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The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Can You Get Fully Automated Pages to Rank in Google

Every SEO has had the dream of putting up a website and it ranks with little effort, we know that we certainly have.

Well Chedders and I are trying to achieve just that. Our goal is to build a platform that provides a quality experience to the user yet we never touch a single specific page. We’ve had some great progress so far, but we’ve certainly got an interesting challenge ahead of us.

Before we get into the details, here’s a bit about us:

Chedders (Chris Chedgzoy):

Currently has 2154 posts on the SEO Chat forums.

Has been a developer since the 80s, ran a large directory site and a few other projects of scale.

He’s made tools such as Page Explorer and generally is up for giving anything a go.

Notable Skills:

SEO Development

Myself (Thomas Harvey):

Currently has 1186 posts on the SEO Chat forums.

I’ve been working with most aspects of websites/digital marketing for about 6 years.

Currently working with a tv shopping channel advising on their SEO campaigns and helping their international presence.

Notable Skills:

SEO Conversion Optimisation eCommerce Affiliate Marketing Social Media

Now that the introduction is out the way, lets get on with the interesting stuff.

The Theory:

Chris loves working with data, he’s the kind of guy that the bigger the problem the happier he is. So, after talking a lot we wondered if we could rank for as much as possible with as little work. I’ve personally always meddled with affiliate marketing. So we thought, well how could we combine the two. After a while of brainstorming we settled on a product searching site.

It was the perfect thing for us. We would be able to utilise our skills and also be able to do tests on a massive scale. Such as changing thousands of pages to see if there’s a change in rankings, for example, removing the h1 tags on every single page, and seeing the impact. It’s a great way we can test any theory we will have, it will also mean that any of you interested we’ll be able to test your theories and report back on them too.

The Practical:

With the idea being decided upon, Chris got to work coding, we decided to go with the domain because it’s short and memorable.

After tying it up to a few product feeds (and a small site called eBay) we then had to tackle the problem of how we were going to actually get the pages indexed when we had no form of navigation through the site and we could search for any product in existence and we would have results.

So we used a feature that isn’t utilised a lot and really is an afterthought for a lot of people. We used a sitemap, after playing with a couple of tools to generate a small sample (2000 keywords) from a few sources (serpstat and semrush). We uploaded the sitemap.

We saw results within 24 hours. We had gone from no pages indexed to 371 pages. It hasn’t stopped there, this is what we see now for a query in Google.

It’s started to drive small amounts of traffic (~50 users in a few days) which we were expecting the numbers to be small for this sample. As after all, the query page currently looks like this:

We know, it looks horrible. We’re actually working on improving the quality of the data and making the search results more relevant (due to multiple sources etc). It will be improving quickly, here’s a link for this page if anybody is interested:

The Challenges:

We’ve launched, we’ve got some data and we’ve got some rankings. Here’s a few hurdles we’ve got to overcome:

Is it possible to scale this while still getting a good indexation rate. What’s the best way to find new things to add to the sitemap The Interesting Bits:

These are the parts that I think a lot of SEOs will be interested to know. These are things we don’t know ourselves but we’re looking to answer.

Can automated pages rank in search engines?

So far, we’ve been indexed and had some rankings. So yes, they can. Scaling and improving rankings however, that’ll be a whole different story.

Can we add value to these pages on a large scale?

We’re looking into adding things for specific brands. So if a search result has a specific brand it pulls up specific content to display underneath the filters.

Does site speed really have an impact on ranking?

We’ve had a lot of debates on this over the past couple of years. We’re looking for an answer to this.

How much impact does the h1/h2 tags actually have (and other things like that)

We want to know how much the "standard" SEO techniques have an impact

Is there really a difference between underscores and hyphens in urls

Again, it’s discussed but never really seen any tests.

We’ll be trying to do as many of these tests as possible and updating them here. Got anything you want us to try just let us know in the comments.

The post Can You Get Fully Automated Pages to Rank in Google appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Can You Get Fully Automated Pages to Rank in Google | 5 Oct 2016, 3:06 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - How to Monetize Your Blog Like a Pro

Last year, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton (Mario Lavandeira) earned an astonishing $15,000 in daily income, as his website gained a value of $2.66 million. Tech Crunch, starting out as a blog, has become a viable brand, worth $10.82 million.

Blogging has become an industry in itself. Once upon a time it was a platform for personal journalling, but over the years blogs have gained legitimacy, visibility and power on the web and beyond it. As you can see, one of the changes has been the fact that you can make real money blogging, even without becoming a major information powerhouse.

If you have thought about monetizing your website, here are some tips to help you get started.

