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The provider of affordable website hosting presents - You Are an Expert SEO, but How Do You Prove It?

I’m not doubting that you are a qualified Expert SEO, but my question for you is, "How do you prove just how qualified you are, especially when attempting to solicit new clients?" Now before you take the question personally (please don’t!), let’s step back and ask this in a more general, industry-centric way. How does anyone prove that they are an expert SEO? What are the qualifications or milestones and how does one prove that they have earned the title?

Years ago (many years ago!), it used to be that all one had to do is show the results in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and demonstrate to their future clients how quickly they could give them top rankings. (It was also a lot easier back then to get a top ranking!).

However, now there are all of these rules. (Are they really rules, or just a particular entity’s “opinion” and then again, that opinion does, uh, matter quite a bit if one is ranking on that “entity,” if you know what I mean.)

Before I talk in circles more than what I am already doing, let’s just say that results do not always prove capability and capability is not always demonstrated in results. So, let’s go back to our original question. How can you prove you competence, and more importantly, your expertise in the area of search engine optimization?

Let me offer one way of proving yourself, or at least providing something tangible that your clients may be able to see with their own eyes. That is, certification.

Certification Demonstrates Acquisition (Mastery) of Knowledge

Certification is not a new concept. In fact, there are many different companies who offer certification and offer it for different knowledge areas.

There are many different skill sets for which you can get certified out there in the real, as well as the virtual world. But, there are also other free certification programs (including HubSpot) available to whet your appetite and get you ready for bigger and better opportunities. That is just a mention of two ends of the spectrum of training and certification available on the internet.

Read further down to hear about some of those favorable things that are said about Simplilearn, not just my words, but other learners who have taken the Simplilearn course(s)!

Whichever path you choose, there are quite a few options available when it comes to “getting certified” in your skill set (and new skill sets).

In this case, since we are talking about proving that you are an expert in the knowledge and application of search engine optimization skills and the skill set as a whole, we would be referencing a type of SEO certification. And, I know just the place that offers the training that you need for SEO certification. That place is Simplilearn.

Simplilearn’s Track Record of Excellent Ratings

Simplilearn, with their “Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certification Training” has done very well for themselves, with 1,318 learners and a near perfect star rating. Almost fifteen hundred students can’t be wrong, can they?

Tip: When you are looking for a training company and/or a certification company, be sure to see what others say about them. You want to check out the testimonials, the reviews, the ratings. In this case, Simplilearn has them.

Online Learning at its Best

Online learning has been around for a while. Several universities offer it and have developed ways for learners to incorporate traditional methods of learning in virtual (privacy of their own homes) environments.

Simplilearn has done the same thing and offers it in a self-paced environment. Years ago, before the internet, self-paced courses were offered through the mail and sometimes called “correspondence courses.” Now, with the advent of the internet, it is much easier to go through a fulfilling training process, with access to instructors (who are experts themselves) and to pace through the program at a rate that is comfortable for you, and conducive to your busy schedule (as we all have these days!).

Simplilearn also offers training for certification in other programs, such as their Digital Marketing Certified Associate course.

What Are People Saying About the Simplilearn Training Experience?

Gail Gardner, proprietress of the popular GrowMap.com web site has only good things to say about her experience as a Simplilearn learner.

In fact, she has written quite an extensive recommendation of the Simplilearn programs on her own site, at “Simplilearn Digital Marketing Training: Get Qualified Now for High Paying In-Demand Jobs.”

Need Some More Convincing?

If the provision of a way of proving that you are truly the expert SEO that you know that you are (and have been saying that you are) is not reason enough, there are plenty more reasons why this SEO training is something that is highly appealing to those interested in SEO. (And, don’t forget about the other training opportunities that Simplilearn offers, even though we are talking about SEO here!).

Here is a broad list and I know that you can add to it!

