Category: Strategy

Redirects to Make or Break Your Wordpress Migrate


Redirects in Wordpress

Correctly redirecting your URLs is one of the most important things you can do to make a site migration go smoothly, but there are clear processes to follow if you want to get it right. Here we break down the rules to successful migration of a Wordpress site.


Redirects are one way that can make or break your site migration. Site migration can mean a lot of different things depending on your context.

Talking about migration, I’m coming from the experience of these primary activities.

CMS moving/URL format

One example of a migration might be taking on a client and they previously used a CMS that had a default kind of URL formatting, and it was dated something.


So it was /2018/May/ and then the post. Then we’re changing the CMS. We have more flexibility with how our pages, our URLs are structured, so we’re going to move it to just /post or something like that. In that way a lot of URLs are going to be moving around because you are changing the way that those URLs are structured.

“Keywordy” naming conventions

Another instance is that sometimes a client will come to us with dated or keywordy URLs, and we want to change this to be a lot cleaner, shorten them where possible, just make them more human-readable.


An example of that would be the client used URLs like /best-plumber-dallas, and we want to change it to something a little bit cleaner, more natural, and not as keywordy, to just /plumbers or something like that. So that can be another example of lots of URLs moving around if we’re taking over a whole site and we’re kind of wanting to do away with those.

Content overhaul

Another example is if we’re doing a complete content overhaul. Maybe the client comes to us and they say, “We’ve been writing content and blogging for a really long time, and we’re not seeing the traffic and the rankings that we want. Can you do a thorough audit of all of our content?” Usually what we notice is that you have maybe even thousands of pages, but only four of them are ranking.

So there are a lot of just redundant pages, pages that are thin and would be stronger together, some pages that just don’t really serve a purpose and we want to just let die. So that’s another example where we would be merging URLs, moving pages around, just letting some drop completely. That’s another example of migrating things around that I’m referring to.

We already know all this? but..

Generally, SEO people know or should know the importance of redirection. If there’s not a redirect, there’s no path to follow to tell the search engine where you’ve moved your page to.

It’s frustrating for users if they click on a link that no longer works, that doesn’t take them to the proper destination, and its a bad user experience. We know it’s important, and we know what it does. It passes link equity. It makes sure people aren’t frustrated. It helps to get the correct page indexed. If you’re like me, you’ve also been in those situations where you have to spend entire days fixing 404s to correct traffic loss or whatever after a migration, or you’re fixing 301s that were maybe done but they were sent to all kinds of weird places.

Mistakes still happen though, even though we know the importance of redirects.

Unclear ownership

Unclear ownership is something that can happen, especially if you’re on a scrappier team, a smaller team and maybe you don’t handle these things very often enough to have a defined process for this. I’ve been in situations where I assumed the tech was going to do it, and the tech assumed that the project assistant was going to do it.

We’re all kind of pointing fingers at each other with no clear ownership, and then the ball gets dropped because no one really knows whose responsibility it is. So don’t drop the ball, just make sure that you designate someone to do it and that they know and you know that that person is going to be handling it.


Another thing is deadlines. Internal and external deadlines can affect this. So one example that encountered pretty often is the client would say, “We really need this project done by next Monday because we’re launching another initiative. We’re doing a TV commercial, and our domain is going to be listed on the TV commercial. So I’d really like this stuff wrapped up when those commercials go live.”

So those kind of external deadlines can affect how quickly we have to work. A lot of times it just gets left off because it is not a very visible thing. If you don’t know the importance of redirects, you might handle things like content and making sure the buttons all work and the template looks nice and things like that, the visible things. Where people assume that redirects, oh, that’s just a backend thing. We can take care of it later. Unfortunately, redirects usually fall into that category if the person doing it doesn’t really know the importance of it.

Non-SEOs handling the redirection

Then another situation that can cause site migration errors and 404s after moving around is non-SEOs handling this. Now you don’t have to be a really experienced SEO usually to handle these types of things. It depends on your CMS and how complicated is the way that you’re implementing your redirects. But sometimes if it’s easy, if your CMS makes redirection easy, it can be treated as like a data entry-type of job, and it can be delegated to someone who maybe doesn’t know the importance of doing all of them or formatting them properly or directing them to the places that they’re supposed to go.

The rules of redirection for site migrations

Now that we kind of know what I’m talking about with migrations and why they kind of sometimes still happen, I’m going to launch into some rules that will hopefully help prevent site migration errors because of failed redirects.

Create one-to-one redirects

Number one, always create one-to-one redirects. This is super important. What I’ve seen sometimes is it could save me tons of time if I just use a wildcard and redirect all of these pages to the homepage or to the blog homepage or something like that. But what that tells Google is that Page A has moved to Page B, whereas that’s not the case. You’re not moving all of these pages to the homepage. They haven’t actually moved there. So it’s an irrelevant redirect, and Google has even said, I think, that they treat those essentially as a soft 404. They don’t even count. So make sure you don’t do that. Make sure you’re always linking URL to its new location, one-to-one every single time for every URL that’s moving.

Watch out for redirect chains

Two, watch out for chains. I think Google says something oddly specific, like watch out for redirect chains, three, no more than five. Just try to limit it as much as possible. By chains, I mean you have URL A, and then you redirect it to B, and then later you decide to move it to a third location. Instead of doing this and going through a middleman, A to B to C, shorten it if you can. Go straight from the source to the destination, A to C.

Watch out for loops

Three, watch out for loops. Similarly what can happen is you redirect position A to URL B to another version C and then back to A. What happens is it’s chasing its tail. It will never resolve, so you’re redirecting it in a loop. So watch out for things like that. One way to check those things I think is a nifty tool, Screaming Frog has a redirect chains report. So you can see if you’re kind of encountering any of those issues after you’ve implemented your redirects.

404 strategically

Number four, 404 strategically. The presence of 404s on your site alone, that is not going to hurt your site’s rankings. It is letting pages die that were ranking and bringing your site traffic that is going to cause issues. Obviously, if a page is 404ing, eventually Google is going to take that out of the index if you don’t redirect it to its new location. If that page was ranking really well, if it was bringing your site traffic, you’re going to lose the benefits of it. If it had links to it, you’re going to lose the benefits of that backlink if it dies.

So if you’re going to 404, just do it strategically. You can let pages die. Like in these situations, maybe you’re just outright deleting a page and it has no new location, nothing relevant to redirect it to. That’s okay. Just know that you’re going to lose any of the benefits that URL was bringing your site.

Prioritize “SEO valuable” URLs

Number five, prioritize “SEO valuable” URLs, and I do that because I prefer to obviously redirect everything that you’re moving, everything that’s legitimately moving.

But because of situations like deadlines and things like that, when we’re down to the wire, I think it’s really important to at least have started out with your most important URLs. So those are URLs that are ranking really well, giving you a lot of good traffic, URLs that you’ve earned links to. So those really SEO valuable URLs, if you have a deadline and you don’t get to finish all of your redirects before this project goes live, at least you have those most critical, most important URLs handled first.

Again, obviously, it’s not ideal, I don’t think in my mind, to save any until after the launch. Obviously, I think it’s best to have them all set up by the time it goes live. But if that’s not the case and you’re getting rushed and you have to launch, at least you will have handled the most important URLs for SEO value.


Number six, just to end it off, test. I think it’s super important just to monitor these things, because you could think that you have set these all up right, but maybe there were some formatting errors, or maybe you mistakenly redirected something to the wrong place. It is super important just to test. So what you can do, you can do a and just start clicking on all the results that come up and see if any are redirecting to the wrong place, maybe they’re 404ing.

Just checking all of those indexed URLs to make sure that they’re going to a proper new destination.

You should be using SEMRush for analysis, and there is an article here, which gives you more details on this.

But it can also scan your site for errors like 404s namely. So if there are any issues like that, 500 or 400 type errors, SEMRush will catch them and notify you, you can also run other tools in there like the backlinks tool etc to check any of those.

