NORTH SHORE DIGITAL https://www.northshore.digital Your Online Growth Partner Wed, 28 Jul 2021 09:45:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://www.northshore.digital/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/cropped-Untitled-5-01-32x32.png NORTH SHORE DIGITAL https://www.northshore.digital 32 32 The Top 5 Ways to Use Our Website Ticket System https://www.northshore.digital/website-tickets/ https://www.northshore.digital/website-tickets/#respond Fri, 09 Apr 2021 00:01:19 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=10379 We recently introduced a ticket system and we've had positive feedback from clients.

Send us a ticket anytime of the day and our team will work on it as soon as possible.

Here are the top 5 examples of how clients currently use it.

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We recently introduced a ticket system and we’ve had positive feedback from clients.

Send us a ticket anytime of the day and our team will work on it as soon as possible.

Here are the top 5 examples of how clients currently use it:

  1. Updates to Website – notice any text or image that needs changing? Send us a ticket.
  2. Blog Publishing – create a draft article on a Google or Word Doc and send to us to publish with SEO best practices. If we have access to your social channels, we’ll promote the post for you based on this guide.
  3. Fixes to Website – if anything is broken on your site, quickly request a fix.
  4. Email Newsletters – need help with an email newsletter? Send us the draft and information about audiences and scheduling.
  5. Troubleshooting – notice anything related to Google Ads, SEO, Google My Business or analytics? Request help.


The best thing about our ticket system is that tasks get done quicker.

You can specify how urgent it is. Here’s a rough guide: (you can also add notes about urgency)


!!! = urgent. Please do within 1-2 days.
!! = not that urgent. Please do within 7-10 days.
! = not urgent. Please do within a month.


Sending an email seems convenient but often tasks get lost.

If you use the ticket system, you get a notification when tasks are complete. 

Note: The ticket system is available for clients on our full-service digital marketing plans:

Digital Marketing Team Online Growth

Become an Online Growth Partner

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Why You Need to Use Retargeting for Your Health & Wellness eCommerce Business https://www.northshore.digital/retargeting-for-ecommerce/ https://www.northshore.digital/retargeting-for-ecommerce/#respond Sun, 14 Mar 2021 22:04:56 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=10140 We work with over a dozen financial services companies.

They range from independent financial advisors with smaller assets under management (AUM) to large MGAs with 1000s of advisors in BC and Canada.

This article summarises the insights from our digital marketing campaigns.

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This blog is meant to demystify retargeting – specifically as it pertains to paid online advertising – and highlight why you need to be utilizing this tactic for your eCommerce health and wellness brand.

Most eCommerce wellness companies have heard of retargeting and know it has value, some of them have tried it and a rare few have executed it successfully.

In many cases this is leaving a lot of potential gains on the table as retargeting can be a highly effective tactic to increase conversion rates and improve ROI.

1. What is Retargeting

2. Why Use Retargeting

3. How to Get Started with Retargeting

Let’s get retargeting!

1. What is Retargeting

To be clear, we’re going to focus on on-site interactions (essentially retargeting your website visitor audience). Often the terms ‘retargeting’ and ‘remarketing’ are used interchangeably. There’s also a difference between on-site interactions and off-site engagement (such as retargeting an audience that has engaged with your brand through a different platform or channel that isn’t your website).

Remarketing and off-site retargeting can also be effective tactics in your toolkit, but for this blog we’ll focus on website audience retargeting, so you can getting after some of that low hanging fruit!

So what is retargeting?

Retargeting is simply advertising exclusively to an audience that has already interacted with your business and brand!

That’s it! Pretty straightforward. Someone is in need of a product, they search for this product (exp. on Google they enter the query “best organic foodie product xyz”), they see your website for that particular search term and click on your link (because 75% of all clicks go to the first 3 ranked pages), they visit your website and check out your product page, browse around a bit, and then leave. This curious potential customer is now on your retargeting audience list and can be segmented and targeted with highly specific and relevant follow up advertising.

Let the retargeting begin!

2. Why Use Retargeting?

There are a lot of reasons why you should be using retargeting for your health and wellness eCommerce brand.

Some are obvious (higher conversion rates and better ROI!) and some not so obvious (Enhance cross-channel marketing efficacy and more effectively retain current customers).

Additionally, some eCommerce companies are ripe for retargeting (they have fantastic SEO with an already well-defined organic and engaged website audience with a very niche product) and some may need to be more strategic and patient when deploying this tactic (they’ll need to analyze their online marketing funnel, assess where retargeting can have the most impact, build a retargeting audience list and develop and test advertising copy prior to launch).

At North Shore Digital we take a deep dive into your business structure, website behavioural data and historic performance before developing a customized paid ads and retargeting strategy. ie. every business is unique and has very different challenges. Below are the top 5 biggest benefits of a well executed retargeting campaign.

  1. Advertise to prospects that have already interacted with your brand. It goes without saying that an audience segment that has already shown interest in your business and has some brand awareness is much more likely to convert to a paying customer. If you have the chance, why wouldn’t you start with targeting this segment first! Curiously, this is often the last audience segment businesses attempt to advertise to!
  2. Build trust. Research has consistently shown that it takes multiple interactions with your brand throughout the customer journey to convert to a sale. This is marketing 101 and sometimes called the “rule of 7”. Retargeting can help with subsequent steps along the marketing funnel and towards final purchase, making it much easier to identify and advertise to new potential customers.
  3. Build an engaged audience list asset. Most eCommerce business owners know how valuable a well cultivated email list is. Why not build the same asset for visitors closer to the top of your marketing funnel – those that have taken an action on your site but didn’t sign up for your newsletter/promotion/discount etc.
  4. Enhance bottlenecks in your marketing funnel. Gain more insight into your eCommerce conversion funnel, figure out where bounce outs are happening and which retargeting strategies work best to reengage these visitors.
  5. Higher current customer retention. Winning a new customer is the hardest step for any business. Entrepreneurs often toil for months or years paying themselves subsistence wages and offering heavily discounted or free product samples just to grow their customer base. We’ve found that our new eCommerce clients are often quite proactive with e-newsletters and social media to keep their current base of customers engaged, but they’re not using retargeting quite as effectively as a retention strategy (ie. targeting an audience that has already made an online purchase or, better yet, made a purchase in a specific timeframe or on a specific date like Valentine’s Day, Xmas, Father’s day etc.)

3. Get Started with Retargeting

To get started with retargeting you’ll need a paid ads account (such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads Manager etc.) and Google Analytics. For the sake of brevity I’ll assume you have both these things and I’ll focus on how to get started with Google Ads retargeting – as we feel this is the most robust and user friendly retargeting platform.

Set up Audiences in your Google Analytics Account. There are a few configuration steps you’ll have to take in Google Analytics to start collecting audience data:

  • Make sure you’ve enabled remarketing. You can do this by going to Google Analytics Settings –> Property –> Audience Definitions –> Audiences and Enable Remarketing
  • Set your Audience Destinations. If you’re using Google Ads you want to have this website audience data available in your Google Ads account. This simply involves checking off the Google Ads tick box (and making sure Google Ads has already been synced with Analytics – if you haven’t done this you’ll need to do it first)
  • Create an audience! This should be based on your initial analysis of where retargeting may have the most impact and involves taking an honest look at your website marketing funnel (where are drop outs and bounces happening? Where are you seeing bottlenecks in your customer journey?) You might notice that you’re getting a ton of traffic to a specific product landing page but a very low conversion rate – this might lead you to specify an audience that has only visited this page. Alternatively you may find that you have a high abandon rate on your final payment page – in this case consider retargeting an audience group that has only made it to this final step. The best news? You can set up as many audience segments as you like and test and target to your hearts delight (we are big fans of methodically testing to find the best solution).

Next hop over to your Google Ads account. There are several retargeting campaigns you’ll be able to set up (such as RLSA, display and video retargeting) however we’ll focus on display retargeting here. RLSA (retargeting lists for search ads) has higher audience limits and video/youtube retargeting requires you to have video assets ready to go.

