Category Archives: Best Practice

Slacking Off Series: How do I build an interactive website?

interactive website

Every company has them. Those discussions at the water cooler about work. They’re usually informal, fun, but still where the “meat” of workplace conversations happen. Often times, some of the most insightful things said are “off the cuff” in these environments.

Here at AE, we’re no different. Even though we’re often mobile, and our clients range across the country — our internal discussions serve as a way to discuss digital marketing as a whole, and our ideas of how we can improve.

The conversions (via Slack, our chosen messaging tool) tend to relate back to two areas of digital marketing: strategy and execution. So, we decided to create a blog series taken from the transcripts of messages between our Director of Creative Services, Jonathan Olivo, and our Director of Platform Development, Aubrey Berkowitz. For the series debut, we wanted to discuss a subject matter that is a blend of the two departments: website interaction and user experience. Users expect websites to be more interactive in the current media landscape and as a forward-thinking company — we’ve got to be ahead of the curve. So without further adieu…

How to build an interactive website.

*Disclaimer- if you do not like candid conversations about digital marketing and websites, you can probably stop reading here. We won’t use profanity, but we can’t promise GIFs won’t be involved.

Aubrey: Hey Jonathan, I know you’ve been working on the new AE website this week. One of the trends in digital marketing I’m seeing is that sites are no longer just an “online brochure” but are now becoming an interactive tool for businesses.

Jonathan: Hey Aubrey, correct. Businesses are now using websites as a tool, instead of an “online brochure.” Your target audience should not only find your website interesting but be able to interact with it. 

Jonathan: An interactive site gives you a number of ways to deliver content while giving users the option to add or contribute to that message.

Aubrey: So… when you say interactive and interesting, what are some tactics that you find effective?

Jonathan: Well, there are a handful of ways to make a site interactive, but it has to be a  personalized experience that goes beyond the normal browsing and viewing. Quizzes, for example, are a good tool for this.

Aubrey: I like quizzes.

Jonathan: Yeah, they are great because they’re also a really effective, yet subtle, lead generation tool. They can help a brand build smarter email lists for re-marketing campaigns as well.

Aubrey: When you’re designing a site — part of interaction has to do with conversions, right? How do you balance being “too interactive” and potentially lead them away from converting?

Jonathan: Correct, conversions are important!

Jonathan: But in this case, quizzes themselves are incredibly conversion-focused. It’s probably one of the most effective elements you can put in your site.

Jonathan: I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as being “too interactive,” but you want to make sure your quizzes are brief and offer incentives after completion. At the end of the day, you want to increase audience interaction and engagement.

Aubrey: I’ve seen quizzes work especially well for speakers, thought-leaders, and sites where the brand revolves around a particular idea or concept.

Aubrey: What are some other ways to make a site more interactive?

Jonathan: Something that doesn’t necessarily deal with the design but is important are frequent updates!!

Jonathan: When you keep your site theme, pages and content up-to-date, it encourages user engagement. Users are more likely to view it as a reliable source of information and visit more frequently.

Aubrey: You know, if there’s one thing that I can’t stress enough it’s the importance of regularly updated content!

Aubrey: There are SEO benefits as well. If a business owner could spend just thirty minutes a week updating content, it keeps a site much more relevant.

Jonathan: So Aubrey, there’s a big one that we haven’t talked about yet…SOCIAL MEDIA.

Jonathan: Social media has become a lifestyle, a way for people to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world. It has a huge role in making things trend or go viral. Adding a Facebook like button or the option to share a post from your site is a way to interact with users. With social media, you’re able to reach new users, funnel more traffic to your site and grow your online presence.

Aubrey: You’re totally right. We use social media for more than just pictures. We use social media as a life tool now.

Aubrey: You ready for a “Did you know moment?”

Aubrey: Did you know: in the year 2017, 25% of all referral traffic came from social media networks. That means that 25% of all web traffic that came from an outside source came from a social media platform.

