Top SEO influencers to follow in 2018

This month we were lucky enough to publish a guest blog post on Cyberclick, an online marketing company. Our article focused on top SEO influencers to follow in 2018. Check out the full article here.

How To Get More People Reading Your Blog And Why This Matters
Image credit: Pixabay

A blog on your company website can help you attract a wider audience to your brand while building credibility. All you have to do is get people reading your blog. It sounds simple enough, right?

Once you get the ball rolling, a blog can work wonders; the hard part is setting off in the first place. If you’re not getting the engagement you think you deserve, it could be because you aren’t pitching it right.

That’s why we have compiled these quick tips to getting more views for your blog. Follow them and your blog could soon be snowballing to success…

Keep your content relevant

It should go without saying that your blog posts should be relevant to what your company does. If you bake cakes, it’s probably best not to start talking about the best way to kill household vermin. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to see what people come up with when they start to run out of steam!

Start with the basics: how, what, where, when and why.

Answer the questions that you think your customer will be asking. Write about what they would want to come to you about in the first place: for example, a furniture restorer might write about restoring a dog-chewed table. It shows what types of jobs you do, as well as how well you can do it!

On days when inspiration doesn’t strike, don’t be afraid about going over old territory. Share stories of similar work you’ve done, or go into more detail on a topic you’ve already talked about.

On a company blog, readers are coming to you for information on how you can help them.

Hit the mark with your topic

A great way to see what you should be writing about is to think about what your customers are searching for.

The whole idea behind a blog is to draw people to your website through search engines and social media, so you need to show them what they want to see.

Google Trends is a great tool to use when coming up with topics. You can see how popular a search term is over a given time period as well as what areas it has been most popular it is.

For coming up with ideas, type in a general topic and scroll down to where it says ‘related queries’. This will help you to see what people have been searching for, to give you an idea of how to help them.

To see how niche your topic is, just perform a simple Google search to see if anyone else has already written what you have.

It’s okay to go over similar ground, but it’s best to try and find a way to be better than your competitors. To do this, try to add another layer to your topic. For example, instead of writing about ‘how to crochet’, write about ‘how to crochet with thick yarn’.

How To Get More People Reading Your Blog And Why This Matters
Image credit: Google Trends

It’s worth having a mix of short-term and long-term (or ‘evergreen’) content.

Each post on the internet has a lifespan. For Twitter, it’s around 2 hours; on Facebook, it’s roughly 3.

Blog posts depend on the topic. You can write about up-to-date topical matters to generate a lot of views over a long period of time. Evergreen content, however, is designed to be SEO optimized so that people keep clicking on it and reading it — possibly for the next few years.

Optimise your posts

Many people forget the basics of blogging: to maximize your readership, you need to optimise your posts. This means it not only needs to contain the right information, be the right length AND hit the right SEO marks. You also need to post regularly.

Everyone on the internet agrees that the length of your posts is important, they just can’t agree what that length should actually be. You’ll see advice that tells you your posts should be anything from 200 to 2000 words long.

What we know is that 69% of professional bloggers are writing posts that are longer than 1,000 words.

Additionally, according to CopyPress, long-form content outperforms short form content by around 40.54%.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit daunted by writing huge posts each time. Start off with shorter posts to ease yourself and get familiar with your topics and writing about them.

Aim for around 750-1000 words to start off, then check to see how the content performs on your analytics. If you’re finding that you are underperforming, try to adjust the length of your posts to find something that works.

When we say you need to post regularly, we don’t mean every hour, day or week — we just mean that you need to be consistent.

For some reason across the internet, people have decided that there is some kind of golden number of posts per month you need to put out in order to maximize your readership. This isn’t true! Of course more posts are more likely to get you a bigger audience, however, it’s no use posting 20 times a month if these readers aren’t generating sales.

Analytics will be your best friend, so it’s vital that you set up an account before you get started. Keep an eye on what works for you and what doesn’t.

Include images in your posts

It’s sad but true — people are lazy when it comes to reading online content. There are plenty of interesting, attention-grabbing, easy-reading blog posts out there. So why would they read something that looks time-consuming and dull?

Including images in your posts is a great way of capturing your audience’s attention and conveying your message in another medium. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

They also break up your content, making your post easier to digest for readers. Nobody wants a wall of text!

When you’re deciding which images to include in your post, there are a few things you need to remember. Firstly, as with your content, your images must be relevant. They need to support your text and add value to your post — so they must match up with your topic.

Secondly, you should avoid poor quality, blurry images. Bad images are detrimental to your blog, as they make you look lazy and unprofessional. Always use sharp, high-quality images.

If you want appropriate photos but you’re on a budget, then take a look at some high-quality stock image sites like Burst. You can pick up photos that look natural (and instagrammable!) to illustrate your post.

