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Amazon Echo’s Biggest Hardware Problems

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Amazon Echo is an amazing addition to any Smart home and makes for a great start when buying Smart devices. Echo and the smaller Echo Dot still have some kinks to work out, but they’re both great Smart hubs and devices. There are software problems that you can mostly fix with a quick power cycle or an update, but what about hardware problems?

With hardware problems you have fewer fixes available, and unfortunately more headaches. Sadly, with problems like the ones I’m about to mention, you usually have a defective Echo on your hands, so hold onto your warranty. In most cases, there aren’t ways to fix Echo hardware issues, but there are ways to bypass them.

Amazon Echo Microphone Problems

There’s one big problem the Echo microphone usually has, and that’s picking up your voice, which is the one job you hope a microphone can handle. Most of the time, this is solved by moving the Echo somewhere quieter, or just turning it on and off again. Unfortunately, if the problem is with the microphone itself, it gets harder to fix.

Because of Amazon Echo’s construction, it’s difficult to make any repairs yourself unless you feel like completely tearing it apart. Before you pull out the screwdrivers and start dismantling your echo, make sure this isn’t a software problem first.

To read the remainder of Roland’s article, please click here.


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The post Amazon Echo’s Biggest Hardware Problems appeared first on SiteProNews.

7 Critical Social Media Questions that Businesses Need to Answer Now — Not Later

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

When social media first arrived on the business landscape more than two decades ago, it was widely viewed with a mixture of skepticism, indifference, or in some cases, outright hostility. According to some self-proclaimed business pundits and gurus, while it was conceivable that a small niche of B2C businesses might be able to leverage some bottom-line business benefits through this “weird social thing,” the idea of virtually all businesses using it daily — including governments, NGOs, health care networks, political parties, sports teams, and the list goes on — wasn’t just beyond the pale: it was simply unthinkable.

Well, history has a way of proving plenty of business pundits wrong (although they tend to find a way to evade accountability!), and the story of social media on the business landscape is a perfect example. Not only is it a legitimate business communication tool, but in some cases, it’s the preferred or leading channel as the statistics bear out:

  • 72 percent of adult Internet users use Facebook. (Source Pew Research Center)
  • 32 percent of all employed adults are on LinkedIn. (Source: Pew Research Center)
  • Pinterest has 100 million monthly active users. (Source: The New York Times)
  • Instagram has 500 million monthly active users. (Source: Statistica)
  • 30 percent of online adults under 50 use Twitter. (Source: Pew Research Center)
  • YouTube reaches more people age 18 and over during prime time than any cable TV network. (Source: Google)

However, despite the prevalence — and often dominance — of social media as means to connect businesses with individual customers and groups of customer communities (including prospective customers and influencers), most businesses are staggeringly exposed to costly and potentially catastrophic brand damage, along with fines for breaching compliance regulations, and data leaks caused by cyber attacks to rogue employees.

Why does this massive social media-based vulnerability persist? Because companies are paying so much attention to content, delivery and engagement, that they’re neglecting to answer seven critical social media risk-based questions:

1. What prevailing compliance regulations govern our social media content and messaging?

The answer to this varies depending on the industry. For example, all firms in the mortgage industry must ensure that all of their marketing content — including social media — conforms to the Truth In Savings Act/Reg. DD, Fair Lending Laws, Truth In Lending Act/Reg. Z, RESPA/ Section 8, FDCPA, Federal Trade Commission  Act, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act/Reg. E, Bank Secrecy Act, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the CANN-SPAM Act.

2. What are the roles and responsibilities of senior management and board members with regard to social media content and messaging?

In addition to listing key individuals, businesses also need to establish controls and define an ongoing assessment of risks related to social media usage.

3. What policies and procedures are in place to manage and monitor social media use?

These policies and procedures must be comprehensive, and they also need to cover measures that identify and mitigate risks that relate to fraudulent or counterfeit misuse of their brand.

4. What policies and procedures do we have in place to manage third-party vendors?

Many businesses tap third-party vendors to manage some (or sometimes all) of their social media footprint and profile. However, these entities must also be part of the overall obligation to ensure and enforce social media compliance.

5. How are we training our employees to keep our reputation safe and protect social media assets?

Whether by accident or deliberately, employees are typically the weakest link in the social media defense chain (just as they are with respect to network security and InfoSec overall). Businesses need to have complete and practical training programs that identify, establish and enforce social media acceptable use — and hold employees accountable for misuse.