Jonathan: :scream: 

Jonathan: Another way that you can make your site more interactive is by having a newsletter. Newsletters keep users engaged by sending shareable content they can forward to their friends and colleagues through email.

Jonathan: Your newsletter can include a link to a new post that you might want to promote or a link to a thread where other users can further discuss the content of your newsletter.

Jonathan: This increases both visits and interest in your site.

Aubrey: I think the key to a successful newsletter hinges on two factors: consistency and quality content.

Aubrey: It’s hard to follow a brand when you don’t get consistent updates. And who wants to open another email when they don’t care about the content?

Aubrey: So overall, we’ve focused on two things for a more interactive website  — quality content on a platform that provides said content in an accessible, aesthetically pleasing manner.

Aubrey: So, next week we’re going to have our 80’s Hair Metal Frontman Nick Alter with us to discuss creating a “Mobile Friendly” site in the current media landscape. Last question Jonathan…

Aubrey: What in the world is going on with Manchester United?

Jonathan: They’re awful and I hate everything they stand for. Weiss might have a different opinion though.

— DEFINITION: Nic Weiss is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Alter Endeavors known for his Manchester United fandom and Jonthan Olivo is on the opposing side as a FC Barcelona fan.

Aubrey: Well we should probably get back to work…

Micro PR AKA Neighborhood PR

micro PR

The Benefits of Joining a Facebook Group for Local Businesses and Brands

If you own a brick and mortar business or a brand with a product/service for a specific area, then this article is directed at you!

Most every community has local Facebook groups. The purpose of different groups might be for buying/selling various items, a forum for neighbors, uniting locals with a common interest, etc. Bigger cities will have more groups and diversity, but local Facebook groups aren’t hard to find.

Facebook groups are valuable on a number of fronts. Facebook groups can be used to help fill an opening/staff your business, keep you informed of community happenings, help you keep tabs on potential competitors, advertise and more. Facebook groups are also often where your target demographic could be. People that move to a new community are desperate to find recommendations for new doctors, babysitters, repair services, you-name-it. The people that physically live in a community are going to find a way to exchange information, ideas and gather online. Community and local Facebook are a great starting point for taking the pulse of your potential clients.

Read the Rules

Before you go into a Facebook group with advertising guns blazing, read the rules. Most successful groups have some sort of rules so that the group isn’t just an endless series of MLM (multilevel marketing) posts. Guidelines help make Facebook groups enjoyable for members. A potential rule might be that individuals can only post about their businesses on a certain day of the week or groups might ask members to post hiring ads in a certain thread. Some groups have different themes for different days of the week. 

Observe

The best first step to take when entering any group is to observe. Just because you can’t post about your business, doesn’t mean you won’t get value from the group. You could even belong to some groups solely for the purpose of observing. Observing provides you with the opportunity to view the thought processes, questions, wants and desires of your target audience or local community.  You are gaining first-hand reconnaissance on how to market your brand.  You can see where your brand stands amongst competitors, what others think of your brand and what your potential client’s value and are searching for. Some groups may be more valuable than others, but take the time to listen before posting anything so that you can stay in tune with the community.

Recruit Other Voices

The owner of a business isn’t the sole arbiter of information about that brand. Recruit help in the form of trustworthy employees or loyal clients to help you advertise your brand. You may be able to ask some happy customers that you are friendly with to leave you a good review or to recommend you to their neighbors within community groups. Sometimes the most powerful voice isn’t yours! Don’t shy away from using an outsider to help convey a message about your brand, granted that your source is both positive and trustworthy.

Help Others

Be helpful! Your primary objective may be promoting your business, but if you can help others along the way, it won’t hurt your reputation. Perhaps you can donate product or service to a local worthy cause or simply recommend a business that you have used and found helpful in the past.

Staying Behind the Curtain

You will have to decide whether you want to be a public persona for your business or whether you want to lie low and observe. If you don’t have a lot of time to continually monitor your online presence within a Facebook group, it may be best to simply open your ears. Facebook groups can be a great tool for getting the word out about your brand, but they are equally great for social listening.