You can also use online tools like Canva to edit images and make them your own by adding your own branding and colour pallet. You might like to create infographics to illustrate any stats you’ve used in your post too.

Be proactive with social and emails

To really get more people reading your blog, you need to advertise it on more than just search engines. Social media and email marketing will help you to catch people’s eyes and draw them to your content.

Email marketing is an underestimated tool when it comes to blogging. You can compile and manage an email list according to your needs, and send out emails with either a single link or multiple on the same topic.

Create an email marketing campaign: this will help you to build relationships with your readers and generate leads. (And if you’re not sure how to go about this, use an email marketing tool to help you plan your campaign and bulk-send automated emails).

Need more inspiration? Check out this great post on fostering engagement on social media for inspiration.

Send out emails with a frequency that matches how often you post. If you’re not posting weekly, there’s no point in sending out a weekly newsletter. Try not to bombard your readers – monthly or bi-monthly should be enough to make an impact.

Share each post on your social channels too, using the relevant hashtags and media. Don’t be afraid to share posts more than once using different captions and pictures to maximize the number of impressions you can get.

If you’re worried about not having enough time to keep up with regular posting and responses, then you should definitely get a social media marketing tool like Buffer. It’ll help you schedule posts and come up with a content calendar, as well as monitoring engagement and when your users are most active.

Conclusion

Use all the tools available to you and you’ll be able to grow the readership of your blog.

Email marketing, analytics and Google Trends are all things you should be using to create the best blog you can. Many bloggers and companies take the approach of ‘if you build it, they will come’; unfortunately, you’re going to have to be a bit more proactive than that.

Work hard, use our advice and you will see results!

About the Author:

Victoria Greene

Victoria Greene is a  freelance writer and branding consultant with a passion for ecommerce business. Check out her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, for all the latest on developments in ecommerce, marketing, and design.

How To Analyze And Boost the Speed of WP Websites

There are plenty of reasons WordPress is the most popular CMS out there, one of them being the fact that you can easily tweak your site and make minor fixes even with limited coding skills.

However, just like any other platform, it has its own peculiarities which you need to know how to deal with. Since a virtually seamless page loading speed is universally coveted, regardless of the kind of site you have, we thought you might enjoy a piece on website speed and all its trapping, so here goes:

The importance of page loading times

If you have even dabbled in SEO, you know that there is a lot of disagreement when it comes to ranking factors – how important each of them is, and even what is or isn’t a ranking factor. Page loading speed, on the other hand, was never a focus of such a debate, as even the people who can rarely agree on anything , unanimously declare it one of the essential factors in Google’s deliberation on how to position you in search results.

This is hardly surprising when you take a look at the average attention spans of audiences during the last couple of years. While available estimates can’t be too precise, the rate at which they have been dropping from somewhere around 12 seconds just a couple of years ago, to 6 or 8 seconds today, depending on the source you choose to trust, it becomes obvious that your site’s visitors are not going to hang around waiting for your pages to finish loading.

So, you can lose a lead right at the gates of conversion, and your reputation perhaps suffers a minor blow, but that’s not even the beginning of your troubles. Aside from page speed being directly observed by Google when crawling your website, and lowering your rankings and perhaps even crawl frequency, the consequences of your site’s lagging don’t stop there. Aside from page loading speed, Google also observes engagement metrics like, you’ve guessed it, bounce rates.

This means that you will not only be exposed to fewer potential customers because of your subpar rankings, the ones that do manage to find you but lose patience as soon as they reach you, will bounce, and instead of converting just drive you further down the sinkhole.

Luckily, improving the page loading speed of your WordPress website doesn’t have to be the least bit of a problem if you have the right tools and the right know-how.

The tool belt

While the Google Page Speed Insights utility does come from one of the most authoritative sources on the subject, it, just like its creator, seems to be interested primarily in domains which are ranked relatively high. Regardless, using it is free, so there is no reason not to give it a try when analyzing your website.

An alternative that we would like to recommend (which is also free) is GTMetrix, as it covers most of the same issues, but seems less concerned with your current position in SERPs or domain authority. This handy utility allows you to choose the location of the server that will be doing the testing, meaning that, as long as you set it to use one close to the one that your audience is likely to be using, you will get more accurate results.

After that initial setup, GTMetrix will provide you with a host of important information, including the score your site would achieve in the previously mentioned Google Page Speed Insights, YSlow Optimization score, time to full page load, page size, and the number of HTTPS requests that need to be carried out before your site is loaded. Aside from giving you a list of problems individual pages are having, it also makes it easy for you to identify those pages, by giving you a breakdown of all of your page’s loading times, making it very easy to find the ones which seem to be performing the worst.

