Recent blog posts - WebSubstance - Web Design and Search Engine Marketing - Page 3

Content Quality Matters - Investing in Original Marketing Materials

Take any market or industry, and go through the web looking at a collection of company web sites.

You’ll almost always find a wide spectrum of efforts -- while some companies will put a lot of value into their web footprints, others will not.

This online investment is a big part of what separates the most successful companies from competitors that tend to lose out in terms of market share. It's not just that these other successful companies are spending more money -- it's that they understand the power of online content.

Stocks, Generic and Syndicated Content

At too many companies, management teams just don't want to make the financial investment in original, personalized web content -- or they don't want to make the effort of engaging with contractors. So they have an easy out -- a web-design vendor might offer stock or syndicated content that's previously been written, and sits in a digital hopper. Companies can simply choose the pieces that they want for their blogs and newsletters.

Some of this takes the form of syndicated content -- the idea is kind of like syndication in the newspaper world. The company will have the same column, written by the same professional, that’s highlighted on some other company's website.

The Real Dangers of Generic Content

Although this might seem easy and appealing at first glance, it's a really bad way to go. There are several reasons for this.

First, in an age where we value organic marketing, generic content is one of the best ways to turn people off. Someone who clicks into a website and sees that it has the exact same content as another company's site immediately understands that nobody put time and effort into crafting a message showcasing the company's value. They’ll often assume that it’s because the company really doesn't have much value at all – or has some bad management.

With syndicated content, there's another issue -- where newspaper syndication is made to appear professional, a lot of syndicated web content is written with a personalized narrative approach -- it's written to look like it's original. So when you see it pop up somewhere else, it just looks like it was copied and pasted.

There is one more excellent reason to avoid the generic content track -- it's called Google.

As Google is streamlining and tweaking its algorithms for search ranking, it's putting emphasis on both quality and originality of content. The reason is it duplicate content puts off Google and it has hard time spotting the original source unless such content are coded properly to say the source (e.g. canonical tagging). And in most of the cases, it does not rank any of the sites involved and even can penalize them. It is rather wise to avoid such penalty and rather invest a reasonable amount in creating original content.

WebSubstance knows how to help companies invest in quality and originality. Along with all sorts of other accessories like photography, branding, designs and more, WebSubstance people understand why companies need well-written, original content on their sites. And the ROI from content marketing is huge.

So next time, you come across a generic content solution, think twice.

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Blogging: The Smart Way to Market Your Local Business

Local businesses are always challenged by the fundamental question -- which digital channels should I use to reach out to new customers?

There are a lot of different ways to structure a company's online footprint, but one of them that's become extremely popular is content blogging.

Think about it -- when people go online to look for products and services, they're investing their time, and they like to have content resources they can engage with. Rather than just clicking around on brightly colored buttons, they like to see real value propositions and creative ideas that can help them as they make complex decisions about what they're going to buy.

That's why companies are investing in high-quality content -- not just a little bit of marketing tinsel, but real, in-depth articles that look like what you'd find in a newspaper or magazine.

Where Do I Put My Content?

The problem is where to house all of this neat, creative content.

You don't really want to put it on landing pages or other functional parts of the site, because that's where web users are browsing or trying to buy.

You can't have it on Facebook or Twitter, because these are both short-form social media platforms which need short forms of messaging. But you can put it on a blog – and that blog is really part of a dedicated architecture. You can then use Facebook and Twitter (not to mention other platforms) to point back to the pieces that are on your blog, to give people those easy ways to connect with that great content you've written.

Blogs boost SEO and improve online visibility. Having a well-written blog with posts updated on a regular basis gives people something they can use as they’re shopping.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Institute a content blogging program, and you’ll likely see all of those important web marketing metrics start to crescendo. Click through rates, bounce rates and even PPC or paid search rates will go up as you get more organic interest in your site.

WebSubstance can help. Rather than having to write and post all of this content yourself, just rely on our professional teams, who have extensive content marketing expertise. We can help you come up with a blog plan and do the heavy lifting for you -- with WebSubstance, it's no muss, no fuss, effective content marketing. Get a blog plan in place, and make 2017 year that you dramatically improve your website for more visibility and more customer traffic.