Facebook groups aren’t a new community invention, they are just an example of community taking place online. If you want to learn more about how micro PR could benefit your brand, contact us here.

How to Stop People from Stealing Content

stealing content

Recently, I was talking to a guy looking to become an authority in the financial space. He has lots of content, charisma, and over the years, has been very successful for both himself and his clients with his proven methods. He quickly turned the conversation towards wanting to protect his content, how to put up paywalls, ensure that others paid for access to his work and how to keep copycats out.

So, how do you stop people from stealing content?

Howdy folks, Nick here. The short answer is, you can’t, so stop trying. And that’s all there is to it. Alright, good talk!

No, but seriously, I’m only partially kidding. There are definitely things you should try to protect. For example, if you have a unique catchphrase that is integral to your brand, then get it trademarked. (Starting point for trademarking a catchphrase if that’s you!) If you are using photography or videography, that you created and/or that you own, then consider adding a watermark. (Starting point for a watermark on photography if that’s you!) On your website, add a copyright statement that folks can easily find that outlines terms and conditions for using any content from your platform, including anything you post on social media, your newsletter, blog, etc. Here is an example from a website we created.

However, if you are trying to protect your thoughts and ideas from competitors, sharks, whatever — you need to understand that it’s pretty much impossible to keep that from happening, even with paywalls and login systems. Make something available online, and inevitably, if it’s of any worth, someone will pirate it, oftentimes, not even trying to make a profit, but simply to make it available for everyone. Heck, one of my favorite examples of this happens all the time on Reddit when someone posts a link to a news article from the Wall Street Journal or some other pay-to-read or watch platform. Just scroll down one or two comments, and within seconds you will find a mirror link or a TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) of the content, typically with the words, “I’ve got you fam.”

So, let’s change the approach and mindset; instead, make some decisions about how you post your content online. One way to organize things — split your content up into three main groups or levels:

The 3 Levels of Content Approach

Level 1: Content for capturing the attention of relevant strangers. This will be more marketing-oriented materials. This is giving away some things of value (entertainment, knowledge, etc.) for free without any strings attached, simply to introduce them to your brand. This content is typically geared more towards telling your brand story and demonstrating your relevance to your intended audience. There is a lot to unpack with this level, and it really depends on your industry and your intended audiences. 

Level 2: Content that you give to people that follow you. For example, this is info we put into a newsletter or that you can require a login to access. This content rewards people for simply joining your tribe. They don’t have to actively pay for anything, other than allowing you to email them or DM (Direct Message) them. Another approach to this kind of content, a smarter approach, is to use something like Catch Engine to ask them a series of questions and then give them content based on their answers. 

LEVEL 3: Content folks pay to have access to (anything that requires a paywall). There are any number of ways to achieve as well as execute this level, and if you spend a lot of time coming up with proprietary knowledge about something, you absolutely should consider charging for it. We all need to make money to live and sustain what we are passionate about. If your content is educational enough or entertaining enough, people will pay for it, because they want you to keep doing what you are doing. The audience you want to build and support you will not steal from you. Just be mindful that your paid content typically will have a shelf life of some kind, and there is a good chance that its value to people will decrease over time.

Having said all this, here’s something else to consider. Stop worrying so much about folks stealing content. You are constantly on the move, advancing your position in your area of focus, doing research, building your influence, coming up with new ideas, evolving. Copycats will be hard pressed to keep up with you, and they will never be able to surpass you. They have to stay under your radar, otherwise, they will get found out and most likely lose whatever clout they may have gained. Also, if it’s brought to your attention that someone is blatantly stealing your work and reposting it as their own, then reach out to an IP lawyer to talk about how to stop them from doing it and/or get compensation.

Each case of stealing content may be unique, and there are certain measures you can put into place to deter copycats, but for the most part, your time will be best spent in creating new content and advancing your brand!

Make It Easy for People to Leave your Digital Auditorium – GDPR Approved!

