Signs of Quality Web Development in St. Paul, MN

One of the most effective ways to build a brand online and grow your company is to have a high quality, attractive, and well-functioning website. Building a good website takes time, hard work, and intention. Your website is a direct representation of the aesthetics, professionalism, and abilities of your brand. In today’s highly digital world, your website is the primary way that your audience learns about your products, services, or goals as a company. User response to the form and function of a website will almost immediately determine if they will continue to interact with your brand or click away. In fact, many reports show that users are 50% less likely to interact with a site that takes longer than two seconds to load. Maintaining visual interest, creating a trustworthy atmosphere, building accessibility, and providing all the necessary information clearly are some of the basic foundational tactics to establishing a great website. At MLT Group, we provide comprehensive web development in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Rochester, the surrounding areas, and the rest of the United States. We serve a broad range of brands and companies and can help you grow as a business by creating an effective website with accessible content for a diverse audience.

Web Development

There are many aspects of effective web development that go into building a quality website, but all of those elements will fall into two categories: form and function. The function of your website includes your informational content, navigation, user interface, and many other components of how well your website works and what tools are available to your audience. The form of your site covers the aesthetics, design, responsive layout, and other cosmetic factors that make it desirable, easy, and even fun for users to interact with.

When you start building your website, understanding the fundamental purpose of its function is critical before you can consider any of the design or form aesthetics.

Function

The function of your website is the reason why it exists and the practical way it works. Do you need it to provide information to users, sell products, promote your services, or create a location for your audience? Most likely, you’ll need it to do all that and more. There are several core values of website functionality that will get you started with a great foundation for your web development right away.

Outline your website’s purpose(s):

Consider the reason your brand exists and focus on its most primary purposes. If you sell products and services, the primary purpose of your website is ecommerce. If your brand is a publication, your website’s primary purpose is to relay your published content into a digital format. While “purpose” can quickly become complex when marketing, audience interactions, and many other goals come up, it’s important to make the primary purpose of your brand the true footing of your web development.

Make your site easy to use:

Site visitors are often impatient. Your website needs to load quickly and have easily accessible information. The best way to start building a site that is easy to navigate is to conform to some aspects of traditional website design. This often means having clear dropdown menus, consistent placement of buttons, links, text, and images, a home page button, social media pathways, search bars, and more. If users can find information easily on your website, it will make them more likely to continue interaction beyond what they originally came to find.

Optimize for devices:

You never know what kind of device a user is using to interact with your website. The only way to be sure everything is loading correctly and showing all your content in the format you want it to is to optimize your site for every kind of device, including desktops, smartphones, tablets, and other screens. The fact is there is no excuse for a website to show up jumbled, not load, or have other issues on different devices in this day and age. Optimizing for mobile and other devices will improve user interface and make your website more attractive to search engines.

Use SEO tools:

When you implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you can improve the chances of your website’s inclusion in search engine results. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use specific algorithms to gather web results for users searching specific terms. If a user searches “sushi near me,” for example, the algorithm will pull up top rated sushi restaurants in the targeted location. The algorithm will favor websites that are built well and optimized, websites that use the keyword “sushi” and the target location, and websites that use other SEO tools. Additional SEO tools include specific text, using page titles, tags, sitemaps, frequent publishing of fresh content, and more.

Use social media platforms:

Putting your brand on multiple social media platforms can improve your image, create unique communication pathways with your audience, and make your website more legitimate. You don’t have to use every social media platform out there, but it’s a good idea to utilize the three mains: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. These days, many successful brands also use Snapchat and Tik Tok. Linking these platforms with apps that act as single hubs will make it easier to maintain new content on all accounts at once.

Form

Once your main purpose and the foundation of website function is established, you can start to consider the form of your site. Well-crafted visuals and a specific design aesthetic will play a large part in building your brand and cultivating an audience. Design practices can look different for many brands, but there are some basic principles everyone should follow.

Colors:

Even if you choose to follow muted or grayscale color schemes, your color choices will say a lot about your brand. We all know that colors affect our emotions, associations, references, and much more. Choose colors for your brand that will positively impact all of the design choices and aesthetics you build into your website in the future. From a practical standpoint, it’s important to pick colors that aren’t overly distracting, make your site readable, and create visual consistency throughout your site. A generic color scheme for a website will use three to eight colors that fit different placements, including the background, title fonts, subtexts, line, buttons, and more.

Font:

Typography is another design factor that plays a large role in establishing your brand aesthetic. There are thousands of fonts available for free, specialty fonts can be purchased, and some brands design their own fonts for anything from their logo to the text on their entire website. Your font choice will also affect how users view your brand. Neutral fonts can relay information quickly and effectively, but more creative fonts can impart artistry and brand effort. Make the font choice for titles, paragraph content, subtitles, logos, and more that will best suit your brand.

Visual hierarchy:

A visual hierarchy determines the arrangement of each website component or media. This hierarchy can apply to colors and font choices, negative space, texture, style, images, or other media. Using a visual hierarchy can help you guide the focus of the user. For example, most users interact with bright or large elements before spending time reading text content. Most users also read pages in an F shape, moving left to right and top to bottom. Creating a grid layout with the visual hierarchy starting in the top left corner of a page is a common way website designers build an attractive aesthetic that users find easy to use.

Media:

Visual media elements like images and videos almost always attract user attention better than text content. Incorporating media without compromising the load time and your website usability can shape a brand design and make your site more appealing to impatient users. Whenever you utilize visuals like images and videos, creating accessibility around them for visually impaired users will increase the diversity of your audience, improve the ethical practices of your business, and make your brand more likeable in general. Adding text descriptions of media makes those design aspects accessible to anyone with a screen reader, text-to-voice app, or other tool that translates visuals to audible content.

Simplicity:

Even if your design aesthetic is bright, heavy in texture, idiosyncratic, or complex in other ways, you should always maintain simplicity in the foundation of your website’s form. Your visuals can be whatever you want, as long as they do not make it difficult for users to read your website, find links, scroll, or interact with your site in any way. The Yale School of Art website is a good example of when overly complicated design gets in the way of user interface. An example of when a complicated visual design built on a simple platform makes for a great website is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Detroit site. Start from a point of simplicity and build your aesthetics on top of that, rather than throwing user ease out the window in favor of visual design.

These basics will help guide you in building a quality website for good functionality with your brand’s specific aesthetic form. Calls to action, email lists, the continued release of fresh content, and many other practices will also play a role in developing your brand and improving your website quality.

