Visual Content The Pros Can't Live Without
It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Few know the truth of that saying or understand that humans are visual creatures better than today's digital marketers. But what does this mean for today's Business-to-business (B2B) companies?
It means, in the words of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, "that the times they are a changin."
According to a recent content preferences survey conducted by Demand Gen Report, 95% of B2B buyers prefer shorter content formats and 86% of B2B buyers want to access and engage with visual content more than lengthy, detailed text content.
The data from the content preferences survey also indicates that visual content is becoming more popular with B2B buyers, specifically infographics, slideshows, and videos. Between 2013 and 2014, the use of infographics, slideshows, and videos increased from 9% to 52%, 21% to 28%, and 8% to 58% respectively.
Most digital marketers recognize the shifting trend in favor of visual content, but many ...
Posted in: General, Online Advertising by Online Marketing Team on February 26, 2016
5 Things To Consider Before Publishing New Content
We've all heard that "content is king", but with so much content vying for the throne, it can be a royal pain to know how often you should publish new content in the realm of content marketing.
According to a recent study by Wyzowl, 75% of content marketers release new content at least once a month, with over half publishing new content each week. But is this really how often you should be publishing new content? After all, what really matters most, quality or frequency?
These are the kinds of questions that keep content marketers awake at night. Rather than continue counting sheep, we'd like to finally put these questions to rest. Here are five things you need to consider when deciding how often you should publish new content.
Consider your purpose
What is your purpose for writing and publishing new content? If your primary purpose for publishing new content is to drive traffic to your website, generate ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on February 5, 2016
SEO Hackers Targeting Wordpress And Blog Engine
Black hat SEO's are notorious for trying to take the easy route to ranking in Google's search engine, even if it means immoral or illegal behavior. There are many ways they do this. Some of which you've probably seen, but never knew why someone would do something like that. For instance, have you ever noticed really strange comments on a blog that seemed like garbled English? You might've rolled your eyes and said, "Wow, that guy really needs to take an English course.", but the reality is that the person who left that comment wasn't a person at all. It was a robot.
Some "black hatters" will create a piece of content using a simple language called "spintax". Spintax allows them to write a piece of content once, and then "spin" it to make variations in the language occur. Usually, this is done by putting in variant synonyms for particular terms in the content. The ...
Posted in: General, Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on February 1, 2016
What The General Data Protection Regulation Means to Email Marketers
Similar to the passing of the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in 2014, the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) proposed by the European Union (EU) has caused quite a stir in the digital marketing community. Just last month, the EU finished drafting the GDPR and made the provisions public. Final approval of the GDPR is expected early this year. Once approved, the new regulations will go into effect three days afterward, followed by a two-year transition period. This two-year transition period between approval and enforcement may make it easy to ignore initially, but the GDPR metes stiff penalties that require businesses to assess their current data collection process and implement a GDPR compliance strategy. But what exactly does the GDPR require?
Unlike the United States, the EU operates under an opt-in model of informed consent, instead of an opt-out model. Because of this, the GDPR requires explicit consent from consumers for the right to collect ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on February 1, 2016
What the end of SHA-1 support means for your website's security
Have you ever wondered why there's a green padlock icon in the address bar of your browser for many of the sites you visit online? Chances are you're not the only one. The green padlock icon is there to let you know that the website is secured with a Secure Sockets Layer or SSL. An SSL on your site prevents other websites from stealing your website's information and pretending to be you. While SSLs provide an extra layer of security for now, that may not be the case soon.
Since the early 1990's, websites have been using SSLs based on the Secure Hash Algorithm 1, better known as SHA-1. The SHA-1 encryption method has become less effective, and will likely be cracked by cyber criminals within the next couple years. Due to inevitable breach, many internet browsers are discontinuing their support of SHA-1 and are switching over to the SHA-2 encryption method by January ...
Posted in: Web Development, Website Hosting by Tony Reynolds on November 11, 2015
Lessons Learned From Scamming a Scammer
I am sharing this email dialog of a recent phishing scam with the hopes of raising your awareness on how sophisticated online scams are becoming and how much work and detail scammers will put into a online scam. The emails I share here are real and un-edited. This scammer spent time researching our company and key employees. He was trying to get us to transfer $23,460 to a "Client" by the end of business.
1st Contact - Subject Line "Urgent Request"
It's important to note that Nick sits right next to me and when this email came in he was on the phone. I didn't think twice about answering his email and at this point I didn't realize it wasn't really him but as you can see in the email above, when I hit reply it went to a strange email address.
At this point Nick was off the phone and I recognized that the reply ...
