Web Personalization: The Future of Digital Marketing and Sales Is Now


In the beginning, the business website was a mere brochure. Low value, low shareability, low findability. Around 2005, a big shift happened thanks to content. Cutting-edge business websites became educational resources with valuable content that ranked well in search engines and benefited from the sharing functionality of emerging social media. Soon, “cutting edge” became the
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What’s Your Version of ‘Autosave?’


I remember when autosave didn’t exist in writing software. In the old days, if your computer temporarily borked, you might have lost some important text if you didn’t recently save your work … I still compulsively click “Save” out of habit when I write and edit. Luckily, if you’re working online today, such as in
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How to Build Your First Email List From Scratch


Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is not dead.

Sure, there are newer content marketing strategies out there today that may seem more appealing. But if you want your business to thrive, you’ve got to have a core foundation for your strategy.

Stick to the basics. If you’ve recently launched a startup company, one of the first things you should do is build an active email subscriber list.

It’s one of the best ways to get people excited about and engaged with your brand. You’ll use this list to stay in contact with your customers on a regular basis.

Ultimately, your email subscriber list will help you increase engagement, generate leads, and drive conversions.

What’s even more appealing about email marketing is how profitable it can be. In fact, the average return on investment for email marketing campaigns is a whopping 3,800%:

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If you have been in business for a while but still don’t have an active list of subscribers, this guide is relevant to you as well. It’s not too late for you to get started with your first list.

You may be a little bit behind right now, but if you want to catch up to your competitors, start focusing on your email marketing strategy as soon as possible.

That said, starting from zero can be daunting. It feels as if you’ve got a long climb ahead of you.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Fortunately, if you follow the tips I’ve outlined in this guide, you’ll have a much easier time building your first email list from scratch.

Pick your platform

Before you proceed with anything else, you need to choose email software you’d like to use.

This will depend on many factors based on the wants and needs of your company, but you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Constant Contact is a great starting point for beginners:

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But it’s not the only option. Check out similar email marketing platforms such as:

For the most part, they all will have similar features and benefits. It all depends on your preferences for the interface, pricing, and other factors.

Compare at least a few of these choices before deciding. One thing for sure: you’ll need software to help you with this task.

Email marketing platforms will make your life much easier. That’s because what you’re trying to accomplish here is much different from sending a mass email to your friends and family.

Sending promotional content to your subscribers directly from your personal email account isn’t a viable option if you want to take things seriously.

Plus, you’d spend way more time than you needed to if you did this manually. We both know how much you value your time, so take advantage of any available time-saving marketing tools.

Build your opt-in landing page

Now that you’ve selected a platform for sending emails, it’s time for you to set up a way for your website visitors to subscribe to this list.

You need to build a strong landing page specifically designed for turning web traffic into subscribers. In theory, this is simple, right?

But you’ll need to do much more than creating a landing page that says “Sign up for emails.” That alone won’t be enough to add subscribers.

There is a science behind landing pages that drive conversions. For example, you need to take into consideration the placement of your opt-in button:

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As you can see from this data, placing the button in the footer results in a drastically higher conversion rate than placing it in other locations on the page.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to take your time when designing the layout of your opt-in landing page. Make sure it’s simple and clear, and think about other aspects such as the color scheme.

That’s because you can’t rely only on users visiting your website to navigate to this page. As I’ll discuss shortly, people will land on this page from a variety of sources and marketing channels. And that’s why you’ll need to take other factors into consideration as well.

Drive traffic to your landing page

You’ve got your email platform set up, and your landing page has been built. Now, you need to convert your website visitors into email subscribers.

The best way to do this is to get as much traffic as possible to your landing page.

You can start by increasing your SEO efforts, but that alone won’t be enough to build a huge subscriber list. You’ll need to feature this landing page on as many of your marketing channels as possible.

Share the link on your social media channels. Blog about it.

Put a CTA on the sidebar of each page on your website to increase the exposure and encourage conversions.

Here’s a great example of this strategy being used by HubSpot on its blog homepage:

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Notice that a subscribe option is featured on multiple locations of this page. This makes it easy for visitors to spot it.

You can employ the same strategy. Visitors will need to make only one click to get to the opt-in landing page you built.

Anything you can do to drive more people to this page will increase your subscription rates.

Give people a reason to subscribe

Your company might be great, but not everyone knows that. This is especially true if you have a startup company.

Plus, people get enough emails throughout the day. Do you really think they want to receive more?

In fact, the average person who works in an office receives 121 emails each day.

Furthermore, 49% of consumers report they receive too many marketing emails from businesses.

It’s important you recognize these statistics. That’s because website visitors and customers won’t subscribe to your email list unless you give them some type of incentive.

