At 10:00am on 4/29/2018, I attended3 SEO Strategies for building a Bigger Online Community, Presented by Amanda Gorman of Pressable, at the 2018 Raleigh Wordcamp Convention in the Engineering Building I of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.
3 SEO Strategies for building a Bigger Online Community
WordPress Community: An entity where connection is democratized and ideas are made tangible. The community is a way for us to move from “I just want traffic” to questions like: who are these people, what do they want?
Community = Connections
We started out with the intention: Learn how to boost your SEO to build a bigger community online with 3 simple strategies:
Keyword Research & Organization
Leveraging Competitor Insights
Writing Content that Resonates.
Intended Audience: Web designers, developers, Nonprofits. Beginner
Tending to your garden
LIke a garden, your community needs care on an almost daily basis. This “tending to”is about seeing what’s needed and then providing what is needed. What ideas are you planting in the garden? that really starts with keyword research. Knowing that this is your piece of the landscape.
How do we build a bigger online community
how do we get traffic, more conversions, more conversations? Go down your own path. Be intentional, be aware, build your own trust. These aspects will be so important an answer that you’ll want to push that first.
Keyword Research. This is where the ideas are planted and the SEO strategies start. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Take your time and have direction in what you’re doing. Watch those competitors and place your focus best. Client experience shows that insight into where to start can be incredibly beneficial. The rabbit holes exist, but they are not always helpful.
Knowing the keywords you want to rank for vs. Knowing the keywords that are being searched. You want to be the go to person for a particular term. Wo, what is that term? The principal often has a big idea. Start with 20 keywords, expand it, then narrow it back down
“Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and takiing action. it is the impetus for creating change” Max Carver.
What does the community want and how can you expand it?
Keyword Research: Seed Keyword
The seed keywords are competitive and its good to get this before you talk with clients.
What are your keywords?
products or services
consider all possible scenarios
brandump words associated with your site
Example: Garden Center
STEP 1: Dump seed keywords into google. See the related search terms. Perhaps you’ve forgotten catalogs, coupons, warehouses, and perhaps some of these you DON’T want to focus on
STEP 2: Working with Seed Terms build a list
spreadsheet in google sheets
answer the public: This is a great tool. When you see the same questions here you’re asking or hearing, its great to
Objective: Tap into long-tail keyword phrases athat are specific to your audience, their needs, desires and pain-points. Remember: Seed Keyword + Modifier = Long-tail Keyword
Using tabs with Seed Keywords, we fill in the modifiers and use that to fill in the content for your site.
Keyword research: Google Keyword planner & The Doc
Enter your keyword findings into google Keyword Planner
click through rate
Your seed keywords are going to be the most competitive. IDentify how much people are willing to spend. Copy/past the information into the spreadsheet
A massive document is overwhelming. Make it clear and concise.
Competitor analysis: be aware
its spying a little bit, but its more about market research, how you’ll become an authority in your niche. Its not a negative. understand your competitors so you can provide what’s missing. What can you provide that they are not?
MOZ bar is a free tool. Plug in your keyword to google, turn on the moz bar
look for one or more below
review quality of content
pages with <20PA and DA. if less than 20, you can do a good job and get ranked!
blogspot (or other free blog)
spammy press release sites
Let’s Have a Look at the Moz bar in action
High page authority means you won’t sneak in there. You’re not trying to beat the whole domain, you’re really only trying to have value for a specific page.
page authority are a lot lower here. This would be a great work to focus on. Gettting on the list will take time and effort, but find the gaps where you’ll fit in
Content Writing: Build Trust
have a trust mindset to build that copy. Forget the mindset of what you want, and build a connection and build trust. Be a place people can visit to get the answers they want fully and wholly.
Tips for success:
Write freely first
Use your target keyword at the beginning. don’t use more than 3 times, but have document open to the terms page, and include the related search terms, and don’t overuse or push that content or overstuff.
