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Top Web Marketing Tactics Of 2013

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It could be said that since the Internet is relatively (and remarkably) new to society, the principles and practices of Internet-based professions are therefore shallow and protean, inherently lacking a sense of lasting purpose. While that understanding of the Internet industry would be mere conjecture (and it’s worth noting that I personally disagree, enjoying the billowing learning curve of Internet marketing), what is true is the fact that like a facet of any emerging industry, Internet marketing is always evolving. With this in mind, following are three critical tactics that dominated web marketing in 2013.

Top Web Marketing Tactics Of 2013

Link Building via Guest Blogging

In short, link building is the practice of building a website’s backlink portfolio in order to increase the SERP rankings for the site’s keywords; in practice, link building requires writing blog posts or articles, and then reaching out to relevant blogs/sites to guest post that article, hosting a link to your site anchored to one keyword or phrase of keywords in the text.

This year, the practice of link building continued to be employed consistently throughout the web marketing profession. In 2012, a Moz study revealed that links from longer (+1000 words), more informative, complex articles with multimedia are weighted heavier on a SERP than short and dull ones. Knowing this, there has been a big push for quality in link building content in recent years, and 2013 is no exception.

 Content Marketing

 Content marketing is like the fraternal twin of link building in the sense that they came from the same place, but they have stark differences. For instance, content marketing and link building can both improve the SERP ranking of a website. However, link building does this by constructing a backlink portfolio from hosted links throughout the web  — where the emphasis is on creating a lot of informational, quality content for a niche audience on legitimate, well-visited sites — while content marketing involves creating more entertaining content that will likely be shared (and that hosts backlinks to your site), in order to acquire more viewers. In essence, the best kind of content marketing is content that goes viral.

 In 2013, the trend of content marketing being used alongside link building campaigns continued to be a driving strategy in the web marketing industry. In particular, the Content Marketing Institute revealed some new insights regarding content marketing strategies in October 2013.

 Social Media

 With social media exploding in every direction and new platforms for sharing seemingly becoming more and more abundant by the day, 2013 saw the continued expanse of social media in web marketing. Although Twitter and Facebook still have large parts of their platforms restricted from Google searches, they serve as quality avenues to promote websites to visitors and share content that may link to your site. What’s more, social media is a way to carefully craft your site’s brand through a living medium and communication channel. In 2013, the impact of Google+ grew substantially, as it became known that posts on Google+ have many advantages over other blog-based platforms. Among these advantages, Google+ posts are crawled and indexed by Google almost immediately, and contain up vote-type metrics called +1’s, which are expected to factor into the credibility of a user/site in the future.

 Samuel Ott is the Video Production Manager and a Web Marketer at Lift Division, a web marketing company in Columbia, Mo, creating custom strategies to fulfill businesses’ goals. 

Website Applications Improved Through The Cloud

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Having fast application speeds isn’t just a bonus for today’s customer—it’s absolutely vital. Customers expect your applications to perform at a level that’s comparable to what they’re used to. If yours don’t meet their expectations, they can easily find an alternative that does. Taking advantage of the cloud is one affordable solution that small businesses have embraced to improve Web applications and step ahead of the competition.

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How it Works

For those who don’t know much about the technology involved, it’s worth offering a brief explanation of exactly how cloud computing functions. Local, in-house computers no longer have to be your sole operation systems. With the cloud, an entire network of computers orchestrates the running of your applications, offering better reliability and speed. The user only needs the cloud computing system’s interface software, typically just a Web browser, and your cloud’s network handles everything from there.

Benefits for your Brand

Businesses often forget that their brand image doesn’t just stop at the marketing campaign. One of the best ways to attract and maintain customers is by simply offering good service. Of course, this alone isn’t exactly the best business strategy, but service can often speak louder than social media. Faster services equal a positive brand image and sends the message that your company is innovative and on the cutting edge of modern technology.

What about Security?

With headlines about hacking and information lost due to server failures, it would be negligent not to ask questions about the security of cloud computing. According to CTO and cloud expert David Grimes, “Cloud computing is as secure as other forms of computing.” Cloud systems can be both public and private configurations, the latter of which eliminates many questions about security. They also offer security in the nature of their construction. If a physical computer fails, the virtual machine can automatically restart on another physical computer within a short time frame. This ensures resilience and reliable access to your important information.

