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The Ultimate Twitter Marketing Strategy Guide in 2019

Want to launch a successful Twitter marketing campaign? Want to join the elite league of seasoned professional online marketers on Twitter? You’re on the right page.

In this blog post, we won’t talk about more basic things like come up with style guides to define your brand. We already have a blog post covering all that.

Brief Twitter Marketing History

In recent years, Twitter has upgraded its algorithms by changing how marketers have been using the social media platform. 

An important change was when Twitter moved from a chronological-based feed to one where its algorithms recommended interest-based tweets. This has been a big change for social media marketers. 

In the past, businesses used automated RSS feed tools to tweet content from popular websites tens, even hundreds of times a day. This was an effective way of increasing exposure on the social network and expanding their follower base by targeting their audience. 

Since the update, things have changed. Twitter now personalizes its tweet recommendations to suit users’ interests.

In a February 2018 rules change, Twitter clarified that it’s now against its automation rules for tweets to be identical or too similar to another. This came a month after the social network giant updated its algorithm to restrict automation in TweetDeck and the Twitter API.

Today, the anti-spam rules introduced in early 2018 still stand, forever changing the way social media marketing is done on the microblogging platform.

The Winning Twitter Marketing Formula for 2019

Despite these changes, Twitter continues to be an integral part of the 126 million daily active users that depend on it to connect with both big and small businesses, keep updated with the latest breaking news, and converse with other users.

There’s often one way social networks are designed to be used, and another way marketers actually use them. 

Since its inception, Twitter was designed to encourage open conversations that users can readily join. Now, the social media giant is trying to align its design with its use case. 

So if you’re serious about utilizing the microblogging site, we have four tips that will transform your Twitter game for the better by having more authentic conversations!

Tip #1: Live events

If you go to industry-based events like seminars, conferences, and networking functions, you’re likely to have seen event hashtags. You can use these even hashtags to your advantage by preparing content in advance, and during and after the event.

This allows you to increase your reach and engagement, and help you connect with other event attendees. (This is especially useful for networking functions, as you can imagine.)

Whenever you meet a colleague or a prospect during these events (or even outside them, during normal operation times), try connecting with them on Twitter and engaging with their content over the coming weeks.

What do we mean by engaging with their content? Don’t just retweet several times a week and reply to them every now and again. Make it meaningful.

Keep a list of potential customers, influencers, key speakers, event organizers, industry leaders, competitors, etc. that you meet in each event, and over time, you’ll be able to keep track of the relationships you’ve built with them, both online and in real-life. 

Engage with them based on your relationship and keep building on that.

Tip # 2: Breaking news

Since its inception, people have been using Twitter to keep up with the news. The social media site has come up with Moments for this very reason.

You can start genuine conversations by taking to the microblogging platform to discuss breaking news in your industry.

Share the news as soon as you can. By being among the first to speak about it, you’re more likely to have people responding to your thread. 

You needn’t wait to create the perfect short video. Go for a text-based tweet and then add other content mediums after you’ve got the conversation going. Speed is king.

Tip #3: Customer support

Another use case for users is reaching out to businesses for support when things go south.

Gone are the days when people would flip through their YellowPages to find your number, call you, and wait for half an hour just to get connected to the right department. Nowadays, your customers go to Twitter for quick support.

And this is great. It signals to other customers and potential customers that you’re on top of your game, ready to respond to their inquiries and issues ASAP.

So make sure you’re responsive. The least you can do is to inform your customers you’re working on a solution, but make sure you try your best not to create more work for the customer (e.g. “Please go to this webpage and fill out our long and time-consuming form explaining in detail what the issue is”) unless you absolutely have to.

Tip #4: Empathize/relate with customers

It’s not enough to expand your follower base; you also need to work hard to keep them, too. 

Understand your followers. Make content that they can relate to and connect with. You want to spark an authentic connection and keep it.

Remember Twitter isn’t Instagram or YouTube—your followers aren’t looking to consume content. They’re there for a conversation. So focus on short, yet entertaining content that starts a conversation.

Nurture your conversation. While it’s great allowing your followers to respond to one another, you want to make sure you’re taking part in the conversation you’ve just started. Don’t just up and leave.

Remember that the point here is to connect with your customers. To do that, you need to be answering questions, being humorous and playful, and setting the tone for the conversation. 

All this will help bring about brand awareness in a fun way for your target audience.

Conclusion

To have a successful commercial presence on Twitter, understand how its users use the platform and keep to that narrow path. By not deviating from the social network’s intended purpose, the algorithms will help you.

Automation is great. You can still automate your tweets; just don’t overdo it. Don’t spam your customer’s feeds.

Instead, focus on starting—and participating in—high-quality conversations; provide responsive customer service; connect with your followers by offering them content that they enjoy; and most importantly, have fun.

If you’re having fun, chances are that your followers are having fun too.

The post Twitter Marketing Guide for 2019 appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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The Best Search Engines in 2019

For most of us, search engines are the gateway to the Internet. When we have a question, what’s the first thing we intuitively do? We Google it.

Understanding why people use Google—and how they use it—is essential for search engine optimization (SEO) companies like us. And here at triHead, we pride ourselves in the affordable SEO services that we offer.

Whether you’re sat behind your desktop computer in the office, on your laptop in the cafe, or on your smartphone while on the move, chances are that you use Google as your search engine to look things up.

For most of us, we only think of Google when we need a search engine. That’s especially true when considering that 92% of web searches were carried out on Google worldwide. 

This is because of several reasons. Chief among them is that Google Chrome has 63% of the browser market share. And on Chrome, and many other browsers, the default search engine is Google. 

Another reason is that Google’s smartphone operating system, Android, dominates 75% of the mobile operating system market share. And Google promotes its services, web search chief amongst them, on Android.

And we already know that most people don’t mess with their default service providers.

But another reason is that Google’s algorithms really are the best for a web search service provider. In fact, I challenge you to find a search engine as good as, leave alone better than, Google. 

But that doesn’t mean that Google is the only search engine. Far from it. And though Google is great for looking things up on the Internet, it has its flaws too. This is where its competitors come in.

