News Segment

What’s happening in social media news this week? Well, first let’s stop by Facebook, which has been implementing all kinds of changes this year and isn’t stopping anytime soon. The latest change is the rollout of the Facebook News Tab, which has begun to slowly appear on the Facebook app for a select number of users. The News Tab is a big deal, especially as Facebook comes under scrutiny for the way it handles political news, and it’s still very unsure how the News Tab will work or what relationship brands will have with it.

It does seem to be a particularly odd move for Facebook, which has been trying to simplify its platform in other areas, but the company seems very invested in forming partnerships with large media outlets, perhaps as a way to monetize in the future (with both ads and paid subscriptions).

Over on Instagram, there’s a new Create Mode for Stories, which is replacing the Type mode. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry: Create is basically just a better version of Type with access to more tools and easier methods of setting up and publishing your videos. It’s good news for brands that are short on time or still experimenting with Instagram and learning how to incorporate it into their brand.

Finally, there’s a fascinating article over on Smashing Magazine about brand stories, and how these stories can use traditional story structures for greater success. In other words, brands can look toward famous story techniques like Deus Ex Machina, Ensembles, Consistency, etc. to help create great commercials or ads. It’s definitely worth a read!

 

Main Segment: Your “Online Real Estate” and What It Means

Today we’re talking about one of the key 9 steps in our digital marketing webinar (we’ve talked more in depth about other steps in the past and it’s really worth a listen if you want to find out more about our program and what we’re offering). It’s time to discuss online real estate or your website hub – and if your brand needs a website refresh!

Remember, your website is a hub for all the content that you have online. That’s why most of the content you prepare to create will point people toward your website and the sales process inside. That means that before you really begin sending content out into the world, you need to see if your business needs a website update. That means taking a look at web structure, current content, navigation, and much more.

 

Do You Need a Website Audit?

At this point in the digital marketing strategy, some  businesses step back and say, “Well, we’ve had our website the way it is for several years, and no one has complained, we’re still happy with the results.” Unfortunately, if it’s been that long since you’ve updated your site, then it is out of date and not getting the traffic or results that it could be. An audit can help spot just what effective changes you can make to even very simple sites! There are other important reasons to conduct regular website audits, too, including:

  • Google is always changing: Google consistently updates its algorithm and the standards it expects when ranking websites. If it’s been a few years since your last website refresh, your content and Google probably have very different ideas of best practices, and that could be hurting your site.
  • Customer expectations change too: As websites get updates and try different themes and styles, customer expectations also change, especially when it comes to how a website looks and navigates – including the payment process. A website that was fine 10 years ago will be avoided by customers today because it’s not what they are used to.
  • Auditing doesn’t have to be hard: Auditing doesn’t have to be a complex and lengthy process. We offering a front-end site audit to help narrow down parts of your site could be improved, and what that improvement would look like!

 

What Parts of Your Website Need to Be Updated?

That depends, but Harness Media has a good piece on the parts of a site that most commonly need some work if they’re untouched. Let’s give a brief summary:

Visual Appeal: This refers to how your website looks and how it’s structured. If your site looks out of date, boring, or inefficient, then visitors will assume your business is the same way.

Security: Digital threats are always evolving, and website security needs to evolve too, especially if you are collecting customer data or processing payments. That means taking a look at encryption, authentication, and other processes.

Content: Content has mere seconds to keep visitors around. Does your content do that job? Today’s content needs to be informative and focused on user intent.

Effectiveness: Where are visitors going? How long are they spending on web pages? Are there pages that need visitors but have trouble attracting attention? This is a sign that parts of your website need work.

SEO: This typically means updating metadata, page descriptions and titles, and similar elements to include better descriptions and brand keywords to make your website more accurate – and easier to find.

Usability: Usability refers to navigation and menus, but a large part of it these days is also mobile optimization and making sure everything is easy to use for a mobile device.

Load Times: Many businesses fall far below Google’s expectations for load times, especially on mobile devices. This does affect your page ranking! More efficient coding and a different approach to website structure can often improve load times, which should be a few seconds at the most.

So, what do you think about this idea of digital real estate? When was the last time you thought about your website like this? Do you think you may need an audit or new approach? We encourage you to check out our latest free webinar that covers the 9 key steps of a successful digital marketing program, including seeing what your website needs! Learn more (including how to view bonus tips) and sign up here at this link.

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