Thursday, 12 December 2013

5 Tips for Developing Guest Blogger Guidelines

Having guest bloggers contribute to your website has several benefits. It can help relieve your workload, as you won't have to worry as much about keeping a continuous fresh stream of content published. It can also increase traffic when those guest bloggers have their own devoted following - their readers may migrate to your site.

Guest bloggers, when chosen carefully, can also lend credentials to your website. If your topic is nutrition, for example, having a medical doctor write a post will make your readers more likely to respect your blog's credibility.

To reap these benefits, however, you must vet your guest bloggers to ensure they will be an asset to your website. The flipside of the coin may be that they bring your reputation down with their own poor reputation.

Here are five tips for developing guest blogger guidelines to ensure your guest blogging process is smooth and results in quality content.

Agreeing blogger guidelines
Make sure all the members of your team are clear about your guest blogger guidelines.


Rule #1: Street cred

Make it a rule that all guest bloggers must have some kind of relevant credentials in the subject your website covers. These don't necessarily have to be formal education certifications, but at a minimum your guest blogger should have a platform with published writings proving their expertise on the topic.

Rule #2: Check it out

Sometimes the most educated people are the worst writers. Not everyone expresses themselves well with the written word. Never post a guest blog without having it edited. If you are not qualified to edit the material, it behooves you to pay a third party to edit all guest blogs. Misspellings and grammatical errors are the fastest way to make your website appear amateurish.

Rule #3: Show us yours

Always ask your guest blogger to provide a professional photograph for posting at the bottom of their article. This helps your readers identify with the author. If their photograph is less than professional-looking, omit it. It doesn't do to have your "expert nutritionist" showing up in a T-shirt at the bottom of their post.


Choosing the right photograph for your guest blogger
This is not the type of bio photo you would want!
  




Rule #4: Keep in touch

Request that your guest blogger subscribe to the comments on the post they write for your blog. This will let your readers ask questions regarding the post and receive expert advice from the blogger in return. This enhances not only the relationship between the readers and the guest blogger, but also the interaction between your readers and your website. When a reader asks a question and they know they will get an answer, they are more likely to return.

Rule #5: Keep it real

Whenever possible, request that your bloggers cite references in their post. This increases the legitimacy of the post and will make your website stand out as a reliable source of accurate information.

Remember, your website is a representation of you and what you stand for. Your guest bloggers can make you look good or can detract from the quality reputation you have worked so hard to build.

Kate Supino is a professional freelance writer and small business owner who writes extensively about best business practices, such as using business accounting software.

All images courtesy of Photos.com

How important will semantic search be in 2014?

In the last quarter of 2013, Google introduced its new algorithm, Hummingbird, which focuses on semantic search. So what exactly is semantic search, and how important will it be during 2014?

Semantic search

Semantics is the study of meaning. It involves looking at the relationship between words and phrases and their specific meanings.

Semantic search incorporates the study and implementation of semantics in its search technology. So instead of treating each word individually, semantic search looks at the context of the query, as well as the relationship between the search terms. It also considers search location, intent, and considers variations of the words in the search phrase.

The introduction of semantic search into Google's Hummingbird algorithm is an attempt to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent, and refining the query so that search results are more personal, more engaging, and more interactive.

Content is king

The shift in search technology means that now, more than ever, content is king. So web publishers and SEOs will need to focus more of their attention on the content of a page, rather than just the keywords.

This doesn't mean that keywords are rendered useless however. Far from it. Keywords still matter as they help to determine the intent and location of a query. It simply means that Google can layer the SERPs according to where you live and who you are. Even the IP address of the query is considered.

Authorship

The importance of content is heightened by Google's use of author rank in determining its search engine results. Author rank is a ranking system that applies to content producers who use Google authorship. Essentially, the more an author writes on a specific subject, the higher their ranking, as they're considered an expert in their field. So a website with quality content, written by somebody with a high author ranking will naturally appear higher in the SERPs.

