Is Your Brand Boring? Spice it up With These 7 Tips

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Building a strong and interesting brand is important for organizations if they are to remain relevant and competitive. Very few brands get to enjoy a market with few competitors. For this reason, having a bland and boring brand can derail any business no matter how unique their products and services are. Herein are seven effective ways for any business to spice up a boring brand.

Create a bold Mission and Vision Statement

The mission and vision statement is a vital component of branding. Many organizations often make the mistake of having a generic mission statement. A mission statement that is not inspiring and unique will not spark any interest in the consumer base. The large majority of mission statements only touch on making a business successful or being leaders in their specific industries.

This is what the consumers are used to seeing. Businesses should develop a mission statement that goes beyond the business. For instance, a statement that points to making a community better creates a brand that customers can relate to.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is one of the best tools that organizations can employ to develop their brands. Online studies indicate that nearly 80 % of people on social mediums follow at least one brand. This means that people are actually eager to connect with brands they find interesting.

The best way to spice up a brand on social media is through content marketing. Businesses should invest in sharing relevant, helpful and engaging content alongside the usual product announcements and offers.

Utilize Visual Content

While having a website is almost mandatory in today’s competitive markets, this alone is not enough to stand out. It has been proved extensively that people do not prefer being met with boring lines of text when they log onto a website.

Engaging visual content is a key part of web design. Including visuals in shared content can transform an organization’s website from bland to viral in a very short time.

Avoid Placing Limits on the Brand

Most marketers limit their branding efforts to the designated budgets leading to boring brands. Contrary to popular belief, budgets have little to do with marketing success. This is evident looking at the opportunities presented by the developments in information technology.

The trick lies in finding a working angle. More often than not, this is found beyond the products and services a business is offering. It can be a compelling story of an exceptional employee or interesting interaction with the customers.

Know what the Audience Values

As consumers today become more informed, organizations have to develop their brands with their target audience in mind. A brand may seem boring simply because it is aimed at the wrong audience.

Using web analytical tools and direct communication, marketers today can be able to conduct research on what their customers are interested in, their values, trends, and needs. With this information, every aspect of branding can be tailored accordingly.

Embrace Good Design Principles

There are numerous design techniques that can be used to transform a boring brand into an engaging one. These can be used to market even the most generic products and services. They include having a clear and clutter free design, displaying fewer choices, embracing web design best practices, and website optimization to improve the user experience.

Have a Unique Selling Proposition

Many organizations assume that a selling proposition or angle has to be something that has never been seen before. On the contrary, a successful rebranding strategy can be about conducting ordinary operations in different ways. Customers become greater and ambassadors if they have unique experiences.

Developing an interesting brand is not the end game. Keeping the brand interesting makes up the difficult part. As such, brand development should be a continuous process in any organization.

Learn to code: The basics that every site owner needs to know

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Thanks to development in technology and software, today nearly anyone can create and manage a website for business or personal purposes. However, it is not as easy as it sounds.

To be a successful webmaster, a person must get acquainted to web programming languages, the most common and important of which is Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML). Herein are several things all website owners need to know.

Publishing information on the web.

HTML is a document layout and hyperlink specification mark-up language that is used to format information and text for the web. It is important for all website owners to note that HTML is not a programming language like Java, Python or C++. At the very basic an HTML element consists of an opening tag () and a closing tag (). The closing tag is indicated by a slash before the tag name.

There are seven basic HTML tags. These include HTML document tags, document body tags, headings tags, paragraph tags, line break tags, horizontal rule tags and comments tags. The tags consist of a tag name and sometimes one or more optional attributes carrying values.

These values modify the default behavior and settings of a tag. HTML elements function to instruct browsers on how to render the content in a website. Today the recommended standard is the extensible Hyper Text Mark-up Language (XHTML).

Additionally, a few HTML elements do not contain anything. Such elements are referred to as empty elements. Empty elements either insert objects such as lines and line breaks or point to a resource such as an image or video.

HTML Coding Syntax

In HTML proper publishing is guided by a set of coding rules. Familiarity with these rules will make coding much easier for website owners. The XHTML tags must always be in lower case. However HTML accepts both lower and uppercase elements.

All the attribute values must be enclosed in double quotes and elements must be properly nested. A nested tag is a kind of tag where an element is enclosed in with multiple tags. Additionally, all empty elements must be closed. Closing in HTML is simply adding a slash after a tag name.

All attributes must be given explicit values and XHTML files should be saved with extension html rather than htm. Either can do but it is recommended to be consistent with the save extensions. HTML can be quite challenging at first but a website owner can learn more about it from free online tutorials, eBooks and coding guides.

