Lead Generation: 11 Ways to Drive Business from Your Content

Great content is a great start in lead generation. But these techniques and methodologies will help you boost your lead generation to a whole new level.

glengarry leads alec baldwin

Quality and content that attracts avid readers is a great start for lead generation. However, you need some additional techniques in order to get people to fill out your online forms and turn into leads. This guide will introduce you to some of the advanced techniques used by online marketers for lead generation. It will help you grow your online business and make your blog and website strong revenue generators.

There are two major components of lead generation: attracting the right people to your website and ushering them to your forms in order to convert. In this guide, we will review both components and will provide actionable advice for improving your lead generation.

1.    Your next customer or how to find the needle in the haystack

Lead generation starts by finding the people who are interested or actively looking for your product or service. The best copy, most compelling images, and even best prices would not be compelling for people who are not interested in what you have to sell.

Imagine that you sell juicers. If I am not interested in buying a juicer, it will be next to impossible to convince me to buy one from you. You may have the best copy in the world, you may have testimonials from happy customers, and your images may be compelling and full of richness and detail. However, unfortunately, it would all be a waste of time if you are trying to sell a product to a person that does not have an interest. In sum, it’s great marketing but to the wrong person.

Now, we’re not saying that all marketing is in vain. Furthermore, the trick is not getting leads—that’s relatively easy. The trick is to get potential customers. Therefore, the first rule is that your offer must resonate with people and answer a basic need in order to make them customers. So the first thing you need to know is that the offer must strike a chord with someone’s needs.

It’s a real challenge to get your product in front of the right person. If you find a person who is looking for a juicer, you are far more likely to make a sale. Even if this person leaves without buying (for example, to compare other services or products), they may return and become a lead. Later, I will tell you why that matters.

2.    Meeting the need with the right message

 

Let me share a story. Many years ago, toothpaste manufacturers were trying to educate the market to brush their teeth in the morning. Why in the morning? It actually makes more sense to do it in the evening in order to prevent cavities.

The answer was freshness. They found that people who brushed their teeth in the morning felt much more refreshed. It was then they found that people brush their teeth for a feeling of freshness. Freshness is the reason why toothpastes are mint flavored and convey the message of fresh feeling and breath.

When you meet the need with a compelling message—good things will happen. Motivation, inspiration, and presentation all contribute to generating sales.

To reach your next prospect, you need to research where he or she spends his or her time online. Let’s take Twitter for example. Twitter is a great social network for business, but many people are not actually interested in promotions over Twitter. There is a better tool for revealing that people are looking for something—it’s called search. A person who searches for a product or service is definitely in the market—he may not buy at the end, but he is more likely to.

3.    Harness the power of SEO

One of the best and lowest cost ways to get leads is SEO. SEO attracts customers that search for keywords related to your content find via organic search results. SEO reverses the wheel–customers find you instead of you finding them.

To appear on search results and get search traffic, you need enough search engine visibility to appear in the top 10 search results for relevant keywords. Studies have shown that a significant portion of traffic that converts arrives from search engines.

Optimizing your website for search engines is the first step. You need to make a list of relevant keywords and make sure that pages on your website address these keywords. Furthermore, make sure that all technical SEO issues, such as alt tags, meta-description, and page titles are addressed.

More specifically, good SEO traffic is not just any type of traffic. When you use SEO to drive traffic to your landing pages for lead generation, make sure that it is only relevant traffic. In other words, concentrate on the most relevant keywords to get the best quality visitors with a clear need for your product and services.

It does not matter if you pay for traffic with a PPC campaign or optimize your website for organic search, only a select group of keywords will generate the best leads; we call these “money keywords.” It is possible that your money keywords have relatively low traffic, but still these have the highest likelihood to convert.

These keywords might only get a little traffic, but as long as this traffic converts, it makes sense to use them. In order to be sure that you are building a great list of keywords and phrases, use Google Keyword Planner, which is available for free. Google Keyword Planner is a part of AdWords, not free but a great system to use for online advertising.

4.    Become an authority

People want to connect and engage with leaders in their field and consequently are more likely to become leads in authoritative websites. Building authority is one of the most important steps for getting good quality leads. The landing page and the offers come second. You must provide your prospect a reason to have interest in your offers and also trust you. Your credibility is a major factor in your ability to get better leads.

5.    Update your landing pages

If you are offering something to your prospects, make sure you are constantly updating your landing page to keep offers current. You, of course, don’t want your prospects directed to a poorly maintained page with expired or nonexistent offers. Even the smallest of details is important where lead generation is concerned and they are all very precious. Update your page with the newest offers consistently in order to make the outcome positive when lead generation is the goal.

You also need to monitor your landing pages to make sure that there are no broken pages or other errors while pages load. Your landing page has to be accessible and problem free at all times. We all have had the frustration of clicking on an ad that led to a broken landing page, or a landing page that did not load. Whenever this happens, it’s a waste of money and also a waste of a potential lead.

6.    Nurture your leads

Spend a little time monitoring the database of leads you currently have. Sometimes, it is easier to engage existing leads with an email campaign rather than to generate a new lead. Furthermore, make sure that you regularly review your database to find inactive or underactive buyers.

7.    Reduce your page loading speed

Pages that load fast offer better conversion rate. Research shows that fast loading speeds offer better engagement and conversion rates:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

8.    Use popups to get more leads

While visitors are not fans of popups, the reason that they get more popular is that they work. In fact, popups can drive a 1375% increase in subscribers. Almost every case study about using opt-in popups have concluded saying that popups drove in more subscribers.

Lead generation ab test

All of your visitors may not like it but it’s a temporary annoyance, a mere nudge. I highly suggest using popups to drive more leads. They work!

9.    Create effective calls to action

Calls to action (CTAs) are the design elements that drive people to your offers. If your CTAs aren’t effective at capturing people’s attention and persuading them to click, then it makes the offer useless. Good CTAs have these common characteristics:

  • Visible over the rest of the page content
  • Clear and concise
  • Explain the benefit of clicking

CTAs can be used on product pages (non-landing pages), in display ads, email, social media, direct mail, and pretty much anywhere you can market your offer. But not all CTAs are created equal. In a world where every brand is fighting for consumer attention, it’s critical that prospects choose your offer over your competitors’.

For your CTAs to be effective you should:

  • Place them where the eye can see them clearly
  • Use contrast to make the CTAs stand out
  • Make sure that they are clear
  • Link the CTAs to dedicated landing pages

10.  Test your landing pages

Testing your landing pages may significantly increase conversion rate. With A/B testing, you use your original version as compared to a modified version to see which one converts better.

Testing is a tool that should help you see where changes must be made in your campaign. If you’re interested in continued improvement for your business, it’s a good idea to be constantly testing.

Split-testing the color of the CTAs, designing a different landing page, designing a landing page with a specific message for a very narrow segment are all things you can do to see which one works better.

11.  Reduce the number of fields in your capture form

Capturing online leads requires filling out a form. Research shows that shorter forms perform much better than longer forms. This infographic by Quicksprout talks about why reducing form fields is good for your landing page.

People hate going through the process of filling out long forms. You’ll get a higher conversion rate by keeping your forms short and concise, permitting the completion of some of the information later on in the purchase process.

Conclusion

Getting leads online isn’t all that hard. It may seem confusing at first but if you follow a well-structured path of testing stuff out, it’s highly likely that you will succeed in your efforts. Good luck.

LinkedIn Marketing: How to Make Money While Building Your Professional Network

Do you want to reach 300 million business professionals? Then LinkedIn marketing is a great tool for you. Read more about how to build the perfect company page, craft your personal page and get more traffic and engagement.

Social media has changed the way we sell and market to prospects. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are at the forefront of marketing, growth, branding, lead generation and reaching new customers. Internet Retailer estimates that social media advertising will reach $15 billion by 2018. Therefore, social marketing is becoming crucial for businesses that wish to hit their business objectives.

Why LinkedIn marketing?

LinkedIn is a great way for professionals, business services and B2B companies to reach a very targeted business audience. LinkedIn followers give customers an opportunity to follow the latest releases and news from your company and keep up-to-date with new products, as well as read some tought leadership articles.

In this article we are going to look into the basics of how to set up your company page on LinkedIn and how to promote your page in order to foster faster revenue growth. Basically, the goal of a LinkedIn page is to let others know about your business, promote your brand and let people know more about your products and services. Many companies use their LinkedIn page in order to publish job opportunities, promote their content and feature key employees from the company.

How to make $1.5 million with LinkedIn marketing

Lewis Howes earned over $1.5 million in revenue with LinkedIn. According to Lewis, LinkedIn is a goldmine for generating leads.

This is how I generate all these leads, this one thing, and it’s my opinion, that this is the best resource on all social networking sites. It’s your own LinkedIn group because if you can send an announcement with just a link on here for your webinar, some copy and some compelling calls to action… you’re going to get a lot of people opting into your webinars or to your sales pages or wherever you want to drive them to, it’s ridiculous.”

Top LinkedIn stats

So what’s the potential of LinkedIn marketing for business? Here are some stats about LinkedIn that you may find interesting:

  1. People with more than twenty connections are 34 times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.
  2. All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. In fact, 499 of them are represented by director-level and above employees.
  3. LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network online with more than 313 million members, in over 200 countries and territories.
  4. Professionals are signing-up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than 2 new members per second.
  5. 67% of LinkedIn members are located outside of the United States.
  6. There are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
  7. LinkedIn counts executives from all Fortune 500 companies as members; its corporate talent solutions are used by 94 of the Fortune 100 companies.
  8. LinkedIn members conducted over 5.7 billion professionally oriented searches on the platform in 2012.
  9. More than 3 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages.
  10. There are more than 1.5 million unique publishers actively using the LinkedIn Share button on their sites to send content into the LinkedIn platform.
  11. LinkedIn members are sharing insights and knowledge in more than 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups.
  12. In the second quarter of 2014, mobile accounted for 45% of unique visiting members to LinkedIn.

Getting in front of decision-makers with LinkedIn

Alex Pirouz, founder of Linkfluencer, the world’s leading online community for LinkedIn training, says the following about LinkedIn:

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, it’s become extremely more difficult to stand out in the marketplace and get your message in front of key decision-makers. The old traditional methods of marketing a business are not as effective as they used to be; even if you have a huge marketing spend.

“With millions of members and 49 percent of them being key decision-makers, LinkedIn has leveled the playing field. LinkedIn has allowed business owners all over the world the opportunity to find, connect and build a relationship with their target market regardless of industry or location.”

How to get started on Linkedin?

These are the most important items that can make or break your profile on LinkedIn:

  • Your Name: Use your real name on LinkedIn. It is against Linkedin’s policies to use anything other than one’s real name when creating a personal profile. So avoid business names, company names, keywords, etc. It’s not the right place to optimize for search engine traffic.
  • Your Profile Picture: Take some time to get a clean and clear headshot. Hire a professional for this. This gives you an additional advantage of being able to use the same headshot across all other social profiles. This one doesn’t look bad, does it?

LinkedIn marketing headshot

  • Your Headline: A very good place to optimize your profile. This is where the keywords come in. Increase your chances of being found by people in your industry by writing a proper headline. For example in the above image, did you notice this lineContent Marketing Strategist and Editor at Crazy Egg”? Not only does Kathryn optimize the headline well, she also uses the name of a company that’s well known for conversion rate optimization and UX. Here is another example. This is the profile of Tommy Walker, editor at ConversionXL. Not only does it give a brief description of what Tommy does, but it also is very concise.

linkedin marketing profile

  • Your Current and Past Experience:  Job titles and keyword-optimized job listings indicate past experience and also bring a lot of search traffic. Tommy once again hits the nail on the head with his perfect descriptions. 

LinkedIn marketing company profile

  • Your Education – List your education degrees in this section.
  • Try to stand out of the crowd: Make your job experience stand out. For example: “Before joining Kissmetrics as a marketer, Sean Work was a structural engineer who also worked with NASA”. Now, NASA (which generally sends missions to space) has nothing to do with SEO but listing that bit of information creates a halo effect. According to Wikipedia: “The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties.” Which may lead to the belief that if someone is good enough for NASA, he might as well be good enough for managing the marketing of my company. It isn’t a bad thing considering that Sean does a very good job.

LinkedIn marketing past experience

  • Recommendations: For others to believe in your skills, the most important thing on your page are your recommendations. Recommendations are testimonials given by others on your professional profile.

LinkedIn marketing recommendations

How to get LinkedIn recommendations?

  • Ask for Recommendations via LinkedIn: There will be an Ask for Recommendations link on your profile which allow you to ask for recommendation from 200 people in your LinkedIn network. If you want, you can personalize the requests so that there is a higher chance for agreement.
  • Ask for Recommendations via Email/Facebook/Other social networks: You can always ask people to visit your Linkedin profile and give an endorsement or recommendation.
  • Give Recommendations: When you give recommendations, you increase your chances of being noticed by people who would have otherwise never bothered. It increases the likelihood of them endorsing your skills in return. Besides, it’s better to give than to receive.

Starting up with a company page

Starting anything online is never easy. But this article will give you the little extra help to get you through. First things first, for you to be able to set up a company page, you need an active LinkedIn profile. This is an account with your first name and surname. This is what we explained at the top part of this article.

You need to make sure you meet the requirements to add a company page. From there it’s going to be easy. You may also want to make sure that the company you want to create the account for doesn’t already have another Linkedin page.

We analyzed a few LinkedIn company pages that do well. Our research shows that there is a crucial importance for the lead image and for the one-liner explainer of what the company does. Most companies that do well also have a dedicated team that engages with the followers and posts frequent updates.

For example, Hubspot’s company page has over 74k followers. Hubspot gets right down to business with the mega image announcing How to get 100,000 readers for your blog.