To learn more about web development in St. Paul, MN and throughout the region, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

Avoiding Content Cannibalization and Self Plagiarism with SEO/Marketing in Minneapolis, MN

If you run an online brand or company website, you probably know how important it is to generate fresh content on a routine basis. With frequently published, original content your site will be more attractive to algorithms used by search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Search engines use a crawl, index, and rank system to find website results that they deem to be most valuable to any given user inquiry. Originality is important to the engines and algorithms. With crawling bots reviewing all the components of your site whenever content is created, search engines indexing that new information, and results pages ranking for user inquiries from that index of websites, you can imagine it becomes a problem for your website’s performance if you publish content that plagiarizes other sites. Additionally, if your site content self-plagiarizes or cannibalizes your older site data that is a problem too. MLT Group provides effective content creation for up-to-date SEO/Marketing in Minneapolis, MN and the surrounding area. Heck, all across the USA actually. With our services, you can have professionals creating original content for your site and be sure none of your content is detrimental to itself from accidental cannibalizing or plagiarizing practices.

Google and other search engines change their algorithms over time, which means older content might have SEO/Marketing features that aren’t effective anymore. For example, Google now punishes sites that overload keyword content, while in the past websites were rewarded for that practice with higher placement on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

There are fixes for both plagiarized content and self-plagiarism. The latter is usually a result of lazy content creation or a lack of attention to automatically generated or queued content.

Cause and Effect of Self-Plagiarism

Self-plagiarism of website content can be as obvious as the exact same text or media published multiple times on your page or as subtle as metadata and URL copies. One example of common self-plagiarism is with ecommerce sites when products are duplicated to create a similar, but ultimately different product page. Duplicating a product requires the content creator to double check every data point about the entry, including title, price, quantity, description, images, tags, URL, stock keeping units (SKU), collection or group, color, size, and more. It can be simple to duplicate a product to create a new one that has many similar data points as the other one, but the creator needs to remember to change the points that search engines interact with when ranking indexed sites. If you have many duplicate title cards and other copied aspects of a page that will show up as a header on a SERP, your site becomes less attractive to a search engine ranking algorithm.

Another example of self-plagiarism is republishing old content that is still published in its original place on your site. Copying and pasting an old blog under the guise of new information is a poor SEO practice. Not only is it a hallmark of spam websites, but it is also something users may notice. Search engines will definitely notice and potentially ding your ranking on SERPs.

When creating content, it’s best to put in the time and effort to double check your work and to plan news, blogs, and other content that is actually fresh information.

Cause and Effect of Cannibalization

Cannibalization of site content usually occurs when two pages on a single website publish the same or very similar information. If you had a brand with one page of your site dedicated to water damage cleanup in New York and another page for water damage cleanup in Chicago but both had the same content other than changing out the name of the city… you might have a cannibalization problem. The search engines see the two URLs as near duplicates, causing both to perform poorly in the long term. This is a form of classic cannibalization between unintentionally competing URLs.

Google and other search engines rank sites based on different kinds of user inquiries. There are three main kinds of user inquiries:

  1. Informational: Users looking for information with specific keywords, such as, “what is eco-friendly clothing”.
  2. Navigational: Users searching for specific websites by name, such as, “earthfashion.com” or “Earth Fashion”.
  3. Transactional: Users want to buy a product and use that product as their keyword search, such as, “where can I buy eco-friendly clothing” or simply “eco-friendly jogging suit”.

If you have an ecommerce URL on your website, such as earthfashion.com/shop in addition to a blog URL like earthfashion.com/blog, search engines will prioritize one URL over the other depending on the type of user inquiry and the search terms they use. This is good. However, if the engines can’t tell which page is more relevant to the user’s search because of indistinct URLs or duplicated page content it can hurt the ranking results of both.

With tracking software, you can chart the patterns of each URLs performance. This can provide insights into the effectiveness on the content of various pages on your site.

If you believe your website is underperforming because of the effects of website content cannibalization there are steps you can take. As an example, if you suspect old content is cannibalizing new pages, search the domain name and key phrase  (for example, “site:earthfashion.com sustainable outfit ideas”) on Google to see all the content that exists on your site pertaining to that topic. If you have old content that might cannibalize any new information you want to publish, redirect all of those old pages to your fresh URL.

For more information about self-plagiarism, cannibalization, and other problems that can impact the effectiveness of your SEO/Marketing in Minneapolis, MN, or to learn more about our SEO and marketing services, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

Digital Marketing: SEO for Beginners

If your company or brand has an online presence, it’s likely you’ve heard recommendations to improve your search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a board term for a lot of different strategies and techniques for making it clear to the search engines that a site is a good resource and therefore worth ranking highly in search results. Done right, SEO will increase your website’s chances of showing up in organic search engine results. These are the sites recommended by the search engine, rather than the paid results. Each search engine uses a different algorithm to filter the list of results when a user enters a certain keyword, location, or phrase. The goal of the algorithm is to provide the best search results. By implementing various SEO tools, techniques, and strategies you can increase the chances that your site will appear in top results. MLT Group provides expert services for digital marketing, content creation, and organic, white hat, SEO.

While the help of a digital marketing and SEO provider will likely be the most effective way to increase your audience, grow your brand, and improve your user interactions, there are many ways to improve your own SEO. To start your understanding of SEO, it’s important to differentiate between good and bad practices.

White Hat vs. Black Hat

Practices for SEO are often labeled either “white hat” and “black hat.” SEO techniques that are white hat are the ones you should utilize. These good SEO practices follow search engine rules and are implemented to help users and bring better value to search results. Black hat SEO, on the other hand, attempts to trick search engines, spam results, and manipulate users. These practices can be effective in increasing site traffic, but if you get caught, your website will be penalized. Penalized sites are often removed from any search results or blacklisted in other ways. Black hat SEO is also widely considered unethical business behavior.

Basic Principles

Each search engine has a set of principles on which they base their search result algorithms. Not only do search engines want to help websites that use white hat SEO practices, they also often offer SEO guidance and tools to increase your own abilities. For example, Google has a helpful community search console, analytics that can track traffic, and many other products available to website owners, largely free of charge.

The algorithms change over time and vary between search engines, but for the most part, they will include the following for site owners to follow:

  1. build your website for users and not for search engines
  2. don’t trick or lie to users or search engines
  3. use white hat SEO
  4. create a website that is valuable and unique (don’t duplicate content)
  5. build your website to be clear, accessible, and relevant
  6. incorporate social media platforms
  7. build a fast-loading website
  8. avoid automatically-generated content
  9. don’t hide text or links
  10. do not cloak your website so search engines see different content than users
  11. do not duplicate your own content
  12. don’t overfill or “stuff” keywords into your content
  13. have short, descriptive URLs that include relevant keywords
  14. do not have non-character letters in your URL
  15. insure that title tags, description tags, H1s and H2s include relevant keywords/keyphrases
  16. add relevant original content to your site regularly
  17. encourage related sites to link back to your site

There are many other SEO techniques and practices that you can utilize to make your site more attractive to search engines, but these general rules can get you started. It’s a good idea to thoroughly read the fine print of Google’s guidelines as well. Google is by far the search engine that will impact your SEO tactics the most.