Hey folks, Nick here! In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, we have been fielding hundreds of questions about user data, privacy laws and how to become GDPR-compliant when it comes to your website.

In light of all that, it’s important to remind ourselves that we have to make it easy for folks to exit our digital spheres of influence. For example, if someone wants to unsubscribe from your newsletter, give them that unsubscribe button loud and clear at the bottom of every email. Actually, I was reminded to write this article because someone failed to do just that.

A Coldwell Banker real estate agent I had met at a networking event took it upon himself to add me to his newsletter without my permission (never do that). Apparently all Coldwell Banker agents send out the same “personalized” generic newsletter every week/month. So, I went to unsubscribe, but he had hidden his unsubscribe button in the middle of a bunch of other footer text, and the link was the same color as the rest of the text. When I finally found the button, I was annoyed, but when I clicked on it, I got mad. Clicking on his hidden unsubscribe link opened up a blank email – meaning, I had to email this guy if I wanted to be removed from his email list that I never asked to join in the first place. Now I want to fight, and Gmail has made it super easy to report and block spam email.

From a technical standpoint, Gmail now has it on record that I have manually reported this email and its sender as spam. Any email from this guy henceforth will never land in my inbox unless I request it. On top of that, Google will take my report and add it to their anti-spam systems/algorithms, potentially auto-blocking this guy for others. If other folks send email from the same system that he uses, it could possibly block them as well. This is one of the reasons MailChimp is so aggressive about their terms of service when it comes to spam.

From a branding standpoint, I want nothing to do with this guy, because the system he has set up for himself (or rather, failed to set up) doesn’t give me an easy exit from its less than impressive efforts. Whether he meant to or not, he tried to trap me in his auditorium without realizing that I can do a lot more damage to him this way than if he had given me an easy, simple exit.

And this begs the question, why? Why would you want to try and keep folks on your platform that do not want to be there in the first place? Sure, maybe it cost you some money to get an email viewer there in the first place, but that’s your fault, not theirs. You may have targeted the wrong kind of audience in your marketing campaign, and once they got there, they decided your platform wasn’t for them. Or, you attracted them to your platform but turns out you don’t have unique or useful content.  Or, they wandered into your auditorium randomly/accidentally and decided that it wasn’t right for them. It doesn’t matter why, just that they want to leave, so why try to trap them? It’s a waste of your time and gives you a false perspective on the size of the audience actually interested in your platform.  When it comes to your audience, authenticity and relevancy should always win over sheer numbers.

On the flip side of this topic, think about having a safety net measure in place on pages on your emails so that viewers can easily unsubscribe. Here are a few best practices for email unsubscribes.

So, to sum up, how people can leave your platform(s) is an important process to identify, plan and implement! Time to check your own unsubscribe button and discuss more best practices for email marketing. 

GDPR: What is it? And what does it mean for your website?

GDPR

Last month your inbox may have been flooded with notices about updates to privacy policies.  This was the result of companies trying to accommodate and make their policies compliant with GDPR.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. This is an EU law on data protection and privacy. It’s specifically for all individuals within the EU and European Economic Area. The goal is to help citizens and residents maintain control over more of their personal data while unifying regulation within the EU.

Ok, but what does that mean for me and my website?

First of all, Alter Endeavors shouldn’t be considered the final say on how to handle GDPR on your site.  We believe this is ultimately a legal decision between you and your counsel.  However, a good question to start with is:

How often do you interface with EU visitors on your site?

And also: What do you do with the personal data you collect from them?

If your website asks visitors to voluntarily provide data on your forms and it only tracks cookies in a very general sense (and most websites built by Alter Endeavors do this), you are probably doing enough.

If someone from the EU asks to be removed from your list or asks for an inventory of all the information you have on them, then please comply with the request!

We always advise (not only in regards to GDPR) that it is best practice to ONLY use the data you get for the purposes you state, i.e. newsletters and updates about you. Never sell the data or give it to other people.

