Now, I didn’t do too bad in my leaving cert (end of school exams). The only reason I didn’t do even better though. Was because my language results let me down. Irish and German in particular.
My first job out of college was in the German department of a hotel booking chain. The reason I could speak German all day. Yet didn’t receive an A grade in my school exams. Was because I’m a grammar phobe. I hate grammar.
On that note, I thought it about time that I clean up my writing a little. And tackle some of the more common English grammar mistakes. Lest I repeat them again and again in my blogging.
Improving Your Writing.
I’ve tried to break down some simple grammar principles here. In language even I can understand. With some help from the guys and girls at Google.com, GrammarCheck.net and Grammarly.com. So if you get the chance. You should check the grammar sites out for yourself.
Can Your Blog Benefit From These Writing Mistakes, Simplified?
Let’s assume, since you are a blogger. You know the difference between there and their. And it’s and its. If you don’t, then Google is your friend. We are going to run through some other grammatical errors that people (me) make in their blog from time to time.
Who’s vs Whose. Who’s is abbreviated for who is or who has. While whose is a pronoun, so describes a person. Eg. Who’s developed that website? Whose computer is that?
Effect vs Affect. If you are talking about cause and effect. Use effect, the noun. Otherwise use affect, the verb. Eg. That medication had no effect on me. I took the medicine, but it didn’t affect me.
Who vs Whom. try this simple trick: If you can replace the word with “he”’ or “’she,” use who. If you can replace it with “him” or “her,” use whom. Eg. The computer belonged to whom? Who bought a new computer?
Then vs Than. Then is used in order or sequence. Than is used in comparison. Eg. He installed the computer, then took a break. He had more than one cup of coffee.
: (colon) vs ; (semi-colon). colons are used to show something is following. Semi-colons join 2 independent clauses. Eg. John said: “I don’t want to do it”. John went to the shop; I followed him there.
That vs Which. If you can remove the clause without destroying the meaning of the sentence, the clause is nonessential and you can use which. Eg. That’s the best website that I have ever seen. That’s the best computer which I saw all day.
Regard vs Regards. Regard is used to express consideration. Regards is a friendly greeting. Eg. She shows no regard for others. My kindest regards to you and your family.
As regards vs With Regards vs In Regards. With regards and in regards can be used interchangeably. As regards is used to introduce a topic. Eg. With regards to the rules on web design… As regards to the new web design rules.
In vs On. Use in when something is located inside of a defined space. Use on when something is touching the surface of something.
Commas vs full stops. A full stop ends a sentence. A comma shows a pause, breaks up a list or separates part of a sentence. If in doubt, use a full stop.
For vs To. Use “to” when the reason or purpose is a verb. Use “for” when the reason or purpose is a noun.
Quotes vs Italics. I use quotes only to reference written or spoken words. Otherwise, I use italics.
More ways of tightening up your blog writing?
Are there any simple writing mistakes that I’m missing? If so comment below and I’ll add them to this blog post
Also, if you are interested in more web tips in general. Don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter on the Hahamarketing subscription homepage. We’ll keep you up to date with writing and general web tips.
Does your writing suck? For a number of years, after college. I taught English part-time in South Korea to kids of different ages. Going through the same grammar and writing textbooks day after day. Not only gave me a new-found respect for teachers.
But also drilled some of the rules of writing English into me. Which up to that point were skills that had been sorely lacking.
Reasons To Hone Your Writing Craft.
There are many reasons to tidy up your writing style. Especially if you are a blogger or copywriter. Not only does your writing style get noticed by your visitors. But it can also affect your Google position.
While I don’t pretend to be a professional writer or copywriter. I do write occasionally for Hahamarketing.com. So it’s in my best interests to study the craft. I think you might find this guide useful. Especially if you are a novice writer who blogs or writes on the side.
I’ll keep updating this post with tips as time goes by. So if you have any good tips you’d like to see included. Please don’t hesitate to comment below. Or follow this link for more of my writing tips.
Your Writing Technique Will Effect Your Google Position.
Google knows when you’ve been naughty. Misusing commas, prepositions or parenthesis. And for sites that aim to achieve Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (EAT) in Google’s eyes.
Especially for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites eg. medical, financial websites. Among the ranking signals will be grammar, sentence construction, spelling mistakes, tone and general writing technique.
What’s more, because Google uses behavioural signals as a ranking factor. The more people who respond to your web copy on the Google results pages (SERPs). The higher your website will climb on the Google rankings.
Many of these tips were researched by myself on Google. Some were taken from grammarcheck.net; I’d recommend you check this website out if you have the time.
Tips To Stop Your Writing From Sucking.
