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Comparing Advertising Costs and Effectiveness

Comparing Advertising Costs and Effectiveness

 

Comparing Advertising Costs and EffectivenessCost per 1000 people

With the introduction of internet advertising, one of the common questions that gets asked is “Is it cost effective”

Is Internet Advertising Cost Effective

When compared to traditional marketing, internet marketing is the most cost-effective way to advertise but does require you to get your advertising settings correct to maximise your spend. With the wrong settings, you could advertise with very little return.

Internet advertising companies use a term CPM, or cost per 1000 impressions of your ad being seen. Both Google and Facebook have definitions for CPM.

Google definition of CPM

Facebook definition of CPM

CPM allows us to compare this to other forms of advertising, as they also provide readership or listeners audience statistics. These comparisons will differ with each publication or broadcaster, as each one has a different audience, coverage and demographics. So as a general comparison the cost to reach 1000 people, the numbers look like this:

Newspaper               $32

Magazine                  $20

Radio                        $8

TV                             $6

Internet                   $0.25 to $2.75

Unfortunately, you will not get a TV advert for $6, as it requires a significant upfront investment for the ad to be produced and for the advertising spots. This is the same with the other forms of advertising, where getting an advert in the newspaper or magazine requires an upfront investment to even get started.

We compare this to internet advertising where your minimum spend can be as low $1 a day. You are able to set a budget with most internet advertising systems, giving you the ability to manage your spend.

With internet advertising, you mostly pay per interaction being a Cost per Click or Cost Per Conversion (CPC). Cost Per Click is anyone who is presented you advert and clicks on it. Cost Per Conversion is anyone who is presented your advert and completes a specific action, such as a purchase or email subscription.

This makes internet advertising very appealing, with a lower cost to reach 1000 people and a lower entry-level cost.

How Effective is Internet Advertising

Internet advertising is very effective because it allows you to define your target audience and a range of other parameters based on your advertising goals. Your ads will only be shown to people who match your parameters.

Advertising platforms give you the ability to get very specific when targeting an audience. There are hundreds of targeting options. Some examples are income, location, interests, past purchasing behaviour, friends of people who already like you, those who have engaged in the past, age, family composition, events, home ownership, industry, job title and more. On some platforms, you can even get the system to find people with a similar profile to those who have already purchased from you.

Your focus then turns to click through rate (CTR), which is a measure of how many people interacted with your advertisement. Most internet advertising platforms provide you with statistics for CTR. To achieve a good CTR your advertisement needs to provide a strong value proposition and a clear call to action for your target customers. With internet advertising, you have the ability to run A/B testing, where you run multiple ads with different messages and calls to action. You can then measure which ads work better for your target audience.

One of the most significant elements of internet advertising is your ability to measure the effectiveness of your ads and quickly adjust them for better results. Some advertising platforms provide close to real-time reporting. By comparison, other forms of advertising are more difficult to measure and take longer for you to determine the effectiveness of your advert.

Let us compare internet advertising with other forms of advertising.

  • Newspapers: Based on the readership and demographics good advertising for local business and in some cases target audiences. But in most cases, they have a broad readership base, which makes it difficult to target audiences. One chance to get your message right. Difficult to measure.
  • Magazines: Often targeting a specific audience, so good for brand recognition, promotions and product advertising. One chance to get your message right. Difficult to measure.
  • Radio: A broad audience. Good for specific promotions and brand recognition. Difficult to target.
  • TV: A broad audience, but offers the best brand recognition and engagement. TV is reported to provide the best return on investment, but with significant financial risks due to the upfront costs. An expensive entry point, so if you get your message wrong it can be difficult to get a return on investment. Audience engagement can drop off very quickly.
  • Internet: Ability to target the audience based on parameters or prior interest. Ability to measure advert effectiveness and make adjustments very quickly. Can be difficult to learn how to use.

We have seen the current increase of video advertising on the internet. With internet and cell phone connections improving, video can now be seen effectively by customers. Internet companies like Semrush https://www.semrush.com and Search Engine Land https://searchengineland.com/ are telling us that like TV, video advertising engagement is more effective than static ads on the internet.

So to summarise, internet advertising is effective:

  • You can get your adverts in front of more people for less money than other forms of advertising
  • Lower cost of entry
  • You can control your advertising budget
  • You can target your preferred audience using a range of parameters
  • You can measure and adjust your advertising based on the levels of engagement
  • You can use a range of advertising mediums.
How to write good words for SEO

How to write good words for SEO

Why should you know how to write good words for SEO? Content is still king when it comes to search engine rankings. If you have the right kind of information you will appear higher in the search rankings. Content is one of the many elements of good search engine rankings. When you are building a website you need to consider the content you are going to have to attract the search engines and new customers.

Search the keywords the page is targeting

Start by searching the keywords you want to be known for. If you do a search on Google using your keywords and have a look at the results, this will give you an idea of what the search engines think is important. Have a look at the results at the bottom of the page to see what other search terms are being used that use your keywords.

