Website Redesign: Best Practices And Checklist For A Successful Revamp

There could be multiple reasons for a company to look at website redesign. From undergoing a merger, or acquisition, new leadership, change in business line or change in technology to incorporating digital transformation at your company. It is a big decision as all levels of management are involved and whatever you do would be seen by your customers and public at large. Therefore, there are important considerations to be made before you decide to go ahead with a website a revamp or redesign project as such.

When to redesign your website?

On an average, companies redesign their websites every three years. It costs you money, a lot of time and teamwork, agency involvement (probably) and media outreach to let people know about new website launch. Before you move ahead, it is important to know the reasons behind a website redesign.

Few basic questions you may want to address:
1. Do we really need a new website?
2. Can I upgrade basic content and design with my existing website?
3. Even I we launch a new website; will that be futureproof?
4. What will happen to my SEO and all content marketing efforts?
5. How much do I need to spend?

Once you have these answers, budgets and clarity to go ahead. It is worth looking at Best practices and checklist for a website redesign as below. I will also try to add relevant references and articles worth exploring under each step while you read.

Learn More:

  1. How Much Should a Website Cost You? A Definitive Pricing Guide For You
  2. How to Avoid SEO Disaster During a Website Redesign

Best Practices for website redesign

Think User experience and Wireframe prototypes

Consumers should be your sole focus while thinking of wireframes and protypes. Websites are made to sell or to gain customers basis your business interests. Most of the users stay for less than 15 seconds. When you start fresh and develop prototypes or wireframes, Try limiting clicks or navigation steps towards the desired call to action you want your customers to take. For example, if you just sell shoes online, your home page should show shoes being sold online, or at least a user should be able to buy a shoe in 2 to 3 clicks at max on your website.

Learn More:

Marketing and Competitive intelligence

On the positive side of things, we must always learn from competition. It is worth exploring all recent website redesign projects (at least last 6 months) among your competitors, influencers and even your customers for that matter. They must have gone though similar challenges and learnings. Talk to your peers in other industries and gain insights. Looking at what they did best could provide a lot of ideas to improve your website redesign project.

Conversion Focussed

Effective websites drive conversions and fulfill business goals and interests. It is very important to know desired call to action you want your customers to take on your website. If you are selling shoes online, your conversion goal would be to drive a sale online.
If you imagine a conversion funnel as given below, your goal should be to be as close as possible to the bottom of the funnel.

Email Marketing embedded

Email marketing is the most organic channel you would ever user for all outreach and push marketing programs. It is good to have all your forms built right from your marketing automation system and they should have smooth integration with your website platform or Content Management System.

Having multiple forms or types is a strict no no, with GDPR in place and many such regulations coming in, it is even more necessary to have centralized way to monitor all form submissions across your website. You may also want to avoid lead capture forms if you already have a marketing automation tool purchased.

Example: If you are using WordPress for CMS you may want to integrate suitable marketing automation tools such as Mailchimp (free), or Constant Contact for marketing automation.

Explore Marketing Automation Tools

  1. Constant Contact – 60-day free trial
  2. Aweber – 30-day free trial

Social Media Integration

The importance of Social media is well known. You must ensure a seamless integration of social media platforms across your website. It means employing Twitter Cards, share friendly buttons with sharable content on your website and including social media channels which deemed fit for your business.

A blog may require shareable buttons on top, bottom and/or left-hand side bar on your website for instance, like the one you find on this blog.

Learn More:

Security Features

Security is of utmost importance when you redesign a website. You may want to work closely with IT department of your company as they know this subject better. A company wide firewall, strict adherence to IT and security policies is just a beginning to secure your website. Choosing a secure Infrastructure to host your website, employing security systems with SSL encryption with regular malware scanning and daily backups for instance are few more ways to ensure website security.

Learn More:

Machine Learning and Digital Experiences for Web redesign

Machine learning is touching lives and marketing is no different story. I have had some interesting initial discussions with Optimizely and SiteCore, few companies which aim to provide unique digital experiences including content randomization for different users on your website. It is all about taking the website redesign to a all new different level. It can be a bit costly affair, but it is worth exploring if you happen to have good budgets and ambitious goals.

Explore More:

  1. Optimizely
  2. Sitecore
  3. Adobe Experience Manager

Future Proof

Its all about trying to be future proof. Nothing (in reality) is future proof though! Being closest to latest technology, website features and functionality. Right mix of integration with marketing automation, Content management system, CRM or customer relationship management software, light and fast coding with optimized loading of website are few ways to get this right. It is equally important for all your web data to be well-integrated. Consider integrating all your google products for better insights, google analytics, google ads, google webmaster integration for instance.

Good reads on Future proofing a website redesign:

What Makes Future Proof Web Design?
How To Future-Proof Your Website

Standardized approach to brand: Web Content, Landing Pages and Call to actions

The most important consideration for a marketer during website redesign. It begins with strategizing your website content and sitemap architecture.

  • How to organize content?
  • Your website language and tone should be product, solution or services centric?
  • Where to place my demos?
  • What colors to choose for web page, content and buttons text?

It is also a good practice to have standard approach to all your landing pages. All these need careful consideration and planning as marketing closely works with leadership and IT in such redesign projects.

Learn More:

Optimized web Content (solution/product/services centric) -SEO

A content which ranks should be the focus of your website. Being SEO friendly needs to be planned right when you start developing the very first piece of content towards the website revamp. Including cross links inside your web pages, including outbound links to the pages you refer within your web content and adopting a off-page optimization strategy is needed here.

Read More:

Show and tell – Omni channel Content

Omni channel content is the way forward for content marketing. It is important to use visuals, images, embedded videos within your content at appropriate places. The mix of all these content types could vary basis your consumers or business interests. An eBook business must show cover page of the eBook, likewise, a mobile design company must show more visuals and angles of the mobile design, a B2B IT company must show use cases solving complex business problems for instance.

