With the coming of the mobile revolution being heralded for years, it seems we’re finally here (even though it came in with a whimper, more than a bang). With that said, it’s now critical that every marketer that wants to stay competitive be not only findable, but viewable on mobile devices. Mobile devices make up a greater portion of all searches each and every year, and we’re finally starting to see some viable means in terms of mobile purchasing to warrant the push to either responsive websites, native apps or both.
But what’s the difference?
What is a Responsive Website?
A responsive website (or more accurately, responsive web design) simply means that the site is coded and designed in such a way that the content will adjust to fit on whatever size screen it is being viewed on. So if you’re looking at a site on your 27-inch desktop monitor, it will look great, but if you visit the site on your 3-inch mobile device, it will also display correctly.
Responsive websites eliminate the need to have a dedicated site built for mobile (in addition to your standard website). The coding in the site responds to the device it is being viewed from and tells the browser exactly how the content should be displayed so there are no errors and functionality is preserved. If your audience connects to your site via a number of devices (e.g. computer desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, mobile phone, etc.), a responsive website is a critical investment.
Benefits of responsive web design include:
– Your site is indexed as mobile-friendly by search engines, while still maintaining all of its normal indexing
– All of your updates to your website can be done in one place and show up on any viewing device
– Your site becomes flexible, able to reach all viewers no matter the device they are using
– All of your updates are seen by anyone who views the page and are not limited or restricted by device
What is a Mobile App – or Native Mobile App?
Mobile app and native mobile app are two terms used interchangeably for the same thing. A mobile app is an application designed specifically for use on mobile devices. It is an entirely separate program from your website and instead of being stored on servers, it is downloaded by the user and stored on their smartphone.
What this does is it allows users to connect even when they don’t have internet access. This is due to the fact that the app is stored locally (though some mobile apps will require internet). That means native mobile apps grant faster access for users than mobile (or responsive) websites do.
In addition, mobile apps have permissions that can help your sales such as access to the phone’s camera or speaker. This makes it easier for customers to interact with you. The downside here is that native mobile apps require different operating systems for Android and iOS phones, so it does cost some money to develop them…twice.
There are also a few more downsides and upsides to mobile apps:
– While faster than websites on mobile devices, mobile apps have fixed layouts meaning you must design one for each operating system
– Your audience for mobile apps is limited to people who have smartphones
– Search engines don’t index mobile apps because they aren’t stored on the internet, but rather on the user’s phone
– Updates can be tricky because the user must download them for updates to appear. Not everyone does this, so your newer content might not gain as much traction
– It is both expensive and time-consuming to develop native mobile apps and then get them approved by the app stores (Google Play and the Apple App Store)
Ideally, you would have both, but for now, a responsive website seems like the safer plan for internet marketers until your business demands a mobile app.
Let’s not kid ourselves, the state of SEO 4+ years ago was laughable, a joke, if you will. Google’s own search results were so easily manipulated with “backlink packages” and the like that it was straightforward to a fault to get a new site ranking, even for a competitive keyword, provided you had the money (or the time).
Over the past few years, Google – and other search engines, too! – has wised up and started making it more difficult to game the system. While some lamented the downfall of blackhat, spammy techniques, it was a game that was doomed from the beginning, and an equal number of people recognized the value in Google’s new incarnation.
Right now, the social and link cues that tell Google a page is important and relevant are more closely aligned than ever with the actual relevance and genuine popularity of that page. This has been Google’s goal for years, so it’s no surprised that they’ve worked extremely hard to move this direction as quickly as possible. I’m sure they’re quite happy with themselves, and they should be.
Is there still some way to game the system? I’m sure, but it’s not worth it, because every loophole gets closed, and at a rate that is gaining speed with every single day.
So, if the old kinds of link building aren’t effective, what does work?
Social cues are big.
Social media is the currency of a generation right now, and content that is blowing up with links, likes, shares, and retweets on social media is going to make a blip on Google’s radar. Google knows that these are often real indicators of people thinking something is valuable and worthwhile, and they’re all about that positive end user experience.
Leverage and squeeze every drop out of your social networks. Repurpose your tweets and posts to help appeal to different people and at different times. Try scheduling posts to go out on social at various times of day, with different images, and try alternating your headline with a quote from within the page itself.
Mobile is king, for now.
While we can’t know exactly what the future holds, one thing is for sure: Google is big on the mobile trend. It’s for good reason, too, seeing that internet usage on phones has skyrocketed over the past few years, meaning that websites who are responsive to various screen sizes and who don’t have a crappy mobile experience are going to be rightfully propped up in the search results.
This trend is also true of tablets, and any new device that comes out and begins to gain popularity.
Don’t stop building links.
Backlinks are still a big deal, but the focus now is on the quality of the links you’re bringing in. When it comes to lone links with suspiciously consistent anchor text, your efforts are going to get ignored at best or earn you a penalized site at worst. Instead, focus on building contextual links through creating products and services so good other people write about you, through stellar guest posting gigs, and by leveraging the press.