If you find that people complain that you don’t have cookie opt-outs or something like that in the future, then maybe you should consider implementing cookie opt-out options (which we can help you with!). If you legitimately have people provide their information and you treat it with respect and privacy, you shouldn’t have a problem with your website!

There certainly has been a lot of fear-mongering about this issue, but we feel large companies with questionable privacy practices are the primary target and smaller entities who legitimately collect information freely given have little to fear. Don’t be fooled by people offering expensive solutions, when in reality, you may not need to take any action. If you have specific questions or need help assessing your website needs in regard to GDPR, please reach out to us and we will help you find a sensible solution.

Optimize Your Instagram Like a Professional

optimize your instagram

What does it mean to optimize your Instagram profile? It means planning content ahead of time, posting relevant content, and engaging with your audience.

Having an optimized Instagram is crucial for all businesses. With more than 800 million users, Instagram is the largest platform in the world. You can bet people are looking you up on Instagram to see if your business is credible.

Instagram has quickly become the first social media platform consumers go to learn more about a business. The quality of your brand’s feed may be the deciding factor for a lot of consumers, especially if your business is in the food industry. When’s the last time you didn’t check that new restaurant’s Instagram to see what the food looked like?

Here are the best apps to optimize your Instagram profile and start earning consumer trust.

  • Plann
  • Facetune
  • Canva
  • Hashtag Expert for IG

Plann

Plann is an all-in-one app for scheduling and planning your content ahead of time. Here are just a few of the things this powerful app can do:

  • Preview your Instagram feed before posting anything
  • Schedule Instagram stories
  • View performance analytics such as likes, follower growth, best performing hashtags, and best-performing color swatches
  • Discover your best times to post

It’s not every day you come across an app with this much functionality. You can even edit your photos right in the app. Creating and posting content with intention is an absolute must, and this app makes it easy.


Facetune

Facetune is one of the best photo editing apps on the market. While it’s promoted as an app to photoshop your face and make you look better, it does much more than that.

  • Replace backgrounds
  • Change the light source for perfect lighting
  • Remove shadows and glare

If you want high-quality photos but you aren’t a professional photographer, this is the app for you.


Canva

Graphics are everywhere on the internet and Instagram is no exception. They’re a great way to get your message across quickly. Canva is a great, easy to use, graphic design app that allows you to create professional looking graphics. The free version should be enough to get you started, while the paid upgrade will grant you access to hundreds of professionally designed layouts.


Hashtag Expert for IG

Using the right hashtags is important in order to be seen by the right people. It allows others to find your profile by searching for things they’re already interested in. Hashtag Expert for IG generates hashtags based on your post topic. Give it a base hashtag and it will do the rest. It also generates a report card for you so that you can see how a hashtag group is expected to perform. You can even search trending hashtags to see what others are searching for.


It’s all about having the right tools. An updated and professional Instagram profile is crucial for marketing success. Leave as is and you run the risk of missing your target audience or pushing them towards your buttoned-up competition. Use these tools to optimize your Instagram profile and gain consumer trust.

A Digital Marketing Ecosystem: What Are You Missing?

digital marketing ecosystem

Taking it back to middle-school biology, an “ecosystem” is defined as “a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.” In reference to the above definition, your Digital Marketing Ecosystem consists of 3 different spaces, which contain various interconnected elements. How effortlessly these elements and their respective spaces interact with one another will dictate your success as a system (aka a brand). We’ll address the three spaces that every digital marketing ecosystem should consist of and further explore the elements that make up each space.

Rented Space

Your rented space is where you play by the rules set forth by the environment. For example, blog post links are fed to Facebook, high-quality photos belong on Instagram, and ready-made infographics are at home on Pinterest. As marketers, we post at the opportune time with the ideal frequency and we never exceed 20% text in Facebook Ads. In our rented space, we use the features available to us in order to share our message, and ultimately send traffic to the place where we can dictate the rules.