In this blog post, we will look at areas where it has clear weaknesses and flaws, and suggest multiple search engines and search aggregators that do the job better.

But before we push on, let’s start with the basics…

Search engines vs aggregator/metasearch engines

Most of us know what a search engine does. 

They send crawler bots—pieces of code—all over the web looking for websites. Once they find them, they list them down. This is called indexing

Once a website is on the list, or indexed, whenever someone looks up information that that website offers, the search engine lists them.

Well, search aggregators (also known as metasearch engines) don’t index website. They pull information from search engines like Google and present searches based on their own algorithms. This is useful in several scenarios. 

One example would be in academia. When you’re looking up academic papers, usually you’re looking for papers published in journals, reliable academic articles and other related literature and resources. Search aggregators like CORE do a great job of doing all that.

In this blog post, we’ll be covering quite a few search aggregators and search engines. It’s important to differentiate between the two.

Why do most people use Google?

We all know why Google is so popular. But this is a great time to think about what people look for in a search engine.

With Google, there are lots of benefits to using it.

1. Google is blazing fast. 

It’s perhaps the fastest search engine out there. Google can fetch billions of results in less than a second. This is outrageously fast. One thing we all take for granted in 2019.

2. Google is pinpoint accurate

I’m on the Internet a lot, so I do web searches all day long. But I can count on one hand the number of times I had to go to the second page of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). For most of us, what we’re looking for is often one of the first 10 hits.

3. Google finds related terms

There have been many times when I was looking for something but didn’t quite know how to be more specific with my web search. But Google didn’t let me down and helped me by suggesting related terms.

4. Google is smart. 

This is clear in how it presents information. 

If you Google “Starbucks”, Google might show you several locations in your town, link you to their website, provide you with a series of frequently asked questions about their drinks, help you find their social media accounts, offers rich snippets and knowledge graphs telling you all about Starbucks’ history, and list news articles featuring Starbucks. 

As you can see, Google offers a plethora of information quickly and effectively. They value presenting structured data in an easily understandable fashion

So, for other search engines to succeed, they need to either match Google in some of these areas or perform better than Google in areas where Google is at a natural disadvantage.

And there are quite a lot of areas where Google is at a natural disadvantage.

Mainstream Competitors

In 2019, there are very few actual competitors left to Google. This is because, over the last decade and a half, Google has worked hard to establish itself as the best search engine out there.

Still, there are a few challengers left in the arena.

Yahoo!

Back in yesteryear, Yahoo! was neck deep in competition with Google. But Google displaced it as the dominant search engine. This is clear given that when we want to look something up, we don’t say, “Yahoo! It!”, but “Google it!”

In fact, since 2010, Yahoo has been outsourcing its web search inquiries to Microsoft’s Bing.

Interestingly, Yahoo! Japan has the biggest Yahoo! market share in the world at 21% as of May 2019.

Bing

In 2006, Microsoft released its own search engine, Live Search. Microsoft replaced Live Search with Bing in 2009, marketing it as a “decision engine”, intended to present more results in each Bing results page.

Through a series of agreements with Yahoo! and Facebook in 2010 and 2012, respectively, Bing increased its dominance in the market by becoming the second most used search engine in the United States as of 2016.

The 2010 Yahoo! deal saw Microsoft powering all Yahoo! searches. This is big for the web search industry. 

Baidu

The Chinese search engine Baidu has its origins in RankDex, an earlier iteration of the search engine developed in 1996 by Baidu founder Robin Li before he founded Baidu in 2000.

RankDex was the first search engine to rank indexed websites on their quality based on their use of hyperlinks.

In 2001, Baidu introduced an approach allowing advertisers to bid for ad space, much like Google Ads. This predated Google’s advertisement strategy. 

Baidu is the industry leader in China, with 65% of the search engine market in the world’s most populous nation under its belt. By contrast, Google has 3.2% of the Chinese market share. This is because the Great Firewall of China bans Google and all its services in China.

In 2018, The Intercept reported that Google was planning to launch a censored version of its web search platform in China, in a bid to secure the Chinese Communist Party’s permission to return to China.

The Intercept found a memo shared by a Google engineer regarding an app that Google was developing for both Android and iOS, “Maotai”, that would allow Google to log users’ private information (like their names, IP addresses, geolocation and websites that they visit)  and share them with the Chinese authorities.

In December, The Intercept reported that Google’s China project has been “effectively ended”.

But this all raises another point that I hope to go over in this blog post…

Privacy

Google is notorious for its perceived privacy violations.

The keyword here is “perceived” because much of what we discuss now will be based on what you perceive as important to your online privacy.

Privacy concerns surrounding Google aren’t new. In 2007, for example, Privacy International gave Google the worst ranking on a report ranking various organizations on respecting digital privacy.

More recently, Google quietly dropped its ban on personally identifiable web tracking techniques in 2016. 

And as we saw above, Google looked into developing tools that would enable it to spy on Chinese users on the Chinese Communist Party’s behalf.

These privacy concerns have brought about several privacy-focused solutions.

DuckDuckGo

The US-based privacy-focused search aggregator is based around Microsoft Bing’s search engine. DuckDuckGo promises to respect users’ privacy by not tracking search inquiries made through its search platform.

It also attempts to avoid Google’s online filter bubbles. Online filter bubbles, coined by Eli Pariser, is the term used to describe the web adapting around a specific user’s beliefs. Websites like Google track their users’ activities to better understand what their interests are and serve results based on their understanding of each specific user.

The concern here is that over time we aren’t exposed to a diverse set of ideas, meaning that we don’t learn from each other—going contrary to one of the early promises of the Internet: drawing people together.

Another great feature DuckDuckGo has is its Bangs. These are shortcuts that help us quickly search results on other websites. 

For example, doing a simple DuckDuckGo search “!w online filter bubble” will take us to Wikipedia’s article on online filter bubbles.

Despite DuckDuckGo respecting user privacy, they too aren’t perfect. Noted privacy enthusiast Christian Stewart wrote in a Medium post on a flaw where the search aggregator doesn’t use forward secrecy on a local level, therefore storing your searches plain-text in your browsing history.