Use full stops. Not commas. Commas are used to separate independent clauses and after coordinating conjunctions eg. and, yet, but, so, for, or, nor. Too many commas make a sentence cumbersome to read. Read your sentence out loud. If you need to take a breath. Then it’s too long. Also, use commas instead of parentheses (brackets) if you can.
Tell a story. If your writing does suck. Then maybe this is one of the reasons. Brands with a great brand story. Are 20 times as effective in selling as brands without. Whether you are writing for personal enjoyment, business or a bit of both. If you publish to the web. Then you have a brand.
Vary your sentence length. Write paragraphs with varying sentence length for best results generally. Like a musician varying the cords played on his/her instrument. Short sentences add pace. Long sentences slow the pace down.
Use pronouns sparingly. Let the subject of the sentence do the work. Eg. Tom opened the can. Not. He opened the can. Don’t use it/she/he unless you really have to.
Paragraphs. should have no more than 4 sentences in them. Separate your ideas. For each statement or idea. Create a new paragraph. Avoid the wall-of-text effect. Break up your paragraphs. Especially important for mobile copy.
Use adverbs sparingly. adverbs are for lazy writers. Show. Don’t Tell. Eg. Tom turned on the computer quickly. Try instead. Tom was so fast, it seemed like the computer turned on by itself.
Keep your writing as tight as possible. If you can say it in fewer words. Then do so. Avoid redundancy. Be merciless.
Read your work out loud. Catch any stray words or inelegant sentences.
Avoid passive voice in your writing. Eg. The code got written on the computer. Try instead. Bill wrote some great code on his computer.
Keep sentences short. Sentences should have no more than 15 words in them.
Pick a tone for your blog eg. informal, educational, business, fun. Be consistent with your voice.
It’s not about writing.It’s all about rewriting. Take some time to edit your article. Leave at least a few hours and return to your article with fresh eyes before releasing it.
Ending A Sentence With A Preposition. This isn’t a grammatical error believe it or not. And it’s fine when writing to friends or family. However in a business or formal setting. Avoid. Eg. What did he need the computer for?
Does Your Writing Still Suck?
Lastly, I’d just like to add. The browser extension from grammarly.com is a must-have for any budding writer. It’s chrome compatible and really helps to cut down on those pesky spelling and legibility errors. if you have any personal writing tips that you think I’ve missed. I’d be happy to add them to the list.
Before You Go.
Also, if you are blogging with WordPress. The Yoast.com SEO plugin gives you both an SEO and readability analysis of your writing. On top of other great features. Both of these pieces of software come with free versions that are great.
At Hahamarketing.com we’ve created the Google Results Page Editor tool that will let you edit the way Google displays your website in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).
Not only is this tool free. But you can create your Google copy and email it directly to your web developer to include in your web page’s code. And so display on Google.
Google Results Page Editing: The Why And The How?
Still need convincing? We’ve listed 5 great reasons for you to use this Results Page Editor tool. And 5 great copywriting tips for creating your Google page text.
5 Reason To Use The Google Results Page Editor.
1. Improve Your Google Ranking.
Tired of writing great copy that never gets enough readers?
Did you know that one ranking signal that Google uses to rank your web page is click-thru rate? If lots of people click-thru to your website from the Google SERP. Google will take that as a behavioural signal and will rank your website higher.
Google ranking starts with writing great Google Results Page copy. And the Google Results Page Editor is the first step towards turning your higher Google ranking into a reality.
2. Open A New Revenue Stream.
Do you understand how to write great copy?
Are you familiar with keyword research/SEO, the psychology of the web and how to write engaging copy.
If you have a grasp on these areas. Use this tool to open a new revenue stream for your business.
3. Play To Your Strengths.
You wouldn’t ask your plumber to fit your kitchen. So why get your web developer to write your Google SERP copy?
Enhance your workflow and get the most from your website by assigning each specialist to their best roles.
4. Earn More From Your Website.
The best way to gain qualified traffic. Is to match user search intent with your SERP copy and web page content.
If you write engaging copy that users click-thru on Google. Then you will most likely convert more visitors into customers, subscribers, advertising consumers or however your business model works.
5. Communicate Securely.
Avoid spoof or man-in-the-middle attacks by attackers. Use the Secret Passphrase in your communications with your developer.
Agree a passphrase over the phone or by email beforehand so that there is no room for error when it comes to updating the Google Page Result Editor copy.
Also, all of the Editor’s communications are done over encrypted channels.
5 Google Results Page Editor Copywriting Tips:
Some general tips to keep in mind when you are writing copy for the Google SERP.
1. Target More Transactional Queries.
Writing Google Title and Description meta tags is different than writing PPC ads. Most PPC ads are transactional in nature. Whereas 80% of Google search terms are informational. WIth 10% transactional and 10% navigational.