List the information people want to find

Think about the kind of information people are looking for and where they are in their search journey. Are people researching the topic, looking to compare or looking for a specific product or service? What information can you provide them that will help them in their search? What information do others provide and what is missing, that could make your content even more appealing?

List what people want to achieve

What do people want to achieve by doing their search? What can you provide them that will make that easier or will help them solve their problem? How do others present that information and can you make it easier or better for searchers?

Create a visual layout for good UX

So now that your content has got them to your website, you now need to keep them there. If the searcher quickly clicks that back button, search engines measure this as low engagement. Often searchers are looking for the keywords, headings or even pictures that relate to their search. If they do not see it or are not happy that this is the kind of website they were searching for, they are gone. Too many back button clicks and your search engine ranking goes down. Create a user experience (UX) that will keep them there. Think about your layout before you begin.

Write

You have now completed your research and know what you want to write about. WRITE. Write naturally without trying to use the words that came out of your research or even forcing the topics into your text. Seach engines and searchers like content that has a natural flow about it.

Add keywords and topics into the page

Time to review what you have written and add in the keywords and topics that came from your research.

Add content and or ideas that will make people want to share

If the content is king then links are the queen. You really want other people to share your content because the more links back to your website the higher your ranking in the search engine results. Have a look at what you have written and what content you could add to make it go viral. Shocking, emotional, factual, graphical…. Share your content, by sending it to those who could use it on their website, like industry sites and publications. Publish your post on blog sites that have sections related to your topic. Find those who have written about your topic in the past as they may be interested in your new insights.

Writing good content for SEO

 

How to get ranking with SEO

How to get ranking with SEO

 

Having your website rank in the search engines is a goal for many owners of websites, particularly with the promise of more sales and higher user engagement. This makes the effort to be on the first page of the search rankings a goal worth investigating.

It may not be as hard as you think. If you are interested in ranking for searches for your products, services or industry have a look at who is ranking.

Have a look at:

  • Their meta description to see what issues they are solving for customers.
  • Their website to see what content they are delivering
  • The questions they are answering
  • The additional useful information they are providing
  • Site structure
  • Overall user experience.

If they are able to get the users to stay on their site, search engines assume that the user has found what they want, so their rankings can increase as a result.

Maybe their site got lots of attention due to some content that went viral, a news article, an advert or a post. This may have increased their overall site ranking. Do a search of their domain name www.their-site.com and scroll down the search engine results ignoring the normal contact us, about us. If there is a result from their site for a particular post, product, service, landing page that is featuring highly in the results have a look at the page and the content. Do a search for the company name and see what other websites mention them or link to them.

If you feel that your website is as good or better then it may be time to engage with an SEO company and get them to have a look at the elements on our list below. If you think that your website and content need some work use the results from your searches to give you ideas as this is what the search engines believe people are looking for.

What do you need to rank in search engines:

  • Can then search engine read your page, content, images, text, videos and embedded content
  • Does your page answer the questions people are searching for and have the words they use
  • Search Google – what words and content is presented, what was and was not answered
  • Does your page solve the customers need, so they stay on your page
  • Will they pick you if they see your title, URL, meta description or snippet
  • Does your content use primary and secondary keywords
  • Do you use schema and rich snippets if they are available
  • What is your page speed, user experience and security
  • What is on your page that will make people want to share it

 

Ranking with SEO

How to grow your Instagram

How to grow your Instagram

Instagram is a very visual social media platform that allows you to share your pictures, photos and videos. Instagram has a smartphone app, which provides the best access to the features available. Like other social media platforms, Instagram accounts have profiles, news feeds and followers. When you make a post it shows on your feed, the feed of those that are following you, the hashtag feed (more below) and if popular the feed of those who are interested in your type of content.

How do you get followers on Instagram?

There are several ways to get followers, some of them controlled by you and others controlled by Instagrams algorithms. But basically if other people on Instagram like your posts or what you have to say they can start following you.

Instagram has several ways that it presents your posts to others. Instagram allows a user to search for a topic of interest, follow a topic of interest by following a hashtag, allows users to follow others and using its algorithms it knows what users like so starts presenting them posts they may be interested in, which could be yours. The more engagement your post gets the more Instagram presents it to others.

Hashtags are the most common way to get followers. When making a post you are able to add hashtags that relate to the topic of your post. For example, if you are selling furniture you may add the hashtags like #furtiture #modern #lounge. When you add a hashtag to a post your pictures will show in the hashtag feed. Other Instagram users are able to search or follow hashtag feeds because they are interested in the topic or content. Or they may have shown an interest in similar posts in the past, so are presented yours. When they see your post they can like it, comment on it, click on your profile picture and see your other posts. If they like what they see they can follow you. As long as they are following you, your posts will be shown in their feed.

One other tag that may help is the geotag. When Instagram users are looking for a local supplier of products or services they may search the hashtag and location. If you are near your posts will be shown.

Other factors also determine the level of engagement you get. What time you post, do you make comments on others posts, do you like other peoples posts, are you consistent with your posts, do you ask others to follow you, do you follow others, are you offering something for free and most importantly is your post visually engaging.

