WHAT ARE UTM PARAMETERS? WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT? AND HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT THEM?
Have you ever run a campaign and wondered how effective it was at driving traffic to your website? You did append UTM tags to the links in the campaign, didn’t you? If not, Google Analytics reports will not contain the data you need to measure campaign performance.
That’s why UTM codes (also known as UTM tags or UTM parameters) are so important.
UTM Parameters: What Are They?
UTM parameters are attributes you append to hyperlinks (destination URLs) for marketing campaigns sending traffic to your website. When the link is clicked and the visitor arrives on your site, tags are sent back to your Google Analytics Account and appear in your Analytics metrics.
Here is a sample link we could use when this blog is shared in an email blast; the UTM parameters are appended to the URL):
Why Use Them?
Failure to append UTM tags to hyperlinks will do more than simply hinder your ability to do effective campaign ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, General, Inbound Marketing, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Social Media by John Anderson on December 3, 2018
Top 5 Takeaways About Giveaways on Social Media
There’s a lot of information shared on social media. So, your message and your contest needs to stand out in a crowd to be successful. In a webinar hosted by SEMRush, social media experts highlighted key points to consider before, during, and after you launch a giveaway on social media.
1. Do it well.
A good giveaway involves more than just getting a “like” or a “follow”. A good giveaway actively involves your social media audience. Invite them to do something interactive such as take a selfie with your product or share a story. This is called user-generated content, and it is social gold.
2. Have realistic goals from the beginning.
Your first step is to determine what you want your giveaway to do for you. A good goal could be to attract like-minded followers who will convert to a purchase or another business goal. Another good goal might be to drive more traffic to your website. A not-so-good goal ...
Posted in: Social Media by Rose Stricker on November 26, 2018
How to Manage Negative Comments on Facebook
We get it at Foremost Media – you want your business on social media, but you are concerned about negative postings. Maybe you are thinking a Facebook page isn’t worth the trouble.
You may need to re-evaluate that line of thinking. A lot of millennials do their shopping and their sharing on Facebook where their family and friends are paying close attention, and you need to be there.
Comments can get pretty lively on Facebook – even on business pages – but you shouldn’t shy away from that. Debate, conversation and even some disagreements are good because it shows your business audience is engaged. There are ways to control the conversation on Facebook, even if it’s an unhappy customer posting. On the plus side, you have some control over comments on your Facebook versus people expressing their dissatisfaction on some other site that you have no control over. Remember, a slam against your business on a ...
Posted in: Reputation Management by Jon Ballard on November 26, 2018
3 Online Review DON’Ts (and a few Maybe's)
We’ve given a lot of attention to online reviews recently. We’ve pointed out why they’re important, how to respond to negative ones, and how to generate more of them.
Now, let’s talk about some of the things you should NOT do with online reviews.
Jamie Pitman at BrightLocal researched Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, BBB, and Yellow Pages, and he assembled a list of Guidelines for the Top Local Review Sites.
We’ve summarized some key takeaways for you to keep in mind as you work on your reviews.
1. DON’T pay for reviews.
Don’t offer cash, prizes, products, or any kind of incentive in exchange for a review. This is a big no-no across the board. All review sites frown on this behavior, and they are likely to penalize you for doing it.
2. DON’T negatively review a competitor or encourage anyone else to do it.
Not only is it against the rules and a conflict of interest, ...
Posted in: Local SEO, Reputation Management by Rose Stricker on November 21, 2018
Tips For Improving Your Website’s Crawl Budget
Optimizing websites for ranking in search engines is an ever-precarious set of tasks. The algorithm Google uses to determine search results is a secret that evolves with each new release. Each time the algorithm is updated, Google gives out clues on what to look for. In a 2017 blog post, Google explained how crawl budget is not a factor in ranking. It shouldn’t be.
In simple terms, the crawl budget is the number of links Google will follow on your site. Your website’s crawl budget may be large or small depending on the size of your site, its popularity and its ease of use to crawl. Given that every site has a different amount of pages, it would be unfair to rank higher a site that gets crawled more simply because of its size.
