Category Archives: Blog

4 Social Media Marketing Tips You Aren’t Using but Should Be

You are active on your social media accounts, you even respond to your fans and followers, but are you doing as much as you could be on social media? It can be easy to overlook the less talked about ways of interacting with your social media followings. Here are 4 social media methods that are often overlooked by marketers. 1. Google Hangouts Google hangouts are as close to face-to-face as you can get on the internet. It offers you the ability to connect with your fans and followers on a personal level. Hangouts are great for showing the personal side of your brand as well as offering your fans and followers valuable services. Hangouts are great for demonstrations, how-to’s and question and answer sessions. 2. Facebook Events Are you having an event? Do your Facebook fans know that? Drive engagement and promote your event by setting up a Facebook event. From publicizing webinars to real life events and promotions you can integrate your Facebook fans with your events in an easy to use way. 3. Instagram Direct Messages Who doesn’t love the personal touch? Add a touch of the personal with an Instagram direct message. Direct messages offer the potential to connect with your Instagram followers in a personal way. Help your followers with a problem they may have with your product or service or simply give them a heartfelt thank you for their participation in your Instagram contest. 4. Smaller Social Networks Everyone is on the big three social networks, but where are your customers? Each social network attracts its own crowd and not everyone may be in every network. Find out where your customers are. Don’t overlook smaller networks like Tumblr, StumbleUpon and even Digg. Fans in these small networks may be just as passionate (if not more) than your fans on the big networks. Don’t overlooks these valuable ways to connect with your social media followings, no matter where they may be. Find what works best for you and your brand to really find social media success and build a passionate following of true fans. Do you have any social media tips that are all too often overlooked? Share them with us in the comments!
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4 Ways Your Website Images Can Improve Your SEO

You’ve researched your keywords, and worked on getting back links, but have you given any thought to how your website’s images can impact your SEO? Like every other aspect of your website your images count when it comes to SEO. Here are 4 ways you can use your site’s images to improve your website’s SEO. 1. Use Descriptive Names Image3 isn’t going to help your site’s SEO. Any image on your site should have a descriptive name that will help the search engine bots understand what it is. Search engine bots see websites as all text, so including a descriptive name on your image will help search engines determine what the image is. Avoid generic names like background, or img_309384039. Instead try LOLSMG_logo, or purple_organic_cotton_womens_tee_front. 2. Use Alt Tags An image’s alt tags, if available, show up when your mouse hovers over an image. They also help screen readers and search engine bots understand what the image is. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know how to code HTML in order to add alt tags (if you are using a WordPress site that is), simply fill in the “Alternative Text” field. You can also do it manually by including the alt tag in your image’s html code. Make sure your alt tag is descriptive of whatever image you have, if it’s the featured image for your blog post a good alt tag would be the title of the blog post. Some apps, like Pinterest will also pull the alt tag text and use it when the image is shared. 3. Don’t Use Images Wait, what? Since search engine bots can’t see images it makes it harder for them to figure out what your site is about. This is especially important when you use images in areas like the heading of a page. Fancy typography can really make a site stand out, but now most text effects that before could only be done in an image editor like Photoshop can now be done via code. This also goes for many other decorative effects or even entire images! Talk with your front end developer to find out if some of your images can be replaced by code. 4. Follow Good SEO Principles Just because you are improving your SEO with images doesn’t mean you can forget all of the good SEO techniques you have been using. For example, keyword stuffing is no longer an appropriate SEO trend to use anywhere on your site, including in image names and alt tags. Your images don’t just make your site look good, they also can provide valuable data to the search engines that can positively impact your SEO. Don’t forget to include image optimization in your SEO efforts or you could be missing out on a large area of improvement. Do you have any other tips to improve images SEO? Share them with us in the comments!
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Fake Followers and You: Why They Hurt You and How You Can Get Rid of Them

You spend a lot of time and effort carefully cultivating your followers on social media. You want followers who are interested in your brand and willing to engage with you, not mindless bots that seek only to pour out spam messages or artificially inflate follower counts. Fake followers aren’t doing you or anyone else any favors, and here’s why: How Fake Followers Hurt You   Fake followers provide no real benefits. All they do is inflate your follower counts. However, those followers do not interact with you. They may not interact with anyone at all, and if they do, they can potentially share spam and other content that neither you, nor your other followers want to see. Followers that do not interact with you help to drop your engagement rate. If you have a large number of followers that are not interacting with you your engagement rate is low. Fake accounts don’t care how awesome your content is, they won’t look at it, and they won’t spread the word about your brand. Next time Facebook or Twitter comes along and gets rid of a bunch of fake accounts and you notice your follower or likes go down, don’t freak out! Say thanks, they are doing you a favor and getting rid of the followers you didn’t want anyway. How You Can Get Rid of Them   You can wait for the sweeps of fake accounts that most social media networks do every so often, or you can be more proactive. Reporting fake accounts help everyone in the long run. No one joins a social media network to connect with fake accounts. If you find a suspicious account in your following you can block and report them to your social network, this helps the network zero in on suspicious accounts and take action against those who violate their Terms. Additionally some sites, like Facebook offer you the ability to block accounts from certain countries, or to only allow those in certain countries that you specify to find and like your page. This can help you zero in on your ideal customers and ensure only those fans you are actively targeting are going to be able to see your content, while at the same time denying countries that are typical favorites of fake accounts to see your content. Ultimately, social media is about being social, with other real people. Fake accounts do nothing but artificially inflate your follower numbers while at the same time driving down your engagement rates. Fake accounts can follow or like your page through no action of your own, however one of the biggest causes of fake accounts is bough likes or followers. Don’t waste your time and money on followers that have no interest in you! You can be successful on social media, but only if you focus on your real fans. Do you have any tips for dealing with fake followers? Share your tips in the comments!
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Infographic: 6 Elements of a Powerful Blog Post