Others point out that DuckDuckGo is hosted in the US (is subject to the Patriot Act) and is hosted by Amazon (which they perceive as disregarding privacy more than Google).

Startpage

Startpage calls itself a private search engine but is, in reality, a search aggregator that relies on Google to return results. But it takes many measures to ensure that its users aren’t tracked by Google.

One such feature is its “Anonymous View” functionality. When clicking on a link, your browser establishes a direct connection between you and the third party website. This allows the website to track you.

Anonymous View allows you to visit websites through Startpage’s Proxy, which counters many browser fingerprinting and device printing tracking techniques.

The fact that Startpage is hosted outside the United States, and that it isn’t hosted by Amazon Web Services, serves as a great relief to many privacy enthusiasts. 

These anti-tracking measures help fight against filter bubbles.

In conclusion…

Google is a great search engine, and that’s why it dominates the web search market segment.

It’s accurate, blazing fast and helpful.

But people still use alternatives to Google. And to understand Internet users’ online behavior, we have to explore the reasoning behind using other search tools for your search queries.

By understanding the benefits of using alternative search engine platforms, we can better leverage it for business by providing excellent online marketing services.

We learn, for example, that Microsoft Advertising, previously known as Bing Ads, is a cheaper alternative to Google Ads. Not to mention, there’s less competition. 

Or by understanding Baidu’s advertisement model, our clients can leverage it to increase their sales in China, the world’s fastest-growing economy.

And here at triHead, we’re happy to help you with your online marketing campaigns. We have an extensive and thorough keyword research process that includes all popular search engines and meta search engines. 

The post The Best Search Engines in 2019 appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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Every business needs to build a brand. Often, branding ends up making or breaking the company.

A brand is all about how the company interacts with the consumer, on every level. A brand identity is about taking those interactions and making them part of a larger whole: the culture, employees, goals, and personality of the brand itself. To build a better brand identity, it takes dedication and awareness.

Tip 1: Define Who You Are And What You Do

Putting together a successful business is more than just delivering a product to your consumers. It’s also about the underlying factors: what defines your company?

Every company should have a mission statement. The mission statement drives what the company does. The mission statement translates into the personality of the company which plays a big part in brand identity design.

Is your company serious-minded, dedicated, and trustworthy?

Is it family-oriented?

Is it light-hearted, quirky, and fun?

Having what defines your company clearly in mind will help to guide your creation of a stronger brand identity.

Tip 2: Know Your Audience

Once you’ve defined those vital components of who and what, it should be easier to know exactly who your audience will be, and design your branding and marketing strategies accordingly.

Of course, there will be some overlap as far as demographics are concerned. But most companies, based on personality and product, target specific demographics as their main audience.

Effectively deploying marketing strategies helps you to build your brand identity where it really matters.

Tip 3: Compile A Style Manual

For logo design, website design, marketing materials, and just about everything else, style manuals are invaluable. Define colors, fonts, graphics, and overall aesthetics that fit the tone and personality of your brand.

Your style manual gives you easy access to the overall look of your brand, helping you to make decisions on what fits or what doesn’t. It also promotes the harmony and cohesiveness of your brand identity design.

Tip 4: Create A Brand Culture

Everyone wants to feel included, and it’s no exception when it comes to famous brands. Creating a brand culture not only elevates your brand but gives your customers something in common with each other.

Brand culture is created around the values, goals, and core beliefs of the brand. Do you donate a percentage of all sales to a charity? That’s part of your culture.

Do you participate in community fundraisers? It’s part of your culture.

Are you eco-friendly, handmade, unique? All part of your culture and it helps your customers to further define themselves in terms of your brand.

Tip 5: Create A Community

Communities are another way to help your customers bond more closely with your brand and with each other.

Your website is the “home” of your business, which means it’s the perfect place to foster a community for your consumers. Through the content, customer reviews, contact information, and even FAQs, you can encourage the start of conversations between you and the customer, and between the customers and others. Calls like “Like us on Facebook!” or “Join the conversation on Twitter!” are ideal for this, as well.

And, of course, since you have invited them to find you on social media, it’s important to have a social media presence.

This year there are almost 2.7 billion social media users. Around 63% of them expect companies to use social media in order to offer customer support and conversation, and 90% of those have already contacted brands with questions and comments via their social media accounts.

In short, social media presence definitely merits your attention, to help build an effective brand identity.

Author Bio

Emily Woodward is a digital marketing executive who follows her passion for writing via freelance work.

The post Top Five Tips For Effective Brand Identity Design appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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Every business needs to build a brand. Often, branding ends up making or breaking the company.

A brand is all about how the company interacts with the consumer, on every level. A brand identity is about taking those interactions and making them part of a larger whole: the culture, employees, goals, and personality of the brand itself. To build a better brand identity, it takes dedication and awareness.

Tip 1: Define Who You Are And What You Do

Putting together a successful business is more than just delivering a product to your consumers. It’s also about the underlying factors: what defines your company?

Every company should have a mission statement. The mission statement drives what the company does. The mission statement translates into the personality of the company which plays a big part in brand identity design.

Is your company serious-minded, dedicated, and trustworthy?

Is it family-oriented?

Is it light-hearted, quirky, and fun?

Having what defines your company clearly in mind will help to guide your creation of a stronger brand identity.

Tip 2: Know Your Audience

Once you’ve defined those vital components of who and what, it should be easier to know exactly who your audience will be, and design your branding and marketing strategies accordingly.

Of course, there will be some overlap as far as demographics are concerned. But most companies, based on personality and product, target specific demographics as their main audience.

Effectively deploying marketing strategies helps you to build your brand identity where it really matters.

Tip 3: Compile A Style Manual

For logo design, website design, marketing materials, and just about everything else, style manuals are invaluable. Define colors, fonts, graphics, and overall aesthetics that fit the tone and personality of your brand.

Your style manual gives you easy access to the overall look of your brand, helping you to make decisions on what fits or what doesn’t. It also promotes the harmony and cohesiveness of your brand identity design.