Most of the time, either of these tools (or you can go for Pingdom, if you really don’t care for either of the other two) will, along with listing the issue, also give you a suggestion on how to fix it, but that is not to say that you shouldn’t learn a bit about this kind of optimization on your own.

What to do next?

Depending on the results of the analysis you might need to make minor or major changes to your site. Even if you don’t need a complete site overhaul, we suggest creating a backup (which you should do regularly anyway) before proceeding to tamper with anything.

Likewise, just because the mentioned tools are quite adept at the detection of different issues it doesn’t mean they can find absolutely everything that is wrong with your website. Your site could be suffering because of a faulty theme, too many plugins, or a number of other issues that can’t be detected any other way than through direct, manual canvassing and analysis.

The next two chapters will cover some of those issues in detail, just remember to check your site’s speed before and after making larger changes, so that you can be sure that you are on the right track.

Overall technical aspects

How To Analyze And Boost the Speed of WP Websites

While some of the required changes will be page-specific, others have more to do with your site as a whole, and those are the ones we’ll start with.

  1. WordPress update – starting from the basics: not updating your version of WordPress regularly will eventually land you in much bigger trouble than just having sluggish pages.
  2. Hosting – shared hosting, low bandwidth or storage, as well as servers located far from your target audience, can all have a devastating influence. Again, while this is a major factor in your page loading speed, inadequate hosting can cause a range of other problems for you, which is why you should never skimp on this part of your website.
  3. Content Delivery Networks – if you opted for cloud hosting, you might not need this, but CDNs might be a good idea regardless of the hosting type. These networks store your content on servers around the world, so if you, for instance, have a global audience, or want to cater to groups of people in different parts of the world, CDNs ensure that wherever they are when trying to access your website, your visitors are getting the best possible loading times.
  4. Caching – one of the best ways to improve your site’s speed is enabling browser caching, which means that your visitors will store some of your site’s files on their computer the first time they visit it, making every subsequent loading faster than that initial one.
  5. Plugins – you can have too many of them, or you can have a couple of dysfunctional ones, whichever the case, they aren’t doing you any favors. Luckily, there are those that could. So, after checking all of your existing plugins, you might want to think about installing some that could actually help you speed your site up. From enabling caching to allowing for GZIP compression, plugins can be a lifesaver, just don’t forget the first part of this paragraph: just because a plugin was built to help with page loading times, if it malfunctions or if you try to add it to an already overcrowded website, it might do more harm than good.
  6. Clutter – While WordPress is optimized to require little maintenance, there are certain areas where you still have to keep your eye out, and post revisions are one of those areas. Make sure to check how many drafts of your posts are being saved, and make sure to set that number to no more than four.

Page-specific improvements

Once you have taken care of the more general issues your site is having, it’s time to take a look at the individual pages. Some of the most important things to investigate and adapt include:

  • Images – probably the most common offender, there are a number of ways for them to make your life difficult. First of all, images add HTTP requests to your site, so their sheer number can be an issue on its own. If this wasn’t reason enough to remove any images that are not essential to the site’s aesthetics or narrative, their size can sometimes be a problem of its own. While some sites need high-quality images, those that could do fine with those of lower quality should definitely think about minifying them. Don’t forget to make them SEO-friendly as well, as this will be helping crawlers get their bearings while visiting your site.
  • Videos – another huge resource drain, while video is one of the favorite formats of today’s reading-averse audiences, they can significantly lower your page loading times. Luckily, you don’t have to completely forego the use of video materials on your site, just make sure that you are not uploading them directly to your site, but simply embedding them, while they are still hosted with their original source.
  • Javascript and other page elements – CSS and Javascript files are practically unavoidable, but can also be optimized for efficiency. Combining and compressing these files lowers the number of HTTP requests, which is, again, one of the best ways to speed up your site.
  • Break up pages – regardless of how optimized their elements are, pages can simply have too many of them to work properly. In those cases, it might be for the best if you split those pages into two or more faster ones. The same goes for comments – there’s no reason to show them all in one section when you can make the comment area expandable, and only show the topmost ones.

Conclusion

Regardless of its type, your site is there for its visitors, and if they can’t use it the way it suits them, you can’t expect them to linger on when there are so many similar sites around. That’s why page loading speed is one of the most important metrics you need to focus on, and why it might make all your other efforts insignificant. Fortunately, making improvements in this regard is not too difficult, and can involve anything from image minification or removal, file compression and caching, to a change of hosting and improving the layout of specific pages. Most of this can be done with the help of free, reliable tools, which means that there is absolutely no excuse not to analyze your WordPress site today, and see if there is anything you can do to improve its speed.

