Why is user experience (UX) important for your Blog?
The year 2017 has brought many new tech trends into the digital marketing sphere. Mobile phone optimization and Big Data in particular have been a huge hit and continue to rise in popularity. Yet, the main question that’s on everyone’s minds right now is:
"What new digital marketing trends can we expect from 2018?"
Seeing how the pace of new scientific discoveries and technological advancements increases with each passing year, it’s safe to say that we have a lot in store for digital marketing this year. So, let’s dive a bit deeper and find out what these trends are and how best to utilize them in your marketing efforts.
Since the dawn of man, storytelling has played a huge part in the survival of our species by allowing us to pass down important information from one generation to the next. This form of communication is so embedded in our nature that we still use it today for great amusement and joy. Snapchat was the first to utilize these ‘stories’ in its design which paved the way for other social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, to do the same.
Its no surprise, these two are now one of the most popular social media platforms today with a fully integrated stories feature that entertains millions of users worldwide. As such, marketers need to tap into this newfound ‘fountain of youth’ to refresh their marketing efforts and greatly increase their social media presence by doing so.
Authentic influencer strategies
Although this form of marketing isn’t anything new and has been around for years, its increasing popularity is pushing it to the forefront. Namely, authenticity is absolutely essential when it comes to influencer marketing, and as such, influencer campaigns that feel somewhat forced or unnatural will backfire completely. People have become a lot more observant of these influencer strategies and are now turning towards micro-influencers for more authentic and honest content instead.
Every modern digital agency has already moved onto these new pastures to find the right micro-influencers for their clients and thus effectively increase their brand awareness quite considerably. What’s more, there’s also the need for strengthening the bond of influencer-brand relations by renewing deals with the same influencers to hold onto them as much as possible. There’s always the threat of a rival brand snatching influencers away from you.
Video content still reigns supreme
Video content is set to overtake 80% of the internet’s traffic by 2019, which is just around the corner. This insatiable demand for video content can be seen even today; for example, 82% of users on Twitter exclusively watch video content. What’s more, 90% of them do so from small hand-held devices. While on YouTube, this number is around 60%. In addition, 1 billion hours of YouTube content is being viewed every day, which amounts to a playlist of around 100,000 hours in length.
Also, live streaming is another thing worth mentioning as this form of video content is highly engaging for viewers and offers more interaction than the average video. Hence, the numbers don’t lie, the desire for more video content is out there. Marketers need to use this info and adapt their content accordingly if they’re to generate positive results this year. You can use online platforms such as 2 Easy and find the best companies to outsource this task to.
Advanced use of AI
AI has already been used in the form of chat-bots last year and to great success. This year, however, chat-bots are on a totally different level and are providing a more personalized experience for customers than ever before. With the use of AI and customer profiling, brands can now pin-point the exact preferences of their customers and gain insight into what their target audience looks like.
This, along with the use of predictive analysis, enables marketers to focus exclusively on the creative parts of marketing as they leave the most time-consuming, logic-based, processes to the machines. As a result, this not only saves valuable time and money, but allows marketers to craft data-driven strategies that yield the most fruit, as well as better ROI rates.
Privacy and security issues
Due to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes in effect on May 25th, companies will no longer be able to gather client data from EU citizens (their location, e-mail) without their explicit consent. Moreover, they also need to state what exactly this information gathering is going to be used for. As such, companies will need to adapt to these regulations sometime in 2018 to avoid penalties or fines of any kind.
Additionally, the increasing use of ad-block is significantly lowering the impact of display ads on platforms that haven’t disabled such technology yet, and are losing revenue as a result. Data breaches are yet another pressing concern as cyber-attacks increase in frequency, year-in year-out. Therefore, marketers need to be prepared for these privacy and security issues and find ways of tackling them if they’re to have any success with their digital marketing efforts this year.
All in all, marketers and brands will need to update their tech and evolve if they’re to stay in the game this year. The popularity of certain media, such as video, proper influencer strategies, and smart AI are just some of the things that will play a huge role in the year 2018, so keep a close eye on them.
