SEO Checklist

The 2017 SEO Checklist

  • Install Google Analytics
  • Install Google Search Console
  • Focusing on the US? Might want to install Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Using WordPress? Get a WordPress Google Analytics plugin. Here’s oneHere’s another one
  • Using WordPress? Install the free version of Yoast SEO
  • Check Google’s Search Console for crawl errors, duplicate content errors, missing titles and other technical errors. 
  • Use Browseo.net to spot-check redirect problems (specifically, 302 errors that should be 301s). 
  • Use Screaming Frog to find broken links, errors, and crawl problems. 
  • Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner for keyword research, along with KWFinderKeywordTool.io and SEMRush. Be sure to consider searcher intent and difficulty, pick 1 keyword per page, and you’ll generally want to start with lower-volume keywords first. 
  • Have you looked at competitor link profiles? This is the easiest way to get started with link building. This way, you can see what kind of anchor text they’re using, as well as how and where they’ve been getting their links. Something like the AhrefsLink DiagnosisOpen Site Explorer, or Majestic
  • Try to get your primary keyword into your page URL (but there are very serious consequences to changing a URL that already has authority – don’t do this if your page already has links!). 
  • Add your keyword to your title tag. Is your title tag compelling? 
  • Add your keyword to your meta description. Is your meta description compelling? 
  • Add your keyword to your H1 tag. Make sure to only use one H1 tag, and make sure it shows up in the document before H2, H3 etc. 
  • Add crawl-able text to your page. Make sure to have at least 100 words on each URL (minimum – the more the better). You can still rank with less, and you don’t ever want to put unnecessary text on your site, but I recommend not creating a new page unless you have roughly ~100 words worth of content. 
  • Use synonyms in your copy. Remember: synonyms are great, and using natural language that’s influenced by keyword research (rather than just pure keywords) is highly encouraged.
  • Use words discovered through latent semantic indexing in your copy – you can determine what keywords to add at LSIGraph.com
  • Add descriptive ALT tags and filenames to your pages. Search engines “see” images by reading the ALT tag and looking at file names, among other factors. Try to be descriptive when you name your images. 
  • Link to other pages on your site with SEO-friendly text (use the primary keyword in anchor text). We recommend not using anchor text in your global navigation because it can look like over-optimization. Stick to in-content links instead. 
  • Make sure you don’t have duplicate content – use 301 redirects, canonical tags or use Google Webmaster Tools to fix any duplicate content that might be indexing and penalizing your site. 
  • Use PageSpeed tools,  Gift of SpeedGTMetrix and Pingdom to determine page speed – keep your site fast! 
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly – use Google’s mobile friendly testing tool
  • Create an XML sitemap and submitted it to Google Search Console. Use XML-Sitemaps.com or Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin – the Yoast SEO plugin also comes with this functionality by default. 
  • Create a robots.txt file and submit it to Google Search Console. 
  • Claim your brand name on as many social networking sites as possible for reputation management reasons. Namechk is a great resource to see if your name is taken on most major networks. 

SEO For WordPress

SEO for WordPress

If you’re like the rest of the Internet, odds are your website is built through WordPress. And for a pretty good reason: it’s flexible, with a myriad of templates and plugins. Plus, it’s fairly easy to use.

But perhaps more importantly, WordPress is a solid SEO (search engine optimization) platform.

Since almost half of the top sites out there — from BBC America to Flickr — use WordPress to power their content, Google pretty much has no choice but to ensure its search engine can effectively crawl and index millions of WordPress templates.

So as a small business owner, how can you fine-tune your local SEO strategy with WordPress?

  • Make it easy for customers (and the search engines) to connect your services to a location. This is low-hanging fruit, but you’d be surprised how many of your competitors don’t do this. Say, for instance, you’re a financial advisor with multiple offices across the Midwest. An Illinois customer may want to know if your team gives retirement advice at the Chicago location. So, the Chicago page should include a full list of services available there. Make it super obvious what you offer and where you offer it.  
  • Make the most of your SEO plugin. First, check your settings to confirm you’ve named your site and written a brief description. Then, be sure to check that your URLs are correct and that they match the URLs in your Google Webmaster Tools.  

