Duplicating Online Content: Always A Bad Idea 

By Steve Hoag

duplicating online content

Copying online content is just as bad as plagiarism in books. You may not get in nearly as much legal trouble, but there are huge potential repercussions. The point is, you should never copy content. Look at other articles for inspiration, but hitting Control + C and Control + V is the laziest and most ineffective way to build traffic and sales. Here’s why:

Search engines will filter out websites that copy content.

Search engines will actively filter out search results that have duplicate content. This means being lazy and copying from other websites won’t help improve your visibility or traffic. It will help your competitor’s though.

The number of undifferentiated competitors and content will increase, making life more difficult for sales and marketing.

Imagine this: Every best-seller in the world was copied word for word by competing authors. How do people pick between authors if they know that the will just end up reading the same exact book? At random? If all other factors are kept the same it means each author has essentially the same probability of selling their book. This means lower sales for everybody. The same thing can happen when it comes to copying online content. Not having a unique take on a subject doesn’t give a consumer any more incentive to look at your site over other options. In turn, this can impact the sales and marketing team’s ability to create compelling reasons to purchase your products. Copying content removes differentiators, making the most exciting company extremely mundane, and a hard sell.

Dramatically lowers the use of search engines for everyone.

The whole point of search engines is to display the best array of information available on a given topic. This can include different points of view, writing styles, source types, etc. Duplicating content reduces the usefulness of search engines by reducing variety. A fully informed consumer is one that has access to all views and sources, not one that can only see 500 duplicate articles.

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, December 27, 2013 12:37:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SEO SMB website

Analyze That: 2 More Great Solutions For your Website Analytics Toolbox 

By Steve Hoag

great website analytics solutions

Finding and implementing a great website analytics package is a must-have for any business that takes its website seriously. The go-to option is usually Google Analytics, but there are some other awesome (and sometimes free solutions) online. For instance:

Crazy Egg ($9-$99/month)

Crazy Egg’s main selling point is that it lets you build heat maps and track exactly where users are clicking. This is great for assessing your website’s usability. Being able to see which parts of your website are the most interesting is great for identifying areas to focus your efforts on. It can also help to improve website design and conversions.

Google Content Experiments (Free)

Google just loves giving away free tools. This is another great solution to implement if you want to test how changes in layout will affect clicks and sales. Formerly known as Google Website Optimizer, it has since been integrated with Google Analytics. It is one of the only A/B and Multivariate testing solutions on the market right now. GCE is great for small business owners who want to test out different ideas, and has a simple user interface. Set up can be a bit tedious, but the fact that it’s free and offers a ton of benefits makes it absolutely worth it.

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, December 20, 2013 4:25:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SEO SMB social media website

Why Should Your Business Invest in a Custom Website? 

By Steve Hoag

why business should invest in a custom website

A custom website is the way to go if your business wants a professional and unique online presence. Many people think that custom websites are extremely expensive, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are a number of affordable solutions out there. So why should you invest in a custom solution?

Custom websites offer a unique online presence.

Branding is all about carving out a niche for your company. Having a generic template design isn’t the best way to go about creating a unique online presence for your company. Custom websites allow you to work with a designer to design every single aspect of your website so that it matches your business vision. It’s a great feeling to know that your site is completely differentiated from any other business on the Internet.                                                                       

Custom websites are scalable.

Another benefit of a custom website solution is that many of them are scalable. That means they can grow with your business needs so you don’t need to invest in a new solution. Investing in a custom website now means saving time and money later on. You won’t have to worry about searching for a brand new product, or deal with migrating services, features, and content.

Custom websites offer extensive feature customization.

One of the biggest draws of a custom website is its customization capabilities. If you need a custom feature or widget, a developer can make it for you. You can add custom e-commerce storefronts, social media stores, news feeds, forms, blogs, showcases and many other cool additions. The only limits are your imagination and budget.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:07:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web development website

3 Must-Haves for The Ultimate Business Website 

By Steve Hoag

business website must-haves

There are a bunch of things that comprise a great website. Intuitive navigation, a good color scheme, and clean design are staples of design right now. But there are other must-haves that some businesses sometimes ignore like:

Responsive Design

With the growing popularity of using mobile devices to access the web, responsive design is becoming much more of a necessity. Responsive design basically means designing your website in a way that adapts to the screen of the device accessing it. A modern business website should be able to ensure that anyone can access and view it properly from any device. Responsive design will become a staple in the upcoming year, so get on the bandwagon while there’s still room. Otherwise people will view your site as backwards and you may lose out on valuable traffic.

Dynamic Content

Long gone are the days where websites were just images and text. Now every business website needs a variety of content that is consistently updated. Try to include media like videos, showcases, and blogs to keep visitors engaged when they visit your site. The longer a user is on your website, the more likely they are to turn into a sale.

Social Media Integration

Social media is essentially a must for any organization. Place social media badges at the header and footer of every page to ensure that users can connect with you quickly. Also, call to actions are great if you have enough room for them. ‘Like us on Facebook’ generates more engagement than a simple Facebook icon. Many users take to social media to find information on products and ask for purchasing advice. That’s why it’s important to make it easy for them to interact with you on a more personal level on social media.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:33:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media social media marketing web design web trends website

3 Common Web Design Mistakes To Avoid 

By Steve Hoag

There are a ton of great websites out there. There are also some really bad ones. When designing your company website you should take notes from both poles. Learning what NOT to do is just as important as finding out what to do in web design. Read on for techniques you should avoid:

Not enough contrast

You have a serious problem if users can’t read the text on your website because it is barely discernable from the background color. Few things are worse for user experience than not having enough contrast between content and background colors. Never pick a light grey font if your background is white. Similarly, don’t use neon colors for text. Unless burning the retinas of your visitors is your primary objective.

Employing design elements that impede the sale

Another classic mistake is making the sales process more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t impede the sales process with endless registration forms. You need to make it as simple as possible. Also, be sure to include instructions where applicable. Don’t keep your users guessing as to what they need to do next. That will just frustrate and drive them away.

Not using dynamic content

Content is king. You also want your content to be like heroin. In other words, something that brings users back again and again. The easiest way to do this is by using dynamic content like videos, showcases, infographics, and consistently updated blogs. Don’t let your content go stale or your traffic will too. Employing dynamic content is one of the best ways to build a solid base of organic traffic.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, December 13, 2013 7:40:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design website
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