Conversational searches

The switch to Hummingbird means that conversational searches will now return a more accurate set of results for longer queries, because Google's search engine will look for sites that actually answer the query, rather than simply match the keywords. So if the user asks a simple question like, 'What is the best smartphone?' Google will focus its search on sites that specifically answer the question and have quality content.

The changes may mean that website owners need to think about switching anchor text to words that are more semantic. So 'pest control – act quickly' should become ‘purchase our pest control services today’.

Mobile searches

Finally, an increasing number of people own smartphones and tablets, with those numbers set to rise dramatically over the Christmas period. As well as your website's mobile performance affecting its SEO rankings, this will also affect the importance of semantic search. Practically speaking, this is to prepare search engines for the rise of voice search, which naturally is much more conversational.

Essentially, as we move into 2014, we will see popular semantic search pages, complete with quality content, high author rankings, and social media connections appearing higher in SERPs. While keywords will still matter, the importance of semantic search is set to rise.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Was the mission complete? What Mission Imblogable taught us in 2013

It's been another busy year at Mission Imblogable as we continued our mission to help you market your website better than your competitors.

Here's a quick précis of some of our most popular and best posts (if we say so ourselves) from 2013.

10 Tips for Using Twitter to Increase your Blog Traffic

Twitter is a powerful tool for business management, but you have to put in a little effort in order to increase your blog traffic. Tweeting on a daily basis, interacting, retweeting, using lists, hashtags, photos, and linking your Twitter feed to your blog are all excellent ways of increasing traffic. Once you've set up the initial structure, dedicating just a few minutes per day will see you reaping the rewards.

Blog Post Inspiration

A lack of inspiration can hit even the most prolific of bloggers, but fortunately there are several ways to kick-start your blogging brain. Embracing seasonal topics and taking inspiration from recent trends and the news can help you keep your blog bang on trend. Interviews are an excellent way to draw in a new crowd, as are reviews. And if all else fails, there's always lists – people do love them lists!

Blogging for Business

Business blogs are one of the best ways to connect with your customers, but starting can be a daunting prospect. The simple guidelines in this post include publishing regular content to help you rank highly in Google, and targeting a few niche keywords with each blog post to help the right people find you. Writing an informative and industry-specific article will provide you with the perfect link material, another Google-pleaser, and don't forget to use your blog to demonstrate the personality behind your business and build your reputation.

How to Write a Killer Headline

Headlines are essential – quite simply, they're what entice people to read your article – so you need to make them count. Numbers are a great way to catch people's attention as they indicate an easy-to-scan list is forthcoming, and using trigger words such as how and why shows that the reader will get value from the article. Interesting adjectives will make your headline stand out, and making the headline all about the reader will make it irresistible. As will an alluring promise. (Oh baby.)

How to Choose the Right Colours for your Website

Colours are a powerful tool in website design, as they can evoke emotion. And emotion sells. But which colours are a good match for your brand? Red indicates passion and aggression, great for sexy, empowered brands, whereas yellow denotes happiness and optimism - a perfect choice if you want to portray yourself as a fun, friendly brand. Earthy, peaceful green is the perfect match for ethical, green brands, and blue is the colour for serious business. Pink is a girly colour for feminine brands, and purple is the colour of indulgence.

Google Author Rank

A hot topic in 2013, Google Authorship and Google Author Rank highlight Google's determination to cut out bland, irrelevant content online and deliver a better service to its users. Authorship allows writers to link their Google+ profiles to their articles, so that Author Rank, an algorithm, can rank that content. Writers can build up their authority as experts in their field by building a presence, guest blogging, and encouraging engagement with their readers.

With so much helpful, quality content published this year, you can expect more fabulously helpful and entertaining reads from Mission Imblogable in 2014. Promise.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Still think social media is a fad?



Do you think social media is just a passing fad? How many of you communicate to a friend, family or client for business through a social network? Many people, including businesses, have questioned whether or not social media is a long term shift, whereas others believe it is a fundamental change in the way we communicate. Check out this infographic which looks at the ways in which social media is here to stay!

