanding guide consumer behavior.

What do you expect for 2017? Share with us your marketing trend predictions for 2017!

Starting Your Business with Social Media
07 Apr

Starting Your Business with Social Media

Social media has changed a great deal over the past few years, and sometimes keeping up with all the changes get overwhelming especially if you are involved in social media part-time. Admittedly, from what I’ve gathered, many entrepreneurs are still not convinced about the importance of social media for their businesses, which can potentially be detrimental to their success based on current trends. Recently, I came across a quote on Instagram which says, “In the 21st century, there will be only two types of businesses, those that embrace digital and social media and those that cease to exist.” Social media has gone beyond being a simple tool to boost businesses online. You can now conceive an idea, do all the research, and launch a business using your computer while sitting on your couch through social media, and my aim with this article is to show you how to do so.

Finding your Business Idea

If you are interested in getting into business but frustrated because you can’t seem to find a feasible business idea that people will pay for, you can now relax. Presently, many social media platforms you can scroll through to get inspiration exist.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual social media platform that you can use if you are indecisive. Social media guru Peg Fitzpatrick and other Pinterest experts show how using this platform can boost your business and drive a lot of traffic to your websites etc. I believe it can also be used to generate ideas. By scrolling through your feed and looking at the different visuals people are creating, you can get concepts for fashion, content creation, or even home decoration.

Stumbleupon

Stumbleupon allows you to “stumble” upon different websites that you may be interested in. Many people simply use the site for entertainment; however, it can be much more than that especially for aspiring entrepreneurs. Using the site, you can follow content curators and take a look at what they are sharing in terms of business advice, business ideas, and general entrepreneurship tips. You can also look at topic spaces and get recommendations on what can be done.

Reddit

If you want to know what’s happening in the entrepreneurial world or get an idea for a business venture, you should definitely start with Reddit since it is seen as the home page of the internet for the business savvy. To get started, search the “subreddits” or subject areas which may definitely be helpful. It is also a great place to get information about what your customers’ wants and needs. In addition, marketing and product development teams can definitely leverage Reddit to their advantage.

Additionally, you can also use Facebook and Twitter searches, which I will talk more about in the market research section, to find out what’s going on in the industry you want to enter.

Market Research

After you come up with your brilliant business idea, you should do some research to determine your business idea’s potential viability, if a market exists, or to find information about your target market. Also, to help with your research, you can buy Pat Flynn’s new book “Will It Fly” or utilize the different social media platforms.

Google Search

After determining the business venture you want to tackle, you should use a search engine such as Google and perform a quick search to see if anyone is doing what you are thinking about or something similar. Many experts believe that if no one is tackling your area of interest, it may be a good sign that no market exists, and you should rethink. Most authorities in the business world rely on the common understanding that everything that can be done has already been done, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Therefore, it is widely accepted that you can take something that works, put your innovative spin on it, and execute it in a different way. Furthermore, I also believe in that aforementioned school of thought, so if you do a quick online search and find absolutely nothing in the market, you may want to reconsider your idea.

Facebook Audience Insight

Facebook Audience Insight is one of the most effective research tools, and it can be considered as a marketer’s best friend when researching an idea. And get this; it is FREE, oh yes, FREE or as my business mentor encourages me to say, complimentary. Audience Insight like the name suggests, gives insight from a particular audience before you make any investment in them. For example, if you were looking for data about people that are interested in aromatherapy, you can type the word in the interest section of Audience Insight and get information like the percentage of men vs women who are interested, their ages, location, income level among other very detailed information you may not get elsewhere. If you want to find a detailed analysis of Audience Insight perform a quick Google search, and you should come across a well-written post on Social Media Examiner’s website.

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search is a semantic search engine that provides results based on the context of your search. If you are thinking of getting into a particular market, you can use Graph Search to see what competitors are doing. Using Graph Search, look up the major players to find out how they are engaging with their audiences, popular hashtags, what people are saying about their business ventures etc. You can also do overlapping searches. For instances, you can search for posts by people who like a particular page or pages. It is really a great way to gather a wealth of information.

SurveyMonkey

Using SurveyMonkey, you can create free surveys to get feedback on your business idea from people on social media and other platforms. Obtaining such information can be vital determining whether or not people are willing to pay to solve their problems and so on.

