Why a Having a Blog Is Important for Your Business

 What Can a Blog Do for Your Brand, SEO, and Search Rankings

how blogs help SEO

Many businesses use a blog to engage customers, increase search rank, drive traffic, and build their brand. It’s time to add blogging to your marketing plan!

Besides a web site, a blog is one of the most valuable online tools a business has and one of the most effective ways to build your brand. Many businesses today use their blog to communicate and engage customers and potential customers, connect with users, show your expertise and authority in your industry, and improve search engine optimization. A blog is a good place to express your ideas and opinions and is vital to a growing company. Here are some great ways a blog can help increase your search rank,traffic, and business.

Using a blog to discuss hot topics related to your industry shows your users that you are up-to-date with new trends and business practices. It’s also a great way to establish your brand and keep customers and prospective customers up-to-date on new products, promotions, and other events.

Having a blog helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Result Rankings. Google loves content and new fresh quality content and content with targeted long-tail keywords can help boost your search rankings.

Giving users useful information is a great way to generate more traffic to your web site. In addition to providing your audience with interesting or helpful information,blogging can increase the amount of indexed pages in search engines and bring more traffic to your site.

A blog can also help generate sales for your business as your blog establishes you as an industry leader in your field.

Connecting with your users is what the new age of the internet is all about. Blogging about topics that your readers find interesting or helpful will encourage communication. The comment section below each post will allow users to ask questions and share ideas. Blogging is great for building relationships with new and existing customers.

SEO Copywriting to Build Your Brand

If you are interested in adding a blog to your marketing plan but don’t know where to begin, contact HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne. Our SEO content writers have helped numerous business write fresh content to engage readers and drive traffic. We can help you too! Give us a call today at (260) 432-8437 or contact us online.

 

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Social Media Marketing’s Role in your Business

what social media is best for your business

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – Are You Using Them for Your Business?

Since the creation of social media, businesses have been attempting to figure out the role it should play in marketing. Is it a glamorous fad or a lasting, vital tool for growing your business? In this article, we’ll go over some of the more popular social media platforms, and tell you how you can use them to grow your business.

Facebook

facebook demographics

First and foremost is Facebook. Whether you are a fan of Facebook or not, you can’t deny the impact that it has on today’s culture. Recently, for the first time in history, Facebook has surpassed the population of China! That’s right – the number of monthly active users on Facebook has reached 1.44 billion!

This means that whether Facebook is a fad or not, it is essential to business. Facebook is a free advertising tool with amazing results! Having a Facebook page for your business creates brand recognition, loyalty, and higher conversion rates. It allows you to build a relationship with both current and potential customers. If your business doesn’t have a Facebook page, setting one up is easy!

Along with Facebook’s huge popularity, they also make it easy for businesses to grow using Facebook. One of the great things about Facebook marketing is paid ads. Facebook’s integrated marketing tools make it easy to reach a wide variety of potential customers. Facebook offers the ability to cater your advertising campaign to a specific audience, giving you a higher return on investment and conversion rate.

Twitter

twitter demographics

Similarly, Twitter also has a huge community. With over 302 million monthly active users and over 500 million tweets sent per day, Twitter also presents a huge opportunity for your business.

Besides the sheer number of Twitter users, Twitter also makes it easy for your business to be found by other users. Twitter gives you the ability to catalog your tweets by “hashtags,” which can allow you to see what people are talking about, along with seeing who is talking about things that are relevant to your business, which can give you the edge you need to turn Twitter users into customers. A new idea in the marketing world is called social selling. Through social selling, you can actively seek out impressions to potential customers whom you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity.

Instagram

instagram demographics

Instagram has been around for a few years, but has just recently been experiencing a huge increase in users and is close to surpassing Twitter – with over 300 million.

Instagram is a mobile app that allows users to share photos and videos with followers. And, similar to Twitter, Instagram allows you to utilize hashtags, which makes it easy for you to find potential customers. Instagram is another great (free) tool that your business should be taking advantage of, no matter what industry you are in.

What Social Network Is Best for Your Business?

With all of the great social media platforms available, which one should you use? Trying to use all of the social networks available can leave a business overwhelmed which can make your social presence suffer as a result. Instead, think about who your target market is and select the one or two platform that will work best at targeting current and potential customers.

Whether Social Media is a fad, or whether it is here to stay, the fact is: social media cannot be ignored. If you are not using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you are missing out on huge opportunities for your company!

Social Media Marketing in Fort Wayne

If you would like to incorporate a social media campaign into your business and don’t know where to begin, call HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne today. We specialize in helping businesses grow using internet marketing including social media , Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content creation, and more. Our social media marketing specialists can provide you with the tools and information you need to set your business up for long term success!

