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Category Archive: AudienceBloom

  1. 15 Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site

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    Speed counts. Google uses a number of factors to determine your site’s ranking in its search engine results pages (SERPs), but among them is the time it takes to load your website. Google is all about improving user experience, so if your site takes too long to load, you could have a much harder time ranking for your target keywords. Lowering your site’s load time can put you in a much better position to rank for any given keyword.

    WordPress, one of the most popular platforms for website creation, offers a number of different themes, templates, plugins, and widgets to give you a completely controllable user experience. For most businesses getting started on the web, this is a bit overwhelming, but it’s important to make the right decisions when setting up and maintaining your WordPress site. In order to give your users the best experience and improve your chances of ranking, use these strategies to improve your site’s load times:

    1. Get an Efficient Host.

    articleimage416Get an Efficient Host

    Hosting may not seem like a big deal, especially if this is your first site, but the type of hosting you have makes a big difference in your load times. For example, if you opt for shared hosting in order to save a bit of money, you could be setting yourself up for drastically slower load times, especially under peak conditions.

    2. Reduce Your Images.

    As you might imagine, high-definition images can be a major drag on your site’s load times. Each individual user must download these images when accessing a page that contains them, so if you can replace those images with much smaller, faster images, you’ll instantly improve your load times. The WordPress plugin WP Smush.it is one tool that can help you automatically and efficiently compress the size and load times of all the images on your site.

    3. Choose an Efficient Theme.

    articleimage416Choose an Efficient Theme

    The themes and frameworks available on WordPress are part of what has made the platform so popular, but not all themes are efficient. In many cases, it’s better to choose a simple, unadorned theme with lightning-fast load times than a bulkier theme you prefer from an aesthetic perspective. Don’t worry; there are tons of themes with light frameworks to choose from (including some of the defaults).

    4. Clean Up Your Plugins.

    Some plugins can be valuable to your load times, like the WP Smush.it tool we mentioned above. However, many plugins simply take up space and make your site bulkier to process. Check out P3, the Plugin Performance Profiler—it can quickly tell you how each of your plugins affect your overall load times and give you direction for which ones to keep and which ones to disable.

    5. Zip Your Website Files.

    articleimage416zipyourfiles

    Compressing your website as a ZIP file allows for much easier transmission to your users’ browsers. Essentially, you’re reducing the amount of data that is transmitted without changing the final product displayed. There are several zipping applications available, but any of them will suffice so long as they don’t otherwise interfere with your loading times.

    6. Use a Caching Plugin—but Set It Up Properly.

    Caching plugins tend to be free to download and install, and they’re relatively easy to use. By directing browsers to download files stored in a visitor’s cache instead of trying to download them from the server, you can cut significant loading time. It only works for repeat visitors, but it’s still valuable. Just avoid playing around with the advanced settings too much or you could interfere with its proper functioning.

    7. Reorganize Your Homepage.

    Maximize your layout for speed. Show segments of posts rather than full content, make the length of your homepage shorter, and remove any widgets and plugins you don’t need on the homepage (including social sharing widgets, which belong on individual posts rather than on the homepage directly).

    8. Make Your Database More Efficient.

    If you know what you’re doing, you can clean up your database manually, but the better way is to use the WP-Optimize plugin. With this plugin, you can quickly and easily establish settings that prevent the buildup of unnecessary information on your database. Since you’re storing information more efficiently, your page will end up loading faster on your users’ machines.

    9. Control Image Loading.

    You can selectively control which images load immediately for the user in order to reduce the total amount of information necessary for a user to download from the server. With the right setup, only images above the fold will load immediately, and the remaining images will load only when the user scrolls down accordingly. It’s possible to do this manually, but it’s easier to do it with a plugin.

    10. Get Rid of Pingbacks and Trackbacks.

    Pingbacks and trackbacks are notifications from external blogs that inform your blog that it’s been mentioned. Pingbacks and trackbacks automatically update the data contained in your post, thereby increasing the amount of data needed to load and increasing load times. Getting rid of pingbacks and trackbacks will preserve your backlinks but prevent the extra data from being stored on your site.

    11. Eliminate Unused Post Drafts.

    Drafts of old blog posts can weigh down your site more than you think. For example, if you revise a draft four times, you’ll have five total versions of your blog post sitting in your site’s database. You’ll never need to reference those earlier drafts, so update your database settings (perhaps using the WP-Optimize plugin we mentioned in point 8) to delete them and prevent unnecessary storage in the future.

    12. Use Static HTML Instead of PHP When You Can.

    This isn’t something everyone should do, but for those of you looking to cut load times dramatically, it’s an additional option. PHP is a useful way to improve the efficiency of your site, but it also occupies server processes while it’s running. If you can replace it with a static HTML equivalent, it’s worth trying.