If you have a good story to tell that you cannot tell through a single post, you can add stories to your Instagram profile. Anyone visiting your profile can view your stories and when you add a new story, anyone following you will see it at the top of their feed.

Using Instagram you can improve your brand, product and services visibility, but there are only a few ways to get people to click through to your website.

  1. Your website link on your profile (clickable)
  2. A website address in your post (not clickable)
  3. Instagram ads (clickable)
  4. Stories on a verified Instagram account can use swipe up to link to your website (swipeable) (verified accounts have a little blue tick next to their name in their profile)
  5. Certain businesses can tag products in their organic Instagram photos. When a user clicks this product they are shown a short product description and then they have the option to click-through to the website to learn more or make a purchase.

If you are looking to promote to a specific audience other than hashtags, there are two ways.

  1. Paid advertising on Instagram, which uses the facebook AdWords platform where you target people using a range of parameters. This also provides clickable posts to your website URL.
  2. Sponsored posts or stories where you search for an Instagram user that has a large following, normally related to your topic. If they have a contact button on their profile you can ask them to put your post or story in their feed for a small fee, giving you instant views from thousands of people. If they are a verified account (little blue tick next to their name in their profile) you can get them to link your story to your website.

Grow your Instagram

Are you using key words effectively

Are you using key words effectively

Keywords are the words that you want to be known for when customers do a search on the internet. This is a significant part of Search Engine Optimisation.

It is important to do your keyword research before you start generating web pages and posts, or you may end up being known for the wrong things. What do customers type into the search engines when they are looking for products and services like yours.  Just remember that it may be different to the language that you use.

Used effectively search engines will see that your web pages and posts have these words. Search engines have smart algorithms so don’t go crazy and use the same word too much as the search engine may consider this to be word stuffing and penalise your site. What are the associated words or synonyms?

Once you have these words sorted you can the start using them effectively. So that the search engines understand what your page is about use the keywords once in the title, in the meta description, in the first paragraph, in subtitles and several times in the content.

Key Words

Does your sales funnel bring people back

Does your sales funnel bring people back

Having a sales funnel can be very important to your success on the internet. A sales funnel helps you to engage with your target audience at each stage of their journey to maximise your investment in internet marketing. With each engagement you increase the potential to convert, with the conversion rates doubling on the 2nd to 5th visit (engagement).

Before you develop your sales funnel you should establish your social media goals, how you are going to measure social media success if your measure is in financial terms and what tools will be best for your content marketing?

With almost every social media platform offering search capabilities your content and messaging needs to match those you are targeting and when you are targeting them. If you are using paid advertising there is the potential to target your messaging based on past engagement, location, age, interests, profile and much more.

To maximise your conversion rate a sales funnel is an important part of your eMarketing strategy.

Return visits sales funnel

What tools do you use for content marketing

What tools do you use for content marketing

There are many places and ways that you can promote yourself or your business using the internet. We all know about the main channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. Which channel you use will be based on the audience you want to target or the best vehicle for your message.

Some of you will just focus on one channel, while others will use multiple channels. If you are targeting multiple channels consider an automation tool to reduce the effort required and gather engagement analytics. If you want to track conversions from your content marketing efforts there are a range of tools available which normally include dynamic tracking URLs in your posts.

Facebook – Engage your audience with updates, advice and promotions. Consider paid promotions to get more reach.

LinkedIn – Helps to manage your professional relationships, grow your business network and connect with new prospects.

Twitter – Share up to the minute news, events and updates. Maximise reach with hashtags.

Pinterest – Create company boards and pin content relevant to your audience.

YouTube – training videos, client testimonials and product demos.

Google – Create a profile for your business on +. Register as a local business.

Instagram – Share images of your products and inspirational words that are relevant to your customers.

You also have webinars, podcasts, press releases, local search and PCC.

Regardless of the channel, most of these are focused on getting customers to engage, with a lot of them arriving at your website. You need to have your website ready to receive them:

Landing pages to convert, specials, offers, downloads and promotions

Presenting your business

User experience

Capturing Leads

Mobile optimised

Directing customers to buy

Where you can you should optimise your content engagement to capture emails. Email marketing is considered to be one of the best tools for internet sales.

Based on the integration and channels your use you can then use paid marketing to promote to those who have shown an interest in what you offer.

Good content marketing

content marketing channels

Measure eCommerce Success

Measure eCommerce Success

How do you measure your eCommerce Success? There is no doubt that the main measure for eCommerce is SALES.

But if you are having to continually advertise to get sales instead of return visitors your cost per sale can be higher.

If you are up selling or cross-selling effectively this can increase your average order value.

How many visitors get to the cart and then leave? Do you have an abandoned cart follow-up?

If you are you getting more customers from specific channels, is that because you got your message right or is it the media type being used?

Is your business growing?

Answering questions like these require you to measure the effectiveness of your eCommerce site. If you are not measuring you do not even know it is not performing well or could be performing better. It could turn you eCommerce store into a megastore.

Insights you gain from measuring gives you the ability to optimise, optimise, optimise.

How do you measure eCommerce success

Social Media Strategy Goal

Social Media Strategy Goal

Do You have a Social Media Strategy Goal?