Get Your Toolbox in Order

Whichever method (or methods) below you pick, the key is to use the right tools to organize the process well. Here are just a few good ones to consider:

Google Analytics is a necessary evil for properly monitoring your traffic sources Register an account at ShareASale. That’s an affiliate marketing network that will connect you to quite a few cool programs If you are going to be creating and selling a product or a service, make sure to use a sales management platform to organize leads properly. Salemate is a good affordable option

Don’t Begin Right Away

This is an unpopular opinion with some, but the truth. It might seem like a good idea to immediately start trying to monetize a blog you’ve just started. But in the beginning you won’t have any traffic to drive profit.

The exception to this rule is if you already have a viable brand and are expanding it to include a blog for engagement and social marketing. In which case the traffic will come from your initial site, and monetizing right away makes sense. If not, focus on building that blog before you think about making money from it.

Join AdSense

Google AdSense is an important tool for anyone seeking to monetize their website. They provide both text and image ads, and usually the image ads attract the most attention and lead to the most clicks.

Of course, this is dependent on your traffic, as most people will not click through to ads. But the payout is decent, it adds up over time, and they are a trusted source for such a program. Other ad programs exist, but none come as highly recommended.

Use Affiliate Programs

Affiliates are going to be one of your greatest sources of income. Whether someone is promoting your product, or you are promoting someone elses, even small payouts will lead to a decent payout over time.

The more momentum a program gains, the more passive income you will start to make. You would be surprised by the numbers and the way they build after the first six months, and especially after the first year.

You can also offer your blog to companies of products you commonly buy and enjoy. Many will pay several hundred dollars for a solid review on a well established site.

Don’t forget that for both affiliate links and sponsored reviews you should use a proper disclaimer not to lose your readers’ trust and to be in-line with the US laws (and Google).

Optimize Your Search Ranking

You have to come up high in a search if you want to bring in the traffic that will inevitably up your income.

Since no one goes to the second page of Google, you have to have a good market share on certain keywords, and optimize your blog using that data. Invest in market research to find the best keywords that you can use, both long and short tailed, to improve your SEO.

Open a Shop

Having a shop only works for some people, as often a niche won’t really apply to a product series very well. But even selling mugs to those who might want to help support your site can be beneficial.

Try and create products that relate well to your niche, however, and don’t be afraid to take advantage of inside jokes and references that you have built with your followers over time.

Release an Ebook

Ebooks are big, and they have plenty of uses. They don’t bring in a lot of money, however, which can be a problem unless you have the status in your industry to be able to charge a higher price for a download.

Most people will offer them cheap or free, and use it to improve their visibility and draw people to their blog, thereby improving their other income possibilities. It will ultimately depend on you.

Example: The Lost Girls knew that and wrote an excellent book about their travels that has gotten great reviews. Both ebooks and self publication are potential routes for this goal.

Become a Speaker or Consultant

Are you now fairly well known? Have some street cred in your niche? Then start using your blog as a platform for finding guest speaker or consulting opportunities. You can earn thousands doing this.

Offer Freelancing Services

Your blog can act as a kind of portfolio, showing off your writings skills, nature and passion. That makes it a great opportunity to attract other people who want you to write for them.

Occasionally you will want to write a free guest blog post to promote your site. But otherwise you can offer your writing for pay, advertising yourself both through your blog and on sites like oDesk.

Start a Class or Series

Want something a little more hands on or creative? Then why not run a class or webinar series from your blog? People will pay good money for a well organized class, and you can offer the world your knowledge while improving your own financial stability. Everyone wins.

Udemy is the perfect place to start an online course and you can sell it through the platform too! Another great tool is Google Helpouts.

It might seem like a heavy task, and too good to be true. But you can genuinely turn your website into a profitable one, even if it takes time. You just need to know how to do it. Here are some tips and tricks for people who have managed to boost their regular traffic and are now looking to capitalize on that growing popularity

To get inspired, see this list of indie blogs that pay for a living.

Have some tips for monetizing your blog? Questions? Let us know in the comments

The post How to Monetize Your Blog Like a Pro appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | How to Monetize Your Blog Like a Pro | 30 Sep 2016, 11:03 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Why You Should Have Less Marketing In Your Content Marketing

Ultimately, the key to modern content marketing is starting from a place of informing your audience. How many times would you want to hear about the perks of your product? If you’re boring yourself as you’re writing your blog post, your audience is already gone.

Schedule a personal profile, a day-in-the-office piece, or some innovative method of using your product that your customers haven’t considered yet.