LinkedIn marketing company page

LinkedIn marketing: requirements for your company page

There are a few things you will need before proceeding to create a company profile. The most basic thing is an account with your true name which contains your basic personal information. The profile should not only be present, but have the strength of intermediate or all-star.

Needless to say, you must be an employee of the company you’re creating the page for. This information is reflected on the “experience” section of your personal profile. You must also have a unique company email address which can be verified when you’re adding the company page. The reason why the email address should be unique is for purposes of availability.

Domains like Gmail and Yahoo, which are more common, are not applicable for registration of your company under this section because the domain name can only be used once and never again to register any other company page. In case your company doesn’t have a domain, then you might consider creating a group instead.

Marketing your product page on LinkedIn

To create a company page, just move your cursor over to the Interests section and select “Companies”. Click on “Create” when a Create Company Page box pops up on the right. Then you’ll just need to enter your company’s official name and your work email address. Click “Continue” to add company information. This includes a summary of your company in 250-2,000 characters inclusive of spaces, and a link to a website URL that leads to the company’s page. You need to remember, there is no preview of this company information, once you post it, it goes live.

What if I am not qualified for a company page?

Fortunately, LinkedIn has duly considered the user who may not have access to the personal company domain, or has not reached the Intermediate or All-star interaction level on the site and has come up with an easier form of advertising for business.  LinkedIn gives you an option of creating a group by filling out the areas required in the Create a group page.

Of course LinkedIn gives you the exclusive rights to own and manage any groups you create. However, you are allowed to delegate these duties to any member of your choice as managers or moderators of sorts.

Creating a group is relatively simple. It is similar to creating a company page because both options are in the Interests section, only this time you select “Groups” at the top of the homepage.

Click Create a group on your right-hand side. The red asterisk that pops up when filling in the required information means that the field is required.

Finally, hit the “Create” button. The choice is yours whether to make the group open or for members only.

The main idea in this case is to grow your business by exposing your products and services to as many people as possible.

Therefore, the group should be open so that members of the online community are well acquainted with your products, goods and services.

Marketing your page

The essence of creating the LinkedIn page is to further the interests of your business. This means that the marketing strategies you use are key to determining the success of your online enterprise. After the site has given you the platform, it is now up to your discretion as the owner to utilize this opportunity to your advantage.

First, target with accuracy to reach the desired audience if you have potential clients in mind. Invite them to join your page and get their attention that way.  As you advertise your products, the copywriting must be concise and professional so that you keep the business look of the online enterprise.

Despite going online, what will the client treasure more than face-to-face customer relations? Invest in a regular physical customer approach to get feedback from the clients as well as interact on a more personal level.

Concluding thoughts!

LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to get new leads for your business and make millions in revenue. However, it has been largely untapped because people don’t understand how to use it properly.  This blog post explains how to make the most out of this platform.

These are just but a few methods that successful entrepreneurs have made use of on LinkedIn and they have watched their businesses grow. Why don’t you be the next successful online business manager? Start today!

Top 10 Blogs for Getting Quick and Dirty Blogging Tips

How do you get more search engine love? What’s the best viral header? These 10 blogs with the best blogging tips will keep you up-to-date in the ever-changing world of blogging

Creating quality content that ranks well on search engines and gets shared on social media is very much an art. However, there are some blogging tricks and tips that you can learn from the experts. We collected some of the best blogs around for bloggers. These top 10 blogs cover copywriting inspiration, SEO and optimization to help you get more traffic—faster.

1. QuickSprout

Quicksprout blog on seo and online marketing advice

Neil Patel from QuickSprout has done some amazing things. He is the founder of three online companies—Crazy Egg, Kiss Metrics and Hello Bar. He also consulted for companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom. When it comes to blogging, online marketing, social marketing and SEO, you should really listen to Neil.

Neil provides blogging tips and tricks on two to three weekly blog posts. His style is funny and convincing and he gives tons of examples from his personal experience. QuickSprout also has lots of infographics in an easy to digest form. Most of his blogging tips are about getting more traffic and revenue for your blog.

2. Grammar Girl – Blogging tips

Quicksprout blog on seo and online marketing advice

So… Is it then or than? Effect or affect. Whether you know the answer or not, you should follow Grammar Girl’s podcast. Mignon Fogarty helps bloggers and writers with great and practical blogging tips and tricks on grammar. It’s a great habit to listen to her blog and learn more about best practices in style, grammar or simply how to make your writing more grammatically sound and fluent.

3. Copyblogger – great blogging tips and copywriting advice

Copyblogger copywriting advice and writing inspiration

Copyblogger is a great blog about copywriting and blogging that provides great blogging tips and tricks. It also provides copywriting inspiration for bloggers. Read Copyblogger if you want to discover your personal voice in blogging. There are also great blogging tips and tricks about getting more traffic, writing compelling headers and writing inspirational, stellar content.

4. Unbounce

Unbounce blog on optimization and online marketing

Unbounce is a tool that helps marketers make landing pages, easily, without coding. Their blog gives awesome advice about content and landing page optimization. They don’t focus on blogging tips, but there is a lot that every blogger can learn here—what content works, how to test your headers. The most important thing that Unbounce focuses on is how to optimize your conversion rate and help you make more money from your blog.

5. Moz

SEO and content marketing blog

Want to get more search traffic? You’re at the right place. Moz helps you get more insights about SEO. There are also tons of blogging tips and tricks to help you get more organic search visitors. Topics include: how to do an effective keyword research, best practices on keyword density, as well as link building and social.

6. Hubspot

Inbound and content marketing blog and advice

Hubspot invented the term inbound marketing. For the past few years, Hubspot has been advocating the content marketing revolution. Their website and blog is full of blogging advice, tricks and tips that can help any blogger get more from his or her content. However, much of the content at Hubspot caters more to beginners rather than the advanced blogger.

7. Search Engine Land

Search engine optimization for bloggers

New Penguin Google algorithm update? Again? Stay on top of search engine news with Search Engine Land. This is important for every blogger who wants to be more effective at driving search traffic. You can find great blogging tips and tricks on changes to the algorithm and how to make your content more visible.

8. Yoast

Yoast SEO advice for bloggers

If you don’t know Yoast already, you really should. Yoast makes a WordPress plugin to help bloggers with optimizing their content for search engine. It’s a great free tool to help you make effective titles and meta-descriptions and also remind you about alt tags for images and other important SEO tags.

However, that’s not all. Yoast also has a blog with great blogging tips and tricks to help people get more effective SEO. Read Yoast to get practical advice on focus keywords, blog writing best practices and more, which could help you make sure that your posts are search-engine-ready.

9. Kiss Metrics

Blog related analytics and advice

KissMetrics provides a web analytics tool, but also has a great and frequently updated blog that provides tips and tricks around online marketing. Kiss Metrics covers everything from getting traffic, to conversions and branding, as well as social.

Bloggers can find great blogging tips and tricks on how to write more effectively, increase social clout and convert more readers. KissMetrics updates their blog very frequently, so it’s impressive to see how they manage to keep standards high, while publishing a lot of content.

10. Problogger

Blogging and content marketing articles ProBlogger is all about helping writers make a living by blogging. It gives you blogging tips and tricks on copywriting, SEO, but most importantly, around blog monetization. ProBlogger also has a section to help bloggers find gigs in other blogs.

Conclusion

If you have great writing skills, you are 90% there, in creating a great and engaging blog. However, you need to constantly keep learning about new blogging tips, tricks and best practices. Reading these 10 blogs on a regular basis should give you the tools you need.

 

Conversion Rate Optimization: Solid Ways to Boost Sales in the Cut-Throat Ecommerce World

There is only one way to outsmart and outprice your competition – conversion rate optimization. Here are easy ways to make more money without increasing traffic.

Conversion rate optimization is the art and science of creating better online experiences that compel visitors to become customers. The goal of conversion rate optimization is to increase the percentage of visitors who buy, sign up or take any other desirable action on the website.

When you exercise conversion rate optimization the right way, it will transform your website into a funnel that leads visitors towards taking an intended action. Typically, this action will be the completion of sale, lead generation or even subscription of your company’s newsletter.

Conversion rate optimization is both art and science. It’s art, because you need to apply intangible skills to generate online experiences that convert. It’s science, because you apply statistics in order to test what works with high statistical confidence.

There is plenty of advice online on conversion rate optimization, although not all of it is stellar and some of it is conflicting. However, effective conversion rate optimization consists of tried and true principles that everyone can apply to increase conversion rate. We prepared this guide with the aim to help you get the most out of the traffic that you already have. We are confident that following even some of these principles will help you get closer to your monetization goals online.

Here is your guide to conversion rate optimization with solid strategies to build a structured plan for optimizing your site.

Defining goals for conversion rate optimization

Nearly every online business in the world has one goal in mind—making money. The road to making more money, though, is full of potholes and curves. The aim is to have the largest proportion of visitors possible convert to customers. However, most websites, unfortunately, are not reaching their conversion rate potential and just settle for mediocre conversion rate.

One of the reasons that conversion rate is not simple is that every website has a different goal. Some websites want more leads; some want more subscribers, while others want people to share their content. Other goals include registrations, clicks and eyeballs. However, the most popular goal is sales.

Building a structured approach for conversion rate optimization

The global benchmark for conversion rate is somewhere between 2-3% (and varies widely by industry and goal). New research from Forrester estimates that for every $100 spent on generating website traffic, a mere $1 is actually effective in bringing traffic that converts. Imagine what you can do with the additional $99.

Web analytics and conversion management is also a crucial step for success. You cannot improve conversion rate without in-depth measurement of your conversion funnel.

Structured approach to conversion rate optimization drives results. The online magazine eConsultancy and RedEye conducted a survey of conversion rate optimization plans, goals and goal attainment. Results show that 89% of survey respondents who had a structured approach to conversion rate optimization had improved conversion in the previous 12 months.

Nevertheless, according to the Econsultancy-RedEye conversion rate optimization report, only 31% of companies reported having a structured approach to improving conversion rate. This is bad news, considering the plethora of proven techniques to improve conversion rate.

This research offers great news for those who want to increase conversion rate. The research suggests that having a structured approach to conversion rate optimization and practicing proven techniques for increasing conversion rate increases the likelihood for success dramatically.

Obstacles on the road to conversions

Why do so many websites underperform and do not realize their conversion rate potential? Some websites have cumbersome designs that fail to drive visitors to take action and complete the purchase. These problems can often be solved with the help of a custom web design or by setting up a landing page for your product that makes it easy for shoppers to find exactly what they are looking for.

In ecommerce, there is also value in trust and familiarity with the brand. According to a research by SeeWhy, 99% of visitors will not complete a purchase on their first visit to the website. However, 75% of visitors will abandon with the aim to return and complete a purchase.

better conversion rate website

Here is why people don’t buy on their first visit to your website:

  • First visit: These are visitors who have never visited your site before. Interestingly, only 1% of these visitors would ever buy anything on their first visit.
  • Subsequent visits: 75% of first time visitors who left, actually intend to return and buy something later on.
  • Returning visitors: These are the visitors who have come to the site again. Now 53% of these second time visitors won’t return again in the next 28 days, but of the remaining that do return, 25% of them would purchase something.

how to run ab testing conversion optimization

  • Repeat purchases: Only 3% of first time visitors who made a purchase will make a repeat purchase. However, 11% of returning visitors who have made a recent purchase (i.e., within the previous 28 days) will buy again. Very impressive figures.

conversion optimization make money online

This research offers valuable lessons for conversion rate optimization. The main message here is that you need to draw people back to your website, even if they did not make a purchase. Increasing repeat visits increases your conversion rate and drives more purchases. There is no better way to make people return than compelling them to subscribe to your mailing list. There is no better way to compel them to subscribe than to exit intent pop-ups.

I’ve done some thorough research around opt-in pop-ups to check what works and what doesn’t. My research shows that there are two kinds of pop-ups that do a great job boosting sign-ups:

  • Make people acknowledge they have a need. Pop-ups with words like “No thanks,” or “I am happy with low traffic” are never supposed to work because they seem very arrogant, right? Who wants a big pop-up right on their face? I guess we can all be surprised. Research shows that these very opt-in boxes outperformed others by 34%.

conversion rate pop up

  • Exit intent pop-up: These are the pop-ups that appear when the visitor is about to leave the site. The pop-up is initiated by the movement of the mouse cursor towards the close button. It’s a pretty neat tool to capture the people who are planning to end the session.

get more conversions online

There are plenty of ways to utilize exit intent pop-ups for conversion optimization. A great example is ecommerce. At Nordstrom, for example, pages are gender specific. However, when a woman gets into the men’s store or vice-versa, how do you prevent abandonment?

conversion optimization analytics

In this example, using pop-up helped Nordstrom drive people to the right landing page. By addressing the high percentage of people that get into the wrong gender specific landing page by using an exit intent pop-up, Nordstrom was able to reduce bounce rate and increase conversion rate.

get more conversions ecommerce

Typography and conversion rate optimization

In some cases, conversion problems run deeper than simply helping people navigate through the website. In these cases, a full-scale website conversion rate optimization plan is needed to convert more visitors into buyers. It may be the case that you need a change of mindset or emphasis in the way you write about your business, to be more direct in asking for the sale or encouraging people to move down what’s known as the conversion funnel, closer and closer to actually making a purchase.

You usually can’t rely on your website alone to drive sales. It’s a combination of having a great design that moves people through the process and having persuasive copy that gets them to take the next step—whether that next step is buying a product or simply signing up for your newsletter.

While words and rich imagery steal most of the credit behind conversions, there’s always a covert agent at work — Typography.

 

According to Cyrus Highsmith, typography represents the voice of an atmosphere. If you want to lend your website a unique voice, feel and character, then a unique set of types for the title and content should do the trick.