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Mobile Site Optimization Guide

We live online, or should we say, we live mobile.

Our smartphone has become our go-to-assistant for a lot of our daily tasks: texting, emailing, calling or social networking.

When your business invests in mobile, it is investing in reaching a big audience -- with so many Americans and others around the world now carrying smartphones, mobile-first and responsive design is something that companies can't afford to ignore.

When you create a better mobile system for your company, you’re automatically boosting customer loyalty and building incentives for customer engagement. You'll see interest in your company soar as so many people who are searching on smartphones are able to better interact with your business online.

Mobile Moments – Some Statistics
Google loves to call it “Mobile Moments”, means, we just don’t go mobile, we live mobile. According to its recent studies, an average American checks her/his mobile device 150 times a day! Out of that more than 80% of time, s/he is wants to do something (take some action on a website) or buy something.  74% of the people say they will come back to a site which offers good mobile experience. A case study shows that companies who don’t have a mobile-friendly site experience 37% increase in bounce rate, 33% drop in customer interactions and 27% drop in organic ranking. These numbers are alarming and cannot be ignored. So the message is clear – “Go big on mobile and tap into new opportunity for your business.”

Winning on Mobile – A Customized Three-Step Plan for Your Business
At WebSubstance, we know how to renovate a business site to make it mobile-first and responsive, and create the kind of attraction and interest that your business deserves.

First, it's important to create a great mobile experience for customers. As with other kinds of interface and customer experience designs, you have to see things through the customer’s eyes. You have to guide them through your website in an easy, transparent way, and show them just the best parts of your business, without giving them any frustrating road blocks or obstacles. When you design a great, easy and engaging mobile experience, you're going to reap a harvest of new activity and interest online.

You'll also need some custom design recommendations that will help your mobile site achieve your business goals. WebSubstance can offer specific suggestions and recommendations, such as changes to text and image layout, the use of responsive icons, and the re-ordering of landing pages or other web pages to help create a better journey for customers. Responsive icons are one of the big features that can enhance a customer's mobile experience -- by making controls intuitive and simple, you are cutting down on the workloads for your site visitors, and helping them to access your business more easily and more quickly.

With that in mind, it's also important to have adequate site support. Your mobile site needs to load at a decent speed -- it's not just a question of designing the best interface, but also making sure that even customers with older phones will be able to navigate your site easily.

There are several strategies you can pursue to make sure your site is fast enough. You can test the site on a range of devices, to make sure that last year's smartphones can still browse your site well. You can minimize big downloads, so that pages load more quickly. You can also change the order of page loads and otherwise shuffle the layout of your site in order to meet responsive design benchmarks.

WebSubstance is willing and ready to help you with these changes to your business model online to make you more mobile-friendly. Let us help you to craft a mobile footprint that is competitive, to help your business achieve a winning reputation in the world of iPhone and Android platforms that we live in now.

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Local Business Marketing - How to Measure the Success

In the old days of marketing, the craft of reaching out to customers was largely intuitive. Marketers and salespeople had to design the best creative campaigns that they could, and then just see how well they worked. From there, you have the drama of AMC’s hit classic TV show “Mad Men” and everything else that goes along with this kind of blind marketing.

It's a lot different today -- with so many new technologies and digital advances, marketers now have the ability to work from known metrics and outcomes, to design more effective marketing campaigns and sales funnels. Digital marketing performance is accurately measurable and that makes it even more exciting.

Many of these performance metrics are called Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. How do local businesses use these to achieve success in their communities?

Business leaders will look at things like sales and direct revenues, but they’ll also get a glance at specific types of lead generation, and find out more about how web campaigns work, using specific bits of data gleaned through digital systems.

For example, a company can use a web form to get submission details from a prospective customer. That allows them to see more about that customer, before a deal is ever made. It enhances the sales funnel, and makes the salesforce more informed and gives them a better edge toward conversion.