Still think Social Media is a Fad?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Blogging for business

Blogging for business
Blogging for business
There have been countless debates over whether your business website should have a blog. But let's face it – it's not up for discussion. Your biz needs a blog.

Blogging is one of the best tools you have to connect with your customers. Businesses that blog attract 55 per cent more visitors to their websites. Which means more leads, and more sales. Capisce?

If you haven't started your business blog yet, pay attention:

Regular content

Publishing regular content helps drive more visitors to your website. Think about the number of pages on your website, and how frequently they're updated. It probably doesn't amount to much, right?

But each time you add a blog post, you're adding one more indexed page (aka Magical Google Juice) to your site. Which sends a message to Google that your website is active and is frequently updated. And Google loves fresh content.

This means one more opportunity for people – potential customers – to find you.

Keyword focus

Each time you blog, you have a fresh SEO opportunity. People search for all kinds of random stuff online, but if you target a few niche keyword phrases with each blog post, there's a better chance you'll attract relevant prospects. (And we like relevant prospects, don't we?)

Targeting keyword phrases is one more cue to Google that you're worth checking out, because it loves relevant content as much as it loves the fresh stuff.

Link building

Let's be honest: not many bloggers will want to include links to your products and services page – it isn't really the done thing. But by writing an informative and interesting blog post that's specific to your industry, yet not especially business or sales focused, you're providing the perfect link material.

Google likes that too, because the more links you have, the more authority you have, which also helps you climb those search engine rankings.

Brand building

Maintaining a business blog also helps to build your brand and establish your authority. It creates a place for you to discuss new products and services, and comment on timely news or market trends. This gives you a prime opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your field, and is the perfect way to give your brand a voice, by letting your personality shine through and showing people who you are and what's important to you.

Examples of excellent business blogs

Now that you're convinced business blogging is the way forward (right?), here are some examples of blogs that have got it right:

Copyblogger – Copyblogger is an enormous site, with a wealth of information about online marketing. It's managed to create a loyal following, ensuring that any new information will quickly spread. It's also the perfect way to plug its software, which helps put its advice into practice.

Ecoki – Ecoki offers a wide range of articles dedicated to ecological living. It looks stylish and professional, and appears so dedicated to sharing news about green living that its products seem to be merely a sideline.

Nuts About Southwest – Southwest Airline's blog is one of the most popular airline blogs around. It's designed to build a rapport between the company and their customers, and its key to success is understanding the needs and interests of its loyal fan base.

Today the internet is crowded with business websites. Blogging on a regular basis will help you stand out from the crowd, attract more visitors, establish your brand, and encourage a deeper connection with your audience. Yay blogging!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

New client work: website for Eden Harper

Here at Mission Imblogable we are very proud to announce the launch of a new website designed and built by our sister company Property Division. The site is for Eden Harper, South West London estate agents with offices in Brixton and Battersea.

Eden Harper wanted a clean and clear site that their customers could use easily.  They wanted to use the colours from their logo as well as range of their lovely images of the two iconic areas they work in.

Property Division have given them does everything they wanted…..and more.



The site is responsive, so if you’re viewing it on a mobile, tablet or smaller screen than normal your user experience won’t be hampered – you’ll see menus and images that fit your device.

There’s an integrated locrating school search so that when you click on a property for sale you can check out schools in the area.

There’s a blog module so Eden Harper can create lots of lovely content about the areas they cover and the property market.

People say great things about the Eden Harper team and the service they offer, so there’s an integrated testimonials page and rotating testimonials appear on each page of the site.

The site shows off the properties they have for sale or rent, allowing users to tailor search to their requirements.


All in all it’s a website to be proud of for this independent estate agent, going from strength to strength in areas they know and love.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Silver Award at the Negotiator Awards 2013

The Negotiator Awards Silver

We are delighted to announce that Art Division scooped a Silver Award for Supplier of the Year (Technology) at the Negotiator Awards 2013. The property market is key to what Art Division do and we’ve been nurturing our relationships with our clients in the sector for years. So it’s fantastic to get some recognition at a prestigious event like this.

