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Better SEO In Under One Hour: 2018 Edition

One of our most popular blog posts is ‘Better SEO In Less Than An Hour’ but almost six years later, there are other things we think are as important for making your site great (in less than an hour).

So mark off an hour in your calendar and tackle one (or some) of the items below… and we guarantee your website will be happier.

Reduce image sizes (and compress anything else possible).

Estimated Time: 15-45 minutes

Usually image and video files are taking up more room than you realize. Websites like videosmaller.com can be used to make videos 10-50% smaller without any noticeable quality loss online. Usually there are multiple images on your site that you forgot to resize before upload that can be compressed. Here are some tools that’ll let you do the job in bulk: https://mashable.com/2013/10/29/image-compressors/#fwSRDY1wAPqb

Smaller image files does two things: one it makes pages load faster for your visitors and mean you’ll keep your web hosting bill low over time. Compressing the images on my site saved me 236 MB of space!



Force site to load in HTTPS.

Estimated Time: 15 minutes

By adding a secure certificate to your site (check if your host is a LetsEncrypt provider and you could get one that renews itself yearly free!) and then make your pages load in HTTPS. We held off on doing this to GiftMDI.com (our ecommerce site) for awhile and when we did our Google Page Insights score jumped up 15 points immediately. (Do a before HTTPS and after test for yourself here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/)

Write unique titles and descriptions for all your pages.

Estimated Time: 5 minutes per page

Your page title and description are what shows up in search engine results, and seeing this allows people to decide if they should click on your website, or one of the other options. You can customize the title and description for pages, not just for Google but Facebook too. Wordpress has tools like All In One SEO and Yoast SEO for such tasks… and whatever website software you use will likely allow you to customize this as well for each of your pages.

Make as mobile friendly as possible. 

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes

Over half of most website visitors are on a mobile device. How does your website work on a mobile device? Google has a testing tool that you can run and gives you specific recommendations:  https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Find and fix broken links.

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes

Broken links are not just a bummer for search engines but for people too. You might have made a typo or you might have forgotten you changed a page title/link from /about to /about-us. Use a broken link checker (like this one: http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/) to find and fix any broken links, which will make your site work better.



Make sure your site hasn’t been hacked.

Estimated time: 5 – 15 minutes

By making a Google account and registering your site in Search Console, you can find any security issues your site may have. Bonus is it will alert you when there are issues in future.

Update your software (if applicable).

Estimated Time: 5 minutes

Keeping your website well running and secure means updating software regularly, especially if you run Wordpress. If you don’t want to do this yourself, we offer a very affordable updating service. But for real, it’s really important to keep your software updated. We’ve unhacked enough websites to know that 100% of the time, when we asked the person when the site was last updated, they couldn’t tell us.

All this to say there’s always SOMETHING you can do to improve your site… so take an hour and do what you can… and imagine how great your site would be if you took one hour a week and worked on making it amazing. 



How One of Our Old Blog Posts Still Gets a Ton of Views

One of our most popular blog posts of all time is “Pros and Cons of Snapchat for Business.” This was written back in 2014, when Snapchat was still fairly new for social media, and businesses were just beginning to figure out how to get in on the action. Of course, now Snapchat has evolved into a more complex beast that’s easier for businesses and brands to access…but this old post is still getting more views than most of our other blog posts, which is pretty fascinating.

In the graphic above, you can see the post has had almost 10,000 views in the course of it’s lifetime. It generates about 7% of our website’s traffic overall.

So how did we do this? We have some theories.

Write what no one is writing.

Back when the post was written, there wasn’t a lot of information about how businesses could use Snapchat, or even any real life examples of bigger brands doing it yet (if my memory serves me right, there were about 2-3). Part of my theory why the post was so popular is the scarcity of material on the subject. In other words, we hit a jackpot with finding a blog topic as it was just about to start trending. Sometimes this is a swing and a miss (for examples, check out this post), but the timing combined with the popularity of the topic worked in our favor.

Search engines are the ticket.

Google Analytics has this handy thing where you can see what source is driving traffic and as you can see, search engines are primarily it. We have read things like Google tends to like ‘longer’ blog posts (ex: not one paragraph), things like unique page titles/descriptions, and more. Somehow this post seems to have hit some search engine sweet spots.

Being conversational helps.

With new technology, it can be easy for people to feel intimidated. The blog post, if you go read it, is very conversational and I think making the topic more approachable made the blog post much more readable.

The funny thing is, if you told me this would be the case back when I wrote the post, I wouldn’t have believed you. This was back in my early days of blogging, I was only a couple months in at that point. Meaning, I’ve since found a groove that comes with a bit of confidence and a few more years under my belt.

Think about images.

The image I made for the post was responsible for at least some of the traffic (I’m pretty sure someone linked back to it about a month after the post was first written). (In case you haven’t seen the Snapchat logo, the tie is the part I added in).

