Apr 24

Content is King

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The phrase, Content is King, can be interpreted to mean that original and interesting content through any media venture is the most important part of its success, regardless of other factors. Content is at the heart of today’s marketing strategies. Many businesses use websites and blogs to demonstrate their own knowledge and expertise. Text content is particularly important for search engine optimization. Without original text content, most search engines will be unable to match keywords that your customers search for to your site.

Bill Gates first referenced the term “Content is King” back in 1996 when Advertising with the Internet was just beginning. In his article he says, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting,” and “Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products-a marketplace of content.”

The term “Content is King” has evolved and has different meaning in today’s society. The Internet is a part of most people’s everyday life. It is where they keep in touch with loved one’s, research products, purchase products, and the list goes on and on. The Internet has become an important channel for Businesses to get their Brand exposed. However, the game has changed on how businesses go about getting exposed. SEO and Content are big considerations. It seems to be that a business’s goal is not to promote themselves but their thinking; our website is not a sales tool but an educational one. They realize that the main goal of their site is to build relationships and trust. Not to promote their products. You may be wondering “Why did this change?” or “How can I benefit from the change?”

Over the past 10 years, the Internet has changed how consumers review and buy products and services. It used to require a potential customer to pick up a phone and call you to inquire about your products or services. In today’s world, the Internet is typically the first channel that consumers will go to. They will use Google, find your website, and expect to find all of the information they need right there at their fingertips. This content needs to also be current, interactive, and valuable.

Consumers are more in control today than they have been before due to the internet and the transparency it offers. The information you provide about your company should be clear, concise, accurate, and all encompassing. By all encompassing, we mean that it needs to answer all of their questions and also provide real value to your customer base.

A few ways to keep your customer base’s interest peaked is to give them tips on how to achieve success, answer their problems, show them best practices, have customers give testimonials about how you have helped them, etc. This will turn you into a trustworthy partner instead of just another company trying to sell them something. Content Marketing is a win-win situation. Your potential clients get the information they desire and you get to demonstrate your expertise and build trust with your customer base. This approach is customer-centered. Create content that is genuinely useful to your customers and set yourself apart.

Creating and keeping content current takes time and effort. You need to have an understanding of your target customer base to know their needs and find out how you can make content that is valuable to them. Content Marketing may not be easy but it is becoming more and more necessary to being successful in today’s Internet driven world.

 

content

 

Apr 22
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Search Engine optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO, is not an easy concept to grasp a hold of and implement. Google has a thirty two page Beginner’s Guide to SEO, and that is just scratching the surface. A person could do research for days on Search Engine Optimization and still not be an “expert” on the subject. However, not many people have the time to research that extensively. This post was written in hopes of giving beginners out there a basic overview, and to highlight key points that will help beginners with their Search Engine Optimization campaign in order to get their website to the TOP!

Search Engine Optimization: Getting your website to the TOP!

The most basic definition of SEO means finding ways to increase your site’s appearance in web visitors’ search results. This in turn should generate more traffic to your site. Basic search engine optimization is essential to help position your website properly to be found when current or potential consumers search for you site. So, what are search engines looking for? Below are a few things to keep in mind when trying to increase your search engine optimization.

Keywords

Keyword Optimization is the art of choosing the best keywords to drive qualified traffic to your website from search engines. You should be conscious of placing appropriate keywords throughout every aspect of your site including your titles, content, URLs, and image names. The title tag and page header are the two most important spots to put keywords. However, putting ridiculous amounts of keywords on your site will get you labeled as a spammer. Search engines have what they call a spider, which is a piece of software that follows links throughout the internet, reads the content, and reports back to the search engine. The spiders know to ignore sites that are stuffed with keywords. This could end up hurting your site instead of helping it.

Some other things to keep in mind regarding keywords:

  • You want to make sure you are driving qualified searchers to your site. This means you need to determine and use the keywords that your consumers will be searching for.
  • Analyzing the keywords you use to determine which ones are used the most and adjust accordingly.
  • Including these keywords in Content that you write, can connect you with potential customers.
  • By analyzing the words that your customers use, you can get a better idea of their needs and what words they associate your company with.

Content

Your content needs to be current, updated regularly, and original. All of these things also help increase your traffic.

The best sites are designed with the end users in mind.  The site needs to be appealing to them and user-friendly. A great way to keep up to date information is to start a blog and connect the blog with all of your other online sites.

Another thing to keep in mind with content is that you do not want to try to trick or deceive the spiders that will be crawling the sites. Some examples of this are overuse of keywords, purchased links, poor user experience (make it user friendly!).

