Category: Website Design

How to write good words for SEO

How to write good words for SEO

Good Words for SEO

Why should you know how to write good words for Search Engine Optimisation? (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

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

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

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.

 

 

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

Design Principals

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.

 

 

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)

website don’t for wordpress

website don’t for wordpress

Avoid issues with WordPress websites

Consumers typically have their own experiences when it comes to web hosting and their own opinions. If you search Google for reviews for any web hosting provider you’ll find dozens of results. Usually, there are a lot more negative reviews than there are positive ones. I thought I would flip that around and share some WordPress hosting challenges from the perspective of the WordPress host and how I frequently solve them.

I have compiled a list of bad web practices and recommendations on what not to do on your site, based on thousands of hours of customer interactions, support tickets, and troubleshooting I experience on a daily basis. Some of these range from beginner mistakes to more complex issues. A lot of these can be the difference between having a successful WordPress site and a failure. Picking the right web host is very important. But your decision also goes hand-in-hand with educating yourself on how to best optimize your WordPress site.

I often observe that even seasoned developers focus on what they are good at, which is building solutions and sometimes neglect or don’t have time to learn the latest optimization practices. Whether you are a WordPress user just getting started or an experienced developer, the following tips will help you create better, faster and more optimized WordPress sites.

1. Switching Hosts Isn’t Always a Quick Fix

One of the most important things people need to realize is that switching hosts doesn’t automatically fix certain problems. If your WordPress site is having code issues or compatibility problems with specific plugins, this is still going to occur no matter where you host your site.

Coding issues aren’t magically fixed. 

A managed host will provide as much assistance as they can, but won’t debug an issue with a bad plugin or code for you. It is not the WordPress host’s responsibility to write PHP code, create or edit custom functions for plugins or themes, integrate or fix external services or performing website content updates. This is where you would need the assistance of a seasoned WordPress developer to dig into it and make a determination as to what the issue is. There are many places to find WordPress specific developers, such as Codeable or toptal.

Many hosts also have third-party agency partners and developers they can refer you to for solving these problems. If there is an issue with a specific plugin, you should also reach out to the developer yourself.

2. Live Sites are Not For Development Work

I could say this a thousand times. Never use production (live) sites for development work! Nearly all of the major managed WordPress hosts now have staging/development environments and this is certainly for good reason. It prevents critical downtime caused by users breaking things while testing on their live site. This is typically the scenario that causes what some call the white screen of death.

If you don’t want to use a staging environment you can always test and develop locally using what some call a LAMP or LEMP stack. These stand for Linux, Apache/Nginx (sounds like Engine-X), MySQL, and PHP. Tools like WAMP and MAMP all make configurations for local development quite easy.

These tools have all improved and evolved over time, but there are also other challenges and problems that arise with local development, such as the environment not exactly mimicking your live site. First of all, you have to figure out how to push your changes from local back to production without overwriting existing data or breaking your site. Depending on your setup this process might even add another layer of complexity. Other complications could also include having to mess with conflicting ports or errors from a different version of MySQL are all things that could pop up.

To avoid some of these complications, I recommend using tools like DesktopServer and Local, which are both built solely for the purpose of speeding up your workflow when working locally with WordPress. These include streamlined ways to push things back to production and even have additional tools and features such as WP-CLI and multisite support built right in. Having multisite support alone can be priceless as working with large local installations can sometimes be downright tricky.

3. Not A Developer? Don’t Edit Your Code

People that are either unfamiliar with WordPress or don’t know the basics of how code works should not be editing files. One of the most common reasons that WordPress sites go down (or see that “white screen of death”) is someone editing a PHP file directly from the appearance editor in the dashboard. Also, you shouldn’t be editing your live site to begin with as we mentioned earlier.

Editing code in the WordPress Appearance editor.

A good administrative recommendation is to place the following code in your wp-config.php file, removing the edit_themesedit_plugins, and edit_filescapabilities for all users. This can help prevent users from breaking the site by hacking away at the code.

define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true);

Taking this process one step further, remove the functionality for clients to update themes or install plugins. Place the following code in your wp-config.php file to restrict these capabilities.

define('DISALLOW_FILE_MODS', true);

NoteThe above code will also disable the plugin and theme file editor, so you don’t need both if you want to disable everything mentioned above. See WordPress Codex for more information.