With marketing right there in the name, it seems obvious that your content marketing is going to include some, well, marketing. And of course, occasionally you’re going to mention the product you offer or the services you want people to buy. But if every single piece of content you offer ends with a marketing pitch or for the purpose of building links, you’re not going to see the sales you want. Let’s talk about why.

Diversity of Content is Key

If there ever was a time when customers made the choice to buy based on a single piece of marketing, that time has passed. With more choices than ever before, customers exhaust many avenues of research before settling on a single product or company. The more kinds of content you offer, the better chance you have of engaging with them.

How-to videos, FAQs, customer testimonials, and articles about industry developments relevant to your product are all key content pieces that move the needle from “undecided” towards “sold.”

Millennials Know When They’re Being Sold To

In many classic marketing schemes, companies almost pretended that they weren’t selling anything. Ads featured brand X and brand Y, only revealing at the last moment that they were recommending something completely different. Modern television ads are full of commercials that never tout the actual benefits of the car or phone they’re advertising, just show a movie star driving around a closed course or showing simulated screen images.

Having grown up with this sort of marketing at their fingertips, Millennials have incredibly canny at understanding when someone is selling to them, and understanding what is, and what is not, being said.

Content marketing works, but marketing to Millennials requires a different sort of communication than marketing to their elders. They expect to get information on your blog, not a sales pitch.

Inside scoops on how the product came to market, a day in the life of your sales team, and the way your company is looking to change the world are all going to make much more of an impact than another story about why they should buy your product.

Millennials Have An Incredible Amount of Buying Power

Some companies may believe that reaching the age-group between 17 and 34 years old is optional, but any company that wants to be profitable cannot afford to leave these people behind. Millennials are expected to spend $200 billion a year, beginning next year, and $10 trillion over their lifetimes.

This is more than any previous consumer generation. Companies that focus only on older marketing methods and older generations will, by definition, find their customer base decreasing year over year.

Customers Of All Ages Respond More To Other Types of Content

Every marketing expert agrees that reaching Millennials means having active and fruitful social media channels, but too many companies start a Facebook page and maybe an Instagram account and think their work is done.

In fact, understanding what makes a person likely to share a piece on social media can help a company develop content.

There are five primary reasons we share content:

To bring value and entertainment to our friends To define ourselves to our friends To grow and nourish our relationships To feel more involved in the world To support a cause

Knowing this, businesses should design content that fits at least one of these categories. For example, a smartphone company could write an article about five great places their phones are being used (entertainment and defining ourselves as people who might do these things) or how their phones are being used by disabled people to aid communication (to support a cause and feel more involved).

But Balance Is Key

Of course, at some point, you’re going to write some straight-up marketing pieces. Usually, these are great when there’s something new happening. A new product, a new service, a new edition, a big sale, or a once-in-a-product opportunity.

Many companies aspire to have a 70/30 split, where around 70 percent of content is “evergreen,” reflecting articles that customers might refer to time and time again, and 30 percent is “news,” reflecting on industry, product, and personnel news. Maintaining an editorial calendar can help a company make sure that they’re getting the balance about right.

The post Why You Should Have Less Marketing In Your Content Marketing appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Why You Should Have Less Marketing In Your Content Marketing | 29 Sep 2016, 1:26 am

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - The Visual Business: Instagram Insights and Curation Tools

According to RuthAnn Wiesner, "if content is king, then Instagram is its own castle". As to why Instagram matters that much for business, here is a list of reasons compiled by Socialbakers:

300million monthly active users (MAU) 75million daily active users (DAU) Top 25 Instagram brand profiles receive 110 times more engagement than on Twitter Over 1Billion Likes Daily 3,600 new photos shared every minute everyday Instagram Insights for Business

The visual platform itself is proving to be a good marketing tool for marketers and brands alike. As of August 2016, Instagram announced its release of Stories, aiming to take a swipe at Snapchat´s successful video messaging tool. In short, a platform that features plenty of opportunities for small and medium-sized business and just about any brand looking for a return on investment for their efforts.

Getting Your "Insta" Stories for Your Business

To get it up and running you need an "insta" business account. You can create one from scratch or upgrade your personal one. To upgrade, click the turn wheel icon in the upper right section of your profile and hit "switch". Warning: personal accounts can’t benefit from Stories at the moment.

Benefits of Insta Stories

Is there anything else besides the fresh social marketing perspective? You bet!

Stories allows your business account to be easily discovered by followers and non-followers. You also get access to Analytics, which gives a better insight to what works and what converts across your visual strategy.

