Posts By: Thoughtwire News

Twitter Hopes Moments Will Attract New Users

Posted on October 7, 2015 by - Social Media

Moments

 

Since it launched in 2006, Twitter’s platform has shown a unique capability to break news and provide real-time commentary on live events. Within hundreds of millions of tweets exists citizen reporting, cultural jokes, live commentary on sporting events, protests and TV shows, just to name a few. The content that exists on Twitter is wonderful, if you know who to follow.

It can take time to find the right people to follow on Twitter and customize your timeline to where you can stay current on stories that interest you. As Twitter Product Manager Madhu Muthukumar puts it, “We know finding these only-on-Twitter moments can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t followed certain accounts. But it doesn’t have to be.”

Enter Twitter’s new feature, Moments. According to Muthukumar’s blog, the goal is to help people “find the best of Twitter as easily as tapping an icon – regardless of who you follow.” When you tap the new lighting bolt tab you’ll see trending Moments, which are basically a series of tweets on a specific topic. Swipe through the tweets to access relevant images, videos, links, vines or GIFs. Following a Moment will insert that series of tweets into your timeline and allow you to swipe through to gain context about a trending event without having to leave your timeline.

Following a Moment will allow even the most experienced Twitter user to gain quicker insight and context on an event that they tune into midway through or on a story that their followers aren’t discussing. Although for now, Moments are basically trending stories that Twitter recommends, anyone can create one. David Pierce, from Wired, wrote a very insightful article on this new feature and commented:

“Anything a tweet can do, a Moment can do. You can tweet them – they up as cards, like a picture or a poll – or embed them, send links to them, pin them, search for them, whatever. They’re just tweets in a row. Anyone can make them.”

It’s almost certain that we’ll see brands, news organizations and major influencers begin to create Moments. How the masses utilize it will determine its success and how Twitter decides to further update it. Twitter’s “While you were away” and “Discover Tab” features have previously attempted to give users more context and allow them to engage with trending topics easier. Make no mistake, Moments is another attempt by Twitter to lure in new users by making it easier for them to follow specific stories and accounts. If it works, it could fundamentally change the platform. If it doesn’t, Twitter’s loyal (but much smaller than Facebook) following will still use the platform, but keep it hundreds of millions of monthly active users smaller than Facebook.

Although Twitter isn’t the top dog, it is a very important platform for breaking news, live commentary and cultural references. For brands, Twitter is very powerful as well. 98% of Interbrand 100 companies use Twitter, tweets have the capability to show up in Google search and Moments will give brands even more of an opportunity to tell their stories.

Google X: Searching for More

Posted on October 7, 2015 by - Marketing

Google X

For many of us, a sneak peek into Google X would look a lot like a science fiction movie set. This division of Google is dedicated solely to innovation on a massive scale. The prerequisites for their projects include needing to affect millions, if not billions, of people and resembling something from sci-fi. Behind Google X’s innovations are valuable lessons to be learned. Let’s take a look at a few of their latest innovations and how we can learn from them.

Project Loon

Project LoonHow do you give everyone access to the Internet? Google’s answer to this question comes in the form of Project Loon. In a nutshell, Project Loon uses specialized weather balloons launched into the stratosphere to provide Internet access. By being in the stratosphere, the weather balloons can take advantage of natural winds in order to travel to the required areas and are safe from planes or natural disasters. This means that even when a hurricane destroys your telephone lines, Project Loon can provide you with the Internet required to contact emergency services.

The Lesson: There are multiple solutions to any given problem. Embrace them all to find truly unique innovations.

Self-Driving Cars

Google's Self-driving carObviously driverless cars were already an idea from science fiction, but that’s not the only reason Google X sought out to create them. It came from trying to solve a problem by ignoring other tactics. Google X wanted to find a way to stop automobile accidents, but needed to do so in a non-incremental fashion. While other companies created assisted parking and radar detectors on cars, Google worked to remove human error from the equation entirely. You can either help someone drive a car or drive it for them.

The Lesson: Sometimes ignoring the obvious and easy solutions can lead you to an even better one.

Modular Phones

Project AraHow do you stop technology from advancing so fast and requiring consumers to purchase new tech every few months? You begin by rethinking how you make that technology. That’s where Google’s Modular Phones began their ongoing journey. Instead of forcing customers to buy a new phone to receive new features, what if they could just buy the new features? These phones allow owners to purchase features for the phone in order to upgrade it. So you want that shiny new camera on the latest phone, but don’t want to spend $200+ to get it? Then try spending $25 to upgrade your camera on your existing modular phone.

The Lesson: Adaptability is king in a world surrounded by technological innovation.

