Archive for September, 2010

6 Ways to Dive In to Analytics & User Experience

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

This post is one of a series of liveblogs from the 2010 MIMA Summit.

Web Analytics is an excellent way to ensure your marketing efforts are not in vain. However, looking at Analytics without understanding user behavior may leave you treading water instead of creating a wake your competitors will fear.Web Analytics

One way to take your methods of measurement to the next level is to combine Analytics with User Experience (UX) information. What you stand to gain can be great whether you dip a toe or cannon ball into blended analytic waters.

To make sure you don’t sink, first understand that Analytics will tell you what’s happening on the site. User Experience Research then helps you understand why it’s happening by gaining insight into the behaviors and motivation of visitors.

When you combine both, you can start to understand the What and the Why of what’s happening on your website. This also allows any potential problems to float to the top more quickly, allowing you to see the problem you need to solve and what changes might do just that.

The following case study illustrates what you can find when you combine the power of Analytics and user behavior:

An insurance quoting website, which had a 14 page quote and purchase process was going through a website redesign and decided it was the perfect time to double check their form process.

The goal was to identify where in the funnel visitors were getting stuck and abandoning the process.

After understanding user experience and their reactions to what you are testing, the data should be compared to Analytics. Does Analytics show visitor ‘drop-off’ points in similar places as what was identified as confusing/irritating by the users?

To understand drop-off points and not spend time in lower-priority places, be sure to identify logical places for drop-off. In this example a make-sense drop off would be after the quote is delivered because you can expect that some visitors won’t like the quote they received and abandon to either get a different quote or purchase elsewhere.

Where you want to spend time is identifying the unexpected drop-offs. One such drop-off point for the health insurance quote form was the request for a social security number. Almost all users are cautious when giving such information online, but the problem in this particular case was that the information was asked for too early in the process before the person is invested.

As such, they identified an item to test. After placing the request for the social security number further into the funnel where the user was more invested and felt like it was OK to give their personal information, the abandonment rate decreased.

The next drop-off point was the question of where they attended college, which some – via the user experience testing – found offensive and/or didn’t understand how it was relevant to an insurance quote. The Analytics confirmed this and showed a higher than normal drop-off rate at the point that question was asked in the funnel.  Ask yourself, why is this question part of the form? Is it necessary? If not, remove it and improve the percent of visitors who get further in the funnel and closer to a sale.

Start getting more out of your website by diving deeper into the following 6 areas using both Analytics and User Experience Data:

1. Landing Page Optimization
Analytics: Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate
UX: Why people convert.

2. Site Navigation
Analytics: Top Content
UX: How they get there

3. Form Completion
Analytics: Abandonment, Page reloads
UX: Specific Objections

4. Content
5. Analytics: Time Spent on page
UX: Is it engaging?

5. Testing
Analytics: A/B Testing
UX: What to Test

6. Terminology
Analytics: Search Logs
UX: How people use language – what is your target marking using to search for you

In the case that you need to dip your toes, go old-school and simply sit behind someone and watch them navigate your website. Where do they go first, second, third, what do they avoid? Ask them why. Some data is better than no data.

Thank you to Fred Beecher and Andrew Janis of Evantage Consulting for presenting the above case study and tips on UX and Analytics during the 2010 MIMA Summit.

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Can’t See Weighted Sort in Google Analytics Yet?

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Weighted sort was released quite some time ago now, in fact just over a month ago and I’ve been foolishly weighting to see it on my Google Analytics, but unfortunately it just didn’t appear. The same can be said for my colleagues – none of them have noticed it either, but it turns out it [...]

Can’t See Weighted Sort in Google Analytics Yet? is a post from: Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog.

Related posts:

  1. Using Google Analytics Advanced Segmentation to Qualify Visitors
  2. Google Analytics Annotations – Finally!
  3. Google Analytics Book: Get One for your Bookshelf

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How to: Use B2B Social Media for Lead Generation

Thursday, September 30th, 2010
Kipp Bodnar

Kipp Bodnar of HubSpot

This post is one of a series of liveblogs from the 2010 MIMA Summit.

B2B social media can be surprisingly successful with a specific focus on lead generation.  If social media is to be taken seriously for B2B by marketing decision makers, it needs to maintain a focus on business objectives and driving sales vs. “fluff”.

B2B companies are actually in a much better position to use social media as a marketing channel than B2C companies.  They often have a much clearer expectation for what a customer does and what they want.

