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The way you use Instagram has an impact on product promotion and the look and feel of your website. Today, entrepreneurs need rock-solid social media plans and the photo-sharing platform, Instagram, plays a crucial role in designing stellar websites. The picture-sharing site inspires you to use high-definition images and the perfect mix of web design and social media. Therefore, you must integrate Instagram into your web design professionals to get the best results.

Instagram is the photo sharing social webpage which encourages advertisers to advance their stock together with their web architecture. It implies the look and feel of sites can be improved utilizing Instagram. Today, all organizations require an internet-based life plan, and Instagram has helped in changing the methodology of planning site pages. The image sharing stage rouses website specialists to utilize high-goals and best quality pictures just as the imaginative blend of website composition and internet-based life.

Online entrepreneurs can supplement their site with the utilization of Instagram to acquire devotees. Instagram famous visual posts are very much enjoyed by the clients, which a website specialist can use further bolstering his good fortune. Here are the top advantages of coordinating Instagram in your website architecture:

According to an article published on inc.com, designers can take inspiration from Instagram feeds to spur creative ideas. It will let their creative juices flowing in designing alluring web pages that clients will appreciate. As a designer, you can look up colors, graphics, photos, illustrations, and overall layout. It means Instagram has many benefits when it comes to professional web design. Here are the top advantages:

Makes your web pages look realistic

When your home page or service pages look realistic, professional, and trustworthy, prospects will like visiting your website. They will return to your site for more information and content in the future.

Online business people can guarantee that their Instagram accounts supplement their sites. With the staggering fame of Instagram in the market, it is critical to be engaged and mindful of the advantages that can be picked up from joining the system.

Alongside other internet based life destinations, Instagram has turned into a segment of individuals’ lives that has made it simpler to convey. Clients go through a few hours every day on the web and website specialists approach a wide scope of interpersonal organizations. When they will start trusting you as a designer, they will promote your services, opt for your design solutions, and pay you for your services. It will take some time to build a healthy business relationship with your clients. Then, it is worth your effort to realize your business goals. When you create high-quality content frequently, it will improve your organic traffic, more free Instagram likes, and the number of followers who rely on your services.

Maximum results

Instagram is useful for web designers as it helps them build their business and client base with minimum effort, offering maximum results. Instagram is the best social media platform to find new design ideas and implement them into your client’s projects. You can use the platform for marketing your design services, artwork, graphics, logos, illustrations, and much more. It means that you will derive maximum results when you look for web design ideas leveraging Instagram. There is no doubt about the same. You need to take some time out of your busy schedule to get the desired results.

Business development

When you use Instagram, as a designer, you get an opportunity to post high-definition visuals of your work and portfolio. This way, you attract many visitors and sales opportunities. You can use the photo-sharing site to learn about new designs, keep track of the latest trends, and implement them in your work to make money.

In the event that you need to advance your business, Instagram is a solid stage to do as such. The site is creative on the off chance that you might want to develop your business and addition more purchasers. You will have more individuals preferring your business when you have more devotees on Instagram. You can use numerous Instagram includes and incorporate them into your website architecture. Tell your prospects what’s going on in your organization. Utilize the Story highlight of Instagram in the event that you have something uncommon to pass on to your customers.

Having an Instagram profile page for your business will offer you a chance to post photographs of your organization, representatives, the work culture just as new item dispatches that you need to advance. Along these lines, your business will draw in various guests, which will give chances to extend your scope.

With an Instagram account, your business can speak with customers effectively. Indeed, even individuals utilize the photograph imparting site to connect with brands. It’s the place your customers and planned customers areas that is the place your business ought to be so as to associate with them.

Instagram fills in as a ground-breaking stage for organizations to develop their customer base with the little venture. The system is savvy and in the meantime, whenever done astutely, gives most extreme returns in less time. You can advance your image, plan challenges, direct occasions, share significant data just as a discussion about your most recent item dispatches through Instagram.

When it comes to the profession of web design, many designers have Instagram profiles people visit, follow regularly, and engage with the posts. The photo-sharing social site lets you share different photos and improve the visual appeal of the content you post.

Instagram is one social media site that provides easy access to consumers and many individuals use the platform and connect with your web design business. Whether it is clients or visitors, they are engaging with Instagram posts frequently.

Conclusion

If you have a web design business, leverage Instagram to market your services to acquire clients. Design awesome web pages and make money.

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The post Top Benefits of Including Instagram into Professional Web Design appeared first on Search Engine Magazine.

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Alexa, please play the song, ‘Starboy by Weeknd!’

If you are one of those people that have used a voice assistant to play a favorite song, you are not alone. By some estimates, over 100 million devices bought by homes in 2018. If you calculate the family size to be roughly four, then imagine the volume of searches through voice.

In this article, we will tell you about some of the most important points related to ‘Voice Search’. We will answer questions like-

Is the future of search engine marketing going to be the voice?

What is the target audience (age, gender, and market) of voice searches?

Which are the major companies that produce voice search assistants?

How can Voice Search help boost your SEO?

What are people searching for when they use Voice Search?

Google Home, Amazon Echo, and other Voice Assistants

Let’s start with a small game.

Can you tell us what the highest selling product on Amazon was in 2018s festive season (Christmas and New Year gifting)?

It was the Echo!

The Amazon Echo is not the only voice-based assistant flying off the charts. Google Home and Xiaomi’s Mini AI Speakers are also doing incredibly well.

The growth percentage hovers over 200% for such devices. It is evident that the future of search is going to be voice assisted.

This is a new trend and one that is here to stay for a very long time. Naysayers are discrediting data by saying that this is a fad, and is likely to go away in some time.

I think quite the opposite. The reason I think that voice is here to stay is because of the two main players in the industry- Google and Amazon.

Google and Amazon are the bosses of the search industry. There is no bigger player in the manufacturing industry than these two. It is no surprise that Echo and Alexa will help play positively in voice-based searches.

No matter how much we say that these giants will not tweak the search results specifically for search, we know what the reality is.

Rather than fighting voice search, what we can do as brands and marketers is to adopt the platform. This will help brands and digital marketers to benefit from voice-based searches.

How can Brands benefit from Voice Search?

Think of the number of times you have asked Alexa about the closest place for lunch, or the nearest movie theatre. Trust us you are not the only one.

‘Ordering Food’ ranks as the fourth highest search on Alexa in 2018. This translates to millions of searches worldwide.

As a brand, you need to ensure that your website and its offerings are compatible with voice search engine marketing.

The best part about this new development is the positive impact on local businesses. Voice search helps display locations and services closest to your location. If local businesses are able to make themselves compatible with voice search, they will start doing really well.

This is not only true for local restaurants, but also salons, grocery stores, hardware stores, and multiplexes. Think of all the local brands offering products and services around you.

Up until now, brands were using content marketing and SEO to rank higher on search results. However, with changes in technology, they should start adapting themselves. Evolution is the key in the digital industry for being successful.

Why is Voice Search more Attractive than Traditional Search?

Voice search offers a seamless experience if you compare it to traditional desk search. The flow of information is quicker, more effective and quite attractive. Not to mention the human quality of voice assistants.

Siri and Alexa lend a human touch to technology, and this has great psychological effects. Traditional searches are one-way. You type, and you receive the result. With Siri and Alexa, there is one more additional level. The human quality of voice-based searches helps you interact with someone.

Aristotle states, ‘Man is by nature a social animal’. No matter how individualized we get, we would never pass on an opportunity to interact with someone. In this case, it is not a real human, but Siri and Alexa, give us the virtues of human beings.

Voice search also helps you connect smart devices with your voice assistant. Televisions, refrigerators, air conditioning, are some devices that can truly convert your smart home experience.

More than anything, voice search is an advancement of technology. The aim of technology is to provide information as quickly as possible. Compare typing to speaking. You can command Alexa even while dusting your shoes, or preparing your meal. Can you type while doing the same?

Voice-based search is attractive to users as it provides a level of convenience. ‘Calling a Cab’ is something that millions of people do every day. Try comparing the time that you physically call a cab through your app, with when you ask Alexa to call one for you.

You would be amazed at what you can do in 30 seconds to one minute. Cumulate time over the day and you have saved yourself more than 30 minutes (all tasks). Human beings can use this time far more productively.

Who uses Voice Search?

History shows that newer technology has always had a younger audience. Majority of the voice searches are being done by people in the age group of 18-36. While the age group of 37-50 is slowly catching up.

The volume of searches is only going to increase. It is not only the volume but also the searches by the different age groups are also quite different.

Homemakers in the USA used voice assistants to search for recipes online. Middle-aged professionals used voice assistants to help them connect with tax attorneys.

This is an incredible amount of information, which can be helpful for brands. Younger populations are using voice searches for information on food, recreation, and products.

It is not only the west, which is becoming a hot destination for voice searches. In countries like India and China, where the young population is driving the economy, this presents great opportunities.

For Google and Amazon, India is one of its biggest markets. This holds true for other tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and Instagram. The young population is consuming technology and everything related to technology in a massive way.

With Amazon and Google actively pushing their manufacturing of Echo and Home in India, this is only going to rise. This means that brands and businesses in India and China are going to benefit if they are voice search optimized.

How to Optimize your SEO for Voice Search Engine Marketing?

