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Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Posted on Aug 27, 2013 by Emily Weeks

Nowadays, it’s rare to find a company without a website. And if you do, how annoying is it to scroll through Google and Yelp just to find their contact information? Having an online presence is necessary in today’s technologically centric world – just read our previous blog post about the importance of having a good web presence to see why.

What’s becoming increasingly important as well, though, is having a blog. Blogging has become a staple for businesses both big and small. It provides companies an outlet to show off their personalities, industry knowledge, and to engage their audiences with stimulating content. Nevertheless, blogging is a time commitment, so the big question still remains:

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SEO – The Myths, the Facts, and the Secrets

Posted on Mar 25, 2013 by John Wagner

If you have a website or use a search engine on a regular basis, it’s likely that you’ve heard of SEO Sydney or PPC. These two common acronyms are mentioned and preached every day. However, does everyone really know what they mean, or how they work? If you don’t, you’re not alone.

Let’s answer any lingering questions, settle myths, and clear the air of this Edmonton SEO madness! I’ve compiled the most common myths, most important facts, and the most exciting secrets in this post! I know what you’re thinking, “Whew! it’s about time!”

So let’s start from the top…

Define:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – An algorithm designed to impact visibility of web content (pages) through organic search results. Commonly used as a free alternative to PPC (pay per click) advertising.

Purpose:
Direct targeted traffic to your website without buying ads and clicks.

Myths:

…Your site will or can be optimized overnight
…Repetitive words and content will increase ranking
…Always use the most competitive words and phrases
…High page rankings are set in stone
…Organic “tastes” different

Facts:

  • Organic search results is a natural method for locating a webpage. This process will match search terms with relevant content on competing webpages. The stepbrother of organic search results is “non-organic”, or paying per click. “Paying per click” are ads that allow a company to blindly bid on highly competitive key search terms.
  • Relevant content is the fuel for your page ranking.  The more industry specific content your website holds, the more your website will be found, organically.
  • New content is the maintenance that will keep your page ranked. The most effective way is blogging and tagging with search terms. Google, and other leading search engines will reward your website for publishing relevant information. Since you know your business, show off and show off often!
  • Unique content is the muscle that carries web searchers directly to your website. Unique content can distinguish your brand and website from companies with the same industry focus and target.

Secrets:

  • Content is king. Keep relevant and new content flowing like a river! Adding content is important for your ongoing ranking; the most effective way is with a blog attached to your website. All blog content should follow the relevancy rules while it gives you space to display content that your website does not have room for.
  • Play to win. Similar to Monopoly night with your Grandmother, the SEO game is never ending. Compete, and compete often to maintain and most importantly to increase your ranking.
  • Leverage Google AdWords/Analytics.  Stay updated on monthly searches for keywords and phrases by using Google Analytics to view what keywords visitors used to find your site. Competition will change just as fast as your ranking does, so stay on top of your words!
  • Duplicate and be dumped. Search engines (especially Google) are smart enough to detect fluff and manipulation; so think of these algorithms as more of an art than a science.
  • By the numbers. If you’re more of a numbers person; you can make SEO a science project by using the KEI (keyword effectiveness index) equation. This will give specific words a rating based on the number of times a word is searched over the number of webpages displaying the word or phrase. Using this approach will show you what words and phrases can give you the best chance of winning the keyword game.

The internet can be the most rewarding source of marketing if used properly. Website optimization best practices are ever evolving and will only become more competitive as time passes. Adopting this process now can completely change the way your business operates in a positive way for years to come.

 

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On the Second Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me: Two Tutorials

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 by Johnny Jeffers

Our second day of Christmas will celebrate, or should I say educate, you on two dynamic tools in today’s social world: HootSuite and WordPress. If you’re not already familiar with the two, check out the links below to see just how easy it is to get started. If you’re already a pro, take a look anyway and brush up on those skills or discover a hidden feature!

HOOT SUITE TUTORIAL
Hoot Suite is a social media management tool that allows you to control various platforms in one place.  Here at HMG Creative, we use one HootSuite account to allow all of our social media managers to post and schedule content to our various platforms.

WORD PRESS TUTORIAL
WordPress is web software almost anyone can use to create a beautiful website or blog.  The program began in 2003 with a single bit of code and since then it has grown to be the largest, self-hosted blogging tool in the world. Check it out!

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Woot Woot for HootSuite!

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 by Stacey Donelan

 

If you’ve never heard of this odd application before, never fear (I was just introduced to it a few months ago)!  Once you get started, it’s a piece of cake.  For those of you that love organization, it’s a wonderful tool for you to manage all of your social media platforms in one easy place.  Although there are a few different types of HootSuite accounts, the version we will be investigating will be the basic account.

So let’s start with the basics.  All you need to do is go to hootsuite.com and create an account.  This doesn’t require much but an email, name and password.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll start by adding a social network.  As you can see, the three networks you are initially offered are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  By clicking on “add a different social network”, you are given many more options, such as: Google+, foursquare, WordPress, MySpace and mixi.

Choose the account you wish to sync first, allow HootSuite permission to that account and voila!  You should see something like this:

You can either compose or schedule a message by clicking in the “Compose message” box.  You will need to select your account by searching in the box which is right next to message composition.  To schedule, choose the calendar icon and pick your desired date and time.

If you would like to make any changes or view your scheduled items, choose the arrow icon located on the far left Dashboard.

To add on additional accounts.  Select the “+” tab at the top of the page.  You will then see the option to “Add Stream.” With the basic account, you are allowed up to FIVE different streams.  (Other accounts will allow for more streams depending on the price.)

