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Website Tip #1, It is not about you,

Website Tip #1, It is not about you

A lot of company websites make the mistake of just talking about the product or service features. The text might say, “We do this and that” or “We are the best at this and that.”

Meanwhile the viewer is thinking, “What about me? How are you fulfilling my needs?” Smart marketers know how to highlight product or service benefits in a way that results in an emotional response.

Ensure that your website content not only explains your products and service, but also explains how your company, its products and services solve the user, visitors, problem, issues, and why they should choose you over your competitors.

If you are not sure your website conveys the right message to convert visitor into client, please contact Ronald Couming, and the Team at RCS Technology Solutions, LLC for a free consultation 978-606-5432

Ronald E Couming, Ron Couming

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Online Advertising To Grow By 15% Over Next Two Years, Driven By Mobile And Display

Online Advertising To Grow By 15% Over Next Two Years, Driven By Mobile And Display

A report released this week by ZenithOptimedia reveals projections for global ad spend in 2015, with online advertising said to be the fastest growing medium having grown 16.9% in 2014 with an estimated 15% growth over the next two years.

Online advertising makes up 24% of total global ad spend, which is substantial considering ten years ago it only made up 4% of global ad spending.

The rise in online advertising spending can be attributed to the decline of magazine and newspaper advertising. While those two mediums are on the decline in terms of ad spend, ad budgets for online advertising are on the rise.

The ability to target ads more accurately has led to agencies spending more on what would now be considered “traditional” display advertising.

“The technology has recently evolved to deliver better premium, brand-building experiences,” the report states. “Growth in traditional display leapt from 14% in 2012 to 18% in 2013, and we estimate it at 26% in 2014, its fastest rate of growth since 2007.”

According to the report, most of all display advertising is bought directly by small local companies with yearly advertising budgets of only a few thousand dollars.

Mobile is also going to be a tremendous driver of growth in global ad spend going forward, which is expected to account for 51% of all new advertising dollars between 2014 and 2017. The ubiquity of mobile devices, combined with innovations in ad technology, is said to drive mobile advertising to grow by 38% a year between 2014 and 2017.

While traditional display advertising and retargeting isn’t as effective on mobile as it is on desktop, where advertisers are said to be seeing the most success is with social media display advertising:

Facebook and Twitter have rapidly restructured their operations for mobile consumption and advertising, and between them are on track to capture 33% of all mobile adspend in 2014… Their ads are designed to blend seamlessly into the content feed – they look native rather than intrusive. They can track all their users’ media consumption within their apps, and can tie that into their desktop activity through their login details. Social media provides a great example of how to adapt to mobile.

For more information about the growth of online advertising in 2015 and beyond, you can read the full press release here.

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3 Reasons Your Website Will Never Be Finished

3 Reasons Your Website Will Never Be Finished

Say, I’ve got some news for you: Your company’s website will never be finished. You will never sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, and say, “Finally! We’ve got this thing wrapped up; now we can move onto other things.”

That is, this will never happen if you’re doing all you should with your website. And this adds up to some good news because if you’re constantly updating your site, you’ll develop an advantage over your competitors who aren’t.

Here are three reasons you should never stop working on your website:

1. Web design trends are evolving. Compare websites designed within the past few months with those designed a few years ago, and you’ll notice some differences. Web design trends can sometimes be mere fads, but often they are driven by changes in technology. Two modern trends in web design are flat design and responsive design.

Gradients, drop shadows, bevels and elements designed to resemble real objects have no place in flat web design. Proponents of flat design eschew the fancy in favor of simplicity, clean lines, bold colors and a focus on content and usability. Flat design also means cleaner code, faster-loading pages (good for SEO) and greater adaptability, which factors into the next trend.

Responsive web design means that a site responds to the various sizes of screens that people use to view websites. Today someone might look at a site on a desktop monitor, a tablet or a smartphone, which come in different sizes.

Years ago, most companies had either a separate mobile site that would be displayed for users on a tablet or smartphone and a full website that would appear for desktop users. But this strategy was less than ideal because those websites were geared toward only two screen sizes. Responsive websites take into account all screen sizes and adjust to provide an optimal experience for every user. This leads to greater website-visitor retention. As a result, companies today are ditching the dedicated desktop and mobile sites in favor of a single, responsive website. (FlatInspire.com displays websites that are both flat and responsive.)

