Tej Pratap Singh Yadav to campaign for SP in Bihar polls

first_imgPatna, Sep 21 (PTI) RJD supremo Lalu Prasads son in-law Tej Pratap Singh Yadav will campaign for Samajwadi Party (SP) in the Bihar Assembly elections, a SP leader said today. Yadav, the SP MP from Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, will come to Bihar during Assembly polls and campaign for his partys candidates, Bihar unit SP president Ramchandra Singh Yadav told reporters. “Politics and familial relations are separate things… Tej Pratap Singh Yadav is a SP leader first and a relative or son in-law of anybody later,” he said. It may be mentioned that Yadav, a third generation politician from the SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadavs family, was married to RJD supremo Lalu Prasads youngest daughter Raj Laxmi at a high-profile function in Delhi earlier this year. However, the bonhomie between the RJD supremo and the SP chief did not last for long as the latter dumped the Grand Alliance in Bihar earlier this month in protest against the number of seats alloted to the SP. (MORE) PTI KDK DKB ISH LNSlast_img read more

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Harden, Westbrook want to play for USA at Tokyo Olympics

first_imgMatteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? “Of course that’s one of my goals, to represent the USA and this beautiful country at the Games,” Harden said.Westbrook said he also wants to be a part of the American squad of NBA stars that will attempt to capture a fourth consecutive gold medal and a seventh in eight tries since NBA talent first competed in the Olympics in 1992 at Barcelona with the Michael Jordan-led “Dream Team.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSBecoming his own manSPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40After settling for bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Americans created a national team program and returned to Olympic supremacy.But with many high-profile players skipping this month’s Basketball World Cup in China, the US team of NBA players settled for seventh, barely booking an Olympic berth and raising questions about how well even an elite US NBA squad would fare in Japan next year. Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’ PLAY LIST 02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue P11-B loan for SEA Games hosting not an issue — Cayetano View comments Houston Rockets’ Russell Westbrook and James Harden, right, are photographed together during NBA basketball media day Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)Two-time reigning NBA scoring champion James Harden and fellow Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook said Friday they want to play for the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.Speaking to reporters a day before the NBA club opens training camp for the 2019-20 campaign, seven-time NBA All-Star Harden made it clear he wants a chance at a third consecutive gold medal after helping US title runs in 2012 and 2016.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politicscenter_img LATEST STORIES DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers That prompted Tokyo Olympics commitments by Golden State guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and four-time NBA All-Star guard Damian Lillard of Portland even before the Rockets’ starting backcourt joined them.Harden, the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player, averaged a career-high 31.6 points a game last season as well as a career-best 6.9 rebounds and 6.6 assists.Eight-time NBA All-Star Westbrook, the 2017 NBA MVP who played for Oklahoma City last season, had 22.9 points and career highs of 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists a game.Two-time NBA scoring champion Westbrook has led the NBA in assists the past two seasons and averaged triple-doubles in each of the past three seasons. Before him, the only player to manage the feat was Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 campaign.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ This jewelry designer is also an architect Becoming his own man Tokyo 2020 voids 6,900 Olympic tickets bought with fake IDs Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’last_img read more

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I feel now is the time for me to move on, says Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez

first_imgLeicester City’s star winger Riyad Mahrez on Tuesday handed a transfer request to the 2015-16 English football champions saying he wants to challenge for major honours next season.Mahrez played a major role in helping the low profile club defy all the odds to win the English Premier League (EPL) title last season. Leicester finished 12th in this EPL season and their high was reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, with Mahrez scoring 10 goals across all competitions.”Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester City Football Club I wanted to be totally honest and transparent with them and have therefore informed the club that I feel now is the time for me to move on,” Mahrez was quoted as saying by www.mirror.co.uk.”I had a good discussion with the chairman last summer and we agreed at that time that I would stay for another year in order to help the club as best as I could following the transition of winning the title and in the Champions League,” the Algeria international added.”However, I am fiercely ambitious and feel that now is the time to move on to a new experience.”According to media reports in England, Leicester will demand around $35 million to sell the 26-year-old.last_img read more

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Virat Kohli used walkie-talkie during Delhi T20I, no violation of ICC rule

first_imgVirat Kohli was seen talking on the walkie-talkie during the Indian innings in the course of the first T20 International against New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday.Kohli was sitting at the dug-out and footage showed him talking on the walkie-talkie.Some media reports suggested Kohli had violated ICC regulations by using a communication device during a match. But India Today confirmed the Indian team had taken permission from the ICC and no rules were violated.The ICC rules clearly stipulate that “the use of two-way handheld device that uses dedicated frequencies over short distances (ie a walkie-talkie) by Player Support Personnel for the purpose of communication between the dugout and dressing room area for medical and/or tactical reasons only, provided such communication devices are suitably encrypted to avoid detection by any third party in the nearby vicinity.”Kohli had asked the ICC’s ACSU for permission to use a walkie-talkie and the permission had been granted.Meanwhile, an ICC source confirmed to India Today that is is a non-issue for the world governing body and no press release needed to be released.Players and support staff have access to walkie-talkies under ICC rules. Use of mobile phones in the dressing-room is banned.On Wednesday, veteran pacer Ashish Nehra could not have asked for a better send-off as India thrashed New Zealand by 53 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday to bring up their maiden win against the Kiwis in T20 Internationals.India’s opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan (80 from 52 balls) and Rohit Sharma (80 from 55 balls) blasted identical half tons to set the tone with a 158-run record opening stand and guide the hosts post a massive 202/3.advertisementIn reply, the tourists failed to get going as only five of their batsmen — Kane Williamson (28), Tom Latham (39), Mitchell Santner (27), Ish Sodhi (11) and Tom Bruce (10) could manage to reach double figures.last_img read more

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5 Resolutions to Amplify Your Nonprofit’s 2013 Fundraising Strategy

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Nonprofit Fundraising Topics: Originally published Jan 2, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 A new year means a clean slate for your organization’s fundraising strategy. And while the celebrations may be over, that doesn’t mean there still isn’t time to make a new set of resolutions. So, in addition to eating less and working out more (hah, we’ll see how long that lasts) we thought up some resolutions that your nonprofit organization might want to write down for the coming year. And then, we wrote out some of the tips you’ll need to actually keep those resolutions.So without further ado, here are five resolutions that will help your organization through another, even more successful year of fundraising in 2013. Good luck!1) “I will send one email per month.” Keeping in touch with your constituents, whether they’re donors, fundraisers, or volunteers, is very important to your organization. But sending too many emails or direct mailers can sometimes be an annoyance. Consider emailing your constituents on a monthly basis. It’s often enough that you won’t overwhelm them with information, but will be just enough to keep them regularly engaged with your organization. But before you start emailing your list, you and your team will want to consider the following questions:What is the purpose of each email? Are you asking for donations? Updating volunteers on new opportunities? Inviting past participants to your next event? Sharing fundraising news or tips? Defining the purpose of each email will help give your reader a clearer call-to-action. Cramming several different topics into one email, on the other hand, is overwhelming and ineffective.How often are you sending out each type of email? Stagger when you send each type of email to keep things interesting. Of course, those emails that are time sensitive, such as an event invite, are first priority.What are the exact dates you’re sending each email? Mark every email on your team’s calendar to give yourselves recurring deadlines. This will also help you keep track of the types of emails you will be sending, and how often.If you need help starting 2013 on the right note with these action items, download these 35 free email templates to get started.2) “I will start blogging.”Blogging is one of the most effective ways to engage your audience and share your expertise around your mission and cause. Not only does it increase your SEO rank and position you as a thought leader, it’s also a great place to highlight your supporters throughout the year. Here are a few blog post ideas to consider:Highlight an outstanding donor, fundraiser, or volunteer each month.Post about your most recent fundraising campaign or event. Highlight how much was raised, how many individuals participated, and how it directly impacts your mission.Give your nonprofit a face; have your staff write a post about themselves and why/how they got involved with your organization.Share news related to your cause, such as stories from the field that show the impact of your supporter’s funds. Encourage your volunteers to guest post about their experiences, as well.Encourage your entire team to contribute on a monthly basis so you have fresh ideas and tons of available content for the future. Keep track of your upcoming blog posts with our free blog post schedule template.3) “I will incorporate Facebook into my next campaign.”67% of 20-35 year olds interacted with a nonprofit on Facebook in 2012, according to The Millennial Impact. Incorporating Facebook into your next fundraising campaign or event is a guaranteed way to interact with this younger demographic. If you don’t already have one, you can create a nonprofit Facebook page for your organization. You can alsoinclude social media buttons in your emails, as well as on your organization’s website, linking to your page. This will make it easy for your supporters to find and interact with you on Facebook and other social networks.If you want to get creative, you can run a contest on your Facebook page and ask supporters to post a video or simply write the reason why they support your cause on your page. You can pick your favorite, and dedicate a blog post and email to that individual. You can even create a Facebook event for your next fundraiser and ask attendees to virtually “check in” the day of. Be creative and test out different ideas to see what drives the most engagement.Tip: Images often get the most likes and shares out of any other media on Facebook, so don’t forget to leverage the myriad free design tools out there to create compelling social media visual content!4) “I will optimize my website’s navigation.” Many individuals are looking to your website for information on how to donate, volunteer, or participate in upcoming fundraising events. Having a clear and concise navigation will make finding this information easy for your constituents. Consider including the following in your website’s navigation bar:How to DonateVolunteer OpportunitiesUpcoming Event CalendarAbout Us (include your mission, a brief history of your organization, staff bios, and anything else you would want your network to know about your organization)Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities (if applicable)If you already have these in your navigation, great job! Just make sure you keep these pages up to date for future visitors.One Mission has a great example of a clear navigation bar, as well as a contrasting ‘Donate’ button, if you’re looking for some inspiration:5) “I will segment and nurture my donor list.”Your lifetime donors will be interested in different information than your brand new donors. By segmenting your list, you can tailor the types of content you’re sending to your different audiences. This will increase the likelihood the recipient will open, read, and enjoy your emails. Here are six segments to consider creating of your existing (and future) donor list:New Supporters – These are your first-time donors, fundraisers, volunteers, and members. Nurture them with educational materials about your organization’s mission, where and how funds are allocated, and how their support can make a difference to your organization over time.One-Time Donors – The majority of donors will only give once to your organization in their lifetime. These are the individuals you want to nurture right away and hopefully turn into recurring donors or fundraisers. If an individual hasn’t given a second time within three months of their first contribution, send them a customized email with other ways to get involved with your organization and include an option to donate again.Recurring Donors – Thank these donors often and in clever ways, such as a personalized video or directly on Twitter or Facebook. These donors are hard to find, but they are extremely loyal to your cause.Large Gift Donors – Do something special for these individuals, such as featuring them on your homepage or, if they want to remain anonymous, have your founder make a personal phone call to thank them. If you have the budget, throw an end of the year gala dinner for these constituents and your team.Old Donors – Keep communication with these individuals light and share only the really big news, like hitting your yearly fundraising goal, or launching a new campaign. Sparking engagement with these folks is always possible, but they may not want to hear from you on a monthly basis.Local Donors – Invite these individuals to smaller, in-person events, either at your office or at a local venue. You’ll be able to create a nice group of recurring donors and supporters who can spread the word throughout your community. They may even turn into superstar evangelists!Now, I know keeping resolutions can be challenging, but keeping even one of these in 2013 will make a huge difference to your fundraising efforts. Attracting new donors is a challenge for all nonprofits, and engaging them online can be your first step.  What other marketing resolutions have you made for your organization in 2013?Image credit: teapotqueenlast_img read more

