Who is the Content Guru?

Who am I? Why is this blog here?

I am the content guru! In 2003 I found myself in one of those crossroads of life. The result is that I decided to change my profession (I was no longer interested in designing seamless underwear...) and so I started writing about everything ever since.

I have been writing web content and growing my new career along with the field of web marketing. What used to be an esoteric side kick is now a full blown market, that calls for high quality content among the many mediocre writings and digital scribbles of the masses. After 10 years of writing for others and two years of writing for the benefit of my CPU alone (the digital equivalent of a drawer), I have decided to share my experience and to start posting for myself.

Content about anything and everything is what you will find here - all written be moi! No automatic generators! So feel free to read and enjoy. and if you would like me to write up some web content for you, feel free to ask...


Friday, March 11, 2022

Chatbot Software 101: The Ultimate Guide to Automating Your Sales, Marketing, and Customer Care in 2022.

Visit almost any website today and you will see a small “pop-up” item, usually on the bottom right, and it will appear to be “talking” to you! This is called a chatbot software.  These little widgets are actually very convenient devices for communicating with your customers, especially about commonly asked questions. Visit almost any website today and you will see a small “pop-up” item, usually on the bottom right, and it will appear to be “talking” to you! This is called a chatbot software.  These little widgets are actually very convenient devices for communicating with your customers, especially about commonly asked questions.

Does your business need a chatbot? Is your business ready for this leap into purely digital communication? Which features will be best for your business? These questions and more will be answered by this article.  When you finish reading this you will be able to understand what a chatbot is. Acronyms such as AI, ML, NLP, and UX won’t be “all Greek” to you!

this is a chatbot software
First, What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot enables people to interact with an app, a messaging platform, or a website in a conversational manner. Essentially chatbot software “chats” with the user, hence, the name “chatbot”. Often, a chatbot will be the first contact a customer has with a business, whether in sales, customer support, marketing, and more. Chatbots can also be used for internal communication systems and operations.
A business which uses a chatbot for communication with either customers or between employees controls how the chatbot interacts.  In more technical terms, chatbots function on the basis of already scripted conversation, utilizing language recognition (both written and spoken), Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, and Machine Learning (ML), to emulate human conversations, and to perform various transactions. Chatbots improve your user’s experience.

Rather than taking up your sales and support staff time with answering commonly asked questions, a chatbot can be enabled to provide these answers.  The bottom line is this:  chatbot software saves time and money for your company, without sacrificing customer contact.
Still not sure if your business needs a chatbot? Read on…

A chatbot talks to you
What Type of Business Does NOT Need a Chatbot?

ALL businesses need a chatbot! According to Statista, over 2.14 billion people purchased goods and services online in 2021.  Oftentimes, these customers want an immediate response to questions. They have become used to getting everything with the click of a button! This is when a chatbot comes in handy.
Smaller business can begin with a free chatbot builder or open-source chatbot software. As the business grows, a paid chatbot solution becomes more relevant.

chatbot statistics

Who Uses a Chatbot?

Any business looking to increase profits needs to offer multiple digital communications avenues with customers.  Chatbots are an excellent tool and can be used for:
• Human resources
• Recruitment
• Sales
• Marketing
• Support
• Customer care
As your business grows you want to make sure you never lose touch with your customers.

A chatbot can increase your availability
Chatbot benefits that will blow your mind

• never take days off
• do not experience “burn-out”
• do not become bored with their jobs
• do not require hiring more staff
• aid in customer retention
• help increase your revenues
• give you more data about your customers
• allow your employees to work more efficiently, also from home
• are excellent remote collaboration tools
• never miss a query
• can alert the relevant individual as needed
• create a speedy, flexible service
• allow more work to be done, with fewer errors, and less confusion

Are Your Customers Ready to use Chatbot Software?

Pretty much all your customers will enjoy the immediate gratification which chatbots offer.  Some, such as more elderly users who are not used to digital communications or very young whose language skills may still be lacking, may find using a chatbot more challenging.

Are Chatbots Illegal?

Let’s be clear:  CHATBOTS ARE LEGAL!

There are, however, regulations which work to minimize using chatbots for nefarious purposes. Additionally, chatbots can be limited by their scope of capabilities and which transactions they may undertake.

chatbot software levels

What is the Difference Between Chatbots, Virtual Assistants, and Virtual Agents?

Chatbots come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are simple, some more complex.
FAQ Chatbots are used to present relevant answers to commonly asked questions.
Virtual Assistants can answer questions, collect basic data and perform basic actions.
Virtual Agents can do all the above and also perform multiple and complex transactions.
AI Chatbots can make users feel like they are chatting with a real person. They do so by using voice and text recognition software with utilize Natural Language Processing (NLP).
Menu Chatbots offer questions with options to users, in the manner of a decision-tree, in order to lead the user to their desired destination or result.
Contextual or Rule-based Chatbots are based on logic, using predetermined business rules, processing queries in a conversational mode.  When combined with ML capabilities, improved responses are developed.
Keyword Recognition Chatbots will “listen” and respond according to NLP and AI principles.
Voice Bots can understand what you say and may even talk back to you!
Hybrid Chatbots use a mix of AI and rule based functions.

