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The Top Website Design Trends For 2019-2020

Website design trends are as fluid and changing as the sea (or the internet). What is popular today may be a website faux pas tomorrow, and what was deemed uncool two years ago can make an unexpected comeback. Staying on top of the day’s trends can feel like a full-time job. Luckily, we’ve done it for you!

We’ve scoured the industry’s top leaders for the day’s most popular website design trends. The ones that can make or break your website. The ones that will set you apart from your competitors. The ones you can be sure will stick around for 2020. Check them out below!

 

Mobile-First Designs

 

The days of desktop dominance are gone, and mobile devices are the undisputed king of screen time. Users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones, so if you want to reach your audience then you’ve got to optimize your site for mobile use. Also, Google now ranks mobile sites ahead of desktop sites in search rankings, so focusing on a mobile design will help make sure your site is seen. And studies show that users are 67% more likely to buy a product from your site if it is optimized for mobile use. See the pattern?

 

Mobile devices aren’t exactly new, and they’ve taken up a big spot in web design for a few years. But the new focus on mobile-first designs means that website designers are focusing on mobile templates first rather than creating websites for desktops and then making them responsive to other devices. Because users expect a website to load in under 3 seconds, optimizing a website for mobile loading also means you’ll decrease your bounce rate and increase your user engagement.

 

What does that mean for you? Well, it means a focus on layouts that can be compressed to fit a smaller screen without losing content. It’s also important to keep in mind that mobile screens are touched rather than clicked, so you’ll need to adjust your designs to be accessible by various fingers. In short, simple and direct navigation, adaptive designs, and responsive frameworks will reign supreme.

 

Speedy and Trendy Designs

 

We’ve already discussed optimizing your website for load speed (recap: you should), but doing so involves more than just technical work. The design of your website also plays a big role in how quickly it loads. Keep your design simple but trendy to stay on top of your speed and your relevance. Be generous with your white space - it helps guide users down the page and keeps your site uniform, while also loading quickly. You should also reduce clutter by ridding your site of unnecessary graphics and complex designs to make your site quick and scannable.

 

For the trendiest site on the web, use a good mix of contrasting colors, large and playful fonts, and high-quality images and videos. Grid patterns are becoming especially popular - a good example of this is the block layout of Pinterest pins. Grouping your content and related pages into easily scannable squares keeps your users attention while looking sleek and modern.

 

Video is King

 

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll know that video content is the name of the internet game. Today’s users are more concerned than ever with immediate gratification, and information is often easiest to access and digest in video form. In fact, static pages (those without any animated or video content) are likely to be obsolete by 2020. That’s why the top websites have shifted their content focus away from text graphics and articles and instead use full-screen or embedded videos to boost their site traffic.

 

One of the top ways to do this is to place videos in the header of your website to immediately gain the attention of visitors. Or, you can place multiple related videos along your page to entice users to scroll down. Some websites even choose to display looping videos as the background of their homepage. Whatever method you choose, video content should be your prime focus as we move into 2020.

 

Don’t have video content? Jump on the motion bandwagon with GIFS or animation to keep your page from looking static. 

 

Chat Bots

 

Chat Bots are a new feature in AI that have taken the internet by storm in 2019 and show no signs of slowing down. A chat bot interacts with users on your website through chat ‘conversations’ to provide automated customer service, saving you time and money. They also allow users to access information and engage with your site much more quickly than traditional methods. Chat bots use assigned ‘rules’ and information along with really cool artificial intelligence to allow users to do a multitude of tasks. They can do things such as ask questions, file complaints, make online orders, book flights, buy tickets, and more.

 

There are two types of chatbots: simple and advanced. Simple chatbots use pre-filled keywords to process and respond to customer queries. This type of bot is much simpler (and cheaper) to implement on your website, but it isn’t as good at engaging with your users; it often responds to difficult or unanticipated questions with an ‘I don’t understand’ message. On the opposite side of the coin, advanced chatbots use artificial intelligence to learn customer preferences and enhance conversation. They are able to make jokes, understand sarcasm, and answer complex questions.

 

Artificial intelligence is not yet an art, so there are still bugs in the system. Plus, chat bots can be extremely expensive and they require technical knowledge that many companies may not have on the payroll. However, we anticipate that as technology advances, chat bots will become much more streamlined and accessible for all.

 

Sticky Elements

Sticky elements is a very descriptive name, as they “stick” to your webpage. In other words, as users scroll down your page the sticky elements scroll with them. It’s a great way to keep navigation simple and keep your users engaged.

