Everyday SEO Part II: Alt Tags that Rock!

Learn how to optimize your website's images with descriptive Alt Tags. Everyday SEO via Highley Designed.

The images and photos on your blog or website can be helpful or or hurtful to your site’s overall Google ranking. The goal is for them to be helpful! Things to keep in mind include photo size which can effect your site’s load time and whether or not your images are optimized with the appropriate Alt Tags/Text and Titles.

So what are Alt Tags and why are they important? Well, they’re not really tags, they are more like descriptions. According to Yoast, the SEO experts, “Alt tags and title tags strengthen the message towards search engine spiders and improve the accessibility of your website.”

So let’s break it down. This is a complete HTML image tag:

<img src="image.jpg" alt="image description" title="image tooltip"/>

 

If you’re using a visual website builder, HTML is the text “behind the scenes” that tells your server what to display. Most website builders have options for viewing and editing the HTML directly, but to add your Alt Tags and Titles you shouldn’t need to. In fact, if you’re using WordPress, adding your Alt Tags is easy. After uploading your photo simply click “edit” and you’ll see these options.

Learn how to add Alt Tags and Titles that will boost your website's SEO via HighleyDesigned.

If you’re using another platform you will have similar options. I suggest finding your image options or settings where you should be able to add the same things – Captions, Alt Tags/Text and Tool Tips. The Alt Tag/Text is what appears by default when you Pin an image to Pinterest. If you enter something in the Tool Tips field that text will appear when someone hovers over the photo on your website.

Now that you know how it works, let’s talk about what your Alt Text should include. Just like it’s important for your site Title and page Titles to include keywords and phrases, your Alt Tags should do the same. Alt Tags should be a full sentence or phrase that describes what the photo is all about or why it’s on your site. Yoast also recommends that “If your image is an image of a specific product, include both the full product name and the products product ID in the alt tag, so it can be easily found.”

Now that you know how to optimize your images, go back and edit the photos on your site that don’t have custom Alt Text and be sure to add it to any of your new photos and images in the future. SEO is always changing but this is a tried and true method to make your website more Google-friendly.

Stay tuned for more SEO tips and be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in social media marketing and web design.

 

 

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Turn One Blog Post into Five Social Media Posts!

Create five social media posts from just one blog post via @HighleyDesigned

Lots of people have great blogs but can’t effectively use their content for social media. I’ve found that visual content speaks across all platforms so I want to share today how you can turn one blog post into five or more social media posts!

I LOVE creating visual posts because they are guaranteed to drive engagement. A simple way to create your own graphics is with Canva. Choose from a ton of FREE layouts or pay $1 for additional features.

Fist, choose a blog that’s full of great content and tips. Next, take a sentence from your latest blog and make a quote graphic! Not only can you post the link but now you can share your graphic.

Create countless social media posts from one blog post! Learn how via @HighleyDesigned.

Want to make one blog post go even further? Create a graphic with a tip or statistic from the blog. Here’s an example:

Create countless social media posts from one blog post! Learn how via @HighleyDesigned.

You can turn one blog post into countless social media posts by pulling it apart and creating original visuals. These are especially great for Instagram and Pinterest! Canva also has a feature to help you create infographics which are awesome for showing a step by step process.

Now that you’ve created three new, original posts you can repeat the process! Pick another quote, or tip and create two more original graphics. If blog on a weekly or bi-weekly basis you can create a ton of original social media posts that will direct people to your website without having to post the link over and over again.

Happy Posting!

Facebook Posts that Increase Engagement

Want to increase your Facebook engagement? Here are some tips to get your fans commenting and liking like crazy!

  1. Ask a Question
  2. Make it Visual
  3. Make it Fun

One of the best ways to increase engagement is by posting great content. When you want a commenting or liking boost consider posting a fun question or ask your fans for their feedback. People love when you ask for opinions!