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If Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly You Could Lose Rank

mobile website mobilegeddon

“Mobilegeddon” — Will It Affect Your Google Ranking? Probably!

Beginning April 21st, Google will begin considering website’s “mobile-friendliness” as a criteria in mobile search result rankings. What exactly does this mean and why are people referring to it as “Mobilegeddon”? How will it effect small business owners?

What is Mobile Friendliness

The number of people searching the web from from PCs and laptops is decreasing as searches from smartphones or tablets continues to increase. Google’s goal with the new mobile algorithm is to help searchers get the most relevant results that also are easily read on their mobile devices. Google believes that the accessibility of a site should be considered part of it’s relevancy — if people can’t read the site on their phone, they will ignore it.

Google looks for the following when considering if a website is mobile-friendly:

  • the site avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • the text is readable without zooming (including forms)
  • the content is automatically sized to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom in
  • links are spaced far enough apart so the correct one can be easily tapped

Why “Mobilegeddon”?

Websites that meet all of the above criteria will be ranked higher in Google’s search results. Those that do NOT have a mobile website will be ranked lower. This could have a huge impact on the organic ranking of sites that are not mobile friendly as your site can be bumped to page 2, 3 or lower making it difficult for people to find your website. A drop in visitors to a business’ website can quickly lead to a drop in new customers and sales.

Many small businesses, particularly, have not had a reason to adapt their sites to work well on mobile. But now they do!

How will this effect you, the small business owner?

If you are not already working with web site designer, now would be a good time to start. The longer your site is not designed for mobile, the longer it will be ignored by Google and unavailable to potential customers using smartphones to search for your products or services. The higher a site is ranked in a search, the more visitors it has the potential to draw. Even if the content of your site is highly relevant to the search, it will be ranked further down on the results list if it is not mobile-friendly.

Make your website mobile friendly

Don’t get left out, contact HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne today at (260) 432-8437 to learn how to make your website mobile-friendly and stay in the search. Because what’s the point of having a website if no one can find it!

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10 Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Sharing for Businesses

Your Business and Social Media: Dos and Don’ts

social media marketing tips for businesses

The great opportunities social media opens up for your business are far-reaching. But if social media is misused, it could quickly do more harm than good. Here are some basic tips about what to share (or NOT):

DOS:

  1. engage with your audience beyond just promoting your business — respond to what they say, ask for feedback
  2. share relevant information from other sources — as long as you say where it’s from!
  3. update your information and keep it fresh
  4. keep outgoing information succinct and to the point
  5. monitor your activity — is your information getting to the right people in the right timeframe?

DON’TS:

  1. post personal information that’s not relevant to the business
  2. air bad feelings or arguments (within your organization or beyond)
  3. make disparaging remarks about other people or other businesses
  4. flood your followers with posts, tweets, etc.
  5. repost other’s content claiming that it’s your own

Two of the biggest DON’TS seen over and over again in the marketing world are:

  • businesses with unrealistic expectations of what social media can do — it won’t do all of the work for you, especially if you don’t have a plan.
  • businesses thinking they can manage all of their social media themselves — it’s common to greatly underestimate the amount of time required to keep social media relevant and engaging to your audience

But that’s what we’re here for! Need help with your social media? From creating graphics and creating content, to analyzing campaigns and creating ads, social media can be an overwhelming task. At HD Marketing & Design we understand all the varieties of marketing options available in today’s interconnected world. We help Fort Wayne companies and businesses nationwide connect  and build relationships with current and prospective customers. And, we pride ourselves on getting to know and understand our clients so we can spread their message in the best ways possible.

Learn more about our Social Media Marketing program, or contact us today at (260) 432-8437.

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Page Load Speed. Why it Matters, and What you Need To Do.

Page Load Speed | HD Marketing and Design Fort Wayne Indiana Tips

More and more users are taking to the web for their everyday needs, and.this trend has several implications that site owners must pay attention to. One of these implications is page load speed. In this world of instant gratification, Google and consumers expect a web page to load quickly, in 2 seconds or less.

A Frustrating Experience

Page load speed can make or break your website. Let me paint you a picture: While browsing the Internet when you see a link that is interesting and you click the link. You wait… and wait… and wait.  Seconds later you frustratingly hit the back button.

You click the link again hoping that it loads faster, but it does not. This time you click the back button and never return. This phenomenon has a term… user bounce.

