How to use great images to grab attention online

Does a picture paint a thousand words? If you choose wisely it does

In this fast paced 24/7 world our brains are overloaded with information and images are much better than words at grabbing our attention. The stats are in and a social media post accompanied by a photo is ten times more likely to get engagement. With many websites opting for a ‘clean’ look these days, there is a lot of white space on the page. Colourful images will ‘pop’ against a white background.

colourful child

 

The must-have for engaging images

Just like you were taught to make eye contact when speaking to someone, images that make eye contact are more successful online. Take for example a recent split test ad that we ran on Facebook. We used the same text and copy but two different images. The image below received twice as many likes as the alternative.

Images help your audience remember your message

Studies show that people only remember 10% of what they hear once three days have past. However, if you pair a relevant image with your copy, people can remember 65% of the information after three days. That’s a massive improvement.

Adding graphical elements to your article can help highlight key points, illustrate a concept or even trigger an emotional reaction from your reader.

brain memory graphic

Remember, even the most avid book lover will tend to scan and skim online, so photos can also help to break up large, intimidating walls of text and add visual interest and aesthetic appeal to your online content.

There are many free image libraries you can use to obtain great web-quality images. Personally, I like www.getstencil.com even though it is a paid subscription. I can create great posts with their library of thousands of images despite the fact that my artistic skills are average at best.

Once last thought- make sure that the images you use across all your business platforms are consistent and fit with your brand persona. We know that potential customers and clients tend to visit multiple platforms before making a purchase- particularly for high value products and services.

What to look for when employing a website creator

pencils and notepads on desk

If it is the first time you have looked into having a website set-up, you may feel like you are entering a parallel universe. At first glance the do-it yourself option might seem like the best way to save your modest marketing spend, but how long is it going to take you? Do you really know what you’re doing? For starters you need great quality images and they don’t come cheaply. Copying and pasting from Google images is just not going to cut it.

When all is said and done, most small businesses are only going to need about five pages, a home page, a services page, a blog, a contact page and a review page. You don’t need a website like Apple if you’re a landscape gardener from Mudgee, so don’t pay for more than you need.

You need to make sure your website is search engine optimised from the outset and this is where hiring a professional makes sense. We have clients that have come to us wanting our help to improve 5-year-old websites that are still ranking poorly with Google. That’s why getting it right at the start means you’re not losing five years’ worth of valuable leads.

What questions should I be asking?

What does the designer’s website look like?

Do they practice what they preach? Is their site performing? You might wonder how you can tell. An easy way is to type their website address into the Google Pagespeed Insights test- a good performing site should score at least 80/100.

They should ask you for a brief

This might seem unnecessary for a basic website but a good website should fit with your brand persona and also be designed with your target audience in mind. If your target audience is largely male, then lots of pink and whimsical fonts is not going to work. The other benefit of a good brief is that it eliminates the tooing and froing as your designer is more likely to get the look and feel right with the first or second version. Knowing the scope of your project and what you want in terms of looks and functionality are key in finding the professional who is best qualified to help you.

 

 

The 5 best free WordPress SEO plugins

brandsol 5 best SEO

 

Search Engine Optimisation might sound very high-tech, but all it really means is that you want your website content to be as lightweight and load as quickly as possible in order to get the green light from Google.

There are a number of free plugins (think of them like apps you download onto your phone) that make your website function more efficiently. This can include plugins that reduce image size (without compromising on quality), plugins to clean up any unnecessary background text and the most useful of all- a plugin that allows you to customise the text that appears in the Google search results.

SEO by Yoast

Many would agree that this is the best SEO plugin bar none- besides allowing you to customise the description that appears in Google searches, it also gives you feedback on every page on the readability, appropriate use of keywords and whether you have enough outbound links. Not only that, but Yoast SEO also has a little known feature which allows you to make sure the correct image is shown on your Facebook posts, which also helps with sharing on Pinterest.