Once you validate your idea, start putting a business plan together. The business plan will be the blueprint to guide your entrepreneurial venture from its conception and as it grows. Unfortunately, many people get so caught up creating the business plan that they never start their business. Therefore, to avoid overthinking the plan, it is best advised to just draft the basics of what you want to do. Take a look at areas like the people that will be involved, where you will get the funding for the business if need be, your financial management and so on. Afterward, create a marketing plan then launch.

Your Marketing Plan

Making a social media marketing plan is not as difficult as many people may think. Firstly, create your social media objectives and goals that are in line with your business’ overall objectives. Your goals need to be SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Next, perform a social media audit on all your social media profiles to determine what is or isn’t working. During the audit, look at the number of followers, their engagement, who currently runs the social media profiles, what purposes the different social media platforms are serving among others. Being on every platform may be unnecessary, so choose the ones that are relevant to your current and potential customers. You should then look at blogs like Social Media Examiner, Boom Social, Hootsuite Blog for inspiration then create your editorial and content calendars. Also, it is important that you regularly perform audits because social media changes like the weather.

Launching Your Business/Product

After performing the aforementioned tasks, you are now ready to launch your product, and social media is definitely becoming more vital for that aspect nowadays. Consider using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and even your blog and website for the launch. In addition, you wouldn’t have full control of your Facebook business page, Twitter profile, or Youtube channel since these platforms can decide to cancel your profile if you mistakenly or otherwise infringe on their stipulations; however, for the website and blog you may have absolute control over, always ensure that their content is compelling, professional, and involved simply because you are projecting a representation of yourself to the world. When launching, if you use multiple social media outlets, use consistent messaging across different social media platforms to direct traffic to the media you own online. Also, to boost your product or service’s standing, allow credible bloggers and other industry experts to use and write reviews on what you are offering to the market. Additionally, Facebook has one of the most robust advertising platforms on the internet, and it is much cheaper than radio or television advertising. Therefore, if you are willing to pay to get your message about your product or service across, consider using Facebook ads.

Additionally, when launching, you need use social media to build a prospective buyer email list. Therefore, you should use a lead magnet like a free offering or some creative measure to get potential clients to sign up for your email list. Once you have their emails, you can easily reach them to build relationships or sell your product or service. To learn how to effectively create a list, you can get Ryan Deiss’ book, “Invisible Selling Machine” or Anik Singal’s, “Circle of Profit”.

SELL SELL SELL

You don’t have a business if you’re not selling something right? Consequently, once you’ve launched your product, you need to ensure sales are occurring. You can start by selling to your email list that you will keep building overtime. Also, to enhance sales, make use of social media through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google, YouTube ads amongst others. In addition, as trivial as it sounds, once online transactions are possible, you will need some sort of shopping cart and a means to accept payments from debit/credit cards holders or payal.

It is important to note that depending on the business idea everything that was previously discussed may not work exactly; nevertheless, no matter the entrepreneurial venture, you can use social media to start, grow, and build your brand.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nelson-kimron-corion/starting-your-business-wi_b_9215306.html

10 Uncommon Social Media Tips to Drive Branding, Clicks and Conversions
10 Feb

10 Uncommon Social Media Tips to Drive Branding, Clicks and Conversions

1. Create custom-formatted tweets.
Most tweets can become lost in live feeds that seem to stream on with no end, but custom formatting tweets is sure to catch a reader’s attention. Line breaks or a unique font color add welcome change to the monotony of short-form messaging. To have a tweet from your business stand out even more, include a refreshing emoji or a fun symbol, which you can copy and paste from services such as iEmoji.com.

2. Write longer posts.
Though Twitter won’t budge on its 140-character limit, Google Plus is a platform that encourages conversation that can begin with a longer post. For example, a July 7 post by Mike Alton, a St. Louis., Mo., consultant received dozens of comments and more than a hundred +1s.

3. Build Facebook Groups.
As organic reach for the Facebook pages of companies continues to diminish, entrepreneurs, marketers and publishers should instead consider creating and managing Facebook Groups. The advantage is that members can opt in to receive direct notifications about updates.

4. Insert embedded call to actions.
Add a bit of spice to common Facebook posts and generate even more customer leads. To add call-to-action buttons that drive clicks and traffic, follow Econsultancy’s super simple tutorial.