Proof that you know your stuff; No matter how much we know, we can always learn more, and here is your opportunity to learn more about SEO; The opportunity to practice your skills while under the tutelage of the masters; Becoming a “Master” yourself (maybe teaching someday?); Getting up to speed on all of the new information; techniques; analytics; tips; strategies (need I list more?); Interactive methods of learning, including workbooks, exercise, and quizzes that help to test your knowledge and give you a feel for where you are in the learning process; The knowledge breadth of SEO topics >> start to finish; A simulation exam for that practice run at it before the real thing; And, bringing it full circle, that certificate of completion of your training. In Conclusion…

It is very likely that when you have completed this SEO coursework and training (Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certification Training) that you may not even feel the need to actually “prove” yourself. You will have gained so much confidence in what you have already been practicing (and have now enhanced beyond that beginning point) that you naturally exude the confidence and strength in what you are doing.

Your peers and your future clients will be able to sense this and naturally follow your lead. They will likely be moved by your confidence and be drawn to you. It wouldn’t surprise me (assuming you target the completion of your training) if those clients are flocking to YOU as that expert SEO! Once that happens, consider yourself having proven that you know your stuff, and all thanks to taking that step toward SEO Certification and the Search Engine Optimization Training like that which is offered by Simplilearn.

The post You Are an Expert SEO, but How Do You Prove It? appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | You Are an Expert SEO, but How Do You Prove It? | 29 Nov 2016, 4:28 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - 3 Case Studies: How Content Boosted Traffic & Increased Customers

As a small business owner, or solopreneur, you’ve heard that content increases website traffic,and maybe you know that it also helps build brand trust and credibility.

And although you may be keen to try it for yourself, you’re looking for some kind of reassurance that after all your hard work, it’s a viable ROI.

In the case studies to follow, all three companies were young startups that decided to do things differently in order to get the edge over their competitors. Using content as their primary marketing strategy, they experienced tremendous results that enabled dramatic growth.

Have a read. Be the judge about whether content is a good ROI or not.

Case study 1: Turned problem into a solution with online course content

End result: $20K in 5 days Company: Design Pickle Industry: Marketing

Design Pickle, founded by Russ Perry in January 2015, offers a flat rate per month for an unlimited amount of graphic designs. Most large corporations have their own graphic designers, so this company’s clients are predominantly small businesses and solopreneurs.

Most small business owners don’t have a content design strategy in place, and therefore, the customer retention rate for graphic design services in particular is generally low. What Perry found, was that once clients received their designs, they would cancel their monthly subscription.

Design Pickle needed a way to grow and to educate its clients on marketing strategies.

Enter Pickle University online courses. The courses, hosted by Kajabi, an all-in-one marketing tools third party online course platform, allows Design Pickle to upsell and bundle services for discounted prices, and is used as a lead magnet to secure new, and empowered clients.

The launch of the first course brought in $20K within 5 days from pre-sale email marketing to people who were already on Design Pickle’s email lists. The key here, was that Perry identified a need; to educate clients on process and industry, and filled that need by providing online courses to help educate and grow the businesses of his clients.

By developing business and marketing courses, Perry is able not only to increase profit passively while still growing his graphics design business, but can also help his clients strengthen their businesses.

Image Credit: Design Pickle and Kajabi Russ Perry (back, middle) is the founder of Design Pickle.

Original source of case study: Kajabi

Case study 2: From outbound to primarily inbound

End result: 6 X boost in website traffic and 4 X more customers Company: Glofox Industry: Software developer for health industry

Glofox is a startup founded by Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly in 2014, and experienced rapid growth with its software developed for gyms and fitness studios. The problem was that the direct sales strategy they were using to acquire customers, was costing too much. Their approach required the use of too many complex systems which were not playing nicely together.

Image Credit: BusinessAndFinance The founders of Glofox: Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly.

O’Loughlin and Kelly decided that they needed to attract customers to their website instead, by creating an inbound marketing machine. Using HubSpot, they set up a blog, created landing pages for targeted traffic, optin forms and smart call to actions. They say that by using content, they “are positioning ourselves as industry experts and thought leaders in our field; we blog constantly, we have a weekly podcast and we produce ebooks and user guides.”

Similarly to the first case study, the founders of this company say that creating personas was a vital part of their inbound strategy.