How Search Engines Work

There are three steps to how search engines work to find and sort search results. They use site crawling to analyze content on the internet, looking over the code and content of each website. Crawling bots examine keywords, the date content was published, URLs, duplications, and much more to determine which sites best fit a user search. This determination process is a part of their indexing.

When search engines index pages, they are organizing, categorizing, and storing all the information gathered. Indexed content is then available for search engines to rank when a query is made. Ranking is triggered with a search, and the engine will provide results in an order that answers the query according to their algorithm. With SEO, you are providing information to crawling bots that can change how your site is indexed and ranked.

There are ways to see how much of your content is indexed in a search engine. With Google, if you enter into the search bar “site:yoursite,” Google will tell you the number of hits that come up. The social media platform of instagram.com brings up about 631 million hits. Our site, mltgroup.com, brings up 940 hits. You can also use the Google Search Console to get more accurate and specific index reports. You can measure additional SEO success with key performance indicators (KPIs).

Key Performance Indicators

There are many KPIs that sites use to measure audience demographics, site traffic patterns, conversion rates, and SEO success. Common KPIs include sales, downloads, reviews, email lists, submission on contact forms, phone calls, and more. Establishing your KPIs will depend largely on the goals of your brand and intent of your users. Is your goal as a company to sell a specific product? Do your users come to your site through a search to find a local service provider? By knowing your goals and your users’ needs, you can build a website with the right SEO and KPIs.

Local, National, or Global

Another thing your goals and user intent will determine is whether you should be using local, national, or international SEO practices. Local SEO will usually include keywords with geo-target searches. For example, a user might search for “sushi near me” or “best sushi in Minneapolis.” Building keywords tied to target locations will help you increase local SEO results. However, many businesses want to reach broader audiences, and in that case using geo-targets might actually reduce the effectiveness of your SEO. If you want to use national or international SEO, there are other ways to reach users, such as using country-targeting or language-targeting.

With local, national, or international SEO, you can help to fulfill the different intents of users. The majority of user intents are informational searches (such as, “what should I wear to a spring wedding?”), navigational searches to specific sites (such as, “Nordstrom”), or transactional searches (such as, “spring dresses on sale”). One way to determine user intent is to Google a keyword you have incorporated into your website and look at the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). You’ll see your top competitors, images, hit counts, and more information that can help you choose the best keywords and ways to improve your SEO. Google Ads also offers keyword planning services.

Pairing with SEO

SEO practices can be paired with different ad services like pay-per-click marketing, retargeting, and Google ads, as well as enhanced through social media marketing.

Digital Marketing

These basics can help you get started on an SEO and digital marketing plan. When you begin implementing your own SEO strategies, keep in mind the importance of keywords, valuable content, white hat practices, user intent, and your goals as a brand. To learn more about SEO, check out our blog for more related articles. We offer practical, informational advice and more about different kinds of SEO and content creation tactics.

To benefit from our digital marketing advice and services, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

Video Production and Why Audiovisual Content is the Most Engaging Media

Since the rapid improvement of smartphone cameras and microphones, it’s become easier than ever to create quality visual, audio, and audiovisual content. The days of heavy, expensive, and difficult to use cameras and other equipment are past. No longer are whole camera crews needed for content creation. However, those kinds of tools still have their uses in professional spaces. For film, high quality photography, best sound capture, and video production, using more than just an iPhone goes a long way. That’s where digital marketing and audiovisual production specialist services can really boost your brand and increase your audience with expert, cohesive media content creation. At MLT Group, we’ve worked to expand our video production services into a comprehensive range of capabilities. Not only do we provide audiovisual media production for training and educational videos, commercials and digital ad media, industrial videos, corporate videos, and social media/web video content, we also provide animation services at competitive rates, surveillance video enhancement, video duplication services, and aerial video with 4K drone videography and drone pilot technology.

Video Production

MLT Group video production services can provide design for audiovisual content that will captivate your audience and make your brand more engaging and memorable. With video content accessible through your website, social media platforms, and other digital marketing strategies, users will be more likely to spend time on your site, share your media, and show more overall interest in your brand.

Around 70% of marketers using multiple types of digital content report that their videos lead to the most conversions on their site. Conversion rates are the measurement of how many users take the next step on your site, from signing up for a newsletter to making a purchase. Many studies show that users retain about 95% of messages when consumed in a video format, whereas only about 10% is retained when users process the same information as text content.

Human brains naturally engage with movement and sound. Because of that, videos are the most effective content for marketing and brand awareness. If we break down why we engage so well with audiovisual content, it makes perfect sense when you take into account the following aspects of well-produced video:

Story-telling:

Videos are excellent at making even the most complex and technical information digestible in comparison with any other type of content. They’re the best storytellers because they have both visual imagery with movement and multiple kinds of auditory information. You can use a human voice, body language of people and animals, and our ability to empathize with facial expressions to convey your message quickly and extremely effectively. Videos are essentially teaching tools that help users learn in as little as a few minutes everything they need to know to take a step that will increase your conversion rates. Using videos to tell a “story” about your brand will also provide a comfortable space for users because it gives them a solid understanding of a product in a very short period of time.

Imagery:

Visuals are an important part of the storytelling aspect of audiovisual content. Imagery matters, especially in a world with thousands of references, connotations, inferences, and implications tied to even the simplest visuals. You can use imagery in a video to your advantage and create visuals that best play to your audience while retaining all the information and aesthetics of your brand. Depending on your audience, you can use nostalgic imagery, modern aesthetics, rustic imagery, family-forward settings, etc. The list of stylized imagery is never-ending. If you know your audience, you can incorporate visuals that elicit positive responses and help educate your users about your brand or product. Many websites use imagery in their videos that trigger dopamine releases, empathy, instinctual communication pathways, and other ways to prompt the interest of your users.

Music:

Along with imagery, music can be a powerful part of a video. Even if a video doesn’t obviously use a song or soundtrack, background musical threads can add a lot of depth and emotion to audiovisual content. Background musical effects can enrich a narrative, impart a professional atmosphere, make child-friendly spaces, impart lightness and fun aesthetics, and so much more. Even with simple background music, videos can build layers and nuances that audiences will engage with more readily. In addition to background music, contemporary songs, music of the past, stylized musical themes, cultural genres, and many other aspects of music that can be incorporated into audiovisual content will change the way your aud犀利士
ience interacts with it even more.