Is Optimizing for Crawl Budget Worth It?
If the number of crawls on the site does not help rank, is crawl budget worth ...
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Web Development by Noah Lamson on November 13, 2018
Google Just Revolutionized GMB Posts
In an announcement from its blog on October 24th, Google announced that users can now follow businesses in the Maps app. This will allow followers to see a businesses’ latest news including events, deals, and more. This information will be readily available for users in the “For you” tab. It is unclear when this feature will be available on iOS, but it’s safe to assume it should be active soon.
This is big news for existing businesses as there is now an opportunity to share information with your customers directly without using social media. Users who follow neighborhoods will also receive personalized recommendations based on their preferences. for mobile-first indexing. Though being indexed mobile-first has no ranking advantage, Google strongly encouraged webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly.
Image Courtesy of Google
"Places that are opening soon can create a free Business Profile that will appear to people up to 3 months in advance of opening—letting trendsetters know ...
Posted in: General by Tyler Reynolds on November 6, 2018
Why You Need To Proactively Manage Your Local Citations
Local businesses need citations to build an online presence. Search engines use citations to build a reputation for a business on the web. If your business doesn’t actively manage these, you will have more than just poor rankings in Google. You will have frustrated customers and poor reviews.
What is a Citation?
Simply put, a citation is any online mention of a business’ name, address, or phone number (sometimes referred to as their NAP). These mentions could be on a website, social platform, or in an app.
Citations can appear on major platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, and even social platforms such as Facebook. There are also geo/industry-specific platforms such as chamber of commerce websites, professional associations, and guilds.
You want to manage and maintain the accuracy of your citations because odds are, you are already listed in many directories, but it could be with inaccurate information. Not only would your local search ranking suffer, ...
Posted in: Local SEO by John Tillotson on November 5, 2018
15 Minutes Away From Better Local Search Visibility
I developed this series of blog posts because I want to help small businesses get more from their website in 15 minutes a month or less of work. If you're like most small business owners, including myself, it can be very difficult to work on your business vs. in your business, but I urge you to consider spending a few minutes each month implementing these tips as they can have a big impact on your business.
So here is this months tip:
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Google makes it pretty easy to claim and verify your listing. To get started visit: https://www.google.com/business. Make sure you complete the phone or postcard verification process as well.
You're on a roll... don't stop now.
Many local businesses just claim their GMB listing and forget about it. complete all the information Google asks for. Even the part about public parking etc. The more complete your listing the better ...
Posted in: Local SEO, Online Advertising, Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on October 19, 2018
Google Reviews - The Best Defense is A Good Offense
No matter how hard you try, sooner or later your business will face a negative online review. Former employees, competitors, or unreasonable customers all have instant access to leave unwarranted feedback about your business. It's time to get proactive about collecting positive online reviews in preparation for drowning out that occasional negative review.
So what is a business owner to do? Go on the offense and generate an avalanche of positive reviews. A good rule of thumb is that it takes about ten positive reviews to offset one negative review. I know this sounds like a lot of work for a B2B business that doesn't generate a lot of reviews organically. But if you follow the steps below, you should be able to get this done in an hour or less, and the return on investment is great!
1. Craft a letter to your personal contacts.
Here is one that I used:
“Subject- Need Your Help or Big ...
Posted in: General, Local SEO, Reputation Management, Social Media by Jon Ballard on October 11, 2018
NOP Commerce Customization FAQ's
NOP Commerce is one of the most flexible and customizable aspdotnet shopping carts available. With so many built-in features, it handles most companies' e-commerce needs out of the box. But one of the real selling points for this code base is its ability to build out additional customized functionality. For this blog post, I thought we would start a list of customization questions that we receive from time to time along with our answers to customers. This blog post will be updated as new questions come in, so please check back.
Question - Can we configure a price list in NOP that’s different than standard pricing?
Out of the box, NOP Commerce has the ability to do different tiers of pricing. For example, you could set up a "Distributor A Price List" and then set discounts off standard rates by category or all the way down to the product level. Once this is set up you can then apply this ...
Posted in: General, Web Development by Jon Ballard on October 8, 2018
SEO Success: What Should You Be Tracking?