4. Don’t Cut Corners on Your Themes and Plugins

It’s understandable that you are trying to save a few bucks or cut corners, but don’t do it with your themes and plugins. WordPress might be the foundation of your site, but the themes and plugins are the glue that holds it all together. Try to stick with reputable developers when choosing plugins and look through the ratings and reviews beforehand. Look for a history of the developer providing good product support. With over 50,000 plugins in the repository, this can sometimes be an overwhelming task, so do your research beforehand.

Finding a plugin in the WordPress repository. 

It is very common for outdated and bad themes/plugins to more easily get infected with malware, inject bad links on your site, pharma, etc. According to recently published research by WP Loop, nearly 50% of the plugins in the repository haven’t been updated in over 2 years. That is both shocking and frightening!

Statistics on plugins that haven’t been updated. 

Another thing to be on the lookout for is a third-party source that is bundling up premium plugins into one low bundled price. If you purchase these, first off, you aren’t supporting the developer, so shame on you. Second, you are relying on the 3rd party to grab the latest updates for you which is not good.

Relying on updates for a bundled plugin is actually a huge problem for WordPress users who purchase things via online marketplaces such as ThemeForest. Many theme developers bundle additional plugins like Revolution Slider or Visual Composer. The problem is that when vulnerabilities are discovered, the consumer is left waiting for an update from the theme developer, even though the plugin might have been patched the next day. This leaves a lot of sites wide open for hackers and site owners extremely vulnerable.

5. Watch Your Admin AJAX Calls

Watch out for multiple Admin AJAX calls from your WordPress site and plugins that may utilize AJAX. For example, the WordPress Heartbeat API uses /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php to run AJAX calls from the web-browser. A lot of times these are un-cachable requests. High usage of this file sometimes occurs during traffic spikes, CPU load, and can bring your site to a crawl. It is almost like you are launching a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against yourself!

High admin-ajax.php usage. 

If there are 3rd party plugins that utilize admin-ajax.php, make certain they are doing it in the correct way. You can usually look at the HTTP POST request action and quickly determine, based on the name, what plugin might be causing it. For example, one I have seen is, get_shares_count. Which turned out to be a popular social media sharing plugin which was hammering admin-ajax.php. These simply multiply on high-traffic sites.

However, AJAX does load after the page loads. So just because you see this in a speed test, doesn’t necessarily always mean it is a bad thing. It is also an interesting comparison to note the performance differences between admin-ajax.php and the WordPress REST API.

6. Be Smart With Ad Networks and Limit External Services

Most high-traffic websites rely on advertising for their income. Removing 3rd party advertisements altogether is not an option. However, it is important to keep the number of 3rd party networks to a minimum and realize just how much load some of these tack onto your website.

Here’s a quick comparison of how ad networks can affect your WordPress site.

Test Parameters: I added three 300×250 Google Adsense ads on a development/staging site running the default twenty sixteen theme and tested the speed before and after.

BEFORE ADSENSE

  • First view: 1.372s load time
  • Repeat view: 1.013s load time

Here is the content breakdown by connections:

Content breakdown before running Google AdSense. 

AFTER ADSENSE

  • First view: 4.103s load time
  • Repeat view: 3.712s load time

Here is the content breakdown by connections:

Content breakdown after adding Google AdSense. 

By simply adding 3 Google AdSense ads, 6 additional connections were instantly added. The WordPress site with ads is 2.7x slower than the one without. This is mainly due to extra DNS lookup times and much heavier use of JavaScript on the page. This gives you a small picture of what can happen when large-scale sites simply embeds 10 ads on a single page. No matter how fast your WordPress host is, it won’t fix delays from 3rd party ad network connections.

Here is another example below taken from New Relic monitoring on a site with a massive amount of HTTP requests to external ad networks, causing a heavy load on the WordPress site.

Heavy load due to advertising network. 

There were so many requests that the app server failed to load at all. The site was simply unavailable trying to load all the external requests.

Web transactions time on app server.

Another good example of this is with Huffington Post’s website. If you run a speed test on their website you will see massive amounts of HTTP requests to ad networks. This graph shows what I saw in a quick test. (speed test). They had a load time of over 13 seconds!

