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How to Dazzle Your Webinar Audience

Posted on May 30, 2013 by James Trumbly

Do you host webinars for your business? Ever found yourself wondering why your attendance is low or whether you could do
a better job with your presentations? Webinars are a great way to get your message out to the right audience, promote interaction with customers, create buzz about your business or product, and increase sales. With just a little finesse, you can make your online events work even harder for your business.

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Easy Steps to a Killer WordPress Website

Posted on May 01, 2013 by James Trumbly

Think WordPress is just for blogs? Think again! WordPress is a great option for small businesses looking for an easy, professional way to create great designs for their website content. Let’s take a quick look at four easy WordPress design techniques for creating a killer site.

1.     Choose a Theme
The sky is the limit when it comes to WordPress themes, but keep a couple of points in mind:

  • Choose a theme that meets your needs—The theme should reflect the personality of your company. It should also include any essential elements you need to present the type of content you have. Spend some time researching available theme options before you just pick one that strikes your fancy.
  • Consider your willingness to dabble in the code—If you are familiar with coding and enjoy tweaking things, you can choose a theme you love even if it has a few elements you’re not really happy with. If you’re the type of person who gets nervous just looking at a block of code, stick with a theme that meets your needs as is.

2.     Customize Your Theme
Do a quick Google search and you’ll come up with thousands of widgets and plug-ins for your WordPress site. They’re the best way to customize your theme, incorporating special capabilities such as social media buttons and other common website elements. Just about any WordPress web design goal can be accomplished with the right plug-in or widget, so take some time to familiarize yourself with what’s out there and how to make it work for you.

3.     Include Well-Chosen Images
We’ve all seen those mind-numbing, generic stock photos of people shaking hands or sitting at a computer in an office. Don’t be boring with your images. Choose something that directly supports the message you’re trying to communicate. If you can’t find something already out there, design your own graphic or snap some photos yourself.

4.     Consider a Blog
If your business lends itself to a blog, WordPress offers a great platform for including one on your website. WordPress web design makes blogging easy. Regular updates are the key to a great blog, so don’t commit to one if you’re only going to post every six months.

Like any new platform, WordPress web design takes some experimentation and research to learn. However, it’s also one of the easiest ways to quickly design and format content for a small website. Need more help creating a killer WordPress website? HMG Creative can help you make the most of the latest plug-ins, widgets, and themes to create the website of your dreams.

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Is Your Website Guilty of These 8 Disastrous Design Mistakes?

Posted on Apr 15, 2013 by James Trumbly

Web design isn’t an exact science. There are broad principles to follow, but at the end of the day, you have to figure out what works for you and your audience. However, you should always remember that your customers have itchy back-button fingers, and some web design mistakes will make them bounce every time. Here’s a list of our top eight design mistakes:

  • Making Content Look Like Advertising
    Web users these days have developed “banner blindness.” Anything that looks like a banner ad or block ad will be ignored. Avoid the common web design mistake of putting essential information in a format that looks like advertising.
  • Using Non-Intuitive Navigation
    If you have to explain how to navigate your site, you’ve done it wrong. Navigation should make sense to someone who has never seen your site before. Group similar links under headings and make it easy for visitors to find their way back to a previous page and to the home page.
  • Automatic-Play Flash Videos
    No one wants to be held hostage while you play a 20-second introductory video before loading site content. Video is great, but make it optional by providing a play button for the user to click when he or she is ready.
  • Not Listing Product Pricing
    What’s the point of having an ecommerce website if you make the visitor call, register, or start to checkout before he sees actual prices? This includes shipping rates as well. Provide estimates before checkout to reduce sticker shock during the sale.
  • Unclear Call to Action
    Can visitors immediately see how to take action on your site? Your call to action should use descriptive, action-oriented language that clearly communicates what you want the visitor to do.
  • Long Blocks of Text
    Our attention span is short and even shorter online. No one has time to read through a long page of tiny text. Break copy up into smaller chunks using subheadings and bullets, and make the font bigger so content appears less intimidating.
  • No Search or Bad Search
    Placing the search box in a difficult-to-find place (like halfway down the sidebar), not being able to handle misspellings, and not including search capabilities at all are common web design mistakes. Bad search can leave users frustrated and ready to bail.
  • Links that Don’t Look Like Links
    Use color to designate clickable text, and change the color for links that have already been clicked. Don’t be too creative with this. Underlines, italics, bolding, and unusual colors may look cool, but users may not pick up on the fact that they can be clicked.