Insta Tips and Tricks

It’s all about creating engagement and a sense of community with your followers. To do that, you need to transform your Instagram business channel into a visual storyteller. Here is what you can consider:

Show personality Less is more: keep it 80% non-business and just 20% products/services Have call to action elements Follow back and engage Comment on other users’ photos Tag customers for contests and celebrations Use hashtags Say thank you Don’t over-abuse the Direct Messaging options J The Greatness of Community

Additionally, photograph events and capture video with customers interacting with your products and services. Do not forget call to action elements such as life hacks, product reviews or suggestions for upcoming product launches, promotions and giveaways. Implicate your community members!

Getting Help from the Popular Kids

Follow back, engage and comment with #influencers of Instagram. Tagging users is a great conversation starter, however don’t overuse it.

There is no limit now for using hashtags, but don’t overdo it either, as it sends out the wrong message. Alas, keep the hashtags relevant. Don’t use only the hashtags that get massive clicks, but also the ones that get less, but more targeted traffic.  

Harnessing the Power of Instagram Photos

Instagram is all about the "instant" visual: image, video and now story. How you choose to tell your story is more relevant than you think. This blog post from Yotpo showcases the uniqueness of "insta" stories:

Instagram photos convert better than other types of visual content Instagram pics also convert because customer trust photos from previous customers Using Instagram has a positive effect on increasing e-comm conversion and engagement Instagram photos can be used in marketing materials Using Instagram photos allows you to repurpose valuable content, integrate user-generated content Additional Practices and Curation Tools

To get a grasp of how existing businesses are succeeding, first check the Business Instagram page. Proceed by giving a chance to either of these curation tools to help you filter through stories, or to create better, more appealing stories for your insta business.


This is an Android and iOS photo-editing mobile app with high quality filters, with a free download button. You can use this part social network and photo editing platform to really set yourself apart from the rest.


Available on both iOS and Android OS, this is more than just your average photo editing mobile app. You can fine-tune photos by applying effects with a brush instead of filtering the entire image. Extra: save groups of filters as a template after the initial use, and reuse them Shakira style, "whenever, wherever".  


This is an in-house Instagram goody, which allows you to create 1-second videos with no audio. Essentially super short GIFS that loop back and forth. Vinederful, in a way.

Before You Go…

Bottom line: Instagram is more than just a photo-editing & social sharing tool, proving that businesses can convert and strategize through the power of visual. One perfect example of insta success is National Geographic. Thanks to a large network of photographers their images never fail to tell a great story.

Not sure about your own Instagram marketing strategy? This infographic illustrates elements you can integrate for higher success rate.

Source: Techwyse

The post The Visual Business: Instagram Insights and Curation Tools appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | The Visual Business: Instagram Insights and Curation Tools | 27 Sep 2016, 5:43 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - 15 Things Your Business Should Avoid Doing on Social Media

With so many businesses now using social media marketing, those who haven’t yet caught on run the risk of being overlooked in an increasingly fast-moving culture of interconnectivity.

It is clear that social media is crucial for businesses, but using it successfully is a fine art – there are a distinct number of things you should avoid doing at all costs.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen mistakes that can turn an otherwise solid social media marketing campaign pear-shaped.   

1. Only sticking to Facebook Facebook is often the first social media platform that springs to mind, and, yes, you should definitely be using it. However, to fully maximise your audience, you need to diversify.

While Facebook is usually the most significant outlet for social media marketing, it’s far from the only place which will benefit your business.

There are a number of social media platforms that may be suited to your brand, such as LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.

2. Using too many networks at once Although you should be on platforms other than Facebook, having too many networks can be just as dicey.

You aren’t going to help increase traffic to your website by creating accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and SnapChat, only to let them gather dust because you’re not regularly managing them (and how are you actually going to find time to manage them all anyway?).

Instead, work out where your target market spends most of their time, and ensure that the platforms you use are industry-appropriate.

A pivotal thing to remember when fine-tuning your business’s approach to social media marketing is that not every social media platform will be suited to every type of business.

For example, a highly visual platform like Instagram is not going to be appropriate for a business that doesn’t provide visually oriented products or services – it won’t, for example, be suitable for an accounting firm.

Social media marketing is a delicate business, and effective use is not as easy as it looks. One inappropriately worded post can be actively detrimental to your business.

If you lack marketing expertise yourself, get in touch with a social media professional.

3. Not thinking before posting This has to be one of the biggest mistakes businesses make on social media, and can be hugely damaging.

The sense of immediacy and rapidity that comes with having a social media presence can be immensely beneficial to your business and the way you are able to connect with customers, but this can also result in the communication of poorly worded content and inappropriate messages.

This can be disastrous. And even if a bad post is soon deleted, chances are, someone has already seen it.