Important of learning to code.

It is very beneficial for website owners to learn basic coding. Since Web Pages are built in HTML language, website owners can write this language themselves using a simple text editor such as Notepad.

Learning how to code allows website owners to customize their sites to their preferable specifications. Whenever they need to edit and tweak web pages knowledge of HTML would be handy. Additionally, coding allows website owners to create much neater and cleaner web pages, place links within the web pages and also to repair any broken pages.

Websites need to be continually updated, edited, redesigned and repaired. For any website to grow, be successful and stay that way the website owner definitely has to have some coding knowledge.

Which Colors Will Ruin Your Site’s Chances at Converting Sales

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Today the internet is awash with hundreds if not thousands of business websites all across the globe, but have you ever asked yourself what colors serve to attract clients and which ones actually repel them? It is common knowledge that colors leave a first lasting impression and can subliminally affect how potential clients perceive your business.

It’s therefore important to know what specific colors mean to people and the specific feelings they invoke in them. Statistics clearly show the power of colors on consumers’ minds and how that influences their purchasing power. The choice of colors used on a site can promote or harm a site, inevitably affecting sales altogether. Herein is a list of colors that are likely to lower your sites sales:

1. Blue on a red background.

These two colors are too strong for each other and tend to compete for attention. As a result; they play tricks on the customer’s eyes causing fatigue and irritation. This inevitably causes the customer to leave your site before getting complete information about your products or services.

2. Yellow.

It is a vibrant color that easily attracts the attention of customers, but it’s not ideal as a background color since it can be alarming and unappealing. Since it is difficult to balance these two colors, when used against a red background, it can be very overpowering to the eyes.

3. White.

It is an expression of purity and cleanliness. A good balance of white is needed in a site since too much of it creates a feeling of emptiness and this can be boring to the eyes. When using it as a background, avoid light colors on it.

4. Black.

It should be used minimally and not as a site’s background. This is because it is too strong and has a tendency to overpower every other color on the page including white. Texts on a black background are completely unreadable.

5. Bright Blue.

It is a great color for a website but when used as a background, it can be too strong to look at. The closer to neon it gets, the more difficult it becomes to look at for a considerable period of time. Ultimately, this does not do your business any good.

6. Neon colors.

As much as they are eye catching, they tend to be irritating and they tire the eyes easily. As a result, they end up causing annoyance instead of feelings of happiness that businesses want associated with their products.

7. Jungle green.

This color should be used selectively and definitely not as a background because it is too intense and makes any text on it unreadable. That said, the worst colors to use on such a green background are shades of yellow, green or purple.

8. Multiple-colored boxes.

When many different colors are used together they are unappealing to say the least. They confuse the eyes making readers unable to focus.

When choosing colors for your website, it is very crucial that you consider them very carefully because of the effect they have on potential clients who visit your site. A poor choice of color can leave the client feeling irritated or affect their mood negatively, forcing them to leave your site. The ripple effect is that business sales drop significantly.

What Makes for a Good Logo?

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A logo is an important component of a business brand. It is the visual manifestation of a business and symbolically represents the business values, products and services.

An effective logo is one that invokes feelings in consumers and allows them to instantly associate it with the particular business. For business brands to have long term success, entrepreneurs must invest in their logos. Herein are several vital characteristics that make a good logo.

1. Simplicity

A business or company logo should be streamlined as it makes the logo easy to recognize. Complicated logos do not engage consumers visually and they make it difficult to remember. A simple logo will easily convey a clear message to consumers in an instant.

It makes it easier for potential clients to recall if they are referred by regular clients of the business. Additionally, simple logos are more aesthetically pleasing to a viewer which further reinforces the business image.

2. Uniqueness.

Nowadays, the market is awash with tons of product and service providers. Competition for customers is stiffer especially with the development of e-commerce. With a unique logo, a business has higher chances of standing out among st the competition.

A common place business logo makes customers struggle to associate it with the specific business. Chances are they will mistake it for another totally different business. Moreover, a business brand benefits most from a logo that is distinct among other logos. However, in the process making a unique logo the designers should make sure they do not end up complicating the logo.

3. Versatility.

A good logo should be easily portrayed in all the business mediums without losing the message it is meant to convey. This particularly applies to the graphic design strategy.

Whether on company websites, advertisements, emails, blogs, social media outlets, print outs or videos the business logo should be effective. The colors or taglines used should elicit the same response in the mind of the consumer no matter where the logo appears.