Can your blog post stand out against the 150 million other blog posts on the Internet? If not, you can improve them by ensuring they have the following 6 elements of powerful blog posts as recommended by QuickSprout. Blog posts, no matter the topic, need images. They help to explain or reinforce ideas and concepts, provide visual interest, and help to break up the dreaded wall of text. If you are stuck on what how to add images to your tough, text-heavy content, we’ve got suggestions to help you unleash your creativity. The impact of your images don’t stop at your blog post, they also show up in searches. 60% of people consider buying from businesses when they see their images in the local image searches! As important as images are, there is something else that trumps them: blog design. Blogs should have a clean, user-friendly design that allows the visitors to focus on the content and easily navigate the site. Most importantly your site should support visitors no matter what devices they are on — it must be mobile-friendly! Your blog content should be unique. Writing for the web is different than other types of writing. Your writing should be conversational, with shorter sentences and little jargon. Above all else your writing should embody your brand and be written with the same voice your brand strives to create. Not connecting your blog with social media is one of the biggest mistakes you can make! Share your content on social media to expose it to new audiences, gain SEO benefits and connect with your community. There are many apps and plugins that let you automatically post your latest blog posts to your connected social media accounts. Don’t forget to include a call to action in your blog posts. Encourage visitors to sign up for your email list, or try your latest product or even just to engage and leave a comment. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but often the simplest measures have the biggest outcome. Sometimes your visitors need a little instruction to head in the right direction. Last of all, to really make your blog stand out from the crowd, take a stand. Be controversial. Have an opinion that goes against the common grain of your industry and be able to back it up. This will create a lot of dialogue with visitors and other bloggers weighing in on the topic. Use these 6 elements and your blog posts will be headed for success. Do you have any other elements that you think make for a powerful blog post? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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4 Ways You Can Keep Your WordPress Site Secure

WordPress may is one of the most popular content management systems, making it an easy target for hackers. Fortunately there are a number of ways you can keep your WordPres powered site safe and secure. From hosting solutions and third party apps to plugins there is something for every site need. 1. Choose Secure Hosting Your hosting provider may offer security services to help keep your site secure. Often WordPress specialized hosting will offer these services which may include malware monitoring, automatic updates, and regular scans of your site to ensure its integrity. 2. CloudFlare or Other Similar Service CloudFlare and services like it are a popular choice to help increase your site’s speed by offering a cached version to your viewers as well as offering CDN services. It also offers several security options. It can allow you to ban known bad IP addresses, as well as any others of your choosing. 3. Security Plugins Security plugins offer an array of services. From firewalls to brute force hack protection, security plugins help to keep your site secure. There are many free and paid options to choose from to meet the needs of any site. Popular security plugins include Bullet Proof Security, and WordFence. 4. Strong User Credentials All the plugins and security in the world can only do so much. Ultimately it’s up to the users to be sure they have strong user login credentials and to keep them confidential. Avoid the generic “admin” username — brute force hacks always try this username. Ensure your passwords are strong and consider changing them on a regular basis. You may think that no one wants to hack your small business site or blog — but you’d be wrong. No matter the size of your business, or the age of your site, you must take steps to ensure it remains properly secured. Keeping your data and your site secured now can prevent headaches and more expensive fixes in the future.  Do you worry about your site’s security? What steps do you take to ensure its kept safe? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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Infographic: Are You Maintaining A Healthy Twitter Feed?