Free SEO Tools: Optimizing Your Website

Posted on October 2, 2015 by - Development, Websites

If you haven’t already learned about Conversion Rate Optimization, now is the time to start. Testing different versions of your website is one of the easiest ways to maximize a website’s ROI. Whether you are writing new content, using new pictures or changing button colors, your website can always be improved to bring you more revenue, clicks, etc.

While Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) sounds complex, implementing it can be easy. Try it for yourself right now!  Optimizely is one of the most well-known CRO appliations available for free. The tool makes it easy for users to make basic edits to their website, then test those edits to see if it boosts conversions. Just type in your website’s URL in the tool to begin changing your website around.

Optimizely is free if your website receives less than 50,000 monthly visitors. This isn’t an advertisement for Optimizely though, this is a way to show business owners that CRO is for everyone. The tool is very user-friendly and makes it easy to start editing your website right away.

Take the picture below as a prime example of easy CRO. This is an edit to Thoughtwire Media’s homepage that took less than 2 minutes to perform. The products have been rearranged and the hosting column has been eliminated entirely. Let’s suppose that if we tested this new homepage that we saw a 15 percent increase in traffic to Thoughtwire Media and a 2 percent decrease in bounce rate. You can bet that we would implement this new page design as quickly as possible.

Thoughtwire Media Edited Page

Edited Thoughtwire Media Homepage

Thoughtwire Media Home Page

Original Thoughtwire Media Homepage

 

Basic changes like this to your company’s website can cause small 2 and 3 percent increases in goal completion per page. If you add up those small increases on every page, you may find that after a few months of CRO, your website is generating much more revenue. Even if changing button colors only increases revenue by 1 percent, isn’t it worth it? In the world of CRO, a little bit of testing can truly go a long way.

Interested in optimizing your website and increasing revenue? Contact Thoughtwire Media today to talk about how your website can make you more money.

Making Charity Easy

Posted on September 30, 2015 by - Websites

DonationWith great power, comes great responsibility. This saying is just as true for the power of the Internet and its applications. Over the years, we have seen Internet communities rally to support causes and projects they believe in through crowd-funding. More recently, however, we have seen companies beginning to use the internet to connect with customers by charitable means. We want to highlight a few easy ways for you to contribute to charities without changing any aspect of your daily life or requiring you to donate money.

Donate a Photo

When a company typically sponsors a charity, it is in the form of matching donations or allocating a percentage of profits. Johnson & Johnson has taken a different approach with its Donate A Photo website and app. The premise is simple: you take any photo and “donate” it. When you donate a photo, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1.00 to the cause of your choice. Your photo is not used for promotional purposes and can only be seen by others who donated a photo to the same cause. Each cause has a goal and tells you exactly how close it is to completing that goal. You can donate one photo every day. Instagram has over 75 million daily users. If every one of them donate the same photo they post, every single cause would meet its goal in less than one day.

Charity Miles

For those of us who run, walk or bike throughout our day, Charity Miles is a great way to give back. Simply select a charity, turn on the app and commence with your running, walking or biking. You don’t need to set up an account to begin. If you use a bike, $0.10 is donated per mile. Runners will have $0.25 donated for every mile ran. If exercise if a part of your daily routine, you can end up donating hundreds of dollars simply by staying healthy.

SurveyMonkey Contribute

Everyone has points throughout their day when they are bored. Fill those moments by filling out surveys on SurveyMonkey Contribute. You simply create an account, select a charity and start filling out surveys. For every survey completed, $0.50 is donated to the charity of your choice. You also are entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card for every survey you complete! Each survey can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, but every cent goes to helping those in need. So even if you take one survey in the morning and one in the evening, you will end up donating $365/year to the charity of your choice.

If the average person (who walks about 2 miles per day) used all three of these organizations daily, they could easily donate $1,000/year. Not to mention that using all of these takes less than 5 minutes to do! So if you are looking for a way to donate more to charity, consider using these easy, free methods to help others.

Why You Need Schema Now

Posted on September 25, 2015 by - SEO, Websites

Periodic Table of SEO

 

Earlier this month we heard rumblings of a new change in Google’s algorithm thanks to a Hangout with Google Switzerland’s John Mueller (read more about the talk here). While no announcements have been made, what was said may create a new checklist item for SEO workers. The importance and utility of structured data and Schema has long been understood, but it may become a part of Google’s ranking algorithm. In order to understand what it means, we need to break this down into a few parts and answer some questions.

What is Structured Data?