Ahead of the Game

PC Mag contributor Samara Lynn claims it’s a myth that small businesses are flocking to the cloud. She cites a business survey conducted by Brother that revealed 42 percent of small business owners aren’t using the cloud for their business. Of course, this also means that the majority of small business owners are, in fact, using the cloud, just not for that specific purpose. However, adapting to this trend would put your business further ahead of the substantial 42 percent that simply makes do without the cloud. Since customers expect faster, better and more reliable services, this could give you a significant edge over the competition.

Taking Advantage of the Improvements

With its ongoing acceptance throughout the IT community, cloud computing is on its way to being the undisputed champion of today’s computing systems. Cloud databases offer efficiency that can’t be beat and at a cost that’s viable for small businesses on a budget. Because technology evolves at such a fast rate, it’s especially important not to delay when keeping up with new trends. Innovation often works by building off of the inventions and technologies of the past, so keeping up with current tech developments ensures a smoother transition into future progress.

A Tale Of Two Entrepreneurs: Why A Small Business Should Use Cloud Computing

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This is the story of two entrepreneurs, Gus and Stan. Gus is an online retailer and a pretty slick guy who can figure out almost anything with time and the right references. Stan knows what he knows and he knows website design.

Gus decides he’s going to run his online business entirely on his own since he knows he can do it. By doing everything himself, he knows he’ll save money. Stan, however, decides to get some help since he knows he can’t do it all himself. He contacts a cloud hosting company and even though he knows it will cost him, he simply doesn’t have the know-how to do it himself.

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The Set-up

The two entrepreneurs happen to launch their businesses on the same day. Gus spends a few thousand dollars on a server and programs, and spends his first day reading manuals, installing programs, and setting up databases. By the end of the day, his website is up and running, his programs are installed and he’s ready to take orders. Stan spends $150 dollars on a cloud server, gets some help from tech support to get his website up by 10 a.m. and has his first paying client by the end of the day.

The Attack

Two months after Gus and Stan go into business, a virus is unleashed by nefarious hackers. Beware, small businesses, the reports say, the hackers are targeting your websites. Gus desperately figures out what he must do to protect his server. He takes his website offline just to be safe and spends the day installing upgraded antivirus and firewall protection.

Stan? He’s cool. The cloud company sends him an email. “Don’t worry about your data,” it says. “We upgrade our security measures constantly and all safeguards are already in place.”

Business Booms

Six months down the road, Gus and Stan are still in business and doing pretty well. So well, in fact, they need more data storage. For Gus, it’s back to square one, and he spends a day installing another server. Stan simply contacts his cloud hosting company’s website and asks them to add cloud block storage to his plan, increasing the size of his storage server within the day.

The Downfall

A year in, Gus’s business is slipping. He fell behind in answering a few emails and was a bit slow on some shipments, but he got it done. Unfortunately, he ended up with a few dissatisfied customers in the process and word has gotten out. His sales have fallen off, and bill time is a little rough. He wants to repair his reputation, but with everything else he has to do, he simply doesn’t have the time.

A year in, Stan’s business is a verifiable success. He has a reputation for getting jobs done on time consistently and for responding quickly to customers’ questions. A month later, Stan is still in business and Gus wonders what he could have done differently.

Epilogue

As Gus looks for answers on what he did wrong, evidence suggests taking Stan’s small business route might have proven beneficial. In a survey reported in Time Magazine and conducted by Manchester Business School and hosting company Rackspace, 90 percent of small business owners said they saved time and money with cloud services. Half credited the cloud with helping their businesses grow.

The services provided by cloud hosting, including website hosting, application hosting, data storage, and file system backups provide small businesses with everything they need to stay in operation, eliminating the need for equipment and IT. This saves on upfront costs, an important factor in any small business’ success.

With ever-changing storage options, such as cloud block storage, which allows cloud users to add file storage space without increasing server size, many choices are available for storing data on the cloud. The best thing about cloud services for small business owners, though, as Stan discovered, is that it takes unfamiliar tasks out of your hands, freeing you to run your business successfully.

Design Is The First Priority

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Don’t judge a book by its cover. While most of us are probably familiar with this old age,  we still make judgments each day based on sight alone. It’s not petty. It’s human nature. Beautiful people. Interesting architecture. Art. As a species, we humans appreciate things that are aesthetically pleasing.

Websites are no exception to our eye for beauty.Visually, people are as picky about the appearance of the places we visit online as we are about everything else. According to Internet analytics firm KISSmetrics, 42 percent of online shoppers form their opinions of a website based on its design alone, and 52 percent of shoppers would not return to a poorly-designed website.

