Archive for the ‘Website Trends’ Category

The Value of Video for Your Website in Today’s Business Climate

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Today, guest blogger Bob DiGregorio of DiGregorio Productions is going to help us understand the ways in which video can bring life to our websites, positively impact our business images, and create potential for increasing the bottom line.

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bob-digregorio

Did you know that according to ReelSEO, video content accounted for 64% of all internet traffic in 2014? That’s impressive. What’s even more impressive is according to a new report from Cisco, by 2019, online video in the U.S. will be responsible for 85% of all internet traffic. Oh, and one more thing, a recent Ascend2 report says that 85% of companies found value and success in their video marketing strategy.

So, are you using video in your marketing?

With those statistics you need to start considering it. Now more than ever, video is a powerful business tool. What makes video so powerful is video can engage, entice, excite and entertain your audience in a way that text and photos never can. The evolution of online video is exploding, what ReelSEO found is companies that don’t include video in their digital marketing strategy are quickly being left behind. So what’s the deal? Why are companies finding it harder to compete just because they’re not using video in their digital marketing? Well, I’m glad you asked, we all know that the Internet has become one of the principal ways we communicate, entertain ourselves, and work. According to Statista Americans spend 11+ hours a day consuming electronic media. That’s huge considering that most of us are awake 16 to 18 hours a day. With most of the American population online, businesses need to go where the people are, today- that’s online. And, what are people doing online- watching video. Consumers are going to YouTube for how-to advice, Facebook for breaking news and to Instagram for behind-the-scenes video of their favorite entertainers. Those businesses that embrace a video marketing strategy are finding success and gaining an advantage over their competition.

I know, what does all this mean to me as a business owner? Well, it means that to compete in today’s world your business has to evolve and begin to develop a digital marketing plan that uses video content.

How is Video Being Used?

In the 2015 Video Marketing Survey Report by The Web Video Marketing Council, Flimp Media and ReelSEO they asked 350 businesses what the purpose of using video was in their online marketing, the results:

  • 80% Increase brand awareness and engagement
  • 65% Promote product and services
  • 61% Increase website traffic and SEO results
  • 57% Generate new sales leads
  • 55% As a sales collateral to educate prospects
  • 50% Website and landing page conversion
  • 10% Other

As you can see from the top three responses businesses are using video to stay top of mind to their customers, promote their products and services and increase SEO results. Video is perfect for these purposes because we can create short and memorable messages for little cost. You want short vignettes because these work best for digital and social media. According to ADWEEK, New York Fashion Week designers uploaded a mix of short and long form videos to Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. The results, the short clips, 30 to 60 seconds, brought in a total of 6,324 interactions. The shorter 15-second clips brought in a total of 5,466 interactions. With these results, it’s clear that these short vignettes are hitting and resonating with consumers.

Professionally-Made Video Delivers More Gains

Now, having said that- video is like anything else, the key is to put the time in, budget accordingly and follow through to make sure your video is professionally produced and proficient enough to get the positive results you’re looking for. Though video is extremely effective in building brand awareness and engaging your customer base, you need to be cautious. A poorly produced video can have the opposite effect. Today’s viewers see a lot of video and know the difference between good and bad video. They make decisions based on their interactions and information provided by a company. That said, a company that has a subpar website or a subpar video raises questions to that visitor. So you want to make sure to get the value out of using video in your digital marketing and social media; you want to produce a professional product.

Videos Deliver Super SEO Value

I know that video can be expensive so why use video in my marketing? Well, there are a few reasons. To begin with, the SEO benefits are huge. According to Search Engine Watch, videos that are properly submitted are 53 times more likely to generate a first page Google ranking than traditional SEO techniques. In addition, videos do have a high return on investment (ROI). 52% of marketing pros credit video as the type of content with the highest ROI. Why? Simple, metrics. You can see exactly how many people watched the video, how long they watched, if they engaged the call to action and a whole lot more. Also, video is replicable. Once the plan is created, repeating the ROI & SEO in the end:

  • a) doesn’t end and
  • b) doesn’t cost more.