6. How are we monitoring all accounts and platforms, including those that are deliberately being kept inactive?

Many businesses choose to register social media accounts for future use, or as a proactive strategy to prevent competitors or cyber-criminals from staking a claim to a valuable piece of digital property. However, businesses cannot tuck these inactive sites in the virtual attic, because as long as they exist, they are potential vulnerabilities. As such, they need to be part of the inventory and regularly monitored accordingly.

7. How are we measuring ongoing internal compliance?

External regulations (e.g. Truth in Savings Act) provide a compliance framework to guide businesses toward what they should do, and away from what they shouldn’t. But businesses also need a strategy and mechanism to measure ongoing internal compliance, which while obviously in alignment with external requirements, are not necessarily the same. For example, many businesses wisely have more stringent internal standards regarding social media, since it gives them added protection, and puts them in a better position when (not if) external regulations get tighter and more demanding in the future.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the answers to these seven important questions combine to create a robust social media governance plan. While this is not the aspect of a business that all customers and most employees don’t see, in the bigger picture, it’s the most important piece of the social media puzzle — because gaps and vulnerabilities are reputation damage and regulatory violation time bombs that will go off sooner or later. It’s just a matter of when, and how costly the damage will be to clean up.


avatar

Chans Weber is the CEO of Leap Clixx, a digital marketing agency. Backed up by 10-plus years of experience in a variety of industries, including finance, marketing, and online technology, Chans is known for his skill in transforming company’s visions and goals into tangible revenue.

The post 7 Critical Social Media Questions that Businesses Need to Answer Now — Not Later appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Google is perpetually improving its understanding of natural language. Google Featured Snippets and the rise of voice search optimization has made optimizing your content for question based queries more important than ever.

You may have seen these Featured Snippets pop up in position zero after asking or typing a question in Google’s search bar. The benefit of earning a snippet is now clear to businesses and brands. In fact, Google Featured Snippets have an estimated worth of $3 million dollars, according to snippet research presented by Rob Bucci.

We all know what a snippet is…

How do you get a snippet for your site, product, service, or blog content?

The quick answer: Optimize your content for Q&A’s. However, there are no guarantees – even Google noted that there is no simple way to mark a page for a Featured Snippet:

Google’s Featured Snippet support page explains that, “What’s different with a featured snippet is that it is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page. When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.”

People are searching with more LSI question-based queries to find exactly what they want answers for. Knowing where to find the questions your target audience is asking, and how to answer those questions to help Google choose your content for position zero, is essential.

Let’s take a deeper look into the “HOW” behind Q&A content optimization for your next Featured Snippet.

 

1. Use Google to Your Advantage

Finding the questions searchers want answers for is simpler than you may think. In fact, Google will often provide a nice selection of alternatives when you search a query you think your target audience might use.

Remember this snippet from above? Sometimes, but not always, Google will display a list of “People will also ask” questions for you to draw from.

This is an excellent starting point for your question-based query research. As you click on each of these results, new questions may appear, until Google runs out of that cluster of related question data.

Another way you can use Google to help find appropriate questions around is to look at the LSI keywords at the bottom of SERPs.

You can usually find one or more question queries to investigate there. For instance, clicking on “what is seo and how it works.”

This will return another SERP Google Featured Snippet with even more question based queries.

This takes you even further down the Featured Snippet rabbit hole, allowing you to build a healthy list to use as a foundation for creating ‘snippable’ content.

But Google isn’t your only resource . . .

 

2. Use Other Tools and Platforms

Google is not the only place to find Q&As to optimize content around. There are a few other useful sites and platforms that will assist you in building your question based query list.

Quora

Quora is all about asking and answering questions. You can use this online platform to see what people really want answer for in your niche. It is also extremely easy to use.

First, type in your niche in the search bar . . .

This will take you to your niche’s board.

You will see the number of people following the topic and have more options listed for you to browse questions your target audience may be asking. You can also simply scroll down and get an idea of the latest questions being asked.

Create a database of potential questions on Quora that you can answer on your own website.

BloomBerry

Another useful online platform for finding questions for Q&A content optimization is BloomBerry.