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How 5 Companies Are Using Inbound Marketing to Succeed in Competitive Markets

first_img Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published Apr 17, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated April 18 2013 Rocky Balboa. Susan “I Dreamed a Dream” Boyle. The 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. What I’m trying to say is … no one can resist an underdog.Small businesses with limited marketing budgets have always been at a disadvantage against big-name competitors. When you’re the shop on the corner, good luck competing with corporations with quarterly marketing budgets larger than your entire annual revenue.At least, that’s how the story used to go. But watch out Goliath — David just got a slingshot. Inbound marketing helps level the playing field for marketers with less budget, and more brains. To show you just how effective inbound can be, we’ve identified some companies that are crushing it against larger competitors. You know, for a little inspiration. So grab your pom-poms and get ready to cheer on some underdog companies dominating giant competitors with inbound marketing.Main Line Family Law Center, LLC Earns National Media Attention With Keyword StrategyHusband-and-wife team Chris and Sharon Pastore of Havertown, PA founded Main Line Family Law Center, LLC in 2011 to provide painless legal assistance for couples going through separation and divorce. For clients, they summarize their goal as “restoring sanity and dignity to the divorce process.” The Pastores were a small business of only two people where the marketing and business management fell on Sharon’s shoulders.Divorce and separation can also be a very private process that clients would rather Google than ask a friend about. Sharon understood her clients’ desire for privacy, and focused her marketing on keyword strategy. She discovered people were searching “legal separation in PA” without seeing a lot of valuable content, so she started targeting that phrase and similar ones with blog content. The results paid off. Main Line Family Law reached a #1 rank for dozens of keywords, saw a 30% quarterly growth in web traffic, and because she used calls-to-action and landing pages to convert all that traffic, she saw a quarterly 30% lead growth, too.The wins didn’t stop there, either. When the Oprah Winfrey Network (Oprah, you guys!) was browsing for divorce and separation clients for a show, guess who came up on the search engine results page? Not a huge legal firm. Not Law.com, The New York Law Journal, or any other legal publications. Main Line Family Law came up.Main Line Family Law shows that no matter how big your business, understanding your customer’s online behavior and nailing down a persona-driven content strategy is incredibly important, and can drive Oprah-level results. (I’m going to try to make that a new form of measurement; I hope it catches on.)The Rodon Group Receives Presidential Recognition for an EbookThe Rodon Groupis a B2B third-generation family business that has manufactured small plastic parts and molds at a high volume since 1956. As one of the largest operation injection molders in the country and manufacturer of over 30 billion parts for K’NEX Brands (the famous toy construction brand), The Rodon Group hardly seems like an underdog. What gives? The Rodon Group now has to compete on a global scale, and U.S. manufacturing isn’t known for offering the best prices for high volume, small plastic parts in comparison to competitors in other countries. Many potential customers turn overseas before fully exploring the cost-effective options available in the U.S.The Rodon Group decided to address this problem head-on with its “Cheaper than China” campaign. The centerpiece of the campaign was an ebook titled “Top 10 Critical Reasons to Brign Your Plastic Injection Molding Back to the U.S.” that explained how The Rodon Group beat overseas pricing. Here’s a quick sample of some of that campaign’s content:This approach not only addressed a concern The Rodon Group’s potential customers were facing, but something the entire country was worried about. Their marketing messaging even earned the attention of President Obama, who personally flew to the plant in Hatfield, PA to deliver a speech.This wasn’t a campaign that The Rodon Group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on. All they did was embrace inbound marketing by creating a content-based campaign that addressed customer concerns. It earned them an in-person endorsement for the President of the United States, not to mention coverage from top tier publications. Talk about powerful.Jackson Coffee Company Consistently Beats Corporate Giants With Email MarketingJackson Coffee Company is a Michigan-based coffee shop that describes their mission as simply “roasting and brewing really great coffee” since September 2006. The business has three locations in Jackson, MI, but no chains outside the city as of now.What makes Jackson Coffee Company so special? They have consistently won “Best Coffee House” awards in all the years from 2007-2012 against giants such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McCafe as well as five other independent coffee houses. Even better? They report never having to explicitly ask their customers to vote.Sure, they focus on great coffee (read more about their coffee quality assurance methods, or the “J” way here), but Jackson Coffee Company emphasized email marketing to help drum up support. And instead of spamming the same list over and over with interruptive messaging, Jackson Coffee followed the make love, not spam email methodology by keeping multiple, separate lists for things like newsletters, or birthday promotions. Robert Ernst, the company’s social media manager, explains that keeping separate lists makes it easy to email customers at the frequency they prefer. While some customers prefer only an annual update for their birthday club cup of coffee, for instance, others want a more frequent update. To learn more about how to do email marketing right — who knows, maybe it’ll be what you need to reign supreme over a big industry competitor of your own — check out our free ebook that teaches you how to optimize your email marketing for conversions.Help Scout Builds Enterprise-Level Authority With Customer-Focused ContentHelp Scout is a B2B customer service software company founded in 2005 with seven full-time employees. While they started off in Nashville, they’re now our neighbors in Boston. Help Scout’s mission is focused on helping businesses deliver scalable, personal customer support. They take this mission so seriously that all of their job titles read “Customer Champion” — even the co-founders.There are some big fish in Help Scout’s pond. Heck, Zendesk has 25,000+ customers, including Disney — the leaders in magical customer experiences. With less manpower and marketing budget dollars comparatively, how does Help Scout get the word out?With fantastic content, of course! Help Scout knows that content is the fuel that feeds the inbound marketing machine, and it shows with their beautiful and comprehensive content, both on their own website and externally through guest blogging. Not only does this content help them build authority with their audience, but it attracts more than enough leads to sustain a steady 10% month-over-month growth rate without breaking the bank on advertising. According to business co-founder Nick Francis, Help Scout experienced a 678% growth in leads from August 2012 to February 2013.Feel free to explore Help Scout’s assets in a little more depth on your own, but I wanted to highlight two here for you — check out their Resources center and their company blog below — before we go into their guest blogging.Help Scout Marketing ResourcesHelp Scout Marketing BlogHelp Scout External ContentAlright, now a quick word on how Help Scout’s guest blogging program has helped them edge out bigger industry competitors. They’re active guest bloggers, reaching out to companies like Buffer (efficiency hack blog) to create content around simple ways to improve customer service. This content strategy exposes Help Scout to new audiences without breaking the bank, and further cements their credibility in a space where they aren’t the biggest provider. This content has helped them build trust with their audience, and as a result, they’ve seen a 265% increase in unique visitors from August 2012 through February 2013. They also saw a 678% growth in leads collected.Takk Takk Puts Icelandic Tourism on the Map With Social MediaClose your eyes and imagine you’re on a dream vacation anywhere in the world you want to be. Where did you go? A café in Paris with fresh croissants? A tropical beach with your toes in the sand?Wherever you chose, I’m willing to bet many didn’t jump right to Iceland. As nice as the country is, Iceland doesn’t naturally pop into people’s heads when they think vacation. Icelandic marketing agency Takk Takk, then, had a challenge — to put a small island in the middle of the ocean on the map for tourists. Enter the “Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend” campaign.Instead of broadcasting Iceland’s virtues on a website with generic pictures, Takk Takk went on a mission to befriend people via social media. Which means they had to have a brand people actually wanted to be friends with on social media. Creating marketing content so interesting and helpful that people actually seek it out for consumption? Interacting directly with people in a conversation instead of interrupting them with broadcasts? Sounds like inbound marketing to me! Takk Takk adopted a fun, silly voice on their social media accounts, landing pages, thank you pages, and emails — even in their calls-to-action. Check out the copy on their subscription CTA, for instance: The agency created a branded personality for the country of Iceland and kept it consistent across social and online platforms, too — even their source code had a bit of personality!Takk Takk carried over the voice of their campaign to social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo, where they featured regular people enjoying their Icelandic vacations and connected tourists on who were visiting around the same time. Luckily, Takk Takk compiled their social media tips and execution from the campaign in a slideshow that is absolutely worth a view; my favorite takeaway was “Treat normal people like celebrities.”The results? The campaign started in 2009, and by 2012, tourist traffic at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport broke records, with 2.4 million passengers, approximately 1/4 of whom were foreign tourists. Keep in mind, this all happened after the 2008 banking crisis and a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Iceland also just received a 2013 ranking from the World Economic Forum as the world’s most welcoming holiday destination, where part of the ranking relies on how welcome the population’s attitude seems toward foreign visitors — something embodied strongly in Takk Takk’s campaign.What’s your favorite underdog marketing story? Are you using any specific inbound marketing techniques you use to get the edge on your competitors? Tell us your stories in the comments section! We’d love to hear them.Image credit: istolethetvlast_img read more