  • Make sure your audience lists are populating. You can do this by going to Tools & Settings –> Shared Library –> Audience Manager. You should see all the audiences you’ve set up in Google Analytics.
  • Use your lists! An efficient first step to utilizing your lists are deploying them in current campaigns as new Ad Groups. This way all the current settings and Ads will apply but now be laser focused on your retargeting audience. You’ll also have the additional benefit of a more controlled test – you’re holding all your variables constant (location, Ad images and descriptions, bid strategy etc.) and only adjusting the audience. This is the most effective way to test the performance of your new audience.

Of course there can be a lot more complexity and sophistication to setting up the most well optimized retargeting campaign but these simple steps should get you up and running and testing if this is an effective tactic for your business.

Don’t have the time to run your own campaigns? Give us a shout and learn more about how we can help your business.

Where do you need Help?

[contact-form-7]

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Website Best Practices for Financial Services https://www.northshore.digital/website-best-practices-financial-services/ https://www.northshore.digital/website-best-practices-financial-services/#respond Thu, 11 Feb 2021 07:03:43 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=9664 We work with over a dozen financial services companies.

They range from independent financial advisors with smaller assets under management (AUM) to large MGAs with 1000s of advisors in BC and Canada.

This article summarises the insights from our digital marketing campaigns.

The post Website Best Practices for Financial Services appeared first on NORTH SHORE DIGITAL.

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We work with over a dozen financial services companies.

They range from independent financial advisors with smaller assets under management (AUM) to large MGAs with 1000s of advisors in BC and Canada.

This article summarises the insights from our digital marketing campaigns such as:

  • Building websites with modern branding & styling, purpose-built for lead generation with SEO best practices
  • Driving traffic to websites from Google Ads in order to target specific keywords in target locations e.g. ‘critical illness insurance’ in Etobicoke, Ontario
  • SEO, Content marketing & blog publishing to rank better for keywords and to establish advisors as thought leaders online

We’re going to split the best practices up into 3 areas:

1. Set up your website for success (Web Design)

2. Drive the right audience to your website & engage (Search Engine Marketing)

3. Measure results & calculate ROI (Analytics)

Let’s dive in…

1. Set up your website for success (Web Design)

It’s important you build a website that looks nice and one that you’re proud to get visitors to and share with clients. If there’s any hesitation when you share your website, you’re in trouble. You need to be proud of it. Websites are a continuous work in progress so don’t worry if it’s not perfect but it must represent you and your company’s values and style.

Okay, so what are some key elements?

  • Your branding has to make you stand out. There are probably over 100,000+ financial advisors in Canada. Why should people work with you? Your website is your chance to shine with authority and outline why you are the perfect fit for them. Use nicely designed logos, fonts, colours and call-outs to emphasize any awards you’ve won or books you’ve written. Establish yourself as the go-to-expert in your area.
  • Niche it out. Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. If you do insurance and investments, pick 6-12 main financial keywords to focus your service pages around e.g. for insurance, it could be life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance… For investments, pick more general keywords people search for online such as financial advisor, financial planner, wealth management… Pick the key services that you have the best expertise in. You can always add more as you grow.
  • Show reviews & authority on your website. Authority and trust is integral to any relationship with a financial advisor. Your website has to reflect this. Add your best Google Reviews to your homepage and throughout your site. If you don’t have any, ask your best clients to add them. Go to business.google.com, find your location and then look for the share review form link (see image below). If you don’t have a Google My Business account, it is vital you set one up for showing up in your local search rankings for your service keywords. You can optimize your account for your keywords and add all your info to your profile. You can even use it like a social media platform and publish news and articles there. It is hugely important for local SEO rankings and getting reviews is a must.
Share Google Review Form
Share Google Review Form – it creates a custom link like https://g.page/northshoredigital/review
  • Use videos and media to engage your audience. Videos are perfect for guests who want to get a feel for your personality or company but don’t want to spend hours reading. Make a short promo video and display it on your homepage. Audio content such as podcasts also enable people to consume your content and get to know you via different mediums.
  • Set up your website with SEO best practices. We recommend WordPress as the best current solution for web development for financial advisors. Research shows for lead generation SEO, it is hands-down the best CMS (Content Management System) even if it comes with the caveat that you need ongoing maintenance and security. We have a geeky technical checklist of how to launch a WordPress site for SEO best practices for anyone interested.
  • Add lots of clear CTAs (Call-to-Actions). How do clients connect with you? Many advisors are old school and prefer in-person meetings or phone calls. That’s fine but add virtual meetings as an option. It’s a must during COVID and super-convenient to connect over Zoom instead of getting stuck in traffic. Make it easy for people to reach you via phone if on mobile, or by email or have contact forms that pre-qualify leads and let you know if the inquiry is going to be a good fit. Think of your website as a tool to pre-qualify leads before meeting them. Ask pertinent questions. There’s no point wasting your or their time if it’s not a good fit.
  • Add a request meeting system that syncs with your calendar (Outlook, Google or iCloud) and sends a Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams invite. Our favourite is Calendly as it’s so easy to set up and use and you can create all sorts of custom follow-ups when someone books or attends a meeting. It’s lovely. Many advisors use the calendar on their Microsoft Outlook. If so, use Microsoft Bookings to add a system to your website that syncs with your calendar. You have to have the upgraded Microsoft 365 Business Standard account (not Basic) to get this but if your office is heavy on Microsoft, it’s a good option and you can make nicely branded pages for the day/time selection. Use a client intake form to take things to the next level. Once a booking is confirmed, share a link to a much more detailed list of questions that helps you prepare for the meeting and offer analysis as to how you can help them.
  • Think about a chatbot. Chatbots aren’t for everyone but for some advisors they work well depending on your availability and whether you’re interested in using bots to answer questions while you’re away. AI will make this a no-brainer in the future so starting the process sooner might not be a bad idea.

One of the websites we built was for Ana Martinho from Altamira Financial Solutions, a financial advisor in Etobicoke, Ontario. Notice how the site has very clear call-to-action buttons on the homepage such as email us, contact, phone number (that is prominent on the mobile version). It also has specific pages built for her main services available from the dropdown menus. As we work with Ana, we’re adding more branding and info such as the ‘as featured weekly on CHIN-FM’ callout. In the last month, we’ve added a book time with Ana meeting request system that is ‘sticky’ in that it always shows no matter where you are on the site in the bottom right hand corner. When someone books an event it syncs with her iCloud calendar.

Altamira Financial Solutions Financial Advisor Etobicoke
Altamira Financial Solutions

2. Drive the right audience to your website & engage (Search Engine Marketing)

Each site has a different starting off point when it comes to SEO.

If your website has virtually no traffic and is quite a new domain (under 1 year old) or one with very low authority, you’re gonna need time to build up your rankings for your target keywords.

If you’re in a location where there’s not a ton of competition (definitely not Toronto or Vancouver), then you might get results quicker.

SEO is not magic.

It doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s hard work: creating content, optimizing it, building links, promoting blogs and doing it consistently and persistently. That’s what gets you organic traffic returns.

When you get it right, you do in effect get ‘free traffic’ from your main keywords.

The first HUB advisor we worked with who was based out of Victoria, BC, had huge success with SEO – his site was set up correctly for local SEO with maps embedded of his office location and keywords used on his different pages about his main services.

He was also a prolific writer of content and blogs… One blog about ‘What to look out for in a virtual financial advisor’ achieved great rankings BC-wide after COVID began. He was consistently getting 2-4 very high quality leads per month from this one article that enabled him to close a deal worth over 15k per year in commission. Not bad for a guide on how to select a virtual financial advisor. It took him about an hour to write the guide along with using SEO best practices.