Chatbot platforms are intelligent conversational interfaces. This does not mean they think for themselves.  They are programmed with built-in templates and scenarios representing the most common questions, tasks, and transactions.  Are you confused?  Is this too much “tech-jargon”?  Read on and discover more…

AI chatbots
What Makes (or Breaks) Good Chatbot Software?

What do you need to consider when choosing chatbot software?

• Budget
• Necessary functions
• Scale of your business
• Your existing infrastructure
• Security compliance of your industry

Bear in mind, you can always scale up.  Address your key concerns first.  Setting up a chatbot should be both intuitive and easy!

Here are some key features to look for:

Drag and Drop Chatbot Builder - Use it to build your decision-tree, define rules and functions, and create scripted responses. No coding required.
Flows, Templates, and Users - Procedure flows and templates allow you to set up your chatbot according to your industry, and the learned processes from chatbot setups already executed by the chatbot vendor.
Facebook Chatbot Software Integration (also with other channels and systems) – Your chatbot should integrate with Facebook messenger and Instagram DM, as well as other popular website content management systems (CMS). Integrating with popular apps increases your availability to your customers.  This requires API integration, diverse cloud use, and security functions.

chatbots integrate with social media and popular apps
Security – Due to chatbot software being cloud-based in many cases, there is the risk for cyber-attacks. With increasing numbers of home-based workers, remote connectivity is important.  Security, identification, and access becomes more complex.  Privacy regulations, such as GDPR must be considered.  There are also some industy-based security concerns requiring compliance.
Chatbot Personalization – You will want your chatbot to seem as “human-like” as possible.  Look for conversational ability, and options to customize and brand your chatbot.
Easy to Use - A chatbot should be easy to use for your customers, for your support employees, and your IT team.  Look for an intuitive user interface (and if possible coding–free) for all users of the software.
The Human Handoff – A seamless interaction between the chatbot, your customers, and any personnel should be expected.
Reporting and Analytics - At the end of the day, you not only want to have succeeded in your interactions with your customers, but you also want to have gained information about them.  Look for a good reporting tool and check if the chatbot can interface your database.

So now that you have your chatbot platform set up, how will it make you money?

In the Words of Jerry Maguire “Show Me the Money!” (#1)

Is a free trial a good idea?

YES! Using free chatbot software, free plans, or free trials, is a great way to start using and gaining experience with a chatbot. However, that free software is typically limited in the number of users or in functionality. As your business grows, you may want to switch to a paid option, which may be via monthly subscription plan or based on the number of users. Such a plan can allow you to grow your chatbot usage gradually.

The Link Between Scope and Price

Larger companies may have their own in-house IT staff, larger budget, and more complex needs, along with greater integration with their existing IT and website infrastructure.  They may also have a larger number of employees and more customers, which are perhaps located internationally.

Smaller businesses do not have in-house IT staff or large budgets. They may also have simpler needs.  Cloud-based chatbots with scripted templates and a chatbot builder which requires little, or no coding are appropriate for their needs.  As they grow, they can add IT staff as needed, and add more functionality to the chatbot.

In the Words of Jerry Maguire “Show Me the Money!” (#2)

How chatbots make your business money?

Four Ways that Chatbots Can Help Your Company Make Money

Quick Response

• Ensure customers receive appropriate responses
• Keep customers happy and loyal

Increased Revenue per User

• Present timely upsell opportunities to customers
• Increase customer engagement through proactive responses
• More conversions and sales through enhanced customer service

Improved Operational Efficiency

• Allow for increased efficiency via transaction guides
• Reduction of complaints and volume of support tickets
• Considerable savings in cost

Reduce Customer Churn

• Increase customer retention leading to savings and increased profits

Now, let’s check out which chatbots really stand out!

A Short Review of the 7 Best Chatbot Software options for 2022

According to Jared Cornell, in his blog about Chatbots Life published in June 2021

According to Jared Cornell, in his blog about Chatbots Life published in June 2021 “…chatbot builders must have smart functionalities and a zero or slight learning curve for effortless and efficient usage.”

Below is a list of chatbot examples that meet these conditions, and their main features.


Chatfuel chatbot software

An easy way to build a chatbot without coding. It is designed for improving marketing operations with social media integration, gaining, and storing customer contact data.

Key features:
• Official partner of Meta (formerly Facebook)
• Sends prospects from social media ads directly to your chatbot
• Cuts your cost per lead
• 24/7 response
• FAQ templates to resolve 80% of customer queries
• Drag and drop user interface

Free trial for one month, including 50 conversions. Paid plans start from $8.99/month and allow for more conversions (or users) with a reduced cost per conversion rate. All plans include a full-featured bot and support.


