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Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

What it means to Growth Hack.

Growth Hacking is a new phrase meaning to aggressively make a step-change in business success.  It’s not just a cute phrase, there are specific techniques which can make significant improvements to website success.

You define success and we’ll teach you how to make it happen.

What is your #1 marketing and sales problem?

Get the answers about how you can growth hack your web success with USA experts Dan Morris and Rachel Martin during May 2016.

Face to face consult or small group workshops.

Email [email protected] with your #1 marketing and sales problem.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

 

 

Grow Your Online Marketing Programme with Audience Industries

Grow Your Online Marketing Programme with Audience Industries

Grow Your Online Marketing Programme with Audience Industries

Let’s get serious about your online marketing programme

Do you want to make your business work? Of course you do. So get serious about your success and let’s talk about what it’s really going to take for your online marketing programme to get you the numbers you want from your website.

Audience Industries is coming to New Zealand for a second year in a row and these two international experts from the US, Dan Morris and Rachel Martin, want to sit down with you and show you what you need to know to operate your business online and make it successful.

A sneak peek of what you’ll take away from the courses: Escape Velocity

Do you know how much you make per visitor? Per pageview? How much should you really be spending on your online marketing efforts? You’ll get the tools you need to find out and take action to make your online business pump out the numbers you want to see. Set your goals and learn from Dan and Rachel just how to achieve them with Escape Velocity.

Sound like you? This is just one of four courses in the curriculum for the Audience Industries NZ tour. You want to grow your online marketing programme? This is it. Sign up for Escape Velocity in Auckland for April 29th and learn how to tighten up your goals and really reach them.

What else can you look forward to in the 2016 Audience Industries NZ tour?

  • Auckland, April 29th – Escape Velocity Curriculum

  • Auckland, May 1st – Sequoia Curriculum

  • Dunedin, May 3rd half day – Sequoia Curriculum

  • Dunedin, May 4th half day – Circles Curriculum

  • Wellington, May 5thSequoia Curriculum

  • Wellington, May 6thCircles Curriculum

  • Auckland, May 9th – Circles Curriculum

  • Auckland, May 10th – Clusters Curriculum

Click through to read about each course in depth including the curriculum.

If you’re ready for Escape Velocity, book now and ready yourself for an event that will take you straight to the heart of the 5 key metrics you need to know as a business to operate successfully online.

Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Announcing the Audience Industries New Zealand Tour

Creative Agency Secrets is proud to be collaborating with Audience Industries for the second year running! Together with founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin we’ll be running an 8 date tour, making stops in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, learning how to drive online business success.

Learn how to grow revenue with your best tool: YOUR website!

Find out how to build new revenue streams and grow audience engagement with your website with the leading edge of best practice with these two leading practitioners. Here’s a taste of what’s in store for you when you attend Audience Industries:

  • Audience engagement with community marketing
  • Persuasion and action techniques
  • How to tell a story (that people WANT to read)
  • Using data dashboards to improve conversions
  • The copywriting words that create engagement
  • How to use custom sidebars to optimise your adverts
  • A YouTube strategy to keep viewers on your videos

Get past using buzz phrases and marketing hype! You’ll learn practical solutions that you can use immediately.

Want to find out more?

Read all 4 curriculum options in detail!

We know these techniques work, and you will learn the practical solutions directly from expert, knowledgeable technicians. Don’t believe us? Look at just a couple of the testimonials we captured from last year’s attendees:

Rachel and Dan have a really lovely style and they have ‘been there and done that’ so they are talking from experience.  They’re constantly tweaking their own approach and there is an emphasis on practical application. I found them very generous with their information. No holding back.

They were genuinely concerned about the group getting the information and being able to use it.  They wanted everyone to succeed and it’s unusual to find that in presenters.

They want the whole sector to grow.  Very personable, nice and the information was extremely useful and It was easy into put into practice.  