Since the swap from outbound to inbound marketing, Glofox has experienced a 6 X boost in traffic, and has 4 X more customers.

Original source of case study: HubSpot

Case study 3: Infographic backlinks strategy for new blog

End result: Website traffic increase of 963% in 6 weeks Company: ChewieSays (now HerePup) Industry: Pets

Perrin Carrol, who started the ChewieSays blog, identified an opportunity in the pet niche, after noticing that there were not a lot of smaller pet sites providing good content, and that a handful of big pet sites were completely dominating the Internet.

Carrol needed a strategy to compete with the handful of some seriously big competitors in the niche. To go up against them would entail producing some brilliant content, and promoting it in order to get quality backlinks to his site.

What Carrol did (and this is key), was to identify what was proven to be important to his target audience, and create an infographic around it. Doing his due diligence, he came up with the topic of “ways that pets improve human health”.

Armed with the 22 points gathered from his research, he hired a freelancer to design a pretty basic infographic to use as “bait” for authority websites, in order to get quality backlinks to his site. The link to the ChewySays website, was placed into introductory content on the infographic, which is good for SEO.

Finding prospective blogs in the niche that might have been interested in publishing the infographic, he contacted 92 bloggers and got a positive response of 5.4%.

Once those bloggers confirmed their interest in the infographic, Carrol removed as many barriers as possible, to make sharing the content easy.

The end result was eight niche-related, white hat backlinks which provided a dramatic surge of traffic to his new blog.

Image Credit: Backlinko The infographic that sparked traffic to a new blog.

Original source of case study: Backlinko

Key points

Three startup companies achieved dramatic results, all from using content as their primary marketing tactic. In summary, here’s what they did and what happened:

A graphics design startup launched online courses as a way to grow, and to educate clients. Proving the need for the online courses, was the $20K that was generated as a result. The cost to acquire clients was proving too expensive for a software developer company, and the founders decided to switch to a primarily inbound marketing strategy, seeing a 6 X boost in traffic and 4 X more customers. The founder of a brand new pet blog, needed a way to compete with major sites that were dominating the industry, and with a cleverly designed infographic, received eight quality backlinks, boosting the traffic by 963% within six weeks.

The post 3 Case Studies: How Content Boosted Traffic & Increased Customers appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | 3 Case Studies: How Content Boosted Traffic & Increased Customers | 27 Nov 2016, 5:38 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Ten SEO Gurus You Should Be Learning from Right Now

You may have heard that "SEO is dead." Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. The reality, however, is that SEO is far from dead!

In a recent Search Engine Land article, Columnist Stephan Spencer puts it this way:

"While SEO is NOT dead, the way that you’re doing it might be. Does the following describe your approach? You’ve optimized your H1s and meta tags and you’ve built a few (hopefully white hat) links. Now you just sit back and watch your site rise to the top of Google, right?

Wrong. This sort of cookie-cutter approach to SEO — one that equates SEO to tuning a guitar or to following the steps to a pumpkin pie recipe — rarely works in today’s search landscape."

This quote illustrates the ever-changing nature of SEO. As with any industry that changes frequently, SEO is a field you can’t just "learn once" and walk away. Instead, you need keep up with its new developments regularly. And that’s where this list of experts comes in.

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of effective SEO, good teachers and influencers are key. So be sure to follow these experienced practitioners on Twitter, and refer to their blogs, to keep up with today’s leading SEO practices.

1. Christoph C. Cemper

Christoph is an SEO expert and the creator of Content Marketing intelligence software Impactana. Launched in 2015, this software helps marketers find content ideas that make an impact.

He began his work in online marketing back in 2003, when he provided SEO consulting and link-building services. In 2006, Christoph realized there was a need for accurate and reliable SEO software. So he developed the first internal tools. The software he developed became the basis for LinkResearchTools (LRT), a SaaS product containing four tools. It launched in 2009.

Today, thanks to continual research and development, LRT now offers 21 tools. It’s designed with ever-growing functionality that’s adapted to market requirements and Google changes.