Avoid this by reading and then re-reading every potential post, and asking yourself whether the material is truly fitting with your brand and beneficial to your business.

4.  Forgetting to spell-check Poor spelling and grammar can look sloppy and unprofessional, and will drastically reduce the impact of otherwise great content.

Take care to read over and spell-check content before posting.

Fine details – and your ability to spot them – reflect heavily on you as a brand, and while they might seem like they’re not a hugely big deal, these are elements which people online love to point out.

5. Responding unprofessionally At some point, you will almost certainly encounter angry or upset people, because that’s simply what happens on social media.

However, it’s vital that you always engage in a respectful and polite manner. Even if you are being attacked, your responses should reflect the professionalism and integrity of your business.

Again, once it’s out there, you can’t take it back – a single unsuitable comment can be hugely damaging.

6. Being too casual One of the most effective ways in which social media enables you to connect with your audience is the easy, conversational forms of communication it fosters.

Engaging with customers in a casual, relaxed way is great for personalising and humanising your brand – social media marketing isn’t about stuffy formality.

However, there is such a thing as too casual. Avoid text-speak abbreviations – don’t use “u” instead of “you”, for example. Don’t swear. Don’t voice personal opinions about contentious subjects (religion or politics, for instance).

What you put out there can be fun and relaxed – and can certainly be a personalised reflection of the ways in which your business is unique – but ensure that you still maintain a sense of professionalism.

7. Leaving comments unattended It only takes one negative comment for things to start spinning wildly out of control. Don’t leave your comments unattended.

People tend to feel invalidated and unappreciated when they’re ignored, and trolls and hecklers who are left to their own devices will only become more and more difficult to handle.

It’s important to reply to all comments and complaints in a timely, professional manner.

8. Posting in a hurry Don’t be tempted by the ease with which news can be broken on social media.

Before you post, take a deep breath and think for a moment.

Is the message appropriate, given your brand, your target audience, and the kinds of goals you associate with your presence on social media (such as strengthening customer relationships and increasing your brand’s authenticity)?

If you are posting a link to a piece of news, is the source trustworthy?

Is the material actually legal to share?

Is it likely someone will be offended by it?

9. Cross-posting What may work in a medium like Facebook may not also work on Twitter, and vice versa.

And, put frankly, cross-posting also just has a tendency to look lazy, as though you simply could not be bothered tailoring the material accordingly. This reduces the impact of the content itself.

Ensure that you customise the content you post across each platform, and consider its compatibility with the platform itself. 

10. Hiding from negative comments If a customer posts a negative comment on your Facebook wall, don’t just delete it. And don’t simply refuse to engage with negative or controversial comments.

Firstly, you should value the criticism, because it could be a reflection of suboptimal business practices, and also of what other followers might be thinking.

Secondly, responding to comments like these is a valuable way in which you can provide transparent and effective customer service. Showing your audience that you are able to handle negative feedback or difficult situations when you are put on the spot is one of the many ways in which social media enables you, as a business, to take control over the way your brand is perceived.

11. Not using images Multiple studies have indicated that content that is accompanied by images or video is accepted at significantly higher engagement rates.

Social media is a highly interactive, visual medium, and it is very likely that your audience does not want to read content that consists solely of text.

Posts and tweets that have compelling, engaging image-based components will generate more “likes” than those without, and are far more likely to grab the attention of your audience.

Images are crucial to both promoting your website, and in cultivating your brand itself. They provide customers with evocative, vivid forms of what your products and services are all about.

12. Don’t neglect it A neglected profile is like a kiss of death for social media marketing.

Your updates should be regular and consistent. If you, say, post at a particular time of day, every day (or once a week – how frequently will depend on your following and the nature of your business), your followers will start to expect this, and will invest more trust in your brand as an industry leader. This kind of confidence won’t be inspired by sporadic updates.

13. Not taking ownership If your business is at fault, apologise. If someone has left a negative comment, reply to it – don’t avoid it.

Not only is this best practice in terms of successfully running your business, it will also serve to create a sense of brand confidence and trust, and offers up a form of transparent communication.

If situations that involve conflict of some sort are handled diplomatically and politely, and with a sense of responsibility, potential customers will see this as a display of integrity, not weakness.

14. Sharing too much information You want to be giving your audience enough to whet their appetites, but no more than that.

The content you post should therefore leave some questions unanswered, and should prompt a call to action.

Providing too much content can be as harmful as not providing enough – the right amount will titillate your followers, and leave them wanting more.

15. Being inexperienced Because social media tends to be the province of younger generations, those more experienced, senior members of your team may have less social networking expertise.

