After the Launch…

You have just launched your brand new website. The graphics and colors are slick and it is smartly responsive. You’ve got a brand new site and it’s ready for current and potential members to see! Now, you only need to sit back and watch the visitors roll in. Right?

What you do next after the launch of your new site is just as important as the planning and time that went into the build of it. Since your website is the digital front line to your organization, you want to spend time promoting and learning new ways to interact with your intended audience.

Some questions to ask:

  • How do I want members or potential members to interact with the site?
  • How are potential and current members interacting with the site now?
  • Are some areas of the website more popular than others?
  • Which pages are receiving the most attention?
  • How can I leverage page or article popularity to help guide visitors to the latest promotion or to interact and explore?

Listed below are some ways you can place attention to your online presence and use your website to innovate growth.

Promote Your Content. Promote Your Site.

Promote the content on your website. Leverage social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube to help spread the word. When you are promoting your website, don’t just link to the latest loan promotion. Create content that is worthy of sharing. Educate and give to your audience.

Become an Expert and Share.

Become an expert in your field. Post articles that are specific to things happening in your industry. Today in this age of information you have the ability to engage and educate. Teach your members and potential members the ways of the industry. Give them the power of knowledge that will better help them manage their finances. This is great for your members and great for your website’s SEO. You will rank higher in search engines and the ability to find you on the internet will be easier. Give and you will get.

Pay Attention and Analyze.

Google Analytics is an important tool. If it’s not implemented on your current website, it should be. It gives you the ability to look at your analytics reports and study the data. You can find out how people are interacting with your site. You will be able to gauge the success of your current loan promo, find out where the hot spots on your site are and then leverage those spaces to your advantage — to better serve your members and help potential members find the important information quickly.

Utilize other services such as AdWords and Facebook retargeting so that you can reach members no matter where they are on the web.

Optimize and Evolve.

Armed with data from “pay attention and analyze”, you should then be able to optimize your site for better user engagement.

Build landing pages for 1:1 engagement with certain promotions. If  current ad-graphics aren’t getting as much attention or as many clicks as you’d like, create new ones with a few changes based on the data you have collected. Once you do that, you can compare results and gauge improvement.

In all of this, the most important thing to remember is to keep moving forward. Your website will never really be “finished”. Nor should it be. It should always be evolving to help your organization grow by meeting the needs of your members.

After the launch is when it really begins.

 

 

3 Image Formatting Mistakes to Avoid on your Website

We’ve already established that well-written content on your website is the key to SEO success but sometimes it takes more than that to draw your audience in and entice them to stay. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. On your website this is especially true because that picture could turn a casual lurker into a lifelong member.

Adding images to your website is essential because it helps you communicate to your audience more effectively. Some people are very visual and so when they get hit with a wall of words, it can be overwhelming. That is why the use of imagery is one of the most powerful tools used in marketing today.

However, while images are powerful and essential, they can’t be effective if they aren’t displayed correctly on your website. Listed below are the top 5 image formatting mistakes to avoid:

1. Uploaded images are not optimized for web

Uploading images that are not optimized for the web can be an issue that slows down your website and increases load time. This happens because the file size of the image used is simply too large.

Helpful Tip:  If you have an image editing tool such as Photoshop, you will be able to optimize your images for the web easily.

2. Uploaded image is not displaying correctly

If you upload an image to your website and it looks blurry, then that can mean one of two things:

    • The resolution for the image is incorrect: You will want to make sure that you have an image resolution of 72 ppi to 120 ppi. Unlike print design, you can get away with a much lower resolution for the web.

 

  • The original image was small and re-sized larger. Many times, when you take a smaller image and make it bigger, it doesn’t always work out as the resolution for the original image was low and the image itself is not in a vector format. That means, when you size it up, it takes the ppi resolution that it has and stretches the pixels thereby making the picture blurry.

 

Helpful Tip: For the sake of image quality, it is much better to reduce the size of a large image and place it on your website than to take a smaller image and increase it in size.

3. The image looks disproportionate

You found the perfect image for your website but it is portrait and you need a landscape image. So, you decide to re-size the image so that it is wider instead of taller. When you upload it on your site, you notice that it looks odd.

Helpful Tip: Before you look for an image for your website, be sure to decide whether you want it to be in portrait format or landscape format. If you find a very large image you can sometimes crop it to the desired format (depending on the image), but I have found that it is easier to know which format you need before you find the image, that way you don’t have to deal with that hassle later on.

 

SEO Tip for Images - Lightbulb IconSEO Tip for Images: Don’t forget to give your images alt tags with descriptions when you upload them. Not only does this make your images more accessible for handicap users, it also adds to your website search engine optimization and helps your site rank higher in searches!

The Aftermath of Mobilegeddon

Last year around this time, we posted an article on Google’s upcoming Mobilegeddon, which discussed the coming change of the search platform and the potential of rank penalizing for websites that were not mobile-device friendly.

As of today, 25% of websites that were not mobile-friendly have adopted a mobile web presence.  Meanwhile, the divide between the websites that are mobile-friendly and those that aren’t is growing larger every day.

We know that Google continues to adjust its algorithm to give users the very best and most accurate search results possible.  That is why, Google is tweaking its algorithm once again in what some are calling Mobilegeddon II.  This newest update will happen in May (2016).

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Mobile-friendliness is becoming more of a requirement to rank high on searches done through mobile devices.
  • In May, Google will update it’s mobile algorithm to be a bit more aggressive in terms of SEO and mobile-friendliness.\

How aggressive this newest algorithm update will be, remains to be seen.

The world wide web is always evolving and new standards are put into place to make the user-experience even better and more serviceable. We know that having a solid web presence is important, which is why over the last several years, we at CU*Answers have been incorporating mobile-responsive design components in all of the websites we build.  It is our mission to always keep up to date on the latest technology, so that we can continue to deliver the very best to our clients.