Brands repeatedly ask this one question us- how can our SEO be optimized for voice searches? Well, for starters, you do not have to do anything radically different. Traditional SEO is still king!

Having said that, yes there are a few tweaks here and there that can be helpful for your brand. A good idea is tailoring your content to include words like ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘best’, and ‘new’. Users who do voice searches are asking their voice assistants questions most of the time.

If you are a local business, it is necessary that you have a local listing of your business. All search engines- Google, Bing, Cortana, and others use local listings as a priority for search.

The second major element that is necessary for SEO are featured snippets. The more concise the information about your brand, the more often will it pop up on voice search.

You should remember to optimize these two major areas- local listings and featured snippets. If you have already done this, we predict you have started to see real traction through voice search.

Traditional methods of doing SEO remain as important as ever. We do not think that voice search will fundamentally alter how SEO works. There might be certain inputs that would come from Google, but that will be all.

Artificial Intelligence and Voice Search: The Technology of the Future:

Artificial Intelligence in technology is not a thing of the future anymore. It is very much present in today’s world. With voice search, artificial intelligence is aiming to go a step beyond.

Voice search gives AI a platform to understand the behavior of a user. This is more effective in speech than it is in the text. With a closer understanding of the human giving the command, AI helps tailor results that are that much more personalized.

This is a definite evolution in terms of AI technology. Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft will continue to push for more AI in their products and innovations. There is even talk of Facebook joining this voice search race with its own speakers in late 2019.

Like it or hate it, the world is becoming AI driven. Have you noticed how Gmail has started using predictions in writing emails? This invited a lot of praise from some, but severe criticisms from others.

Almost all the voice assistants are geographically aware of your location. They are connected to your smartphones and can help you prioritize search based on your trends. This is what good AI can do. It helps predict user behavior right down to the ‘T’.

The Problems of Voice Search:

Voice search is not perfect in the present world. If you compare it to text search, there are many problems. However, this is not to say that giants like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are not working to improve them.

#Alexafails is a frequently trending hashtag on Twitter. How voice assistants process the audio is something that needs improvement. This problem is magnified when local dialects are used to speak English. Voice assistants have many problems understanding the accent, tone, dialect, and speech of non-native English speakers.

Given the fact that India and China are going to the two biggest markets in the near future, this needs addressing immediately. There is also a problem of voice assistants needing rephrasing sentences.

Sometimes, the results are not accurate. You might be asking Alexa to play the Beatles in your local accent. Alexa might interpret the same as Skittles, and add it to your shopping cart.

If you compare the same with text searches, we already know that there has been a vast improvement. If you commit a spelling mistake, the text is automatically highlighted.

Google even offers you suggestions after interpreting your spelling mistakes. (You might feel a bit stupid, but you will be proud that Google read it and offered a correction).

However, our most problematic issue with voice assistants is this. You need to be patient for it to complete one search before you can start the next one. Two simultaneous queries easily done on text search will not happen on voice assistants.

If technology is about aiding the flow of information in a faster and more useful way then this problem stays ( at least as of now).

Voice Search Engine Marketing: The Final Word:

 Voice search is not a thing of the future it is already here. Nor is it a fad, which will go away in some time. It is imperative that brands and digital marketers embrace voice search wholeheartedly.

For me, the biggest beneficiaries of voice search will be local businesses. Small brands should effectively exploit the benefits of voice search. This will help them grow their revenues and attract newer customers.

Digital Marketing companies need to step up their SEO game to integrate voice search. If half the world is doing voice search by 2020, you need to have a separate strategy for that.

For consumers, voice search is a fantastic technological tool to aid to make every day simpler. You can use Alexa to play songs, schedule TV shows, book a cab, and 15,000 other skills. This list will keep on growing to the point you will not even consider voice search as a not existing couple of years back.

If you need any help with regard to understanding voice search and the impact, it will have on your business feel free to drop us a comment.

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The post How Voice Search is going to be the Future of Search Engine Marketing appeared first on Search Engine Magazine.

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You have known about Coke, Jeep, Chapstick, Popsicle, Velcro, Band-Aid, and so on., isn’t that so? Indeed, one vital thing you have to think about these is that you don’t, as a rule, call them with the conventional names, however, these are brand names for these items given for the most part by their innovators or the advertisers.

Be that as it may, with regards to e-com business web-based, constructing brand unwaveringness turns into a hard to achieve desert garden step by step, it is basic for the organization to manufacture a solid client base to endure. The web has not changed over individuals to more technically knowledgeable customers, who utilize the intensity of hunt, channel, and contrast items and brand with take an acquiring choice. Thus, the center is moved more to clients from business, which principally sidesteps the maturity thought of brand dedication if there are elective items accessible in a similar value range or lower.

How to handle it?

In this article, we will talk about in insight regarding the distinctive strategies to attempt and manufacture a powerful brand technique which will help web-based business stores to endure. As opposed to beating around the hypothetical plans, we should think basically on some significant plans to rehearse straight away.

Building brand technique

 

A brand technique is something which will push the agents to decisively characterize your customers, items/administrations, and the business segment. It is tied in with evaluating all given data and information and make sense of the careful winning contrast. All the more vitally, a brand methodology will assist you with staying in front of the challenge by keeping away from the challenge on superfluous angles like quality and cost, and so forth.

Making a compelling marking methodology for e-com business is additionally an urgent part of showcasing, client maintenance, and reliability building, which is vital for any new business foundation on the web. In the event that this isn’t compelling, at that point on a long-run you might wind up working in reverse in regards to getting your business to resound with the client needs.

Nuts and bolts of e-com marking

A portion of the moment tips include:

  • Creation of a conspicuous logo and shading plan.
  • Integrating your image into every single social medium outlets by keeping the brand components novel over different stages.
  •  Develop a steady substance to emphasize your image goal and logic.

A very much planned logo is something other than a really realistic combined with an extravagant text style. Incredible logos outperform the stray pieces of their structure to bring out a type of memory or feeling inside the watcher, an inclination that catches their association with the brand. A genuinely incredible logo imparts a brand – and all that it speaks to – at only a look.

As yet marking is far beyond a logo. The genuine power in a brand lies in the character of the brand, and understanding your image identity model is an incredible method to open your image’s embodiment.

Numerous entrepreneurs are mistaken about managing for extreme obligations which they need to clear. Obligation the executives is an idea which isn’t so natural to everything except advances some very powerful ways with respect to obligation combination. The organizations can be of assistance, however, it is fundamental to comprehend your real obligation circumstance and work as indicated by their guidelines.

The beginning stage of structure a brand is a superior comprehension of your business and its subtleties. Endeavor to characterize it as:

  • The mission of your e-com business
  • What is the issue your item/administration tackles and what new it offers to the clients?
  • What do your clients consider your business?
  • In which way you need your clients to connect with your image?

You have to find attractive solutions to every one of these inquiries to begin taking a shot at a brand methodology. Once on the off chance that you effectively characterize these, next, you have to do some statistical surveying to comprehend the client reasoning and desires. You can do this by leading an email review or endeavoring to get purchaser input.

Release the intensity of your USPs

Each business going for progress will have it’s own one of a kind pitching recommendations to be imparted to the purchasers and let them recognize what is exceptional about your item and administrations. Making a USP is a standout amongst the most central strides in structure a fruitful brand procedure. The objective of having a USP is to recognize your image from the contenders. In this way, it should feature brand rationality and your objective of maintaining a business.

–  A delegate contextual investigation on USP creation

A significant number of you may have known about ‘Pole Brothers’ in New York City who sell hand-make chocolates. They are known as one of the not many shops in which bean-bar chocolates are made in-house. What makes them remarkable is the way that these chocolates are of high quality. In the large scale manufacturing universe of chocolates were Nestle and Hershey and so on the guideline, Mast Brothers are making their account of in-house creation as their novel selling suggestion, and this prevails in effectively tapping their piece of the pie.

Feature your quality which recognizes you

You won’t almost certainly get by without quality and on the off chance that the quality is the essential distinctive factor in your business, at that point here are some particular bits of knowledge you have to impart to the potential recipients.

  • The creation of your item
  • Compliance with explicit guidelines and benchmarks
  • Quality of materials utilized
  • Specifications of the item (ex: natural nourishment item and so forth.)
Investigate new changes in marking rules

This is a challenging way to deal with the brand methodology by attempting imaginative courses in changing the customary tenets and conventions of marking. Going out on a limb can once in a while provide you another guidance in brand building, which can likewise win the consideration of potential shoppers to investigate your internet business store. In the event that you have a one of a kind and idiosyncratic item to offer, you can consider focusing your showcasing endeavors innovatively around it. The objective here to make a one of a kind space for your image by displaying it in an unusual manner to get individuals to see it and begin discussing it.

Presently, with the essential expertise, you increased over e-com marking, the following stage is to delve more inside and out and assemble a solid establishment around your e-com brand and begin selling.

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The post 2018 Branding Strategies to Promote Your E-commerce Business Better appeared first on Search Engine Magazine.

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Blog writing has become an increasingly profitable business owing to the growth of Content Marketing and brands investing in it. The industry is seeing an upsurge in the number of industry-specific blogs and the growth of revenues from the same.