 

Sticky elements can be a variety of things. Newsletter sign-ups, contact information, and promotions are all good sticky element materials. Many websites create sticky “floating” menus to make navigation easier for a better user experience. Perhaps the most important one is social media links, which allow users to quickly link to your accounts or share your material on their pages. Which is important, because social media attracts billions (with a b) of internet users every day. That’s a huge audience!

 

But, be careful not to over-saturate your site with too many sticky elements. Doing so can make them seem spammy and intrusive, plus they’ll cover your other content. Stick to the sweet spot - no more than two or three at a time. 

 

Well, there you have it. The top website design trends for 2019-2020 focus on increasing speed, keeping your designs simple but engaging, and using technology to stay ahead of the game. Trends evolve, but we’re confident that keeping these in mind will help keep your website relevant and modern through the New Year and beyond.

 

Need more help? We do website design! From consultations to complete overhauls, BIS Designs can transform your website into a stunning reflection of your business. Contact us today!


4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Blog

Once the gem of personal or lifestyle websites, blogging has taken the business industry by storm and is now a highly effective marketing tool, especially for small businesses. Blogging has so many benefits for your company - it can increase your website traffic, widen your target audience, and help create and promote your business brand, among others. Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at the top benefits of a business blog - and how to make them work for you.

 

A Blog Benefits Your SEO

 

Let’s start with the obvious - as a business, you want people to find you. The vast majority of consumers find products and services through search engines, but 75% of them never move away from the first page of results. That’s why paying close attention to your SEO strategy is crucial to achieving your marketing goals. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to boost your Google rankings, and if you want to be found via search engine then Google is king. Each blog post that your site publishes is another page for Google to crawl and “index” in its search algorithm, which increases your website authority (and thus your rankings). Adding new and regular content is also an indicator to search engines that your site is active and current, which increases your visibility factor. In short, blogging is an essential tool if you want to rank highly on Google or any SERP.

 

Be sure to do thorough research and include relevant keywords and topics in your blog content to maximize your SEO success. For more advice on successful SEO, check out our article on the best SEO tips for 2019.

 

A Blog Increases Your Website Traffic

 

You’ve got your website up and running, your business is front and center, and you’re ready to start helping customers! But all you’re hearing is crickets. How do you get people to visit your website?

 

A blog is a great way to help increase your website traffic. Blog content is more shareable than traditional website copy, making it a more effective way to reach your audience. If your content is engaging, solves problems, and focuses on relevant topics, related websites may link to it in their own posts or readers may share it across their social media accounts. You can also cross-post your articles on your own social media accounts, which will increase your business exposure, drive traffic, and help take some of the strain off your marketing department by reducing the need for new content.

 

It’s important to make sharing and linking your content easy. Include social media widgets or hyperlinks in your content, and format your blog images to translate easily across platforms. For even more exposure, try collaborating with related websites or pitching your articles to them for publishing on their site.

 

A Blog Widens Your Audience

 

A carefully crafted business blog will widen your available target audience. Users who are searching for your services will find them easily if your website is SEO-friendly, but what about those who can benefit from your business but may not know it? Through careful blogging, your website can appeal to this untapped section of your audience. This may sound confusing, so let’s look at an example:

 

Say your business sells automobile transmissions. Obviously, you’ll get a great deal of traffic from local users who search “where can I buy an automobile transmission”. But this is a small audience, and those are all people who have already diagnosed their problem and are seeking a solution. What about people who know their car has a problem, but they aren’t sure what it is? This is a much larger audience, and it is one that your business can’t ignore if you want to maximize your profits. By writing a blog post about how to diagnose transmission problems, you’ll reach consumers who need your services but aren’t actively searching for them, and you can help guide them towards purchasing your product. This is called “top of funnel” content, and it’s essential to maximizing your website conversions.

 

Don’t be afraid to vary your content across all of your industry’s challenges, trending news, and current topics. Remember - the goal is to drive a new audience to your site and promote awareness of your business. Once you’ve got their attention, your services will speak for themselves.

 

A Blog Establishes Your Business Brand

 

Online consumers are increasingly concerned with where (and with who) they are spending their money, and businesses who have an identifying brand consistently outperform those who do not. Blogging is a great way to establish and promote your business brand because it gives your business a voice. Whether you want to promote your brand as knowledgeable, caring, quirky, or even humorous, your blog should showcase your company’s values and help engage with your audience on a personal level. As a business you’re likely to be competing in a large market. Establishing a brand through blogging will set your company apart and distinguish you from the competition.