Make sure anything you post to FB includes a link or a photo. Photos perform better in the FB Newsfeed algorithm than a text-only post so I can’t stress enough how important it is to have great pictures! You can find free stock photos on a variety of sites or you can make your own graphics with apps like Canva and PicMonkey. I prefer Canva because they have a variety of pre-made templates that make choosing fonts and colors easy!

Here’s a great resource for stock photos if you need them for social media or for your website, courtesy Entrepreneur.com – click here!

Increase your Facebook Engagement with Creative Question Posts and Eye Catching Graphics

It’s also important to keep your questions timely and relevant to your page. Holidays are great talking points and it’s also fun to check out “weird and wacky” events that are happening everyday like National Donut Day or National Spring Cleaning Week etc. I also love to ask people “Would you Rather” type questions because they don’t even have to think of an answer – they just pick A or B and it’s easy!

It’s important to make sure your questions are fun and won’t incite a FB debate on your timeline or offend any potential customers. If you have a fashion site and you want to ask – “Who wore it better:  Hillary Clinton or Carly Fiorina?” – that’s fine, but don’t go asking people who they’d rather vote for etc.

People love to talk about their family, kids, pets and to share their opinions so when you’re coming up with questions keep those topics in mind, then tailor them to your brand and use your own voice!

When it comes to creating graphics make sure your text is easy to read and I recommend using no more than 2 fonts. If you use Canva take note of the fonts in their pre-made templates (these are made by professional designers); if you change the fonts keep in mind what made them work – was one tall and thin and the other was curvy and bold? There’s a reason those fonts were chosen – because they complimented each other. Unless you have design experience stick with suggested fonts or similar options that will also compliment each other.

Keep in mind colors that will compliment your brand and your social media pages or website when creating branded graphics. Did you know when a magazine goes to print the entire 100+ pages must contain the same color scheme and fonts? Imagine your FB page and website are going to print – will they compliment each other?

These are just some pointers for creating graphics that will stand out. The question part is up to you! Good luck increasing your engagement and getting more likes! Here are some of my most popular graphics of 2015.

 

 

Who is the hardest person to shop for on your Christmas list-

Are you team Apple or Android

Would You Rather

 

The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Marketers

The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Markters by HighleyDesigned

 

1. Hootsuite

If you’re not using it yet, your life is about to change. Hootsuite allows you to schedule all of your posts for almost every platform in one place. You can also view your newsfeeds and Twitter streams from one place so that you don’t have to login and logout of every account you manage just to comment, like or RT. There are a handful of new sites like Hootsuite, but from my experience none of these new sites offer the sophistication and ease of their predecessor. Hootsuite has everything you need to effectively schedule posts and interact as your brand – all in one place. And it’s less than $10 per month.

2. Evernote

Evernote is a free app you can download on your phone and your computer. It syncs automatically so if you think of an awesome idea or make a note while you’re out and about, it will be on your desktop when you get back to your office. I use this ALL the time. It’s also a great place to save reminders, grocery lists… anything really. When you still have “baby brain” it is truly a life saver!

3. Canva

Canva is an amazing design site that lets you create professional looking social media graphics. It’s perfect for making FB cover photos, Twitter cards, question posts and more. You can choose from pre-made templates or design your own. If you use any of their “paid” elements like a stock photo or a custom design – they only cost $1.00 each. I love using Canva for branded posts. I start with a fun background then do some kind of text overlay – usually a question. These are great for engagement!

4. Unfollowers

If you’re not sure why your Twitter following is stagnant, this is an awesome tool. Unfollowers allows you to see exactly who’s following you, who followed you but unfollowed you and more. It also allows you to schedule Tweets and auto DMs. I don’t like super fake sounding auto DMs, or auto DMs that are trying to sell you something, but a friendly “thanks for following me, etc.” is a great way to start a networking conversation. Using Unfollowers you can track what works and what isn’t as effective so that you can grow your network in a smart way. Most plans start at $5-$10 per month!