Manychat chatbot software

Built to enhance sales by engaging customers in Instagram and Facebook direct messaging tools. Conversation automation to drive more sales, and engage prospects.

Key features:
• Automated interactions: Instagram Direct Messages and Facebook Messenger
• Instant support and personalized conversations
• Visual drag and drop interface, no coding
• Captures contact data
• Complete funnel with SMS and email
• Connect to diverse tools; Shopify, Google Sheets, MailChimp, Klaviyo, HubSpot, Zapier and more

Free plan for up to 1000 users with limited channels and features. Pro plan for $15 per month.

Drift Chatbot 

Drift chatbot

For conversational marketing to engage customers, qualify leads, share content and schedule a meeting with sales. It’s all about the power of the right conversation at the right time, to personalize the customer experience.

Key features:
• Qualified leads handoff to sales reps (routing)
• Expedite your marketing ROI, get sales revenue faster
• Automated marketing pipeline
• Geo-targeting
• A/B testing
• Message customization

Drift has a free option and 3 paid main plans: Premium, Advanced and Enterprise. Each plan stacks more features on top of the previous one. Prices are not available online. All plans include onboarding and troubleshooting support. There is a special plan for startups and extra services for customization and AI.


Tidio chatbox software

Combines live chat and chatbots for enhanced customer relationships for better service and higher sales. It offers easy installation and integrates with many services and apps.

Key features:
• Live chat
• AI and templates for automating 40% of customer conversations
• Website visitor data collection
• Reduced cart abandonment by 60%
• Lead qualification
• Timely communication to customers on mobile, desktop and tablet

Free plan available. Trial period of 7 days. No credit card required to start. The paid plan starts from $15 per month for up to 40 operators. For $39 per month there are no limits on the number of active chatbots or visitors.


Ada chatbot software

Powers conversations between a brand and its customers. Serving innovative companies such as Zoom, Facebook and Shopify. It can integrate with Salesforce for enhanced operational efficiency.

Key features:
• Automated personalized customer experience
• Your brand is always available
• Proactive suggestions that drives results
• Beyond automated FAQs
• No coding
• Business- and developer-friendly support

Pricing plans are not provided online. You can request a demo.


MobileMonkey chatbot software

It calls itself the best chatbot, sales-automation text messaging platform. With a focus on mobile apps and social media integration, it helps businesses create a seamless customer experience, while cutting customer care costs.

Key features:
• Instagram DM approved, integrates with Facebook, SMS and website chats (WordPress plugin)
• Products design for industry silos; agencies, in-house marketers, companies
• 24/7 integrated chat automation, live chat support
• OmniChat® – patented chatbot marketing technology
• Multi-platform chatbot builder
• Unified chat inbox
• Money back guarantee (or get more leads)
• Data collection and segmentation
• Lead qualification and nurturing

A free trial is available. Price is available on call.


Liveperson chatbot

The world’s first AI-powered conversational cloud. Its live chat makes it easy for conversations to happen in the channels customers use every day. For marketing, sales and customer care.

Key features:
• Voice to messaging, live chat, automated chatbots
• Intent manager – discover and understand your customers in real-time
• Conversation builder – easily scale with intuitive point-to-click interface
• Conversation manager – engage with customers on desktop and mobile
• Conversation analytics – measure and optimize, gauge your chatbot ROI in real-time
• Integrated with SMS, websites, social media and third-party, including CRM
• Enterprise-grade security compliance

Prices not available online. You can request a demo.

Chatbot software 2022 snapshot

For easier decision-making, use the  table below for an “at-a-glance” review of chatbot features and prices:

Chatbot software comparison

 How to Select a Chatbot?

Which chatbot platform is best?

Many chatbot software option offer similar features. Everyone promises AI, increased conversions, and higher revenues. You now have a better understanding of the various capabilities offered, and the technologies behind them. Choose a chatbot based on your business needs, your budget, and on your experience with a potential supplier. Understand what you will get for your money. Remember, you can always scale up, so chatbot software with growth plans are an excellent starting point. From free to DYI to complex AI chatbots, the market has something for everyone.

This blog post was originally published on my blog. http://okrcontent.com/chatbot-software-101-ultimate-guide-2022/

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What is the connection between the Mondial (soccer world cup) and informative content?

It's Mondial time! the whole world is in football/soccer fever! And a great time to contemplate what success in this endeavor means. When it comes to such a prestigious competition, and in fact any high-level sports achievements, athletes prepare for years! Just like a good marketing content strategy - it's a marathon, not a sprint. They who invest and prepare, have a much better chance of winning. 

Informative content strategy  is a long-term effort

Countries invest in children, opening soccer schools and training kids over years to create the players of tomorrow. A targeted investment of funds over time enables football clubs to bring top professionals for their young teams, sponsor sports scholarships and develop game strategies that ensure an ongoing supply of top players.  The children of today are training to become the world soccer championship winners in ten year's time.