    13. Take Advantage of a Content Delivery Network.

    Content delivery networks (CDNs) provide the same data you would ordinarily need to transmit to your users—such as CSS files and images—but on closer servers to maximize user download speeds. There are many CDNs available, but most will require a subscription fee to use.

    14. Aggregate Your CSS and Javascript Files.

    If you use several plugins, your site probably links to multiple CSS and javascript files on every page, which can interfere with loading times. Instead, use a plugin like Minify to combine all that information to a much more condensed, faster-downloading form.

    15. Disable hotlinking.

    Hotlinking is the process of linking to another person’s images, thereby increasing server loads without necessarily increasing your traffic. Disable hotlinking with a handful of steps and prevent that extra burden.

    Obviously, load times aren’t the only factor Google uses in populating its search results. You still need to have a regular, high quality content marketing strategy, a social media presence, well-structured meta data, and a long-term backlinking strategy. However, if you put these tips to good use and decrease your WordPress site’s load time, you’ll be able to simultaneously improve your domain authority (and thus, your rankings) and give your users a better overall experience.

  2. Online Reputation Management – How Paying Close Attention Can Save the Day

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    The Internet has the potential to make or break your business. With the advent of social media, it has become even more easy to build (or destroy) your reputation. That’s the reason online reputation management has evolved to become a specialized service.

    Your reputation on the Internet can be subject to a lot of volatility. Do something awesome, and you’re liable to get liked, shared, and followed by a huge number of loyal fans overnight. But if you do something off-putting … BOOM! Down goes your carefully constructed professional image.

    If you think your online reputation is doing all right, you might be correct. But you might not. While you may be seeing positive reviews about yourself or your business, you need to really “listen” beyond “what you can hear” because the Internet is populated by all sorts of noises.

    Someone could have posted defaming statements against you somewhere. There might be negative posts on certain social media about your operation. While you only checked out the first page or two of Google search results for anything about your business, the pages further down might be sprinkled with content that could prove damaging to your reputation, both on and off-line.

    Paying close attention saves the day

    The key to keeping your Internet reputation sparkling clean is to pay close attention to what people say about you.

    Paying close attention should be something you do concurrently with your efforts to fill the search engines and social media venues with positive information about your activities. Your success online rests on how well you optimize your site for the key terms that you would like your business to dominate.

    However, it’s equally crucial to address any questionable issues that might be raised about your business — and you must address them quickly.

    How do you set out to listen in on what people are saying about your business?

    The tools

    Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a marvelous online tool that enables you to zero in on any topic or news area you want. It’s highly customizable, so you can set an alert for any topic that interests you, including yourself or your company.

    The alerts are sent to your email at whatever frequency you prefer. One of the great things about Google Alerts is that you receive alerts on the freshest news or commentaries that are published on whatever topic(s) you register to be alerted on.

    Social media tools. These days, it’s impossible to ignore the enormous opportunities that social media has to offer. It has served as a medium for businesses to promote their products and services, and customers are largely choosing it as their most preferred tool for airing their complaints.

    You can program Twitter and Facebook, two of today’s leading social tools, to track mentions about your business. You can also use these sites to track mentions about your competitors and study what the public is saying about them.

    By using social media to track mentions of your business, you can respond to consumer concerns immediately, show your appreciation for any positive comments, and defuse threatening discussions that could potentially destroy your reputation.

    When you’re proactive in this way, and you maintain a high profile across the web, this shows potential customers that you stay fully aware of any issues relating to your business, and that you are always ready to resolve them with people in a quick and timely manner.

    Conclusion

    Make the most of the tools available to you on the Internet for proper online reputation management. They are at your disposal so you can pay close attention to what people are saying about you and your business, and most of them are free to use.

    Employ them to your advantage before the damage gets too costly to handle … or recover from.

  3. Top Ways to Engage Your Customers

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    With a little help from powerful headlines, social media promotions, and SEO, you can get potential customers to visit your site.

    That’s just half of your job as an online marketer, however. What counts at least as much is how well you engage people once they’ve found their way in. If you can’t properly hold your visitors’ attention inside your site, all your efforts to pull them in will have been wasted.

    What’s even more frustrating is when you’ve paid for that traffic: then you’ll have blown precious budget as well.

    To help you engage your customers more fully once they’ve clicked into your site, we commend the following tips to your attention.

    Take advantage of the power of surveys
    Consider offering surveys to your visitors. You might be surprised to learn how many web visitors are more than happy to accommodate you by taking the time to answer questions in a survey. This is especially true if your site has something to please your users — like a little humor or eye-catching design — or offers extremely useful information.