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30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #1: Getting Started With Blogging

first_img Free Templates: 2. Create your blog domain.Next, you’ll need a place to host this and every other blog post you write. This requires choosing a content management system (CMS) and a website domain hosting service.Sign Up With a Content Management SystemA CMS helps you create a website domain where you’ll actually publish your blog. The CMS platforms available for you to sign up for can manage domains, where you create your own website; and subdomains, where you create a webpage that connects with an existing website.HubSpot customers host their website content through HubSpot’s content management system. Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on WP Engine. Whether they create a domain or a subdomain to start their blog, they’ll need to choose a web domain hosting service after choosing their CMS.This is true for every blogger seeking to start their own blog on their own website.Register a Domain or Subdomain With a Website HostYour own blog domain will look like this: www.yourblog.com. The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn’t yet exist on the internet.Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at www.yourcompany.com, you might create a blog that looks like this: blog.yourcompany.com. In other words, your blog’s subdomain will live in its own section of yourcompany.com.Some CMSs offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business’s website. For example, it might look like “yourblog.contentmanagementsystem.com.” However, in order to create a subdomain that belongs to a company website, you’ll need to register this subdomain with a website host.Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month. Here are five popular web hosting services to choose from:GoDaddyHostGatorDreamHostBluehostiPage3. Customize your blog’s theme.Once you have your blog domain set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating.Are you writing about sustainability and the environment? Green might be a color to keep in mind when designing the look and feel of your blog, as green is often associated with sustainability.If you already manage a website, and are writing your first blog post for that website, it’s important that your blog is consistent with this existing website, both in appearance and subject matter. Two things to include right away are:Logo. This can be your name or your business’s logo, either one helping to remind your readers who or what is publishing this content. How heavily you want to brand this blog, in relation to your main brand, is up to you.”About” page. You might already have an “About” blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog’s “About” section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog’s mission statement, which serves to support your company’s goals.4. Identify your first blog post’s topic.Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets.Then, as you do your research, you can expand the topic to discuss how to fix a leaky faucet based on the various causes of a faucet leak.You might not want to jump right into a “how-to” article for your first blog post, though, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’d like to write about modern types of faucet setups, or tell one particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded someone’s house.If a plumber’s first how-to article is about how to fix a leaky faucet, for example, here are four other types of sample blog post ideas a plumber might start with, based on the five free blog templates we’ve offered to you:List-based Post: 5 ways to fix a leaky faucetCurated Collection Post: 10 faucet and sink brands you should look into todaySlideShare Presentation: 5 types of faucets that should replace your old one (with pictures)News post: New study shows X% of people don’t replace their faucet on timeFind more examples of blog posts at the end of this step-by-step guide.If you’re having trouble coming up with topic ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:Changing the topic scopeAdjusting the time frameChoosing a new audienceTaking a positive/negative approachIntroducing a new format5. Come up with a working title.Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.6. Write an intro (and make it captivating).We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:7. Organize your content in an outline.Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.” There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!8. Write your blog post!The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well [Free Ebook]How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That ConvertsHow to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your MessageThe Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to AnyoneYour Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More InterestingThe Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Blog in 20199. Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist (or try using a free grammar checker, like the one developed by Grammarly). And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the TrenchesHow to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process10 Simple Edits That’ll Instantly Improve Any Piece of WritingWhen you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …Featured ImageMake sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.Visual AppearanceNo one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.Topics/TagsTags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.10. Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.11. Optimize for on-page SEO.After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:Meta DescriptionMeta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.Page Title and HeadersMost blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.Anchor TextAnchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.Mobile OptimizationWith mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.12. Pick a catchy title.Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:Start with your working title.As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like, below, based on the topic you choose and the audience you’re targeting.Blog Post ExamplesList-Based PostThought Leadership PostCurated Collection PostSlideshare PresentationNewsjacking PostInfographic PostHow-to Post How to Write a Blog Post1. Understand your audience.Before you start to write your first blog post, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]Blog Post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your BusinessMakeMyPersona.com [Free Tool] How to Write a Blog Post Free Blog Post Templates Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 2019 Topics:center_img Hi 👋 What’s your name?First NameLast NameHi null, what’s your email address?Email AddressAnd your phone number?Phone NumberWhat is your company’s name and website?CompanyWebsiteHow many employees work there?1Does your company provide any of the following services?Web DesignOnline MarketingSEO/SEMAdvertising Agency ServicesYesNoGet Your Free Templates Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: 1. List-Based PostExample: 10 Fresh Ways to Get Better Results From Your Blog PostsList-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses subheaders to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily. According to ClearVoice, listicles are among the most shared types of content on social media across 14 industries.As you can see in the example from our blog, above, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.2. Thought Leadership PostExample: What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First BookThought leadership blog posts allow you to indulge in your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers. These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post by Joanna Penn, shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.3. Curated Collection PostExample: 8 Examples of Evolution in ActionCurated collections are a special type of listicle blog post (the first blog post example, described above). But rather than sharing tips or methods of doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common, in order to prove a larger point. In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.4. Slideshare PresentationExample: The HubSpot Culture CodeSlideshare is a presentation tool owned by the social network, LinkedIn, that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, Slideshare blog posts help you promote your Slideshare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.Unlike blogs, Slideshare decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your Slideshare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.Need some Slideshare ideas? In the example above, we turned our company’s “Culture Code” into a Slideshare presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and promoted it through a blog post.5. Newsjacking PostExample: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers”Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, also prove your blog to be a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.6. Infographic PostExample: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the Slideshare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format. For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even fun-looking infographic can help keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.7. How-to PostExample: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step GuideFor our last example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject. The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.Ready to blog? Don’t forget to download your six free blog post templates right here. You’ve probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. But it’s important that you learn how to start a blog and write blog posts for it so that each article supports your business.Without a blog, your SEO can tank, you’ll have nothing to promote in social media, you’ll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you’ll have fewer pages to put those valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads.So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t consistently blog?Maybe because, unless you’re one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of stinks. You have to find words, string them together into sentences … ugh, where do you even start?Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post TemplatesWell my friend, the time for excuses is over.What Is a Blog?A blog is literally short for “web log.” Blogs began in the early 1990s as an online journal for individuals to publish thoughts and stories on their own website. Bloggers then share their blog posts with other internet users. Blog posts used to be much more personal to the writer or group of writers than they are today.Today, people and organizations of all walks of life manage blogs to share analyses, instruction, criticisms, and other observations of an industry in which they are a rising expert.After you read this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t blog every single day — and do it quickly. Not only am I about to provide you with a simple blog post formula to follow, but I’m also going to give you free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:The How-To PostThe List-Based PostThe Curated Collection PostThe SlideShare Presentation PostThe Newsjacking PostWith all this blogging how-to, literally anyone can blog as long as they truly know the subject matter they’re writing about. And since you’re an expert in your industry, there’s no longer any reason you can’t sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post.Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free content marketing training resource page. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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Your Essential Proofreading Checklist: 10 Things You Can’t Forget