Earned Space

Your earned space represents the environment’s thoughts and opinions of your brand. It’s anywhere people gather to retell your story and review your services. It may be tempting to pay people to say certain things or employ black hat tactics to rise to the top of search engines — but the truth typically emerges at one point or another. To ensure the healthiest relationship between your rented, earned, and owned spaces, it’s best to stick to the basics: offer a high-quality product &/or service, create valuable content and continue to network within your industry and community.

Owned Space

The only space that is truly yours is your website. You dictate the format and the messaging. You’re literally the king of this domain. Trailblazers beware! While there is always room for innovation, your audience expects things to flow a certain way. Your owned space needs to play nicely with your rented and earned spaces — meaning the transition should be seamless. At no time should he or she have to wait for a page to load or bounce around in search of a phone number.

Enough with the ecological metaphors, how does one ensure their rented, earned and owned spaces are all working together? Here are a few ground rules.

Opt for complete solutions.

As a digital marketing agency, we often come face-to-face with small business owners who are unwilling to let go of the wheel. They either want to maintain control of each piece themselves, or they have sought out piecemeal solutions thinking that asset diversity applies to marketing. On the contrary, your rented, earned and owned spaces should feature the same messaging, to the same established audience and funnel all of these individuals to the same destination. This isn’t a scenario where your right hand shouldn’t know what your left is doing — the ideal digital marketing ecosystem consists of groups and elements that are all working toward the same end.

Nurture each space.

Because each space and their elements are interconnected, you shouldn’t neglect a platform where your audience lives. It’s important to first analyze data to identify where your audience in fact lives. If business is booming and Facebook is only responsible for a negligible percent of your website traffic and conversions — by all means, pull the plug! However, if your content is sporadic and adds little value to your community, we’d recommend giving it an honest go before writing off a space where 1.9 billion users live…

Let data drive you.

If you’re still wondering how one “identifies where your audience lives” — it’s time to take a dive into the data. At Alter Endeavors, we don’t believe having a presence in every available space is the best approach. Our method is to select spaces based on where your audience currently lives online and where your brand can offer them value. While we customize the content for the functionality and the demographics of the platform, there is always brand cohesion. We incorporate analytics into our strategy to ensure users see more of what they engage with and are reminded of the owned space where they can easily purchase the product or employ the service they’re searching for.

We encourage you to audit your digital marketing ecosystem and identify which spaces may be lacking. If you’re unsure of how to go about this or know you’re missing key elements — don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll dive into the data and provide the ecosystem overhaul your business needs.

Social Media Trends vs. Best Practices

December and January bring blogs and articles that list outgoing fads, compile top trends of the previous year and outline new trends to try in 2018. This focus on new, fresh and of-the-moment ideas is not out of a place in an industry like digital marketing, where a dynamic landscape is de rigueur. Even Alter Endeavors is not immune from this focus, we recently published blogs on 4 Holiday Marketing Tips to Try and Your 2018 Social Media Resolution.  However, fads and trends will not help brands maintain and establish a sustainable online presence.  A superior social media strategy will combine experimental exercises with best practices.  How can you tell the difference between a fad and an experimental exercise?  What social media trends are worth trying and which should you leave behind? Ask these questions before trying any new trends.

Is it cheating?

If it seems too be good to be true, it probably is.  If the new trend feels like you are gaming the system, this is probably not a best practice.  You can buy followers for almost any platform, but will 15,000 new followers that aren’t relevant to your brand help you sell more products?  There are many services and bots that will allow you to quickly follow and unfollow other accounts or even post to Instagram from a desktop, but both of these practices could get your account shut down.  If you are ever unsure, consulting blogs, resources and guides published by the main platforms themselves like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great resource.  This is not to say that platforms won’t implement new changes, for instance, Twitter doubled their character count from 140 to 280.  Instagram users may remember that originally the platform only allowed users to post square photos.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and follow platforms to stay current with new changes.

Who else is participating?

Before implementing a new strategy, take a look around and observe which other brands are participating.  It’s true that innovators and industry disrupters are often early adopters and what sets them apart is not following the crowd.  However, observing whether trustworthy brands are taking part, could help you decide if the new strategy is right for your brand.  Step one is having a good sense of your brand identity and how your brand is positioned within your own industry.  Following respected thought leaders whether they are within your industry or outside it can help determine whether any of these social media trends are worthwhile.