Structured data (synonymous with Schema) is simply a very clear way to tell search engines what your website is. Typically, search engines crawl your website looking for keywords, titles, headings, etc. to find out what your website deals with in order to rank it. As a website administrator, you can add code to your website that clearly tells search engines your company name, hours, phone number, address and even cite specific reviews. This data then helps search engines place you in rankings and even show your information more clearly. For instance, if someone searches “ABC Restaurant hours” and ABC Restaurant has informed Google what their hours are, Google can display the hours of the restaurant without requiring the user to comb through search results to find this information.

Why Do I Need Schema?

Currently, the biggest benefit of Schema is given to users. While it allows companies to somewhat control their search engine presence, it eliminates a barrier between a user’s question and the answer. By doing this, not only are you helping search engines display your information, but you are answering some of the most common questions asked by your customers (both potential and current). Every company should be using structured data because it is an easy way to clarify what your website stands for, which both customers and search engines appreciate.

What if I Don’t Have Structured Data?

What Mueller’s comments suggest is that not having structured data could very well hurt your search rankings in the long run. While your rank is not affected by structured data yet, in the future it may be. Suppose that your company sells used cars. If you are Google and are trying to match a user’s question of “Used Cars near me”, would you rather show them a website that has clearly told you it sells used cars or take a chance that your algorithm has correctly defined another website. For Google, there is no guesswork in showing the website with structured data. If you are the company without Schema, it makes perfect sense for Google to rank your competitor above you.

If your website has yet to add structured data, contact Thoughtwire Media to begin helping your customers find you.

Seeing the Future of Responsive Websites

Posted on September 23, 2015 by - Websites

Responsive Website Design

 

With a few months having passed since mobilegeddon, now is the time to start looking at the future of responsiveness in websites. Search engine results are now customized based on what device you use, but only to a certain extent. As search capabilities are delivered to more and more devices, how will algorithms adapt? While no announcements have been made, it is expected that search algorithms will change to tailor results to TVs, gaming consoles and even cars.

Earlier this month, Apple announced that Siri would be integrated with the new Apple TV. While this may seem like a small step, it could mark the beginning of a major search market. If customers embrace this search technology, it would not be surprising to hear that Google will change their algorithm to rank “TV-friendly” websites. Perhaps instead of mobile-only websites, companies may begin creating TV-only websites. This will cause companies to embrace responsiveness as a standard instead of a trend.

Back in 2014, Dominos worked with the Xbox One to develop an application that allows users to order pizza while gaming without interrupting the experience. This was the first time we saw non-gaming companies beginning to integrate with gaming consoles. More and more, companies are finding ways to integrate themselves with alternative forms of media. With search capabilities only growing on gaming consoles, we may eventually hear about algorithm edits to help rank “gaming-friendly” websites.

Only recently has Wi-Fi become available in vehicles, so it is ripe time for speculation. Just like with gaming consoles, as search becomes more available in vehicles we might see companies developing websites that do not interfere with the driving experience. For instance, restaurants might begin to develop a “website” that allows drivers to make reservations at a nearby location while driving. Perhaps GasBuddy will adapt their application to find the cheapest gas near a driver that takes into account a vehicle’s MPG. As search becomes more and more integrated with vehicles, search engines may once again adapt their ranking algorithm.

The future of the responsive website may be one that not only adjusts to screen size, but one that adjusts completely to the device. Whether you are searching for walkthroughs on your Xbox or finding the top 10 parks while driving, the idea of responsiveness will continue to change, with search algorithms following closely behind.

Lessons Learned from CRO Case Studies

Posted on September 18, 2015 by - Development, SEO

Conversion Rate Optimization

 

Testing different versions of your website’s design and content is an important step in improving your website and increasing revenue. Unfortunately, most people do not have a site that generates enough traffic to run these tests easily and quickly. In the world of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), there are plenty of lessons to be learned by the experiments ran on other websites. Look below for some of the lessons you can take away from CRO case studies.

Advertise Your Most Appealing Offer

Every company wants to know what they have to offer customers to maximize their revenue. By using different versions and offers during an experiment (read more here), Electronic Art’s The Sims™ was able to identify which of their offers appealed most to their customers. By displaying that offer prominently, they were able to increase their game registrations by 128 percent. The lesson here: performing a simple content-switch experiment can lead to great results.

Pricing Page > Prices

In this study for Basekit, a redesign of their pricing page led to a 25 percent increase in purchases. They were not testing a new pricing model or seeing how a new offer might perform. All the company had to do was change their pricing table to a more modern, clean structure in order to increase sales. If you have a basic spreadsheet-like design for a pricing table, consider a heavy redesign to increase sales.

Never Doubt Color Psychology

Button color tests are one of the easiest and most profitable tests to run. Take this test for example. By switching a sign-up button’s color from green to red, Performable was able to increase sales by 21 percent. If someone told you that you could earn 21 percent more money by changing a color, you might break a finger trying to change that color so fast. There is no single best color to increase profits, but button testing takes minutes to set up and can potentially have huge payoffs.