We've even developed our own sister brand, Property Division, to really engage with new clients in the property market.

The ceremony took place at the Hilton. What a lovely night, with some of the best steak we’ve ever tasted, and more estate agents than we’ve ever seen in a room together before!  
Hugh Dennis had us all entertained with his patter for the evening, thoroughly telling off naughty Grant Leonard for being late. We loved seeing the team pictures of all the nominees circulating on the screens as well. Here's our team picture:


Art Division team


We saw our friends from Paramount Property (up for 2 awards), the lovely guys from Agency Express and of course the fabulous HomeExperts Twickenham.  Well done to everyone and we hope you enjoyed the night as much as we did.

Congratulations to the many other winners on the night – we look forward to working with more of you in the future.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

What does Google Hummingbird mean for SEO?

Google announced an entirely new algorithm for its search engine at the end of September, which had already been in use for a month or so. It's called Hummingbird. Because, you know, hummingbirds are fast and precise, and so is this new algorithm. We see what you did there, Googz.

While Google has incorporated many updates and enhancements over the years, including Caffeine, Penguin and Panda, this is the first completely new algorithm since 2001. Said to affect 90% of all searches, what does Google Hummingbird mean for SEO?

While full details of the algorithm are still unclear, here's what we know so far.

What is Hummingbird?

'Search algorithm' is the term for the method Google uses to search through the billions of web pages to produce the most accurate answers for users of its search engine.

While Hummingbird incorporates some elements of the old algorithm, including the Penguin and Panda updates, it's a completely new algorithm. It's designed to work better for the sort of technologies most of us are using today, with the aim of providing a more intelligent understanding of search requests. Fancy.

How does it work?

Traditionally, the search results generated were based on the matching combination of key words a search phrase contained. With the internet expanding rapidly, this meant we had to conduct multiple searches to find what we were looking for. Which was frustrating and time-consuming.

Hummingbird looks at the full meaning of search phrases, including question words, such as why, how and where. The goal is that instead of producing a list of pages with matching words, it will be looking at the meaning of the entire sentence or question, in the hope of producing more accurate results.

Why do we need it?

Part of the reason for this change is that an increasing number of people are using mobile or voice searches. Voice searches in particular use natural language rather than a list of words.

Therefore the future of searching is likely to be a more conversational search, or 'hot wording' as Google likes to call it. This will naturally lead to longer and more complex searches, which Hummingbird will be able to cope with much better than the old search algorithm.

What does this mean for SEO?

Google has announced that the guidance remains the same for SEO and content marketers: the emphasis is still on high-quality, original content. The difference is purely in the way that Hummingbird processes the information.

The introduction of Hummingbird should create a fairer playing field for website publishers who concentrate on long-tail keywords. With the large companies and brands dominating certain keywords, the semantic search results may enable small niche websites to achieve a higher ranking for longer, more complex phrases.

It's also clear that Google is looking for relevant, trusted content. In addition to looking at links from reputable websites and social networks, claiming authorship by linking content to your Google+ profile means you will rate higher in the rankings once you've established your authority on a certain subject.

While the full implications of Hummingbird are still unknown, it's hoped we'll see faster and more precise results, focusing on user intent rather than individual search terms. Yay!

Image credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

25 best call-to-actions to use on your own blog

There are countless blogs online, and if yours is one of them, you need to ensure that your readers don't just passively lurk - especially if you are promoting products, services, or content. How, then, can you get readers to take action rather than read and simply click away? Ask them to take action in a direct way.

Such statements are known as call-to-actions, and they can make the difference between having a blog that is dull and lifeless versus one teeming with comments and activity. After all, if you are going to attract more readers and blog subscribers, you have to demonstrate that your blog is full of life and that people are engaged with the content you provide.

Here are some examples of successful call-to-actions you can incorporate on your own blog to increase sales or encourage specific interaction.