CDN/Content Delivery network

In simple terms, a content delivery network or CDN is a group of geographically placed servers that provide fast delivery of the content over internet. Incorporating a CDN is a common practice today and helps in serving content faster when users access your website from different geographic locations across the globe.

Know More:

  1. WordPress CDN – Why You Should Be Using One in 2019
  2. What Is a CDN?

Integrate Chatbots

According to Business Insider, 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020.
Human beings cannot work always and that’s where chatbots play an important role. You must always include a chatbot for personalized web interactions backed by real technical support and salespeople as needed. In all probability, your conversation would be higher with them than without them.

Learn More:

Consider In house options and agencies Outside

Website redesign is a complex project and it involves multiple teams and decision makers. Unless you have all skillsets available internally it is worth looking out and working with web design agencies. They bring in fresh perspective and cross industry references which cannot be found internally. Having said that not all agencies are great. You may want to consider references of past projects and evaluate capabilities before you even decide to work with an agency as such.

Quick Pro tip: Cost is the last thing you should look at 😊

Learn More:

Limit Gating of your website Content

I did cover this topic in marketing trends blog earlier. Gating a piece of content is good but it should not get overwhelming for your customers. It is a good practice to offer high level thought leadership articles or collaterals for free. Enabling the asset behind a form submission should be a mix in your overall content strategy and should only be done when it brings in some value with relevance for your customers. Please remember, gating sounds salesy, your company needs to be very careful in quality of asset being gated.
Remember last time you submitted a form to download and wished you could have avoided sharing your details? 😊

A lot of leading companies are doing this mistake everyday, probably, to fulfill their short time sales goals.
That’s what I meant by Value!

Website Redesign Checklist

website redesign checklist

SEO Friendly Website:

• Clickable logo
• User-friendly sitemap
• Content organized by categories across your website
• Cross links between relevant web pages of your website
• provide outbound links to articles outside your website.
• Utilize header tags across your website with mix of H1, H2, H3 and H4
• Include meta tags and descriptions
• Keep Page title within 60 characters
• Use visuals, videos and images as mix.
• Clear and simple Call to actions

Read More:

Mobile Responsive

• Mobile responsive containers across website
• User testing for each page across mobile, desktops and tablets before a webpage goes live

Explore More:

CMS enabled with defined roles.

• Limited access to Content Management System
• Define user roles and limit levels of access. For example, Admin, Contributor, Editor
• Ensure a database backup is enabled with IT

Tracking enabled

• Enable Conversion tracking basis the tools you have in your company. For example, basic scripts you may want to add include Google analytics, Google Ads, Marketing automation tool script, WooCommerce scripts and so on.
• Utilize existing scripts and reuse to retain data loss after website redesign

SSL Encryption

Include SSL encryption with a certificate for your domain URL. It is an important SEO factor as well.
Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates as well.

Explore More:

What is an SSL certificate
Get Free SSL
How to Install SSL Certificate on Your WordPress Site

Fast loading

Ensure that your website loads quickly and runs well once loaded. It also implies smooth loading of images, infinite scroll, rendering and loading all scripts on your website.

This has got more to do with your web development team or agency as appointed.
Google does provide guidelines to do so.

Explore More:

Privacy Policy an GDPR checklists

It is very important to have a detailed privacy policy including compliance to privacy standards such as GDPR at easily accessible places on your website.

Read More:

On Site search and voice search

Voice search Is growing, and it has immense potential. A Search box at top navigation is must have. It is all better when you have voice search enabled on your website, it also helps in speech recognition.

Read More:

Hosting enabled with backups.

It is best to have a good hosting provider and automated daily backups of complete website. You can always go back a day’s backup if anything goes wrong with your website.

Explore More:

Post Content SEO Checks

Once your website content is ready and development is somewhat completed, it is important to validate and correct SEO mistakes if any before you go live.

Learn More:

The Bottom Line

In my marketing experience, I did about 4 website redesign projects and it was a great learning every time I launched a new website. When I look back now, I could always think of better ways to improve them all. The simplest reasons being technology has changed and it was difficult to futureproof a website as such. You must aim for being current with technology, your functional and content requirements, and as futuristic as possible. That way your website redesign cycles will be a lot shorter. While website redesigns are inevitable, it is best to add some personality to it. It could be as simple as a color standing out or a “button/Call to action” nobody else could think of, a surprise element with a pop up for your customers or best creative approach to a regulation like GDPR on your website, Opportunities are plenty. Remember (and I love this quote), “leaders don’t do different things, they do things differently”.

I hope you find this blog useful. Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Did you come across any new best practices or checklist that I couldn’t think of, please let me know your thoughts or feedback in the comments section as below.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

FastComet Hosting Review The Best Web Hosting beyond Bluehost, Hostgator & GoDaddy

I launched my website in 2016 with FastComet shared web hosting plan and it has been over 2 years that have been using them. When I started, I tried Bluehost services for a while but was not completely satisfied with the same and thus decided to explore an alternative web hosting service beyond the well-known once, of course, in the search for the best value for my money. Reasons for choosing FastComet hosting over others are explained in my detailed review further.

FastComet Hosting Review

FastComet has been in the web hosting business for about 9 years now unlike established and popular hosting brands such as Bluehost, HostGator, and GoDaddy etc. Bluehost was founded in 1996 while HostGator in 2002, both originally belong to the same parent group by name “Endurance International Group, Inc. (EIG)”. On the other hand, GoDaddy was founded in 1997. All of these are popular brands today and so are their hosting services.

Due to brand popularity, they also enjoy leading market shares. Here is a snapshot of trends in the usage of web hosting since January 2016.

historical trend - usage of web hosting providers

FastComet a 7-year-old brand, launched their public cloud hosting service in late 2013, they are probably the fastest growing today, primarily, because of the hosting product mix they provide to users. Serving about 11,500 + customers from 70 countries, Their SSD Cloud Hosting solution is one of the most accessible and affordable on the Web Hosting Marked powered by a rocket-fast 24/7 support team.