You can spend a lot of time on Social Media, creating materials, giveaways, interesting posts, promotions all in an effort to attract new customers or maybe just to get likes and followers.

But if you really want Social Media to work for you and you are serious about Social Media as a way to achieve your what you want, then you need to have a goal. Having a goal will focus you on how you measure your success and then how you optimise your social media efforts.

Based on your goal it may become obvious that certain Social Media platforms are not going to work for you, or that you need to be across multiple platforms to create the exposure and direct them where you want them to go. You may find that certain images, messages, words, videos, have more impact than others with your target audience.

Start with one or two and see how it can potentially focus your message and maybe even reduce your efforts.

Social Media Strategy Goal

How do you measure success

How do you measure success

There is a success in social media when you achieve more follower, like, shares, reach, impressions, mentions, reads and clicks. All of this means your brand, product or profile is getting more exposure on the internet. More exposure normally means more business.

So to measure your success in terms of the actual dollars is a little different. If you are using advertising there is the amount you spend to get the new customers. If you are just using posts, videos, images, SEO and blogs there is still a cost for the time and effort involved. In this image are some of the measure you can use.

Measure dollar success

How do you measure Social Media Success

How do you measure Social Media Success

Do you want to measure the impact of your social media marketing efforts?

Wondering which social media metrics you should focus on?

Did you know that when it comes to social media metrics, there are hundreds you could be analyzing? But the real question is, do you know where to find them and are they all necessary for your business? Which ones matter most for your business?

While some social media marketing metrics are universal, there are also platform specific, plus some data is calculated differently depending on the platform and social media metrics tools you’re using.

Here are the main ones that are followed to measure success.

  • Page Likes: Total Page Likes is the number of unique people who like your Page. New Page Likes shows the number of new Likes your Page received during the period measured.
  • Post Reach: Total Reach is the number of unique people who have seen any content associated with your Page, including ads, during the last seven days. Post Reach shows the number of unique people who have seen your Page posts.
  • Engagement: People Engaged is the number of unique people who have clicked, Liked, commented on or shared your posts during the last seven days.
  • Reach: Post reach is the number of people who have seen your post. Your post counts as reaching someone when it’s shown in the Feeds.
  • Engagement: People engaged is the number of unique people who’ve clicked, Liked, commented on or shared a post on your Page.
  • Impressions: The number of times a post from your Page is displayed, whether the post is clicked or not. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see a Page update in News Feed once, and then a second time if their friend shares it.
  • Engagement Rate Percentage: Engagement rate is the percentage of people who saw a post that Liked, shared, clicked or commented on it.
  • Profile Visits: The number of people who have visited your profile.
  • Mentions: The number of times your username has been mentioned by others.
  • Followers: The number of followers.
  • Interactions: The number of likes, comments and shares on your update.

 

Why should you have a website

Why should you have a website

For most, the reason for having a website is that they want to GROW THEIR BUSINESS

If you are not on the internet you can’t be found by all those searching for businesses like yours.

 

Will a web site help grow your business?

The answer is yes, as long as you do it properly. A bad website can also turn customers away. A website design that provides a good user experience and is optimised for search engines will bring you new clients.

 

How will a website grow my business?

To answer this let us look at some of the research, perceptions and expectations that support that:

  • Google research tells us that 52% of people used the internet to research their next purchase of products or services.
  • When customers search for products and services like yours you will show up in the search results
  • You have the opportunity to showcase your products and services
  • People use the internet like they used to use the phone book
  • Your customers expect it
  • It provides social proof that you are a reputable business
  • You control what people read about your business, unlike Social Media where you are at the mercy of customer reviews and comments
  • You have the opportunity to educate your customers about your value proposition
  • Web pages provide more bang for your buck compared to other marketing channels
  • Your competitors have websites
  • Your website is open 24 hours a day answering questions
  • Google tells us that there are thousands of searches a month for most types of products and services

 

If your website is found will people buy?

Google tells us that 26% of the people who searched the web for a business were happy to go with the first one they found on the internet that provided them with what they wanted. This is good if you are the first business listed in the search results.

 

But there is still hope with 32% of the people comparing 2 businesses and 23% of the people comparing 3 businesses and so on. This does not mean you need to be listed in the first three to be selected. When you look at search results there are often results that people skip over because the web description does not fit with their expectations or when they visit the website it does not deliver what they are looking for.

A good website with the right kind of content and good web design will give your customers the experience they are searching for. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will help you to determine the best content to have on your website so you will rank higher in the search results. eMarketing will allow you to be featured in search ads directing potential customers to your website.

 

 

How to Use Facebook Analytics for Your Website 

How to Use Facebook Analytics for Your Website 

Learn about implementing Facebook analytics on your website. Like any good analytics platform, there are many layers of information available. Once you have Facebook analytics installed on your website you are able to use the data for Facebook advertising. With this level of data, your advertising campaigns can be targeted toward the increasing number of people who are using Social Media search to find products and service.