Easy tweaks with big results. You’re welcome.

Rand Fishkin: Why Your Business Needs SEO Now

Know the top three reasons you need SEO?

Hint: it doesn’t matter if you own an auto repair shop, a law firm, or something in between. Moz.com co-founder Rand Fishkin gives us the SEO scoop.


How To Make a Logo

How To Make a Logo
An Introduction

The current era of logo design began in the 1870s with the first abstract logo, the Bass red triangle.

Your logo is the visual representation of your brand—and everything it stands for. At a glance, it should reflect your brand’s personality and promise. Ideally, it will be memorable and stand out from the crowd. Consider iconic logos such as the Nike swoosh, Apple Computer’s simple apple or Target’s red bullseye. What comes to mind when you think of each one?

If you are in the process of starting a small business, you may not have the resources to hire a designer to develop your logo. This guide was developed to help small business owners with no design experience understand how to create a logo. You’ll learn about the processes necessary to transfer your ideas onto paper, find out how to spot flaws in your concept and enable your primary idea to grow until it reaches a satisfying level of quality.

Although this may be new ground, you’ll probably learn a lot and enjoy the experience. So, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a logo?

A logo works much like your name. When you were born, your parents gave you a name that, over time, you infused with personality. Now, when people hear your name, they immediately think of you. And when people talk about you, your name evokes certain emotions and characteristics.

Whenever the name comes up, people immediately think “that funny party guy who has a deep voice” or “that blonde girl who has a quirky laugh and always dresses well.”

In the same vein, a logo is a symbolic representation of your brand identity. It carries vital information about who you are and what you do and causes people to feel a certain emotion. For example, BMW is associated with precision, quality vehicles and prestige, as many company executives drive their sedans. Nike is associated with high-level sports performance and durable shoes.

Why are logos important?

Logos give businesses an identity, but you need to understand why that is so important. The branding process has many different stages and elements. The design and proper usage of your logo are a big part of it.

Your job is to make sure people connect the dots and recognize your brand the second they see the logo. If that works, your marketing efforts will be much more effective. The fact is, most people build an emotional connection to the brands they’ve had positive experiences with, based on their history and personality.

When targeted consumers see your logo, they need to instantly recognize it and connect it with your brand values. Why is this important? Because approximately 65 percent of consumers said shared values attract them to a brand and to the specific products or services you offer. They also revealed that shared values help make your brand more memorable. The very next time they think about something related to your niche, your brand name and logo should be the first images that pop into their minds.

Your audience should be able to differentiate your logo from a series of different brand logos on a shelf and choose your product based on the fact that they associate it with quality, cost-effectiveness or any other characteristic that you want to be known for.

Principles of an effective logo

For you to successfully create a logo, there are some principles you need to be aware of. As a beginner in the world of logo design, you’ll need to train your mind so that it can adopt a creative thinking process that will enable you to come up with unique designs. You should be able to do this if you understand the following principles:

Simplicity is the key

Designers constantly overdo it when it comes to logos. But the most popular logos are striking in their simplicity. Nike and Apple are great examples: everyone on the planet recognizes these logos and their mottos. Obviously, there’s a thin line between overdoing and underdoing it, and this might be your biggest challenge when designing a logo.

It needs to be unique

In a sea of companies, the last thing you need is a generic logo design that looks like everyone else’s. Sure, there are some popular design features for any niche, but you need something with a unique style—features that people relate to your brand specifically.

It needs to be recognizable

You need to get inside the mind of your target audience, find out what they like and desire, and develop your design accordingly. The logo should stand out and be easy to recognize, even from a distance. Obviously, a lot of research needs to be done here but it will be worth your while.

The evolution of the Apple logotype supports well the principle stated in this part.