 

If you’re new to business blogging or need help with other areas of your marketing strategy, let BIS Designs help! We can provide consulting services, help design your content strategy, or even manage your business blog for you. If you’re unsure about outsourcing your business blog (can an outsider really capture my brand?), we’ve got you covered - here’s why outsourcing your blogging is a great decision.


4 Ways To Use Instagram And Facebook Stories For Your Business

You’ve been using social media to promote your business. Smart move! Social media marketing has taken the business world by storm. You’re making posts, sharing great content, and drawing in followers. Promotion is great, but these days it is not enough. You’ve got to share your business story to really connect with your audience. And that’s where the new story feature for Instagram and Facebook comes in.

 

A story is a relatively new feature for Facebook and Instagram that can help your business connect with your audience in a personal way. Stories are pinned to the top of your followers’ newsfeeds and last for a maximum of 24 hours. Businesses aren’t penalized for stories, so they are sure to be seen (unlike posts, which are quickly lost in the newsfeed shuffle and have limited visibility due to algorithm updates).

 

If you’re looking to grow your audience and increase your brand awareness, then stories are a tool that you can’t afford to ignore. But how do you use them effectively? Let’s take a look at 4 ways to use Instagram and Facebook stories for your business.

 

Post Authentic Content To Engage With Your Audience

 

The stories feature is meant for...well, stories! A story is more personal than a post and it is most effective when it is used for authentic content. Remember that your stories are only seen by your followers, who are already interested in your business, so there’s not as much need for direct promotion or marketing. Instead, use candid content to give your audience a glimpse into a side of your business that they can’t see anywhere else. Making your business seem real and relatable drives engagement and instills trust in your audience - after all, you’re just like them!

 

Here are a few ideas for authentic content:

 

- ”day in the life” snapshots that show the daily goings-on of your business

- candid photographs of your team or working space

- informal interviews with staff and management

 

Pro Tip: Remember that the goal is to be authentic, so don’t overuse the photoshop or filters in these types of stories. Your audience can tell when your images and videos have been highly doctored, and this can hurt your engagement. Keep it simple to achieve the best results.

 

Use Teasers To Promote Upcoming Events Or Sales

 

We aren’t saying that you can’t ever use promotions in your stories. Your goal is business growth, after all. Stories are a great way to share information about future happenings in your business. Upcoming events, product launches, or sales are all great content for teaser stories that can interest and convert your audience. But keep in mind the 24-hour rule and don’t tease them too early or your audience might forget about it before the big day!

 

Pro Tip: Filters and effects can help make your teaser stories really pop and help you deliver the right message. Both Facebook and Instagram have story editors that allow you to insert text, graphic elements like countdown buttons or coupon codes, and all sorts of other fun designs!

 

Turn Articles And Blog Posts Into Bite-Sized Segments

 

Let’s face it, audiences today have a short attention span. That’s why social media gets more engagement than traditional websites or articles - it is a revolving door of new material. So use that to your business’s advantage by turning your website content into digestible chunks. Research your business content for pieces that can be divided into smaller sections and post them one at a time or in a slide-show story. This will help increase your website traffic if your content (and your story) is engaging.

 

Pro Tip: Graphic design is an important factor in these types of posts. Make sure that your images are relevant, attractive, and clean. Also be sure to hyperlink your story to your article’s URL or reference it at the end so your followers know where to go.

 

Use Stories To Connect Your Accounts

 

The goal is growth, and stories are a great way to grow your account followers. The majority of social media users have accounts on multiple platforms - that means an Instagram user also has a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest account, etc. Referencing your various social media accounts on your stories can drive audience members who may be following you on just one app to follow all of your pages.

 

Pro Tip: Teasing an upcoming Facebook event on Instagram is a great way to convert your Instagram followers to Facebook, and vice-versa. Doing this will increase engagement on both sides of the aisle. And due to social media algorithms, growth begets growth. But be sure to instruct your audience on how to follow you - don’t forget to provide the handle or page name for your referenced accounts.

 

If you aren’t using stories in your business accounts, start today! It’s a great way to up your content marketing strategy. Using the above tips will help you engage with your audience, increase your followers, and grow your business. For more tips on using Instagram to grow your business, check out our post on 5 Tips For Instagram Success.

 

Still have questions? Give us a call to discuss how BIS Designs can help with your social media and content marketing needs!


Tips for Successful Content Marketing

Google and social media platforms (like Facebook) continue to change their algorithms, making it increasingly difficult for a company to reach its audience. Stellar Content marketing can help your company jump some of the hurdles. In fact, Google and Facebook often reward companies with great content. That’s why it’s critical for companies to provide valuable and informative content on their website and social media pages.

