The Right Color Choices for Your Website

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When you’re designing your first website, you’ll probably consider things like the page layout, the copy, and how your customers are able to buy products or convert. Only as a secondary consideration will you think about the colors on your site and how they represent your brand or influence customer buying behaviors.

The truth is, colors are probably more important than you realize. Not only do they have a powerful impact on how people view and receive your brand, they can also make your visitors behave in specific ways. So how, exactly, does color influence these effects, and how can you use this to your advantage?

Dominant Colors

First, you’ll need to select the “dominant” colors of your website. Most brands have one dominant color that takes precedence, giving users a familiar feeling when they see it, and breeding brand loyalty in the process. For example, think about the dark blue associated with Facebook or the bright red associated with Coca-Cola. You’d be able to recognize these colors, and notice if they were off even by a shade; that’s because these are the dominant colors in each respective brand.

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Similarly, you’ll need to decide on one dominant color (and potentially one or two smaller, complementary colors) to be on prominent display throughout your site. If you already have a logo, you can use it as a basis for your development. Otherwise, you’ll have to start from scratch.

Industry and Audience

Some industries have specific color palettes that represent them; for example, you’ll often see green colors in businesses related to the financial industry (supposed to instill trust), and reds and yellows in fast food restaurants (the color combination is supposed to make people hungry).

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In some cases, adhering to audience expectations and the norms of your industry is a good thing; you’ll immediately give customers the right vibe, and you’ll set an expectation for the interactions they can expect.

Competitive Differentiation

On the other hand, you might want to break away from industry expectations and the standards that have been set before you. The problem with singular colors that come to dominate an industry is that most brands using those colors end up looking the same. If you want to continue winning business and attracting new people, you’ll need to differentiate yourself—and that means selecting colors that are unconventional for your industry. You’ll need to be careful here, because playing too far off type can be alarming more than novel.

Too Many Colors?

You’ll have some wiggle room in selecting other colors to include throughout your site, whether you’re coloring the main navigation bar or adding effects to certain interactions. However, it doesn’t take much to have too many colors in play at the same time. Having colors that clash with one another, or colors that compete for users’ attention can be disorienting and aesthetically unpleasant. They can also make text difficult to read and interactive elements tougher to see, sharply reducing the usability of your site.

Color and Conversion Rates

There have been many studies attempting to discover the relationship between onsite colors and conversion rates, but the results have been mixed. Some studies find that certain colors perform better than others; for example, coloring a button red might increase your conversion rate a few percentage points over a similar green button. Overall, however, there’s no clear trend.

Instead, colors seem to influence conversion rates based on how visible they are. Bright, bold colors that stand out from the surroundings but still fit the brand and make the text readable are ideal. Beyond that, changes in coloration appear either insignificant, or associated with unique variables such as audience and placement. That being said, the colors closest to your calls-to-action should be treated as somewhat experimental, subject to tweaks and improvements until you get the highest possible conversion rate.

As you design or tweak your website, don’t neglect the powerful effects that the right colors can offer. If you’re new to the process, consider working with a professional designer, or at least experimenting with different colors to examine their effects. Even small changes in brightness and shade can influence a change, so make your decisions thoughtfully.

Get Rich Quick With Native AdSense Ads

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As consumers grew blind to display advertising over the years, advertisers and publishers began embracing any format or approach that would yield results.

Native advertising – the practice of publishing/buying ads that are more integrated with the design and experience of the site or application – has quickly become one of the most popular tactics for both publishers and advertisers and for good reason.

Publishers tend to receive more clicks on native units than others (thereby increasing revenue) and advertisers are able to benefit from increased exposure (as more publishers adopt native ad units, the impressionable inventory has risen) at a lower cost. It has been too significant an opportunity to ignore, and now there’s another reason both publishers and advertisers should start taking advantage of native – the biggest name in digital advertising (Google) has taken notice of the trend and released a suite of native ad units designed to match the look and feel of AdSense publishers’ websites.

Currently available to all publishers, the new AdSense Native ads come in three categories: In-feed, In-article and Matched Content.

The In-feed ads “nest” or “slot” inside feeds such as a list of products, while In-article ad units are shown between a page’s paragraphs automatically. The final unit in the suite of new native offerings is that of Matched Content, a recommendation tool (similar to Taboola or Outbrain) that was actually released last year (2016) to help publishers promote their own content. Now, however, AdSense is making it possible for publishers to also monetize this functionality by displaying the content of advertisers. To be eligible, publishers will simply need to meet the minimum requirements for traffic volume and number of unique pages, but no specific information was provided.