B2B companies also have deep internal expertise.  It’s not uncommon for top B2B companies to employ thought leaders in their specific industry.  However, there’s a solid argument that for many B2B companies, online marketing and social media might not be a fit.

Instances where social media doesn’t make sense:

  • If you have a tiny customer base (perhaps you have only 5 customers).
  • If the people you are trying to talk to can’t access the internet.  Many people in regulated industries can’t access the outside internet from work. (i.e., some military/electric industry).
  • If you or your business don’t have an advocate that can help you.
  • Velocity and volume – tough for social media in the beginning.  You can potentially create quick velocity but quick volume would be difficult.
  • If you have a lack of resources you shouldn’t engage in social media.  This seems like a big pain point for organizations.  If you lack the time or resources it makes it difficult to be successful.

It’s important to classify what exactly a lead is.  According to Kip, a lead is when somebody expresses clear interest in working with your business.  If someone downloaded a whitepaper and gave full contact information, Kip classifies that as a lead.

Before anything else, it’s important to have the basics in place.  If the website isn’t usable and there are no landing pages to collect lead information, social media is going to have much less of an impact because the traffic won’t engage and convert with your content.

Content to build leads for B2B Online Marketing

Content is the building block for all online marketing as a B2B company.  Companies need to know how to talk to prospects in a way that is not promotional, solves their problems and provides value to them.

More content, in general, equals more entry points which should lead to increased leads.  Content creation correlates to organic lead growth.  One way to attain conversions is to ensure there are calls to action alongside content.

Leads stem from multiple social channels depending on industry and strategy. Discovering where your audience is matters.  Remember that engagement is not a goal, it’s something you do which helps facilitate a goal and should be measured as a KPI, not an outcome.

Blogging has been critical as it is a platform to create and publish content throughout many different networks and attract new visitors.

Headlines win – never before in history have we had so much information.  People are subscribing to blogs via email, Twitter LinkedIn, RSS, etc and headlines are the main call to action for content.  They’re the make-or-break detail if people read content or not.  HubSpot has found many of their most successful article headlines have numbers in them because people know they’ll be scanable.

Always optimize content with keywords so that you’re gaining additional organic visitors from search engines.

Social media and lead generation

CTAs (Calls to Action) – With a business blog, there are many different ways to get people to become a “lead” from a visitor.  For example: including buttons in the sidebar to talk to a representative, or text links within content to whitepaper landing pages or to download content.  HubSpot has found it successful to add calls to action at the end of content.

We have found that a majority of posts generating leads haven’t been published recently.  Older content is generating  leads.

It’s important to remember that your customers are more important than you are.  For example, HubSpot has a customer in Virginia that installs pools and spas.  All he does is share what someone might want to know when installing a pool.  He doesn’t directly sell his products, but that’s okay.  Even if people aren’t ready to buy, publishing value added content adds them into that consideration section.

Getting all team members involved in the business blog is vital.  People want content from people, not necessarily just companies.  Getting different people from different departments – i.e., research or product, allows marketers to expand the relevant information covered on a given blog to appeal to a larger subset of customers.

Business blogging drives leads and serves as a hub for search and social media visitors.  It doesn’t feel like they are visiting a website that hasn’t been updated in years.  A blog provides much better context for a business.

According to HubSpot’s research of its own customers, B2B is lagging behind B2C in terms of direct customer acquisition in social channels.  B2B is only winning in one tool: LinkedIn, which makes sense.  B2B organizations are acquiring customers through social channels, just not at the same rates as B2C.

Key tips and takeaways for B2B Social Media Marketing:

  • Email is the ultimate testing ground for social media because for most of those getting started in social media, email is the largest sample. Email is not being replaced by social.  You can use it as a testing ground to amplify the success of other marketing campaigns.
  • The CRM tool is essential to tracking.  Look at how a lead comes in, how it was converted and how it goes through the sales process.  By having your sales system and CRM tied in with analytics, it gives a clearer picture from visit to lead, which is essential to tracking.
  • Lead source – It’s important to understand what leads you get from different online channels to identify what sources are effective or not.
  • Measurement – With analytics in place to measure and provide insight around lead sources, you can figure out where to allocate budget, especially if you can measure from visit to customer.
  • Social + CRM is how you should think about ROI.  If you can have your web analytics and your CRM talking, you can have an understanding of how people are coming to your site and how different channels are performing to you, measuring it down to the customer level.
  • Acquisition cost reduction: Social media can equal more engaged and lower cost customers.