When you enter an SEO agreement, what exactly are you paying for? How can you tell that the work is having an impact on your business? It’s crucial to set up and understand what goals matter to you and your business when you start working with an SEO expert. Here are some of the most important KPIs to consider before you jump into the world of SEO for your business.
Whether it is sales, sign ups, or simple leads conversions drive your business. Getting visitors to a website is nice, but engagement is what you really want. If you have an ecommerce site, you can look at sales (more on those metrics in a bit). Most any site should be tracking some version of a sign up or lead. This could be newsletters sign ups, ebook downloads, or request a quote forms. Clearly define these conversions in the beginning with your marketer, and for optimization ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization, SEO by John Tillotson on September 18, 2018
Speech will help local organizations generate business using the internet
(Janesville, Wis) Jon Ballard, owner of Foremost Media, Inc., will speak during the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce General Membership Meeting at Frederick’s Supper Club at 188 Merchant Row in Milton, WI on Wednesday, September 19th at 5:30-7:30pm. Ballard’s presentation will feature “Ten Tips Your Local Business Can Do Today to Generate More Business Using the Web”.
The goal of Ballard’s speech is to give local businesses actionable tips to help grow their business using Local Search Marketing. Local search marketing can benefit any business with a physical location that meets face to face with its customers at that location. The principles apply equally well to stand-alone businesses and to chain locations. Local search marketing is a service provided by Ballard’s company located in Janesville.
“At Foremost Media, we see first hand how the use of local search marketing increases the website traffic for our clients,” says Ballard. “I’ll be talking about strategies that are simple ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on August 9, 2018
Mobile First Indexing Is Here!
On March 26th, 2018, Google announced that after a year and a half of careful experimentation and testing, they've started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. Though being indexed mobile-first has no ranking advantage, Google strongly encouraged webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly.
We thought the most unfriendly thing about browsing on mobile was filling out monotonous form after form when trying to contact someone on their site or when making a purchase. The last thing a user wants to do when making a purchase is to type in line after line of personal information. The tedious process of entering every single letter and symbol when filling out an online form can even cause users to decide not to purchase. A 2017 study by Google Chrome found that disabling the autofill feature on the browser led to 25% fewer form submissions. We saw this as an opportunity to optimize user experience ...
Posted in: SEO by Tyler Reynolds on August 2, 2018
Design Email Campaigns That Get Results: 10 Tips and Tricks
Every day we are deluged by emails attempting to get our attention. Cutting through the clutter and getting to the heart of what your customers desire without alienating them in the process is as much art as it is science. Email personalization, robust list management, and a little common sense strategy can make the difference between killer open and click-through rates or ongoing frustration. After years of testing, here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Use a sender your target recognizes.
If you want to grab attention, send emails from a name that the receiver recognizes. At Foremost Media, emails sent from key members of our leadership team get the best open rates, as almost all customers know the team and no one likes to risk ignoring a personal contact. No time for your CEO and top management to respond to emails? Using gender-neutral names like Pat or Sam in place of sales@ can help improve open rates. ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, Email Marketing, General, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on June 16, 2018
Get the most out of your YouTube videos.
Big reasons why you should do Video SEO. Did you know that Google Search results are showing more and more videos on the first page? People are spending more and more time watching video.
There are many components to YouTube SEO. Some of these main components are the title, description and tags and a few more we talk about below.
Titles are very important as this is what the user sees. Titles need to be descriptive to catch the user’s attention and get them to click on your video. The title also needs to have the keywords that you are trying to get the video to be found for. So if someone is searching for “YouTube SEO” having those two keywords in your title will help you to get your video to be found for this.
The description character limit is 5000 characters. Now while only the first 100-150 characters will be shown initially the rest ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by John Anderson on June 1, 2018
Business Description returns to Google
Two years ago, Google decided to drop the ability for businesses to edit the business description field in its Google My Business listings. Well, you actually could edit it, but it was such a complicated series of steps that many business owners just didn’t bother.