If you’re worried about how to write blogs or wouldn’t know where to start, that’s what our online growth plan is for. We take away the pain points for you. (Check out this article – How & why to blog: strategy & tips for businesses)

You can just write the article on Word or a Google Doc, then send over to us 24/7 using our ticket system and we take care of the rest for you. We style it, optimize for keywords, add categories, tags, images and then publish it under your name. We’ll even promote it by creating posts on your selected social media channels. This is a new feature we’ve added to the growth plan in February 2021. (Check out this article – How to promote your blog post – 15 minute checklist with pro tips)

If you are starting out with little website traffic, Google Ads is a must.

So, here’s another caveat… Digital marketing is like investing… You need upfront capital and resources (time, staff) to get the most out of it and it’s a mid-to-long term mindset that will win out.

Here are some of our best tips for driving traffic to your site and engaging your target users:

  1. For each of your main services and keywords you want to rank for, build a dedicated landing page e.g. for life insurance and make it specific for your service and your target locations.
  2. Write blogs about your frequently asked questions and your selected 6-10 main financial service keywords.
  3. Utilize white label articles as a starting point for your blogs and then add your own expert take on the topic. HUB advisors should make use of the new service being rolled out. Work with us to repurpose articles with your own style and branding.
  4. After you publish a blog or a new landing page, don’t just expect traffic to flow in, promote it via email to interested parties and share it on social media – start a discussion around an interesting topic or question.

PRO TIP: Utilize your content across multiple channels. If you’re too busy to write, record a quick 5 minute vlog (video blog) that you can then use on your website as a video, get a transcript for a blog article, use the audio for a podcast, share it via email newsletters to relevant lists, market your video via YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even put a link to it on Pinterest and Google My Business. This way a 30-minute exercise to plan out a 5-minute blog about market updates or your take on a new investment fund can be utilized in a multi-channel approach. This will spread your message far and wide. This is how we help clients with our online growth plan… You can just publish the YouTube video and we’ll take care of the rest.

Here are some of the best tips for Google Ads: (from our co-founder and Director of Ads & Analytics, Ira Thomson)

  1. Organize your keyword strategy around searcher intent. Growing your Google Ads campaign into a revenue generating asset takes careful planning and regular maintenance. Keywords are at the heart of every Google Ads campaign, but unfortunately they’re often misunderstood, poorly configured and can lead to massive waste in budget. Building a great campaign begins with a hypothesis on which searches are the most relevant to your services – and this isn’t always obvious. We utilize specific keyword match types, negative keyword lists and rely on search volume, cost and competitor research to dial in ROI. For example, a search for ‘Wealth Management Advisor Near Me’ should take your prospective client on a very different journey than ‘Quick Travel Health Insurance Mexico Trip’ and your ads should never show up for irrelevant, vague or low converting keywords (have a look at your search term [NOT keyword] report in your Google Ads platform to analyze if your searches are relevant).
  2. Measure conversions. Arguably the most important configuration you can make when first setting up your campaign is to sync your Google Ads with your analytics platform and import conversion actions. Again, we see this often left out of campaigns or set up incorrectly. This is vital to your campaign success as you shouldn’t care too much about how many times your ad is seen or how many clicks your ad receives but about the actual leads and revenue value being generated for your business. Not knowing which campaign settings, bid strategies, search terms, ads, audiences, landing pages etc. are driving ROI is a massive blunder.
  3. Target efficiently. One of the best ways to rocket your campaign performance and ROI month-over-month is to change bid % and exclusively target high performing campaign segments. Google Ads will show you data for audience types (called affinity & in-market segments), demographics, device, time of day and more. If you know you get 3x ROI on the affinity audience segment “Avid Investors” for your financial advising services ad group and 5x ROI on the in-market segment of “Small Business Owners” for your supplementary health insurance products wouldn’t it be great to only target these?
  4. Test everything & always iterate. We are huge fans of testing what works. Here’s our process: We start with a hypothesis (working with a dozen financial services companies we have a pretty solid initial configuration). This is a campaign set up of a list of keywords, ad headlines and descriptions, ad extensions, bid strategy, ad schedule, landing page, audience target and more that we think will perform well for each given service. We then check in regularly and analyze performance for each of these segments (through the lens of leads, quality leads, cost per lead, and revenue). The poor performers get discarded, the strong performers remain and new iterations are added based on data we see. The more you test and iterate over time the faster you can grow your campaign into a reliable and predictable lead and revenue generating machine.
  5. Start with enough budget to test effectively. It’s pretty difficult to optimize a campaign at $300 per month compared with say, double that or even $1000. We have some clients spending a lot more than this but it just depends on your goals, resources, and capacity to take on business. The game with Google Ads is to get to your secret formula as soon as possible where you know what the average cost per lead is and you’ve gotten this down about as low as it can go for your location and keywords. To get to this point takes longer and is more difficult on a low monthly budget. We always advise to not go crazy and start off slowly but don’t be afraid to use a higher budget if you really want to drive ROI and new business.

 

3. Measure results & calculate ROI (Analytics)

There’s no point doing number 1 and 2 above if you don’t do 3.

It would be like trying to make informed guesses about which stock or mutual funds to invest in without looking at historical and current data.

To do digital marketing properly, you need to set up a measurement framework that tracks results on your website and enables you to calculate ROI on your campaigns. This is our speciality and how we differentiate ourselves from other agencies.

We set up conversion tracking and ROI calculators on your customized online growth report so that you can see what results are coming into your website and how it’s affecting your bottom line.

What’s the point of a nice shiny website if it doesn’t drive business, leads, engagement, traffic or better SEO rankings?

Our online growth report will feed in data from a variety of sources: Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, Google My Business, Google search rankings for your keywords in your target areas and devices, as well as social media data.

We set it up in month one of your growth plan so we can benchmark and use it as our guide for calculating ROI, analyzing results, determining ad budgets and content strategy based on which blogs and landing pages are converting. We also use it to test new keywords and to track rankings.

Let us take you on a tour of a couple of the main sections of our online growth plan report:

  • In the screenshot below, you’ll see our conversion calculator that calculates anticipated revenues that your website should be generating. Based on the 191 micro leads that entered our system around 40 of them are from are target locations, we can then calculate that the website should be generating approximately $37.5k in revenues and $450k in life-time value for this time period. This is based on an average revenue value of $1.25k and LTV of $15k with average lead conversion rate of 75%. If these numbers do not match up with what’s happening on the balance sheet, it is either because the inputs are wrong or the sales cycle is longer, i.e the leads are in the system but not converted. We review these figures on a monthly basis to ensure our calculator is generating accurate anticipated revenue and LTV values.
Example ROI Calculation for Digital Marketing Results 1
Example ROI Calculator for digital marketing results including lead types (forms, email, phone, calendar booking) and source of leads
  • In the screenshot below, you’ll see high level results of a Google Ads campaign for the month of January. This is a well-optimized campaign that is producing leads at a cost of under $40. Based on the inputs for average revenue values, LTV and conversion rate, the anticipated ROI of the campaign is very healthy at around 1000%.
Google Ads Results ROI Calculations
Google Ads ROI Calculation with data for clicks, cost-per-click (CPC), click-through-rate (CTR), conversion rate, leads and cost per lead (cost / all conv.)

These are just two sections of typically 6 pages of results.

We’ve carefully selected and customized pages based on the needs of each business owner.

Other pages show visual widgets for landing page comparisons to help with content strategy, SEO rankings’ tracking for your top 6 primary keywords in your target area, Google My Business data (e.g. how many calls and look-ups from Google Maps) as well as lots more information about your leads (demographics, locations etc.)

Our future vision is to plug in data from your CRM (customer relationship management) software. Each month we’re adding and improving our reporting.

What are some website strategies and tactics you’ve found useful for your financial services company? Share in the comments below.

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How to Promote Your Blog Post? 15 Minute Checklist with Pro Tips https://www.northshore.digital/blog-promotion-checklist/ https://www.northshore.digital/blog-promotion-checklist/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2021 06:21:15 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=9050 What to do after you've published a blog? Don't just sit there and expect traffic to come flooding in... Go promote it with this 15 minute checklist.
For a business lead generation website, the answer is simple: create more content.