5. Market across many social platforms.
Convert Facebook fans into Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections into contacts that circle your profile on Google Plus. Then by regularly sharing on every social network, you (and your company) will forever be top of mind among your followers.

6. Facilitate meaningful connections.
Your clients, customers and users are incredible people, and when you identify like-minded folk, encourage them to interact with one another, over and over again. You will birth relationships that will always reference you as a common interest, reinforcing their love for your company’s brand.

7. Crowdsource user-generated content and showcase powerful visuals.
Leverage platforms such as Pixlee to surface and distribute moments that demonstrate the true meaning of your company’s brand to customers.

8. Be a little weird.
Playing it safe guarantees nothing. Instead, take a few calculated risks that may prompt your audience (and their friends, fans and followers) to admire your company’s authenticity and laugh, smile and share.

9. Stand behind your actions.
The best entrepreneurs know when to fire a bad customer and can do so without regret. Last year Liberty Bottleworks boldly responded to a wildly upset customer with what Adweek described as a “polite but eviscerating reply.” Because the company was forward, honest and entirely reasonable, it won massive support from social-media users and gained many new paying clients.

10. Put a positive spin on things.
Rather than joining angry mobs, say something positive and uplifting about important issues that your audience cares about. Social-media users are more likely to follow you if you share happier updates. Emotions are contagious and people enjoy optimism.

The Top 20 Social Media Trends in 2016, According to the Experts
29 Jan

The Top 20 Social Media Trends in 2016, According to the Experts

Here’s what the experts predict will be the top social media trends in 2016:

1. Social Goes Omnichannel

“2016 will be the year of the more comprehensive social media strategy. More than ever, savvy marketers will need to be laser-focused about seamlessly engaging with prospects and customers where they are, and now that’s well beyond Facebook and Twitter. You’ll continue to hear the word omnichannel — tracking people across platforms — especially on mobile, where a monstrous half of all Google searches originate today.

In addition, video will continue its takeover. Already, 92% of mobile consumers said they share online video content with others through social media, text, email or other channels. And brands will pay the big bucks for content promotion to ensure these videos get as much traction as possible.”

2. Social Commerce Blows Up

“The largest development for 2016 will be social commerce. Retailers will look to capitalise on the arms race that is occurring in social, with all major platforms looking to further monetise their userbase. We also envisage social commerce affecting how businesses view social, not simply using Facebook and Twitter but also investing more into Pinterest and Instagram if they offer more opportunities within social commerce.

Paid social advertising will continue to increase as organic reach decreases. Social advertising spend will be intrinsically linked with the growth of social commerce as brands look to create an additional and more direct revenue stream via social.”

3. Marketers Make a Serious Video Push

“Consider these stats: videos average 62% more engagement than photos, video shares increased 43% at the start of this year, and Facebook just announced that it sees an average of eight billion views a day from 500 million people.

The capability of viewing video has increased twofold on mobile devices, and most of us have become comfortable with things like Skype and Facetime.

Businesses should be looking to master this skill now (posting recorded clips and sound bites as part of a bigger social media presence, for example) so that they can be ready to take full advantage of new video apps and enhancements to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (to name a few) that are sure to come.

You’ll also start to see the ability to “live” broadcast on social channels and I think consumers are more likely to engage and trust a business brand that can demonstrate what is happening as it’s happening.”

4. Analytics Beyond the Click

“The most common concern I hear from prospective clients is, ‘We spent X amount of dollars on ads on Y platform, and we have no idea what the results were.’

That’s why the #1 trend I see for 2016 is companies analyzing what they’re spending to acquire website traffic. Whether it’s Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, companies are reevaluating their budgets to gauge what actually happens once someone arrives at their website.

Is it just traffic for traffic’s sake, or are they establishing a relationship by offering something of value once a visitor arrives?

This begins by sending the ad traffic to a very specific resource on a company’s site, instead of just the homepage. I see highly-targeted assets performing better. A one-page PDF like a checklist, template, or cheat sheet can help the visitor take action on the topic he or she is learning from their time on the site.

Using a link management tool like Bitly takes this analysis to another level. Since a company can gauge what’s happening from a variety of traffic sources in a simple dashboard, money is no longer wasted on ads.”