  • First view: 15.908s load time / Total HTTP requests: 221
  • Repeat view: 13.957s load time / Total HTTP requests: 66

However, simply removing advertisements might not be a realistic solution. Many sites rely on them for their income and livelihood. In this case, it’s important to dive deeper into your scripts and ensure they are loading in the most optimal way. You can use async or defer on your scripts to help prevent them from interrupting the rendering of your page loads. When it comes to performance there is always a balancing act of perceived performance vs. that of actual performance.

ASYNC JAVASCRIPT EXAMPLE:

src="example.js" async

DEFER JAVASCRIPT EXAMPLE:

src="example.js" defer

Patrick Sexton also has another popular method for deferring JavaScript. WordPress version 4.1 and higher has a filter in which you can more easily add async and defer attributes to your scripts.

As a general rule, if you are relying on external services you will also want to cache the responses. Why? Because issues like the white screen of death can occur if you don’t. Every external service you add to your WordPress site should be from a trusted and reliable source. After all, if they go down, it is then affecting your entire site or business operations. If you use vanity URLs generated from your WordPress site and use them in social networks, those will cease to function as well.

7. Over Optimizing Can Hurt Your Performance

There are thousands of articles around the web that give “tips” on how to speed up and optimize your WordPress site. But an even worse scenario is when users over optimize their websites. Yes, this happens a lot more frequently than you might think. It is common for WordPress site owners to think that by adding more of something it will double their speed.

Below I’ve listed a few problem scenarios that I see on a regular basis:

TRYING TO CACHE THE CACHE

Unlike typical VPS or standalone servers, a lot of managed WordPress host providers have their own caching, which is done at a server-level (like Redis or Memcache). Most providers do not allow caching plugins because this can cause all types of issues, most commonly 502 gateway errors. Trying to “cache the cache” as I call it is never a good idea.

Bad optimizations which makes things worse. 

Plugins like WP Rocket and Cache Enabler are great, but they are designed for servers which need additional assistance speeding up your site. Read more about object caching, which is a popular form of server-level caching used by many today.

ADDING 2 CDNS = IS 2X THE SPEED, RIGHT?

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) have been shown to greatly decrease load times and latency when serving up content across different geographical regions, but only when setup correctly. One of the most popular providers is Cloudflare. Cloudflare is technically a fully proxy service and is slightly different than a normal CDN provider as you are pointing your entire DNS over to them, not just your assets.

Typically I see users add CloudFlare, and then they go add KeyCDN or MaxCDN along with it. This is usually because they read blog posts from someone recommending that they should go install this new service right away, and they simply go do it. They don’t think about their existing setup. While this combination can work in certain scenarios, typically this ends up in a giant mess. In most cases it is better to either use CloudFlare or use a 3rd party CDN provider, each of which have their own advantages and disadvantages.

MORE SEO PLUGINS DOESN’T MEAN YOU WILL DOMINATE SERPS

You want to dominate search engine ranking positions (SERPs) right? Well, adding 3 SEO plugins won’t help you accomplish that goal. In fact, there are a lot of compatibility issues that popup when trying to run All In One SEO, Yoast, and other SEO plugins together. Such as outputting duplicate meta tags. Adding more plugins doesn’t mean it will improve your current SEO situation.

8. Common Performance Issues are Easy to Diagnose

Even if you aren’t an advanced WordPress expert, common performance issues are fairly easy to diagnose. I recommend using WebPageTest for seasoned WordPress users as it supports the latest protocols such as HTTP/2. However, for those that aren’t as webperf savvy, then Pingdom does a good job. A simple waterfall analysis can tell you quite a bit, such as learning if you have unnecessary redirects, missing files, too many DNS lookups or if a certain script or 3rd party ad network is bogging your site down.

Take a quick glance at the performance insights and response codes and you can see where to start addressing these performance issues on your WordPress site.

Pingdom performance insights. 

9. Modifying WordPress Core is Bad

Plain and simple, modifying WordPress core files to make some of your code work is simply a bad idea, especially on a live production site. Doing this can open up your WordPress site to security vulnerabilities. Unless you have an active update procedure in place (which many don’t) you will lose your modifications with each new version of WordPress that is released. Instead, you should take advantage of WordPress tools and features such as well-developed 3rd party plugins, child themes, custom post types and hooks.

