Top Strategies For Growing Your Email List in 2016

May
11
2016-05-11

Categories: Oracast News

There are many channels to take when marketing a business online. Implementing several marketing tactics that all work together produce the best results for attracting new clients. This includes search engine optimization, content marketing, social media, blogging, pay-per-click advertising, and email marketing. Building a client list (or prospective client list) by capturing email addresses remains a top priority for marketers. This should be considered as you build your website and create your overall business marketing strategy.

Privy.com has published their findings from over 20,000 marketers around the world, giving insight on the most effective email capture strategies. Let’s take a look at some of the email capture trends of today.

  1. Enter to win campaigns. Humans love winning! “Enter to win” sign-up forms and contests generally have the highest conversion rates. These campaigns can be run through your website, PPC campaign, social media pages and pop-up forms.
  1. Sign-up- Campaigns: These are simple “join our email list” sign-up forms encouraging visitors to subscribe.
  1. Offer Campaigns: These sign-up forms offer an incentive such as a free ebook download, free content, a promo code or coupon. Offering your best content in exchange for an email address usually works very well in converting new clients.

privy.com conversion rates

Email marketing lists can degrade by approximately 22.5% every year. Certain numbers of sign-ups will eventually unsubscribe or change email addresses. This means keeping your list on an upwards growing trend as a marketer. Don’t forget to always ask permission before adding new addresses to your list. Getting opt-ins is the law of the land and you don’t want to be black listed.

To slow your unsubscriber rates and encourage new sign-ups, content is key. Outstanding content will encourage your followers to forward your emails to friends, post links on social media and stay connected to your business. Include social media share buttons and “forward to a friend” links in your emails.

Always try to learn as much as possible about your audience and cater your emails to their needs and interests. Track which emails have the highest open rates and which links and articles your readers are showing the most interest in.

For a list of the top email marketing programs on the marketing today, click here.

Why Your Site Is At Risk Of Being Hacked

May
2
2016-05-02

Categories: Oracast News

There are over 8 million results in Google for the keywords “recover hacked wp site”. Why is website security such a huge issue, and what’s in it for the hackers anyway?

Many website owners assume hackers are always after sensitive information like credit card numbers, personal data and lists of email addresses. While such sensitive information certainly gets targeted, there are a huge host of reasons why hackers compromise websites. Any site could be a risk, no matter what your site is for or how much traffic you have.

The problem of a hacked website is more common than you may imagine. In fact, if you don’t have the latest version of WordPress and haven’t taken some precautionary measures to ward off attackers, chances are your site will at some point get hacked. Even with safe-guards in place, there is no guarantee your site will not be compromised, but with care, the chances can be greatly reduced.

According to wordfence.com, the main motivations behind the malicious activities of hackers are to:

  1. Promote Propaganda. Your site becomes free advertising space for terrorist groups spreading intimidating messages and bragging rights.
  1. Send Spam Email. wordfence.com conducted a survey and found 19.8% of all hacked WordPress sites are used to send spam email. Often website owners don’t even know this is happening until their site gets blacklisted and taken offline by search engines.
  1. Steal Traffic. Your website could be used to improve the SEO ranking of an attackers website, and your hard earned traffic could be directed to malicious websites instead.
  1. Steal Your Money and Identity. Attackers can create false website landing pages such as a facebook or bank login page and attempt to trick visitors into giving them sensitive login details or credit card numbers. The intent of this is obvious and can result in stolen identity, stolen money and other compromised personal accounts.
  1. Install Malware. Malicious software can be installed on your website, spreading the malware to the computers of your unsuspecting visitors. Once Google detects this activity your site and reputation will suffer.
  1. Hold You For Ransom. Hackers can block your site and demand a payment to restore it or threaten destroying it altogether if not paid by a certain date, holding you for ransom.
  1. Steal Storage Space. Hackers can sneakily store their files on your server for free, using and abusing your good reputation.

As you can see, there are many reasons why a hacker may compromise your website. Prevention is better than cure. Use strong and original passwords, ensure you have the latest version of WordPress and that your site is backed-up.

For the full article from Wordfence.com click here.