4. Customization.

Ideally, all business logos should be designed with the specific target demographic in mind. They have to relate in a way to the targeted audience. The design, tag lines and colors should be relevant to the business niche. Business owners should factor in the age, gender, income bracket and preferences of their target audience and tailor their logos accordingly.

5. Ability to withstand the test of time.

Consumer trends will always be dynamic. People generally do not have preset purchasing habits. With time, customers change their preferences and how they use products and services. In order for a business brand to stay competitive, its logo should be timeless.

The logo should not weaken the brand due to market changes. Changing a business logo constantly can lead to customer fallout because they no longer associate the updated logos with the original business. To them, businesses without a timeless logo seem like totally new enterprises.

Logo designers should remember not to subscribe to latest designs and logo techniques. Trends come and go, eventually becoming clichés. A good logo should be able to endure such changes, while still portraying the same message etched in the customers’ minds.

Why We Love SEO (And You Should, Too!)

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Essentially, SEO (the common abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in search results using the right content and keywords. The main aim of SEO is to ensure that a website ranks higher on search engines for various keywords. To get to the first page of Yahoo!, Bing, or Google, you need to build your authority within the industry in which you operate.

We love SEO and it is lovable for a number of reasons.

1. It Is both Simple and Challenging

Although SEO looks simple to most people, it can be quite challenging. Basically, when web design and SEO experts design and develop a website, they insert various keywords within the content. As they do this, they format the pages and content in ways that give it a flow for the end user while at the same time is optimized for the search engine bots.

While this may seem simple enough, you need to remember that optimizing a website will depend on your instinct and a number of established paradigms. The search engines change their algorithms so often that today there is no silver bullet guaranteeing SEO success – making it a bit of a challenge.

2. Reliance on Community

Another reason why SEO is fun and lovable revolves around the fact that it relies and is built around a community of web design and search engine optimization experts, users, and website owners. This community has individuals who are dedicated, smart and friendly.

To succeed in your own SEO strategy, you need to understand how to interact with others within your part of the community. This means that you should be able to forge relationships that will yield you high quality back links from other websites and blogs. Start by getting the right web design services and watch as everything else falls into place.

Additionally, you should build a good image among your readers, website visitors and customers. They will share your content on social media, write sterling reviews for you, tell others about you and promote your brand on your behalf. This will go a long way in raising your returns on investment from your SEO efforts.

3. SEO Is a Game Changer

In the same way, websites rely on social media and PPC (Pay Per Click) ads to raise interest, promote themselves and increase their visibility. Digital marketing, as dictated by SEO, works more effectively while remaining affordable.

Essentially, SEO has completely changed the online advertising game. Today, you can get higher ranks for your websites and blogs without having to work too hard or pay too much. All you need to do is focus on the right strategies, work smart and use the best tools to get you on the first page for your chosen keywords. What is more, once your SEO tactics start working, they will continue growing your visibility.

Keep in mind that it will take you some time to build great content, build link profiles and adjust your on-page elements. SEO is a never ending job that much like building and maintaining a website, requires continual effort and attention. In the long run, you will start noticing an increase in the traffic coming to your website.

Search engine optimization is the best and most affordable thing you can concentrate on today. If you own a website or a blog, the most effective, most affordable and most visible way to build your image, get more visitors, and make them perform the actions you require is by using the right SEO tactics. Focus your efforts on SEO and watch as your website continuously ranks higher for your chosen keywords.

10 Email Subject Line Templates that Sell

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Just about everyone that searches through their inbox will realize that the vast majority of emails go unread. Even when emails are specifically requested by a past client or potential lead, it does not take much for them to get lost in piles of spam. That being said, an effective email campaign can still be an incredibly cost-effective form of advertising, and it all starts with writing the perfect subject line. Anyone looking to increase the ROI of their email campaign should take a look at these 10 proven templates.

1. Asking the Important Question

Creating a subject line that asks an important question is one of the oldest tactics when it comes to email marketing. Even if the question seems like it has an obvious answer, planting a seed of doubt is often enough to get them to open the email.

2. The Minimalist Approach

A minimalist subject line should never be underestimated. In an inbox full of uppercase letters, clickbait phrases, and overused exclamation points, a simple email subject can be refreshing.

3. Humor and Pop Culture

For writers that have a good grasp of pop culture and current trends, adding a bit of humor to a subject line could help with conversion rates. Those that do attempt to use humor should be very certain of exactly who will be opening the email. A slightly inappropriate joke or reference could turn away a potential customer forever.

