Webinars have been around for a while and their popularity only continues to grow. In fact, this effective marketing tool is poised to approach $1 billion in the next decade.  And yet, webinars aren’t always treated with the attention they deserve. Sometimes they come across as overly scripted or just plain boring. So, the challenge for those looking to host a webinar becomes, how do you make your presentation more engaging, personalised and interactive? Here’s everything you need to know about creating a webinar.

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You start a business and realise that most of the visitors are leaving your website just after landing! Wondering why? Maybe your website seems boring, or not attractive. 

Good web design is the most effective growth tool for a business. Everything from the company’s logo, website’s appearance and usability, to marketing brochures must be smartly designed, as a poor design may be the reason that your business gets killed.

Hence, here we have given you 10 effective web development tips that would improve your website’s success.

Have a plan

The most basic thing to keep in mind is having a plan. You should know about your current customers. In order to do so, interview them, research how they went from a visitor to becoming a customer, map the buyer’s journey. Design your UX and UI accordingly. Consider a few questions like what pages will they view? What content would interest and attract them? And what offers can convert them? All these questions will provide you with the data that you can use to map out your strategy. A web development company takes care of all these plans for your website. They have the resources and experience of getting this research done professionally.

Optimise your website loading speed

Keep your website’s loading speed in check. Slow speed makes the users leave even before the website’s content can make an impression. Some factors that slow the loading speed of the website include data-intensive photos and graphic elements. Compression without losing quality is possible if you design your graphics and motion graphics properly. Use them smartly for maximum impact and quick loading speed.

Remove anything that is unnecessary 

Certain elements are going to detract from the actual message and value you’re trying to convey. These include complicated animations, long and preachy content and stocky website images. The audience only has an attention span of 8 seconds. Hence you need to get the main points across in the first impression. Therefore, you must use short and powerful sections of content and appropriate pictures/ icons. Jargons and ambiguous terminology should be avoided in order to make your content widely understood by all. 

Include follow and social share buttons

If your website lacks social share buttons, you could be missing out on a lot of social media traffic generated from the users who are already reading your blog. They allow you to share the page directly on any social media channel like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or even another website of yours. They act as tools that are non-pushy but still encourage social sharing. So, if your website lacks some social sharing and follow buttons, go add them now! 

Add call-to-action buttons

When a visitor lands on your website you have to provide them with some sort of direction so as to follow a pathway of operation. Call-to-action buttons indicate the next step the user should take on a page. Many projects and designs aren’t accurately successful to use them to guide the users through a website. Some example of call-to-action buttons include- click here for information, sign-up, watch the video, check price, etc. Also, different colours evoke different messages, so think about the message you want to convey and use those colours in the buttons on your website. 

Navigation

Navigation is the key when designing your website. A confusing or disorganised navigation interface is the worst part of any website. Visitors should be able to find what they are looking for easily. Hence the content of your website should be streamlined with a hierarchy of navigation. Your website should have a responsive design. If the users are not able to find what they are looking for, they will leave your site and go to a competitor that offers a better user experience. 

A detailed homepage

Don’t be scared of a slightly longer homepage. Your homepage should include 3-5 sections that help direct new and recurring users both to proper areas of your site and this helps create a seamless experience.  Some of the crucial elements include- intro video, an overview of services, product features, about us, testimonials, case studies, resources, etc. After all your homepage is the heart of your website.  

Optimise for mobile access

Your website MUST be optimised for mobile access. Facts say that 80% of internet users own a mobile. And most people search on a mobile device. So if you have a website that keeps lagging on smart-phones, you should be concerned. Optimise your website so that it can be accessed through a mobile device as well. Adjust it to the size/shape of the screen and make it intuitive and easy to navigate. 

Remove your 404’s

Even though search engines don’t punish you severely for soft 404 errors, users definitely will.  When users click on a link or an image, they are expecting it to take them to the next place. And encountering a 404 error page annoys them! After slow page loading time, a 404 error is highly frustrating for the user. A 404 error page means that the webpage they were trying to reach could not be found on the server. So, check if your website has any 404 error landing pages and remove them. You can do so by visiting the Google Index, login by your domain and give the URLs of the 404 error pages to Google. Google will take care of it! Additionally, make sure that when a user lands on such a page, it provides them with an option to get back on track. 