Conversion rate optimization is a somewhat tricky process that should involve a lot of testing of different headlines, offers, maybe even website designs, in order to determine what combination of elements is most successful for you.

The power-tool of conversion rate optimization – A/B testing

A/B testing is a statistical method of comparing two versions of a webpage and predicting which one will perform better. The theory is not very complicated, all you need is to serve each version of the page randomly and after a while the winner will emerge. You can use A/B testing to optimize for clicks, conversions or sign-ups.

There are plenty of tools that can help with A/B testing. Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer are among the leading tools. They let you manage the entire A/B testing process – from making the changes to the page, and running the two versions as a controlled experiment, to choosing the winner and making sure that results are statistically significant.

Conversion rate optimization ab testing

However, most entrepreneurs lack the time or experience necessary to really effectively optimize their websites, but there are plenty of strategic internet marketing service companies and marketing consulting firms out there that can help you with testing and tweaking your site to pull in the best response. 

Content analysis

The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who decide to stay and actually order something from your ecommerce website or take advantage of the services that you supply, or whatever the goal of your website may be. If you can keep a person from clicking away for thirty seconds, the odds of retaining him or her improve astronomically.

However, leaving visitors for over 30 seconds on your website is not easy. There are a few issues that arise most often which result in loss of conversion after that precious 30-second mark. Therefore, your first goal is to keep the visitors for at least half a minute. To do that, you need the following:

  1. Bounce rate analysis. Spare a look at bounce rates on your site’s homepage or other pages to see how many visitors don’t click on any other link on the site. This will help you understand how well pages are performing.
  2. Ask people why they leave. Say a page has over 80% bounce rate. You need to pay attention to it and ask questions to your visitors to find the exact reasons behind this. You may use something like Qualoroo to achieve that.
  3. Call to action analysis. Maybe the call to action isn’t clear or the design was confusing. It’s been found that adding images that point to the call to action can effectively increase CTR.

Using SSL throughout

You may have the most secure website on the planet. However, if your customer does not know this, you run the risk of losing them. Having the https in the address bar helps, but it is often not enough. Take a tip from the flower websites like Proflowers.com or 1800flowers.com and go the extra mile.

They not only have the https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) which tell them the site is secure, they have that one screen that tells the customer they are shopping in a secure site with the emblems and seals from the companies that ensure it.

You may lose conversions if:

  • The website is not doing a good job of convincing customers of a secure shopping experience;
  • There is inadequate Contact Us and About Us information; and
  • There are too many unexplained questions during the payment/shipping information process.

Don’t ask for a lot of information

conversion rate optimization tips

Look at the example above. At least two fields can be avoided (guess which).

The first thing many customers do when faced with the “checkout here” message is to check the website’s Contact Us and often the About Us pages. These pages should contain reassuring information about the company with several methods of contact including an email address, a physical mail address, (preferably both physical and P.O. Box number) and a phone number. The best-case scenario would list a street address and a toll-free phone number, as customers relate these with a professional company and feel reassured.

Asking for a ton of information during the checkout process without an explanation of what the information will be used for is the number one cause of loss of conversion. Potential customers will give a name, a shipping and billing address, and a credit card almost willingly, but ask for a phone number and they start dropping like rain. If you must have a phone number, minimize the damage with either an outright explanation or a hover-over link that explains “Why?”

One of the first things a customer will think is that you are going to sell that number to a list. The problem is that very often they are right. Even if you are planning to do this, a simple explanation that the number is needed as a contact in case something goes wrong in shipping is enough to secure the sale and make this a good conversion.

The flower websites do this with a message that reads: “In case we need to contact you during delivery.” This way, the customer feels worry-free writing down the information because of the reason provided.

Using videos on the homepage for conversion optimization

Neil Patel of CrazyEgg says that the explainer video on the CrazyEgg homepage is responsible for $21,000 in additional revenues every month. However, when planning a great explainer video, what matters more than the cost of the video, is the quality of the script.

Also, according to Peep Laja, while videos do increase conversions, only 10% of the visitors proceed to watch it. Amongst the 10% who watch, various factors like length of the video, the clarity of presentation, in addition to voice and style, will influence the decision whether to watch the full length of the video.

Peep suggests that one should also have a supporting copy around the video, which explains what the video is about. One should ensure that a person landing on a landing page doesn’t go away empty-handed.

Video is a conversion rate optimization tool; don’t make it a barrier.

Conclusion

Conversion rate optimization is your best bet for outsmarting and outpricing your competitors. In a nutshell, these are the things that can make or break your conversions:

  • Interesting and original content
  • A structure to your website that is easy to follow
  • An excellent, even hypnotic call to action (It is possible. If you do not believe it, click here.)
  • A good user experience
  • A website that is user-friendly
  • Pleasing and interesting design
  • Navigation that does not shoot itself in the foot

Conversion rate optimization is simple if you apply solid principles that work. It really is that simple. Start off small, and still, you may even see huge improvements.

The Top 10 Free But Valuable SEO Tools for Bloggers

Search engine optimization helps your blog get found by engaged, high quality readers. These 10 tools for bloggers will help you increase your search engine rankings.

SEO Free Tools for Bloggers

Image source: Dave Gingrich

In the past, SEO was all about link building and technical stuff like site structure. Today, SEO is all about quality content and engagement. That’s great news for bloggers! If you create content that people want to read and share, and optimize it for search engines, you have everything you need to succeed! Here are the 10 free tools for bloggers that can help you:

1. Yoast

Yoast Free Tool for Bloggers

Yoast is a WordPress SEO tool for bloggers that easily helps you optimize your blog content for search engines. After you install Yoast’s WordPress plugin, it opens a new section in your new post pages. Yoast’s SEO tool lets you research focus keywords and see how you are doing in terms of content.

For example, it shows you whether your keyword appears enough times in your titles, URL and content. This serves as helpful reminder to check that you did not forget adding your keywords to any section of the page.

Furthermore, Yoast is one of those tools for bloggers that lets you add SEO titles and Meta Description to your pages. This is the title and descriptions Google may pick up when your page is shown on the search engine results page. This text is crucially important as it is practically the advertisement to your content on Google’s results page. Another great feature is the Snippet Preview that lets you see how your page looks like on the results page.

Overall, Yoast is a free SEO tool for bloggers that you can’t’ do without, if you use WordPress as your blogging platform.

2. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner Tools for Bloggers

Google Keyword Planner was actually designed to help paid AdWords advertisers. However, it is also very useful tool for bloggers to understand the popularity of search terms and whether they convert. To access the tool, you’ll need to open an AdWords account and click on Keyword Planner at the top menu.

When you type a keyword in the search box, you get a wealth of information at your fingertips:

  1. Search term and related keyword. You can find your search term as well as related keyword that you may never have thought about, but would make great topics for a blog post in the future and will attract more relevant traffic.
  2. Average monthly searches. This is the number of estimated searches performed per month. You can narrow this number down by choosing specific geographies.
  3. Competition. This section can tell you whether your search term has a lot of advertising bidding for it on paid search. It may also suggest that when paid competition is high, organic search competition would also be high.
  4. Suggested bid. Again, this is the suggested bid for Paid Search. However, higher bids may suggest that this term attracts traffic that converts (as people are willing to pay more for it).

Google Keyword Planner is a great free SEO tool for bloggers. It can help you discover and prioritize keywords for blog posts in order to attract relevant traffic.

3. SEO Book Keyword Tool

SEOBook Keywod Tool for Bloggers

SEO Book Keyword Tool is another great tool for bloggers for discovering and prioritizing blog keywords. It is similar to Google’s Keyword Planning tools, but also gives you traffic estimates from Bing and Yahoo! Here is how you can leverage this free blog SEO tool:

  1. Search box. Here is where you type your blog keyword to start your research.
  2. Keywords. This section contains a lot of suggestions for keywords ranked according to their overall traffic. Typically, the more specific or “long tail” the keyword is, the lower traffic it would have.
  3. Monthly searches. Here is the expected traffic per month.
  4. Daily searches. Expected daily traffic.
  5. CPC. This is the cost per click, if you use paid search. Again, higher bids may suggest higher quality traffic from this keyword.

Note that higher traffic is not always better. The more specific a keyword is, the lower the traffic it is expected to have. However, you are much more likely to be able to rank well for specific keywords.

4. Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer Tool for Bloggers

Open Site Explorer is a free SEO tool for bloggers that helps you research your blog against your competitors on SEO metrics such as links and authority. It builds on Google’s ranking system that rewards pages with links from other authoritative pages. Basically, to rank well, you need links from pages with lots of other pages linking to them.

Here is how you can use Open Site Explorer tool for bloggers to get insights on your blog and on your competitors:

  1. Search box. Use this to type the URL of your blog or of your competitors.
  2. Domain Authority. This is a measure of the number of links to your domain in general. The more links to your domain, the easier it would be for you to rank higher.
  3. Page Authority. This measures how likely your page is to rank well according to the number of links directing to this URL. The more links you get, the higher your likelihood to rank well.
  4. Just Discovered. Measures new links to your websites that are younger than 60 days.
  5. Established Links. Links to your page that are older than 60 days. You can see here both the number of root domains linking to your page and the total number of links.
  6. Title and URL of Linking Page. These contain the title and the URL of the page where the link to your site was found. This is important as it influences whether this link is relevant to your content.

Open Site Explorer is a valuable tool for bloggers and can help you optimize your linking strategy as well as research your competitors.

5. Quicksprout Website Analyzer Tool for Bloggers

QuickSprout Tool for Bloggers

Quicksprout offers a nifty little tool for bloggers to help you figure out whether your blog is SEO optimized. This tool covers:

  • Structural elements such as title, meta and alt tags.
  • Site speed tests as well as conversion and content optimization.
  • Links and social shares.

This tool for bloggers gives you lots of useful information about your blog and your competitors and allows you to get a comprehensive analysis on how to improve rankings. To start using the tool, all you have to do is:

  1. URL search box. Type your URL or your competitors’ URL in the search box.
  2. View the analysis. Click on Website Analyzer to start reviewing your website analysis.

Quicksprout is a great free tool for bloggers. In addition to the tool for bloggers, the site founder Neil Patel has a very strong blog containing great SEO and blogging advice.

6. Google Analytics

Google Analytics Blogging Tools

Google Analytics is not an SEO tool for bloggers per se. However, Google is moving from the classic “page rank” model, based on your incoming links, to a model that also takes engagement into account. Google’s aim is to identify web spam – low quality content that only aims to attract traffic. Therefore, if you have good engagement for your content, you are safe there.

There are three main metrics that you should analyze in order to understand engagement:

  1. Pages / Session. This metrics tells you whether your content was interesting enough for users to click and move to another page on your website. The higher number of pages per session, the higher your engagement is.
  2. Ave. Session Duration. This is the amount of time that users spent on your website. Engaged users should spend more than 3 minutes per post on average.
  3. Bounce Rate. Bounce rate measures the share of users who visited a single page on your website and left. This is a critical number – high bounce rate means that people are either disappointed by your content or that they find it irrelevant.

There are plenty of other reports and tools for bloggers in Google Analytics that are helpful for bloggers. In-depth knowledge of Google Analytics metrics and reports is a great advantage for every blogger.

7. Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO Tools for Blogging

Majestic SEO is a tool for bloggers that gives you an in-depth look on the number of inbound links for your website. While similar to Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO provides a few additional metrics to consider:

  1. Trust flow. This measures the traffic that your website generates from referring URLs. Basically, this is a measure of the strength of your referring traffic. The aim here is to check whether your links generate traffic to your website.
  2. Citation flow. The number of backlinks your web page gets from other websites.
  3. External backlinks. The total number of backlinks your webpage gets.
  4. Referring domains. This is the number of domains with backlinks. 100 links from the same website count less than 100 links from 100 different websites.

Majestic SEO is a great tool for bloggers for link research for your blog and for competitor blogs. You can use it as stand alone or to complement some of the metrics from Open Site Explorer.

8. Google Trends

Google Trends for Bloggers

 

A great blogging advice is to always write about topics that people want to read about. But how do you know what people are interested in? This is what Google Trends is all about. Google Trends is a great free tool for bloggers to research search trends over time.

There is a lot of useful information that you can get, including:

  1. Search trends over time. How search volume changes. Is it seasonal or steady? Apple, for example, experiences high search activity during the launch of new product, as you can see from  the first chart.
  2. Location of search activity. Where are searchers coming from? This shows you trends by geographic location.

Use Google Trends to find great keywords to blog about, specifically those that are moving up on the popularity trend. Google Trends can help you get more in-depth insights about keywords and is a great tool for every blogger.

9. SEM Rush tool for bloggers

SEMRush Tool for bloggers

SEM Rush is another great tool for bloggers that provides loads of data on websites and blogs. You can use it in order to detect estimated traffic trends, paid search activity and organic search traffic to your website or to competitor websites.  You can use SEM Rush to find new keywords that drive traffic to your competitors as well as those that were completely under your radar.

Here is what you can learn by using the SEM Rush tool:

  1. Estimated traffic figures. What is the rank and traffic of the website and what are the major traffic sources?
  2. Estimated traffic trends. So what is the traffic of your competitors? SEM Rush will help you find that out.
  3. Organic search by geographic location. Analyze where organic traffic is coming from.
  4. Paid search keywords. Discover what keywords your competitors are bidding on. In this example, BuzzFeed does not use any paid search.
  5. Organic vs. paid search. What portion of the traffic is coming from paid search as compared to the portion of the traffic that arrives from organic search.
  6. Top organic keywords. Find out the top organic keywords and the traffic that they drive. This is great competitive intelligence that helps you target the keywords that drive traffic to your competitors.
  7. Ads keywords. Find out the top paid keywords that are driving traffic to your competitor’s website.