If you are thinking of starting your own blog, this is the perfect time for you to take that decision and make the start. However, like most businesses, blog writing involves certain foundations to be set up at the outset.

These foundations will ensure how successful your page is, and whether you are getting the right amount of traffic to monetize your site within a few months.

If you follow our systematic guide to blog writing, chances are that you would be making thousands of dollars in a few months.

Step 1- Choose the Right Name and Domain:

Your blog name should be an extension of what your blog content is based on. In other words, if you are writing on a particular industry be sure to use the word in the name of your blog. This will make the connection obvious, apparent and increase the recall value.

For example, if you were writing on fashion or style trends, a good idea would be to have a name like ‘The Urban Fashionista’, or ‘The Style Diva.’ This will help in identifying the audiences to your brand easily.

The second part relates to choosing a domain. Try to choose a .com or a .org domain as it would mean increased visibility and acceptability in front of global audiences. A local domain like .in (India specific) or .au (Australia specific), will limit your appeal in front of certain audiences.

Always remember that there is a certain hierarchy attached to domains, and if you do not do it right, chances are you might be limiting your audiences at the very start.

Step 2- Create a WordPress Customised Theme or a PHP Platform:

Many people support the tremendous value attached to WordPress. If you are beginning a blog content site for the first time in your life, it is a good idea to invest a few dollars and get a customized WordPress Theme.

However, if you feel that the WordPress theme is not solving the various parameters of your blog site, you can always go for a web design and development process. Personally, we feel that WordPress is a good place to start, given the kind of customizations it now offers. It is also highly affordable and perfect for content sites in many ways.

Try to select a theme that suits the kind of industry you are writing about and your target audience. If your blog site is about B2B industries, selecting colors and themes that are subdued, professional looking and simple is a good way to proceed.

The theme and colors should complement the industry, the target audience, and most importantly, your style of writing.

Step 3- Invest in Quality Content and Content Writers:

Quality content is what will power your blog site today, tomorrow and forever. A good start would be to set some guidelines for your own content, as well as for the content you would receive through guest posts.

Set a word limit for the articles on your site. Try to set the limit at 1000 words or more. Long format content is highly promoted by Google and other search engines and scores well on several metrics.

Ensure that you are only creating original content that is plagiarism free. At all times during your blog writing process, a good idea would be to check for grammar mistakes in the articles. A free grammar checker software will help you maintain the quality of the content on your site. This software is an indispensable tool to have at all times.

If you are writing content that excites audiences, is the original and long format, you will see a drastic level of improvement in your blog site within a few months. Increase in traffic and metrics will help you monetize your site in a very short span of time.

Step 4- Create Social Media Pages and Promote/Share Content:

Once you have set up your blog site, and have set the foundations in place, you should create social media profiles of your site. It is essential that you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and other platforms.

As soon as you publish your article, share it on social media channels. This will help increase their visibility and drive audiences to your website. You can also set aside a small budget to promote good articles on social media.

This is a proven, time-tested and convincing strategy to drive audiences from social to the website. You can also share it on your personal profile, or ask a few of your friends to share them. The more the visibility, the better the reach.

Social sharing is a necessary mechanism to help increase the metrics of your site. In other words, the number of times people click from social media and go to your site, Google thinks it is a credible site for information.

Step 5- Choose the Right Avenues of Monetizing your Blog:

While there are many avenues that were not previously existent for blog owners today, not all of them are of a good variety. You should always ensure that you are in charge of what kind of monetization you want to go for.

You should be very careful of dealing with link-building companies and guest posting services and should properly vet the content, the links, and the payment structure. In overtime, there are a number of bad links placed in your site, your ratings, rankings, and reach will plummet drastically.

Always check whom are you working with and their credentials. Decide on the payment structure upfront. If you are just beginning to see traffic and increase in metrics, a safe option would be to start with Google AdSense.

Step 6- Choose Your Niche Industry:

Audiences, which consume online content, are becoming highly evolved. You cannot write on everything, or on all industries. It is always a good idea to start with a particular segment and then go into its sub-divisions.

For example, if you are looking to start a technology review blog, you can start with mobile phones, laptops, televisions, music systems, and the like. Once you have established your credibility, and are witnessing a good traffic flow, you can further specialize.

Do not stop the existing blog, but create a new one with a niche audience and following- for example, a blog site on just gaming laptops, and nothing else. This will help filter your existing audiences to the new site, and you will continue enjoying the same traffic and monetary benefits.

Step 7- Understand Your Audience:

A blog’s content is created with a target audience in mind. This will help you choose your style and tone of writing, how informal or formal you are, colors, and images. It is never a good idea to use terms like YOLO, FOMO, and others when your audiences are above the age of 60.

Understanding your audience is a point where even good bloggers fail miserably. You need to keep in mind that online audiences are aware of a minute and intricate things. This means that they will be able to differentiate between genuine content and paid content.

Avoid unnecessary external links where they are not required. Ideally, there should not be more than two external links on a particular article. You can always ensure that the external links are of good quality. This will help your credibility and be good for the health of your blog content site.

Step 9- Optimise the Performance of your Blog through WordPress:

Even the best content or blog writers need technical help. WordPress knows this and helps you immensely improve the performance and reach of your article. When you are updating the draft in your WordPress dashboard, you should always follow their guidelines and improve the article.

For example, the ‘Readability Analysis’ and the “Keyword Analysis’ of WordPress should always be optimized by the writer. A number of times the keyword is mentioned, whether it is there on the title, the first paragraph, how many transient words are used, are important.

The WordPress analysis puts forth a scientific and technologically advanced analysis that helps you improve the article. Always remember, that these are in harmony with the latest Google updates and helps improve rankings, searches, and credibility of information on your blog site.

Step 10- Never Compromise on the Ethics of your Content Site:

In our experience of working with hundreds of content sites and bloggers, I have seen two major trends. There are those who are sticklers for quality and ethics. Then there are those who would compromise on it for extra and easy money.

Over a period, I have experienced first-hand that the people who maintain quality and do not compromise often start slow, but end up doing better. Contrarily, the people who started with compromises early, and made a few bucks, perform badly, once the updates start coming in.

The right path is to follow the ethics of the business. Many people will offer you money for bad links, and objectionable content. Saying no would be tough, but it is the right thing to do. In the end, it will be immensely beneficial for your business and revenues. ‘Keep Google Happy’, should always be your motto!

Step 11- Have Patience and Stay in it for the Long Run:

If you have made up your mind about religiously following the above-mentioned steps, then this point assumes added importance. Setting a good foundation takes time, but it is necessary. You will start feeling that results are not coming about, traffic is not increasing, and revenues are not rising.

However, you need to keep in mind that all the above problems will go away after some time. This time might be 6 months to a year. However, once you have seen it through you can start expecting real results. The age of the domain also matters.

In other words, Google will see that a year old domain has over 200-300 good quality long format articles without any bad links. It will start promoting your organic reach monumentally after a year. The key is to hang in there and have patience. Remember, content marketing yields long-term dividends and not short-term stopgaps.

The Final Word:

The tremendous success of blogs has ensured that blog writing has not remained just a hobby. Rather, a full-time vocation that can be highly profitable if you follow the right steps. The growth of Digital Marketing and Content Marketing has completely transformed the world of content.

In our experience, we have seen individuals who started as novice bloggers, own and manage close to thirty to fifty blog sites simultaneously. These individuals are now earning thousands of dollars every month from their sites. These bloggers have invested time, money, and energy into reaching wherever they are now.

This is not to say that you will never reach that position. On the contrary, you most definitely will, in fact, you might even be more successful. The key is to do it right, from the start until the end. A successful blog is all about displaying quality and having patience. Once you have mastered these two pillars, you will start seeing the tangible results of your efforts.

If you have the right foundation, and the right intentions, chances are that you will be quite successful in a short span of time. Do reach out to us if you want to know more about how to start a blog, or how to start monetizing from your blog. We are always there to lend a helping hand to fellow bloggers.

Best of luck, and Happy Blogging!

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The post The 11 Step Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Blog appeared first on Search Engine Magazine.

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If you are a brand and have recently forayed into the Digital Domain, chances are you will be completely swamped by the sheer magnitude of strategies that your Digital Agency might be bombarding you with.

From PPCs, SEO, Social Media Marketing, to Content Marketing, you might not even know what the best way to proceed is. Most brands get confused and pump money into channels that will never be profitable for them.

One of my brands, which my agency had helped launch on social media in India, ran a campaign on their posts, without even having any followers or likes on their page (We suggested a Follower Campaign and a Like Campaign), but the man was adamant that he wanted post likes.

Whenever I am pitching a Digital Marketing Strategy to any of my prospective clients, or even updating some of my regular clients, the first thing that they want to know is about Paid Campaigns.

Even when I try and explain to them that Paid Campaigns can only help certain aspects of your business in the short term and that there are other methods to increase long term viability, clients still are most interested in paid promotions.

I started wondering what can be the reasons that businesses and brands, including Marketing and Brand managers, have started giving preference to paid promotions over more robust and long-term channels like Content Marketing.

Why Brands like Paid Promotion Campaigns:

Brands like paid promotions for a variety of reasons. For starters, it means that they are spending money or budgets, which for many mean, that they are doing some real work. PPCs also ensure faster results and metrics. The importance attached to things and numbers and analysis cannot be undermined in any way.