You’ll need to provide them with some offer or value that improves their lives or experience with your brand.

Monetary benefits and discounts are some of the best ways to entice prospective subscribers.

For example, let’s say you’ve got an ecommerce store. You can have a pop-up or promotion on your homepage offering a discount off a purchase when a customer signs up to receive emails.

I don’t want to call anyone out, so I won’t use their name. But here’s an example of something I recently saw on an ecommerce website:

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Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t completely off the mark. But look at this pop-up, and tell me if it excites you.

Telling subscribers they will be the first to know about a new product release, promotion, or story may not be enough to get them to opt in.

Instead, take a look at this example from Bed Bath & Beyond:

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Compare this to our previous example. It’s much more enticing.

Why?

That’s because Bed Bath & Beyond is offering value people can actually use. People can get excited about a 20% off discount.

They may sign up just to receive that initial discount, but if you establish a good relationship with them, they could turn into subscribers for life. We’ll discuss that in greater detail as we continue.

Segment your subscribers

Here’s something else you need to recognize and keep and mind.

Not all your subscribers are the same, and not all your subscribers will sign up for the same reasons.

The key to building a great subscriber list is identifying these differences and grouping people accordingly—in other words, segmenting.

According to a 2017 study by MailChimp, segmented email campaigns have a 14% higher open rate. What’s even more astonishing is that segmented campaigns have a 101% higher click rate.

Segmenting your subscribers will help you lower your bounce rates and unsubscribe rates as well.

How do you segment your subscribers? You have many options, but some of the most common methods include factors such as:

  • interests
  • location
  • type of message
  • email frequency

If you properly design the opt-in landing page I discussed earlier, this shouldn’t be difficult. Here’s a great example of how Bonobos uses this strategy to segment its list based on frequency:

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Now, they won’t have to worry about sending too many emails to subscribers who want to hear from them only once a month.

Giving your subscribers the option will improve their experience and ultimately increase sales in the long run.

This will also keep your list strong and active, reducing unsubscribe rates.

Encourage your subscribers to invite their friends and family

To get the most out of your subscriber list, have your subscribers work for you.

Make it as easy as possible for them to forward your content to their friends and family.

Even if you’ve got a great newsletter or promotion, it’s unlikely that most people will do this out of the kindness of their hearts. You’ll have to continue with the strategy of giving them an incentive or added value to encourage an action.

You should offer a discount to your subscribers for getting their friends or family members to join your email list as well.

Research shows that 28% of people would be more likely to make referrals if they received a reward for doing so.

The idea here is to create a snowball effect.

You want each new subscriber to get more people to join. As I said earlier, you can’t rely on people signing up only from your website. Encouraging sharing will help you get more subscribers.

Send relevant and timely content

Now that you’ve got subscribers, you don’t want to lose them.

Make sure you send promotional content to your subscribers. Recall the discussion about segmenting your subscribers, and communicate with them accordingly.

Each campaign needs to have a reason and a purpose.

Sending a message “just to say hello” is a quick way to get lots of unsubscribes. Avoid that at all costs.

You worked hard to get people to opt in, and now you’re losing them. That’s why you need to create highly relevant content for each message.

Don’t get me wrong. Unsubscribes are inevitable, and they happen to the best of us, including me.

Here’s a look at the top reasons why people unsubscribe from email lists:

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Don’t spam your subscribers.

As you can see from this graphic, the most common reason for opting out of promotional emails is receiving too many emails.

Sending emails too often can annoy your subscribers. This can have an adverse effect on your company beyond losing subscribers.

Developing a negative association with your brand could cause them to stop buying as well. Just make sure all your content is relevant and sent in a timely fashion.

Keep adding subscribers

So you’ve finally reached your first 100, 1,000, or maybe even 10,000 email subscribers.

Congratulations!

It’s time to kick back, put your feet up, and relax, right? Wrong.

Growing your email list needs to be a constant priority. The sky is the limit here. There is no downside to adding more subscribers.

Depending on the platform you selected earlier, you may get charged more, monthly or annually, based on the number of people added to your list.

But the costs are marginal and worth it because of the high ROI of email marketing campaigns.

Now, you just need to use your email strategy to increase conversions and drive sales through offering great content.

Conclusion

No matter what type of business you have or what industry you’re in, you need to have an active email marketing list.

But for those of you who haven’t started this yet, building this list from scratch can feel like an overwhelming task. Just follow the guide I’ve outlined above to make your life easier.

Start by selecting a platform to use. Next, build your opt-in landing page, and find ways to increase your website traffic.

Give people a reason to subscribe. Offer value and incentives to get them to join.