first_img Topics: I remember the first time I had to proofread something. It was my third day on the job at my very first internship — a small marketing agency in central New Jersey. My boss called me over and handed me a 36-page newsletter that needed to be proofed quickly. We had to send it back to the client ASAP.I was decent at writing and editing, but I didn’t want to disappoint my boss and our clients by letting mistakes slip through the cracks … if only I could have someone proofread my proofreading to make sure I wasn’t screwing up. But I don’t know a business that has time for processes like that. So I just tried to be extra cautious (even though that still didn’t ensure everything was perfect). Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post TemplatesThinking back, I would have loved to have a proofreading checklist. Since I know I’m not the only wannabe perfectionist out there, I decided to create the post below to help anyone in a similar scenario.Note: We’re talking about proofreading here — not the first draft editing process. When you’re editing, there are lots of other things you should look out for. (Check out this post if you want a checklist for that step.) 1) ToneHaving the right tone for corporate copy is tricky — you’ve got to be aligned with the overall brand tone, but if it’s a social message or a blog post, you might also have the author’s own distinct voice to consider. Make sure you’re keeping an eye out for both. For example, your brand may have a super friendly and encouraging tone … but you see that a writer’s been infusing one too many harsh, snarky comments in their piece. Make sure you’re course-correcting on those elements so that the piece doesn’t seem out of place among the other posts on your blog.When you’re proofing, most of this tone issues should already have been worked out in previous editing rounds. Still, it’s possible that a few parts may stick out like a sore thumb — it’s your job to notice and fix them. 2) Product and Persona PositioningThis is also something that should be dealt with before the final editing stage, but often positioning elements can slip through the cracks because they’re pretty nuanced. Sometimes fixing positioning comes down to choosing another synonym or adding a simple descriptor to a sentence. There are two positioning elements you generally need to fix: product and persona. Product positioning mistakes will usually be mistakes that misrepresent what your company offers. It’d be like calling Chipotle fast food … yes, it’s true it’s a fast-food joint, but it’s not on par with the McDonald’s of the world since it uses high-quality, freshly made food. That’s a core part of their brand positioning that should be addressed in your copy.Persona positioning is another mistake people often make — particularly if your company sells to several different buyer personas. Persona positioning mistakes usually crop up when incorrect language is used for a persona. For example, let’s say you work for Dell, selling to both the average consumer and an IT department. If the blog post for the consumer used technical terms only the IT department persona would get, you’d need to revise those terms. Even if your company has tight buyer persona alignment, it’s possible that little tidbits meant for one persona slip into a post for another.3) Logical FlowA lot of marketers throw around the whole storytelling aspect of content marketing — that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about is making sure that each sentence is followed by one that makes sense. Flow. A logical one. (This also holds true for paragraphs, too.)Poor transitions often happen when a writer doesn’t have an outline — creating an outline from their writing can help you figure out where you need to beef up transitions between sentences or paragraphs. If you find there’s an illogical leap from one sentence or paragraph to another, that’s when you know you need to make edits to those transitions.4) GrammarEven the best writers can have grammar mistakes slip through if they’re on tight deadlines. They know that they need to use “their” instead of “they’re” but somehow it slipped into the post. As the proofreader, you need to be hyper-vigilant about detecting grammar mistakes. If this isn’t your sweet spot in the writing/editing world, take a look at this post and this post on the most common mistakes people make. Before you hit “publish,” find those words in the piece (Control + F on PC or Command + F on Mac) and make sure they’re being used correctly. 5) Style Guide ConsistencyAbiding by your company’s style guide may seem like a small thing, but not following it makes a piece of copy seem out of place among the rest of your work. For example, in the HubSpot style guide, we always capitalize prepositions in headlines that are four letters or more — so words like “with” and “from” should be capitalized in titles. If we forget to follow this rule, it’s not the end of the world … but it does look sloppier on the homepage or in one of the section pages of Inbound Hub. If you know that you have a tendency to forget to check certain important parts of the style guide, try to find and replace them as you would with grammatical mistakes.6) Country-Specific Spelling and JargonPretty much everyone who publishes online content should be concerned with this bullet point. Though international or global companies worry about this more often, the truth is that anyone from anywhere in the world can find and read your content. Don’t you want to make sure they understand it?You shouldn’t eliminate country specific spelling and jargon — especially if your main audience is local — but just make sure that it’ll make sense to someone in your industry from another country. If you’re marketing to anyone in the world, the last thing you want is for them to click off your blog because they didn’t fully understand the country-specific references. 7) Logical ImagesOften, people will notice images more than the text in your content — especially if they’re just speed reading and scrolling through it. So make sure your images always make contextual sense.Ask yourself: Does the image make sense on its own, or does it require an explanation? If it needs one, you probably need to swap it out for something else. Images are supposed to hit home the points you make in the copy, not make the reader ask more questions. Lost on what images to pick? Here’s a great post on selecting the perfect image for your post.8) Data and Image AttributionsFrankly, it’s pretty easy to steal content on the web, even if you’re not trying to. After you’ve tidied up the copy and made sure you’ve got supporting imagery, make sure you’ve properly cited any external data and images. If you’re unsure of what data and images you can use, check out this blog post. The last thing you want is to get served papers over using an image you thought was up for grabs online.  9) SpellcheckWhen you were proofing for grammar, you should have also found some typos, but it’s very possible that you may have missed them. Use a built-in spell-checker or copy-paste your near-final copy into Word to see if you get any red or green squiggly lines. You’d be surprised how easy it is, even for a trained proofreader, to miss a tiny typo in the midst of a long paragraph. This step helps cut down on any human error that may have occurred somewhere in the writing or editing process.10) Broken LinksLast but certainly not least, you should check to make sure alllll the links are directed to where they’re supposed to be and that they actually work. Once you have the content all set in your CMS, just go through and open up every link. The one time I forgot to do this for a blog post, I ended up mis-linking something, directing our lovely readers to a BuzzFeed article instead of a helpful ebook. Though I’m sure you all enjoy seeing cute kittens, you’d rather find what you actually wanted to click on, right? Don’t make your readers hunt for content they thought was coming their way. If you’re always fixing these 10 mistakes, you’ll end up with quite a tidy piece of content — if not perfect. It’s possible that one tiny mistake may still slip through — you’re human, after all. But this list should help you keep your content squeaky clean, all without hiring a proofreading checker. What other things do you do when you proofread? Share your ideas with us in the comments below. Originally published Apr 22, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017 Writing Skills Don’t forget to share this post! 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74 Compelling Fill-in-the-Blank Blog Post Titles [Infographic]

first_img Blog Headlines It’s one thing to write great content, but it’s another thing to get it read and ranked — which is where nailing the title comes in.Titles are what sell the content. They represent it in search engines, in email, and on social media. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the most common questions we get concern crafting titles.Download data-backed tips on writing catchy titles and headlines. How long should my headline be? What words should I use? What words should I avoid? Should I optimize it for search, or for social? Or both?Luckily, we’ve come up with a simple formula for writing catchy headlines and blog titles that you can reference from here on out. So let’s just dive right in, shall we?A Foolproof Method for How to Write Catchy Headlines and Titles1) Start with a working title.Before you get into the nitty-gritty of coming up with a perfect title, start with a rough draft: your working title. What is that, exactly? A lot of people confuse working titles with topics. Let’s clear that up:Topics are very general and could yield several different blog posts. Think “raising healthy kids,” or “kitchen storage.” A writer might look at either of those topics and choose to take them in very, very different directions.A working title, on the other hand, is very specific and guides the creation of a single blog post. For example, from the topic “raising healthy kids,” you could derive the following working titles:”How the Right Nutrition Can Strengthen Your Kids’ Bones””A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Your Child’s Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Well-Being””X Recipes for Quick & Healthy Dinners Your Teenagers Will Gobble Up”See how different and specific each of those is? That’s what makes them working titles, instead of overarching topics. It’s also worth noting that none of those titles are perfect — they should just be specific enough to guide your blog post. (We’ll worry about making it clickable and search-friendly later.)2) Stay accurate.Accuracy is critical when trying to finesse a title, because it sets clear expectations for your readers. While I’m sure lots of people would love to click into a post that said “10 B2B Companies Killing Facebook So Freaking Hard They Don’t Need Any Other Marketing Channel” … it’s a little bombastic, no?Unless, of course, you truly did find 10 B2B companies rocking Facebook that hard, and you could confirm that all 10 of them had stopped using other marketing channels. First and foremost, your title needs to accurately reflect the content that follows.One way to ensure accuracy? Add bracketed clarification to your headline, like we did in this blog post:In a study of over 3.3 million paid link headlines, we found that headlines with this type of clarification — [Interview], [Podcast], [Infographic], etc. — performed 38% better than headlines without clarification. Again, it’s all about setting clear expectations. Thanks to the brackets, these readers knew exactly what they were getting themselves into before they even clicked.So if you remember nothing else from this blog post, let it be this: The most important rule of titles is to respect the reader experience. If you set high expectations in your title that you can’t fulfill in the content, you’ll lose readers’ trust.Accuracy encompasses more than just hyperbole, though. With the example working title above, you’d also want to confirm all of the examples are, indeed, B2B. Or even that they’re all companies — instead of, say, individual bloggers that target B2B audiences. See what I mean?3) Make it sexy.Just because you have to be accurate doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make your title pop. There are a lot of ways to make a title sexier.Of course, all of this hinges on understanding your core buyer persona. You need to find language that resonates with them, and know what they find valuable. (Haven’t created or refined your buyer personas yet? Download this free template to create your own buyer personas for your business.)Once you’re armed with knowledge of your buyer persona’s preferred style, try testing out some of these tips for making your headlines a little sexier:Have some fun with alliteration. The title and header in this blog post, for instance, play with alliteration: “Foolproof Formula.” It’s a device that makes something a little lovelier to read, and that can have a subtle but strong impact on your reader.Use strong language. Strong phrases (and, frankly, often negative ones) like “Things People Hate,” or “Brilliant” pack quite a punch. However, these must be used in moderation. As one of my coworkers likes to say, “If everything is bold, nothing is bold.”Make the value clear. As we mentioned above, presenting the format and/or contents to a reader helps make your content a little sexier. According to our research, templates tend to be particularly powerful for CTR: We found that adding “[Template]” to our titles got the most average views of all bracketed terms.Make it visual. Is there an opportunity to include visuals within your post? Make that clear in the title. Our research revealed that headlines featuring the word “photo(s)” performed 37% better than headlines without this word.Focus on the “whos,” not the “whys”. Want to intrigue your audience? Focus on the “who”: Headlines including the word “who” generated a 22% higher CTR than headlines without it.For example, let’s say you’re writing a post titled, “15 of Our Favorite Brands on Snapchat.” How might we punch up our accurate-but-boring working title? Here are some options:15 Brilliant Brands Who Are Killing It on SnapchatSnapchat Success: 15 Inspiring Brands Who Just Get It15 Must-Follow Brands That Are Seeing Snapchat Success4) Keep it short.There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long or short your title should be. It depends what your goals are, and where your headline will appear.Do you want this post to rank really well in search? Focus on keeping the title under 70 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in search engine results.Are you trying to optimize your title for social sharing? According to our own analysis at HubSpot, headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average. As for Facebook, headlines with either 12 or 14 words received the most Likes.Additionally, headlines with eight words had a 21% higher clickthrough rate than the average title, according to the folks at Outbrain.The lesson? It’s always a good idea to run a few tests to see what works best for your particular audience.Let’s say I was writing this blog post: “Think Social Media Is Just for Kids? Here Are 10 Statistics Guaranteed to Prove You Wrong.” To shorten it, I would simply try to rephrase it and cut out extraneous words. For instance, I might do something like this:Before: Think Social Media Is Just for Kids? Here Are 10 Statistics Guaranteed to Prove You WrongAfter: 10 Stats That Prove Social Media Isn’t Just for KidsSee? It’s that easy. Try sounding out the title in your head to make sure it’s easily digestible for your readers. The less of a mouthful you can make your titles, the better.5) Try to optimize for search and social.I say “try” because, sometimes, trying too hard to optimize for these things can make your title sound strange. Remember: You want to optimize your title for your audience above all else, but if you can optimize for both search and social, that’s great.The secret to thinking about all three at once? Focus on keywords that you know your audience is already searching for, then look into the search volume for those keywords.Once you have a keyword in mind, you’ll want to be sure to place it as closely as possible to the beginning of your headline to catch your reader’s attention. (Again, you should keep your headline under 70 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in search engine results.)Another important consideration? Make sure your headlines are tweetable: “The 120-130-character range is the sweet spot for high clickthrough rate, according to an analysis of 200,000 tweets with links,” explains my colleague, Senior Marketing Manager Lindsay Kolowich. “This leaves enough space for people to include a short comment if they choose to manually retweet and cite you.” Here’s an example: Let’s say I’m writing a post titled, “X B2B Companies Using Facebook in Cool Ways.” Looks like there’s some wiggle room to optimize it without compromising clarity, right?If the goal is to rank for the term, “Facebook Marketing,” I’d recommend something like this:”New to Facebook Marketing? Here Are 10 B2B Companies Doing It Right”This new title works for a few reasons:It’s 56 characters long. This means that it’s short enough to not be cut off in search engines and it’s short enough to be retweeted.The keyword is in the beginning. By moving “Facebook Marketing” to the beginning of the title, we’re ultimately increasing the odds that we’ll grab our audience’s attention.It’s human. I wasn’t kidding when I said you should focus on optimizing for your audience first. This title presents both a pain point and a solution all wrapped up in one.(Download this ebook for more data-backed SEO strategies we recommend.)6) Brainstorm with someone else.Once you’ve refined your title using the tips above, it’s time to come up for air and connect with another human. Title brainstorming is an essential part of the process.Here at HubSpot, we spend a decent amount of time and brainpower coming up with our titles. The final step before scheduling a blog post is pulling another member of our team into a back-and-forth title brainstorm in a chat room. One member of the duo will post the title they recommend into the chat pane window. The other person will then refine that title even further, or suggest other angles. After several back-and-forths, the duo will agree on the title that’s accurate, sexy, concise, and SEO-friendly.Only when both parties agree on a title do we schedule our post for publishing — which can take as little as five seconds and as long as ten or so minutes. While that seems like a long time, it’s essential to put our best feet forward with each post we publish.What’s your process for crafting titles? Let us know in the comments.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Originally published Jun 15, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated September 11 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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Clip Art Through the Years: A Nostalgic Look Back