10. Ensure PHP 7/HHVM Compatibility Before Jumping on Board

PHP 7 and HHVM have been shown to be incredibly fast when it comes to boosting WordPress performance. And of course it’s always satisfying to be using the latest and greatest, but first you need to make sure your site is compatible before simply hopping on the bandwagon. For example, If you are upgrading from PHP 5.6 to 7, you should test all functionalities of your WordPress site in a staging environment or locally to ensure there aren’t any compatibility issues. One out of date plugin you rely on that doesn’t work with PHP 7 could mean that you should wait before moving.

11. Large Sites Should Optimize Their Database

One of the easiest ways for a large WordPress site to slow down is when the database hasn’t been optimized. Simple tasks like cleaning up old WordPress revisions or cleaning up unused tables, can help prevent some of this slowdown. However, I’ve found that a lot of older sites are still using the MyISAM storage engine in their database. Recently InnoDB has shown to perform better and be more reliable. A big reason is to use InnoDB over MyISAM is the lack of table locking. This allows your queries to process faster.

Database performance. 

You can convert your tables with just a few simple steps. Ensure you are running MySQL 5.6.4 or higher and that you always take a backup as a precautionary measure before making changes to your database. This example is using the wp_comments table. Simply run the ALTER command to convert it to InnoDB storage engine.

ALTER TABLE wp_comments ENGINE=InnoDB;

If you are running on a newer version of phpMyAdmin you can also click on a table, click into the “Operations” tab and change the storage engine manually.

Changing from MyISAM to InnoDB. 

Another easy optimization technique is to disable or modify the number of revisions you keep in your database. You can add the following to your wp-config.php to disable them completely.

define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false );

Or simply modify the number of revisions that are kept per post/page:

define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3);

I’ve seen many sites with over 200 revisions per post, which adds up very fast across large sites. Unless your host has an internal optimization in place, the default in WordPress is to store unlimited revisions. This is why it’s so important to check and verify the settings with your own eyes.

If your current site has a lot of revisions already, you can run the following query in phpMyAdmin to clean them up:

DELETE FROM wp_posts WHERE post_type = "revision";

If you aren’t comfortable running a query, use plugins such as WP-Optimize to help you cleanup the revisions.

12. Do You Really Need a Multipurpose Theme?

There is a huge problem I see within the WordPress community. People go out and buy a multipurpose theme and then only utilize 1% of the theme’s features or none at all. Many see fancy sliders and attractive portfolio pages on the demos that entices them to make the purchase. But in reality, these might be things they never actually use. They could have purchased a more minimal theme and saved a ton of time on digging through confusing options and their site would be a lot faster from the onset. Many of these additional features add load time.

I’m not saying all multipurpose themes are bad, in fact with a lot of customization they can sometimes run fast. Here is an example of an Avada theme that clocks in under 700ms. (speed test)

Optimized multipurpose WordPress theme. 

However, that requires a lot of knowledge and time to optimize the existing theme. For basic WordPress users, if they aren’t utilizing a lot of features a more minimal theme is the way to go. Don’t let all the shiny bells and whistles fool you. In most scenarios, fancy sliders and visual editors just slow your site down.

13. Error Log Is Your Friend

If you know your way around your WordPress files and the wp-config.php file, then the error log is your friend. By checking it on a regular basis you can save yourself a lot of headaches and probably learn a thing too. Not many users even bother checking this before reaching out to their host for help. With a few simple tweaks in your wp-config.php file you can enable logging, which by default is saved to /wp-content/debug.log.

Error log is your friend. 

ENABLE LOGGING

define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

OUTPUT LOGGING ON PAGE

define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', true );

 

14. Google is Here for a Reason

You would think this is common sense by now, but Google is here for a reason folks. Don’t be afraid to Google your answer. The internet is full of solutions and tips. Within a few minutes of searching you can easily solve a majority of your issues. Typically questions like “how to change your GoDaddy DNS” or “how to use SFTP” are things that can be easily found on Google.

There are great resources available online such as http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/ and the WordPress Codex. Not to mention the hundreds of blogs with tutorials on just about any WordPress scenario that exists.