 

If you’re struggling to create killer content, follow these tips to help guide you in creating successful content for your company:

Engage with your followers. You’ve probably heard it many times: engagement is crucial for online marketing success. Here’s why: 

 

  • - Part of the algorithm Facebook put in place that decides how many and who of your followers sees a post has to do with how much engagement your post receives. The more people like, comment on, or share your post, the more people will see your post.
  • - Engagement builds trust and loyalty among your audience when you add personality to your company. Add personality by engaging with your audience through conversations and various interactions and not simply posting about your products or serves. This causes people to connect with your brand as if it is a person, and not simply a product or service. You have a much better chance of selling a product or service to someone who trusts you.
  • - Engaging with your audience makes people feel like they’re more than just another dollar in the bank account. People like to feel important, especially by brands they love. So start paying more attention to your audience. Share and like their posts, comments, Tweets, etc.
 

Establish thought leadership. Position your company as a thought leader that provides valuable resources to its audience. Highlighting yourself as an expert in your industry will draw your audience to you. Instead of going straight to Google for information about your industry, people will start going to your website, blog, and following your social media pages to learn industry trends, tips and tricks, and more.

 

Keep it fresh. Keep your content fresh by incorporating new and a variety of content for your customers to read and engage with. Consider mixing up your weekly posts with a guest post or a live product/service demo. Be sure to post on special holidays and incorporate seasonal content into your posts. Use catchy images and high-quality graphics to keep your page looking fresh and not like spam. Incorporate monthly themes, where you focus on certain topics each month, educating your audience beyond their expectations about each topic (thought-leadership!). 

 

Be authentic. With the growth of the Internet and social media platforms, it has become increasingly important to be authentic. Advertising your product, service, or company falsely will always come to light through reviews and comments from customers. Your audience is far more informed than you think, and they will call out a scam without hesitation. One of the top influencers on the web, Neil Patel, put it best when he said, “Authentic businesses inspire and prosper”. Neil Patel advises people to be authentic by:

 

  • - Being real, charitable, consistent, responsive (See, we told you engagement was part of the key), and accountable (If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it and apologize to your customer)
  • - Providing statistics and facts to back up what you say
  • - Respecting the privacy of your customers
  • - Telling your true brand story
  • - Highlighting your good reputation
 

Engage with your followers. Establish thought leadership. Keep it fresh. Be authentic. Each of these tips will help you create a better content marketing strategy to help your company grow. In combination, these tips will help your company soar!  So, give it a try, and if you’re still struggling, give us a call! We’re here to help you create content and manage your digital marketing in a way that will capture the attention of your audience.

 

 

RELATED: 

Should You Outsource Your Business Blogging? 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


5 Tips for Instagram Success

With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is the largest and fastest growing social media platform for sharing videos and photos. 60% of users learn about new products directly through Instagram, 70% of users look up a brand on Instagram, more than 200 million users visit a business profile at least once a day, and if you don’t have an active Instagram account, you might be missing out on a lot of business.

 

According to Forrester, companies that are on Instagram have a 4.21% engagement rate, which is 10x higher than Facebook and 84x higher than Twitter. Whoa! That’s a lot of engagement, and it’s pretty remarkable for something launched only 9 years ago to be growing so quickly.

The importance of having, and maintaining, and Instagram account to reach more customers can no longer be ignored. But, how do you get started? How can your company break through the millions of content being posted to Instagram every day and increase your business? Here are some helpful tips to start implementing today:

 

1. Start with a Strategy - You have goals for your business, and you should have goals for everything you do in support of your business, including social media. A social media strategy defines how your company will use social media to achieve its communication goals. At the very least, it can be a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals, measurable objectives for using the platform, and the target outcomes you wish to accomplish. It’s critical to start with an Instagram strategy; otherwise you’ll waste precious time and money posting with no end goal in mind, nothing to measure your success, and nothing to improve upon. 

 

2. Upgrade your Instagram account to a business profile – If you don’t already have a business profile for Instagram, it’s pretty easy to set up. First, sign up with a business email so your Instagram profile isn’t linked to your personal Facebook account. Next, follow the prompted instructions on Instagram to enter your account details. After you have completed your account set up, switch to a business profile. Just go to Settings -> Account -> Switch to Business Profile. It will then have you confirm your Facebook business page and update your Instagram account for you.