 

2. Consumer preferences are changing. Customers expect something different from your website now than did two, five or 10 years ago. When high-speed internet became widely available, users started to anticipate rich content, such as high-resolution photography and HD videos. As desktop screens grew larger and wider, consumers looked for sites that would take advantage of the additional real estate.

This year the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to surpass 1.75 billion, prompting a toward a move toward long, vertical websites that scroll.

Today’s consumers don’t want to waste time. Everyone is busy and wants to get to the point as efficiently as possible. Many companies have understood this to mean that content should be clear and concise.

While brevity may the the soul of wit, consumers don’t always want webpages short on content. What they want is high-quality content that delivers real value. Sometimes the best way to do this is through long-form content. Basecamp performed an experiment with long-form content on its home page and found signups for its project management software rose 37.5 percent

 

3. Search engine optimization rules. The premise of SEO is that if a company sells widgets and its site shows up No. 1 in a Google search for the term “widgets,” then viewers will be drawn to that corporate site. But it may not be the only company desiring to market widgets. Therefore, the company’s task is to convince Google that when someone searches for widgets, any user arriving at the company’s website will find it especially appropriate for the search term. If users aren’t happy with Google’s search results, that’s bad for Google.

It used to be that a lot of SEO firms would trick Google into sending traffic to their clients’ websites. But Google employs thousands of people with doctorates to systematically filter out search engine spam. Google’s search algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird have forced websites to provide real value to visitors or see their rankings in the search engines fall and traffic dry up. Although some aspects of SEO can be done just once (such as ensuring that you have a credible web-hosting firm and solid code on your website so that it loads quickly), here are some ongoing activities that companies can engage in to get good search-engine rankings and drive traffic to their site:

  • Attract inbound links from high quality, relevant websites.
  • Create content that people enjoy reading and want to share.
  • Update the corporate website frequently with high-quality content.
  • Keep up with design trends to make the website fresh and attractive.

Creating new content and attracting links can mean updating a blog and press section, or developing valuable informational resource sections like tips, FAQs; or articles. It also helps for the company to become an expert in your field and engage in online PR. And yes, even guest blog posting is still a viable tactic for link building, as long as it’s of high quality.

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5 Key Principles for a Company’s Website Redesign

A company website is the face of a business and one of its main sales tool, so it needs to be built with the aim of converting visitors into customers.5 Key Principles for a Company’s Website Redesign

are below

The primary goal of a site is to educate the audience on what the company does, why it provides the best solution for people’s needs and prompt users to take action (subscribe, contact the corporation or purchase) as quickly as possible.

Even when a company has the best product or service in its industry, if its website is not communicating messages quickly, concisely and effectively, this can result in valuable customers being lost to competitors.

My company, Retention Science, recently redesigned its website. Below are five design and marketing principles to consider in a redesign:

1. Use bite-size pieces.

In this age of information overload (a 2008 estimate found a U.S. individual consumed more than 100,000 words a day on average), users browsing websites want to quickly determine if a given site is relevant to them. Don’t present massive amounts of text about what a company does. No one has the patience for this anymore.

When it comes to successful website design, the “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” or KISS principle, formulated by engineer Kelly Johnson, is apt. A site’s home page and its main navigational pages need to be as clean and to the point as possible and designed in a visually appealing way — no flashing and blinking, busy content.

Providing less clutter with more white space and clear snippets of relevant information is now a common best practice. Longer text for educational purposes can go in product descriptions, definitions, blogs and guides.

Present the content on the main pages in bite-size pieces of copy and put images in a page-scrolling format. The font should be large enough for easy reading and the text kept short and punchy. Each block of information needs to lead on from the previous part to create a story.

One Percent for the Planet’s website displays its content in a visual and fun way, with lots of space around content.

2. Cater to all styles of learning.

Many researchers have found variation in the way people learn:  For example, Walter Barbe, Raymond Swassing and Michael Milone found 30 percent of individuals learn visually, 25 percent by hearing and 5 percent through kinesthetic means (or touching).

When browsing a website, some people gravitate toward reading text while others opt for images. Some prefer watching a video and still others like to read blog posts. By presenting information in different formats (text, video or still images), people of all learning styles can be addressed and potential valuable customers won’t be ignored.

Design each page as a combination of text, icons and images. That way viewers can go straight to their preferred content type to absorb a message. Repeat concepts by presenting a diagram, say, and displaying statistics as a combination of text and imagery.