You will lose visitors to your site

It doesn’t matter how awesome your website is or how relevant your content is to the user. If your website is not optimized to  have a fast page load speed, you will lose users and potential customers

A rule of thumb is that you want your website to load above the fold in less than one second. Above the fold means that the content within the view of your screen without scrolling. This “one second rule” will keep users engaged enough to wait for the other content to load.

Pagerank

PageRank is used by Google as a way of measuring the importance of website pages. Basically, PageRank is what position your website is in on a search engine results page after a word or phrase has been searched. The position, or where you “rank” compared to the other results, is your PageRank.

Google ranks faster pages higher and slower pages lower or not at all. The algorithm Google uses determines PageRank based on relevant content and user experience. Google has publicly come out and announced that “page speed is now a ranking factor.”

There are several techniques to improve your page load speed. Here’s a brief list of what you can be done:

  • minify your css, javascript, and html files
  • optimize image sizes
  • utilize caching

If you are unsure if your website is using these page load speed techniques, we offer a free website audit. We check your page load speed and other important SEO best practices. Submit your site to us for a Free SEO Review to find out how your website is performing!

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How to Craft the Perfect Domain Name

How to Craft the Perfect Domain Name

What’s in a name? Well, a lot, actually. You’re right to be hung up on trying to come up with the perfect domain name for your new website since having a bad domain name can tank your latest gig before it even gets off the ground. With all of the big companies out there buying up the “good” names and selling them at premium prices, coming up with a clever, memorable, and relevant domain name has become one of the most daunting tasks for new website owners.

Don’t be discouraged. There a lot of great tools out there to help you brainstorm and come up with a domain name that works for you. Let’s dive in:

Decide What You’re About & Be Relevant

Unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a branding campaign to explain to the Web what your domain name means, you need to pick a domain name that reflects what you do. Succinct and witty are nice, but not at the detriment to clarity. Visitors should be able to understand exactly what kind of site you are just by looking at your domain name in the search results page. If they’re confused and not sure you’ll meet their needs, why would they click through? If you’re a bakery that specializes in cupcakes, the domain name doodlefrost.com isn’t going to build much confidence. Make it relevant.

Use Keywords When Possible

It’s great if you can find a way to slip a relevant keyword in to your domain name. Don’t lose sleep over it if you can’t, though. If you haven’t come up with a name for your new site but know roughly what you intend to write about (travel, furniture, outdoor power equipment, etc.), you can use a tool like Name Mesh. They will match your keyword(s) or categories against their database of over six million words and kick back a list of results that will help you get some ideas flowing.

Use a Generator

Having a tough time coming up with a naming concept? Try out the Business Name Generator tool by Shopify. It’s free and will automagically combine the word you enter with other words to generate a robust list of available domain names. It’s the perfect tool if you’re looking for a little bit of creative inspiration and an available domain to match.

Keep it Simple

When in doubt, don’t overdo it. If you already have a business name, then stick to that name when possible. If the exact name for your existing business isn’t available, try adding extra words to the end like the city, state, the word “online,” etc. So say your company name is Only Cupcakes but onlycupcakes.com isn’t available. Is OnlyCupcakesFortWayne.com available? Sure it’s not a ‘sexy’ name, but it’s who and where you are. It’s easy to remember, it has local cues (important to search engines!), and is more likely to be available. It’s easy to over think it when tasked with trying to create a domain name, but typically the simplest solution is the best.

Collect Extensions

Now that you’ve spent all this time crafting a domain name that works, you want to safe guard it! This isn’t an essential step, but it is important if you’re trying to keep your newly-minted brand protected. Most domain registrar companies offer discounts on bulk domain registering, and you should use that opportunity to go ahead and register for .com, .net, .org, and .biz. That will keep any cyber poachers out and make for a happier website without brand confusion.

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The Perks of Being a Small Business

The Perks of Being a Small Business

Are you a small business? Embrace it! Don’t try to pretend that you are bigger than you are. Small businesses have lots of advantages over a large corporation. Showing your customers and potential customers the value of your size can actually help you beat the competition. And remember, good things come in small packages!

Here are some of the things we enjoy most about working with our small business customers:

1. You can be CREATIVE and FUN

idea lightbulb

Small businesses can often have a lot more fun with their marketing. Your businesses unique personality — whether it’s you as owner, or the team your employ, or the services or products themselves — can really be played up in your marketing message. You can explore entertaining and creative ways to show how you are different from the “big guys”.