Sound effects:

Apart from music, dialogue, narrative, and other audio components that can be worked into a video, sound effects can also be highly potent tools that help you connect with your audience and communicate information in quick and lasting ways. Sound effects include a broad range of audio, but each effect can have highly specific results when that content is used in a brand’s video. We all interact with different noises in different ways, but you can predict some effects of sounds by generalizing. For example, laughter can impart a joyous environment, dog and cat sounds might make pet owners feel empathy, emergency sirens create a sense of danger, and the sound of a crackling fireplace might make some viewers feel cozy. Sound effects could easily become the most complex part of creating audiovisual content, but they can also be some of the best ways to make a video have a natural and professional flow. Because the majority of your users live in a world where they interact with the sounds you can incorporate, there will always be referential undertones and emotional reactions.

Return on investment:

Not only do all components of audiovisual content spark the interest of our brain, release dopamine, encourage empathy, and open communication instincts, but video is known to have an excellent return on investment (ROI) as well. High quality filming, set, and production will bring awareness to your site, create a user-friendly platform, and increase conversion rates. This means any cost put into creating a video or other audiovisual content on your site will likely increase revenue and grow your audience effectively.

SEO tool:

Videos are also very productive search engine optimization (SEO) tools. Implementing good SEO systems will help search engines prioritize your site in keyword and location-based searches. Google and other search engines use ever-changing algorithms to pull websites that fit the requests of users the best. For the unforeseeable future, video content is favorable for many kinds of searches because of positive user engagement. Not only do websites with video content have more effective SEO, they also garner the largest percentage of user shares. A significant example is YouTube (a Google owned company), which has the third highest rate of shares in the US, just after Google.com and Google images.

Videos are one of the most direct ways to communicate with your audience, generate further engagement, and increase conversion rates. By far, audiovisual content is one of the quickest ways to grow your brand and still get the best return on your investment. One final, and often unexpected way, that videos can be excellent beacons of content on your site to guide users is their ability to act as “end-caps.” Videos can wrap up a significant chunk of information that your audience can then use to take their next steps on your site and continue interacting with your brand.

To learn more about MLT Group’s capabilities for comprehensive, professional video production and content creation, contact us at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

 

Core Values of Effective Web Development in Minneapolis, MN

If you’re building a brand, you need to have an online presence for long term success and audience growth. Ideally, that would include a website and social media presence on multiple platforms, as well as digital marketing and ad placement, but at the very least, your online presence should include a website. Building a website can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the tools, but with the right support systems, you can put together a quality site that meets your needs and holds space in search engines. Many popular website builders available today make putting together a website easy, but to create a well-designed site that increases user engagement and accessibility for a diverse audience, it’s important to understand core values that make up good web development. At MLT Group, we specialize in SEO-based designs for websites with quality content that users will respond to positively. When you work with us to build your website, you benefit from our extensive understanding of effective web development in Minneapolis, MN and across the country.

Web Development

It doesn’t matter if you own a business, manage a nonprofit organization, or are a public figure, you will benefit from a quality website. As soon as you establish a website that operates as your own platform, you can start to grow your brand with search engine optimization, digital marketing campaigns, and more. Your website will be the central component of your digital marketing. Quality web development for your website should be guided by four core values in order to achieve the best site possible for your brand and users.

Design

You probably have something in mind for the aesthetic design of your site, but remember there are other aspects of design that are critical for making an effective website. These design aspects don’t have anything to do with the superficial “look” of your brand, but they are key in formatting a site that makes your ideal aesthetics work for you in other ways.

When you design your site, you want to make it as user-friendly as possible. First of all, this means a fast loading time is a must. A slow load time causes significant bounce-back results, meaning users immediately go back to the search results page. About 50% of users report bounce back if your site takes longer than two seconds to load. Additionally Google penalizes sites that take more than two seconds to load, negatively impacting search rankings. Make your site design load quickly by reducing cluttered code, eliminating media that slows things down, creating caches, and implementing technical SEO tactics.

If you’ve got a fast load time down, make your site user-friendly by reducing cognitive load without compromising key information. This essentially means relying on a standard of simplicity. Have a well-organized site with pages that each have information easily available. Text content should be written concisely and plainly, however word counts are important to Google and other search engines so don’t skimp on text… just be sure it reads well and is visually pleasing in the way it is displayed. For many sites, that text should also use objective language. Making use of the negative space will also help break chunks of information apart to be more easily digestible.

Another way to design a user-friendly site is by using convention without compromising your design aesthetic. There are certain conventional design standards used on the internet, and users are accustomed to those standards. Drop down menus, contact forms, tags, and having a home button in the top left corner of a page are all examples of conventions you can use to make your site easy to navigate.

When you design your site, think about how you operate as a user. Think of some of the most confusing and difficult websites you’ve come across and avoid the things that you didn’t like about them. Even some large companies with plenty of access to quality designers have been called out for their poor site designs like RiteAid (poor use of negative space and difficult to find what you need) and the Yale School of Art (confusing graphics, unreadable overlays). If you sacrifice good design for your aesthetics or if you have too much information on your page, users are less likely to enjoy interacting with your website.

SEO

Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) is how users find your site through search engines. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing use algorithms to find sites and display them in a specific order. Using SEO will increase your chance of your site ranking highly among those results.

There are many ways to implement SEO, such as including keywords in your text content, creating meta descriptions and title tags, and using geo-locations in your H1 and H2 tags. Combining all of these SEO techniques is important to a comprehensive search engine optimization of your site. On social media platforms, for example, hashtags are a basic SEO-like tool. Building SEO into your site takes work, but it’s worth it because it will exponentially increase your audience over time.

One example of effective SEO is building a blog or news page into your site and posting new content regularly. Google and other search engines favor fresh, original content in their algorithms, and you can incorporate keywords frequently and with variety in blogs. Additionally, blogs give you the opportunity to give more information to your users and increase the nuances of your brand.

MLT Group offers comprehensive SEO services for many aspects of your site, including onsite SEO, content development, link building, and search engine marketing. Incorporating SEO into your site yourself is doable, but it does take time to do the research and build the content. Getting help from a professional like MLT Group lifts the majority of SEO from your shoulders and helps you enjoy a better, more effective website.

Adaptability

You never know what device someone will use to interact with your website. Smart phones, tablets, PCs and other screens all have different dimensions and they handle code slightly differently. Because of this, it’s important that your website is adaptable to all kinds of device displays.

When you’re building your site, keep in mind it’s easier to optimize a site for mobile, tablet, and computer screens from the start, rather than after it’s been built for one type of screen. To alter your site’s designs to fit smaller screens, think about how to shrink a page down without making text and images microscopic. Make sure the page will still load quickly (you can test load times with Google’s speed tester), and ensure your content is reorganized and resized appropriately instead of having text and media jumbling on top of each other.

If possible, the ideal solution for mobile optimization is to build your site using responsive coding. Ask your website professional how this works.

Accessibility

Most brands make it their goal to cater to a diverse audience, but to do so, you need to make your website accessible to people with different abilities and needs. This includes people with hearing, vision, cognitive, and processing impairments. That poses some challenges because a website is often a fully visual resource. However there are many ways to create accessibility in your site.