 

Upgrading your Instagram account from a personal to a business profile will give you insights into your audience that will help you reach them more effectively. You will be able to see how many people you reach on average, what posts are the post popular, what time of day your followers are most likely to be on Instagram and see your posts, and more. This is very important to guide you in adjusting your strategy for the best results. 

 

3. Know how often and what type of content to post (quality over quantity) – This section could be the most important to your Instagram account success. Knowing how often and what type of content to post can be tricky. However, if followed well, these tips should help your Instagram improve.

The purpose of Instagram is to create visual inspiration for your followers. Therefore, following the rule “Quality over Quantity” is extremely important. It may seem like it’s better to post 3x per day for more engagement and followers. However, if you are posting poor content with low-quality images or videos, you might as well forget it. Utilize your Instagram account to tell the story of your brand in an ascetically pleasing way, even if you only post 2x per week. It’s far better to post less often and have high-quality images and videos than to post more often with low-quality work that will make your company look cheap and turn people off.

 

The amount of posts you make per week should also be taken into consideration when you are creating a strategy for your social media. You should never approach a week with no plan for your posts, or with a plan in mind to “just post what comes to you” because often times, you’ll get busy and forget to post. Planning monthly and creating a content calendar can help take the stress off of you. 

It may surprise you to know, major brands post on Instagram on average 1.5 times per day. You should aim to post 1-3 times per day. An extremely important tip is to utilize your business profile to its full extend by digging into your insights and figuring out when your followers are on Instagram. You can adjust your strategy to post on the days and during the times your followers are most active. For example, if you find most of your followers are extremely active on Wednesdays at 7 AM and 9 PM, you should aim to post every Wednesday at 7 AM and 9 PM to reach the most people.

 

4. Post User-Generated Content – One of the easiest ways to keep posts running on your Instagram account, or even on your Instagram story, is to post user-generated content (UGC). In fact, 86% of Millennials say that USC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand, and 68% of social media users between the ages of 18 and 14 take into account UGC shared on social media while considering following a brand. 

UGC is defined as any type of content that has been created and put out there by unpaid contributors or followers. This refers to images, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, etc… where your followers promote your brand. Followers like UGC because it puts the customer front and center and makes your brand more about them. Just be sure to ask permission from the original poster before reposting. 

 

5. Always add a compelling CTA - CTAs (Call-To-Action) direct people into what they should do after seeing your post. The key is to be as creative as you can in order to make people take action. A few CTAs to consider in your next post: ask people to tag a friend, make a comment, give your company a call, repost your post, fill out forms to get exclusive discounts, etc.

These tips should help your Instagram account improve. But, remember… gaining followers and seeing a ROI takes time. If you need help, the team at BIS Design’s is always here for you! Just give us a call to discuss your needs.

 

RELATED: 

Algorithms: How Each Platform Keeps You Engaged 

   

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Stay On Top: SEO in 2019

Hello, 2019! It’s a New Year, which means it’s time to get ahead of the competition and on top of your search engine optimization (SEO). In the next few minutes, we’ll cover these five topics to get you thinking about improving your SEO strategy: Mobile-first indexing, page speed, thought-provoking content, featured snippets, and RankBrain.

1. Mobile-first indexing

As of March 2018, Google started rolling out what they call “mobile-first indexing”. In 2019, this concept will become even more relevant as mobile users rise and Google adapts mobile-first indexing to more and more websites.

Searches on desktops are declining, driving the pressing need for appropriate indexing based on the mobile versions of websites. Due to this, mobile-first indexing was created with the intention of helping mobile users easily find what they’re looking for. So, what does this mean for you? Should you completely disregard the desktop version of your website and solely focus on the mobile? The simple answer is no. Both your desktop and mobile versions will come into play in the New Year. This is why Google’s new strategy is called mobile-first indexing, not mobile-only indexing.

In order to avoid negatively impacting your rankings, ensure your mobile and desktop versions are developed with quick loading times and optimized images and content. It’s important not to sacrifice your desktop version for your mobile version, or vise versa.  

2. Page speed

In the new mobile-first index, page speed has become a huge ranking factor, primarily impacting pages that deliver the slowest experience to users on mobile versions. Slow loading speeds cause users to bounce from 32-90% as page load times increase from 1-5 seconds. Research has shown, consumers don’t like to wait for content, especially while on their mobile devices.

How can you increase your page speed? There are three easy steps you can take to increase your speed. First, you can conduct a page speed test using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Next, take into account the size of your pages; many sites are loaded down with too much information, making it difficult to process. Cutting down on the bulk will help your speed improve. Third, contact your web/SEO expert, like us! We can help determine what steps you should take to improve your page speed (and overall SEO). 