About the Author:

Michael DeaneMichael has been working in marketing for almost a decade – and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing, and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle, or catch up with him on Twitter.

5 Melbourne Businesses With Great Website Content
Image credit: Pixabay

The digital marketplace isn’t kind to below-par websites, with the process of natural selection soon weeding out the laggards — and the standards get higher in a hotly-competitive environment like Melbourne. Since it’s the world’s most liveable city, it’s no surprise that businesses are clamouring eagerly to establish themselves as area favourites.

And while there are plenty of factors that differentiate websites, content quality always has a major role to play. You can carefully tune the loading times, polish the animations, and have hundreds of unique pages, but it won’t help much if you’re getting the content basics wrong.

In this piece, we’re going to look at 5 distinct content elements and highlight a separate Melbourne business for each one. Let’s get started.

Blog: Calibre

As a clothing store, Calibre stocks roughly what you’d expect with excellent presentation, but its blog is a particular standout. Split by default into “HOW TO” and “CAMPAIGNS” sections, each one does exactly what it’s supposed to: the former covers a range of practical guides on everything from wearing leather jackets to choosing a matching tie, and the latter keeps the text copy to a minimum while focusing on embedded videos and images.

5 Melbourne Businesses With Great Website Content

What Calibre clearly understands is that a blog needs to serve a purpose. Instead of providing general updates on the business or unoriginal commentary pieces, it sticks to actionable posts that have natural ranking potential by virtue of answering frequently-asked questions.

Product Descriptions: Boost Juice

The best thing about the drink descriptions on the Boost Juice website is that they’re pointedly dissimilar to what you might reasonably anticipate. Comestibles and scented products (anything sensory, really) tend to attract purple prose in the form of rich and flowery sales rhetoric, and it can work well, but often it simply feels generic. Not so with the Boost Juice descriptions.

5 Melbourne Businesses With Great Website Content

Instead of text chunks, you get attractive and energetic visuals that sprout around your cursor as you browse — and when you click on a product, you get ingredients and nutrition information. That’s it. There’s really no need for any persuasive language, because all the persuasion is handled by the visuals.

Title Tags: Patricia Coffee

Let’s mentally revise the word “tags” to “tag” here, because the Patricia Coffee has just one title tag… because it has just one page. And there isn’t much to it. But that’s really the key of title tags when it comes to SEO and usability in general. There’s no great artistic ceiling for title tags, and you’re not going to win sales purely through innovative titles — it’s all about nailing the basics, and that’s exactly what we have here.

The title is “Patricia Coffee Brewers | Cnr Little Bourke & Little William St. Melbourne”. It covers the name of the business (which features the nature of the business) and the location, and that’s all it needs to do. The page itself features map, Twitter and Tumblr links alongside opening hours, and nothing more. Since it’s a business that stands or falls on its reputation and word-of-mouth buzz, all it needs to do online is be findable. Job done.

Meta Descriptions: No35 Restaurant

If your website manages to rank in the middle of numerous options, having a great meta description can give it the edge it needs to earn a click, but quite often Google simply chooses not to use meta descriptions because it feels it can do better. Well, when I found the No35 Restaurant in Google, it had exactly the description listed on the page — no surprise, because it’s completely solid: “No35 restaurant offers sophisticated modern dining surrounded by contemporary artwork and breathtaking views of Melbourne CBD”.

It covers everything important: the name of the business, what it provides, and the context in which it provides it. Perhaps most important, it doesn’t try too hard. It doesn’t implore the reader to try the business or offer any deals that wouldn’t really fit an upmarket restaurant. It simply and confidently confirms what you likely already expected.

Style: Style Sourcebook

The concept of style may have a lot of intangible elements, but it’s easy enough to spot style when it’s present — and while the name may be something of a hint anyway, I think it’s more than fair to say that Style Sourcebook lives up to it.

5 Melbourne Businesses With Great Website Content

What I really like about Style Sourcebook is the way in which it combines negative space (very important for ecommerce — take a look at the top Australian business listings and you’ll see a lot of white spacing) with a modular feel. The hero image products jostle around as you move the cursor, and the lead mood board feature lets you drag, drop and resize products to create a unique arrangement you can use for inspiration. Those arrangements then get featured on the site for others to see, ingeniously bringing in user-generated content to keep things fresh.

Conclusion

These 5 websites from Melbourne-based businesses use content very well but in entirely different ways. It really goes to show that there’s no one set formula for making a great website — it’s all about finding the best to implement best practices while maintaining a unique flair that sets you apart.

About the Author:

Victoria Greene

Victoria Greene is a freelancer writer who lends her ecommerce marketing expertise to businesses and websites across the globe. She loves talking about online retail almost as much as she does engaging in it. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.