Flexibility is very important

The logo should be recognizable regardless of size or the medium it is represented in. It needs to work both in color and black and white, on billboards and business cards, in a corner of a web page viewed from a smartphone, and on keychains and mugs. Logos that are overly complex don’t translate well into smaller formats.

It needs mirror a business’ personality

It’s possible to come up with a great logo that just lacks the right spirit. An excellent example would be to use playful colors and a cartoonish font when creating a logo for a serious law firm—that’s a big no-no. However, there are many different mistakes you can make in this process that is not as obvious, which is why it’s quite important for you to clearly define your business.

Different types of logos…

Read the full article by https://firstsiteguide.com/make-logo/

 

How to Create Facebook Video Ads: A Step by Step Guide

How to Create Facebook Video Ads: A Step by Step Guide

ak-facebook-video-ads-guide-480Interested in creating Facebook video ads?

Looking for an easy-to-follow guide?

Facebook video ads don’t require a lot of time or money. All you need is a script and some basic gear.

In this article you’ll discover how to design and record your own Facebook video ads.

Why Create Facebook Video Ads?

According to data from comScore, 64% of consumers are more likely to buy products after watching videos about them.

You can use the power of video ads to get more leads and sales for your business.

Here are some ways to use video ads:

  • Introduce your brand. This can be the type of video you would normally have on your home page, in which you share your company mission and story.
  • Give value upfront. Use a how-to or tutorial video as an ad. Or simply share great content and get people to click through to your website.
  • Build your email list. Create a quick video introducing your free ebook or upcoming webinar.
  • Share testimonials. If your customers record a video testimonial for you, ask them if you can use it in a video ad. This is a great way to retarget people who have visited your sales page.

For these videos, use animated text and images, a recording of yourself (or other people) or a combination of both. All of these options can work well, depending on your business and the goals for your campaign.

This article focuses on how to create your own video ad, with the goal of building your email list. Here’s an example of what this video ad might look like in a fan’s Facebook news feed. 

The goal of this video ad is to entice people to sign up for a free report, which is similar to the strategy that this article focuses on.

Here’s how to get started creating your own Facebook video ads.

#1: Set Up the Equipment

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to create a great-looking video. The most important thing is to be authentic and relatable in your video.

For the background, you can use a white wall or backdrop, or a nicely decorated room in your house, as long as it doesn’t distract too much. The example below uses a brick wall backdrop.

You can use your smartphone to record the video. If your phone isn’t older than three years, you probably have some great HD video recording options. If you want to turn the quality up a notch (and have the money to invest), the Logitech C930e webcam is a great alternative.

Good audio quality is essential for a great video. Consider using a Blue Yeti or Rode Podcaster USB mic.

Lighting is also important; however, you don’t need professional lighting equipment.

Simply use lamps from your living room or home office to light the area.

Or record your video in a room where steady sunlight is coming through the windows.

Avoid direct sunlight though, as this can overexpose your video and result in unwanted shadow effects.

#2: Practice the Script

Next, you need to practice your script. If you haven’t created one yet, follow the five steps to create the perfect script: grab attention, build interest, cultivate desire, create persuasion and end with a strong call to action.

Here’s a basic script example:

  • Struggling to eat healthily?
  • There’s a new method that makes it easy.
  • This free guide shows you exactly how.
  • 79,894 people have already tried it.
  • Click Download to get your free recipes.

This script is a great starting point for a talking-head video ad, but you’ll likely feel like a robot when you say these words on camera. To make it flow better, say the script out loud a few times, and add some words that make it feel more natural to you. Also, consider introducing yourself to add a personal touch, especially if you’re targeting a new audience.

After some tweaking, the basic script above looks like this:

  • Hi, do you ever struggle with eating healthy?
  • My name is …. and I’m the founder of ….
  • I’ve created a new method that makes eating healthy very easy, and I’m offering a free guide that shows you exactly how.
  • 79,894 people have already tried it, so make sure you don’t miss out.
  • Just click the Download button in this post to get instant access to your free recipes.

