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Content Strategy Explained

Posted by Taylor Daughtry on Friday, July 26, 2013

Content Strategy sounds like something that’s reserved for the Fortune 500 companies. It scares many people because they’re not sure what it is or whether they can actually do it. However, the good news is that it’s an easy thing to do, and it can make a great opportunity for a small business to define what they’re trying to do with the digital medium. It also gives direction to what’s usually a chaotic attempt at Online Marketing. Even right here in Montgomery, Alabama, your business can still use Content Strategy to gain more clients and produce more revenue.

Content Strategy includes a few different areas, like design, development, marketing, SEO, and others. You probably aren’t an expert on all of these, so it’s better to get the right people in the room before you start writing this.

Why am I creating ‘Content’, anyway?

The stuff you’ll create is called ‘Content’, and it includes everything from writing articles to filming videos for YouTube. It’s all content, and it’s all valuable to your business in tons of ways. Your business probably won’t be able to create every type of content, so you’ll get better results concentrating on one or two types. If your website design allows you to have a blog, I would recommend you use it for this purpose.

A simple example would be a local coffee business. They don’t have a large budget, so YouTube videos and a Podcast about Coffee wouldn’t be feasible—but they could write about the newest flavors they produce and make a few videos about their process, which would provide results faster than just text. The video and articles would get traffic from Social Media, which means more customers.

How often are you creating your content?

If you’re filming video, chances are it’s a one-time deal. Most businesses can’t afford to produce monthly videos about their business—but that’s okay, since it isn’t worth it for most people.

I’d suggest you choose to write a few articles per month or per week. It takes effort to follow through with this, and consistency is key to writing. Only set a schedule that you’re willing to stick with in the long-term. One article every two weeks, or even one article per month is okay, as long as you’re consistently posting it on time. Make sure your website design is designed so that it features your content prominently!

I’m already too busy! Why should I add this?

It’s easy to talk about this stuff, but once it comes to taking responsibility, most people take the easy way-out: ‘That sounds great, but I’m too busy, already!’.

The truth is that you should make time for it. You’re leaving money on the table if you attempt anything online without truly setting goals and responsibilities. You’re risking confusion and loss of income that could be coming from new customers. In the long-term, it’s worth it to make some time to sit down and work this stuff out. You’ll be glad you did in six months’ time.

Who is responsible for this stuff?

It’s important to clearly define who is responsible for creating your content, and what they should be creating.

If your secretary is responsible for updating the blog—well, what should she be writing about? Her vacation? She needs relevant topics to your business, and guidelines on what is and isn’t okay for her to write about. This prevents confusion and hurt feelings down the road.

Tell the person responsible how often they should be creating your content, and where they should post it. Give them access to Social Media for your business so they can promote the articles.

Next Week: Define Your Goals

Next week we'll continue this series by talking about Defining Your Goals, and how you can get the most benefit out of your site without having to spend hours working on it.

Stop by and talk with us about how your business can benefit from Content Strategy! We're available anytime during business hours at 334-356-3561, or come by if you're in Montgomery, Alabama!

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SiteTips: A New Website Series from ProductiveIT

Posted by Taylor Daughtry on Friday, July 05, 2013

What is SiteTips?

SiteTips is a series that we'll be creating weekly that concentrates on some of the common features that clients can use to make their business better. It'll usually be a short video (<3 minutes), but will occasionally include an article.

The Inaugural Video: Editing a Page

We've gotten numerous calls about this feature, and it's one of the most common things that you'll be doing in Online Business Suite. So, we want to show you the easiest ways to do this. The video walks you through each step, and explains what it is.

SiteTips: Edit a Page in OBS from Taylor Daughtry with ProductiveIT on Vimeo.

The plan right now is to publish these occasionally on some of the most common questions and features that we work with for most clients. Got a suggestion that we should cover? Email us and we might cover it for you!

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Why Responsive Design Matters

Posted by Taylor Daughtry on Friday, June 21, 2013

Responsive Web Design—If you’re not familiar with the term, that’s okay. Many people that aren’t intimately aware of websites haven’t yet heard of it.

Basically, Responsive Web Design is a technique to building websites that gives the client a much more efficient, effective, and robust website, while reducing the time it takes to build a website, depending on the particular needs of the project.

Understanding Responsive Web Design involves realizing just how many devices are currently being used to view your website. If your website isn’t responsive, and someone on a mobile phone goes to your website, they may see a jumbled mess of text and images, instead of your clean, effective site. This is because mobile devices (as well as iPads) use a different process to show you the website, and this difference causes tons of poorly built websites to become nearly unusable. So it’s vitally important that you update your website to be responsive, if your budget permits. Otherwise, you’re losing customers that would otherwise be purchasing products, or calling for your services.

If your website isn’t already using Responsive Design, let us help you get your website up-to-date and starting making your website more effective for your business!