Why FastComet for Web Hosting

FastComet Features

 

Lifelong Free domain

Yes, you heard it right, FastComet provides one domain name for free without any need for a renewal. They bear all such costs, as a proof, you should also receive an invoice for domain registration with $ 0 as invoice value. This is must utilize feature if you are a startup, a new business or a website, remember to justify your domain ownership within 15 days as per new ICANN rules applicable from January 1, 2014.

However, if you decide to move away with FastComet web hosting, you may want to renew your domain in advance to be on the safer side.

FastComet Pricing and Plans

The transparency factor here is that there are no hidden charges, in fact, renewal prices are the same as you would have bought the hosting package for the first time. That too without any legal obligations and 45 days money back guarantee. I have used the first one below for over 2 years and with monthly payments by my credit card.

FastComet Web Hosting Plans

Shared Hosting Plans

Decide your server location

You can choose from 7 data center locations as per the screenshot below, this can also be changed as per your convenience later. I opted for Frankfurt considering this being almost center of the earth for initial 2 years and moved to Chicago servers in North America, this year. The service support was extremely fast and satisfactory.

server locations

 

Monthly Payment Options

This is a very rare feature which I could not find with any other reliable web hosting provider. Most of the leading players will bundle hosting for a year or so, with the cost per year discounted if you opt for increased number of years. Clearly, they are wanting only long-term customers. As mentioned earlier in this post, since I was using Bluehost for some time, upon deciding to move out from their services and asking for a refund, they offered me monthly payments options from an existing yearly renewal. I had already made my mind, so I decided to take up FastComet rather.

FastComet provides as less as $2.95 /month Starter Plan with the same renewal price, the catch here, however, is that if you opt for the monthly payment (possible from a Visa Card) you will need to pay an upfront first month set up charges of $19.95 approx.

FastComet Speed & Reliability

Usual loading speed of websites hosted on FastComet is better than the competition as below.

FastComet site speed

Here are results of my website speed test for your easy reference: Performance-grade scores 81 (screenshot is dated – 22 May 2016)

Sitetest results

Website Up-time

Website Uptime

FastComet Interface & Security

cPanel Interface

A clean interface providing one-click installation for all essential apps such as WordPress, b2evolution, complete site backup in single click, unlimited emails and bandwidth, basic SEO tutorials and much more to gain from. You also have unlimited emails to configure as needed.

CPanel interface

Security features

  • SSD-only storage: This belongs to latest class of storage devices, all websites, by default are hosted on Solid State Drive and not traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD) same is not the case with most of the hosting providers today, HDD is the way they host till date and SSDs  are usually a premium priced feature.
  • Free CDN: All hosting plans at FastComet include free Cloudflare CDN by default. This too is premium feature charged by others separately. I use Cloudflare CDN which has been a very good experience.
  • Hack-free: All packages also include web app firewalls for preventing 99% of the known security threats.
  • Account Isolation: It is completely isolated but not limited dedicated environment for every hosting account.

Customer Support

Customer Support

Faster Response Time: >= 10 min of response time for all tickets.

Hosting Support: Full support for all hosting series, this includes email, FTP, website transfer, and setup.

Open Source Support: Support for more than 150 Open Source applications including installation, configuration, and transfer.

The unique features from FastComet also Includes:

Comparison with other service Providers

Hostgator Vs Fastcomet Comparison

hostgator vs fastcomet

GoDaddy vs FastComet Comparison

GoDaddy vs fastcomet

Bluehost vs FastComet Comparison

bluehost vs fastcomet

Inmotion vs FastComet Comparison

inmotion vs fastcomet

Arvixe vs FastComet Comparison

arvixe vs fastcomet

Cons of Using FastComet

I have highlighted the positive aspects of this hosting provider as above, it will  be fair to highlight the common issues I have come across while using FastComet services over the last 2 years.

1) If you have opted for Shared hosting, be careful with number of processes/scripts you are running as it limits the server and quite often your website services could go down. Here is a snapshot of the similar issue I came across recently. This is true for most of the shared hosting packages out there though!

Quick pro tip: Try always using CDN with a shared hosting as it will free up your bandwidth and limit number of processes running on the server. Notice the triangles with exclamation marks below.

too many processes on fastcomet servers

2) Emails are a big pain: They work excellent from the cpanel or client panel login in FastComet dashboards. Whenever you try to use them over any outlook, email app or mobile email client, they just don’t work, having said that, adding the host name/server configurations manually for IMAP or POP email have helped me overcome these difficulties. I don’t think it Is user-friendly though!

Conclusion

With lifetime free domain (which usually costs $10+ an year) , SSD drives, Free Cloudflare CDN, cPanel without extra bucks, and mobile-friendly interface at $2.95/month with real monthly payment options and 45 days money back guarantee, it’s deal you should run for. The service support is excellent and very proactive. They are open to provide support for ht access files, rewrite redirections and so on at no extra cost. I would recommend them for people looking at basic shared hosting plans with unmetered traffic and excellent customer support, much like any other shared hosting provider. Once you have a significant traffic coming in to your website you may consider moving on to a cloud VPS, managed hosting or dedicated servers’ basis your business and bandwidth needs. Shared web hosting is good to taste waters and move ahead as you grow. I just moved by website to a managed shared hosting plan with Kinsta in 2019.

Learn More about both website hosting providers I have used:

  1. Explore Kinsta Hosting
  2. Explore FastComet Hosting

FastComet Hosting

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

What are backlinks in SEO and What is the Significance of Link Building

Rumors say, there are about 200+ ranking factors for Google and backlinks are among the top 3 contenders for google ranks, as said by Andrey Lipattsev earlier ( Partner Development Manager, Search and Integrations at Google), I also happen to listen to him in a recently conducted “Digital Transformation Day” an online conference this month.  A backlink is very commonly used term in the SEO world. These are links coming into your web pages from external websites or commonly stated as links from a third party back to your website. Acquiring backlinks is also a proven marketing tactic that increases brand awareness and conversions.

moz search factors survey

Top 2 factors are link related, Source: Moz | Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015

Traditionally, web pages with maximum backlinks used to rank higher which is largely true, even today. The more you have, the better are the chances to rank well for top keywords.

