3 Ways to Improve Your Site Evaluator Social Media Score 

By Steve Hoag

ways to improve social media score

Social media is becoming more and more important in business. It allows you to engage your target audience directly, as well as serving as a valuable SEO and lead generation tool. Site Evaluator analyzes your use of social media using a variety of metrics. Here’s three ways on how to improve both your social media, and overall site score.

Place social media links/buttons on your website pages

This has quickly become a must-have on any website. If you are using social networks to reach out to consumers you absolutely need to have buttons linking to your accounts on every page. Make it easy for users to see how to connect with you. Oftentimes, social media is the place where people get to see a different, more personable side of the company. If this means more sales leads, you need to make sure to link to these accounts every chance you get.

Actively engage your target audience on social networks to improve Klout score

Engaging your audience does mean sharing content you have generated with your networks. It does not mean force feeding them your content. Don’t spam your followers, and be sure your content is actually interesting to them. If they start sharing or re-tweeting your posts you are in good shape. Also, take any opportunity you get to share their content, as long as it is relevant to your business. People love attention on social media. Klout is a service that measure how people interact with your posts and you with theirs. The more back and forth there is, the higher your influence score will be.

Actively share your website and any content you have on your website with links pointing back to your site

Inbound links from social media networks are becoming increasingly important. This is a huge part of inbound marketing. Make sure these links are connected to great content that will help retain user traffic. Once you have a good content generation system in place, people will take notice, and actively search for your content on social networks. Great content means more followers, which means more traffic, and that means more sales opportunities.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, October 9, 2013 7:15:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO Site Evaluator SMB social media social media marketing website

No Need To Reinvent the Wheel: Why Refreshing Your Website Can Be Better Than Rebuilding 

By Steve Hoag

Don't reinvent the wheel.

Ever heard of the saying ‘No need to reinvent the wheel?’ That statement holds true when it comes to websites as well. Think of your current design as a car. Refreshing your website is simply changing the design, while keeping the major structural elements in place still. Kind of like upgrading to a new set of wheels once the old ones are worn down. Rebuilding your website is like realizing you think wheels are too backward for you, and deciding to develop a set of jet engines instead. Now that that elaborate comparison is out of the way, let’s take a look at why a refresh can be a better idea than a rebuild.

Better ROI

How expensive is a refresh? It will vary from designer to designer, but at the end of the day it will always be substantially cheaper than a rebuild. That’s because the changes are mostly aesthetic, while a rebuild will require changing the architecture of the site, and is much more expensive in time & money. The results of a well done refresh can look like a complete rebuild though. Customers’ perceptions are what matters at the end of the day, and website refreshes offer significant results at a lower price point.

Go live quickly

How much time does it take to grab some new wheels? Maybe an hour or two at most. How much time does it take to develop and install some jet engines for a car? Maybe a decade. If you need a new look for your site quickly, then a refresh is the way to go. A rebuild takes a lot of time and effort to successfully do, and the turnaround time can vary greatly depending on obstacles and delays.

Still lots of customization options

A refresh can look like a rebuild as long as you hire the right designer. All you need is a solid structure in place already, and any good designer will be able to work his/her magic. It’s amazing what some new colors, layout, graphics, and font can do. And remember, depending on your website platform, you can still add tons of custom functionality with a bit of development work.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:57:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB web design web development website

The Ultimate Website: 3 Web Design Trends You Need To Know About 

By Steve Hoag

web design trends

We are in the last third of 2013, and web design is still evolving at an incredible pace. If you don’t believe me, go use the Internet time machine and see for yourself! Websites are constantly changing to adapt to changing norms and new trends. Check out these three web design trends that you need to know about!

A Minimalist Approach and Lots of White Space

The idea of having white space has been around for a while, however it has morphed recently.  White space is used to draw attention to your primary content, but a lot of people have the misconception that this space HAS to be white. It doesn’t. As long as it contrasts well with your font color scheme you will be ok. Black or 'empty space' is the new white space for a lot of companies. Also, white space goes hand in hand with a minimalist approach. Lots of big companies have championed this, most notably Apple and Google. Minimalism makes your website look clean, crisp and uncluttered. Basically the opposite of a Japanese subway train during rush hour.

Huge Photography Backgrounds

This has been an up and coming trend that seems to be staying here for the long run. It tends to be more popular among creative/artsy type businesses like marketing, fashion, and other design firms. Here are some examples. Much like Communism, this style of design is not for everyone. You need to make sure your content meshes well with the background. On the other hand, if you are using a lot of landing pages, this can be an awesome option!