There are plenty of other ways you can test and find errors. But the most important thing to remember is just to do it, just to test and make sure that even once you’ve implemented these things, that you’re checking and making sure that there are no issues after a launch. I would check right after a launch and then a couple of days later, and then just tweak things until you are happy with it.

So now you can do redirects properly! Here’s another link for SEMRush, go get yourself a free copy!


If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Mapping SERPS Overlays!

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Filed under: Strategy, WordpressTagged with: , ,

Running a Facebook Nationwide Sweepstakes


Sweepstakes are a highly effective method of introducing and promoting a new product on the market. It is also a good way of introducing an existing product to a whole new customer base and engaging loyal customers as well. These activities encourage people to spread the word about a product while participating in the sweepstake with the hope of winning a price. The National Sweepstakes Company can provide you with the requirements of running one. Here are 5 tips to running an effective Facebook nationwide sweepstakes.

Get to Know Facebook Sweepstakes Rules

Facebook has very strict guidelines for the various activities carried out on this platform. Before you even think of carrying out a contest on Facebook, make sure you have taken time to read and understand these guidelines. Failing to follow the guidelines can have your contest disqualified or muted hence wasting your time and money. Ensure to always check the guidelines each time you want to run a campaign as Facebook keeps revising and changing them.

Set Your Goals and Objectives

The point here is not simply to conceive an idea of running a sweepstakes and getting on with it. It is a matter of trying to reach a target or a goal and to create as much awareness as possible. Setting a target gives you a clear guideline of what you should do and at what point instead of just running blind. The set objectives will give you an indication as to when you begin achieving your targets.

 Set Clear Rules and Guidelines

People participating in your event will want to know the requirements of the campaign. It is important that you formulate and set clear rules and guidelines that participants are to follow. Some of the most important guidelines include how individuals or parties are to enter the competition, the mode of operation, when the campaign starts and ends, restricted locations and age, whether people can have multiple entries and the category of prices based on participation among others. It is also important to have participants know how the winner or winners will be announced. You can seek professional help to formulate the terms and conditions.

Make it Mobile Friendly and Easy to Enter

A majority of Facebook users use their mobile phones to access their profiles. This means that you will get more audience and widely market your products if you create a mobile friendly campaign. Most people like using their phones during their idle time to keep them busy. It is this time that you should completely capitalize on. The campaign should also be easy to enter and participate to encourage more people to participate.

Use Adverts to Boost the Campaign

Do not just start the campaign and then sit back waiting for a ripple effect. If you do not participate actively in letting people know about it, it will quickly fizzle out as there are many other contests going on and competing for the same space. Actively use Facebook ads to promote the campaign. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on becoming a Social Business!

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Filed under: Marketing, Strategy, TrendsTagged with: ,

Mapping the Overlap of SERP Feature Suggestions


From carousel snippets to related searches to “People also ask” boxes and “People also search for” boxes, the Google SERP is jam-packed with features that not only aid in keyword list creation but can help you better understand the topics your unique search landscape is structured around.

In fact, the increase of topics and entities as a way of navigating and indexing the web was one of the biggest developments in search in 2018. This is why we took 40,977 SERPS and stripped out every term or phrase from the aforementioned features — a small, first step toward making sense of Google’s organizational skills.

We wanted to see how much overlap might exist across these different SERP features. Does Google give us a lot of new keywords to work with or just suggest the same stuff over and over again? Do we need to pay attention to each SERP feature when building out our SEO strategy or can we overlook a few? We dug into a bunch of data in STAT to find out.

Topics, entities and SERP features

Serp Rankings

In September 2018, Google announced a new layer to its knowledge graph:

“The Topic Layer is built by analyzing all the content that exists on the web for a given topic and develops hundreds and thousands of subtopics. For these subtopics, we can identify the most relevant articles and videos—the ones that have shown themselves to be evergreen and continually useful, as well as fresh content on the topic. We then look at patterns to understand how these subtopics relate to each other, so we can more intelligently surface the type of content you might want to explore next.”

But, even before Google came out with its Topic Layer, Cindy Krum, CEO & Founder of MobileMoxie, was all about what she called “entities” as mobile-first indexing was (finally) rolling out. See if you can spot the similarities:

“Entities can be described by keywords, but can also be described by pictures, sounds, smells, feelings and concepts; (Think about the sound of a train station – it brings up a somewhat universal concept for anyone who might hear it, without needing a keyword.) A unified index that is based on entity concepts, eliminates the need for Google to sort through the immense morass of changing languages and keywords in all the languages in the world; instead, they can align their index based on these unifying concepts (entities), and then stem out from there in different languages as necessary.”

Bringing it back to SEO-specifics, Cindy explains that both domains (traditionally associated with indexing) and the brands that operate them can be considered entities. “Indexing based on entities is what will allow Google to group all of a brand’s international websites as one entity, and switch in the appropriate one for the searcher, based on their individual country and language.”

So, what does any of this have to do with our SERP features of choice? Well, all of the suggested terms packed into them are the direct result of Google’s endless topic analysing and organizing. We might not be privy to every entity Google scrapes but we can certainly take cues from how they choose to express the final product on the SERP.

How we made the magic happen

In order to map the overlap in our particular query space, we took the highly scientific word-bag approach. Operating on a SERP-by-SERP level of analysis, we scooped each feature’s suggestions into its own bag, filtered out any stop words, and then compared one bag’s suggestions to another, looking for a match and tallying as we went.

So, for example, we’d examine all the PAA questions on one SERP against all the related searches on the same SERP. Each PAA suggestion got its own bag, as did each related search, and we removed the search term itself from all of the bags. If any remaining words in the two bags matched, we counted it as an overlap, divided it by the total number of possible overlaps, and got the total entity overlap between these features. Phew!

In the end, after combing through 40,977 SERPs, we made roughly forty-million word bag comparisons. No sweat.

What we found

Ultimately, there’s not a lot of overlap happening with our four features. A measly average of 4 percent of the search suggestions saw any duplication in terms. This tells us that Google’s putting a lot of care and consideration into what each SERP feature’s up to and we’d be wise to keep an eye on all of them, even it means weeding out a few duplicate suggestions now and then.

Here’s how things turned out when we looked at specific pairings:

Carousel snippets

Carousel snippets hold the answers to many different questions thanks to the “IQ-bubbles” that run along the bottom of them. When you click a bubble, JavaScript takes over and replaces the initial “parent” snippet with one that answers a brand new query. This query is a combination of your original search term and the text in the IQ-bubble. For this bit of research, we took the bubble text and left the rest.


It turns out that carousel snippet IQ-bubbles had the least amount of overlap with the other three SERP features. This is likely because the bubbles, while topically related to the original query, typically contain subcategories that live within the high-level category introduced by the search term.

Take the above snippet for example. The query [savings account rates] produces a SERP with organic results and other features that provide general info on the subject of savings accounts. The bubbles, however, name different banks that have savings accounts, making them highly distinct keyword suggestions.

Other reasons to consider these terms when list-building and content strategizing: Google keeps this snippet right at the top of the SERP and doesn’t require clicking of any kind in order to surface the bubbles, which means they’re one of the first things Google makes sure a searcher sees.


The “People also ask” box

The “People also ask” box typically contains four questions (before it gets infinite) related to the searcher’s initial query, which then expand to reveal answers that Google has pulled from other websites and links that guide users to a SERP of the PAA question.

Not only are PAA questions excellent long-tail additions to your keyword set, they’re also a great resource for content inspiration. So we stripped them out and dumped them into our word bags to analyse.


PAA questions ended up returning the second highest level of duplication, though most of that was tied to terms we pulled from the “People also search for” box — the two had a 10.41 percent overlap.

This makes sense as both ostensibly offer up other terms that people either ask or search for. It could also be a result of the longer length of both suggestions, which can create more opportunity for matching.