What is a good backlink

backlink

* Search engines also consider citation or mentions like links

Relevancy

Being relevant to the search query is of utmost importance to Google. A backlink is relevant when it comes from a relevant source.

Trust

Google must trust the website from where the link is originating to your website, for a backlink to be good to you. Google’s move towards not trusting a website without SSL encryption is a worrying factor as chances of our old backlinks getting diluted are more. (if they don’t bring in encryption for example)

Authority

Effective link building doesn’t mean building unlimited links but it means getting genuine links from the website that are reliable and of high domain authority. For example, A link from an authoritative website like the Wall Street Journal will make a greater impact on your rank than a link from a newly built website.

Different domains

All your backlinks should not be from same domain with different quality domains, instead.

The Significance of Link Building

Backlinks from one website to another act as a vote in eyes of Google and indicates search engines that others vouch for your content.

Link Building helps in the following:

  • More visibility of your website and content in the search result.
  • The high-quality incoming link means your site will be admired as a valuable resource to Google. Focusing on niche and quality content are some of the ways to look at it.
  • Getting indexed in search result easily.
  • Receive traffic from other websites linked to your web pages
  • It is also a very strong signal which search engines use while considering ranking.

Related Read:

  1. 13 Steps For Building An Effective SEO Strategy
  2. Press Release SEO – Best Practices & Checklist To Optimize PR
  3. Google Penguin 4.0 Update – Impact On SEO

What do you think, Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

Top 20 Marketing Trends brands should watch Out for in 2018

Marketing Trends in 2018

2017 for marketing has been a year of transformation, the realization of issues concerning common man and coming up with proactive measures to overcome difficulties consumers face today. From emphasizing more upon digital channels, increasing twitter character lengths to realizing and acting upon fake news in the late 2017, brands today, are becoming more and more consumer-centric. Marketing is evolving and there is a long way to go. In this blog, we shall discuss 20 marketing trends brands should watch out for in 2018 and years to come.

1. Virtual Reality in Questionable state

Virtual reality started with a big bang about 2 years ago. It was expected to be a part of mainstream advertising budgets, but witnessed a limited play in movies and TV shows, unlike games. Flagship mobile phones launch in 2015, Lenovo Vibe X3 for instance, had bundled mobile phone and virtual reality headsets together, which is not a case with leading mobile brands today. This is going to continue further and brands will see lesser traction on mobile devices and applications of virtual reality in marketing. It could take six to eight years for VR to reach a tipping point.

Read More about Virtual Reality Marketing in my previous blog post here.

2. Machine Learning in Marketing

Machine learning, inevitably, will change the way brands consider marketing to their customers today. By now, you must have tried looking at a product on an e-commerce site and the very next second the same product is shown to you across your mailbox, apps you download and websites you visit in multiple ad formats. It will rise more and more with dynamic shift mobility and android market is taking today. Basically, it’s a use case of Machine learning in digital advertising and termed as Retargeting. Leading companies such as Facebook, Google, and Vizury enable this for marketers to effectively target their audience for improved conversions. It also brings in the Real-time application of ads to the desired audience and cut on unwanted spends as machines can learn quicker than human beings. Essentially, personalized and better-targeted ads, real-time application and ability to learn quickly will eventually be more cost effective for businesses. Thus, it will continue to rise in 2018 and marketers will see increased investments in machine learning as a capability.

3. Limiting Gated Content

Creating a simple landing page and gating content has been useful in past few years. From necessary to unnecessary gating of content, and forcing users to submit a form in exchange for an asset, offer or benefit has been overused. Brands like Zendesk and Hubspot have already started using the mix of gated and nongated content. Customers would prefer not forcing them to fill a form every time they need an asset from your website. This trend will see more traction and brands will choose what to gate and what not to gate in 2018. Using a suitable mix and differentiating gated and ungated content will be key to success in 2018.

4. LinkedIn gets life

LinkedIn in 2017, have made multiple improvements to the platform. Last month, I also noticed Akshay Kothari, Head of LinkedIn India, promoting thought leadership driven video bytes often candid conversations, essentially, targeting youth, B2B professionals, and Job seekers, the Purpose LinkedIn is well known for. I personally felt its lot more life on LinkedIn as It is sometimes boring talking business all the time on LinkedIn. This trend will surely be noticed by leading brands, and people will try bringing in youth, new thoughts and candid conversations on LinkedIn. With free data plans floating all around, the video is going to be an integral part of LinkedIn in 2018.

LinkedIn India

On Linkedin editors, news feed appears like the example given below.

LinkedIn Editors

Learn More:

Types of LinkedIn Ads & When to Use Them

Tips & Best practices for LinkedIn Ads

Step by Step Guide To Setup LinkedIn Ads

5. Twitter declines

Twitter didn’t grow in 2017, due to limited improvements in the ad platform and focus on user acquisitions rather, in 2017. There is some positive news on user base and numbers which started growing post-Oct 2017. The increase character length from 140 characters to 280 characters now has been a debatable topic as well. Experts say that Twitter’s technology lags than that of Facebook and Google. The fanciness of hashtags, however, is not going to decline and brands will continue using Twitter in 2018. By what percentage, time can only tell for now.

twitter sales and growth

6. Rise of Instagram

According to Brandwatch, Instagram now reaches an average audience of 500 million people daily in the third quarter of 2017, more than double that of Snapchat or Twitter (each has fewer than 200 million daily active users). Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat, as reported in Business Insider.

Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom told Variety earlier this year: “People say Instagram is super positive and optimistic. If you take a close look at 2017 statistics provided by the Instagram, He seems right, if u glance through the Top hashtags of 2017:

  1. #love
  2. #fashion
  3. #photooftheday
  4. #photography
  5. #art
  6. #beautiful
  7. #travel
  8. #happy
  9. #nature
  10. #picoftheday

It has become a must-have for celebrities, controversial artists, photography enthusiasts and fitness freaks to grow their follower base. Irrespective of a need or no need, Users are experimenting with Instagram.  Whilst it’s good to have 2 to 3 hashtags in a tweet, at least until Twitter had 140 characters limit. Instagram has the exact opposite to play, and it provides more liberty to users. Users are adopting more and more of hashtags to get heard in noisy image place. There aren’t any hashtag limitations as such, but according to, a TrackMaven study of Instagram accounts with 1,000 followers or fewer, posts containing four or five hashtags received an average of 22 interactions compared to 14 interactions on posts with zero hashtags.

7. Net neutrality – loses or wins – Impact is the imperative

As per dictionary, it’s the principle that Internet service providers or ISPs should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking products or websites. In recent development at the US, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington voted to dismantle the “net neutrality” rules. Basically, giving more power to cable and telecom companies to control future of the web. Advertising revenues will eventually start moving towards Telecom and cable companies as marketers will have better avenues for consumer profiling and targeting there. I also see the premium charges being applied to advertising there.

8. Rise of ad blocking tech

Recent report during March 2017 explained that ad fraud will cost brands $16.4 billion globally and nearly 20 percent of total digital ad spend was wasted in 2016. It is a growing concern among advertisers and publishers today. It has been bothering Google for some time now. From acknowledging this to be a problem in July 2017 to refunding advertisers for fake ads, Google did it all to regain advertiser’s faith. There is no definite solution to this problem in 2017, there will be focused attention in 2018 by leading brands such as P&G, I personally loved the speech by Marc Pritchard from P&G in Jan 2017 wherein he slammed platforms for lacking uniform standards. Earlier this year, P&G’s programmatic partner The Trade Desk partnered with bots-detection company White Ops eliminate ad fraud, before buyers are charged, from inventory offered by supply-side platforms. This opens new avenues for ad fraud solutions and more service providers in 2018 as brands today, don’t even have a transparent visibility of where their ads were actually shown.

9. Voice Search in 2018

An estimate by ComScore says, by 2020, almost 30 percent of searches will be done by, without a screen. Google, on the other hand, says, about 20 percent of search queries via its app are through voice search. Readiness for voice search will be the need of brands in 2018. More investments expected in voice search friendly websites, apps, it may also lead to the adoption of chatbots/ artificially intelligent virtual assistants to power voice search queries in some cases. Amazon and Google, for instance, have released mini-Wi-Fi speaker for the home, respectively. This possesses a challenge to Google as it limits monetization opportunities.

10. Privacy breach & Marketing

This the topic I love the most, Blackberry Passport , which was way ahead of its generations and Blackberry 10 OS has been killed officially (For now, deadline by blackberry is for 2019) as it was too secure and covering your privacy so much that even the basic blackberry browser could tell you and ask your permission if a website is trying to know your location (At least at that moment). Something which Google always wants from you and even does it without your knowledge. For instance, if you just go to Amazon.com and try buying a product shipping internationally from the US, it says “it can be shipped or not” without actually taking user’s consent. Thanks to Android and China making cheapest possible aAndroiddevices on earth. Basically, you either choose an Android or an Apple ecosystem, the latter being costlier Apple ecosystem, market is growing faster on former one. With growing Android devices and mobile taking the centerstage, your privacy is at risk. In one sentence, Google knows everything about you. Likewise, Xiaomi knows everything about Redmi devices as you have an MI account to sync it all. For brands, it’s the good news as they can target more users, more apps and more personalized customer choices and offers they wish to. Maintaining a fine balance between offering what is required and avoiding too much of content push will determine their success in 2018.

11. Questionable state of Social Media

Power and Politics can overrule social media today. Influencer social media campaigns are at all-time high. One thought vs other, one political party vs other. Smart marketers are using this opportunity to create biased or unbiased content, distribute and monetize from it. Social media is a new mandate for political parties, and marketers will continue to earn more from it in 2018. State of social media remains questionable as One can hire thousands of social media advocates/employees and troll whomsoever they want. Thus, every discussion can become an argument leading to end of the very thought process itself. Above all, fake robots are also being used to gain likes, spike traffics and numbers, eventually, resulting in ad fraud as well. Few classic videos I found as below, where China seems leading the innovation 🙂

Like factory in China 

 

 

 

 

How Fake Likes are Made

 

 

 

 

12. Dark Social and Web analytics limitations

It’s dark when people share content through private channels such as instant messaging programs, messaging apps, incognito mode in some cases and email. Simply stating, any web traffic that’s not attributed to a known source is dark social. It is very difficult for marketers to measure anything coming into their website through dark social. While there are certain ways brands can manage it but this it’s a marketing opportunity lost as no one knows how to address this. This trend will continue to rise in 2018 as well.

13. Facebook is the new video platform

During last few months, we noticed a significant number of video posts across Facebook unlike traditional images and content posts. Though there are ad inserts within the videos shown on Facebook which is annoying sometimes, but the mix of liking a page and getting all content from a Facebook page seems working for brands today, it is on demand as you go to Facebook anyway for social media. YouTube on the other hand has the bell icon and subscribing option to do so. But I would go to YouTube primarily for Videos and not for any other form of content. Apart from this, the content repurposing in phenomenal In B2C brands marketing on Facebook. Clearly, Facebook has an upper edge here, with introduction of Facebook watch in August 2017, and continued growth in videos for over 100 million hours of video watch time, much before “Watch” was launched, and free mobile data plans all around, it is poised to move ahead and be the biggest video platform.

14. Rise in Mobile money means more avenues for advertisers

2018 will be a year of massive shift in way we do payments together. From Android & Samsung Pay, Tez by Google to digital mobile banks being a reality, next year will see increase in digital payments. Amazon Pay, Paytm at India are few such examples. This will though, lead to complex partner ecosystems and demand a need for regulations.

15. B2B events won’t die

At least in B2B marketing, people still believe events and trade shows are important to be present, at least the generation born before 80s. I have also seen a lot of resistance to change and shifting budgets towards Digital Marketing, as they say, People are resistant to change in general.  Events also involve Face to face discussions and being felt in public view. Though digital marketing budgets will continue growing, people won’t leave B2B events and conferences and experienials spends either.