But not all of this is squarely on the shoulders of the user either. A responsible WordPress host should have an in-depth knowledge base with a good UI. Not only to cut down on their own support tickets but to help the user as well.

15. 123456 Is No Longer Acceptable

SpashData compiles a list of the most widely used leaked passwords (over 2 million) every year. Not surprisingly, in 2015 the most popular password still being used was “123456 (the same as 2014).” This can be very frustrating for web hosting providers, as the bad practice of using easy to guess passwords puts the client’s WordPress site in a state of “always one step away from being hacked.” While storing passwords locally in a tool like KeePass is probably one of the safest routes, encouraging users to use services like LastPass or Passpack will at least help harden their passwords, even if they are stored in the cloud. A hashed and secured password in the cloud is always much more secure than using “123456.”

16. Scripts Don’t Always Need to Load Sitewide

Unfortunately, unlike a static website which you have more control over, when it comes to WordPress many are at the mercy of the plugin and theme developers. Let’s be honest, not all developers care about performance. There are a lot of plugins that simply load their scripts on all pages even though it might only be used on one. If you multiply this by 35+ plugins you can end up with a lot of unnecessary bloat that slows down your site.

One example of this can be seen with the popular Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin. As shown below, it is loading it’s CSS file on the homepage of our dev site, as well as it’s JavaScript file. Even though I’m not utilizing any contact form.

Script loading sitewide. 

There are a few easy ways to get around this. The first is to utilize a function which was introduced in WordPress 3.1 called wp_dequeue_script(). This allows you to remove an enqueued script from your site. Here is an example of how to utilize the function with Contact Form 7. The Contact Form 7 developer also has some documentation on how to load the JavaScript and CSS only when necessary.

Another easy way to prevent certain scripts from loading on specific pages and posts is to utilize a WordPress plugin like Gonzalez or Plugin Organizer. Here is an example below on our dev site with the Gonzalez plugin. There are easy one-click options to disable the Contact Form 7 CSS and JavaScript files sitewide, per page/post, or only enable in a specific place. Generally, only loading Contact Form 7 on your “Contact Us” page would be the best for performance.

Disable scripts per page. 

There is a reason why WordPress is used by over 28% of all websites on the internet. And that is because it’s a very robust, easy to use and feature rich content management system (CMS). Everyone from stay at home bloggers to fortune 500 companies rely on it every day. Just like with most platforms, if it isn’t properly used or optimized it can turn into a big headache very quickly.

By correcting some of the common issues and mistakes I’ve seen from WordPress users above you can ensure happier visitors, better conversion rates, lower bounce rate and even improved search engine rankings. It is important for the WordPress community as a whole to help educate each other on better performance and development practices as the web continues to evolve.

Source: Smashing Magazine

7 Ways to Increase Sales with Marketing Automation

7 Ways to Increase Sales with Marketing Automation

7 Ways to Increase Sales with Marketing Automation

you know the basics of marketing automation: it streamlines, automates, and monitors routine marketing tasks. But a good marketing automation platform is about more than making life easier for the marketing team—it should also help you close more deals.

So, how can you tap into different aspects of marketing automation to increase sales? Check out these seven tips:

1. Pass Over Sales-Ready Leads Using Lead Scoring

Tired of hearing sales complain about marketing’s unqualified leads? Determining when a prospect is sales-ready can be difficult, but a robust marketing automation platform scores leads behind the scenes.

Lead scoring is an automated strategy that adds or subtracts points from each lead based on actions taken or not taken. It can also be used to track demographic data to provide a higher score to a lead that fits your ideal buyer persona. When a lead reaches a threshold that you set, it is deemed “sales-ready” and is passed onto the sales team.

Here is an example of some lead scoring you can implement, based on behaviors:

Lead Scoring Example

Lead scoring helps ensure that your sales team doesn’t waste time on unqualified leads. It can also shorten overall sales cycles.

2. Personalize Your Website

By the time a lead hits your website, they’ve already gained an impression of your company. A personalized website will increase your conversion rate and make a better impression. The lead and customer data (who they are, where they work, online behavior, etc.) can be used to personalize landing pages and other web content seen by each lead. Even anonymous web visitors’ experiences can be personalized.