Keep your sentences concies
Include images, charts, videos and lists. People are also visual learner.
Create comprehensive content. This is key. Rather than provide information overload with a short reply, be comprehensive. Give a full comprehensive report on each additional item
Improve Click-through rate
Quora & Udemy shows that there is a question and a need. Look at structure of content, and get inspired on how you might approach the subject. What’s missing? What questions have been asked which you can elaborate on, answer easier.
Add modifiers to your titles:
the current year
Use a number
Include bucket brigades: Add these headlines between content in an effort to re=catch the reader:
Here’s the deal
whats the bottom line
you might be wondering
this is crazy
it gets better/words
but here’s the kicker
want to know the best part?
The better you understand the content and the audience, the better you become and your website becomes. Keep People coming back to get that killer content.
Question & Answer
Content Length for a post?
500 minimum, but 1,000+ is better. better to write more and publish less than publish often but keep people reading than to publish often and not enough content
How to assist our customer?
Here’s what competitor does. it looks like… if you write this… dive deep into the specifics, and ask what they want to write about. Help them pick down to 5-10 key terms.
How much time should we expect to take building this list?
2 weeks of time. depending on the number of tabs.30 tabs might take 6 hours. Many clients only take 2 hours. From that step, its time to push the data and see how the trends show up.
What if I’m notified of a Keyword overload?
If you have too much, consider related words. Use google keyword suggest to pull secondary words and use those in the place of the oft-repeated term
What if you’re just getting started?
make connections with related industries. Life coach might find doctors and psychologist to connect with. Find a voice unfound and press into that niche. Be consistent with writing and promoting.
Amanda Gorman helps nonprofits and wellness-based businesses build thriving online communities. As a Customer Success Coordinator at GiveWP she works diligently each day to assist nonprofits in growing their communities and receiving more donations online to make a bigger impact in the world. As an SEO consultant, she’s passionate about tending to the internet like a gardener would tend to their garden, so it can become a safe and fun place to connect again. Amanda uses her SEO superpowers to help her clients better understand their purpose, their audience, and how to better reach their people. Amanda is in love with her husband Casey, her nephew Jackson, and their dog Topanga whom all live together in Rochester, New York.
At 9:15am on 4/28/2018, I attended We Like Big Buttons & We Cannot Lie: User-Friendly Design Tweaks for Your WordPress Website, Presented by Andrea (Andi) Ferguson of AndiSites in Chapel Hill, at the 2018 Raleigh Wordcamp Convention in the Engineering Building I of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.
We Like Big Buttons & We Cannot Lie: User-Friendly Design Tweaks for Your WordPress Website
Whether you’re designing a new website or updating an old one, user-friendliness is key. Large fonts, big buttons, and strategic color motifs make calls to action obvious.
Help users take the actions you want them to. Help website users be happy. Happy website users convert to happy customers. Happy customers help your business thrive.
Keep It Intuitive
Websites should be user friendly to keep sites intuitive. Remove frictions
“Don’t make me think “Steve Krug
A very short, user friendly book. Lots of photos and an easy read. There is an updated book as well as “rocketsurgery made easy”. People don’t want to think and suss things out. make them happy to like more and communicate more.
3 Easy Tweaks
call to action tweaks
How to watch paint dry. It doesn’t matter for the content, applies to all websites. What is it you really want? On this page, download the e-book. True, everything is interesting. So GET THE GUIDE will be importatn
color is emotional. it gives us looks and feels, and color attracts. Our big, beautiful monitors can show it all. In bird world, the boys get the colors to attract the ladies. Ladies protect, so they need to be not noticed.
see color emotion guide graphic
There are also other reasons- facebook is blue becasue founder is color blind. It does matter on the site.
Slides will be online
Start with one color
use one color and be consistent. that way when one color is shown, we know that we should be doing something. so how to come up with that? start with a color logo. The logo is at the top and sets the page.
our logo is big, but non-colored. So, we are freed. Images are the next step here. We see color and lots of variety. consider starting here and using the steps as a way to begin. Powder blue here is nice, but does not call us enough. We see orange in the dress and paint, let’s use that!