Related searches

No less than eight related searches sit at the very bottom of each SERP and, when clicked, become the search query of a new SERP. These help to refine or expand on the original query.


We were surprised to see how little duplication related searches had with the other SERP features — they were oddly unique. We say “oddly unique” because these terms are usually shorter and more iterative of the original query, tending to stay on topic and, as a result, we expected them to show up more in the other features (the carousel snippet perhaps being the only exception).


The “People also search for” box

In order to surface a “People also search for” box, you need to do a little pogo-sticking. It’ll materialize after clicking an organic search result and then navigating back to the SERP. Mobile PASFs typically have eight topically-related terms that open up a new SERP, while desktop PASFs usually have six.


Out of all our comparisons, PASF boxes had the most amount of overlap, particularly with PAAs (which we noted above) and related searches. Given that PASF terms are attached, both physically and topically, to the organic result and not the search query, we actually didn’t expect them to share this much.

One possible explanation would be the sheer volume of them. With an average of 8.77 boxes per SERP and six or eight terms per box, this would lead to both a lot of duplication within the box itself and an overall saturation of the topic field. But, when we think about what PAAs and related searches attempt to do, PASFs do seem like a mix of both.


Putting it all together

With not a lot of term overlap happening, it’s a good idea to keep all of these features top of mind. Google may be running out of unique-sounding names for them, but they’re not running out of unique suggestions to stuff into them.

Even if understanding the topic hierarchies that rule your query space is a little outside of your day-to-day concerns, if people click on search suggestions rather than — or even in addition to — organic results, then it stands to reason that you should at least be trying to rank for these terms as well as the base query.

If you’re super pressed for time or don’t have the resources required to wade through each SERP feature’s suggestions and had to pick just one, you could run with the PASF box (though we’d still recommend you throw in any IQ-bubbles that show up) as it returns the highest duplication.

Conversely, since STAT’s got super easy PAA and related searches reports, you could quickly cover about as much ground with those two.

Don’t forget to grab a free trial of SEMRush to track your data! If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Wordpress Redirects!

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Filed under: eCommerce, Strategy, WordpressTagged with: ,

Growth Hacking Strategies For Brand Positioning


The modern business world is tough and undoubtedly, full of challenges. Under such circumstance, it is important for entrepreneurs and business owners to develop strategies which bring their brand in the limelight.

With the advent of digitalization, a paradigm shift in business operations has been noted. Nowadays, a chunk of business operations go online and brand promotion is a major one amongst them.

But the question remains, how can growth hacking strategies be used for brand promotion? Before we answer that question, it’s important to understand the concept of growth hacking. 

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective and efficient ways to grow a business.

So effectively it is a combination of techniques, tools, and initiatives which people use to achieve customer growth. For this purpose, both marketing and engineering skills are required, as the process is based on trial and error methods.

Now that the concept of growth hacking is understood, let’s move on the ways in which they can be used for brand promotion:

Understanding Target Audience

Before you can make use of growth hacking strategies to increase your brand awareness, it is imperative to understand your target audience. Human nature is dynamic. In that light, the requirements of people change with every passing day.

Thus it is very important to keep on checking the audience preference from time to time. Without knowing the audience correctly, using growth hacks for brand awareness may not be effective.

For this purpose, many growth hacking and marketing tools can be used. Such tools also help in keeping a tab on the audience preference from time to time.

Have Experiments

The best way of making a growth strategy work for brand awareness is by taking a close look at how the current marketing plan is working. Additionally, the rate of audience response also must be noted.

Make use of tools that can easily conduct A/B experiments and use them to test all your marketing plans, your homepage content, social media presence, email marketing, and such other components.

Such experiments help one see the wider picture based on which brand awareness strategies should be implemented.

Self Promotion

One way of self-promotion is through guest blogging. For this purpose get influencers from your field for guest blogging. Additionally, make sure that backlinks to your website are strategically placed so that people can find your website easily on the search engine.

Do not forget to link back and cross-promote your content with other experts in your field. Such actions not only lead to greater reach but also helps to increase the brand awareness of your product and service to your target audience.

Finally, take every opportunity you can find to pitch in your product and service to influencers. Though it’s an old technique, it still remains one of the best brand awareness strategies.

In order to do effective self-promotion, it is important to locate your audience. But you must think out of the box. Of course, you will find your target audience on social media, but what better means can you use to promote your brand? Keep your options open and exciting.

Begin Blogging

Blog is an essential growth hacking tool which goes a long way to ensure brand promotion. But do not stick to the traditional meaning of “blogs”. Focus more on your content and promote news and information relevant to your readers.

Thus in addition to blogs, incorporate quality content on a regular basis. Content can be in the form of images, infographics, Instagram post and a lot more.

Introduce as much content as possible to firm the ground for your brand promotion methods.

Establish Unique Brand Personality

Build A Personal Brand

The true potential of growth hackings rests in personal branding. The greatest growth hackers of our times like Elon Musk, Richard Branson did not follow the typical CMO techniques. They hacked their way in and set major examples for all others to follow.

Like these stalwarts, if you are able to become a small celebrity in your own field, establishing your brand awareness will not be that difficult.

Growth hacking techniques are as tough as their traditional counterparts. But they are more effective. Given the current business scenario, growth hacking techniques are the only means of attaining success for startups.

Times are changing and so are people. In that light, new brand promotion techniques must be introduced. It is only then can a business stand out. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Brand Credibility!

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Build Brand Credibility on Social Media


If you are a Wordpress site or business owner, you want to be that brand people rave about to their friends, remember first when they need your product and patronize no matter how other brands convince them to do otherwise. You want to be that brand consumers trust so much they wouldn’t mind spending more knowing that they’ll get their money’s worth. You want to be that brand so credible stores would fight for your product to be on their shelves. But the question is: how will you make that happen?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the power that social media has to the consumers of today. 90% of marketers said social media has increased business exposure and 75% said it drove more traffic to their website, which is no surprise considering that there are 3.196 billion social media users around the world in 2018. That’s almost half of the world’s population. To get started with your social media efforts in building brand credibility, here are a few takeaways that you could use:

Before you go viral for the wrong reasons, fix any business glitches first

If you want to go viral on social media, it has to be for the right reasons. So before someone digs up your flaws and tarnish your credibility online, make sure to fix any glitches within your business first. Be like Erik Gordon, so they say, where he used consistency to defend himself against accusations thrown at him and continue to be successful in his career as an investor, philanthropist, and film and television producer. You will make mistakes at some point, whether in your personal life or business, but being transparent about it and finding the right solutions to address those problems is a good way to establish your credibility before you start your social media marketing efforts.

If you haven’t done it yet, start a website or blog

Blogging Image

A blog or website is not only a great starting point for you to build credibility, but it is also an incredible platform to show the more human side of your business. But setting up one just wouldn’t do the job. You also need to create consistent, refreshing content that people will love enough to share on social media platforms, articles that are useful for your audience and compelling enough to push them to take action. A lot of entrepreneurs still write their own blog posts because it gives them the opportunity to connect with their consumers, which is a great way to build that trust in them.

Be the brand that offers value and nothing but


Blendtec, an appliance manufacturer selling blenders went from being nobody to becoming a global brand by using YouTube videos featuring its products blending everything from CDs to an iPhone 4. Their videos became so viral that Steve Jobs even made a guest appearance when they blended the iPhone 4.

Now, this is a classic example of social media marketing done right. In a sea of useless promotional videos, you need to be that brand that offers value to your consumers by showing them exactly what your product can do. This gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with consumers before making a sale, which is very important for retention.

Practice a habit of consistency in all your social media platforms

According to research, 51% of social media users unfollow brands that post irritating promotional content or those who don’t post anything at all. Now the key to a successful social media marketing campaign is consistency. Consumers nowadays look to social media for product information to help them make purchasing decisions, so it’s the perfect opportunity to put your brand forward by providing consistent content on your social media platforms.


