A Top Tip To Get Your SEO In Tip Top Shape

A Top Tip To Get Your SEO In Tip Top Shape

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Search engine optimization can be a fickle beast, and nobody would disagree with the fact that it can take some serious time, effort, and skill to improve rankings. However, there are a few things you can easily do to improve your site’s visibility, and the best part is that you don’t need to be an expert coder to make these changes!

What can I do?
You can add (or optimize) H1 tags to your website. Pretty much every SEOer would agree that one of the most important aspects of SEO is making sure to implement H1 tags on each page. What is an H1? An H1 tag is basically a title for the web page, but with a little more oomph behind it in terms of SEO power. When Google crawls your website and sees an H1 tag, it says, “oh look, an H1 tag! This must be an important indicator as to what this web page is about” (Google is actually an algorithm, and it doesn’t say anything, but I like to think that if it did, that’s what it would say.)

So why does that help my website?
When Google knows what your website is about, it’s more likely to show your website in the search results for relevant searches. Plus, the better your H1s are, the higher the chances that Google will show your website, and that it will show up on the first page of results. And showing up on the first page of search results is important because most people don’t even get to the second page of search results before they find what they’re looking for.

So how do I implement H1 tags?
It’s easier than you think. All you have to do is go into the back end of your website and go to the page(s) you want to put an H1 on. Then you just have to insert a tiny snippet of code around the title that looks like this–

<h1>this is where you put the text</h1>

You’ll want to put it at or near the top, and after the <body> tag. Some platforms also let you implement it in an even more user-friendly way, where you simply type the copy in the text box, and select “heading 1” just like if you were selecting a font size.

Want more?
Adding H1 tags is one of the easier aspects of SEO, but if you want help with some of the more technical or time-demanding parts, we can help! Contact us to learn about our SEO packages and get your website showing on the first page of search results in no time!

Similar Audiences a.k.a Customer Cloning: A Tactic For New Audience Acquisition

Similar Audiences a.k.a Customer Cloning: A Tactic For New Audience Acquisition

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As a business ourselves, we here at Burlington Bytes understand that having a strong customer base is one of the best indicators for success, and finding new customers is one of the best ways to keep your customer base replenished. Unfortunately, finding new customers can be easier said than done. Enter Google AdWords Similar Audiences. It’s by far the easiest way to find people who are likely to be interested in your business, and a great tool for growth.

What is that?
A Similar Audience is essentially a list of people who have similar browsing behavior as the customers you already have. For example, if you have a customer who, in addition to shopping at your store, is interested in kayaking and cooking, Google AdWords uses those interests to find people similar to your existing customer in hopes that they will also be interested in your products.

Okay, so how does it work?
So that’s all well and good, but how does Google know who has purchased or converted on your site? The answer is Remarketing Lists. If you have an active remarketing campaign in your AdWords account, then a brand new, qualified audience is right within your reach! Similar Audiences gets some data (don’t worry– nothing too personal) about the people who have purchased or converted on your site, and is able to create a whole new list of potential customers.

Is there a downside?
As with many things in life, nothing is perfect. Similar Audiences are a great tool for growth, but there are a few things to consider before diving in. First of all, even though Similar Audiences finds qualified users, there’s no guarantee that they will complete a desired action after the first touch. While you may see an increase in impressions and clicks, that can also cause your cost per conversion or cost per acquisition to increase. Secondly, your site has to have enough traffic and data to go off of, otherwise, a similar audience won’t be effective.

Want to learn more?
If you think that Similar Audiences sound right for your business, why not give Burlington Bytes a chance to make it a reality? Our Digital Marketing team is ready to work with you to grow your business, so contact us today!

Gutenberg: The Good, The Bad, and… The Ugly?

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Spring is (finally) starting to make it’s way to Vermont, and the whole Burlington Bytes crew is getting ready for warmer weather. But Spring isn’t only bringing us showers, flowers, and– let’s be honest– mud. April is turning out to be a big month in the world of development. In the next few weeks, the newest WordPress will be released, and with it will come a new plugin that could have quite an impact on how developers and “regular people” alike use WordPress. The big news has to do with a new plugin called Gutenberg, and it could change the way that we build pages in WordPress.

So what does it do?
The goal for Gutenberg is to “make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable.” It’s mostly geared towards beginners, so they can feel more empowered to create functional and visually pleasing websites. They’ll do that by breaking your content into “little blocks”, that can be easily controlled and styled individually in the new Editor. If you’ve ever written a post in Medium, you’ve already used blocks, and you may not have even noticed it.