There are opponents to the whole idea of native advertising in general, of course, with a handful suggesting that such a practice is deceptive. Glenn Gabe (a Digital Marketing Consultant at G-Squared Interactive), for example, suggested (in response to the announcement on the Google AdSense blog) that native units were exactly what he tells his clients not to do – and he’s certainly not alone.

Do you see native advertising units (such as those unveiled by Google) as deceptive? Submit your comment below.

When Do Google Posts Expire?

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Local businesses were excited by the introduction of Google Posts, a program that enabled enterprises to publish and publicize content directly on the search results pages when users search for their business. 

Many questions remain about how the service works and industry watchers are continually discovering and learning more and more about the system and best methods for optimization as the days and weeks go by, and as brands begin using the offering.

One of the questions that has been top of mind with those interested in using Google Posts is how long Posts last. The answer? Approximately seven days. 

While many local businesses were hoping they would be able to select some posts to last for a longer period of time, or limiting how long these posts can appear for just seven days will encourage (force) enterprises to continually publish fresh content if they want to keep attracting attention from consumers.

As Posts expire, however, Google will apparently send a expiration notification informing the business t and encouraging them to return and publish another. Have you started using Google Posts yet? What’s been your experience so far? What else do your fellow ‘Net professionals need to know?

Super Common WordPress Mistakes that Will Sink Your Site

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As the most popular content management system in existence, WordPress attracts a variety of users from beginner DIY-ers to expert developers. 

With its wide user base, mistakes are made. Today, we interview Demetrio Fortman, inventor of a popular MotoPress plugin for WordPress, who shares the most popular mistakes users make when using WordPress for website building (and advice on how to avoid them).

Mistake #1: Using a default username

It’s a mistake even professionals do from time to time, Demetrio says. Everybody knows that they need a strong, hard-to-guess password, but they often use the default username set by the system. Default WP username – Admin, you know – is a trick that can cost you a security breach. Since WordPress is one of the most popular website building platforms, it is a main target for hackers that can steal your data. They use so called brute force attacks by running continuous attempts to log in a website.That’s why you definitely need to use a custom username to access your website.

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The best and easiest way of changing the default admin name is creating a new user with a custom name, assigning administrator rights to it and then deleting the default user.

Mistake #2: Ignoring WordPress updates

When you’re a proficient user and everything on your WordPress website is working smoothly, it’s easy to forget about updates. They are usually stored in the sidebar of your dashboard and can be easily forgotten.

Ignoring updates is another way of letting hackers break into your website. It’s easier for them to get to your sensitive data when your website is running on old versions of system. That’s why system and plugins developers often add security updates into their new versions. Don’t ignore their efforts.

If you worry that updates can ruin something on your website, do regular backups to have the opportunity to roll back to previous version and save important info.

Mistake #3: Updating a live website

Opposite to ignoring updates, updating a live website is another unforgivable crime. Of course, you can do some small fixes to your texts or images, dropping a few lines of CSS into the code – it won’t do any harm. But if you plan some major updates or wish to test some new plugins – do it in a staging environment. Many hosting providers allow their clients to clone their websites with just a few clicks and keep them for running experiments or trying new widgets, plugins or themes.

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Having a multipurpose template with child themes can also save you from the headache of breaking down your cherished project.

Mistake #4: Installing too many plugins

Plugins are one of those things WordPress is famous for. There are tons of plugins for various purposes that add more functionality to a user’s website, but “more” is not “better.”  All those dazzling plugins can slow down your website’s performance as easily as improving its functionality. Moreover, they can conflict with one another, which will not bode well for website performance.
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The rule of thumb here is to choose carefully and install only those plugins that are perfectly tested with your latest version of WordPress.

Mistake #5: Mobile-unfriendly website

This mistake is not so often spotted nowadays. Since Google included mobile-friendliness into its algorithm, most serious website owners have taken care of making their websites responsive.

Novice WordPress users should get a responsive theme immediately if they haven’t already.

Mistake #6: SEO-unfriendly links

Again, by default WordPress creates a link to your new page or a blog post using just numbers, like yourwebsite.com/?p=123. The bottom line is that search engines and users cannot gain meaning from these URLs and do not boost trust in the business.