If you look on Google images for “Snapchat for business” you’ll see we are on the second row (and I dare say were copied for our cool necktie idea).

If you are going to share a blog on Pinterest, or even want it to stand out more on Facebook, an image just make things work better, which is why we try to add one to each blog post.

Do I think this is the most fabulous thing we’ve ever written? Not really.
Does it just go to show you that one blog post can generate a lot of goodwill, even over years? Absolutely.

Marketing an Event with a Flyer: Some Thoughts

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a flyer tends to grab more attention (online and offline) than a block of text. That’s why visuals are now an almost vital step when marketing an online event. Whether you create a flyer yourself or have another person/business create something, the next step is sharing it online and offline.

“Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.” – Jesse Mawhinney for Hubspot

Some things to consider during flyer creation:

Shape, Size, Format: Different social media platforms will respond better to different shapes (i.e. square vs. rectangle). Although Instagram has been updated to handle rectangular shapes, it’s default is still square. The best advice I’ve heard (and applied) when creating a flyer for social media is saving it in a few different shapes for different platforms. The dimensions and sizes for featured images for all social media platforms change from year to year, and it’s worth double checking if you aren’t sure. No one wants to have their event flyer cut off in a weird place on the Facebook Event photo, right? (For 2016 social media image guidelines, check out this breakdown from Hubspot).

Share-ability: One litmus test that I’ve used in creating event material for Breaking Even and clients is simply “Would share this?” Although you’re using the image as your business, it helps to create something that others will in turn share on their own personal accounts and help promote things for you. It’s also just a generally decent way to gauge work, I’ve noticed.



Things to Consider As You Share:

Does your event have a hashtag? Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram all use hashtags, and it’s pretty common to create a hashtag to promote an event. As you share information and your flyer, make sure you share the hashtag, too. If your event isn’t big enough to have its own hashtag, think of using one popular in your geographic area or industry. Read our blog post about finding hashtags for help if you need it.

Can you tag the location? If you are hosting an event at a different venue (or even if it’s your own venue, really), tagging the venue in your post accomplishes a few things. First, it can increase exposure to a wider audience (i.e. on Facebook, people who like the venue will see the event). Second, it makes it easier for people to find the event, because they can directly explore from your event description. Sometimes people even look for events in their area… and if your event has a location, that’s one more way to come up in a search.

taglocationexample

For example, Breaking Even and Smart Datamap Services hosted this event at Anchorspace (which was separately tagged)

Where are you sharing? There are plenty of places online and offline to share an event flyer, the obvious being social media accounts. You will definitely want to make a page on your website and link to it in the flyer caption. This is also a great way to keep track of the number of people who view your event vs. sign up vs. show up, and use that information to shape future marketing efforts, and you have control over things like layout and registration. Community calendars are also a great (and usually free) place to share your event online. If you’re a member of a Chamber of Commerce or other organization, they may also be willing to share your event (with a flyer) on their websites. By looking over time and how people got to your event, you can decide if posting to X website and Y calendar are worth your time and proceed with future events accordingly.

As you create visuals to promote an event, keep your audience and intended social media platforms in mind. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create a decent looking event flyer! Our May theme for the blog will help you along the way with some tips on flyer distribution and creation. Stay tuned for more next week!

 

Tech Thursday: Doing More With Images On Social Media

We all know images are great for websites like Facebook and Pinterest, but are you using them in the best way possible?

Here are a few tips that will allow you to spend five extra minutes and get much better results from your marketing efforts!

Meme Week: Pinterest Maybe

Hey I tried to pin you, and this is crazy, that website has no images, so upload one maybe.

Love To Pinterest: Three How-To Videos

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

Pinterest is the latest and greatest website in social networking. It is driving major traffic to ecommerce sites (more than Youtube, LinkedIn, and Google+, combined) and is growing at an almost unprecedented rate.

This first video is a basic how-to use Pinterest and includes information about how Pinterest drives traffic to websites (using breakingeveninc.com’s Google Analytics data as an example):

Tour of Pinterest, Part 1: Pinwhat? from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This second video shows how you can ‘pin’ items from any website (including yours) to your boards on Pinterest and a little trick of how Ecommerce sites can promote what they are selling:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 2: Adding To Your Pinterest Profile from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This third video shows how some businesses and non-profits are using Pinterest and maybe give you ideas on how to use it yourself to drive traffic to your website and interest in what you’re doing:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 3: How Businesses and Non-Profits Are Using Pinterest from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

Are you on Pinterest? Seen any great examples of people, businesses, or non-profits using Pinterest? Comment below and let me know!

More reading:

Why Pinterest is 2012’s Hottest Website (on CNN)

Why Pinterest Gets One Billion Monthly Page Views (on Business Insider)

Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Retailers Infographic (on Mashable)

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