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Why Google may soon label your website SLOW, costing you money

(MARKETING) Google’s putting warning labels on slow sites! If Ads are your bread and butter, the toaster just got thrown in the bathwater…

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google slow warning often due to ads

The rumors about consumer attention spans aren’t 100% true.

Every other article will tell you you have to grab grab grab, because anyone on a smartphone is a goldfish-brained, flashing lights junkie who won’t give your poor company the time you really deserve because they’re too overstimulated to know how good you are for them.

Well, first of all, goldfish actually have such good memories, that they can distinguish one human from another, and learn tricks.

And second of all, we can and do hyperfocus online! The catches are, the content has to be relevant, it has to be interesting, and it has to actually be easy to read.

No, I don’t mean easy to read as in legible, though there’s certainly more I could say about people still using black text on navy blue backgrounds. I don’t mean easy to read as in ‘keep Chaucerian references to a minimum’ either.

I mean easy to read in the purest form: your site and its content needs to actually load in a timely fashion.

I’m blessed with full use of my hands, so I can physically open a book in under a second. But connected to a great source of wifi, even with only one tab open, I can’t always make the same boast of opening a new website on any laptop I’ve ever used, and I definitely can’t say that about sites loading on my phone. Before you start an Apple vs PC/Android war, think about your own experience for a minute. It doesn’t matter what your tech specs are—slow sites are a universal demon!

And because they’re always listening, our Google Overlords have decided to do something about it.

The big G is starting to put the smackdown on sites with crappy loading times by branding them with a big ol’ ‘SLOW’ shame badge in the search results.

That means, even if you’re page one, result one, and the first ad in that little pastel yellow box, you can be passed over just like the losers on page 6 because Google will tell your potential readers visiting your site is buying a ticket to frozen screen town.

That town sucks.

So how do you get ahead of this latest development? You attack what makes your load times slow! The bugbears dragging you down are:

Ads

Videos reiterating what your articles say

Needlessly uncompressed graphics

Ads

Sites unformatted for mobile devices

Large gifs

ADS.

It’s ads, okay, the technical stuff is all easily fixable, but your biggest issue is ads.

As hard as it is to deal with your company not bringing in any cash, it’s even harder for consumers to properly peruse your content without getting hit with a video pop-up, some creepy cleavage-ridden clickbait, an animated banner, a new tab forced open, malware, extra sound, and the creep factor of the sites they only spoke about being right in front of them five minutes later.

It’s more than just distracting and dystopian—ish this brings your site load times to a grinding halt.

If they can’t click away from the ads, or have to wait for them to load before your content shows up while everything sorts itself out, more and more users are opting to hit the back button, or click over to be seduced by a competitor’s faster tab. With a ‘Slow sticker’ slapped on your pages by Google, these rightfully impatient browsers will start scrolling past you entirely.

It’s not just a problem for anyone selling directly either. Even the trusty Snopes is getting hit with my ‘NEXT’ thumb swipes on mobile because whether or not I’m scrolling on my personal porcelain or somewhere someone important might notice I’m bathroom blogging, it’s taking too long to get where I need to be.

Bottom line is this: If you have to have banner ads on your website to keep it afloat, it’s time you took the hours to run some intense QA. It’s up to you to vet the ads you’re allowing on your space, to see how they’re affecting your site’s load times, and to ask yourself if the money you’re getting from plastering your content with extra baggage is worth being skipped over for the next search result in line.

Keep your content in the fast lane, or gamble with rocking the sidewalk. The choice is obvious… but as always, it’s yours to make!

You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

Real Estate Marketing

No-reply emails: the modern-day horror story (don’t use them!)

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may be easy to set up and distribute for customer service, but it may actually be creating a problem with a simple fix.

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emails ugh

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Real Estate Marketing

Instagram advertisers no longer required to have a Facebook Page

(MARKETING) Instagram no longer needs a linked Facebook page in order to use Instagram ads, is this a split in properties or is something else going on?

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Instagram ads

Instagram will allow new advertisers to create ads without linking to a Facebook page. It feels like this is a move Instagram should  have made a while ago, but better late than never right?

Instagram announced that the social media giant will now allow new advertisers to promote their business, product, or content without having to connect to Facebook.

Previously, Instagram had been adamant about linking business profiles to Facebook, so the change is sudden, and the motive is contentious, buttttttt we’re not gonna question it.

This move supports small businesses, so we’re all for it. Although this change may seem irrelevant, here are five reasons it is:

  1. Previously requiring users to link a Facebook account to their Instagram in order to run an ad is time consuming.
  2. Not everyone has or likes Facebook.
  3. Associating yourself with a Facebook Page creates an additional way for people to get in contact with you, which can make things messy… sometimes less is more.
  4. Creating a business profile without connecting to Facebook will allow more people access to the same great benefits of having a business profile (benefits include insights on impressions, reach, audience, and activity).
  5. Maybe this is the beginning of a separation between the two social media platforms resulting in other new, beneficial policies.

Some have speculated that the reasons Facebook may want to push this slight crack between its products is because of some of their failures recently and the very real possibility of their being broken up by regulators in the future.

Take advantage and quickly set up a business profile, this is a potential opportunity for businesses that are hurting to learn about their customers and promote themselves!

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Real Estate Marketing

Now you can send marketing emails directly from your Facebook page

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Facebook is testing a new set of email marketing tools for business pages. Now you can send marketing emails directly from your page.

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facebook marketing emails

Facebook is testing new CRM email marketing tools with businesses. These features reportedly will allow businesses to send out messages directly from the Facebook platform, and track their performance. A user-friendly interface will allow small to medium businesses to upload contact lists and compose messages.

Word of testing of these tools spread after it was spotted by social media marketer Meg Coffey. She posted the screen shots to Twitter.

“Send marketing emails from your page? What new sorcery is this Facebook?! Have you seen this new feature where we can now send emails directly from Facebook? This is definitely new to me and only available on one account so far.”

From what we can see in the screen shots, it looks as if a blue pop up will appear on the left sidebar letting you know that the Marketing Emails feature is available to you. Once you click on that tab you get this notice:

“Reconnect with your email subscribers using marketing emails. Select your audience, customize your design, and track performance all in one place. Confirm your Page’s email address to get started.”

An email confirmation is required, and then you are prompted to add your contacts. A spreadsheet can be uploaded or addresses can be added one-by-one.

A Page Contact Terms of Service agreement prompt then comes up requiring approval before the feature is enabled, and asks for confirmation that the sender has permission to send promotional messages to those contacts.

In a message to Adweek, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the test of the new tools:

“We’re testing new email marketing tools with a small number of businesses to help them more efficiently notify their customers of changes to their services and operations. We’re evaluating whether these tools are beneficial for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it further.”

The test is said to be limited to small and medium-sized businesses at this point, and the simplicity of it seems to be geared towards businesses who do not currently have a robust email marketing solution. As the tests continue and more users interface with these tools the more we can expect to know about these features.

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