Creating more content really means blogging. Sure, you can make more service pages and other landing pages. You can even make more content about specific areas you serve to hit those keywords or create more content specific to your company's culture, values and team. However, the most impact will probably come from the blogs you write.

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Following on from my blog post about why and how to blog, here is another important part of blogging for business websites –

What to do after you’ve written and published that perfect post that you’re damn proud of?

Most people publish then don’t do anything to promote it. They just expect the traffic to start flooding in.

To improve your rankings for your post, you need to have an interesting and informative article, engaged users who come to read it and internal and external links that show Google the article is important.

The problem with this is like any fire, you need a little kindling to get it going. The kindling for your blog post is this 15 minute promotional checklist.

1. Email anyone you’ve mentioned in the post or who may find it useful

If you don’t let people know you’ve promoted or mentioned them, how will they know? Make sure your clients or partners are getting some love on the net and they know about it.

I’m not asking for anything else. I’m just giving a shout out and raising awareness.

If you have a specific ask, go for it or just store up that love to hopefully be returned one day.

I believe in karma and doing nice things, don’t you?

You could ask them to share on social media but I’m not as pushy as you 🙂

Just share an email like so…

How to promote a blog by email
You can probably do a better email than this – give it a try.

PRO TIP: Be thoughtful and craft a nice personalized email to any of your clients or people you know who may benefit most from the blog post. Don’t expect anything in return. Be useful.

2. Post to your Facebook page

If you’ve got a business Facebook page, this is an obvious place to share it.

Begin a discussion or take something controversial that is pointed out in your article and start with that.

Or include a quote that will grab your network’s attention. Tag companies or people you mention in the article.

Get good at community management and respond to questions and comments. The rule is that you should be the user that comments most on the post. Shame I don’t follow rules 😉

Once you’ve shared it on your page, be sure to share it on your personal profile and get your colleagues to do the same so long as it fits in with their content.

Maybe it’s not got enough cat videos in there for some people so you can leave this step out if it seems like too big an ask.

PRO TIP: Use Facebook’s new Business Suite that allows you to format and schedule your posts to your Facebook page and Instagram business profile.

Facebook Business Suite allows you to schedule posts to your Facebook page and Instagram business profile.

3. Share with your LinkedIn community and business page

Post your blog to your LinkedIn page and get your colleagues to share it.

This should be easier and more fruitful than asking people to share it on Facebook with their mom and dad. Although it depends on your company and who your target audience is. You should go to the social media platforms where they hang out and prioritise content there.

It’s probably best to publish according to when your target audience is on LinkedIn so do some research on that. Or use a guide like this.

Sharing blog post on LinkedIn Page
Sharing blog post on LinkedIn Page

PRO TIP: Create a duplicate post on LinkedIn Pulse a few days after you’ve published it on your blog. Include a link back to the original article.

Write an article on LinkedIn Pulse
Write an article on LinkedIn Pulse – Go to your feed and then click ‘Write Article’ – I know I couldn’t find it on my profile either

4. Share to other social media accounts like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

Depending on how important these platforms are to your business and what and who you’re focused on, you might want to share content there as well.

Twitter is great for B2B companies. Make sure to tag companies you mention and use relevant hashtags. Schedule multiple tweets to go out over a week and promote old posts if and when the timing is right. Make the tweets interesting and in your style and brand voice.

Pinterest is a must if you’re going for the soccer mom brigade with your content: make some boards around your blogs. Create a main board that showcases all your blogs and then have separate boards for categories or tips from single blogs.

Organize your content in a way that makes sense for your prospective clients. Pinterest is good for building links back to your content. It’s a nice way to showcase the content and articles on your website from a visual perspective. It’s a good exercise to do so you get a visual index of your website’s content and helps you plan where you’re going with future content and what you’ve already published.

Instagram seems a difficult choice for blog promotion due to the inability to put links into the posts. Do your best and if you really want to you can change the link in your profile to your latest blog post and try to promote people to check it out there. If this has changed since I’ve written this, let me know in the comments.

PRO TIP: Use a social media management tool to publish and schedule content to your favourite social media platforms in one easy swoop. In the past I’ve been a big fan of Buffer. There’s also HootSuite or any of these tools you could sign up to and do a trial for your company’s social media publishing. Make sure to use hashtags and customize for each platform and finally schedule a time and day to publish.

For Buffer, you can even add your blogs to the schedule so that your social media platforms are always sharing useful content. Just don’t go crazy and mix it up with some non-self-promotional posts.

Using Buffer to share social media posts
Using Buffer to share social media posts – we have Twitter, Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Instagram Biz profile connected

5. Add a post to Google My Business

Don’t forget about Google My Business. Google is trying to make it more like a social media platform and since this is a really important tool for local SEO rankings, you should use it.

It’s more basic what you can do here. You can’t tag people or schedule but Google does have a few categories of posts at the top you can choose from. They also update the options and what you can do pretty regularly so keep doing this and stay on top of what new features they add.

Here’s an example for the post we’ve been using throughout this article:

Posting to Google My Business
Posting to Google My Business

PRO TIP: Connect up Google My Business with Bing Places for Business and automatically have Bing Places update your profile there once per week based on your Google My Business profile.

6. Use your blog post content for multi-channel marketing

Here is the big bonus PRO TIP…

You’ve spent probably an hour or more writing a blog post. Don’t let that juicy content go to waste.

Use it for your social media content (as detailed in this promotional checklist) but also use it for other content including:

  • Email Newsletters – can you sync up your blog so that when you create a blog in a certain category, you email a specific segment of your audience with a newsletter? You can create segmented lists of your audience in email software like MailChimp and then use RSS feeds or other automations to send out templated emails. Or if you prefer, do it old school and manually create newsletters once per week or month and send out to the relevant segment. For example, for the article about why and how to blog, North Shore Digital should share with segmented audiences who are interested in SEO and online growth.
  • Video Marketing – can you do a 1-5 minute summary of your blog post and make it into a talking head video or even something as rudimentary as a screenshare where you talk through your blog and add your radiant personality to it? Which type of video is best for your company again depends on the type of content that works with your audience.
  • Webinars – this is the ultimate use of your content. Can you use your guide or blog post for a webinar that you schedule once per month. Obviously for a webinar the content has to be great and you might need to prepare more than just your post to go through. You would put it into slides and do a Q&A session in your webinar. To get people to the webinar, you’d create a splash page and an email newsletter to invite prospective clients to attend.

Blog promotion is important. I’ve been a bit deceptive in calling this a 15-minute checklist. If you share your post to social media and email a list of people or companies you want to share the post with, sure, you can get it done in about 15 minutes…

However, the most useful stuff in this promotional checklist may well be the stuff that takes more time and thought… Crafting email newsletters, videos and webinars. This is really about your company’s content strategy, and that’s what I’ll write about next.

What are some of the best ways you’ve promoted your blog? What impact did it have?

[contact-form-7]

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Vitality Collective – An Essential Service for Challenging Times https://www.northshore.digital/vitality-collective-case-study/ Tue, 12 Jan 2021 05:50:42 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=8694 A case study of one of our online growth plan health and wellness clients

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The business:

Vitality Collective is a team of counselling therapists based in Surrey (now with a second location in Vancouver!), that assist and accompany clients as they pursue positive growth, well-being, and mental and emotional health. 

Taking care of our mental health has never been more important, especially during a very challenging year, and it’s been our pleasure to work with Chelsea and Vitality Collective and help her business grow online and support an organization that has such a positive impact for individuals’ health and wellness in our community.

The challenge:

Originally, Vitality Health reached out to us as they had limited resources and expertise in-house to be able to effectively manage their Google Ads campaign. 

They also wanted to be able to more efficiently measure where online leads were originating and better calculate their ROI for Google Ads.