The Good
Many feel that the Gutenberg plugin is the breath of fresh air that WordPress needs. The visual editor aspect of WordPress hasn’t seen an update in over a decade, and some say it’s about time for something new. Another positive aspect of Gutenberg is that if you enable it, decide you don’t like it and disable it, it won’t break your site. You can also reactivate it without losing previous blocks. Lastly, developers will be able to create their own blocks to use for customized content. All of this is great, but not everyone is so excited for this update…

The Not-So-Good
Everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows – some critics say that Gutenberg is good for content, but lacks in the style department. Things like background colors will be available, but the level of control that developers are used to in regard to design may not be up to par. The same could be said for the fine-tuning of spacing, columns, rows etc. Gutenberg relies on themes for many of these aspects, and some say that since new WordPress users don’t have a thorough understanding of themes, gearing Gutenberg towards beginners doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The… Ugly?
Now that you have a better idea of the pros and cons of Gutenberg, why not give it a try and decide for yourself? Frontenberg is essentially a pared-down version of Gutenberg where you can try things out and get a feel for the program. Hopefully, your tests turn out beautiful, but if they don’t, feel free to hand things over to our stellar development team. We can make a functional and gorgeous website for your business – unless ugly is what you’re going for!

Why People are Throwing Their Phones:  How Slow Load Times Could Be Impacting Your Business

Why People are Throwing Their Phones: How Slow Load Times Could Be Impacting Your Business

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Did you ever get so frustrated with your phone that you just had to chuck it across the room? Maybe you’re trying to show your friend a funny article, or just trying to figure out where the nearest gas station is. All you want is to do this one thing, but the f&#%ing page won’t load! It’s almost a cruel joke– we have all this information right at our fingertips, but we have to wait what feels like an eternity to access it.

man angry at phone

“I just wanted to find out who the 23rd President of the United States was!”

Trust me, we’ve all been there. Not only is this a frustrating problem for consumers, it’s also a big issue for businesses. If your mobile website has a slow load time, it can have a negative impact on the amount of business you get from mobile consumers. But if it takes more than a few millennials whining about it to convince you that this is something you should be paying attention to, here are a few stats to bolster my claim.

Over 50% of customers will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

That’s potentially half of your customers that will leave your website before they even get to it. Needless to say, those people won’t be purchasing or converting on your website if it doesn’t open. Plus, that bad experience that they had will come back to haunt you–

1/5 dissatisfied users will never return to a website after a bad load time experience.

So not only are you losing a potential purchase due to a bad load time experience, you may have lost a customer as well. Also, having a speedy mobile site will help with your Google search rankings. Google has stated that it will begin favoring websites with faster load times to keep consumers happy.

Google has stated that over 70% of websites out there have load times of more than 7 seconds, well over the 3-second benchmark. The first step to fixing a slow site is knowing that the site is slow, and the good news is that you can test your website to see if you fall in that 70%. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to get a page speed score, information, and tips on how to improve the speed of your site.

You may be sitting there thinking, “I know I have a slow website, but what else can I do to fix it?” Well, (and here comes the shameless plug) our team at Burlington Bytes can handle the complicated part of speeding up your current website, or even make you a brand new one! Our expertise will help you to be competitive in the ever-expanding mobile market.

Visit our Web Services page to learn more, and Contact Us to get a free quote!

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click Bidding For Google AdWords:  The Best of Both Worlds

Enhanced Cost-Per-Click Bidding For Google AdWords: The Best of Both Worlds

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Want the convenience of machine learning and automation, but with the common sense and expertise of a real live human? Talk to our Digital Marketing team about Enhanced Cost-Per-Click Bidding (ECPC for short). They implement a potent mix of automation and good old common sense to make sure your Google AdWords campaigns are performing just the way you want them to.

So what is ECPC Bidding?
ECPC bidding is a semi-automated bidding strategy offered by Google AdWords. It uses data that your account has collected over time to determine the types of clicks that are most likely to lead to goal completions, and adjusts your bid in those particular situations so your ads show up when it counts the most.

                        Credit: Illustrations by Alex Nabaum for Ad Age

What makes it semi-automated?
While the program is learning when to increase and decrease your bids, our digital marketing specialists are watching closely, and setting a maximum cost-per-click. This gives AdWords a cap on how much it can increase your bid by and keeps a real live human in control of how much you spend, and where you spend it within your campaign.

Why is that good for me?
Because ECPC bidding is only semi-automated, it gives our digital marketers the control and freedom to optimize your account in the way that works with your goals. This way, they can get the best results out of your account while maintaining a client-centered approach.