You can use this tool to find questions in your niche, questions people are asking about products that may be similar to yours, as well as questions people are asking about your competitors.

Now that you have a few online spaces to find the questions your audience wants answers for, it is time to begin optimizing your Q&A content marketing initiative.

 

3. Optimize Content Around Popular Question Words

For obvious reasons, you want to begin your content using the question you aim to answer. This tells Google that you are indeed offering up an exceptional answer that is worth a Featured Snippet.

The How, What, Where, When, Who, and Why words need to be in your heading tags. Why? Google likes snippable content easy and concise.

If you are wondering which question keywords you should focus on, those question based queries beginning with “How” and “What” have the highest search volumes.

4. Optimize Content with a FAQ Page

You may have content optimized for Google Featured Snippets, but you simply aren’t getting the position zero results you hoped for. One way you can improve your chances is to improve search with a FAQ page.

Chances are, you are answering key questions your audience wants answers for. By creating a FAQ page with these timely questions can add value to your overall user experience, as well as maximize position zero chances.

Round up the articles that answer question based queries and create a FAQ landing page with outbound links to each of those articles.

Google can also draw snippable content from your FAQ page like this example from Stanford University . . .

And its corresponding Google Featured Snippet . . .

 

5. Snippable On-Page Optimization

If you still haven’t started your snippet campaign quite yet, there are a few important on-page optimization techniques you can easily employ to boost your position zero success.

Heading Tags

When developing your content for a Featured Snippet, begin with headings. Your Question based query should be in an h1 or h2 tag.

Paragraph Tags

Next is your body text under the question based query heading. This text should be in a paragraph (<p>) tag.

Word Count

Research on Google Featured Snippets has found a correlation between word count and position zero. An analysis by SEMrush found that 40 to 50 words is the sweet spot for snippets.

Try Different Formats

Google Featured Snippets come in a variety of formats. There is the traditional paragraph snippet, as well as bulleted snippets, table snippets, numbered snippets, “steps” and “rules” snippets, and even charts and graphs.

Charts and graphs

In the chart above, Brilliance created a simple diamond size chart to show the difference between MM size and Carat weight, which Google picked up the first few rows.

Numbered format

In the example above, Yoas has a number list with simple, short items, and people can click on “More items” to view the rest.

You get the idea. Paragraph snippets are often the easiest, but if you have a great step-by-step article you would like to optimize for Q&A content, give it a try.

 

Are You Ready to Optimize for Position Zero?

Intelligent marketers will start creating a Q&A optimization strategy, given the trend towards natural language processing, voice search, and Google’s quest to bring the world’s knowledge to people’s fingers right from the search results page.

By earning the snippet, you are giving people the information they want right away, which results in them clicking through to learn more and gaining trust over your information. It’s a powerful strategy that all marketers should be bringing into their mix.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Google is perpetually improving its understanding of natural language. Google Featured Snippets and the rise of voice search optimization has made optimizing your content for question based queries more important than ever.

You may have seen these Featured Snippets pop up in position zero after asking or typing a question in Google’s search bar. The benefit of earning a snippet is now clear to businesses and brands. In fact, Google Featured Snippets have an estimated worth of $3 million dollars, according to snippet research presented by Rob Bucci.

We all know what a snippet is…

How do you get a snippet for your site, product, service, or blog content?

The quick answer: Optimize your content for Q&A’s. However, there are no guarantees – even Google noted that there is no simple way to mark a page for a Featured Snippet:

Google’s Featured Snippet support page explains that, “What’s different with a featured snippet is that it is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page. When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.”

People are searching with more LSI question-based queries to find exactly what they want answers for. Knowing where to find the questions your target audience is asking, and how to answer those questions to help Google choose your content for position zero, is essential.

Let’s take a deeper look into the “HOW” behind Q&A content optimization for your next Featured Snippet.

 

1. Use Google to Your Advantage

Finding the questions searchers want answers for is simpler than you may think. In fact, Google will often provide a nice selection of alternatives when you search a query you think your target audience might use.

Remember this snippet from above? Sometimes, but not always, Google will display a list of “People will also ask” questions for you to draw from.

This is an excellent starting point for your question-based query research. As you click on each of these results, new questions may appear, until Google runs out of that cluster of related question data.

Another way you can use Google to help find appropriate questions around is to look at the LSI keywords at the bottom of SERPs.