After a substantial improvement in quality lead and revenue generation through their Google Ads channel, Vitality Collective signed on as one of our Online Business Growth partners as they continue to invest in their online growth for both locations.

Our solutions: 

Comprehensive lead tracking. The first step for Vitality Collective was to configure advanced lead tracking. We wanted to know exactly where each lead was coming from, so we could proceed more strategically with Ad Spend and more effectively measure ROI for all online channels. We integrated platforms and tools such as Google Ads, Tag Manager, Google My Business, Google Analytics and Search Console to set up a customized conversion tracking infrastructure that served to better analyze and report online ROI. This was also essential in order to deploy more advanced conversion bidding strategies in Google Ads.

Paid Ads Targeting & Segmentation. We reconfigured Vitality Collective’s Google Ads account, so they were laser targeted within their service areas. We wanted to ensure that their Ads were showing up with the right messaging, in the right place and specific to each unique service and audience. To achieve this we deployed a combination of in-market and affinity audience targeting, municipal & postal code level location targeting, conversion bid strategies, specialized ad extension messaging and service specific Ad Groups.

Local SEO Configuration & Campaigns. We deployed a holistic strategy that took into account the unique challenges and differences between each location and prioritized highly relevant and high volume service specific keywords. This included comprehensive organic search position tracking as well as local search engine optimization tactics such as setting up, optimizing and lead tracking with Google My Business.

Ongoing strategic consulting and content optimization. It’s been an extremely tumultuous year for business owners as government mandates, regulation and recommendations are in constant flux due to Covid-19. We communicate closely with Vitality Collective to keep campaigns flexible and dynamic and also assist with website content optimization, so they can leverage their great blog & article content across multiple online channels as well as continuously optimize for SEO.

The outcome:

Over our first month of our Google Ads Campaign Management service we lowered cost-per-lead and improved effective ROI by nearly 60%. We were also able to better identify, track and evaluate lead sources and types of leads. Over the following 6 months we further lowered the cost-per-lead for a current 80% improvement on the original campaign. This equates to a 5x return on investment through the Google Ads channel and campaigns. We’re now working on achieving similar improvements for the new location.

It takes a fair bit of hard work, analysis and testing but Vitality Collective now has a well optimized Google Ads account that can produce reliable & predictable ROI for their business month over month. This is not only a great lead source but also an appreciating online asset for their business.

Our strategic consulting, search engine optimization and technical website ticket system have also been implemented for Vitality Collective’s recent switch to our Online Growth Plan which has given us a deeper and more holistic view of the organic and website behaviour components of their business. Since Vitality Collective started our Online Growth Plan they have seen an over 50% increase in top 10 Google search engine keyword rankings. They’ve also achieved over 40% increase in organic new website visitors with improvements across the board in metrics that define user engagement.

Needless to say, we’re thrilled with these results and continue to look forward to a productive partnership with Vitality Collective.

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Why We Use Advanced Call Tracking with CallRail https://www.northshore.digital/advanced-call-tracking-callrail/ https://www.northshore.digital/advanced-call-tracking-callrail/#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 22:42:24 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=8797 One of the most important leads we measure are phone calls. Although we always set up campaigns with standard phone call tracking from the beginning, we also offer advanced Call Tracking through integration with CallRail, an advanced Call Tracking software & platform and widely considered the leader in call tracking.

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At North Shore Digital, we are focused on service based businesses in 3 industry verticals – Home Services, Health & Wellness and Financial Services. 

Being able to track precisely which marketing and online channels are producing leads and customers is a major strategic advantage. We want to be able to accurately measure ROI, so you can invest in your most profitable marketing channels and identify issues to improve poor performers.

One of the most important leads we measure are phone calls. 

Although we always set up campaigns with standard phone call tracking from the beginning, we also offer advanced Call Tracking through integration with CallRail, an advanced Call Tracking software & platform and widely considered the leader in call tracking.  

CallRail offers some fantastic additional benefits above and beyond standard call tracking and we include it for free as part of our Online Growth Plan. Here are a few reasons we recommend advanced call tracking with CallRail:

1- It’s free with our growth plan. We’ll configure, test, deploy, track and report on calls. Leave the set up and maintenance to us!

2- There are always calls that go unreported through standard call tracking. A common cause of this is someone visiting your website through a marketing paid or organic channel (such as Google Ads or Google My Business) and then simply entering the number directly in their phone (rather than clicking on the phone call CTA). This call won’t be attributed to the correct channel, so you don’t know which marketing channel produced this lead! With dynamic # swapping in CallRail we create a distinct number for each marketing channel so the lead source will always be tracked, regardless of when or how it’s dialed.

3- The devil is in the details. With CallRail you can see a list of all your recent calls with the exact source, caller number & name, call duration (important to qualify leads!), as well as detailed campaign info on the exact campaign, Ad and even keyword that led to the call.

call tracking for businesses

4- You can utilize as a CRM to qualify every lead – with simplicity. Record whether the lead converted to a customer, the value of the business and use customized tagging to sort callers by service and more. This also helps us feed back actual conversion value data into paid campaigns, so we can bid on quality leads & lead value – rather than just net lead generation.

call tracking for small business

5 – Turn on Call Recording to review client calls or help train new staff. One of the advanced features of CallRail is their optional call recording. You can turn this on to play back client calls to review any details of the service call, or use this feature to help train new front line staff that may be taking calls as part of their role.

6 – Review client journey details. For services with a longer sales cycle that involves multiple phone calls, or for prospective customers that may have called after hours then called again, you can review their specific timelines. See which campaigns produced the initial touchpoint, which website pages they visited, which search terms they used, when they called each time – and more!

call tracking

7- Finally, CallRail has a myriad of additional benefits that we turn on or off depending on the business, client and need. These include Call Forwarding, Form Tracking, Google Ads & Analytics Integration, Multi-Touch Analysis & Attribution, Toll-Free numbers, Call Sequencing & Prioritization and much more!

Have a question or comment about call tracking or CallRail?

Leave it below

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Top 5 things to consider when Choosing a WordPress theme https://www.northshore.digital/top-5-things-to-consider-when-choosing-a-wordpress-theme/ https://www.northshore.digital/top-5-things-to-consider-when-choosing-a-wordpress-theme/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2020 05:23:31 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=8639 Finding a theme that suits your site's purpose is the first thing we need to look at. What do you want your user experience to be? Is your site aimed at getting and converting leads or is it showcase of your work? Once you have worked out how your site will function using specific keywords in the theme store search bar will narrow it down to themes that have been made for that purpose. For example if we are creating a website for an insurance Broker searching keywords such as "Finance Theme" or "Insurance Theme" will bring up themes that have been made for this purpose. These themes will likely come will all sorts of plugins and editors, some of our favorite editors to recommend are Elementor, WP Bakery and Gutenberge. These can be really helpful especially when it comes to the next tip - Responsiveness

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How a search for a Forest Theme Led me to Theme Forest

The summer of 2008 was my first experience with WordPress. I had just moved from Australia to Canada a few months earlier and was excited about the outdoor adventures ahead of me. Bears, beavers & snow-capped mountains I couldn’t wait to share these adventures with my family down under.  

About an hour into my first hike I thought of an amazing idea.  What if I could create a website that allowed me to GPS all the Hikes in the area around Greater Vancouver.  Even better, what if I could earn money from this hobby AND get paid to ADVENTURE. 

After Mapping my first few trails it was time to get this data on the world wide web.  I had previously done some courses on HTML and even had an advanced diploma in computer science, but that was from 1998 and long before WordPress was released (2003).  This was a whole new world for me and even back then there were a lot of “Themes” to choose from, after about 10 minutes of going through the included themes I realized none of these were going to work very well for the embedding and social features I needed to be successful.  I needed something better.

