Online Ads – Different Types, Visual Examples, What They’re Good For

One of the core strategies of a comprehensive internet marketing plan is the use of a paid advertising. That much is pretty clear but it starts to get a little confusing with all the buzzwords Read More

One of the core strategies of a comprehensive internet marketing plan is the use of a paid advertising. That much is pretty clear but it starts to get a little confusing with all the buzzwords being thrown around like PPC, AdWords, remarketing, social ads, etc. We’re going to break down some of the most common types of paid online ads, their definitions, and how they work.

A quick overview of how you’re charged for an ad.

Just like the large of amount of different types of online ads there is also a lot of different ways you can choose to be charged for them. The three biggest choices usually fall under:

Pay per click ads.

When you are running a PPC ad you are only charged when someone actually clicks on your ad. Your ad could be shown to 10,000 people but if only one person clicks on it you’ll only be charged once.

Pay per ad impression.

This is a bit of a shotgun approach. You would set a flat budget and the online ads platforms will display your ad as many times as your budget allows based on the cost of the placement (regardless of if anyone interacts with it).

Pay per view ads.

Very similar to pay per impression except this deals with video ads specifically. You set a budget and your ads are displayed until there have been enough views to deplete your budget. What counts as a “view” can vary greatly with each ad platform.

What defines the cost of an ad?

Paid online ads is a pretty big rabbit hole of dozens of factors that can influence the cost of an ad that’s beyond the scope of this article. To get you started there’s two main types to get familiar with.

Bidding for ad placement.

This basically is just what it sounds like, whoever is willing to pay more gets placed in a higher ad slot for that chosen keyword. You’re bidding against anyone who wants to display their ad so the wire to walk is to balance being in the top three but not having to pay an astronomical amount for the privilege.

Flat fee online ads.

This doesn’t require too much explanation, an ad platform has a price and exact plan of what they do with your ad.

There’s a lot of tactics and strategies for online ads you can implement to stretch your budget. From targeting long tail keywords, keywords that are further along in the purchase funnel, or optimizing your PPC campaign for the number two sweet spot. We’ll break these actual tactics and strategies and how to achieve them shortly.

Types of online ads and what they are

Search Ads

This is one of the most common types of online ads out there. These show up when you use a search engine like Google or Bing. Google and Bing both have their own system for displaying ads called Google AdWords and Bing Ads, respectively. Search ads are text only and can be displayed at the top, side, or bottom of search results. They will also have the text “Ad” somewhere nearby. While competition can be fierce depending on your industry and keywords search ads are the workhorse of paid advertising in terms of directing people to your site.

 

 

google search online adsBing search ads

Banner Ads

Online banner ads are image based ads that are displayed on a website. You’re likely familiar with them as they generally are seen on news websites, blogs, and the like. Typically you pay a set amount for a length of time or a percentage to the website’s owner based on clicks.

Display ads

Display ads aren’t shown in search results but on other websites, such as Google’s “display network” which are a group of tens of thousands of sites that agree to serve Google’s display ads. Display and banner ads are usually very cheap and because they’re visual they’re great for branding campaigns.

display ads

Remarketing/Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads (also called remarketing ads by Google and only shown on their “display network”) work by following a user around to different sites. Websites will partner with online ads platforms to allow remarketing ads to be displayed. Without getting too technical once a user visits a site with a remarketing or retargeting campaign the advertiser’s site stores a cookie in their browser that then will display an online ad for that advertiser (provided the next site they’re on is in the remarketing or retargeting network). These boast a higher click through and conversion rate than most other internet ad types.

retargeting ads

Social Ads

Just what they sound like, social online ads are offered by the many different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, etc. The types of ads and their cost structures are all different with each social channel. Social media ads have a smaller audience but can be very targeted, for example you could choose to show an ad only to people who have liked your Facebook page to offer a special service or discount.

facebook ad

 

twitter ad

Video/Youtube Ads

A video ad is obviously an ad that’s a video. One of the biggest platforms to use videos ads on is YouTube. YouTube provides a number of different targeting options and placements. Videos are still a niche ad for many small businesses but unsurpassed if you have a product or service that can demonstrated visually.

youtube ads example

Mobile Optimized Ads

Mobile ads are specifically created and targeted for smartphones and tablets. They generally look similar to search and display ads although with space at a premium. With mobile searches and purchases overtaking traditional desktop searches this is definitely not an advertising channel to ignore.

mobile ad on phone

AdMob (Mobile App) Ads

AdMob is Google’s mobile advertising platform and with it you can display ads within apps themselves on smartphones and tablets. Many app developers offer these ad placements as a way to monetize their app. The one caveat with this type of advertising is that depending on your ads placement accidental clicks are more likely and add an unnecessary expenditure in your budget.

in app ad

Coming around full circle these types of paid online ads are just the most common and commonly most effective. Hopefully this helps clarify what is out there and if not, feel free to shoot us an email!