Thanks to Kipp Bodnar for presenting the above session during the 2010 MIMA Summit.  Kipp leads the content marketing team at HubSpot and writes for the Social Media B2B blog.

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When To Test: The Importance of Primary Conversion Goals

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

a/b testing, primary conversion goals, internet marketing campaignsOne of our HubSpot customers was in the process of updating their home page. And they were at an impasse between two different home pages. One stressed the type of product and the other stressed the value proposition. That’s not to say the value proposition was left out of the “product” page; it was just minimized. 

What to do?

I told them there’s only one thing to do – test. They replied, “Test what?” and I responded, “Good question.”

When testing landing or home pages perhaps the most important thing to do is determine your goals. What do you most want people to do when they land on your web page? Do you just want their email address or do you want them to sign up for a free trial? Are you looking for quantity of leads or leads that end up buying? These are important criteria that need to be agreed upon before you begin the testing phase.

Our friend Anne Holland from WhichTestWon? talks about Primary Conversion Goals. She says that most sites have multiple conversion goals. You can download a whitepaper, opt-in for a newsletter, or try a free trial – all on the same page. I’m sure you’ve seen many home pages that offer at least this much. Anne says that before you begin any tests, you need to reach agreement about what the primary goal is, as well as the secondary or tertiary goals. Without this agreement, your tests will fail because you won’t know what you’re optimizing for.

So what is your primary conversion goal for your home page? Look carefully at all of the opt-in boxes and follow their trail to see if they lead to what you really want or need. Then if you come to a consensus, take the next step and figure out what web pages are worth testing. We can help you with that with our live webinar and special report “What’s Worth A/B Testing.” Be sure to join Anne Holland and HubSpots’s Mike Volpe on September 30 as they discuss (using real-life tests) which pages are worth testing, what copy and design gets you high impact test results and how much traffic you need for conclusive test results.

Live Webinar & Special Report: What’s Worth A/B Testing?

Live Webinar & Special Report: What's Worth A/B Testing?

Learn how to determine what’s worth testing and how to put those quality tests into action.

Reserve Your Spot Now for the Free Live Webinar: What’s Worth A/B Testing

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7 Website Redesign Tips

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

This article is a companion to the free webinar on Website Redesign Tips (register now), we will be covering these tips below in the webinar:

1. Goal: More visitors and leads.

The reason you are redesigning your website is to impact your business, not because you are bored with the design or because your CEO wants it to be blue not red.  So, focus on the results you want.  More visitors, leads and customers.  Every decision you make should be focused on improving those goals.  Keeping that in mind, you might spend a bit less time worrying about the exact shade of reddish-orange on the callout background, and more time worrying about things that will improve your marketing results.

2. Avoid pitfalls. Inventory your assets, then protect them.

There are countless ways a website redesign can actually negatively impact your results. In fact, I would say that more often than not, website redesigns do have a negative impact on marketing results.  Your existing website has a lot of assets that you have built up.  These assets help your prospects find your website and help you turn them into leads and customers.  You need to find out what those assets are (great content, keywords you rank for, inbound links to individual pages, conversion tools) and protect them carefully during the redesign.  Watch the webinar to learn more.  PS – Many “web design experts” get this stuff wrong.  They are design experts not marketing experts.

3. Spend resources on remarkable content that attracts and converts.  Not unique design.

There is a great article from Seth Godin about this.  He says “I’m going to go out on a limb and beg you not to create an original design. There are more than a billion pages on the web. Surely there’s one that you can start with? …Your car isn’t unique, and your house might not be either.”  I agree.  Most people care about the content more than the design.  The design should be good, but that does not mean unique and expensive.  Focus on functional.

4. Create an ongoing content building strategy.

If you have more content, on average you will have more website visitors and grow your business faster.  A 100 page website will beat a 10 page website 99% of the time.  And a 500 page website is even better.  And if some of those web pages were written recently, that’s even better.  So, build a strategy to continue to add more and more content to your website over time.  Hint: Blogging makes creating content easy, but read this before you screw up your blog.