2008 was a big year for WordPress. Not only was it becoming the most used CMS but the community support for the platform was really picking up steam. Every few months there were new theme and template stores popping up on the web.  The most successful of all of these was a company called Envato.  Their content was AMAZING!  This small startup operated out of a garage in Sydney run by 2 people is now worth over a billion dollars in 2020.  The demand for Themes and templates was growing by the day and Envato created a brand called Theme forest to become the new marketplace to buy and sell.  WordPress was here to stay and the support from freelance developers was making its way into these new theme stores.

In my case, I accidentally stumbled across this marketplace when my late night google search for a ”WordPress Forest Theme” for my hiking website brought me to Theme Forest.

wordpress forest theme
Google’s interface from 2008

Since then Theme Forest and Envato has been a source of inspiration and functionality for every website I have created since.

At North Shore Digital we advise our clients to use quality WordPress templates when creating a website.  Here are some tips to help you find one that aligns with your brand and allows for the best user experience

The top 5 things to consider when choosing a WordPress theme

  1. What is the Purpose of your site?

Finding a theme that suits your site’s purpose is the first thing we need to look at.  What do you want your user experience to be? Is your site aimed at getting and converting leads or is it showcase of your work? Once you have worked out how your site will function using specific keywords in the theme store search bar will narrow it down to themes that have been made for that purpose. For example if we are creating a website for an insurance Broker searching keywords such as “Finance Theme” or “Insurance Theme” will bring up themes that have been made for this purpose. These themes will likely come will all sorts of plugins and editors, some of our favorite editors to recommend are Elementor, WP Bakery and Gutenberge. These can be really helpful especially when it comes to the next tip – Responsiveness

2. Make sure the theme is Responsive

A responsive WordPress theme smoothly adjusts its layout based on the screen size and resolution. Responsive themes offer better readability and usability on smaller screens such as smartphones. It also prevents you from having to create a device specific mobile version. Since 2017 50.81% of all website views have been on a mobile device and that number is only going to go up from here.  With hundreds of variations in screen size and resolutions we want your web site to look great in every format. Theses days most current themes are going to be responsive if you want to see how this will look when you are browsing on a desktop simply press f12 on PC or if you are on a mac follow this quick guide to setup the developer menu

3. SEO Friendly

The first thing we need to consider is loading time.  We need to check that the theme is not too heavy. Some themes load tons of heavy resources, which obviously will impact your site’s load time.  These can be unused plugins or media such as video or large images. While these can be amazing to the user if they are implemented right they can really slow the load time down.  

Mobile friendly – Like responsiveness search engines also look at how mobile friendly your site is.  If you have chosen a site that is responsive it should score well in this category.  Here is a tool provided By google that shows how well your page loads on mobile.

By running this test you can see if your site is loading correctly on mobile

4. Is the theme Updated Regularly

With WordPress being updated with new features and bug fixes everyday it’s important to choose a theme that is updated regularly to make sure it always looks professional on any device.  But the most important reason to have an updated theme is security.  WordPress is an open source system with an active community that monitors the software for security issues.  A theme that has been updated to work with the current version of WordPress will operate smoothly and provide enhanced security. Buy a theme from reputable seller e.g. Theme forest and Studio Press are some of my favorite sellers. These are going to be more likely to be updated on a regular basis and have ongoing support.

5. Keep it simple

Many WordPress themes come with lots of colors, plugins, complex layouts, flashy animations, etc. These are not needed most of the time.  Often when we see a theme in its demo state all of these features are turned on.  This is the theme developer showing us what it’s capable of.  That does not mean we need all these features “turned on” when we start to develop the theme into our website. A simple fast loading website will help with the SEO and keep the user experience streamlined.

There you have it, our 5 tips for choosing a WordPress theme. Once you’ve chosen the theme that’s when the real fun begins.

Here are our Favorite places to buy WordPress Themes

Theme Forest

Studio Press

Woo Themes

Elegant Themes

Make sure you check out our latest blog on How and Why to Blog: Strategy & Tips for Business Blogs.

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How and Why to Blog: Strategy & Tips for Business Blogs https://www.northshore.digital/business-blog-tips/ https://www.northshore.digital/business-blog-tips/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2020 08:57:23 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=8564 I often get asked 'what can I do to boost the SEO of my website?' Or 'how can I rank for our main industry keywords?'

For a business lead generation website, the answer is simple: create more content.

Creating more content really means blogging. Sure, you can make more service pages and other landing pages. You can even make more content about specific areas you serve to hit those keywords or create more content specific to your company's culture, values and team. However, the most impact will probably come from the blogs you write.

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I often get asked ‘what can I do to boost the SEO of my website?’ or ‘how can I rank for our main industry keywords?’

For a business lead generation website, the answer is simple: create more content.

Creating more content really means blogging.

Sure, you can make more service pages and other landing pages. You can even make more content about specific areas you serve to hit those keywords or create more content specific to your company’s culture, values and team. However, the most impact will probably come from the blogs you write.

The reason for this is also pretty simple: each piece of content (page or post) you write and publish gives you a chance to rank for a new main keyword or set of similar keywords.

Google will also see your website as being less static and more dynamic, the more content you publish regularly.

Looking at a list of clients, the top SME websites for organic traffic all have one thing in common: prolific blogging at the heart of them. Examples include:

The owners of these businesses are all content machines and committed bloggers. It really does make a difference in terms of ranking for your main keywords that your target audience are using.

So, if you’re a business owner and you’re focused on your product or service, or managing a team… Or just running your business with your head barely above water and…

You’re not an expert in blogging (maybe not even marketing), what are some strategy tips for blogging that might help?

Here is the info I emphasize to our online growth and SEO clients:

1. Write for your target audience not for SEO bots

This first point is about being a human.

Don’t try and game the system and write just to rank for keywords. Think about your target audience.

You know who you want to target for your different services and products.

Use your marketing personas or specialist knowledge about your business…

What are some questions your customers always ask?

How can you help them with useful information.

Here are some examples for North Shore Digital as a company doing online marketing for trades, health and wellness and financial services businesses:

  • Best Tips to Write a Blog for my Business (you’re reading it!)
  • 15 Minute Checklist to Promote a Blog Article
  • What Makes a Good Business Website to Get More Leads?
  • How to Measure Success for Your Website/Online Marketing?
  • Top Reasons to Use Google Ads for Your (Trades/Health & Wellness/Financial Services) Business
  • Why Use WordPress as Your CMS for a Business Lead Generation Website?
  • What Type of Hosting is Best for Business/WordPress?
  • What’s the Best Way to Prevent a WordPress Site from Being Hacked?

These are just some ideas from conversations with clients I’ve had over the last month or two.

The list could go on and on… but this is where I’d start…

You are the expert in your own business and your own clients. Use this as a source of content ideas.

Brainstorm what your clients need answered.

This has multiple benefits:

  • It helps clients understand your benefits and why they should work with you
  • It helps you get clear on your messaging and what works best in answering common client questions
  • It helps you communicate internally with your staff and stakeholders about your benefits

If you have a guide on how to do something that you share via email already with clients or with your staff, make a blog out of it.

We did this recently with a post on how to launch your WordPress website from draft to live. It’s pretty nerdy/techie and probably won’t get much traffic but I wanted to publish it so we can share with clients about what we have to do when we publish a dev site.

I can also share with our team as to what the steps are so that they can dive in at some point in the future or simply so that we have more knowledge about what we do internally for different processes.

Or maybe you have a series of posts on social media?

Bring them into a website blog.

Ideally, you’d create the blog on your site first and then repurpose it for a multi-channel marketing approach. This would include publishing the blog article first and then posting to social media with a link back to the article, sending out an email blast to relevant audiences and potentially making a video or webinar from the blog.

This may sound exhausting but it’s really all about getting the most out of your content. Related to this is number 2 below.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Write blogs for humans not bots

2. Don’t let great be the enemy of good

We’ve written some average blogs.

Every website has some that were hit and miss.

Don’t worry about them… Life is about iterating.