Almost all the brands are looking for quick solutions, and they are not afraid to burn through their marketing budgets provided they see results. This has made PPCs as one of the most favoured digital marketing solutions that are there in the market.

For Digital Marketing companies, PPCs mean a straight commission cut, which goes right into their pockets (10%-15%). A Media Specialist at the agency virtually runs the entire campaign on his own. For a detailed explanation on why digital agencies favour paid campaigns, you can read more here.

The Beauty of Content Marketing:

One of the most misunderstood forms of digital marketing solutions is Content Marketing. For many reasons, people and brands steer away from a strategic Content Marketing Campaign. The reasons are both justified, as well as non-justified. In this article, we look at both the reasons, as well as other things that make Content Marketing one of the best digital marketing strategies ever.

To begin with, we should first understand what Content Marketing stands for-

1. Blog Section of the Website:

In this era, almost all brands maintain websites to maintain their digital identities. This is the very least that they can do. However, not all of them have a blog section. It is imperative that brands, no matter which industry they are in, should maintain and regularly update their blog section.

A good blog section works as a platform for keywords for your website. In other words, if you have strategically used ranking keywords in your blog articles, it improves your discoverability, your search and Google improve the ranking. All these processes happen organically.

2. Publishing on other Platforms:

A good Content Marketing strategy should involve cross-publishing the brand’s content on different opinion and content sites. Yes, this is a paid model of marketing, but if the content is created and curated in an organic way, chances are, that your brand would end up offering a viable and positive solution to a potential customer, rather than shouting your brand name out.

This is a subtle way, of marketing your brand digitally, and does not come across as abrupt, obtrusive or in your face. The reader who is reading the article consumes the content in an informative manner, and if it is good enough, follows the link back to your website. End result? You acquire a customer through the right means.

3. Link-Building:

Google ranks websites according to certain metrics, some of which are simple, while others are complicated. If your website has a good number of backlinks, it will have a higher Domain Authority (DA from Moz), and Domain Rating (DR from Ahrefs)

Link building has several issues built into it, and the quality of links always matter, no matter what your Digital Marketing Agency will tell you. If you do not seed content and create backlinks on reputable sites, chances are that when Google next updates its algorithm, it might just de-index your site as Google found it to have links on content sites where the DA rating was 3 or lower! (P.S. Google has already started deindexing many non-credible link-building sites!).

4. Building Reputation and Providing Solutions:

Do you remember a time when good blogs were written by content creators and bloggers just to share with the world their stories, hopes, and experiences? Many travel bloggers, just shared their life through content, helping people, giving them information, and curating wonderful and non-commercial content.

This period of idyllic bliss translated into so much reputation and credibility building, that people would directly contact these bloggers, and ask for details, or travel planning tips on their own. Nothing else matters, no sponsored content mattered, and both the content creator and the reader/consumer were happy!

The ear of sponsored posts meant that people became skeptical of clicking on links that would take them to brands and company pages. Paid links and paid content created a huge doubt on the minds of consumers, who started questioning the genuineness and credibility.

Google and other tech giants who control ranking, search results and other metrics want to go back to the era of credibility and trust. They want the internet to be a place of information, rather than just paid to advertise.

Content Marketing: What Works and What Does Not?

Ask any good digital marketer about the benefits of a content marketing strategy, and the first thing, that he will tell you is it is a long-term strategy. You will need to invest at least six months to see the results improve in an organic fashion.

However, once you have the structures in place, and are doing good work with good partners, you will see a definite organic reach for your brand. Content Marketing also serves a very important function in establishing your reputation.

A good reputation will help you retain clients and establish brand-client relationships that will last for a very long time. A PPC campaign will never be able to establish relationships, or will even end up ensuring a repeat consumer.

1. Digital Agency with In-house Content Creators:

A great content marketing strategy starts with your brand establishing a professional relationship with an honest and credible digital agency. If you want to invest in a content marketing strategy, you need to ensure that your agency has an in-house team of content writers, with strict quality controls and guidelines in place.

The writers need to belong to the agency, and not be freelancers situated in some other part of the planet. You need to ensure that your agency does not ‘spin articles’ has strict plagiarism checkers in place, and hires content writers on your account who are thorough professionals and storytellers.

2. Start with your Brand or Company Website:

I have seen a negative tendency amongst most brands of promoting their content on content sites, rather than invest in their own sites. The first area that needs to be addressed from a content marketing standpoint is your own company website.

Talk and write about issues that your brand solves, or the products it makes. For example, if you are a brand which manufactures Clean Air Filters, your blog section should have an article entitled- The Top 10 Most Polluted Cities in the World.

Your blog section should be filled with informative content that demonstrates your brand’s ability to understand the issues affecting the consumer in your industry. Once you have established and won their trust, transitioning them to become your clients will not be a very difficult thing to do.

3. Check where your Digital Agency seeds your Links to:

As we have already mentioned, if your links are on content sites which are non-reputable, chances are that the next update of Google is going to de-index it. You need to be aware of the list of publishing sites in which your Digital Agency has seeded your content to and placed your links.

Ensure that the content sites have a DA of at least 25 and above, and that they do not use spun articles on their pages. If you have a smart Digital Agency, they will tell you that you should not have more than two links on one article (ideally, you should aim for just one).

4. Long Format Articles:

According to digital gurus, the exact number of words that an article should have to perform at its most optimal (only in terms of word count) on the web is 1890. We as an agency have experimented with all formats of article writing.

After years of experimentation, and working around algorithms, we feel that articles over 2000 words, with proper sections, divisions and list perform well on the web. With proper keyword integration, images, videos, and infographics, chances are you might do really well than five hundred or six hundred word articles.

Some insiders from the Digital Industry reveal that Google and other tech giants think that five hundred word articles are written just for link building purposes, and serve no credible use to users on the internet.

5. SEO Friendly Technical Content:

Writing SEO friendly articles is an art, and it is not just any art, it is a technical art. Your content writer needs to have an awareness of writing or working in the digital industry to understand how and why things work in a certain way.

With proper coordination between various teams in your Digital Agency (SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing) you will be able to hit all the right notes on the digital domain.

Ensure with your digital agency that the right keywords are being used in the articles about your brand. Also see whether Social Sharing is taking place or not, as it adds significant value to your content.

Is Content Marketing Truly Organic?

If you compare content marketing as a digital marketing solution with other solutions like PPCs, you will find that it is heads and shoulders above it when it comes to organic reach. At the end of the day, brands should strive for establishing organic links and relationships with their fans and consumers.

That is not to say that Content Marketing Services are free. They entail significant costs, especially when you want to do it in the right fashion. However, the extended world, apart from your digital agency and you, will not be able to pinpoint your new strategy.

This can only happen if you ensure and make a brand promise of providing information along with solutions to your consumers, rather than forcefully pushing your links on their screens. Once you have established this credibility, you will get consumers who will stay with you for life.

Content Marketing: The Final Word:

Even though many brands know the benefits and advantages of Content Marketing, they are skeptical to go through with it. This misapprehension about the good that a sound content marketing strategy can bring to a brand needs to be explained in details by Digital Agencies.

As it involves long terms investments, Digital Agencies too, shy away from offering content marketing solutions. However, agencies who feel that they are not just digital agencies, but want to expand into branding and advertising, should seriously consider Content Marketing as not only a viable form of marketing but also one that offers the best returns in the long-run.

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Ever since the last few months, there had been a lot of chatter in the digital industry about famed metric analysis site, MOZ, changing one of it is most controversial, yet indispensable metrics, Domain Authority or DA, as we refer to it as.

In a release on its blog on 5 February 2019, Moz’s Principal Search Scientist, Russ Jones announced and explained to the world, albeit, non-conclusively, about the changed metrics, and how, going forward, Moz is going to analyze and rank websites. In other words, the measurement on which DA or Domain Authority was calculated was changed.

As mentioned, I, and many in the industry were waiting for the update, for quite a long time, anticipating it to happen, soon. As we run close to 50 content sites, each with a DA of over 40, we were watching the change closely.

At roughly 4 a.m. (Indian Standard Time), we received a call from one of our junior colleagues, saying the inevitable has happened, and that we should check out the damage. We rushed to our systems, only to see nearly all our sites, close way below the DA than they previously enjoyed.

This was a big blow to all of us, but in this chaos and frenzy, we realized some very important points. These points and observations will help you and others in the industry to better align sites, and Content Marketing and Link Building strategies for your businesses.

Domain Authority- What Does It Mean:

Many people will remember that Google used to provide us with an SEO tool of sorts called Google PageRank. Nearly everyone in the industry considered it as a benchmark when it came to ranking. However, after a long time, and many confusing articles later, Google killed PageRank, and the world was in dire need of an industry benchmark from which to calculate their efforts.

According to Moz, “Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”

For people, who are new to SEO 101, DA calculated many factors within sites- the length of the article, keywords, links, site architecture, and several other factors. All these factors make DA from Moz one of the most reputed tools to measure rankings, no matter how much critics would like to disagree.

Is Google’s PageRank Dead?

The answer to this question is both Yes and No! Yes, because there is no Google PageRank tool as it was earlier. Meaning you cannot load a URL into space, and Google will show you all the metrics as it did before.