5. Enable conversion experiments.

The key to driving your conversion rate and the number of leads you get from your website over time is to constantly improve the effectiveness of your conversion tools – this usually means your landing pages.  If you build a completely static website and have to go to a consultant or IT person each and every time you want to set up a new landing page or to change an existing page, you might be limiting your ability to quickly experiment and improve.  I am a believer that some sort of system that lets you edit content and build landing pages without having to know coding is a good idea.

6. Include a blog, RSS, landing pages, SEO.

Any website built today should include these basics.  They are not expensive, and they work.  A blog is a great way to create content on an ongoing basis, and to start to converse with your customers and prospects.  RSS allows some content from your website to be automatically pushed out to other websites and people, increasing the reach of your content.  Landing pages are critical to actually get value out of your traffic.  And SEO is not hard, and it really works.

7. Metrics: Visitors and leads.

We have come full circle.  If the goal was to increase visitors and conversions, then that is the metric we should track.  What does this mean?  It means if the CEO hates the new design, tell her to go pound sand and show her your improved lead conversion metrics.  If our creative director says he loves the new design, ask him to explain why you are getting fewer leads and why you should not change the website back to the old one.

A business website is a business tool and should deliver business results.  Leave the works of art to the galleries and museums.  Your career and your company will thank you for it.

Have questions about the webinar or this article?  Have something to add?  Leave a comment below.

Free Webinar: Website Redesign for 2010

website redesign webinar Learn how to redesign your website with an internet marketing strategy in mind with Mike Volpe, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing.

Download the Webinar Now and learn how to turn your website into an internet marketing machine.

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The 9 Worst Ways to Use Twitter for Business

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Twitter Fail WhaleTwitter is a fantastic network for businesses. You can monitor your brand to garner valuable feedback, keep tabs on the competition, engage your customers in conversation, or even choose to use Twitter as a customer service channel. But there are several common mistakes that companies make on Twitter.

Here are 9 Twitter for business strategies to avoid, as well as how to remedy them.

1. Be Overly Self-Promotional

Would you want to have lunch with someone who only talked about themselves, and didn’t even ask you how your day was going? Of course not. So why should you act that way on your Twitter profile? Instead of having a Twitter profile full of self-promotional news or links to your own website, share other interesting, educational, or even funny industry news from websites other than your own. You’ll build a following more quickly, and you’ll likely be retweeted more often. And it’s not unprofessional to ask your followers how their day is going.

2. Only Include Links to Your Own Blog

Business blogging is a great marketing tactic, and so is sharing your blog posts on Twitter. However, these shouldn’t be the only blog posts you share. It only takes 10 minutes a day to contribute valuable content on Twitter. Check your RSS reader daily and share interesting articles you see there. Also, find other relevant bloggers in your industry on Twitter and retweet their articles. Give to get; these bloggers may reciprocate and share your content as well.

3. Follow Anyone and Everyone

Ever see a Twitter profile of someone with 10 followers who’s following 10,000 people and think “oh, they must be interesting!” Me neither. If you follow a ton of just anyone, not only will your Twitter stream be filled with irrelevant content you don’t care about, but you’ll look spammy to people who see your skewed follow numbers. Be picky about who you follow, especially in the beginning. You can use Twitter Search or Twitter directories such as Twellow or WeFollow to find people interested in your industry and what you’re talking about. 

4. Don’t Establish a Personality

Your company Twitter page shouldn’t just be a corporate Twitter page; this exudes a stuffy tone that nobody wants to follow. Some of the top brands on Twitter actually put a face to the person behind the tweets, such as Comcast and Zappos. You can even just link to the profiles of people behind the tweets in the bio section, which is what Ford does. These personal touches will attract more followers than hiding behind a corporate logo.

5. Don’t Interact With Other Twitter Users

People on Twitter want to follow people who might actually interact with them. So if you’re only putting content out there, even if it’s interesting content, you might turn away people who want to know you’ll reply. Twitter isn’t only about sharing one-sided content. It’s about sharing other Twitter people’s content and engaging in conversations about that content. Make sure to retweet and reply to at least a few people each day so that you’re making Twitter a two-way conversation.

6. Don’t Share Your Twitter Profile on Your Website

Keeping your Twitter profile hidden from your website visitors, the people most likely to actually follow you, is never a good idea. Add a Twitter badge to your website, and even add a feed of your tweets to your blog. Make it as easy for your visitors to find out how to connect with you in social media.