Now it’s “Description From the Business”
This is a great addition to the SEO ranking portfolio that businesses can take advantage of – and if you aren’t taking advantage of your opportunities, the ranking-savvy staff at Foremost Media is standing by to help you out.
But back to the description – the new description block will show up on business listings when your business appears in a Google search. This is different than the Google block of editorial copy that shows up as a summary at the top of the knowledge panels and the map listing, so it’s a new opportunity.
And it’s important to note that by conservative estimates, Google has more than ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization, SEO by Stephen Cardwell on May 23, 2018
Foremost Media, Inc. Wins 2018 Muse Creative Awards
Foremost Media, Inc.
207 N. Academy Street, #200
Janesville, WI 53548
Jon Ballard, President
Monday, April 30, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Foremost Media, Inc. Wins 2018 Muse Creative Awards
(Janesville, Wis) Out of more than 2,000 submissions from 40 countries, Foremost Media, Inc. has won a Rose Gold recognition in the 2018 Muse Creative Awards competition. The winning work was created for Stateline YMCA of Beloit.
“It is such an honor for us here at Foremost Media to have won an award from such a prestigious international awards competition. At Foremost Media we are lucky and blessed to work with a team of professionals that love what they do, creating the best digital experience we can for each of our clients”, said Stephen Cardwell, Art Director, “that is why we take great pride in accepting this award recognizing the tremendous accomplishment by our team in creating the Stateline YMCA website experience.”
The Muse Creative Awards is an international competition for creative ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on April 30, 2018
Best practice tips for answering online reviews
Your business or company digital footprint includes your website, social media platforms and – online reviews. At Foremost Media we can make sure your website is awesome; you’re hitting all your social media benchmarks, but we can’t control what other people write about you online.
We can, however, give you the best advice and advise you on the best practices for handling online reviews that may or may not put your business in the best light.
No one is perfect and no matter how hard you try, how long you agonize over the details and your customer service – you’re going to get a bad review on Google, Yelp or Bing or one of the other sites.
It’s our philosophy that you shouldn’t ignore them even though its tempting. It like that person knocking on your door trying to sell you something and you just won’t answer and they’ll eventually go away. That doesn’t happen on the ...
Posted in: General, Local SEO, Online Advertising, Reputation Management by Jon Ballard on April 30, 2018
Facebook B2B Advertising Comes of Age
Don’t listen to your kids: Facebook advertising isn’t just for moms in the 35- to 40-year-old age range. Thanks to its retargeting and similar audiences features, Facebook has become a powerful tool for B2B advertisers seeking new customers who are similar to their existing customer base. Today, you can effectively “follow” individuals that visit your website on Facebook and utilize all the information Facebook knows about those people—age, job, location, pages visited, etc.—to identify similar people on Facebook and then reach out to these potential new customers with targeted advertising. It’s a game changer.
How it works
Customers who are a good fit for your company and are interested in what you do visit your web page. These visitors then return to Facebook at some point, in the normal course of their day. Facebook knows a great deal about these individuals—analytics that include everything from age, marital status, location and job to favorite TV shows, movies, ...
Posted in: General, Inbound Marketing, Online Advertising, SEO by Jon Ballard on March 22, 2018
Now Is the Time To Add A SSL Certificate To Your Website
“S” is for Superman – but it’s also for Security, Sales and SEO. You need that “S” on your url address. You need it to say “HTTPS” – and Foremost Media is standing by to help you add that “S” to make your website super, secure and searchable.
Here at Foremost Media, we have been telling website owners that a secure certificate, or an extended validation certificate (EVSSL) if you have an e-commerce site, is a necessity for nearly a year now. But search engines are getting a little more pointed about showing the public that your website doesn’t have a certificate. In multiple different announcements over the past year, the team at Google has made it very clear that they plan to start warning Chrome browser users when they are about to visit or fill out information on a site without a secure certificate. The time is now to get your SSL in place ...