Allows us to see the colors against the backgrounds. You can begin with default options and generate a color palette. We choose orange, and a red-orange #ff4500. Red is the first color we see as babies, and the first color received to those recovering with brain injuries. When we return to the site…
color change slide
Applying the color to the click button, the links, and the navigation bar. Everywhere you see the orange you have a job to do.
color.adobe.com enter colors and rules of creating color materials
Calls To Action Tweaks
these are essential to convert customers. Consider the Hot Now sign at Krispy Kreme. The website will show you where stores are but also which ones are Hot Now. We want to be that enticing.
Why size matters
57 pixel touch target is the suggestion, but 72 pixel touch target is the minimum size to search. Google touch target smashing magazine. Thumbs are bigger than fingers, and your website should be thumb-accurate. the point is not the size as much as the idea- make thing bigger than you think they need to be.
4 Rules of Easy-to-Click Calls to Action
Make it Big
Make it Bright
Give it Room
Make it Obvious
Change the button text on any item. Submit isn’t bad, but if you have the opportunity to label the button with exactly what will happen, that’s the goal
Typography Tweaks are essential for professionality and in websites to ensure that sites are quick, easy to understand, and accessible to viewers.
Choose two fonts: heading and body
Make body text big enough for older eyes and smaller screens
Make headings noticeably bigger than body text
Keep case consistent
Keep your items, even your tags in the same case. Things in different cases are inconsistent. Any “hey, that’s weird” thinking keeps viewers from engaging fully in your site. You may tell your client “Trust me, this is what you need”, but you have to deal with that.
Sometimes searching in google fonts on your own is the warmest, snuggliest rabbithole you can every find yourself in. Google fonts can grant access to many fonts with just a minor bit of code. Theme options allow google font usage now. Take the extra step in the theme options and find the font dropdown. Its worth your time.
Google fonts can also be downloaded to your computer to use in your print branding as well.
APPLY TYPE PHOTO
All we’ve done is change type. By raising the nav size, we have visibility. by using the heading fonts, we have a cooler, curvier text font, and its applied all over the site consistentyly
This will not assure that people are more excited about watching paint dry, but they’ll like it more
Black backgrounds and white text? Federation for the Blind tell us that white type on black background is good. Users find this to be tiring.
Color Wheels, how can I use them? nature is a great way. Though you may not be the best person to discuss that, the decision for color use and how should be a big conversation. Colors which replicate the logo is great. Those off will seem jarring at least a little. Color is subjective, but there are rules. Look to where the eye lands first. Make time to change the colors, but in the end, keep it simple. Consider lighter color for hover (20% opaque)
Popup Calls to Action- What’s your thought? The ones which appear at the bottom. The ones which block the sites are annoying, everyone hates them- except clients. Bars which show up, and slide ins for the corners (bloom by elegant themes) are surprisingly effective. They can be triggered at 60%. The chat boxes are pretty effective and can be called to stop those from leaving the site.
Chunking information by color? The old website for one client was info heavy. By using color systems to enhance existing sites, the journey through the sites has colors
Client wants something but it won’t work? Translate what the client says into design language. Funnel them into making a choice. Keep reinforcing at all times. Never say “what do you think” because they have to say something wrong. Keep the review team small. Remind them that the site isn’t for them, but for their customers. come armed with data. I love that the Aqua t-shirt from 7th grade resonates with YOU, but for the client audience range, this really resonates:… The more info you can provide, the stronger your position. Say “that sounds like personal preference”. Know why you’ve done everything you’ve done.