7. Don’t Monitor Your Own Brand Chatter

If you think that monitoring your brand on Twitter is too time consuming, you’ll be glad to hear that monitoring all of your business’s social chatter takes only ten minutes a day. Use free tools like Twitter Search or TweetDeck to monitor conversations taking place about your company on Twitter in real-time. After you complete a Twitter search, you can even click “Feed for this query” and add it to your RSS reader for monitoring.

8. Don’t Customize Your Twitter Profile

Not customizing your Twitter profile is like blending into an anonymous crowd. Did you know that Twitter accounts with a profile picture have 10 times more followers than accounts without pictures? And that having a Twitter bio gets you 8 times as many followers? If not, there’s your reason for doing so. Also, brand your business on Twitter by having a unique Twitter background.

9. Only Tweet Once Per Week

If you tweet only once per week, it will be hard to get noticed in the Twitter streams of people who follow thousands of even hundreds of users. But if you follow some of the advice above, by taking a few minutes each day to retweet interesting tweets and share relevant content, you shouldn’t have a problem here.

What would be your #10? Let me know in the comments below!

Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR

twitter for marketing and pr 

Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR?

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How Inbound Marketing Can Help in a Job Search

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

internet marketing jobsAs HubSpot is actively growing our Customer Success team by hiring Inbound Marketing Consultants (apply here) and Customer Success Managers (apply here) we thought we’d take a minute to talk about how you can use inbound marketing techniques in your job search.  In a job hunt you’re marketing yourself, so it would make sense that you’d want to create, optimize, and promote content about you in order to generate as many potential job offers as possible! 


Step one in any inbound marketing campaign is creating compelling content.  In a job hunt, there are 2 very important pieces of content to create:

Resume: I believe this goes without saying, but you need a resume.  Not only does this help a potential employer know who you are, but a good resume can be shared.  At HubSpot we have received numerous resumes from our network and we have also shared resumes with others (assuming there wasn’t a good fit for the applicant at HubSpot).  So, a compelling resume, much like a compelling blog article, will get shared and help expand your reach.

Blog: While a resume can tell an employer a lot about you, a blog demonstrating your thought leadership will tell them even more.  This concept is not new in the art and modeling world as you need a portfolio of past work to demonstrate your skill.  Therefore, think of your blog as your portfolio.  It’s where you can discuss ideas and thoughts you’ve had relevant to your work experience and the job you’re looking for.  Not only will this impress employers, but you are now building your brand.  As your blog reach grows, not only will you be recognized as a thought leader, but potential employers and recruiters could find you that way.  HubSpot has found several employees this way.


When we talk of optimizing content, we typically mean two things.  The first is optimizing for search engines and the second is optimizing for your audience.  In a job hunt, it is still important to optimize your blog for search engines as both employers and recruiters may find you that way.  However, I want to talk about optimizing your resume for your audience as that is critical.
As a marketer, you would never put up a call to action or PPC ad without thoroughly thinking about your target.  You want to make sure you target your audience with a compelling offer that gets them to convert into a lead.  The same is true with your resume.  While it is easy to find a lot of job listings and mass send emails and cover letters, this shotgun approach rarely works.  Not only that, but you’ll burn through your leads (the job’s you’re applying for) quickly. 

Instead, take the time to think about your audience for each job.  Who will receive the resume and cover letter; is it a human resource person or recruiter that handles initial screening or the hiring manager who makes the decision?  What are the exact requirements for the job so you know which of your qualities to highlight?  What is the exact nature of the job so your objective statement in your resume can be as compelling as possible for that job? 

Researching the companies you are interested in can help with this process.  For example, if you were applying to HubSpot, you’d want to thoroughly read our site, our CEO’s article on HubSpot Culture, our CTO’s article on getting a start-up job, and demo our software.  These resources would help you know more about what we’re looking for and you could modify your resume as needed.
Usually, no two job descriptions or requirements are the same.  Therefore you shouldn’t send out the same resume and cover letter twice.


The final step in any inbound marketing campaign is promoting the optimized content you’ve created and this is true in a job hunt as well.  While you should find and apply to job listings on career boards or corporate sites (like HubSpot’s Careers Page), any recruiter can tell you that one of the best ways to find a job is leveraging your network.  In today’s digital age, your network encompasses your social media reach!

This includes reaching out to your existing network but this also means publishing your content out to social media.  You should have your resume on Linked-In and actively engage the conversation there while promoting your blog and personal brand. 

This can go a long way in getting found by recruiters as well as employers that are actively searching.  