Posted in: SEO, Website Hosting by Jon Ballard on March 19, 2018
Why your business needs Schema markup now
How often have you searched for something online—say a phone number, local business hours or the weather—and immediately found the answer within the search results, without ever having to click through to another web page? Probably pretty often. Today, it’s rare to have to go beyond a search to get the quick hits of information you need, as illustrated below:
Event Mark Up Example
In fact, the majority of users searching for information find all they need with a simple Google search. The major underlying reason for this: Schema markup. It may be the biggest thing of 2018, yet there are few websites are optimized to leverage it and even fewer understand it fully. Regardless, the detailed “rich” search results Schema markup supports are defining which brands get maximum exposure.
Schema Mark Up 101
Before we get into why Schema markup is likely to be the most critical SEO strategy of 2018, let’s briefly explore what Schema markup ...
Posted in: General, Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on February 26, 2018
Foremost Media Hosts Technology Trends in Downtown Janesville Event
Foremost Media to Host Technology Trends in Downtown Janesville Event Three local CEOs present emerging trends and ideas to benefit southern Wisconsin industry Janesville, Wis. – Foremost Media, Inc., a Janesville website development company, is hosting an event titled “Technology Trends in Downtown Janesville” along with SHINE Medical Technologies, N1 Critical Technologies, and the City of Janesville. The event, part of Wisconsin Startup Week, is scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 1:00pm - 3:00pm CST at the Foremost Media office at 207 N. Academy Street, Suite 200, Janesville, Wisconsin. The event is free and open to the public.Participants will join Gale Price, Economic Development Director at the City of Janesville, to hear about technology trends in Downtown Janesville. Presentations will be made by CEOs of local tech companies, Foremost Media, Shine Medical Technologies and N1 Critical Technologies.Foremost Media's CEO, Jon Ballard is one of the presenters. “This is an exciting time to ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on October 27, 2017
Foremost Media, Inc. Website Design Wins Award of Distinction
Monday, July 31, 2017
For Immediate Release
Foremost Media, Inc. Website Design Wins Award of Distinction
Entries are judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts to evaluate distinction in creative work
Janesville, Wis. - Foremost Media, Inc., a Janesville website development company, won an Award of Distinction in the category of Self Promotion in the 23rd Annual Communicator Awards. With over 6,000 entries received from across the US and around the world, the Communicator Awards is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals.
Foremost Media Art Director, Stephen Cardwell submitted www.foremostmedia.com as an entry in the category of Self Promotion. “We worked hard to create a website for ourselves that shows our clients and potential clients the many wonderful and cool things they can do with their own websites. Leading edge features and functionality along with a well branded and attractive design is what I believe set us ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on August 9, 2017
Gated Content: Is Your Content Worthy of Capturing Leads?
Is Your Content "Gate" Worthy?
Don’t know what Gated content is? You’re not alone.
So, what is gated content?
Gated content is information that is valuable enough to a visitor that they are willing to exchange their contact information to access the content. Consider the email address as the key, and the content as the treasure chest. The visitor just can't wait to see what’s inside.
It sounds simple. The lead gains access to valuable content and you continue building the relationship by keeping the conversation going.
It’s really not that simple. In a time where inboxes are saturated with promotional emails, it's difficult for visitors to hand over their precious contact information. Because it’s so difficult to gain and maintain trust, you need to make sure of two things:
1. Your content demonstrates Econ 101
2. You follow-up with the Golden Rule
There’s an exchange of information, for information. The user gives up something in order to ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing by Online Marketing Team on August 2, 2017
The Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Marketing
The Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Marketing
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a type of paid online advertising that uses search engine ads to get your website more visitors. Also referred to as search marketing, PPC marketing works by allowing marketers to pay only when someone clicks on their ad. The ads appear alongside the results generated when people search for specific keywords online. If you're intrigued by the prospect of creating a PPC marketing campaign for your business, take a look at the biggest benefits of this online advertising technique.
Your Ads Will Be Up and Running Quickly
When you set up a PPC campaign, you can look forward to seeing your ads within just a few days or even hours. That's because the ads are simple to make, so you can start directing people to your website the same day you decide to put up PPC ads.
You Can Target Your Competitors' Audience
PPC marketing allows you a lot of ...
Posted in: Online Advertising by Jon Ballard on August 1, 2017