Segment your subscribers so it’s easier to send them timely and highly relevant content.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to growing your email marketing list from scratch in no time.

What strategies is your brand using to add more subscribers to your first email marketing list?





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How to Create Mobile Specific Content Campaigns For Mobile-First Index


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Every year, Google makes around 500-600 changes to their search engine.

And every year, entrepreneurs, SEOs, and everyone else have to scramble to catch up with whatever they change.

But now and then, Google shows us their hand.

One such instance is with mobile-first indexing.

Since 2016, Google has been experimenting with methods that will allow them to implement mobile-first indexing for their search engine.

They haven’t been too quiet about it either.

But with a recent update, the long wait is finally over.

Google has started migrating sites that follow mobile best practices over to mobile-first indexing.

And while Google has promised to tell everyone when their site has switched, you shouldn’t be waiting around to adjust your content strategy.

If you’re a business that relies on content marketing to succeed, you need to be aware of how these changes are going to affect you.

So to ease your mind and give you direction, I’ve put together the best tips and tactics to help you create a mobile-first content campaign.

But first, I want to give you a clear picture of what mobile-first indexing really means for your content campaigns.

What is mobile-first indexing?

The easiest way to conceptualize mobile-first indexing is to think of your website as two different entities that work together as a whole.

On the one hand, you have a desktop site.

On the other, you have your mobile site.

When a search engine crawls your website, it recognizes that there are two “distinct” versions of it and weights them accordingly.

Since the creation of search engines and the invention of mobile web browsing, Google and other search engines have been more focused on your desktop site.

But with mobile-first indexing, Google has shifted its focus to put a greater emphasis on your mobile site.

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In other words, your mobile site is going to be viewed as the primary version instead of your desktop site.

Which means in theory, if you’ve already created a mobile-friendly site you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

But when it comes to content, you need to do more than just be mobile-friendly if you want to take advantage of a mobile-first index.

For one thing, it’s likely that your website infrastructure will be more important than ever due to the fact that mobile browsing can quickly become muddled or confusing.

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A flat architecture like the one depicted above makes your content easier to access, which means it’s also easier for search engines to crawl and index.

And all of this plays a role in your content by providing a better user experience and boosting your SEO.

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But beyond the technical aspects of making an easy-to-browse site, why is it important for you to create mobile-friendly content for a mobile-first index?

Google’s announcements should have been enough to turn your head in the first place.

But that presents a deeper question.

Why is Google deciding to switch now?

To answer that, you have to look at some hard data on mobile use.

mobile consumption

Simply put, it’s skyrocketing.

According to the cross-platform researchers from comScore, users are spending almost twice as much time browsing on a mobile device than a desktop.

It isn’t just an American trend. It’s a worldwide movement.

And when you look at the overall device market share, mobile devices are starting to push out desktops in a major way.

mobile growth

Since 2016, smartphones have gained an additional 7.4% of the total market share for web browsing devices.

That means mobile devices are absolutely taking over the scene when it comes to content consumption as well.

And if mobile devices are becoming the standard for users, it only makes sense that Google would choose now to transition to a mobile-first index.

But what does this mean for creating content on your site?

It means if you want to avoid getting blacklisted, you need to start taking steps now to create mobile-specific content that Google can rank highly.

In the past, when Google’s algorithm has undergone a major change like this, you see some top brands suddenly disappear from the front page.

So what can you do to start preparing for this major change?

First, you need to find out what content is the best to create.

With almost a third of mobile content coming in the form of social posts and “multimedia” content, not everything is going to perform like you’re used to on a desktop.

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Finding which content you should focus on and then optimizing it for mobile is the only safe method that will help you get ahead when the changes finally come.

I want to show you some mobile content creation methods you can use that will help you generate content that performs well on mobile from every angle.

And to start things off, I want to talk about your blog.

Mobile Method #1: Create easy-to-read content

First, you have to understand that creating mobile-friendly content is about more than just responsive design.

Don’t get me wrong. Responsive design is a great start.

And you’ll definitely need one as mobile-first indexing rolls out more.

But you can still create poor mobile content on a responsive site.

I see it all the time.

Creating mobile-friendly content may require a bit more effort, but it’s ultimately worth your time and attention.

For example, the traditional “F-shaped” blog content no longer seems to work well, simply because mobile devices have less space on their screen.

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You’ll notice that based on this heatmap, users on a desktop tend to move from top to bottom and left to right in a fairly predictable pattern.

But a mobile site often doesn’t include the same header style as a desktop, which means this model isn’t very practical anymore.

Instead, it’s been determined that mobile users tend to look in the upper-center part of their screen.

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So from their first glance, your mobile visitors expect a different type of formatting for your blog content.