You can usually find one or more question queries to investigate there. For instance, clicking on “what is seo and how it works.”

This will return another SERP Google Featured Snippet with even more question based queries.

This takes you even further down the Featured Snippet rabbit hole, allowing you to build a healthy list to use as a foundation for creating ‘snippable’ content.

But Google isn’t your only resource . . .

 

2. Use Other Tools and Platforms

Google is not the only place to find Q&As to optimize content around. There are a few other useful sites and platforms that will assist you in building your question based query list.

Quora

Quora is all about asking and answering questions. You can use this online platform to see what people really want answer for in your niche. It is also extremely easy to use.

First, type in your niche in the search bar . . .

This will take you to your niche’s board.

You will see the number of people following the topic and have more options listed for you to browse questions your target audience may be asking. You can also simply scroll down and get an idea of the latest questions being asked.

Create a database of potential questions on Quora that you can answer on your own website.

BloomBerry

Another useful online platform for finding questions for Q&A content optimization is BloomBerry.

You can use this tool to find questions in your niche, questions people are asking about products that may be similar to yours, as well as questions people are asking about your competitors.

Now that you have a few online spaces to find the questions your audience wants answers for, it is time to begin optimizing your Q&A content marketing initiative.

 

3. Optimize Content Around Popular Question Words

For obvious reasons, you want to begin your content using the question you aim to answer. This tells Google that you are indeed offering up an exceptional answer that is worth a Featured Snippet.

The How, What, Where, When, Who, and Why words need to be in your heading tags. Why? Google likes snippable content easy and concise.

If you are wondering which question keywords you should focus on, those question based queries beginning with “How” and “What” have the highest search volumes.

4. Optimize Content with a FAQ Page

You may have content optimized for Google Featured Snippets, but you simply aren’t getting the position zero results you hoped for. One way you can improve your chances is to improve search with a FAQ page.

Chances are, you are answering key questions your audience wants answers for. By creating a FAQ page with these timely questions can add value to your overall user experience, as well as maximize position zero chances.

Round up the articles that answer question based queries and create a FAQ landing page with outbound links to each of those articles.

Google can also draw snippable content from your FAQ page like this example from Stanford University . . .

And its corresponding Google Featured Snippet . . .

 

5. Snippable On-Page Optimization

If you still haven’t started your snippet campaign quite yet, there are a few important on-page optimization techniques you can easily employ to boost your position zero success.

Heading Tags

When developing your content for a Featured Snippet, begin with headings. Your Question based query should be in an h1 or h2 tag.

Paragraph Tags

Next is your body text under the question based query heading. This text should be in a paragraph (<p>) tag.

Word Count

Research on Google Featured Snippets has found a correlation between word count and position zero. An analysis by SEMrush found that 40 to 50 words is the sweet spot for snippets.

Try Different Formats

Google Featured Snippets come in a variety of formats. There is the traditional paragraph snippet, as well as bulleted snippets, table snippets, numbered snippets, “steps” and “rules” snippets, and even charts and graphs.

Charts and graphs

In the chart above, Brilliance created a simple diamond size chart to show the difference between MM size and Carat weight, which Google picked up the first few rows.

Numbered format

In the example above, Yoas has a number list with simple, short items, and people can click on “More items” to view the rest.

You get the idea. Paragraph snippets are often the easiest, but if you have a great step-by-step article you would like to optimize for Q&A content, give it a try.

 

Are You Ready to Optimize for Position Zero?

Intelligent marketers will start creating a Q&A optimization strategy, given the trend towards natural language processing, voice search, and Google’s quest to bring the world’s knowledge to people’s fingers right from the search results page.

By earning the snippet, you are giving people the information they want right away, which results in them clicking through to learn more and gaining trust over your information. It’s a powerful strategy that all marketers should be bringing into their mix.

Beyond Aesthetics: The Importance of Choosing The Right Icons For Your Web Design

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

For those of you that have designed a website, think; how difficult would it be to navigate your pages if all discernible words were removed?

While it may not necessarily be the first thing you notice when overlooking the design stages of a page, icons are the point of interaction for the majority of a website’s functionality. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your site is displaying information clearly and concisely, to avoid unnecessarily losing readers and customers alike to poor navigation.