No, because, many in the industry, including us, feel that Google still uses the metrics of analysis, it has just withdrawn the tool, but continues to rank and analyze websites according to the same parameters.

In the absence of Google PageRank, Moz, SERPs, Ahrefs, and others, created SEO tools that offered similar metrics and analysis. Your Digital Marketing Agency uses these three and other similar benchmarks to guide you as to where you stand on rankings.

Why Moz Changed DA Metrics?

Bigger portals tend to read industry changes better than mere mortals do. It is for the same reason that these companies are billion dollar enterprises, always staying at the top of their games.

Moz reads Google analytics like your grandfather religiously follows the news! No pun intended. They noticed a change, an adjustment in how Google reads contents, crawls websites and calculates metrics.

In many ways, I have concluded, after a lot of analysis with my peers from the industry that the changed metrics for DA calculations have gone back to intended results. What this means is that changing DA, along with altering your website’s ranking is in keeping with the new wave of being transparent, credible, and accessible to all!

Reading Change and Adapting:

Every business, when it is conceived and conceptualized, has a core idea at its heart. Over time, that idea is moderated, influenced by many factors, and strays away from its core reason for inception. When Google was conceived, it wanted to be the most accessible and credible voice in the world. However, somewhere down the line, it got lost.

How we perceived content and content sites as information portals were transformed into sites, which offered link-building facilities for brands and missed creating content. Neil Patel says that there are over 5 Billion Blogs on the web! The number may sound astounding; however, what is the purpose of all those blogs?

The content was created on the web to serve a purpose- a useful, credible and intelligent source of information. It was not conceived to be linked to content websites, which would work on behalf of brands, and force people into buying insurance they did not need, or holidays that they could not afford to pay for.

I might be sounding harsh, but somewhere down the line, we lost credibility. We became companies and people who wanted commerce and economics and finances. Content creation lost out to link building. We just started creating content just for the heck of it.

How Changed DA reflects going back to Digital Ethics:

A question that I often ask people who write content in my office is why are you writing it? What is the purpose? Will you read your content and be ever convinced to click on the link at the end and buy the product or service that is advertised?

Almost all the writers barring a few will say no, we will not be convinced enough to click on the link and go to the brand’s page. If a content piece is not convincing enough, whom are we trying to convince? Moreover, why are we adding links, when we know that there is little chance of it actually translating into sales?

As we have mentioned before, there is a concerted attempt on the part of billion-dollar tech brands to make their operations credible and legitimate. Facebook was embroiled in a lot of controversies, over the Cambridge Analytics Scandal, and rectified itself and its sister platforms, like Instagram and WhatsApp, through Data Privacy.

Likewise, Google too has started with a change right at the top, with Sundar Pichai, its CEO, speaking about better information building, credibility and Google’s pro-people policies at his testimony in front of the Congress. This signifies a huge change in the internet world, as we know it.

Changed DA- The New Way Forward, or is it the Old Way?

If people have stopped fretting over their sites’ DA rank dropping to abysmally low levels, this section will tell you how to rectify it. For starters, we need to not panic and understand the worthiness of our business. This is a step in the original direction, and many of you, who have spent nearly ten years in the industry, would reconnect with-

1. The credibility of Content:

Everyone always used to say; content was king, but the king lost his throne, to links! According to our analysis, we need to bring back content. 300-400 articles will never convince anyone to follow your links, just the number of links doesn’t matter, Google calculates good links and bad links.

Your content needs to be credible, it needs to be of at least 2000 words, be original, drafted into proper sections, with proper sub-headings. It needs to be SEO friendly. In a word, credible content will translate into credible links, which in turn will translate into more people clicking on them, which in turn will translate into the brand getting better rankings and sales conversions.

2. Long Format Content:

I often see brands and freelancers scouring the web as zombies advertise for 300-word articles. Let me tell you just one thing, with the new DA changes, Google and Moz (along with others) will start considering these as spam and junk! Sorry for the harsh words, but this is true.

If Google starts considering your 300-word article as spam or junk, it will also consider your links to be bad, and the losses will be on multiple fronts. Your content sites’ DA will drop, and the links of your client’s brand will get affected. With the new DA changes, the algorithms have started affecting the entire content and link building eco-system.

3. Integrating Credible Links:

I have many content sites, including my own, use many links on every article. We barter, we exchange, we cross-publish, and we do many other things with links. The man has this tendency of manipulating structures and working to exploit them unless he is caught.

Google is no police officer; it will not tell you have been caught, but it will impose a severe penalty from the background. We need to be strategic and careful when indulging in link building activities. Every article that carries a link of a lesser client should try to integrate an external link from an authority page. This way, you balance out the algorithm and create credible links.

4. Invest in Good Writers:

Writing is a natural talent, you have it, or you don’t. I am not criticizing people who are not ‘gifted’; rather I am saying that great writing cannot be learned. Content Marketing companies should invest in writers, good technical writers.

Great writers make great content pieces. They create original, authentic and convincing articles, listicles, tutorials, and several other content formats. Good writers should be the foundation on which you should build your Content Marketing Company.

Companies or clients do not vet writers when they are taken on board. ‘We just need to create 300-400 word content pieces, how difficult can that be?’– If you have this mentality and though process, chances are you would further drop on the DA rankings!

5. Follow Strict Guidelines when Publishing Foreign Content:

Content sites that offer publishing services are often given created content pieces, which just need to be published. They do not check how good it is or not, where are the links redirecting to, and have practically no control over the quality of content going on their sites.

These businesses are the ones who stand to lose the most when it comes to changed DA metrics. Every content site needs to have its own guidelines, quality checks, and other stringent mechanisms in place. If you have been sent a content piece, check for its worthiness, whether it is original or not, whether it has a specified word count, where the links are leading to, and other things.

Final Word- Do the changed DA Metrics Redefine the Digital Landscape:

We feel that a start has been made in the direction that will over a period fundamentally alter the digital landscape and affect businesses, agencies, and companies. This will affect many digital verticals like Content Marketing, SEO Services, Social Media Marketing, and others.

People fear that this new change is going to have adverse reactions to businesses. If we do not adapt to the change, our businesses and we will continue to drop further in rankings. We need to go back to how it all started, and what was the intention behind it all.

Giving better services, information, non-plagiarised content, credibility and trust will ensure that we continue to do well and rank well in the changing scenarios. We are also working on a small pilot project that we will publish as a ‘Case-Study’, sometime later this month, showing how our best practices have transformed some of our sites into better-performing ones.

At the end of the day, Google wants us to move away from just metrics and economics. It wants an organic appeal, organic information, organic links, and an overall organic digital ecosystem.

Google is working to ensure, (and we feel Moz is also doing the same) that the digital ecosystem is not under the control of link sellers, link buyers, comment spammers, link island networks, and other people and institutions manipulating the ethics of the digital industry.

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What is the utility of Digital Marketing Solutions for small brands and businesses is a question that many of my colleagues, as well as clients, often raise? Do we really need this? Will my small business be able to afford this? Does Digital Marketing have any value at all and so on? In this, the article we aim to answers most of these questions, and stress on the fact that Digital Marketing solutions affect and improve all forms of business, no matter the scale of their revenues or operations.

Suppose you are a small brand, with an annual turnover of roughly $20,000. By industry standards, it is quite small, and modest. However, almost 80% of businesses in Asia and Africa fall within this margin of operations. If you look at booming economies like India and China, most of the businesses fall within the SME Category (Small Medium Sized Enterprises).

These businesses can be related to the food and beverage industry, fashion and retail industry, grooming and wellness industry, agricultural industry, and the like. The challenge is to maximize the potential and profits of these businesses by integrating them within the digital framework.

This article will help Creative Agencies, Small Entrepreneurs, Digital Marketing Experts and novices in navigating the way forward for Digital Marketing and Small Brands- their overlapping mediums, the challenges forward, and the potential for inter-dependent growth.

The Challenge of Digital Marketing for Small Brands:

Small brands are often confused when Digital Marketing practitioners throw around digital jargons like e-commerce, social media marketing, SEO services, Content Marketing, PPCs, CPAs and other terms loosely.

One of the fundamental flaws in our industry is the fact that we start building relationships on mistrust and suspicion. Almost all the people I spoke to, and have experienced the problem first hand, point to this never-ending practice of confusing the brands. The lesser they understand, the better, right? Wrong! We need to end this immediately.

Digital Jargons Confuse Small Brands and Owners:

Digital Marketing Companies and Creative Agencies feel that if brands start understanding everything, start comparing PPCs, CPAs, and other metrics with competition, other agencies, it would mean a lot of headache for the agency. So what do they do, they strategically avoid the learning phase of a brand, quote a figure, and say we are the best people to help you out.

This is the standard operating procedure of the industry, one that needs an immediate overhaul. If you are an executive at a Digital Agency, it is part of your job to educate brands and owners, who are not part of the digital bandwagon. Sooner, rather than later they will figure this out, as it is their money and brand which is up for stake, and once they do, they will not only doubt you but the entire Digital Marketing industry.