It’s also been confirmed by Google that expandable text boxes are also a mobile-friendly feature.

That means you can collapse your lengthy content to a more browser-friendly user.

And if someone wants to read more, it won’t get in the way of their user experience.

Then as you dig a little deeper into mobile-specific content creation trends, you’ll find plenty of other pieces of advice as well:

Use short paragraphs

The old-school format of large blocks of text has disappeared online.

Instead, we’ve transitioned to a different style of writing that emphasizes shorter, one-thought paragraphs that focus on how thoughts flow.

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With at least 55% of mobile users using blockwise scrolling, your paragraphs will dictate whether your content is actually read.

Implement whitespace

Whitespace is the element of your design where, in one sense, no design actually exists.

But this actually has a very important function, because it helps draw the eye to certain spaces on the screen.

With mobile having less screen real estate, it’s easy to overlook how whitespace can be used.

In one case, Xerox was able to use whitespace to increase their purchase percentage by 33%.

Danielle Duggan from Blue Corona shared this awesome example of what whitespace looks like on mobile content:

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Notice how there’s a little room to breath in between each element on the page?

This allows your attention to move from thought to thought without distraction.

Remember to use whitespace in your own content to help users stay focused on your copy and images.

Include subheads

Leaving your content as a blank map might sound adventurous, but it’s more likely to backfire.

Instead, consider including subheads to help your user navigate your site and its content with ease.

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In one case study, California Closets increased submissions by 115% on a landing page simply by improving their headings and subheadings.

Don’t leave user experience to chance.

The more you help users have to navigate your content on mobile, the better off you’ll be.

Add a summary of your content

When mobile users come to your site, they expect a quick experience.

That same principle applies to your content.

And one of the best ways to help them find what they came for is to include a summary or table of contents.

summary

This allows them to digest and find what they need in your post.

And when they find what they want, they’ll keep coming back to your content in the future.

Use mobile-friendly images

When you add images to a blog post, you need to make sure that they will be responsive across all devices.

responsive mobile design

But you also have to consider that putting images in your content increases the risk that it might slow everything down.

In those cases, you need a way to make your images smaller without sacrificing quality.

Consider educating yourself on the steps to optimize images in your blog posts and mobile web pages to help everything load quickly.

When possible, add a list or bullets

List-based articles, also known as listicles, are one of the most popular content formats on the web.

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The reason they’re so popular is because they’re easy to read, digest, and share without having to dig too deep.

It’s what makes an article like this from Buzzfeed so popular.

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When possible, creating a list like this will help you engage with your readers on mobile devices.

Since it’s short and sweet, you can keep their attention and possibly even convince them to share.

To some degree, all of these are more design elements than they are about your content.

But the point here is that using these elements correctly can elevate good content that no one would read due to poor mobile formatting.

Just look at how I implement some of these content design ideas on my own mobile site:

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When used well, design helps create flow and will make your content easier to read.

If you just use paragraph blocks and leave no whitespace, people will get bored because they can’t skim.

And we’ve known that readers primarily skim since 1997.

At this point, you may be wondering if all of this advice is data-backed and provable.

To answer that question, you have to look into what other brands have done with their content and see how it’s changed over time.

For example, Volume Nine recorded their success when they did a website redesign for a brand called Limelight Hotels.

The project involved a redesign of the website’s content, which included creating new silos for the content to be stored in as well a mobile-friendly refresh.

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Once all of the changes had been made, and the content started being shared, the results were fairly dramatic.

All told, Limelight saw a 421% increase in organic page sessions due to all the changes that had occurred.

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So while these might come across as minor changes, they can have a major impact on the performance of your websites moving forward.

As Google transitions to a mobile-first index, they’re going to value content that mobile users truly read and interact with.

And if the format is off, it could spell disaster for your existing content.

So take a few weeks to refresh your old content and make sure it looks good on a mobile device.

Make sure that you revamp your keyword research too, as the types of search queries on mobile are different than those on desktops.

If you start with these tips, you should see more traffic and better results in the coming months.

Mobile Method #2: Don’t neglect video

One of the biggest trends in marketing for the past few years has been the surge of video marketing.

That means you can almost guarantee that mobile video is going to play a role in the upcoming changes.

So devising a way to create a mobile video content campaign should be at the top of your to-do list.

As it stands, video marketing is a proven way to create powerful content that helps your business grow and engage with your audience.

According to data shared by Statista, by the end of 2017 more than 60% of video plays were coming from mobile devices.

video stats

More new users are picking up their smartphones and tablets to watch video with each passing month.

And there are a few points that we can pull out of this fact.

First of all, if you’re not using video marketing, now is the time to start.

And secondly, the world will likely never go back to watching more video on their desktop devices.