That adds value because you’re not reinventing the wheel every time a new video is produced. With a solid infrastructure you replicate the distribution plan and maintain a solid and positive ROI.

Video Delivers a Longer-Lasting Image

Now with all of those benefits, the human aspect is huge too. First, when you use video in your marketing your audience will remember you. We have a great memory for short periods of time (“Look, something shiny!”). Marketers know this, well no surprise there. That’s why we’re pounded with close to 5,000 ads every day. Because of this marketers have to find a way to catch our attention. Not easy. Here’s why, according to Social Media Learning, people remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see and 70% of what they hear and see. Is it coming into focus now?

The second component to the human aspect is social media. Today you need a social media strategy. And, social media LOVES VIDEO! Let’s focus this a bit here, social media loves video because video is the primary driver of social media. Now, when planning a social media campaign for your video you need to remember that every video platform (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Vine) is different. Each platform requires different storytelling techniques.

Here’s a breakdown:

Platform Views per Video Average Engagement Video Length
YouTube 17 million 0.65% 12 minutes
Facebook 24 million 3.0% 1:28 minutes
Vine 10 million 2.1% 6 seconds
Instagram 1 million 430K per video max 15 seconds

So it is safe to say that people are watching video online. Think about this: if your customer’s are not watching your videos, they are most likely watching your competitors’. According to Jeffery Hayzlett of the Hayzlett Group, by 2016 online video users are expected to double to over 1.5 billion. By 2017, video will account for 69% of all customer internet traffic. Today, 76% of marketers are having website developers add video to their client’s websites. Pretty compelling, isn’t it?

To sum this all up, using video in your marketing is essential in today’s competitive market.


Robert DiGregorio, Jr. is Executive Producer at DiGregorio Productions, a multimedia creative in Marlborough, MA. Prior to founding DiGregorio Productions, Bob had worked in his own website and multimedia business called imageMATTE, worked in TV production for NECN, and gained corporate experience in a start up business that produced video for the top pharmaceutical companies in the USA where he also managed 20 freelance editors. Making videos has been in Bob’s blood since he was very young. He gained his first formal experience in his high school’s television studio, followed that with working at the local public access station, then moved on to studying video and communications in college where he earned degrees in Media Communications and Film & Television Production. Contact Bob at (508) 251-9045. Connect with Bob on Twitter or LinkedIn


CREDITS

  1. Carla Marshall, By 2019, 80% of the World’s Internet Traffic Will Be Video [Cisco Study] (ReelSEO: June 11, 2015)
  2. Cisco, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019 (Cisco White Paper 2015)
  3. Greg Jarboe, 85 Percent of Companies Find Success With A Video Marketing Strategy (ReelSEO: September 28, 2015)
  4. ReelSEO and Tubular Labs, 17 Tips for a Winning Video Marketing Strategy In 2015 (ReelSEO and Tubular Labs White Paper 2015)
  5. Felix Ritcher, Americans Use Electronic Media 11+ Hours A Day (Statista, March 13,2015)
  6. Web Video Marketing Council, Flimp Media and ReelSEO, 2015 B2B Video Content Marketing Survey Results & Trends Report (Published October 16, 2015)
  7. Lauren Johnson, These Fashion Week Designers Created Dazzling Facebook Videos As Well As Clothes, Lesson: show more runway, less backstage (ADWEEK February 19, 2015)
  8. social@Ogilvy and Tubular Labs, The Rise of Multi-Platform Video: Why Brands Need A Multi Platform Video Strategy (social@Ogilvy and Tubular Labs White Paper June 23, 2015),
  9. Benjamin Wayne, Search Engine Success: Getting Video SEO Right (Search Engine Watch Jan 27, 2010)
  10. How To Sell Your Boss On Video (Slate and Maine July 27, 2015)
  11. Jeffrey Hayzlett, Why Video Marketing is Key in 2014 (Hayzlett Group January 7, 2014)
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First LinkedIn Post

Monday, October 12th, 2015

This morning I wrote my first post for LinkedIn: “Why Website Redesigns Cost More Than you Expect“.

