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‘We Put Ourselves In Their Shoes’

first_imgVice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has encouraged the French people to take heart following the terrorist attack in Nice last Thursday. On Thursday, July 14, 2016, as the citizens and people of France enjoyed fireworks and other celebrations on Bastille Day, the country’s national day, a French-Tunisian man, identified by authorities as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, accelerated a lorry into an unsuspecting crowd in the French coastal city of in Nice. At least 84 persons, including 10 children, died in the carnage, with nearly 300 wounded, some very seriously and in critical condition.Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer after signing the Book of Condolence opened by the French Embassy near Monrovia in memory of those who died, the VP stated he just couldn’t comprehend “the madness that enters people to destroy lives without any justification.” The Liberian VP, who watched the event unfolded on television, and knowing the French people being who they are, “open and sociable,” said he couldn’t understand that such a horrible event was happening to them.He stated that he had brought a message of consolation to the French people through their embassy adding that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had earlier spoken and condemned the act against peaceful people.“We want to console them. We and the French people have a very close relationship; when such a thing happens, we put ourselves in their shoes like it’s happening to us,” he said. “We know that the French people will not give in to limiting their freedom to move around. The French people are courageous.”While expressing his condolences to the bereaved families, the VP stated that he was happy it didn’t happen during the Euro 2016 tournament when football teams from European nations were in various parts of France taking part in the tournament. The Vice President led an array of government officials, including Acting Foreign Minister B. Elias Shoniyin; Justice Minister Frederick Cherue; Youth and Sports Minister Saah N’Tow; and others to sign the Book of Condolence. Notable among all the men who signed the Book was NationalInvestment Commission Chairperson, Madam Etmonia David. For his part, the French Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Joël Godeau, praised the Liberian Government for the solidarity shown his country since the terrorist attack. He said President Sirleaf was among the first people to send their messages of consolation and condolence to his President, Mr. François Hollande.“Madam President sent a very warm message to the President of France expressing her sympathy and compassion and denouncing this terrible and awful attack against innocent people,” Ambassador Godeau stated. He disclosed that at least 84 persons, including 10 children, died and nearly 300 were injured; adding: “A few hundred more are psychologically shocked by what they saw.”The French Ambassador stressed that no one, including the man who carried out the attack, can make France “give in,” and that the French people will resist every hate, which according to him is the measure for preventing such terrorist attacks.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Groves to face Douglin in ‘calculated risk’

first_imgGeorge Groves and James DeGale will both be in action at the Echo Arena on 22 November.It has been announced that Groves will face American Denis Douglin at the Liverpool venue, where his arch-rival and fellow West Londoner DeGale is already scheduled to fight former world title challenger Marco Antonio Periban of Mexico.The super-middleweights, who met in May 2011 when Groves narrowly beat DeGale on points, are on course to challenge for world titles next year.DeGale is the mandatory challenger for the IBF belt held by Nottingham’s Carl Froch, who followed up a controversial win over Groves by knocking out the Hammersmith man in their rematch at Wembley in May.“I want to box as regularly as possible and I’m confident I can get the job done.”George GrovesGroves bounced back from those defeats – his first two losses – by beating Christopher Rebrasse last month, picking up the European title and more importantly becoming the mandatory challenger to face WBC champion Anthony Dirrell.“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring,” said Groves.“This is a chance for me to impress on a big card. I plan to steal the show.“It’s a calculated risk, lose this fight and I lose my shot at Dirrell. But I want to stay active. I want to box as regularly as possible and I’m confident I can get the job done.“I’ve good memories of fighting at the Echo Arena. It’s been a happy hunting ground for me in the past. I fought my third professional fight there against Paul Samuels and I picked up a lot of fans in Liverpool that night.“They’re a lively bunch and I hope to bump into a few of them when I’m back in November.”Douglin, who has a record of 17-3 with 10 knockouts, said: “This is a big opportunity for me.“Win this fight and I’m a step closer to realising my dream of becoming world champion.“Groves is a great boxer. It will be a tough fight but I’m ready to cause an upset. I’m coming to fight my fight and to beat Groves on his home turf.”The Liverpool show is headlined by a rematch between Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew.The pair are meeting at cruiserweight, with Liverpudlian Bellew having previously lost on points to Wales’ Cleverly in a light-heavyweight world title fight.See also:Groves & DeGale weigh in ahead of fightsFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

The Warriors sent an unmistakable message — but here comes the tricky part

first_imgThe Warriors promised that they would come correct to Friday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets — after a 33-point home blowout loss to the Celtics on Tuesday, pride had kicked in for the defending champions.And without fail, the Warriors followed through on that threat, eschewing their recent nasty habit of falling behind early by jumping out to a 19-point lead in the first quarter, en route to a comfortable 122-105 win.It was championship-level play, both engaged and kinetic — a …last_img read more