Jayne Richardson, @jreltd, Auckland attendee 2015

Book your ticket now

  • Auckland – April 29th – Escape Velocity Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 1st – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Dunedin, May 3rd half day – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Dunedin May 4th half day – Circles Curriculum
  • Wellington – May 5th – Sequoia Curriculum
  • Wellington May 6th – Circles Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 9th – Circles Curriculum
  • Auckland – May 10th – Clusters Curriculum

Get details on the detailed curriculum of what you will learn at each event.

We’re offering single-day tickets, or get a SPECIAL for two dates in one city.

Don’t miss out on the Audience Industries New Zealand Tour! Dan and Rachel will teach you the tools so you will become the CEO of your website.

 

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

When you’re new, or growing, and need social proof to prove your worth to the world

So, you’re starting out your business and you know you’ve got a good thing going. But something you don’t have yet from your clients: their endorsement of you and your brand or your product. Sure, they’ve told you they liked working with you and, of course, that made you feel good on the inside. But, with the interwebs, you need to have hard proof that says someone used your services and liked it enough to write it down in a social internet space. Like Google Reviews. Or Facebook. Or even just in an email and with your clients’ blessing. Okay, so, how do you do it?

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, or deduced from the title of this blog post, we’re talking about testimonials. Or reviews. Either or, they can be one in the same, if they contain ratings and words as friendly companions in whatever social app you’re using. There are multiple ways to get those testimonials so that, when a new possible client happens to Google you, lo and behold, they see other people like you and have used you and have provided their friendly feedback. Well, we rolled out with a fun and ‘give-back sort’ of way to request from our clients and those that have worked with us in the past. I think you’ll like it.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Before the holidays, our Chief in Command, Rebecca, came across a non-profit organization called StarJam. Briefly, I just want to let you know that what they do is amazing. Through music and performing arts, StarJam lifts kids with disabilities up, helps them to learn new skills, and gives them confidence. Just take a look at the photos they have on their website, every time I do I just want to be a part of that! Anyway, back to the story. Rebecca wanted Creative Agency Secrets to be able to give to StarJam. We also, you guessed it, wanted to get testimonials. Testimonials in one hand, giving to a good cause in the other… hmm. There’s got to be a good way to put these two together.

And SMASH!

It’s the holidays, right? We can send out a good will email to our clients! WE will donate money in your name to StarJam if you can write a few words on Google about your time with Creative Agency Secrets. So, we reached out to StarJam to get their permission, find out if they felt comfortable with our plan, requested a few images to use and then started crafting an email.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Key items we made sure to have in our email

  1. Make your headline engaging
  2. Make your text interesting to read
  3. Tell the reader what you’re doing or what you’re asking them to do

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials4. Hyperlink to wherever they need to go or whatever you’re referring to

5. Use images

The main thing we wanted to make sure to do was inform our followers HOW to submit a review. Some people don’t have Gmail. I know, crazy world, but we had to come up with a foolproof way to say ‘This is easy! Here, we’ll show you’.

Be Innovative with How You Get TestimonialsVoila! We created this easy to read image with everything needed to tell our audience how to do what we were asking them to do.

Then what? Well, we could wait around with baited breath. But, by this time, it was Christmas and we decided we’d come back to it in the New Year with fresh eyes and suntans.

And when we did… no reviews! We could have been sad and wallowed a bit but that’s now how you get good reviews. So we sent a follow-up email. Sort of a, “Hey, we know you were busy over the holidays, but…” reminder. Good idea, right? Of course.

But when you’ve asked the same way twice and you still get no response

You try another tactic. This time, we called, or in some cases walked over to, those who had worked with us in the past to ask them, oh so kindly, to provide us with a review while we donated to a good cause in their name. Sometimes it just takes the glimmer in your eye, the inflection in your voice, or just good ole human contact to make the connection you need.

And now we’re on the MAP!

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Tips to those using Google reviews!