A Small Case Study of a Fashion Brand who we transitioned into Digital Marketing:

Digital Marketing Agencies need to start with educating brands- telling them the basics, explaining how things would work, and then starting off in an affordable fashion. For example, we had a client who was in the fashion industry. She wanted to upscale her business but was quite unsure of what should be done. We told her that e-commerce for a brand, as hers would not make sense at the present juncture. We told her to go for a robust social media strategy and start small.

The only expenditure that we suggested was setting up social pages, regularly posting content, and a small photoshoot, from which she could use assets. We suggested setting up e-commerce and other verticals after a period of 6 months. After 6 months, once she started seeing returns, she was in no doubt that; she should go for an e-commerce site and start publishing blogs (Content Marketing). The rest, as they say, is history.

The first step involved caring for her brand and managing her finances rationally. The next involved educating her about the pros and cons of how she should proceed. The third involved building her confidence from a very small social media vertical, to begin with. The fourth involved giving her business and the brand a considerable timeframe to assess and judge the worthiness of undertaking the next step.

One of the biggest elements that go missing in the Digital Marketing Industry is trust and credibility. We see clients as people who just sign cheques, the bigger the cheques, the happier we as agencies are. This leads many people to say, that there is no transparency and ethics in the industry, and I am very sorry to state, that these people are right.

The Digital is an Infinite Zone of Possibilities:

It is engineered in our DNA, as human beings that we want to trust people. If you cannot trust someone, how would you do business with that person or agency?  If you are a small business owner who is not familiar with the animal that is Digital, we would want to clear some doubts immediately.

For starters, digital offers infinite scope for you and your business to grow, provided you do it right. If the question is should you do digital or not, the answer is, you definitely should. There are no two ways about it. The next hurdle is how to approach the digital domain.

By aligning yourself with the right digital partners, you can maximize the potential of your business in ways you would not have imagined. All the statistics and data point out how consumers have started trusting brands digitally, how billions of dollars of sale happens every day on the digital domain.

How should Small Brands approach Digital Marketing?

The first thing you should do research on would be what is best for your business and brand. Questions like where you see your brand in the next five years should be answered. The question is not whether you should do it just because your competitors are doing it, but more importantly, whether you think it would be a good fit for your brand.

Once you have answered these questions, the next question should be the scalability of your digital entrance. For owners and brands who are not too familiar with this, we would suggest that you start small. Many agencies and Digital Marketing Companies will tell you that you need to start with a bang (they have their own interests in mind, trust me), but we would suggest you start small.

Starting small means understanding your audience, whether they are consuming the content, whether they are engaging with you, or whether there is even a need for you to connect with your TG on digital. We would suggest starting your digital journey through Social Media. Set up your Facebook, Instagram, and other pages, maintain hygiene and post content regularly.

Facebook and Instagram have started rolling out the shop function for business pages. You can even set up your shop to test waters and then use that as a study or a reference to decide on your e-commerce website in the future. Getting the ‘Hygiene’ of your social media pages is very important. If you do not have the time or the workforce resources to maintain social media pages, we would suggest getting a Creative Agency.

The next step would involve sitting down with your Digital Marketing and Creative Agency and understanding what should be the appropriate course of action when you have decided to scale up your digital journey. This would involve setting up your company website/e-commerce site and including some of the core functionalities.

Please bear in mind that building a website is like building a house. The better the foundation, the better the website. Terms like Site Architecture, Platforms, Domains and Hosting, SEO Optimised, Back Links, Database, would routinely come up. As a brand owner, you need to do two main things- do your research, and trust your agency. If they have been able to get you this far, they will stay with you all the way.

Many Website Design and Development companies advertise themselves as affordable. They even put on their own websites pricings that would shame all their competitors. Nobody can build a website for $50. If they are, chances are that you would be wasting your $50 completely. A good website needs good designers, programmers, testers, a credible and talented team. You are running your own business, what if someone comes up to you and say, I will handle your sales in three cities, and treble your revenue for a pittance, just hand me all your products. Always remember – if it is too good to be true, chances are, it is false.’

The Right Digital Marketing or Creative Agency for Small Brands:

Creative Agencies and Digital Marketing Companies come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them boast employee strengths of more than 1000 individuals. Separate teams, verticals, departments, and most importantly, retainers, fees, and commissions.

Choosing the right digital team to collaborate with can be a tricky situation. You need to see your budget, but you also need to see which agency or digital company will be more invested in your brand or business.

It would be in your best interest to meet agencies and companies, which are midsized or starting out in business. If you were a start-up, you would find it stimulating to work with agencies or digital companies, which are start-ups themselves. Whatever they lack in experience, they more than compensate for it in terms of hunger, desire, and aggression.

A small brand owner should typically meet with executives or team members of Creative Agencies or Digital Marketing Companies and see how they work, how they understand the market, and most importantly, how they understand your brand. The person on your account should know your brand better than your Marketing Head, or you yourself. That is a big statement but trust us, there are agencies and people out there.

An agency of a company who is committed and invested in your brand will always try to show you different things. They might be shocking, but you will always have their attention. In terms of finances, an agency, which is starting will be highly competitive, but would never compromise on quality, as they themselves would want to put out their best work.

Always remember, for agencies and digital companies that are starting out, money and portfolio, both are equally important. For bigger digital companies and creative agencies, if you are a small brand, chances are, you will not even feature on their portfolio page. For them, it is just about billings.

It is always a good idea to have professional relationships with people and companies who are your size. Those ways, the ugliness, the leveraging, the exploitation (all part of unequal professional relationships) will be avoided.

Small Brands should be Patient for Success on Digital Platforms:

Many times, small brand owners start losing faith after investing digitally. Please remember, that the digital journey is no magic, it needs time, investment and financial resources. If there are companies out there, who are promising you overnight miracles, chances are, they are lying.

If you are a small brand owner, we would request you to be patient with the process and your agency or digital company. You do not start living in your house, the day you sign the agreement right. You get the contractors to build it, you get the decorators to furnish it, and the electrical company provides the electricity supply, the drainage department sets up the plumbing, and so on.

Try to take this approach to Digital Marketing. Like all good things, it needs a foundation, and you need to be patient during the process. The likes will come, the engagement will get better, and the products will start selling. Do not worry about that part; try to keep calm during the process.

The Final Word:

As we have already mentioned, all brands, regardless of their size, should experience with digital. If it would be an utter failure, chances are that Amazon and Jeff Bezos would still be selling and renting books from a one-room office.

Yes, there are challenges, and issues and complications, but once you have navigated all that with your Creative Agency or Digital Marketing Company, chances are that your brand will be a digital success story in the near future.

We wish you all the best for your Digital Journey.

Feel free to reach out to me in case of any clarifications in the comments section.

Happy Digital Voyages…

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Let us start with a social experiment- All of us have seen big banner hoardings at important intersections and crossings all over the city. Now look for people under the age of 30 in cars (when they are passengers, co-passengers, and not driving). What do you see? Let us guess- you see nearly all of them on their smartphones consuming content, social media, news, shopping, blogging, and the like.

In changing times, we need to understand how an industry evolves, how its TG changes magnanimously, how the mediums change, and how we need to address these evolutions. We have often heard the proverb or saying- ‘Perform or Perish’; but in my marketing and advertising experience, I have tweaked it to mean- ‘Evolve or Perish’.

The subject matter of this article is to trace the evolution of marketing and advertising and to understand why a ‘Mobile First’ approach is a sure shot bet for Digital Marketing Companies and Creative Agencies. We try to look at how advertising in general and digital marketing, in particular, is changing rapidly, and why is it important for brands and agencies should adapt to the changing times.

How Advertising and Marketing have Changed Overtime:

Gone are the days when brand managers and marketing heads would scour the city for the best locations to put up their hoardings. Most of them have already moved from concentrating on physical forms of advertising to bidding on keywords on Google with their Digital Marketing Agencies.

Digital Marketing budgets of brands, big or small, keep increasing YoY. There is absolutely question on the expanse of the market that the digital offers. If brands and agencies are able to navigate the digital marketing maze, they can open up avenues of expansion and revenue increases that would be astronomical, inter-continental, and eventual IPOs.

The Digital Revolution aided and aided by an able Information Technology Revolution has changed the economic, social, political and cultural landscape of the world. The two biggest countries (in terms of population) China and India, and its population have taken to digital, as a fish does to water. However, as compared to the west, in China and India, the change in digital in terms of information technology has skipped a step.

Many people, who write articles on a ‘Mobile First’ Digital Marketing Approach, fail to look at factors, which led to its existence. I feel the need that when we address solutions, we need to be smart enough to understand how the problem or complication arose in the first place.

India and China: The Drivers of Mobile First Approach:

As compared to the west where people and societies transitioned to the digital through desktops, laptops, tablets, and eventually phones, in India and China, for millions, the first exposure to the internet had happened on the mobile phone.

We need to keep in mind that emerging economies play a very important role as drivers for brands, businesses, and growth. Some of the biggest brands in the world are concentrating on India and China because of the size of the markets, in pure numbers.

Populations in these two countries skipped a step in the digital advent journey by a straightaway diving head on to internet services on mobile phones. The slashing of data fares by billion-dollar telecom conglomerates like JIO, Vodafone, and others further enabled this.