Optimize for All Channels

The keyword strategy is very important and should not only be implemented on your website, but it should extend to any other supporting sites you have. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • Instagram

Being consistent with keyword phrases across all of these platforms will not only help your branding efforts, but it will also help end users recognize and search for keywords that you place throughout the sites.

Domain Names

Domain naming is important to the overall foundation of your brand and SEO. It is better to use sub-directory root domains instead of sub-domains. An example of a sub-domain would be about.example.com. A sub-directory root example would be www.example.com/about. A few other things to keep in mind for domain names:

  • Consistent Domains: Not every consumer will type in your webpage exactly as it is meant to be typed in. A lot of people tend to leave out the “www” part. Therefore, you need to make sure that however they type in the domain name, it directs them to your website. If they drop off the “www” and it brings them somewhere differently, then the search engine is seeing two different sites. This isn’t effective for your overall SEO efforts, as it will dilute your inbound links.
  • Old domains are better than new ones. It is best to keep your domain name even if you change your website. Also, the longer a domain has been around, the better. However, be cautious if purchasing old domains. Make sure the old domain did not have a negative relationship with the search engines, which could in turn affect you when you assume their domain name.

Meta Data

A Meta Tag is an HTML tag that provides information about a webpage. It is located in the “head” of your web pages. They provide information such as who created the page, how often it is updated, what the page is about, and which keywords represent the page’s content. These HTML tags give search engines, such as Google, meta data to help provide the best search experience for the user. For this reason, meta tags are important for Google SEO.

Monitor

You won’t know if your SEO efforts are working unless you monitor your search standings. You can use a free site such as Google analytics to track where your customers are coming from, how they are finding you, etc.  You need to measure, benchmark, and implement change (if necessary) to remain on TOP.

Link back to your webpage

The most basic strategy with SEO is to always link back to yourself. This means that all of your internal links should link back to your site.

You should make it standard to link back to your archives when creating new content.  This should be used across all channels, as mentioned earlier. The more often relevant keywords point to your page, the more likely that page is to appear in search results when users search with those keywords.

Sitemap

Adding a site map, which is a page listing and linking to all the other major pages on your site, it makes easier for spiders to search your site.

The fewer clicks necessary to get to a page on your website, the better. You should try to make every page on your website accessible in a click or two.

Image descriptions

Most people love visuals and use them within their websites. It makes them more aesthetically pleasing and enhances the site. When it comes to SEO though, spiders can only search text, not images. The visible text around your image is very valuable for SEO. Use descriptive text and captions under or near pictures.

Another way to use images to add to your SEO value involves using the ALT attribute. Adding an”ALT” tag to images it allows you to include a keyword-rich description. This can be used on all of the images on your site.

Again, keep in mind that this is just a beginner’s guide. There are many ways to help your Search Engine Optimization. The algorithm that search engines such as Google use to determine your ranking continue to change, so this is a topic you should continue to read up on and make sure that you are updating your website accordingly. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of in depth, free materials around Search Engine Optimization out there, but keep checking back with us as we plan to write more in depth about this topic in the future!

 

Apr 18

BMT Micro, Inc.

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 1

BMT Micro, Inc.

BMT Micro, known as BMT by our customers, has been providing turnkey ecommerce solutions since 1992. If you require a reliable, cost-effective solution that is flexible enough to meet your needs now and well into the future, look no further.

Our services can be scaled to provide online sales and digital delivery systems for developers and companies of all sizes. We work with both individual developers and corporations, with the goal of providing exceptional service to all of our clients.

Welcome to our Blog!  Feel free to stop by and catch up on new updates, Marketing “Tips & Tricks”, and much more!

Apr 17

The Heartbleed Bug

Posted by BMT Micro

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There has been a lot of talk over the past week or so around the Heartbleed bug. Heartbleed is a security vulnerability that was recently discovered in the heartbeat extension of OpenSSL. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a commonly-used protocol for managing the security of a message transmission on the Internet.

Heartbleed Bug

Rest assured, the heartbeat extension was never installed on our servers. BMT Micro only installs/utilizes features that are necessary for the secure function of our proprietary ecommerce system.

Although our servers were not affected, we are continuing to monitor the Heartbleed bug situation.

The Heartbleed bug is not malware or a computer virus.  It is a vulnerability caused by a simple programming error, a true bug in the program.  It is not known to have been exploited by any hackers prior to the error being discovered by a Finnish security firm.

