Category Archives: Blogging

Site Case Study: Steve H. Lawton

Steve H. Lawton

While all of our clients are different, it’s not every day that you encounter a person like Steve H. Lawton. An executive at Dell, Steve had a snow skiing accident that nearly ended his life. He came out of that experience with a powerful perspective on living. His was a site we knew we had to build.

A SPECIFIC PERSONALITY

Alter Endeavors builds our sites to engage the visitor. Conversions and usability are at the top of our list. After that, however, the site is about the person or business; who they are and how they want to be perceived.

Steve was starting his branding from scratch. Aside from the cover for his book, the Steve H. Lawton brand had no look. Part of our process is having the designer interview our clients. We do this so the designer understands the vision and personality behind the site. As Steve and his designer—also Steve, funnily enough—talked, it was clear this site was going to be special. It was going to be capital-b Big on personality.

THE MAN. THE MESSAGE. THE SITE.

When we began our engagement, Steve’s book Head First: A Crash Course in Positivity was being finalized and on its way to the printer. With that in mind, it was important to identify the purpose of the site. Does it begin and end with the book? Or is the site about Steve H. Lawton beyond the book?

Steve wanted a platform to continue to share his message. His blog is front and center. Prominent newsletter signup forms and calls to action ensure those who want to hear from him can easily sign up to do so. An RSS feed signup is also offered.

Steve needed a stage for his speaking efforts. Steve’s speaking page is a study in how to do it right. Testimonies and client logos build credibility. Potential clients can see the topics he speaks on, and watch Steve in action in his videos. Steve’s bio and print-ready photos are there to be downloaded and included in programs and on event sites.

While the site is a solid platform for the book, it has a life after; accommodating all of Steve’s efforts and his mission moving forward.

A QUIZ THAT PROMPTS

The message of positivity carries an introspective aspect. To foster that interaction, we worked with Steve to put together a quiz that engages his visitors. The results of the quiz get them thinking about positivity in their lives, furthering the impetus to buy his book. (They can also sign up for his mailing list when they take the quiz; or not, it’s up to them.)

A SITE THAT BELONGS TO STEVE

Building Steve’s site was not only a pleasure—he’s great to work with, we were sad to see him go—but also fed into Alter Endeavor’s mission of making this world a better place. Another one of our values is constructing sites that are unique in the marketplace. There’s no one like Steve. There’s no site quite like his either. (Just try and get that from one of those cookie-cutter templates we all see the ads for.*)

*Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

10 Tools Every Social Media Manager Needs

social media manager

As a Social Media Manager, I spend a lot of time online. While I do consider myself an early adopter of technology, I also believe in simplicity. If I were to investigate every possible Chrome extension or iPhone app that promised streamlined content creation or increased productivity… I’d never get any actual work done. I’m sharing some of the tools that I use to create content for my clients and make my life easier. If you’ve discovered something better, feel free to comment what it is and why it should be on my radar.


4 Websites Every Social Media Manager Needs

Canva allows me to feel like a graphic designer, without having to pay for a program or get too involved. Canva is my go-to for creating graphics for Facebook posts or new banner images for whatever platform(s) the client is on. The custom dimensions also come in handy specifically for Facebook ads. I’m able to use custom colors codes so that everything matches branding-wise. It’s straightforward, but not too basic.

Once you choose a social media management dashboard, you go all in. Every option has its perks and its pitfalls, but linking all of your accounts is a sign of commitment. Hootesuite has been around long enough to make adjustments in response to user feedback and tries to stay current with our needs as social media managers. While I could imagine some sort of calendar for content planning, our old-fashioned Google sheet does the trick and happens to be free.

As a digital marketing agency, we use Basecamp 3 to communicate the current status of projects or needs of our clients across departments. As for the social media management department, we create a Trello board for each of our clients and then create “lists” with “cards” to refer back to for blog or post ideas. Once the blog is written or the link posted, the card is archived. Simple, neat, and free.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who click on your social media links without liking the post, or worse, like the post without clicking the link. Bitly allows you to track how many people actually clicked your link, and when. This a more accurate report of how many people are engaging with your content and what time of day is best to post.

3 Chrome Extensions Every Social Media Manager Needs

Check your grammar in a way “Spell Check” never could. This is especially helpful when drafting blog posts because it catches any potential errors within WordPress. The downside is that it doesn’t function within Hootesuite, so be sure to give those drafts a thrice over before publishing.

If you’re still saving from a website within Pinterest, you’re doing it wrong. The extension speeds up the process of creating pins for new products or blog posts. Bonus tip, make sure you have the Pinterest pixel installed on your client’s website to track what content is most often being pinned.