SEO – Positioning Yourself In 2016

Mar
22
2016-03-22

Categories: Oracast News

I’ve been in the web industry for the past 10 years, and over that time, there have been many changes in they way Google ranks websites, displays content and what they offer their users. The core theory of SEO (search engine optimization) is essentially the same, only Google has become smarter in the way they rank websites and many more factors need to be considered these days.

As with all things digital, strategies that worked in the past, don’t work forever and there are many new influences on the scene.

Optimizing your website using the traditional methods of keywords, back links, title tags and website structure is all still valid and important. Mainly SEO has expanded to include user experience, higher quality content and a ‘bigger picture’.

Be In More Places

Google wants to offer their users as many options as possible. Search engine results may yield social media sites, Google My Business, click to call phone numbers, hours of operation, Google Maps and Google answers ahead of other sites. This is where having an online presence on other platforms (as well as your own website) is important. This means having social media accounts, listings on local sites, a Google My Business account and a website your visitors love and talk about online.

Quality Content

User experience is of high priority to Google.  The focus is content marketing that meets user needs. Content must be unique and cater to your specific audience. This has led to more engaging and shareable media such as video, infographics, unique photography, and readability factoring into today’s SEO strategy.

“The reality is search engines are getting much smarter. The content creator is having a lot less control over how their pages are showing up and what words they’re showing up for.” Martin Laetsch, director of online marketing at Beaverton

Mobile

Mobile is part of the user experience of today. Your website needs to be accessible, responsive and readable on mobile devices in order for your site to show up on a mobile search. This will impact how Google ranks your site. The use of apps is also on the rise, and having links to apps also helps SEO.

Now What?

There are many factors that influence SEO. It can seem overwhelming for businesses to ‘be everywhere’ online, produce quality content and keep up social media while running a business. Online success is best built over time with a solid strategy and marketing plan. Keeping all cylinders firing will result in the best online branding for your business, and if you are finding you simply do not have the time to invest, we’re here to be your partners for online growth!

Make an Irresistible Call To Action

Mar
10
2016-03-10

Categories: Oracast News

Here at Oracast, we talk a lot about Calls To Action, usually abbreviated to CTA’s.

What is a call to action? A call to action is a button, an image or text that prompts the visitor to take the next step, or in other words, to take action. The action could be anything from clicking on the link, signing up, buying an item, downloading an ebook, whatever your goal is for your visitors to do on that page of the website will help you determine your call to action for that page.

In the website development process at Oracast, we encourage a call to action on each page of the website. It’s usually best to have only one clear call to action per page, but there are some instances where you may have more than one.
Read more

You’ve Got Mail. Emails That Make an Impact

Mar
1
2016-03-01

Categories: Oracast News

Email is the most used product on earth, and email marketing is still one of the best ways to market to clients and subscribers. It’s not about spamming everyone with emails these days, but taking a much more focused approach with targeted recipients, and of course, following the laws of the land which require opt-ins.

It is not a dyeing marketing strategy as some claim. Far from that, it is still a very effective tool and we predict it will continue to be an important aspect of marketing for years to come. This is because it gets results and it is also very cost effective. Email marketing updates clients and subscribers on news, tips and advice and can build a deeper relationship with clients while keeping your business ‘top of mind’.

While email marketing can be a very effective tool, your emails need to be crafted in such a way that they do not feel spammy. How do you do this? By building trust in your clients and giving them real value. Good email content should give targeted recipients quality niche information they would appreciate and would share with others. Good emails can also offer exclusive subscriber discounts, making them feel important and giving them a great deal at the same time.

Not sure where to start for your business? It can be hard to find truly inspirational examples of excellent emails, unless you subscribe to countless email lists, however, hubspot.com has done the work for us and compiled a fun list of emails that made an impact. Here is a sneak peak at a few of them:

sample email

mothers day sample email

sample email from poppin

The rest of the email examples can be found here: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-examples-list

Success is dependent on the quality of articles and unique presentation. Looking at these email examples can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing and be helpful in seeing which emails are read and appreciated by recipients.

Need a marketing strategy? Oracast can help! Contact us today.

Mobile App Design Trends

Sep
22
2015-09-22

Categories: Oracast News

Thinking of developing an app? Here’s a few great design tips that will give your app the latest edge of 2015 and beyond.