Wearable Devices’ Next Design Challenge: The Human Brain

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Wearable devices like the Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone UP, larklife, and future products like the Misfit Shine and Google Glass have been the subject of much discussion, for good reason: They give us access to information about our physical bodies and the physical environment we inhabit, a phenomenon we call Smart Body, Smart World. (Self-proclaimed quantified self-ers have been early adopters of tracking sensors, but they’re new to most consumers.) Though at Forrester we think the market for fitness wearables is relatively small, the broader potential for wearables is huge. Body-generated data could be applied to any domain, such as relationships, productivity, gaming, shopping, personal safety and identity validation, just to name a few possibilities.I recently participated in a panel in San Francisco hosted by service design agency Fjord, along with Adam Gazzaley, Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF); Bill Geiser, CEO of MetaWatch; Sonny Vu, CEO of Misfit Wearables; and Olof Schybergson, CEO of Fjord. With perspectives from science, research, product and design all represented, we had diverse points of view but all saw the same challenges ahead for wearables: designing for the human brain. No, I’m not talking about sensors implanted in your brain (although that’s certainly possible, and already happening in research and medical settings). I’m talking about designing for the nuanced way our brains process the experience of wearing a device.In particular, we all saw a need for wearables that:Support rather than distract from goal-oriented behavior. Dr. Gazzaley’s research at UCSF explicitly focuses on this topic: how goal-oriented behavior is affected by distraction. On the panel, he joked, “I’m the guy reporters call when they want someone to say distraction is bad.”But it’s not that simple: Dr. Gazzaley noted that if devices are designed with the brain’s limitations in mind, they could be used to support rather than distract from goal-oriented behavior. For example, he said, we know that humans are not very good at staying alert while driving. If a wearable could be designed to detect when we’re falling asleep at the wheel and alert us before we do, that could literally save lives. Increase self-awareness, but not to the point of self-consciousness. As I’ve tested various wearable devices, I’ve found that wearing an activity tracker like the UP does have a positive effect on my activity during the day – I’m more aware of my sedentary behavior and more likely to walk when I can, like pacing the platform while waiting for the train instead of standing still.But I’ve found that wearing a tracker to sleep introduces an unwelcome element of self-consciousness into my bedroom: I’m paying attention (and not in a good way) to how long it takes me to fall asleep.And what about sex? Should some elements of our lives remain untracked? (I argue yes; others may disagree.)Fjord CEO Olof Schybergson predicted that we’ll need new rules of engagement when wearables like Google Glass allow us to record our surroundings invisibly. In business meetings or on dates, for example, self-consciousness could detract from trust in our relationships.Give feedback, but avoid “chart fatigue.” All the panelists agreed that feedback is an important element of why wearables work: That’s why the Misfit Shine has LEDs that light up to show your progress toward your daily activity goal. In Dr. Gazzaley’s lab experiments, he often uses gamification strategies precisely for this reason – achievements, progression, and competition are powerful and addictive incentives to keep doing something.But Schybergson noted that the novelty of data quickly wears off and erodes into “chart fatigue.” For wearables to keep our attention over the long term, they need to be “living services,” evolving as we evolve.Lead image by Dane Frederiksen, picturing Bill Geiser, Sonny Vu and Olof Schybergson (left to right). sarah rotman epps Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts center_img Tags:#Gadgets#health#internet devices#Internet of Things#wearable What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Your PowerPoint Sucks

first_img . Oddly enough they are, in fact, different applications and they should be used as such. Some of the first, and still best, pieces of advice about PPT usage I’ve ever heard or read came from Guy Kawasaki as part of infographics guru Edward Tufte . If your audience doesn’t remember who’s presenting you have much bigger problems. Your brand can be much more effectively conveyed with font, color, mood and photography choices than the same logo, over and over and over again. find yourself reading your slides to your audience here’s Death by PowerPoint? More like death by bullet point. . And this was one my key takeaways from it. It seems like everyone hates PowerPoint these days. From the . Word is for documents. Want to write a letter or a list of ideas? Use Word. Trying to persuade a live audience why your new widget is the best widget ever? Use Powerpoint. See the difference? Presentations are not documents. : Don’t use any font size lower than 30 pt. Sticking to that one simple rule will do wonders to keep your Powerpoints from getting too bad. his 10/20/30 rule Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Duarte’s Slide:ology workshop, Boston Roadshow edition US army If you’re stuck for inspiration on how to make PPT beautiful, This past week I spent an enlightening day at nevercenter_img Topics: But it’s not the applications fault, it’s ours. The real issue is that our usage of PowerPoint sucks. To understand why, we first have to understand a key difference between two common desktop applications: Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint Presentations Duarte also recommended thinking in a more cinematic way about presentations and decks, a great gallery of gorgeous slide decks (although many of them use bullets, so view them as visual design examples). , the message seems clear: “Powerpoint sucks.” And we’ve all been stuck in a dark conference room, sometime after lunch, drilled into a coma by a monotone speaker dryly reading his own slides at us. It’s easy to hate Powerpoint. you should to the president’s own Duarte began the section of the workshop on design by pointing out that there’s one, underused slide template (in my opinion the only one you should ever be using): the blank slide. Remember that your audience can read your slides faster, than you can say them, so planning scenes and acts Now, I want to hear your best PowerPoint tips. Originally published Apr 28, 2010 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 . In fact one of the exercises we did involved planning a presentation with stick notes on a storyboard layout, something you’d never do for a flat document. Ignore PPT’s demand for bullets and text. You don’t need a logo at the bottom of every slidelast_img read more