 

3. It’s not all about you!

A lot of company websites make the mistake of just talking about the product or service features. The text might say, “We do this and that” or “We are the best at this and that.”

Meanwhile the viewer is thinking, “What about me? How are you fulfilling my needs?” Smart marketers know how to highlight product or service benefits in a way that results in an emotional response.

For Retention Science’s site, I tried to take this a step further by communicating the company’s purpose or cause, drawing inspiration from Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How great leaders inspire action.”

 

4. Many roads lead to Rome.

Getting customers to take action is a prime objective of a company website. This might entail encouraging someone to subscribe to the email list (to receive marketing materials prompting a purchase) or enticing a customer to sign up for a demonstration. Providing throughout the site multiple buttons, links and ways for people to take action increases the chances of that happening.

5. Provide a guided experience.

Once visitors arrive on a site, they are trying to determine what the company is all about and if it’s relevant to them. If they chose to stay on the site, they need to decide where to go next.

Given the fact that users usually leave a website in less than 30 seconds, provide a clear pathway. Steer them first toward becoming educated about the company’s benefits, then point them toward taking action. This can be done by organizing the order of items on the navigational bar, adding buttons that lead to the next relevant page and strategically placing directional arrows. Plus the site can include pop-up forms to capture email addresses.

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Google Release Mobile-Friendly Labels

Google Officially Release “Mobile-Friendly” Labels

After testing a number of “mobile-friendly” and “not mobile-friendly” icons in the past few months, Google has finally decided to officially release “mobile-friendly” labels within its search results that notify users if a website is well-designed for mobile devices.

mobile-friendly

These labels are the first step in helping mobile users have a better mobile Web experience, says Google. In order to be eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label, a page must meet the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Google notes that it will gradually use these mobile-friendly criteria to decide a website’s ranking in Google’s search results.

To make sure your pages meet the above criteria, you can run the mobile-friendly test, read the Google Webmasters mobile guide, get your mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, or check Google’s how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress to get a mobile-friendly template.

The “mobile-friendly” feature will be rolling out globally in the following few weeks.

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Google Officially Debuts “Mobile-Friendly” Labels

After testing a number of “mobile-friendly” and “not mobile-friendly” icons in the past few months, Google has finally decided to officially release “mobile-friendly” labels within its search results that notify users if a website is well-designed for mobile devices.

mobile-friendly

These labels are the first step in helping mobile users have a better mobile Web experience, says Google. In order to be eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label, a page must meet the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Google notes that it will gradually use these mobile-friendly criteria to decide a website’s ranking in Google’s search results.

To make sure your pages meet the above criteria, you can run the mobile-friendly test, read the Google Webmasters mobile guide, get your mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, or check Google’s how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress to get a mobile-friendly template.

The “mobile-friendly” feature will be rolling out globally in the following few weeks.

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Google Guidelines for Penguin and Panda

Google Penguin Update -Overview:

 

 RCS Technology Solutions offers up-to-date services following all of  Google Guidelines for Penguin and Panda. Please review the guidelines that our experts provide you, along with other services.

 Unique content without duplication:
Google always want to see fresh content so our experts always write new and fresh content. Our experts do research before writing the content and deliver everything that your audience is looking for! They do not provide copied or re-written article.

Avoid Cloaking:
One of the important aspects is cloaking. Our professionals never practice cloaking. In this technique, search engines show different versions of webpages than which visitor views.

Avoid hiding of text:
Some of the activities including some background color and text color, hidden text behind images, setting font size zero, these should be avoided as search engines can easily detect.

Follow white-hat techniques:
Our professionals use all, and only, white-hat techniques including Guest posting, blog commenting, and social bookmarking. These are some methods to build links which will never fail.

Avoid key stuffing:
You should be aware that the ideal keyword density is 3% and 2%. You can calculate keyword density as [Keyword Density= (Number of Keywords*100)/(Total number of words). This way you can easily calculate the density in your content.

Google Panda Update- Overview:

Our experts follow all guidelines provided by Google for both Penguin and Panda Updates to offer you the best possible outcome and will help Google find, index and rank your site:

Content and Designing:

  • Your site should be designed with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • It would be beneficial to provide a site map to your users that will highlight the important part of your website. Avoid making large number of links.
  • Your content should be written clearly to provide complete information that will accurately describe information to users.
  • Search the words that your users would type to find your page and make sure that those words are included in your site.
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML.