Check out our Google AdWords & Paid Search page to learn more, and contact us for a free quote!

#GivingTuesday – Burlington Bytes Style

#GivingTuesday – Burlington Bytes Style

Blog News

Here at Burlington Bytes, we don’t just give out beautiful websites, steadfast support, and effective business promotion, we’re also proud and grateful to be able to give back to our community and the causes we care about. So in the spirit of #givingtuesday, here are the charitable causes and nonprofits that our employees are giving back to today, and–– in their own words–– why they chose them.

#GivingTuesday

Peter Jewett – Founder – Leeds, ME Food Pantry and the Huntington, VT Food Pantry
This year I’m continuing my annual holiday donations to the Leeds, ME Food Pantry, and the Huntington, VT Food Pantry. I grew up in Leeds and currently live in Huntington.  Both groups are operated solely by volunteers and put 100% of my donations towards getting food into the hands of the people that need it, typically by coordinating with area supermarkets to redirect expired or blemished product out of the waste stream.  Both allow families to pick up food during the week, and operate a program with their respective elementary schools to send food home with kids for the weekend. It’s astonishing to me that there are families in our country that don’t have enough to eat.

Jason Di Vece – Co-Founder – WRUV 90.1 FM
The radio voice of the University of Vermont and “Your Better Alternative.” WRUV is a rare bird. It’s a free format, community supported college radio station that relies on your support to remain ad free and fully funded. I’ve been volunteering there as a DJ and organizer for 5 years now, and the music you’ll hear left of the dial is truly unique. In a time when the public airwaves are dominated by corporate ownership and over played crap, it’s easy to forget how much music is really out there. Support creative freedom and independent thought. Give to WRUV

Andrew Stickney – CEO – Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is one of the nation’s most effective organizations in ending animal cruelty, puppy mills, fighting, and helping animals in need.  I’m giving to the Humane Society because they work to save and improve the conditions of animals that make our lives so rich and ask so little in return.  

Greg Schoppe – Production – Camp Ta-Kum-Ta
I’ve selected Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, which is a year-round camp that provides children with cancer and their families a way for experience some of the normal childhood experiences that might otherwise be impossible, due to their condition.  Camps like this help to improve the morale of children undergoing cancer treatments, which has a proven positive impact to outcomes.  Everyone knows someone who has suffered from Cancer, but it is particularly hard when it is a child dealing with this disease. Camp Ta-Kum-Ta helps make sure that the condition that robs them of their health, doesn’t also rob them of a childhood.

Ellie Miner – Digital Marketing – The Warmth Program
Staying warm through a Vermont winter is no easy feat, and it’s made that much harder when you can’t afford to keep your house warm. I chose to donate to the warmth program to support an organization that helps Vermonters with their heating bills so their homes can be a refuge from the cold, because nobody deserves to suffer through a Vermont winter without access to heat.

Scott Kliczewski – Digital Marketing – Lake Champlain Committee
This Giving Tuesday I chose to donate to the Lake Champlain Committee (LCC), a bi-state citizens’ organization dedicated to the health and accessibility of Lake Champlain. The LCC works to protect and restore water quality, safeguard natural habitats and preserve recreational areas in and around Lake Champlain. The preservation of Lake Champlain is extremely important to me as I spend countless hours around the lake swimming, biking, paddle boarding, camping and relaxing throughout the year. The protection and preservation of Lake Champlain should be front of mind for anyone who lives around and enjoys the lake!

Aaron Silber – Support – Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been instrumental in the fight to protect free speech, fair use, innovation, and privacy on and off the Internet. Their mission to defend digital freedom is more important now than ever. The EFF’s work has served to protect political activists, independent journalists, and average Internet users across the country.

Mitch Berriman – Digital Marketing – Vermont Public Radio
I’m choosing Vermont Public Radio (VPR) as my non-profit or charity to donate to for this Giving Tuesday. As someone who listens to podcasts on my way to and from work and while at work, it’s great to have VPR Vermont Public Radio streaming the latest about our community here in Vermont. VPR keeps me informed and updated on important developments in our state and helps me feel more connected to our community. The value of having a community voice over the airwaves can’t be overstated and in today’s world, it’s easy to reach the masses with important information to keep us all informed and better educated.

Sarah Cootey – Digital Marketing – All Breed Rescue
I’m choosing to donate to All Breed Rescue for Giving Tuesday. I had the pleasure of volunteering there last year and saw first hand how the organization changes the lives of dogs, volunteers and the dedicated staff that works there. Their efforts to rescue dogs from the south are truly inspiring, and I’m eager to help them this holiday season to continue providing nurturing homes to rescues of all breeds.