If you have had a website designed from us within the last 3 years, then your website is likely mobile optimized.

Not sure if your website is mobile-device friendly?  Check out this great tool provided by Google!  Simply enter your website’s address in the toolbar and click “analyze”.   Note that the analysis of your website might take a minute.

If your website does not have a mobile presence, then it is time to consider a redesign. We have limited redesign slots available, and slots are filled on a first come, first served basis.

3 Secrets to Effective SEO Copywriting for Your Website

Last week, we discussed the 5 ways you can prep your website for SEO success. The very first item on that list is content. Since the reason for search engine existence in the first place is to organize information and present a bridge from the user to the website and vise versa; the words, sentences and phrases that you use on your site are everything.

Imagine that the search engine is the bridge.  The user is at one end of the bridge and your website is at the other end.  Now imagine that the planks on the bridge are made from the text that you use on your website.  Your goal, is to get users to walk across the bridge to visit your website.  What words do you use to prompt them to cross?

As you probably already know, copywriting is the art of constructing written copy and presenting it to the public through digital media or print.  SEO copywriting is writing copy for your website that will rank well in search engines and make your website easily found.  Copywriting is a marketing strategy that has been long-proven to be effective.

Listed below are the 3 secrets to effective SEO copywriting for your website:

 

1. More Content

Blogs and news sites typically rank sky-high in search engines. Why? Because they are content machines! Adding a blog or news area to your site and then making an effort to regularly add posts will enhance the rank and visibility of your sites in search engines.

2. Know your Audience and then Answer their Questions

Typically, when we search for something on the web, we ask in the form of a question. Think of some of the questions that your credit union members or potential members might ask and then post articles about those questions. This is a great strategy because it helps your website visitors get to know your organization better all while helping you rank higher on Google!

3.  Grab their Attention.  Write Headlines that Engage

Let’s say that you have written a great article that you are sharing through various social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and your hope is that the article gets a lot of attention…maybe even goes viral.  The best way to do that is by writing a headline to your article that engages them and prompts them to click! Chris Garrett from Authority Blogger has shared a great resource with the masses called 102 Headline Writing Formulas. If you get a chance, check it out.

 

 

 

5 Ways You Can Prep Your Website for SEO Success!

Behind the success of every great website lies a great SEO structure.  Implementing good SEO practices and structure to your website is likened to having a great marriage, the more effort you put into it, the better it gets!

Listed below are 5 ways you can prep your website for SEO success:

1. Content

As you may know by now, content is king.  Having well-written website pages filled with rich and engaging content is important to your audience.  Another important aspect to having rich content on your site is making sure that you are always posting fresh content.  Google and other search engines will crawl your site more often if you offer fresh and updated content.  Also, make sure that your content contains relevant keywords and keyphrases to your website and your business.

2. Website Architecture

Create a search-engine crawl-friendly site by making sure that your website URLs are short and readable (ex:  mysite.com/resources).  Additionally, If you have a robots.txt file, make sure that there are no directives in the file that would block search engines from crawling your site.  Finally, make sure that your website works well across all devices — not just for the desktop.

3. Headers

Make sure that your header tags (ex: h1, h2, h3, h4, h5) contain relevant keywords.  For example, your H1 tag should contain a headline that tells the reader and the search engine what the page is about.  Google’s algorithm gives a slight boost to those sites that use header tags.  Even though HTML5 supports the idea that you can have more than one H1 element on each page of your website, it is still considered better practice to only have one H1 element per page (typically the title of the page).

4.  Define your Images

It is important to add alt tags to each image you have on your site (ex: alt=”image description”).  Not only does this make your website more handicap accessible, it’s also another attribute that Google and other search engines look for when indexing and ranking websites.  Additionally, you will want to make sure that the file names to your photos are clear as to what the photo is (ex: red-balloons.jpg).

5.  Keywords

Do your keyword research!  Implement relevant keywords and keyphrases into your content and meta descriptions on your website pages.  There are many keyword tools available that can help you with your research.  They are simple to use too!  You can simply plug the keywords in to the search tool and see how they rank and what your competition is.  Google Adwords has a keyword planner tool that is free to use.  Additionally, you can search for “free keyword tool” and a number of options come up.

Having relative keywords show up in your content is a great way to be found in searches!

Want to learn more?  searchengineland.com has a great Infographic entitled “The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors“.

 

What is Mobile-geddon?

The Mysticism of SEO

You’ve probably seen in the news that  Mobile-geddon starts this week.  What exactly does that mean?  In short, starting this week, Google search engine results are going to give preferential rankings to sites that are mobile ready.   Your content is still what really gets your site ranked at Google.  This change just means that all things being equal, a site that is mobile ready will get prioritized.

Google is constantly adjusting their ranking algorithms, but this is a big shift.  Google is planning for when users are using their mobile devices more than desktops.

As you read in our 2015 Screen Resolution Review, our credit union sites are still accessed 70% of the time on desktop devices.  However, we’ve seen mobile access trending upwards in the last 18 months and expect this trend to continue.

As part of this, CU*Answers Web Services has been including a responsive web design component in all of our new designs for the last several years.  What is a responsive web design?  In short, it means your website will scale to different screen resolutions using checkpoints enabling you to have one website that you maintain and the content is reflowed to match the size of the device.

It also means, that if CU*Answers Web Services has redesigned your website in the last 3 years, you likely already have a mobile optimized version website.

Google has released a tool for you to check your own site to see how it fares.  Here’s a test of cuanswers.com.  Note that the analysis takes a minute so let it run.

If your site doesn’t have a mobile responsive component, it’s time to consider a redesign.  We have limited redesign slots available, and slots are filled on a first come, first served basis.