Do you happen to be guilty of any of these disastrous web design mistakes? If so, it’s time to start testing a new design that will make it easier for your customers to convert. Give us a call and we’d be happy to talk through this with you!

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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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Responsive Design & Mobile SEO

Posted on Mar 06, 2013 by Calandra Buckner

The digital environment is constantly changing. Consumers are consistently taking in information through various channels, which include: laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and even smart TV’s. Smartphones especially, have become so indispensable to our daily lives that 80% never leave home without their phones in hand. Given this shift in devices and usage, organizations need to adopt websites that are functional, searchable, and provide a great user experience to visitors in all aspects. This is where responsive design comes into play. Responsive design refers to having a website that is designed and programmed specifically so that the design layout is universal across all platforms. The chief benefit of having a responsive design is that you don’t need to have separate mobile, tablet, and PC versions of your site. Responsive design is a shift in how we view websites across all devices. However, most don’t realize that a responsive design layout is a little different from a mobile design layout. A mobile website refers to designing a website that will appear on smartphones and tablets in the most user friendly way possible for those screen sizes and the correlating style of interaction. Design layouts for mobile websites aren’t usually the same or largely congruent to the desktop version of the site.

Although design layouts and aesthetics for responsive sites are meant to span across all devices, optimization is still an important aspect of any website. Let’s take into consideration the following statistics:

  • 50% of mobile searches lead to purchase
  • 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information
  • 61% of users call a business after searching and 59% visit the location
  • 90% of these people act within 24 hours

Given that more and more people are searching for information through mobile devices, search engine optimization is an important piece of the puzzle that may sometimes get looked over. According to Google, responsive design and seo hamilton go hand in hand, more specifically mobile SEO. Mobile SEO consists of numerous best practices that should be implemented for optimal mobile usage, but here are a few key things to remember:

  • Fully optimize all local listings on both Google and Bing. Most mobile cenaless comprar search results are largely influenced by geo-location.
  • Target shorter keywords in order to show up in mobile search results. Most users searching through mobile devices tend to use shorter keywords, which indicates that these searches are usually fast or quick in nature.
  • Enable mobile web analytics in order to make data driven improvements to your mobile SEO efforts.
  • Focus on usability and ease of use.  Users are more likely to bounce from a mobile site if they can’t (1) easily find the information they’re looking for, (2) the load time of the mobile site is slow, or (3) the website isn’t optimized for mobile use. These among other things will deter a mobile user form your site.

It’s easy to see that responsive design and fully optimized mobile websites are a sign of the next frontier of the digital landscape and should be adopted by any organization that doesn’t want to be left behind.

Need a hand establishing your company’s online presence, specifically in the mobile space? Give us a call or shoot us an email today. Over the years, we have established a proven method to help our clients achieve their marketing goals. We have also built lasting relationships with strategic partners such as Apogee Results. Together, we can help your business be a dominant player on and off the field.

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On the Third Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me: Three Experts Blogging

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

At HMG Creative, we know that like most things in life, blogging is better when done with friends. So we searched from coast to coast to bring you some of the most-respected marketing experts in the business. We know it is important to not only share our thoughts and insights, but impart the expertise and perspective of others; and we think these 3 individuals got it going on. Enjoy opening these 3 gifts from industry experts and friends of HMG Creative.

6 Ways to Use Images to Improve Your Web Conversion Rate by Tim Ash
CEO SiteTuners, Author, Landing Page Optimization

5 Types of Blog Content That Drive Engagement by Shelly Kramer
Founder and CEO V3 Integrated Marketing, FORBES Top 50 Social Media Influencer

3 keys to Scaling Content Marketing Success by Lee Odden
CEO TopRank Marketing; Author, Optimize