 

~ Rachel

To Pin or Not to Pin

Newsletter header

Pinterest is such a great way to interact with potential customers but it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never “pinned” before. I manage numerous Pinterest accounts for my clients and I get asked questions like, well what should I pin? What boards should I be adding things to? These are great questions so I thought this month I’d take some time to highlight the dos and don’ts of Pinterest. There’s a lot of fun holidays coming up like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and spring in general, so now’s a great time to learn a little more about the social networking site everyone is talking about! Here are my top 5 tips for maintaining a successful Pinterest page for your business.

  1. Plan Ahead
    Don’t just login and pin a bunch of newly listed products. A general rule of thumb – for every 1 product pin, be sure to pin 3-4 other photos, DIY ideas, etc. If you want to start a themed board for holidays or events, create the board at least one month ahead of time so followers have time to repin their favorites! Some ideas for spring include baby showers, weddings and bridal showers, spring decor, gardening, summer vacation ideas, money saving tips, and spring cleaning.
  2. Optimize & Cross Promote
    Many of my clients have their Pinterest page linked to their Twitter page which is a great way to optimize content and have it seen by more people, but be careful not to over-share. Only share your best pins on multiple platforms and be sure to give all of your pins a nice description. Use hashtags when relevant, but again, don’t over-do it. Stick to 1-3 hashtags and try to make one of them a trending topic. For example, #Vintage #Jewelry #ValentinesGiftIdeas.
  3. Pin What People Are Talking About
    Home décor, organization, quotes, fashion, kids, weddings and recipes are always popular on Pinterest! Find ways to connect your brand’s messaging to topics that are already popular on the platform. If you sell a variety of products that fall into the vintage or antique categories, consider pinning home décor ideas that show how to incorporate vintage and antique finds. If you sell craft supplies, pin tutorials and crafty DIY ideas that show your followers what your brand is all about. Try to make sure every board has a nice mixture of product pins and “other” pins.
  4. Quality Over Quantity
    When it comes to Pinterest, you will find some pinners have thousands of pins and hundreds of different boards but chances are they’ve been using the social platform for a long period of time. Don’t feel like you need to fill up all of your boards right away – stick to quality over quantity. With product pins, only pin your best photos! You might have a great set of vintage dishes for sale in your eBay store, but if you don’t have high quality photos, don’t pin.Pinterest should be considered a showcase of your best work. Similarly, when re-pinning DIY ideas, home décor and recipes, try to stick to pins that have a high number of “likes” and “repins.” Don’t waste time pinning an Irish soda bread recipe that has 1 like and 3 repins when you can find another one that has proven more popular with thousands of likes and repins.
  5. Connect With Your Followers
    After you’ve established your Pinterest page, go beyond re-pinnning and start following, liking and commenting on other Pinterest user’s content to maintain a conversation with your audience. This is a great way to build your fan base and show that you’re not just a robot – you are a person with a brand that has a message.

~Rachel

Be Insightful, Not Informative

Potential customers want to learn more about the products and services you offer but they don’t want to be bombarded with facts and statistics or overwhelmed by a giant product listing.  Provide them with insight about some of the products and materials you offer and let them decide if it’s the best option for them.

Here’s the most recent blog I’ve written for Re-Bath & More about the beautiful tile and natural stone options they offer.  It’s not overwhelming, but it provides some insight for folks who may be in the market for a bathroom remodel and haven’t given much thought to products or materials.

Upgrade Your Bathroom with Natural Tile and Stone

If you’ve thought about remodeling your bathroom, you probably have a Pinterest page or Houzz profile full of design ideas, but you may not have considered what kind of materials are best for your home.   That bathroom you pinned with the glass panel looking out into the wilderness may not be the best choice if you live in downtown Lancaster, or have nearby neighbors.  And you may not want to install that pond-sized soaker tub you liked on Houzz if you’re trying to save on your water bill.

At Re-Bath & More we work with homeowners to find products and materials that are going to provide the look and feel you’ve always wanted, with both style and function in mind.  Tile and natural stone are beautiful options that can help to create a rich, sophisticated feel in your new bathroom.  Not only do tile and stone look great, but their natural qualities make them perfect for wet areas like the bathroom.