Identify Web Visitors with Web Personalization

For example, if you are an online retailer, and a visitor who has been shopping for winter coats finds your website, a web page for winter coats would be presented first. Personalized web content helps build a better, more personal, relationship with leads and ensures that their experience with your company is the best it can be–and therefore increases in sales.

3. Provide Your Sales Team with the Info They Need to Follow Up

To make sure your sales-ready leads are being followed up on with the right message by sales–it’s important to provide sales with the information they need to have the best conversation. By tracking the interactions leads have with your company and providing that information to sales in an easy spot, such as their CRM system, sales will be able to have a personalized and effective conversation with each sales-ready lead.

Here is an example of a dashboard that can help prepare your sales team. It’s called Interesting Moments, and it’s a part of the Marketo Sales Insight application in Salesforce.

Marketo Interesting Moments

4. Keep the Conversation Going Using Triggered Emails

When a lead interacts with your company, it’s important to stay top of mind by keeping the conversation going. Triggered emails get sent automatically based on a lead’s actions. They help turn more leads into real customers without wasting your sales team’s time. For example, if a potential customer views a pricing page, an email designed for interested customers can be sent.

Triggered emails have been shown to perform three times better than other types of emails (even batch emails).

5. Segment Your Lead Nurturing

In an ideal world, all marketing leads would be sales-ready. But in reality, most leads are not ready and need some nurturing before they can be passed to sales.

By implementing segmented lead nurturing, you can provide specific content to each lead to push them to become sales-ready–when they are ready. Segmented lead nurturing can be done by industry, role, or company size.

6. Track Your Leads on Every Channel

Your prospects are on every channel—whether it’s browsing on social, searching the web, heading to events and more. It’s important to track each interaction your prospect has with your company–no matter what channel. This will help guide your message to a prospect, based on what types of content your audience is interacting with. This will help increase sales because relevant content is the number one way to keep a prospect engaging with your company.

Use tools native to your engagement platform like predictive content, web personalization, digital ads and triggered emails to help you engage your leads with a timely, relevant and personal message, while also capturing data about their engagement (or lack of engagement) with your message or content.

7. Track Your Results and ROI

Doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results isn’t going to cut it in today’s digital world! Marketers need to be tracking the ROI of every program they run to see if there are tangible results. An ideal ROI is 5x–meaning you are generating 5 times the amount of pipeline or revenue compared to what you paid to run this program.

By tracking this type of data, you’ll know which programs yield the best results for revenue – and keep running those programs and cancel the ones that are not performing.

An engagement platform with marketing automation doesn’t just offer benefits for the marketing team—it can help sales win more deals, more often and more efficiently.

Source: Lizzy Funk

7 Simple High-ROI SEO Tactics for 2017

7 Simple High-ROI SEO Tactics for 2017

SEO is changing so often that it can be hard to decide what you should be focusing on. So let’s go over 9 simple SEO tactics for 2017 that will skyrocket your web traffic.

1) Cross-Link to Your Own Pages

If you go to QuickSprout, or NeilPatel, you’ll notice that Neil links to other blog posts in the sidebar.

QuickSprout Guides

If you link to your most popular pages using keywords that you want to get ranked for, like “online marketing” or “digital marketing,” you start climbing the rankings. It sometimes takes six months to a year, but you rank really well.

On Google, Neil ranks number one and two (Quick Sprout and Neil Patel) for “online marketing.” Just think about how competitive that keyword is. And you know how many links he has been manually building to those guides? Zero. All he’s doing is making sure that he links to those pages on every single one of his blog posts.

2) Featured Snippets

You’ll notice that when you Google something now, there’s a box that pops up with a quick answer. This is called a featured snippet, and it shows up now before the first search result. We’re still not entirely sure how to rank into the featured snippet, but a lot of research has gone into this.

Google featured snippet

Moz did a really good post on this called Ranking #0. Basically, you want to make sure you’re using your H1 header tags properly, followed by a short snippet that describes what you’re writing about. For example, let’s say your H1 header title is What is Digital Marketing? Right after, you should explain what digital marketing is in a snippet.

If you do that, Google (which is getting a lot better at machine learning) will detect that your page has a great definition for this common keyword question phrase, and will start linking to you in the featured snippet for that keyword phrase.