Overall, SEM Rush has tons of useful information and stats that can help every blogger target more effective keywords. This free tool for bloggers also contains plenty of information that can help you get started.

10. Copyscape unique content tool

Copyscape Content Tool for Bloggers

Google values original and unique content. However, sometimes people may copy your content, or you may have duplicate content on your website that may damage your rankings. Copyscape is a valuable tool for bloggers to helps you find duplicate content on the web.

Here is what you get in the free version:

  1. Type your webpage and search for duplicate content.
  2. Your results will show whether your content is unique or whether it was copied. Searches on Ari showed that the content is unique.

Copyscape is a great tool for bloggers to detect plagiarism. You invest money, time and effort in creating your content, so make sure that it does not get stolen.

Conclusion

SEO used to be about link building and tricking the Google algorithm. However, nowadays, SEO is all about unique quality content. This change rewards bloggers who can create useful and relevant content that caters to visitors’ needs and interests. The 10 awesome tools for bloggers outlined above will help make your great content easy to find on search engines.

100 Absolutely Beautiful Blog Designs From Around the World

Forget everything you knew about blogging. These blog designs are so beautiful—they will take your breath away and make your heart stop beating. Be warned!

Prepare to be amazed. These designers have taken blog design to the next level. Leave content aside, as these creations are simply art in their own right. Enjoy an inspiring journey to the Web’s most beautiful and best blog designs.

1. Maine Thing Quarterly visual blog

Maine Thing Quarterly Blog Design

One of the great things about travel blogs is that they can be very visual. We all take vacation photos, but professional travel photos take it to a whole new level. In this blog, professional photos and beautiful blog design were combined to promote Maine as a travel destination. This blog is more of a magazine, taking advantage of the screen as a beautiful canvas to present what Maine has to offer.

Click here to visit the blog

2. Gaétan

Gaetan Pautler Blog Design

Weekly links and websites from Gaétan, french junior art director. Gaétan updates news, articles, resources and all the inspiration he gets during the week in the world of web design, graphic design and development.

This is a very unique design where the blog posts are stacked one over the other.

To visit Gaétan blog, click here.

3. Faces of NYFW social blog

Faces of NYFW blog design

Simply a collection of beautiful Twitter images from New York Fashion Week. The idea sounds simple, but the blog execution is beyond spectacular. The blog is laid out as a grid with the images right next to each other, and there is hardly any copy or text, which gives it a clean look.  All images are in black and white to create a nice composition with the black background.

Click here to visit the blog

4. 3D Batman

3D Batman Blogd Design

This Batman blog from Germany is simply stunning, with Batman actually holding the main section of the blog. I just love how you immediately get into the theme by the powerful image at the top. To reach the one-column blog, you’ll need to scroll down.

See Batman’s blog design here.

5. Demain J’arrête hand-drawn blog design

Demain J’arrête Blog Design

Hand-drawn blogs add a personal and unique appeal to a blog design. It’s creative, unique and stands out of the crowd of blogs that may use unique typography, but still use main fonts. Hand-drawn blogs are also great for branding, as they really give a unique look and feel for a blog that stays with the blog visitor for a long time and inspire him to connect with the brand.

Click here to visit the blog

6. Baia Dos Golfinhos collage

baiadosgolfinhos blog design

This collage of images really inspires you to take a vacation with this vacation rental agency. The composition of images at the top brings back memories from previous vacations and inspires you to book your next vacation with them. The background, which is composed of sea sand, also provides some added inspiration for a beach vacation.

Click here to visit the site

7. Cantina Valpolicella Negrar wine blog

Cantina Valpolicella Negrar Blog Design

This Italian winery designed a beautiful blog post to convey its winemaking process. The blog part of the website contains the winery’s news and events, each containing another image in the same branding style. The main part of the website contains detailed explanations about Valpolicella wines and what makes them unique.

Click here to visit the blog and website

8. I Love Colors

I love colors blog design

If you blog about Web design, you need to put your money where your mouth is. This blog is all about graphic design, WordPress and typography. It does what it preaches. With a beautiful design, this blog is a living evidence to great blog design.

The design itself is fairly simple, and maintains the WordPress features such as the date next to every post. I really like the iconization of the Comments, Read More and the date on every post.

To visit the blog, click here.

9. Captain creative

Captain Creative Blog Design

You can hardly go wrong with a name like Captain Creative. The blog is part of a web designer’s website. While the overall theme of the website is a superhero, the designer himself says that he does not really like to jump off tall buildings, and would rather solve the world’s problems through design—nice vision!

The branding of the website also has a nice touch—the superhero acutely looks kinda geeky… And the title really speaks of what the website does—pixel punching problem solver perfectionist!  Overall, this blog contains great design, with great typography and great visual content.

To visit the blog, click here.

10. Design Intellection

Design Intellection Blog Design

Design Intellectual was a small design studio in Louisville, Kentucky that operated for two years until the end of 2012, when the founder decided to take a full time job with a Silicon Valley start-up. The blog and content are not active, but the minimalist design is very nice.

What I like about this blog design is that it really emphasizes the content and is very minimalist in style. The white background, the typography and the layout put the text in the middle and make the content easy to read—like a novel.

To visit the blog, click here.

11. Snopp

Snopp Blog Design

Still on the minimalist design bandwagon, straight from Norway—we bring you Snopp. Snopp is a design agency located in Steinkjer, Norway, which is quite far away, just south of the north pole.

While the design is minimalist, Snopp manages to put images in the front of the website and present many of their impressive works. Typically, they will place Web design in a MacBook Air while mobile will be presented in an iPhone. Great blog design that showcases great designs (of other websites and blogs).

12. Uncrate

Uncrate Blog Design

This website features the most awesome things that you always wanted to have, but just didn’t know it yet. It’s a blog about cool items and awesome gadgets, gifts and apparel for men.

What I like about this design is that they place the product in the center.  It’s a very visual blog which allows the products to take the lead. Many of the images look like they were short for the website (they all have the same background). This website will add tons of things to every man’s Father’s Day wish list.

To visit the website, click here.

13. DailyTekk

DailyTekk Blog Design

While it may look like your ordinary Tech news site, what I really like is the banner at the top of the website that features some of the main articles on the website. The designer uses this banner to drive people to the most interesting articles in a compelling and visual way, and I am sure that it has a positive effect which every blogger is looking for—reducing bounce rate.

To visit the blog, click here.

14. Attack of the cute

Attack of the cute blog design

An entire website dedicated to the Web’s favorite animal—cats… as well as other cute animals, such as squirrels, koala bears and dogs. It’s very much like a Tumblr blog, where you have mostly images and no text.

If you are into cats and cute animals, you’ll love this blog and you’ll appreciate that the images speak for themselves. If you don’t love cats, well, don’t bother…

To visit the blog, click here.

15. Supercompressor

Supercompressor blog design

Supercompressor is a blog about gear, gadgets, cars and what they call “vice”. It contains articles such as: According to the editors: “We’re not your average bunch of tech nerds: with eyes on function, design, and innovation, we’re on the hunt for what truly inspires and impresses us — plus a few bizarre odds and ends just for the laughs. We do our damnedest to sort through the riffraff, and we understand that your time and money are precious; we solemnly swear to never waste either.”

Supercompressor-blog

The design of the blog is really awesome. The homepage is comprised solely of featured images and titles, which makes it very challenging for the editor of the website as every title and image needs to be very impressive. Inside the individual posts, again we see a very large header with an image and a title. Very cool and inviting blog design overall.

To visit the blog, click here.

16. Viralnova

Viralnova blog design

This is the website that basically started the trend of blogs dedicated to viral content – lots of images, visual content, strong titles and stories that are easy on the stomach. But there are some other things in the design that make it successful. Sharing is effortless with tons of sharing buttons everywhere.

Best social blog design

Viralnova has a design that supports sharing. Basically, the most visible elements on the page are the sharing buttons. The Facebook sharing button, for example, has a unique visible design. There are also buttons for previous and next article – a great feature that helps to keep the audience engaged.

To visit Viralnova, click here.

17. BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed Blog Design

Clean design, anyone? Not on BuzzFeed. But… 150 million unique visitors don’t go wrong and the cluttered design containing tons of stories that you can view in an instant proves to be compelling.

A few design aspects make this website unique:

  • Unique categories such as OMG or LOL
  • Very short titles
  • Great choice of featured images

To visit BuzzFeed, click here.

18. Food52

Food52 Blog Design

One of the advantages of food blogs is that food is so visual. Food blogs need to use food and put it in the center, with great images and mouthwatering shots. This is exactly what Food52 does. The design inspires you to click on the articles, especially if you are hungry, and each article contains tons of images.

From the design itself, all the way from the logo to the layout, there’s a lot of work invested in branding. Also, there’s great emphasis on user experience with the ability to save favorite recipes.

To visit the blog, click here.

19. Hither and Thither

Hither and Thither Blog Design

Hither and Thither is a great blog about travel and style from blogger Ashley Muir Bruhn. She travels around engaging her loyal 60k readers with stories about style, travelling and great food. The design gives dominance to great stylish images that makes you want to live in style like Bruhn. This blog design does great work in conveying style and fun in every article.

Click here to visit the blog.

20. Hotels We Love

Hotels We Love Blog Design

Hotels We Love is a blog about hotels that you’re going to love after you visit the site. It’s dedicated to travel for creative people. The designs give a look and feel of a glossy magazine on my Retina display, where everything is graphic and connected. Looks like every page is custom-designed graphically to illustrate the text. Great design that conveys what every hotel and city has to offer for the creative type.

Hotels We Love blog

The blog reviews a dozen or so cities and on each, it gives reviews about things that they call “Think,” “Play,” and “Sleep”.  The content combines both video and small bytes on text, and again, the emphasis is on great images.

Click here to visit Hotels We Love.

21. Parla Food

Parla Food Blog Design

While most food blogs give more prominence to images, this food blog looks like a hand-written menu from an Italian restaurant! Great articles about food from all over the world are featured here. They include great restaurant recommendations and city guides as well. What I like about the design is that by using unique fonts and background, the blog design really gives a unique sense of brand.

To visit the blog, click here.

22. Notes from the Road

Notes from the Road Blog Design

Notes From the Road is an experimental travel blog with a personal touch. The blog is built like a personal travel journal with spectacular images that are shot by the author, Erik Gauger. Gauger says that it takes 15 minutes to shoot every image on the website, with his large format camera. The results, though, are stunning, and the design gives a lot of room for images.

To visit Notes from the Road, click here.

23. Monocle

Monocle design

This is the online version of the lifestyle magazine Monocle. Monocle gives you the feeling that if you are not constantly traveling first class to luxury hotels, eating in fancy restaurants and buying stylish dress shirts and suits, something is wrong with you.

But still, luxury looks great. Monocle has its own unique way of presenting images where the focus is on people. The design is very image-friendly (like the magazine) and special icons distinguish categories and article types.

To visit Monocle, click here.

24. Beers and Beans

Beers and Beans blog design

Beers and Beans is a blog dedicated to helping its readers travel smarter and take better travel pictures. In terms of design, the blog keeps a unique brand across. From the Zeppelin in its logo to the images, it keeps the old-fashioned look of the last century.

To visit Beers and Beans, click here.

25. The Voyageur

The Voyageur Blog Design

This minimalist design gives tons of room for the great travel pics of Pauline Chardin, enticing you to enjoy food, wine, hotels and destinations. The blog looks like a photo album, with small chunks of text and large images. You can also view multiple images by scrolling the gallery.

To visit The Voyageur, click here.

26. Love & Lemons

Love and Lemons blog design

Love & Lemons gives great step-by-step recipes. The great thing about this blog is that you can see every step of the cooking process. The result is lots of images and just a little text—a Pinterest perfect blog. While the layout of the blog is relatively simple and looks very similar to a WordPress theme, the design and visual content makes the difference here.

To visit Love & Lemon, click here.

27. I am a food blog

I am a food blog Design

They call it “I am a food blog” for a reason. Huge stunning images, unique typography—it’s not a blog, it’s an art! The design is minimalist, large with very small room for nav-bars or content suggestions. It’s also very clean – featured image, white background, little text and lots of gorgeous images and delicious recipes.

To visit the blog, click here.

28. Local Milk

Local Milk Blog Design

The food and lifestyle blog of Beth Kirby — a stylist, photographer, writer and a recipe developer. Kirby has a unique style of photography that looks like paintings of old masters. The blog itself showcases her work and recipes, and is divided into several categories such as recipes, portfolio and inspiration.  In terms of blog design, the layout is minimalist and gives prominence to her work.

To visit Local Milk, click here.

29. Solemn Oath Brewery

Solemn Oath Brewery Blog Design

Solemn Oath Brewery showcases their brews using a great slider with strong images. Following that, they focus on grid-like layout to feature the rest of the content. The blog section of the website relies heavily on the featured image, a short title overlay and a black-brown, minimalist design. In this blog design, I also like the brown text that constantly reminds you of beer.

To visit Solemn Oath Brewery, click here.

30. The Perennial Plate

The Perennial Plate Blog Design

Designing a video blog is not easy, as you need to showcase the videos in a way that would be both compelling and visually appealing before you click the “play” button. The Perennial Plate does an especially good job at that, with a unique slider that features all of the videos.

The Perennial Plate is a blog dedicated to sustainable eating. The design wanted to feature both videos and blog posts on the same homepage. The solution that they found was to feature videos prominently in a slider on the top, then blog posts and more videos at the bottom.

To view the blog design, click here.

31. Happy Yolks

Happy Yolks Blog Design

With very minimalist design, Happy Yolks focuses on images rather than on text. It looks like the blog contains image after image from recipes with hardly any text at all. What is especially effective about this blog design is the ability to feature the recipe, without any distraction.