Marketing Lessons from Google’s Chrome OS Beta

first_img HTML5 Marketing Takeaways Photo Credit: HubSpot A few weeks ago I filled out a form hosted by holiday party, I had a laptop sitting on my porch waiting for me. I promised to spend as much of my life as possible using Chrome OS, and figured a great way to do so would be passing along some insights I’ve noticed with the whole program. This laptop doesn’t have a caps lock key. Its got a search button. Combined with the “AwesomeBar” that Chrome has (unlike Internet Explorer and Firefox, there is no separate search box), a person is a single keystroke away from starting a search to answer their next question or desire. Sometimes it Takes a Brick to See Real Innovation Google Plan for the web. If you have any questions about the Chrome OS and the laptop, feel free to ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Browsers are the New Desktop While I was filling out form to register for one of the beta laptops, I was thinking to myself “Will I really be able to do it, to let go from my ties to a ‘desktop’ and embrace this?” Yes, there are certainly some things that I just can’t do on this laptop. But at the same time, I’m monumentally impressed at what I’m able to do with just a browser. There is a killer combination of cloud services (Google Docs, HootSuite) and Chrome Apps & Extensions (TweetDeck, Pandora, Evernote). which combine to serve about 90% of my computing needs. For that last 10% – coding, heavy photo editing, syncing my iPhone – well, I’ve got another computer for that. But Chrome OS isn’t designed to be your one true operating system – this is for the lightweight, long lasting laptop that you use to surf from the couch, or take on vacation. Honestly, next time I go on vacation, this Cr-48 is coming with me. Search is Critical . That will save you a ton of time, and will work on all of these platforms. Then you can further tailor the experience based on devices. Topics: þä½ While the Chrome browser has long had the AwesomeBar, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the other major browser players start combining the address bars and search bars. Users are going to be searching more – are you certain that you are getting found organically? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Chrome OS is an interesting divergence from the traditional model of an operating system. Generally speaking, since the dawn of the home computing era, we’ve become used to the concept windows and folders, and a desktop to organize them. With all the releases that we have seen for Windows and Macintosh OS, the core concepts have remained untouched in over 20 years. And then there is Chrome OS. I’ve found the quickest way to describe Chrome OS is this statement: “The browser IS the OS”. In the 72 hours that I have had this laptop, I have yet to see a single file or folder. As a user, I’ve never been exposed to the file system – just the Chrome browser. If you’re trying to figure out whether you should make an App for iOS, Andriod, FireFox, or whatever – stop right now. Go Plan for search. Marketing Advice Originally published Dec 29, 2010 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 to sign up to test out a Chrome OS beta laptop. Last week, when I got home from the I don’t have the release version of Chrome OS in my hands. I have a preview, running on some proprietary test hardware. I signed up, and asked for the chance to use Chrome OS as my primary machine, and Google granted that chance. Look around at your products and services, is there something that you have cooking that won’t be ready for another couple of months? Now would be the best time to ask your best customers if they’d like to try something new and exciting (with the full understanding that it just might not work). Release early and iterate.last_img read more