Furthermore, where these younger members of your workplace may have a stronger grip on social media practices, they might lack the professionalism that comes with decades of industry experience.

Ultimately, you should find a way to combine this tech-savvy freshness with more polished professionalism by ensuring that everyone on your team is on the same page in terms of social media marketing strategy, and in relation to the overall vision and values of your brand.

It is also worth considering hiring a professional who lives and breathes social media marketing – if you’re not sure what you’re doing, you can do your business more harm than good with just one poorly timed slip-up.

The post 15 Things Your Business Should Avoid Doing on Social Media appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | 15 Things Your Business Should Avoid Doing on Social Media | 26 Sep 2016, 5:01 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Your Blog with an Eye on the Needed SEO (Right from the Start)

We all know that we need to pay attention to SEO (search engine optimization) whether we are experts or not (or whether we want to be experts or not!). So, how do we start a new blog, equipped with the needed SEO foundations, without losing our head or losing our enjoyment of creating the blog?

Let’s discuss that!

A blog is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools you have at your disposal, but only if you know how to reach your target audience. Blogging is one of the quickest ways to increase your following and build your brand.

Even though there are millions of blogs online, it’s easy to make yours stand out even in the midst of the competition. In fact, even if you are like me and already have quite a few blogs online, that doesn’t mean that you cannot venture out and create yet another unique and brilliant blog!

We could probably sit down and list all of the fun aspects of the creation of that new blog, especially if it is one for which we feel passion. However, if no one is listening, it can get a bit lonely, eh? That is why it is so important to ensure that we are getting the word out, or more accurately, that we are drawing traffic to our blog, so that we have that audience.

By having that audience, it can help us to grow our passion even more and that will come out in the quality of the content that we produce on our blog. What is one of the most foundational aspects to growing that audience? It is ensuring that our blog is SEO optimized, right out of the starting gate.

Ok, have I really told you something that you don’t already know? After all, that is likely one of the reasons that you visit, eh?

Ok, back to our topic… we can always “get the word out” at intermittent, strategic, and/or consistent intervals (preferably), but if we don’t start with a blog that has the basics, when it comes to SEO, we have a lot more work ahead of us. And, who wants to work when we can be producing content with all that brilliant passion, instead?

So, let’s get it started correctly, eh? In other words, it is easier to work “smart” than to work “hard,” right?

Getting Started… First Steps

Getting your blog up and running is much easier than one may think. In less than 30 minutes, you can have your blog up and running. So, without further adieu, let’s have a look and see how we can set up a blog in a few quick steps. Then, we will come back and talk a bit more about that SEO.

Choosing a Platform or Approach

Deciding where you want to create your blog is step one. If you are looking to save money, is an option. By far, it’s the largest blogging platform in the world, with an endless array of plugins and add-ons. You pretty much have an infinite amount of choices when it comes to designing your blog. There is also an option to host a WordPress installation in a self-hosted environment.

To Host or Not to Host (Also, To Register or Not to Register… a Domain)

Before we go any further, you need to decide whether you want to self-host or go with a free alternative. While there are pros and cons of both options, take note that with a free service, you won’t be able to have your own domain name.

If you are just blogging for fun, that’s okay, but for businesses trying to make a name for themselves, it is much better to go with a paid service where you can “own” your domain. (Technically, you are registering a domain name and leasing it, but many times people confuse that with ownership and it is called “owning” a domain, in slang terms.)

Along with SEO, this (“owning of the domain”) can increase website traffic by leaps and bounds. You see, having your own domain establishes your brand and your credibility. It helps to build trust in your business.

Design Your Blog

Designing the blog is where you get to choose your theme. Before jumping in with both feet, think about your business and what type of vibe you want people to get when visiting your blog. While creativity is key, you want to make sure whichever theme you choose goes hand in hand with your product and/or the service you will provide.

Even if the service is “only” the delivery of content (no shame in that!), it is still a service and the delivery of the product of your digital content. So, keep that in mind when deciding what you want your site to look like.

For an excellent in-depth discussion of these topics, visit this article on setting up your blog: “How to Start a Blog.” Then, come back here and we will continue our discussion on getting those SEO foundational blocks in place.

SEO is King

After you have set up your blog and brainstormed some ideas of what you want to blog about, it’s time to hone in on SEO. Remember, we are still putting together the framework for our search engine optimization foundation even as we build our blog (site), so this is just the right time to do it, remember?

Like we said earlier, SEO is what brings visitors to your blog. It is what keeps the conversation going. It is essential to your success as a blogger, as a publisher of digital content.