Will it help you achieve your goals?

Not every goal needs to be focused on long-term sustainability, but will this new strategy help you achieve a short or long-term goal?  If the trend is just something new to try and is not tied to any goal in particular, then implementing the new strategy may not be worth the effort.  This question doesn’t aid you in evaluating the value of new practice unless you have first taken the time to identify and set goals.

Asking these questions can help you evaluate whether these social media trends are worth trying, save you time and help you create a sustainable online presence built on best practices.  If you want to learn more about best practices, you can sign up to receive our emails and our free Social Media Best Practices White Paper!

6 Website Logins All Website Owners Should Know (Part 1)

As your favorite local tech support person, it’s a constant battle for us to maintain our client’s websites because so often our clients don’t know crucial access information needed to setup and maintain their websites.
Too often clients rely solely on a friend or trusted associate to handle all of this information. However, as time passes and people come and go in their lives or businesses, they often lose track of this information.
It’s important that you, as the owner of the web property, have accurate access information for these 6 key website logins that you or your tech support person will need. You should find out what they are, make sure they work and store them in a safe place.

Domain Registrar 

What is it?
Remember way back when you first reserved your domain name? Domain registrars are companies that are accredited to reserve, sell and maintain domains for you. Domain names are usually reserved in 1-year increments.
Why is it important?
A domain registrar serves several very important functions. Reserving and renewing the domain name is obvious, but just as important, the domain registrar is also where you specify the DNS host. We’ll talk more about that later, but this means it’s essentially the place where you specify the primary domain name server (like a phone book, only for a computer) which allows people to find your website when they enter your domain name in a browser.
Other facts about Domain Registrars:
When you reserve your domain name, you will be asked to specify contact information for the registrant (the person who owns the domain name), as well as administrative, technical and billing contacts. Most people use the same person, but you may want to include alternate emails in case they can’t reach the original email.
If you don’t know your domain registrar, you can visit a site such as WhoIs, enter your domain name and get a wealth of information about your domain, including who your domain registrar is.
Well known Registrars?

DNS Host (Name Server)

What is it?
A DNS host (name server) is a service that keeps copies of your DNS information on a bunch of different servers so that when somebody enters your domain name, it quickly returns the IP address (sort of like a phone number) to visitors so that they can find (call) your website. This is so that people looking for your website can remember visitmysite.com rather than 123.1.34.56. When someone enters visitmysite.com in a browser, it looks up that name on your DNS hosting’s server and provides the IP address so that your website can be found.
Why is it important?
If you move your website to a different server, for any reason, you have to have this information to re-point the DNS information to the correct IP address. Add it to your list of key website logins, you will definitely need it in the future.
Other facts about DNS Hosting:
In most cases your domain registrar will provide this service for free as part of their domain registration service, so your domain registrar and DNS host are often the same company utilizing the same website logins.
If you don’t know who is hosting your DNS you can usually find out with a WhoIs and look for the name server. Sometimes the name server is a bit cryptic, but you can usually figure out who it is by Googling the name server name.
Well known DNS Hosts?
Cloudflare, Rackspace, FreeDNS, ClouDNS and many major domain registrars such as GoDaddy and BlueHost.

Website Host (Control Panel)

What is it?
Web hosts are services that allow organizations and individuals to publish a website or web page on the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on web hosting servers.
Why is it important?
Clearly, if you need to make changes to your website, it’s important to have access to where the files and images are that make up your website. Without it, you cannot update your content.
Other facts about Web Hosting:
Websites with low traffic visitation are usually found on shared servers, often with dozens of other sites.  Busier ones may be on dedicated servers, with increased pricing. The login that controls your website is often called a dashboard or control panel.
Many domain registrars will also provide website hosting. So your registrar and web host are often the same company with the same login.
If you don’t know who is hosting your website, visit WhoIsHostingThis? and enter your domain. There you will see the name of the company who is currently hosting your website.
Well known Web Hosting Companies?