Everybody wants their site to rank first, but with so many new sites popping up every day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to achieve this goal. The internet is like a vast ocean, you need to keep your navigation up to speed or you risk getting your ship lost at sea. Add in the pirates and buccaneers that want to plunder your ship and you get the idea. Regular maintenance is essential to keeping your ship afloat, updating your maps (SEO) even more so. Otherwise, people won’t be able to find this landing page of yours you keep talking about. Still not convinced? Take a closer look.
What exactly is onsite SEO?
Onsite SEO is practice of optimizing whole web pages to generate more relevant traffic and rank higher in search engines such as Google. This means both the HTML source code and page content need to be optimized in order to be on the top of the list. Either you or someone else needs to take care of this feature if you wish to have a stronger online presence.
The main thing is, Google hates repetitive, irrelevant content and often penalizes pages that keep doing the same old. What it simply can’t resist is new, relevant, quality content that users find more interesting. Throughout the years, Google has become more and more sophisticated, to the point of becoming so intelligent that you need to employ a full-time ‘babysitter’ to watch over your website. Because it really is like taking care of a baby.
Your website needs constant ‘baths’ to keep it clean from various viruses and infections as well as regular diaper changes to update its protection from filthy hackers. Neglecting these simple needs will probably cause Google to go social services on you and take your website away from you and put it in a new home, the last page of Google search.
Tags, links and descriptions
Another reason why you need to keep updating your onsite SEO is because various tags, links, descriptions, keywords and content require some special attention. Meta tags are what gives search engines information about your page. Using them properly is important if you want to have a high rank. Title tags for one should be kept short and descriptive, as Google has a 70-character limit. Next, meta descriptions are another thing that needs some closer inspection.
Mainly, a good description is needed to attract the proper audience and if the content of the site changes, this also needs to be updated to be in sync with the audience in question. However, the thing Google simply adores, are links. Regularly improving your internal and outbound links, and removing old toxic links, will ensure that your website has a better position on Google. Just don’t put links in every sentence, as it will do more harm than good for your rankings.
Had enough? Well there’s plenty more where that came from, this of course was just the gist of it, a ‘bootcamp’ if you will. Devoting a lot more time and research is needed to fully comprehend SEO. If you are to avoid some of the sharp rocks that lurk below the surface, this Hong Kong SEO company argues it ends up being cheaper when you outsource it than do it yourself.
To strengthen that point, you need to know that Google updates how its search algorithm works all the time, and what was the right way of doing something yesterday, won’t be so today. SEO is like trying to step into the same river twice, by the time you get in the second time, the water has already flown downstream. The same thing happens with SEO, by the time you learn the ropes of the trade and get the hang of it, new rules and updates come along.
It goes on like that indefinitely, as Google is always trying to perfect their algorithms further, and as it’s becoming more intelligent, it’s harder to keep track of what actually works and what doesn’t, without the right training and expertise in the field.
Doing regular maintenance to protect your website from cyber-attacks is a no-brainer. Nobody wants to expose their website, as well as their business for that matter, to such attacks. Without regular maintenance, your websites defenses will be outdated and easy prey for cyber criminals. Hackers are always looking for new ways to exploit a website, without the latest software installed, all they need is a small breach and they’ll get inside and cause havoc.
Consequently, when such an attack does occur, you’ll wish you hadn’t built your house not with sticks and straws, but with bricks instead. Moreover, you’d want to do scheduled maintenance simply because of the fact that you need to do regular backups, just in case a pesky hacker does get through. You don’t want info to be leaking, but having no info at all and a crashed site is far worse.
In conclusion, if you think that your site is the only one out there, think again. There are plenty more fish in the sea, and if you don’t want your site to be on Google’s endangered species list (the last page of Google search), consider doing regular onsite SEO and general maintenance from now on.
More than “just” a blog
Blogs have been treated as mere aides to websites for a long period of time. However, the importance of content on the Internet has become one of the essential features of the online network. This makes the written word much more important on the Web than it used to be.