Keep this in mind when writing copy for the Google SERPS with the Google Results Pages Editor.
2. Avoid Clickbait.
Copy that is misleading or is written with only the intention of getting the user to click at all costs. Is termed clickbait.
Clickbait is a bad idea for a number of reasons. Not only does it lead to a shorter time-on-site (dwell time). It also leads to visitors pressing the back button and returning to Google sooner (pogo-sticking).
This is taken as another behavioural signal by Google that the site is of low-quality and deserves a lower place in the rankings. For more info on how to write proper Google SERP copy. Follow this Google copywriting advice page.
3. Don’t Forget To Match User Intent.
Some keyword search terms have obvious user search intent (eg. buy shoes). Others are not so obvious and are termed by Google as Query Deserves Diversity (QDD).
These terms might have a results page with many different types of content catering to many different search intents.
Make sure to do a Google search for your keyword search term beforehand. Match the user search intent with your SERP copy and page content.
4. Do Your Keyword Research.
The golden rule: make sure to do your keyword research before targeting any keywords.
There are many tools out there that can help. SEO tools like Moz, SERanking and Ahrefs. Also Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console.
5. Measure Your Results.
Make sure to set your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) before starting out. Afterall, how will you know that you are improving without mesuring your results?
Try the Google Analytics tool for measuring and monitoring your page results.
We’ve covered 5 reasons that you should use the Google Results Page Editor tool by Hahamarketing .com. Along with 5 copywriting tips for setting your Google SERP copy.
If you have any suggestions or comments. We’d love to hear them below. Maybe you have some ideas on how the tool can be improved?
Choosing software for your small business can be a make or break opportunity. You need something that’s value for money. Doesn’t go offline too often and allows you to take your data with you should you decide to switch to another provider down the line.
In this article, i’m going to go through the 10 points I look for in a software vendor solution. In the hope that it can give your small business some food for thought.
I have a checklist of requirements that I go through before committing to choosing software for my small business.
It’s not only the cost involved in subscribing to the new software that matters. But there’s also the not inconsiderable time commitment required in learning a new user interface and workflow.
1) Does It Have Data Portability?
Can you switch software service providers and take your customers and customer data with you when you go? Important. Especially when it comes to payment gateways like Paypal or Stripe.
Ask their support before committing to a solution.
2) Server / Bandwidth issues.
How fast is the service? Simple test. Sign-up for a free trial and access the service online via your web browser. Is the site slow or fast?
If it’s slow, check Google to see if Google is slow or fast. If both are slow. Then it’s your own Internet connection. If Google is quick. Then it’s the vendor’s software that is slow.
3) Investigate Uptime.
The length of time between the vendor’s service going offline for any reason. Worth checking out for your software solution (see below).
Always test support. Often software companies will offer support over Twitter. Some companies are based on the other side of the world and work 9-5.
So it takes at least 24hrs for support to get back to you. Also, is the support helpful and knowledgeable?
5) Sign up for a free trial.
Generally, software vendors have a free trial. If you sign up but get distracted and can’t spend the time to test. Ask them to extend your free trial for another few weeks.
Make the time to test the system the second time around. I often get an extension on a free trial for software I haven’t used much the first time around.
6) Check online reviews.
Sites like trustpilot.com, capterra.com, g2.com all contain customer reviews of software services. The best thing to do is to type in “my-software review” into Google and look for one of these sites. Where “my-software” is the name of the software product you’re researching.
7) Does the site have a status subdomain?
Eg. “status.acuityscheduling.com“. Acuity Scheduling has a status page that gets updated if they go offline for whatever reason. The status page should also tell you the uptime of the site. AcuitySheduling has a 99.98% uptime, which is good.
8) Does the software have an up to date changelog?
Bit of a technical one. But you want software that is updated and improved often. The changelog displays changes made to the software. The when and the what. So type “changelog mypthub.com” into google and it brings up the latest changes to the software.
9) Does it have a WordPress plugin?
Not a deal-breaker, but handy nonetheless. Especially if your website runs the WordPress content management system.
Most software should have a WordPress plugin that gets updated regularly. WordPress runs 38% of websites so it’s a good sign if the software integrates with WordPress.
To check type “my-software WordPress plugin” and see what comes up.
10) Are you contacted over social media (particularly LinkedIn) by a company employee after signing up?
Good sign. Gives you a go-to person to contact with any issues you are having.
Generally this means the company has their house in order in my opinion.
Finally, I’d suggest shopping around when it comes to choosing software for your small business. Often up-and-coming software vendors will try to make a name for themselves by offering features for free. That their more established rivals are charging for.