Benefits of Tile and Stone

  • Easy to Maintain.  Tile and stone are easy to maintain as long as you adhere to the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions and they’ll never crack, peel or fade.
  • Design Flexibility.  Tile and stone are available in countless patterns and designs.
  • Application Diversity.  Tile and stone can be used in almost any application – walls, counter tops, back splashes, fire places, wet and dry areas.
  • Cost Effective.  Tile and stone add value to your home and will never need resurfaced, re-glazed, or recoated.
  • Natural and Allergen Free.  Unlike plastics, fiber glass and other man made products, tile and stone are great for individuals with allergies or simply prefer more earth friendly materials.

Depending on what kind of tile you select you may notice it has a slip resistance rating which is measured by its coefficient of friction (COF).  The higher COF, the more slip resistant the tile.  For a bathroom shower or floor that gets wet often, it’s a good idea to select a higher COF tile.  Many manufacturers will also provide ratings for scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance and breaking strength.  A Re-Bath design consultant will help you choose a tile or stone that is sure to meet your needs and withstand the everyday wear and tear your bathroom experiences.

Forza Stone Examples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things to Consider When Selecting Tile or Stone

  • Identify the space and its application
  • Select the type of tile or stone – ceramic, glass, porcelain, granite, quartz etc.
  • Select the color and shade
  • Select the texture and size – solid sheet, 4×4” squares, 12×12” large squares, the options countless
  • Create your layout and/or decorative pattern
  • Select grout color and type

Tile Examples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We work with Daltile for all of our tile needs and Forza Stone for all of our natural stone projects.  To learn more about natural stone be sure to check out this short video, courtesy Forza Stone Building Solutions.

 

Promote an Event with Social Media

Hosting a business mixer, charity event or major retail sale?  Radio and print advertisements are great, but if your business is on a budget, be sure to consider the advantages of social media.

Because social media is free, you can begin promoting your event long before a small budget would allow for promotion on radio or TV.  Start a countdown and build anticipation with posts that offer a sneak peak of what’s to come or provide incentive for people to visit your website for more information.  Not only will people check back to see what’s happening on your Facebook page, but providing incentive to visit your website for more information can boost web traffic leading up to the event.

Provide information and photos on your company blog so that customers and fans can find all event details in one place and easily share the information with others.  Is registration required or do you plan to offer a special discount to the first 100 customers?  Include a link to the registration forms on your blog or create a Facebook-Only coupon to increase page likes and engagement leading up to the event.  The goal is to spread the word about the event and create a call to action that will get consumers to follow through and attend/vote/purchase an item on the day of your event.

If you spend weeks promoting a special event, be sure to post follow up photos and to thank your fans and followers for their support.  If someone has seen updates about your charity drive in their Facebook newsfeed for weeks, they are going to be disappointed if they never see photos from the charity event itself.  Make sure people see what their time/money/efforts have contributed to.

ReBath and More supports Schreiber Pediatric’s Rubber Ducky Race and Festival each summer, so I recently began promoting the event via the company Facebook page.  Closer to the event we have a TV segment planned and Schreiber has representatives on local radio stations throughout the month of July leading up to the even on July 27.  With Facebook I’m able to encourage people to buy ducks for the race, tell them about the event and what it supports and spread the word about the festival and ducky race.  By selling ducks on site we are able to increase traffic to our showroom and demonstrate our commitment to community.

Whether your event is large or small, social media can add tremendous value to a limited advertising budget, helping you reach a larger audience and generate a greater turnout/increased sales. Not only does an event give people a reason to visit your business on social media but it can drive traffic to your website and provide valuable content for your company blog and other web pages. See how HighleyDesigned helped ReBath and More promote the Schreiber Pediatric Rubber Ducky Race and Fesitval by visiting the company blog or checking them out on Facebook.

Below is one of the fliers I created to promote the event throughout the shopping center where ReBath is located.  I asked the other local businesses to send people our way to purchase ducks for charity, ultimately supporting a good cause and increasing our business at the same time.

Event Flier

Event Flier for Local Marketing