4. Personalizing the Subject

Any basic personal information that a company has on their readers should be used. Adding information such as the reader’s hometown or something that they are interested in is one of the best ways to make a subject line stand out.

5. “Scare Tactics”

Scare tactics may seem like a negative way to go about email marketing, but it can be surprisingly effective when carried out correctly. The author wants to cast some doubt and convince the reader that the email contains information that they must know immediately.

6. Creating Mystery

Everyone loves some mystery in their life, and this includes their inbox. This is often accomplished by starting a tantalizing sentence in the subject line and then cutting the sentence off before giving an answer.

7. Testimonials

If a company has had the good fortune of any noteworthy testimonials made about their products and services, then they should almost always use that information to create a headline.

8. Pertinent News

Just as an author wants up-to-date information for an article or blog, they should also leverage current events whenever possible with their subject lines. Attaching a recent or upcoming date will give a title a sense of urgency.

9. Lists

Lists are extremely popular, but they should be used sparingly in email subject lines. If the subject line promises an enticing list, then it is vital that the email is able to deliver a world-class list or the company risks losing legitimacy.

10. Developing Urgency

When going through an inbox, many people will make a decision on a specific email in under a second. Creating a sense of urgency with phrases such as “last chance” will force the reader to linger on the subject line for a few more precious moments.

Crafting effective emails and subject lines is an art that will take quite some time to perfect. For those that are still unsure of which headline to go with, it is always advisable to create 10 or more subject lines and then slowly narrow the list down until the perfect option is found.

How to Write Good Articles Even if You’re not a Pro

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Creating world-class content is one of the pillars of a powerful online presence, but this is no easy task for those that are not professional writers. Choosing appropriate subjects, collecting accurate information, and even posting the content at the correct time often makes this process feel like a full-time job. For those that have had trouble writing eye-catching articles, here are some tips to create pertinent, useful, and up-to-date content.

Make It Original

It was not long ago that “article mills” were dominating the search engine results pages. Countless programs stole headlines, paragraphs, and even full articles from other sources in order to create incoherent content. Those days are long gone and plagiarizing even small portions of an article could hurt one’s rankings. It is never a bad idea to get inspiration from similar articles, but the tone and phrasing must be as distinct and original as possible.

Nail the Headlines

The numbers change slightly between every website, but only around 20 percent of traffic that reads a headline will go on to read the entire article. Even if a certain individual is not interested in the information offered by an article, a catchy headline could keep them on the page for longer and increase the chance of a conversion. One great idea is to create four or five unique headlines, write the article, and then choose the headline that most appropriately describes the content.

Make Every Article Actionable

Before starting on an article, authors should take some time and think about exactly what the readers are going to do with that information. If the readers cannot do anything with the article, then it is time to think of a new angle. Even if the final goal is to get the reader to explore the subject matter further, writers always want to think about what can be done after finishing the article. This may include contacting a company, making a purchase, or simply sharing it with their friends on social media to spark further discussion.

Double-Check Sources and Stats

Companies that think they can get away with shoddy sources or inaccurate information are in for an unfortunate surprise. Online traffic is exceptionally well-informed and many individuals make it a point to check and double-check anything that they read from a commercial source. Using sources such as a similar blog is a great way to share some traffic, but only reputable organizations should be used for hard facts and figures. This is especially important for businesses in highly regulated fields such as law and medicine.

Add Media and Links

Articles should never be a single block of words. Even if the information is useful, an article that is not visually appealing will almost always be ignored. Writers should limit paragraphs to just a few sentences and break them up as much as possible with sub-titles, videos, pictures, and infographics. Adding a few high-quality outbound links is another great way to improve the legitimacy of an article and break it up for the reader.

Keep It Short

There are very few instances in which an article will need to go on for thousands and thousands of words. Some content such as white pages can be rather lengthy, but the average blog entry or informational article should be as brief as possible. If the author can answer a question in just a few paragraphs, then they should leave the article as short as possible. The longer an article is, the bigger the risk that readers will leave before they find the clear call to action.

How to get Visitors to Subscribe on your Blog

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It does not take much to become exasperated with a blog that is not attracting visitors and then converting those visitors into subscribers. Many bloggers will invest a few weeks into their website and expect immediate gratification, but that kind of transformation is a rarity. Creating a successful blog with a growing base of subscribers is going to require a comprehensive strategy, patience, and perhaps even a little professional help.

Make Subscribing Easy

This may seem like an obvious statement, but far too many blogs have their subscription buttons hidden away and out of sight. Within moments of visiting the site’s homepage, reading an article, or skimming through an email, everyone should be able to see subscribe and share buttons. It is also a good idea to click through each of these buttons every few weeks to make sure that they are directing visitors to the right pages and accounts.