To view blog design, click here.

32. Hortus

Hortus Natural Cooking Blog Design

Hortus is another great food blog with great design and great images. Furthermore, what I really like about this blog design is that when you scroll down below the fold, hidden parts of the image are revealed. Moreover, what happens when you rollover the images is that you immediately get a call to action inviting you to click on the image.  Overall, Hortus presents a great minimal web design with some nice touches.

To review Hortus’ blog design, click here.

33. J. R. Velasco

J-R-Velasco Blog Design

Who said that medieval history warrants a boring blog? Professor Jesus Rodrigues-Velasco definitely got my attention with his beautifully kitsch, cluttered blog design. It takes a while to understand exactly where you are and what all the images signify, but it’s artistic for sure.

In terms of the layout of the blog, it uses the traditional WordPress blog design with posts ordered by date, and also a section featuring the latest blogs. Pretty bold decision to put two columns on the left hand side of the blog. The post pages also look very medieval, effectively conveying the theme.

To review Rodrigues-Velasco’s blog design, click here.

34. That Indie Dude

That Indie Dude Blog Design

Alex Linebrink is a freelance web & graphics designer and a social marketing consultant. His blog is all about living the life of an independent consultant. However, this blog is not only about being independent but also keeping independent thinking in design.

Overall, the background and the menu in this blog are extremely well-designed and original (like what Alex is preaching for). The use of Post It notes and pieces of paper give the blog a personal touch.

Click here to visit That Indie Dude

35. Marchand de Trucs

Marchand de Trucs Blog Design

Marchand de Trucs is an online magic store, selling French magic books. The design, and the background specifically, immediately get you into the Harry Potter atmosphere of magic. There is also a personal touch with the owner being featured right at the top.

The design of the blog is three columns — with the menu on the left, the books in the middle and the blog archive on the right. My view is that the right hand column could be spared for more text, as with this design, the width of the main area of the blog is quite narrow. Still, it’s a great personal design.

Click here to view the blog design 

36. Gisele Jaquenod

Gisele Jaquenod Blog Design

Gisele Jaquenod is a designer originally from Argentina, who now works and lives in Norway. Her blog and website feature her work and portfolio. Gisele does a great job of creating a blog with her own personal style with a unique look and feel.

The blog structure itself is quite standard with a three-column format. However, the uniqueness of the design is where each menu item comes as a banner.

To visit her blog and see the design, click here.

37. Narfstuff

Narfstuff Blog Design

Narfstuff’s design hits you the moment the page loads. The stunning pink design looks great and unique – like a stack of papers and images on a desk.  This web design company created a two-column layout with a beautiful background that gives a unique emphasis to the text and conveys a strong brand look and feel.

To view the blog design, click here.

38. ISO50

ISO50 Blog Design

When your content is great, your design usually comes out great as well. ISO50 has quite a simple design, but when it features some interesting art, the result is a great blog design. The blog features the works of Scott Hansen and others, and the three-column layout has tons of art, which are in similar style, giving the blog a unique look and feel.

To visit ISO50, click here.

39. Chris Contolini

Chris Contolini Blog Design

Brick structure each representing blog posts, mobile uploads, songs and voicemails. This piece of modern art may look like it came out of a museum with its bright colors rather than a usability lab, but it is still interesting.

To review his blog design, click here.

40. Papel Continuo

Papel Continuo Blog Design

This is the website of Allan Peters, a graphic designer from Minneapolis. The blog is dedicated to sharing thoughts and findings about design and the world. I love the old-fashioned printer paper look, which gives the entire blog a vintage look and feel. The design itself is very minimalist, giving ample emphasis to the blog posts themselves.

To see the blog design, click here.

41. Abduzeedo

Abduzeedo Blog Design

This design blog features minimalist design in a grid pattern. Like many other design blogs, it serves as a large canvas to the works of art, with some text below images. The website was founded in 2006 by Brazilian designer Fabio Sasso and his business partner Fabilano Menghetti. It provides inspiration and tutorial for visual artists. Check it out and be inspired.

See Abduzeedo full blog design here.

42. Frieze

Frieze Blog Design

Frieze art magazine uses the grid layout to feature articles with an emphasis on feature images. The articles are in boxes of uneven shapes and you need to scroll down to view more and more articles. The only improvement here is to give more emphasis to the headers by making them more visible.

To visit Frieze, click here

43. AdFed

AdFed Blog Design

The blogs of advertising agencies need to be cool—it’s just a given. Ad Fed is no different, with a great slider on top with stunning images; this agency from Minneapolis does a great job in conveying that advertising is cool.

To see AdFed’s full blog design, click here.

44. Editer

Editer Blog Design

This lifestyle blog and magazine has a minimalist design, but still enough room for images. The articles are featured in a two-column grid. Each box in the grid contains a header, sub-header and an image. It’s a great way to let you view multiple articles in only a few seconds.

View Editer’s blog design by following this link.

45. The Verge

The Verge Blog Design

Just titles and images, this is the theme of The Verge. All you see initially is just the title (and mostly a short one), a blurred image, the author and the number of shares. It looks interesting, but the question is whether this design actually engages people to click, or increases bounce rate.

To visit The Verge, click here.

46. Cycle Love

CycleLove Blog Design

Cycle love features a minimalist design with two columns, one for the posts and one for the shop. This design uses small headers and a lot of whitespace.

To see full blog design, click here.

47. Howls & Whispers

Howls and Whispers Blog Design

Howls and Whispers is a blog dedicated to culture, including music, art, design, literature, and entertainment. The design features a very large slider of images with a small header. Similar to the slider design, the rest of the homepage contains mostly images, each leading to another article. The blog posts themselves are also very visual.

To see review the blog design, click here.

48. Tabitha Emma

Tabitha Emma Blog Design

Tabitha Emma is a designer and illustrator. Her website features minimal design with a lot of whitespace and prominent images. The homepage does not contain a lot of content, so the pages themselves get a lot of attention. In the blog, there are tons of beautiful images, with very little text.

To review the blog design, click here.

49. So Shay

So Shay Blog Design

The blog of Shalyn, a Texan wife & photographer. This blog has a very personal branding with minimal design. The main aim here is to feature Shay’s designs, and this blog does a very good job at that. In addition to her photography, Shay shares some personal notes, like her goals for the summer and her progress.

To visit So Shey and review the blog design, click here.

50. Design Love Fest

Design Love Fest Blog Design

Design Love Fest is the blog of Bri Emery. She is an art director and the Los Angeles-based founder and editor of Design Love Fest, a lifestyle blog with an eye for design in style, DIY, food, travel, entertaining and more. The blog features tons of images with little text, featuring Bri’s love for design.

To review the blog design, click here.

51. Love Taza

Love Taza Blog Design

Love Taza has a great design for a very personal family blog. It features family traditions, vacations and events with stunning images. The authors call it the “Rockstar Diaries” and we agree.

To visit Love Taza and review the blog design, click here.

52. Dan Higbie

Dan Higbie Blog Design

What’s great about Dan Higbie’s blog design is that the background colors change as you scroll down to look at his great pictures. The homepage contains mostly images and the post itself does not appear until you click.

To review the blog design, click here. 

54. Stocktown

Stocktown Blog Design

Stocktown is a video magazine dedicated to video culture. At the top, Stockton features a slider with selected works. Once you scroll down, you can start viewing the videos.

To view Stocktown’s design, click here.

55. The Trend Killer

The TrendKiller Blog Design

This blog is dedicated to “the most radical and innovative artists around”. Great blog logo and a great black background let people get into the atmosphere. The layout is pretty standard with two columns. Articles have a featured image and then a few lines, so you have to click on the post to view it in full.

See the full Trend Killer blog design 

56. Ajayu

Ajayu Blog Design

This blog from Eddie Diaz features resources, tutorials and inspiration for Web and graphic designers. The blog gives valuable real-estate at the top of the blog to the logo, and I think that this is worth it, especially if you want to brand your blog in a way that people remember.

To view this blog’s design, click here.

57. Pitch Design Union

Pitch Design Union Blog

Bold choice of colors here—bright yellow. You cannot ignore the header with this color. Furthermore, some of the text is highlighted with the same tone. Other than the choice of color, it’s a standard two-column design with ample space for the text.

To visit Pitch and view its blog design, click here.

58. Old Gurad

Old Guard Blog Design

Very minimalist design, hardly any images (a few videos), hardly any logo. Each post contains just a date, header and a short blurb.

To see this minimalist blog design, click here.

59. The Kennedys

The Kennedys Blog Design

Tons of videos are featured on the blog of this creative incubator for young creators. Great background in this one-column blog.

See the full blog design here.

60. Squarespace

Squarespace Blog Design

Squarespace, which enables people to build websites in minutes and host them, uses a stunning two-column layout for this blog. I love the way that they use the full screen for the article, allowing you to navigate only by clicking “more articles”. Looks like it really boosts engagement.

See the full blog and the design by clicking here.

61. Sketchblog

SketchBlog Design

I wouldn’t let my kids go near this blog… Could scare them off. Still, great background and great branding that can hardly be ignored by anyone!

See the full blog design here. 

62. Viget Inspire

Viget Inspire Blog Design

Note the artistic look and feel in this interactive design blog. Great logo as well at the top, radiating like the sun. This blog is for UX and visual designers. It has a two-column design with ample room for text.

Visit this blog design by clicking here. 

63. The Pixel

The Pixel Blog Design

This design gives a full emphasis to the text. Minimalist logo and header gives all of the attention to the articles. Each article in the homepage contains a feature image and an excerpt of text, encouraging visitors to read more.

View the full blog design here.

64. Pays Sud Gâtine

Pays Sud Gatine Blog Design

Great animated background that grabs attention immediately. This blog has a very strong theme and very strong branding.

To view the full blog design, click here.

65. MA.TT

Matt Blog Design

The real takeaway from this blog is that minimalist design does not have to be white. Bright colors in a theme that looks like a canvas. It’s a very interesting design and very memorable. One column, virtually no headers, just red text instead… Very artistic. More traditional blog structure can be found if you scroll down.

To visit Matt’s blog, click here.

66. n.design studio

NDesign Studio Blog

I love the header in this blog from Nick La and his design studio. The header is very welcoming and unique. Just shows the advantage of using a powerful image.

To see the full web and blog design, click here.

67. Seattle Cider Company

Seattle Cider Company Blog Design

Close your eyes. Now think about Seattle Cider. What do you see? Probably you’ve imagined something like this image. Great header that really conveys what the company is all about even before seeing the product. To reach the blog, click News and Events.

To view this design, click here.

68. Zensorium

Zensorium Blog Design

Look at how much white space is given at the top. This blog has a minimalist top section that lets the user focus on the articles themselves.

To see the full blog design, click here. 

69. Tyler Somers

Tyler Somers Blog Design

This blog features a great header from Tyler Somers. I love the typography and the background!

To visit the full blog, click here.

70. Ikayzo

Ikayzo Blog Design

This site features a very minimalist design for this digital services company. If you click on the link below, you’ll see that the weaves actually move.

To view Ikayzo blog design, click here.

71. Huge

Huge Blog Design

Huge provides design for sport entertainment. In its website, the company uses powerful images to convey that it’s all about sports. After you go through the intro pages, you see a beautiful grid structure for the blog, with a myriad of images and headers.

To visit the website, click here.

72. Blackhouse

Blackhouse Blog Design

Anyone for a steak? Very impressive intro, but that’s not all. To go to the blog section, go to the newsreel, where you can see a very nicely designed blog. Here instead of scrolling down, you’ll have to flip between articles.

To view Blackhouse’s website design, click here.

73. Soyuz Coffee

Soyuz Coffee Roasting Blog Design

Is there anything that conveys coffee more than this image? This Russian website for a coffee company has a very strong homepage. The Russian blog has a more traditional design, with an image and an excerpt.

To visit the website and blog, click here.

74. Johnny Cupcakes

Johnny Cupcakes Blog Design

Johnny Cupcakes is the website of a cupcake store. The design here is cluttered and really contains tons of blogs, tweets and images, letting you view a lot of information with one quick glance.

To visit Johnny Cupcakes, click here.

75. Brit + Co

Brit-Co Blog design

This website is very British—very polite design that is easy on the eye. It’s a grid design that features just an image, a header and the author (with a headshot) for every article. In the sop section, you can buy some of the artwork with similar colorful designs.

To visit Brit + Co and review the blog design, click here.

76. I Love Typography

I Love Typography Blog Design

I guess everyone loves typography. But what’s interesting about this site is that it has three columns: a wide one for text, another for the popular article and then a narrow one for fonts. This blog is dedicated to reviewing fonts.

To visit the blog, click here.

77. IWDRM

IWDRM Blog Design

IWDRM is hard-core minimalist design. Look, it’s almost entirely whitespace — just with a narrow column of text in the middle. Hardly any text, just images and a quote or a two-line blurb.

To see the full IWDRM blog design, click here. 

78. Awesome People Hanging Out Together

Awesome People Hanging Out Together Blog Design

This is a great Tumblr blog of people together. Just a lot of nice images that you can share on Tumblr.

To visit the blog and see the design, click here.

79. Bookshelf Porn

Bookshelf Porn Blog Design

This photoblog simply features images of bookshelves, but in a nice grid design. I love the way that they all blend together in this impressive collection.

To see Bookshelf Porn’s blog design, click here.

80. Bon Appetempt

Bon Appétempt Blog Design

Bon Appetempt is a food blog that features minimalist designs with lots of high quality images of food. In this two-column blog, you can find visual recipes which look delicious.

To see the blog design, click here.

81. New York Summer

New York Summer Design

It’s not exactly a blog. It’s more of a walkthrough in a story.  You have to experience it.

To see the design, click here. 