MLT’s site, for example, has several installed profiles that make it possible for people with disabilities to interact with our content. Users can adjust the profile of our site to be seizure safe, have enhanced visuals, make it easier to focus on information, and eliminate potential distractions. We also have keyboard navigation and screen reading options for blind users. For even more customization of our site profiles, users can adjust content such as resizing font, letter spacing, alignment, contrast, and text colors. Click the blue circular button in the bottom left corner of our website to learn more.

Following ADA compliance guidelines for website accessibility can give you a good starting point for making your site useful for all kinds of users. Making your site accessible is not only an ethical decision, it avoids potential fines from legal action, and it gives your audience a better opinion of your brand. Making  this an important part of web development.

Design is the main component of core values for website development, and with it comes SEO use, adaptability, and accessibility. With these in mind when building your website, you’ll be on the path to establishing and improving your image, growing your audience, and making a space for your brand.

To learn more about web development in Minneapolis, MN with MLT Group, contact us at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

Why Understanding Marketing ROI is Important

For any kind of business there are many tools that can be used to calculate projections in expenses, revenue, investments, growth, and many other aspects of the bookkeeping and budgeting process. One of the most useful tools for determining marketing expenses and the return on those costs in the form of a broadened company audience and income is a “return on investment” (ROI) calculation strategy. ROI calculations can be applied to business operations outside of the marketing sphere, but because marketing costs and successes can be difficult to put on paper, an effective marketing ROI measurement system is often the best solution for building marketing budgets. When it comes to determining if your search engine optimization (SEO) or other online marketing costs are worth it, which aspects are working the most effectively, and how long expenses take to build a return, understanding how to calculate your marketing ROI is key. MLT Group offers guidance and support for businesses developing digital and social media marketing strategies. Our goal is to help you boost your ROI and implement long term, smart marketing performance indicators.

Simply put, ROI is a tool that is used to determine the profitability of a marketing expense. For example, it can be applied to see if the cost of an online advertisement is justified by the growth of your company’s customer base when new users are led to your business through that ad.

These ROI calculations can vary depending on the marketing strategy and your goals as a company, but they are all used in the same way to take the guessing out of that part of your business.

Taking Out the Guesswork

Unlike calculating profit, baseline operational costs, inventory, and other simpler parts of a company budget, it can be difficult to predict the impact of new marketing investments. Likewise, predicting which ventures are going to be the most effective and how potential customers will interact with marketing endeavors can be tricky. Because of the many factors in a marketing plan, it can involve a lot of guesswork. Implementing effective marketing ROI will significantly impact the guessing part of developing a marketing campaign.

ROI calculators measure conversion rates, traffic fluctuations, sales, followers, and overall engagement from customers and audience members and compare the revenue from all that engagement against the cost of each marketing strategy.

Because each marketing strategy can vary greatly in format and cost, it can be difficult to build a universal ROI calculator. The most effective way to use ROI calculators to determine which marketing techniques are returning your investments is to build multiple measurement systems that can be applied to each category of digital marketing.

Some companies, for example, designate different ROI calculators for the social media aspect of marketing, Google Ads, pay-per-click ads, blogs, SEO strategies, and other types of paid advertising. Understanding the basic format of most ROI calculators will help you learn to adapt different versions to begin measuring your investment efficacy.

How to Calculate It

One of the simplest ROI calculators measures the financial gain after an investment minus the cost of that investment. Then it divides that number with the cost of the investment. If an ad costs $50 and sales worth $100 can be traced back to customers that found your company through that ad, your calculator will look like this:

(100 – 50) / 50 = 1

On paper, you would have broken even on this investment.

This calculator is very simple, but it can be applied to help you make preliminary decisions about many kinds of investments. In reality there will be other costs involved in all investments. Even when purchasing a $50 ad, there are additional costs in the time spent making graphics and communicating with ad platforms. Additionally, even if that $100 in sales can be linked to the ad, complex factors like what was purchased, who the customers are, and where they are located can alter that number.

The type of investments also matters when building an ROI calculator. Is the investment a one-time fee or a recurring cost? Will that cost increase or decrease over time? Will a higher initial cost bring more ROI in the long term and vice versa? These are just some questions to consider when you build a calculator for specific marketing investments.

Even though ROI calculators for marketing can be challenging to build because of unpredictable factors and hidden expenses, there are many tools available to help you better determine starting points, measure patterns, and overall gain better footing for your marketing strategies. Some useful tools many of our clients use to target marketing ROI include:

● Google Analytics: Especially when paired with Google Ads, Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring traffic, digital ad campaigns, and SEO quality. This software system will gather data and organize information about your online audience. You can even build your own ROI system from the information Google Analytics provides.
● CRM Software: There are several sources for CRM (customer relationship management) software, such as Hubspot and Salesforce. CRM software is designed to keep track of customer interactions and information. This information can be gathered from each of your platforms separately or together in a single report.
● Call tracking: For both digital and off-line marketing strategies, call tracking software can gather information about phone calls and conversion rates. This provides data on which of your campaigns led to phone interactions with customers that, in turn, led to a sale.

No matter how you build your ROI calculation tactics, there might be some trial and error, but an effective system will provide multiple benefits, and it’s an important part of a successful marketing department in today’s digital world.

Marketing ROI Benefits

Implementing an effective marketing ROI calculator will give you valuable information about your efforts, including:

● Which digital platforms are bringing the most traffic to your site and leading to the most conversions
● When you should spend money on a campaign versus utilizing free marketing tools
● Where you should spend money and which third parties work best for your company
● Which marketing strategies to eliminate
● Who your customer base is, including their age range, location, spending patterns, and other demographics
● How customers interact with different marketing strategies
● When and why that interaction can shift over time
● How to adapt to those shifts in customer behavior
● What tools work best for your brand and company

In addition to advertising, SEO tools, and marketing overall, your ROI calculations can be used to build your company in other ways. It may give you information that will guide you in rebuilding your website, generating graphics and media, hiring new employees, increasing the diversity of your products, improving your business’s accessibility, expanding to a global audience, consolidating debt, and much more.

In many ways, ROI calculations for your marketing strategies are not just an important part of building your brand and saving money, they are often a vital aspect of being able to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions of the digital and physical consumer world.

To learn more about marketing ROI and how you can integrate it into your digital and social media marketing strategies with the help of MLT Group, contact us at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

ADA Compliance for Web with Responsive Web Design

In 1990, the US signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into civil rights law. This act makes discrimination based on disability illegal and overall provides the same protection of rights for people with disabilities that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides for people of all races, religions, gender, sexual orientation, and national origin. Title I of the ADA covers employment opportunities and prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Title II of the act enforces compliance to ADA policies in public entities and public transportation. These regulations are detailed in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Title III of the ADA requires public accommodations and commercial facilities to adhere to regulations, guidelines, and other code requirements. When it comes to website design, businesses, public figures, nonprofits, and all other independent parties must comply with the ADA’s accessibility laws. With the help of MLT Group’s design team, you can build profiles and adjustments into your site that help you meet ADA compliance requirements via responsive web design. Additionally we offer a powerful menu of onsite tools to make websites fully ADA compliant while providing adaptability control directly to the user.