Creating a sale / special?
To view products click on the toolbar tab and select Catalog and then Products.
This opens up the Product Dashboard where you can see your current products, add / edit / delete products
Add New Product
To add a new product you have two options
1) Insert a new product
Lets you enter in new product data from scratch
2) Copy an existing product:
This copies an existing product that you select. You can then modify it with the new product specific data.
This is ideal for creating similar products to one you have already set up. just remember to change all the relevant details
Clicking ‘Insert’ / ‘Edit’ brings you to the product screen
Towards the top of the screen there are a couple of different tabs.
Special prices change the value of the product price to the new special price. Specials for a customer group will display the special price only if the customer is logged in as that group.
Click the ADD SPECIAL Button, then optionally select a customer group you want this special to apply to.
If you will offer multiple specials and/or discounts, enter 1 for this to be applied first, 2 for this to be applied second.
The price you want the customer to see.
When you want this special price to appear.
When you want this special price to disappear.
There are many among us who started online marketing in a time where social media was still not a requirement of being online, and certainly not of running a business. Now, even the smallest of freelancers know that interacting with and going after clients on social media can mean a huge boon to their bottom line.
That said, it could be really easy to just try and be ‘everywhere’ and then not end up actually getting any traction on the platform we choose. Let’s be honest here, social media platforms come and go, and the ones that are popular are crowded, while the ones that aren’t overcrowded yet are a risk because they never will be. New or old however, all social media platforms have certain types of content, and by extension people, that will do well on them. Further, different audiences tend to be in different places when spending time in the online social world, which is an important consideration. Let’s take a look at how you can break down a social platform’s viability for your business.
First of all, are your target customers even there? If your targets are middle-aged men, Pinterest is probably not going to be that valuable to you. While broad awareness is great, being good at social media takes a lot of time, and you want to be focusing that time in areas where it’s most likely to result in leads (right?). Evaluate the demographics of who spends their time on a platform and make sure there’s overlap with your target market.
Next, evaluate whether you will be good at producing the type of content that does well there. Depending on the platform you’re looking at, you can probably find a way to search for or hunt down posts that are popular and getting lots of engagement. These should give you an idea of what performs well. Take note of the format (picture, video, etc.), and also the content itself (what words are used? Are words used at all? Etc.).
Everyone has different skillsets, and if neither you nor anyone on your team has the skills to create great content of that particular type, it might be a tough journey for you. For example, if you’re not good at framing images or thinking up what makes a potentially mundane picture more interesting, then Instagram might not be a great place to be.
Finally, if you are good at creating the type of content you see as necessary on the channels you want to be on, you need to map out how much time you’ll have to dedicate it. People by and large follow the people who put the most time into creating the most interesting content, so it’s important to evaluate if you’ll be able to compete.
Granted you can meet all of those criteria, well, give yourself the green light and start making moves!
Recently, content marketing has been all the rage. It isn’t that it’s only now that content marketing is starting to be effective, but more so that larger, more traditional media and advertising powerhouses are finally starting to take the trend seriously.
Content marketing, for several years now, has been the true language of the blogging community, and the businesses who were smart enough to narrow in on and take advantage of these networks.
Content marketing itself rests on one of the founding principles that most of you reading this will understand: providing value before asking for it.
Content marketing also has major crossover with “relationship marketing,” which is what we’re going to get into today. Specifically, those who have worked with content marketing have also found value in maintaining a blog or similar platform to regularly share content with and grow their audiences through.
Guest blogging is the act of posting on someone else’s blog, largely in the hopes of getting some attention and exposure for your own web property. The problem, however, lies in how to reframe that goal in a way that it becomes mutually beneficial.
If it’s your first time trying to land a guest blogging gig, you need to understand that these relationships are all about leverage: What can you offer someone else? What are you getting in return? In order for your offer to write a piece for another blog (even if it’s really good) to be tempting, you need to make sure you frame it in the right way. Here are a few steps you can take to massively boost your chances of successfully integrating guest blogging into your content marketing strategy.
Identify blogs in your weight class or just above it. Look for blogs in your market than have similar audiences and are getting some social engagement and shares on their posts, but who are not yet massive.
Make contact in a helpful way. Do not just blurt out that you want a guest post and try and pitch cold via email. Instead, leave insight comments over a few days and interact with the blog owner on twitter or another social platform. Share their content to show you like it.
Make a careful pitch by asking permission via one of these platforms to reach out via email. Once you have the greenlight, send an email with your idea, and highlight why it would be well-received by their audience and what you will do to help share the piece and grow their blog.
Write something truly amazing. If you get the honor of having a guest post pitch accepted, do it justice and get invited back by really creating something special. Whatever time you put into researching and creating your own posts, double it. Go above and beyond and make an infographic or embedded slideshare to help out – that kind of thing.
Promote like your life depends on it in order to get the blog you’re working with the biggest return possible and show that partnering up with you was worthwhile.
Simple, yep. Easy? Well, you’ll be putting in some work, but it’s nearly always worth your time.