82. Heck House

Heck House Blog Design

This blog is dedicated to the work of Bethany Heck, graduate in Graphic Design from Auburn University. Her work has been featured in New York Magazine, the New Yorker, Wired, Smashing Magazine, Uppercase Magazine and several other international publications. This blog has a phenomenal grid design with no space – very unique.

To review Heck House’s design, click here.

83. NovaLumen

Novalumen Theme

NovaLumen is a great WordPress theme that features a huge slider with stills and video. The blog of this theme features a beautiful grid design with images and excerpts. If you want to create a blog quickly and easily, this may be the theme for you.

To see NovaLumen’s design, click here.

84. Promotion Standard

Promotion Standard Theme Design

This is another WordPress theme which is completely animated and is great for a personal blog. The blog section also has a great design with featured images and a two-column layout.

To see the design, click here.

85. Wearegoat

Wearegoat Blog Design

Talking about minimalist, there is hardly anything here. Still, a very unique design for this London-based studio and brand consultancy.

To visit the blog, click here.

86. Alpha Baltic

Alpha Baltic Blog Design

Great grid-based design for this Lithuanian blog. This grid design is very colorful and inviting.

To visit the blog, click here.

87. Merchants Online

Merchants Online Blog Design

This South African blog features very colorful images to get people into its sense of designs. The blog section is really interesting. Just a grid of images with a word or two, and you have absolutely no idea what the post is about until you click. I would be interested to know whether this actually increases or decreases engagement.

To see the design, click here. 

88. Track ‘Em Find ‘Em Kill ‘Em

TRACK-EM--FIND-EM--KILL-EM

A Tumblr site dedicated to the movie “The Expendables”. Simply flip through the images and share them on Tumblr. This is a great design on a different kind of blog.

See the full design by clicking here. 

89. Morfix blog

Morphix Blog Design

This is a great animated design that uses a grid to present the posts.

To visit the blog, click here.

90. Awwwards

Awwwards Blog Design

The blog of a website that gives awards to great designs. Obviously, they had to get it right. Very engaging grid design with featured images and headers.

To see the Awwwards design, click here. 

91. Kulturbanause

Kulturbanause blog design

I really liked the animated header for this blog that welcomes you. Once you scroll down, you get the more standard two-column layout.

To see the full blog design, click here.

92. Gary Nock

Gary Nock Blog Design

Great design for a personal blog of the musician Gary Nock. I love the images that are presented like an old photo album, and the subtle promotion to his channels on social media.

To review the design of this blog, click here. 

93. Sand and Starfish

Sand and Starfish Blog Design

This ecommerce website has a great blog that features their products. It’s a one-column blog that features the lifestyle of the products. A blog in ecommerce is a great way to get more traffic to the site.

To see the full blog design, click here.

94. Epic Agency

Epic Agency Blog Design

Great minimalist design in black for this website. This one-column blog contains almost all text. The black background really lets you focus on reading.

To visit the full blog and review the design, click here.

95. Birchbox

Birchbox Blog Design

This Tumblr blog features products from high-end beauty, lifestyle and grooming brands. One thing I really liked here is the “you might also like” promotion after every post, that boosts engagement.

To see the full design, click here. 

96. Naldz Graphics

Naldz Graphics Blog Design

Grid design that is pretty cluttered, but does a good work of featuring lots of articles at one glance.

To see the design, click here.

98.  Creative Overflow

Creativeoverflow Blog Design

This blog has two columns and gives ample space for the main column of images and text.

To see the blog design, click here.

99. De Zeen

Dezeen Blog Design

This design blog has a stunning header, which is like modern art.

To visit the blog and review the awesome design, click here.

100. Target Pulse

Target Pulse Blog Design

Target Pulse’s grid design lets you browse quickly between articles.

To visit the Pulse, and see the blog design, click here.

Conclusion

Design is one of the first things that people notice when visiting your blog, so it’s well worth the investment. However, don’t just think beauty—user experience is as important in order to keep people engaged. Get your own blog design ideas and inspiration from these stellar designs.

In-Depth Guide: Small Business Social Media Marketing Strategy

Drive more business and increase revenue with a robust social media marketing strategy. Discover the top metrics, best practices and tools.

Getting Viral Social Meida

Social media is everywhere! We all communicate via social networks, keep in touch with friends and family and find reviews about products and services. It’s only natural that every small and medium business owner would like to be engaging prospects on social. However, with limited resources, you need a sustainable social media marketing strategy.

Do you have the right metrics?

When talking about social media marketing strategy, it’s easy to fall into some very nasty traps. You have to be cautious about the type of metrics that you follow. For example, are 10,000 Facebook followers good or bad? The answer may not be as simple as you think: 10,000 engaged followers are good, while 10,000 unengaged followers are bad.

Measuring Social Media Metrics

A great way to measure your social media marketing strategy influence is by using Klout. Klout helps you see how engaged people are with your content and what your social strength is. It also helps you measure it over time. The secret is Klout Score, a measure of social media influence that was developed by Klout and takes into account multiple variables, rather than just one or two.

A great social media marketing strategy is not only about the numbers, but also about the revenue. Therefore, don’t be fooled just by the number of followers and fans. Try to measure the business impact of your overall social media marketing strategy.

The danger is that most business owners develop a social media marketing strategy that aims to increase the number of followers. The sad truth is that social media marketing managers have developed some not-highly-ethical strategies that help them continuously meet those numbers.

Social media gigs on Fiverr

For example, meet the website Fiverr.com. This website helps you hire people for “gigs”. A quick count shows that there are over 30k such gigs on Fiverr covering Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and everything in between. Looking for Facebook likes? Get 500 for just five dollars.

When considering your social media marketing strategy, take this into account. As you may imagine, these are not real people but fake accounts. These are likely to generate zero business and in fact, may actually decrease your ability to reach real prospects. Social network are focused on promoting quality content. They identify quality content by measuring engagement. If your content does not generate engagement (just because those fake likes never engage with your content), your posts will not appear on your prospects’ wall.

A robust social media marketing strategy cannot include these kinds of shortcuts. Therefore, if you want more sales, leads, and a strong brand resulting in a social media strategy that works, read on.

A social media marketing plan that fits your business

Social media marketing strategy and business is not a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, people are more likely to share and engage with images of cats, luxury restaurants and beach vacations than your consulting service or your interesting article about tax savings.

Social media is personal. People share and engage with content that they care about, or that their friends care about. There needs to be a connection in order for social media content to thrive.

Another important insight for your social media marketing strategy is that people are not active on social media in order to look for new products and services. How then can you get people’s attention?

Social media is entertainment and fun. Therefore, any content featuring a hard sell is likely not to succeed in your social media marketing strategy, while light, entertaining, fun content is more likely to thrive and become viral.

Therefore, start your social media marketing strategy with an audience research. Find out what your potential prospects care about and what triggers them to act. Start by researching what your audience does online—which websites they visit, what they are sharing on social networks and what they post.

After following this stage, you should have your target persona, an imaginary person who is your typical buyer. You should know everything about this persona—hobbies, age, demographic, brands that he or she likes. Many times, social media marketers develop multiple personas and target each with a different type of content in their social media marketing strategy.

Discover your audience for your social media marketing strategy

Here are some of the resources that you can use in order to find our more about your audience:

  1. Google: A simple Google search can help you identify the most popular websites in your niche. Visit the top 10 results in order to discover the type of content that these websites are creating and the tone that they are using. In addition, a Google search can also help you understand who is advertising in your niche. Some of these websites also create online marketing communities that let you contribute and promote your business.
  2. Quora: Quora is a Q&A platform that has some of the most intelligent people on-board and hundreds of topics to follow. You can start answering the questions and that will let you know what your online audience wants.
  3. Participating on Social Media on Quora

You also get thousands of visits to your answers and steadily you can become an authority and brand yourself. I have seen all kinds of people— Jimmy Wales (Wikipaedia), Kathryn Aragon (editor at CrazyEgg), Sheryl Sandberg (Yahoo) and many more people answering questions. It will do much good for branding, discovering pain points and finding yourself.

See some random user stats

user stats on social media network Quora

  1. 3. Forums: For almost everything today, there are forums and communities where people are consistently searching for answers and solutions. What better way to find out what your audience needs than to dig through them? Just search on Google for “forum followed by a keyword”.
  2. Use Facebook Graph Search: A new entrant and something that most people miss. But with a billion friends, and counting Facebook’s graph search cannot be ignored. It lets you search for people with specific criteria. Do I need explain more what it can do for your business?
  3. 5. Start asking: Gathering feedback is a great way to produce good content. Often when uploading videos on YouTube I get questions about the video. In addition to answering I ask them: “What more do you need?” Believe me when I say that this technique alone has given me more good ideas than I can count.

To gather feedback, you can also employ online survey tools like Qualaroo, which is free to use. One tip you can use is keeping the survey short. Don’t ask for unnecessary information just because everyone seems to be doing it. Research has showed time and time again that the number of responses goes down as the number of questions increases.

In addition, avoid multiple-choice questions. You don’t want to create a feel as if they people are back in high school exams. The secret for a great survey is KISS—keep it simple stupid.

Great content marketing

Once you have identified what you audience needs it’s time to create content that is truly awesome. It should be so good that people do not want to share it. Just like this one below:

Great social media content

There are scores of bloggers especially in the Internet marketing space who started a few months ago and have done the impossible by the very same formula.  Content marketing is the holy grail of marketing.

After knowing what type of content and topics engage your audience, you need to start with the formidable task of creating great content. You can create content yourself, or outsource this task to professional content writers who can help you with writing while you manage your business.

How to increase social sharing

After you’ve created some stellar content, it’s time to use it in order to generate social shares and build your audience. However, getting shares requires more than just great content—it requires nudging people. Unfortunately, people would not necessarily share your content just because they think it’s great. They need reminders and incentives to do so.

Therefore, by offering incentives, you can increase your shares significantly. Some great strategies for increasing shares include a bonus—a file, a picture that the readers can’t do without.

In this post for example, the author has listed 120 plus sites that pay for guest posts. He also wants the readers to share the post: and he knows that people reading it are highly interested in knowing about the actual income generated.

Social media content locker

So, that screenshot is locked and is only activated after the reader shares the post. Matthew Woodward was able to generate social shares in excess of 40,000 using this exact same method.

Check this out:

hacking-social-shares

If your content is good, then the shares multiply as more people see it and you can actually hack social shares. Now let’s move over to something else.

How to make videos go viral

YouTube is another piece of the social marketing puzzle. It presents an untapped opportunity, as it’s not easy or cheap to produce a video. A professionally produced video can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $50,000 and that’s a warm-up.

Michael Kory of Michael Kory fitness does something similar. He makes short videos on his fitness regime, diet plans and things like that—all of which are lead generators for his membership site that starts at $5 a month.

The advantage is that these videos don’t cost a dime to produce. Leveraging the vast power of the social networking site YouTube to drive an insane mount of traffic to his site has made him very rich though.

In the initial 48 hours of Dollar Shaving Club video being posted online, it racked up 12000 new users. Was it because of the machete-wielding CEO who delivers an F-bomb?

It isn’t!

Lots of bells and whistles aren’t what make a video go viral, and indeed if it does go viral because of that, it won’t do anything for your business. Every line of the script has to convey what the benefits are. With Dollar Shaving Club the promise was simple— excellent blades, delivered to your doorstep at a fraction of the cost.

Simply ask!

Simply asking for shares also works. See this one for example:

Social media likes

If you aren’t getting any traction on social media then there could be some major problems with the way you are promoting content. Or it could be because of the wrong channels.

One of the reasons why social media remains an enigma for business owners is because they don’t consistently post to social media. In order for social media to work for you, you need to create consistent expectations. Erratic social media posting often due to a lack of planning and laziness results in visitors not being able to determine what to expect and subsequent loss in interest.

Consistent posting is one of the key drivers of growth. However, don’t overdo it.

Create some controversy

Samsung has been a controversial marketer for ages. It copied a lot of Apple designs and even names, Apple iPhone 4s, Samsung Galaxy s4, sounds familiar?

Recently it launched a video that trolled the new iPhone. With that said, it spread like wildfire and the video was featured on lots of sites covering the latest in tech including Mashable. Here is the post on Mashable, “Samsung trolls iPhone”.

Sometime back, when Samsung was fined for stealing designs, there were some rumors that Samsung paid the fine in nickels. It was later found out that this news was hoax. Fake or not, controversy creates social charm and can make anything go viral.

If you are familiar with the fitness industry then you must have heard of the product “Truth about abs”. Back then when it was launched there was no one in the industry who offered 75% commissions to its affiliates. And they created a lot of controversy and news, which made the sales jump off the chart. It still is one of the best-selling products in the market.

Social media marketing strategies that suck

Sweepstakes may not work anymore. This post tells it perfectly.

“Based on the same data we used to measure the effectiveness of the share feature, among 108,800 sweepstakes participants, 71,400 invitations were sent, one participant generating 0.65 invitations.” Looks promising!

But then, it gets ugly… “Only 0.23% of these invitations were accepted, bringing in 165 new participants.” Yes, you read that right, 71,400 invitations led to 165 participants, meaning 71,235 people who were invited refused or ignored the invitation.

Are you still counting on the “invite your friends” feature to help your Facebook sweepstakes go viral?

Social media strategies

Conclusion

Social media marketing strategy is not a piece-of-cake. It takes a good amount of research as well as lots of trials and errors before you hit on something that makes your business go viral. That said, you can succeed by applying the tips discussed above.

Going viral shouldn’t be your goal. If you get good leads and conversions, that’s more than you can hope for in the mad world of social media and attention spans of 5 seconds.

27 WordPress Tools, Tips and Tricks That Can Save 50% of Your Time

Invest more time creating great content, not just managing WordPress. Be more efficient and effective with these tools, tips and tricks.