Finally, always make your social media campaigns about your consumers and not about you. Simply put, give them what they want to hear. For instance, if you’re selling a gadget for the elderly, you can’t expect them to want to hear you talking about all the technical features of your product because really, all they want to know is how they can use your product and how it will benefit them. Also, it’s a good strategy to come up with several problems and show your audience how your product can help address them.

Building brand credibility doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time because if you want your relationship with consumers to last, you can’t force them to like your product immediately. It has to come from a sense of trust that will eventually give them more confidence to your brand that they’ll be more than happy to share it with others.   

Filed under: Marketing, Strategy, Trends, WordpressTagged with: ,

Finding SEO Opportunities From Log Files


Log Files For SEO Purposes

I use web crawlers regularly. While they are very useful, they only imitate search engine crawlers’ behavior, which means you aren’t always getting the full picture.

The only tool that can give you a real overview of how search engines crawl your site are log files. Despite this, many people are still obsessed with crawl budget — the number of URLs Googlebot can and wants to crawl.

Log file analysis may discover URLs on your site that you had no idea about but that search engines are crawling anyway — a major waste of Google server resources (Google Webmaster Blog):

“Wasting server resources on pages like these will drain crawl activity from pages that do actually have value, which may cause a significant delay in discovering great content on a site.”

While it’s a fascinating topic, the fact is that most sites don’t need to worry that much about crawl budget —an observation shared by John Mueller (Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google) quite a few times already.

There’s still a huge value in analyzing logs produced from those crawls, though. It will show what pages Google is crawling and if anything needs to be fixed.

When you know exactly what your log files are telling you, you’ll gain valuable insights about how Google crawls and views your site, which means you can optimize for this data to increase traffic. And the bigger the site, the greater the impact fixing these issues will have.


What are server logs?

A log file is a recording of everything that goes in and out of a server. Think of it as a ledger of requests made by crawlers and real users. You can see exactly what resources Google is crawling on your site.

You can also see what errors need your attention such as duplicate content and other aspects which may impact your search appearance.

Analyzing logs is not rocket science — the logic is the same as when working with tables in Excel or Google Sheets. The hardest part is getting access to them — exporting and filtering that data.

Looking at a log file for the first time may also feel somewhat daunting because when you open one, you see something like this:


Calm down and take a closer look at a single line: - - [08/Dec/2017:04:54:20 -0400] "GET /contact/ HTTP/1.1" 200 11179 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" 

You’ll quickly recognize that:

  • is the IP address (who)
  • [08/Dec/2017:04:54:20 -0400] is the Timestamp (when)
  • GET is the Method
  • /contact/ is the Requested URL (what)
  • 200 is the Status Code (result)
  • 11179 is the Bytes Transferred (size)
  • “-” is the Referrer URL (source) — it’s empty because this request was made by a crawler
  • Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; + is the User Agent (signature) — this is user agent of Googlebot (Desktop)

Once you know what each line is composed of, it’s not so scary. It’s just a lot of information. But that’s where the next step comes in handy.

Tools you can use

There are many tools you can choose from that will help you analyze your log files. I won’t give you a full run-down of available ones, but it’s important to know the difference between static and real-time tools.

  • Static — This only analyzes a static file. You can’t extend the time frame. Want to analyze another period? You need to request a new log file. My favourite tool for analyzing static log files is Power BI.
  • Real-time — Gives you direct access to logs. I really like open source ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana). It takes a moderate effort to implement it but once the stack is ready, it allows me changing the time frame based on my needs without needing to contact our developers.

Start analyzing

Don’t just dive into logs with a hope to find something — start asking questions. If you don’t formulate your questions at the beginning, you will end up in a rabbit hole with no direction and no real insights.

Here are a few samples of questions I use at the start of my analysis:

  • Which search engines crawl my website?
  • Which URLs are crawled most often?
  • Which content types are crawled most often?
  • Which status codes are returned?

If you see that Google is crawling non-existing pages (404), you can start asking which of those requested URLs return 404 status code.

Order the list by the number of requests, evaluate the ones with the highest number to find the pages with the highest priority (the more requests, the higher priority), and consider whether to redirect that URL or do any other action.



If you use a CDN or cache server, you need to get that data as well to get the full picture.

Segment your data

Grouping data into segments provides aggregate numbers that give you the big picture. This makes it easier to spot trends you might have missed by looking only at individual URLs. You can locate problematic sections and drill down if needed.

There are various ways to group URLs:

  • Group by content type (single product pages vs. category pages)
  • Group by language (English pages vs. French pages)
  • Group by storefront (Canadian store vs. US store)
  • Group by file format (JS vs. images vs. CSS)

Don’t forget to slice your data by user-agent. Looking at Google Desktop, Google Smartphone, and Bing all together won’t surface any useful insights.

Monitor behavior changes over time

Your site changes over time, which means so will crawlers’ behavior. Googlebot often decreases or increases the crawl rate based on factors such as a page’s speed, internal link structure, and the existence of crawl traps.

It’s a good idea to check in with your log files throughout the year or when executing website changes. I look at logs almost on a weekly basis when releasing significant changes for large websites.

By analyzing server logs twice a year, at the very least, you’ll surface changes in crawler’s behavior.

Watch for spoofing

Spambots and scrapers don’t like being blocked, so they may fake their identity — they leverage Googlebot’s user agent to avoid spam filters.

To verify if a web crawler accessing your server really is Googlebot, you can run a reverse DNS lookup and then a forward DNS lookup. More on this topic can be found in Google Webmaster Help Center.

Merge logs with other data sources

While it’s no necessary to connect to other data sources, doing so will unlock another level of insight and context that regular log analysis might not be able to give you. An ability to easily connect multiple datasets and extract insights from them is the main reason why Power BI is my tool of choice, but you can use any tool that you’re familiar with (e.g. Tableau).



Blend server logs with multiple other sources such as Google Analytics data, keyword ranking, sitemaps, crawl data, and start asking questions like:

  • What pages are not included in the sitemap.xml but are crawled extensively?
  • What pages are included in the Sitemap.xml file but are not crawled?
  • Are revenue-driving pages crawled often?
  • Is the majority of crawled pages indexable?

You may be surprised by the insights you’ll uncover that can help strengthen your SEO strategy. For instance, discovering that almost 70 percent of Googlebot requests are for pages that are not indexable is an insight you can act on.



You can see more examples of blending log files with other data sources in my post about advanced log analysis.

Use logs to debug Google Analytics

Don’t think of server logs as just another SEO tool. Logs are also an invaluable source of information that can help pinpoint technical errors before they become a larger problem.

Last year, Google Analytics reported a drop in organic traffic for a companies branded search queries. But the keyword tracking tool, STAT Search Analytics, and other tools showed no movement that would have warranted the drop. So, what was going on?

Server logs helped us understand the situation: There was no real drop in traffic. It was our newly deployed WAF (Web Application Firewall) that was overriding the referrer, which caused some organic traffic to be incorrectly classified as direct traffic in Google Analytics.

Using log files in conjunction with keyword tracking in STAT helped us uncover the whole story and diagnose this issue quickly.

Putting it all together

Log analysis is a must-do, especially once you start working with large websites.

My advice is to start with segmenting data and monitoring changes over time. Once you feel ready, explore the possibilities of blending logs with your crawl data or Google Analytics. That’s where great insights are hidden.
If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Wordpress Redirects!

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5 Easy Steps to Creating a Sitemap For a Website

What is a sitemap?

When it comes to getting your website ranked, you need to take advantage of as many SEO hacks as possible. Creating a sitemap is one technique that will definitely help improve your SEO strategy.

Some of you may be more familiar with this than others. I’ll give you a quick crash course on the basics of sitemaps before I show you how to build a website sitemap on your own.

Simply put, a sitemap, or XML sitemap, is a list of different pages on a website. XML is short for “extensible markup language,” which is a way to display information on a site.