To be successful at laying the SEO foundation, you need to think like a visitor.Powered By the Tweet This PluginTweet This

Due to the fact that every blog post you write actually becomes a web page, you need to make the most of the SEO opportunity. Write about keyword-rich topics that you would search for online if you were a consumer. SEO is far more than a few strategically placed words throughout your blog.

It is a matter of knowing which words to use, and when. It is also a case of knowing why these keywords and keyword phrases work so well (in drawing traffic). Now, use that knowledge!

The Successful Strategy and Use of Keywords

When used properly, keywords (and keyword phrases) should have the following characteristics:

They are only used a handful of times in your post. Overkill of keywords will only have your post flagged as spam by Google. They flow naturally throughout the conversation of the blog post. They are a combination of several words or a single word that directly relates to what you are blogging about in that post (or series of posts). Continuing Your Success

In the world of online marketing, your focus needs to be on developing a relationship with your visitors. Proper and strategic use of SEO can get the traffic to the site, but you also need to ensure that you keep your audience combing back to the blog/site for more brilliant and entertaining digital content.

This is done through your effective relationship-building process and keeping the conversation going. That is why a well-written blog combined with strategically placed keywords, combined with that personality of YOU, will help build your online reputation and over time, increase traffic to your website. It is like a well-oiled circle. Then again, who oils circles?

The post Your Blog with an Eye on the Needed SEO (Right from the Start) appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Your Blog with an Eye on the Needed SEO (Right from the Start) | 20 Sep 2016, 11:32 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Possible Google Mobile Update Causes Widespread Drop In Rankings

Few things can cause such a stir in the SEO world as a significant change in Google rankings, not least because such changes are so unusual. However, this is exactly what many commentators are reporting to have happened on 1st or 2nd September 2016. But what exactly has happened, and what does it mean for SEO professionals and businesses that rely heavily on their online traffic?

Was there a Google update?

While Google has not commented definitively, many experts are convinced that two different updates took place around the date in question.

The most significant was thought to be around core web search. A number of threads sprang into life on Twitter and other fora discussing significant changes in ranking, with sites seeing shifts of more than 100 places up or down from specific keyword searches.

The second issue was around local Google rankings, where similar SEO discussions reported the biggest change to local rankings that had been seen in a long time.

Google has not confirmed that any update took place at all, and this in itself is causing further debate within the general search community. What is certain is that something caused some significant changes to rankings and that it was seen across all industries and verticals.

Or was it something else? Ask Google!

If it was not an update, then what else could have caused this phenomenon?

Three days after all the excitement, Google reported that a system error dropped all Search Analytics data from 01 September to 06 September. But while some experts were still forming the words “That explains it!” others were quick to point out that this issue could not be related to the fluctuations in rankings.

Google also confirmed categorically that the rumoured update was not Penguin related. Google’s John Mueller stated on both YouTube and Twitter that Google is constantly updating, but that in terms of any update on 1st or 2nd September, Penguin could definitely be “ruled out” – the penguin is sleeping!

How much does it matter anyway?

While the updates, non-updates or system errors have provided plenty of fuel for speculation, some in the community feel that the whole thing is a non-issue.

Marketing professional and online commentator Larry Madill noted that the majority of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) results that he monitors returned close to their previous positions after a few days.

He felt that the incident followed a familiar pattern that he had seen many times before following an update (whether acknowledged as such or not). The phenomenon he reported was that the SERPS “get tossed around for about four days then slowly go back to normal.”

Bizarrely, Madill noted that it was the larger names in retail that took the biggest hits from the phenomenon, with companies such as Home Depot and Amazon losing several places on two significant SERPs.

This has led to some giving the phenomenon the nickname “The Big Brand Update.”

The only thing that is known for certain is that chatter was still rife long after the effects had all but disappeared.

The post Possible Google Mobile Update Causes Widespread Drop In Rankings appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Possible Google Mobile Update Causes Widespread Drop In Rankings | 13 Sep 2016, 5:40 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Branding Your Business in 2016: Quarter 4 Highlights

Branding has increasingly become more mobile-friendly, focusing on stronger online presence, increasingly more visual marketing and straight-on communication. With detail intuition being the closest thing to making an impact in your industry, the question is how to brand your business better and more efficiently?

Discussion points:

1.       Branding Yourself – the Highlights

1.1. Why You Should Create a Brand

2.       Tangible Brand Fundamentals

2.1. Visual Branding – Detail Intuition

2.2. Visual Identity through Design and Graphics

3. Marketing Highlights

1.     Branding Yourself – the Highlights

What is Branding to You?

Don’t panic if you don’t know the answer – that is why you are here. For a business, branding means adding personality to the "needle in the hay", and making it stand out. Simply put: you pick a name for your business and want people to recognize it locally, nationally and/or internationally.