Technical Guidelines for Penguin and Panda:

  • To examine your site you can use a text browser like Lynx, as most search engine spiders will see your site as Lynx would. Search engine spiders may trouble crawling your site, if fancy features including JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash keeping you from seeing your entire site in a text browser.
  • Allowing search bots can be useful for tracking individual user behavior. Using this technique may result in incomplete indexing of your site, as bots may not be able to eliminate URLs that look different but actually highlight important information.
  • Your web server should support the If-Modified-Since HTTP header.
  • Make sure the use of robots.txt file on your web server tells the crawlers which directory can or cannot be crawled.
  • Ensure that advertisements do not affect search engine rankings and make efforts to avoid it.
  • Test your website and make sure that it appears correctly in different browsers.
  • Google aims to provide the most accurate and relevant information to its users and we make sure to examine and monitor the site’s performance and optimize load times.

Quality Guidelines:

  • Do not use intended tricks to improve search engine rankings.
  • Avoid participating in link schemes designed to increase the site’s ranking or PageRank. With web spammers and “bad neighbors” your own ranking may be affected with those links.
  • Unauthorized computer programs should not be used to submit pages, check rankings and many more..

There are many other relevant strategies we include for quality such as:

  • Avoid text or hidden links.
  • Key words should be selected carefully.
  • Should avoid cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Not provide duplicate content to the users.
  • Should avoid creating pages with malicious behavior.
  • Provide a content that would give users a reason to visit their website.

These were some strategies that  practice at RCS Technology Solutions  Your satisfaction is our main concern!

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6 Elements of a Standout Website

Lately there have been numerous websites that I find distracting because they are lacking some of the bare minimums that make a website stand out. This list is not organized in any manner of importance, but in an order of my thought process, the way I organize when creating the designs of a page or layout.

1. Have a purpose behind everything

When I arrive at a website, the first thing that I notice is the organization of the information and elements. Websites should not be haphazardly thrown together; they should have some sort of rhythm or purpose. The elements placed on any given page should have a reason behind the placement. A website lacking this organization or spacing will stand out in a negative way, while a website that can properly create organization and spacing will burst out from the crowd and scream, “Look at me, I am awesome!”

2. Get creative with how you display data

More and more, websites are starting to share numerical data and information to help get their message across. If you are going to go this route, I encourage you to explore displaying data via an infographic. Info graphics are modern and informative – in one easy visual I’m able to see how much you have to offer over a competitor and understand what value you might bring to my life or company.

3. Use bold fonts to catch a visitor’s attention

I love the proper use of font. Large, bold, in-your-face typography is very popular right now. If you can incorporate over-sized font into your design and draw attention to a product or service, why wouldn’t you? This simple change to a webpage can draw in a prospect and encourage them to look harder at what you have to offer them.

4. Select colors that will connect with people

Color, or shall I say COLOR. In my classes, we’ve been learning about color theory – knowing what colors invite what emotions and thoughts will help you to know how to pull in your prospective customers. Today, website design is more and more about the emotion that you get when you look at the website. Color theory, while not new, is a tool that a lot of people miss.

5. Utilize images – they’re still important

While video is slowly becoming the new way to display emotion and products, images are still nice to see. I feel that simple images with high impact emotion are the best. When I visit a page for a farm and see a picture of a son hugging a father, I see a powerful image that helps the viewer connect with both the farm and the feeling of family. Images can be a very powerful tool.

6. Ensure that your buttons are user-friendly

Make call-to-action buttons big and bold. Too often I visit a site and the buttons are so small and hard to click on. Go back to the organization of the page and make room for a large bold or contrasting color button! Make a viewer click the button, tempt them with the boldness!

The goal of a website is to turn visitors into prospects and prospects into customers. Use  the above elements to help encourage contact with and confidence in your company. Make your company stand out from the competition – be bold and different!

 

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Mobile Search: Not Just on the Go

Sometimes conventional wisdom gets it wrong, like the old assumption that mobile search only happens on the go. A recent Yahoo study of nearly 6,400 searches discovered that mobile search is not limited to consumers on the go, with about half of searches happening at home. Roughly three-quarters of mobile searches occurred in settings with an available PC or laptop, such as the home or office. And mobile search preference continues to climb, with four in 10 consumers conducting more searches on mobile devices than PCs.