Ben Stein – Production – ASPCA
I like the ASPCA for my charity.  They provide material support to animal rescue organizations across the country as well as developing and promoting animal welfare programs for shelters, and rescues nationwide.  They also provide emergency support for large-scale issues like massive animal hoarding cases, hurricane relief, and other natural disasters.  They’re basically the FEMA of the animal welfare world, only without the bureaucratic bloat.  

Casey Morrison – Production – Planetary Society
The Planetary Society is a non-profit organization that works to educate and empower the community by spreading scientific knowledge and encouraging critical thought. I choose to support the Planetary Society because I believe in a future built on a foundation of science and reason. I believe human achievement through scientific advancement is a great unifying force, and with more public awareness and a more scientifically literate community, we can move toward a brighter future.

Lilly Thompson – Support – Vermont Public Radio
With “fake news” becoming a real epidemic in our society over the last year or so, now is the time to support news outlets that are dedicated to keeping it real by serving hard facts. With Vermont Public Radio’s connections to NPR and BBC News, there isn’t a more well-rounded news source available to Vermonters. This is why I support VPR today with a donation and every day by tuning in on my commute to and from work.

Nick Romano – Production – Humane Society of Chittenden County
The Humane Society of Chittenden County is an organization whose mission is to foster compassionate treatment of animals and to prevent animal suffering. I want to support HSCC because of the 3 adopted four-legged friends running around at my home right now. Giving to HSCC means that more animals can find their forever home, and bring peace, happiness and licks to people all across Vermont.

Sam Reinhardt – Animal Welfare Institute
Recent reports show that elephant poaching in Kenya is on the decline, and the Animal Welfare Institute attributes this in large part to the aerial patrol efforts of the Kenya Wildlife Service. These patrols not only keep a lookout for poachers, but also survey wildlife, deliver supplies to rangers, and keep animals from wandering out of the national parks. For Giving Tuesday, the AWI is trying to raise $10,000 to purchase fuel, parts and equipment in support of that initiative. I hope that the AWI can reach their goal, and I’m happy I could help contribute to it.

Andrew Allen – Support – Dementia Discovery Fund
I choose to donate to the Dementia Discovery Fund in memory of my grandparents who recently passed away. I hope to see tremendous advancement in the treatment and cure of this terrible disease in my lifetime.

New Global HQ for Burlington Bytes

New Global HQ for Burlington Bytes

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Burlington Bytes is moving up in the world–– literally! We have recently traded in our basement office on Church Street for a sunny spot above ground at 164 College Street. We’re all adjusting pretty well to our new digs (especially the part about having natural light), so we thought we’d give you a digital written tour!

The view from our upstairs conference room

The view from our upstairs conference room

Lobby/Conference Room
The elevator (fancy we know) opens to a large space segmented by dividers. Like us, this area is multi-purpose. It’s our conference room, our lounge, and our waiting area. But most importantly, this is where you might find the office dogs hanging out.

Fancy Offices
Right off of the lobby, there are three small office rooms–– each of which comes with a view of the park and the Adirondacks in the distance. I guess this is where being the founders or CEO of our company really came in handy.

Support Room
Go down a flight of stairs and to the left, and you’ll find the Support room. Not only does this room house our support staff, it also is home to our project managers. This is where all your tricky website problems go to be solved. These all-star experts will plan, execute, and keep your website running smoothly and deal with any issues that might come up.

Production Room
Right next to the Support room is our Production room. It’s like Santa’s workshop, but for websites–– full of wonder and sarcastic comments from all our expert developers. But don’t let their sense of humor fool you–– they’re very serious about creating beautiful and user-friendly websites.

Digital Marketing Room
All the way in the back, there’s the Digital Marketing room. Once your website is up and running, the Digital Marketing Department will take it to the next level. Whether you want Google Adwords Advertising or SEO, they’ve got you covered!

Kitchen
Wedged in the corner between the Support room and the Production room is the kitchen. It’s arguably the most important room in the office since it’s the place where all our snacks live. Plus it has a super cool spiral staircase.

That brings us to the end of our tour! If you would like to come and see us in person to talk about how we can build, maintain, and promote your website, you’ll find us on College Street.

Driving Offline Purchases From Online Advertising

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We may be in a digital age of online sales and advertising, but many businesses still rely on in-person or over-the-phone transactions to drive a large percentage of sales. Maybe you have an up-and-coming bakery or small home-made furniture business, and you don’t see as much of a benefit to putting time or money into an online advertising. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a concrete, measurable benefit to online advertising, even if the majority of your business is done offline!