You should also leverage Facebook and Twitter to publish your blog content.  As in any traditional inbound marketing campaign, this will increase your reach and greatly improve your personal brand by generating activity on your blog.  If a potential employer looks at your blog and sees 100 subscribers and some comments, this will show them you are a thought leader they should hire.

While this is a lot of work, if you’re actively searching for job in this economy, applying inbound marketing concepts will help you stand out as the candidate to be hired.  As with any inbound marketing campaign, it can take a few weeks or months to build up momentum, but don’t lose heart.  Stick with it and you will see results.  Lastly, once you do find a job, don’t stop building your brand!  While the job hunt may be over for now, you never know what the future will hold, so keep up with your blogging and social media engagement.

Photo Credit:

Love Marketing? Work at HubSpot!

Love Marketing? Work at HubSpot!

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5 Steps to Reduce the Pain of Starting a Business Blog

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

blogger, start bloggingBlogging can be intimidating for someone who hasn’t done it in the past or grown up in the age where everyone has a personal blog.  It is, however, critical that business owners and marketers ‘blog for business.’  Putting pen to paper or more appropriately, putting fingers to your keyboard is the biggest challenge for most people.  So let’s talk about how to get started.

1. If you’re hesitant to put your voice out there for fear of being critiqued, start small.  Go to blogs in your industry and start reading.  Reading is the easiest way to get started.  See what others are talking about, review the comments.  Place a few relevant comments on other blogs to get a feel for what it’s like to be out in the blogosphere.

2. Blogging doesn’t have to be technical.  Setting up a blog for your business is as easy as setting up a sub-domain or a sub-directory of your main website.  If you have an IT team, this will take them a matter of minutes.  If not, it’s still a relatively easy exercise.  Depending upon where you host the site (i.e. Network Solutions, GoDaddy), their support department should have detailed instructions on how to set-up a sub-domain.  There are also inbound marketing software packages that have blog software included.

3. Determine who your audience is going to be and why you are blogging.  Think about what you are trying to accomplish with a blog.  Is your objective to entertain, educate or just drive visibility to your company/industry?  Write these personas down.  You may think you’ve thought of everything, but you haven’t.  If you had to give a 30 second pitch on all of the people you were writing for, could you?  Craft your articles based on the personas you have outlined.  This will help you target your audience and solid blog content.

4. Figuring out what to write about when getting started is a snap.  Review old email to find common questions that leads or customers have asked about.  Chances are you already have quite a bit of content in your email.  Drop it into your blog and do a little editing based on how you’ve defined your audience and BOOM… you have your first article.  Do this until you feel comfortable drafting new content.  If you don’t have information like this available, go to other blogs and take your own spin on controversial or interesting posts.

5. Post!  Seth Godin is one of those rare big thinkers and he has produced several best selling books.  One of the most interesting points he makes is that you cannot wait for every piece of something to be perfect.  You must produce work.  Produce it.  Get feedback.  Tinker with it and then produce more work.  If you wait for the perfect topic, the perfect title, the perfect content, you will never get anything out the door.  If you never get anything out the door, you’ll never get any better at blogging.  Don’t put something on your blog with spelling and grammar mistakes, but just start writing and posting.  It’s the fastest way to get better, become a thought-leader in your space, drive traffic and ultimately inbound links.

Free Webinar: Blogging for Business

Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website?

Download the free webinar to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog.

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Recipe for Blogging Success at BlogWorld New Media Expo

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

social media SEO recipe for successMarketers like formulas and what better metaphor for successful online marketing with blogs than a recipe?

At the upcoming BlogWorldExpo conference in Las Vegas, I’ll be giving my recipe for success using Social Media and SEO in two ways:

First, I’ll be doing a solo presentation on Social Media SEO, giving bloggers a tested methodology for making the most of their content and social networks.

This presentation will focus on the value of combining SEO best practices with social media marketing to amplify the reach and traffic for blogs. I’ll outline and share examples of how to  build a Cycle of Social Media Interaction.  Specifics will include:

  • How bloggers can leverage keyword research to develop a blog editorial calendar
  • Best practices on creating and promote optimized content
  • How to increase exposure through social channels of distribution
  • Tips on organic growth of  fans/friends/subscribers and inbound links
  • How to increase search and social media traffic
  • How to mine community conversation data to further refine content strategy that continues the cycle

To see the detailed presentation, you’ll need to get out to Las Vegas  October 14-16 for BlogWorld New Media Expo 2010. In the meantime, here is a short version of the presentation I’ll be giving using the aforementioned recipe metaphor.

