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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

This mobile app logs your sales calls data to skyrocket your performance

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Salestrail is a startup that automatically logs calls so you can improve the performance of your sales calls with less hassle.

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Man on the phone in front of a laptop, making sales call.

Logging sales calls are important because they provide valuable data to businesses. Capturing inbound and outbound calls gives you insights on how to improve your calling strategies to boost your sales team’s efficiency.

Manually logging all that information can be a pain, but it doesn’t need to be. There are several call logging solutions, which make it easier to keep track of all that information. For instance, Salestrail is an automated call tracking software startup that automatically logs sales calls to an analytic dashboard.

Meant for business and remote sales teams, it uses a mobile app to capture and record calls and a cloud-based analytics dashboard to view and analyze call data.

The company’s mobile app works on both Android and iOS devices. It can log incoming and outgoing SIM and WhatsApp calls. Call logs can be viewed by date and phone number, and you can even configure the app’s setting to choose which calls you want to keep track of. However, recording calls is available on Android only, which you can manage and share through the dashboard.

In the Salestrail Dashboard, a variety of metrics are available at your disposal, such as the number of inbound and outbound calls, answered and missed calls, and the duration of a call. Reports can be customized and exported to Excel files. And with the captured data, you can also see which sales rep is performing the best. So, if you’d like, you can give them a pat on the back!

Most importantly, according to the company’s website, their product is “super-easy to use”, and it’s “made by salespeople, for salespeople.” No technical implementation is needed to use their product, and you can get started in less than one minute. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing, especially when it comes to non-tech savvy sales reps.

To get started, you create an account to access the dashboard and download their app. Once your account is set up, you can invite team members to join. You can do this by sharing your company’s sign-up link or emailing invitations directly through the dashboard.

Also, through Salestrail’s APIs, you can connect to your CRM. Call data can be automatically pushed to Salesforce and Hubspot.

Salestrails offers different pricing tiers for both monthly and annual plans. If you’d like to see if they’re right for you, you can sign up here.

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Real Estate Marketing

Steal this Apple marketing method to crush your competitors

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Apple is a $2 trillion monolith of a company, and for countless good reasons. One of the primary reasons is their powerful marketing – one could argue they’re more famous for that than their actual product. Alex Garcia has a clear and concise guide to the process Apple uses to create compelling website copy, and it’s something you should absolutely try in your next round of marketing.

Garcia, a known marketing expert, breaks Apple’s copy down into 13 distinct techniques, the majority of which can be lumped into 3 categories:

  1. Appealing to customers
  2. Appealing to experts
  3. Appealing to the algorithm

Like any good marketing scheme, the majority of Apple’s techniques fall into the first category, but the overlap between these groups is what makes Apple’s copy stand out.

When appealing to customers, Apple tends to make things as simple as possible, sticking to a modern adaptation of the phrase “less is more.” This is a process that involves anything from rhyming (yes, seriously) and using alliteration all the way to creating short, energetic sentences that place the reader in the driver’s seat.

Apple also likes to focus on specific product details – edgeless screens, faster chips, camera abilities – as individual selling points, complete with supporting images. In theory, this makes it easier for the consumer to keep track of the benefits of the product.

And that energetic copy, often stemming from short sentences with the words “you” and “your” appearing organically, always accompanying those product details.

For what Garcia identifies as “scanners,” the most impressive information comes first (and uses the largest font), with the rest of the information following an “inverted pyramid” format in which details taper down from largest benefits to smallest benefits.

Apple’s overlap between experts and consumers is similarly notable. For the casual consumer, mentioning the new chip speed or information about the retina display on an iPhone stands out as impressive. And for experts who know how to read the specs they’re seeing, that first impression means just as much. Apple’s inclusion of those specifications in their copy (often in finer print than the bold, consumer-oriented headlines) makes all the difference.

Finally, search algorithms can flawlessly index Apple’s marketing copy due to copious use of keywords (words that don’t feel like keywords to the average consumer) in order to ensure that Apple products are recommended to as many undecided would-be buyers as possible.

Make no mistake: Apple has a metric truckload of other reasons for their success, many of which are well-outside of the grasp of most companies. But their marketing copy, and the confidence with which it is implemented, is something from which any business can learn. Before your next marketing push, consider how you’re appealing to all three categories, while your competitors only consider one (consumers).

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Real Estate Marketing

If you use WordPress or Google Ads, you need to know a battle’s brewing

(TECH) Whether WordPress or Google Ads are part of your business, their battle could impact how you market and/or make money.

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wordpress and google ads duking it out

WordPress is in the process of fighting back against Google’s alternative to third-party cookies, FLoC. If they win, it will be a massive loss for anyone using Google Ads in the coming months.

Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is Google’s pending replacement for third-party cookies. Instead of using third-party cookies to track browsing, FLoC automatically groups website visitors into “cohorts” that will see different ads depending on their recent activity.

It’s worth noting that, despite Google’s aggressive interest in phasing out third-party cookies, every web browser other than Chrome has opted out of using FLoC, and the EFF has accused Google of propagating further violations of users’ privacy.

But WordPress isn’t interested in the drama around the new tracking measures, opting instead to propose a plan in which FLoC would be blocked in the default settings on their properties. Should they succeed in making this a feature, Google Ads will be hindered substantially on WordPress domains, thereby hiding an estimated 40% of sites from Google’s advertising.

Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of WordPress’ parent company, confirmed that while the idea of blocking FLoC is still in its infancy,there is nevertheless “a proposal from a WP contributor to block FLoC by default.”

Search Engine Land also clarifies that this isn’t a difficult feature to implement, citing that “every programming language that powers websites typically carries a similar functionality” and positing that a paradigm shift for most websites therefore would be feasible.

“This would be relatively easy to implement if a website owner or developer wanted to do so,” writes George Nguyen.

A lot of the alarm regarding FLoC is predicated on the EFF’s risk assessment, with the organization categorically decrying this system as facilitating discriminatory and “predatory” grouping of users: “…placing people in groups based on their browsing habits is likely to facilitate employment, housing and other types of discrimination, as well as predatory targeting of unsophisticated consumers.”

Ultimately, FLoC is a mixed bag, but blocking it has clear and devastating implications for Google Ad campaigns across the board. In the fight between privacy and fair advertising, it’s typical to pick a horse and stick to it; it’s safe to say that FLoC and WordPress’ response to it will upset that paradigm for the foreseeable future.

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