16. Gaming videos are New content for engagement

Animation is going in full swing. Gaming companies such as Unilad are using Facebook and showing snippets from the game story itself for engaging users are providing them with the look and feel of the game before it is released. The level of engagements shows it’s working. I see this as a growing trend in 2018 wherein brands will invest more on Facebook and Instagram to gain from such engagements online.

Unilad gaming

17. Media Surround on gaming consoles

I use an old Sony PlayStation 3, I noticed these Gaming consoles also offering the Content platform to watch videos such as YouTube, Yupp TV and Amazon Prime. This has been there for some time now but the addition of new website/miniature app versions are incremental. In 2018, marketers will have a definite reach to the users using Gaming consoles.

18. More telcos will offer digital content consumption – Free and Paid

At least in the Indian markets, from Airtel, Idea to Reliance Jio, every telecom company is trying to create a content ecosystem of movies and media channels to gain and retain existing users, which is mostly free for end customers. It’s a new mandate, for all leading telecom companies in 2018. This content trend is currently dominated by Netflix and new entrant Amazon in the West for now. Few telecoms, are though offering free data if you buy some data from them. For marketers, this too, will provide more reach and personalized messaging to the audience and new revenue streams for telecom companies.

19. Customer Experience will continue to be a focus in 2018

A classic case is with a mid-segment, Chinese brand like OnePlus which has been innovating with every launch they made from Dash charging to frequent patch updates android users always ask for, respecting every flagship they launched and promising Android Oreo updates Dash charging – is something lot of leading brands failed to recognize even today. Almost every query or concern was addressed by social media/leadership team at OnePlus directly truly living up to their brand positioning of #NeverSettle. Brands should use 360 degree / all marketing channels to hear customer voice and address them in public. Essentially, consistent improvement in customer experience results in free word of mouth and therefore, save your marketing dollars.

oneplus tweet

Explore Oneplus 6T

20. Bitcoin and Blockchain – Marketing Implications

The Harvard Business Review describes “Blockchain” as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. This is very recent and a trending topic amongst marketers. From verifying ad delivery to paying for content creation, distribution and to rewarding customers. It has a whole new set of applications. I liked a blog covering this topic in detail as here. Twenty-Seven Ways Marketers Can Use Blockchain

#marketingtrends

Trust you found this blog useful, please let me know your feedback, comments and suggestions the comments section below.

Handpicked Articles to Learn More:

Best Practices for Social Media Usage in 2018

Social Media Listening Tools To Monitor Your Brand

Best Free SEO Tools To Gain Ranks on Google

Press Release SEO – Best Practices & Checklist To Optimize PR

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

Blackberry Passport Review in 2017

Leaders don’t do different things; they do things differently! That’s exactly what happened when Blackberry Passport was launched in Oct 2014. A bold move in every possible aspect of design, concept, production, and marketing. Honestly, I had the last year’s flagship by Lenovo (Vibe X3) and have been eager to buy Blackberry Passport ever since Silver edition was launched. Price, I always felt was, on the higher side so conveniently avoided until I found major price drop this year and thus got one BB Passport. I have been using it for over a month now and in this blog, I wanted to share my experience and review of Blackberry Passport Silver Edition.

Why Blackberry Passport in first Place

I Phone is something I never understood, I always respected the design (I know all the hardware guys copy something or other from I phone), but most of the time I have seen people buying this because of features and premium feel, I don’t know if it’s intentionally priced higher than other phones too. Apple, over the last few years, has made the entire mobile world “vertical”, android too followed similar steps and ensured all of them made all screens vertical and flat. Every leading brand today is in the same race trying to be more vertical, more and heavier on specs. People who use ordinary 1 GB RAM for actual utilization are now running behind 4 GBs, 5 GBs and more. Thanks to our friends in China.

Blackberry passport had the courage to do something totally different. They brought back the Square screens to see the world differently (referring my quote at starting of this blog) backed by power of their flagship trackpads into the whole new physical qwerty keyboard combined with best possible R&D to bring out best of Blackberry in Passport, made it even bigger with launch of Passport Silver edition in Aug, 2015

What Blackberry Passport can do for you

Everything what i OS and an Android OS can do to you. The latest OS build on blackberry Passport is BB 10.3 OS and 10.3.3.1435 in specific. Of course, it comes with latest hardware specs, Read More

You see the world different:

A wider world, try using a standard vertical smartphone and then this device for a week. You will feel the difference.

blackberry layout

 

Wider Maps

Thus, u need to scroll less (right and left)

blackberry maps

 

Wider Emails

No more endless Scrolls

wider emails on blackberry

 

Wider Spreadsheets

Business guys out there, it’s almost carrying a laptop in your pocket, edit your documents on the go.

blackberry spreadsheets

 

Longer Battery Life

blackberry battery

 

Touch-enabled Physical Keyboard

The keyboard is the touch screen itself, so it is only here you scroll down or up without touching the screen. Delete text, just swipe left on your keyboard, it shall delete multiple words, sentences in one go. I Phones can’t do this 🙂

blackberry keyboard

 

Camera

The front is mere 2 MP but does the calling Job. Back Camera, Not that great in low light, however, in light this 13 MP camera performs better than 21 MP of Lenovo. Also, not to forget, its square images here, that means for your DPs on WhatsApp (round ones), Profiles on Twitter and Facebook profile pics (square boxed ones), it will do the greatest job without the much-needed cropping otherwise.

blackberry camera sample image

 

Source: Know More about Blackberry Features

Apps that run on Blackberry Passport in 2017

In this section, I would like to share how to made all the important apps work on your BB Passport in 2017

Cobalt is the well-known guy who has made most of the cracks possible, Blackberry OS supports installing Android apps and apps from Google Play Store. The fundamental is to have Blackberry world, Amazon App store and Google play store installed on your device. First two are pre-installed by default. While the third one needs a crack, please find the detailed guide about installing Google Play Store by Cobalt here

Once you are all set with Google play store, a lot of apps would require Google play services as build. Find more about steps to install Google Play Services here and Cobalt’s official file share here.