 

Not only will having an ADA compliant website help you avoid a lawsuit or court judgement, it also protects and supports everyone who may wish to interact with your site and improves experiences with your brand for persons with disabilities. This in turn expands your audience and increases site traffic.

 

One of the most direct and surefire ways to build ADA compliance into your website is by following the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level.

 

WCAG 2.1 AA (released in 2018) is the most current edition of the most widely accepted web conformance to ADA guidelines. In WCAG 2.1 AA, there are 50 criteria your site should incorporate to ensure best ADA compliance. Checklists for these criteria can be found relatively easily online. For example, through this resource, you can find thorough guidelines and checklists in digital or downloadable PDF formats. In addition to these WCAG 2.1 AA criteria, there are many other ways to build ADA compliance into a responsive web design that site owners can include on a case-by-case basis.

 

The most powerful of these solutions is the accessibility control menu which allows users of different adaptabilities to adjust their experience with a site’s content to fit their specific needs. An example of this solution in action can be found on this site by clicking the blue and white person icon in the lower right corner of your screen. The menu allows users to choose from a list of adaptation to customize their experience with the site. Fully ADA compliant, this website solution is also updated every 24 hours so that new content is quickly made compliant as well.

 

While digital ADA compliance can get very detailed, there are common problems website designs often have that limit content accessibility for people with disabilities.

 

Common Problems with Content Accessibility

  1. Images: Frequently, websites that aren’t ADA compliant will feature images without text or verbal content equivalents. For visually impaired users or users with other disabilities that impact their ability to read image displays, an image that isn’t paired with text or verbal descriptions is inaccessible.

 

Fixing this issue requires the integration of technologies that improve access for disabled users, such as screen reader programs that translate text into auditory content or Braille display systems that turn digital content into refreshable, physical characters. Programs that speak or translate caption text into touchable displays can be easily installed into most website designs, and they go a long way in improving your site’s ADA compliance.

 

Adding text equivalents to images is also simple, typically through generic HTML code adjustments or tags. Because screen readers, Braille, and similar programs can’t translate from an image, adding text captions to pictures on your site is an ideal starting point to improving image accessibility.

 

  1. Videos: Like images, videos and multimedia content have accessibility issues for visually impaired users. Videos also pose access problems for hearing impaired users because they often introduce auditory content in addition to their visual components.

 

To make a video or other type of multimedia that combines visual and auditory aspects more accessible to disabled users, there are two solutions you can integrate into your site. First, adding text content equivalents/descriptions paired with the same screen readers and Braille systems that give visually impaired users better access to images will help bring video and multimedia content up to better ADA compliance. Secondly, incorporating captions that narrate the video into text as it plays will help hearing impaired users interact with multimedia content.

 

Today, there are reliable programs that auto-generate captions for auditory components throughout a video. While many of these caption-generator tools are useful and save content creators time, including more precise subtitles that have been accurately translated and well-placed as a video overlay will make your website’s multimedia easier to access for hearing impaired individuals. It might take more time to incorporate non-automated subtitles and other carefully built features, but it will improve your ADA compliance and make your brand more attractive to users with disabilities.

 

  1. Documents: If you’re following common internet standards, many documents, forms, text displays, and even images on your website might not be in an ADA compliant format. For example, if a document is available to users only in a PDF (portable document format), then visually impaired users will have low accessibility to that information.

 

If you translate a document’s information into a text-based format rather than just in PDF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, or other image-only format, it will increase disabled users’ accessibility to that content. This is because text-based documents like HTML or RTF (rich text format) can be processed through screen readers and other disability assistant programs. RTF documents are generally the most compatible format for the majority of translation technologies.

 

If your site requires users to fill out forms, read contracts, or interact with documents in any legal ways, it’s critical to improve accessibility for disabled users by providing those files in text-based formats as well as visual formats.

 

Another way to increase the accessibility of documents for visually impaired users is to provide tools that allow them to enlarge text, change font and display colors, and alter other font settings. These text-adjustment technologies help users quickly change a document display to read it right on your site. If making those small changes provides document content access for some visually impaired users, they may not have to spend the time to translate a text-based document through another system. This also increases your ADA compliance and provides accessibility for users that might be visually impaired for many different reasons.

 

  1. Design: Last but not least, the design of your website is a large part of building a foundation for comprehensive ADA compliance through the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines. While aesthetics, formatting, and the general design of your site can be a key part of building your brand, keep in mind how all users, including those with a broad range of different abilities, will interact with and react to components of your site.

 

Take into account font, colors, brightness, size, and layout. Some users might have a hard time seeing small text and images, react negatively to certain colors and sounds, or find it difficult to focus on the information you’re providing. Additionally, many sites that aren’t ADA compliant don’t have seizure-safe designs or don’t provide warnings of potential bright lights, animations, or colors. All of these issues are addressed by the powerful adaptability solution used on the mltgroup.com site.

 

The best way to make your website accessible to all users without giving up the aesthetics and designs you want to build into your brand is to provide tools that let users make adjustments when they need to. Tools that let users change display designs without sacrificing the informational content will help visually and hearing-impaired people interact with your site, but other adjustment tools can make your content more accessible to people with cognitive disabilities, ADHD, or autism, as well as many other neuroatypical users.

 

To improve your website’s ADA compliance, these are some general issues to address. At MLT Group, we follow WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines in our site design. This includes seizure safe, vision impaired, cognitive disability, ADHD friendly, blind users screen reader, and keyboard navigation motor profiles. We also offer the adaptability menu solution found on this site which automates formatting for compliance when new content is added to the site.

 

It’s easier now than ever to incorporate tools for responsive web design that people with disabilities can interact with and use to navigate and process your site. By following WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines, making a proactive checklist, and integrating even the simplest ADA compliant tools, your website will become more accessible to all users and your ethical practices as a content creator, company, or other website provider will improve.

 

To learn more about incorporating ADA compliant designs into your website, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

Franchise SEO & Website Design – The Big Fix

Everyone in America is familiar with franchises. They are represented on street corners coast to coast; McDonalds, 7-Eleven, Dunkin’, Great Clips, and hundreds more. From fast food to haircuts, and commercial cleaning to glass repair, franchises help meet a need for almost everyone at one time or another throughout each year. Their economic impact is fantastic, with those in the United States alone producing an output of nearly 800 billion dollars annually. In fact, franchises made up 10.5 percent of all US businesses in 2020 and employed over 8.5 million Americans.