Christoph also created Link Detox. Launched after Google Penguin rolled out, this software is designed for finding links that present a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He has written and spoken about link risk management since 2011, and he introduced the technology and process for ongoing link audits in 2012.

Founded:

Impactana, LinkResearchTools, Link Detox 

Where to Find Christoph:

Christoph’s website and blog LinkResarchTools blog Twitter

Excellent Reads:

Post on LinkResarchTools blog: What you didn’t know about your old backlinks Post on Yoast blog: Smart alternatives to dangerous link building strategies

Words to Remember:

"Adding your site to any web directory just to get a backlink will have a negative effect on your website’s ranking. Most web directories out there provide no real value to the Internet users and Google has excluded them from its search results. You don’t want your website to be in there! Search for trusted directories. There are a few for every niche. These directories provide useful information to you, your target audience and your potential customers." (Source)

2. Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the founder/co-founder of several online businesses, including KISSmetrics, Quick Sprout, Crazy Egg, and Hello Bar. He’s known for his influence as an entrepreneur, SEO expert, and online marketer.

Neil has helped many world-renown companies achieve significant revenue growth. A few brands on his impressive client list include Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom.

Entrepreneur Magazine has said that Neil created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. Forbes said he’s one of the top ten online marketers, and the Wall Street Journal has called him a top influencer on the web.

Neil was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. He has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.

Founded:

 Kissmetrics, Quick Sprout, Crazy Egg, and Hello Bar.

Where to Find Neil:

Neil’s blog Quick Sprout blog Podcast: Marketing School Twitter

Excellent Reads:

Blog post: A Thirty-Day Plan for Gaining 100 Authoritative and Relevant Backlinks to Your New Website Blog post: A Simple Guide to Bing SEO

Words to Remember:

"When we talk about SEO, Google comes to mind for most marketers … Most marketers don’t consider that the second most used search engine can also be a lucrative channel … Since all marketers go after Google, Bing has lower competition. And, it has a decent market share, at 21.3%, in the US (including Yahoo search that’s powered by Bing). Further, Yahoo-Bing network also has an exclusive audience in most verticals." (Source)

3. Sagi Solomon

Sagi is the Head of SEO at InboundJunction. He’s respected as a tireless marketing enthusiast who’s never content with the status quo. Constantly looking for the latest SEO trends and tools, Sagi’s passion is formulating the most competitive search strategies possible. With a mix of technical prowess and creative vision, he has become a trusted problem-solver for his firm’s clients.

Where to Find Sagi:

Twitter

Excellent Reads:

SEMrush article: Top 6 Marketing Analytics Dashboard Tools SEMrush article: 7 Proven Things You Can Do to Skyrocket Your SEO

Words to Remember:

"The speed of your website is one of the many factors that adds or subtracts to Google’s trust of your website. If your website is fast and error free, it’s less likely to cause any of Google’s searchers problems, therefore, making it more trustworthy and likely to appear in search results." (Source)

4. Jordan Kasteler

A digital-marketing consultant specializing in SEO and social media, Jordan has been avidly involved in Internet marketing since 2001. He has a history of entrepreneurship, co-founding such companies as BlueGlass Interactive – an industry-leading agency in social-media marketing and SEO.

Jordan’s experience includes serving as in-house SEO at Overstock.com, marketing strategy at PETA, and agency-level digital marketing. He’s a regular speaker at various Internet marketing conferences, and he authored A to Z: Social Media Marketing.

Jordan is also a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Search Engine People, Social Media Today, Addicted2Success, Lead Change Group, and others.

Founded:

BlueGlass Interactive 

Where to Find Jordan:

Jordan’s website Twitter

Excellent Reads:

Search Engine Land article: 9 tools to help you succeed with Google SERP features Marketing Land article: 5 effective ways to reach customers through live streaming

Words to Remember:

"While your potential customers are less likely to be influenced by marketing campaigns, they’re incredibly receptive to content about your brand that comes from other users. In today’s world, your fans are likely to have more success selling your products than you." (Source)

5. On Yavin

With more than 15 years of experience with online marketing and SEO, On founded Online Performance, a company specializing in SEO, ORM and PPC solutions. As the active CEO, On is always monitoring the recent happens in the SEO world to make sure his clients get the best results possible.