  1. For one, you need 5 reviews to be able to see your star rating.
  2. For two… even if you have 5 star ratings for all 5 of your Google reviews… somehow you still only rate 4.8 stars

Number two will remain a bit of a mystery.

I hope this helps any startup businesses out there looking to get on the map as well with testimonials and reviews. As they say, right now, the BEST way to get business is by word of mouth. And online rating systems like Google, Facebook, and others are the next best things with the worldwide web!

Improve The Way Your Website Appears On Google

We’re often asked by clients when we begin working with them to increase their Google presence. So what’s the easiest way to do this?

Simply put – you need to help Google to help you.

Follow the steps below to increase the size of your “Online Real Estate”.

Map/Contact Details (The Red Boxes)

The easiest thing to do add to your “property portfolio” is create a Google+ Page for your business. Go to http://www.google.co.nz/business/ and register your business.  Chances are, Google has already added your site to their index and simply wants you to verify the information before it displays it as it does in the red boxes.

After locating your business (and verifying if need be) you’ll be greeted with your Business Google+ Dashboard. It’s here you can add phone numbers, office hours, address and map location.

Google_Meta_Descriptions

Sitelinks (The Yellow Box)

Most sites don’t have what is known as “Sitelinks” when you search for their business. These are drawn from Google’s index of your website and are based on what Google thinks are the most important pages on your site.  Sometimes you and Google disagree on this!

Getting The Sitelinks

Enabling Google to index your site and enable Sitelinks is simple – submit an effective Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools and ensuring your robots.txt file isn’t blocking the pages you want as Sitelinks.

These steps assume you’ve already verified your site on Google Webmaster Tools (click here if you haven’t)

  1. Generate a sitemap.xml file (using either a sitemap plugin or a generator such as http://www.web-site-map.com/).
  2. Upload your sitemap to your site’s root folder (the URL will most likely be www.yourcompanyname.com/sitemap.xml).
  3. On your Webmaster Tools home page, select your site.
  4. In the left sidebar, click Crawl and then Sitemaps.
  5. Click the Add/Test Sitemap button in the top right.
  6. Complete your sitemap.xml URL into the text box that appears.
  7. Click Submit Sitemap.

Checking Your Robots.Txt File

  1. Still in Webmaster tools, under Crawl, click robots.txt Tester.
  2. At the bottom of the page, enter the URLs you want to be sitelinks and ensure Googlebot is “Allowed” to index them.

Choose Which Pages Are Linked

Although most of your site hierarchy is decided in the Sitemap (Google “page priority levels” if you’re not sure), how Google deals with multiple pages with the same Priority Level is purely random.

Therefore to make sure the ones you want to appear appear you have to “demote” certain pages from appearing. On the left menu under “Search Appearance” you’ll find “Sitelinks”. On this page you’ll be able to enter in the URLs of the pages you don’t want to be used as Sitelinks on your Google search results.

*Don’t forget to shorten the metadata description on the pages that are Sitelinks – most SEO guides suggest 160 characters or fewer – however for best results we try to use 90 (that way Google won’t shorten your description, cutting out important information).

Of course, if you’ve got any questions about setting these up or other best practices do please leave us a comment or Contact Us – we’re always happy to help!

Google Analytics Keyword “Not Provided” Workaround

Anonymous website browsing means it’s harder to track key word searches. This article will show you how to find what keywords visitors search to find your site and the removes impact of the “Not Provided” keyword results in Google Analytics. This workaround will import results from Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics.

Inside your Google Analytics you can see which search terms prospects are using to find your website.  Acquisition -> Keywords -> Organic.

1

However with the rise of anonymous browsing, this means that Google Analytics can no longer track keyword searches as easily and so an increasing number of searches are now being displayed as “(Not provided)”.

2

This situation is getting worse month by month as we track the analytics for our website and those of our clients.

A Workaround For Keyword Searches

Although not a perfect replacement, Creative Agency Secrets has found a work-around which can give you a good indication of what search words and phrases your website is showing up for and which are drawing visitors.