Call To Action (CTA)

As trends shift to mobile, an increasing amount of thought is going into utilizing small screen size for maximum visual appeal and conversions. As with websites, the call to action buttons have an impact on generating leads and converting visitors into buyers or customers. The 2015 trend for mobile is blurry background images and contrasting CTA’s so they stand out as much as possible. As you will see in the Vimeo app example below, the design is clean and simple, and the call to action buttons contrast against the dark background.

Screen shot of vimeo app
CTA’s standout against the dark background in the Vimeo app.

Hidden Menus

You may have noticed that hidden menus are a hugely popular design feature. Menu’s and responsive drawers that become visible when swiped and retract when not needed are featured on most new apps. As users become accustomed to smartphone functionality and comfortable with swiping and what to expect, apps are becoming more sophisticated. The purpose is to de-clutter the screen so your smartphone can turn into one of the thousands of handy devices such as a GPS, keyboard or the video camera that you‘d like it to be with clean and clear functionality.

responsive drawer image from the whole foods app.
Example of a responsive drawer from an app

Animated Elements

Interactive and attention grabbing, animation is a cool visual component. It can be used to save screen space, to motivate the user, to create an awesome interactive experience, to entertain and to enhance functionality. Animation is gaining popularity as app developers compete for customer attention… and user experience is at the top of the list.

Screen shot of the KFC app, in which animation is used.
KFC uses animation in app – a popular trend

Story Telling

Facts tell, stories sell, and there is no exception when it comes to mobile app design. As mobile apps become more interactive, story telling is taking on new and engaging forms. Captivating video, bold imagery and personalized experiences are all elements you can expect in the latest app development.

Story telling is age old, and there's no exeption when it comes to app design. This is a screen shot of the redbull story from their app.
Facts tell, stories sell.

There is no question mobile design will become increasingly interactive as the user experience tops the agenda of developers. Need an app? Our professional app developers are at your service!

Google Analytics: 3 Tips to Understanding your Metrics at a Glance

Aug
18
2015-08-18

Categories: Oracast News

Google Analytics and Web Master Tools are important and useful tools in tracking website statistics. Unless requested otherwise, Oracast set’s up every website we launch with access to these free tools. We’d like to help our clients get the most out of these readily available statistics.

So, once your website is launched and your analytics tools are in place, how do you use these tools to your advantage?

google

Google analytics reflects three main metrics: acquisition, engagement and outcome. Today I would like to focus on engagement. How do you know your website is reaching the right audience and engaging your visitors?

Here are a few metrics we like to look at:

  • Bounce rate   (Ideally below 60%)
  • Time on site (Above 60 seconds indicates an engaged visitor)
  • Page views   (The more, the better. Take note of which pages are trending)
  • Pages per visit   (The more, the better. Note blog pages)

#1 Landing Page:

One of the first statistics to check out is your homepage is your bounce rate. This will give you a good indication of how many of your visitors are sticking.

You have less than 5 seconds to capture your visitor with a clear message about why they are looking at your website, or they’re gone.

One of the main reasons people ‘bounce’ off websites is because of a lack of clarity. If your homepage bounce rate is above 60% it’s time to take a second look with fresh eyes. Show your website homepage to a few people who have never seen it before and ask them what your company does after 5 seconds. Do they know the answer?

OracastGoogleAnalyticsExample

Here is a good example of a clear landing page. Within 5 seconds it’s easy to tell Hootsuite is a social media management tool.

hootsuite

 

The top of the page is where visitors eyes land first. I usually recommend a clear headline supported by an image that quickly and clearly communicates what your company does.

#2 Popular Content

Take a look at what pages visitors are spending the most time on. This will help you to determine what content they really want from your website.

If visitors are staying on a page for more than 60 seconds, it’s a good indication that they are engaged.

Make note of the pages with the highest time spent and which pages have the most visits. This can be found under Behavior > Site Content >

analyticsAlso look into your blog article statistics and determine which topics are the most popular and helpful to your visitors. Another way to find out which content is the most popular is by looking at the keywords people typed in to find your website in the first place. What are the most popular keywords on your site?

Increasing your engaging content will entice visitors to stay on your website longer and return again and again. Ultimately if you are providing content people are looking for, the number of visitors to your website will grow over time.