On has a knack for enhancing SEO results with in-house technology tools his company developed to provide better results for his clients. As SEO develops, adding technology to the mix can amplify results and get a great competitive edge, he says.

On also enjoy sharing digital marketing and SEO tips on Business 2 Community, SEMRush, Tech.co and others. Expect to see a whole lot from On in 2017!

Founded:

Online Performance, Exactive Marketing

Where to Find Ann:

On’s Blog Linkedin

Excellent Reads:

Blog post: How to Manage Online Reputation Management? PR Post: Israeli Partnership Brings Performance-Based Services to the US

Words to Remember:

"Experience shows that even today, there’s great importance to creating links for the purpose of web promotion. Any attempt to promote websites in categories that have medium to high competition without creating a hyperlink strategy is bound to fail. Even after many of Google’s algorithm updates, links have great significance when it comes to rankings." (Source)

6. Matthew Capala

Former New York University professor Matthew Capala is an internet entrepreneur, founder, and sought-after international speaker. According to Matthew: "I believe that showing up is 80% of success. Why? Because in a world where 80% of customers search online before they buy, invisibility is a fate much worse than failure."

Matthew founded the boutique SEO agency Alphametic, which helps clients with SEO, website optimization, Google analytics, and paid search. His clients have included brands such as L’Oreal (and Makeup.com,) Shopkeep, Hoval, Quest Diagnostics, and others. He also the publisher of Search Decoder.

Matthew’s work and ideas have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Digital Summit, Internet Summit, The Next Web, ePharma, Problogger and Huffington Post. He is also an international speaker and trainer. He’s given talks at Social Media Week, Internet Summit, and many others. Matthew wrote the award-winning international bestselling book SEO Like I’m 5, among others.

Founded:

Alphametic

Where to Find Matthew

Twitter Matthew’s blog

Excellent Reads:

Blog post: 12 Google Facts Every Marketer Needs to Know About Blog post: 42 SEO Tools and Browser Extensions for the Pros (Mostly Free)

Words to Remember:

"If you don’t act on the technical audit and content strategies, you won’t see any improvement to your website’s online visibility. You need to get your hands dirty (either working solo or with an agency/consultant /developer/team). Put another way, it’s not enough to read about the history of the tree. You need get out there and pick the fruit!" (Source)

7. Matt Janaway

UK-based SEO expert Matt Janaway has over 16 years of successful digital-marketing and eCommerce experience. CEO of Marketing Labs, Matt uses the latest proven online-marketing techniques to consult high-end brands. His specialties include SEO, link building, PPC, content creation and management, blogging, meta data, and more.

According to Matt on his Marketing Labs site: "There have been multiple studies which have found that SEO is the soundest long-term marketing strategy and can have a higher ROI than any other strategy. Our clients have seen a growth of over 1000% in 3 year periods."

Founded:

Marketing Labs

Where to Find Matt:

Matt’s blog Marketing Labs blog Twitter

Excellent Reads:

Blog post: How to improve your website’s conversion rate in a day Blog post: How to Create a Profitable Content Marketing Business Model

Words to Remember:

"Growth hacking is a term that’s thrown around a lot, and many people are confused by it. Growth hacking simply refers to doing anything you can do to grow your business. It differs from marketing in the sense that you use any means necessary. I’ll be telling you how you can ensure that your business sees substantial growth, fast!" (Source)

8. Matthew Barby

Award-winning digital marketing consultant Matthew Barby is the head of growth and SEO at HubSpot. Specializing in developing growth strategies for businesses of all sizes, he’s worked with Blue Chip companies and local businesses across a range of industries.

Matthew is a regular columnist for a number of marketing publications – including Marketing Land, Moz, and Search Engine Journal. He’s also been featured in Forbes, Social Media Today, TechRadar, Entrepreneur.com, The Guardian, and many more.

Also, with the Digital Marketing Institute, Matthew has been a speaker and lecturer. He’s lectured

across the SEO and social-media Professional Diploma certified courses, including the creation of course material, mapping of the syllabus, and recording of video lecture content.