Body copy: Serif or Sans Serif ? Now that monitors are better, we can have a print-like experience on the web. We see the same research out there. Its long established that body copy on the web should be sans. If using serif, make sure your line-height (1.6em) or leading should be spread out far enough, and line width? Man, we could geek out on that all day. Traditional knowledge still applies. What’s the brand? Is it important and to what degree. What does the audience like? There is a ton of emotion in typography. Talk with your designer.If the client is snooty, be snooty.
Justification? Trends fly all over the place. Don’t center your type or I will cut you. When in doubt left justify.
Premium fonts vs. Google fonts or other free fonts. We have some that purchase them, but google fonts are free. Locally installed fonts do not show always. Google is free with fonts available anywhere. SOme clients have strict standards, such as NCSU. Anything in-house must use Univers. There is a commitment, and you could be in for a yearly fee, and the fonts could easily go away.
Body size? 16px is the standard for modern design body size, and you can adjust from there. Scale up from that point. It used to be 12 but people weren’t looking on their phones. What font looks good at 90 characters? Make a choice and stick to it. Just adding color and changing the font make a difference.
Can we cache fonts? You’re querying google, and its not slow. However, the fonts are loaded at the browser level, not the server level. If you’re finding that the websites hanging, it could be several scripts are using the same ram
Ghost buttons? unused. you can still use one as a 2nd call to action, but keep the main one at all times.
Andrea (Andi) Ferguson is Founder & President of AndiSites Inc., an award-winning web design and development firm based in Chapel Hill, NC. AndiSites specializes in WordPress, including design, development, support, and maintenance. With 20+ years’ experience in project management, 12 years’ experience in corporate communications, and 10 years’ experience in web design and development, Andi knows what it takes to give clients an effective website–while they enjoy the process. Andi is a WordPress expert who loves sharing knowledge; bringing technology down to earth; and making the web a friendlier, more open, more welcoming place. Andi is also a film/TV actress (as Andrea Powell) and avid world traveler with husband/writer Paul, sweet dog Teddy, and rebellious bunny Dusty.
At 10:00am on 4/18/2018, I attended the presentation “Marketing Your Game in 2018 and Beyond”, Presented by Logan Williams Founder of Indie Wolverine, at the 2018 East Coast Gaming Conference in At the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC.
Marketing Your Game in 2018 and Beyond
Logan Williams of Indie Wolverine is a marketing & PR specialist in the video game industry. Logan has supported over 12 games in the span of 2 and a half years and has helped his clients earn coverage from the largest gaming publications around the world. Notable games Logan has supported are GRAV, Cosmic Trip VR, Heart Forth Alicia, Polygod, Reflex Arena and more.
More games are being released at a higher volume than ever before on the largest PC game digital distribution platform (Steam). With the mobile market and now PC games market becoming overcrowded and overly competitive, it’s feast or famine. Marketing isn’t an option and influencer marketing is no longer low-hanging fruit.
In this talk, we broke down marketing & PR in the video game industry to simple terms and begin to expand on more creative ways we can communicate the values of our games to our target market. This included ways to utilize guerilla marketing tactics and how to get the most out of our launch (Early Acess release, full release, major update etc..).
I hope to leave this talk with a new understanding of marketing and PR in the video game industry and the added creative knowledge of how to make the most of existing communication strategies.
This talk was aimed at industry newbies to professionals.
Indie Wolverine operates by default using guerilla marketing. Most customers have a few weeks until launch to gain coverage when they walk into the office.
FAILURE IS A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
Last year, their business had a large-ish failure. They worked with a VR team with Steam Early access title, and they handled the process from early release, and they were picked up by tons of attention-getting youtubers. The attention converted into sales. Sales were great and the alunch with early access went well. rather than small updates, the teams focused on 2-3month update cycles.
Due to the large success in the past, expectations were high. Kotaku noted his game was the favorite VR game to date. They felt they could reach out to positive reviewers. A 3-week pre-release note went out with reviewers and new press. The first round went out with virtually no response. The 2nd-week pre-release note got little or no responses. People were opening the email, but there was no response. The development team was stoked, but red flags were flying all over the place. As this was a first in-studio experience he could see the excitement. On launch, only niche clients responded, and sales did not meet expectations.