Infinite Scrolling

Infinite scrolling is a truly unique feature that is becoming very popular on social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter. It is used best for sites with dynamic content and constantly changing information. It doesn’t work well for blog sites that need to have individual pages for navigation. Another cool feature of infinite scrolling is that it does a nice job of eliminating page loads, which can create a more seamless user experience. Here are some examples to check out!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, September 18, 2013 6:27:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB social media web design web trends website

Three Reasons Why Social Media Is Crucial To Business Success 

By Steve Hoag

social media is crucial to business success

Social media has been all the rage lately. Celebrities, politicians, and even grandparents are getting in on the game. While social media is great for connecting with old pals, it is even better for connecting with customers. Here's why:

Consumers use social media to make purchasing decisions

I remember my parents scouring through Consumer Digest magazines when making a decision on what to buy. Ten years later, and they are choosing to take to social media to get recommendations from friends. Facebook and Twitter have become a hub for product purchasing advice and information. People will search for companies to see what people are saying about them, or their products. Twitter is slowly becoming an e-Bay of sorts. Lots of users are posting projects or jobs they need done and ask other users to bid on them. So far this has been mostly limited to web design/development, but it is becoming more widespread. A social media presence will make the consumer buying process much more simple, and they will be thankful for that.

An active social media presence bolsters search rankings

Social media is becoming more and more important when it comes to SEO. Creating engaging content on your website, and then linking to it from social media posts is an incredible marketing tool. Link building is still important in search engine rankings, and combining that with dynamic content can improve rankings by leaps and bounds. More social media activity means more website traffic.

Social media allows you to selectively target decision makers in other businesses

Cold calling is usually not very fun. Blindly cold calling without having a clear individual target can be even more frustrating. I have good news for all those cold callers out there! You don't have to do it anymore. Social media has demonstrated that it can help raise awareness, and nurture potential customers throughout the buying process. It allows you to identify key decision makers like the CEO, CMO, CTO etc, and reach out to them individually. You can avoid having to go through all the traditional hoops to reach the person you want to talk to. Combine that with advanced online marketing analytic tools like ActOn and you will realize social media has truly revolutionized online business.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, September 12, 2013 7:27:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO SMB social media social media marketing web trends website

Five Social Media Tools To Optimize Your Performance 

By Steve Hoag

social media tools

Social media is becoming one of the most important factors in online marketing today. Virtually every company needs some sort of social media presence to connect with its customers. A lot of tools available these days are either free or ‘freemium.’ By that I mean you can acquire a basic version with only some of the features, and then if you want more you need to buy their product. So let’s take a look at all these tools!

HootSuite

HootSuite is one of the premier business tools available. It seamlessly aggregates all of your social networks into one program, allowing you to cycle through different feeds without having to keep 100 tabs open on Chrome. Also, it allows you to create a variety of reports, but you will need to pay a subscription fee to gain access to the more advanced versions. HootSuite has some powerful search options, allowing you to create advanced searches on Twitter to pinpoint your target audience.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is very similar to HootSuite in that it aggregates your different social networks. It is completely free, and a bit more novice friendly as well. TweetDeck was originally its own company, but has since been bought out by Twitter. If you have 1-3 feeds you want to keep track of then this is a perfectly good option. However, more custom search columns/accounts will make the UI a bit cumbersome.

Tweepi

Tweepi is an excellent freemium product. One of the biggest headaches on Twitter is finding accounts that are relevant to your business, unfollowing people who are inactive or haven’t followed you back, and following people who follow you. All of these tasks can be handled automatically with Tweepi! You will have to pay some money to get access to the more advanced features, but it is still a worthwhile product to check out!

Bit.Ly

Bit.Ly is a great site to use if you are constantly sharing content, or trying to increase your website traffic. You input the desired URL and it will automatically be shortened. From that point on you can copy/paste the new URL and all clickthrough statistics will be tracked. These include things like clicks per day/time/location/network etc. Overall an excellent tool for the modern marketer!

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is supremely underrated. You can find all sorts of gems by using it. Essentially, you set up a variety of keywords that you want Google to automatically search for. Every day it comes up with a list of links that it deems relevant, and emails you. These can vary from great articles, to press releases, to even job postings!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, September 5, 2013 6:17:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB social media website
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