You can always delete the poor ones later or revamp them into fresher better newer versions. If you do delete them be sure to redirect them to a relevant article for SEO purposes.

Everyone starts somewhere. Websites are never the finished article. They are all a work-in-progress.

It’s about creating momentum and building blog writing into your company’s culture.

We have four of us currently working at the heart of North Shore Digital and between us we aim to write at least 2 blogs each per month… That adds up to 96 per year… Not quite the 750+ that Nik’s got going on but not too shabby…

You don’t have to be quite so gung-ho and maybe you just need to write one per month or one every two weeks. The key is to get going on it.

Okay so now we’ve got that hang-up out of the way, what about the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing the blog?

3. Don’t be lazy. Add relevant media, links, info about author

This may seem at odds with the last point but it’s really not.

Once you’ve got an article that’s pretty much written even though it might be a bit rough (like this blog post), don’t be shy with adding nice images, relevant videos, other media e.g. slides, internal and external links, info about you as an author etc.

This is where the SEO magic happens…

Google will put you at the heart of the Internet within which you place the article. This might sound like non-technical hippy sorcery but without getting into technical details, is pretty much the best explanation for why to do this.

John Mueller of Google says ‘think about what’s best for the user’ when writing/developing content. Not what is best for Google or SEO.

Here are a few pointers on what to do:

  • Make sure to use lots of external links in the article, e.g. other articles or sources of info you’ve mentioned. Make sure to open the link in a new tab so users don’t leave your site (=bye bye =bad). Research has shown that (don’t you just love that phrase?), webpages with more external links (to relevant and high authority websites) have better rankings than ones that don’t link out at all. This is interesting as typically you might think external links are distracting or could make people leave your site. Ultimately, it comes down to providing useful content for your user and that magic SEO sorcery I was talking about earlier. You want to be at the heart of the web and place your article within the context of important articles to do with this subject.
  • Make sure to place internal links in the article so that users can move to relevant pages on your site and also importantly so Google can understand the structure and hierarchy of your website and rank pages respectively for related keywords. You can see this in the Yoast plugin for WordPress with their suggested internal links tool.
  • Don’t be anonymous. Write as a person. You’re not a bot and a company doesn’t write articles. Be a human being. Come out of the shadows and reveal yourself. Take a risk. Fill out the author info and own your writing. Show yourself as the subject matter expert you are. Note – if you get someone to write articles for you, that’s fine. Ghost writing is a thing. Just be sure that the content represents you and then use your info. Or give credit and be transparent about how you create content. I love honesty.

4. Create categories and tags around your products and services

Don’t just add any categories or tags… Make sure to use them but keep the categories as large buckets based around your product/service offerings and main industry keywords and then use tags more extensively. Tags are the things at the end of an article that list out keywords to do with the article in case you’re wondering.

The example categories for North Shore Digital are our service offerings:

  • Online Growth
  • Web Design
  • SEO
  • Google Ads
  • Hosting

The above are our main categories we write about. We could stretch a little and add:

  • Online Marketing
  • Website Tips
  • Blogging

But really that’s enough.

For tags you can go to town and add all keywords throughout the article (including brand names, companies, people, industries, products, keywords, places). Add as many as necessary for the article length and what you mentioned.

5. Add keywords to your title, headings and slug

Okay, so now you’ve finished writing your article, you can think more about SEO and keywords. This might seem a little like putting the cart before the horse but this order of writing the content for the user first works well.

This is because you focus on what you should be writing for your clients not gaming the system with keywords first.

However, now I’ve said all that. Don’t ignore keywords. Go through your article and do some research on average monthly volume of searches for your topic or related keywords.

I’d recommend using Google Keyword Planner for this if you have a current live Google Ads campaign running (to get real data straight from the horse’s mouth i.e. Google). You also have the advantage of picking locations for the searches e.g. Vancouver or BC or Toronto and Vancouver combined not just national averages. This is important if your service or business is localized.

Or if you just want to get some general national volumes with a free tool, use Ubersuggest (although you’re limited by number of daily searches). It’s convenient and super easy to use (unlike keyword planner)

Let’s try it for this article.

I picked the keyword ‘blogging tips’ and put it into keyword ideas.

It has 110 volume per month on average in Canada and SEO difficulty of 26%. That sounds okay but is there a better keyword with more potential?

Here are some ideas:

  • ‘how to blog’ = 480 searches / SEO difficulty of 30%
  • ‘blog strategy’ = 20 / 21
  • ‘why blog’ = 30 / 23

SEO difficulty basically means how hard it is to rank on page one of Google for that keyword. Your domain authority and number of backlinks determines how likely you can rank for keywords so if your website isn’t super high authority (ours isn’t yet), you want the SEO difficulty to be 30% and below (Ubersuggest rates that as easy).

Okay so based on this quick research, I’ve come up with the following title:

‘How and Why to Blog: Strategy & Blogging Tips for Business Websites’

I probably won’t hit all of these keywords as there are so many heavy hitters (SEO experts) writing about blogging but why not be brave and go for it? After all, it summarises the article pretty well and any extra traffic is a bonus after sharing it with clients and prospective clients.

For your slug, the best practice according to another SEO guru, Brian Dean of Backlinko, is to keep it short and snappy e.g. for this one I’ve gone with /business-blog-tips

Measure success for your blogs
Measure success for your blogs

6. Measure the success of your blog article

Here’s a question for you…

What’s more successful?

A blog article that gets 1000 views per month but only generates one conversion for the website or a blog article that gets 100 views per month and gets 5 conversions?

We focus on conversions at North Shore Digital to view all your website analytics through because we’re all about growing your business online.

Unless you are a media company or a newspaper, I wouldn’t be concerned with how many people are reading your article; what’s more important is who is reading it and what action do they take after coming to your site and reading it?

Let’s grow your business and get more leads… That’s the focus.

In terms of business lead generation website metrics, I’d judge the success of your blog in descending order of (from most important to least):

  • Business leads generated (e.g. calls, consultations, emails, chats)
  • Engagement stats (e.g. average time on page, bounce rate, scroll depth)
  • Traffic stats (e.g. number of users, new users)
  • SEO rankings (e.g. where you rank for your target keywords in your target location)

This is the hierarchy that matters and usually success is built on having strong foundations for all of them.

7. Promote and update your blog article

Once you’ve published your article, that’s not the end. That’s the beginning or that’s the mindset you should have.

If you’ve answered specific client questions, you need to share it with them and get people to pay attention to your expert advice.

You need a promotional checklist of where and how to share, which includes emailing websites/clients you mentioned, ones that need the info, and then sharing across all your social media platforms and linking back to the article.

Blog promotion is so important that I’m going to write the next blog on it. And here it is.

You should also revise and update blogs a few times per year. This is expert advice from Neil Patel to get the most out of your content and to stay near the top of the rankings.

Keep your content up-to-date and don’t let it go stale.

What are some of the best blog tips you’ve used? Let us know in the comments.

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What to Do After You Launch Your New Business Website? https://www.northshore.digital/business-website-promotion/ https://www.northshore.digital/business-website-promotion/#respond Wed, 25 Nov 2020 01:40:36 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=8538 This article is to give you a quick overview of next steps to take to marketing your new business website after launching

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You’ve painstakingly gathered your content, strategized with your team, hired an agency or designer and, over the course of weeks or months, invested time and money on a daily basis to launch your brand new business website.

Finally, your great looking, responsive and content rich website is live. So now what? Sit back and relax as your customers come pouring in!

Uhh. No.

The worst thing you can do now is to wait and hope that a magic stream of highly engaged, highly relevant traffic will come streaming in to your new website.

Don’t wait for business to come to you. After your website launch is you need to take action to ensure that all that precious time and money invested wasn’t in vain.

Here are 7 immediate & ongoing post-launch actions you need to take.