How to Design a Site Structure Visitors AND Search Engines Love

first_imgIf you have a website, then you have certain steps that you want your visitors to take; fill out a form, make a purchase, learn about a product or service, sign up for a newsletter, that sort of thing. Whether people actually reach those goals, however, is entirely dependent on how easy you make it for them — as in, how easy it is for visitors to navigate through your website.The best sites are created with a keen understanding of visitors’ interests, needs, and expectations. Text, visual design, organization, and navigation should all work together to allow visitors to find key information and reach a goal — the one you hope they reach as a marketer — quickly and easily. To get to this point with your site, you need a clear site structure that is easy to navigate, follows a hierarchy of content, and feels natural and intuitive to visitors. This post is going to give you some guidance around how you can make that happen for your own website.The Marketer’s Guide to Excellent Site StructureFor most websites, a tree-like or “hierarchical” information architecture is going to be the best way to organize your information. If you’re not sure what that means, think of it this way:Websites are usually organized around a single homepage, which then links to subpages. Kind of like a tree, with many smaller branches, and sub-branches attached to those, right? Or, you know, a hierarchy … if you’re not took keen on the leafy analogies. A hierarchical architecture of this form focuses on the organization and structure of content in a manner in which a user can navigate through it intuitively. Such architecture can range from a simple brochure-like site, all the way to a complex information system (see the example site later in this post).As a marketer, you have a tremendous amount of opportunity to impact how easily and quickly visitors reach your intended goal. There are many ways marketers can influence that outcome, but the two biggest pieces of low-hanging fruit are in identifying and defining visitor goals and expectations up front, and then organizing your site’s content areas around those goals and expectations.Identifying & Defining User Goals and ExpectationsStart by defining the goals of your website, and what journey you want users to take:Identify the “who” (stakeholders and target audience).Identify the “why” (your goals).Identify the “how” (functional website requirements).It’s highly advisable to actually conduct some user testing at this stage, and critically important to do so before you or a designer develops mockups and wireframes/blueprints of your website. You don’t want to run the risk of making costly assumptions or taking wild guesses at this stage. Remember, the aim is to make this site beneficial to your users, and often what we think is important … really isn’t. Having insight into how your users truly behave and intend to use your site will also lend some clarity to your overall site goals.Organizing Your Site’s Content AreasOnce you have a clear understanding of goals and usability, organizing content will be a snap. Knowing what content you need helps define “sections,” or “groupings” of content through which, ultimately, you’ll build subsections and subpages of your website.To help you plan and visualize the sections and subpages of your site, I recommend drawing out the structure. Whether you draw it out on a whiteboard, in PowerPoint or Excel, using professional design tools like Visio, or just on sticky notes, this activity will allow you to figure out the absolute best possible site structure, and move assets around until you’ve figure out something that’s most logical and in line with your goals. When you’re done, it will end up looking something like this:If you’re struggling with this section, and are unsure of what to put where, here are some best practices to keep in mind as you outline your site’s navigational structure:The closer you are to your homepage, the more general topics should be. The head sections of your site should paint a broad picture, start the conversation, and draw visitors in.Those head sections of your site should correspond with your primary offers, products, and/or services.Start by labeling sections, and work to refine those throughout the evolution of your site. You don’t have to get the labels 100% right the first time; iterations are your friend, and why you’re planning things out in advance!Conducting keyword research can shed light on which terms may be most relevant for that naming.Using analytics from your website’s site search (if you have one) can also prove to be insightful, as it will actually tell you what people are looking for. Make those items more easily accessible so users don’t have to go clicking around for them in the future.Make sure content doesn’t overlap from section to section. You want to avoid that redundancy for an intuitive user experience, as well as to avoid possible duplicate content penalties.Section names and the overall flow of the site should be clear and make sense to everyone, not just you.An Example of Quality Site StructureZappos.com is frequently used as a model for high quality site structure that’s centered around user experience. Why? Because everything is where you’d expect it to be. As you hover over “Shoes,” for example, you see a drop down list of all their shoe options. Imagine that!Then, if you drill deeper into a particular section, it gives you a more detailed side navigation. Having both top menus as well as side menu items simplifies browsing and allows users to easily jump from one section to another. The clearer and more concrete your site organization, the easier it will become for users to jump freely from place to place without feeling lost. Big win for both of you!Now imagine if Zappos (or any other site for that matter) were to strive for a structure that was anything but user friendly. Their site wouldn’t be number one in the SERPs, visitors wouldn’t like it, and conversions would suffer. Which takes us to our next point …Bonus Win: Designing a Site Structure Around User Experience Helps Your SEO!Think about what SEO really means these days: Search experience optimization, with an end goal of increasing conversions. First and foremost, you’re optimizing for users and user experience. After that, and only after that, are you optimizing for search engines, whereby you increase the likelihood of your content being found by the right audience.You want your site to be found, right? Right. And you want your site to be used, correct? Yeah, I sure hope so. Well just like Google, who is only as good as the results it delivers, your site is only as good as the experience it gives users. Who do you think Google’s going to bump to the top of the SERPs? The site that users love, or the one they can’t figure out how to use? As such, a site with proper structure is crafted to meet user expectations, and ultimately help them (and thereby you) reach a desired goal — whether it be fill out a form, make a purchase, learn about a product or service, sign up for a newsletter, whatever.  To get there, follow the site structure recommendations laid out in this post, make sure you create public and XML sitemaps for your website, and keep your site visitor in mind at all times. Your site will be created largely with standard navigational links — the head sections like “About Us,” “Product,” “Services,” etc. — and topical links embedded within the content to create a web-like mesh of links. Remember, you’re aiming for a tree-like structure that will be broken down by topic. Your keywords will naturally show up in the proper sections/subpages if you break down your site this way that makes sense for both users and search engines.What other tips do you have for marketers concerned their site structure isn’t as well optimized as it could be?Image credit: Steve Snodgrass Website Design Originally published Feb 20, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:last_img read more