 Make your blog stand out by requiring your readers to take decisive and specific action. Photo credit: Sxc.hu user Svilen001 


Link Text in Your Blog Post 

One call-to-action you can use is linking specific text in your blog post and then asking readers to click on that link. For instance, if you are petitioning for action and you want people to fill out a petition, you would simply put "click here to sign the petition." The direction is clear, concise, and it only takes a moment for readers to follow your instructions.

An example of this tactic can be found on the page for HM Government.

Use any of these sample phrases to encourage visitors to click on text:
  • Click here to read more
  • Want to know more? Click here!
  • Follow this link to sign the petition now
  • Grab more information by clicking here
  • Select this link to get additional info

 

Ask Readers to Download

Another call-to-action that will get your readers' attentions is if you use free downloads bonuses on your blog. Free downloads will keep readers coming back if you offer them on a regular basis. Try these persuasive phrases to grab their interest and make them follow through:
  • Click here to download this report!
  • Click this link to download your free ebook
  • Enter your email address here to begin your download
  • Download our free and exclusive report today!
  • Sign up here to immediately download our award-winning white paper on sales! 

Enter This Contest

Readers love to enter contests for the fun of it, and to see how skilled they can be at a task. Contests can be a fun vehicle to use on your blog, and you're likely to get a decent amount of participation - especially if you urge not by asking, but by telling them to enter the contest. There are plenty of contests to try, from design to writing contests, so develop a contest that fits your blog's personality. To encourage readers through a call to action, use one of these phrases:

  • Hurry! Enter our contest today!
  • Click here to enter our contest
  • Want to be a winner? Enter our contest!
  • You can't win if you don't enter; sign up here!
  • Here's your chance to win a contest prize! 

Start Your Free Trial

People love free stuff, but sometimes it still takes a push like a free trial to get them to try something new. There usually is a bit of hesitation, though, because people realize a free trial means that after the trail period, they will be charged for the next installment. However, if they get a free trial and enjoy the product, they will more than likely continue to be a customer. Phrase your call-to-actions so visitors will immediately respond. Here are some examples:

  • Begin your FREE software trial today!
  • Start your free magazine subscription NOW
  • Launch your free white paper subscription right now!
  • Get your free DVD trial with one click
  • Enter your email address to begin your free product trial today! 


Encouraging readers to request product samples is a great way to get them engaged with your blog.
Photo credit: Sxc.hu user kix


Grab a Product Sample

Samples can eventually make samplers into lifelong customers. The sample can be a physical product or, perhaps, a virtual download of an application. It could also be an ebook or a sample white paper report. Here are some phrases to use for this particular call-to-action:

  • Grab your free sample
  • Try a sample of our product now
  • Get your free sample today!
  • Download a free sample of our software
  • Snag a free sample on us!
With as many call-to-actions available for use, there's no reason why you can't mix things up a bit. Be sure to try various ones to see which will get your business the best results overall. The main idea is to attract the reader's attention and then to compel them to taking action.

Contributor: Bev Sninchak is a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for print and online publications. She writes about many subjects, from managing online reputation to sharing the latest blogging tips.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Google Author Rank – what is it and how do I get mine sorted?

Google Author Rank is the hot topic in internet marketing and SEO for 2013. Oh baby. But weirdly, not many small businesses know what it is, let alone the impact it can have on their websites.

So what exactly is Google Author Rank, and how can online businesses stay ahead of the game?

What is Google Author Rank?

If you want to understand Google Author Rank, you need to have an understanding of the concept of Google Authorship, because the two are inextricably linked.

Chances are you've seen Google Authorship in action without realising. Honest. Just run a search on Google and some of the results will have a picture of the author, along with a short biography and links to their other online work. Studies show people are more likely to click on those results because they stand out. In fact some companies have seen a 150% increase in click-throughs since it was implemented. Which is a pretty damn impressive number, isn't it? One hundred and fifty percent, mmm.


Authorship allows online writers to link their Google+ profile pages to articles they've written and published online. The quality of that content is then ranked using an algorithm called Author Rank. Say you've written a bunch of top notch articles about buying property in Spain and those articles have been liked and shared a lot – then you will be viewed as an expert on that subject, so any subsequent articles you write will be ranked higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Authorship and Author Rank highlight Google's determination to cull the amount of bland, irrelevant content online, and deliver a better experience – more quality content – for its users.