first_imgWhen I was growing up, it was a pretty big deal to have a computer with an operating system other than DOS. If you had an Apple, or even a computer with Windows, your house was the place to be. Not only were you likely to have the coolest games, but also, you probably had access to clip art libraries, which made for hours of entertainment — for me, at least.Today, it’s hard to imagine a world where you can’t procure an image just by searching for it online. When I was in school, the only way to include a picture in a book report, for example, was with enough luck to find what I was looking for in a magazine. Clip art opened up a whole new world of visuals for academic assignments — not to mention, the newsletters that my childhood, future-writer self liked to put together for fun.Download the free stock photos you’ve been searching for here, no attribution required.But today, clip art has become a bit of a thing of the past, at least since Microsoft retired its version in 2014. That’s an important distinction — clip art isn’t limited to Microsoft, and actually had several predecessors before it found its way into the likes of Word and PowerPoint. Download the free stock photos you’ve been searching for here, no attribution required.And maybe its retirement was for the best — when I think back to some of its more popular images, they would look positively antiquated today. But where did clip art come from, anyway? Today, we’re honoring its legacy with a trip through time.The History of Clip ArtThe 1980sSource: Computer History MuseumIt all began with the idea to create a digital library of images. That was made possible by a program called VCN ExecuVision, a presentation program created in 1983 for IBM personal computers. Think of it as a primitive version of PowerPoint. But the $400 software didn’t come with these image libraries — instead, they were available on separate floppy disks that had to be purchased for $90 each.But despite this seemingly trailblazing effort on behalf of IBM, it was really Apple who may have emerged as a leader in the digital image space, at least around the early-to-mid 1980s. That’s partially due to the 1984 development of MacPaint, which was released alongside Apple’s word processing program, MacWrite. As the story goes, they were the only two applications pre-installed on this historic Macintosh 128K.But what made MacPaint so important was its role as the first program that allowed users to manipulate bitmap images: The “simple line art,” according to The Atlantic, that comprised “early electronic clip art.”Source: DigiBarnNot long after that, however, the T/Maker Company collaborated with Apple to develop another word processing program, WriteNow. While it’s not clear if that particular program came equipped with its own image library, the same company began producing and selling groups of bitmap images under a new name: ClickArt.Source: VetuswareThe 1990sSource: MakeUseOfBy the mid-1990s, T/Maker was the largest distributor of unlicensed images, with a library of roughly half a million in 1995. Microsoft took note of ClickArt’s success, and thought to eliminate the extra step of having to install additional software to access artwork. So in 1996, Microsoft Word 6.0 came equipped with 82 clip art images — a miniscule amount compared to the 120,515 files available on openclipart.org today.And yet, Microsoft became the brand most strongly identified with the idea of clip art, despite its predecessors having laid much of the groundwork. That could be because its in-app nature — across the entire Microsoft Office Suite — made adding art to documents and presentations a groundbreakingly seamless process.The Early 2000sSource: Wayback MachineBy August 2000, at least 41% of U.S. households had computers with internet access, indicating that people were using it more and more for consuming information and media. And like so many other things — books, for one — clip art was becoming available for purchase online via sites like clipart.com, which is still in existence, but today looks a bit different than its 1996 counterpart above.And while clip art isn’t exactly one of those things that we think of as having suffered “death by download” — like books, music, and movies — the ability to procure images online made something like Microsoft’s in-app feature obsolete.Clip Art’s (Semi) RetirementIn December 2014, Microsoft announced that it would be doing away with any in-app art libraries.“The Office.com Clip Art and image library has closed shop,” the statement read.Instead, users would now have to use either images from their own devices, or those found through Bing Image Search, where they’re now automatically sent when searching for art within Microsoft apps — step-by-step directions can be found here.The announcement, for many, read as the end of an era. What would become of cartoonish images of urban landscapes, or out-of-date business travelers with flip phones? As it turns out, if that’s what you’re looking for, you might be in luck.Clip Art in 2017 and BeyondFor those who need a fix of this kind of old-school imagery, not all hope is lost. There are still plenty of resources out there to find these pictures, including the aforementioned sites openclipart.org and clipart.com. Plus, as The Atlantic so astutely points out, if you search Bing images for “clip art,” you might find some of those fittingly nostalgic results:And perhaps this version of clip art isn’t really gone for good — after all, NPR once noted Microsoft’s penchant for revitalizing its older pieces of technology, like Clippy.In any case, clip art has certainly taken many forms over the years — and we’re curious to see what shape, if any, it takes in the future.Which clip art images make you the most nostalgic? Let us know in the comments. Originally published Apr 12, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated August 27 2017 Topics: History of Internet Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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The True Meaning of Self-Awareness (& How to Tell If You’re Actually Self-Aware)