3. Thought-provoking content

It’s time to stop creating content for the sake of creating content. Focus on creating content that solves a problem by offering advice, motivation, and engagement for your customer. Creating exceptional content shouldn’t be forgotten and will likely always be an important key to improving your SEO. Exceptional content keeps people wanting more, bringing them back to your site.

4. Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a short summary to a user’s search displayed on top of Google search results. The image below is a snippet, and trust us, it’s where you want your website to appear when consumers search for a service or product.

By using snippets effectively, you can maximize your authority, prove that Google chooses your page over competitors, and increase your traffic. You can earn a featured snippet by analyzing keyword opportunities and implementing them into your site, creating strategic content, having a Q&A section on your website, clearly outlining your subheadings, lists, tables, etc., and polishing up any existing snippets.

5. RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that works alongside Google’s current algorithm, Hummingbird, to improve Google’s search engine by learning and identifying patterns and interpreting unknown search strings. Machine learning is what happens when a computer learns by experience, and that’s exactly what RankBrain does. It intelligently gathers users habits and needs to direct them to the most useful content for their search. It works by taking segments of the entire search and relating them to the most popular searches with those related terms, and as people click on their desired result, RankBrain grows in its search knowledge. RankBrain affects how Google ranks search results. It learns which results are relevant and pushes them to the top.

According to Google, RankBrain is the third most important factor in SEO, after content and links. The key to overcoming RankBrain is to provide users with a positive experience through easy-to-navigate, detailed, and quality content to optimize your site.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the slough of information and ever-changing world of SEO, don’t stress! We’re here to keep you abreast of the changes, and help you implement them into your website structure.

 

RELATED: 

Mobile-Responsive Web Design and Why Your Business Needs it

 


Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Should You Outsource Your Business Blogging?

You may have noticed the blog trend that is ruling the cyber world from Google to social media.  Whether it is fashion influencers or tech gurus and travel enthusiasts, blogging is a trend that continues to grow each year.

 

How does this relate to your business? Blogging is a way to share your expertise and knowledge with your target audience.  In doing so, you are 1) helping to provide information needed by your potential customer and 2) demonstrating your expertise on the subject which in turn keeps the customer coming back to you for further assistance.  You are building trust with your potential customers/clients and this results in more leads for your business. Having well-written and updated blog content on your website also strengthens your relationship with Google which boosts your rankings in search results. 

 

Now that you know why you need a business blog, let’s talk about how you’ll find the time to add this task to your agenda.

 

It is common for small and medium sized businesses to outsource business functions like payroll, human resources, accounting and more to keep the organization lean and flexible.  Outsourcing blog writing? This might seem more challenging – after all, your blog is the voice of your business and a critical part of your content marketing strategy.

 

It is definitely possible to outsource blog posts, and do it well.  Below are two of the most common questions we get here at BIS Designs about blogging:

 

Question 1: Can an outsourced blog writer really capture my tone/style/business personality?

 

Writing is personal and every business feels like they have a unique tone or style they’re looking to capture in their blog.  The very concept of outsourcing might feel like it will cause you to lose some of your business’s personality.

 

Solution:  Take time to educate your writer.  We’ve all heard it, “you get what you put in”, and in this case, it is definitely true. A good writer will research and educate themselves as much as possible but to keep your business personality/style/tone the same, you’ll need to give some details on what makes your business stand out from your competitor.

 

Question 2: Where will the blog content come from?

 

If you give your writer nothing to work with, you get nothing in return worth reading. It’s that simple. You are the subject matter expert for your business. A good outsourced writer will bring your expertise to light in a readable way.  If you’ll provide more information and direction, you’ll get more of what you expect from your writer and overall blog content strategy.

 

Solution: Make a list of topics.  Whether you do this once a month or once a quarter – take the time to send a few topics to your writer. Once your blog writer has a list of topics, he/she can now get started on the time-consuming part of the project - creating engaging content.  The few minutes that you spend concentrating on topics will help to keep your business personality/tone/style alive on your website.

A big perk of outsourcing your business blog writing is that your new writer will bring fresh ideas to the table.  This simply adds new insights that can make your blog better.

 

Fun Fact: The average blog post takes 3 hours 20 minutes to write and the most engaged blog content on the web now has 41% more words than it did 3 years ago. 

 

If you have a blog on your website that you simply don’t have time to keep up or you would like to add a blog to your website but aren’t sure where to start, give us a call! Outsourcing to a local company who can meet with you face-to-face to discuss your marketing goals is a great way to start the new season.