The study provides marketers with an unique context to understand the role of mobile both as a critical point of influence in the shopping decision and a means to re-evaluate a campaign’s effectiveness .

Key findings include:

  • Mobile search is just one step among a series of related actions. After the initial search, users completed an average of four follow-up actions, giving marketers multiple opportunities for reaching consumers throughout the purchase cycle:
    • 91 percent took another action on their mobile device
    • 77 percent acted in person
    • 62 percent used a PC or laptop next
  • Showrooming appears to be an urban myth, with only 7 percent of searches happening in-store.
  • Half of mobile shopping-related queries led to a purchase, with 69 percent of those purchases happening within five hours of search and 76 percent occurring in person at a store.

Making the Most of Mobile Search

These days, the path to purchase looks more like a grid, with each intersection between location (home, work, store, car, and more) and device (smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs), representing critical points of influence. Mobile searchers respond to ads at these touch points, with about half agreeing that sponsored listings could persuade them to consider an additional brand while shopping.

To deliver a message, marketers have to get consumer attention first, which is why the position of an ad within the search results is so important when consumers are on the hunt for information. Copy and content counts with mobile searchers.

Here are some pointers marketers can use to maximize the impact of mobile search:

  • Tip #1: Bid competitively to earn a top spot on search engine results pages, as most mobile searchers respond to the first or second listing.
  • Tip #2: Test ad copy with brand names or superlative claims (like lowest or best) to drive greater engagement on mobile devices.
  • Tip #3: Use mobile-specific Sitelink, Location, or Call extensions to lead searchers directly to your business.
  • Tip #4: Consider that half of shopping-related queries happen at home when making location-based mobile media decisions.

We at RCS Technology Solution, can advise and assist you and your company consider and navigate both Organic SEO and Pay for Click or Pay for Impression SEO from Google or Yahoo

Check out the complete Yahoo “Point of Influence” study for more details

 

 

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Mobile Search Not Just on the Go

Mobile Search

Sometimes conventional wisdom gets it wrong, like the old assumption that mobile search only happens on the go. A recent Yahoo study of nearly 6,400 searches discovered that mobile search is not limited to consumers on the go, with about half of searches happening at home. Roughly three-quarters of mobile searches occurred in settings with an available PC or laptop, such as the home or office. And mobile search preference continues to climb, with four in 10 consumers conducting more searches on mobile devices than PCs.

The study provides marketers with an unique context to understand the role of mobile both as a critical point of influence in the shopping decision and a means to re-evaluate a campaign’s effectiveness .

Key findings include:

  • Mobile search is just one step among a series of related actions. After the initial search, users completed an average of four follow-up actions, giving marketers multiple opportunities for reaching consumers throughout the purchase cycle:
    • 91 percent took another action on their mobile device
    • 77 percent acted in person
    • 62 percent used a PC or laptop next
  • Showrooming appears to be an urban myth, with only 7 percent of searches happening in-store.
  • Half of mobile shopping-related queries led to a purchase, with 69 percent of those purchases happening within five hours of search and 76 percent occurring in person at a store.

Making the Most of Mobile Search

These days, the path to purchase looks more like a grid, with each intersection between location (home, work, store, car, and more) and device (smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs), representing critical points of influence. Mobile searchers respond to ads at these touch points, with about half agreeing that sponsored listings could persuade them to consider an additional brand while shopping.

To deliver a message, marketers have to get consumer attention first, which is why the position of an ad within the search results is so important when consumers are on the hunt for information. Copy and content counts with mobile searchers.

Here are some pointers marketers can use to maximize the impact of mobile search:

  • Tip #1: Bid competitively to earn a top spot on search engine results pages, as most mobile searchers respond to the first or second listing.
  • Tip #2: Test ad copy with brand names or superlative claims (like lowest or best) to drive greater engagement on mobile devices.
  • Tip #3: Use mobile-specific Sitelink, Location, or Call extensions to lead searchers directly to your business.
  • Tip #4: Consider that half of shopping-related queries happen at home when making location-based mobile media decisions.

We at RCS Technology Solution, can advise and assist you and your company consider and navigate both Organic SEO and Pay for Click or Pay for Impression SEO from Google or Yahoo

Check out the complete Yahoo “Point of Influence” study for more details