I’ve consulted with so many website owners who are intimidated by this concept because sitemaps are considered a technical component of SEO. But in all reality, you don’t need to be a tech wizard or have a tech background to create a sitemap. As you’ll learn shortly, it’s really not that difficult.

Why do you need a sitemap?

Search engines like Google are committed to displaying the most relevant results to people for any given search query. In order do this effectively, they use site crawlers to read, organize, and index information on the Internet.

XML sitemaps make it easier for search engine crawlers to read the content on your site and index the pages accordingly. As a result, this increases your chances of boosting the SEO ranking of your website.

Your sitemap will tell search engines the location of a page on your website, when it was updated, the updating frequency, and the importance of the page as it’s related to other pages on your site. Without a proper sitemap, Google bots might think that your site has duplicate content, which will actually hurt your SEO ranking.

If you’re ready for your website to get indexed faster by search engines, just follow these five easy steps to create a sitemap.

Step 1: Review the structure of your pages

The first thing you need to do is look at the existing content on your website and see how everything is structured.

Look at a sitemap template and figure out how your pages would be displayed on the table.

website sitemap template

This is a very basic example that’s easy to follow.

It all starts from the homepage. Then you have to ask yourself where your homepage links to. You likely already have this figured out based on the menu options on your site.

But when it comes to SEO, not all pages are created equal. You have to keep the depth of your website in mind when you’re doing this. Recognize that the pages further away from your site’s homepage will be harder to rank for.

According to Search Engine Journal, you should aim to create a sitemap that has a shallow depth, meaning it only takes three clicks to navigate to any page on your website. That’s much better for SEO purposes.

So you need to create a hierarchy of pages based on importance and how you want them to be indexed. Prioritize your content into tiers that follow a logical hierarchy. Here’s an example to show you what I’m talking about.

page hierarchy

As you can see, the About page links to Our Team as well as Mission & Values. Then the Our Team page links to Management and Contact Us.

The About Us page is the most important, which is why it’s part of the top-level navigation. It wouldn’t make sense to have the management page be prioritized at the same level as Products, Pricing, and Blogs, which is why it falls under third-level content.

Similarly, if the Basic pricing package was positioned above the Compare Packages page, it would throw the logical structure out of whack.

So use these visual sitemap templates to determine the organization of your pages. Some of you may already have a structure that makes sense but just needs some slight tweaking.

Remember, you want to try to set it up so every page can be reached in three clicks.

Step 2: Code your URLs

Now that you’ve gone through and identified the importance of each page and matched that importance in your site structure, it’s time to code those URLs.

The way to do this is by formatting each URL with XML tags. If you have any experience with HTML coding, this will be a breeze for you. As I said earlier, the “ML” in XML stands for markup language, which is the same for HTML.

Even if this is new to you, it’s not that tough to figure it out. Start by getting a text editor where you can create an XML file.

Visual Studio Code is a great option for you to consider, it runs on Linux, Windows or Mac and its FREE!



Then add the corresponding code for each URL. Here, given its a Wordpress site, its a master xml file which lists the urls of the sub sitemaps, which are arranged in various categories.

  • location
  • last modified

Here are some examples of how the code will look for each one with different types.

  • 2019-1-10
  • weekly
  • 2

Take your time and make sure you go through this properly. The text editor makes your life much easier when it comes to adding this code, but it still requires you to be sharp.

Step 3: Validate the code

Any time you code manually, human error is possible. But, for your sitemap to function properly, you can’t have any mistakes in the coding.

Fortunately, there are tools that will help validate your code to ensure the syntax is correct. There’s software available online that can help you do this. Just run a quick Google search for sitemap validation, and you’ll find something.

I like to use the XML Sitemap Validator tool.

xml sitemap generator

This will point out any errors in your code.

For example, if you forget to add an end tag or something like that, it can quickly be identified and fixed.

Step 4: Add your sitemap to the root and robots.txt

Locate the root folder of your website and add the sitemap file to this folder.

Doing this will actually add the page to your site as well. This is not a problem at all. As a matter of fact, lots of websites have this. Just type in a website and add “/sitemap/” to the URL and see what pops up.

Here’s an example from the Apple website.

apple sitemap

Notice the structure and logical hierarchy of each section. This relates back to what we discussed in the first step.

Now, this can be taken one step further. You can even look at the code on different websites by adding “/sitemap.xml” to the URL.

Here’s what that looks like on the HubSpot website.

hubspot sitemap

In addition to adding the sitemap file to your root folder, you’ll also want to add it to the robots.txt file. You’ll find this in the roots folder as well.

Basically, this to give instructions for any crawlers indexing your website.

There are a couple of different uses for the robots.txt folder. You can set this up to show search engines URLs that you don’t want them to index when they’re crawling on your site.

Let’s go back to Apple and see what their robots.txt page looks like.


As you can see, they have “disallow” for several pages on their site. So crawlers ignore these.

apple sitemap files

However, Apple also includes their sitemap files on here as well.

Not everyone you ask will tell you to add your sitemaps to the robots.txt file. So I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

With that said, I’m definitely a firm believer in following the best practices of successful websites and businesses. If a giant like Apple uses this, it can’t be too bad of an idea for you to consider.

Step 5: Submit your sitemap

Now that your sitemap has been created and added to your site files, it’s time to submit them to search engines.

In order to do this, you need to go through Google Search Console. Some of you may already have this set up. If not, you can get started very easily.

Once you’re on the search console dashboard, navigate to Crawl > Sitemaps.

Google search console

Next, click on Add/Test Sitemap on the top right corner of the screen.

This is a chance for you to test your sitemap again for any errors before you continue. Obviously, you’ll want to fix any mistakes found. Once your sitemap is free of errors, click submit and that’s it. Google will handle everything else from here. Now crawlers will index your site with ease, which will boost your SEO ranking.

Alternative options

While these five steps are pretty simple and straightforward, some of you might be a little uncomfortable manually changing the code on your website. That’s perfectly understandable. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of other solutions that can create a sitemap for you, without having to edit the code yourself.

I’ll go through some of the top options for you to consider.

Yoast plugin

If you have a WordPress website, you can install the Yoast plugin to create a sitemap for your website.

Yoast gives you the option to turn your sitemap on and off with a simple toggle switch. You can find all of your XML sitemap options from the SEO tab via WordPress once the plugin has been installed.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is desktop software that offers a wide range of SEO tools. It’s free to use and generate a sitemap as long as the website has fewer than 500 pages. For those of you with larger websites, you’ll need to upgrade the paid version.

Screaming Frog allows you to make all of the coding changes that we talked about earlier, but without actually changing the code yourself. Instead, you follow a prompt that’s much more user-friendly, and written in plain English. Then the code for the sitemap file will be changed automatically. Here’s a screenshot to show you what I mean.

screaming frog configuration

Just navigate through the tabs, change your settings, and the sitemap file will be adjusted accordingly.


I really like Slickplan because of the visual sitemap builder feature. You’ll have the opportunity to use a sitemap template, similar to the ones we looked at earlier.

From here, you can drag and drop different pages into the template to organize the structure of your website. Once you’re done, and you’re happy with the way your visual sitemap looks, you can export it as an XML file.

Slickplan is paid software, but they offer a free trial. It’s at least worth trying if you’re on the fence about purchasing a plan.


If you’re ready to take your SEO strategy to the next level, you need to create a sitemap for your website.

There is no reason to be intimidated by this anymore. As you can see from this guide, it’s easy to create a sitemap in just five steps.

  1. Review your pages
  2. Code the URLs
  3. Validate your code
  4. Add the sitemap to the root and robots.txt
  5. Submit the sitemap

That’s it!

For those of you who are still on the fence about manually changing code on your website, there are other options for you to consider. The Internet is full of sitemap resources, but the Yoast plugin, Screaming Frog, and Slickplan are all great choices to start. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on JetOctopus Web Crawler!