 

RELATED:

5 Benefits of Business Blogging

 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Responsive Web Design and Why Your Business Needs It

Our customers use any number of difference devices to surf the web, including laptops, desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.  It has become increasingly important to provide a seamless experience to potential customers no matter what device they are using, your business website needs to be built with responsive web design in mind.

What is responsive web design? And why is it such an important part of your overall digital marketing strategy? Here’s what you need to know on the subject.

Responsive Web Design

A website that utilizes responsive web design will automatically resize depending on the type of device being used to access the site.

Responsive websites intuitively respond to the type of device being used and adjust the layout of a website accordingly, information is more easily accessible and the user experience is much more enjoyable.  No more scroll bars, no more pinching and squeezing to be able to read content and no more separate mobile sites.  Think beautiful, clean websites that are easy to read and navigate on any device.

The Importance of Responsive Web Design

Are you thinking of updating or building a new website for your business? Make sure you go with a web designer (like BIS Designs) that knows how to create responsive web designs.  Here’s why:

Consumers steer clear from websites that aren’t mobile friendly. 57% of mobile users say they won’t recommend a business that has a poor user experience on their smartphones.  Today, mobile users account for nearly half the internet traffic and online shopping, browsing and researching is the new favorite past-time.  If it takes too long to navigate or load a website, the consumer will move on to your competitor.  The key is to be accessible, no matter what device is being used.

You have a limited amount of time to catch a consumer’s attention.  Websites that don’t load within 9 seconds are considered to be low quality and if the site does not fit the screen of a user's smartphone, making it more difficult to navigate, the consumer will leave your site without engaging, and more importantly, no conversion. 

Also important to keep in mind, the higher quality your website, the more stock goes on in SEO.  Google is impressed by a responsive design and knows it creates a better user experience, which in turn puts your business higher in the rankings. 

Here at BIS Designs, we’ve made it our business to create high quality, responsive and seamless websites for our clients, no matter their industry.  Let us improve your customers’ online experience when they visit your website!

RELATED: 

5 Benefits of Business Blogging 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Algorithms: How Each Social Platform Keeps You Engaged

The social media marketing discussion is now dominated by algorithms – almost everywhere you engage, within almost every platform you use, machine learning and data sorting is used to decide what it is you see.

The evolution of social algorithms has, no doubt, made things harder for social marketers. The development of algorithms follows much the same progression as the technical elements of SEO – in order to show searches the most relevant responses to user queries and weed out spammers, Google has had to constantly update its algorithm to stay one step ahead.

 

Now social platforms are in much the same position, which adds a more complex, technical element to the social marketing process.

With this in mind, what do you need to know to ensure you’re on top of the latest social algorithm shifts, and how can you best prepare yourself, and understand the focus of each platform to maximize your business page performance?

Here’s a quick overview of the current state of each platform’s algorithm, based on what I’ve studied of their workings.

FACEBOOK

The most influential social algorithm is Facebook’s. The Social Network was the first to implement an algorithm feed, in response to the flood of spammy posts and junk which had taken over the app as its popularity grew.

Facebook’s algorithm aims to show you the content you’re most likely to engage with – though obviously there’s a lot more to it than that.

To best understand Facebook’s algorithm, you first need to get your head around the basic engagement equation Facebook uses.

Facebook’s News Feed chief, Adam Mosseri, explained this in several webinars, conferences and online publications last year, comparing their selection process to choosing a meal for a friend at a restaurant:

 

This process, says Mosseri, is essentially utilizing an algorithm within your own head – Facebook’s system simply transfers these though processes to a machine, shifting the same core elements into more technical factors – Inventory, Signals, Predictions and Scores.

Here’s the same calculations with Facebook actions replacing restaurant options:

Facebook rates each post based on your individual usage patterns, which, along with a range of other measures, enable it to come up with a score for each post. That score then dictates where each will appear in your feed.

Sound confusing? Yes, it is. These algorithms change constantly so studying and keeping up with the social channel’s updates are crucial to any business social media marketing plan. In basic terms, Facebook measures the likelihood that you’re going to take a particular action which their data suggests is the most engaging, then shows each story to you based on that probability.

TWITTER

Twitter’s algorithm is less advanced than Facebook’s, but they are putting increased focus on their machine learning efforts to boost engagement.

Users were initially outraged that Twitter would even consider changing to an algorithm, but the data has since shown that the system has helped the platform boost performance – as algorithms have on virtually every platform.