This is a request rather than a tip. Evernote is a program I’ve downloaded and extension I’ve installed, but I have yet to utilize. Is it worth incorporating? What does it bring to the table? I need solutions, not more issues!

3 iPhone Apps Every Social Media Manager Needs

A photo editing app that makes you feel like a photographer rather than a social media manager— at least on Instagram. I have my designated packs for each client and I apply whichever filter that keeps the overall photo feed aesthetically pleasing and consistent. I can also copy the filter changes from one photo to another, rather than having to repeat the process of increasing brightness, etc. 

If you’ve ever wondered how Instagram accounts splice one image into several, this is the tool. Besides that, Planoly allows you to visualize what your Instagram feed will look like before posting the photo. Once you upload possible contenders, you can then move them around and schedule within the app once your order is decided upon. When the scheduled time arrives, it prompts you to open the app and copy over your caption, much like Hootesuite does for scheduled Instagram posts.

No, I don’t create client’s Facebook ads through the app. I’m the type of person that needs to sit down and see the ad on a computer screen before submitting. However, I have found that the app comes in handy when I’m on the go and need a reminder as to when the ad campaign ends or how much of the budget we’ve spent so far. I also like that it pushes a notification to my phone every morning with a summary of what was spent from our ad account the day before.


In this industry, it is a never-ending task to stay on the forefront of change. Some tools simplify the content creation and management process, but some are too costly for what they offer or have yet to work out the kinks. What tools could you not imagine your business without?

How Often Should You Blog?

How Often Should You Blog?

Content creators know the importance of consistently blogging, but how often should you blog? We strive to establish a routine in order to establish a relationship with our readers. Blogging in particular can be a tricky outlet to navigate. We know online users prefer high-quality photos and informative links; which can and should be a part of a well-rounded blog post. We also know that with an infinite number of platforms vying for a readers attention, 500+ word pieces are rarely read in full.

When brainstorming posts for Alter Endeavors, our aim is to offer relevant industry information. We are appealing to professionals who are looking to increase their knowledge on the subject of digital marketing and making them aware of our expertise in the industry. However, we’ve always been fans of incorporating some personality here and there. You can easily find the information you’re looking for in case studies full of bullet points and infographics, which while effective, lack the human touch.

There’s a particular balance required when using blogging as a marketing tool. From a SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint, blogging brings increased traffic to your website and new leads to your attention. In an article about “How Often Should You Blog” by HubSpot, the results were unsurprising. The more you post a month, the bigger the impact on traffic and leads.

Unfortunately, there aren’t statistics to show how much the industry professional retained about the subject matter or what the potential customer learned about your brand. Interestingly enough, HubSpot also had an article that addressed the quality versus quantity debate. They essentially used their own site as an experiment by increasing frequency and categorizing the types of posts they would typically post. The takeaway was this: high volume/low comprehensive posts (not as technical) increased new leads and overall hits, but also came with email readers hitting unsubscribe. At the end of the day, there is only so much content our readers can consume. Whereas the low volume/high comprehensive approach showed significantly lower traffic and insinuated the readers wanted more. HubSpot determined that for them, their benchmark period (the posting schedule they adhered to before the experiment) was best for them. While a high volume/low comprehensive approach did increase leads slightly, it didn’t justify the level of work being put in by the staff.

The brilliant thing about blogging is that we have the ability to make old posts new again, especially if we write about subjects without an expiration date. The line of thinking we use for our clients is simple—consistent and engaging. We determine the frequency that would be most effective and subject matter that is most relevant. According to our SEO strategist, Steve Joiner of Searchography, 300 words is the suggested minimum, but 500 or so words is better. Our blog writers then do the necessary research to include relevant keywords, but work to ensure that the brand’s voice is not lost in the process. Once the piece is presented to the client, he or she either approves or returns for any necessary edits. Once finalized, the SEO process begins. If the post has a clear subject and a convincing call to action, then it is easily optimized.

A blog post by Business 2 Community provided key suggestions to help you stay consistent on the blogging front:

  • Make note of all of your ideas <—When inspiration hits, make sure to make a record of it.
  • Every post doesn’t have to come in the K-size <— Get out of the 2,000 words or bust mindset. A 500 word post can be just as valuable to the reader.
  • Write, write write <— Practice makes perfect applies to practically everything in life. The only way to get out of a rut…is to just write!

The perfect balance is found when your reader knows when to expect content and also learns something about the industry, brand or product. Periodically analyzing your blogging schedule and content will ensure you, and your audience are getting the most out of your posts.