With that said, what impact can fantastic iconography have on a website? And what issues can arise if this factor in your Web design is handled improperly? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Consistency

Consistency within iconography can be broken into two distinct areas:

Device Unity

It’s inevitable that the mobile version of your site is going to differ in some ways from the traditional desktop experience. However, while some things can be altered for ease of use on a smaller screen, or optimized for touch accessibility, the basic components of your page should be identifiable across all versions.

These issues are especially visible with icons that when not implemented by professional Web developers, can be stretched or misplaced when viewed on other devices. You must ensure that icons across your site are viewable and usable across all devices to ensure that each user is getting the same level of professionalism and consideration when navigating your site.

Consistency Within Your Site

Iconography becomes extremely powerful when used in a site-wide context.

Allowing users to easily identify a ‘construction’ or ‘hospitality’ instance of the site by identifying the associated icons (by way of recall and association).

Symbolism is its own language and, as with all areas of your service, it’s important to be consistent with your tone. This can be difficult without utilizing a Web designer or basic template design program, especially once you begin to require icons and buttons that aren’t facilitated by pre-built packs.

Australian Web design and development specialists Pixelstorm suggests these two sites when looking to expand your icon library:

https://icomoon.io/

http://fontawesome.io/

Universal Understanding

While it may be exciting to stretch your creative wings designing a set of new symbols and informational imagery, sometimes, it’s best to stick with the classics. Decades of iconography and webpage design have meant that newcomers have an ingrained treasure trove of potential symbolism to choose from when improving the intuitiveness of their page functionality.

Icons are most effective when they can communicate to the user without the use of a text label. For example, on an educational website, icons could represent areas of study such as hospitality or construction. A construction hard-hat will accurately represent construction, while a knife and a fork would accurately represent hospitality.

These are images that have been ingrained into our minds through recall and familiarity, allowing for a level of ease and simplicity for users when scanning your site for desirable or relevant information. With that said, it’s best practice to label your icons to avoid unnecessary confusion or frustration.

Aesthetics

Assuming that you have developed your website with a specific demographic in mind, it’s safe to say that your site’s look is relatively consistent and follows a theme of some variety. Not only does this allow users within that demographic to connect with and understand your site’s intentions, it gives your brand a distinguishable image that people can use to identify you.

Icons are directly linked to this because you need to choose icons that are eye-catching enough to avoid being overlooked by users, without drawing attention or distracting from the rest of your page. The icons used on your website should all be from the same family (similar line thickness, line rounding, shape fills and color scheme etc.) to ensure that your pages appear uniform and professional. For aesthetically pleasing icons that allow for high levels of versatility, SVG Icons are the ideal choice.

SVGs, otherwise known as scalable vector graphics, are basically editable illustrator EPS files for Web platforms. Scalable vector graphics can also be animated, both to draw the user’s eye and add an effective dash of life to your pages.  Unfortunately, you must have vector graphics of your icons, as converting .PNGs or JPGs to SVGs doesn’t work.

Website development allows you to create icons that can be incorporated seamlessly into your pre-existing pages, or build your website alongside their accompanying icons for a fully cohesive design. This also encapsulates a wide array of factors that need to work together for your website to be optimally functional for users.

So, it’s important to ensure that each step within the process is completed with the user experience in mind. However, as long as you are diligent with your research and understanding of these components, your webpages are sure to benefit from it.


avatar

Samuel Shepherd is a writer, editor and content marketing specialist currently working for a variety of established SEO agencies across Melbourne. Working across an array of fields, industries and publications, Sam is passionate about giving newcomers a chance to broaden their understanding of the digital landscape.

The post Beyond Aesthetics: The Importance of Choosing The Right Icons For Your Web Design appeared first on SiteProNews.

Beyond Aesthetics: The Importance of Choosing The Right Icons For Your Web Design

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

For those of you that have designed a website, think; how difficult would it be to navigate your pages if all discernible words were removed?

While it may not necessarily be the first thing you notice when overlooking the design stages of a page, icons are the point of interaction for the majority of a website’s functionality. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your site is displaying information clearly and concisely, to avoid unnecessarily losing readers and customers alike to poor navigation.