    By providing a survey, you will not only discover how people feel about your site, but you’ll also gain valuable insights into which areas of your site could use improvement.

    You will also make your visitors feel valued for their comments and ideas. This sets the stage for potentially fruitful and lasting relationships with them.

    Make your site more social
    Social media engagement should be high on the list for all webmasters and online marketers. You may have recognized the importance of making your site more social to engage visitors and boost traffic, but you may not be implementing it properly.

    One way to do it is by making it easy to share your content on some of the biggest social networks. Place social media tools such as Facebook like, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and Google+ buttons at a prominent position on every page of your site. This will encourage your audience to share your content, especially if they find it interesting, relevant, and useful.

    It’s also a smart move to place a Facebook badge on the sidebar of your site to show your visitors which of their friends have recommended or liked your site.

    Use video with YouTube
    Integrating video into your site’s content is a powerful method of engaging your audience more effectively. By now almost everyone knows that including video is good for SEO. However, you should be mindful of the fact that using it improperly could backfire on you.

    When incorporating video, make sure you use only clips that are highly related to your content. Even better, you can opt to create your own video content. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take some of your previously published content and re-purpose it to furnish the meat of your videos.

    This will appeal to a wider audience, especially visitors who are more engaged by imagery. If you include video on your site, odds are your audience will like you even more for it.

    Appeal to the human emotions
    Finally, don’t forget to create content that appeals to human emotion. Try to create content that is not just interesting, but also funny or inspiring.

    Humorous content is a sure hit among today’s online browsers. You can also appeal to your audience’s need to feel important. In other words, when you compose new content, be sure to focus on what your potential customers want and not what you like. Talk about what’s going to make them genuinely happy.

    Conclusion
    If you apply the tips outlined here for your next set of content, you will see improvements in the way people interact with your site. You should also see dramatic results in traffic as well as in conversion.

    If you want to find out more about how to create effective and highly engaging content for your site, contact us to learn about your options.

  4. New page added: FAQ

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    Head on over to the new FAQ page for answers to the most common questions I hear. I’ll be updating this frequently. Additionally, if you have any questions that aren’t on the FAQ page, feel free to Contact Us.

  5. Website Overhaul

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    It’s been a while since my last post, but lots has been going on! I’m going to keep this one short, but I just wanted to note that the Website has received a pretty significant overhaul. My goal was to make the site easier to navigate and help readers understand our services. We’re rockin’ and rollin’ with lots of new changes under the hood, and we’ve seen some incredible SEO results for our clients in the last couple months.

    I’ll be posting more often as I get unburied. So much work to do, so little time… But loving it!

  6. How AudienceBloom Will Grow Your Business

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    AudienceBloom logoWe are a cutting-edge internet marketing firm that combines search engine optimization with social media marketing to deliver on the most important need of your company’s online presence: driving targeted traffic to your website. In doing so, we build your online presence not only in the search engines, but also in each of the “big three” social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    We begin by researching the keywords that are likely to bring your target market to your website via popular search engines like Google. We analyze the traffic potential, strength of competition, and online commercial intent of each keyword. Following this analysis, we hand-select the keywords that will result in the most highly-targeted visitors to your website.

    Next, we perform a thorough website analysis and present recommendations to optimize your site for search engines. If you prefer, we’ll even implement the changes for you.

    Next, we’ll launch your company into the dynamic and profitable world of social media. First, we’ll setup your accounts and optimize them using your keywords to attract a targeted audience. We’ll create a blog for you, and use it to establish your brand as the definitive thought-leader in your field. We’ll even take care of writing the content for the blog and distributing it to your social media audiences.

    Finally, we’ll syndicate this content across the internet, leaving no stone unturned. We’ll convert your articles to videos and distribute them to the internet’s most highly-trafficked video directories, including Youtube. We’ll convert them to PDF files and distribute them to popular document sharing sites across the web, so your potential customers can find you nomatter where they prefer to hang out on the web.

    So, what are the benefits of all this?

    • Your website will climb to the first page of Google search results
    • Your company’s presence in social media will blossom, strengthening brand loyalty with your customers
    • Your brand will become recognized as an expert and thought-leader in its field

    As a result, your company website will see increased targeted traffic to your website, resulting in more sales.

    And during our time working together, we’ll provide you with monthly reports so you can watch your website climb the search engine rankings, see traffic levels rise, and monitor the growth of your blossoming social media audience.

    Thanks for considering AudienceBloom for your internet marketing initiative. If you have any questions, feel free to call or email us. We look forward to working with you.

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Love,

-The AudienceBloom Team