With the growth of smartphones and now the dominance of mobile video, brands need to start developing ways to implement video that plays well on a variety of devices.

And that means starting by ensuring that your video is crawlable and indexable for mobile sites.

So you need to pay attention to your video SEO efforts in a big way.

Elements like where you host your video, embedded vs. non-embedded video, and where the video is featured make a difference in how Google views your site.

Margot da Chuna from Wordstream recommends making sure you embed only one video and try to make it the focal point of your page if possible.

She showed off this example:

video seo optimized video example

This displays how one brand achieved a video-friendly format on their own site.

And when you check out their mobile site, you’ll notice that a video is prominently displayed on their homepage there as well.

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Now, when a user visits their site on either mobile or desktop, they can see a well-optimized video.

And they’re not the only ones exploring the intricacies of mobile video.

Streaming giant Netflix has recently been experimenting with short, 30-second previews on mobile devices as well.

They’ve also been playing around with vertical video formats as well to help optimize for mobile devices.

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If you’re already familiar with the desktop service Netflix offers, you’ll recognize these familiar features.

Offering them on mobile is just one of the ways that Netflix is leading the mobile-first video charge.

But what about for website owners who aren’t as technologically savvy?

If you just want to stick to the basics, then it’s recommended to stay within certain formats like WEBM or HTML5 for sharing on mobile devices.

But depending on the camera type, you could see a wide variety of different file formats when you finish your video.

While some video editors will reformat the file for you in post-production, that’s not always a guarantee.

Plus, what do you do with the older video that you would like to keep?

In these cases, I recommend finding a free video converter like VLC Media Player to change formats for you.

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Or, you can find another video converter from a trusted source.

Whichever service you go with, this process will allow you to upload a video and change its format to be more mobile-friendly.

So when your visitor comes to your site, they aren’t put off by a video that won’t play or is poorly formatted.

You also need to spend time ensuring that any video you do put on your site doesn’t slow your website down.

This particular piece of information is tracked using paint timings.

In essence, it measures how long it takes for your video to be displayed or “painted” on a user’s screen.

If it takes too long, you need to find a way to lower your time to first paint.

To measure your own performance, try installing and using the Lighthouse SEO Chrome extension from Google.

lighthouse

This will allow you to run a full check of your page’s SEO and give you a clearer picture of how quickly your video loads for a user.

You’ll get a detailed report of time to paint and other indexes, which will allow you to optimize your video accordingly.

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As with all things, creating mobile-friendly video content is a process.

But if you use the right format and track your performance accordingly, your content will be better positioned to help rather than hurt.

Mobile Method #3: Load speed matters for content

If you’ve done much research on SEO, you should already be aware that speed matters for your desktop website.

Load speeds have a proven effect on bounce rates, and it’s generally accepted as an SEO basic.

But very recently, Google also announced site speed matters for mobile as well.

According to their announcement, loading speed will be a ranking factor in mobile searches starting in July 2018.

That means the content you create needs to be able to load quickly on a mobile device.

And by extension, that probably means you may have to make some changes you’ve been putting off.

But there’s one more wrinkle to consider with load speed that a mobile-first index introduces.

With the onset of mobile-first indexing, time-of-day searches are more important than ever.

According to the most recent data from Google, mobile and desktop usage fluctuates throughout the day.

search volume by device

So now you should not only worry about the speed of your site but what device they’re coming from at certain times of the day.

Depending on the time of day, your user will have different needs in terms of site speed and convenience.

So finding a way to keep things fast across the board is absolutely vital.

But how do you tell if your site is too slow for mobile devices?

To answer that question, you’ll want to head over to PageSpeed Insights.

pagespeed insights

This is a free service by Google that gives you a complete breakdown of how fast or slow your website is.

To test if your content is performing well on Google, all you have to do is input the URL of a blog post or two and see what the results say.

For example, here’s are the results of a recent blog post on my site:

pagespeed

According to Pagespeed Insights, this blog post has a fairly average load time.

Since it’s full of images and is fairly long, I’d say that’s a good starting point.

It’s a great example of how PageSpeed Insights can give you insight into your page’s performance almost immediately.

And if I wanted to make it even better, I could aim to lower my bounce rate according to Google’s mobile load time benchmarks.

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By using the page stats from Pagespeed Insights, I can find ways to improve my blog post even more.

Because with each passing second, an unoptimized blog post increases the possibility that a mobile user could leave your site.

If you want to improve the chances your posts will rank high on a search engine, then you have some work to do.

But worse pages have recovered, as evidenced in a recent case study shared by Search Engine Land.

This was the result that they got:

poor speed

This page dropped from a score of 40 to a gut-wrenching zero and was part of a wake-up call that got the brand’s SEO back on track.