1. Measure what Matters

online marketing agency measurement
Measure What Matters

Your new website has a purpose. It serves a higher business objective of driving leads or sales, and more importantly, revenue, customer acquisition and long term lifetime value and reliable cash flow for your business.

You have to both identify and measure the online website events that produce those desired business outcomes.

It’s essential that you know where your customers are coming from, who they are, and how they’re converting so you can not only measure the impact of your brand new business website, but also the performance of all your online and offline marketing channels that are driving traffic.

2. Have an SEO plan and implement it

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. It refers to the strategy, tactics and action taken to ensure your website can be found for online searches, through search engines (like Google), for keywords that are relevant to your business.

Google uses A LOT of different metrics and signals when deciding (through their algorithms) where to rank websites for each search keyword. They rely both on your content, how your content is structured and organized and website technical performance (as well as local signals such as your business address on GMB, local website tagging, social media and more!)

3. Drive Traffic with Paid Advertising

Ever notice that writing a blog or adding content to your website doesn’t have an immediate impact on your volume of traffic? However, often when you review your page and post reports (we recommend Google Analytics!) you can see older posts driving more traffic.

This is because SEO efforts take time to kick in.

For this reason, we usually recommend supplementing a new website (or an existing website with low volume of traffic) with paid advertising. This will keep a reliable flow of traffic and leads coming to your website while you grow your organic presence.

Quite often you’ll also find it’s profitable to keep your paid campaigns running permanently even after you are getting a higher flow of organic free traffic as they can offer both an additional channel of predictable leads from your target audience AND a great deal of “free” data that you can use to help optimize your website and business.

4. Continually Optimize For Conversions

As mentioned above, a great side benefit of Paid Ads (sometimes called PPC and offered across multiple platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Youtube and more) is that you have a very detailed and targeted data set that’s chock-full of actionable intel you can use to test and improve your website.

You can analyze which landing pages, content & CTAs resonate best with each visitor location, demographic, device and even interests and search habits and optimize to improve your website experience.

You should be continuously analyzing and improving your website’s UX to boost your conversion rates (this is a practice known as Conversion Rate Optimization). It’s great to drive more traffic organically with SEO, but the next challenge is converting that traffic to a lead, and ultimately, a customer.

5. Don’t Get Hacked

There’s nothing worse than a surprise hacking to derail all your hard earned progress.

Website hacks not only leave you scrambling to get your website fixed and re-deployed, but can also stop marketing campaigns in their tracks, frustrate customers, mess up your SEO and even worse, compromise secure client information.

We recommend secure and monitored hosting and regular website maintenance to ensure your protected 24/7.

prevent hacking
Protect Your Business Website

6. Delegate Efficiently

Chances are you’re an expert in your specific area of business and not SEO, Landing Page Development, Website Hosting, Google Ads, Analytics Configuration & Reporting, User Experience, Conversion Rate Optimization, Call Tracking etc.

You could spend months trying to learn any one of these topics efficiently, or you can delegate.

Take stock of the team and skill sets you have at your disposal and see what you can efficiently complete in house and what you should outsource.

At North Shore Digital we’ve worked hard to develop a comprehensive Online Growth Plan that incorporates all these areas (and more). We also include ongoing consulting, insights and recommendations at a fraction of the price of a full time marketing coordinator or associate. Leave the online growth to us and focus on your business.

(end sales pitch).

7. The World is Changing – Fast.

The world is changing and technology is accelerating faster and faster. Burying your head in the sand and hoping you’ll get leads, sales and customers the same way you did 10 years ago could have disastrous results for your business.

When did you last search Google for a new service close to where you live? Buy anything online recently?

The massive changes taking place due to the current Covid-19 pandemic have also created a shift in the way we work and our consumer habits, with more and more people researching, shopping and operating online.

At North Shore Digital we stay up to date, every day, with the latest online growth and marketing technologies, trends and innovations so you don’t have to.

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Checklist to Launch New WordPress Website to Live https://www.northshore.digital/wordpress-launch-checklist/ https://www.northshore.digital/wordpress-launch-checklist/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2020 07:12:39 +0000 https://www.northshore.digital/?p=8223 This article is to help you easily launch your WordPress website that has been developed on a staging site to your live url.

It's something that seems like it might be overly technical but with some helpful tools and tips, it's pretty straightforward.

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This article is to help you easily launch your WordPress website that has been developed on a staging site to your live url.

This is a specific guide for when you have a newly designed site replacing an old site and you want to ensure the best SEO continuity and that the new site works.

The new site may have a vastly different page structure or page content although the more this is the case, the more volatile your SEO rankings may be once you’ve launched.

It’s something that seems like it might be overly technical but with some helpful tools and tips, it’s pretty straightforward. Just follow the checklist below:

Tools Required

  1. Screaming Frog
  2. Yoast
  3. Manage WP / GoDaddy Pro

Okay here are the steps to follow to ensure you don’t mess up the SEO of a site when you launch it.

There are no guarantees even if you do it right that it’ll go well since Google does what it wants when it comes to SEO rankings for site revamps even if the URL is still the same and the directories/pages are pretty much the same.

1. Take index of current website structure on Screaming Frog (for reference)

Use screaming frog to capture current site structure, links and SEO titles and descriptions on the current live site.

2. On draft site, set up Yoast to match the SEO titles and descriptions on the live site

Basically copy in and improve on the info you get from Screaming Frog for SEO titles and descriptions. Use the bulk tool on Yoast for editing or better still export and import settings from Yoast on the current live site.

3. Set up redirects from any different URLs from old site to new site structure (redirection plugin)

You can use redirection or Yoast Premium for this. Basically switch on the plugin and record any urls that exist on the live site that are different to the draft site and then point them to the correct place e.g. 301 redirect /services to /solutions or whatever the new equivalent is. Take care to notice category pages and the way blogs are set up on the live site versus the draft site. That’s normally the biggest challenge.

4. Prepare other plugins on draft site (ready for launch) e.g. Manage WP (used for cloning, site management and security)

There aren’t that many plugins to set up on the draft site before launching as most of them require a live environment to set up (since that contains the correct permanent URL not the draft site). However, there are a few plugins I recommend installing before you start drafting the site for image compression and for tagging of images and these are Imagify or ShortPixel and Auto Alt Attributes to auto tag images with the filename keywords. Others you can set up before migrating include WordFence but I’d set this up after launch so you don’t get into any firewall issues.

What you should do though is set up Manage WP. It’s by far the easiest tool I’ve come across for migrating/cloning/publishing WordPress sites. It’s dynamite. They’ve built an amazing engine to do this work that doesn’t fail very often. If it does, it’s normally down to the size of the site. I’ve had some take a few hours that were 4gb plus in size. Even then, I was left in limbo thinking it wasn’t progressing but when I was checking file space on the server for the website account, I could see it was working and going up. You just need to be patient. The tool itself is way more robust than its reporting. Sites that are 200mb to 500mb typically take about 10 minutes to clone/launch.

5. When ready, clone to live site from dev staging site

Use Manage WP to take a fresh backup of your draft site and then make sure the live site is added then clone it over.

6. Configuration on live site e.g. Yoast walkthrough, Google Analytics, Simple SSL, WordFence, iThemes Security

Set up all the plugins you want or don’t want. It’s best to not have too many but some are essential e.g. WordFence. I set it up as well as iThemes.

7. Check live site links and SSL certificate. Optimize website. Check Cloudflare configuration.

So, you can use a search and replace tool to check that all links have been taken care of on the live site. For example, (old-draft-site url to new-live-site url) and variations of http:// to https:// or // depending on how you want to do it.

8. Submit to Search Console for indexing

Go to Search Console and make sure the sitemap is correct and then try to submit it for indexing.

9. Monitor Redirection 404s for next few weeks and redirect any links that go to new content on the new site

Go back to the redirection plugin and check for any obvious 404 action and make 301 redirects to clean up the user experience on the site.

10. Monitor SEO keyword rankings

Expect some fluctuations as Google gets used to your new site structure and content.

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