If you think I’ve missed any steps in the list. Let me know in the comments below. Alternatively if you have any questions. Just leave a comment or else contact us.
Don’t forget to read our blog post on sourcing free images for your business. If you market to clients in the health, nutrition or fitness niche. Make sure you check out the Hahamarketing.com Health Profiler.
Next in our series of articles about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme by the Local Enterprise Office in Ireland. We talk to John Kennedy from the Bank Of Ireland business resource site ThinkBusiness.ie.
If you’ve never visited ThinkBusiness.ie, we suggest you check it out for information that concerns Irish businesses.
For more information on the Trading Online Voucher Scheme read our blog post. For specific advice from the Local Enterprise Office please view our article.
What is the current state of Irish e-commerce in 2021 John in your opinion?
Better than it was certainly. At one stage only 1 in 4 Irish companies had an online payment facility. It’s improved a lot lately. Back in 2014 it was estimated that 70% of all e-commerce transactions left Irish shores. Nowadays it’s estimated that 60% of irish people buy from overseas.
The government started the Trading Online Voucher Scheme 5 or 6 years ago. They made it a big focus. Today companies such as Salt+soul, siar photography, ps i love you and many others are reaping the whirlwind.
Salt+soul used to do 70% of their business online. Now it’s 100%.
Multyfarnham cookery school did only 10% of their business online. Since the pandemic, that’s increased to 100%. So 100% of their revenue comes from the Internet. They received the help of their Local Enterprise Office in Westmeath.
How has the pandemic changed the way people do business in Ireland?
Online matters now more than ever. However, there are still disadvantages to shopping online though. Such as waiting weeks for goods to come from abroad. Then there’s Brexit and customs charges.
What would your advice be to business owners who are thinking about expanding their online presence?
Enquire at your Local Enterprise Office. Online marketing is hard. The Local Enterprise Office will help you with site, training and ongoing support. Take this opportunity with both hands.
A lot of shoppers and consumers won’t be going back to shopping offline in my opinion.
The bigger sister to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is the Online Retail Scheme. So businesses should check that out if they don’t qualify for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.
Has the Trading Online Voucher Scheme been a successful business-incentive program in your experience? How could it be improved in your opinion?
It could be improved by having more case studies coming to the surface. It’s a great thing that it exists at all. Anything that helps.
Which online tools should small business owners know about when beginning to trade online?
Pointy.com helps you bring all your inventory online. It’s an Irish company that was acquired by Google. They created a piece of hardware that interfaces with your Point Of Sale software. They help drive footfall to your brick-and-mortar shop.
Sharing your site to a local community group on Facebook is a good idea.
Shopify.com covers everything to building website, training, online promotions. It may not be your own website but allows you to trade online.
Also, some retailers display a QR code in their window for customers to scan and be taken to their website.
Which niches are in the best position to capitalise on the scheme and on online trading in general?
I would have thought it’d be clothes and physical goods. But really it’s people being inventive. Necessity is the mother of invention.
The ones that surprised me most were people who had something to train or teach.
What is your advice to business owners who are thinking about applying for the scheme?
If you don’t already have a relationship with your Local Enterprise Office. You should have. Start by enquiring.
Local Enterprise Offices are keen to help. Talk to them. See what’s feasible.
How can business owners maximize their budget with the scheme?
Do your research. If you plan to spend on tools, courses and platforms. How does that fit in with your working capital cost?
People don’t have time, the problem is lack of time and trying to keep the lights on.
The Local Enterprise Office will direct you better in terms of what is a priority and what isn’t.
Study other businesses and see what they invest in. Make sure you spend your cash on the right things. Web designers aren’t cheap.
What sort of support does the banking sector (and BOI in particular) offer to SME’s that they should know about?
We did some work with Shopify, Pointy and the E-commerce Association before Christmas. Talk to your bank manager and check out what’s available. The banking sector is a key part in keeping the lights on. Do your research.
Having taken on the government schemes is a string in your bow. The Credit Guarantee Scheme helps with funding if a business needs to expand. These are loans underwritten by the government.
Anything you’d like to add that might be important to readers?
Just that digital is the future. People are shopping online out of necessity and convenience. You can still have a relationship with your loyal customers.
Online selling means your business keeps selling while you sleep.
A big thanks to John Kennedy from ThinkBusiness.ie for taking the time to share his experience.
Online trading is clearly the future and is here to stay whether you like it or not. Contact your Local Enterprise Office. Do your research. Start today.
If you would like to discuss any of these tips. Please leave a comment below.
For a free consultation about developing, marketing or designing a website or expanding your online presence. Contact us.
Article continuing our series about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme. For more info on the scheme and to see if you qualify. Read our blog post.
