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

November 6th, 2015 Karen Callahan

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)

1 Hidden Reason Well-Maintained WordPress Websites Break

October 26th, 2015 Karen Callahan

I have a couple of business colleagues whose very-well maintained WordPress websites have been breaking over the last year. Not their whole websites, just miscellaneous pieces like sidebar call-out areas that start to overlap each other, incorrect fonts displaying, text displaying in areas where there never was text before, and images suddenly not displaying or moving out of bounds.

What do they have in common?

  • The websites are built on the WordPress platform.
  • WordPress is upgraded shortly after each new release is announced.
  • Only popular plugins of proven quality are included in their websites.
  • The plugins are updated after each new release is announced.
  • They conservatively re-size images before uploading them into posts and pages.
  • Their websites have been serving them well for 4 – 5 years.

They are doing everything right, so, why are their WordPress websites breaking?

The short answer because WordPress has changed with technology and the underlying definitions of their WordPress websites (their themes) have not.

What? WordPress gets out of Synch?

Yes — and — No. The WordPress core is still fabulous. It is the custom theme area that frequently does not get updated.

Websites Most at Risk
Websites developed on 100% custom-defined themes.
Websites Least at Risk
Websites developed on premium WordPress themes.

Exception: If a website is based on a “Premium” theme like Genesis, Canvas, or Thesis, chances are the website will not display poor communication between the core and the customized theme. This is because Premium Themes cost money, and the developers work hard to keep the theme in synch with the latest release of the WordPress core.

Visualizing the Problem

When WordPress is installed, it creates folders and files that run the WordPress ‘modules’. (Together, the modules are referred to as the ‘core’.)  It also creates folders and files that are reserved for each business to customize as they want.

So, for example, from the top level of a website hosting account, you’ll see 3 folders and lots of files.

WordPress installed folders and files

Fig. 1

The top folder, bottom folder and the files in this folder make up the WordPress ‘core’. The wp-content folder is the one that is reserved for businesses to customize as they like.

A peek inside the wp-content folder reveals more folders and a file.

wp-content folder in WordPress

Fig. 2

The most important folder in Fig. 2 (for today’s topic) is the themes folder. That is where all the files that have been customized or custom-written from scratch to make your website look like your website live.

An example of what the inside of a themes folder looks like is:

custom theme folder in WordPress

Fig. 3

So, this isn’t a lesson in WordPress folder contents. This is to give you a visual on what is happening. You see that there are a good number of files in your custom theme folder. When WordPress was initially installed, these files were 100% in sync with all the other files that were created at that time.

The Problem

These ‘theme’ files never get updated. In the meantime, all other folders and files surrounding these (see Fig. 1) are updated at least once per quarter.

Eventually, an imbalance occurs. It’s like the files that haven’t been updated speak an ol’ dialect that was abandoned years ago, while the files that are getting updated speak the contemporary language with street slang and all. When this occurs, your website looks like it is misbehaving and conditions similar to those mentioned in the first paragraph manifest.

The Solution

You need to reset the files so that they speak the same language. How do you do that? By rebuilding your website using themes that are made for the most recent version of WordPress.

Yep. A lot of work. You know from my recent post, “Why Website Redesigns Cost More than you Expect“, that rebuilding a website is nearly the same as building a new one from scratch, so, while you have to do that, freshen the design and add components that demonstrate you know what is going on in the Internet world. Remove components that make you look like you are hugging the trees. And, finally, add a line item in your yearly marketing plan to discuss the ‘aging’ of your customized WordPress theme with your WordPress developer, and make a plan.

Don’t let your aging, custom WordPress theme be the hidden minion that causes mayhem with your website and negatively impacts the perception of how you do business!

PHP Programming Helps the Chamber Streamline Processing

October 15th, 2015 Karen Callahan

An interesting PHP programming project that I recently completed was for the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. The business goals were to:

  1. Consolidate the steps required to upload membership information to the website
  2. Provide mechanisms for Chamber staff to be able to
    • Upload the membership information themselves (without technical intervention)
    • Do the upload on demand, whenever they wanted

The Importance of the Membership Upload

The Membership Upload not only updates the list of members, but also populates the table that holds the list of members’ discounts and another table that stores valid business codes. Information uploaded during the process is used to display the Business Code selections on the Find a Member page, the search results on the Find a Member page, and the list of members participating in the EMB (member discount) program. So, if the program were to fail, there would be unsightly voids and misbehaving functions on the website.

Starting Membership Upload Process

Previously, the process took two people, one Chamber staff person and the web (technology) person, and four steps, and, would take about 1/2 day to complete due to schedules. Due to the human intervention required, it was run/done only once per month.

The Chamber staff person would extract member information from the in-house chamber management software into a tab-delimited text file, then email the file to the web person.

When the web person received the file in email, the file was download to the desktop and tested for being ‘text-only’ and ‘tab-delimited’. If it did not pass those two tests, an email was sent to the Chamber contact and a new extract file was created and sent to the web person, and the test was run again.

membership upload text file

Once the correct file format was determined, the file was manually edited in order to eliminate quotes and other extraneous text. The file was then uploaded to the Chamber’s website via FTP along with a specially-written upload PHP program. The upload program was run. Then the web person would test for success by using the Find a Member program on the Chamber’s website. When all was working as desired, the specially written PHP program was deleted from the directory, and the Chamber was notified of the successful update.

New Membership Upload Process

The new Membership Upload process requires one person, a Chamber staff member, and 1-2-3 easy steps. The staff person clicks a button (a saved macro) in the chamber management software that extracts the information into a tab-delimited text file and saves it on their desktop. The person logs into WordPress and clicks the Upload Member Info button on the Dashboard. The progress of the upload displays to them on the screen, and they can print the screen for their future reference. Done. The PHP membership upload program manages all the manipulation and editing that was previously completed manually .

After completing the project, all of the Chamber’s business goals have been met, and Chamber personnel can upload membership information multiple times per day or not, as they choose.

First LinkedIn Post

October 12th, 2015 Karen Callahan

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.

 

2015 WordCamp Rhode Island was GREAT!

September 28th, 2015 Karen Callahan

Photos from Saturday’s day of presentations at the 2015 Rhode Island WordCamp. Only got a few as I was running around greeting, directing traffic, and making sure there was plenty of food, snacks, and beverages.
wordcamp-ri-20150927-opening-remarks

Aaron Ware, President of Linchpin starts the day off in gratitude thanking the WordCamp’s 2015 sponsors during his opening remarks.

wordcamp-ri-20150927-super-awes

At 3:30PM Robbie Moore explained how he uses three pieces of paper to go “From Ultra Boring to Super Awes”.

wordcamp-ri-20150927-Tony-Mazzarella-

This is Tony Mazzarella of Wanna Pixel Inc giving great tips to WordPress beginners on how to select and manage clients.

 

The gift of the day…
wordcamp-ri-20150927-chelos

Gorgeous Moonlight over the bay as seen from Chelo’s Waterfront during the awesome After Party!