Have white spaces 

White spaces are an essential design element that help you break up the page and increase readability. They are also called as ‘negative spaces’ and refer to the areas around elements on a page that are empty and lack visual or content items. These spaces give your website a polished look and increased graphic captivity. Hence use these whitespaces to your advantage! 

Conclusion

Now that you know the 10 web development tips to improve your website’s success, you just need to implement them! Make sure that you don’t skip the design aspect! Work with your web designer and graphic designer to find the best strategies to execute web development without losing your touch and sense of the business. All the best!

Author Bio: This is Sanket Pawar, a full-time professional blogger.  Working at Web Ratna LLP from last 2 years.  He also loves to blogging on trending topics that prove helpful to others with their personal and the business works.

 


You have finally started your blog and are looking to turn it into a business, but these three annoying letters keep popping up everywhere. What even is SEO? Isn’t it dead? Let’s dive into creating SEO-friendly blog posts!

Relax! Search Engine Optimisation doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s most certainly not dead. It has simply evolved: gone are the days of keyword stuffing at the bottom of the page. Those little crawlers the automated bots used by search engines to index datahave actually become pretty smart and can smell that spam from webpages away.

You must understand the basic principles of SEO if you want your blog or website to rank high on Google. However, SEO is really just common sense. You need to make your blog post enjoyable for both human readerswhich you can easily do, since I assume you are oneand search engines’ crawlerswhich, I’m going to make a bold guess, you are not. Not to worry: given their lack of human emotions, it’s very easy to think like one.

Do your keyword research when you’re creating SEO-friendly blog posts

You should be able to sum up your post in one long-tail keyword, which is just a fancy word for ‘a phrase consisting of three or more words’.

If you were breaking down the procedures to brew your own lavender tea, your keyword wouldn’t be just ‘lavender tea’. Your potential readers are more likely to Google ‘how to make lavender tea’. That’s your long-tail keyword. Make a note.

Now you can find some related keywords. How? It’s so easy peasy lemon squeezy that it sounds too good to be true. Just pop your long-tail keyword into Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer and you’ll find what users usually type when searching for the same topic (e.g. ‘How to make lavender tea from leaves’). Simple as that. As you build your confidence in creating SEO friendly blog posts there are more technical strategies you can explore, but for now, let’s keep it simple!

Integrate keywords organically into your blog post

We’ve already established that crawlers don’t like keyword stuffing, but I’m going to stress organically again because it’s very important. Your blog post must flow smoothly. Resist the impulse to chuck all the long-tail keywords one after the other without creating an actual meaningful paragraph.

You must sprinkle them strategically: in the blog title, the URL, headings, meta descriptions and image names, as well as repeating them organically in the body of the article, just as casually as I’ve repeated the word ‘organically’ in this one.

You still need to write quality content

Yes, you are here to learn how to please those little crawlers, but don’t forget that, at the end of the day, it’s not them who are going to share your blog post or subscribe to your newsletter: it’s us humans!

Your blog post must bring value to its readers. After reading it, they should always walk away with something.

Make it scannable

Had you bumped into this exact same blog post but without any paragraph breaks nor headings, would you have still read it? Probably not. I don’t blame you: you simply haven’t got time, and neither have your potential readers.

You need to make your blog post easy to scan so that they can figure out whether it’s the answer to what they were looking for, and crawlers can find it more easily. It’s a win-win.

Optimise images when creating SEO-friendly blog posts

You have found the perfect, Instagrammable and Pinterest-worthy pictures to go with your blog post. That’s great! Your human readers are going to be very impressed, but I’m afraid crawlers can’t see them, even if there’s text in the image.

What they can see, though, is their name. So ditch any lazy ‘image07.jpg’ and use relevant keywords instead.

Add a call to action

I assume you don’t want your readers to just read your article and then forget about it for the rest of their lives. You might want them to comment, share, subscribe to your newsletter, or follow you on social media.

Then add a question at the end to encourage discussion, have some ‘share’ buttons, link to older posts, or ask them to subscribe to your newsletter if they enjoyed your article.