To add to their woes, they were also seeing a year over year tank in traffic due to this poor performance.

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By focusing on two primary efforts, they were able to pull themselves from this rut and return to normal.

First, they focused their efforts on only their WordPress CMS.

This allowed them to optimize their content and improve overall load speeds.

And second, they used WordPress to help them compress as many files as possible, again improving their load speeds.

After a few months, their traffic normalized and their crisis was over:

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So improving your site’s loading speed should be at the top of your list for all of your content.

And if you want to decrease your load time, I recommend starting with this video:

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Using tools like PageSpeed Insights and removing unnecessary website elements are great ways to cut down on your mobile load times.

But if you want a direct way to increase page speed, you can take advantage of the open-sourced project called Google AMP to help make your site faster.

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AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, which tells you a lot about the project from the very beginning.

In short, AMP seeks to help any website owner find a path that enables their web pages to load quickly and smoothly for users.

By building on three core components, AMP helps create functional and fast mobile sites for anyone who wants to use it.

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By optimizing your site with AMP pages, you can decrease the load time of your content and start seeing more conversions.

In TransUnion’s case, they were able to lower their bounce rates by 25% while more than doubling time on site.

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Simply by using AMP to help increase their mobile loading speed, they saw a 3% increase in conversions.

It’s a clear case where improved mobile speeds led to positive ROI.

And if you want to actively push your content on a mobile device, you can also use a Progressive Web App, or PWA.

These allow you to create a reliable, fast application that engages with your audience and helps bring users back to your website.

For example, The Financial Times has used a PWA to help optimize the user experience and load times since 2011.

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Since their PWA functions by being installed on the user’s phone, you can even read some of their content while offline.

Even Forbes has jumped on board, and have seen a drastic increased in the number of mobile sessions and increase time on site.

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With mobile-first indexing on the rise, these PWAs are arguably in a better situation than almost anyone else.

Load times are faster and engagement is higher, which means Google is very likely to rank them favorably.

In short, the more time you can shave off your content with any method, the better off you’ll be.

By using Pagespeed Insights, Google AMP, and even a unique PWA, you can push ahead with your content and stand out on a mobile-first index.

Mobile Method #4: Use mobile pop-ups responsibly

If you use lightbox or pop-up overlays on your website, there’s a good chance you see some good results because of it.

More and more, marketers are using these devices to help them capture customer information in addition to traditional CTAs and landing pages.

If you’re unfamiliar with what that looks like, here’s a pretty typical example:

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Chances are that if you don’t use one of these on your site, you’ve seen them floating around popular websites.

That’s because they work.

On a desktop website, these pop-ups average a 3.1% conversion rate, which is fairly impressive given it’s usually a cold sell.

popups stats

But these statistics focus on desktop sites, which typically have a wider screen and make a tool like this less intrusive.

In the case of mobile devices, Google has been making efforts since 2016 to minimize what they consider to be intrusive pop-ups on mobile.

popups

Their concern is that these pop-ups or “interstitials” make content on mobile devices less accessible.

To their credit, some websites do use these tools a little too interpretively, and it’s created a fairly negative stigma around them.

But Google does allow exceptions, provided you can use a pop-up overlay responsibly.

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The major difference in these two approaches is that the later adds to or enhances the content, while the former detracts from it.

So finding a way to utilize the second approach with your content looks like the way to go.

But do mobile overlays really work?

To test it out, the conversion team at Optinmonster decided to conduct some tests with their overlays on a client site.

By following the guidelines given by Google, they were able to achieve an impressive 3.8% mobile conversion rate.

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That’s higher than the average rate of a desktop site.

And the actual overlay design itself is a fairly simple one:

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By staying out of the way of the content on the mobile site and attempting to provide something of value, they were able to devise a method that allows you to use pop-up overlays tactfully.

So when considering a mobile-first index, it’s worth looking into this potential workaround if you use a pop-up overlay.

It’s clear proof that the ability to adapt and improvise can serve you well with the upcoming changes.

Conclusion

I think we can stop saying that the “world is going mobile” now.

The world is mobile already.

And Google is taking steps to make sure everyone knows it.

With the onset of mobile-first indexing, it helps to know what trends are leading toward this direction.

More users than ever are consuming a wider variety of content via mobile devices than ever before.

So to keep your site on Google’s nice list, you need to start creating mobile-specific content.

Start by making your content easy to read with some basic formatting changes.

Then devise ways to create mobile-friendly videos that your audience will want to view and share.

Don’t forget to optimize load times either, or else your content may never see the light of day.

And finally, rethink your approach with tools like mobile pop-ups.