Content marketing done well is similar. Investing in blogging, videos, social media posts, presentations etc. and providing our target audience with professional information they need over time, helps create a reputation for yourself and your business. However, you need to realize that with informative content, you are in for the long haul. When you maintain a constant flow of published content in relevant channels, the results will remain for a long time.

There is no magic wand. no button to click that will magically bring you hundreds of leads. Achievements in sports and in a business call for hard work over time.

Great marketing content is a combined effort

Success in sports and in business depends on many people who work together. Winning the soccer world cup means not only did 11 players do their job on the green grass field, it means the coordinated efforts of many contributors have helped them succeed. Form the manager and trainer, to medical support, logistics and more.

In business, the combined efforts of all departments are what brings success. Great marketing is not a standalone achievement. It calls for a great sales team too.  What use are many leads of the deals are not closed? And it does not stop there. Closing the deal is worthless if the company cannot deliver.

For great informative content, you need a combined effort of a unicorn writer who is great at storytelling on the one hand with an engineer or product manager who is good at explaining the important principles and USP of the product. Only if the information flows within the company, or from the company to a contractor content writer, can the story come to light with the most advantageous angle.

It is like a good kick that brings the ball to the front of the field an enables players to kick a goal. Soccer is a game based on teamwork and cooperation. Only if the information is kicked forward to the right people, will the story come to life.

Focused messaging for optimal content value - the key is taking aim

If you want to remain in the awareness of your audience for a long time, you need to constantly remind them of your existence. But you cannot overdo it, be too pushy or too sale oriented. That is why informative content is such a powerful tool.

A soccer team can win the game only if scoring more goals than the opponent. For scoring, the kicker needs to take perfect aim, sending the ball past the goalkeeper with precision. Informative content also needs to be focused and targeted. The idea is to provide your target audience with extra value by making the exact information they need easy to access for them.

To top it off, clear and focused content needs to be distributed to a target audience using relevant channels at the right time. this precision of the entire content marketing chain is what will make the content strategy successful.

Working with the best - everybody wins!

Like the development of a winning soccer team and the maintenance of profitable club, a good content strategy takes many stages that need to be assembled like a puzzle and to work well together. Top soccer teams hire the most talented players and best trainers. You want to do the same.  At the start of your content marketing efforts is a unicorn content writer who quickly grasps your product or service and truly understands its value and client base. Do not waste the valuable time of your engineers and developers on writing content that does not flow (and which may be boring for your target audience). Invest your resources carefully. Let a content pro write up your informative content telling your story and highlighting insights into your products for all to read.

Informative content helps your target audience understand the value of your product or service, just when they need a solution. Providing relevant and valuable information will increase their engagement, loyalty and the probability of purchase. Everybody wins!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Is a picture really worth 1000 words? Or should the question be which kind of picture?

Stock pics or not stock pics that is the question

I have been asked many times if stock images are really doing their job in marketing. All the pictures we see in advertising, using beautiful models, are always just a bit too perfect. Stock images are no different. We all know this. So why are marketers still using this "illusion"? Perhaps the target audience dismiss these images as fake, creating an emotional distance that is not desired to marketers? Or are people still buying into the perfect world advertisers create?

It has been suggested that when using pictures of real staff, the level of transparency goes up and the company shows its true face for the benefit of its clients. However for SMBs the question would be: Does the opportunity to use real staff and convey self-confidence and transparency outweigh the downside of exposing the true size of the business? A more abstract campaign might crate the desired illusion that the business is bigger.

Other questions are: would real images look as professional as the stock pictures? Would they convey the right message and provide the desired atmosphere? After all clients are used to the polished look of the stock images, so maybe it's best not to "rock the boat"?

Concept is key to good marketing content

Here is a fact - no one likes a fake image. "Canned Happiness" is something we can all smell a mile away. On the other hand, we all enjoy beauty and we like nice packaging- so a professional image with models is not always negative. The point is that beauty has to be part of a deeper concept - the true marketing driver is the concept. If people get what the image is trying to say, then it will work regardless of what the people in it look like. The beautiful smiling faces are not an added value, unless they fit with the general concept of the campaign.

Concept is also a key factor is deciding if you want to use stock images or use real staff. Concept will help you decide if you need to invest in a customized photo-shooting and what type of images you will want to produce. Perhaps a more abstract imaging is best to get your message across. Making use of unique connections to create associations to your product or service using images is a powerful and emotional marketing tool.

I like to mention the DOVE campaign for a concept that chose to use real people. They have been doing this for 12 years! It started with the iconic pictures of normal women in underwear and has been followed by various angles for empowering women (showing women that others see them differently, that women tend to be more critical of themselves, that looks not always affect one's carrier success). But even DOVE is choosing the people it works with very carefully. We need to realize that even if some of the campaigns are shot in the real world, editing is used for refining to create the perfect message. The DOVE campaigns are real life - professionalized.

Real life can look great!