Demonstrate the Value of Subscribing

The vast majority of traffic that lands on your blog will be gone within moments. Even visitors that stay to read an article may not feel like it is worth their time or energy to subscribe. In order to combat this, bloggers must demonstrate the value of subscribing as clearly and succinctly as possible. A simple way to do this is to explain exactly what kind of information, sneak peaks, or giveaways that a subscriber will receive.

Offer Your Content to Other Bloggers

One of the biggest mistakes that many new bloggers make is feeling as if other blogs are their enemies. Quite the opposite is true, and creating long-term relationships with bloggers that write on the same topics will be beneficial to all parties involved. If you have recently produced content such as an ebook, then you may want to consider offering it to other bloggers with free downloads and links. Just be sure to ask that they include your name, your blog’s name, and your subscription button along with the ebook.

Increase Your Traffic

This is another tip that may sound obvious, but it is far easier said than done. A blog that is failing to attract new visitors will not be able to increase subscription rates no matter how great the information may be. All bloggers will need to take some time to carry out on-site and off-site optimization. Those that are unsure of how to do this may want to take a look at some professional optimization, especially in those first few months.

Reduce Your Bounce Rates

A high bounce rate is one issue that bloggers must avoid at all costs. A bounce rate simply means the amount of traffic that leaves after visiting just a single page for no longer than a few moments. Not only does a high bounce rate mean that the information was not helpful, but it will also reduce a website’s standings in the search engine results pages. To reduce your site’s bounce rate, it is important to make sure that all incoming links land on the right page, visitors are provided with easily-digestible information, load times are as short as possible, and every single page is easy to skim through.

Creating a blog is a great way to enjoy your favorite subjects, express yourself creatively, and even make a little money on the side. These few tips and tricks will help you turn one-time visitors into lifelong subscribers by creating a real sense of community.

5 Ways to Skyrocket up the Search Rankings

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No matter how amazing their products or services may be, no company can turn a profit unless they are getting as much publicity as possible. For many businesses, this will require a modern website that is ranking well in the search engine results pages, but maintaining these sites is often easier said than done. Anyone that has begun to notice that their website is falling behind the competition may want consider these five tips that will help them climb back up the rankings as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Redirect to One Site

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is having multiple site addresses that don’t get counted as a single “vote” in regards to search engines. Companies will often maintain a number of domains such as http://yourwebsite.com, yourwebsite.com, and yourwebsite.org without realizing those extra sites are actually hurting their rankings. Instead, they can use all of these sites to automatically redirect to the site they will be spending most of their time and energy on. In extreme circumstances, this can often double the site’s “value” in the eyes of the big search engines.

Start Updating Content

There are few things that will hurt a site’s rankings and its conversion rates like old content. When the leading search engines are indexing a site, one of the first things that they look for is new and relevant content. For many, this will mean the consistent release of content such as blogs. While this is important, those that are running the site should also consider options such as revamping the landing page, press releases, white pages, tutorials, infographics, and anything else that will keep visitors on the site for a longer period of time.

Become an Industry Leader

Many business owners tend to think of their website as a traditional advertising medium such as a billboard. Thinking of the website as a platform for connecting with customers and other industry leaders is actually a much more effective method of increasing that site’s rankings. Owners should start taking a look at industry forums, competitor’s websites, and anywhere else that they can start conversations and become a major voice within that particular field. Asking and answering questions is the quickest way to create effective backlinks that will skyrocket the site’s rankings.

Focus on Geographic Keywords

Another common mistake made by web designers and business owners is throwing a broad net when it comes to keywords and key phrases. The more common the keyword is, the more difficult it will be to move up in the search engine rankings. An easy way to do this is to think like potential customers and what types of searches they will make. Instead of a dentist going with options such as “cheap dental services”, they may want to tack on a geographical name and a specific treatment that they are known for.

Let Your Partners Work Do Some of the Work

Creating effective backlinks will also involve some work around the neighborhood. Local organizations that use a company’s name or add clips to sites such as YouTube could actually be invaluable when it comes to increasing a site’s rankings. Heading to meetings among local leaders, donating to charities, and any other methods a business owner can use to create a name for their company locally is actually going to translate into higher rankings.

Creating a high-ranking and effective website doesn’t happen by luck. Instead, business owners need to start thinking about ways they can actively contribute to the industry, connect with potential customers, and focus their efforts in the right areas.

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