Posted in: General by Jon Ballard on November 10, 2015
Google Targets Wix Websites For SEO
If you have ever used a "build your own website" platform, then you have probably heard of Wix. Wix is one of the larger companies in the field, and Google has just dealt a serious blow to them.
In the age of the internet, every company needs a website. This is why companies like Wix and GoDaddy have jumped into website building with "build it yourself" platforms. For some companies, they have been a great tool. You can build your own, albeit limited, website at very little cost (except your time of course). This has been attractive for many that don't want to spend much on a website. However, there are some major problems with these platforms.
The web has become a complex place. In addition to how a website looks, you must now pay attention to its architecture for search engine friendliness. Many of the "build it yourself" website platforms are built on proprietary technology ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on October 28, 2015
Checklist: How To Optimize Your Home Page for SEO
It goes without saying that the home page of a website is the most important page, (but since this is the opening sentence of our blog this week, we're going to say it anyway). However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to determine how to optimize the home page of your site for today's search engines. Which is why, as experts in our industry, we've put together a short list of best practices that will help evaluate the effectiveness of your home page, and guide you through the optimization process.
Your home page is naturally going to rank well for branded keywords, (i.e. our home page ranks well for the term "Foremost Media"). Since this is the case, you will want to focus on optimizing the other pages of your site for keywords that are specific to your products and services. For example, if your site has a social media marketing page, that page ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by User on October 21, 2015
Do You Know How To Get Backlinks From News Sites To Boost Your SEO? You Should!
Backlinks have always been known to be a big part in SEO and they still play a major role in determining your rankings and the amount of traffic your site gets from search engines.
Keep in mind some backlinks are better than others. When figuring out how to get more backlinks, make sure that you are focusing on getting links from places that make sense. A recent study by Moz suggested that sites that have more links from "news" sites get more search traffic. Here is our advice on how to create "newsworthy" content and get news sites to publish it.
We suggest using the following methods to get a backlink from a news site:
Publish Press Releases
Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out
Engage in Industry Forums
Blog About Current Events
As a part of our regular SEO plan here at Foremost Media, ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by User on September 24, 2015
Social Media Does Not Help Your SEO
I hear a lot of sales people always telling business owners that social media helps their SEO. Does it? It CAN, but most of the time it won't. Let me explain.
SEO, or search engine optimization, has become very technical in recent years. There are hundreds of ranking factors that search engines use to determine where to rank your website, and social media qualities are not one of them. Google is the largest search engine, and the only one for the most part that ever communicates anything about its ranking signals. Three months ago at SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes from Google told us that social signals are not used at all as a ranking signal and that they would not be for the foreseeable future. In order to understand why this is, we must walk through 5 years of Google History and understand the technical aspects of social media and how it relates to SEO.
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on September 1, 2015
You Could Slash Your School's Website Budget in Half
What if you could slash your school district's current website budget in half or more?
If your school district is using a proprietary school content management system with large recurring fees each month, there is a better way. School districts across the country are migrating away from proprietary and expensive content management systems and choosing free open source based content management systems to power their district's online presence.
The School District of Newark New Jersey has over 40,000 students and 75 websites. According to their Sr. Manager of Website Technology, Cameron Barrett, when Newark Public Schools migrated away from a proprietary school website system vendor they were able to cut their yearly recurring costs from $59,000 per year to $7,200.00 per year.
The Janesville School District in Janesville, Wisconsin has over 10,000 students and 27 school websites they maintain. In 2009, Foremost Media helped migrate the School District of Janesville to an open source content management system ...
Posted in: General, Web Development by Jon Ballard on August 27, 2015
Web Designer VS Web Developer: What's The Difference? [Infographic]
Companies looking for a website or a redesign of their existing site may become confused when the terms "Web Designer" and "Web Developer" get thrown out there.
Website design firms generally have dedicated designers that are able to tap into their creative energy to create the overall look and layout of a site. The designer then hands over the design files to a developer who builds everything from the ground up, keeping a website's experience on the cutting edge. Together, web designers and developers are working towards one goal - to produce a clean, fully functioning site that works in all browsers and devices.
To help understand the difference between a Web Designer vs a Web Developer, Foremost Media has created an infographic that breaks it all down.
More Design/Development Tips:
How To Compare Web Development Companies
Why Choose a DNN Website?
The Secret to Getting the Cheapest Website Possible
Posted in: Web Development by Online Marketing Team on August 19, 2015
7 Ways To Optimize Your Link Building And SEO With Twitter
We all know how important links are, especially for commercial websites. The problem is, sometimes we overlook the most obvious places to get them.