This article is a good guide for getting Facebook analytics setup, using it to collect specific information and an overview of the reporting you can receive.

earn about implementing Facebook analytics on your website. Like any good analytics platform, there are many layers of information available. Once you have Facebook analytics installed on your website you are able to use the data for Facebook advertising. With this level of data, your advertising campaigns can be targeted toward the increasing number of people who are using Social Media search to find products and service.

This article is a good guide for getting Facebook analytics setup, using it to collect specific information and an overview of the reporting you can receive.

Source: How to Use Facebook Analytics for Your Website : Social Media Examiner

An advertising campaign created from your analytics

An advertising campaign created from your analytics

An advertising campaign created from your analytics

A traditional approach to creating an advertising campaign is to develop a message that you think will attract customers and try it out. If you have several ideas, you may test these in an A/B advertising campaign to understand which message gains you more customer interactions. Over time and with much trial an error you will develop adverts that work well for your business.

In this blog, an alternative approach is investigated using some existing customer data, that maybe you didn’t even know you had. If you have google analytics connected to your website you can use the data from there to help determine the messages that resonate well with your customers. These messages can be used to create advertising and landing pages that work.

This may give you an insight that you never had about your customers and that A/B testing may not reveal.

If you are just starting and do not have this kind of data, have a look at backlink reports for your competitors websites that give the page authority (PA) score. Using the same approach analyse the high scoring pages for messages and images you could try in your next campaign.

https://searchengineland.com/reverse-engineer-online-advertising-strategy-288994?utm_src=ml&utm_medium=textlink&utm_campaign=mlxpost

Web performance checklist for developers.

Web performance checklist for developers.

Speed up your website.

If you are a programmer, here is a web performance checklist that can help you squeeze additional microsecond performance from your website. With page loading speeds now part of the criteria for good rankings on search engines it is becoming more important to have good coding practices that improve website loading times.

This checklist will give you a lot of ideas for optimising your website code. As pointed out in this article if you have this goal as one of your project objectives from the start, it is much easier to achieve good performance. If you are looking to achieve speed after you have developed the website, it can be difficult to gain those microseconds that make a lot of difference to your customers.

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/01/front-end-performance-checklist-2018-pdf-pages/

The 20 Most Important Design Principles Illustrated Infographic

The 20 Most Important Design Principles Illustrated Infographic

There’s always a lot to learn, a lot to do, and a lot to consider when you’re a beginner – not to mention the fact that technology is constantly evolving, new software’s being released, and new trends are coming at you rapid-fire. Truth be told, it can get a little overwhelming.

So, let’s slow things down a little bit. This infographic will take you through 20 principles of design to hopefully give you a headstart in this creative environment, and provide a better understanding of how to best utilize your visuals.

So, stay tuned, get comfy, and let’s discuss some principles.

The 20 Most Important Design Principles Illustrated [Infographic] | Social Media Today

Source: The 20 Most Important Design Principles Illustrated [Infographic] | Social Media Today

Planning website content: 5 must-read articles

Planning website content: 5 must-read articles

Without proper planning, content can derail website projects. Missed deadlines, poor quality content, spiralling budgets, plummeting team morale and projects left in limbo are just some of the symptoms of failing to planning content production up-front.

To help keep your website projects on track, we’ve gathered some of our must-read articles on the topic of planning website content. From calculating the cost of content production, the right questions to ask, and how to run an effective discovery phase, the 5 articles we selected offer oodles of practical advice to help you and your teams plan for content and launch your website projects on schedule.

Calculating the production of high quality content

What effort, time and cost do you need to get content done? This article will help you calculate the resource needed, particularly the number of writers required, to help you budget and plan for content production.

Read: Calculating the production of high quality content

How to run a website discovery session

A well planned discovery phase can make or break a website project. This crucial meeting between the project team and client is the time to answer questions that will arm you with the knowledge to deliver a bespoke website, with content and design that will deliver measurable results. In this article we uncover who needs to be involved, how long the session should be, how to manage expectations and even include an agenda to get you started.

Read: How to run a website discovery session

13 content questions to kick off your website redesign project

Asking the right questions about content at the start of the project is imperative to getting content onto the project agenda, and keeping it there. Our article lists some content-focused questions you should be asking, including do you know how much content you have on your existing site, does someone have overall responsibility for content quality during the project to beyond launch, and 11 other must-ask questions.

Read: 13 content questions to kick off your website redesign project

The A to B to content: Planning website content

The more thorough and dedicated your content planning, the more engaging and fruitful your content will be. Fact. In this article we cover audience research, site maps, content mapping and scheduling content and join them together for the ultimate content plan.

Read: The A to B to content: Planning website content

Planning contextual content for users

Your content needs to serve a purpose. It has to meet a business goal and/or a user need and be provided at the time that they need it. Context is key to making sure your content is relevant and useful. This article will ensure you’re planning content with context firmly in mind.

Read: Planning contextual content for users

Source: Robert Mills

Getting your business on the internet

Getting your business on the internet

For most small businesses, the process of getting your business on the internet can be a minefield.