It is original content; my thoughts on the cost of a website redesign based on an article in SiteProNews about the tasks required to do a website overhaul.

For me, “overhaul” is a big, strong word, and does not describe what clients and prospects are thinking. In my experience, clients and prospects have used softer words like “tweak” and “modernize”, and even “re-design” to describe what they want to do with their websites. They envision a quick, inexpensive update to their website, and have no knowledge of the work that needs to be done in the background. My post explores the work and, hopefully, will enlighten businesses and professionals as to what it really takes to build a best-in-class redesigned website.

 

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From Facebook to Flazio…A good choice?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Recently, I have been talking about the Value of a Website in a Social Media World. For me, the topic rose to importance as I found myself responding more and more frequently to comments from clients like:

I’ve built up quite a following in the social media circles. Do I really need to maintain a website too?”

“xyz (social media website) has allowed me to add multiple pages and I have built up a website there. Why should I maintain a separate website?”

All my business is coming from contacts that I have in my social media circles. What do I gain by having a separate website?

Website with Value

Website by Adventures Online

There are a number of reasons for continuing to maintain your own website and 15 reasons are mentioned in The Value of a Website in a Social Media World post.

Primary among the reasons to maintain a website is that you have almost total control over your website that is hosted externally from the social media websites. You do not have control over the policies and procedures, limitations and allowances on any social media website. Your participation and pages at the social media websites are at the whim of the social media websites and they can change the game at any time.

And, when you want something beyond their limitations, you cannot pick up your website and go, because you don’t own the template. There are no “pages”. Your information is in a database and the social media website owns the template that then gets filled with your information.

Good News for (some) Facebook Users

Now there is a tool that helps you migrate away from Facebook and establish your website without starting from scratch. If you are one of the people who have invested a ton of time building your Facebook profile and Facebook business pages, and now you are ready to move on to something more sophisticated, or you are just concerned about the direction of Facebook and its policies, there is now a tool that can help you backup your Facebook presence and even use your Facebook profile and pages to create a wholly separate website.

John Biggs (@johnbiggs) has reported on TechCrunch that a company in Italy called Flazio has developed a website “builder” that will extract data and photos from your Facebook timeline, profile and pages and use those to build a starter website in one step:

…the cooler part is the Facebook app which allows you to export your feed or your private Facebook pages right onto the web. I tried it and it grabbed all of my photos and made a sort of portfolio of me by mashing up all my Facebook jazz.

The app is here and you essentially connect your Facebook account to the system and it drags your data and posts right off of your page.
Flazio, An Italian Web-Design Engine, Lets You Build A Site Through Your Facebook Page

Really? I wanted to see how this works, so, I clicked on the app. I can’t read Italian, but, I believe the first line on the Facebook app’s page says “Tired of the limitations of Facebook?” The app interface is in Italian. It creates your website on flazio.com. For example, it created karencallahan.flazio.com for me.

When you click the button (which I assumed said “Edit your website”), the new interface is in English with some Italian sprinkled around. When you edit the website,  the default template can be changed to another (there are about 3 dozen templates to choose from), the background, font and color scheme customized, Google+ account linked and Google map widgets installed instantaneously. All the things you would expect to include in a website are available to you through widget-like functionality.  Menu editing, upload images, upload PDFs, embed videos (both Vimeo and YouTube), connect to social media websites, include posts on social media websites, and more.

I played around with the interface for a little bit. The Flazio interface is easy to understand and has enough customizations for a beginner.  I did not test anything that I would consider advanced like embedding a PHP program that displays a portion of my blog on a sidebar.