first_imgSelf-awareness is a critical tool to help you reach higher levels of job satisfaction, become a better leader, improve relationships with colleagues, and manage your emotions better. It’s also positively correlated with higher levels of overall happiness.And yet, as one study estimates, only 10-15% of people are truly self-aware.Luckily, self-awareness can be practiced and cultivated — it’s not a fixed trait.Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.If you begin to consciously practice self-awareness, you can evaluate how your values, passions, and goals fit into your current environment and emotions — and how to align them better. You can also understand how other people view you, creating stronger, more authentic relationships with colleagues.Self-awareness will help you become a happier and more productive employee and leader, and can help you align your current life with your passions.Here, we’ll explore what self-awareness truly means, how to tell if you’re self-aware, and, best of all, how to improve your own self-awareness, right now.If you’re still unconvinced that self-awareness is a valuable trait to cultivate, here’s a list of general benefits of being self-aware.Benefits of self-awarenessImprove skills by recognizing what you do well and what you need to improveRaise happiness levels by aligning your ideals with your actionsBecome a better leader by understanding how employees perceive your behaviorStrengthen work and personal relationships by managing emotionsIncrease work motivation by seeking out your true passionsDecrease stress by identifying emotions and lessening tasks you don’t enjoy Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published May 11, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated May 11 2018center_img What is self-awareness?Self-awareness was first defined by Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund (1972), who proposed that, at a given moment, people can focus attention on the self or on the external environment.Duval and Wicklund noted, “When we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves.”In other words, when you focus on yourself, rather than your environment, you compare yourself with your standards of correctness. These standards of correctness specify how you ought to think, feel, and behave. They are, essentially, your values and beliefs, otherwise known as your ideals.You feel pride or dissatisfaction depending on how well your behavior matches up with your standards of correctness. If you’re dissatisfied, you might make changes to your behavior to better align with your standards. For instance, you might note feelings of discontent in your current role, and recognize you value creativity but don’t have the opportunity to exercise that passion. That dissatisfaction could lead you to pursue other creative outlets, changing your behavior to fit your standards.Self-awareness, then, is a fundamental tool for self-control.Make sense? One more thing.Tasha Eurich, a researcher and organizational psychologist, and her team of researchers came up with two categories of self-awareness, which I think are important to note: internal self-awareness, and external self-awareness.Internal self-awareness is something I’ve already mentioned — it is how clearly you see your values, passions, and aspirations, and how well those standards fit with your environment and your reactions (which include thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses).Essentially, internal self-awareness is recognizing your current job doesn’t match your true passion for marketing, or feeling dissatisfied with a heated conversation you had with your colleague, which conflicts with your belief that kindness is important.External self-awareness, on the other hand, is the ability to clearly see how other people view you. People who know how others see them are typically more empathetic. Leaders who can see how their employees view them are usually more effective, and have stronger relationships with their employees.External self-awareness is recognizing your employee took your feedback personally because of your tone, or realizing your employees are disheartened by the data provided in your last email.The definition of self-awarenessSelf-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your internal standards. If you’re highly self-aware, you can objectively evaluate yourself, manage your emotions, align your behavior with your values, and understand correctly how others perceive you.Self-awareness testOkay, so we’ve covered what self-awareness is, and why it’s important. Now, how are you supposed to know if you’re as self-aware as you should be?The iNLP Center self awareness test is a quick, free online test to measure your self-awareness. Although it’s not a scientific or clinical assessment, the test was created by Mike Bundrant, who has 25 years experience as a counselor, NLP trainer (Neuro-linguistic programming, which is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy), and life coach. The test, made up of 12 multiple-choice questions, provides you with a score and interpretation of your level of self-awareness, and which areas you should focus on improving.Additionally, consider taking a basic personality test: the results might contradict with how you view yourself, encouraging you to re-evaluate your true strengths and weaknesses.There are other, non-standardized test ways to measure your self-awareness, too:First, you could apply feedback analysis to your own life whenever you make important decisions. For instance, you might write down why you chose to switch departments at work, including your motivations, thoughts during the decision-making process, and what you expected would happen as a result. Then, a couple months later, check back in with your notes — what’s gone according to plan, what were you wrong about, etc.? This can provide you with a deeper understanding of how you make decisions and how you can improve the process, as well as what motivates you.Or, write down a list of what you perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses. When you’re finished, check with someone you trust to give honest feedback: are you missing any strengths or weaknesses, or do other people perceive you differently?Ideally, over time, you’ll use various methods to slowly gain a deeper understanding of who you are, what you want, and how those things overlap or conflict with how you behave, think, and feel.How to become more self-awareOnce you’ve discovered how self-aware you are, you’re probably wondering how you can get better at it.There are dozens of ways to improve and cultivate self-awareness, but here are four of the biggest to start you off.1. Ask “What?” instead of “Why?” When people assess their current state, emotions, and environment, they all too often ask, “Why?” Like, “Why am I feeling so sad? Why did my boss give me that feedback? Why isn’t my project going the way I’d hoped?”Here’s why asking “Why?” is ineffective: research has shown you don’t have access to a lot of your unconscious thoughts, feelings, and motives. Odds are, you’re wrong about why you act, do, or think certain things. For instance, you might hear harsh feedback from a boss, and rationale it’s because you’re not cut out for the job, or harp on your insecurities — it’s hard for you to unbiasedly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and come to a correct conclusion.Plus, you don’t often factor physiological responses into the equation when you’re trying to understand your behavior. For instance, maybe you lost your temper at your employee because of low blood sugar or lack of sleep, not because you’re an unfit leader.Research has also found people who are introspective are more likely to ruminate on negative thoughts when evaluating the self. Self-evaluation through “Why” questions could leave you feeling depressed and anxious, while being entirely unproductive.Rather than asking “Why,” highly self-aware people ask, “What?” “What” questions are more productive, and focuses on objectives and future goals, rather than past mistakes.For instance, let’s say you’re feeling frustrated at work. “Why am I feeling awful?” will likely only leave you feeling more depressed, forcing you to ruminate on negatives. On the other hand, “What are the situations at work making me feel bad?” guides you to recognizing factors outside your control that don’t align with your passions or goals, and helps you strategize how to fix those situations.2. Spend Time With Yourself It’s not easy to reflect on yourself when you’ve got the TV blaring, you’re out to dinner with friends, or you’re glued to your phone.Give yourself the space and time necessary to self-reflect, by avoiding distractions. Try spending time reading, writing, meditating, or practicing other solo activities to connect with yourself.Try to give yourself 30 quiet, distraction-free minutes a day.3. Practice MindfulnessMindfulness allows you to be present with yourself and observe your thoughts in a non-judgmental way. What better way to become self-aware than focusing, nonjudgmentally, on you?Mindfulness forces you to focus on yourself on purpose, in the present moment. Next time you’re feeling frustrated at work, use mindfulness to check-in with yourself: what thoughts are going through your mind? How are you feeling? Simply being present enough to acknowledge your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, will help you become more acquainted and better at recognizing them properly within yourself.Take a look at these Mindfulness apps if you need help getting started.4. Become a Better Listener, and Ask for Feedback When you learn how to listen to your friends, colleagues, and managers without evaluating or judging them, you’ll become more empathetic and understand people better. Listening, by the way, isn’t the same as hearing — like mindfulness, the practice of listening takes purpose and control. Listening to the important people in your life should give you a true sense of how they perceive you.You can translate those listening skills to yourself, too, and become better at understanding your own thoughts and emotions. Listening to others and yourself is critical to becoming self-aware.Additionally, it’s important to ask for feedback from the people you work with, or lead. It’s impossible to have true, complete self-awareness, if you only turn inwards — gaining different perspectives on who you are will help you see a truer, more complete picture. Emotional Intelligencelast_img read more

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The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce

first_imgWyoming South Dakota Alabama Marketing Your Store Types of EcommerceBusiness to Business (B2B)Business to Consumer (B2C)Consumer to Consumer (C2C) Maine Nevada 5.50% New York 6.00% Image sourceWith this foundation of understanding around ecommerce, let’s now move on to some best practices and tips around the world of online sales.Benefits of EcommerceEcommerce is not a trend, and it isn’t going away any time soon. The reason is that selling goods and services on the internet highly benefits both the seller and the buyer. Here’s why. Benefits to the buyer:ConvenienceQuicker and easier transactionsInformed purchasing decisionsEasier price and product comparisonsImproved delivery processTargeted communication Benefits to the seller:Lower overhead costs due to the elimination of brick and mortar locationsThe ability to sell goods around-the-clock (versus traditional store hours)Ability to reach customers beyond geographical locationMore control over the selling process and tracking, especially if there’s one portal that handles point-of-sale (POS)Greater visibility to potential customers via SEOMore control over personnel costs and inventory management Delaware North Dakota Iowa Arkansas 0.00% 6.35% Tax Rate Alaska The first ecommerce sale was made in 1994 … and can you guess what it was?It was a Sting CD.Dan Kohn, a 21-year-old who ran a website called NetMarket, sold Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales CD to a friend who purchased it with his credit card for $12.48 plus shipping costs. These exchanges are what we know as ecommerce today: Sales of services and goods made through the internet.Ecommerce has come a long way since 1994, and it’s growing as more shoppers turn to devices and computers as the primary tools for discovering and buying new products. Let’s take a deeper look at what ecommerce is and the growth trends around it, as well as some basic getting started tips.Download Now: Ecommerce Planning Templates + Kit 5.75% 6.25% 6.25% 7.00% Illinois 7.25% 6.85% New Mexico Hawaii Idaho Topics: Colorado Platform & Software Kentucky South Carolina Ecommerce 4.00% 4.00% Evaluate the audience and demand for a product.Research the competition.Research business models and sales strategies.Name and register your business.Establish your branding and design a logo.Create your product.Determine manufacturing costs and processes.Research and set up shipping and fulfillment processes.Buy a URL and create your website.Develop a marketing plan for attracting and converting customers.Secure social profiles and start building a following.Launch your online store. 6.00% Arizona Source: Based on 2018 Data. Refer to State’s Department of Revenue for up-to-date rates.The Future of EcommerceSales tax is a hot topic in the news right now — and the Supreme Court may be making changes to the policies for ecommerce retailers. Be sure to stay up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations.The future of ecommerce is a bright one, and with the right strategy and tools, launching an online business can be easier than you ever imagined. Tap into the audience of engaged online shoppers and get your piece of the growing ecommerce pie. Ecommerce Sales 7.00% Maryland D.C. 5.00% Vermont 6.00% 6.00% Mississippi Ecommerce Trends Louisiana 2.90% Massachusetts North Carolina New Hampshire 4.75% 6.00% 6.00% Oregon Montana Pennsylvania 6.00% Florida 4.225% 0.00% 0.00% 5.95% 7.00% 6.00% New Jersey How to Start an Ecommerce Business 7.00% 4.50% 5.125% Originally published May 10, 2019 2:00:00 PM, updated September 09 2019 6.625% Rhode Island Minnesota 4.50% Building Your Website 6.50% Oklahoma Ohio 5.75% Connecticut Michigan 6.25% 6.875% 5.00% 6.50% 5.50% Washington Nebraska 6.00% 4.00% Utah Tennessee 5.00% Texas Georgia Indiana 0.00% Missouri There are three classifications of ecommerce. The classification depends on who is selling to who.Business to Business (B2B)Goods and services are sold from one company to another. For example, HubSpot provides products to other companies that are looking to grow better.Business to Consumer (B2C)A business sells to a customer. This is one of the most common types of ecommerce. An example would be an online clothing store or the online segment of some popular brick and mortar business, like Walmart or Target.Consumer to Consumer (C2C)As you may have guessed — consumers sell directly to consumer via online marketplaces. Craigslist, Ebay, and Amazon are all examples of C2C ecommerce.Best Practices for Ecommerce WebsitesWhen you’re ready to build an inbound ecommerce website, there are a few best practices to keep in mind that will help you get results out of your time and effort.1. Select and customize a mobile-friendly theme.BrightEdge data shows that more than half (57%) of web traffic now comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets — which means it’s essential to use a mobile-friendly theme when building your ecommerce website.Image sourceOn ecommerce platforms, you can browse a selection of free and premium themes (all of which are mobile-optimized) and find one that’s best suited for your needs. Plus: From there, you can customize the templated website theme. By adding your color scheme and branding elements (like your logo), you can make your ecommerce website look 100% custom-made.Take a look at this Shopify template example:Image source2. Optimize for the web.Web optimization encompasses a wide range of strategies and tactics that help convert more site visitors into customers, but let’s focus on two in particular:Write enticing product descriptions. Use persuasive copywriting triggers to make your product descriptions sell. That means tapping into psychological tactics like fear of missing out, reciprocity, exclusivity, and more — all of which encourage site visitors to buy (and to buy NOW).Add beautiful product images. When it comes to marketing, visuals are extremely important — especially for online buyers who can’t see or touch products before making a purchase. Along with static product images, add context by incorporating images of models using the product and videos that give customers a 360-degree view.3. Create a stellar customer experience.Research indicates that customer experience will overtake price and product as the primary brand differentiator for sales by 2020. This means it’s important to focus on creating an impressive customer experience across all of your brand’s various touchpoints.A few ideas to get you started:Add a FAQ page. Answering frequently asked questions on your ecommerce website helps potential customers quickly and easily find the information they need to complete a purchase.Reduce image sizes for quick load times. Survey data shows more than half of website visitors expect a page to load in less than two seconds. At more than three seconds, they leave the page (and aren’t likely to return.) Reduce the size of your on-site images so it loads quickly.Leverage user-generated content. Including user-generated content (think customer reviews, images from social media, and testimonials) on your ecommerce site means adding elements of social proof — which can improve the overall buying experience for customers.Ecommerce Marketing Best PracticesWhat do you need to know about marketing for an ecommerce business? Here are a few best practices that can help jumpstart your efforts.Test social media ads.With 1.18 billion daily active users, Facebook has a huge audience that can be tapped. Consider targeting your audience with social media posts and videos and experiment to see what works best and drives sales and revenue.Collect email addresses and stay in touch.Recent data shows that three-quarters of companies agree that email marketing offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. By collecting email addresses on-site and asking customers to opt-in to future communications from you, you can give visitors a reason to keep coming back to your ecommerce site again and again via offers, sales, VIP discounts, and more.Use personalization to tailor offers/messaging.Personalization is more important than ever for online shoppers. In fact, research shows 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when offers, ads, and promotions appear that have nothing to do with their interests. Make sure you’re leveraging personalized product suggestions, personalizing your email marketing efforts, and generally striving to make each customer feel like you’re speaking only to him or her.Gather feedback via surveys.The best way to keep a finger on the pulse of what your audience wants is to ask them. Leverage online surveys to gather feedback on everything from product to your marketing efforts to customer service interactions.How to Increase Ecommerce SalesEcommerce sales in the U.S. alone gross $130 billion per quarter, which is nearly 10 percent of all retail sales (that number is increasing globally as well). That’s a lot of people looking for online products and services. If you’re building an ecommerce business, you need to devise a strategy to increase sales and get a piece of that pie. You won’t have an ecommerce business without customers. So, consider this one of the most important sections in this article. Let’s cover a few ways that you can increase your ecommerce sales.Hook prospects in the consideration stageIf you only try to reach prospective buyers in their decision stage, you’re too late. Conversely, if you provide relevant content in the awareness stage and fail to follow-up, you risk them forgetting about you as they move along the buyer’s journey. It’s also important to remember that people go through buying cycles and can move back and forth between stages before they commit to a product or service. Once you hook a prospect with your content keep them engaged and send them content that speaks to their present stage. Your goal should be to get on their short-list of potential purchases.Use paid targeting to outrank your competitorsThere’s a reason why sites like Google Shopping are so lucrative — they work. Search engines return billions of results daily, and many of those results are for products and services just like yours. The problem is the competition. When done right, paid advertising can position your ecommerce store in front of the right audience and ahead of your competition.Get (or give) some information before they leave your siteNot everyone who visits your ecommerce store is ready to buy — engage them anyway. Think about reasons why someone would visit and bounce off a page (maybe they’re considering options or they find your product too expensive or they want to make a more informed decision). Whatever the reason, your job is to provide them with something that will keep you top of mind as they continue their search. Ideally, you would gather some lead information but at a minimum provide them something useful that can assist them as they go about their search.Invest in re-engaging shopping cart abandonersShopping cart abandonment is inevitable but not irrevocable. Sometimes users just need a little nudge to get back to their cart either through remarketing or a simple email reminder. Before you reach out though, make sure to address some of the common reasons why prospects abandon their shopping carts in the first place.Remember to integrate socialDon’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to online sales. Instagram reports that 60% of people find products on social, which makes sense with the integration of shoppable content. Meet your potential customers where they are and remove friction from the buying process by leading them seamlessly to a sale.How to Choose the Best Ecommerce SoftwareWhen searching for the best ecommerce platform and software to meet your needs, there are many factors to consider. Look for:Themes and customization abilities: You should be able to customize ready-made themes that allow you to personalize and add company branding.Domain name customization: Make sure you can get a custom domain name and URL (so you don’t have to include the platform’s name in your website URL).Expert, 24/7 support: Take the time to explore the platform’s service in detail. If an emergency crops up down the road, you want to be sure you’ll have fast, reliable support at a moment’s notice.Flexible payment options: Customers want to pay in a variety of ways today — from credit cards to digital wallets and beyond. Look for an ecommerce software solution that is flexible enough to support many different secure payment options.Multiple language abilities: Your customers may be coming from all over the world, so you need to be able to speak their language. It’s a good idea to work with a tool that supports many different languages.If you’re looking to start a business or want to switch from your current platform, consider the software options below: Virginia 5.30% 4.00% 0.00% Ecommerce Examples 6.00% Wisconsin California State Kansas Ecommerce Trends in 2018The biggest trend around ecommerce right now is growth — and that growth extends far and wide.U.S. Ecommerce GrowthEcommerce has seen tremendous growth within the U.S. in the last 10 years. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that in 2017, U.S. ecommerce sales grew faster than it had since 2011 and that it represented 49% of the growth in total retail sales. That growth trend isn’t slowing down, either. Statista data predicts that ecommerce revenue will surpass $638 billion in the U.S. by 2022.Image sourceGlobal Ecommerce GrowthGlobal ecommerce is rapidly growing, too. Emarketer trend data indicates that retail ecommerce sales may exceed $4.058 trillion by as soon as 2020. As more shoppers look for products across borders and from international marketplaces, an uptick in ecommerce sales is evident around the globe.The Nielsen Connected Commerce report said, “Shoppers are increasingly looking outside their country’s borders, as 57% of online respondents in the study who made an online purchase in the past six months say they bought from an overseas retailer.”Ecommerce Growth by CategoryComScore data indicates there are a few particular industries seeing rapid change in regard to retail ecommerce growth. Jewelry and watches was at the top of the growth chart (as of 2016) with 39% growth, followed by furniture, appliances, and equipment (26%), and video games/accessories (24%). 6.50% West Virginia 5.60% Examples of Inspiring Shopify Ecommerce StoresNot sure what your ecommerce store should look like? Here are a few examples of inspiring stores to help get your creative wheels turning.TattlyBecause Tattly offers a product that’s highly visual in nature, they’ve opted for a theme that’s photo-centric. This lets new visitors quickly get acquainted with the product offering and provides a few different paths for deeper product exploration, too.Graydon SkincareGraydon Skincare uses a website layout with a large rotating header image that helps communicate a feeling around the brand and product. The images feature different products sold by the brand, and the simple top navigation makes it easy for customers to quickly find what they’re looking for.18Waits18Waits also uses large rotating photos on the home page of their ecommerce store — but they sometimes integrate them with promotional offers. This helps shoppers visualize themselves wearing the product, while also enticing them to check out a special sale going on, too. Overall, the theme they’ve used is fairly minimal, which puts all the focus on the photography.Easy TigerSpeaking of minimal … Easy Tiger takes minimal design to the extreme. With a clean white background and no distracting design elements, all the focus is on their products. The red text also pops from the screen, making it easy to read and consume.BluKicksBluKicks also uses an image-centric approach on their homepage with quick navigation to product types. The lifestyle-type images they spotlight here communicate a certain feeling to shoppers — and ups the beachy charm of their product.Sales TaxNow, you might be worried about how sales tax should be incorporated into your online sales. Let’s look at a state-by-state breakdown of sales tax. There are five states that do not currently collect sales tax: Delaware, Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire, and Alaska.Sales Tax by State 4.00% Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo nominated for UEFA Player of the Year Award

first_imgArgentina forward Lionel Messi, Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk were nominated on Thursday for the UEFA Mens Player of the Year Award.The winner will be announced in Monaco on August 29 during the draw for the 2019-20 Champions League group stage, Efe news reported.Barcelona star Messi, who won the 2018-19 La Liga crown with the Catalan side, was the top goalscorer in last season’s Champions League with 12 strikes.Ronaldo won the top scorer’s trophy in the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals which Portugal won, besides helping Juventus win the Serie A title last season.Liverpool’s Van Dijk helped shore up his side’s defense as it finished a close second in the Premier League before winning the Champions League.Real Madrid star Luka Modric of Croatia won the award last year.The midfielder won after a jury made of 80 coaches from clubs taking part in the Champions League and the Europa League, as well as 55 journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group voted for him.Apart from Messi, Ronaldo and van Dijk, the other seven players in the fray are:* Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool) 57 points* Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool) 51 points* Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool) 49 points* Eden Hazard (Belgium/Real Madrid) 38 points* Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands/Juventus) 27 points* Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands/Barcelona) 27 points* Raheem Sterling (England/Manchester City) 12 points.Also See:last_img read more

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I remember him for his graciousness and sense of humour: Sachin Tendulkar pays tribute Don Bradman

first_imgSachin Tendulkar on Tuesday paid tribute to the legendary Sir Don Bradman on the occasion of the latter’s 111th birth anniversary. Tendulkar had famously met Bradman alongwith Australian spin great Shane Warne during’s India’s tour of the country in 1998/99.”A lot of people remember Sir Don Bradman for his extraordinary batting; I remember him more for his graciousness and sense of humour that I experienced when I had the privilege of spending some time with him in 1998,” he tweeted.Widely regarded as the greatest batsman of all time, it was under Bradman’s captaincy that Australia began their rise in cricket and he is still seen as a symbolic figure in the country’s sporting history. Bradman’s mind boggling average of 99.94 in Tests still remains unbeaten.A lot of people remember Sir Don Bradman for his extraordinary batting; I remember him more for his graciousness and sense of humour that I experienced when I had the privilege of spending some time with him in 1998. pic.twitter.com/pF1KJ7S9FqSachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 27, 2019Bradman had famously said that Tendulkar’s batting style remined him of his own.”I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I feel that this player is playing much the same as I used to play, and she looked at him on television and said yes, there is a similarity between the two, his compactness, technique, stroke production; it all seemed to gel,” Bradman had said about Tendulkar.advertisementlast_img read more