5. Social Automation & Long-Form Content

“I think the biggest trend in social media in 2016 will be increased use of automation tools. Most of the small-medium sized businesses that I speak to on a daily basis are aware of the need to update social media regularly, but lack the time or initiative to do this. I think more and more businesses will turn to tools such as Klout <http://klout.com/> and IFTTT <http://ifttt.com/> in order to schedule regular updates.

At Copify <https://us.copify.com/>, we are seeing a growing demand from our customers for long-form content, whereas previously brands may have been producing maybe 500 word blog posts, over 1000 words now seems to be the gold standard. There is an awful lot of content being produced now, and brands are realizing the need to produce exceptional work in order to cut through the noise.”

6. Fewer Risks, Fewer Channels

“Unfortunately, I think that businesses will, in 2016, be a bit more reluctant to jump onto new platforms, looking instead to ‘established’ networks where they can be more confident in tracking their results and ROI.

I work with businesses, training them to use social media and email marketing to grow their bottom line. Years ago, I needed to explain what social media was, then why you would possibly use it for business.

In more recent years, it has been about staying on top of the plethora of new platforms being introduced, figuring out which ones your target audience would adopt and getting a foothold there to build a community.

But for every application that has caught on (Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest ) there are dozens that have faded (Foursquare, Google WAVE, Myspace) and I think that businesses will be a bit less willing to spend the time and money on building a community on the newest platforms.”

7. More Niche Social Networks

“In 2016, we’ll see more niche platforms gain popularity (think this year’s rise of Snapchat and Periscope) and the field of mainstream social media platforms will widen even further. Snapchat will be a must-have for brands, while more businesses will experiment with lesser-known platforms like WhatsApp, YikYak and Kik–especially if they cater to the under-30 demographic.

More than ever, users are choosing their platforms based on what is interesting to them (i.e. photographers prefer VSCO rather than Instagram, videographers prefer the more robust Vimeo over YouTube), and we’ll see this trend continue in 2016 as more choices become available. Brands should follow suit, choosing where to place their efforts based on where their target customer spends his or her time on social media, rather than trying to have a presence on each and every platform.”

8. The Year of Instagram & Snapchat

“2016 will be the year of Instagram advertising. The platform recently opened its doors for every business to advertise on it. Snapchat won’t be far behind, as we’ll start to see more and more advertisers joining the game there. Marketing has always been about where your audiences attention is, and in 2016 it’s on Instagram and Snapchat.

The thing that has ramped up Snapchat and Instagram, in terms of consumption is the lack of automation available on those platforms. You can’t automate authenticity, and authenticity is what wins in social.”

9. Self-Syndication

“The most exciting trend I’m following for 2016 is self-syndication. Self-syndication is the process by which marketers distribute and republish their content throughout relevant third-party content platforms (i.e. Facebook Notes, LinkedIn Publisher, Medium, etc).

Consumers are less and less willing to leave native social and content platforms for standalone publisher websites. Our job as marketers then becomes self-syndicating content to attract attention inside the platforms our target consumers prefer.”

10. Twitter Becomes the Next Myspace

“I am a Twitterholic, but in past year I’ve seen Twitter becoming another MySpace. In other words irrelevant. With its move from chronological order to a Facebook random listing, it will drive people like me away.

The problem with social media is what were the advertising and public relations agencies in 2010 became “social media gurus” in 2011. They brought their push, rather than using pull marketing.

Now Instagram has ‘promoted’ (ads) listings.

People have moved to texting and out of the social media realm due to these ‘social media gurus.’

Social media may be a trend headed the way of Google Glass, QR codes (yes, I fell for them), Google Buzz, MySpace and 2015’s “wearables.”

11. Traditional Social Media Teams Will Disappear

“The biggest ‘social media trend’ in 2016 will be the growing realization that ‘social media marketing’ should not really exist as a function unto itself. There will be fewer ‘social media teams’ and ‘social media jobs.’

Social media, like the telephone, is merely a communications channel, and it will be increasingly understood as such. After all, there are no such things as ‘telephone teams’ and ‘telephone jobs.’

Rather, people will use social media networks in their existing functions and roles. Publicists will use social media to do publicity. Advertisers will use social media to do advertising. Customer support representatives will use social media to do customer support. And so on.

After all, it’s a lot easier to teach a publicist how to use the tools of Facebook and Twitter than to teach someone who knows Facebook and Twitter how to execute an effective publicity campaign. If all a person knows is ‘social media,’ then he or she will need to learn something else in 2016.”