Moz tested this with one of their own pages on domain authority. They were #1 in SERPs, but another agency took the #0 featured snippet spot from them. So Moz rewrote their H1 header and snippet for that page, and suddenly they were ranking for the snippet, too. They took away that spot from their competitor agency.

If you already have the #1 spot, ranking for the featured snippet may not seem like a big deal, but the data shows otherwise:

Ranking #0 in the SERPs can increase your click-through rates anywhere from 33-100%.CLICK TO TWEET

3) Optimize Title Tags

Let’s hypothetically say that you have the number one spot, and you worked hard for it by creating excellent content. Now let’s say a competitor creates a new page and starts ranking at #2, but their content isn’t as good. If everyone starts skipping the #1 result (your page) and they start clicking on the #2 result, what does this tell Google?

If you find this happening to you, then you need to optimize your title tags. Everyone looks at title tags, but most of the time they’re only thinking about keywords. Sure, you should research your keywords, but if your title tag isn’t appealing and people don’t want to click on it, you aren’t going to rank well.

But if you’re getting more clicks than everyone else around you in rankings, Google will keep moving you up—until someone else outperforms you with their click-through rate because they have a better title tag.

How do you make your title tag really appealing? By thinking like a human. Ask yourself, “What would someone want to read and click on?” For example, when I search the keyword “SEO,” one of the most popular sites that comes up is Search Engine Land.

It’s not because they have the most links, it’s because their title tag is so simple: “What Is SEO?” It gets more clicks than something like “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” or “The Advanced Guide to SEO” or “SEO Made Simple.” People love Googling for “what is…” and that works especially well with complex terms. So a beautiful title tag that entices clicks can skyrocket your rankings.

4) Page Scrape

Another excellent SEO tactic you can use, that kind of piggybacks on click-through rates, is second order page scraping. Go into Google Search Console and look for the keywords you’re ranking for. Let’s say you’re ranking on page two of SERPs, for example, and you’re on the cusp of getting to page one. You’re aiming for that top 5 ranking so you can have a higher click-through rate and drive more traffic.

In order to do that, go to Google Search Console and make a spreadsheet with rankings where you’re ranked in positions #10-20. With that, you have that list and you can start using Neil’s tactics for building links and cross linking. And as I’ve said before, you should always work on improving your titles. Write better meta descriptions, too. See if you can drive click-through rates higher as well.

One of my friends who’s been working with enterprise SEO says that Google likes to audition you. The idea is that, if you’re getting higher click-through rates while you’re going through the “audition,” you’re going to be able to get onto page one. I can’t say conclusively that I have a lot of data around it, but I’ve tested it myself and I think it is worth testing.

5) Write Epic Content (2,000+ Words)

If you check out the Single Grain blog, you’ll notice that I have a lot of blog posts that are very long—2,000 words or more, even 4,000-6,000 words long. Why? Because the more keywords you have on a page, the more long-tail terms you’ll rank for. You don’t need to shove in keywords or rank for anything specific—this is just a common sense equation:

More words in your blog post = more things Google can end up ranking you for.CLICK TO TWEET

SerpIQ did a study on this showing that webpages that rank in the top 10 results have at least 2,000 words. So if you can write detailed, lengthier content, you’re much more likely to get more search traffic. You don’t want to just shove in words purely for fluff so you can meet the minimum two thousand word count, though—you want to take the time to write really good, thorough content that gives people value.

6) Transcribe Videos

If you’re producing more and more videos, make sure you’re transcribing them. Rev is pretty cheap and very reliable; it’s just $1 per minute. Why do you want to transcribe your videos? Because search engines can’t crawl videos yet—but they can crawl text. Transcribing your videos will go a long way towards helping you rank higher.

Transcribe your videos

It should also be pointed out that transcribing these videos helps boost SEO, but turning them into edited blog posts is even better. Perhaps it goes without saying, but Google will crawl and rank a properly formatted, readable blog post that you’re promoting on social more than just a video with an unedited transcript.

7) Optimize Images

And finally, another tactic that I love leveraging is optimizing images. Google can’t crawl videos, but it can crawl images to an extent. Remember—Google has a tab just for images. If you’re in the consumer-based, B2C world, using alt tags or long description tags and actually naming your image files (not image01.jpg) will greatly increase the chance that your images show up higher in results.