 

You want to do it for the best price while still getting the look and feel that say’s to the world you are a reputable business who knows what they are talking about. It is your window for the world to peer in and say do I want to buy from them?

 

What do you need to get a website on the internet:

  1. Web hosting account. This is where your website lives on the internet
  2. URL. This is your address on the internet pointing to your website. For example www.yoursite.com
  3. Your website code. This is your web page, where the code tells the browser what to present to the person viewing your website. Normally created using a web design language or website builder application.

 

You will eventually work this out but first, you need to get past all the other search results first. Or should I say the minefield.

 

So off we go and we are encouraged because your search on the internet for a business website tells you can do it. It’s search engine friendly, connects to social media and a small monthly fee. You click on the site and they give you a “Sign Up Now” button. If you are like me this sends up some alarm bells. What exactly am I signing up for? Will it deliver me what I want? They say it is easy, just choose a template and you are done.  They have testimonials from people who have done it. But where are the details about what features are included and more importantly what feature you have to pay extra for. Is it that easy and cheap?

 

So I continue to search and get past these kinds of sites and find search results for cheap websites. You click on these to have a look at these deals. I found a lot that promises cheap sites in the search results, but suddenly the price went up when you went to their page. A lot provided a cheap price, but with limited features, no hosting, no URL, no support and more. They made it sound good but were basically providing you with a template and charging you a premium for it.

 

So I continue down the search result and keep getting lots of business offering website hosting with website builders included in the hosting fee and your own URL. So I investigate further because it has the three things I need. But the focus is on the hosting and not the website builder. Suddenly there is a whole lot of features listed in the hosting package and if I buy a more expensive package I get more features. What web hosting features are important to have a good website. The website builder is a single line on the features list. Cheaper hosting options only allow me to have one URL, do I need more? More investigation required.

 

Eventually, I decided to do some searches specifically about the website builder offering. What I find is that in most cases they have limited the capability of the website builder, where I need to pay more for more pages or features. They start mentioning premium plugins and themes, which translates to “if you want more feature and capabilities you need the premium edition which you will pay for”.

 

I can keep going but don’t want to turn this post into a book.  You start running into terms such as best web design practices and  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), responsive design, website marketing and more. You need to research the best hosting package. the best web design application.  If you continue your search journey you will find out that there is more to this website setup than we first thought.

What I am trying to say is to be careful as you could end up paying a lot more for what you want.

What they are not telling you is that a lot of these offerings have significant limitations that are not obvious when you first get started, so make sure you check the pricing and features first. In most cases, you will have to search for this information as they do not make it obvious where to find it on their site.

Some of the limitations we have seen include:

  • Advertising on your web page from the provider
  • Not enough pages
  • Your web address is not how you want it to be
  • No shop capability
  • Storage limits
  • Bandwidth limits
  • No search option
  • No support for video
  • No secure areas for customers
  • High transaction rates on purchase
  • Only one site
  • Limited plugins (for additional features)
  • Limited templates
  • and much more.

 

They do offer you a solution which is purchasing one of the more expensive options to get what you want. Or buying a premium theme or plug-in.

 

Just be aware that regardless of what solution you chose you will need to learn the website editor. It can be a big learning curb to configure elements on your website so that they work the way you want them to. Some things you may need to consider before embarking on creating your own site include the need to create your own content, deciding on the structure of your site, having images and graphics available and more.

 

Two of the more important elements that are often not covered effectively by these offerings are the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media. To have customers visiting your site you need to be found by the search engines or have an effective social media presence driving traffic to your site. Just having a template that is SEO friendly is often not enough to appear on the first page of the search engine results.

 

If you do a search on SOE and Social Media marketing you will find there are many elements that will allow your site to be found more effectively, too many to cover in this article. SOE and Social Media have taken over from the traditional marketing as a way to attract new customers. Done correctly Social Media also offers you the chance to stay in front of customers and actively promote your business to them.

 

If all of this sounds too daunting your alternative is to get a professional web design company like Atria to build you a website with all of the features you want. Configuring all of the elements, making sure your SOE parameters are set up correctly and connecting your Social Media and getting the design you need without the huge learning curb.

 

Having a good looking website is important, but the advice on achieving a web presence that drives the new customer to your business is far more important.

 

With a design company your upfront cost may be higher, but done correctly your ongoing cost will be significantly less and your chance of being found will be much higher.

 

We have only just touched on some of the elements that you need to consider. So regardless of which journey you decide to take, do some more research or talk to a professional.

 

 

5 Ways You Should Be Using Social Media as Your Top PR Platform

5 Ways You Should Be Using Social Media as Your Top PR Platform

Social media helps PR fulfill a more nuanced role by helping with relationship management, identifying brand threats, and engaging influencers.

Back in the day, public relations professionals would give a statement on air, release it in print, or publish it online. Social media has disrupted the field, making public relations a faster-paced and more delicate matter.

We need only look to our Commander in Chief to know that a social platform like Twitter can now serve as the primary channel for a business, brand or celebrity to release official information about itself. The lesson here is clear. Businesses that fail to use social media to manage their reputations may not only lose reach in the digital world, but may not even be noticed amid all the noise. For PR purposes, few modern mediums pack the same punch as social media. Here’s how professionals are now using social platforms as their primary option for managing information about a client or company.