Our series will consist of interviews with participants of the scheme and with other business professionals that are tangentially connected with the scheme.
Today is the turn of Paul McGuirk. Head of Enterprise for the Local Enterprise Office in Ireland. Paul has some tips for people participating in the scheme or thinking about participating.
Let’s get started…
How do most businesses hear about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme Paul?
Most people hear about the scheme by word-of-mouth. From friends or their accountants. Either that or online. We also ran an Irish radio ad campaign to promote the scheme.
What do most businesses use the grant for?
The majority of businesses use the grant for developing or enhancing the website/e-commerce facility of their business. Some people only have a social media presence.
Others have a brochure site and upgrade it to fit an e-commerce, online booking and/or payment facility. Many use it for their Shopify or eBay subscription.
Also, many businesses apply and receive the grant twice.
Is the 90% grant over? Or will it return?
The 90% grant scheme ran from Apr – Dec 2020. It’s back to 50% now. There are no plans to bring back the 90% grant rate.
What do you wish businesses knew before applying for the grant?
Participants of the scheme should first have a firm idea in their own mind of what they want from the grant.
For example, they should know which social media channels their customers use.
They should know how they want to drive traffic to their website. They might need to commission ongoing maintenance work for their website.
Having a strategy for driving people to their website is a must. They should also have a process in place for online ordering.
How can businesses maximize their budget?
To maximize their limited budget. Business owners should only spend 30% of their budget on social media.
They should be able to identify what they want on their website. Be able to prioritize what they want. They might want 5 or 6 things but only be able to afford 4.
Eg. They may wish to do some online training programs such as SEO, LinkedIn and Facebook training. The more they can train themselves the better.
What other supports does the Local Enterprise Office provide business owners?
Local Enterprise Office supports come in 3 parts.
First the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.
Next is ongoing online marketing training classes with experts eg. Facebook, SEO and Twitter training.
Finally, there’s one-to-one mentoring in running a business online.
What’s the best way to source a Trading Online Voucher Scheme services/partner?
Ask around business colleagues, friends and relatives. The best method is through word-of-mouth.
What’s the key takeaway from the online introduction webinar?
Business owners should be able to understand what they want. Be able to define the 3 or 4 objectives that they want from this. It’s not just about creating a website and letting it look after itself.
Social media marketing, maintenance and driving people towards the website are all key ongoing factors.
So there you have it. Tips for participating in the Trading Online Voucher Scheme from the LEO Head Of Enterprise, Paul McGuirk.
The key takeaway in our opinion being that business owners should be as knowledgeable as possible about web marketing and their ideal customer in order to have a better idea of what’s right for their business.
One way to stay up to date with online marketing trends is to sign up for the Hahamarketing email newsletter below. Also, check out your local LEO office for more information.
Need help with your Trading Online Voucher Scheme application? Or just web advice in general? Contact us and we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation.
At Hahamarketing.com we are doing a series of articles about game-changing online tools. In keeping with this theme, our first interview is with web entrepreneur and marketer Andy Barr.
Andy came up with the idea for a tool that would help calculate the amount of physical activity needed to burn off certain foods and drinks.
Not only was this tool a runaway success, with media exposure in nearly 15 countries. WorkOffYourDinner.com was featured in the mainstream media in newspapers in the UK such as Metro, The Sun and on national television shows like The Jeremy Vine Show and This Morning TV Show.
So let’s get on with the interview with Andy and discover a little more about the process of creating the online calculator and the very personal reasons Andy had for coming up with such a tool.
How did you come up with the idea for the tool Andy?
“Well basically, I used to be very overweight myself. For over 7 years I weighed 19 stone. Now I’m down to 13 stone. The tool was an aid to my weight loss journey and was created to help others in my position.”
How long did the tool take to create?
“The tool took around 2 months to create. I came up with the idea and did some data points in an Excel spreadsheet. I used sites like Myfitnesspal and Harvard Uni for the data. “
“Then I handed it over to the developers. Then to the designers. I was the weak link in the process, to be honest. Or else it might have been done sooner.”
How many people were involved in the creation of the tool?
“Overall there were 5 people involved in the process. Myself as the creator and researcher. 2 Developers to work on the code. 1 Designer to do the look and feel of the calculator. And a PR person to get the word out.”
Does the tool require much maintenance?
“Not really no. Calories don’t change. However, we add a few meals as requested from time to time.”
How successful has the tool been?
“Well the tool has achieved news coverage in 15 different countries including Spain, Portugal, UK and US. We earned 130 coveted backlinks to help with our Google Ranking. Many from high Domain Authority sites.”
What was the biggest issue you ran into when developing or rolling out the tool?