With that said, what impact can fantastic iconography have on a website? And what issues can arise if this factor in your Web design is handled improperly? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Consistency

Consistency within iconography can be broken into two distinct areas:

Device Unity

It’s inevitable that the mobile version of your site is going to differ in some ways from the traditional desktop experience. However, while some things can be altered for ease of use on a smaller screen, or optimized for touch accessibility, the basic components of your page should be identifiable across all versions.

These issues are especially visible with icons that when not implemented by professional Web developers, can be stretched or misplaced when viewed on other devices. You must ensure that icons across your site are viewable and usable across all devices to ensure that each user is getting the same level of professionalism and consideration when navigating your site.

Consistency Within Your Site

Iconography becomes extremely powerful when used in a site-wide context.

Allowing users to easily identify a ‘construction’ or ‘hospitality’ instance of the site by identifying the associated icons (by way of recall and association).

Symbolism is its own language and, as with all areas of your service, it’s important to be consistent with your tone. This can be difficult without utilizing a Web designer or basic template design program, especially once you begin to require icons and buttons that aren’t facilitated by pre-built packs.

Australian Web design and development specialists Pixelstorm suggests these two sites when looking to expand your icon library:

https://icomoon.io/

http://fontawesome.io/

Universal Understanding

While it may be exciting to stretch your creative wings designing a set of new symbols and informational imagery, sometimes, it’s best to stick with the classics. Decades of iconography and webpage design have meant that newcomers have an ingrained treasure trove of potential symbolism to choose from when improving the intuitiveness of their page functionality.

Icons are most effective when they can communicate to the user without the use of a text label. For example, on an educational website, icons could represent areas of study such as hospitality or construction. A construction hard-hat will accurately represent construction, while a knife and a fork would accurately represent hospitality.

These are images that have been ingrained into our minds through recall and familiarity, allowing for a level of ease and simplicity for users when scanning your site for desirable or relevant information. With that said, it’s best practice to label your icons to avoid unnecessary confusion or frustration.

Aesthetics

Assuming that you have developed your website with a specific demographic in mind, it’s safe to say that your site’s look is relatively consistent and follows a theme of some variety. Not only does this allow users within that demographic to connect with and understand your site’s intentions, it gives your brand a distinguishable image that people can use to identify you.

Icons are directly linked to this because you need to choose icons that are eye-catching enough to avoid being overlooked by users, without drawing attention or distracting from the rest of your page. The icons used on your website should all be from the same family (similar line thickness, line rounding, shape fills and color scheme etc.) to ensure that your pages appear uniform and professional. For aesthetically pleasing icons that allow for high levels of versatility, SVG Icons are the ideal choice.

SVGs, otherwise known as scalable vector graphics, are basically editable illustrator EPS files for Web platforms. Scalable vector graphics can also be animated, both to draw the user’s eye and add an effective dash of life to your pages.  Unfortunately, you must have vector graphics of your icons, as converting .PNGs or JPGs to SVGs doesn’t work.

Website development allows you to create icons that can be incorporated seamlessly into your pre-existing pages, or build your website alongside their accompanying icons for a fully cohesive design. This also encapsulates a wide array of factors that need to work together for your website to be optimally functional for users.

So, it’s important to ensure that each step within the process is completed with the user experience in mind. However, as long as you are diligent with your research and understanding of these components, your webpages are sure to benefit from it.


avatar

Samuel Shepherd is a writer, editor and content marketing specialist currently working for a variety of established SEO agencies across Melbourne. Working across an array of fields, industries and publications, Sam is passionate about giving newcomers a chance to broaden their understanding of the digital landscape.

The post Beyond Aesthetics: The Importance of Choosing The Right Icons For Your Web Design appeared first on SiteProNews.

Beyond Aesthetics: The Importance of Choosing The Right Icons For Your Web Design

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

For those of you that have designed a website, think; how difficult would it be to navigate your pages if all discernible words were removed?

While it may not necessarily be the first thing you notice when overlooking the design stages of a page, icons are the point of interaction for the majority of a website’s functionality. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your site is displaying information clearly and concisely, to avoid unnecessarily losing readers and customers alike to poor navigation.

With that said, what impact can fantastic iconography have on a website? And what issues can arise if this factor in your Web design is handled improperly? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Consistency

Consistency within iconography can be broken into two distinct areas:

Device Unity

It’s inevitable that the mobile version of your site is going to differ in some ways from the traditional desktop experience. However, while some things can be altered for ease of use on a smaller screen, or optimized for touch accessibility, the basic components of your page should be identifiable across all versions.

