Last week, we launched a new website for Lane Leaders! Lane Leaders is an exclusive “one business per category” referral and networking group that we were honored to become a part of a little more than a year ago.
In just a few months, Deanna earned an award for being “Rookie of the Year” and throughout the pandemic, she has been moderating the ZOOM meeting sessions once a week (at 7am), working hard to help ensure that everyone stays connected.
The new website became a labor of love for our entire team and we’re very proud of it. It will promote and support the myriad of small businesses that are fellow members, and who we have become very fond of throughout the past year. We are now moving on to phase 2 of this project, which is for members only.
The new site features an awesome Business Directory. If you are searching for a service, restaurant, consultant, and more — start with Lane Leaders. Every business is vetted and highly recommended! See it here.
What is the current state of your branding package? Is your logo responsive? Just like a website, a logo will benefit your business the most if it responds to mobile devices. If a website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing 91% of customers will turn to a competitor.
In a world where screens come in all manner of shapes and sizes your logo will benefit your bottom line the most if it is recognizable and memorable everywhere. However, this means much more than making your logo larger or smaller to fit the screen. Your logo will best serve your business if it is responsive and adapts to any use-case accordingly.
Image Source: https://medium.com/@jackanto/responsive-logo-must-to-follow-4901cb0cfcbc
A branding package is much more than just a set of pretty graphics made for your business. Logo packages should be designed to serve a purpose. A brand that functions well is like a digital storefront: When your brand is attractive, updated, and appealing it will help create a foundation of trust between you and your customer.
Even as late as 2015 most small businesses could get away with one version of their logo in one place: on the sign in front of their business. Today’s logos have to function better and accomplish much, much more than they used to. Over 50% of consumers surf the net on smartphones. If your logo can’t scale down to smaller screens you’re potentially turning away over half of your business.
Over 80% of customers view your digital storefront before they visit your actual business or make a purchase decision. For a website to scale effectively you need a logo that scales as well. Customers are more likely to trust you if your business is well-represented in all scenarios.
Responsive Logo Attributes
Every logo that has been designed to be responsive shares a few specific traits. Those traits, in order of importance are:
- A responsive logo is recognizable in black and white, even if the mark has color it must be recognizable and clean without it. Why? If your logo doesn’t work in black and white it won’t work well on different mediums such as laser engraving, wood and glass etching, and vinyl cuts.
- It must be recognizable at sizes as small as 32 pixels wide. Why? Because your logo needs to be recognizable from a distance as well as on small devices.
- There must be different versions for different media types in addition to versions that work well on any background. Why? Because your logo should be easy to use, it should look great on a photo, solid color, or on black or white.
- There must be an icon and a wordmark that can stand separate from each other and still be recognizable. Why? There are times where it isn’t appropriate to put your entire logo on a document or product. This is why it is best to have both text and an icon that can stand apart and still represent your business.
- There are versions that scale to large sizes effectively and add meaning as a logo gets larger. Why? Small marks, when scaled up, can often dominate space and be the center of visual attention in a bad way. They’re optimized for contrast at small sizes, but that contrast can be too much at large sizes. A great example of this is the Warner Brothers logo above.
Improve Your Customer Relationship with a Responsive Branding Package
A responsive logo and branding package can work wonders to improve the relationship you have with your customers and even increase the value of your product. Contact UplinkSpyder and we’ll make sure to set you on the right path with a logo for your business that communicates, is responsive, and is beautiful.
The whole world is spending more time online these days and that includes people who have nefarious intentions. So, here’s a quick reminder of the top 3 things you need to do to protect yourself. Starting with the most important.
Cybersecurity Tip 1. Password Security
Did you know that a very long password is better than a password that is complex? For instance: goatcheesetrampolineuncleocean is better than C0mpl3x!ty! But regardless, don’t use anything personally identifying in your passwords like your name, your job, your address, your kid, your dog. You get the idea.
Cybersecurity Tip 2. Password Security. So important it is on our list twice
Create a unique password for every single thing you log in to. Every single one. No, really. Use a password manager like LastPass to help you create and keep track of them (free). If you just rolled your eyes and said you never will do that, you aren’t alone, but you are at risk. At least follow our advice for any accounts that have your bank account, address, social security, or credit card information.
Cybersecurity Tip 3. Check Sender Identity
Most devious plots are hatched through email and, these days, mobile messages. So, take care to verify the sender before clicking on links, opening attachments, forwarding a message, or replying. Check the email address it is coming from. Check that any links are taking you to the place stated by hovering before clicking. Use a really good spam filter (or email program with a really good spam filter) in order to block most of the attacks. Most importantly, just take the time to think critically before acting.