Here is a logistic consideration. Your real staff images can look very professional if you forgo the cellphone "selfie" and use a professional photographer.  So it's not a contradiction in terms to use your real staff for professional looking images. It is a question of budget, time and cooperation. Do you have the budget to hire a professional? Will your staff be cooperative and be willing to be photographed? Do they have the time for this? Will you be prepared to use touch ups to get the best atmosphere? (Thus loosing a bit of the "truth" of your pictures? Or is that totally against the concept?)

If you use a faded background or some graphic effects, your real life images do not necessarily have to reflect the real size of the company. If you use images of not only the staff, this too can obscure the company size.

Do not forget the text

A copywriter once told me that "No thousand images would be able to describe one word!" The power of words is still a key driver in marketing today - even within the digital channels. True, video rules and pictures catch the eye, but without text nothing would move on the web! Everything is tagged and labeled.

Marketers need to deliver the message in various formats. One decision maker likes to see a video and another prefers to see data in an excel chart. A third prefers to read an article. Many marketing leaders (including Neil Patel and Hubspot) say that a good content strategy needs to involve continuous blogging. The recommended blogging amount per company differs, but a good rule of thumb is 11 blogs per month if you are an SMB and want to generate significant exposure to your product, as is indicated by increasing traffic to your website.

Complex technological products and medical devices call for a more niche central approach. You still need the content to take your customer from the top of the funnel, via its middle and then to the bottom decision phase, but the audience is very targeted and the information they seek is derived from very specific interests. If digital marketing is a service you offer to technology clients, you know that quality marketing content is a key component in the services you provide.

This is why I started the OKR content house. With my team of writing specialists, I provide my clients a customized content writing service. The first stage includes understanding who the audience is and what types of content they require. A content plan with targeted themes and effective channels can then be generated and executed. Taking a look at published content and understanding its level of success is essential to tweaking and defining the next offer.

Creating marketing content that works is an ongoing effort. Over time you will see your web statistics go up. Quality content, geared to your niche audience will generate the buzz in your market - and it's well worth the effort.
To learn more, contact me today!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What does Pregnancy Have to Do with Inbound Content Marketing Ideas?

The sheer volume of inbound marketing content businesses require 

In an era, in which companies are no longer selling products or services, but rather providing information and solutions to their customers and potential clients, content is the fuel that drives the marketing and lead generation machine. Digital tools have made it possible for people to widen their searching and learning, parallel to making it possible for smaller entities to get good exposure, thus empowering both consumers and businesses. With these new capabilities has also come an increase in competition over online real-estate and a decrease of the time a person forms a first impression regarding digital content. 

All this means that the quantities of content a company needs to generate has grown exponentially. According to Hubspot, in order to achieve maximum effect from blogging on website traffic, a company needs to post 11 blogs per month! That is ~3 per week. So where can companies get enough ideas to be able to generate so much high quality and interesting content? We all have an amazing resource available to us, and if we notice it, we can gear it towards collecting content idea. This resource is our brain, and more specifically the Reticular Activating System.

                                      Reticular Activating system is a skill we all can use for collecting content ideas

Start noticing ideas for inbound marketing content

When I was pregnant with my first born child, I suddenly noticed how many pregnant women were on the streets.  Then after I gave birth, I started noticing people with little babies up to one year of age. As my baby became a toddler I became especially adept at noticing little tykes about to run into trouble – like outrunning their mommy’s to the next cross road. I also noticed that the people who noticed it when my toddler outran me were mostly parents around my age group. As I became pregnant with my second child, my mind hones in once more towards all the other pregnant women out and about. 

It’s not that the birth statistics in my home town have changed overnight, but rather that pregnancy as a theme of interest became relevant to my life. I started noticing pregnant women when pregnancy was of the highest important to me.  I was so tuned into this subject that I not only saw more pregnant women, but I also heard more people talking about pregnancy and child birth , filtering these specific conversations from the general hubbub on the street. This phenomenon is called Reticular Activating System (RAS). We can all do this when something in important to us, it’s part of nature’s tools for reconnaissance, allowing us to gather information that is of high importance to us, exactly a time, in which it is most relevant.

Utilizing RAS for collecting inbound content ideas

So, I bet you are asking yourselves what RAS has to do with inbound marketing content. Well, if you can train yourself to use RAS to notice ideas, which are relevant to your business content, then you can use RAS to help you collect inbound content ideas. You are probably already doing this, as I assume your business (or the company you work for as a marketer) is important to you. So all you need is just a little more awareness to this idea collection process.

Take the time to stop and note any idea that comes to you, which is related to y our business. Good ideas and bad ideas. Use a recording device on your smartphone or carry a small pocket book and a pen with you at all times, so you can write down any scraps of ideas that come to you at any time. Try to record at least 2 ideas a day. The quality of these ideas is not what matters. The purpose of consistent idea recording is to train you mind to collecting ideas. The more often you do this the easier it becomes and the quality of the ideas will improve.