12. More Live Streaming Video

“Live streaming social video will be the big thing in 2016.

Facebook’s roll-out of live streaming video to all its users will take the format mainstream and normalize live video streaming. Facebook already favors video content in its news stream algorithm and by opening up its live streaming feature to everyone, we’re going to see a lot more video in our Facebook news feeds.

Individuals will use the feature to share their experiences and brands will use the feature to provide behind-the-scenes access to events and exclusive access to personalities.

Facebook’s support for live streaming video will likely drive growth of the format in all channels.

While Periscope continues to do well for Twitter, Blab is an up-and-coming live streaming service that makes live, public video chats with up to four people super easy. Because Blab requires a Twitter account to use, it naturally taps into your existing network there, helping you start with a built-in audience.”

13. Social Becomes a Major Channel for Elections

“The biggest social media story of 2016 is going to be the interplay of social media platforms and the upcoming election. These platforms rely on targeted advertising for most of their income, which is why they’re already gearing up for a huge injection of political ad money next year.

Facebook has been the most involved so far, and you’ll see the results of that firsthand next year. They already rolled out specialized campaign tools last year, allowing campaigns to upload their voter files directly and proceed to target more Facebook users from there.

But Facebook isn’t limiting its political involvement to an ad platform. In 2012, it sponsored multiple debates and encouraged people to vote, and they’re sure to come back with their popular “I Voted” button this year.

It’s clear Facebook wants to be a big part of the political process, beyond just ad money. With their well of personal data and identity tracking, I wouldn’t be shocked if they’re already more capable of handling the vote itself than a bunch of old machines. That’s thinking long-term, not just 2016. But the ambition is clearly there.”

14. Community Engagement Automation

“For 2016, we will see more social media tools to automate engagement like commun.it.

What I love about commun.it is that it curates Twitter engagement, and sounds authentic. It takes the Twitter handles for people who’ve recently followed, re-tweeted and are engaged with your account, and tweets thank you messages automatically.

Instead of spending hours being polite by thanking people for these Twitter engagements, it does that for the user. And most importantly, the tweets sound organic so people respond favorably by liking, replying and re-tweeting them back.

Anyone who can figure out how to do this authentic, automated engagement for Facebook, Instagram and YouTube will win big in 2016.”

15. Medium Becomes King of Long-Form, Social Mobile Content

“Medium’s mobile app will overtake Facebook when it comes to mobile, long-form social media content in 2016.  The simple, elegant design of the Medium app amplifies enjoyment and distribution of mobile-delivered, substantive long form content.

Not only that, Medium is planning to unveil voice recognition driven publishing software in Q4 2016. Typing and editing a 2,000+ word post from a keyboard is hard. Performing the same creation and editorial tasks with your thumbs is even harder. But, increasing improvements in voice-recognition technology is changing the game.

Writing and editing long-form content without a keyboard on our smartphones is the next big thing. Larger screens on smartphones power content consumption for answers to personal/business problems they’re either typing into a search engine or dictating to Apple’s Siri or Facebook’s M.”

16 . Social Media Marketers Get Visual

“Tomorrow’s digital marketer has to be both a jack and master of all trades. Social media will be dominated by quality visual and video content, and if you’re not able to create, produce, and publish this content as a one-man(or woman)-show, you’re not going to be able to keep up with the cutting-edge.

When you’re wearing many hats, there are lots of great tools out there to add to your arsenal. Canva for Work helps me create beautiful visual content on the fly, and even has built-in tools for resizing your graphics for different social networks. Apps like Hyperlapse and Flipagram turn your phone into a powerful video-editing hub. And of course, we use Bitly to shorten all of our links so that we have one central place where we can A/B test with Bitly to track performance across different social media channels – because what’s the point of all this quality content if you can’t track it!”

17. The Rise of Crowdspeaking

“The most exciting strategy we’ll use in 2016 is crowdspeaking, a marriage of crowdfunding campaigns and tools like Pay with a Tweet.

The way it works is genius. Rather than pledge a donation or pre-order, I’ll support your crowdspeaking campaign by letting you speak to my entire social media network. My Twitter, my Facebook, my Tumblr – all yours, but only if your campaign meets its goal. When a crowdspeaking campaign reaches its goal, all pledged posts send at the exact same time.