It involves Google Webmaster Tools.  You have to set this up for your website. Read more

Google Alerts Has Been Updated

Many content marketers rely on Google Alerts as a way of getting ideas for content, seeing what your competitors are doing online and for those vain enough – seeing what others are publishing online about you.

Google has recently “beautified” their Alert service – there’s no telling just yet whether they’ve changed anything behind the scenes.

 

The Old Google Alerts

Old Google Alerts

Old Google Alerts

Above is a picture of what Google Alerts used to look like – functional, but not the simplistic approach Google is taking.

 

The New Google Alerts

The first thing you’ll see when you check out Google Alerts is the friendly and more stylised design, however the big changes come with Google’s suggestions.

The suggestions are based off who you’ve added in your circles in Google+, again this emphasises the importance Google is placing on G+. The better you utilise Google+ the better the suggestions Google will offer.

Google have also added a “Me On The Web” section – something we recommend all of our clients to do. It is always intriguing to see what others are posting about you online (if anything).

*Remember if you’re using a unique (individual) Google account to add your company or your client’s companies – Google isn’t quite clever enough to auto-suggest them at this stage.

New Google Alerts

New Google Alerts

Google Webmaster Tools

Google XML Sitemaps Increase your SEO – Check Now

SEO is an important part of an online administrator or digital content manager. An effective website is not just appealing to human visitors – they are also be easy for online spiders and bots to understand and “crawl” their content.

That is why XML Sitemaps are important – They tell the machines where each page can be found, how important each page is relative to the rest of the site and how often it is updated/changed.

Through the use of simple plugins (or manually accessing the file if you’re more technically competent) a sitemap can be created and modified. By modifying the file (robots.txt), you can change how often robots should crawl your site for specific URLs, change the priority setting of an individual page or even block the bots from crawling certain pages altogether. A situation I often do this for is if we have historical blog posts that continue to be heavily trafficked. I’ll want to increase the priority of those posts slightly higher than newer ones so as to ensure they continued to be crawled and that any change that’s made is more likely to be picked up by Google and Bing.

Sitemaps can easily be edited to tell crawlers which pages are worth crawling and which are to be ignored – particularly if you use a pre-designed sitemap.

Which WordPress Plugin Is Best For Sitemaps?

If you’re one of the millions of web admins who use WordPress, I highly recommend the Google XML Sitemaps plugin by Arne Brachold. It is easy to setup and best of all, is very easy to manipulate should you wish to feature a particular page or skip another. It also makes a robot-friendly URL (ours is http://creativeagencysecrets.com/sitemap.xml) meaning it is good for your SEO too.

How Optimise Your Sitemap’s Effectiveness

Google Sitemap MenuUltimately there is no point in creating a sitemap if it’s not easily crawlable by robots such as Google. Therefore, testing and uploading your sitemap using Google Webmaster tools is logically the next step.

Go to Google Webmaster Tools and add your site. Usually, the easiest way to verify your site is to use your Google Analytics logins. If this doesn’t work or you wish to set up an account without access to Google Analytics, you may have to upload an html file to the site.

Upon verifying your site, click Sitemaps in the left menu which can be found under the “Crawl” section. Next, Add/Test your sitemap by clicking the “Add/Test Sitemap” red button in the top right of the screen.

Add_Test_Button

In the textbox that appears, assuming you haven’t changed the default URL (I’d recommend you don’t), all you should have to enter is “sitemap.xml”. Google will then check to ensure it’s a valid URL and will alert you if there are any problems it detects (see screenshot below) – fortunately, Google also provides explanations as to what causes these errors which usually helps get to the root cause of the problem quickly. Normally though, a first time, clean installation won’t have any issues. Errors are usually caused if your website has been around for a while – especially if the URL structure of your site has changed or you’ve manually changed URLs of certain pages post-publication.