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SEO Blunders Bloggers Often Make

The digital marketing landscape has gone through several paradigm shifts, especially in the last few decades.  But then, it has never ever undermined the importance of SEO as its core marketing strategy. As you know, SEO and business blogs work hand in glove. Blog posts that use on-page SEO tactics lead to better search engine rankings and traffic to your site. However, there are few SEO blunders that could come in the way of your search engine rankings and traffic.

If you are a newbie blogger, it pays to go through this list of blunders, because, as they say, precaution is better than cure. For veteran bloggers, it doesn’t harm to re-look and reinforce your tactics once again.                    

Overloading with Keywords

This mistake is commonplace.  Besides, destroying your search engine rankings, a blog piece that makes the keywords do all the heavy lifting offers a poor reading experience.  The key is to take advantage of one or two long-tail keywords and center your blog on them. Long-tail keywords are known to satisfy the informational needs of your audience; thereby encouraging them to read your entire post.       

Omitting Internal and External Links

Useful Links


External Links, in a way, vouches for your content’s credibility. So, if you blog covers a topic that has already been covered in another site, you should ideally link back to that particular page. On the other hand, internal linking keeps the reader on your site and helps search engines to effortlessly discover authoritative pages of your site. Internal links, ideally should not only link to the pillar page of your website but also direct the readers to relevant blog content.

Content Duplicity

If you are trying to set up duplicate pages by tweaking similar keywords, be assured, this is not going to benefit your SEO any which ways. For instance “best mobile app Development Company in the U.S,” and top mobile app developers in the U.S. mean one and the same thing. So, creating different pages for both these keywords could, in all probability, lead to a search engine penalty.         

So, the best way out is to delve deep into one particular keyword and make all efforts to strengthen the post.

Overloading with Images and Graphics

While bloggers’ job is to generate high-quality posts, there are several who focus on the design aspects of the blog more than anything else. Sure, design attracts readers to your site. But then, the design shouldn’t be the be-all-end-all for your blog. So, avoid loading your blogs with too many images and graphics. If you are thinking twice about doing away with them, then be assured, search engine bots would also think twice before crawling your pages.

Substandard Copy with loads of jargon



This fact gets oft-repeated: write for readers, not for spiders. Not to mention, keep your content jargon-free, even if you are writing a technical document. Simply put, even a 7th grader should be able to read your content.  

Generally speaking, blog content is more about informing users and offering actionable tips to the reader.    

So, in a way, content marketing is not just a marketing tactic, it’s also a branding exercise at the same time. It lends you a voice as an author and cements your authority in your niche.  

So, make sure you come with meaningful prose that’s easily scannable and whose purpose is crystal-clear.  Wherever possible, break long chunks of paragraphs with GIFs and videos. Also, add visuals after every 400 words, if possible. This will prevent information overload.       

Also, edit the content. You could leverage tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway App to come up with crisp, clean copies. Seek the help of top content marketing companies to get excellent high-quality posts written in no time.      

Writing Short Content

Short And Snappy Content Marketing


I have seen many blogs publishing short posts. No doubt, churning short posts takes lesser time, but then, it could cost your readers. Readers are looking to learn something from your posts. They are looking for actionable content. They are looking for value. So, if you creating a post that comprises just 300 words just think, what sort of value it delivers. Besides that, your post won’t rank in search engines.  So write long-form content as much as possible. Add to your content’s length by digging deeper and researching on same and similar topics.

Using Automated Title tags

The title tag is inordinately crucial from a search engine standpoint.  Newbie bloggers are known to come up with long titles – trying to describe the blog in too many words. This is not right from an SEO perspective. The title tags should be short, no more than 60 characters. More importantly, you need to focus on optimizing it.     

Use Google Adwords to check the popularity of the keyword used in the title tag before optimizing it.  A properly optimized title tag enjoys better placement in search engines and even more visitors. To vet your existing title tags and more, you could consult top digital marketing agencies.   


There you go! 7 Seven SEO blunders bloggers often make. Though the above mistakes are common, they still need repeating, because these mistakes are still rampant. Optimizing your blog content for SEO may appear tedious and time-consuming, but then it’s important if you want to reach your target audience and wants to stand apart from your competitors. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Creating a Sitemap!  

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Finding Lucrative Niches on Social Media

Few small businesses offer products or services that carry a widespread, universal appeal. Instead, they tailor their marketing and advertising efforts toward specific niches and customer profiles. Though many entrepreneurs view social-media marketing as an opportunity to rapidly expand their consumer base, it’s often a better idea for businesses to focus on finding lucrative niches. Indeed, the key to success with digital marketing lies in finding, engaging, and converting digital leads into sales. To that end, today we’ll focus on the first aspect of this three-pronged approach and discuss how businesses can locate profitable opportunities on social media.

Let Consumers Find You

One of the best ways to create an online marketing strategy –– particularly with an emphasis on social media –– is to create a content network. Traditionally, marketers have viewed social media as an initial “touchpoint” between businesses and consumers. And while that can certainly be the case, professionals can also direct leads to their social-media profiles from their own web pages. By creating a diverse, rich, and compelling array of content and posting pieces to social-media outlets like LinkedIn, for instance, companies can create their own “niches” and attract interested leads from a variety of sources.  Using Social Media tool like Crowdfire they can “spread the love” as it were, to potential followers and clients and build a wider audience. On the subject of Linkedin, Crowdfire also does an excellent job of posting their YouTube videos to Linkedin (and other channels), a function missing from the current YouTube creation process.


Conduct Competitor Analyses

New business owners may be reluctant to admit it, but their competitors can make sound marketing decisions. In fact, you can almost guarantee that your most successful rivals already execute dynamic social-media tactics and understand how and where they should engage with consumers. Fortunately, there’s nothing stopping you from analyzing how your competitors approach social media. By examining their rivals’ efforts, business owners can determine which niches are the most saturated and which are largely ignored. From there, a company can decide to attempt to outshine their competition or explore untapped opportunities — either of which could lead to the discovery of a new niche platform or demographic.

Explore the Web

Ecommerce Niche

No single social-media platform enjoys a monopoly. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, (etc.) all offer users different experiences, and, as such, attract different kinds of users. Businesses that want to carve out their own niche need to be willing to explore the far reaches of the internet to uncover social-media sites that cater to their target demographic, field, or industry.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of whether you’re trying to promote an RMS POS system or a new line of microwave ovens, there are ways to ensure qualified leads find your business online. At the end of the day, it’s more beneficial for marketers to prioritize generating sales than garnering followers. Gaining popularity on social media isn’t a bad thing, of course, but tangible sales matter more than likes, shares, or follows. Keep that in mind at all times, and you’ll be sure to form a social-media plan that works for your company! If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Geo Targeting for Social Media!

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The Connection Between Geo-targeting & Social Media

Geo Targeting

Geotargeting, Social Media & Digital Advertising

The internet has made the world a smaller place thanks in part to the influence of social media. After all, search engines and social-media platforms enable individuals from around the globe to connect to friends, family, entertainers, and, yes, businesses at a moment’s notice. Still, not every small business has the ability to deliver their product or service to remote locations. And rather than garnering traffic from all corners of the globe, they’d prefer to focus on consumers in specific markets. While marketers often speak about geo-targeting in regard to digital advertising, progressive professionals can apply a myriad of tactics to ensure they connect with consumers in preferred geographic locales.

To be brief, geo-targeting within digital advertising platforms like Google Ads is a relatively simple process. Marketers can select which cities, counties, regions, or countries they want to target with their ads. In addition, they can also adjust the settings of a given ad to exclude searchers from outside of selected areas. For instance, a Chicago office design firm might include a few nearby suburbs like Naperville or Evanston within their ads, but exclude the rest of Illinois. In this way, businesses can keep their ad spend under budget and increase their conversion rates.

Geo-targeting & SEO

In regard to SEO, the best geo-targeting practices tend to relate to maintenance and upkeep. Optimizing meta descriptions to feature a location is one easy way to bolster the chances of location-specific search queries including your site. Lastly, though it’s a small detail, it’s crucial that all of your address information is correct on business listings.