Once you have Google play services enabled you should find that as “Google Plus Whitelist” on your smartphone. Each time you try installing a new app from Google Play store, click on the whitelist and add in Google Plus whitelist. Followed by which, the app would run smoothly on your BB device.  If that doesn’t work, you will need to remove Google play services requirement itself using awesome patcher provider by Cobalt. The last file in the screenshot below:

cobalt blackberry

 

Step 1: Download the desired app from Google Play Store, This is required on your laptop or desktop, thus, search for your app, copy the URL, then GO to https://apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader/ paste the URL in address box here, click “click to download….. now”. That’s all to get your APK file directly from Google Play Store.

apk

Step 2: Go to Patcher app on your system, downloaded from Cobalt file share link shared above. Locate the app APK you downloaded in step 1 above and “Analyze APK” followed by “Patch”. Basically, it removes any need of Google play services in the backend. You can find your new APK files in PS_Patcher folder>Output

Alternatively, I am also sharing relevant videos in case you feel any difficulties further:

Coming back to the important apps that run smoothly on BB10 or Blackberry Passport “Silver Edition”

1) WhatsApp on BB 10 Devices

Avoid downloading the Blackberry world’s version, you will be getting annoying messages stating “Support ends in Jun 2017” read more will tell you that WhatsApp believes they will move on to latest devices” which I disagree with. All you need to do is Download Apk file for WhatsApp from Google play Store as given in steps above. Install WAA Fixer as per the steps in this video here by Ole.

2) Twitter & LinkedIn

Just download directly from Play store, it works smoothly for me if problems persist, please patch using the PS_Patcher by Cobalt and you are all set.

3) Facebook

Any Facebook lite version from Play Store would work. Latest Android version won’t work at all. I already tried patching and all such alternative methods. F10 available on Blackberry world is not that great, you can’t “check in” and there are multiple such limitations with this app by Nemory. I would recommend using this APK file and avoid any update notifications.

4) Google Maps

Should work fine once you perform “Google Plus whitelist” as mentioned above. The good news is that Blackberry World has the Readymade substitute of Google Maps (map by Mathieu). Download here

5) YouTube

Patching works sometimes but not always. “Video for YouTube” by Freeman Apps on Amazon App Store worked best for me. Download here

6) Google Drive

Works smoothly by patching.

7) Gmail

I just couldn’t do it so far. Using “Blue mail “from play store which serves the purpose. Paytm on Blackberry Device – For users in India, Download from Play store and patch with Cobalt’s version given above, it works like charm.

8) Notes

Colour notes from Play Store work best for me while moving from Android to BB, simply, log in using Gmail ID and Password, it backs up everything.

The Battery drain Issues with Blackberry Passport

This is going to be the major issue at least when you update your device to 10.3 OS for the first time. In fact, first few days were frustrating, the battery could hardly last for 3 to 4 hours on full charge. Charging itself took some 4 to 5 hours for 100%. Basically, once you update blackberry OS, all the files and folders start aligning in your root drive. This happened for about 4 to 5 days initially for me. It’s all working fine now. A lot of people do complain about this and these problems just vanish in some days, so please be relax, your decision of buying this device is not wrong.

The Verdict

It’s a wonderful out of the box phone, probably too futuristic and secure for this time & year. Blackberry has made a bold move doing this, while everyone is busy running behind megapixels and battery sizes and what not. I also know, they were trying to come up with a complete android version of Blackberry Passport which was eventually dropped last year. People who have this device are happy including me. If you need productivity like a laptop device in your pocket, low on SAR value, radiation safety and with a wider different experience minus some compromises on ease of app installs and painful turnarounds, Blackberry Passport is for you!

For those of you who still hate Blackberry Passport, here is an interesting video I loved:

And the video above is incomplete without this

What do you think? let me know in comments section below.

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

Improve Brand Awareness Using Featured Snippet Box by Google

What is a Snippet Box

You must have noticed a box-like structure while trying to type in a search query, especially on Google search. It is also quite possible that you may also find the content in the box and the immediate ranking page below to be exactly same. These, mostly appear from any of the top 5 listing pages in SERPs, having said that it can also appear from pages, not in top 5 ranks. It can be a paragraph, a list (bullets, numbers) or a table snippet as well. For instance, StepToInbound ranks as below in featured snippets.snippet steptoibound rank view

Google terms this box as a “Snippet Box” often called as Quick answer box or direct answers, rich answers in search too. It was launched by Google in 2014. This should not be confused with knowledge graphs which directly pulls relevant information from Google’s data sources. It is a normal search result, emphasized with the special layout to provide quick answers to users.

What can it do to your brand?

Great things, more visibility on top of all Search results, standing out from clutter and crowd, more clicks to your website and better CTRs as Google is saying to the world that your results are best, Google trusted you so will users, thus better CTRs. Most importantly, a simple direct answer to a user’s questions without having to scroll through multiple pages.

The catch is able to influence the competition ranks

While all being said is good, I noticed that a user can actually provide a feedback or know more about a how the results appear in general. Since this is a new development, the intention of Google involving users to provide best accurate results to other users is fairly understood. The ability to submit feedback leads to a safe assumption that competition may try to submit negative feedbacks deliberately to avoid you being there. Google, though, on record confirms that “it may not lead” to a change in ranks, I don’t see people not trying this out to influence. (At least from different IP addresses)

Here is an example of the process you need to go through while submitting a Feedback to google on snippet box results. I tried a simple Query – How to plant a tree

snippet box query

I provided feedback as “this is not useful” from the options Google provides as below, notice that out of 4 options given by Google, only 1st one “This is useful” positively contributes to your brand” all other options, however, as per user’s feedback, may lead to losing out on this snippet box.