Twitter is an incredibly huge platform full of people who share in the same interests. Which means, it is an excellent opportunity for quality link building! Here are the top 7 ways to utilize Twitter for SEO to strengthen your backlink profile.
1) Take advantage of obvious connections.
Twitter makes it easy to find industry leaders and influencers in any market. The key is to observe these people and pay attention to the content they share. Tweet at them and begin to build a conversation. Over time, this turns into a connection and before you know it, a link back to your site! Acquiring links happens by making friends or making news. Utilize current relationships to build quick links and discover who your competitors are.
2) Draw them in ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on August 6, 2015
Looking to Choose a Web Development Company? Here's How!
In today's marketing landscape, businesses live and die by the success of their website. If your business has decided to build a new website, it is important to know how to choose a web development company to be your partner. This document outlines 12 things you must consider when selecting your next web development company:
You received a quote without much conversation
If you filled out a simple online request for a quote and received one back without an in-depth conversation about your goals, objectives and needed site functionality; throw away that quote. Good companies take the time to truly understand your project goals and objectives as well as fully grasp the functionality your website requires. This process often involves several conversations and an investment of time from both parties. The quote you receive should detail all the required work, and break out each piece on an estimated hourly basis to ensure you are getting what ...
Posted in: General, Web Development, Website Hosting by Jon Ballard on July 14, 2015
Update Your Business Hours NOW: Another Google Change
It may seem obvious that online business hours need to be up-to-date. However, Google has recently given local business another reason to keep their online hours updated. According to a recent article written by Barry Schwartz, Google is now notifying online searchers that they will not have enough time to get to a business before it closes.
Here's an example of the message that will be showing users.
The business hours that Google shows are pulled in from your business' Google+ page. If you already have a Google+ page, make sure that you have your hours up-to-date so you do not lose out on potential customers. If you do not currently have a Google+ page, create one and make sure you list your current store hours.
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization by User on June 18, 2015
9 Reasons You Should Redesign Your B2B Website Today
In today's marketing climate, your company's website is one of the most prominent and valuable marketing resources available. When done properly, a website redesign can show quick and significant return on investment for a company making you look like a marketing rock star. Below we have 9 reasons to help you justify a website redesign to your boss:
1. Google Penalizes Sites That Are Not Mobile Friendly. This is costing you traffic
If you are like many of our B2B clients, as much as 30% of the traffic to your site comes from mobile devices. On April 21st, 2015 Google begin to reduce search rankings for sites that are not "mobile-friendly." This update could already be having significant impact on your traffic as Google is giving priority to sites that are "mobile friendly" in their search results. In order to restore your mobile traffic, it is important to certify your website passes Google's Mobile Friendly test. ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Jon Ballard on June 16, 2015
Titles Still Matter in SEO
Every year, Searchmetrics publishes a correlation study of SEO ranking factors. I am a big fan. I love correlative studies. At the time of writing this post, their 2015 study is not out yet, but here is a link to their 2014 study if interested. I had the chance to hear their findings at SMX West this year. In short, the takeaway from the study was not to worry about title tags anymore. I do not agree.
Once again, I LOVE correlative studies, especially when they are well done, like Searchmetrics'. However, correlation does not always mean causation. Looking at over 15,000 keywords using the top 30 results, they found no correlation between keywords in the title tag and rankings. Your mind immediately jumps to, "title tags no longer matter." This struck me as odd. So, I decided to do some testing. Now, keep in mind that I did this on a small scale and ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on June 15, 2015
Facebook Announces New Bluetooth Beacon Program: Ideal For Local Businesses
Facebook just released the launch of their new Facebook Bluetooth Beacon Program.
In the beginning of 2015, Facebook introduced Place Tips. Local businesses use Place Tips for their brick and mortar locations to market to their visitors. Upon check-in or via activated location settings, visitors receive information from the business.
Restaurants use Place Tips as a great opportunity to display their current menu, signature drinks, reviews and more. Retailers are able to advertise specials, product locations and even business hours to customers as they enter their store. Facebook says local business' Facebook page traffic from Place Tips has been steadily growing from in-store visitors.
Rather than using WiFi, the new Beacon Program will utilize Bluetooth technology to signal the Facebook App on a visitor's phone. Businesses will receive their free beacon in the mail, turn it on and place it in a centralized location. As of right now, Facebook has only introduced this new feature ...