W3 Total Cache

You might ask what on earth is a cache? You’re not alone- but if you want a fast loading website it is your best friend. Caching is a web technology which helps to load your website faster. Without a caching plugin, when a visitor opens a page of your WordPress website it loads everything related to your page such as sidebar, plugins, images etc. from the WordPress database. This means lots of messages going back and forth to the server which makes it work much harder than it has to- like driving around with the handbrake on. Having this plugin installed lightens the load on your website’s server. For this reason, it has been downloaded more than 1+million times. With this plugin you don’t really need to know how it works, just that it is a must-have.

Jetpack

This plugin as the name suggests, offers several great features in one to improve your website- site security, performance, traffic growth, image optimisation, appearance and a lot more. It also features enhanced distribution to third party services like search engines and helps to increase your reach and traffic. This means that search engines can easily find your site. Most importantly, it monitors your site every five minutes and notifies you of any issues found.

Akismet

If you have a blog where readers can comment, Akismet will check all comments and filter out any spammy comments. It’s free for personal sites and there are paid plans for commercial sites which have additional features.

WP Smush

The name might make you laugh but this plugin is another must have. Images really enhance the readability of your content and the look and feel of your website. Whilst they look great, images take up a lot of storage space and slow down the loading time of each page. What is so great about this plugin is that it compresses the size of the image without any noticeable effect on the image quality. You can set and forget- it will automatically ‘smush’ any image when you upload it. If you add it later you can also ‘bulk smush’ any existing images in one go.

In a nutshell

These are my suggested top 5 free WordPress SEO plugins. To really see what a difference they will make to your site I always like to suggest you do a before and after page speed test. Before you install them- visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and run a test. You are aiming for 80/100 or greater. Install these plugins and re-run the test. You might be surprised with the improvements- without costing you a cent!

I’d love to hear what your before and after results are.

 

 

How the recent changes to Facebook can benefit your business

Recent changes to Facebook mean that businesses need to be more savvy in their marketing efforts. It used to be the case that if you had 1000 followers every time you created a post all 1000 followers would see it. Sadly now the organic reach is as low as 2% and at most 10%.

This means that good, strategic paid advertising is your best bet if you want to increase page likes and drive website traffic. With some know-how, even a daily budget of $5 per day can get you some impressive results. The key is to leverage the lookalike audience option to hone in on potential customers who are most like your current visitors and followers.

Facebook is adding some great new metrics and page insights including landing page views and stats on whether or not visitors have been to your website previously. This is all very valuable information, particularly if you do re-targeting campaigns on Facebook.

Probably the most impressive new stat is Previews– the number of people who have seen your page without actually clicking on it.

The Facebook algorithm (tech speak for the formula Facebook uses to determine how many people actually see your unpaid posts) is increasingly favouring posts that are relevant to the user and not overly promotional. For instance if you own a dress shop- rather than creating a post that says “Our new wrap dresses are only $49.99” say something like “Looking for a versatile wardrobe staple that can be worn in a variety of ways? We have some great affordable wrap dresses that can be dressed up or dressed down to suit every occasion which means that your clothing budget goes further”.

The bottom line is to make sure your approach is data-informed but not data-driven. If you continue to offer relevant, engaging posts then Facebook is an invaluable marketing tool for any business.

 

5 top tips to boost your Facebook followers organically without spending a cent

It seems like the only logical way to grow your followers on the juggernaut that is Facebook is to splash some cash around.
Surprisingly, you can achieve organic growth by doing a few simple things that don’t cost a cent.
Smart marketers know the tried and true ways to make this happen and I’m going to share some of them with you.
1. This one is simple- ask your family and friends (on or off Facebook) to like your page. The average Facebook user has 200 friends. The multiplier effect goes to work and you are on your way.
2. This is an easy one- simply add an email link to your Facebook page. Make sure it is a hyper-link to your page.
3. Create a Facebook live video. The Facebook algorithm preferences live videos above likes and comments. It doesn’t need to be fancy- just a quick 5 minute grab with your ‘elevator pitch’ about your business.
4. Use proven techniques such as posting an image with a ‘caption this’ title. A quick search on Facebook will find posts that have been popular in the past. If you use a free tool like Canva you can also create your own professional looking posts and use any of their free images- #winning
5. Work out your ‘buyer persona’ and target Facebook groups that match your target group. This follows the ‘fish where the fish are’ principle.

There are many more ways to increase organic growth but implementing these five is a great start.