Tip 4: Create A Brand Culture

Everyone wants to feel included, and it’s no exception when it comes to famous brands. Creating a brand culture not only elevates your brand but gives your customers something in common with each other.

Brand culture is created around the values, goals, and core beliefs of the brand. Do you donate a percentage of all sales to a charity? That’s part of your culture.

Do you participate in community fundraisers? It’s part of your culture.

Are you eco-friendly, handmade, unique? All part of your culture and it helps your customers to further define themselves in terms of your brand.

Tip 5: Create A Community

Communities are another way to help your customers bond more closely with your brand and with each other.

Your website is the “home” of your business, which means it’s the perfect place to foster a community for your consumers. Through the content, customer reviews, contact information, and even FAQs, you can encourage the start of conversations between you and the customer, and between the customers and others. Calls like “Like us on Facebook!” or “Join the conversation on Twitter!” are ideal for this, as well.

And, of course, since you have invited them to find you on social media, it’s important to have a social media presence.

This year there are almost 2.7 billion social media users. Around 63% of them expect companies to use social media in order to offer customer support and conversation, and 90% of those have already contacted brands with questions and comments via their social media accounts.

In short, social media presence definitely merits your attention, to help build an effective brand identity.

Author Bio

Emily Woodward is a digital marketing executive who follows her passion for writing via freelance work.

The post Top Five Tips For Effective Brand Identity Design appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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Social media marketing

Yes, everyone’s on social media—but how can you leverage that for your business? How can you use Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to help you with your Internet marketing campaign? Do you even need online marketing? We’re here to answer all those questions and much more!

What is social media marketing?

Businesses are increasingly flocking to social media for their advertising needs. There’s a good reason for that.

With half the world officially having access to the Internet just before the start of the year in December 2018, companies’ potential for marketing outreach has never looked better. And with eCommerce taking off, access to international markets is becoming ever more pronounced.

Online marketing lets businesses to tap into new markets. It lets them establish themselves there so that in a few years they have a firm foothold and can sell more goods and services than their competitors.

Added to that, digital marketing has the advantage of being able to target audiences more effectively than traditional advertising. Businesses can do this by carefully studying user experience on social networks and promoting online advertisements that are displayed along with user-generated content, with call-to-actions to their goods and services.

Is social media marketing more important than Google Ads?

Advertising on social networks shouldn’t replace your Google Ads. After all, people use both Google and social media platforms so it’s important to run ads on both Google and social networks. They complement each other.

But it’s also important to note that people spend more time going through their social media feeds than they would on Google’s search engine results pages.

When you compare user experience, you see that people tend to stay on Google for shorter periods of time because they’re trying to find other websites to visit. Whereas on Facebook, people will be staying for longer and they might also visit it when they’re bored and want more content to go through.

Social media strategy

Have a strategy is important. Your business needs to know what it wants, plan to get it, and then execute.

There are several things that your business might need to consider when thinking about running ads on social networks. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend money on social media services if it won‘t have a good rate of investment, now are you?

But don’t worry, we’ll go over all the important factors that contribute to a successful digital marketing campaign.

Audience

Bet you saw this one coming from a hundred miles away. It’s always there in any form of content that you produce. But I mean more than just a simple “know your audience” type thing.

You will want to do things a lot more differently based on who you’re trying to sell to.

If you’re selling to teenagers and young adults, you want to promote your products on Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube and TikTok. While we’re at it, consider using memes and social media influencers. And no, don’t generalize them into one or two categories. Learn what they want and need; don’t just assume that they all like avocado toast and spend all their money on the latest iPhone.

If you’re selling to new parents, think about running ads on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Memes would work here too as new parents tend not to be too old for them.

And if you’re targeting someone in their 40s and upwards, Facebook and Instagram are places where you’d want to run your online ads.

As a final note, while some platforms might be unpopular in the United States, this doesn’t mean that it’s true in other countries.

Take WhatsApp. Europeans use WhatsApp a lot because their carrier plans often limit how many SMS text messages they can send. WhatsApp is also popular in South East Asia. WeChat and Sina Weibo are popular in China, a lucrative market for many American businesses.

Niche

Depending on the goods and services you sell, you should favor certain social media networks over others.

If you’re cybersecurity vendor, you should be on Twitter. Twitter is one of the most important channels of communications amongst cybersecurity professionals. You may even consider experimenting with Mastodon, a social media service similar to Twitter that’s decentralized.

If you’ve just created a new fashion line, you’ll want to promote it on Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest first before moving on to other networks. Why? Because those are the platforms most people go to when they want to learn about the latest fashion trends.

If you sell infant clothes, Facebook and Instagram it is for you.

Your niche is critical to where your specific audience can be found. Use it to your advantage.

How users use a social network

This is very important if you want to do well on social media. You can’t possibly hope to be taken seriously on social media if you interact with customers on Reddit like you would on Twitter.

Different social network sites have different rules on etiquette. It’s important to follow these rules. Otherwise, you might find your brand name turned a meme. Not a great position to be in when the Internet is making fun of your brand.

One way you can get a better feel for user experience is by seeing whether the social network is primarily used as a mobile app (Instagram) or if it can be used on all devices.

With messaging apps that support advertising, like Facebook Messenger, you want to make sure you optimize your ads for mobile. Try using AMP links if you can, or otherwise make sure that your links serve up the mobile version of your website and landing pages.

WhatsApp Messenger doesn’t yet support ads, though it might in the future. But the reason I bring it up is that it’s a great example of a social media service that emphasizes mobile over desktop. That’s not to say you WhatsApp doesn’t offer WhatsApp download. You can, but it’s essentially WhatsApp Web—which only works if it can connect to your phone via WiFi.

With Facebook, you’ll find that people write more on the desktop version than on the Facebook mobile app. This is because it’s easier writing more on physical keyboards than by using touchscreen keyboards. On the other hand, the Facebook app means that mobile users are more likely to consume your content because they don‘t have to be sat at home to see it.