Sitemap_List

Click To Enlarge

Hopefully though there are no major errors and that you’re able to fix all minor issues. Google will show how many pages you’ve submitted (it naturally skips certain ones like eCommerce pages) and how many it’s actually indexed. Remember, the more pages Google indexes, the better Google knows your site and the more likely it is to send genuinely interested visitors to the pages you want them to visit first time.

Success

Dashboard

Click To Enlarge

The DOs and DON’Ts of SEO – The Easiest Way To Appear On Google

Google SEOGoogle’s new update – Hummingbird has changed Google’s algorithm. Fortunately, there are SEO properties that have and will remain constant. This article will illustrate the easy way to ensure your website is run optimally for both man and machine – the visitor and Google’s bots (crawler).

What you’ll find in this guide are a more concrete set of guidelines which are unlikely to change in the near future.

This means, delicate topics such as keywords and keyword density etc will not be discussed in this article as the rules surrounding them are prone to change.

As many of you will be aware, search engine optimisation is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. Only when viewed collectively will results begin to be noticeable – so don’t give up early on is the moral of the story.

 

Without further ado – The DOs and DON’Ts of SEO.

Page Titles

Page titles should define in a few words the content of the page. Effective page titles draw visitors to your site and give an indication to search engines the context of the page’s content.

  • Do: Choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content
  • Don’t: Choose vague titles that have no relation to the content on the page or a default title such as “New Page 1”.

 

Metatags and Descriptions

Metatags and descriptions allow you to describe and/or summarise your pages content. Descriptions will be the snippet provided by google to help the visitor determine the value of the page before opening it. The text in the red box below is what the user sees.

MetaDescription

  • Do: Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description as a snippet in a search result.
  • Don’t: Write generic descriptions or use only keywords. Although no longer common, people have been known to paste an entire paragraph as the description.
  • Don’t: Repeat the same tags and descriptions across multiple pages.

 

URLs

*Changing your URL structure is not a small job! If it is ok currently then leave it as is.

Page URLs are often a difficult thing to effectively change if you’ve got a large website and/or have been using it heavily for a while. The reason for this is by changing the structure, all previous links will no longer work. The quick fix is of course to set up a redirect however this is far from ideal – to best utilise your site’s existing SEO capabilities you would have to correct all of the links. You’d probably still have to set up a redirect anyway as external sites linking to your page would also stop working.

  • Do: Your URL should contain words which are both relevant to your site and the individual page the URL links to.
  • Don’t: Choose generic page names such as “page1.html”
  • Don’t: Use unnecessary parameters/ID numbers
  • Don’t: Use excessive keywords, else risk getting the individual URL or even the whole site banned by Google.

 

Navigation

The menus on your site help visitors navigate your site. They also provide a template for creating an effective XML Sitemap which will help bots crawl your site. Having an effective menu layout is a win-win situation.

  • Do: Create a natural flowing hierarchy which makes it as easy as possible for visitors to navigate your site.
  • Do: Use text for navigation as often as possible – not everything has to be in a dropdown menu! (what this means is that often you can navigate visitors to other pages effectively using text on the page as opposed to everything being exclusively in the menu)
  • Do: Submit an up to date XML Sitemap to Google for both your main site and any mobile sites you may have – (update regularly)
  • Do: Have a useful 404 page. Many 404 pages simply have an error. Include a link back to a useful page such as your home page or main news page.
  • Don’t: Create a difficult, complex linking structure by either linking to too many things (that the visitor is unclear what to click) or by breaking your content up (so to increase number of pages but the visitor has to visit multiple pages unnecessarily)
  • Don’t: Have a navigation system based entirely on dropdown menus. As mentioned before, not only can this be frustrating for the user, it also has adverse SEO consequences.

 

Keep Your Text Easy To Read

Obvious really – the DON’Ts however will explain how Google can punish you for making your content hard to read.