Flazio Pro

After you have created a starter website, you can upgrade to the Pro version for a reasonable price. The primary reason I see for upgrading to the Flazio Pro version right away is the ability to have your own domain name (instead of yourFacebookname.flazio.com). With the Pro version, you have access to the HTML code (gives you more flexibility and control), eCommerce, password-protected pages,  and the web pages are free from advertising.

Flazio.com is a great first step towards independence from Facebook.

PROS

  • Re-purpose content: When you need more than Facebook offers, Flazio has a tool that let’s you benefit from all the hard work you have sweat into Facebook. The tool sucks out the content and photos and automatically creates an independent website for you.
  • End-User Control and First Step to Independence: The starter website is a good first step to becoming independent of Facebook. Although the information is extracted into another template environment, you have a little more control over sizes and areas on the screen and can move the content and graphics around and resize areas. And, since you’ll want to opt for the Pro version immediately (because you want your own personalized domain name), you will have even more control with access to the HTML. (I’m presuming here that Flazio does not limit the HTML that its tool can interpret.)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Having your content outside of Facebook gives you the opportunity to get found in the search engines 24 x 7, not just when someone is logged on to a social media website. (I’m presuming here, that Flazio will not block the search engines. Remember Google and Facebook don’t play together.)

CONS

  • Lack of Portability: You’ve moved from one template-driven environment to another template-driven environment, so, you still don’t have real pages that you can pick up and move intact to another server when (and if) you outgrow Flazio. Flazio retains the copyright.
  • Location of your new website: The website that is generated, gets created on a server in England (I traced my Flazio-created website to a server in England, and indeed flazio.com’s hosting location is England). From an SEO standpoint, the location of the server on which you house your website matters. So, having a website on a server in England is not beneficial from an SEO standpoint to my U.S.-based business.

I’m very excited about this tool and look forward to watching its growth.
I am intrigued by the concept that this brother and sister (Elisa and Flavio Fazio) have brought to life, and I see the possibilities. It is a clever business model. People want more choices than what are available via Facebook.  Flazio fills the gap by auto-creating the website, and in return makes a living on upgrades to the Pro version and advertising.

As a professional website developer, getting found on the Internet is paramount. Getting found is made easier with SEO and, part of that is having a website in-country. I look forward to a version of Flazio that has a radio button list of geographic locations that lets you choose the server for (and location of ) your Flazio-created website. I will connect with Flazio via social media so that I can continue to monitor its progress.

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CSS and HTML Today – PubCon 2010

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I recently attended PubCon 2010 in Las Vegas, NV.  The conference ran 8 tracks with 4 sessions every day. With 32 sessions to choose from eachday, it was a task to choose 1 session to the exclusion of 7 others.  

The frist session I attended was CSS and HTML Today. It was a panel of 4 industry experts moderated by Ralf Schwoebel. Each panelist presented info about different topics related to CSS and HTML. 

First up was Benj Arriola, SEO Director, Internet Marketing, Inc. 

SEO Tip from Benj: If you have multiple links on a page that link to the same page, only the text of the first link is considered by the search engines for ranking.  

Q: Does the order of your content inside the HTML document matter? 
A: Yes it does. Put the main content first, then float the left and right sidebars. Benj referred to A List Apart’s article,  Multi-Column Layouts Climb Out of the Box.  CSS facilitates the ability to put HTML document components out of order – and – have them display properly on the website.
CSS HTML Today Dawn Wentzell

Dawn Wentzell talking about Microformats

Next up was Dawn Wentzell, Senior Account Manager, Outspoken Media. Dawn spoke primarily about Microformats.