To give you an example from my own home, my parents have seamlessly transitioned from newspapers and televisions to smart phones. Along the way, they skipped desktops and laptops. They consume Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels, surf YouTube for the most uncommon video content that you and I would never search for, and have even taken to online grocery shopping.

Given such a scenario, along with the global trend of millennials consuming content on smartphones, brands and digital agencies started concentrating on just offering content, services, products on smartphones through mobile-friendly websites (optimised to perfection), and the curious, confusing and interesting world of Mobile Applications or as many of us know them- ‘APPS’!

Brands and the ‘Mobile First’ Digital Marketing Approach:

If you are a smart marketer, you cannot be living under a rock when the world, its patterns, and trends are changing. To understand and exploit this potential, several of the world’s biggest brands adopted a ‘Mobile First’ Approach to digital marketing. This entailed redirecting and reallocating budgets, setting up newer subdivisions, and changing the focus from website/desktop to mobile/social media.

We need to keep another important factor in our head. This period of transition when the world was moving increasingly towards mobile phones was also the time when social media was the rage! Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have changed our digital landscape, as we knew it. People were consuming content on their mobile phones, brands needed to be present on social media, and a mobile phone was the common element.

Social media by its very nature is a personal thing, yes, you read it right, and no, it is not a typo. Time for another social experiment- how many times have you seen people surfing social media at work on their desktops, and how many times have you seen the same people surfing social media on their mobile phones? I told you, it was not a typo!

Brands realized this and jumped at the opportunity to change the trajectory of their Digital Marketing initiatives. This resulted in app developments, mobile optimization of the website, lesser loading time, and changing SEO strategies (yes, Mobile needs a different and slightly tweaked SEO strategy than desktop; bet your Agency did not tell you that!).

Difference between ‘Mobile First’ and ‘Mobile Only’ Strategy:

There is a huge difference between what is a ‘Mobile First’ strategy, and a ‘Mobile Only’ strategy. In the latter, brands ditch the desktop and move their operations to only a mobile device. In other words, they start operating only through an App and abandon the web browser or website, as we know it.

In a ‘Mobile First’ strategy, brands concentrate on mobiles, without abandoning their access points from the website, or desktop. More concentration in terms of budgets, teams, strategies and other investments are made by keeping the mobile and its app a priority. For many brands, a mobile first approach also means launching a website first on a mobile, and then optimizing the same for the desktop- exactly the other way around.

While brands and companies have started venturing out into the Mobile First strategy, they feel that the time is not right to transition to a Mobile Only strategy. Online Indian Fashion Retailer, MYNTRA, found that the hard way, when it first exited the website, desktops, and shifted to an App only strategy, but was soon forced to relaunch its website, owing to loss of revenues.

Social Media will lead the Way in a Mobile First Approach:

Borrowing for a point that we had mentioned earlier, the presence of social media and its consumption on mobile devices was a great impetus for brands to shift to a mobile first strategy. We need to remember that a ‘Mobile First’ Digital strategy does not only entail optimizing your website but also means calculating the kind of budgets you are spending.

According to many reports, Facebook and Instagram advertising will account for 73% of all dollars spent on advertising by 2020. That is ambitious, scary, but inevitable at the same time. Companies and brands spend a lot of money on advertising and lead gen campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels.

Keeping a vibrant, active, and engaging social media, the profile is similar to maintaining a website. It really requires a good amount of resources, investment, strategy, and thought. Yes, there are differences, but brands take social media quite seriously as it is more dynamic, responsive and everything happens in real-time.

Given the gigantic and unpredictable growth of our interaction and time spends on social media, it was a good idea for brands to target audiences in places where people would spend most of their time.

The Future of the Mobile First Digital Marketing Approach:

Like all things digital, it is always difficult to predict the growth stages of a ‘Mobile First’ Digital Marketing future. We can at least say that the future is upon us, and most of the brands have started to make the transition to the approach- first mover’s advantage!

The Big Daddy of them all, Google, has already been quite vocal in its approach towards Mobile, saying that Google will give preference to brands and sites who are mobile friendly, among other things. This has opened up an entirely new area of expertise, a sphere in which people are studying issues like conversion rates on mobile devices, versus conversion rates on desktop devices.

The future for a Mobile First approach is growing incrementally, both in terms of consumers, as well as in terms of revenues, financial considerations, and other things. However, at the end of the day, you need to analyze what is right for the brand, and how you want to take your growth story forward. Like all things on digital, there are several best practices for a Mobile First Strategy, but that too, to be realistic, will depend on countries, consumers and the Information Technology Revolution.

Read Also:

The post Digital Agencies Need To Focus on a Mobile First Marketing Approach appeared first on Search Engine Magazine.

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SEO: A Long Term Investment Strategy:

The term ‘Search Engine Optimization (SEO)’ is a heavily loaded technical phrase that scares most people into believing that SEO is something that only technical experts or Digital Marketing Gurus can understand and do brilliantly well.

I am here to tell you that it is the nature of our industry (tech, software, digital marketing) to unnecessarily complicate things in order to raise prices, exclude individuals and groups, and create a monopoly. By following some SEO best practices, being aware of the changes in innovation, and applying yourself, no matter who you are, you can excel at the SEO game.

If you are under the impression that your SEO problems can be solved in under a month by listening to some expert or Guru, let me tell you that it is not going to happen. These experts exploit vulnerabilities of people and companies who are looking for quick turnaround time on SEO. A robust and holistic SEO strategy is a long-term investment, one that might be your and your company’s best investment to boost business.

Yes, it is possible to tinker with a few elements here and there to improve your search capabilities. However, if you want to ‘Rank 1’ on Google in 2019, we humbly suggest that you follow our guide to SEO Best Practices as outlined in this article and try and create an SEO Checklist that you should tick off at the end of the year.

What are the Inner Processes of SEO-?

As we have already pointed out, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. What many people are unaware of is that SEO Best Practices entail monitoring, controlling and excelling at three processes that make SEO. The processes are-

  • On-Page SEO:

On-Page SEO refers to the process of optimizing your content and HTML in such a way that Google links your page as the most appropriate response to a user’s query. For starters, managing and publishing good content that is 100% original, plagiarism free, uses the right descriptions, and meta-tags, helps your content become much more visible to audiences.

The image on the page along with the page design, concise and clear URLs, and title tags constitute some of the basic On-Page SEO Services. You can also consider them as your On-Page SEO Checklist. On-Page SEO can never be a trade-off situation, meaning, sure, I have good and original content, but my URLs are off, and my descriptions are all over the place.

For a successful On-Page SEO strategy implementation, you will have to maintain and continuously monitor all the variables. It is not a lot of work but just requires logic and applicability.

  • Off-Page SEO:

As the name suggests, Off-Page SEO refers to practices that you have to go beyond your website or blog site. These factors help in promoting and amplifying your rankings on search engines.

For many people, Off-Page SEO just comprises of Link Building. However, I am here to tell you that Off-Page SEO stands for much more than that. For starters, it involves Social Media Marketing, Social Sharing on various platforms (social media and otherwise), apart from Link Building.

For a successful Off-Page SEO strategy, you will have to invest in cross sharing contents of your page on social media platforms (think about how brands upload blog articles on their page, and the link takes you straight to the Brand Website or Blog Section).

If people come from LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, and similar platforms to your website, Google thinks that your content is good, credible and trustworthy.

  • Technical SEO:

In our opinion, Technical SEO is one of the most misunderstood terms on the web. Not only does it get thrown around a lot by experts, it is also a process that we feel did not even need a separate area of identity. It stands for correcting the basics, the foundation.

Very simply put, Technical SEO entails that your website or blog site should have a robust architecture and construction. The page upload speed should be fast, and your site should be mobile friendly and optimized.

Arranging your URL, giving a Site Map, and registering your website with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster are some added things that your website development team should consider as basics.

After getting a brief, yet the important idea of the three dimensions of SEO, let us come to some of the SEO Best Practices that will help your website Rank 1 on Google in 2019:

1. ‘Content is King’- Good Quality Content helps in SEO Rankings:

For many experts who focus on other aspects of how to improve SEO, let me tell you that there is absolutely no substitute for good quality long-form content. Sometime back, I read that articles, which are present on the first page of Google searches, have a word length of around 1900 words.

I am here to tell you that if you are starting your website or blog site, try and never reduce the word limit of your article or blog to below 1000 words. Your content has to provide a service, meaning it should be credible and valid information that people are looking for. Always remember, that Google takes note of plagiarism; they will not tell you about it, but they will filter your site quite lower down if you do not have original content.

Before writing on a topic, always do your research. For example, if you are interested in writing about ‘dog breeds’, you title should be titled as- ‘The Top 10 Big Dog Breeds that make Great Pets’. Consumers are interested in niche segments but try not limiting yourself to just one category or interest area.

2. Do your Keyword Research before writing:

Before you proceed to write, you have to follow one practice religiously- Keyword Research. Whatever category you are writing on, it is imperative that you use a tool, and find the appropriate keywords for the category. You can use any number of tools, like Google Keyword Tool, or Keywords Everywhere.

The key is to focus on keywords that have a higher volume in terms of searches. One very common error that people do is avoiding long-tail keywords. Do not make this mistake. If long-tail keywords are there, and you integrate them in your content, you can be certain that you will get more traffic from them, than from generic keywords.