The point to all of these tests is to demonstrate how website experimentation tools like Optimizely can unlock the potential of your site. If changing a button’s color earned you more money, wouldn’t you do it? If advertising “Offer B” instead of “Offer A” increased your revenue, wouldn’t you rewrite your website? With each experiment you run, there is a chance to increase your revenue.  Those hidden increases are spread across every page on your site. If you are interested in getting the most out of your website, contact Thoughtwire Media today to discuss how to optimize your website.

Quick Tips to Use YouTube for SEO

Posted on September 17, 2015 by - Marketing, SEO

YouTube Logo

 

In an age when video dominates how people receive information, SEO experts have looked to YouTube as another tool to be optimized for search engines. YouTube SEO is still a new field, but already there are tips and tricks to making your videos work for you. Whether your company is currently running a YouTube channel or is still in the planning stage, here are a few quick tips for using YouTube for SEO purposes.

Use Keywords in Your Video

No matter what type of SEO you are doing, keywords are king. Even with YouTube, including the right keywords in your title, description and video are important. Make sure to write long descriptions for every one of your videos (over 150 words) and include keywords in those descriptions. Also be sure to include your company name, address and contact information in the description of your video. If you want to take it one step further, then you can work to actually use certain keywords in your videos. By using keywords in your videos, Google will use its auto-caption technology to capture those keywords and associate them with that video. You can even transcribe your own videos if you want to be sure those keywords are captured.

Choose Your Topic Wisely

Your topic is even more important than your keywords. Your company does not want to be competing for markets of millions of customers. Finding a niche market in your industry that would benefit from videos the most is the best method for success. Use this SerpStats tool to discover what topics are best for your industry. Be sure to click the “only questions” filter once you enter your search term to discover what questions customers might be asking. Use your videos to answer those questions.

Understand How YouTube Recommends Videos

Now it’s time to understand how YouTube ranks videos. The best thing to understand is that subscriptions hold far more SEO power than likes. If YouTube sees that a viewer subscribed to your channel after watching a video, that video will rank much higher than if that viewer simply liked it. You need to build your YouTube campaign around gaining subscribers. So instead of doing a company overview video, create a playlist of specific videos that detail your company’s products. Be sure to answer industry questions and consider making a “Debunking ______ Myths” series to continually answer questions viewers might have. By building video series instead of single videos, you give viewers more reason to subscribe instead of like.

YouTube SEO is still a new field that is constantly changing. If you or your company needs help building a YouTube community, contact Thoughtwire Media today.

The Importance of Photographic SEO

Posted on September 16, 2015 by - Marketing, SEO

Photographic SEO

 

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the list of tips and tricks can stretch a mile long, but they will forever be overshadowed by one fact: content is king. What you put on your site to gain a visitor’s interest will prove more useful than any SEO tactic. Ask yourself this question: “If my website had the first search engine result for my industry, would I be able to keep it by engaging users?” The fact is, even if SEO strategies work perfectly to drive traffic to the website, if your content does not engage that traffic then SEO is pointless. The best way to engage your visitors is through your visuals. We are going to talk about Photographic SEO, or the practice of using your website’s visuals to help SEO efforts.

Taking a Clean Picture

For many small businesses, the photos that are used on their website are taken by the owner on a basic $100 camera. The sad truth is that visitors can spot this instantly. When it comes to Photographic SEO, hiring a professional photographer to take the pictures for your website can do wonders. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but clean, crisp photographs build a sense of professionalism to your site that builds trust and portrays quality. If you cannot afford to hire a professional photographer, then Shutterstock and iStockPhoto may become your best friend. If you plan on using stock photos, however, make sure that you exclusively use stock photos. If visitors see a high-resolution, edited photograph next to your cheap camera’s photo, the progress is destroyed.

Showcasing Your Business

Clean, quality photographs on a website are pointless if they do not show visitors what they want to see. Imagine navigating through a hotel’s website, but only seeing pictures of the outside or the surrounding area. Even if the pictures are absolutely beautiful, you won’t be purchasing a room until you see the inside. Better yet, imagine shopping for a car online, but never seeing an image of the entire car or the interior. Your pictures need to showcase what your business has to offer. If you are selling products online, then make sure to take multiple picture from different angles of each product. If you sell services then showcase customers using that service. Until a visitor sees what they are getting for their time and money, they won’t spend either.

If you are worried that your website’s visuals aren’t leading to sales, contact Thoughtwire Media online or by phone at (800) 367-2570.