Where to Find Matthew:

Matthew’s blog Twitter

Excellent Reads:

Blog post: Zero to One Million: an SEO Campaign Blueprint Blog post: Growing a Social Following from Nothing: My Social Media Strategy

Words to Remember:

"…It’s really easy to get disheartened during the early stages of your social media campaigns. Things are slow at the beginning and it can feel like you’re running in circles a lot of the time.

The reality is that most social media campaigns won’t really deliver any real results until you’ve got a fair few months into them. Even then, depending on what niche you’re in, it can take much longer. The most important thing to remember is to keep focused.

Have a strategy and stick to it – even if it feels like you’re going nowhere." (Source)

9. Christine Churchill

With over 15 years’ experience in Online Marketing, Christine specializes in organic SEO consulting, web site audits, PPC management, content marketing, holistic online marketing, and keyword research.

Christine is the president of KeyRelevance. The company offers results-oriented marketing programs for businesses of all sizes. Services include organic SEO and PPC management.

Christine has written on SEO and SEM topics for Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, MarketPosition, SearchDay, Wilson Web, SitePoint, NetMechanic, and SearchEngineGuide. She’s also a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies, Webmaster World Publishers Conference, Search Marketing Expo, and other Internet conferences.

Also, Christine has taught many online marketing classes through the International Association of Webmasters, Search Engine Strategies Seminars, Search Marketing Expo Bootcamps, and the Direct Marketing Association.

Where to Find Christine:

Christine’s articles on KeyRelevance Twitter

Excellent Reads:

Blog post: Stretch Your PPC Budget By Optimizing Landing Pages KeyRelevance Article: Keyword Analysis & Ranking: The Value of Brainstorming

Words to Remember:

"You are never done fine tuning your landing pages. As you put out new pages, learn what worked on earlier pages but continue to try new things too. In this competitive market, getting even another percentage better can make the difference between success and failure. Google Website Optimizer is a free tool that allows the webmaster to perform multivariate testing. Software that did this used to be very expensive. Google provides the tool without cost and has made it straightforward to use." (Source)

10. Rae Hoffman

Rae has been an SEO specialist for over a decade. She’s the co-owner and CEO of PushFire, a full service digital marketing agency founded by industry veterans. The agency focuses on producing ROI for SEO, PPC, and online promotions.

Rae is also the CEO of Sugarrae. The company publishes various websites across several topic areas that are monetized by advertising avenues such as CPM, affiliate marketing, contextual advertising, and others. She’s also the primary author of the often-controversial (but well-regarded) Sugarrae Internet marketing blog.

Also, Rae is a frequent speaker at PubCon, Affiliate Summit, SMX, and other events. She’s also been a columnist for publications such as Search Engine Land, Amex’s Open Forum, and more.

According to Rae, "I often refer to myself as a ‘White Collar Redneck’. I’m a serial entrepreneur, proud born and raised Jersey Girl, an Honorary Canadian, an avid fundraiser for the AHA and am known for calling things as I seem them and never being afraid to speak my mind.

Founded:

Sugarrae

Where to Find Rae:

Sugarrae blog Twitter

Excellent Reads:

Blog post: Understanding Affiliate Marketing Lingo (Glossary of Terms) Blog post: How to Create a Clickable Affiliate Ad as a Backup for an AdSense Uni

Words to Remember:

"I’ve become obsessed with site speed over the last six months, systematically working through each of my sites to improve their speed. Supposed SEO benefits aside, the faster your site is, the better the user experience. And the better the user experience, the higher the conversion rate – sales, leads or newsletter subscribers; whatever a conversion for your site may be. And that’s a good thing for your business – no matter what type of business model you have." (Source)

The post Ten SEO Gurus You Should Be Learning from Right Now appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | Ten SEO Gurus You Should Be Learning from Right Now | 28 Oct 2016, 4:28 pm

The provider of affordable website hosting presents - The Universality Of Office Stock Photos

New photographers looking to break into commercial endeavors like stock photography are often perplexed about how to make images that are not just visually attractive but are commercially successful as well.