The more people interact with your blog post and explore your website, the higher you are going to rank in the long run.

Choose the perfect title

You might have written the most impressive article since the birth of the Internet, but… who’s going to read it, if nobody clicks on it?

Your title should hook the reader in. For example, you can use long-tail keywords to state exactly what the blog post is going to offer (e.g. ‘The beginner’s guide to creating SEO-friendly blog posts’: it seems to have worked for you. Gotcha!).

You could ask a question, or state something controversial or unusual that your readers will want to check out (‘What no one will tell you about growing on Instagram’, ‘Why your beard needs caffeine’).

Listicles perform particularly well, especially when they include numbers or, even better, odd numberspun intended (e.g. ‘43 ways to cook pasta’).

Or you could address the reader directly (‘How you can quit your day job and live the life you deserve’).

How does this sound? I bet you can already think like a crawler.

Now, to stay true to my penultimate point, I’m going to slide in a cheeky call to action and ask you to let me know what you thought about these seven easy steps.

Giada Nizzoli

About the author

Giada is a copywriter who enjoys blogging about finding magic in slow life, loves the Oxford comma, and has ink in her veins (not literally, or she’d be dead by now). Find out more about Giada’s work.

Looking for more blogging inspo and tips? Check out our range of blogging articles.

 


So you want to start a podcast. However, you are worried because you do not know where to begin and may be concerned that you are not “techy enough” to pull it off.  Isn’t podcasting super complicated? Let’s dive into how to start a podcast. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about starting a podcast is that you have to have an audio engineering degree. Or that you have to have the latest and greatest equipment, and know all the technical lingo.

I am not a super techy person and I work in the podcasting space full time. Hopefully that encourages you that if I can do it…you can too.

The number one thing that you “need” to start a podcast is the resolve to start one. Everything is “figureoutable” including gear, tech, and RSS feeds. I promise.

I hope through this post, to demystify some of the technical blocks that keep people from hitting “publish” on their show. It will hopefully encourage you that if hosting a podcast is of interest to you, you should give it a shot. 

You never know, you might love it, and it might just change your life.

Forming your show’s concept

Looking back, one of the things that I wish I would have spent more time on was forming my show’s concept. I knew that I wanted to talk about leadership but how was I REALLY different from all the other shows on leadership?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to start a marketing podcast. How will your show stand out from the rest? Can you explain in a few seconds the core philosophy of your show and what listeners will gain by listening to YOU?

When someone sees YOUR marketing podcast will they know immediately if it’s for them or not? Is it for women and men? Is it for beginner marketers or advanced? How is what you teach different from other marketing shows right next to it in iTunes?

Now when you start to dig in and research what is already being done do NOT become discouraged. The fact that there are other shows like the one you want to start is a great thing, it means that there is a market for it. Don’t allow fear to set in and think,  “There is nothing special about my podcast. My industry is oversaturated. I do not need to start a show.

This honestly is just a bad mindset. There are leaders who I ADORE (and follow all of their work) and I have friends who have NEVER heard of them. If leaders with HUGE audiences still have yet to reach everyone, there is surely plenty of listeners to go around.

If you struggle with separating yourself from other shows ask yourself, “What do I wish existed a few years ago that I did not have access to?” or “How can I add more of my story or personality into this show?”. We are all unique so do not be afraid to add more of YOU in your show to separate you from the crowd.

 

The break down when thinking about how to start a podcast

To simplify podcasting for you here are the most basic of steps. Of course, you can dig and learn/implement many more details to this process, but technically this is all you need to get started.

First, you need your audio, then you need to submit that audio to your “feed”, then that feed updates all the directories (iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc). That’s really it. Not as bad as you thought, huh!? 

Audio

Seriously, you honestly do not need to spend tons of money on audio equipment. There are actually many people who record a podcast simply from their phones. 

You technically only need a .mp3 recording of your voice (and that of your guest, if applicable).  As for equipment, you can always start small and build. Buy something to get you started and upgrade when you can.

Same goes with editing your show. You can download a free program like Audacity and watch tutorial on Youtube on how to perform basic editing techniques to your file (adding an intro/outro or taking out filler words like “um, ya know, etc”)

Hosting site

There are many, many, many sites that can host your podcast. You need these sites to actually “house’ your show and give your podcast an RSS feed that you can submit to directories like iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.