How To Untangle Your Domain, Hosting, and Email

Many times while first starting a project for a client we spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks untangling the digital paper trail of previous domain registrars, hosting companies, email services, and more that the client had purchased. It’s not an uncommon occurrence that many small and medium businesses don’t have log ins to these accounts or even know what company their website is even on!

It’s important to have clear, concise records on your online presence. Not only to save yourself money from annual charges for unused services but to also be able to protect your brand online. This becomes even more important when doing a website re-design as having to hunt down all of your accounts can also significantly increase the turnaround time. We’re going to cover the most common website services used, what they actually are, how to secure your assets and reduce costs.

Many times while first starting a project for a client we spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks untangling the digital paper trail of previous domain registrars, hosting companies, email services, and more that the client had purchased. It’s not an uncommon occurrence that many small and medium businesses don’t have log ins to these accounts or even know what company their website is even on!

It’s important to have clear, concise records on your online presence. Not only to save yourself money from annual charges for unused services but to also be able to protect your brand online. This becomes even more important when doing a website re-design as having to hunt down all of your accounts can also significantly increase the turnaround time. We’re going to cover the most common website services used, what they actually are, how to secure your assets and reduce costs.

Domains & Domain Registrars

Most people have an idea of what a domain is but aren’t aware that it’s not the same as a URL or IP address. A domain is a human friendly string of characters such as “boostbydesign.com”. When you type that into your browser your computer actually looks up the registered URL, which contains many instructions on how to process information, including your IP address.
Within your URL are something called DNS(Domain Nameserver) records. These are what actually parcel out different instructions to direct services such as where your website’s server is, pointing your visitors to an off-site ecommerce solution, or routing your email to a 3rd party email service like Rackspace.

Domain Registrars then are the companies that you rent your domain name from such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, or eNOM. They hold these DNS records, although to add to the complexity your hosting company also maintains their own DNS on your account. Depending on how your account is setup they just may just tell the Domain Registrar to point everything to your hosting account then make modifications there.

Hosting Your Website

Hosting companies such as Bluehost, HostGator, or Godaddy are the companies that actually store, or host, the files for your website. While they’re called “web hosting” many companies offer many more services such as email and ecommerce stores. Some hosting companies will allow you to host more than one site on your account while others limit you to only one.

As we just mentioned hosting companies maintain DNS records for your account as well so things can get tricky if you don’t know how they’re setup. Especially so if you’re using 3rd party services for things like email.

Email Services & MX Records

Most of you will know how to use email and although it can be a headache to set up it’s still pretty straight forward. If you want a short, easy to understand video on how email is routed, watch the video below, courtesy of Google:

What You Need To Know

Now the confusion can really start in full swing! Many larger companies offer a full range of services including domain registration, hosting, and email. You don’t have to sign up for all the services they offer, for example you can have your domain registered with GoDaddy but website hosted with Bluehost. It’s pretty common for larger companies to offer package deals for multiple services which you might not be aware of. That could wind up with your business paying for hosting with GoDaddy that includes free email but (since it wasn’t too clear contractually) your business also signs up for email service with Rackspace. That leaves your free email with Godaddy wasting away while you pay an annual fee with Rackspace for unneeded email services.

In addition to this there are also smaller companies which are known as resellers. It works like this: Joe’s Local Web Design creates a reseller account with GoDaddy. This allows him to host multiple websites under his main account so he can “sell” hosting packages to his clients as a convenience. So Joe’s Local Web Design says he’ll design as well as host your site, it may even be white labeled, if you log into your account with Joe it will say Joe’s Hosting Package. In reality you’re being hosted on GoDaddy. Now if Joe also has a reseller account with Namecheap for domains, he’ll offer that service under his company’s name too. So you may think that your domain is registered with Joe and he’s also hosting your site but in reality your domain is registered with Namecheap and your site is hosted with GoDaddy.

Now imagine the headache if Joe’s Local Web Design suddenly goes under!