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Beating Afghanistan for first time was special: Hamilton Masakadza after farewell game

first_imgZimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza couldn’t have asked for a better farewell from international cricket as he single-handedly led his team to a convincing win over Afghanistan in the T20 tri-nation series at Chattogram on Friday.Zimbabwe rode on their skipper’s 71 off 42 balls to chase down the target of 156 with 3 balls to spare and register their first win over Afghanistan in the shortest format.Masakadza, who had announced that he would retire from international cricket after this series, smashed four boundaries and five sixes during his knock.”It was super special. To lead the team to the win was really special, and that too in my last game. Also beating Afghanistan for the first time was special,” Masakadza said after the game, which was Zimbabwe’s last in the tri-series in Bangladesh.Masakadza, who played 38 Tests, 209 ODIs and 66 T20Is for Zimbabwe since making his debut in 2001, got a couple of guard of honours during the match from his teammates and the opposition when he came out to bat. He was also presented with mementos after the game.”It was a special feeling going through that guard of honour that the guys put up for me. I just got a lot of emotions going but, obviously, in the end, I am happy that I have pretty much done what the team needed from me, to get them into a good position to challenge Afghanistan for the win. I am very satisfied today.”I started tearing a little bit in the morning, trying to get through the team talk with the boys. I am not someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, but I think this is the one thing that brought a few emotions out of me. Even when I tried to tell the guys and the team before I made the official announcement, I barely got through three sentences, so it’s been a really emotional time for me,” Masakadza said.advertisementThe 36-year-old amassed 2223 runs in the longest format at an average of over 30 while in the 50-over game he made 5658 runs at 27.73. In both formats he hit five centuries each. He bows out as the leading run-scorer for his country in the shortest format with 1662 runs in T20Is.”I have been going through a lot of emotions today, but regret is not among them. I am looking at [retirement] not really too much as a door closing for me, but as a door opening for someone else to come. We have got a lot of exciting guys to come through, especially for that opening spot. There is experience still around the team, and I am really confident that someone would put their hands up and grab their chances,” Masakadza said.Also Read | Hamilton Masakadza’s record-setting swansong helps Zimbabwe end Afghanistan’s T20I streaklast_img read more

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Indian T20I team inexperienced in middle order in Virat Kohli’s absence: VVS Laxman

first_imgBangladesh have a huge opportunity to upset formidable India in their den due to the depth in their batting, former India batsman VVS Laxman said on Thursday as the teams gear up for Twenty20 series, beginning Sunday.The series-opener will be played in New Delhi and will be followed by matches in Rajkot (November 7) and Nagpur (November 11).The T20 series will be followed by a two-match Test series with Eden Garden set to host India’s historic Day/Night with pink ball from November 22.Laxman, a veteran of 134 Tests, says the T20 series is the best opportunity for the visitors to beat the hosts.”This is the best opportunity for Bangladesh to beat India in their home soil since they have depth in their batting line-up. However, in their bowling department pressure will be more on Mustafizur (Rahman) to deliver since the fast-bowling line-up looks in-experienced compared to their spin bowlers in the team,” Laxman said on Star Sports show Game Plan.”Mustafizur would need to play key-role in picking-up early wicket with the new ball. Since Virat is not there in the side, team India seems to be little inexperienced in the middle order,” he said.Laxman said it’s time that youngsters take the responsibility to win matches and series for India.”Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal will be key for India’s bowling department because the venues where the matches will be played is more spinner friendly. There is a lot of inexperience in this bowling line up so I hope Yuzvendra Chahal plays all three matches.advertisement”I think it’s a great opportunity for other young players like Krunal Pandya to win matches and bowl those tough over to emerge victorious,” he said.Laxman though predicted that India can win the series 2-1.”I feel the series will be 2-1 in favour of India. Also with the form Rohit (Sharma) and KL Rahul are in right now, with (Shikhar) Dhawan looking at establishing himself, I am backing the Indian batting power to win the series,” he said.Also Read | Bangladesh batsman spotted wearing pollution mask during training in DelhiAlso Read | Shakib made the mistake of not taking fixing approaches too seriously: AshrafulAlso Read | Day-night Test good move as long as dew isn’t a factor: Tendulkarlast_img read more

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Poch: Spurs could consider selling Kane

first_imgTransfers Spurs could consider selling Madrid target Kane, says Pochettino Sacha Pisani Last updated 1 year ago 11:39 1/4/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) harry kane - cropped Getty Images Transfers Real Madrid Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United Tottenham Hotspur Premier League Harry Kane Tottenham have no intention of selling the striker, but that could change if the 24-year-old says he wants out Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino indicated the club would consider selling Real Madrid target Harry Kane if the striker decided to leave like Gareth Bale and Luka Modric.Kane enjoyed a stellar 2017, eclipsing Alan Shearer’s record for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year with 37, while he also outscored Barcelona star Lionel Messi for club and country over the 12-month period.His exploits have reportedly attracted the attention of La Liga and Champions League holders Madrid, who are believed to be eyeing a move for the England international forward at the end of the season. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Pochettino and Tottenham have no intention of selling Kane, though that could change if the 24-year-old sought a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, which former Spurs duo Bale and Modric now call home.”As Tottenham coach I would say that if Madrid come in with a bid, we don’t want to sell, because he will stay here and they will have to understand that,” Pochettino told El Chiringuito in an interview from December 19, published on Wednesday.”If the player asks you to leave, as happened with Modric and Bale… We’ll see what happens. Today, that has not happened.”I hope that Harry Kane can be here for many years and provide many goals, wins and a title. That is what we want.”Kane is the leading scorer in the Premier League this season with 18 goals as Tottenham sit fifth in the table ahead of Thursday’s visit of London rivals West Ham. Madrid are fourth in La Liga, 14 points back of league leaders Barcelona.Both Tottenham and Madrid have advanced to the Champions League knockout stages, with Spurs set to face Juventus and Real taking on Paris Saint-Germain.last_img read more

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Cavani and Pastore must explain lateness

first_imgPSG Cavani and Pastore warned they must justify late return to PSG fold Peter Hanson 22:46 1/5/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) pastorecavani - Cropped Getty Images PSG Rennes v PSG Ligue 1 Coupe de France Unai Emery will not rule out the possibility of sanctioning either of his South American stars once they return to France from the winter break Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore have been told to explain their late return from Paris Saint-Germain’s mid-season break.Top-scorer Cavani, who has 19 league goals to his name this season, and midfielder Pastore failed to return to training on time ahead of a busy week that sees PSG face Rennes in the Coupe de France on Sunday before Wednesday’s Coupe de la Ligue tie with Amiens.Head coach Unai Emery will allow Cavani and Pastore the chance to explain their tardiness, but did not rule out the possibility of sanctioning the duo. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “Both players are late. I will listen to both players when they will have to make a justification about this,” he told a news conference.”Cavani? He may be here today maybe, I don’t know. I will talk with Cavani and Pastore, the club as well. “Then we will see. They both said on Wednesday that they will be late.”PSG are nine points clear of Monaco at the top of Ligue 1 after 19 matches.last_img read more

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Bob Stoops Agrees With Mike Gundy That OSU Has One Loss

first_imgAfter Oklahoma State thumped TCU on Saturday in Ft. Worth, Mike Gundy once again visited that pesky loss to Central Michigan way back in September.“Nobody will ever convince me we didn’t get the win,” said Gundy. “I know Kirby had mentioned the committee feels a certain way about that game, but I think Kirby is playing poker and they see us as a 10-win team. That’s just my opinion.”I expected that.What I didn’t expect is for Bob Stoops to agree with Gundy after OU crushed West Virginia in Morgantown on Saturday night.“In my eyes they only have one loss, if you play by the rules,” said Stoops. “They review everything else out here. They review a first down. You couldn’t review if that play should have been allowed or not. I have one of those. I count myself with one extra victory. That one at Oregon that everyone counted as a loss. My record book is a little different than everybody else’s.”Stoops is of course referencing the crazy Oregon-OU game from 2006 when Oregon recovered an onside kick it touched early and should not have gotten. The refs for that game were also suspended.One loss, two losses or zero losses, it doesn’t matter when it comes to the Big 12 (although it might for the CFB Playoff!) because Bedlam, for the fourth time in six seasons will once again be for the Big 12 championship. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

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Josh Henson Is More Than Just An ‘OSU Guy’

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Mike Gundy had to replace two position coaches this offseason with the departure of running backs coach Marcus Arroyo to Oregon and the dismissal of O-line coach Greg Adkins. All that shuffling followed the best rushing output in four years for the Cowboys.Why the change? And how do Gundy and Co. keep their running game moving in an upward trajectory?Adkins shut the door on his future at OSU with recruiting, or a lack thereof. The Cowboys, who are still trying to recover from the empty cupboard left years ago by former O-line coach Joe Wickline, didn’t take a single high school recruit for the offensive line last season. That may be the most obvious difference in Josh Henson and his predecessor.Henson, who was hired as an offensive consultant by the Cowboys prior to last season is a nationally recognized recruiter. In his previous stint at OSU, he went from a graduate assistant to the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator in two years.Les Miles took him to SEC country twelve years ago where he was selected as a one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters twice at LSU. Henson also coached Missouri’s offensive line before being promoted to offensive coordinator at Missouri.The former O-lineman and four-year letterman at OSU talked about where his group is during spring camp.“Things are going well,” said Henson. “The kids are working extremely hard and I like their passion and the way they’re into learning and getting better. We’ve got a lot of work to do. A lot of technique work. We’ve also got to work on finishing and getting our intensity up, but I like the way they’re working and that’s all you can ask.”The Tuttle native left OSU’s staff earlier this year to become a coach at Arizona State. That was until Adkins was let go. We can assume one of Mike Gundy’s first phone calls was to Henson.“I hated the timing of it just for the way things worked out,” Henson said “but this is my home and this is where I want to be. This is a dream come true for me to play on the offensive line here and to now be those guys’ coach. Now it’s about transition to getting those guys to work and making it the best that it can be.”Being home is great and “OSU guys” have been successful in Stillwater. But Henson’s greatest value will be producing results on the field and (hopefully) bringing some consistency to a position that’s seen a lot of turnover lately.last_img read more

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