SEO for Home Builders: How to Optimize Your New Home Communities

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Search engine optimization for any business can be tricky to implement correctly, let alone home builders. Most home builders I talk to have either hired an SEO company or are currently working with one because they don’t have the knowledge in-house.However, there are some very critical elements that, if learned, can be implemented in house and will make a huge difference in your ability to get found by home buyers in your area.Many SEO companies want you to think you can’t do what they do. Now, there are certainly some nuances of SEO that are complex and will get you the best results, but if you can learn just some of the best practices in the SEO world, you’ll be better off than most of your competitors.  I like to think of it as the 80/20 rule.  Learn the critical 20% and you’ll get 80% of the performance out of your SEO strategy.  So, let’s talk about on-page search engine optimization for a minute.Critical On Page Search Engine Optimization ElementsOn-page search engine optimization is the practice of “optimizing” each page on your website.  By changing a few key elements on each one of your pages, you’ll have a much better chance at ranking for your target keywords.  Here are the elements.Page TitleYour page title is what shows up in Google search results.  It’s the big blue link you see.  I just did a quick search for “new home communities in Colorado Springs” and got this:The blue links are the Page Titles that each of those websites has selected.  Google reads the Page Title (along with the other elements below) to try to determine what this page is about.  The more relevant your Page Title to your home buyer’s search, the better chance you’ll have of getting found.URLYour URL is one of the most important elements to optimize.  Many home builders don’t have SEO friendly URLs.  As an example, many home builders structure their URLs like this:www.homebuilder.com/communitynameORwww.homebuilder.com/pageid=47As you can see, those doesn’t mean much to you and me (especially the second one).  But, they also don’t mean much to Google.  Looking at the first URL example above, it doesn’t describe the content on the page.  Well, sort of.  It has the community name in the URL, but doesn’t refer to new homes or homes at all.  A better URL structure for this page would be “www.homebuilder.com/available-new-homes-community-name-denver-co”.  Now that’s a URL that Google can understand!  (and now Google can help your prospects find you)Basically, we want to help Google identify what is on our website so that they can help searchers find the correct information.  And of course, we want to help Google connect home buyers with our website instead of our competition.Header (H1)The header or H1 tag on a page is simply that: the header on a page.  It’s another key indicator that Google looks at to try to identify what a page is all about.  Commonly, I’ll see home builders use their community name as the header for a page.  It’s good to mention the community name.  This allows searchers that may have driven by the community to find it.However, it doesn’t allow searchers that don’t know about this community find it because they will be using more generic search terms like “available homes in Denver” or “new homes in Denver”.  A better header would match the URL and the Page Title, and it would include a location as well.  In this case, “Available New Homes at Community Name in Denver, CO” is a better header because it describes what is on the page and also where the homes are available.Image URLWhen you take a picture with your camera or smart phone, it typically gets assigned a random file name such as DSC007.jpeg or photo1.jpeg.  When you upload that picture to your website, that is really the only way Google can read this image.  It can’t look at the image and determine it is about “Available Homes”, so you need to re-name your image files before you upload them.If we use the example from above, if you were including an image on the page, you’d want to name the image file “available-new-homes-in-denver-co”.  By naming your image something descriptive, you help Google identify what is in the picture and give yourself a better chance at ranking for something relevant (i.e. Available New Homes in Denver, CO) as opposed to “photo1”.Body TextThe body text, or text on your page, should also include your keyword phrase.  However, don’t get carried away here.  The goal isn’t to “stuff” your keyword into the body text multiple times just for the sake of it.  