There’s a reason why “Spyder” is spelled with the “y”. Security is important to us. We’ll send more tips in the future and if you’d like to schedule a ZOOM presentation for a team or group on the subject, let us know.
Search Engine Optimization – or the art of getting your website’s content to rank well – is a complex and misunderstood practice. Many variables make up the algorithm that determines how your content will rank against your competitors. However, one variable that is becoming more and more important is the readability, or reading level, of the content. How this is rated is by using the Flesch Reading Ease formula. Let’s dive into that a bit more.
Why is readability important to Google and other search engines? Because they want to deliver relevant content to their users AND they also want to provide interesting and engaging content that the user will want to read. If the user can’t read the content or finds it to be too hard to read, they will likely leave your site. Google doesn’t like this.
So how do you know if your content is readable? One useful tool used throughout our industry, and that we use to help our clients get better rankings is a test known as Flesch Reading Ease.
What is the Flesch Reading Ease?
Also known as the Flesch-Kincade Reading Level, this digital test uses English language structures, word count, syllable count, and average sentence length to determine how difficult content is to read. The original concept was created by Rudolf Flesch.
In 1975, in partnership with J. Peter Kincaid, Flesch developed a formula to test the complexity of written materials. That test was then implemented by the United States Navy to evaluate the reading level of technical manuals used in training service members. A few years later, other branches of service began using the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Formula as well.
How is the Flesch Reading Score Calculated?
Each piece of content has a score. The higher the score, the easier the content is to read. Short sentences and small words are scored higher on the scale than long sentences and long words. Here’s how to scores break down:
- 0-30 are considered college level and are more suited to academia.
- 60-70 are considered 8th to 9th-grade reading level.
- 100 indicates a 1st to 2nd-grade reading level.
Many numbers floating around, depending on where you look, but the overall census is that most people are at the 8th-grade reading level. Since Google wants as many people as possible to be able to read and understand the page or article they rank, the content needs to be at or near an 8th-grade reading level. While this sounds easy enough, we find that we often have to simplify content we naturally write.
Increasing Your Readability Score
By paying attention to certain factors, your content can shift from a massive and hard-to-read wall of content into an easily consumable source of valuable information.
Shorten Your Paragraphs
Shorter paragraphs visually break up the content and allow your reader’s mind to digest the information in smaller chunks. It’s easier to process content while scrolling if it’s broken down. Bullet and numbered lists are your friend! How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Choose Fewer Words With More Power
When writing, use a more active voice. In other words, keep your reader’s attention by writing more directly. For instance, instead of saying, “The woman was advised by her doctor. ” say instead, “The doctor gave her advice.”
Also, avoid using excess words. For instance, you don’t need to say “a long marathon.” The word “marathon” already assumes it is “long”. Often, to get to a specific word count, you might be tempted to switch to passive voice or add “fluff,” but this will hurt your readability.
Write As You Talk – Not Like You Were Taught
When we talk to people in person, we have natural pauses and sentence stops. Also, we start sentences with “but” and “and” and “however” and other transition words. When we were in language arts classes, we were taught not to use these words at the beginning of a sentence, but in writing for the web, these words, as well as short sentences, make for easier reading.
Simplify Your Vocabulary
No one likes to feel upstaged, and not everyone is a walking thesaurus. There’s no need for “fancy talk” on a website. Use the simplest word to convey the same meaning — for instance, use “deep” instead of “profound.”
Additional Tips for Writing Blogs
Website content (often called website copy) is a different ballgame than the content for a blog. Here are a couple of tips to help you keep your blog full of good information and remain easy to read.
There are so many tangents that a blog can go on, but barraging a reader with a ton of different topics is only going to confuse. Find a focus topic, and elaborate on that one concept. Save the tangents for another post, and link to other related posts later.
Google and other search engines use keywords for searching content to bring pages to the eyes of the reader. The keyword should always be in the first paragraph of the blog, in at least one header, and within 2-3% of the content. That means the keyword shouldn’t just be thrown around but used very strategically and intentionally. If your content has too many key phrases, you’ll struggle to stay on top of searches because Google hates what we call, “keyword stuffing.” Make sure it’s natural and don’t overdo it.