WordPress is a great publishing platform that allows you to manage your blog and publish new content quickly and easily. WordPress comes with lots of time-saving features for publishing new content as compared to other Content Management Systems (CMS), but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

WordPress is also the most popular CMS out there. According to the stats, users produce over 43.7 million new posts on WordPress every month, and these are viewed by 409 million people. Amazing figures, isn’t it?

WordPress has a large number of scripts that are built in, but it is also very flexible. There are two main ways to change WordPress to help you create more content faster. First, you can use one of the thousands of quality plugins that can do anything from managing your SEO to capturing leads and help you with your markeitng.

Here are 27 tools, tips and tricks that can help you optimize WordPress to save 50% of your time creating new content.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins are great extensions that can help you do more things with WordPress. There are a lot of WordPress plugins available that make you more productive and save you a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted.

1. Ideas WordPress plugin

All of those times when you have a great idea for a blog post or content and you just forget them after a few minutes and ask yourself “what was that great idea?”

Ideas adds a custom post type on the sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. This area can be used to save notes, in other words future post ideas, inspiration. You can quickly write them down as they come up and revisit them when you need those ideas for new content.

Ideas WordPress plugin

Ideas is a great replacement for jotting down in a diary which may be forgotten, or using external applications like Evernote; keeping these notes on WordPress itself makes access easier.

2. Organize Series

Organize Series WordPress Plugin

Do you write series of posts? In WordPress, it may be hard to create a series of related content items. However, Organize Series makes writing related posts easier. It introduces a custom taxonomy for the related posts. Also, at the end of each post, a line displays the information regarding which part of the original post is this one say 1, 2 or 4. Managing related posts is no longer a hassle, thus saving you time.

3. Faster Image Insert

Faster Image Insert WordPress Plugin

If you have downloaded lots of images that you want to save to WordPress directly then this plugin can come in handy. Faster Image Insert not only makes uploading easier but you can effortlessly edit titles and alt texts of all the images en masse.

4. WP Smush.it

WP Smush It WordPress Plugin

Images do take a lot of space and can considerably increase page load speeds. If you are in the habit of compressing these images one by one then you’d be losing a lot of time on it. WP Smush.it compresses all the images automatically. You get to kill two birds with one stone— you get higher rankings, since site speed is a ranking factor, and you save a lot of your precious time.

5. Google Analytics Dashboard

Google Analytics Dashboard WordPress Plugin

Every blogger needs to check stats – how many visitors actually view your posts, what’s popular, how engaged people are and what is bringing more traffic. Google Analytics is great, but it requires you to log in to another platform.

Checking stats is addictive. Therefore, bringing Google Analytics right into WordPress gives you a one-stop-shop for your blog. Google Analytics Dashboard WordPress plugin helps you do just that—bring your Google Analytics stats into your WordPress.

6. Search and Replace

Search and Replace WordPress Plugin

Search and Replace WordPress plugin lets you find strings and replace them with another string in your SQL database. This allows you to replace words across your database. For example, if your company changes its name, or a person is promoted, you don’t have to go over all of your blog post to find and replace names or titles. Simply use this plugin.

7. WP Inject

WP Inject WordPress Plugin

It’s no secret – blog posts with images generate a lot more engagement as compared to blog posts that contain pure text. However, the job of sorting through and finding images, specifically if you are looking for free ones, is not easy.

WP Inject saves you a lot of time by removing the hassle behind finding images that are free to use. In the WordPress dashboard itself, WP Inject would go through millions of Flickr images and filter them by license so that you can use them.

8. Backupbuddy

Backupbuddy

Waking up with cold sweat worrying that your website is gone? BackupBuddy is designed to give you peace of mind. Just imagine the time you would be wasting if someone hacks into your WordPress dashboard and deletes the database. Once you have set up Backupbuddy, everything will be automatically uploaded to Cloud and you need not worry about anything.

9. Really Simple Guest Post plugin

Really Simple Guest Post plugin

Posting a guest post to WordPress can be cumbersome. But there is a solution that can help you avoid opening new accounts for people who will post a single post and streamline the entire process. Really Simple Guest Post plugin will set up a form where guest bloggers can submit the post. It will automatically be saved as pending post. It saves you tons of time as compared to getting a Word document, formatting it and posting it all by yourself.

10. Photodropper

photodropper

Similar to WP Inject, Photodropper lets you search from hundreds and thousands of creative-commons images and allows you to use them without leaving the WordPress dashboard ever. Talk about saving time.

11. Yoast SEO plugin

Yoast WordPress Plugin

If SEO is important for you, then Yoast SEO plugin is a one-stop-solution for your WordPress needs. It can help you set up meta tags, meta keywords, description and optimize the post to a great extent. It analyzes the content so that it meets the standards and also helps generate XML sitemaps without the need of another plugin.

12. JetPack plugin

JetPack WordPress Plugin

The Jetpack WordPress plugin supercharges your WordPress site. One of the main feature is stats reporting without any additional load on the server. It monitors the site and lets you know of any troubles via the notifications systems. It lets you display recent tweets and there are over 30 to 40 things that you can automate with Jetpack on WordPress. The full list is here.

13. Appointments+ plugin

appointments-plus WordPress Plugin

If you run a small practice and accept meetings, Appointments+ will save you time scheduling and accepting meetings. If you run a service site on WordPress, then this plugin can be a real boon because it makes the following possible:

  • Customers book their own appointments on your site
  • Schedule appointments with clients
  • Manage customer contact information
  • Collect payments using PayPal
  • Manage the team, create unlimited service providers and unlimited services
  • Send confirmation and reminder emails with ease
  • Book appointments one year in advance
  • Manage everything with WordPress

If This Then That (IFTT)

IFTTT is short for If This Then That. It can help you schedule and do a lot of your daily tasks in an automated way. Though setting it all up the first time would take a couple of hours, at the end of the day the time saved more than makes up for the initial time spent. Just set it and forget.

IFTT can help do most social media tasks that would actually take you hours without automation.

14. Publish to Facebook

When you add a new post on the site it automatically gets published to Facebook.
IFTTT Recipe: Add a new WordPress post & it updates your Facebook Page with a link post connects wordpress to facebook-pages 

15. Post from Facebook to WordPress

You can also set a recipe to automatically post Facebook posts to WordPress as posts. IFTTT Recipe: Links posted to my fan page are turned into blog posts with a reminder to visit the fan page. connects facebook-pages to wordpress

16. Tweet your post

For most people, tweeting is a job in itself. With IFTT you can automatically publish links to your published posts as tweets and get traffic from Twitter automatically.

IFTTT Recipe: Tweet my WordPress blog posts connects wordpress to twitter

17. Post to Gmail

You can save a recipe wherein whenever you publish a new post it get saved to Gmail along post title, post URL and content. IFTTT Recipe: WP to Google Plus connects wordpress to gmail

18. Email to post

Also, an email sent can be published as a post

IFTTT Recipe: Email to WordPress connects gmail to wordpress

19. YouTube to post

To publish a video to your site whenever you upload something to YouTube IFTTT Recipe: Allows for an automatic post from any uploaded #Youtube video to your #wordpress #blog with the vide connects youtube to wordpress

20. WordPress to Evernote

WordPress posts can be automatically sent to Evernote.

IFTTT Recipe: Archive WordPress posts to Evernote connects wordpress to evernote

21. Update post to LinkedIn

New posts can be sent as an update in LinkedIn. IFTTT Recipe: When Updating WordPress, Update LinkedIn  connects wordpress to linkedin

21. Save blog post to Google Drive

WordPress posts can also be saved to Google Drive.

IFTTT Recipe: Backup new WordPress posts to Google Drive connects wordpress to google-drive

22. Post RSS to your website

Post an RSS feed to your site. IFTTT Recipe: RSS Feed to WordPress Blog connects feed to wordpress

Other code snippets

23. Reupload images which you deleted by mistake

I often wondered if there was an easy way to get those images back which were deleted by mistake. And it turns out that there’s one such script from github that lets you do that. It scans the entire database and reuploads folders, restoring images.

24. Easy debugging of WordPress with Easy Debug Info Plugin

You can use this plugin to know about various debug infos and statistics on your WordPress site. It collects data points from server environment, WordPress theme installed, plugins being used version database details and a lot more.

Here’s the link.

25. Hide the WordPress version information

One of the very first things that hackers do in determining loopholes to hack your site is finding out which WordPress version you are using. There’s no easy way to do this, but adding this code in the functions file should help you. To access the code, click here.

26. Send emails with WordPress

Save tons of time by sending automatic emails directly from WordPress. I was surprised when I found out about this. WordPress supports mailing functions. Using wp_mail () you can send either plain-text or html emails. Get the code here.

27. Opening links in new windows

It’s a good practice to open external links in a new tab or window in order to lower your bounce rate. If you are someone who wants all external links to open in a new window but does not wish to go through each and every link and change it manually to open in a new window, then this is the perfect script for you. To get the script, follow this link.

Conclusion

These are some of my favorite time-saving hacks when working with WordPress. WordPress is not an ordinary CMS platform. It has such a huge community that WordPress is more of an advanced weapon developed by the smartest individuals worldwide.

Check Out These 6 Smokin’ Hot Web Design Trends

Online, Web design is everything. These are some of the 6 hottest Web design trends to watch before they explode and appear everywhere!

Designers are experimenting with new concepts and Web design ideas all the time. The Web design concepts are becoming bolder, more exciting, and more beautiful. They present even more challenges to designers, as every Web design needs to consider multiple aspects—UX, mobile responsiveness, online marketing, hot new trends as well as browser capabilities and SEO.

Here are some of the hottest trends that you should incorporate into your portfolio today.

1. Modular design

Keynote Modular Web DesignModular designs are like PowerPoint slides. The single most important point of difference between sites with and without modular design is this — modular sites don’t have a continuous page. Instead, you will find that the various elements are stacked atop each other. All these elements are screen-sized and as you reach the end of one, it slides away.

Keynote is a good example of a site with modular design.

One difficulty with modular web designs is that it is difficult to control how they behave on different screens like mobiles or tablets. All the web design elements need to be responsive for this to work properly.

Most Content Management Systems like the popular WordPress let you type in text and include images in a template style box. There’s no way you can alter this arrangement. Modular design works by thinking entirely out of this box.

Modular Web design lets you add any type of content, be it text or media and at the same time arrange it in the way you please. The different kinds of content are called blocks and can be sorted or re-sorted in multiple ways.

Modular Web design can be used for creating landing pages, blog posts and many other web experiences.

Look at all the possibilities of the system below:

The biggest opportunity is that you can design unique templates for different areas of the site. The homepage can be set differently than the product pages; review pieces differently and blog posts differently.

For the blog section of the website, this can be especially great design. Blogs are becoming more visual as visual content is gaining more popularity.  As you are blogging you can create a custom unique experience to engage users.

Here is an excellent primer on how you can design modular websites with ease.

2. White space is given prominence

Look at these sites, which have a generous helping of white space in their design.

White space in web design

White space is also called negative space, primarily because there’s nothing in that space. It’s the empty space between the constituent elements.

The space is not always white and necessarily need not be so. It can be a texture or other color, an area that is devoid of screen elements.

White space around a screen element, say the CTA, makes it the central point of focus. It stands out and calls out to visitors.

White space in Web design makes it easier for people to read text. Research finds that including white space improved comprehension by as much as 20%. That’s no joke.

What are the advantages of white space?

Makes text easier to scan in your Web design
White space reduces the amount of text that visitors see all at once and makes reading much easier. On the web, nothing is uglier than a cluttered page. It cannot lead users to an action. People stop reading when they find that it’s taxing them too much.

Text legibility in web design

Micro white space improves legibility

When The Economist realized that their design was too heavy and the content difficult to read, they proceeded with hiring Erik Spiekermann for the job.

web design white space

Erik in his redesign of The Economist proceeded by adding more white space and used a slightly smaller type with more leading. These small changes are called micro white spaces.

The results?

The content was now noticeably legible, less dense and didn’t overwhelm the visitor.

Another example of employing micro white space is Google.com. Look at how Google has changed the way the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) are presented over the years:

The changes are subtle but if you are looking at the right places you will find that white space has increased over time. The homepage is a work of art in itself, an embodiment of the phrase: “simplicity is the ultimate complexity”.

Comparatively, a glance at the Yahoo homepage shows that they have thrown out every design principle out of the window. They want visitors to see everything and use everything. With attention spans lowering, no wonder Yahoo is sinking.

Whitespace leads the eye
According to Carla Rose, white space can guide visitors’ eyes from one point to the other, the proper use of which brings the important elements into focus. You can make your titles stand out with whitespace. Also, Rose claims that,

White space doesn’t have to be large. Just a generous ‘gutter’ between text and pictures can make a big difference.”

Sets the tone

White space can set the tone for an atmosphere. See the difference between the content used for a mailing and the one used for the website:

The content is exactly the same, same images; even the copy is same, the only difference being in the amount of white space.

The second image conveys class and luxury. The whitespace sets the tone.

Helps in brand positioning by creating a feel of elegance
The use of whitespace can work wonders for brand positioning. According to graphic designer Mark Boulton:

A lot more goes into brand positioning than just whitespace, but as a brief lands on your desk for a luxury brand, it’s very likely that the client—and their target audience—expects whitespace and plenty of it to align the product with its competitors.”

Look at Apple’s homepage:

Apple's homepage design

It’s the white space that conveys sophistication of the product.

This article covers a lot of examples where white space was effectively used to convey elegance and class.

Gives breathing space to CTAs

According to Oli Gardner of Unbounce, white space gives breathing space to the CTA. He calls it a design element that one cannot do without.