On the flight home, he was disgusted, felt sick to his stomach. Mitigating the risk and stress became his mission moving forward. We’ll talk about PR but its really about mitigating stress on launch.
Steam mechanics here show that in 2017, 7,700 games were released- roughly by the numbers that’s 20 new games every single day. As noted repeatedly in podcasts by the Jimquisition, having so many products available there is no way to get your product noted and its very easy to find your materials reshuffled out of sight.
This is something which is important and will always be important. These are your embassadors. They are ready and available on day 1. So have an incentive- give them a reason to buy your game. Engage that community- let them know and listen as they are an extension of your studio. Leverage that community- build the community and use that to make a following that uses the products, informs developers and community, and entices others to take part.
An incentive might be exclusive access to an exclusive build. Getting them in the door isn’t the last step, but rather the first step to building that community. Have team members amke contests, make them feel safe and valued and engaged. Leverage that community to validate the material you’re producing. Use the community to leverage merchandizing, partnerships, etc.
It can get worse. Self-published book authors might face 100,000 fiction books each year and they’re marketing on amazon. Building the community is the answer. How? Through mailing lists, connections, etc. The connected community are your footsoliders. They aren’t being paid, they’re paying you!
He used discord to build a dream community for our game descenders. WIth numerous options, they built a discord server with an exclusive release. They gave competition through team, protected channels, built community, and used the data to buildi nthe features which were used most by the community. You cannot depend on the game or mechanics. Community you can control
From the beginning of game build, you’ll have newsworthy beats for the media. Be organized. Have the ammunition and planned communication. Writers are trying to delight the reader. Give them good amunition. Be clear. Always have a clear call to action. Be clear to the media on what is new, what you’re doing, what they’ll like, where they should go, how you’d like it covered, how to contact you. This is for any communications. Have goals. What is the end goal? Organize your news feeds with a goal in mind. If the announcement gets on IGN, and you didn’t provide next steps for the readers, and the product doesn’t launch in the next month, you’ll disappear. If you have an exclusive beta on discord, include that info.
If you have a moment to shine, don’t step back and say “I’ll be back in 6 months”
the abilty to understand… Empathy and creativity aligns you for success. This is especially good when dealing with the press. they have an audience. They need great content that the audience wants to know. The bigger audience the author can leverage, the more they can command value and attention. Put yourself in the shoes of the writer. not only that, but the audience of that writer. What does the reader want and how do you get them stoked toplay/buy this. What’s your value to the publisher? what’s your value to them
Google, twitter, and easily voila norbert.
Last night in the AIRBnB, he searched for the google query only in the IGN website AND VR. Here’s the result
Finding writers who like the genre and game type you create can be found this way. Use the tools button to change the date back to certain dates (not more than a year ago). This is a great way to reach out to writers who will likely have well-received reviews. In this example, I might not choose Calum Marsh, as he have only 1.5 stars. Rather than a cold email, a twitter contact might be good- we have their email, but in this example:
You might get immediate feedback. If you want anything, ask immediately. Even if it says they won’t, ask anyway. You won’t get anything if you don’t ask.
I don’t know how it finds these email addresses, but it does! first 50 are free. You can always get another gmail account.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVITY
Dominic had roughly 2 months to lead his game. he didn’t have a website, online presence, no press kit, nothing. But, after playing the game, they chose to take it on. Barebones wouldn’t work- no press releases, and they needed a spark for the launch- some newsfeeds (3 guarantees). To take it out of the hands of the press, they needed to get creative. S-nce binding of isaac had a hug following, they chose to go for that audience. Those who played it, and LOVED IT. Since his game was so hard, it was an easy fit.