One a week take the time to sort through the ideas you have recorded and crate a list of the good ideas. This list is your idea bank. For each idea, consider how you can present it with digital tools – is a blog post the best way to go? Or perhaps a short video? Or maybe both? Can you extract an infographic from your idea? Can your initial idea be an inspiration for something more? Write all content types and relevant remarks down, adding them to your idea bank. 

It’s probably best to manage this idea list in an excel file so that you can easily sort the list according to categories relevant to your business (to which personas is your idea relevant? In what stage of the buying journey do you think your idea is most interesting to your customers and/ or potentials? What content type can you create from each idea?). This way when you need to create a certain content piece (e.g. an awareness blog for CEO’s) you just go to your idea bank list and take your pick.

Reticular Activating System is a skill that we all have. When you are tuned in to collecting ideas, they will come to you! If you are aware of this mechanism of your brain, you can utilize RAS to become a better inbound marketer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

On Page SEO - Links Optimization

I was recently asked about internal and external links with regards to on site search optimization.
It is no secret, anyone who has ever read a bit about SEO knows that links are an important factor in optimizing your website for search.

There are two types of links: internal and external.

Internal links link between pages in your website
External links link to and from your website to other sites.

But what to do? 
First things first – you need to understand that the best way to create a link network is to systematically create links over time. So yes, you need to be committed to this process. The good news is that you can control quite a large portion of your link network and create is naturally. If you create this network using simple logic, the links will work well for you. Google encourages the natural way to thinking. This means, if you do things the way it makes sense to do them, it will probably work well with Google too.

So how best to arrange all these links?

Here it is in a nutshell, a procedure that anyone can conduct on their website if they are willing to invest the time.

Internal links:

One of the on-page optimization tactics you can create yourself is a hierarchical set of internal links - meaning links between pages in your website.
The idea is to link between the pages on your website but using logic and hierarchy.
Consider that Google crawlers use links to move between the pages. If your network of internal links is done logically, it will help Google better understand your site and optimize it for search.

So what to do?

1. Create links using your keywords for each page.
2 - Hierarchy in internal links mean that sub-pages link to the parent page in the navigation and main navigation pages link to home page. And vice versa.
Linking between pages that share a theme is also a good logical pattern.

For example:
My site has a home page, an about page, contact us page, a products page and an applications page.
I have three products and two applications.
1 product serves one application and the other two serve another application.

What would my link network look like?
Home page would link to about, products, applications and contact
Links can be nice CTA buttons (contact) or a word of text (about, products, applications)
About, products, applications and contact would each link to the home page (link at the bottom with the word "home" would do, just next to the "back to top" link on each page)

The three separate product pages would link to the products page.
The two separate application pages would like to the applications page.
All product pages would link to one another.
Each product page would link to the relevant application page.
Each application page would link to relevant product page.
Each application page would link to the other application.
All these links are done with keywords in the middle of the text.
Product links can look like a CTA image inviting the reader to learn about more products.

3. If you have a blog, make sure you link to previous blog posts and to relevant product/ application pages (per above example).

4. Create CTA for each page per relevancy to link to landing pages.
Product pages CTA can be inviting the reader to learn more about other products, Application page CTA can be an invitation to download an eBook about a certain connected subject.
Blog CTAs can be an invitation to read more blogs or to download a tool or eBook to further deepen knowledge about a certain theme relevant to the blog post.

Always think what your reader should do next. How to keep them interested so they click another CTA and stay on your website, getting closer to purchase with each step.

External links - outward:

It’s good for SEO for your website to link to other sites in your field.
You can create a news / PR page and link to interesting news items in your field.
You can have a recommendations page on the similar principle
In your blog posts you link when you quote someone. This gives then their due credit and prevents you from poaching on their information. It also gives your information the authenticity it requires.
It’s always good to link to sites that have authority in your field.

External links - inward:

You need to get other websites to link to your site.
Guest posting in a way to go (if you can get the placement)
Paid advertising and banners also serve this purpose, but they cost money and are considered less authoritive. If you start out, it could be a fast way to promote your site.
Commenting on social media groups and linking the comment to your site is a free way to go about this.
Indexing your website in free indexes and forums in your field is also good.
Publishing articles in free article websites is good.
Syndicating your blog posts by placing them on LinkedIn Pulse and other free blogging platforms will only cost you your time.

All this will generate a links network over time that will lift your site in the search ranks and help Google understand what your site is about.
Hope this helps, please comment if it does.

Teaching the Mean and Lean method for DYI marketing for small businesses.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What is important when choosing a content management system (CMS) for your new website?

What is a content management system?

We are not all professional HTML, CSS or Ruby on Rails programmers - and yet, many people create their own websites. So, how do they do it? They use a Content Management System, or CMS. A CMS is an application that allows you to create and update your website. It helps you design the website, create the pages you need, the menu and navigating and a blog. A CMS makes updating the content and making changes to the website a relatively simple process, including texts, images and videos.

Open-source vs. closed CMS

There are many programming professionals who have developed their own CMS, these are closed systems, which are programmed by their providers and thus all updated and changes are to be made only by their creators. Closed CMS are paid for. An open-source CMS is a platform developed by a community of programmers and which is available for free, for use by anyone who wishes to use it. 