An ideal content piece, article, or blog should comprise of 1 target keyword that should be present in your title heading, in your sub-heading, and should be scattered across your piece at least 4 to 5 times. Choose two other keywords, which should be present at least 2 to 3 times in your article.

3. Use Innovative Titles and Unique Descriptions:

Writing quality content is one aspect of getting things right, but what if your title isn’t curious enough, or funny enough to arouse excitement, or make your readers curious to click. Let me give you two examples- There are two titles, each with the same kind of content in them. One-title reads- ‘How Millennials Use Tinder’. The other one reads- ‘My Tinder Experiences at 18 years of age’. Which one of these titles you would go for?

Avoid duplicating content and title headings on your website. Having individual titles that are smart, address your target audience, and appeal to emotion within them, will help you get more clicks and traffic on your website.

4. Set a Sitemap of your Website or WordPress Site:

You have made a great website, with stunning visuals and brilliant content, but you have forgotten to add a sitemap. Most website developers think that should be the final thing on their minds, and they often tend to forget about it.

Please bear in mind that a sitemap is an absolute essential when it comes to Google finding your website. Once you launch your website, register the same with Google Search Console. Once you have done that, Google uses its crawlers to crawl through your website and optimize or create small tweaks. This will help your search results massively.

5. Remove 404 Error Pages from your Website:

Most of us do this elementary error. We tend to launch the website with some internal pages and sections and use 404 pages on the rest, saying to ourselves, that in due time, we will complete them. Every time a user comes to a 404 page on your website, chances are, you have missed a ranking spot.

Not only does it tells Google that you do not have credible content on your pages, it also deals a very bad blow to the user experience. People, who have clicked on your pages and seen the 404 error, will go back, meaning, you will have a high bounce rate. Google checks the number of time users stay on a particular page.

6. Social Media Marketing Optimisation:

Let us not get scared of big terminologies. In its simplest form, social media marketing mean that if you have a website or blog, please open its business pages and profiles on social media platforms that you think appeal to your business.

If you own a blog on photography, you should use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, as your core drivers. A B2B business might try to use LinkedIn and Facebook. It is quite important that you share content on your social media profiles and redirect people from social media to your blog site and website.

If a number of people click on the link of your Facebook profile and are redirected to your WordPress Blog, chances are that Google would find your content credible, trustworthy and start showing it higher on the search rankings.

7. Link-Building is necessary for growth and rankings:

Product companies spend millions of building links and finding out publishers who would feed and create back-links for them. You do not have to spend like them to be noticed. What you can do is play it smart.

A small trick is joining community platforms that share and barter in links- both external and internal. However, you need to keep in mind that if you add external links in your article (links which clicked lead readers to another page of someone external), you should try to give links of websites and authorities that are credible.

Bartering with links plays a big part in how you are able to grow your website or blog organically. The key is to avoid spending on promotions at all times.

8. Pay attention to Metrics and Reports:

Please do not get scared of the word metrics or reports. These are simple to understand analysis given by many tech companies free of cost. Yes, they have paid services too, but when you are starting, you can very well opt for free ones.

Follow terms like keywords, DA, Keyword Ideas, CTR (Click to Rate), Bounce Rate, Traffic, Number of Back Links, for starters. After some time, you will become so familiar with such terminology, that it will become second nature to you.

SEO Best Practices- The Final Word:

Currently when paid advertising and promotions dominate the digital industry, the humble and often confused SEO Services remains one of the last processes of increasing traffic, visibility and credibility through organic means.

There are different Digital Marketing Companies that will misguide you about processes, and tech jargons, but if you put your head to it, SEO is not such a difficult thing to master. It is a process, which needs sticking in. Meaning, you have to be in it for the long run.

If you keep following SEO Best Practices over a one-year period, chances are that you have set a good and solid foundation for yourself. Try following our SEO checklist and monitor changes in traffic, DA, and other metrics to know what is performing and what needs to be changed.

You will not be able to master SEO in a day, a week, or even a month. As SEO is one of the last remaining organic tools on the market to improve visibility and rankings, it requires constant and continuous investment, both time and energy, but happily, no money!

Read Also:

The post SEO Best Practices to Rank 1 on Google in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Magazine.

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Most websites that write on Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, WordPress Blogging, and others often start offering solutions to the problems after the initial phase of you setting up your blog site.

However, most such information portals and domains will not tell you the most important thing- how to set up a WordPress Blog from scratch and generate revenue from it through Content Marketing. You will frequently come across articles like- Increase your Traffic, Social Sharing, Back Links, and so on.

Nevertheless, there are not many platforms out there that will genuinely tell you how to start your own blog site from scratch and make it profitable in the end.

How to set up a WordPress Blog and Earn through Content Marketing: 1. Choose a Content Area of interest, which has a very wide appeal:

At last count, according to Google, there are 440 Million blog sites on the World Wide Web. That seems daunting at the very outset, but over 95% of them do not feature anywhere on rankings, which means they are doing something very wrong. This article will help you be a part of the other 5%, the Neil Patels of the world! You need to choose an area, which has a wide enough appeal amongst readers.

For example, if you are choosing ‘Lifestyle’ as a category, make sure that it covers individual interest areas like ‘Food Blogging’, ‘Interior or Home Décor Blogging’, ‘Travel Blogging’, ‘Fashion Blogging’, ‘Accessories’, ‘Tech and Gadgets’, and so on. The wider your niche, the better chances of you not only attracting more consumers to your feed but also attracting more clients, once you start building traffic.

2. Do not restrict your content to WordPress Blogs; share on other Social Platforms:

Being in the industry for over five years, I have come across many budding writers and bloggers who have a similar complaint- I write good content, which is original, yet my WordPress Blog does not get much traffic. Let us be very honest, unless you are heavily funded, and run paid promotions across every single platform, trying to get traffic for a standalone Blog site is near impossible. Therefore, what do you do- well you do something, which is free and very simple.

Try cross sharing your content article on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and others. The idea is not to use the exact same content, but change and edit it in small fractions, and try to post in on different platforms. The aim is to get more and more people to use the links on Social platforms to come to your WordPress Blog. This is a proven method, with traffic increasing up to 400% on some WordPress Blogs.

3. Always Remember, Blogging is Informal and an Emotional Part of yourself:

At the end of the day, you need to establish a deep connection, which is emotional with your readers. Using words like ‘You’ and ‘I’ is going to immensely help you establish a close bond with people who come to your WordPress Blog site. People do not want to read white paper documents or essays- for that, they can go read newspapers. What they want to consume are personal accounts, which are relatable, easy, emotional, and a little bit on the humorous side.

Topics like ‘How did I came from a Small Town and adjusted to life in the Big City’, help make issues and content relatable to millions of readers of both genders. Always remember, that your content should be an extension of who you are as an individual, it is only then will you be able to write from the heart and make your experiences talk.

4. ‘Quantity and Quality’, both matter for your WordPress Blog to be successful:

A very common misconception that people have is that quality always takes precedence over quantity. While the stated statement might hold true for physical platforms, on the digital domain, algorithms work according to various parameters and keep constantly evolving. Quality content is a sine qua non, but you should be able to push out content regularly and try to avoid taking longish breaks between publishing two pieces.

Ideally, if you are writing a 1000 word article, you should try publishing every day. This has multiple implications. For your audience, the expectations start growing, kind of like when is the next episode of my favourite show going to come (you know its tomorrow at 8 pm, but you cannot wait for it). For Google, it helps the algorithms and increases rankings and search functions.

5. Start Monetization Early and Always have Multiple Monetization Strategies:

Many people who are ‘Gurus’ in the industry have spoken up about the fact that how they wasted a good 6 months to a year without making any money whatsoever. These people waited for ‘tons’ of traffic to come. I am here to tell you that you should start early. Start setting up an Affiliate-Marketing model, Google AdSense as soon as you reach a level. You can also start by reaching out companies who have Link-Buildingand Publishing capabilities.

This is a huge opportunity to monetize, and it is unfortunate that many WordPress Bloggers are not aware of it. You should also think about compiling your content in e-books. Most customers would want to purchase an e-book for the complete story (like a Netflix All Episode Release).

6. Always, end your WordPress Blog Article with a Question:

As a writer, you want your audiences to carry the experience of reading well after they have physically finished reading your article. The best way to engage people who read your content is to always ask them a question, and encourage them to respond in the comments section.

If your article is experiential, you can ask people to share similar experiences as well. Sites like ‘Humans of New York’ have followed this with amazing successes. People want to talk, they want to speak out, and they want to be heard. If you end your article with a question, it is certain that more and more people will engage with your content, comment on it, and share it.

The Final Word:

By one estimate, there are at least a billion blog articles on the internet. However, I am not here to tell you that your WordPress Blog is going to drown in that sea of content. If your content is original, has enough quality, is experiential, and generates interest, chances are that you are going to be very successful at it.

Yes, down the line, you will have to gather some technical knowledge regarding SEO, and keywords, and other things that affect your rankings, and monetary gains, but always remember that great content will find a way.

We would want you to share your experience as a Blogger with us in the comments section. Until next time, Happy Blogging everyone!

Read Also:

The post How to set up a WordPress Blog and Earn through Content Marketing appeared first on Search Engine Magazine.

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