At the end of the day, the success of the content you create depends on how much effort you put into creating it.

With the right approach, you can weather these changes to Google’s algorithms and fight your way to the top of the search engine results page.

What’s your number one concern about the switch to mobile-first indexing?

The post How to Create Mobile Specific Content Campaigns For Mobile-First Index appeared first on Neil Patel.



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Create a Waterfall of Downloads for Your Ebook


Writing your first ebook is exciting. But once it’s finally written, you’ve got to find a way to get it in the hands of your audience.

After all that hard work, long nights, and endless research, it would be a shame if your book went unread.

Those of you who have recently written an ebook, are in the process of writing one, or planning to write one in the near future need to start thinking about your distribution methods.

You could be the best writer on the planet, but if you don’t know how to market yourself, nobody will know about you and your writing.

That’s how you need to approach your ebook distribution strategy. Think like a marketer. Not everyone with great writing skills is a marketing expert.

If you need some guidance on getting tons of downloads for your newest ebook, you’re in luck.

I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to create a waterfall of downloads. Here’s how you do it.

Start taking pre-orders

Don’t wait until you’re done writing the ebook to promote it. Taking pre-orders in the early stages is a great way to build hype for your ebook and brand.

If people know they can get the ebook in advance, it may seem even more appealing.

Lysa TerKeurst used this strategy to promote her ebook, Uninvited:

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This approach is great because it gives people a reason to pre-order the book. Anyone who pre-ordered this copy was able to download the first five chapters right away.

They’re also promoting some limited gifts, which were undisclosed. Both of these promotions can pique the interest of potential readers.

Getting to download chapters in advance gives people a feeling of exclusivity. They have something that not everyone has access too.

Plus, if they enjoy the first chapters, they could even start promoting the book themselves.

Come up with other ways to give people an incentive to pre-order your ebook before it gets released. If you’re charging for downloads, you can offer a discounted rate for anyone who pre-orders it.

Even if people don’t order it in advance, putting it out there creates a buzz around your ebook before its release, exposing it to your potential readers.

Record an audio version

Not everyone prefers reading ebooks. Recording an audio version can make your book more appealing to a wider audience.

According to the Pew Research Center, print books are still more popular than ebooks and audio books:

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Ebooks are more popular than audio books, but as you can see from the data, there are still people who prefer listening to audio books.

But how does releasing an audio book increase downloads for your ebook?

Pair the two together. Say your ebook download comes with a free audio version as well. Pitch this any way you want.

Or you could charge for the audio book and offer the ebook as a free download.

If you continue to release different formats of your ebook, it will appeal to a wider audience and increase the number of downloads you can get.

Create blog posts out of each chapter

If you have an active blog, you need to take advantage of that channel as a marketing resource.

You’ve already got an audience familiar with your voice and visiting your website to read your blog. Those are the people you need to target first.

It’ll be much easier to get downloads from your blog audience than from people who don’t know who you are and have never heard of you before.

Rather than just blogging about your ebook once or twice, you can generate lots of blog content by writing a post about each chapter. There are many benefits to this marketing strategy.

First of all, it gives you a way to add fresh content to your website. This is great for SEO purposes and improving your Google ranking, which can drive traffic to your website.

But blogging is also great because it gives you an excuse to promote your new content on your other marketing channels.

For the past four years, bloggers have been using social media as the primary method of driving traffic to their posts:

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Each time you blog about a new chapter, you have an excuse to post on your social media accounts.

Another reason why you should employ this strategy is because these posts will be super easy for you to write. You’ve already done all the heavy lifting with your ebook.

These blogs will be summaries of the chapters, which you already know like the back of your hand. It won’t take you lots of time and effort to write this content.

If you can keep your readers engaged with these blog posts, you’ll get ebook downloads. Just make sure you don’t give it all away in the blog. Otherwise, your readers won’t have a reason to download the ebook.

Tease your audience just enough to keep them interested, but make them download the ebook to get all the information.

Place a download link all over your website

Obviously, you need to promote your ebook on your website. But don’t restrict that promotion to just one landing page.

Put the download link all over your website. Just make sure it is not overwhelming or doesn’t appear as spam. Websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

For example, put a CTA button on your home page, side bar, and slider menu. If someone navigates to another page on your website, have a pop-up window appear with a download link.

Doing this will make it obvious that your ebook is available for download.

Right now, marketing experts are not properly utilizing CTA buttons:

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Fewer than half of websites have a CTA button that can be spotted in less than three seconds. That’s far too long. More than 70% of businesses don’t have their CTAs on the interior pages of their websites.

Don’t make this mistake.

You should also start A/B testing your CTA button’s placement, size, wording, and color. These tests will help you improve your site’s efficiency so you can get maximum exposure.