A simple video script like this will likely result in a video between 30 and 60 seconds long. If you’re targeting the right audience with the right message, that’s usually long enough.

Practice and planning make the video creation process less intimidating.

Especially if you’re not used to being on camera, prepare your script in advance.

#3: Record the Video

When you’re done fine-tuning your script, it’s time to hit the Record button. And yes, this is often the hardest part of the process.

Gideon Shalwick, who knows the ins and outs of online video content marketing, shares his best video recording tips:

  • Record each sentence separately. You can easily edit everything in your software later, and it’s much easier to get one line right at a time, rather than five.
  • Dont try to make it perfect. It’s okay if you stumble over a word, or have other imperfections in your videos. One of Gideon’s most popular videos is one that has a silly mistake in it. People relate more to imperfection than to perfection.
  • Talk into the camera as though youre in love with the person on the other side. This is a great antidote to the anxiety you feel when you record your first video. Even though this approach can feel odd in the beginning, it can give your video a fun and spontaneous energy.

Remember that it’s normal to cringe at your first videos. The more you do them, the more natural the process will become. It’s a matter of practice.

#4: Edit the Video

In the editing phase, there are some additional strategies you can use to create a more branded look and increase engagement.

To edit the video on a Mac, try software such as ScreenFlow or iMovie. For Windows, consider Movie Maker or Camtasia (also available for Mac).

One way to create a branded look is to add a lower third (a graphic overlay placed in the lower part of the screen) in the introduction.

You can do this with an animated clip, or add your logo and some text on the screen in the part where you introduce yourself.

To keep viewers’ attention and increase engagement, consider changing the screen periodically.

You can do this by zooming in or out, using different recording angles or switching to a screen with text and images.

For example, for the call to action, include a preview of which button viewers need to click when the video ends.

Visually explaining what action you want people to take can make a big difference in your click-through rate.

Finally, use music to create the right energy. Of course, make sure that you have the right to use it for commercial purposes. Also, keep the volume fairly low so that the music enhances your video rather than distracts from it.

#5: Create a Thumbnail

On Facebook, video ads often start playing automatically with the sound off, but this isn’t always the case.

Depending on the user’s personal settings, Internet connection or your bidding type, people might have to click on the video first for it to start playing.

Your video thumbnail is a great way to grab viewers’ attention. Facebook will automatically suggest stills from your video to use, but you can also upload a thumbnail yourself.

Consider taking a separate picture during your recording session, or use one of the video stills and add text to it. You can use a tool like Canva to upload images and add text and other decorations.

 
  1. Remember how the purpose of the first line was to grab attention?
  2. Use that same line for your thumbnail as well.
  3. That way people will be able to identify with your message immediately.

Conclusion

Now all you have to do is upload your video to Facebook, and start running it as an ad.

Remember that you can use video ads in lots of different ways, and being featured in your video isn’t required to create an effective video ad. You can get started with a short script and basic gear and improve as you go. And don’t forget that people relate more to authenticity than to perfection.

 

By Anja Kicken

How to Create Facebook Video Ads: A Step by Step Guide

How to Write Email Subject Lines that Make People Stop, Click, and Read

How to Write Email Subject Lines that
Make People Stop, Click, and Read

Email subject lines

 

…are our first (and sometimes only) chance to make a good impression on our subscribers, so making them interesting and compelling is essential to your email marketing success.

If you miss your chance to capture and hold their attention, your subscribers are less likely to open your emails, read your content, and click on your call-to-action links.

Today we’re going to cover the elements of captivating subject lines and how to discover which types of subject lines work best for your specific audience.

Let’s get started.

General guidelines for effective email subject lines

Writing subject lines that inspire people to open and read your emails is both an art and a science.

To get your subscribers to open, read, and click on the links in your email messages, thoughtfully craft the subject line of every message you send.

Your subject line is like the headline of a piece of online content — you get one shot to encourage your recipient to keep reading.

If you’re just getting started (or you’re not sure where to begin), here are some guiding principles for crafting compelling subject lines.

Your email subject lines should: (more…)