Arguments against using white space

The primary argument against using white space is the belief that users don’t scroll down. Of course Nielsen wrote a case study where he showed that people don’t scroll much but that was years ago and habits have changed. New research proves that users do scroll and it’s the easiest thing to do on a webpage.

Designers and marketers who hold “above the fold” theory want as much content as possible and, hence, lobby for decreasing whitespace. However, white space has been proven to work time and again.

3. Typography in Web design

Just look at this site. See the different combinations of types:

Typography in Web Design I would argue that instead of using commonly known fonts like Georgia or Ariel, designers should go with different font types. Each brand is unique and different typesets can convey the emotion and uniqueness of the brand in their own way.

In order to stand out, you need a different voice. Typography lends voice to your creation.

Avoid combining typefaces from the same categories

 The effect of contrast that we wanted while using different fonts will be nullified if we take fonts from the same category. It’s better not to use Wisdom Script, Ecolier,Pacifico, Allura, Sail, etc. together since they all belong to the script category.

Assign distinct roles to typefaces

You can use a certain typeface for the main heading, a different one for the body and another one for the sub heading.

The author slug can be assigned a bold heading with a distinctive type face too. Using 3 or 4 fonts this way creates a rich typographic mix.

In the above example, Akzidenz Grotesk Bold was used for the author slug, Bembo is used as the body typeface, while Akzidenz Grotesk Medium makes for the sub headings.

When using different fonts, you can increase the font sizes of each font to make the difference appear distinctive and give a good contrast. However,  do not mix too many fonts. It creates contrast in a very unpleasant manner.

Combine fonts from the same family to create visual harmony as shown below, where typeface from the same family Arno Pro is used:

Vary Typographic colors

Before we go in-depth to typographic colors, we need to understand a few terms like weight, width, leading and kerning.

Using the general guidelines above, we can experiment with a lot of typefaces with the help of a few tools:

  • Font weight: The font weight refers to how light or bold the font is. The heavier it is the bolder it will appear.
  • Stroke width: It refers to the width of the major lines comprising a letter form. While a wider stroke makes a letter bolder, a narrower stroke makes a letter lighter.
  • Leading: Leading comes from an earlier time when metal lines were used in type to set the space. To make the document legible, the amount of space added to the lines is called leading.
  • Kerning: Kerning is the adjustment of the character spacing in a proportional font to achieve a visually pleasing result.

You can go to Kern Type and try to achieve pleasant and readable text by distributing the space or kerning between the letters.

Kerning in Web Design

You can vary the leading and kerning and experiment with font weights and stroke widths to create a contrast in the text.

Get a feel of the typefaces and break the rules

Combining typefaces is more of an art than a science and we need to approach it in the same manner. While split testing can reveal what works best, only experimentation can effectively help discovering what to split test. You need to know your fonts. Print them out, take a look at those classic fonts, stare at them and you’ll finally know what ticks, which combinations work best.

4. Flat UI

Flat UI is a minimalistic approach to design that gives the illusion of three-dimensions and focuses on using simple elements and typography. Elements like drop shadows, gradients, or textures are the key aspects of Flat UI.

Windows 8 brought it to the mainstream, you can find it on Microsoft Metro used on Windows phones, Apple’s Yosemite Google’s material design and you can see something similar on iOS7 as well.

When Apple does something, we can be sure that the world will follow.

Mobile-ready sites rule the roost

Mobile is dominating the web today and it will continue to do so for the coming years.

For the consumer, mobile is always at hand.

With more people accessing internet on smartphones, the desire for speed has grown. Users are even more impatient on mobile, and the faster the site loads, the better it is for business. Even Google has inculcated site speed as a metric that determines rankings.

As it is, designers need to rethink about the UX in their Web design on mobile and design sites that are easier to grasp on mobile.

5. Video/Moving backgrounds

Video and mobile backgrounds are gaining popularity. Just visit PayPal’s homepage to see a moving video background.

Video content in Web Design

There’s a reason behind this love for videos.

Over 80% of users recall seeing video ads and 52% took some kind of action based on the ad.

51% of the participants in a ReelSEO survey said that they watched a video because someone recommended it to them.

If a site has an excellent explainer or intro video, it’s possible that the site will go viral by word of mouth.

As such sites with videos on the homepage are increasing, even copywriting site Copyblogger’s homepage has an explainer video in action.

6. Richer Web content

Richer content combining text, images, video and interactive functionality are being adopted on different sites. Websites use modular content as different people like to consume content in different ways.

In addition, people generally do not want to read a lot of text when accessing websites from their tablet or phone. Therefore, using video, images and text creates an ideal combination that increases engagement!

The takeaways

As you’ve seen, newer designs are taking over and design elements are brought into focus faster than ever. Video has replaced text on the homepages of sites and is driving even more conversions. And who would have thought that adding a little white space or different fonts could make a difference and mean so many different things.

The world of Web design is changing quickly and is very exciting. Keep watching out for different trends in order to make your designs, blog content or website as exciting as ever.

The 14 A/B Tests that Revolutionized Online Marketing

These online marketing experts thought their design and copy were awesome, but when they did an A/B test, OMG! They found they were leaving money on the table!

A/B testing is a process where two experiments are run simultaneously between an existing design and another version of the design with some changes. It lets you know what would work best for your site; which headline would lead to more conversions, what copywriting suits the visitor’s eyes, and things like that. A/B testing can help you increase revenues and build sites that your customers like. This is possible because with each A/B test you get to know more about them.

Generally while conducting A/B tests, half of your traffic is shown the original design. Let’s call this Version A and the other half is shown the modified design, which we will call Version B. To get optimum results, we test one thing at a time. It would be unwise to change the color of the CTA (Call to Action) button and the copy at the same time. If the conversions increase, we would not know what actually caused it (it can be either the button, the copy or both). Conversely, if conversions went down we would not not know what caused it either — so it simply does not make any sense to test more than one thing at a time.

Here are 14 A/B tests that revolutionized the world of online marketing:

1. The headline that increased sales

AB Testing for AppSumo

The founder of Appsumo released a new course called Monthly1k on helping people set up their own businesses. There are two versions: Version B has the headline that says, “How to make your first dollar?” but Version A’s headline, ‘How To Make A $1,000 A Month Business,’ increased sales of this $300 course by 6.49%.

It’s clear that people are more interested in learning how to have a sustainable career rather than learning the basics of making money.

This split-test shows us the importance of a headline. According to Dave Ogilvy,

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as those who read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

According to John Caples of ‘Tested Advertising Methods, there are three elements to a successful headline.

  1. Self Interest: Your headline should let the reader know what’s in it for them.
  2. News: People love to be informed; news-like elements gain immediate attention.
  3. Curiosity: The headline should generate curiosity, ask a question, state a fact, and include some numbers in the headline.

The headline can make or break the success of your landing page. Here is the link to the site, so you can see for yourself how headline is the key for successful online marketing.

2. The mobile landing page that increased leads by 166%

AB Testing for Mobile Website

Image Source

Version A, without a background image, increased leads by 166%. Faces are a great addition in most cases. But a general rule when using faces is that they should look at the CTA. In this case, the person looks up, making people gaze towards the “back” button or URL bar, and bounce off the page.  As expected, Version B created confusion for visitors, thus it failed in getting leads.

3. Which form increased sales?

Form AB Testing for Online Marketing

Image Source

Forms are the pinnacle of online marketing. This is where your traffic converts to money (either by buying something or from online leads). However, it is not a secret that people don’t like to fill out forms (as they don’t like filling out forms off-line).

Don’t be blinded by the images or the red CTA button. When it comes to forms, the shorter they are, the better. Shorter forms take less time, so it is no surprise that Version B, which had the shorter form, outperformed Version A.

4. Changing an image brings 3x more conversions

This test was done by hosting company, Hawk.

Online Marketing Version B Image Source

The original homepage contained the image of a globe, which is generally used by hosting companies. However, when it was changed to the image of a padlock, the conversions went up by 3x. It seems that image of the padlock increased the visitor’s confidence and trust in the security of Hawk’s hosting services.

Online Marketing Version B

In fact, this is a great lesson. One of the goals of online marketing is to inspire trust in visitors. The Web is full of hackers, bogus companies and malware, so people want to know that they are in good hands.

5. Changing button color increases conversions

Hubspot designed landing pages for Performable — one with the CTA button in red, while the second one with the CTA button in green. It was observed that the red button had a 21% higher conversion rate.

Preformable AB Test

Image Source

I have a warning, though. When it comes to tests on color, nothing can be generalized. What worked for Performable may or may not work for you.

What would work is this. Find out if the CTA button presents a contrast and stands out in its own right. If the entire page is in blue then a big orange button can work magic, as these two colors provide a lot of contrast. Almost any color would work in a white background.

You won’t find out unless you test.

6. Purple CTA brings in 1.5X more conversions

To illustrate my point, see this A/B test where a purple CTA brought in more conversions than the original CTA color.

AB Test Yellow Button

 

AB Test Orange Button

 

Image Source

While the yellow-button variation converted 32% of visitors, the purple-button CTA had a conversion rate of 48%. The reason it worked was that the original CTA was far too blended in with the site design. Another factor was that a large percentage of the site’s visitors were senior citizens who frequently visited the site. When the CTA changed to purple, that was not something that they could ignore.

7. Adding Security Seal Increases Conversions

When Oriental Furniture added a Buy Safe seal to their website, they found that they had a 7.6% increase in conversions. While security seals do work for some sites, they don’t always increase conversions.

Online Marketing - Security Seal Next to Form 

Source

8. Removing the security seal increases conversions by 400%

Online Marketing - Adding Security Seal

 

Online Marketing - Removing Security Seal

As I said earlier, security badges don’t have a positive impact at all times.

When the security badge was removed from the ICouponBlog, they saw a 400% increase in conversions over 3 days. In two previous case studies, adding a security badge or a padlock to the site increased conversions.  In this case it was the complete opposite. Maybe the people on a coupon blog don’t want to immediately be led to buying and the badge evoked a mental imagery of shopping carts? Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine

9. Maintaining a scent helped conversions

At first look it seems that Version B is the winner with a crisp headline and supporting sub-headers. However, there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

eCommerce AB Test

Image source

Tests revealed that Version A had a higher conversion rate and increased leads by 115%.

The reason was that the PPC ad copy sounded similar to landing page A.

According to online marketing and conversion optimization expert Peep Laja:

Want to know how to deal a serious blow to your landing page conversions? Have the landing page look different from the online advertisement the consumer just viewed and have the landing page contain a different message/keywords.

So, even if a landing page comes with a snappier copy, it may not help the conversions if it doesn’t match the ad copy.

To maintain a scent, you need to do the following:

  1. Match the ad copy to the landing page copy.
  2. Match the ad design to the landing page design; similar color schemes, same imagery, almost a replica of the ad.

10. Explainer video brings $21,000 in additional revenue

Neil Patel found that when he added an explainer video to the CrazyEgg homepage, it led to a $21,000 increase in monthly revenue.

Crazy Egg Explainer Video

Here’s something to be careful about it though. An explainer video may not work if the script is not good.

The goal with the video is to explain your customer’s problems and if you aren’t able to do that, conversions may go down instead of up.

11. Image beats video and brings in an additional revenue of $106,000

Brookdale Living is a site for senior citizens and offers community living solutions for them. The problem was that their community page was lack-luster — a bare-bone structure with minimum graphics and no testimonials.

AB Test for Home

For an established site with huge traffic, there was something that needed to change.

Two variations were developed: one included the image of an elderly woman and the second variation had a video. The image brought in an increase in conversions of 3.92%, while the video fared only 0.85% better than the lack-luster original design.

The increase in conversions meant an additional $106,000 in revenues. All of that money for an image of an old woman. Videos, therefore, may not always bring more money on the table.

My conclusion is that when it comes to explaining the technical nature of a product, videos work like a charm. But the case may reverse if a site doesn’t actually require a video.

12. Social proof decreases conversions

Social proof is big. It may, however, not work in the way you think it would. In Version B, there is an additional rating with community ratings for each of the suppliers. However, the addition of the community rating confused the site’s visitors and this led to lower conversions.

Social Proof AB Test

Source

13. Removing social sharing buttons increases conversions

Taloon, an eCommerce site specializing in plumbing and electrical items, wanted to see the impact of introducing social sharing buttons on their product pages. On most Internet marketing blogs, including social sharing buttons are a norm, but for Talon, the split-test revealed that the variation without sharing buttons increased conversions by 11.9%.

Online Marketing for Social

Image source

The reason may be the negative social proof on product pages. Most of the product pages had no social shares at all which would have led users to not trust the site.

14. Facebook login decreases sales

Facebook Login AB Test Version A

 

Facebook Login AB Test Version B Image Source

I generally prefer a Facebook login option if there is one. However, BliVakker, a leading eCommerce site offering cosmetic products, uses Visual Web Optimizer to optimize their checkout process.

Among the many tests they ran, one was about using Facebook logins. They tested the checkout page with and without Facebook logins. The results were surprising, to say the least. The checkout page without Facebook increased conversions by3%, which led to $10,000 in additional revenue per week.

Concluding thoughts about online marketing and A/B Testing!

While reading this post, you have come across many contradictory case studies. While for one site adding a video increased the revenue, for another site the conversions went down. Facebook logins, which make it easy for customers to complete the checkout, were seen as a negative force in conversions, and security seals, which work in increasing conversions 90% of the time, contributed to bringing them down.

There are also split tests on using different colors. And I believe many of you would swear by your favorite colors. In Conversion Rate Optimization, testing is the key to success in finding out the truth.

The logic behind these results is that we are dealing with humans — versatile, picky, emotional human beings who behave as they choose to and, in many cases, not according to logic.

Split-testing is both an art and a science and it ventures to make sense of the incomprehensible.

Good luck testing and finding what works for you.