When it comes to making an impression, design matters.

That doesn’t mean your small business’ website has to be a marvel of graphic design. A website that is easy to navigate and easy on the eyes will keep visitors from clicking away from your page for the last time.

Easy to Navigate

First and foremost, good web design means simple navigation. If potential buyers come to your page and can’t figure out how to browse or buy, they’ll go somewhere where the process is simpler.

Whether you are selling products, services or just information, think of your website like a store. If you were running a store on Main Street downtown, you wouldn’t just throw all the merchandise in the middle of the floor and leave it up to your customers to sort through it. You would place items neatly on shelves, put up signs, and keep the cash register in clear view.

That’s the type of organization that makes a website successful.

Navigable websites don’t crowd the page, they have clearly labeled categories and links that make it easy for visitors to find what they need, and they make purchase links pop on the page, so that users know just where to click once they know what they want.

Think grocery store. Even first-time visitors can walk right in, follow the signs to the milk, grab a gallon, go directly to the register, make their purchase and be on their way in less than five minutes.

If your website isn’t that navigable, redesign it. One simple step Mashable recommends is to go through your site and remove any widgets or excess components that have no use. If it doesn’t provide the user with information, utility or entertainment, get rid of it.

Easy On The Eyes

Usability is key, but appearance matters, and one of the most important factors in website design is color. Color is the primary factor that determines whether or not shoppers make purchases, according to KISSmetrics, and, oddly enough, that doesn’t pertain solely to the products, but to the environment those products are found in. In this case, your business’ website.

Color is so important to patron experience that malls, banks, restaurants and businesses have used color-planning for decades to entice potential buyers and increase sales. The same applies to your business’ website.

When choosing the color scheme for your website, it’s essential to consider your product and your audience. Red, for instance, is a power color that prompts people to buy, but it also induces stress, which is not exactly ideal for a yoga site. Green, on the other hand, is a color that induces relaxation, ideal for earthy online buyers.

While usability may be top priority in website design, appearance isn’t far behind. A website that is grocery-store navigable and boutique-store adorable will give users the right combination of utility and entertainment. Despite what Mom and Dad might have told them, people do judge books by their covers. And websites. So, make sure your site is worth a second look.

 

Marketing Analytics For Better Performance Of Online Marketing Campaigns

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Present day businesses are simply incomplete and insignificant without a formidable online marketing strategy backing them. The need of a reliable web marketing strategy has simply become inevitable for business owners under present scenario, where competition is rising high and economies are sinking down. That definitely calls for having an online marketing strategy that can propel a business ahead of its adversaries.

To do so, internet marketing services need to rely strongly on modern day marketing analytics that can serve to offer them great insights into the efficacy of their online marketing plans and strategies. A successful web marketing strategy is always in great need of sprucing, adaptation, and modification, to become able to keep itself abreast with ever changing dynamics of virtual world. Given below are some most important ways to help online marketers sharpen their marketing strategies with appropriate marketing analytics. Those include:

1) Identification of appropriate blogging topics

Blogging is one important way of keeping viewers’ interests alive in a particular website. Online marketing experts can resort to their blog analytics for determining the most resonating topics for their targeted audience. Relying on statistical performance of various of your posts and topics, try to identify a pattern your audience likes and use that to further create high quality content very much relevant to it.

2) Sprucing up SEO strategy

Similarly, a great deal of sprucing can be done for rounding up your SEO strategy in the best possible manner. Mere Link building services do not suffice in present times for success of an SEO campaign. Web marketing experts should resort to analytics for seeking betterment in keyword research to solidify their campaigns.

3) Deciding social media priorities

With the number of social media sites constantly increasing, more often than not, it becomes quite challenging to decide which social media site needs more attention. Yet again, SEO analytics can guide web marketers much better in this regard. One can resort to them for trailing how many visitors each of social media sites are directing to a website, so that you can decide which one of them can be more productive when focused even more.

4) Improving landing pages and Calls-to-Action for a campaign

Landing pages and CTAs (Calls-to-Action) are one of the most important elements of an online marketing campaign. SEO analytics can be of great help in analyzing CTRs (click-through-rate) of any given CTA as well as probing conversion rates of a particular landing page. Remarkable improvements can be sought through appropriate scrutiny of relevant stats in this regard.

Conclusion

Due to their significance, SEO analytics have received much fame and acknowledgement by renowned online marketers throughout the world. Make sure you also exploit them in the best possible manner to improve the efficacy of your online marketing campaigns.