Social media influencers

These are popular content makers who have tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of fans. They might be bloggers, vloggers (YouTubers), photographers (Instagrammers), or do just about anything that has people addicted to the content that they create.

Depending on your audience and niche, you can work with several YouTube influencers, Instagram influencers and bloggers to help you promote your brand.

Screenshot from YouTube.com

Take Dbrand, for example. For the last couple of years, they’ve been sponsoring many YouTube channels covering consumer technology to promote their smartphone and tablet skins. And it’s been successful. I imagine they’ve had many customers because of these YouTube sponsorships.

Dbrand picked YouTube to run most of their ads because many tech enthusiasts like watching videos by their favorite YouTubers. They knew their niche was on the online video site and went all.

Sponsoring Instagram influencers is very lucrative too if you’re doing Instagram marketing. The reason for that is if you sponsor Instagrammers and also run Instagram ads, you’re increasing your marketing outreach.

The reason marketing on Instagram is great is that you’ve got everyone from teenagers to adults to the elderly on it. Just do an Instagram search and see for yourself the content diversity they have there.

Social media management

The way your business interacts with its audience and the wider online community is very important.

Traditionally, big brands have had entire departments dedicated to doing public relations. They would have people meeting with reporters and journalists to help create and foster a certain image with the public.

It’s no different today.

Now, a lot of businesses have community managers and social media managers. These are employees and marketing contractors that work promote brand awareness, introduce new goods and services, and engage with customers on social media sites.

And with more and more businesses relying on social media marketing, there are many social media jobs that need filling.

Reddit and Twitter are the primary go to social media sites to do community management. It makes for a great part of your overall long-term social media campaign.

Email marketing

No, it’s not dead. Email marketing is still widely practised.

It’s important to have a long email list so you can keep in touch with existing customers. By keeping in touch, you increase the chance they’ll want to do business with you again.

An existing customer is likely to visit your website again and again. This, in turn, will not only help your search engine optimization, which we went in-depth about in this blog and this other blog, but it’ll also make them likely to want to buy from you again.

Think about it. By always appearing in their email inboxes, you’re reminding them you’re still in business. You’re reminding them you’re happy to help them find more great products and services that will help improve their lives.

There have been many case studies done showing that email marketing often leads to high returns on investment (ROI) rates for businesses.

In closing

It’s important to promote your business on social media. Thanks to technology, your targeted ads, along with help from popular influencers, is enough to propel your brand to greatness and beyond.

You should be selective about where you’d like to run your ads. Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit or Snapchat—when you know your audience and consider your niche, it’s easy to pick the best social networking platform for you.

Regardless of where you’re operating from—we’re operating out Houston, Texas, ourselves—using social media apps and emailing marketing to your advantage can only do you lots of good.

So go right at it and good luck!

The post How to build your social media marketing strategy for 2019 appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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SEO isn’t like it was till just a few years ago. You can longer reliably get on top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) while using a few keywords. That’s right, SEO can’t be tamed; it’s taming us.

And that’s not such a bad thing. It means that we can find relevant information faster than ever before. And it’s consistent.

Unless you do a web search for a company name, you’ll find a bunch of blogs and other content reviewing what you’re looking for. This means that Google puts more emphasis on content marketing.

SEO in 2019

When you Google the following queries, notice what you get.

That’s right, you get a lot of blogs reviewing the best phones, sneakers and restaurants that Google thinks are relevant to me based on my location, search history and other data that they have on me. This is especially true for your web searches looking into the best phone and sneaker.

It’s also true when trying to find restaurants, but perhaps slightly less so. Let me explain.

Unlike in the SERPs we get when searching for a product, when you look for a restaurant Google is going to first shows addresses of restaurants it thinks you’ll like based on the data (i.e. reviews, ratings, restaurants you frequent, etc) they gather from Google Maps.

But when it comes to pulling up websites the algorithms believe you’re likely to want to visit, Google once again prioritizes blogs and articles reviewing restaurants. There literally isn’t one restaurant brand that makes it to the first results page. This is consistent with searching for products.

In 2019, the best companies can hope for is to have their website listed somewhere within the first 10 pages of Google. Which obviously isn’t good enough for our clients. Which is why SEO in the traditional sense is now dead.

Why is traditional SEO no longer viable in 2019?

There are many contributing factors behind this. Here are some of the reasons why SEO in 2019 is so much more different than SEO in 2014.

Google’s leveraging the data they’ve been collecting on us all this time

As well all know Google has been gathering a lot of data on its users. Whether it’s through our Google searches, Gmail (although they don’t any more), Google Docs, Android or a suite of other services that they offer. In fact, as Google’s Research Director Peter Norvig once said, “We don’t have better algorithms. We just have more data.”

Google are now using this data to help us do research. They help us find social media influencers and reviewers to help us make our decisions.

Google wants to monetize their data

Google’s main source of income is advertising. It’s one of the biggest online advertising platforms in the world. And it’s already been overtaken by Facebook as of 2014.

This means Google is trying to pressure small businesses to pay up to be listed in their SERP via Google Ads.

Googles Ads are the future!

So are paid local listings, a special ad system that you can pay to get on the top. Just look at the image below to see what I mean.

AS you can see, Google is moving beyond just indexing and showing ads on its SERP. It’s now creating it’s own premium listing, leveraging Google Maps to show ratings.

In short, they’re no longer in the business of providing a number of services isolated from one another. They’re taking a leaf out of the Chinese mega-app WeChat—they’re bringing all their services and data to one major platform.

This means as consumers we spend the majority of our time looking up information on Google, where it can monetize our time and attention.

Google: The Mega-app

Google is transforming and innovating. It’s in this phase where it’s still not entirely clear what Google will look like once it’s completed its metamorphosis. But we can see where it’s headed.

The mega-app. The app-killer. The primary source of information.

Indexing websites and showing the best routes to our destination is no longer enough. That was Google in 2010.

There are many search engines out there today that can go toe-to-toe with Google. Bing, Qwant and Yandex do a decent enough job whether we like to admit it or not of ranking indexed websites. DuckDuckGo is great when it comes to aggregating its results by using listings from the other search engines. And StartPage is the best way to access Google’s own SERP, while providing privacy to users.