Try to get downloads from your email subscribers

As I said earlier when discussing blogging, you need to try to get as many downloads as possible from people already familiar with your brand.

Targeting your email subscribers is perfect for this. These people are interested enough in your brand and voice to sign up to hear from you on a regular basis.

It’s much easier to target your existing audience than trying to find readers elsewhere. Check out how Help Scout uses this technique in their email newsletter:

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It’s direct and straight to the point. They aren’t trying to promote anything else except for this new ebook.

The message ends with a clear call-to-action button that’s serves as a link for their subscribers to download the ebook.

Those of you charging people for an ebook download can try to entice your email subscribers to buy it by offering them a discounted rate.

Publish infographics with research from your ebook

People love visuals.

Infographics are great because they help drive more traffic to your website. Here’s why.

If you start publishing high quality infographics, other websites will use your visuals to improve their own content. As a result, you’ll get a referral link.

This will increase the chances of your book getting exposed to a wider audience.

You can even add a logo or some other identifying mark to all your infographics with the title of your book. The headline of each infographic could include the title of the chapter you were referencing.

If you have never made an infographic before, don’t be intimidated. It’s quite easy.

There are plenty of free online tools and resources available that let you create customized infographics. Check out Canva to start.

Don’t turn down guest-posting opportunities

Remember I said earlier that blogging on your own website can benefit downloads? Well, you can also get more ebook downloads by writing guest posts.

Guest posts expose your ebook to a new audience. People who read other blogs may not be familiar with your brand and voice. But you can get their attention with your guest post.

Just like with infographics, you’ll be able to get referral links for your guest posts. You can even have these referrals go straight to the download link.

I see way too many people turn down guest-posting opportunities. In fact, more than 40% of bloggers don’t write guest posts at all.

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This is a complete missed opportunity. Anytime someone offers you a guest post, you should jump on it. Just make sure their website has the same core values as your brand.

You don’t want to be associated with anyone who is not in line with your morals. If nobody is offering you guest-posting opportunities, find them on your own.

Websites will be thrilled to offer guest-posting because they get to publish new content without having to do any of the work. This is a win-win scenario for everyone.

Read sections on a live video broadcast

Live videos made the list of my top marketing trends to look for in 2018. This is a great opportunity for you to reach and engage with your audience on social media platforms.

Start with platforms such as:

  • Facebook Live
  • YouTube Live
  • Instagram Live.

Use whichever platform has the largest social media following. If you’ve got lots of followers on all of these networks, that’s great. Host live video broadcasts on all of them.

Just make sure your live stream isn’t boring. You’d want to read some passages to give people an idea of what they can expect from your book, but that’s not all you should do.

Marketing experts say live video is a great way to deepen your engagement with your followers:

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Answer questions in real time about your writing process, research, and inspiration for writing the ebook.

You could even give away some copies to people watching the live stream.

Leverage social media platforms

You want to make sure you exhaust all your marketing distribution channels to promote your ebook. I’ve already discussed your website, blog, and email subscription list.

In addition to using social media to broadcast live videos, you’ll also want to take advantage of the other features on these platforms.

Post pictures and videos to get the word out to your followers.

Encourage shares on Facebook and retweets on Twitter. Add a download link to your Instagram bio.

Think about all the followers you have on these platforms. Target them before the release. Promote the release date hard. Even after the book is written, keep up your social media marketing strategy to get more downloads.

You can try to work with social media influencers on these platforms as well.

Promote your personal brand

Why should anyone read your ebook?

You need to start promoting your personal brand. Position yourself as an expert on the subject.

If you have a degree in a specific field or any personal success stories relevant to the content of your book, let people know about that.

Answer these questions to help you define your personal brand:

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What makes you qualified to write an ebook?

If you brand yourself properly, it will add credibility to your book. As a result, more people will be interested in hearing what you have to say.

This will lead to more downloads.

Conclusion

Writing an ebook isn’t enough to get downloads.

You need to take proper steps to make sure people download your ebook.

Start taking pre-orders to build hype and gain exposure before the book is released. Record an audio version to make the book more appealing to people who prefer listening to books.

Blog about it. Use each chapter of your ebook as an inspiration for a blog post. You can even take advantage of guest-posting opportunities.

Create infographics to drive more traffic to your website. Make sure your site has a clear CTA on every page with a download link.

Target people who already know who you are. Use social media as a distribution channel, and stream live videos to create an authentic interaction with your audience.

Always promote your personal brand so people know you’re an expert on the topic and qualified to write this book.

If you follow these tips, you won’t have a problem getting tons of downloads for your latest ebook.

What strategies are you using to get more downloads for your new ebook?





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