SERP screenshot

The screen you should see after submitting the feedback.

snippet box feedback

Okay great, I am listed in one of those snippet boxes. What’s next?

With the recent launch of google penguin 4.0 update changes are real-time now. If you are ranking in Google snippet boxes today, tomorrow it may be different. Competition may try working smarter than you, Google may find a more relevant and better content to award with snippet box view, multiple reasons you may lose out.

What should I do to remain in those Snippet boxes?

Actually, it’s difficult to follow Google algorithm all the time, we can only try to understand it more and try being as close as possible. Being relevant with updates and fresh content is the key.

Learn More: The 10 Essential SEO Ranking Factors You Need to Rank #1 in 2019

What if I don’t want my pages to be featured in a snippet at all?

Simple, Use <meta name=”googlebot” content=”nosnippet”> tag on your pages of interest. This will remove all snippets on your page, including those in regular search results.

How can I optimize for visibility in Google’s Snippet Boxes?

Now, this is the most important part, it’s not that complicated. It’s called 5 Ws and 1H formula 🙂

Here are few quick tips:

1) Find out questions users are asking across online media related to your product, offering or service – One can also using the keyword tool, social media listening tools, and direct suggestions in google search or semrush and so on to do so.

2) Who, what, when, where, Why and how (the 5Ws & 1 H) – try organizing your content using these to answer most probable questions your target group of customers might be asking online. One can also look at having a product/services focused dedicated FAQ section on homepages of each product/services or offering you may have. the primary objective should be to make your answers as explicit as possible within your content, web pages, paragraphs, infographics, and charts.

3) Old is Gold – IT won’t be surprising to see that you already have featured snippet box awarded by Google to your web pages. You can get this info by using SEO tools such as SEMrush, you can find this in organic research> RHS of the screen as featured snippet if any. Maintain more FAQs in such pages to retain them for a longer period.

Conclusion

A last year’s study confirms Snippet boxes accounts for about 19% of total queries in search engines. Surely, with growing importance for brand awareness that too organic listings, this trend is bound to increase. The openness of Google to allow users to share feedback may not continue for long asGooglee will, over a period of time, know they judge the content best. Nevertheless, it can get you more visibility, clicks and better organic growth, its time you have a focused strategy in place to obtain Google featured snippets. Do it before your competition does. Remember, boxes are never guaranteed, you can always aim, test & try though! Let me know your feedback or suggestions in the comment section below.

Related topics to learn more:

  1. 13 Steps For Building An Effective SEO Strategy
  2. Press Release SEO – Best Practices & Checklist To Optimize PR
  3. What are backlinks in SEO and What is the Significance of Link Building
  4. Best Free SEO Tools To Gain Ranks on Google

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Disclosure: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

How To Decide A Good Domain Name

A domain is equivalent to your brand name

I have been thinking of my brand name and have been looking around to find some resources around deciding a brand name and planning a domain name in specific. It is challenging and can get overwhelming at times!

We spend a lot of time before launching a website, often do research for our names vs others, we prefer to be easily remembered, and at the same time, avoid any direct competition for better organic search results. The domain name you decide, probably, will continue for the rest of your life, or at least as long as your business stays with you. Changing and migrating the content have always been a painful process. In this blog, we will discuss tips and recommendations for deciding a good domain name for your company.

Memorability

Enough of noise being made in the online marketplace today, your domain name needs to be short, catchy and easily memorable. For instance, American Airlines is aa.com alone 🙂

Avoid Violation

Avoid choosing similar or too similar domain names with direct competition. Please do not violate someone else’s trademark.

Adopting.COM is the global way

One must try choosing a domain name with .COM extension only, until and unless you want to go local with a country or location-specific audience.

Brand Way or Search Way

Search Way – This approach is good if you are starting a new business, product, services or a blog, or doesn’t really want to spend a huge sum of money to establish your brand.  You could also analyze search traffic corresponding to your choice of keywords using tools like SEMRush or Google Keyword Planner. Try using a mix of easily memorable keywords or phrases. For instance, shoutoutloud, cashout, bringtothetable can be used as clever mixes.

Brand Way – This is a very unique way of naming your domain, this stands distinct and requires sincere brand building efforts and money until you become a well-known brand in the market. I usually recommended this approach for long-term businesses, brands, and startups with confidence to sustain in the long run. You will need to invest a lot in paid listings, PPC, 360 marketing campaigns as well.  Example: flickr is a branded domain name.

Creativity at Core

It’s also about how creatively you use synonyms or combination of keywords, for example, If your website is for videos, you may want to HD as a suffix, similarly, if your brand is a cloth brand, you may want to add XL as suffix too 🙂

Say No to numbers

Even if your domain name contains words such as ‘to’ or ‘for’ avoid using  ‘2’ or ‘4’ to keep them short. Such domain names are, usually, difficult to remember and may cost you the website traffic.

Free domain suggestion tools

If any of above ideas do not seem to be working, try using – free tools for random ideas, if it’s difficult to think, it certainly is, easy to see options and decide the best one for your company.

Sharing below the list of best free domain name generators you may want to try:

  1. FastComet
  2. NameMesh
  3. domainsbot
  4. dynadot
  5. nameboy
  6. LeanDomainSearch
  7. BustAName
  8. Business Name Generator – Free Company Name Generator – Shopify
  9. NameStall
  10. Domain puzzler
  11. DomainsBot
  12. Instant Domain Search®
  13. iwantmyname
  14. Domain Wheel
  15. NameStation

With these 15 domain name generators and my suggestions being handy, I hope you will be able to come up with a domain name to suit your business, easily, I tried keeping domain name generator options limited as it could overwhelming otherwise. In case anything seems missed out, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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You may also want to explore:

  1. How to Use Hashtags for Effective Communication
  2. 6 Websites To Create Completely Free Logo For Your Business
  3. Steps To Change Address Bar Color On Mobile Browser
Neeraj

Neeraj

Neeraj is a Tech Marketer with 9+ years of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing. At StepToInbound, Neeraj writes about Website, Search, Social Media and Marketing Automation practices.

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