This is exactly the type of behavior that social media algorithms are hunting. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of real people boosting your signal to their friends and followers could put you well on the way to trending. If your message catches on with the crowd, it will carry much further.

Thunderclap and HeadTalker are the two main services currently available. They are not brand new. However, Forbes has predicted crowdfunding will overtake venture capitalism for dollars raised in 2016. When every brand asks the market for the same thing, not all of them will get it. Making a different ask, one that doesn’t even cost anything, could bring you something much more valuable. This is why crowdspeaking will make itself known in 2016.”

18. Mobile Messaging Gets Social

“The biggest trend for social media in 2016 is all-in-one mobile messaging apps. Not unlike the days of early 2000’s (think AOL Instant Messenger), messaging apps are a way of communicating 1:1 or in small groups without the restrictions of SMS and the ability to reach people globally.

What makes 2016 different than the chat app days of yore is the expansion and proliferation of these chat apps and how they touch people’s everyday lives.

China’s ubiquitous chat app, WeChat has over 600 million active users, and has become integrated in its users daily life. It has the global 1:1 and group messaging features of WhatsApp, newsfeed sharing like Facebook, the ability to follow organizations, news outlets, and brands (akin to Facebook’s brand pages), money transferring like Square and PayPal, in-store payment similar to Apple Pay and Google Wallet, cab hailing abilities of Uber, food delivery ordering like Favor, and the list just keeps on going

Why use any other app? I think in 2016 we’re going to see apps like WeChat grow globally which could potentially bring the world closer together with the touch of a finger.”

19. Predictive Social

“The future of social media is in predictive marketing. Social media marketers in the past have tried to deliver offers to people who have taken a specific action, like visiting a website, then target them with ads from that website.

In 2016, we’ll start to see brands using artificial intelligence that is based on huge amounts of data gathered across multiple social platforms. That intelligence will enable companies to predict what stage the buyer is in (or likely to be in next) and present ads to them that gently (or probably not so gently) push them to the next stage of the buying cycle.

20. Influencer Budgets Get Bigger

I believe you will see social media and influencer marketing embraced by more and more businesses in 2016.

As a result, software like Buzzstream and Followerwonk will become more popular. In addition, influencers will realize the power and leverage they now command and will try and monetize these trends.

The Year of Social… Something

If you can really glean anything from the social media trends for 2016, it’s that social is becoming almost impossible to classify and to predict. The ecosystem is so complex that there’s really no one trend that’s going to dominate the market next year.

Whatever you’re trying to accomplish in social next year, let WebsiteFlix help!

Top 7 Online Marketing Trends Dominating in 2016
26 Jan

Top 7 Online Marketing Trends Dominating in 2016

2016 looks to be a great year for online marketing, and we anticipate it shaking up the game with these seven trends:

1. Video ads will start dominating. Video ads are certainly nothing new, with social channels like YouTube, Vimeo, dedicated to hosting billions of videos and advertising platforms like Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options. 2016 is set to be different because Google is finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising. It’s a sign that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online, and as that trend continues, expect to see more types of video ads popping up in more unexpected places. With Google’s ownership of YouTube, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

2. Digital assistants will lead to a new kind of optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two highly popular strategies for getting your site seen by thousands of previously unknown visitors. But the rise of digital assistants is going to lead to a new kind of optimization. Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana do utilize traditional search engines, but only when necessary to find information. The key to optimizing in this new format is to make sure your business information is easily accessible to these assistants, rather than trying to funnel people to your site specifically.

3. App indexing will lead to an explosion of apps. Google has offered app indexing for a while, but as the ranking possibilities for apps become more complex, 2016 will be the year more business owners realize the online visibility advantages of a dedicated app. A mobile-optimized site works wonders for appealing to the mobile crowd, but soon, apps will begin to replace them. Apps can do everything that websites can, except in more intuitive, convenient, accessible ways. We’re still several years away from apps completely replacing websites as a medium, but 2016 will be a pivotal year in app adoption from business owner’s perspectives.

4. Mobile will completely dominate desktop. 2015 was a big year for mobile—not only did Google announce that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries, it was also the year they released the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update to phase out sites not optimized for mobile. But apparently, you don’t have to have an optimized desktop site in addition to a mobile version—according to Google, a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable. This alone won’t be enough to drive down desktop traffic, but it’s clear what side of the fence Google’s on; they’re banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.