“A microformat…is a web-based approach to semantic markup which seeks to re-use existing HTML/XHTML tags to convey metadata [data about data] [1]… This approach allows software to process information intended for end-users (such as contact information, geographic coordinates, calendar events, and the like) automaticallymore from Wikipedia
  • Microformats are Structured Markup – Semantic markup
  • Google’s rich snippets enhance search results displays
  • Google supports microformats, RDFa, Microdata, Good Relations, Merchant Fees, XML sitemaps supported for videos
  • hCard
     

    • for people and places – address, phone, name, company – based on a vCard standard
    • Mark up your business address on your website with hCard (for Google) – saying since 2007. Google is actively scraping now for this information.
    • Linked IN is using hCard to to markup each person’s information
  • • hReview
    o Yelp, Amazon use hReview
     Reviews on movies, etc.
     See hReview code smoke in code – displays with stars
    o Markup testimonials on your website using hReviews
    • hCalendar
    o on your website events –
    o You actually get more screen real estate on Google search results when using hCalendar
    • hRecipe
    • hProduct – retail products – Combine with hReview – hProduct  just announced last week.
    • When implemented by more sites, people will be able to comparison shop in Google – by the information that Google supplies  in the SERPs
    • Use microformats – wide support in technology and Google’s Snippets
    • Very easy to implement
    • Increase in CTR from SERPs – click through rate increase – if your result has the microformat and others don’t – listing got better click through because listing looked different from the rest.
    • Con – other formats – developers like RDFa – which microformat will emerge as the leader?
    • Data is easier to scrape
    • Only Big Brands have rich snippets displaying in SERPs?? Check this out.

Ted Ulle – HTML5  

IETF – Internet … Task Force  

HTML 4 – 1999  

HTML 5
• Standardizes ERROR handling. All browsers will have the same response.
• Will standardize JavaScript APIs
• Common script functions move to the browser
2006 Google research discovered these standard definitions at websites
o <na>
o <header>
o <footer>
o <section>
o <article>
o <aside>
• Dynamically draw and update graphics with Canvas
• Tags for Magical Forms – Smart tags – autocomplete, placeholder, required, meter, search, email, urls, tel (telephones),
• Media will become browser-native
o Still arguing about format and patents (<audio>, <video>)
• Browser support –
o IE 9 – workaround (JavaScript) for older versions

CSS and HTML Today, a PubCon 2010 Session

Panelist Todd Kemp looking to Ralf Schwoebel (moderator) and panelists Ted Ulle, Dawn Wentzell, and Benj Arriolla for confirmation on one of his points.


Todd Keup – coding client side and server side. – jQuery  (magnifisites.com)  

• JavaScript Library –
• jQuery – easy to use and well documented.
o Code is minimized
o Get source code version
• jQueryUI – User interface for jQuery
• Use tutorials
• jQuery plugin – cycle – rotating carousel/marquee – control button on the bottom right

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HTML5 Presented by W3C Heavy-Hitter

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Woo Hoo! Got a reminder this am from a business colleague. We are heading to the Boston PHP meetup tonight for a presentation about HTML5, the next version of HTML.  This presentation is of very great interest to me because it is the language that the browsers use to display websites. (Even if a website is “written” in PHP, the PHP code generates HTML.)

The presenter is a W3C heavy-hitter, and, I have high expectations.  I am looking forward to learning new tricks and about upcoming capabilities that I can (eventually) incorporate into website and blog projects.

Description of HTML5 Meetup (taken from the e-mail reminder):

HTML5 is being developed as the next major revision of HTML. Along with technologies like SVG, CSS3, and various APIs, the HTML5 Platform aims at enabling rich Web applications, including with video and graphic animation. Major Web browsers are all rushing to implement this new wave.

Many great new features such as:

New HTML elements and attributes
Built in APIs like Drag and Drop, Video, Audio, and Geolocation
CSS3 goodies: New Selectors, Borders, Media Queries, Transformations, Transitions, etc.
Local storage: Web Storage, Indexed Database
Web workers
Video element
Canvas and its 2D API
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
WOFF, the Web Open Font Format
and much more…

This will be presented by Philippe Le Hegaret of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Philippe heads the team responsible for standardizing frontend Web technologies including HTML5, CSS3, SVG, WOFF, or Web APIs. He is a former Chair of the Document Object Model (DOM) Working Group and wrote the first version of the W3C CSS validator back in 1997.

I will report back here about the awesome stuff I learn!

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