Posted in: Social Media by Online Marketing Team on June 10, 2015
Foremost Media, Inc. Places in Top International Award – 2015 Summit Creative Award
June 3, 2015 Janesville, WI – Out of more than 5,000 submissions from 24 countries, Foremost Media, Inc. is a Bronze winner in the B2B Product Website Category for MEC Inc. and Silver winner in the Travel/Tourism/Nature Website Category for its creative work for Rock County Tourism Council in the 2015 Summit Creative Award® competition.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the Foremost Media Team. Two awards from an international design contest for two of our clients based here in Wisconsin is incredible. Each year we continue to do new and amazing work. Congratulations everyone!” said Stephen Cardwell, Art Director of Foremost Media, Inc.
The Summit Creative Award (SCA) recognizes and celebrates the creative achievements of small and medium sized advertising agencies worldwide with annual billings under $30 million. Celebrating its 21st year, the SCA has firmly established itself as the premier arbiter of creative excellence for firms of this size and has become a coveted honor.
Posted in: News by Jon Ballard on June 4, 2015
Evaluating ROI For Your Website
The effectiveness of a website can vary greatly depending on the goals and purpose of that site. E-commerce sites for example are fairly easy to evaluate in terms of dollars and cents because at the end of the day you can track how much you have sold verses how much you spent on the site. With marketing or informational sites that calculation becomes a bit harder to track. Foremost Media recommends several key things for each website we build in order to track effectiveness or return on investment:
Clear calls to action on every page of your site are very important. Every page should have a purpose or response you want the user to complete. Register for an event, visiting another page for additional information, subscribing to a newsletter, in a properly designed website these goals should be identified and tracked throughout the site. Then, using web analytics and response forms, ...
Posted in: Online Advertising, Web Development by Jon Ballard on June 1, 2015
Google Releases Mobile Survey
Have you ever come across a satisfaction survey from Google when doing a search? It looks something like this:
Google has been pushing this survey on desktop now for the past few years in hopes of gaining insight as to what searchers expect on their SERP. (Search Engine Results Page). Just recently, they began displaying this survey on mobile searches as well.
The timing of this is not coincidental. Google just finished rolling out their mobile-friendly update, and they are looking for feedback. This is the perfect opportunity for searchers to let Google know if they are happy with the results received on any given mobile device, as well as a gentle reminder to businesses as to just how important a mobile-friendly site really is.
Posted in: General, Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on May 27, 2015
The Secret to Maximizing Clicks in AdWords: Single Keyword Ad Groups
Managing costs in AdWords can be a difficult task. Most online marketers start out by creating two or three general Ad Groups with several keywords in each group. This can be a great way to start ad campaigns quickly. However, too many keywords in an Ad Group makes it difficult to control costs, conversions, click-through-rates, and other variables. So here's the big secret....The most effective way to reduce cost-per-click and increase conversions is to create single keyword Ad Groups. Single keyword Ad Groups will increase ad relevance, quality score, and conversion rate and decrease your cost-per-click. Here is the quickest way to get started. Find Your Top 5 Keywords The first step to decreasing cost-per-click and controlling your ads is to separate your keywords into several different Ad Groups. It is best to start by separating your highest traffic keywords into their own individual Ad Groups. You can do this by clicking on ...
Posted in: Online Advertising by User on May 8, 2015
How To Use A/B Testing To Improve Your Email Marketing
You know your emails could perform better. You spend hours debating what subject line to use, what wording is best and even whom the email should appear to come from. You take your time constructing the perfect email, and then you painfully hit the send button to await your fate.
Slowly, the results come in. Your open rate and click through rate are both good, but you cannot help but be disappointed. You expected great, not good.
What happened? You followed all the best practices you read about in blog articles. You analyzed every element of the email, what should you have done differently?
With A/B testing you can now focus your efforts on improving your emails with actual data. A/B testing compares two elements against each other to determine which one performs better.
This simple test will take the guesswork out of your email marketing activities and allow continuous improvements to take your emails from good to ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on March 3, 2015
Foremost Media, Inc. Takes Home Silver Addy Award In The Category Of Websites Consumer Services
Foremost Media, Inc. takes home Silver Addy Award in the category of Websites Consumer Services - 2015 American Advertising Awards
February 20, 2015 Madison, WI - Foremost Media, Inc. is a Silver Award winner in the 2015 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) competition for their work with the Tallman Tours Website, Rock County Historical Society.
"It is always great when a client loves the website we have created for them, but there is another level of pride when a company is recognized by their peers for excellent work and creativity,” said Stephen Cardwell, Art Director, Foremost Media, Inc.
The 2015 American Advertising Awards competition evolved through a need to recognize and celebrate originality, innovation and those who are industry leaders pushing the bounds of creative excellence in all forms of advertising.
The American Advertising Federation-Madison is dedicated to the development of the advertising, marketing and communications community in the greater Madison area. Its members represent a wide range ...
Posted in: News by Jon Ballard on February 27, 2015