As a result, website owners are paying more attention to their textual content. Also, they’re trying to attract and seduce their visitors with beautifully packed combos of great visuals and relevant texts. The way Internet users perceive and utilize all those features is called user experience (UX). So, how does it affect blogs and influence modern businesses?
Why pay attention to the UX of your blog?
User experience is determined by several different factors. They determine whether or not a user will be satisfied with the service they get on a particular online place. Here’s what bloggers should pay attention to in order to improve their blog’s UX:
- Enhanced Usability
- Added Value
- SEO contributions
- Retaining, converting and satisfying customers
- Improving Brand Identity
- Financial Benefits
A UX-friendly blog needs to enable its visitors to search and navigate it without any problems. First of all, this means that you should abandon pop-up windows. Go for a sing-up form on every page of the blog.
Also, avoid packing the blog with ads. Even if your visitors get attracted to the content, the interruptions caused by a raid of ads will repel them. Let the visit to your blog flow as if the visitors are in a museum.
A blog with sophisticated user experience will appeal to wider audience. However, this doesn’t mean that every blog should aim at every single visitor. Just like on any other website, you should also plan what audience you want to target and organize the blog accordingly.
Giving value to your readers is more important than just posting information, complement the content with interesting visuals like infographics and presentations that are easy to view. Embed videos that give more information about the content and make sure it loads properly.
Blogs are usually integrated with websites. Hence, it goes without saying that a blog with great articles and a focus on improved user experience will be gladly shared and recommended by its readers. This will undoubtedly improve the SEO rankings of the entire website.
Make it easy to share your content with integrated sharing buttons, “click to tweet” calls to action, and great visuals. Use outbound links to related articles within your blog and more importantly to larges websites.
Retaining, converting, and satisfying customers
We all know that the attention span of Internet users is extremely short. Moreover, as they habituate to the Internet, it’s becoming even shorter. This is why bloggers need to create outstanding headlines. In line with that, successful bloggers will avoid publishing generic pieces. Instead of that, you should direct your blog towards more specific content that will raise interest in your posts. Therefore, prepare a set of writing rules for your blog before you launch it.
Furthermore, the uniquely created content from your blog has to be shared on a wide range of platforms. Social media and guest posts on other blogs are a must. The more people read your posts, the better your conversion rate will be.
Finally, never mislead your visitors. Everything you publish on your blog has to be true. Deceiving people who’ve decided to give you a speck of their time is utterly humiliating and improper.
Improving brand identity
While brand identity can be improved in many different ways, blogging is pretty high on that list. So, if you build your blog around informative pieces from your niche, you will inspire people to trust your brand. Moreover, it’s also important that you don’t only look at the crowd from your online cloud (literally).
Bloggers should attend business conferences, literary events and digital trade shows. Promoting your brand in “real life” will add to the overall impact your business makes. Your visitors don’t only visit your online spot to get information, but also to satisfy their need for socialization. For instance, if you attend a conference or organize one yourself, make sure you prepare as much material as you can for strengthening your brand.
In line with that, combine retail displays with your UX-features, to prepare various items that will support your brand identity in the offline context. Moreover, hire additional staff and invite your guest bloggers to join you on your real-life business tours. This amalgam of UX-boosting features for your identity growth, in both online and offline blogging environments, will improve your business chances in the future.
According to a study conducted by Forrester and published by Forbes, every single dollar invested in user experience yields a $100 profit. When you organize your blog visuals so that they benefit the visitors, your conversion rate will grow and you’ll score higher revenues.
Moreover, today, you can use social media and launch brand-promoting campaigns where blogging will also be an important aspect of desired financial results. For example, when you use trackers to see how well your followers react to your posts, analyze how often they go to the blog and how long they stay there. If you see that these rates are high, direct more assets to your blog and improve its design. Such a holistic approach to blogging and UX will rise the entire business to a whole new level.
User experience can either be a great ice-breaker or a fatal repellant. This is the case in every field of the Web surroundings, so it’s true for blogging, as well. However, a parallel work on several UX-nurturing and blog-supporting strategies will attract your visitors to convert into loyal readers and users of your services. Have this last goal on your mind, always.
Orana Creative Contributor