Geo-targeted Content & Social-Media Tactics

It is possible for marketers to tailor their content marketing techniques and their social-media strategy to focus on a specific, city, state, or region. It’s just more difficult than adjusting the settings on a digital ad. However, there are a few ways you can direct your content toward targeted markets. One method is to create blog posts, videos, or podcasts that relate to a location by name. Beyond that, businesses can build pages that address an issue unique to a target market. As such, a masonry business in Seattle could launch a web page devoted to protecting brick exteriors from water damage.

In terms of social media marketing, there’s nothing wrong with using a city’s unique culture or heritage to bolster your own brand. Plus, businesses can go the extra mile and collaborate with local organizations or charities and promote those activities across their social-media accounts.

One final point: businesses with multiple locations may want to consider registering multiple accounts for their different offices (as companies like HomeGrounds do). At the very least, utilizing unique hashtags and other identifiers on social media can help you stay connected with your consumers in your target markets. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Social Media Management! 

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Website Fonts That Compliment

Fonts for Web & Wordpress Design

In website design, people often overlook minor details, like typography.

I know what some of you might be thinking. How important can a website’s font really be?

Believe it or not, something as simple as choosing the right font can have a major impact on conversion. Plus, website fonts affect the overall appearance of your site.

Now it’s unlikely that you’ve been on a website and thought, “Wow, this font is great!”

It doesn’t smack you in the face & it just isn’t something that our minds are trained to look for and I’m not expecting you to find a font that’s going to “wow” your website visitors. But, I can guarantee that you’ve been on websites that have fonts that were generic, unappealing, difficult to read, or felt out of place. You obviously don’t want people to have that impression of your website.

Why your website font matters

Here’s something to consider: different website fonts can change the reader’s perception of a particular topic.

Errol Morris conducted a survey in an article published in The New York Times in 2012. He included a passage from a book that claimed we live in an ear of unprecedented safety, and followed the passage up with two questions:

  1. Is the claim true? (yes or no)
  2. How confident are you with the answer? (slightly, moderately, very)

As it turns out, Morris didn’t care about anyone’s opinion. He just wanted to know if the font could influence their answers. Forty thousand people unknowingly participated in this experiment. While everyone read the same passage; they did not all see it in the same typography.

Check out these results.

Weighted Agreement

This graph shows all of the respondents who agreed to the first question. Morris took their levels of confidence in the second question and assigned a weighted value to each response.

In doing so, it’s clear that there was a difference between how confident people were in agreeing with the claims being made based on the font they were presented in. Now let’s look and see the results of respondents who disagreed with the passage.

Weighted Disagreement

Compare the two graphs. Do you notice any similarities?

As you can see, the Baskerville font was ranked highest for weighted agreement and lowest for weighted disagreement. Comic Sans font ranked lowest for weighted agreement, and ranked high for weighted disagreement.

Based on this data, Morris was able to conclude that fonts can influence the way people perceive information. Basically, the typeface can actually affect the credibility of your website.

In short — yes, website fonts matter.

The best Google Font pairings for 2019

You don’t want to have the same font everywhere on your site; that’s too boring. Mix it up! But make sure you pick fonts that go well together. I created this guide to help you do just that.

There are plenty of platforms for finding free fonts, but Google Fonts is my favorite. I identified the top Google Fonts pairings for 2019. So check out my list, and pick out a combination that works best for your website.

Open Sans and Roboto

Open Sans and Roboto Font

The header of this screenshot is Open Sans semi-bold. The paragraph below it is Roboto regular. I think the semi-bold header just ads a bit more punch than the regular weight of Open Sans, but it’s fine if you go with that option as well.

The reason why these fonts work so well together is because they are both crisp and extremely legible.

You’ve got lots of different options here to consider for your website design. This combination could be used to convey the value proposition on your homepage. Use the Open Sans header as a point of emphasis, and then elaborate on the subject using Roboto.

These fonts work well together if you swap them as well. You could use Roboto as the header, and Open Sans for the paragraph. In this case, I’d recommend going with Roboto medium, and Open Sans regular.

Playfair Display and Montserrat

Playfair Display and Montserrat Font

This font combination works best for shorter text on your website. I wouldn’t necessarily use it on a blog post or something like that.

However, this pairing is perfect for a product title and product description, especially for ecommerce shops in the fashion industry. The lighter weight font, like Montserrat light, gives the text a certain level of elegance that fits with a luxury brand persona.

Interestingly enough, if you swap the two and use Montserrat as the header, the persona changes to something that feels futuristic or techy. That combination can work well for some of you who are promoting a game, or even on a landing page to download your mobile gaming app.

Either way, these two fonts work well together. It depends on the theme and overall message that you’re going for on your website.

Lora and Alegreya

Lora and Alegreya Font

Lora bold is strong and legible, which is why it’s perfect for title pages. While the typography is powerful, it’s still friendly and inviting.

Alegreya regular compliments Lora really well, especially when used for captioning images.

While Alegreya is definitely legible, it can be challenging to read for long stretches, which is why it’s better for short text like captions or quick descriptions. I would not recommend experimenting with any other variations of Alegreya. Adding weight or italics to this font loses the legibility.

Now if you swap their positions, Alegreya bold works fine for title and header text. Lora regular is legible, so you could consider using it for longer text. I think this combination would be perfect for something like a customer testimonial or short case study.

Merriweather and Lato

Merriweather and Lato Font

Merriweather light and Lato regular is a very clean and professional combination.

It’s a popular choice because the options are so versatile. Merriweather light is modern, tasteful, and appealing. When it’s followed up with text written in Lato, the pairing feels trustworthy.

I’d recommend using this combination on your homepage. For those of you who have a design that involves scrolling to learn more information, this text combination will work perfectly. I’m picturing a website visitor scrolling down your home screen, seeing an image on the left side of the page and this font combination on the right. When they continue scrolling, the next image will be on the right, and the text will be on the left.

If this sounds like your current design, definitely consider using this combination to add a touch of professionalism to your content.

Amatic SC and Josefin Slab

Amatic SC and Josefin Slab Font

The font combination of Amatic SC bold and Josefin Slab italic is definitely not for everyone. I can’t say that I would recommend it to the majority of websites, but it’s an ideal combination for artsy websites. If you’re a musician, painter, or photographer, these fonts can be used sparingly on your pages.

The key here is to make sure that the text has plenty of space to breathe. I’d recommend using it against white or very light backgrounds. So check out my post on the top trending website color schemes of 2019 as well.

If you sell ceramics or sculptures, this font can be very appealing to your audience and fit nicely with the overall theme of your business.

Just make sure you don’t go overboard. Using too much of this on the screen is unappealing and challenging to read. So pick something else for longer blocks of text, such as your biography or about me pages.

Cinzel and Raleway

Cinzel and Raleway Font

Cinzel is a bold font (no pun intended). It’s all capital letters, which makes it more suitable for short text as opposed to long blog posts or things of that nature.

It’s complemented really by a font that’s a bit more traditional, like Raleway. These two fonts are perfect for websites in the food and drink industry.

You could consider using this to spice up your online menu. Have the menu categories in Cinzel black, the meal titles in Cinzel bold, and the description of the item written in Raleway regular.

If you really want to be unique, you can swap the two and use Raleway for headings and Cinzel for the body text. This could work well for local coffee shops that update their website with daily specials or weekly brews.

PT Sans Narrow and PT Sans

PT Sans Narrow and PT Sans

PT Sans Narrow and PT Sans is a classic combination. This versatile choice will work well for nearly any website in 2019.

Since both fonts are so legible, you can use it for text in short-form, as well as long-form content such as blog posts.

I like these fonts because they are easy to read, but not too generic and boring. PT Sans Narrow and PT Sans are inviting, so consider using them on home screens and landing pages.

How to pick the best website fonts

Now that you’ve seen some of the best Google Fonts combinations of 2019, how can you decide which one is best for your website?