So what did we use? WordPress website, press kit, press lists, some other tools. The headline of the writer and the audience needed to match. SO what they did was choose that if you could receive a certain achievement on another super-difficult game with a massive following: Binding of Isaac (BOI), then you can have this game for free. It had to be a timed contest. Content creators, press, etc. They earned mass cover on the first day and it snowballed. They earned a ton of attention, but people who followed the influencers found out about this. They tweeted to other game developer and major content creators, and some of them picked it up
Mind Mapping For Success
The creative process through mind mapping can be visualized. They worked with a developer after the early access and launch. How could they inject that spark. THey added some materials which raised and lowered the difficulty level based on bitcoin rates. Using the advanced queries in google, they found games in FORBES magazine and website which likes video games and bitcoin. This person was able to take up the idea and really run with it. Once it rolled in FORBES, a few more places immediately picked it up.
Guerilla marketing is low cost, high risk, high reward. More often than not, that brings some nice feedback
when should you present? as soon as you’re presentable. Should niche games be the next big thing? Do what you’re passionate about. if its indy, if its the best new chess game, go for it. What if you have no specifc launch date, still show? yes, not a problem. What if lauch is approaching and you have no community? put yourself in the audinece shoes and give them what they need. get creative and think outside the box. use a simple demo. It may not be a high conversion, but it may bring coverage. Organize what you have, use it, and then extend into guerrilla tactics and target the people you genuinely believe will like it. It only takes a single reviewer to see things snowball. be thorough, find the best people and make it happen.
At 11:00am on 4/23/2017, Move from HTTP to HTTPS… or Become Irrelevant, presented by Peter La Fond, at the 2017 Wordcamp Conference in Raleigh, NC
Move from HTTP to HTTPS… or Become Irrelevant
Internet isn’t as secure as we wish. CloudBleed, Wikilieaks’ Vault7, Wordfence disclosed home router hack (57,000 homes confirmed). Cisco March 13th advisory noted that there is no workaround, and that anyone could possibly hack any cisco device and that you’ll have to wait until a patch comew out.
Last year, google came out with a 2-prong plan to move everyone to https. Reward SEO mojo to pages having HTTPS, and place a “Site not secure” alert in chrome browsers.
Difference between the two
Http is the protocol of the web. Https is SECURE. Migration requires a SSL/TLS certificate installed on a webserver followed by a series of steps to configure the website.
Http lacks security. It creates a MiTM (man in the middle) setup in which someone monitoring the
traffic can grab the information as it passes through. There are many people who’d love to get your information
Currently over 50% of google SERP is shoiwng HTTPS. Currently a small message appears. Phase 2 will be an information tab AND a message. Soon you’ll receive a phase 3 RED Triangle and message. Many other browsers will be following suit, and firefox already has.
All “ssl” certificates issued today are TLS.
What does it cost?
The real cost is the certificate cost (and possibly other costs) + server / WP installation time + Onsite Correction time + offsite adjustment time with analytics.
This might only takes hours to set up, and then a few weeks to get things set up. Using Let’s Encrypt is a much faster way to build, but the host must work with Let’s Encrypt.
Its only secure if you see the padlock. a little plugin called really simple SSL, and Why no padlock? to track down issues. Hardcoded CSS will not be found.
SSL is another item to manage, it is a certificate which will expire and need to be updated every year. Moving to a new host? Your certificate will also need to migrate
NOt all certs are created equal
Chrome may flag Symantec certs as Untrustworthy. They are considered to be built very sloppily. Let’s encrypt is a great service. Its free, and the host should have a script running which updates the SSL every 90 days.
Don’t be caught flat-footed! It’s time to get migrate to HTTPS. Google Search is actively pushing non-HTTPS websites to the second and third results pages. Additionally, the Google Chrome browser has started to show “Not Secure” notices when a webpage isn’t HTTPS compliant. An overwhelming percentage of WordPress websites are not HTTPS compliant.
This talk will touch upon the hazards of not migrating to HTTPS and the various steps required to get HTTPS up on your WordPress website.