These CMS are called open-source because their source code is open and available to the public. This way, many programmers can join the developing community and contribute to further develop the CMS. The community of developers around such a platform continues to update and develop applications for it, some of which will also cost money. 

The advantages of open-source CMS

The first and obvious advantage is that open-source CMS are FREE!

You can have a website, which can even be quite elaborate, without having to pay monthly fees for licensing a CMS. 

The second advantage is that you are not dependent on a specific supplier to manage or create a website for you.

As open-source CMS is available for free for the pubic to use, many websites have been created using these platforms. There are professional website builders who swear by these platforms as the best! The community of developers and users of open-source CMS is growing daily. Adopting these platforms is easy. The code is open and thus you can keep your website and the CMS even if you decide to change a website building supplier. 

The third advantage is that they are simple to use.

Open-source CMS were designed for being used by people who are not programmers, thus using the CMS and updating your website content is easily done.Installment of an open-source application is also relatively easy.

The three giants of open source CMS are: 

WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

The most popular open-source CMS is WordPress 

WordPress is probably being used by half the CMS websites today. The platform was first created in 2003 and is now up to its 4th version. This CMs has over 2000 free themes (themes are used for determining a design for the website). It has over 27,000 free plugins and gets updated every 42 days - these are two indicators of a dedicated and industrious developing community. 

WordPress started out as a blogging platform, and its most powerful features are still related to blogging. Its best used for image/ brand awareness websites that are created to help create awareness to a brand and contain mostly written content. It’s great for blogs, corporate websites and websites for small to medium size businesses. 

Its learning curve is short and it’s very easy to install the CMS (one-click installment is available with the most popular web storage suppliers). It’s easy to use, change themes and design and it will create all the pages and blog posts you need.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

WordPress.com will enable you to start your own WordPress website on the WordPress server. You will not have your own domain and the free version is very limited. WordPress.org is the platform for creating your own website, with your own domain. You will also select your own storage supplier. WordPress.org is therefore the CMS you want to use.

Joomla is best designed for interactive websites

E-commerce and social media websites and websites that want their audiences to interact with them are best created on Joomla.Joomla was created in 2005 and is the second most used open-source CMS today.  It has a fine balance between user friendliness and powerful features.  

Joomla offers over 900 themes and 7000 plugins. Its true power lies in the amazing plugins its community of developers have created, which make power features easy to implement in a Joomla website. On the other hand, it’s not an easy CMS for absolute beginners. 

Its learning curve is longer than that of WordPress and you need a higher set of technical skills to work with it. Joomla offers a great help portal and there are many courses targeted at beginners. Users who swear by this CMS say it’s worth investing and learning to use it.

Drupal is a one size fits all feature powered CMS

Drupal is very powerful (used among others by the White-House), and it has many features, but you really do need programming knowledge to install it and to design a website with it. On the other hand, it’s very easy to use for updating your website content. So even if you will probably need a professional to set it up for you, you can then be very independent when using it, even for complex features. 

Drupal was created in 2000 and is thus the first open-source CMS giant. It offers over 1800 free themes and over 24,000 plugins. (These numbers are ever growing in all the open-source CMS applications). Drupal is very powerful and has the power to automate features in your website and is thus best suited for large websites, with a complex navigation structure that has a clear hierarchy. You can do almost anything with Drupal and it’s very flexible. 

Features that might require custom coding in WordPress or Joomla are ready made for Drupal. However, it has a long learning curve and is best installed by professionals. Its best suited for organizations who have full time web admins. 

An infographic reviewing the differences between these three platforms is available here. 

So what do you need to consider when selecting your CMS?

My advice is to use an open-source CMS. It’s free and easy to use for updating your site.

An expert comparison of the three open-source CMS platforms can be found here.


Popularity - all the three giants are giants! So all are popular and have a good supporting community. Even so, WordPress has considerably more downloads. 

Learning curve, installation and website design - beginners can only install a CMS and design a website by themselves only with WordPress. Joomla and Drupal are harder to install. Designing a website is more complex with Joomla compared to WordPress but Joomla offers more features. Drupal design can only be done by programmers. 

Learning curve, updating content - routine use of CMS - all three open-source platforms are easy to use for updating the content on your website. 

Complex features and automation - Joomla and Drupal offer complex features in the open-source code that will require custom coding with WordPress. 

Type of website - selecting a CMS is best done when considering the type of website you want to create. For a Blog and a simple corporate website WordPress is best and easiest.For an interactive site that is easy to run, Joomla is the most suited.For a large website with hierarchy and a requirement for powerful features, Drupal is top quality!

So what do I use?

I have personally worked on websites with WordPress and Drupal. Being an expert for inbound content marketing for B2B companies has put me in the way of either relatively simple brand awareness websites, blogs (most suitable for WordPress) and corporate websites with large volumes of organic content that required creating a clear hierarchy, taxonomy and automation (best done with Drupal). I think both CMS platforms are great and both are easy to use when updating a website.