Among businesses, franchise organizations have a unique component structure; a central licensing organization – the franchiser, often a large company with an entrenched corporate mentality, which supplies, supports, and collects fees from much smaller local businesses – the franchisees. The success of franchises across 295 industries attests to the benefits of this structure. In at least one area of the franchise world, however, there is an intractable struggle between franchiser and franchisee that often leads to marketing issues and lost opportunities.

That’s where we come in. At MLT Group, we have spent the last decade specializing in website design for franchise organizations and have become franchise SEO experts. In the process, we have assisted several national franchise companies to improve their digital marketing and have achieved outstanding ranking results for a plethora of franchisee sites. Now, for the first time, I’m about to tell you what we’ve learned, the not-so-secret problem in franchise SEO and marketing and the Big Fix that’s needed.

Number One: It’s important to recognize that franchise organizations want their franchisees to be successful. This desire is driven by economics and pride. Successful franchisees pay more fees to the franchiser and promote more interest among other potential franchisees. It is equally important to recognize that franchisers and franchisees don’t always share the same priorities. A franchisee sees business success as primarily defined by profit. The more business the better. A franchiser considers both profit and brand image to be paramount concerns. Which makes sense– the brand they have built is the foundation of their entire franchise organization.

Number Two: This misalignment in priorities frequently leads to problems for both franchisees and franchisers in the realm of digital marketing, with both groups struggling against one another rather than working in cohesive and collaborative harmony.

Concerns of the franchiser:

  • We need everyone to represent the brand consistently and accurately across all digital platforms. This is important to consumer confidence in the brand.
  • We worry that some of our franchisees lack the expertise in digital marketing to deliver our brand and messaging appropriately on their websites or on social media.
  • Even though digital marketing is most effective for service businesses when geo-targeted to the appropriate service area, our ability to assist hundreds of franchisees in producing digital marketing unique to their area and offerings is limited by budget and time.
  • Digital is more complicated and changeable than print, radio, or TV ads, making it harder to control from one central source.
  • Even though unique content is essential to search engine optimization, it is not feasible for corporate to write unique content for 400 or 1,500 separate sites, all explaining the same services.

Due to these concerns, franchise organizations often take the following actions which directly harm the digital marketing of their franchisees:

  • To control brand and messaging, they do not allow each franchise to have a unique “local” website and/or social media presence.
  • They do not allow each franchise to have its own unique domain name, preferring to house information about the franchise under the corporate “our locations” page or a URL like Bigfranchiseco.com/location_2463.
  • They may insist on franchisees using duplicate “boiler plate” marketing text for their websites, which is an SEO killer.
  • They do not accurately inform franchisees that the most effective way to rank on search engines is to have a unique local website with original content that is SEO’d and updated regularly.

Concerns of the franchisee:

  • Our local franchise needs to rank highly in search engines for the services we offer within our service area.
  • We need help to design, build, and populate a professional website and/or create an effective social media marketing campaign.
  • Our digital marketing efforts are limited by budget, available time, and lack of expertise in digital marketing.
  • We need a local web presence that is not owned by corporate.
  • Even though regularly posting unique website content is essential to search engine optimization, we do not have the time or expertise to create this content.
  • We want a robust social media campaign but do not have time to maintain it.
  • We want leads to come directly to us when potential cu犀利士
    stomers find us online, not directed to us by corporate with fees or strings attached.

“Due to these concerns, franchise owners need their own unique local websites.”

Due to these concerns, franchise owners need their own unique, local websites. Many would also benefit from independent social media campaigns as well. Corporate can do a lot when it comes to buying online ad space for multiple locations or establishing a robust social media presence for the whole organization. Many franchise organizations maintain impressive social media campaigns, and for some, it can be enough for a franchisee to piggyback on these efforts. However, in terms of traffic and lead generation from Google and other search engines, there is no substitute for a robust local website for each franchise or major franchise market.

There are exceptions. Fast-food franchises, rapid oil change locations, car washes, and similar businesses do not need local websites. Due to the nature of their offerings, a central corporate website with locations pages is sufficient for these sorts of businesses.

“It is imperative for businesses to be  easy to find and easy to do business with.”

Companies providing services in people’s homes and businesses (cleaning, repair, remodeling, lawn care, pest control, etc.) need independent, local websites optimized effectively for Google and other search engines in order to achieve the best rankings possible. Solid rankings on search engines are the gold standard for being found, and the surest way to drive relevant traffic and leads. With an increasingly savvy consumer market, it is imperative for businesses to be easy to find and easy to do business with.

There are multiple benefits of an independent local website for a franchise. These include:

  • A unique domain name – important to franchise SEO and local marketing
  • A platform for unique content specific to the franchise’s services and service area
  • Ownership of the website for both control and as a valuable business asset
  • Results – a well-built and optimized local website will get better rankings and more traffic, leading to more leads and better ROI

“Corporate franchise organizations want their franchisees to succeed, however they have legitimate concerns about brand image and control.”

The Big Fix: Corporate franchise organizations want their franchisees to succeed, however they have legitimate concerns about brand image and control. The fix is to allow individual franchise owners to have their own local websites and to offer them trusted vendors who can provide quality digital marketing services that meet corporate brand expectations. Moreover, putting some money into the solution via co-pays helps the franchisees feel they are not bearing the burden alone. Additionally, the big corporate sites often have a good reputation with the search engines, so making sure to link from the corporate site to each independent franchise site provides powerful link juice. All of which lends itself to better franchise SEO, better Google rankings, more traffic, more leads, and better ROI. It’s a win-win that corporate franchise organizations need to understand and implement in the increasingly competitive world of digital marketing.

To learn more about professional franchise SEO services, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

About the Author

Theo St. Mane is a partner and director of operations for MLT Group – Creative Solutions in Rochester, Minnesota. He has over 30 years of marketing experience and has spoken at national and regional conventions of franchise groups. He has also consulted on digital marketing for a variety of national franchise organizations since 2012.

 

The Design Connection Launches New Website

the-design-connection-website

 

MLT Group is happy to announce the launch of a new website for The Design Connection! The site showcases The Design Connection’s residential and commercial building designs and outlines their services with user-friendly pages that efficiently inform visitors. Content within the site explains the company’s process, services, and their extensive experience with residential and commercial designs while ensuring a positive user experience.

MLT Group’s search engine optimization (SEO) professionals worked directly with our team of content creators to optimize the site for search engines. These optimization procedures and the original, key phrase rich content on the site, will help the site rank well in search results. A solid onsite SEO strategy and ongoing SEO marketing techniques will help potential customers find The Design Connection site more readily.  After all, getting found online is important to being able to supply people with the kind of skilled design capabilities that create dream home spaces. Having an SEO enriched website that’s easy for visitors to navigate and take in the information about exactly what services The Design Connection provides is a critical marketing tool. Not only does a well-built website impart professionalism and expertise, it’s a marketing expense that is always justified by its return on investment (ROI).