“When it came to building the tool. We encountered some time overruns. Especially when trying to hit deadlines. We also had some unrealistic timelines.”
“It proved a controversial tool for the fitness community. But i figured if it worked for me it might work for others.”
What has been your ‘North Star’ metric in creating the tool? ie. which web statistic have you been tracking the most (eg. sales, visitor numbers, time on site etc..)?
“Well, the calculator was created to promote our website Alertr.co.uk. So I’d say customer sign-ups. The tool drove up to 200 sign-ups per day during the peak.”
How did you go about promoting the tool?
“PR outreach primarily. We leveraged social media first. I have a decent following on social media on my Instagram. fitnesswanker tracks my weight loss journey and has somewhere between 12-15,000 followers.”
“Plus the mainstream media are always on the lookout for popular trends online. So soon after we launched – many news organizations picked up the story”.
Finally I’d like to say a big thank you to Andy for taking the time to do this very informative interview. We’d also highly recommend trying the tool for yourselves workoffyourdinner.com.
Have an idea for a game-changing tool for your industry? Then simply contact us for a free consultation.
What is the most common job amongst spiders? Web designer.
Whether you are a budding web designer. Or you’re someone who spends a lot of time on social media for business. And you would like to know how to use free stock photos for your business.
Maybe you’re only starting to use social media. Or alternatively, you remember a time when Tom was your first Facebook friend. Regardless, this article has something for you.
We aim to give you a firm grounding in how to use free stock photos for your business. Including where to get free-to-use images for your blog, website or social media profile.
And to avoid getting sued or gaining a reputation for riding roughshod over other people’s intellectual property.
We’ll have a look at some of the more permissive licences available for you to use for your business. Along with some image sharing sites where you can find images you can distribute, modify and use commercially free of charge. And without attribution.
We’ll also look at how you can optimize your images to reduce file size and download time. As well as go through recommended width, height and aspect ratios for the 4 main social media platforms.
First though, let’s look at some facts and figures.
Why should you use images on your social media posts?
Maybe because on Twitter -tweets with visual content are 3 times more likely to get engagement (ie. like, shares, comments). Ditto for posts on Facebook.
People only remember 10% of what they hear after 72 hours. But pairing a relevant image with your message. Means people can remember 65% of the information over the same time period.
So choosing the right image matters.
Which Licence Is Right For Me?
With so many licences out there it’s difficult to know when it’s OK to use an image and when it’s not. You don’t want to be hit by a bill from a photographer or image hoarding website after using one of their images without consent.
And yes, it does happen.
Let’s run through the main form of free-to-use image licences here so you don’t get caught out.
Keep an eye out for these licences when you’re searching for images for your business.
Public Domain Licence – images under the public domain licence are outside of copyright law and are free to use, modify and distribute with no attribution required.
Copyright Free – image released without any copyright by the owner. Free to use in any way you wish.
Creative Commons Zero – no rights reserved licence by the owner. Free to use commercially. Not to be confused with Creative Commons licence with which attribution is legally required.
Where Should I Source My Images?
Sourcing images on the web can be tricky. On one hand, you want a great image, professionally shot. Preferably one that your visitors haven’t seen before to avoid ad fatigue.
While at the same time paying for single-use images from stock photo sites can get expensive after a while.
These are my top 3 websites for downloading high-resolution images that are free to use or modify for commercial purposes on the web.
unsplash.com: Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright licence to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash.
pixabay.com: On Pixabay, users can find and contribute images and video clips. For uploading files and downloading full-sized images, registration is required. By uploading files, the contributors waive their copyright and related image rights.
Let’s break image editing software users into 3 distinct but overlapping groups. For three different kind of web users.
Have Time, No Money: Go with GIMP.org. Completely free to download and use. My personal choice. Especially good for scaling, optimizing and cropping images. Bit of a learning curve initially. But so worth it in the end. Especially if you work on the web often.
Have Money, No Time: Canva.com – also the choice if you want to post to multiple social media sites and have images automatically resized. Or you want to produce info graphics. Canva costs €11.99 per month but also comes with a free plan.
Have Money, Have Time: Adobe Photoshop. Used by a lot of professional graphic designers. Unless you’re a pro. GIMP and Canva should be fine for most purposes.
Which Social Media Image Sizes Should I Use In 2020?
Unlike your website or blog. When it comes to social media images. You generally want to upload as high an image quality as possible.
You might also want to check how the image appears on your social media profiles on your computer or laptop and on your phone. Just to be sure. Often social media platforms will stretch or squeeze images to make them fit the required aspect ratio.
Even if you don’t get the width and height of the image exactly right. Try to get the aspect ratio correct for social media. The easiest way to do this is to use the crop tool on your image editing software.