5. Digital assistants will lead to a new kind of optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two highly popular strategies for getting your site seen by thousands of previously unknown visitors. But the rise of digital assistants is going to lead to a new kind of optimization. Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana do utilize traditional search engines, but only when necessary to find information. The key to optimizing in this new format is to make sure your business information is easily accessible to these assistants, rather than trying to funnel people to your site specifically.

6. Virtual reality will emerge. There are dozens of different virtual reality devices set to release in the next few years, some of which are dedicated for specific applications like video games, and others which are available for general use. Oculus Rift, arguably the most hyped VR device, is set to release in the first quarter of 2016. Oculus Rift and other VR devices will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging. There’s always a chance VR could fizzle as a temporary fad, but there are billions of dollars of funding in limbo, ready to bet otherwise.

7. Advertising will become more expensive. Competition in the online marketing world has increased dramatically over the course of the past few years. 2016 will see it increase even more. As the basic laws of economics suggest, an increase in demand is often accompanied by an increase in price, so all those new online marketing competitors will drive the prices for online advertising even higher. Realistically, online ads are pretty cheap, but the increases in price may drive some smaller companies out of the landscape.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/09/29/the-top-7-online-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2016/#4cf9239f4c04

What is keyword density?
31 Dec

What is keyword density?

Keyword density is a combination of the number of times a keyword or a keyword phrase, in proportion with other words, appears on a Web page. For example, if you have a Web page with exactly 100 words on it including all headlines, captions, alt text, and advertising, and you have a keyword phrase that is on the page 3 times, your keyword density is 3%:

Keyword density applies to the page as it displays live on your website. Many people will create content with a high keyword density and then place it on their website with a lot of navigation, images, and advertising content and their actual density will go down.

There is no hard and fast rule for what your keyword density should be. But too little and it won’t be clear to search engines what the page is about and too much and it will look like you’re trying to spam them. Plus, the more times you repeat a keyword phrase the more the page won’t be palatable to your readers.

Don’t let keyword density rule your Web writing. If your page has a very low keyword density, but it’s well written and clear, you’ll get as many readers as you would with a more SEO focused articles.

What should my Keyword Density be?

The accepted sweet spot for keyword density is between 3% and 5%, to get recognized by the search engines and you should never exceed it.

Remember, that this rule applies to every page on your site. It also applies to not just to one keyword but also a set of keywords that relates to a different product or service. The keyword density should always be between 3% and 5%.

So, be sure you have the proper keyword density, because using the correct keyword density will give your site an SEO boost.

15 Ways to Decrease Website Bounce Rates
31 Dec

15 Ways to Decrease Website Bounce Rates

What does “bounce rate” mean?

The Google definition of bounce rate is as follows:
“Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.”

So the lower the bounce rate the better, as this means more of your visitors are clicking through to other content on your website.

Please find below some common methods which can be useful when lowering your bounce rate and keep visitors engaged on your website.

1. Page loading time

Speed is crucial. Your page should take no more than about 5 seconds to load if possible. Do not clutter your page with too many elements that take time to load and optimize your images and code.

2. Audio Effects / Music

It’s a fact that many users will immediately exit your site if they start hearing something they don’t like (or can’t see). Although in some websites music and audio would be appropriate, in general you better off it. That being said; remove anything that automatically starts making noises such as soundtracks, auto-starting videos and similar.

3. First Impact

You need a good, catching layout for you site. Your website needs to instantly portray an image of quality, and an image relevant to your product or service. Remember, you have only one shot to capture your visitor’s attention and make a good impression of your company.

4. Browser Compatibility

Make sure your Website is compatible with ALL BROWSERS (Internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc …) You never know which browser your visitor will be using, so make sure your site validates and runs smoothly on all browsers. Test in all relevant browsers. Not sure if your website is compatible with all browsers? Contseoact us about our free website evaluation report.

5. Relevant Titles and Headings

Make the information available in an easy way for your visitors. If users have been searching for “blue shirts” make sure you have a header that has that information, for instance “See our collection of Blue Shirts”, otherwise they may leave immediately your site. Another way to make things easier would be including a Search box somewhere in your site.