These hosting sites range from free to only 30 or 40 bucks a month. Usually, they charge for more space (how big is your file?) and how detailed the analytics you receive are.

The simple idea behind hosting is that you only have to upload shows to one place and it does all the heavy lifting for you (hold your actual shows and distribute them to all the directories).

Submit to the directories

Once you have your audio, upload it to a hosting site, you take the RSS feed that the site creates for your show and submit it for (normally) free to a variety of major platforms. No, you do not have to continually update these platforms, they pull information from your RSS feed, so when your feed is updated (shows added, cover art changed, etc) your show will be updated too.

Every once in a while you have to go in and manually update your show on some of these platforms however that is very rare. Normally hosting sites like Libsyn allows you to update your show in all the places right there on their platform.

Wait, no. Shouldn’t there be more?

There IS more you need to consider when starting and growing your show. We could go into things like branding, distribution, whether you should have a website or not, etc. etc. However, these things can be figured out and tested as you get more comfortable with podcasting. 

One of my favourite quotes is, “Action creates clarity.” and it’s true in podcasting too. Sometimes you don’t know “all the things” you should be doing until you simply START. When you have people listening, and you get more comfortable, it will become clear what you need to grow.

The real reason that’s holding you back isn’t that you don’t know how to start a podcast

I think what keeps people back more often than not from podcasting is the simple FEAR of starting. Often we make things more complicated than they are and allow perfection to keep us immobile from taking action.

No matter how much you plan, your podcast won’t be perfect. Even more, your podcast is probably going to change as you grow your show and “find your voice” podcasting. 

Planning is GREAT and you should be clear on what kind of show you want to create and who it’s for (remember what we talked about with your show concept) but the actual tech side of your show is fairly simple. Remember that there is a natural learning curve to just about anything worthwhile and if you hang in there, producing your show will get easier and easier, I promise.

Let us know what questions you have and maybe we can answer them in upcoming posts!

Heather Parady should I start a podcastAbout the Author – HeatherParady

Heather is the host of The Unconventional Leaders Podcast. She interviews successful entrepreneurs who have overcome great adversity and built something great.

This article was supported by Dragon Speech Recognition Software.

If you’re a blogger or an entrepreneur, you want to do one thing: write lots and lots of really great and shareable content. That’s a pretty simple aim, but it’s often hard work to achieve.

Great content that is well written and published consistently is what your audience and search engines like Google are looking for. There’s plenty of competition for eyeballs out there, so you need to keep things fresh and keep your words coming fast.

There’s a tool that can help you do just that. It’s a tool that professional writers in the know and others who write for a living swear by: Dragon speech recognition software.

Dragon speech recognition software can save you time and boost your productivity.

How? Simple. Typing is s-l-o-w. Whereas speaking is quick!

A relatively speedy typist might get 40 words a minute down on the page. Compare that to the average rate at which we speak, which tends to fall in the 110 to 160 words per minute range.

Let’s be conservative and say you speak 120 words per minute — that’s still three times faster than a fast typist. Using speech recognition software means you’ll be getting three times as many words down on a page at any given time.

Let’s say you’re averaging about a thousand words a day as a blogger. With the use of speech recognition software you could soon be tripling your output.

Imagine the gains you could be making in terms of not just time saved and blog posts written, but also in more readers and greater recognition for your efforts from search engines like Google.

If you’re accustomed to working by typing to the page as you think you’re in for a shock once you make the shift to dictating your words into speech recognition software. It’s not only quicker; it’s also liberating.

Stand up, walk around, and talk. You’re no longer chained to the keyboard. You’re no longer hunched over, neck and shoulders stooped, hands aching from hours and hours of tapping away at a keyboard.

You do need to get the hang of this way of working and Dragon speech recognition software takes a little bit of time to make your own, but once you do, there’s no going back. Dragon has tutorials to help you with all that.

So are you ready to make your life, especially the writing portion of it, easier? Are you ready for better productivity and a more liberated method of writing? Great. Get to it then!