Coming next time: Website Logins Part 2 – FTP, WordPress, and email services.

Your 2018 Social Media Resolution

2018 social media resolution

 

2017 is officially over. Time flies, huh? It’s a great time to sit back and reflect on the year as a whole, namely your social media presence.  How many platforms have you been active on?  I mean really active on? What could you have done better (or more consistently?) How can you improve in the coming year? Let’s tackle your 2018 social media resolution!

Content Is King

The best way you can improve your social presence in 2018 is to make adding fresh content a priority. If you want to expand your page’s reach or more directly reach your existing followers, it all starts with content.  Keeping your page updated with fresh, relevant, and interesting information will keep your page growing and create the ideal environment for your followers to interact with your business (and each other) and share your content to their/other pages. You can’t expect new people to come to your page and want to keep up with you in the future if your page is only updated once a month, or if the content isn’t relevant or engaging. When it comes to your website, one of the best things you can do to boost your SEO is to create and add new content regularly. When formulating your 2018 social media resolution, adding fresh content regularly should top the list. 

Have Somewhere to Send People From Social Media

In 2018, you need to make sure that you have somewhere that your social media platforms are directing people to.  Whether it’s a Shopify store or a website, it needs to be high-quality enough that visitors don’t bounce immediately after landing on the homepage.  There needs to be thought put into all of the calls-to-action and anywhere that potential customers may be submitting anything (contact forms, specific requests, etc.)  Utilizing a Facebook Pixel for your site will be invaluable when measuring how effective your Facebook presence and/or ad campaigns are when it comes to conversions and getting people to your website. Using Google Analytics to track conversions and other activity on your site is mandatory if you’re serious about improving your digital marketing.  Long story short, add improving your website to your 2018 social media resolution.   

Facebook Ads Will Give Your Business A Boost

If your business has been on Facebook for any length of time, you’ve been bombarded with requests to “boost” certain posts to increase reach and engagement.  While you can do the equivalent of throwing money at the problem of lackluster reach/conversions, there are more effective strategies that you can adopt. At Alter Endeavors, we have multiple approaches (depending on your specific business, pass-through budget, and goals) that are formulated to have maximum effect while still being cost effective.  Facebook ads can definitely be a headache if you aren’t experienced, but if leveraged correctly, can help grow your business tremendously.  If you’d like to explore your options with Facebook Ad campaigns or just talk through your personal goals, give us a shout! We’re happy to help.

Reviews And Review Sites

As a business owner, reviews and review sites are important to think about.  In 2017, 93% of consumers read local reviews to decide if a business is good or not. Keeping that in mind, did you monitor your business’ Yelp page in the last year? What about your reviews hosted on Google? In 2018, dedicate a portion of your time to monitoring and responding to reviews. Facebook reviews are easy to monitor as they’re already on a platform you’re using and it’s easy to strike up a conversation or relationship with the person who left the review. Just because it’s the most convenient doesn’t mean it’s less important! Yelp and Facebook are the most trusted review sites for US consumers, and people visit your Facebook page for more reasons than to just check reviews, so make sure that you respond professionally and promptly to Facebook reviews! When it comes to Yelp, reviews cannot be removed or hidden by the business.  Because of this, your response is vital to creating a relationship with the reviewer, especially if the review was negative.  In short, managing reviews is a big part of your 2018 social media resolution. If you aren’t sure how to respond to negative reviews or just don’t have the time, give us a call!  We specialize in reputation management and will create a strategy unique to your business.

At Alter Endeavors, we love helping business’ improve their social strategy. Even more so, we love watching your business grow as a direct result of improving your strategy, utilizing ad campaigns, and improving your website.  If you have any questions about your current social media presence, or what the best way you could improve your digital marketing, drop us a line!  We’d be happy to talk you through your options and would love to work with you in the new year.  Happy New Year, y’all!