Google has to move on from being a simple search engine and differentiate itself if it wants to continue its dominance. This is the best way it can do just that.

Now how does all this leave us when it comes to my bold claim that SEO is dead? Understanding how Google thinks and is reacting to competition is key to answering this question. In short, we live in a post-SEO world because of the changes the search engine is making to its business strategy.

SEO tips for 2019

The old way of doing search engine optimization is dead. But the practice itself isn’t. We just need to make changes to the way we’re treating SEO to remain relevant.

The way that Google treats queries is key to understanding the new strategies that SEO companies need to implement if they’re to stay in the game.

Google is changing the way it does business. If we don’t change with it, if we stagnate, we’ll be left wondering what just happened and how did we not see it coming. We need to adapt now before it’s too late.

As long as people use search engines, SEO will remain as relevant as ever. In fact, it’ll become even more relevant as an increasing number of SEO agencies continue to treat the optimization game as if nothing’s changing.

Let’s recap:

Pay-per-click (PPC) is more important than ever

Unless we spam keywords, we won’t be able to outrank huge brands that have been around for ages. PPC has never been so important. It allows local businesses to actually have a fighting chance and stand their ground against prominent brands.

Content marketing is invaluable

Review blogs outrank even huge brands. So in order to increase web traffic it’s important to make valuable content reviewing trends and consumer options in any given industry. This makes it easier for consumers to find relevant content and helps improve your online presence and authority.

The fact we need to accept is that no one is interested in our clients’ products and service pages. No one’s going to share them, link them or interact with them. No one cares.

So instead of filling those pages with links, we can create valuable content that delivers users with relevant content. This makes it more likely for your blog post to be shared on social media, helping improve online exposure.

Optimize your website for users, not Google

There’s a reason we use the term “SEO” (search engine optimization) and not “GO” (Google optimization).

Today, there are many search engines out there. Even Facebook, Twitter and Reddit index internal links—although admittedly, in the case of Reddit, their search feature is awful. Amazon and eBay index their products. YouTube indexes its videos.

Most of these platforms and services have nothing to do with Google. So we shouldn’t try to optimize our clients’ websites to suit Google and its web crawler bots; we need to optimize it for users.

To wrap it up

SEO is changing and we need to change with it.

We should no longer trying to optimize a few keyphrases for our clients. While it can work in some industries that aren’t saturated with blogs reviewing and rating services, it won’t work in many industries where product saturation reigns supreme.

We should look to outsourcing content creation social media influencers and copywriters to help capture web traffic and improve brand recognition on social media.

The changes Google is making to its business strategy is going to provide us with a lot of new opportunities to exploit.

The post SEO is dead, long live SEO! appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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Today Facebook removed 364 pages, groups and accounts on its platform because it suspected they were linked to the Russian state-run news agency, Sputnik. The social media company said that some were being operated out of Moscow but hid their link to Sputnik in a bid to blend in as local-run Facebook pages, groups and accounts.

Countries targeted by the misinformation campaign

According to this article, the pages pretended to be publishing news in Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan, while they were being operated out of Russia. Despite this, Facebook was able to link these pages and accounts to employees of Sputnik.

While it is unclear whether these employees acted on their own, it is likely that they had the backing of Sputnik, as well as other elements within the Russian government. This is especially true because of the large sums of money that they had spent on online advertisement.

Some of these pages regularly posted content promoting anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements and corruption amongst their followers. All in all, most of the posts were anti-Western and sought to bring about discord and chaos in the political systems of those nations that were targeted by this information warfare campaign.

Examples of the Facebook posts made by
  • Courtesy of Facebook Newsroom.
  • Courtesy of Facebook Newsroom.
  • Courtesy of Facebook Newsroom.
Facebook ads and Russian reach

One page is said to have had 790,000 followers, with other pages having similar number of followers.

Facebook revealed that the operation had begun on October 2013 and had spent approximately $135,000 (using various currencies including US dollars, Russian rubles and the Euro) in ads on the social media platform. The most recent ad ran in January 2019. Facebook is yet to complete its assessment of the organic content spread from these accounts.

These pages hosted approximately 190 events. The first of which is do have had happened in August 2015, and the most recent taking place in January 2019. Up to 1,200 Facebook users are said to have had expressed interest in participating or learning more about these events. However, the social media platform cannot confirm whether these events took place.

Facebook has said that they used open source reporting to help investigate this incident. They have also shared information about their enquiry with the US law enforcement, the US Congress, other technology companies, and lawmakers in the countries targeted by the Russian information warfare campaign.

Another operation targeting Ukraine uncovered

The social media company has also removed 107 Facebook pages, groups and accounts, as well as 41 Instagram accounts, in a separate Russian misinformation campaign not linked to the Sputnik operation. They were tipped off by US law enforcement agencies.

Russia is believed to have had carried out the misinformation campaign while targeting the Ukraine. Facebook was able to identify some technical overlaps between this campaign as well as the one that targeted the United States during the Midterms late last year.

The post Facebook Disrupts Russian Disinformation Campaign Targeting Neighbors appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world and has been for a while now. It’s used by almost 60% of all websites, totalling to more than 22 million sites. And there’s a reason why so many websites use and are made on WordPress. So why is WordPress so popular?

WordPress is both free and open source

Yes, that’s free as in “free speech”, not “free beer”. What that means is that software developers are welcome to help WordPress keep improving by adding new features and patching up bugs.

Some even fork the WordPress source code, letting them take WordPress and turn it into new and brilliant software that users can use. One popular fork of WordPress is ClassicPress.

Creating websites on WordPress is a breeze

WordPress has long moved on from the blog publishing platform it once was long ago. It now has a lot of powerful and flexible tools that let web designers and web developers make beautiful and powerful websites easily and quickly.

The CMS supports a lot of themes and plugins that can increase functionality. There are many specialized plugins that can make life easier for everyone involved.

