This week, Anchor posted this quote by Gary Vaynerchuk. His quote resonated with me, because being and remaining valuable to our clients is something that I strive for.
Naturally, most people start out relationships with their best foot forward, wanting impress a new client. The honeymoon phase is a blissful flow of creative ideas and positive pat-on-the-back meetings, and creatives really thrive off of that energy. BUT, once the work gets familiar or there are a few bumps in the road, many people lose interest, and the thrill of landing a new account fades. That’s where trouble arises. Customers begin to feel the dry, unenthusiastic solutions showing up in their work, where it once was plentiful and flourishing.
How is that avoided? For me, it’s understanding what and who the client is, and educating them about what we do as an agency. It’s not about winning a client, and it’s not even about design, video, websites or advertising, in the beginning. It’s about cultivating, building and nurturing relationships. The services part is securely and confidently under our belt, but an ongoing conversation with our clients is what develops trust.
A deep passion drives our team to “always have something to give”, and I’m extremely proud of that. We are constantly working to increase our knowledge in every aspect of our business, and to pass that along, adding measurable value to our clients and their businesses. It’s what makes us tick. It’s not because they ask or even pay more, but because our clients are just as important and exciting on year 5 as they were on day 1, and our goal for them is success. Our knowledge is their gain, and we see it that way, because our job is to solve problems, not to just be creative.
Don’t let your customers run away because the honeymoon is over. You have the power to make it passionate throughout the whole relationship, with plenty to give!
— Make-A-Wish® Mission
Last Thursday we had the pleasure of attending the Make-A-Wish® North Texas event Delicious Wishes. We also had the honor of volunteering and serving on the committee to help make a contribution to this amazing event. Delicious Wishes changes and affects so many lives of the people right here in our community, raising close to $350,000 at last years event. In just 4 hours, this event touches so many families with hope for their precious little ones to have their wish granted. In fact, that was the highlight of the evening; to see a live wish granted to a boy, Xavier, who wished to be the Jets coach for a day. What a truly magical night!
If you wish to donate to Make-A-Wish® North Texas, please visit www.ntx.wish.org
Reap what you SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has become a popular term to throw around when discussing various digital marketing tactics. You’ve probably heard someone in the office talking about the need for SEO on the company’s website, but does anyone know what it actually means?
The term refers to the act of structurally building your website so that it reaps the highest rewards from search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing and others. That sounds awesome, right? Rank me in the search engines and drive more traffic to my website!
The truth of it is, it can be difficult to guarantee search engine placement when the search engines each have their own proprietary algorithm that is held close to the vest and not shared with anyone. But the good news is, search engines like Google, have created a bit of a cheat sheet or at least a guide to help direct us on the best practices.
The best thing to do is get down to the facts and be able to discern how your company should utilize SEO tactics. Should things be handled in house or should you hire an SEO firm? There are a few things to take into consideration that we can cover here.
Watch out for SEO Scammers
There are thousands of firms across the country that claim to be SEO experts and guarantee search engine placement. Be WARY of these guys because there are a lot of scammers out there. It’s really funny these guys claim to be experts when even Google receives their spam messages (from Google’s article “Do you need an SEO”) “Dear google.com, I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”. How many of you have received an email like this before?
There are plenty of people who will tell you want you want to hear, but won’t discuss the details of how they will accomplish the results; just a “we’ll get you ranked higher” type of attitude. In fact, I was watching a video the other day of an “SEO Expert” who had posted a selfie-style video. About a minute into the video I was surprised to hear him start to say “What I do is…” and then he stopped himself. He abruptly changed the subject and in an awkward segue said “I’ve been trained by these guys out of Austin…” and trailed off about how he has the knowledge and skill set to accomplish the results. While it’s good to know that this guy has confidence in himself to do it, the vagueness in his plan of attack was unsettling.
What type of SEO Company can I trust?
I’m cautious of anyone who tells me they perform SEO for a living. I mean no offense to the folks reading this who are “SEO Experts”, there are some quality professionals out there who know what they’re doing and can explain it well. If they use the word “guarantee”, GET OUT QUICK! If they sit you down and explain their white hat process, you’ve got a chance. In my 10 years of experience with SEO, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best SEO professionals have a thorough understanding of (1) structural organization of the website, (2) keyword research, (3) easy-to-read copy that utilizes the previously identified keywords, (4) page structure and hierarchy, (5) sitemap inclusions, (6) Google Webmaster Tools, (7) Google Analytics, and (8) flow optimization. Of course there are additional considerations that are integrated into each of those topics but I think that covers the first layer of the onion.