Websites and ROI

“Return on investment” is a term that describes the justification of expenses from any type of marketing practices by attributing increased sales or income to those expensed techniques. Simply put, ROI is making money back on any marketing expense because the marketing technique led to more revenue. A website is a common kind of marketing expense that is justified by the ROI it provides.

There are many tactics for online marketing, such as pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. When it comes to effective ROI marketing for websites, one of the most proven methods of increasing revenue and traffic is SEO. Largely driven by the need to adapt to Google’s search engine algorithms and those of other search systems, SEO utilizes careful research into relevant search terms or key phrases, location targets, original content, and other factors important to attaining high ranking in search engines.

With the launching of The Design Connection website, and an effective online marketing strategy, The Design Connection will likely see effective ROI created by increased visibility on search result pages, more traffic on their user-friendly pages, and more website visits that convert to sales and customers.

Ready to Make Your Site Work for You? Contact Us Today!

To learn more about professional SEO services, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

Why Blog Consistency is Crucial for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

If you are a blogger or have a company blog or news feed set up on your website, you know that publishing content regularly is an important part of brand recognition and an effective SEO (search engine optimization) tactic. Not only does Google look for and reward new content, seeing it as a sign of an active site, but you simultaneously grow your digital footprint as the blog posts add static pages to your site. Whether you use your blog as a platform to promote your goods or services, offer news about your company, or provide informational articles that will help users interact with your website, products, and company overall, consistent blog posting is an effective digital marketing strategy. While its effectiveness is undeniable, blog content producers face the facts that it is also a digital marketing strategy that takes dedication and hard work.

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Researching topics and writing clear, concise, and interesting blogs consistently takes time and effort. Because of that, it is important for content creators to understand where the balance is between not creating enough and over-creating to the point of time wasting. To discover that balance, creators need to ask how long their blogs should be and how often they should be posting content.

Some companies only need to post one or two 200-word blogs monthly to meet a happy balance. Others may need to post 2,000+ word pieces several times a month in order to achieve their visibility goals. While it can be difficult to find your own middle ground between those dramatically different scenarios, doing some research and comparing your company size and specialty to blogs of a similar operation can help. Most bloggers will find that trial and error is the best way to find their own sweet spot in content creating schedules.

What Counts as “Consistent?”

Consistency is a variable term. What is best in your situation depends entirely on your ability to create content at the scope and frequency that will benefit your website traffic and company, without overdoing it, wasting valuable time, or falling short of your goals. For many small to medium companies, producing 300–500-word blog posts once or twice a month is an ideal consistency. At MLT Group, we have the capabilities to consistently create content, from one blog per month to six or more, for a variety companies ranging from freezer warehouses to bankruptcy firms and disaster restoration companies.

The level of consistency that is right for you also depends on the type of content. If you have in-depth information to provide your audience, longer blogs will be required. Longer blogs might limit your bandwidth for frequency. A manufacturing company with detailed information to provide might spend more time writing each blog, requiring a lower frequency of posting for time management purposes. On the other side of that coin, a company like a clothing store, with simpler information to provide, may be able to post 100-word blurbs daily.

This is where social media in your digital marketing strategy can pair nicely with consistent blogs for even more effective digital media marketing results. In the example of a company positing lengthy informational blogs infrequently, they might also use social media to post shorter notes with a higher frequency. These could be designed to drive more traffic to their deeper ‘on-site’ blog posts.

Because social media does not require a bevy of information on each post, you can supplement a lower rate of blogs with a higher rate of more superficial social media content. Even if it is superficial, frequent social media posting, and a company’s consistent blogs with rich information, will help get the attention of Google’s SEO algorithm.

Likewise, with the clothing store example, social media can still be paired effectively with blogs. Linking social media to the daily blog post will increase audience range and website traffic, resulting in more sales and more recognition from the Google algorithm.

Overall, no matter what content creating schedule you determine to be the best fit for length and timeline, sticking to it and keeping consistency at the forefront will help you utilize your blog page as a powerful (and virtually free!) digital marketing strategy.

What Does Consistency Do?

So how does consistent blogging as a digital marketing strategy work? There are two main effects that consistent content creating will have on your brand and website.

1. Brand Trust

The more content you create, the more information your audience will know about your brand. Understanding breeds trust, and brand trust is the number one benefit of consistent blogging. If your audience has trust in your brand, you have a stronger opportunity to gain their loyalty. Loyalty means repeated interactions and increased traffic either through marketing promotion or word of mouth.

Consistency in creating content will grow your audience and help you gain the trust and loyalty of customers and supporters. Imagine if the New York Times did not give a daily email update to newsletter subscribers. Those subscribers would be less likely to turn to the Times daily. Providing an update on stories, news snippets, crosswords, and more each day for years has established the New York Times as a go-to email news source for many people.

Additionally, creating content while sticking to a consistent schedule will help your company and blog become authority figures over time. If your audience knows you will be posting on a regular schedule, they can go there for related information and find new content when they expect it. Creating content over time will also help you establish a backlog of blogs containing even more information than just the new content you released that week or month. Becoming an authority on your own brand and the industry you are in through consistent content creating will show an audience that you have integrity and quality. Google and other search engines will notice too, which is why gaining brand trust through consistent content creating is a key SEO tool.

2. SEO

Search engine optimization is a term that describes work done to move your website or blog up as much as possible on the list of search results that Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search engine provides users. SEO tools like pay-per-click advertising, keyword targeting, and blogging/content creation are today’s most effective digital marketing strategies.

New content is attractive to the Google algorithm, and since Google is the most utilized search engine, it is a no brainer that establishing and maintaining consistency in your content creation to help your site catch Google’s eye is an important SEO tactic that can drive traffic to your site. Google is so interested in new content partly because it signals an active and authoritative site. Just the kind of site that Google wants to return as a search result for users. Additionally, new content helps keep users on sites for longer, an indicator for user satisfaction in search results.

Not only does consistently created new content get Google’s attention and approval, but it can also help you target which keywords are interacted with the most around content related to your company. User interaction with some blogs over others might help you recognize that one key phrase is bringing in more search traffic than another key phrase, helping you to better target future blogs. Integrating new keywords into blogs will help you continue to discover more keywords that you can incorporate into newer blogs and so on.

Using brand trust gained through a history of continued, consistent content creation to bolster your SEO abilities is the proven effect of making and sticking to a blog schedule. Blogs produced frequently are a digital marketing strategy that can keep your website and company in front of a growing audience and help you grow as a brand.

Contact the Digital Marketing Experts Today

To learn more about consistent blogging as a digital marketing strategy contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or learn more by spending time on our site.