Generally you want to upload images to social media in JPG or PNG format. For intricate or detailed images choose PNG format. PNG image file sizes are larger and so take longer to download, so use sparingly on your blog or website.
Social media platforms have their own optimizing (scaling and compression) processes so you don’t have to worry about file type.
How do you know what type of image you are working with? The clue is in the filename eg. myblogimage.jpgor mysocialmediaimage.png.
Here are some recommended image sizes for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Along with their aspect ratios.
LinkedIn Image Sizes:
400(w) x 400(h) pixels AR 1:1
1584(w) x 396(h) pixels AR 4:1
Blog Post Link Image
1200(w) x 627(h) pixels AR 1.91:1
1080(w) x 1920(h) pixels AR 9:16
744(w) x 400(h) pixels AR 1.86:1
Facebook Image Sizes:
170(w) x 170(h) pixels AR: 1:1
851(w) x 315(h) pixels AR: 1:1
1200(w) x 630(h) pixels AR: 1.91:1
1080(w) x 1920(h) pixels AR: 9:16
Twitter Image Sizes:
400(w) x 400(h) pixels AR: 1:1
1500(w) x 500(h) pixels AR: 3:1
1024(w) x 512(h) pixel AR: 16:9
Instagram Image Sizes:
320(w) x 320(h) pixels AR: 1:1
1080(w) x 566 to 1350(h) pixels
1080(w) x 1920(h) pixels AR: 9:16
Tips For Using Images On Social Media
As previously stated, social media platforms have their own software to optimize images. So it’s best to upload high-quality images because low-quality images will get degraded.
Avoid images with small text or details that won’t be legible on mobile phones.
If you are creating text graphics on Canva, use at least 16px font size for mobile legibility.
Use high-resolution images for Social Media.
Use the recommended aspect ratio.
Use highly contrasting colours.
Mix it up. Use a variety of images such as stock photos, mobile phone shots and even a video or animated gif from time to time.
When in doubt about which image to use for social media. Choose a smiling female. Studies show that images of smiling females get the most engagement on social media. Next come images of children or pets.
LinkedIn Image Tips:
Choose images of people in business attire.
Single person photos work best.
Facebook Image Tips:
Don’t use blues and whites on Facebook as they tend to blend with the Facebook brand colours.
Avoid too much text or logos on images on Facebook.
Friday posts get the highest engagement rate on FaceBook. Sunday the lowest.
Twitter Image Tips:
Tag people in your photos for best results
Upload multiple photos in one go using the Twitter mobile app.
Instagram Image Tips:
Use single dominant colours in images.
Blues often work best on Instagram.
Choose images with whitespace.
Optimizing Images For Your Blog Or Website
Don’t forget, you’ll need to optimize your images before you upload them to your blog or website.
Fast web pages. By which I mean ones that download in 3 seconds or less. Usually have a file size of around 500KB. I’ve seen websites where the small testimonial image alone is nearly 10 times that size.
And people wonder why their website’s page speed is so slow. If you learn anything from this article. Learn this. Optimize your blog and website images.
To optimize your images. Simply follow this 3 step process.
1. Download, install and open GIMP on your computer.
GIMP image editing software is completely free and is compatible with Windows, Apple and Linux. You can download GIMP at gimp.org/downloads/
Follow the instructions to install GIMP on your system.
2. Open image in GIMP. Scale and/or crop image. Save.
Once you have GIMP installed and opened on your computer. Open the image file after downloading it from the web.
The follow these instructions to scale (resize) the image and/or crop (focus on a particular section of) the image.
Tinypng.com is a great site for reducing the quality and size of images for websites and blog posts. It handles both jpg and png image formats. It also handles up to 20 images at the same time.
So assuming you’ve already scaled and cropped your images. You can just upload your entire image folder for your small website in one go. Then download the optimized images and have your website admin install them on your website.
In conclusion, we hope you enjoyed our brief overview of the world of image sourcing for your online business profile.
Don’t get caught out in the future using images to which you have no rights. Stick to permissive licences and websites and you won’t get caught out.
Where do you source your images? Do you have any tips that you wish to share with the community? Let us know.
Wondering why you aren’t picking up more local business through Google? You are not alone. We’ll go through some tips here on how to boost your Google My Business profile, improve your SEO ranking in Ireland and start dominating local search.
Below I’m going to list several things you can do to raise your local profile in Google. I’ll point out which tasks you can do yourself and which tasks you should hand off to your webmaster or local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) pro for help with.
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.
Google local search pros will generally spend their time correcting Name, Address and Phone info for your business (citations) across the web, building backlinks from other websites in your niche, creating hyperlocal content for your site, and building more citations from trusted websites.