Second, I’m literally going to talk about SEO for recipes to food bloggers, “The Art & Science of Recipe Writing” on a panel with Jennifer Perillo, John Shiple and Sean Percival as part of the TECHmunch track. I believe it will be livestreamed so be sure to check in with @toprank for the link.

BlogWorld New Media Expo is a unique event bringing together online marketing professionals from a variety of disciplines ranging from public relations to SEO to affiliate marketing to food and military bloggers.  Be sure to subscribe for liveblogging coverage and video interviews during the event.

Now back to our metaphor: What’s your recipe to blogging success?

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3 Search Engine Optimization Mistakes That You Are Making

Monday, September 27th, 2010

eggMany website and marketing managers think that SEO is a very hard struggle that requires very specialized knowledge and software to get started with. That is a myth though – There are many common SEO problems that can be corrected with only a little knowledge and work, and no fancy software or tools required.  It doesn’t need to be so much difficulty if you take away a few powerful lessons on search engine optimization, such as these three common mistakes.

1. Trying To Optimize A Page For More Than One Keyword

Optimizing a page for more than keyword is a simple and common mistake to make. Once you have your list of keywords that you want to rank for, you may have started sprinkling them liberally all over your website. That’s the wrong way to go though – You end up in a world where all of your pages are competing with each other in the search engine’s eyes to be the most important page on your site for that keyword. Usually in that situation, none of them win and you still won’t rank. Search rankings aren’t just about a website doing well, it’s about a specific page ranking well for a keyword, and that page being a good destination for people interested in that keyword phrase.

For a simple exercise on this front, sit back and look at your page, and ask yourself honestly, “What keyword is this page good for? How good is it compared to other pages on that keyword?” Your keyword strategy will reveal itself from there. If there’s more than one keyword phrase revealed, you may be looking at two different pages that were mashed into one.

Remember: One page, one keyword phrase.

2. Sloppy Anchor Text Disguising Your Good Links

On the above aspect of keyword placement, there is another clear signal to search engines of what keyword a particular page should be ranking for­. The anchor text of the links pointing to a page is a critical factor in determining what keywords are important to that page. Make sure that the anchor text of the links pointing in to each page on your site matches the keyword that you’re optimizing for on that page.

Hint: If your link text on any of your links is “Click Here”, you’ve made a mistake. Take a look at who ranks for click here, and then adjust your links to your new philosophy of keyword consistency. You don’t want to compete with Adobe for “click here”, you’re about to be competing for valuable territory on the search engine results page.

3. Images Turning Your Website Into Goliath

Having very heavy, large images on a page is another frequent mistake in search optimization. Think about the last time you visited a slow website. Was it your website? Did you have a page that took more than two seconds to fully load? Fast sites vs slow sites is the new David vs Goliath.

If so, you might be guilty of image bloat. Putting lots of sharp and snazzy images on a website is a great move to make you look good, but think about how large those images are and what they’ll do to folks on slower internet connections – especially mobile users. You can tell how big the images are on your site by right-clicking on them and selecting “Properties” in Internet Explorer, or by going to Page Info -> Media in Firefox. Chrome unfortunately does not make this easy to determine. If you have any single image on your page that is larger than 50 Kilobytes, (~50,000 bytes) or your total page has over 100 KB of images, evaluate how important those images are to your page. Are they adding flavor or are they crucial content to the page?

In general, images should be adding flavor and enriching content, and not being the content themselves. There are obviously exceptions, but it’s a good guideline for content pages to have them loading quickly and smoothly for all of your site visitors. We all hate slow websites, so don’t be guilty of that crime yourself. In addition to the human factor, search engines will respond better to sites that are faster by ranking them higher and indexing more of their pages.

If you keep these three basic tips in mind when on your website, you can distinguish yourself as a well-optimized site that is very usable for visitors and search engines alike.

Photo Credit: dfinnecy

Google Instant: Major Changes for SEO

Google Instant: Major Changes for SEO

Google Instant promises faster searches, smarter predictions and instant results. But what does Google Instant mean for your business and your search strategy?

View this on-demand webinar to learn how much, or how little, you need to do to your SEO to prepare for Google Instant!

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