Who do you contact to get your site’s files? Who do you contact to transfer your domain name? You may think you own those through Joe but he’s not there anymore. Godaddy and Namecheap had a contract with Joe for a reseller account, not your business, so they’ll kindly tell you to go pound sand. At this point most business owners will throw their hands up in the air, buy a new domain, contact the next web designer on the list and start all over.

While in the moment it likely feels like a simpler, quicker solution it can have some large negative impacts. Other than not having a website for a bit of time and having to reprint any business cards and sale materials with your new domain name you are more also starting your business all over from scratch online. The amount of time a business has owned a domain name is a factor in your search results rankings. If any external sites were linking to your site’s pages they now will be a “404, not found” error which are also very important to search rankings. This essentially erases all the work, time, and money you spent on your now non-existent site.

This is partially why we also suggest our clients open their own accounts for these services. It’s not as streamlined or “easy” as clicking a single button but at the end of the day you will own your business’s online assets, not your developer.

Full disclosure, when we design a website our contract does state that you agree to be maintained on our servers for 12 months. This is a little different from just hosting as we use our proprietary solutions to maintain your site’s health, updates, backups, and security. We also offer complete access to full website backups online (and stored offsite) so you always have access to your files.

How to find who owns your domain

The first step is to get the contact information for your domain. To do this go to ICANN, who are responsible for maintaining and ensuring basically the whole internet and search your domain.

This will return something like the image below:

ICANN WHOis

If your Registrant and Admin contact information isn’t yours contact your developer or hosting company, requesting that they change it to your information. They should also provide you login access to your domain account. This will help ensure that you are associated with your domain should you need to move servers or transfer your domain to another registrar.

If your developer or hosting company refuse either of those requests you can create an account with another registrar like Namecheap, eNom, or GoDaddy. Once created you can request to have your domain transferred to that new account. To do that contact your developer or hosting company again to ask for them to unlock your domain and send you a domain transfer authorization code. After you receive that you can then go to your new Registrar and fill out their domain transfer form.

How to find out where you’re hosted

This one can get a little sticky because there’s a lot of different setups for your website hosting so this may take a little more sleuthing. Head over to Webhostinghero and enter your domain name.

webhostinghero

Now if your site comes up undefined then what we want to do is find out what your nameservers are. Go to Pingdom and run a DNS check by entering in your domain. This will run a few tests and give you results like below:

photo of nameservers

We can see the nameservers are listed as ns1.rhostbh.com and ns2.rhostbh.com. Type one of those into Google and start searching! We can see by the second entry that these name servers are for Bluehost.

search for nameservers

Now you can contact your developer and ask them to add your email to the host’s contact profile. This will at least get your foot in the door should you ever need to speak with the hosting company (if Joe’s Local Web Design goes under). Another option would be to get access to your site’s cPanel. This is basically the master access for your hosting account. Many developers are very hesitant to give full access to a client because one wrong move and you can accidentally bring down their whole server and any other sites on it. It’s not necessary as getting your contact information on the hosting company’s account profile is usually good enough.

How to check where your email service is

Even more important for a lot of business owners than their website is their email. You definitely want to always know where your email is being hosted. To find that go to MX Toolbox and type in your domain. It will give you a report, at the bottom it will tell you explicitly who your email is being hosted by:

MX Toolbox MX records

If your results return with a host name like “mail.yourdomain.com” then that means your email is being hosted on site under the same account your website is being hosted.

hosted email

When re-designing a new site or moving hosting companies you’ll want to let your developer or new hosting company know so they can bring along your old emails and setup your new settings.

I hope that helps untangle the sometimes sordid knot of services for your websites. In addition to securing or owning access to your online presence you can also keep to your costs to a minimum. One of the best practices our clients can do for themselves is to maintain a Word doc with the list of current domain registrars, hosts, and everything in between.

Give us a call if you need help sorting out your accounts, we’d be glad to help!

One Simple Tactic To Optimize Your Site, Heading Tags

We recently had an article published in BiS (Business In Savannah) that walked business owners through 3 effective tactics to increase their organic traffic without needing any technical know-how. Having gotten a pretty good response Read More

We recently had an article published in BiS (Business In Savannah) that walked business owners through 3 effective tactics to increase their organic traffic without needing any technical know-how. Having gotten a pretty good response we wanted to create this short companion piece on heading tags and a simple, onsite strategy you can use as well to optimize your site for SEO.

Onsite optimized content is one of the foundations of good SEO which will lead to increased traffic and rankings. The following is only slightly technical but if you’re familiar with word processing programs or Microsoft Office you should feel right at home!