People think of Google as just an Internet search engine. Whereas in reality, it’s several search engines rolled into one. It runs different search algorithms for Universal Search, Organic Search, Local Search etc…
This means when you search for ‘fitness gym‘, you’ll be served by the organic search algorithm giving you the standard Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) with the blue page links we are all so familiar with.
Whereas the search term ‘fitness gym cork city‘ and similar phrases with local search intent will be handled by the Google local search algorithm. And should return local results with a map and what’s termed a local pack list including business information, click-to-call links etc…
78 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases
Try searching for the search term ‘your business your city’ where ‘your business‘ is the name of your business and ‘your city‘ or area is your location. If you have a Google My Business profile, it should show up on the right-hand side of the results page on Desktop or laptop screens. Or front and centre on mobile screens.
And with over 50% of Google My Business listings going unclaimed. It’s a great way to get a leg up on your competition.
Since you’re going to the trouble of claiming your Google My Business listing. It goes without saying that you should really spend a few minutes to choose the right categories, write a killer business description, add pics and post regularly which we’ll come to later. In other words, optimize your listing.
2: Focus On Holistic Search Engine Optimization For Better SEO Ranking In Ireland.
Like Santa Claus. Google knows all and sees all. Google tracks behavioural signals and knows when people avoid clicking on your site in the search results page. Also Google knows when people click-through to your site then press the Back button after a few seconds to find another website (called pogo-sticking).
Since one of the biggest factors in Google ranking is User Experience. It pays to pursue a holistic approach when it comes to local and organic SEO. This means fulfilling visitor needs at all levels and matching content with user search intent.
In other words, you should provide a mixture of video, images, great copy, blogs, infographics, white papers, stats, industry research and last but not least – online tools. In order to boost your SEO ranking in Ireland.
By doing this you can increase visitor time on site (session time), improve user experience, increase conversions (customer leads to paying customers) and generally provide Google with a search result that it can be confident about ranking in the top 3 positions in the Search Engine Results Page or local pack. While at the same time hopefully weathering any Google algorithm updates without losing Google ranking position.
You might need to consult an SEO pro to complete the above tasks.
3: Does Your Local Page Have A Google Map Embedded?
Having a Google map embedded on your local page is a must for several reasons. First, you can let people know instantly where exactly you are located. Next, the Google map will provide directions to your store or business
This task is best left to your webmaster.
Pro Tip: by embedding the specific Google My Business Local map on your page. You’ll get an extra boost in your local search ranking.
4: Add Pics And Video To Your Google My Business Profile To Boost Your Page Ranking in Ireland.
It always a good idea to add pics and especially video to your Google My Business profile regularly. This shows Google that you’re serious about maintaining your profile and along with answering questions, responding to reviews and posting. Will help boost your ranking in the Google local search results.
For bonus points, you might want to alter the EXIF data on photos you add to your profile. What’s the EXIF data? Whenever you take a photo with a GPS-enabled device eg. mobile phone. The photos are usually marked with GPS longitude and latitude data that indicate the location of the shot.
Photos you take in your business will have this data automatically encoded. But when you take photos in other locations and want them recorded as business photos. You can alter the EXIF data with this free online tool.
Using the Google My Business app which I talk about below. You should be able to do many of these tasks yourself.
Pro Tip: Be very careful when adding stock photography to your Google My Business profile. Google discourages this and has been known to remove your profile entirely for small infractions like this.
5: Install The Google My Business App On Your Phone
If you’re serious about monitoring and improving your Google My Business profile search position in the rankings. Then installing the Google My Business app on your phone is essential.
The app will notify you when someone asks a question or leaves a review so you can respond immediately. It also allows you to post updates and pics. And gives you information on how people interact with your Google My Business profile.
This is a task you’ll probably be able to do yourself. All you’ll need is a mobile phone and a free Google account.
Pro Tip: Google can remove the Question and Answer section of your profile if you don’t respond to questions regularly.
In conclusion, I would encourage you to claim your Google My Business profile first before doing anything else. This is where all local search optimization begins with Google.
After that, you should regularly update your profile with pics and video if possible. While collecting and responding to reviews and questions in a timely manner. All the while monitoring your progress with the Google My Business app.
Once those tasks are regularly completed you should start to see improvements in your local Google SEO ranking Ireland within 90 days assuming you aren’t in a very competitive local niche.
In which case, significant improvement may take longer. Don’t fall into the trap of just spending a bit of time on your Google My Business profile and then forgetting about it.
But rather think of your profile as you would of your house plants. It’ll need to be tended to and watered often if you are to see lasting results.
For more specific information pls read the other posts in the Hahamarketing blog that covers other areas such as claiming and updating your Google local profile in more detail.
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