Looking At Online Engagement and Participation

The engagement side has a lot to do with what companies offer online. Marketers can log in and assess metrics like the click through rate (CTR), which is how many people clicked into the site, and the bounce rate, which represents how many people quickly dropped out of the site, instead of doing deeper reading.

These items are important for Google rankings, but they're also valuable business intelligence -- without them, how do you know if people are really interested in what's on your website?

Even e-mail marketing has its own metrics. Using things like phase marketing and A/B testing, e-mail campaign managers can see how these messages are reaching customers. They can tweak things like the rate of message delivery, time of day, and even the phrasing or structure of e-mails to make them more effective.

Platforms like Google Analytics can be effective here. Google Analytics can help to provide detail on practical metrics including page views and session lengths for users. By digging into this data, companies can get a much better idea of how well they're reaching their audiences.

Technical Marketing: A Life-Saver in the Digital Age

Too many companies don't invest in these types of “scientific” marketing, but in the end, they need to do so to grow their customer base and better understand their current customers. They may have a website, but no clear call to action, so that people just read, and can never take any kind of step forward. They might have valuable industry information and great landing pages online, but no lead generation forms, so that they never collect the business information about the site visitors that they can use to follow through.

When you pay attention to such KPIs and add these things to a website, you get exponentially marketing improvements -- without a whole lot of cost. WebSubstance can help companies to take their online game up a few notches, by engaging in precise, metrics-based marketing, instead of just trusting in the power of creativity. Talk to us about how to add both science and art to a web footprint, to get the best of both worlds, and really drive customer interest.

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Digital Marketing for Local Biz | What Works?


Local small businesses can really profit from good digital marketing. E-commerce may have started with large shopping portals and mega chains, but it's making its way to Main Street. Nowadays, so much of what people buy gets bought over the web that small businesses almost have to invest in good digital marketing to survive. Customers might be right down the street, but they're still on their smartphones.

Here are some foundational pillars of digital marketing that work for small local businesses.

Content Building

In general, businesses that want visibility on the Internet need quality content -- but specifically, local businesses benefit from locally directed content. Unfortunately, the vast majority of businesses have not understood this principle, and they still have SEO people writing bland, generic content that could be posted anywhere in the country. Instead, if you focus on local issues, and hire local people to craft stories about what's happening in the local area, you're going to get great ranking, a vibrant sets of page views and good click-through rates.

Engage the Community

Another way to really boost visibility for small local businesses is to get out and talk to the neighbors. You can go and ask for feedback on your business, and even give out free samples to try to get people to stop by and chat. You can build public events that get people participating in the conversation. All of this is extremely important in word-of-mouth marketing and building brand visibility over time.

Giving Back

Small, local businesses are also embracing the concept of charity, a concept that's often present in board rooms and practiced by big corporations. The idea is that you set aside some of your profit and give it back to the community. It's often done in public ways, so that it will capture some marketing value. For example, different types of public charity in the local community can generate high-quality referral links, which are excellent for SEO, apart from the fact that it elevates your company’s image in the local community.

Paid Media and Paid Search

In addition to natural, organic web content, companies are also investing in marketing tactics like PPC advertising. Paid search can be an excellent way to supplement all the other kinds of digital marketing that you do, in concrete ways that involve transactional results. You pay a certain amount of money for paid search or other paid promotions on social media platforms, and you get a certain amount of traffic in return. Usually traffic from the paid search is highly qualified. It's a good idea to try to estimate your return on investment (ROI), to make sure you're getting your money’s worth -- just like you would in print marketing. Google very recently introduced many new features like Expanded Text Ads (ETA) that can boost up a local business’s sales or lead generation. And by the way, adding a little print marketing still works, too. Some of the experts talk about multichannel marketing, where you're doing SEO, PPC, and print, all together and investing a certain amount of money in each.

WebSubstance can help your local business set up a quality website and market your products or services through multichannel marketing tactics and help you participate in your community. Let us engineer the structural design of your site and help you build out the results to get more market share in your local market.

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PPC for Local Business – Why Is It So Effective?


While many businesses take advantage of a diverse online marketing approach, some of them ignore some of the biggest opportunities for multi-channel web marketing.