This will help users to find what they are looking for by typing a keyword. Not sure how to install a search in your website? We can help! Contact us about adding searching features for your site

6. Image Optimization

Provide as many descriptive image resources as needed. Chose well, design a powerful image or collage of your products since that can give an instant idea of what it is all about, what it looks like, how to use it and where to use.

7. Stay above the fold

First of all, what does that mean? Above the fold means what your visitors see when they come to your site without having to scroll down the page.

It’s a simple and powerful tip. Keep the key information or the product you are selling above the fold. Users who don’t see what they are looking for right away might leave your site immediately.

8. Keep it Simple

The rest of the page should be simple, uncluttered and with few navigational choices to be made. Remember, you already made your point Above the Fold (item 7), so if you need to add more information why not creating a link add to cart, read more, sign up, see how it works, and then link to an additional page?

This is not only a good CALL-TO-ACTION but also a way to have your page clean and effective.

9. Communicate your message well

Communicate well to your audience. Revise your information over and over to make sure the message is being passed the right away. Consider whether your audience is young, teen years, older, creative, skillful, computer literate, professionals, consumers etc. Make sure you do a spelling check through all pages of your site!

10. Cross Selling Products and Services

Just because you don’t have a certain product temporarily in stock, that does not mean you can’t have a cross selling products area with other options and related items! You never know your visitor might buy an alternate product, different color, different service that relates, etc … If you have an ecommerce website and need help adding cross selling products to it please visit our ecommerce features page or get a free website quote

11. Eliminate distractions

Make sure you eliminate elements placed in your page that are causing distractions, such as automatic popups, text-scrollers, animated gifs, spinning logos or cluttered flash.

12. Navigation Tabs

This is also crucial; the position of the menu in your site has to be visible at all times and easy to navigate through. Add the most important navigation tabs first. For instance, some visitors might want to read about the company, the owner, check your phone number and address for legitimacy and so on.

It is also a common practice to have the main company logo link to the site homepage, so the visitor always have a way to return to the main page regardless.

13. Keep your site fresh

Make changes on your website often. Nobody likes to visit a website that has information posted 5 years ago.

14. Add Customer Testimonials

Use as many testimonials as possible. Call your clients, ask them to provide their feedback about your service or products and obtain their permission to use on your website. Visitors often like and might benefit from reading other customers positive experiences with your company.

15) Inquiry Forms and Contact Forms

Make sure your forms only ask the essential information you need to operate. Do not make all fields required (unless really needed). The easier and quicker to fill out the better!

Not sure where to start?
Call us for a free website evaluation and get a free website report to help you get started!

Open Source Development: Freedom of Choice
31 Dec

Open Source Development: Freedom of Choice

CIOs across the world are choosing open source technologies to efficiently increase business growth, optimize system performance and reduce costs. Open source gives IT executives the opportunity to innovate and add value to their business without the problems faced with the traditional software products.

Advantages that open source offers:

Take control of your software

Open source software gives you the power to control your software’s code. You have the right to modify the code to suit your requirements and control the budgets that you want to spend towards it. Unlike proprietary software, where the vendor controls your code, upgrades and budgets — with open source software, you control the upgrade process and can choose to decide which bugs to fix and when.

Escape Vendor Lock-in

Disappointment and dissatisfaction with a vendor’s support and service is a reality for all IT managers. Inability to customize software to meet your requirements or support your needs, further increases the frustration. Open source gives you the freedom to choose your preferred vendor giving you the flexibility.

Lower cost of ownership

There are no license fees for an open source software, reducing annual license fees cost to zero. There is zero cost of scale, because open source doesn’t require additional licenses as the installation grows.The only spends are towards the support for your software that ensure reliability and reduces running cost by at least 80%.

Greater Security & Quality

Open source software is available publicly. A large amount of developers globally contribute and analyze the code making it more secure and constantly increasing the quality. The peer review process drive excellence in design.

Continuity

It is possible that a proprietary software company shuts shop or decides to discontinue services for a software. With it goes the support and the future of the software. Open source software is not dependent on a single entity and gives users the advantage of the community. Any developer can choose to take up the software and continue from where it stopped.

WebsiteFlix’s commitment

Commercially supported by WebsiteFlix and backed by a global community of developers, WebsiteFlix promises transparent sharing of knowledge and continuous innovation. Our product teams commit code and bug fixes regularly to the open source community.