Whatever you choose, I wish you fun and exiting times with your new website. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

5 Facebook page management and posting mistakes and how to avoid them (2016)

According to SocialFlow and SocialMediaToday, there has been a 42% reduction in reach per post in Facebook from January to May 2016. Furthermore, Facebook has shifted the content of the news feed towards friends and family (as quoted in the New York Times). These changes are affecting reach, exposure and awareness performance for marketers. 

Make sure your post stands out!

With Facebook reducing commercial organic post exposure, putting forward certain types of content (video and live posts), and pushing back other content (e.g. high frequency updates from a certain page) marketers and social media page managers are faced with the need to increase their paid social media campaigns, in order to gain the same performance from their social media pages.

It’s imperative to continuously keep up with tips and guidelines to creating and maintaining a successful Facebook page. This blog lists 5 posting mistakes that marketers make, which reduce their fan/ follower base even further. Read more to learn how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Announcing instead of conversing
Facebook is a social media network. Successful pages are those that find the fine balance between socializing and commercial content. People go into Facebook because they are looking for entertainment, education and communication with friends. (They are not in social media in order to buy something). Businesses that provide entertaining content, a personal outlook into the business and in general show a friendly face will be successful in social media.
The 80/20 rule applies: 80% of your content should be informative, and maximum 20% can be commercial oriented.

You need to write a post in social media as if you are talking to a good friend. You want to encourage a conversation/ discussion/ reaction from your readers. Avoid big announcements and statements that have no real base. Do not make promises you cannot keep just to be provocative.  We are all sick to our ears of supernatural aspirations of commercial entities.

Mistake #2: Prolonging instead of KISSing
KISS – keep it simple and short. Researches show that people scan their feed, quickly going over
40-60 characters before deciding if to pay more attention. Short posts that make a focused point are the kind of posts that will be read. Giving your readers concise instructions will have higher probability that they will follow through.

Ask your readers clearly to take a certain action: “register now”, “tell us what you think”, “share your opinion with us”, like our page to get a gift” etc. Do not ask for something that is too much effort. Your request should also be simple and short. Asking your readers to interact with your content and providing an easy way for them to do so will clear the way for them to engage with you.

Mistake #3: Frequency oriented posting instead of resource oriented posting
You have to plan ahead! A post should have a clear target and it should have a clear location in your marketing funnel. The Call to Action should move your reader a little closer towards becoming a customer. If you have no inbound content strategy, as is reflected in each post, you will not gain the true benefits of the inbound content marketing methodology.

Posting often will get you nowhere! In fact, Facebook tends to push back updates that are coming too frequently from a certain page. The quantity vs. quality rule applies. Too many posts without a clear objective will bore your readers and they will leave the page by clicking "Unlike".

Even if your campaign is successful, too many leads may not prove to be qualified leads, which m ay actually lead to businesses. If you are a small business, perhaps you cannot properly handle high quantities of leads. You need to take all your resources into consideration and make sure each step in your web funnel is properly and professionally handled, so that your readers will have the best experience they can get. This will make them stay for more.

Mistake #4: Sporadic content instead of constant loyalty
Although its best not to post if you have nothing interesting to say, it is important to post on a regular basis and to remain consistent. Your audience learns to expect your posts, so you had better not disappoint them.

People in the digital era are looking for immediate satisfaction, so only one bad experience and they leave! Years of loyalty from a customer can be ruined with one silly mistake. It’s no different in social media. Keep to a certain standard you can uphold in the long run. Teach your audience to expect a certain level of information from you and make sure you keep providing it.

Mistake #5: Stagnation instead of innovation
You need to keep your audience interested, and in order to do that you have to be up to snuff. Be on top of the latest trends not only in your field but also in the field of Facebook posting. At the time of writing this blog, Facebook is promoting its new live posts platform. Thus posts that use this tool will gain higher exposure. Another platform, which Facebook is promoting is Instagram. Post that are placed also in Instagram are pushed in the Facebook feed.

Facebook also lifts posts that get lots of comments and re-shares to the top of the feed. The assumption is that if a post in engaging and getting readers to comment or share, then it means the post is entertaining and interesting. Facebook wants its readers to stay in its site – so if you provide interesting content, you will benefit from an upward push.

You need to know more than just the tolls and platforms available. You need to be able to create original and innovative content that is humorous, entertaining and memorable. This kind of content is engaging, and people will share it with their friends. This way, your readers work as your marketers, distributing your message and getting your word out to the world. This format of recommendation is looked on kindly by Facebook and is one of the best ways to make the most of your Facebook business page.

Business pages that find the correct balance continue to grow their follower base, while providing their readers with an enhanced customer experience, building a relationship with their customers that encourages loyalty.
Facebook is looking to encourage video and live posting, forwarding a more personal communication agenda with this policy. As Facebook strives to be more social, so should you.