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How to Use Google Analytics

Posted by Taylor Daughtry on Friday, June 14, 2013

Google Analytics is without a doubt one of the most useful tools available to any business. It allows an at-a-glance view of every one of your customers: What pages they’re viewing, how long they’re staying on your site, and even whether they’ve purchased an item. These statistics can be extremely useful for making your site as effective as possible, but if you don't know how to use Google Analytics, then all this information can't help you. So, today we’ll cover a few ways you can use this information to make your website more effective.

When you're using Google Analytics, there are three places you’ll want to check daily, weekly, or (at the very least) monthly: Your Dashboard, Traffic Sources, and Content. We’ll cover an introduction of each of these.

First, let’s take a look at the dashboard.

The Dashboard is the first place you’ll see when you enter Analytics. This is where you’ll find the basic information about your site: How many visitors you’ve had, where those visitors are from, and what Browser they’re using. This is a simplified version of your data; this is all broken down specifically at other locations in Google Analytics.

Unique Visitors are the actual number of people that have visited your website. It’s important to know that the number of visits you have may be much more than the actual number of people viewing your site, because Analytics counts visits separate from Unique Visitors.

If you look at your sidebar, you’ll see an item called ‘Traffic Sources’. Click it, and it’ll open a dropdown menu below. Click Overview.

Traffic Sources is where you’ll find information about where your visitors are coming from. There’s a big graph at the top, which is showing how many people have visited your site.

Below that, there’s a pie graph, along with some other information below it. This data is all about how your visitors came to your site, whether that’s through Google (shown under Search Traffic), another website (shown under Referral Traffic), or directly to your site (shown under Direct Traffic).

Search traffic shows what people are entering into Google to find your website. To the right of Search Traffic, you’ll find a list of keywords, which are the exact terms they typed into Google.

This is useful, because you can actually see what people are thinking when they’re trying to find your business.

As an example, one of our clients, Andella Home, sells a variety of Furniture products. Their product line is diverse, covering a range of products that includes furniture, lighting, rugs, and other accessories for the home (they’re quite nice; you can see some of their products here.)

Since their products vary so much, they can look at their Search Traffic and see what people are actually looking for when they find Andella Home.

They check it, and see that people have searched 58 times for “Andella Home chairs”, 29 times for “Andella Home sofas”, and 64 times for “Andella Home armchairs”. Since they’re getting so much traffic that’s interested in chairs, they should consider offering more chairs.

This can be repeated weekly or monthly to optimize your site for as many sales as possible.

Next, we’ll take a look at the ‘Content’ area. You can find it in your sidebar right under ‘Traffic Sources’. Make sure to click ‘Overview’.

This is where you’ll find a list of the most active pages on your site. If you put a link to one of your pages on Facebook, you can come here and find out how many people are actually viewing your page.

There are four sections : ‘Site Content’, ‘Site Search’, ‘Events’, and ‘Page’. You’ll only need to know about Site Content.

Site Content This gives you two choices: Page or Page Title. Page will show you a list of links to the most visited pages on your site. Page Title will show a list of the Titles of those pages. You can find which pages your visitors like the most by looking at the top few pages on the list. The higher up on the list, the more people have seen the page.

To continue using our Andella Home example, they could also see that their most visited page is a list of chairs, and a few product pages about chairs. They could see which products are most popular, and which ones can be discontinued. This allows them to efficiently determine what they need to sell, and what they should discontinue.

Google Analytics can be a business owner’s best friend. It allows so much useful data to work with that it can seem confusing at first! However, if you simply stick with it, and figure out how to use Google Analytics, it can provide a great return on your investment.

If you’re not sure about Analytics, or how to set it up, we can help! Call us to set up a meeting where we can show you how to get started making Google Analytics work for your business!

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Tech Tip: Keeping your Server Room Clean

Posted by Hanan Wilson on Monday, October 24, 2011

Brad Shaw Tech Tips

Everything tends to work better when it's properly maintained. After all, there's a reason why we say that something works like a "well-oiled machine" when it's being productive.

For any business, nowhere is this more important than your data center or server room. Luckily, we've rounded up a few key principles that you can follow to keep your company's data safe and sound all year round.

Make sure to clean properly

Computers and other technology equipment tend to attract dust and other particles like a magnet so staying proactive about regularly cleaning can be a simple way to prevent major system damage. Never use anything moist to clean your equipment. Always use either a dry cloth or compressed air to remove any unwanted dirt or dust.

Keep things organized

Part of keeping your data center environment clean requires you to keep everything as organized as possible. Not only will keeping everything labeled and in its place make the best use of your space, your authorized IT tech will thank you for it.

Regulate temperature

Any room with a lot of computer equipment should be kept in an air conditioned environment and out of direct sunlight to prevent overheating. Ideally you want to maintain a steady temperature of anywhere between 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here's a sample of a client site we just recently helped set up. You can see the differences between the Before and After images are pretty amazing.

Server Room

Server Room

Need help re-organizing your server room or re-evaluating your network's security? Give us a call! We'd be happy to meet you on site for an evaluation anytime.

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