Heading Tags, especially the H1

What are heading tags , or “H” tags exactly? Technically it’s a piece of code that a line of text sits between and transforms the text to a different size, color, or weight. There are 6 “levels” from 1 to 6. H1, H2, and H3 are the most important ones to use however. Basically the heading tags help search engines understand what the content on your page is about as well as making the content more readable to humans.

These tags are part of what creates an optimized page that Google and Bing just love. There’s many more aspects than H tags to optimized content but that’s a bit much for this article. We’ll be covering each of these in future posts but if you’re chomping at the bit Moz.com has a great article that describes all the different elements.

How do you create H tags? It’s pretty simple, here’s what the code looks like:

<h1>This is an H1 tag</h1>
<h2>This is an H2 tag</h2>
<h3>This is an H1 tag</h3>

And this is how it looks (generally) on your page:

This is an H1 tag.

This is an H2 tag.

This is an H3 tag.

 

If your site has a CMS (like WordPress and Joomla) or was created in a website builder (like Godaddy or Squarespace) you’ll have a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get- pronounced “wizzywig”) editor, or the thing that looks like Microsoft Word.

WP_WYSIWYG
WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Now there are two ways to go about creating H tags for your content. The first is the easiest, highlight the text you want to make an H tag and select the H level you want to use from the dropdown menu. The size, style, color of the heading tag is up to you as long as the text is wrapped in an h tag.

heading tags
H tag dropdown menu

The second is to go to the “Source” or “Text” view and wrap the text you want for your heading with the appropriate H tag like so:

<h1>The text you want to wrap.</h1>

How to use heading tags

Like we mentioned heading tags have 6 levels, 1 being the most important and 6 being the least. Since heading tags are used to create a content structure for both search engines and humans there’s some best practices involved for the best clarity.

You’ll only want to use one H1 tag on your page, the text wrapped in this tag should be what the whole page is about. Someone who only reads the H1 tag should be able to know what the purpose of the page is and a general idea about the content.

H2 tags should be used as sub headers to your main idea (and H1) as these are less, but still important supporting ideas for your content. As a rule of thumb you’ll only want to use two or three of these.

H3 tags are sub sub headers that maybe share more specific information. You shouldn’t really have more than two or three of these per H2 tag.

The lowly H4 to H6 tags are not used to often and you likely shouldn’t be using them to keep your content clear and organized. If you do, you might be better served separating your content into two separate articles or pages.

Now you’re cooking!

So that’s it for heading tag tips, not too bad huh? Give it a shot and let us know how it helped you! We’re going to continue creating these short, one topic articles on a regular basis to help you optimize your site for SEO on tactic at a time so stay tuned.

Categories SEO

New Google Partner Badge, Same High Standards!

Introducing The New Google Partner Badge If you ever search on the internet chances are pretty good you’ve used Google. You may have noticed things looking a little different on google.com lately. If you can’t Read More

Introducing The New Google Partner Badge

If you ever search on the internet chances are pretty good you’ve used Google. You may have noticed things looking a little different on google.com lately. If you can’t quite place it Google’s revised and updated their logo! What does that have to do with us? Well, in case you missed it we’re a Certified Google Partner. Google’s updated logo includes the Google Partner Badge which we’ve also updated on our site as a reflection of our attitude to keep up with the latest changes and improvements.

The redesign!

new google partner logo

 

The old design.

google partner old logo

Google Partner Standards

While the look may have changed, the same stringent standards, certifications, and reviews have not. As a Google Partner, Boost by Design continues to maintain all of the current certifications for SEO best practices and AdWords strategies. This brings our clients the benefit of getting better traffic, rankings, and conversions at a lower cost. In addition to being Google Analytics certified experts we have all the AdWords certifications; AdWords Fundamentals, Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Video Advertising, Shopping Advertising, and Mobile Advertising.

It’s a pretty long-winded way of saying no matter what avenue you want to advertise with we’ve got you covered! We really do believe in how effective AdWords can be as part of your SEO marketing plan. In fact, if you have an existing AdWords campaign we guarantee that we’ll get you more clicks at a lower monthly spend or your money back. That’s not something we take lightly or use as a gimmick either!

We’re always excited to see change and forward progress. That Google has been consistently updating it’s look over the years reflects how they are always looking to refine and get better at what they do. While we may not be as big as Google (yet), we do hold the same focus on always improving for our clients.

 

Digital Marketing Beginner’s Guide

Digital marketing simply put is all the digital tactics and strategies you can use to convert bystanders into customers. Of course there’s much more to it.

What is Digital Marketing?