2. You can give PERSONAL ATTENTION to each customer

customerservice

A small business has the time and ability to really get to know each of its customers. It’s easier for customers to connect with a real person instead of a never-ending automated phone system. And, it’s more likely that their contact person is the same one they deal with every time. You can get to know your customers by name and personalize your services in ways to keep them coming back. Personal connections with customers also allows you to quickly get valuable feedback from them. If something happens to go wrong, you can typically respond to and fix their complaint much faster than a large competition. These are all important factors in building long-term relationships and in making sure that existing customers are happy to refer new people your way.

3. You can be NIMBLE, SWIFT and INNOVATIVE

Change can be difficult and slow in large companies because of their size. With fewer employees and fewer layers of management, a small business can react much more quickly in any situation. You can be innovative, faster to provide new products, quicker to change policies, and react to customer concerns immediately. If selling products is part of your business you can play up “quality over quantity”. Customers will appreciate that you really know your products and stand behind them.

4. You can be a FAMILY

family

Whether employees are actually part of the family or not, a small business offers that family feeling to all employees. Time and time again, employees of small businesses reference the “feeling a part of the family” as one of their favorite things about their jobs. Each employee can be much closer to the business and the customers. This leads to both a better understanding of how the company works and increased customer satisfaction. This feeling of family creates a strong sense of loyalty during tough times and an enhanced level of energy during busy times. Employees’ personal connections to the business will lead you to ever greater successes.

At HD Marketing and Design in Fort Wayne, we enjoy building relationships with all of our customers, large or small. But we particularly enjoy encouraging our small business customers to be proud of what makes them unique. Your size gives you an incredible advantage in today’s overcrowded marketplace — the ability to be creative, customer focused, and fast on your feet. Let us get to know you and your business, your story and the things that make what you do special. We know how to get the message about your uniqueness into the hands of those who are looking for a business just like yours.

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How Can Analytics Help My Business?

HD Marketing Analytics Help Grow Business

Developing an Internet Marketing Plan to Grow your Business

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, climbing up Google’s search result pages can seem like an overwhelming task. You might come to the conclusion that your site isn’t receiving as much traffic or success as you might like, which leads to the question of the hour: “What can I do to improve the success of my site?” The answer: Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics to Improve your Website

That’s where Google Analytics comes in. Fortunately for internet marketers, Google offers many tools to help us improve our websites. One of these FREE tools is called Analytics. With Analytics, we are given detailed reports of important web site statistics such as amount of web traffic, traffic patterns, conversion tracking, amount of time spent on each page, and so much more. Our Google Analytics Certified team knows exactly how to make sense of all of the data to make sure it’s being leveraged properly.

When trying to improve the success of your website, Analytics helps to act as the first step in determining what is wrong in the first place. Making changes to your website without first looking at Analytics is like throwing darts blindfolded – there’s no way you meet your goal if you don’t know where you’re standing. Analytics is a great tool to help you decide what you’re doing well, and what isn’t working.

Some other great information that Analytics can give you is:

  • Where your customers are coming from. (search engines, referring websites, or direct)
  • Bounce Rates (How many visitors leave your website after only viewing one page?)
  • Success Rate (How many visits were considered successful based on your goals – i.e. did they make a purchase? Sign up for a mailing list? Call and make an appointment?)
  • Where your visitors are located.
  • Best and Worst performing pages
  • Keyword research

Fort Wayne Web Site Optimization Company

If you would like to see where your website stands, Google Analytics is an amazing tool to help you get started, but it can be a confusing place if you’ve never gone down that road before. Call HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne at (260) 432-8437. We can help you formulate a plan to get your web site found online and outperform your competition!

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If Content is King, then what is Queen?

What is it that makes your Internet Marketing Campaign a Royal Flush?

You might have heard it said that “Content is King.” Well, if that’s true then what would be Queen? Or Jack? Or an Ace? In fact, what is it that makes your internet marketing campaign a Royal Flush?

At HD Marketing & Design, we believe that the cornerstone of every great web site is a solid Internet Marketing Program. Here are the four most important aspects that make your internet marketing campaign a success.

Content is King

Creating quality content can help your business explode! Content not only allows potential customers know who you are and what you do but it gives them plenty of information to make an informed decision and positions you as the expert in your field. Google, and other search engines, love great content as well, especially high-quality, unique content. Content can come in the form of web copy, video, articles, and blog posts. Utilized correctly, it can help your site rank higher on the search engine results page.

SEO is Queen

When it comes to your internet marketing campaign, you must be sure that your website is easily accessible. In order to do this, your Search Engine Ranking must be top notch! Did you know that 75% of Google users never scroll past the first page? That means in order for your business to be found, you need to be in that coveted top ten spot! If you’re not, you’re missing out on a lot of great opportunities.