Also, if it just doesn’t seem to fit naturally into the body text, I’d recommend not using the exact phrase.Maybe it just sounds a bit awkward to say “Available New Homes in Denver” in your sentence.  Just opt for something close, but normal sounding like: “Here you’ll find many available new homes located in and around Denver”.Meta DescriptionThe final on-page element you want to be aware of is the Meta Description.  The Meta Description is the text that shows up in a Google search and sits below the blue link and the URL.  See the image below. Your Meta Description should be catchy as well as contain your keyword or some variation of your keyword. The goal is to get the searcher to click on your listing.If you’ve done a good job of including your keyword phrase in each of the core on page SEO elements, you’ll be in great position to start moving up and ranking for that keyword.Keyword ResearchNow that we’ve covered how to optimize a website page, the big question you’re probably asking is: “How do I select the right keyword for each page on my website?”  I could spend a lot of time writing about keyword research, but the purpose of this article is to show you how to structure your SEO for New Home Communities, so I’ll just do a brief overview here.The first step to optimizing a page on your website really starts with the research phase. You want to see what keywords your prospects are searching for, which keywords you are ranking for, and which keywords you want to be ranking for.  It’s also helpful to know what your competitors are ranking for.Typically, we will start with the HubSpot keyword tool and Google Trends tool.  HubSpot is a paid tool, and Google Trends is free to use. There are a number of tools out there that you can use, but in general, here’s what I’m trying to do:Find 200-300 initial keywords as a part of my brainstorming efforts.Identify what the estimated search volume is for each keyword.Identify how hard it will be to rank for each keyword.Find the low hanging fruit (good search volume but not too difficult to rank for)Once I’ve found the low hanging fruit, I’ll have a good sense of which keywords I want to use to optimize my new home communities for (as well as other core pages on my website like the Home page or About us page).Structuring Your SEO for Your New Home CommunitiesOkay, let’s get to it. How should you structure your SEO for your new home communities?  Most new home builders don’t optimize at all for their community pages which is a big time missed opportunity.  Typically, you’ll have anywhere from 3 – 50 communities depending on the size of home builder you are.  Each community has a unique name and a page that has information about that community as well as listings and floor plans.Here’s how I would structure a new home community in Denver:Page Title: New Homes in Parker, CO | Community Name 1URL: new-homes-parker-co-community-name-1Header: New Homes in Parker, CO at Community Name 1That covers the basics on the main community page, but we also need to tackle the floor plans and current listings.  Typically, listings and floor plans do NOT get optimized by home builders.  Sometimes this is due to the limitation of the content management system you are on.Here’s an example of what I commonly see:Page Title: Listing AvailableURL www.homebuilder.com/pageid=47/listing1Header: Listing Available Now!There is some missed ranking opportunity here again!You should be seeing a similar trend now.  The floor plan pages are optimized for the name of the floor plan, but not a generic term that someone might be looking for such as “new home floor plans in Denver, CO”.  To better optimize floor plans pages, I would do something like this below.Example Floor Plan:Page Title: Breckenridge New Home Floor Plan in Community Name 1 in Parker, COURL: breckenridge-new-home-floor-plan-community-name-1-in-parker-coHeader: Breckenridge New Home Floor Plan in the Community Name 1 in Parker, COIn addition, I’d want to do the same thing for all my current listings.ConclusionMost new home builders are missing the boat when it comes to optimizing their community, listing and floor plan pages.  If you take the extra time to correct this on your website, you’ll start dominating your local competition! (and often you’ll outrank the regional and national players as well)Want a cheat sheet to get your started? We’ve created a Sample SEO Plan exclusively for Home Builders. Originally published Jan 19, 2015 1:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 SEO Topics:last_img read more