One of the most basic examples is relying heavily on SEO and organic search marketing without including pay per click marketing or PPC. PPC can really augment the results that you get with search engine optimization, especially in today's new world where the results of keyword-based SEO are so limited.

So why do businesses benefit from PPC? One of the most basic ideas is that PPC can help when a business isn't able to get itself on page 1, or even page 2, of a Google SERP result. When that business doesn't have a presence at the top of Google results, PPC can get that business on the front page in another way.

Resulting from recent changes to Google algorithms, there are now 11 PPC slots available on a Google page. Getting some of the best positions can really increase visibility and add to a more vibrant readership. Yes, it's paid search, but it can work hand-in-hand with SEO to get more people visiting your site.

Another great benefit that companies can get relates to new Google tools and opportunities for specialized marketing. For example, you may not have heard about something called a “callout extension” – but this short-form type of PPC shows up in Google results below the URL. Savvy marketers can craft it to include any kind of message that’s meant to jump out to a given sets of users.

Using callout extensions, rich media and more can really help companies to broaden their market visibility online. One prominent example is in local markets. Experts recommend getting zip codes into callout extensions, and using these and other tools to remind shoppers that a small business is actually in a given community, not ‘out there somewhere on the web.’ The idea is that through combining SEO and PPC, the businesses is doing more of that key “shouting out” to web users about its best features and what it has to offer.

WebSubstance takes an integrated approach in search engine marketing (SEM) solution for a local business. We can help companies to build great SEO programs and ROI driven pay per click campaigns. We know how to work with existing Google standards and algorithms to accommodate more visibility, and to improve a company’s standing on the web. Ask us about how to craft a comprehensive SEM approach that includes Web marketing through SEO and PPC, as well as innovative visuals and design for a great website or landing pages that will actually keep people attracted to your business when they get there. We help to create and maintain great online footprints from top to bottom, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

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Well, what do you know? Google went and changed things up once again.


There's a big change coming to Google SERP results. Along with the messing around with its ranking algorithms, the search engine giant is now changing the ways that ads will show up on Google results pages. So what does this mean for a business online ad campaign? Here are some of the ways that the sudden change is likely to affect company efforts.

The Change-up

Instead of running text ads on the right, Google will put more text ads above the organic listings area, and three more text ads at the bottom of the SERP page. That means a maximum of seven ads. The right rail area will be filled with product listing ad blocks and knowledge panels.

Here’s part of what’s likely to be in store for marketers.

Higher Click Through Rates for Some Ads

One of the likely outcomes is that ads will enjoy a lot more attention than they would have had on the right hand side of the site. Analysts have seen the click through rate for ads on top exceeds right rail ads by about 1400%. The fact that there won't be as many ads can also improve the average position of ads – because, as some put it, although there are “more ads on top” there are overall fewer ads on the page.

Interest in PPC Auctions

Now that there will be fewer ads on a page, there's likely to be more bidding for PPC, because brands have to share the same positions. By shrinking the footprint of the page, Google is putting pressure on some types of pay per click campaigns and that will be one change we’ll see coming out of this new strategy.

Stress on SEO

Experts also point out that the new change can be devastating to organic search.

That means the “simple SEO” is going to come under more pressure, and be augmented with things like image and video formats, knowledge graphs, rich media and other implementations that will get brands and pages more prominence.

Big Attention for High-Position Ads

Ads in some of the top positions will get a bigger share of the attention. For example, experts showed how positions 3 and 4 on the SERP page will see big click through rates and lots of value in the new Google environment.

These are some of the ways that Google's changes are going to craft a marketing atmosphere around best practices for SEO, PPC and other kinds of search engine marketing.

Reacting to these kinds of changes requires a sophisticated and subtle approach., companies have to know how to “roll with the punches” and change their advertisements and web pages in ways that work to their advantage.

At WebSubstance, we’re familiar with how to work with changing Google practices. We will help your site stay optimized in a world where optimization is changing. Ask WebSubstance for professional development advice and consulting to keep your web properties and your brands competitive in a dynamic online business world.

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