Twitter’s main objective with their algorithm is to show you more content you may be interested in – similar to Facebook, though Twitter is more about showing it to you in addition to the other tweets you might see, as opposed to “instead of”.

Even with an algorithm in place, Twitter can still show you almost every tweet, due to the real time nature of the feed. Nowadays, when you first login into Twitter, you’ll see tweets you may have missed, which are basically the most popular tweets from the people you follow. Twitter has also been working to boost engagement by showing you tweets that people you follow have liked, too.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is one of the hottest social platforms at the moment for social engagement.  They have now also implemented a Facebook-style algorithm.  Facebook actually owns both platforms now, so the algorithms are almost exactly the same now. Like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithm is based on your likelihood to engage.

LINKEDIN

Like Twitter, LinkedIn’s algorithm is not as advanced as Facebook’s.  A good example of how LinkedIn’s feed algorithm works is their comment sorting tool – LinkedIn recently published an update on how comments are displayed on each post, based on engagement.

In my opinion, and the opinion of many other LinkedIn users, their algorithm needs some work.  You’ll often see posts from weeks ago in your feed but they are refining their data, and working to show you more relevant content, slowly but surely.

PINTEREST

The last platform has a constantly evolving algorithm to uncover more relevant Pin matches. Their goal is to keep you searching and their system has been upgraded from its initial matching efforts to better highlight relevant content.

Do you have ideas of how these social platforms might improve their algorithms in the future? Tell us in the comments!

RELATED:

Why Your Business Needs A Paid Facebook Ad Budget

Author: Stephanie May - smay@askbisdesigns.com 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: What exactly happened?

If you’ve been keeping up with the national news for the last two weeks, you’ve heard the reports of political campaigns acquiring private data on millions of Facebook users.  It has now sparked new questions about how the social media giant protects user information.

First of all, as a business advertising on Facebook, we are all thankful for the data which identifies personalities and buying trends of users.  This doesn’t mean people’s personal information like credit cards, social security numbers and other secure information was ever shared via Facebook.

What does it mean?

When you “like” a certain post, take a quiz or share a family, friend or business page’s post, Facebook keeps track of this content.  Why? Well, when they know what you like, they know what to put in your newsfeed. 

This all plays a big part in Facebook’s algorithms, which have changed drastically in the last two years.  The algorithms now only allow content that you are interested in to be in your newsfeed.  To me, this isn’t a bad thing at all.  It is a highly intelligent way of keeping users happy and engaged.  For businesses, it also makes it more difficult to advertise because you need to pay attention to what users want to see on a daily basis and tailor your content to that audience.  Otherwise, your content will go unseen.  This is what I do on a daily basis for dozens of business accounts, study trends in order to make sure the business pages are reaching the most customers. 

Now, back to Cambridge Analytica. What’s the big deal? The firm offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.  This behavior was then, allegedly, used to target voters for the election.  This app has since been removed from Facebook but there are reports that the data still exists, so this is why Facebook is being scrutinized.

What kind of information was collected and how was it acquired?

The data included details on users’ identities, friend networks and “likes”.  The idea was to map personality traits based on what people had liked on Facebook, and then use that information to target audiences with digital ads.

Researchers in 2014 asked users to take a personality survey and download an app, which scraped some private information from their profiles and those of their friends, activity that Facebook permitted at the time and has since banned. 

The technique had been developed at Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Center.  Facebook says no passwords or “sensitive pieces of information” had been taken. 

Facebook has always prohibited this kind of data to be sold or transferred “to any ad network, data broker or other advertising service” so the question everyone has been asking is, was Facebook hacked? No one really knows for sure.

What is Facebook doing to fix the situation?

Really, there isn’t much they can do about it at this point. Once the data is out, there isn’t really a way to recall it. They can conduct all the forensic audits they want, but the information will remain out there in some form, and will likely remain useable and indicative. For damage control, Facebook needs to show users that it is improving, learned its lessons and their systems are actually now better for it.

We’ll see in the next year whether or not users pull away from the social giant or whether it will blow over and everyone will go back to using Facebook as usual.  As already stated, no sensitive information was really obtained but it is simply a matter of users trusting Facebook to keep up with their social habits without exploiting it for political reasons.

What do you think? Does it bother you that Facebook tracks your likes and, in turn, creates a personality profile of your daily habits in order for businesses to advertise to you? We want to know! Let us know on Facebook!

RELATED:

12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Content Marketing Strategy

Author: Stephanie May - smay@askbisdesigns.com 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com

 


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