10 Analytics Mistakes I Learned the Hard Way (So You Don’t Have To)

first_img Originally published Apr 17, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Marketing Analytics Have you ever spent a big chunk of time analyzing your marketing data, only to realize partway through that you didn’t approach the analysis correctly? This happens to me from time to time, and trust me — I know how frustrating it can be. I find myself wishing I could go back in time and warn my past self about the mistake so I could avoid losing all those hours.Trial and error is the nature of analysis, though. When we’re combing and manipulating data in search of an unknown answer, we’re bound to approach our analysis incorrectly sometimes.But you never have to start from scratch. Most of the time, there’s someone out there who’s done an analysis similar to the one you’re hoping to do. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could learn from their mistakes so you didn’t have to make them yourself?That, my friends, is exactly why I’ve written this blog post. In this post, I’ll cover 10 common analytics mistakes marketers make and what you can do to avoid them. Check ’em out so you won’t have to waste precious hours of your day doing these types of analyses the wrong way.10 Analytics Mistakes You Can Learn to Avoid1) Thinking low numbers are always a bad thing.When you see a low number in your marketing analytics, your gut reaction might be, “Oh no!” After all, low numbers for things like traffic and leads can be cause for concern. But don’t let your gut fool you: A low number doesn’t always mean a bad thing.For one, there are certain metrics where low numbers are actually really good. Do your emails have a decreasing unsubscribe rate? That means your email content is more appealing to your audience. Is your customer acquisition cost going down? That means that your marketing efforts are becoming more efficient. Don’t assume that a low number means you or your team is not successful.Secondly, low numbers can sometimes be the best teaching tool by highlighting a marketing channel that isn’t working. While this information may be frustrating, it’s also very telling — and something you can learn a lot from. Knowing this might guide you to focus your efforts better by investing more in other marketing channels, campaigns, or efforts.For example, let’s say you’re analyzing how well your social media channels are performing. When you dig into the analytics, you find you’re getting a good amount of traffic from Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But once you look at the conversion rates … uh oh. You see that Twitter has the lowest conversion rate from visitor to contact, and Facebook has the lowest conversion rate from contact to customer: If your goal for your social media efforts is driving customer conversions, the low number of 0.7% for Facebook tells you that it isn’t your most effective channel. For your company, LinkedIn is four times as successful in driving customer conversions than Facebook. Even though this is a low number, it’s a great opportunity for you to reinvest your marketing efforts in LinkedIn instead of Facebook.2) Confusing correlation with causation.At times, you may have seen two metrics increase (or decrease) at the same time — maybe even at the same rate. At first glance, you may think that these metrics moving together indicates that they are directly correlated with each other. But be wary: This can be extremely misleading. It’s entirely possible that the metrics were totally unrelated.Take a look at the Google Trend chart below, which shows the number of times the terms “inbound marketing” and “yoga workout” were searched on Google over the last few years. See how both lines are moving up and to the right at roughly the same rate?If you didn’t know the two terms prooobably weren’t related, you might mistakenly think their similar increase in popular was related and that causation played some factor. But, of course, they aren’t: Correlation does not imply causation.As you look at your metrics, you’ll certainly want to look for places where one metric caused another to increase or decrease. But don’t blindly assume that two metrics that increases and decreases are related — you’ll have to dig further to determine whether or not that’s true.3) Confusing visits with views (and vice versa).Visits and views may sound similar, but they’re actually quite different. Every marketer should know the difference off the top of their head, but it’s especially important for those of us dealing with visit and view numbers on a regular basis.A visit is when a website visitor comes to your website from an external URL. In Google Analytics, the visit ends after a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more — and only one visit is attribuetd even if a person goes to multiple pages on your site while they’re there. In other words, one visitor can accrue multiple pageviews during one visit. In HubSpot, the visit ends when someone leaves a domain by visiting an external site or closing his or her browser. (Click here to learn more about the differences between Google Analytics and HubSpot.)A pageview (in Google Analytics) or a view (in HubSpot) is counted when your page is loaded or reloaded by a browser. It’s counted based on the number of times the tracking code on your website pages are reloaded. If someone comes to your website and visits five pages before leaving, they will count as one visit but five views.(For clarification on more web traffic terms, read this blog post.)4) Confusing leads with marketing qualified leads (MQLs).While we’re on the subject of mixing up marketing terms, here’s another common one: leads versus MQLs.A lead is anyone who’s filled out and submitted a form from one of your landing pages.A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead judged more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on lead intelligence. What makes a lead “qualified” varies from company to company, but it could be someone who has requested a demo a sales consultation. An MQL typically makes it known that they’re not just curious in your product or service, but actually interested in potentially buying your product. A clear definition for what constitutes an MQL is a critical part of aligning your sales and marketing teams.When you do your reporting, it’s really important to keep these buckets separate. Why? Because the content and marketing channels your team uses to nurture a lead may be very different than what they use to nurture an MQL. For instance, leads might receive more educational material and only some preliminary information about your company, while MQLs might receive information about how your offering relates to their interests.5) Bucketing all traffic together.Traffic to your website comes from multiple channels, including organic search, referrals from other websites, direct traffic, paid traffic, email marketing, social media, and more. But not all traffic is created equal — and it shouldn’t be treated that way.If you have 1,000 visits to your website in a given month, you should always break that up into smaller pieces representing different marketing channels. What percentage came from organic search? How about email? How is that number and percentage increasing and decreasing month-over-month?Knowing these specific numbers will help you understand where to invest your time and resources. If social media generated traffic to your website that converted into leads, it’s a good indication that you should continue to invest in your social media efforts. If your email marketing generated few visits and had an even smaller conversion rate, you may want to slow down on email and invest more in the channels that are generating traffic and conversions.6) Choosing the wrong types of graphs to communicate your results.Data visualization is a powerful way to communicate your results to your team or your audience. But if you aren’t visualizing your data properly, then you won’t just confuse your audience — you could mislead them entirely.There are many ways to mess up your data visualization, but a common one is using the wrong type of graph or chart to represent your data. Are you trying to show the progress over a period of time? Use a line or bar graph. Trying to show how many people in your customer base are from different geographies? You probably want to use a pie graph. But if you were to use a pie graph to show progress over a period of time … you’ll have people scratching their heads.Before you create a graph and send it to others, think about the ultimate goal for building it in the first place. What do you want to communicate? Are you measuring something over a period of time, or measuring parts of a whole? Thinking through these questions ahead of time will help you avoid any redos.