Consider Your Target Audience
Your blog will be easier to read and hold more attention if you follow the concepts of the Flesch Reading Ease score system, but it’s not the “be-all-end-all” of website copy or blog writing. Always consider your audience along with your readability score.
The Flesch Reading Ease is a guide, and it’s essential to follow your brand voice in your content. If you cater to a higher education level, then you can adjust your content to reflect that. We work hard to learn your business voice and your audience and write content that suits their needs.
Building website content can be overwhelming, and that’s okay. If you have any concerns about content, give us a call. We’ll put our team of Spyders on the job to make sure you see the results you’re looking for.
No one wants to invest a great deal of effort in writing content for their website only to find out that they’ve made huge mistakes in helping search engines find it. In our work developing websites and helping our clients to improve the optimization of each piece of content on their site, we’ve found there are many common mistakes when business owners try to write their own meta descriptions. In this article, we’ve outlined some of the most common meta description mistakes made and not only how to avoid them but how to publish content Google will want to show off.
What is a Meta Description?
When you search something on Google, the first page shows you the most relevant content to your search. One of the things that contribute to the popularity and relevance of one web page over another is the light grey description below the title and web address, known as the meta description. This text can be a direct quote from the page it references but ideally, the description is a carefully constructed sentence strategically formatted to get the best search results and most clicks.
There’s no law that dictates what you can and can’t put in this area. If you want to write, “this is my page, click here click here, CLICK HERE”, you absolutely can. But we guarantee that won’t convince Google to rank you higher when compared to your competitor’s pages. If you want Google to take you seriously, you’ll want to strategically formulate your description.
One of the first things to consider when writing your meta description is the length. There is a limit to the number of characters that your description can contain before Google cuts it off. If you Google anything, you’ll see that half the time, a given description clearly isn’t finished, but Google finished it with an ellipsis.
Whatever the synopsis of your page says, it should be anywhere between 120-158 characters, which if you’re geeky like us, maxes out at 920 pixels.
Just so you know, these and the following words equal 158 characters. When the last word is “stop”, you’ll know that I’ve reached the maximum possible – STOP.
It’s almost nothing! That last “stop” shows exactly what Google does to your sentence. If it’s incomplete it doesn’t matter. So write carefully and pay attention, because we all know how easy it is to ramble.
Think About Your Copy
Now that you know how much to write in your meta description, the next step is to think about content. You only have a limited amount of space, so be sure to maximize it. A common mistake we see is that the meta description author does not consider their audience.
When you have a customer or a target audience, you want to understand them. You want to know the words that they respond to and use them. If you know the language that makes your audience tick, tailor that language into a readable, clickable phrase.
You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) use big words. Don’t even write out numbers, just use the symbol. In fact, using numbers or symbols in your text catches the eye and can be very useful to convince readers to click on your page rather than someone else’s.
Think about what makes you click on a page. What are the things that convince you to choose it over another? Remember these tips when creating your copy and you should be able to craft a catchy meta description with no problem:
- Talk to your customer
- Use compelling phrases (calls to action)
- Use numbers/symbols
- Keep it simple
Don’t Try to Trick Google
Some people think they can pull one over on Google. Let’s face it, Google is smarter than all of us. Let’s not anger the A.I., shall we?
When writing your meta description, keep it similar to the content of your page. Sometimes people try to write a description that’s catchy but not really relevant to lure visitors to their site, but what they may not realize is that Google knows. Google always knows. It’s kind of like Santa in that regard. If you’re strategically honest, Google will reward you, but if you’re bad, it’ll give you coal in the form of hiding your website on page 100. So just don’t do it.
A big mistake people inadvertently make is not utilizing keywords to their full advantage. If you have a blog post or a page that serves a specific purpose, it’s guaranteed to have keywords, even if you haven’t ranked for them yet.
If you have a blog about ways to lose weight, a keyword could be “weight loss”. Try to choose specific keywords based on your existing content to strategically amp up each page’s optimization through the meta description.
Just because you can copy a meta description that you’ve already written, doesn’t mean that you should. Some people think that if one description is really good, it’ll be good for multiple pages. Not true. You’re just being lazy and not doing yourself any favors by having similar or repeated messages across pages on your website. By having variety, your pages will more likely come up in different searches, rather than all showing up at once.
In the end, there are many simple mistakes you can make when writing a meta description. The good news is that there are also simple solutions. If you pay attention to your audience, your content, and your keywords, you’ll be writing tantalizing meta descriptions in no time. For more tips and tricks on optimizing your website, visit our blog or better yet, talk to a Spyder.