The Evolution of Public Relations

Before digitalization, public relations professionals primarily engaged with the public after a major change. They announced new offerings, minimized reputation damage, and reacted to industry changes as the face of the organization. With the blossoming of social media, that’s evolved. Now many public relations professionals play a much more nuanced role. They may proactively engage in reputation management activities, counsel leadership, and identify potential problems in a business’s relationship with the public.

Social media eliminates the walls between members of the public and a brand, shortens the time a company has to react to relevant stories, and blurs the line between marketing and public relations. Often, public relations’ and marketing professionals’ roles overlap on social media.

Crafting and maintaining a positive public appearance requires a balance of engaging content and a careful awareness and reaction to public opinions. For brand reasoning, explanations, and crisis response, modern public relations professionals may look to social media as the first line of defense in an increasingly connected world.

How Public Relations Professionals Use Social Media

Social media can help public relations professionals meet their goals or it can hinder the reputation management process, depending on the situation. Some of the most common ways public relations teams use social media include:

  1. To find influencers – Influencers give brands a voice they could never use on their own. Social media influencers have massive digital followings that brands can tap into to promote offerings and protect reputations. When public relations professionals create relationships between brands and influencers, they’re really adding another line of both promotion and defense the brand can use to its advantage.
  2. To identify brand threats – Social listening gives professionals the power to understand the public’s opinion before it turns into a trending topic. They can proactively find and address online threats and possibly prevent a major brand reputation crisis. To think like a public relations expert, consider using one of the dozens of social listening tools out there to understand what social media users really think.
  3. To influence journalist’s stories – The public can actually see PR professionals on social media when they address a crisis, but many work behind the scenes to shape a brand’s image. When a trending topic arises, journalists often put their ear to social media to see what people are saying. Public relations professionals will often join that online discussion in order to influence journalists to present a certain angle. PR pros may not always end up seeing the published story they’d like, but they can still use social media as a tool to keep their angle in the public eye.
  4. To swiftly react to negative press – Social media is one of the first places people look for a brand’s reaction to a negative claim. Public relations professionals may use a company account to craft and publish an immediate response and to direct the public to another medium for more information. Social media gives public relations professionals immediate access to a large, attentive audience.
  5. To make announcements – Word travels fast on Twitter, so public relations professionals often use the platform to announce awards, product launches, and company updates. With captivating short snippets and links, professionals can reach a much wider audience via social media than traditional forums.

Social media is a natural fit for public relations and one of many tools businesses can use to protect and promote their reputations. When public relations and marketing teams combine their efforts on social media, brands often enjoy immediate positive results.

Think Like a Public Relations Professional on Social Media

Regardless of professional public relations support, all businesses can use their social media accounts to help manage public opinion. Don’t wait for others to create stories about your brand. Create interest with some public relations influencing tactics. Create flattering and engaging stories about your brand, react to other large stories, and react publicly to negative comments. Think like a public relations expert and create content like a marketer on social media to boost your reputation and earn new followers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

Source: 5 Ways You Should Be Using Social Media as Your Top PR Platform | Inc.com

7 Rules Of Great Type Design (That Any Creative Can Use)

7 Rules Of Great Type Design (That Any Creative Can Use)

House Industries–a Delaware-based design firm and type foundry–might not be a household name, but you’ve definitely seen its work. It designed the New Yorker’s layouts and typeface, the font used in Shake Shack’s branding, and Jimmy Kimmel Live’s logo, among others.

House Industries: The Process Is the Inspiration [Image: courtesy Watson-Guptill/Penguin Random House LLC]

Andy Cruz and Rich Roat cofounded the studio in 1993, and have made a name for themselves in designing groovy fonts that nod to midcentury culture, including families inspired by Charles and Ray EamesAlexander GirardRichard NeutraGoogie architecture, and hot-rods. How do they do it? There’s no hard-and-fast formula and no rigid playbook, but they do have a process-driven approach that’s guided by a handful of loose rules.It wasn’t until Cruz, Roat, and Ken Barber sat down to compile House Industries: The Process Is the Inspiration (Watson-Guptill, 2017)–a monograph detailing their design philosophy through case studies from their 24-year career–that patterns began to emerge in their work.

“Going through the process of decoding, and playing the record backwards so to speak, revealed what were were doing,” Cruz tells Co.Design. We spoke to him to learn more about how House Industries creates its fonts.

[Photo: © Carlos Alejandro/Courtesy of House Industries]

1. MINE YOUR PERSONAL HISTORY

In the book, Cruz writes that House Industries “built on the selfish notion of incorporating personal interests into our work.” One of the most influential hobbies to House’s aesthetic is hot-rodding. Cruz’s dad restored Corvettes and brought him along to car shows, teaching him the science behind engines and explaining both the art involved in designing the body.