Burlington, Vermont

photo: http://gotravelaz.com/burlington/

Sounds Too Good To Be True
We know it sounds biased coming from a digitally-focused company, but hear us out! Allow us to introduce you to Store Sales Conversion Tracking. It may not boast a sexy name, but trust us when we say that the results more than make up for that. With a few easy steps, we can match a click on your online ads to purchases made in your retail or brick & mortar store.

Okay, I’ll Bite… How Does It Work?
All we need to start is a recent export of your customer list which can include customer name, email, phone number, date & time of purchase and purchase amount. We then import that data into your Google AdWords account and Google AdWords then uses Customer Match to match your customer’s purchase information to link their initial click on your ad to a purchase that they made in your store. Think of it as a big game of connect the dots, where the picture at the end shows you how effective your online advertising efforts are–– the more information you have about your customers, the more dots you can connect.

I’m Sold, Sign Me Up!
We thought you might say that. So now for the shameless sales pitch portion of this blog post: If you think Store Sales Conversion Tracking could be right for your business, give us a shout at 802-448-4001 or go here. We’ll work our magic and bring your offline business into the digital age!

Digital Marketing Team Takes on Facebook Collection Ads

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In case you don’t follow internet marketing news as closely as we do (what can we say, we’re nerds), we’re here to tell you that Facebook recently released a new ad format that the digital marketing team at Burlington Bytes is really excited about. They’re called Collection Ads, and they’ll change the way you see ads for products on Facebook.

Catch me up.
So what’s the big deal with these ads anyway? According to Facebook Business, people are loving videos, and they want to see products featured as they exist in real life. So Facebook released a new ad format that gives the people what they want! A collection ad features a larger photo or video at the top of the ad, and then smaller product images underneath. When a potential customer clicks the ad, it funnels them to a place where they can make a purchase, giving the user a streamlined and interactive experience with the ad.

Any Other Benefits?
Definitely. Not only will this ad format hopefully get more people to look at and click on an ad, it also gives more insight to the marketer about the path a customer or potential customer took when they interacted with the ad. Plus, by including images for multiple products, the potential for a click is higher than it would be with just a single image.

So What Is Burlington Bytes Doing About It?
As you read this, the internet marketing team is hard at work creating new collection ads for our clients. If you don’t believe us, here’s a couple examples of what we’ve been working on.

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Pretty cool, right? We think so. If you think so too, feel free to get in touch with us and ask about how Burlington Bytes can use our skills in Facebook ads to get more leads and drive sales for your business!

Burlington Bytes: Wilderness Edition

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As a website design and internet advertising firm, it’s pretty safe to say that we’re comfortable with technology. We love things like coding websites, fixing broken links, and optimizing Google AdWords campaigns–– all of which is done in the safety of the indoors. So when we traded in our office for a tent, and our computers for the great outdoors, things got interesting.

 

Friday, 1:30 pm – Let the Games Begin

Once we’d closed up the office for the day, we descended upon our campsites with enthusiasm and set to the task of putting up our tents. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm proved to be short-lived as we struggled with broken tent rods and tiny hard-to-read instructions.

Friday, 2:30 pm – Cataloging of Supplies

Getting everything we needed to survive a weekend in the woods was no easy feat, so everyone needed to pitch in and bring whatever camping supplies they had. We may have forgotten a few things, but we had most of the essentials covered–– a machete, a couple hammocks, and beer.

In hammocks

All you need to go camping is a hammock, right?

 

Friday, 5:30 pm – Chow Time

For our first meal in the wilderness, we decided to keep it simple. It was burgers and hot dogs over the campfire for the main course, and of course, s’mores for dessert. Then it came time to sit around the campfire and tell scary stories–– mostly about websites crashing.

8:30 am – A Slow Start

As the sunlight began to stream in through the skylights in our tents, and the birds chirped, another sound could be heard–– the collective groaning of people who had spent an entire night trying to sleep on the ground. Needless to say, we weren’t exactly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

11:30 am – Smile!

The time had come for us to do what we came to do–– attempt to take a decent picture of the whole company. Luckily we’re a pretty good-looking group, so getting a good photo was one of the easier things that we did that weekend.

Behind the scenes of our company photo

Behind the scenes of our company photo

We may not have ended the weekend having become burly mountain men and women that could survive in the woods for weeks on end with nothing but a hatchet, but we did survive a weekend without our computers, and we got some great photos out of it, so I would call that a win.