These issues are especially visible with icons that when not implemented by professional Web developers, can be stretched or misplaced when viewed on other devices. You must ensure that icons across your site are viewable and usable across all devices to ensure that each user is getting the same level of professionalism and consideration when navigating your site.

Consistency Within Your Site

Iconography becomes extremely powerful when used in a site-wide context.

Allowing users to easily identify a ‘construction’ or ‘hospitality’ instance of the site by identifying the associated icons (by way of recall and association).

Symbolism is its own language and, as with all areas of your service, it’s important to be consistent with your tone. This can be difficult without utilizing a Web designer or basic template design program, especially once you begin to require icons and buttons that aren’t facilitated by pre-built packs.

Australian Web design and development specialists Pixelstorm suggests these two sites when looking to expand your icon library:

https://icomoon.io/

http://fontawesome.io/

Universal Understanding

While it may be exciting to stretch your creative wings designing a set of new symbols and informational imagery, sometimes, it’s best to stick with the classics. Decades of iconography and webpage design have meant that newcomers have an ingrained treasure trove of potential symbolism to choose from when improving the intuitiveness of their page functionality.

Icons are most effective when they can communicate to the user without the use of a text label. For example, on an educational website, icons could represent areas of study such as hospitality or construction. A construction hard-hat will accurately represent construction, while a knife and a fork would accurately represent hospitality.

These are images that have been ingrained into our minds through recall and familiarity, allowing for a level of ease and simplicity for users when scanning your site for desirable or relevant information. With that said, it’s best practice to label your icons to avoid unnecessary confusion or frustration.

Aesthetics

Assuming that you have developed your website with a specific demographic in mind, it’s safe to say that your site’s look is relatively consistent and follows a theme of some variety. Not only does this allow users within that demographic to connect with and understand your site’s intentions, it gives your brand a distinguishable image that people can use to identify you.

Icons are directly linked to this because you need to choose icons that are eye-catching enough to avoid being overlooked by users, without drawing attention or distracting from the rest of your page. The icons used on your website should all be from the same family (similar line thickness, line rounding, shape fills and color scheme etc.) to ensure that your pages appear uniform and professional. For aesthetically pleasing icons that allow for high levels of versatility, SVG Icons are the ideal choice.

SVGs, otherwise known as scalable vector graphics, are basically editable illustrator EPS files for Web platforms. Scalable vector graphics can also be animated, both to draw the user’s eye and add an effective dash of life to your pages.  Unfortunately, you must have vector graphics of your icons, as converting .PNGs or JPGs to SVGs doesn’t work.

Website development allows you to create icons that can be incorporated seamlessly into your pre-existing pages, or build your website alongside their accompanying icons for a fully cohesive design. This also encapsulates a wide array of factors that need to work together for your website to be optimally functional for users.

So, it’s important to ensure that each step within the process is completed with the user experience in mind. However, as long as you are diligent with your research and understanding of these components, your webpages are sure to benefit from it.


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Samuel Shepherd is a writer, editor and content marketing specialist currently working for a variety of established SEO agencies across Melbourne. Working across an array of fields, industries and publications, Sam is passionate about giving newcomers a chance to broaden their understanding of the digital landscape.

The post Beyond Aesthetics: The Importance of Choosing The Right Icons For Your Web Design appeared first on SiteProNews.

3 Ranking Factors With Big Payoff Potential

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Google has a lot of ranking factors. A lot.

In fact, many of them remain mysterious unknowns in the SEO recipe. These are withheld for competitive purposes. Google doesn’t want its “secret sauce” copied.

Though we may not know all the possible ranking factors for Google, we can pinpoint the most effective. These have more weight on the ranking factor scale. As this Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors from Search Engine Land shows, quality is big for any of them.

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The most important ranking factors will make a huge difference for you. You’ll see it in traffic and in conversions resulting from that traffic.

In particular, focus on quality for content, links and site architecture for big returns. Let’s plumb each of these factors and explore how to use them.

3 Ranking Factors with Big Payoff Potential

There’s one main idea you should understand about ranking factors. They’re tailored for the user experience.

If you cater to your audience, making it easy as possible for them to get what they need, you’ll rank better.