The crucial letter in SEO is the “O” which stands for Optimization. Remember that even when you build a well structured website and perhaps have even captured the illusive #1 ranking for your keyword, you’re always going to have competition nipping at your heels. This is why you need to regularly optimize your website. Not only for the search engines, but for your users. A good user flow is important to the success of your website. Your site should have a clear hierarchy of links that allow interested parties to navigate your site without any confusion.
Some final SEO tips
Here are a few tips you can consider when the term SEO hits the table:
- You need a good hosting company. A quality hosting server will help with Page Speed which is a factor of consideration for higher rankings. A third party hosting company we recommend is Inmotion Hosting.
- Website Security is playing more and more in to how well your site is ranking. A good security company will build a firewall around your server and cache site pages. This helps with loading times which is a big plus for Google. An affordable and easy-to-work-with security firm is Sucuri.
- Start SEO from day one! It’s more difficult to optimize the structure of the site after the website has been built. Ask your website development team about their plans for structuring your website according to Google’s recommendations.
- Checkout this link to Google’s own Search Engine Optimization Starters Guide.
- Use a company like MX Guarddog to help stop spam.
- Write website content for the user, not the search engine. The more relevant your text is for the market, the higher you’ll rank anyway, so write for the humans, not the robots.
- Conduct due diligence! If you’re interviewing an agency that claims to “do SEO” or are “SEO Experts”, use this blog and your instinct to sniff out whether you’ve hired the right folks. And feel free to contact Anchor for a free consultation and some great ideas about what will work best for you.
- Remember: SEO results do not happen overnight, so show patience. But you may begin to see progress within the first few weeks. Remember there are no guarantees.
Hope to see you at the top of my Search Engine results page by being able to Reap What You SEO! Happy Optimizing.
You may have the design and functionality that you want on your website, but did you know that doesn’t mean it’s done? In fact, a great website is never finished.
Besides the regular Spring Cleaning, a website should be an ever-evolving, living, breathing part of your business. Here are some things to pay attention to and keep maintained on your website:
Browsers, like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer are extremely important to keep in mind at all times. Did you know that your site could look perfectly fine to you when you’re on Google Chrome, but your potential customer looking at it on Internet Explorer could see it in a completely different way? It’s important to have your site tested on the most popular browsers by a website development team than can troubleshoot and fix problems that arise. It’s a good idea to test it once a month to make sure you and your customers are looking at the same beautiful site.
With the Apple announcement of two new phones (and even a watch), the mobile view of your site must be able to stand up to ever-changing screen sizes. It’s best to have your site developed with a responsive design, allowing one site to fit perfectly on any device, but if your current site not responsive, make sure that it has a mobile version to maintain its legibility for customers on-the-go.
Your site should have an analytics program, like Google Analytics, installed. This is a helpful tool to keep track of site traffic, to monitor how visitors behave on your site, and much more. You may think it’s silly to analyze behavior, but it can indicate some major problems that keep your website from SHOWING YOU THE MONEY! For instance, if you notice that you have 1,000 visitors and a 70% bounce rate on your services page, you may have some restructuring that needs to be done, whether it’s the order of the information, or a need for better user experience (UX) design to navigate customers efficiently.
Your mom always taught you not to judge a book by it’s cover, but we’re here to tell you, your customers do! Letting your site design remain stagnant for 3+ years isn’t saving you money and it certainly isn’t doing you any favors. Having a current layout, design and feel, tells your customer that you respect your place of business and take pride in your work. This is true for most industries, because your potential customer in 2014 wants to do some research about you first, and a starry background with lime green lettering and a pixelated logo will guarantee that they will head to your competitor. Even if it’s not that bad, consider showcasing your brand in the most innovative way, in a well-designed, aesthetically pleasing website.
An important factor that contributes to solid search engine results is hosting. Choosing a good hosting provider can be paramount to the quality and scalability of your website. Your hosting server should offer 24/7/365 support, guarantee 99.9%+ uptime, regular website backups and help with quick page loads. A highly recommended hosting company is Inmotion Hosting.
You don’t want to wake up one morning to see that you’ve been hacked! Website security is becoming a bigger and bigger issue, especially with more companies using Content Management Software (like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal) that hackers are trying to penetrate. Brute Force attacks are becoming more commonplace which means that you need to protect your information. The right security company isn’t going to cost much and they can clean your site and install a firewall to prevent future attacks. Not only does a great security firm protect your site but they will also help increase page speed load times through page caching. Sucuri is a great option that accomplishes this and more.
Now, before you sigh and bury your head in your hands, rest assured, we will happily sit down and give you and your site a free consultation. So, tweet, email or call and we’ll discuss this over coffee. ☕
– Team Anchor