Google’s even integrating images within text-based search these days. So, if you can optimize your image file names and use proper alt tags plus proper keywords for the page on your website where the image appears, you’ll start ranking really well, and you’ll be getting tons and tons of visitors.

Naming is not the only way to optimize images.

The reality is, file size matters more than you think. Files consume lot of space in your web directory.

The file size correlates to a bunch of factors. The first being the file format or extension. The most common image file extensions are JPEG, PNG, BMP, and TIFF and the list goes on. These file formats vary either by picture quality or size. Higher resolution means larger files. Lower resolution means smaller files. If you decide to trade image quality for file size, you might be losing to other sites because their site loads faster with smaller size images.

Let’s talk a bit about the tools that will help you optimize images without compromising quality.

Kraken.io is one tool that’ll help you achieve image optimization. Remember your ultimate goal here is to load your site faster.

By this, you can hit two birds with one stone. Your user is happy, and Google is happy. So they’ll rank you higher. Yes, one of 200 matrices of Google is the longer it takes your site to load, the lower your ranking.

Using this, you can hit two birds with one stone. Your user is happy and Google is happy to rank you higher.

8) Performance Test

Now that you have taken all measures to optimize your images, you still need to test your website for other anomalies.

Testing isn’t just loading the website on your work/home laptop from hi-speed internet. Not all users have access to hi-speed internet with iPhone 7 plus or a Surface Pro.

As a matter of fact, the latest statistics show that 60% of search comes from mobile devices. So your user may be viewing the website from a cheap android phone connected to 3G/2G network.

Google calculates your site speed based on load time of all users put together. Remember… it’s all about delivering exceptional user experience. And that’s what Google ranks you on. Work with your developers on testing your website exhaustively on multiple desktop, mobile, tablets. Automated load testing is the key to achieve this. It’s easier if you have developer who has experience with automated tools like Browserstack or Selenium.

Browserstack:

Browserstack is an automated testing company. They provide a pretty easy and free tool called Screenshots that allows you to test a URL in more than 1000 browsers (old and new versions together) including Safari, Chrome, IE, Edge, Firefox and more.

Here is a quick test in 3 browsers on three different operative systems:

Note: Free plan is limited to 100 screenshots.

Don’t sweat if you don’t know which browser versions, operating systems, or devices to test. Next, I have two more web development tools that tell you the good and bad aspects of the websites.

Don’t be intimidated by the term ‘web development’. All you have to do is enter a url to run a test against a website. Let me show you a sample of the results from Yslow and PageSpeed Insights:

YSlow:

From the screenshot above, you’ll find the general metrics that YSlow grades you on. When it comes to fixing all the lower graded metrics, this tool gives an easy to understand solution without any technical jargon that a non-technical person should be able to fix.

PageSpeed Insights:

This tool was developed by Google that gives you a score based on performance on mobile and desktop devices.

Enter the URL and click “Analyze”:

Here is a screenshot of mobile and desktop results:

The list under ‘Possible Optimizations’ is you should be concerned about. Each item is followed by a ‘Show how to fix’ link, which is pretty convenient.

It should be pretty obvious that YSlow looks more user friendly for a non-technical person. Their grading system makes it easy to interpret the results than PageSpeed. PageSpeed gives two separate scores for mobile and desktop devices.

The links to how to fix all the bad stuff are very helpful to raise the score of your website.

9) Think Mobile First

As mentioned earlier, this is the age of mobile first.

60% of the search is performed from a mobile device. You want to cater to this user group. Mobile first doesn’t mean you need a native mobile app. You can design a single website to target both mobile and desktop users simultaneously. Such a website design is called Responsive design.

Responsive design isn’t as taxing as it sounds. All you need is to select the right mobile template and the right framework. If you have a very old website which doesn’t conform to the principles of responsive design, you’ll be better off building a website from scratch than redoing the whole website.

You can find tons of responsive design templates here.

You may not realize this but millennials, being mostly mobile users, are gradually drifting to voice search from text search.

Voice search is more conversational, you need content that answers all what, why, when and where questions.  This can be done by adding FAQs page to your site or writing posts that answer these questions.

Another way to achieve the same, is with longer tail keywords. Answer these questions specifically and use respective keywords that aim to answer a user’s specific question.

Source: Single Grain