Here is a comic by XKCD that explains the bug well:

http://xkcd.com/1354/

As with many vulnerabilities, the danger comes after the bug is exposed. Now hackers have a new toy to play with. Although changing passwords on vulnerable servers is good advice, if the servers have not been fixed yet the hackers will get your new passwords soon. There is a site, https://ssltools.thawte.com/checker/views/certCheck.jsp, that will check the security certificate and let you know if that secure site is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.

After new vulnerabilities came to light on Friday the 11th, many sites are expected to revoke their security certificate and have new ones issued.  Since many browsers retrieve a list of revoked certificates in the verification process of  the current certificate being presented, display delays may be experienced by some customers.

If any new, pertinent information comes to light we will make sure to update our Blog and Facebook page, so feel free to continue to check back in!

Apr 11
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Getting a Startup Company off the ground and running can be an arduous task, with no specific recipe for success.  However, many startups become successful everyday!  This post will focus on affordable and simple ways that can help startups gain recognition through Marketing. Believe it or not, Marketing your company can be a very low cost and effective way to reach consumers and build brand recognition.

Sometimes Marketing efforts may be pushed to the back burner due to lack of resources, lack of knowledge, or lack of money. However, if you focus on a few affordable and less time consuming ways to Market your new company, it can go a long way. The five Marketing Tips that are elaborated on below can be done with fewer resources and little to no money.

Marketing Tips for Startup Companies

5 Marketing Tips:

  1. Focus on your Target Market
  • A Target Market is a group of customers that a business has decided to aim its marketing efforts towards. Focusing on a specific Target Market, as opposed to everyone, is very important for a startup company. Obviously, you will not turn customers away, but you will be more successful if you market to the consumers that are more inclined to buy your product or service. The product or service you are selling may be amazing, but that does not mean that it is a great product or service for everyone. One important piece of the Marketing puzzle is to choose your audience and tailor all of your marketing materials, channels, and messages to their liking. An important thing to consider when targeting a certain Market is to think about the Demographics of the Market and channels that they like to communicate through. Gen-Y consumers, for example, will not want to be called on the telephone. So once you have your product or service in place and ready to go, take a hard look and decide who is most likely to want what you’re selling and Market to them.
  1. Leverage Social Media
  • One of the easiest and most affordable ways to market your startup is through social media. There are still important things to consider when using social media to market. It can be very positive for your business, but it could also hurt you if it is not done right. You want to make sure you are posting regularly, responding in a timely manner to customers, and engaging everyone who is following you. The information you post should be helpful to your followers, interesting or both. Therefore, it is important to know who your target market is and post materials that will help them in their endeavors or peak their interest.
  1. Incentivize people to share
  • Most of the content you share through social media or email will not be shared by your customers. However, getting your customers to share your content can be very beneficial. It is not that most of them are against sharing, they just may not think of it or take the time to stop and do it. Also, how many of your customers are actually seeing the content you publish? This is why sharing can be so important. The way to get customers to share the information is to incentivize them. One example of this may be to give a discount or some type of financial incentive if you get “X number of likes”.  A few other examples would be to give people who share your information something exclusive or recognize and reward super fans.
  1. Efficient Email Marketing
  • Email is a very affordable and convenient way to reach consumers. However, many companies have realized that this is a way to market all of their sales specials or promotions.  Therefore, people can be flooded with 20-30 Marketing emails a day from companies that they have purchased from in the past. The intended reader now has a few options.  They can read the email, ignore the email, or unsubscribe from a particular vendor due to lack of interest.  E-mails have no impact if they are never read by the intended reader.  The good news is that there are ways to increase your chances of having your emails read. By following a few guidelines, you can increase the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing.  E-mail Marketing can be effective and has little to no cost when it is done correctly. A few basic guidelines that you should follow are that you do not want to send too many emails (or they will be ignored), the email should have good content that the customer will benefit from, and make sure to stay focused on your target audience when deciding on the content and design. Successful email marketing can do great things for your startup, if you follow the guidelines suggested above.
  1. Develop Branded Content – Blogs, Articles, White Papers.
  • This may not happen right when you open your doors, but it is a great way to get noticed by your industry and to be considered an “expert”. Branded content should not be promotional in any way. It should be unique and original content that you are going to share. Try to share a ‘Tip of the Week’ post or ‘How To’ articles as often as possible. You want to set yourself a part from the competition by showing that you are knowledgeable about the Industry and that you have a quality brand.

The tips listed above will help your startup begin to get recognized through affordable channels. However, do not forget that you should always be Marketing.   Believe in your company! You need to be selling the message 24/7 to anyone who might be or know a good customer because you never know where your next big lead may come from!