Is your Twitter feed healthy? Do you mix up your posts to keep your followers happy and engaged? A Twitter feed, like your diet, should serve a variety of tastes to ensure you don’t slip into the habit of only talking about yourself and neglecting your followers. Sprout Social has created this infographic to help you balance your Twitter account’s diet and ensure your feed is happy and healthy. A healthy Twitter account serves up posts from a variety of post types. The 5 basic groups of post types are: Interactive Posts Relevant Posts Educational Posts Promotional Posts Personality Posts Interactive posts are posts that encourage your audience to participate. Asking/ answering questions and participating in conversations fall into this category. This should be the post type that you use the most frequently. Relevant posts include interesting content that is relevant to your industry. This can be your own content or curated content from others. Also share content relevant to your brand’s personality — it doesn’t have to be all business all the time! Educational posts include posts that help to inform your audience about your products or services. These can include howto videos, tips, and tricks to get more from your products and other related topics. Promotional posts are posts that promote your products and services. It’s all to easy to get sucked into sharing this post type most often, but restrain yourself! Self promotion is fine — when tempered with other posts as well. Personality posts show off your brand’s personality. From edgy and humorous to sophisticated and glamorous, share content the shares your brands beliefs, and personality. This type of content helps your followers connect on a personal level with your brand and demonstrate there’s more than just the company face. Keeping your Twitter account healthy takes daily practice. Always strive to include a healthy helping of all 5 of these content types in your daily posts. Your fans will appreciate the fresh content and engagement! Are there any Twitter post types that were not included on this infographic but should be? Share your additions with us in the comments! “Are You Maintaining a Healthy Twitter Feed?” by Sprout Social
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4 Ways Your Outdated Website is Hurting Your Business (And How You Can Stop It)

Does your website feature harsh colors, generic fonts, small blurry images and small .gifs? If so, your site needs an update. Web design technology advances so quickly it can be easy to become outdated. If your site looks like it was designed in the 90’s it’s time for an update! Your old site does more than look out of touch, it can actually cost your business and here’s how: 1. SEO SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice that allows search engines to more easily find your site and give that result to users who enter relevant queries. The SEO industry moves quickly so old practices can easily cost you visitors or even get your site blacklisted from search engines! Having bad SEO will cost you visitors. Having little to no SEO, while not as bad, isn’t doing your site or business any favors. Good, current, SEO practices will help draw new visitors and new business to your site. 2. Professional Appearance Your site is the face of your business online. What do you want to portray? Do you want to be a company that seems to be left in the past or one that is ahead of the game? No matter how you cut it, looks matter. Customers may be hesitant to do business with a company who can’t even manage to make sure their website is current and maintained. For one, they may question if the company is even in business any longer. Worse? They may wonder “if they neglect their web presence so much, how can I have faith that they will stay up to current on the trends in their industry? 3. User Experience Does your site offer a great user experience? Can visitors easily find the information they are looking for and intuitively navigate your site? If not you could be losing visitors and customers. This also extends to mobile visitors. Older sites are generally not very user-friendly to mobile visitors. They often require visitors to pinch, zoom, and scroll to read content on the site and most of the time not all site functions are available to mobile users (especially if a site uses Flash.) 4. Outdated Technologies Web site design and development isn’t the only field that has progressed; web browsers also change to support new technologies and drop support for those that are no longer used.  This means your site may not function or display as intended unless specific browsers are used. Most of your visitors will not be using these out-of-date browsers as new ones offer more features and better security. Additionally they simply might not be available (especially on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices.) But wait! Don’t despair! You may think a new website is too expensive, but the costs of developing a new, modern, up-to-date website are well worth it. New, modern websites can offer you more abilities to improve the experience for your customer and your employees. Content management systems such as WordPress offer the ability to easily modify site content, manage blogs, and…
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Infographic: 5 Surprising Figures you Need to Know to Improve your Twitter Strategy

Are you wondering how you can improve your performance on Twitter? Did you know one of the biggest areas for improvement on social media is in the handling of mentions of their brand? Mention has compiled an infographic based on data of thousands of brand mentions and has delivered some actionable advice that you can use to improve your Twitter performance right now. On average companies and brands are mentioned 39 times a day. Unfortunately for brands they may not always notice them as 30.72% do not include the brand’s official Twitter handle, making these tweets easy to miss. These tweets are often feedback, both positive and negative, as well as potential leads! Don’t miss out on valuable customer service opportunities and prospective customers by not actively searching for your brand name. Most tweets are discussing your company, but are not directed at your company. Only 9% of tweets start with @ mentions. That leaves the rest of the mentions as discussions about your brand. This can be the perfect opportunity to jump into discussions and answer questions about your brand, or use it as an opportunity to improve customer relations. If you are scared of negative tweets on Twitter, you can relax! Of all tweets that mention a brand or company only 60% of them get retweeted. You can help counter any negative mentions by retweeting positive mentions. Always remember to keep your conversations real. Interacting with customers or potential customers on Twitter is no different than if you were interacting with them in real life in a brick and mortar location. So treat them accordingly. If you think your social media efforts end at 5pm, you’re wrong! Twitter is 24/7/365 days a year! 60% of mentions come after (or before) business hours. Be sure to account for this when planning your tweets and develop a plan for dealing with after hours Twitter issues that may arise. Always plan your tweets for the times your fans are the most active, even if that’s not during your usual business hours! You can get more from Twitter by aptly monitoring your mentions on Twitter. The key points to remember are: Mentions don’t always start with a @, plan accordingly! Keep customer interactions real, always! Don’t limit your tweets to 9-5 or business hours, be there when your followers are!
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