(For more on creating charts and graphs in Excel, read this blog post.)7) Comparing data points unnecessarily.In the marketing analytics world, it’s critical that you compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. The hard part is knowing what’s an apple and what’s an orange. But even if one of your web pages is getting higher traffic than another one, or one of your CTAs is seeing higher conversion rates than another one, that doesn’t mean it makes sense to compare them to each other.For example, let’s say you have 200 visits to a web page from email marketing, and another 150 visits to that same web page from mobile devices. Does that mean you should be invest more in email marketing and not as much in mobile marketing? No, it doesn’t. Email marketing and mobile marketing are very different: While email marketing is used to deliver a message, mobile marketing is the device used to deliver that message. Many of us open our emails through our mobile devices, so it isn’t a good idea to compare the two channels since they work hand-in-hand.If you want a marketing channel to compare email marketing to, you can use direct traffic, organic search, or paid. Take a look at the graph below. The orange represents email marketing, and the blue represents direct traffic. These are metrics that you can compare against each other to help you decide where to invest your marketing resources.8) Counting internal website visits toward your goal.Every day, many people from your own company visit your website — whether they’re reading a blog post, seeing how an image looks on the homepage, or just browsing around. Even though they’re part of your company, they may still count as traffic coming to your website unless you specify otherwise. This can be very deceiving as you’re analyzing not only the amount of traffic coming to your website, but where that traffic is coming from. Most people at your company will come from direct traffic since they know what page they are looking to go to.To avoid skewing your data this way, you’ll need to exclude your IP address. If you’re a HubSpot customer, here are instructions on how to do this. If you’re not a HubSpot customer, you’ll need to get instructions from your software provider.9) Equating more time on a page with higher engagement.The general wisdom used to be that the longer a person spent on a web page, the more engaged they were with your content and company. But the more we’ve all learned about user experience, the more we’ve found that this is not usually the case. If a website visitor remains on your page for a long period of time, it could actually mean they’re having trouble finding what they are looking for — meaning you have a UX issue to address.For example, let’s say someone arrives on your home page looking for one of your landing pages. They scroll through the navigation, but don’t see any option to read content. So they scroll down the page they’re on and, lo and behold, they notice a few links to what seem like content offers! But after opening those pages, they still haven’t found what they’re looking for. So they return to the home page and scroll down some more, reading all of the various links and calls-to-actions. At this point, they’ve spent a good couple of minutes on your page, but they’re ultimately dissatisfied. They’ve wasted time and still haven’t found that darn landing page. This is an example of someone spending more time on a page, but not being more engaged with your content.So if you see visitors are spending long periods of time on some of your pages, don’t just assume they’re loving the content. Dig in — and conduct user testing if you can — to see if people are actually engaged with your content, or if it seems like they’re just having trouble finding what they’re looking for. You don’t want to scare away people who can’t find the right content, and you’ll want to fix that UX issue so you don’t lose potential leads.10) Not pulling actionable takeaways away from your data.The sad truth is, many marketers pull data for the sake of pulling data they can report to their team or their boss.Throughout the month, they report on where their traffic is coming from. At the end of the month, they report on the number of leads generated. At the end of the year, they report on the revenue generated from various marketing efforts.The biggest mistake marketers make, though, is not pulling actionable takeaways from that data. If you’re running a campaign, and halfway through the campaign you see the efforts on social media are effective but the efforts on email marketing are not, you should readjust your efforts so you’re investing a significant chunk of time beefing up the social media side. Switching gears while running a campaign is more than okay — in fact, it’s encouraged. While you report to your team or to your managers about your marketing efforts, pull out the actionable next steps you can take as a result of the data. If you aren’t pulling data for that purpose, it isn’t worth pulling the data at all.What are other analytics mistakes you wish you knew about sooner? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

27 Email Hacks That’ll Make You More Productive [Free Ebook]

first_img Originally published Aug 11, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Productivity Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: When I made my start in the working world, I believed a terrible lie about my inbox.I thought that the best employees respond to emails immediately. So of course, I prided myself on replying to emails quicker than any of my coworkers — even if that meant dropping whatever important task I was supposed to be doing.Thankfully, this competitive spirit around my inbox didn’t last long. While I still love the feeling of “inbox zero,” I’ve come to understand the amount of time your inbox can steal. According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, the average worker spends 28% of the workweek reading and responding to emails.Emailing may seem like the most basic of tasks — write, attach, send, reply. But it turns out, it takes a thoughtful strategy to ensure your inbox isn’t the mortal enemy of your productivity. With our latest ebook — 27 Email Hacks That’ll Make You More Productive — we’ll help you unburden yourself from the weight of email overload.In this guide, you’ll learn how to triage your inbox effectively, filter out unwanted messages, and use templates to write your emails faster. Then we’ll show you the secret features of Gmail and Outlook to help you take back your workday.Don’t waste another minute clicking back and forth to your email tab. Get your copy today.last_img read more