Before we head off into the weeds of the digital marketing landscape it’s probably a good idea to define just what we mean by the term. According to the Financial Times,

“Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers. It is embodied by an extensive selection of service, product and brand marketing tactics, which mainly use the Internet as a core promotional medium…”

To make that even more simple it’s all the digital tactics and strategies you can use to convert bystanders into customers.

This encompasses a lot of different marketing avenues which we’ll breakdown in detail below. If you read our beginner’s guide to SEO you may be thinking that this sounds pretty similar to search engine optimization. While there are numerous overlaps their goals are very different. Imagine a pair of runner’s shoes, pretty similar but try wearing them on the opposite foot and you’ll realize that similar does not mean the same.

Digital Marketing vs SEO

Digital Marketing and SEO each serve a purpose and create the best ROI when paired together. You can run a race with just one shoe on but we wouldn’t recommend it (blisters and heel spurs aside).

While SEO is primarily concerned with increasing your SERPs rankings and visitor traffic (both organic and paid), Digital Marketing is focused on efficiently converting as many of those visitors as possible into customers. While many business owners view Digital Marketing as an additional expenditure they should remember that expenses are only expenses if they don’t generate sales.

This is why one of the major KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is Return On Investment. It’s also why a digital strategy should be constantly evolving through A/B testing, subtle messaging, user experience, and a whole lot more.

“It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.” Jeff Eisenberg

Elements Of A Digital Marketing Plan

marketing_elements

Your Website

This is pretty much a given, your website is the destination for potential customers looking for information, services, and reasons to choose you over a competitor. Your website should provide a pleasant experience, easy access to any information a visitor is looking for, and aim to build trust in your brand.

Conversion Optimization

There are many, many tactics used but the goal of them is the same: subtly funnel a visitor to take the specific action you want for that page. Some core optimizations include ensuring each page has one focus, creating strong Call-To-Actions, and A/B Testing your messages and actions.

Lead Tracking

Leads and conversions are a pretty important metric, otherwise how can you tell how successful your strategy is? There are many different avenues to track such as phone calls, emails, newsletter signups, walk-ins, etc. The more real-time your tracking is the quicker you can respond to changes, like the 24/7 marketing dashboard for out clients.

Social Media Marketing

Social networking can be a powerful marketing tool. It allows your business to instantly interact with the public and manage it’s image. It can be invaluable to providing deeper insight into potential customers desires with their informal atmosphere. Advertising your business through your social networking can also be a cost effective second channel.

Email Marketing

Digital Marketing strategies can and should include email marketing. Even though email marketing is not new it stills holds one of the highest conversion rates. It’s a great tactic for converting past customers into active customers. Email Marketing is also an effective remarketing tool for keeping your business and services in the minds of potential customers.

Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)

These are the ads seen on search engines results pages and can be very useful for increasing brand recognition and super charging your exposure during important fiscal periods or product launches. These ads can be both standard text ads or media rich display ads.

Remarketing Ads

These ads fall under PPC ads but don’t display on search engines. Instead these ads “follow” visitors that have previously viewed your site to other sites. For example, a potential customer is price shopping for a service and takes a break to look at a news website. A Remarketing ad for your business would then appear on a sidebar of that site, keeping you visible and in that person’s mind.

Inbound Marketing

This marketing involves sharing something valuable to any potential customers for free. Not only can it establish you as a knowledgeable industry leader, it also builds trust, and generates goodwill. It can provide a good lead capture area and can be as simple as a free estimate, downloadable PDF, a service upgrade, or something relevant to what customers want.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is it’s own beast but like we mentioned goes hand-in-hand with Digital Marketing. Increasing your website’s rankings and traffic increases the exposure to more potential customers. This is a long-term strategy that has many factors to consider to contribute to success.

marketing_elements

 

 

“Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again.”

-Amrita Sahasrabudhe

I Love It When A (Digital Marketing) Plan Comes Together

Creating a Digital Marketing strategy requires two different types of thinking to be successful. In the beginning there needs to be clear visions, goals, and tactics. After your strategy is underway you need to be flexible enough to add, remove, or change elements of your strategy according to what’s working or any new developments in your industry.

There are acronyms galore in this industry but one I’m fond of is:

Specific Measurable Actionable Realistic Timed

SMART goals will help segment each aspect of your plan and keep you from becoming overwhelmed when creating a Digital Marketing strategy. If you still aren’t sure where to start or simply don’t have the time, fill out our free digital marketing business audit form to put you on the right track. You’ll receive a real, actionable report to get you started!