Image credit: WordPress.com
SEO friendly

WordPress is very SEO friendly. At least it is when it comes to Google. It does away with a lot of the SEO responsibilities that SEO experts have traditionally had, making the entire enterprise that much easier.

As mentioned in the previous section, WordPress comes with many specialized plugins. One such category of plugins is the SEO plugins which can be a God-send. The most popular plugin of this type being Yoast SEO.

In short…

WordPress is very useful to web design companies like triHead LLC. We use WordPress ourselves regularly and know all the tricks that comes with using the CMS. If you’d like us to make you a website, feel free to check this page here for more information.

The post How to Make a WordPress Website appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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How can you tell if a website is good vs bad? It’s a combination of the way they elements that we’ll discuss in detail.

Websites are essential if a business wishes to succeed. In fact, they’ve been essential for well over a decade now and most businesses, big and small, operate at least one website. Some even have several websites in the same industry but under different brands and marques to attract more business.

So what makes for a good website? As Houston’s premier web designing company, we know the answer. While we make fantastic websites, and will shamelessly advertise our own services if you’d like a custom-made website just for you, we also hope to share our perspective on what makes for a good website and what makes for a bad website.

What makes for a bad website?

To better understand what a good website looks like, let’s look at what it doesn’t look like. The distinction will help us better understand why a good website is critical to your business’ online strategy, and will help us answer the good website vs bad website question.

Old website

These are websites that look ancient. Someone made them in yesteryear, using technology from yester-decade. Often, they’re static websites. This means that updating and maintaining them is a hassle for a company, as they need someone who understands HTML, CSS and Javascript to maintain it and add content to it.

An example of an old website that makes everyone think twice about ever using the Internet ever again.

Static websites are bad for your search engine optimization (SEO). This is because static websites are meant for one specific screen size, and won’t resize on other devices. An old static website means it won’t look in many of the modern screens that people use, whether that’s on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Newer static websites might look good on PCs and laptops but won’t look good on tablets or smartphones. With mobile browsing overtaking desktop browsing since 2016 and increasingly become more prevalent every passing day, Google and other search engines punish static websites because often, they’re not mobile friendly.

Bad UX/UI Design

First, let’s define what UX and UI are. UX, also referred to as user experience, is the way a website is designed to allow for visitors to interact with the services and functionalities offered on the website. UI, also known as user interface, is how a website looks.

UX/UI are both two distinct design elements that need to be combined for a website to look and feel good for someone visiting it. A website may look gorgeous (good UI) but be hard to navigate and find what you’re after (bad UX). To make a good website, both UX and UI need not only to be great, but they also need to complement each other.

An example of how web designers try to incorporate good UX by designing a decent navigation bar.

A good website looks stunning and easy to navigate. If it’s an eCommerce website, it needs to let visitors to easily find the good or service they’re looking for, find relevant reviews and easily purchase it.

What makes for a good website?

So far, we’ve looked at what makes for a bad website. Hopefully, you’ll see how some websites can be improved. Now, we’ll discuss what can we can add to turn an “okay website” to a “good website”, or even a “great website”. In this section, we’ll be able to finally answer the good vs bad website question we asked earlier on.

Search Engine Optimization Compatible

It is no longer enough to simply have a website to succeed online. To make the most of their online presence, businesses now contract search engine optimization (SEO) companies to do it for them. Speaking of which, here at triHead, we offer affordable SEO services.

If you’ve heard our previous blog post, you’ll see why SEO is so important. It’s important for businesses big and small. Even startups need them. Therefore, a good website supports SEO natively.

Besides a website being mobile friendly, as we’ve already discussed earlier in this blog post, they also need to support the ability to add focus key phrases, edit snippets and much more.

Web Application Security

Websites need to be secure. Older websites often come with old technologies that are outdated and no longer supported. That is to say, as new vulnerabilities are found, they don‘t get patched.

Web security is paramount in this day and age.

For example, Adobe is killing off Flash in 2020. While it’s 2019 and Flash is still seeing security updates, it is being phased out. Websites that still run Flash moving forward in 2020 will be vulnerable to being hacked. They can also make visitors less secure.

A good website will constantly rush to patch the extensions and services it offers to avoid cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and other vectors. By protecting its website, a company protects its reputation as well as its customers from malicious hackers.

Good use of media

A website that doesn’t make good use of images and videos is a bland websites. Websites need to draw visitors’ attention and keep it. This way, the visitor will want to navigate the website and read up more about what the company is all about and what it offers. Regardless of what your site is about, it needs to be interesting and it needs to have a great presentation. In short, media is an indicator of a good vs bad website.

Businesses that fail to capture visitors’ attention online tend to fail to capture their customers’ attention in their brick-and-mortar stores, too. Not being able to interest potential customers in your goods and services is bound to be disastrous. It’s essentially giving away your business to competitors who’ve implemented a better web design than your website has.

Knowing what type of multimedia to use at any given time can be crucial to making a website successful.

Media needs to be used sparingly and strategically. It’s important to realize that while the lack of media makes your site boring, supersaturating it with media won’t help either. In fact, it can be detrimental to you. Images and videos can make your website more pleasant to explore, but too much of it will be distracting and overwhelming. You should still aim to have a simple online portal to your business, after all.

Finally, it’s important to realize what form of digital media should be used at any given instance. Sometimes, a picture is more useful than a video. Other times, the opposite is true. Knowing when to use text, video, audio or even slideshows can be critical to sharing an idea or persuading a customer to shop with your business.

What makes a great website?

Now that we’ve covered the good vs bad website question, we can confidently explore this question for once and for all. By avoiding all the things that make a website bad, and incorporating what makes a good website, we get a great website.

A great website offers a great and well thought-out UX/UI experience; is mobile-friendly; actively supports SEO; makes good and strategic use of media formats; and is secure. But more than that, a great website constantly innovates and adapts to changes in the market and online. A great website regularly updates its existing content and adds new content, and primarily, doesn’t shy away from emerging technologies.

Image credit: WordPress.com
We make great websites

A great website is instantly recognizable because of the thought and effort put into it. You needn‘t be a web design expert to see it. And as Houston’s leading affordable web designer, we believe we should be your first choice.