1.1. Why You Should Create a Brand

There are at least 3 major reasons:

a)      You want to become visible and stand out from the rest

b)      You want to share your message with the world

c)       You want to sell: B2B, B2C, B2D* (*business-to-distribution channel), H2H* (human-to-human); because there is either a gap in the industry or competition isn’t delivering enough quality.

d)      Bonus: There is room for everyone. Or you just simply can!

2.       Tangible Branding Fundamentals

First off, a brand is a long-term commitment and like every commitment, it relies on "doability" (the ability to make and build), which does not happen overnight. Tangible elements refer to the actions we take to build a certain brand identity. These include:

Brand architecture Brand voice and tone Brand logo and visual vocabulary Brand security 2.1. Visual Branding – Detail Intuition

A few words on each. 

Brand architecture means mission and vision: what you promise to your customers, clients and fans and how will it serve them. 

Brand voice and tone is related to how you translate the brand to your brand consumers and potential consumers and in what way you wish to communicate your mission and vision to them (friendly, formal, business jargon, close communication, or a combination of all). 

Brand logo and visual vocabulary refers to the Typography used (i.e. Arial, Georgia, Times New Roman) in CAPS or Non-CAPS, the Fonts (Regular, Bold, Italic, mixture of two or more), the colors to define the visual identity (primary brand colors and brand accent colors), the Logo that allows the design to "breathe", the road from Mark to Trademark. Let’s not forget how details make the difference and include here the Minimum size display and the Clearness grid.

Notable enough, every brand should have a human face to display near an email signature.

Brand security and protection refers to domain name market registration and management solutions, as well as digital measures to ensure that your brand’s digital assets and identity are safe from harm (i.e. online theft).

Detail intuition combines all the resources and allows you to determine details in future trends. This enables companies to gain a real advantage in the way they position the brand, services and how they address potential customer needs.

2.2. Visual Identity through Design and Graphics

This is the focus part of building an online brand. Visual identity principles are closely related to the way we define the look and feel of a brand.

First off, every brand should have a "most recognizable" mark that represents the company: a typed drawing, a specific figure, an element in a deliberate font and color displayed in a series of renditions (each appropriate for every context). A rendition can contain just a logo or the trademark (when the case), additional words and phrasings such as "powered by", along with a tagline, in different sizes and patterns.

Contrast plays another role in how the visual identity stands out. Dark bold backgrounds can be the "make it or break it" point, and it all depends on the amount of good contrast and clear legibility between background color and the mark. A color-based or black version of a logo should only be used against light or white backgrounds, whereas a white or light color-based logo versions should only be used with dark or color-stroked backgrounds.

The Graphics also play a vital role, think of every social media profile, every picture on your blog, every banner, every infographic or graphic material your team produces – each contributes to how the audience perceives you.

3. Online Marketing Highlights

Online marketing is on the brink of change as well, on a clear and simple premise: people’s trust cannot be won with pushy sales strategies. Inbound marketing is the only way to go, combined with social listening and brand sentiment.

Core principles of inbound marketing include a consumer-oriented approach, where the mission is to live where your audience lives, and attract new potential customers, as opposed to hard selling techniques. The content you create circles the idea of providing real solutions and addressing customer needs, instead of blatant advertising of your services. A brand will win customers over by answering their questions, solve cases, involve and promote the audience, and start a long-term relationship with them.

Trending Ideas to Boost Your Marketing

Here are a few creative ideas to use in your marketing strategy:

Create heat maps with local resources to answer your customers’ local needs Compile a resource page based on customer data Optimize your newsletters as a weekly issue where trending information and creative solutions are listed, instead of just your product or service updates Organize regular video/audio webinars for live interaction with your customers If customers use some of the social media platforms as CRM channels, then structure your social media content as an addition to customer support Do short surveys to better understand your audience Keep it simple, keep it personal – this is the human-to-human principle Embrace the new: Instagram stories, the new Facebook pages format, Snapchat videos If possible, meet your customers face to face, take pictures with them, and use this as fresh content Invite your customers to add and create content of their own. This will enhance the voice of your community.

These are our recommendations in terms of taking your branding to a higher level in quarter 4. The year is far from over, and in many industries, autumn means a new business season. So take the lead, and do not lose to competition.

We love suggestions, so should you have any on how to make this article even more useful to our readers and friends, do not keep them to yourself. Sharing is fun!

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The post Branding Your Business in 2016: Quarter 4 Highlights appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Branding Your Business in 2016: Quarter 4 Highlights | 13 Sep 2016, 5:33 pm