In order to make sure that your website ranks on page one, you have to put a lot of thought into the accessibility and elements of your site. Making sure that your website is search engine friendly is pretty much a full time job in itself. In order to maintain that top ten position, you must constantly monitor your web traffic, and see what you can improve. And, just because you’ve made it to number one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stay there for very long. There’s always someone out there gunning for your position.

Blogs are Jack

Did you know that blogs are 63% more likely to effect someone’s buying decision than a magazine? With the ease of internet accessibility, blogs have become an essential element in your marketing campaign. Consumers like to be aware of what is going on in their world, which means that if your company doesn’t have a blog, you’re missing out on a lot of great opportunity.

The benefits of blogging are astronomical. Along with keeping your customers up to date on what is new, you are also creating more and more quality content for more people to see; therefore, your chances of being found increase radically!

Not only does blogging create quality content, but research shows that Google’s algorithm gives preference to websites that are frequently updating their information. Websites who blog give your website more indexed pages than those who don’t!

Social Media is an Ace

In today’s technologically/social media driven world, your business absolutely needs a social media page! Facebook sees active monthly use from 1.35 billion people all across the world! Of those people, 864 million people are on Facebook every single day! If your business is not utilizing social media, you’re missing out.

Facebook and other social media sites are a great way to connect and build relationships with customers. Customers like to be updated with what is going on in the business, and the best way to connect and share with other people is through Facebook. Not only is Facebook a great way to establish your web presence, you can also use it to push content. Drive people to your blog by syncing it up with Facebook.

Along with connecting and finding existing customers, Facebook is a great way to find potential customers. 20% of Facebook users that are exposed to ads end up making purchases based on that ad.

HD Marketing & Design Can Help You Make Sure your Internet Marketing Campaign is a Success

At HD Marketing & Design  in Fort Wayne, we have been successfully growing businesses through Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Web Design, Video Production, and many more for years. If your internet marketing campaign could use a little help, give us a call today at (260) 432 – 8230.

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Your Old Website: Rebuild, or Redesign?

What to do with your out of date website

Remember that car you thought looked really cool twenty years ago? Chances are, if that car is still on the road today, it might not be ascool. Remember the hip colors you decorated your home with in the 90s? No wonder you’ve had it on the market for three years already.

We live in a style-conscious world. In many cases, style changes with technology. Our smart phones don’t look anything like those big old clunky desk phones that we all had in the sixties because that was the only style the phone company offered. Sometimes, style is just an emotion – something that makes us feel happy and trendy at the moment. Whatever the case may be, trends in technology move more quickly than any other type of trend. Because of this, it is important that your website reflects a more modern aesthetic.

Bring your Website Up to Date

If your website was created back in the early 21st Century, it’s probably making your company look hopelessly clueless to prospective customers who visit your site today. This may seem trivial to you, after all, it’s the quality of your product and service, not the style of your website that should make a difference. First impressions are important, so your website has to make you look inviting, or “click,” they’re gone. Technology has changed a lot too on the internet. Because of faster connections, and better computers, there’s so much more you can do today with your website that you couldn’t do five to ten years ago.

Today’s web users click through hundreds of websites every day. Chances are, most of these websites will be high quality, modern, and stylish. If your website design isn’t on a similar level, they will certainly notice a difference, and it could even drive them to a competitor’s site. Along with necessary information about your business, they’ll expect a certain level of professionalism and style from your website. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will most likely move right onto the next website.

What should I Do with my old website?

But, you say, all the information a user needs is currently on my old website. Good! Because all you have to do then is redesign your old site. Bring it up to date with the latest look, and latest navigation protocols.

Or, you say, our website doesn’t really say very much about our business. Too bad, because there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. It doesn’t cost you more each month to host a big website than it does to host a small one, and users today expect to find necessary information quickly.

Redesign your site if:

  • all of the necessary information about your business is already there
  • the site was developed over five years ago
  • your site appears outdated and unprofessional (there’s nothing wrong with looking at a competitor’s site to see how you stack up.)
  • you haven’t changed anything in a while (Another benefit is that search engine’s algorithm’s give preference to companies that update their websites frequently.)

Build a brand new site if:

  • Your current site is lacking important information about you
  • modern technology such as videos is nowhere to be seen
  • your current website doesn’t work well on mobile phones
  • your site is old and outdated in appearance

Professional Web Design at HD Marketing & Design

Get an expert opinion and find out just what your website can do. At HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne, we can help you review your site without any cost or obligation. If necessary, we can offer assistance in bringing your current site up to date, or even launching a brand new website! We specialize in web design, Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Video Production and more. Call us today at (260) 432-8437 and let us help you bring your website into the 21st century.

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