  • Do: Write content that is easy to follow, concise and organised by using formatting options such as headings, bullet points etc
  • Do: Create fresh, unique content which is designed for your users, not search engines.
  • Don’t: Overuse headings/bolds/italics etc
  • Don’t: Use pictures to replace words. Pictures aren’t read by search engines which reduces SEO friendliness. Pictures also make it difficult for readers to copy/paste from your site (which although you might think this is a good thing, many would argue that the purpose of the internet is to share information).
  • Don’t: Deceptively hide text from users but displaying it to search engines (Such as having white text on a white background).

 

Links

Links on your page (both internal and external) are an important way of guiding visitors around your site. They also however help Search Engines decipher the page’s content and purpose.

Don't Click Here

  • Do: Try and describe what the link is linking to in the text. Hyperlinking keywords or phrases which define the link’s purpose will both help your visitor and Search Engines know what the link is pointing to.
  • Do: Format links so they are easy to spot (don’t try and trick visitors into thinking that normal text is actually a link). This means highlight them with a different colour.
  • Don’t: Use generic anchor text such as “click here”.

 

Images

Images help beautify a site. They also slow down loading speed so only use them sparingly and avoid using high-definition photos unless needed. Slow sites appear lower on Google’s search results.

  • Do: Use brief, descriptive filenames and alt text. This will help search engines know what the picture is about and will serve a double purpose if the picture doesn’t load, the visitor will know what should’ve been there.
  • Do: Supply alt text when using images as links. Similar to what was said in the Link section of this article to help describe the link.
  • Do: Supply an updated image sitemap file
  • Don’t: Stuff keywords into the alt text – it can get you blacklisted from Google!
  • Don’t: Use only images as links for your site’s navigation
  • Don’t: Overuse high-def images as this will significantly reduce site speed

 

Headings

Headings should be used to help visitors scan your page for the applicable information. Avoid using them for unimportant content.

  • Do: Use headings as an outline – the reader should be able to read just the headings and have a clear understanding of what the page is about.
  • Don’t: Place headings that don’t help clarify the page’s structure and summarise the page’s content
  • Don’t: Erratically change heading tag sizes or put all of the page’s text into a heading tag.
  • Don’t: Use heading styles when italics or bolding may be more appropriate

 

Robots.txt

Robot.txt

Robots.txt files tell search engines what to crawl and what to ignore. Used effectively, they can help bots crawl your pages more effectively and reduce spam. Used incorrectly – your whole site could disappear from Google. To find out more about Robots.txt files and how Google utilises them, check Google’s developer pages

  • Do: Have an up to date robots.txt file – perhaps even a second if you’re attempting to block ssl pages.
  • Don’t: Allow search result-like pages to be crawled.
  • Don’t: Allow URLs created by proxies to be crawled.

 

Promoting Your Site On Google

There are many ideas you can utilise to appear on Google. So long as you don’t spam or buy your links – you should be fine.

  • Do: Sign up for Google Places if appropriate to appear on Google Maps and web searches.
  • Do: Include your website URL in all of your online mailings (blogs, newsletters and social media posts).
  • Do: Guest blog and comment on other’s sites with links back to your own.
  • Don’t: Sign up for schemes where your content is artificially promoted to the top of selected services.
  • Don’t: Purchase links from another site with the aim of getting PageRank instead of traffic.
  • Don’t: Spam link requests to all sites related to your topic area.

 

Google’s Webmaster Tools

Google’s Webmaster Tools are a great way of monitoring and optimising your site – USE IT!

  • Do: Use it regularly to keep up to date with how Google’s bots see your site and whether there are any issues which can be resolved to make your site appear higher.
  • Do: Rectify any issue which Webmaster tools suggests.
  • Do: Utilise analytics and other tools available to optimise the most visited pages and help navigate users around your site.
  • Don’t: Do anything reckless which you don’t fully understand – you could block your entire website from appearing on Google if care isn’t taken.