Dragon has offered all Leaders in Heels readers a 35% discount on their software! Just click here on their software! and use the following code: Bendalls35OffDiscount


Several years ago, I penned a song entitled “Content” [kuh n-tent] that was all about being satisfied.  Everyone pronounced it “content” [kon-tent] and thought it was a placeholder for the actual title. It’s a little ironic actually. Is a musician every content with his or her pieces? Marketers, too, often find themselves asking this question often: am I content with my content?

Author and historian, A. Wyatt Tilby, first used the expression “content is king” in 1914. However, he wasn’t referring to copy, video or audio, but rather to being satisfied. We think of this as a positive thing today, but Tilby spoke of the British monarchy when content was a derivative of “constrained” or “contained.” So, for a royal, their content audience was captive. Literally.

So, how do you keep your audience’s captive attention? By taking innovative and fresh approaches that keep readers informed, entertained and empowered to do more in their daily lives. Here are five ways to know if you can be content with your content or if it is time to change:

1. You are excited for others to read it

This may seem obvious but if the content doesn’t excite you – as the subject matter expert – it isn’t the right approach or needs more work. No matter your profession, we are all called to write and persuade or inform others from time to time – be it a manager, coworker, customer, patient or client. For some, writing is all they do in their jobs, and it comes naturally. For others, it’s a dreaded task. The key is to find opportunities to write about subjects that excite you. When you do, it becomes easier to create content with which you can be content. You may need to stretch the boundaries of your writing comfort zone, and research for supporting sources. But in doing so, the content will be strengthened and ultimately, professional expertise will be heightened. Now, if that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is.

The key is to find opportunities to write about subjects that excite you.

2. Ask a trusted, skeptical colleague to review

Before you hit “go live” on any piece of content, seek out your most trusted, skeptical colleague to give it a thorough review. He or she needn’t be an expert in the topic of the piece, but you do want their unbiased and honest opinion about the aesthetics, clarity, and audience-perceived value of your content. Does the headline grab the reader and pull them in? Is it true to the “meat” of the piece or is it simply click bait? The latter, while a heavily used tactic these days, can damage your credibility with your audience. Take in all feedback and make adjustments to your content to ensure your audience has the utmost opportunity to engage with, and derive meaningful takeaways.

3. The content has been active for more than three months

Now, let’s talk about the “lifespan” of an effective piece of content. Once you have your ad, whitepaper, blog or video “in the wild,” and your audiences are consuming it, you’ll want to consider how long to promote it. The duration may vary according to the traffic it gets and the resonance of its message with the intended audience. If the piece – whether being promoted via paid venues, or lives organically on your website – has been running for three months or more (or you can’t remember when it was changed), it is probably time for an update. The best way to remain content with your content is to ensure your audience doesn’t have a chance to get bored.

4. It has been seen by your core customers more than seven times

Closely tied to recommended lifespan of your content is the marketing “Rule of Seven,” which states that audiences need to see your content seven times to remember and/or take action on it. If the content is compelling, it can make an impact sooner than seven times. If the content is run-of-the-mill, it can be seen more before becoming redundant. If you’ve used the content in your rotation at least seven times, it’s a good practice to change the content before it becomes too familiar and easily tuned out.

5. The Call to Action is no longer effective

“Call to Action” (CTA) defines the desired behavior of the viewer: buy the product, watch this movie, or shop this store. Although it can be difficult, it is important to measure the results of your content based on your CTA. Pay attention to the messages your audiences are sending to you via the CTA: e.g., are they opening your emails; are they clicking the links; are they visiting your page to learn more; are they sharing or commenting on your content? These are all important indicators of message and content resonance. Monitoring the results of your CTA helps you understand if your CTA is compelling enough, or perhaps it is time to refresh the content.


To summarize, take a page out of modern marketing, whether you’re a marketing professional or not, so you can feel confident that your audience values your content. Remember to write about what excites you, seek out a trusted reviewer, keep content updated within the last three months, promote it seven times, and ensure the call to action is still driving results so you can be content with your content.

Jennifer Davis is a senior executive, industry presenter, business leader, mentor and volunteer. She is the vice president of marketing and product strategy for Planar Systems, a global leader in display and digital signage technology. More information about Jennifer is available at her website: http://atjenniferdavis.com/#homeinfo