We know different businesses and clients have different needs. Therefore, we offer different websites. Here at triHead, we consider your needs and suggest a web solution we think best suits your needs.

Whether you’re a startup needing a single-page website, a business that needs a multi-page website, or hoping to sell online, we’ve got you covered. And as we’re a search engine optimization (SEO) company, we know just how to design your website for a great SEO strategy. We also offer pay-per-click (PPC) advertising services on major online advertising platforms like Google and Facebook. Finally, we also offer social media engagement campaigns to help improve brand recognition on social media.


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Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find information that’s relevant to them when they do a web search. When a company hires a SEO agency to optimize their website for them, they’re basically asking help on how to make their website stand out to potential customers when they search for the products and services they offer.

Let’s say you own a pizza parlor in Houston, Texas or in Los Angeles, California. You’ve only just opened it up and are now trying to compete against better-established competitors who have been around for longer. Some of your competition are likely to be pizza parlor chains and other big brands.

To be able to compete with them, you need brand recognition. And to get that, you can try to make it so that when someone Googles ‘best pizza place’, yours appears somewhere on the first page, preferably on the top!

Why is SEO important for businesses?

So SEO is nothing more than a marketing tool. It’s a great way to appear on the search engines that dominate our lives.

It is increasingly important to businesses as more and more people continue to rely on the Internet to find goods and services as opposed to watching commercials. It’s even more important for newer businesses, particularly those who rely on eCommerce for a large portion of their sales.

People tend to trust businesses that appear on the top of a search engine results page (SERP). It might appear that a business has been vetted by a search engine, and that they’re a reputable business. It verifies a website as being trustworthy.

This is Google’s search results page (SERP) when you search for “affordable web designer houston”.

And to an extent, that’s true. Search engines use tracking techniques to track how much time visitors spend on websites. If a visitor behavior suggests that they’re happy using the website, then that website is ranked higher in SERP. This is based on the assumption that as previous users have found the website useful, others in the future will too.

A critical point to remember is that search engines have to index tens of trillions of websites. People generally aren’t going to spend months and years going through every indexed website to find the best pizza place. They’re going to look at a few options. By default, Google shows ten links on each page of their SERP. This means that people are likelier to choose from a website listed somewhere on the first page than from any other page.

So in conclusion, SEO can be used to establish trust. And organizations run on trust. If people don’t trust a company, they’ll boycott it. So by appearing on top of SERP, your business is more likely to be found by potential customers and it’s easier for them to trust that you’re a business they can trust and do business with.

Search engine optimization vs content marketing

One question our customers sometimes ask us is, “What is content marketing and how is it related to SEO?”

First, let’s define what content marketing is. Content marketing deals with creating and publishing content for a target audience. So in many ways, SEO is content marketing. SEO takes the technical side of content marketing into consideration.

SEO involves considering website design—its structure and the way visitors can interact with it. Proper titles, URLS, descriptions, performance, a good UI/UX, backlinks and much more. There’s a comprehensive checklist SEO companies have to go through to make sure a web page is optimized.

This image describes how SEO is the technical side of content marketing.

With content marketing, businesses decide on the content they publish, its presentation and promotion online. For example, a company decides that they want to publish three blog posts a week, along with a video on YouTube. They then choose to advertise their new content on social media—Twitter, Reddit and Facebook—to get maximum exposure.

In short, the two terms go hand-in-hand together for a successful online advertising campaign. One that includes search engine optimization, content management and pay-per-click advertising.

SEO vs pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Yes, you read it right. SEO and content management get you two-thirds of the way to a comprehensive online advertising campaign. The remaining one-third is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

So what’s PPC? Remember how before the advent of the internet businesses used to buy advertisement space in newspapers? It’s just like that, only now on SERP and social media. Today, businesses buy advertising space from websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit to promote their goods and services.

You can pay most search engines to have them list your online ads on their SERP. Similarly, you can do the same with Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. PPC is a great way to promote your business operations online.

The great thing about PPC is that you can have ads that directly target a particular audience. A pizza parlor in Houston or Los Angeles might want their ads to show up for residents of their respective city, as it would be waste advertising to someone living in another state entirely.

Now, you might be wondering, why even bother with SEO when you can run PPC ad campaigns? PPC is often more costly and can be blocked by ad blockers. You need to pay the online advertising platform you work with money everytime someone clicks on your ads. This can make PPC more expensive than SEO. Furthermore, a sizeable portion of internet users use ad blocker plug-ins to disable ads. PPC ads wouldn’t appear to these users.

SEO is great for getting to the top of search engine results pages organically. This means that you appear on the top regardless of whether users use ad-blockers. Furthermore, it’s cheaper than PPC in the long term.

However, pay-per-click should complement search engine optimization. Think of PPC as a marketing tool that you can use for quick, short-term gains. Meanwhile, SEO is a powerful marketing tool for the long-term.

You should always work on SEO. But let’s say that our pizza parlor has a new “buy one, get one” deal for medium pizzas, then it’d make sense to use PPC to let people looking to buy pizzas know about the deal. Meanwhile, you should strive to have the keyphrase “great pizza” bring you to the top of Google’s SERP.

Who can benefit from SEO?

Why, everyone can! It’s a marketing strategy that businesses of all size—whether they’re startups or multinational corporations—need to invest in.

Businesses rely on their marketing and public relations teams to portray them in a good light. SEO is one of the tools that can be used to do just that. And as an online tool, it can be even more effective than traditional tools because it’s a targeted tool. Precise and discerning, SEO and online marketing in general can be relied on to bring personalized information to people.

It’s arguably more important for newer, smaller businesses than better well-known ones. But just as you see Pepsi, Toyota and AT&T running commercials on the TV, in spite of their size and reputation, even big businesses with great brand recognition should invest in SEO.

In fact, we have already written a blog post on the merits of SEO for startups. But SEO is a must for any business to succeed and keep succeeding. And as Houston’s premier SEO agency, we hope you’ll give us a go.

The post What is Search Engine Optimization? appeared first on Houston's Best Web Design.

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