URLs should have meaning. The best idea is making your link out of an H1 with the use of dashes between words. Thus, if you are to tell about WordPress mistakes in your post, create an URL that looks like yourwebsite.com/wordpress-mistakes/.

These are the most outrageous mistakes no one should make today, claims Demetrio. Avoiding these ones may help you to look at your WordPress site critically and keep your website safe and working smoothly.

Why Aren’t You Ranking in the Zero Spot?

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The “zero” spot is the featured snippet that often appears before the organic search results. Like the knowledge box, this is prime real estate that allows your site to display more information related to the query than the other sites.

A common misconception that many business owners have is that ranking #1 for a term that triggers a featured snippet is how you are able to rank in the zero spot. Unfortunately, there are many cases in which the #1 organic result is not the featured snippet in the zero spot. Today, we are going to look at the reason behind this and the steps you should be taking if you want to capture a piece of this prime real estate.

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As you can see above, a search for “why do SEO” turns up a featured snippet for stellarseo.com/what-is-seo/ in the zero position. There are a few reasons why this is happening, the first being the content itself.

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This is image is a screenshot of the top of the ranking page, and the intro paragraph. The important part about this is that two questions are posed and a brief answer is given to both in the first few sentences of that page.

Google Android phones use featured snippets to answer your questions audibly. The format used above is perfect for that feature, which is why Google favors it over showing the top-ranking site, which may not use a phone friendly layout.

If you take a moment to search “why do SEO” you will notice that out of the top three organic results, this site is the only one follow the question & answer format, making it no coincidence that it is the featured snippet.

If you look at the fourth result, which for me (remember personalization becomes a factor in what is shown) is https://www.reliablesoft.net/what-is-search-engine-optimization-and-why-is-it-important/ you will notice that page uses a question & answer format at the top as well. In some cases, even sites that rank on the bottom half of the first page can end up in the zero position, when using the right content format. In this case, it is likely that since the first page outranks the second page using a similar format, that it is the one be displayed. That means rankings are still important but only part of the equation.

Either way, here are five steps you should implement to increase your chances of ranking in the zero spot.

Increasing Your Likelihood of Zero Rankings

 

    1. Content Layout: As noted above, asking a question and giving a brief answer that summarizes the content of the page is one of the first things you should implement. List formats and FAQ pages are also good candidates for the zero spot, just look at the results in your niche to determine if one is working better than the rest.

 

    1. Gather Questions: Why, how, and pricing questions are three areas that generate a lot of featured snippets. Using Google can help you uncover popular, related questions that you could also be answering in your content.

 

    1. Long-Form Content: Content exceeding 1,500 words is more likely to be shown as a featured snippet. It is not the length itself but rather the correlating factors. If your content is long form, you have the chance to answer more questions, increasing the likelihood of having the exact answer someone is searching for. In addition, the more informative your content is, the more likely it is to contain something of interest to a larger audience, triggering more shares, links and user engagement. So, don’t just write long posts for the sake of it, make sure you have 1,500 or more words of value, not just words.

 

    1. Become a Credible Source: While featured snippets have been pulled from sites ranking anywhere on the first page, they are very unlikely to come from sites not ranking in the top 10. While the actual position itself is not the main factor, the associated signals such as inbound links, user engagement and the overall “trustworthiness” of your site play all come into play. If Google is giving out answers, it best serves them to do so from credible sources. This is an area where numerous pieces of long-form content can also help. If you have 50 long-form content pieces on your site about dog food, chances are you’re a credible source of information. Remember, in the age of artificial intelligence, conclusions will be drawn from a compilation of data, not just a single page and query.

 

  1. Competitive Research: If you have your eye on the zero spot, the best thing you can do is conduct thorough research of your competitors that are taking up that spot. Here are a few questions to ask:
  • How long is the content?
  • What questions do they answer on the page ranking zero?
  • What related content on their site links to that ranking page?
  • What number and quality of sites are linking to their website and the ranking page?
  • What keywords related to that page do they rank in the top 10 for?
  • What questions could you answer that they have not?
  • Are there questions you could answer better?
  • How is their page formatted?

Once you gather all of that information, you should have the ammunition you need to create a strong page that has all the ingredients of a zero-spot ranking.