Of course, it all starts with content.

1. Content

Content is always, everywhere, number one.

You’ve heard the phrase “Content is king” so often that it has become a cliché. But, like all good clichés, it’s an overused phrase precisely because it rings true.

Providing quality content on your website is one of the best ways to rank on Google. Period.

However, as time marches on and technology changes, how you write and create that content for decent rankings has changed, too.

A short time ago, it used to be all about keywords. Now? Google is placing relevance at the top of the must-haves for content quality.

Relevance means a few different things for content regarding subject matter:

  • It must be relevant to the business or company. I.e., if you’re selling designer handbags, you shouldn’t be writing about luxury hotels.
  • It absolutely must be relevant to the intended audience and their concerns, needs, and desires. I.e., if your customers are middle-aged stay-at-home moms and dads, you should not be writing anything for young parents in their 20s.

On top of that, relevance also has to do with comprehensiveness. This means you should:

  • Choose narrower topics and be exhaustive as well as detailed. Provide useful information and lots of answers.
  • Champion long-form content over short articles. Longer articles tend to be more detailed/exhaustive. That’s a circle of influence, right there.

Search Engine Land recommends researching your audience and collecting data about them. This helps you understand who you’re addressing. This data defines consumer intent, which is where they are on their journey to making a purchase.

If you can influence them on this journey through great content, you’re going places.

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Surprisingly, Bill Gates coined the phrase “Content is king” way back in 1996.

2. Links (Including Link-Building and Backlinks)

After content, the next-greatest ranking factor is your links. Of course, they can’t be any old links. These must be quality, too.

This means you need to be linking to authority sites, and authority sites need to be linking to you.

Google measures link quality in different ways. Generally, larger, more respectable sites have higher authority. This is just common sense. However, sites relevant to yours that link to you also count, says Search Engine Land.

How do you earn quality backlinks? You need to promote your content and network. This is often called “link-building.”

There are lots of excellent strategies for link-building out there. For inspiration, look to Search Engine Journal, Moz, and Backlinko. Each has an exhaustive guide.

Helpfully, a great method for natural link-building is creating fantastic content.

3. Site Architecture (Headings, “Crawlability,” and Mobile-Friendliness)

After content and link-building, the third most important ranking factor is site architecture.

There are lots of little pieces that make up this broad category:

  • How easy it is for Google to “crawl” your website
  • How your pages are structured and organized with headings and subheadings
  • How mobile-friendly your site is

There are more, but these are ones you should focus on. Let’s break them down.

Website Crawling

Search engines index your site by crawling it. In essence, they read through your pages to help them understand what it’s about. If they can’t crawl your pages, you won’t get indexed. If you don’t get indexed, you don’t show up in search results.

Luckily, it’s really easy to make your site “crawlable.” In general, avoid fussy design that can hide your pages’ basic information from crawlers. This includes JavaScript and Flash – errors in the code can hide your links or even your text. If you need these in your design, get a web designer to make sure they’re right.

Headings and Subheadings

If you want to rank, pay attention to your H1s and H2s. Search engines use them to understand what a page is about. Keywords in headings can increase your chances for ranking, too.

Plus, without these integral structural cues, your audience will get hit with a wall of text. Believe me, they will not want to wade through it.

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Image via Know Your Memes

Mobile-Friendliness

A computer is no longer the only way to access the Internet. Now we can log-in on our Smartphones, tablets, and even our watches. Accordingly, Google is rewarding mobile-friendly sites by ranking them higher on mobile searches.

Make your site accessible through any device, and you’ll have a better chance of ranking higher.

Combine these aspects of site architecture to support your content and link-building, too.

To Rank, You Need Quality Content, Links, and Structure

The beauty of all ranking factors is they don’t exist in silos. Instead, they lean on each other for support. Remove one, and your quality will plummet, much like a Jenga tower.

In short, you must be detailed and thorough at every turn in order to rank. It’s simple in theory, difficult in practice, but totally achievable.


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Julia dropped out of college to follow her passion in tech and writing, and hasn’t looked back since. Today, she’s been named among the top 30 content marketers, is the founder and CEO of leading content agency Express Writers, hosts the Write Podcast and #ContentWritingChat, and is a published, best-selling author. She’s also the creator of a brand new, leading industry course, The Practical Content Strategist Certification Course.

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