How do I establish my Google Author Rank?

The first step to building up your Author Rank is to verify yourself as an author and link your content to your Google+ account. Make sure you add a good photo – head shots are best – and a biography, as well as links to any online work.

The next step is to start building up a presence. It goes without saying that the more content you claim with Google Authorship, the more visible you will be in the SERPs. But it shouldn't be any old content – it needs to be quality content. This will give your business an extra layer of credibility, as potential customers will be able to track your expertise in a specific area.

Author Rank is also linked to the Page Rank your writing features on – so writing guest blogs for other high-
ranking websites is a great tactic to build your ranking, as long as you ensure the content is linked back to your Google+ account.

Other factors to help you climb those all-important ratings are the number of +1s you receive, which act as a vote of confidence for your writing, and the amount of times each piece of writing is shared within your Google+ communities and other social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The amount of Google+ communities you're involved in will also affect your rankings, because the more involved you are, the more authority you're seen to have.

Finally, the amount of onsite engagement you have with your readers counts, so ask your readers a question and make damn sure you respond to any comments they make.

Follow these simple tips and you can work your own Google Authorship magic and stay ahead of the competition.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Why switch your website to responsive design?

Here's a serious question to ask yourself... is your website optimised for mobile? If not, WHY? We are big fans of responsive design here at Mission Imblogable!

Mobile and tablet usage is on the increase and this is only set to continue. Do you want your visitors to see your site looking its best regardless of whether they are using their phone or their computer?

Just in case you're still not convinced, here's a handy infographic to show you what we are on about!

What Is Responsive Web Design

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Merton Chamber Awards

OK folks we're announcing something. Put down that spreadsheet, stop whispering at the back, pause the old Candy Crush for just a second.....

We are thrilled to say that Art Division won runner up for Raynes Park Business of the Year last night at the Merton Chamber of Commerce Awards! Well done to all the team for their hard work and commitment over what has been a difficult economic year for many businesses out there.

We attended the ceremony at the lovely All England Tennis Club and had a great chance to catch up with other local businesses, friends and clients.

Nelly and Allen with the award
The Merton Awards give credit to local businesses in the Wimbledon area, and the chamber itself is a brilliant way to network with with local business community. Congratulations to all the winners, and we hope you enjoyed the night as much as we did.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Inspiring design quotes

Stuck with a brief, or feedback from a client that is hard to act on? Whether you are designing a website, a logo or trying to come up with next week's blog post, there's something here for you to use as inspiration.

15 Inspiring Design Quotes
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Art Division shortlisted for top agency award!

We at Art Division are delighted to announce that we've been shortlisted for the Supplier of the Year (Technology) category by The Negotiator Magazine! Established in 1984, the publication provides agents with a range of information to help them stay on top of what's happening in their sector. Excitingly, every year The Negotiator holds The Negotiator Awards, a plush five star event that celebrates the best in the residential property industry. Across the UK, agents enter hoping to succeed in what's become known as the Oscars of Agency.

 

Results

We feel privileged that our hard work and efforts have been recognised - we pride ourselves in our efforts to deliver the best quality of work to our clients. From web design; to online marketing; to social media services; we ensure we're at the cutting edge of developing technology and tools.

So onwards and upwards! The awards are being held on the 5th of November at the London Hilton on Park Lane and will be hosted by Hugh Dennis, star of TV's Outnumbered and Mock The Week. All in all we're thoroughly looking forward to it!

Friends

There's more to report about the awards: we have some congratulations to pass on. Our friends at Paramount Properties in North West London have been shortlisted in no less than 2 categories: Marketing Team of the Year, and Property Manager of the Year. Go Paramount!

Other friends and fellow property market bloggers we'd like to say well done to are Agency Express, nominated for Supplier of the Year (Products). We've been exchanging blog content with those guys from our specialist property blog Addicted to Property so it's great to see them on the list too.

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