You should now be able to complete the basic functions of HootSuite!  Can I get a woot, woot?!  If you’d like to learn more, you can always check out the free online tutorial they offer every member or contact us and we’d be happy to help.  Good luck!

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Be Our Guest- Blogger!

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 by Stacey Donelan

HMG Creative knows there are a lot of amazing writers and bloggers out there, and we want to find you. We are always looking for new ways to inform, educate and expand our clients and readers’ industry knowledge.  So with that said, we are looking for some writers who can inject their knowledge, expertise and passion into our blog.

Topics HMG Covers:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Networking
  • SEO
  • Mobile Technology
  • Email Marketing
  • Web Dev/Design
  • Something Awesome

Why Write for HMG:

  • Exposure to a new audience
  • Increase your presence and credibility online
  • Get syndicated on other media outlets
  • Get new followers on Twitter, of course
  • Blog a little or blog a lot
  • Because who doesn’t like having their writing featured

Sounds good to you? Great, email us!  Introduce yourself and give us a quick rundown of who you are. Send us an article for review and we’ll place it in queue if we like your stuff. Don’t forget to mention the frequency of your posts (weekly, monthly, etc), or if you just want to be a one-time contributor (we’re cool with that too)! Don’t have an article to post yet? No worries, we’ll help you mull over some cool topics we think would be relative to our blog.

Submit or contact us here.

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Workin’ on WordPress

Posted on Oct 04, 2012 by Stacey Donelan

For those of you who don’t know, WordPress is an open source blogging tool and a dynamic content management system (CMS).  Actually, WordPress is currently the most popular blogging platform in use on the Internet.  And what do you know, WordPress is what we currently operate on here at HMG Creative.  For those of you not so familiar with the application, I will provide you with a quick tutorial that will explore and teach you about the ins and outs of WordPress.

Getting Started
The first step, just like any other online management system, is to login.  To do so, add the extension /wp-admin to the end of your website URL.

For example: http://www.hmgcreative.com/blog/wp-admin

Now that you are entered as an administrator, your options are endless.  Well—maybe not endless, but there are a lot of functions to choose from.  So let’s start with a blog.

Creating a New Blog Post
You will see the Dashboard on the left side of the page.  To create a new entry, click “Posts” and choose “Add New.”

Once you have your new workspace you are free to do the following:

  • Title It:  What’s a story without a title anyhow?
  • Add Content:  This is just like working with Word or any other similar software.  Just type away!
  • Pictures & Media:  If you would like to add something to spice up your post, click on the “Upload/Insert” media icon.
  • Insert a Hyperlink:  Always helpful when you are making references.  If you’d like this link to open in a new window, be sure to check that box!
  • Categories:  Choose or add a custom category based on the topic of the post.
  • Add Tags:  This will allow readers to track the key words found in your post.

You also have the ability to:

  • View it in HTML by choosing that tab which is located at the upper-right corner of the text box.  If you don’t understand HTML coding stay away from this feature.
  • Add a title and description in the All-in-One SEO Pack.

Publishing Your Post
The time has come and your masterpiece is now ready for other eyes to see.  So now you must choose, should I publish now and be done with it, should I save it as a draft and have a co-worker proof my work OR should I schedule a time to publish it in the future?  Although this is completely your decision, there are many online studies of the prime times to publish articles, post blogs, tweet, send emails, etc. so be sure to check those out!

Approving Comments
The whole point of a blog is for people around the Web space to learn and interact with one another.  In order to interact, most users will post their comments on other blogs.  However, WordPress does not allow a comment to be seen unless it is approved by you.  In order to decide if this comment is worthy for your blog, go back to the Dashboard panel and click on “Comments.”

Here you will be able to see who and what has been posted.  You are then able to approve or ignore the comment.  You will see these options when you hover over the text.

Editing a Web Page
To do this, head back over to the Dashboard panel.  Choose “Pages,” and then click “All Pages.”

You will see the option to edit the page when you hover over a row.  Once you choose to edit, you are presented with the same options as you were earlier with a blog post.  However, it is different in the fact that it will stay in the same place and will show up in your site navigation (in most cases).

From here, you’ll do the same as you did when you created your new blog post:

  • Add a page title
  • Edit the body content
  • Add images and other media
  • View in HTML format
  • Edit title and the description of the All-in-One SEO Pack
  • Publish, save as a draft or schedule your publishing date

Adding Pages to the Navigation
To begin, select “Appearance” on the Dashboard menu, then choose “Menus.”

You will then select the page that you would like to add in the “Pages” section and press the “Add to Menu” button.  You are able to rearrange the order of the navigation by dragging and dropping the buttons in the general navigation area.  Once you are finished, save your changes by pressing the “Save Menu” option.

Adding a New User
On the Dashboard bar, under “Users,” select “Add New.”

  • Fill out the new user form fields.
  • You will then be given the following options to assign a role to the new user:
    1.  Subscriber:  Can read comments/comment/receive newsletters, etc. BUT cannot create regular site content
    2.  Administrator:  Has access to all the administration features.
    3.  Editor:  Can publish posts, manage posts, as well as manage other people’s posts, etc.
    4.  Author:  Can publish and manage their own posts and are able to upload files.
    5.  Contributor:  Can write and manage their posts but cannot publish posts or upload media files.
  • Once you have done the above, save your changes by pressing the “Add New User” option.

Before no time, you will be an expert at using WordPress.  All it takes is a little practice and all of the functions will become second nature.  Feel free to leave a comment or send us a tweet @hmgcreative with any questions, concerns or maybe even a few of your own tips to share!