The first thing you need to do is determine what type of content the font will be used for. Decide if the fonts are for your blog, homepage, landing page, product description, or navigation menu.

You’ll also want to consider the type of business you have, as well as the audience you’re targeting. Does the font need to be professional? Or do you have some room to be a bit unique?

The key to pairing two fonts together is contrast. The fonts should be different enough that each is distinguishable, but not so different that the reader is distracted.

You may want to use a few font combinations on your website, but don’t go overboard. Keep it simple. Each page should just have two fonts; three at most. If you want to use more, consider using variations of the fonts already on the page (light, italic, medium, bold, etc.) instead.


Fonts are important, so it time to get rid of the default. Google Fonts is one of the best resources for free website fonts. The platform has some of the top site fonts that compliment each other.

  • Open Sans and Roboto
  • Playfair Display and Montserrat
  • Lora and Alegreya
  • Merriweather and Lato
  • Amatic SC and Josefin Slab
  • Cinzel and Raleway
  • PT Sans Narrow and PT Sans

And to get an idea how to differentiate between the different types of font check out this Creative Bloq article. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Website Planning!

Post by Xhostcom Wordpress & Digital Services, subscribe to newsletter for more!

Filed under: Marketing, StrategyTagged with: , ,

15 Ways to Increase Your Social Media Presence

It’s just about impossible to run a successful company without setting up social media accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for it.

You’re also making a huge mistake if you’re not taking the time to establish a strong social media presence. It’s not enough to just create social media accounts. You also need to monitor them closely and keep them as active as they can possibly be.

There are some pretty simple ways to give your social media presence a big boost in 2019. By acting strategically, you can connect with your social media followers more and build up your brand in the process.

Let’s take a look at 15 easy ways you can increase your social media presence over the course of the next 12 months.

Create Goals for Your Social Media Presence

What exactly is the point of you creating social media accounts for your brand?

Far too many brands sign up for social media simply because they think it’s something they have to do. But the truth is that you’re better off staying off social media if you don’t have a clear purpose.

Before you begin posting on social media regularly, you should sit down and create a list of goals for your social media presence. Is your goal to:

  • Answer pressing questions from your customers?
  • Make your brand look cooler?
  • Attract more attention to the brand-new website you just launched?

Whatever the case may be, you need to have clear goals for your social media accounts. Otherwise, you’re not going to get any real satisfaction out of running them.

Figure Out Who Is Following You on Social Media

Take a look at some of the people who are following you on social media thus far. Who are they, and what do they want from your company?

It’s very important for you to identify your target audience and, more importantly, to cater to them. If people are following your brand because they want to keep up with your latest product drops, the last thing you want to do is flood your social media feeds with pictures of the cat that keeps everyone company in your office.

You should figure out who is following you on social media now and continue to monitor your followers in the future so that you can deliver the kind of content they want.

Commit to Checking Social Media Early and Often

About five years ago, you could get away with only checking your brand’s social media accounts a few times a week. But now? If you’re not checking them at least a few times every hour, you could be missing out on a big opportunity to increase your social media presence.

Social media addiction has turned into a very real thing, so you want to be careful about how you interact with the various social media sites. But you also want to stay on top of what’s happening on social media and check in on your followers as often as you can.

Establish a Clear Voice for Your Brand

If your brand was a real person, what would it look and sound like?

One of your goals when you’re trying to increase your social media presence should be to establish a clear voice for your brand that speaks to your followers. Your brand’s voice should be unique to your company and should set you apart.

It can take some trial and error to find the right voice for your brand. Don’t be afraid to take some risks when you’re first starting out.

Form Real Relationships With Your Followers


Once you get into the swing of things on social media, you’re going to start receiving messages from your followers. You should make it a point to respond to those messages. You should also provide people with the information they’re looking for.

You do want to be careful about interacting with so-called internet “trolls” that will try to ruin your day. They’ll often say and do things just to try and get a reaction out of you.

But you should make every effort to communicate with your followers and form actual relationships with them. It’ll lead to your followers becoming more loyal to your brand over time.

Find the Best Times of Day to Put Up Social Media Posts

Are you putting up most of your social media posts either very early in the morning or very late at night?

Those times might be convenient for you. But chances are, people aren’t ever going to see posts when they go up at those times.

Instead, try posting in the middle of the day when you’re more likely to attract more attention from followers. A lot of people tend to check in on social media during breaks at work or school and during lunchtime.

You might see a big uptick in social media activity when you post at the right times and you can use a tool like Crowdfire to schedule posts spread out through the day.

Come Up with a Calendar for Social Media Posting

A lot of your social media posts will probably be spontaneous. You’ll think of something interesting to say and post about it on social media without giving it any extra thought.

It’s fine to do this, provided you’re not haphazardly throwing up posts that could potentially put your brand into the wrong light. But at the same time, you should also schedule at least some of your posts ahead of time.

Consider putting together a calendar every month with the different posts that you want to schedule to go up throughout it.

Avoid Trying to Sell Something at Every Turn

Are you having a 25 percent off sale at your main store this weekend?

Cool. Post about it once on social media…and then move on!

The last thing you want to do is turn your social media feeds into a steady stream of advertisements. If you’re constantly trying to sell something to people, they’re going to lose interest in your brand.

Use a Combination of Words, Photos, and Videos

When putting together social media posts, you should mix things up and use everything from words to photos to videos.

Generally speaking, photos and videos usually work best on social media since people don’t have to put too much thought into them. But the real secret to social media success is hitting people over the head with all different types of posts and keeping them on their toes.

Add Social Media Links to Your Brand’s Website

Outside of manning your social media accounts, you should also have a website set up for your brand. You can get a stunning website for your company by relying on Arvig Media website design.

Just make sure you don’t forget to add some social media links on it. It’s an easy way to let people know you’re on social media in the first place.

Use Social Media to Hold Special Contests

In an effort to connect with your followers, you should consider holding special contests on social media every now and then.

Tell everyone to retweet or share a social media post for a chance to be entered into a contest to win free products and/or services. You might be surprised by how crazy some of your followers will go when you offer them free stuff.

Capitalize on Opportunities to Go Viral

Remember that time Beyonce name-dropped Red Lobster on her 2016 album, Lemonade, and it took Red Lobster FOREVER to acknowledge it?

Don’t do that!

There’s a pretty good chance Beyonce isn’t going to get around to name-dropping your brand anytime soon. But if there’s even a small chance that you could potentially go viral with a social media post, take a shot.

Those kinds of opportunities don’t come around very often.

Keep an Eye on the Latest “Trending Topics”

There are always one or two topics holding social media hostage at any given moment. One minute, it might be something the President said, and the next, it might be the latest Game of Thrones teaser.

Keep an eye on what people are talking about and, if it makes sense, inject your brand into the conversation. If you say something really smart or funny about a trending topic, your post could end up going viral and giving you the attention you deserve.

Experiment with Social Media Advertising

A few years ago, some social media experts predicted social media advertising was going to take over the social media game. And they were right in a lot of ways.

Many brands have started to invest in Facebook ads, promoted tweets, and other forms of social media advertising. It could be a good option for your brand.

Never Lose Sight of What You’re Trying to Accomplish

It’s easy for some brands to get carried away once they start posting on social media regularly.

While it’s good to establish a social media presence, you also don’t want to overdo it and miss out on hitting your original goals. Your social media accounts should, in some form or fashion, help your bottom line.

If they don’t, it might be time to rethink the way in which you’re using them.

Start Increasing Your Brand’s Social Media Presence Today

There is absolutely no reason for any brand not to have a social media presence in 2019.

If your brand doesn’t have one at the moment, make establishing your brand on social media one of our New Year’s resolutions. You’ll be glad you did once you start to see how much more successful you can be with active social media accounts. If you enjoyed this post, why not check out this article on Social Media Emojis!

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Filed under: eCommerce, Strategy, WordpressTagged with: ,