How to Become Video Savvy in 2015


Online video content is nothing new. User-generated videos featuring sassy cats and the next big pop star have been part of Internet culture since YouTube burst on the scene on Valentine’s Day, 2005.

The amount of video that people are consuming, however, is in the midst of a growth explosion, thanks in big part Video Savvyto the amount of video that people are watching on mobile devices. Sixty-seven percent of global video consumers prefer to watch movies, TV shows and music videos on mobile devices, and 80 percent watch a mobile video at least once every few days.

So what can your small business do to capture the video-watching market, but do it efficiently and on a budget? Take a look at a few simple suggestions:

Create your own videos. This can be an intimidating step for small business owners who may not feel tech-savvy or camera-ready. The truth is that video content does not need to be perfect to garner an audience. Think about the topics that you know best and what may be interesting or useful to your customers. From there, plan video content using your Webcam, smartphone or other recording device and upload it to a popular site like YouTube then share the link. You can do profiles of employees, tutorials, or even fun music videos that are relevant to your brand. Think outside the typical video constraints, and you could come up with some pretty creative material.

Share other videos. Any engagement with your social media accounts is positive, even if that engagement is not directly related to your own content. A Facebook fan, for example, is more likely to see your content if he or she has recently interacted with you by liking or commenting on one of your posts. If you see a video post that you think fits your target audience, click the “share” button on Facebook or retweet it on Twitter. You can even pin video content on Pinterest, or upload videos to Instagram.

Watch other videos. Particularly the video content of your competitors. This is especially important if you are in an industry that does not necessarily lend itself naturally to video content. Glean some creative ideas by seeing what seems to be working for other companies that have the same target audience as you. You can also watch popular video content on any topic or from any industry to inform your own material. Of course you never want to copy or plagiarize the material of someone else, but getting inspiration from others is a smart move.

What is your favorite kind of video content to consume online?

Need to Know SEO: 6 Hot Tips


Innovation in the palm of your hands_Sept14Small businesses, bloggers, and marketers all want their Web pages to rank. Whether you have a little or a lot of experience with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you probably know that getting your site on that first page of results takes dedication.

Gone are the days of stuffing a page with keywords and gaming the system. What you must know for SEO for the coming year involves changing technology and adopting a more personal approach.

1. Optimize your Mobile Site Immediately

Google’s focus is turning to mobile and that’s not going away. Their Mobile Playbook clearly outlines the steps you should be taking. Websites must function perfectly on phones, tablets, and computers. While some businesses may need designs specific to each device, the overwhelming majority can give priority to mobile-friendly design that also tests well on a computer.

Current operating systems blur the lines between mobile and desktop display, so you can’t go wrong putting mobile optimization above desktop. You can’t expect mobile users to convert while using a that only displays correctly on a desktop browser, but a desktop browser will be flexible enough to handle a website optimized for mobile.

2. Embrace Location-Specific SEO Strategy

People use GPS-enabled smartphones to search for businesses. A Google study found that four of five people conduct local searches. They look for business hours, location, address, and product availability. Of people searching on the go, 56% are looking for local businesses. More than twice as many local searchers made a purchase within a day, compared to non-local searchers.

Regardless of whether it relies heavily on local customers, local SEO impacts your business. Claiming your name and ensuring your contact information is correct means that people who search for you will be able to find you, talk to you, and perhaps become your customer. It also lets your happy customers leave reviews for all to see. Bonus points for adding a high quality photo of your business.

3. Target People, Not Keywords

With the Google shift to secure search, keyword referral data isn’t trackable. Which means you must change the way you develop and track the usefulness of keywords. Communicating with your customers and potential customers is a valuable way to gather quality data about how they are finding you. Moz Academy put together a short lesson with to target your potential customers.

For better SEO, analyze your current and future customer base. What do they like? What are their interests? There are a few ways to do this: through your website analytics (track behavior and trends—where are they dropping off?) and by using tags/user-defined fields/social features in your CRM.

4. Organic Still Matters
The first quarter 2014 RKG Digital Marketing Report showed only 30% of site visits occurred via organic search. That’s a marked decline that led many people to believe that organic search is becoming insignificant. However, the number remained steady for more than one year. We also know that the method for collecting this data changed. A whopping 85% of Google search visits were keyword “Not Provided.”

Organic results come from having quality content on your site without shifty SEO tactics. People searching for exactly what you offer find you because your site is an authority on what they need. How could that be insignificant?