 

#3 Growth Patterns

Start with the default 30 days, and then change the date range to 3-6 months, and 1 -2 years (if available), and compare. Looking at the long term statistics will help you pick up on larger trends. Are there certain times of the year your traffic spikes or dips such as holidays?

Untitled

It’s a good sign if there is a growing trend such as an increasing number of unique visitors, page views and time on site over the long term. If the patterns are decreasing, there may be some gaps in your content or SEO strategies.

Reach Your Online Goals

There are many important things you can discover about your website and audience by taking a look at your Google analytics. We recommend signing into your analytics tools at least once every three months and measuring up the stats to your goals.

We are here to help you reach the goals you’ve set-out to achieve. Let us know if you have any questions about your website’s analytics and we will be happy to help!

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Google Is Turning Up The Pressure.

Apr
9
2015-04-09

Categories: Oracast News

smartphoneNews feeds are buzzing with the latest Google update slotted to take effect April 21st. With mobile searches tipping the scales, exceeding desktop searches, the new update will affect websites that do not meet mobile-friendly guidelines. To provide a better mobile experience Google will be “expanding [its] use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.”

 

Google makes several hundred minor changes every year to the criteria on which websites are ranked. Major updates, like the one soon to take place however, is big news as search engine optimization methods must change to meet new guidelines, something that hasn’t happened on this scale in years. If your website isn’t prepared your search engine ranking on mobile devices may take a dive. Desktop rankings will not be immediately affected, though webmasters predict further changes in the near future may impact all searches.

 

With this latest algorithm update, Google has also made it clear that there will be no middle ground in terms of website mobile friendliness – your site is either friendly or it’s not. Responsive websites also help to future-proof your site against ever changing browsers and devices.

 

If you’ve clung to the same retro website for decades, Google will continue to create compelling reasons to move on. It is time. Google has officially given webmasters a reason to provide a better online experience for the large percentage of mobile search traffic. So, what should you do?

 

Here are a few practical steps:

  1. Check your website on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Here. It only takes a second.
  2. See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page.
  3. For more information on the update, check out Google’s blog post.

If the results of your Mobile-Friendly Test was positive, awesome! You’re set. If it came out negative, don’t panic. Our team at Oracast has years of experience building responsive mobile-friendly websites and we’d love to hear from you. We’re here to keep your organization competitive on all fronts. If you have any questions give us a call at 888.210.9805 or email sales@oracast.com.

Google Ranking by Mobile Friendly – Are you Ready?

Mar
23
2015-03-23

Categories: Oracast News

Maybe recently you received an email from Google Webmaster Tools that goes something like this:

Fix mobile usability issues found on [example.com]

Google systems have tested 100 pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 100 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

Over the last month, Google has been sending out emails like this to warn webmasters about the upcoming change in how Google ranks websites. On April 21, 2015, Google will use this “Mobile Friendly” factor when users search from mobile devices, and if you’re not ready, your site could get dropped out of the search results.

 

The problems that your website might have might seem pretty technical, with the most common being “Viewport not configured”. This means that your site doesn’t have the header telling it to change the display of the site according to the size of the display. At the very least your page headers should have this line:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

For most websites, this means you need to change your current website or template to a Responsive web design. If you are a using a CMS like WordPress, this is intended to be a simple process. If you want to get into the technical details, you can learn more at Google’s Responsive Web Design Basics.

 

If you want to test if your site is Mobile Friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool

 

Of course if you need help making your website mobile friendly, or just don’t have the time to get it done before April 21, contact us here, and we will be glad to help!

WordPress MainWP Child Plugin Security Issue

Mar
12
2015-03-12

Categories: Oracast News, Web Design

There is a serious privilege escalation vulnerability in the MainWP Child WordPress plugin. This plugin has over 90,000 active installs. The vulnerability allows an attacker to log into a vulnerable website bypassing the password authentication mechanism that WordPress provides.

 

What to do: Upgrade immediately to version 2.0.9.2 which was released last Friday and fixes this specific issue.

 

WordPress.org estimates 90,000 active installs are out there, so please help spread the word to the rest of the WordPress community about this issue.