“The garage taught me the value of customizing a mass-produced machine and transforming it into a personalized work of art,” Cruz writes. “House built a company on hot-rodding the alphabet, whether it was related to lowbrow car culture or highbrow modernism. The approach was the same; it was just the medium that was different.” House’s earliest work leaned heavily on automotive references, like its Rat Fink Fonts inspired by model car kits.

The personal histories of every designer at House seeps into the studio’s work. Its Flyer fonts, for example, were inspired by Jeremy Dean, the first full-time designer Cruz and Roat hired. His history as a paste-up artist–someone who manually cuts and pastes type into layouts–informed the “anti-design” aesthetic of the font family, which looks like lettering you’d see on punk posters.

2. MAKE WHAT YOU’D WANT TO USE YOURSELF

When House designs a typeface, it’s often because it’s looking for something that doesn’t already exist. “They start off as selfish endeavors,” Cruz says.

In the process of compiling the book, Cruz realized that many of the fonts House designed reflected how he was decorating his home at the time–some of the same things that caught his eye in his daily life were seeping into his work. This eventually led him to collaborations with the Eames Foundation, the Girard Foundation, and estate of Richard Neutra; and fonts that riff on the style of tiki bars (Cruz collects tiki mugs).

“I try to approach [design] history from a fan’s perspective. If we are fortunate enough to collaborate with one of our heroes, I want to be reverent and do our best to share what got us excited about their work.”

Meanwhile, what cars are to Cruz, bicycles are to Roat. This led to the Velo collection of bikes–with a frame by Waterford Precision Cycles, decals designed by House, and custom parts and accessories from Cinelli, Tanner Goods, Brooks, and Specialties TA.

[Photo: © Carlos Alejandro/Courtesy of House Industries]

3. USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

Cruz came to graphic design through illustration, and because of that the studio often leans on analog techniques like painting and ink drawing to arrive at their digital fonts.

“Money can buy fancy tools and special effects, but some of our most valuable tricks and techniques were born from a lack of it,” the studio writes in the book.

Its Studio Lettering collection, drawn by Ken Barber, for example, nods to pre-digital design.

“If you want a form or stroke to capture the feeling of drawing or painting by hand, it’s best to do that with an analog tool, then translate it to the digital world,” Cruz says. “I feel that’s one thing that humans seem to have a soft spot for—they might not be able to articulate it but can sense those considerations that add a little warmth or soul to a project.”

4. THINK HARD ABOUT CONTEXT

“Letter forms can trigger memories, experiences, and emotions. As manipulative as it sounds, depending on the image, [typography] can be used as a tool to provoke those sorts of feelings from a reader,” Cruz says.

House’s design work leans toward the evocative side, but that’s because they know where and when to deploy exuberance and restraint. When Cruz took a call from Jimmy Kimmel to design his logo, he learned that Kimmel studied graphic design before going into television. That fact helped them develop a more adventurous aesthetic. For the New Yorker, they took a more subtle and buttoned-up tack.

“There has to be a sense of, that’s cool, but is it right for this project?” Cruz says. “When does your personal taste outweigh or take a backseat to that thing we consider function? You’ve got to know the right time and place.”

[Photo: © Carlos Alejandro/Courtesy of House Industries]

5. DECLARE INDEPENDENCE

Cruz and Roat met while they were both working at design firms in Wilmington, Delaware, but they decided that they could produce more creative work if they were their own bosses.

“We definitely knew we could make a living [in the corporate design world], but it didn’t take very long to realize that it wasn’t for us,” Cruz says. “You can only do so many corporate design gigs when you’re young and idealistic. As the magic faded, we started seeing opportunities that didn’t have so many rules or focus groups. There was a much bigger design world out there we could play in.”

6. THINK BIGGER

Fonts are the bread and butter of House, but the studio also designs three-dimensional objects and products including toyshouse numbers, jerseys, and textiles. It’s also in talks with a developer to work on a project at the architectural scale.

“Anyone who knows us might usually come in through our font door, but they soon find out that our design ADD doesn’t restrict us from doing ceramics, bicycles, an interior, or even a satellite,” Cruz says.

Now their interests are in getting more people interested in the hands-on processes behind graphic design through educational programs.

“You can sit and talk about your work and logos, but it’s nowhere near as cool as seeing a 6-year-old or 66-year-old take our workshop and use their hands to letter their name or pull a squeegee and make their own serigraph,” Cruz says.

[Photo: © Satoshi Asakawa/Courtesy of Hermès Japon]

7. STAY FOREVER YOUNG

Part of what keeps House dynamic is that it approaches design with the same level of interest as someone who’s just discovered the field–but with the added wisdom and experience of decades in the business.

“Honestly, I’m still doing the same stuff I was doing when I was 16, and I think that’s what’s kept it interesting,” Cruz says. “We tried not to lose sight of the things that got us into design—whether that’s illustration, or type, or packaging. It’s all those little details that I dug that made me want to take a commercial art class in high school then continue learning through my interests, whether that was trying to make my car go faster or figuring out how to exploit the power of a printing press. We’re still doing a variation of all of those exercises. The more I can stay in touch with my childhood, the happier I am.”

Source: 7 Rules Of Great Type Design (That Any Creative Can Use)