5. Include SEO in all your Marketing Efforts

Social media people, public relations people, even your copy editors must all understand why what they’re doing is important to SEO and how important search is to gaining customers. Ways to build this relationship across all marketing efforts will vary depending on the size of your business. Customer relationship management (CRM) software and project management apps can bridge departments and connect project stakeholders. , such as file sharing and Evernote integration, may be just the right tools to keep your teams on the same page about SEO.

6. Always Be Proactive

You’ve heard of or experienced Google penalties, bad link building, black hat SEO, and the ever-changing best practices for SEO. As Google continues to evolve to provide users the best page results for their needs, one thing remains constant. Really, it comes down to quality. Your site must contain quality content, be easy to use, and answer the question your customer is asking. By taking proactive steps, such as publishing authoritative content and disavowing spammy links, you can help fortify your site against search engine updates that seek to weed out low quality results.

Search engines are concerned with providing the best results to users. They will continue to refine their methods for doing so as long as there are people using the Internet. Be in the places your target audience is, giving them the information they need, on the devices they use. Always strive for quality because that is what search engines work to find.

Diana Doherty is a freelance writer specializing in SEO content, and is a contributor to She loves all things tech, photography, craft, military family life, and business. She earned her BA in English Writing Arts from SUNY Oswego.


Do It Yourself Web Design Done Right


Building a website on your own can be a daunting task to say the least. Many people have tried, and, where some Do it Yourself Webfind success through hard work and perseverance, others fail in the face of confusion and web jargon. Terms like SEO, CMS, HTML, web domains and hosting services can make green small business owners and other do-it-yourselfers red in the face before they’ve even thought about launching.

Well, rest easy, because we’re here to simplifying things as much as we can. DIY web design isn’t nearly as difficult as it used to be in years past. Why’s that?

It’s simple. These days, you need only do a little research, find yourself a trustworthy free website builder, and viola! You’ll be well on your way to designing your own website before you know it.

The best part? You won’t have to spend one red cent!

Why Build a Website From Scratch?

Ultimately, the reason for building a website will vary greatly from person to person. Some people simply want a public place to house their blog articles or pictures, while some are looking to launch an entire ecommerce web store.

There are DIYers out there who just want to make it easy for people to RSVP to their life event (think wedding, golden birthday, etc.), and some are merely looking to create an online portfolio of their work.

Needless to say, the amount of work you will need to put into building your website in the beginning will depend heavily on the reason you have decided to build it in the first place.

But regardless of what exactly you intend to do with your website once it’s built, here are the hard facts about how to do it right.

The RIGHT Way to Build Your Own Website

  • First things first. Start thinking about your domain name (the URL you want to use for your site). Depending on which website builder you choose to use (there are many out there) you may not have to worry about a domain name until a bit later in the process. But be careful! Some domains are more expensive than others. Note: this should be the only part of the process you will have to pay for.
  • If you’re smart and you’re looking for an attractive but relatively simple website, you should look around to find a web builder that provides free hosting services. They’re out there, and they’re great. Just imagine, working with only one company for all your different website needs. Sounds too good to be true—except, it’s not!
  • Now we get down to the good stuff: web design. This is where many DIYers tend to get a bit frustrated, and understandably so. If you’re looking at it from a freelance writer’s standpoint, for example, designing a website may seem akin to translating a book into a language you’ve never heard of. Picking colors and shapes is no problem, but making that come to life online? Um. Help. PLEASE. Make sure you find a website builder with a good selection of unique and beautiful web design templates that you can choose from. That way, you can pick one that suits you perfectly.
  • I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it,” right? WRONG! Not in terms of your website editor. When it comes to editing your own website, the easier the better—TRUST ME. Choose a website editor that’s simple to use and gets you the results you want.
  • Whether you’re familiar with reputable SEO practices or not, finding a website builder that incorporates the latest web technology while also helping you implement appropriate SEO tactics with your website is a must-have in today’s day and age.

Consider Your Audience

Another important thing to consider with DIY website building is whether you want a site that reads like an infographic (one long page that provides all the information up front) or whether you’d rather build a site that has multiple pages dedicated to different features.

Obviously, you’ll need to ask yourself whether what you’re building your site for requires more than one page. An ecommerce website, for example, would never be able to get away with only one page to house the content, products, blog, and everything else that comes with that.

But, you’ll also need to consider the customer, your friends or relatives, or your potential clients: whoever your target audience is who you want to visit your site. Will they want to read one long text-filled page of information in order to figure out who you are?

Or, would they rather see images that relate your brand’s story? Perhaps a little of column A AND a little of column B will work best for you. However, you’ll never know until you get started.

Image courtesy of Flickr user SEOPlanter.