One of the most popular categories of stock is the subject of business. So how do you best approach this topic to produce images that sell? Try thinking about the subject as it relates to the popular comic strip Dilbert.

Scott Adams uses universal themes in Dilbert to appeal to a wide audience of people. Anyone who has worked in any office anywhere can readily identify with the Pointy-Haired boss, or the know-it-all co-worker and the company slacker.

We probably also see ourselves as the trying-to-succeed-in-a-mixed-up-world main character of Dilbert himself. We can readily empathize with the situations and setting those characters find themselves in with humor and grace.

Apply those same concepts to your images, and you have the foundation for successful business stock photos. Start with these universal themes.

People and Teams

The trend in stock photography is away from the beautiful models acting like they are doing something – talking of the phone, looking seriously at a piece of paper, shaking hands in introductions, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The need now is for quality images of realistic people in realistic business setting doing realistic activities – a more candid and unscripted feel.

Apply the same thoughts to teams and team activities. They should be easily identifiable and associated most closely with the universal concepts of doing business. And remember that business is global; so make sure your subjects represent a diverse inclusion of genders and ethnicities.

Finance

When you think of business, finances naturally comes to mind. Images focusing on hard currency, stocks and bonds, or banking instruments fall into this area.

As do images associated with loans, mortgages or debt. If it has to do with money, it‘s an image needed in this category.

Industries

Images needed here fall into one of two categories. The industries within the business arena: marketing, accounting, finance and entrepreneurship; and the industries of business: financial advisors, stockbrokers, bankers, retailers and the like.

Think also of how business is conducted within specific niche industries as opposed to generic business to fill the demand they create.

Transportation and Travel

Well dressed business professionals hailing a cab or walking into an airport – as well as the business of travel – travel agencies, rental car companies, or airports – are some of the types of images needed in this area. Images are needed that deal with the transportation of people and goods. Think shipping, trucking and rail. Automobiles and airplanes. Show how business uses transportation to keep running on a day-to-day basis.

Objects and Still Life

Business objects can range from calculators and abacuses to tax forms and contracts. Any object used in any discipline while conducting business will fall into this category. Don’t forget to think of retro or futuristic objects as well.

Creatively combine objects to create a theme or universal concept. Think of all the objects used in a house purchase: For Sale sign, mortgage applications, building blueprints and the like. Grouping them together can convey the entire process of buying and selling in the real estate market as just one example.

Technology

You wouldn’t dream of spending a day in business without the support of computer systems and applications. Show how they are used everyday in the modern business world. Show what happens when we don’t have them for a few hours or days. Show how technology is changing how business is being conducted.

Telecommuting. Team collaboration and brainstorming. Written communications in the form of documents, text and email. Working remotely from home or on the road with the assistance of advanced video conferencing. All are part of this ever-evolving area of business technology.

Metaphors

Remember, a picture can speak a thousand words. Use creatively composed images to represent esoteric and complex business themes. Just make sure that concept or theme is easily identifiable. A smartphone stands in for social media.

A calculator means financing. Using those building blocks, the world of business is easily recreated in pictures.

Humor

Not everything in the business world needs to be buttoned up and formal. Any of these categories can be approached in a whimsical manner to produce uniquely represented concepts that set them apart from the competition.

Think communications using smoke signals, or accountants represented with people counting beans in a backroom. And when speaking of images in each of these areas, don’t limit yourself to only still photos. Videos and illustrations can be used anywhere a photo can.

So grab your camera, and the next time you approach the subject of business – or any other popular commercial theme – ask yourself one question. “What would Dilbert do”?

All images copyright Karen Foley via Dreamstime.com.

Images are provided by the author

The post The Universality Of Office Stock Photos appeared first on SEO Chat.

Source: SEO Chat | The Universality Of Office Stock Photos | 28 Oct 2016, 3:40 pm

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 zebo.co.uk 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 site:zebo.co.uk 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: https://zebo.co.uk/q/mountain_bike

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.

VSCO

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.

Snapseed

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".  

Boomerang

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

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