Changing the User Agent in Screaming Frog

I was running a crawl for a friend’s site with my favorite SEO tool screaming frog and got the dreaded ‘connection refused’. My first thought was oh no this site is not indexable and the search engines probably dont even know it exists. Which is never a comforting feeling.

Fortunately, I found a work around within screaming frog for crawling websites that may block access to bots other than major search engines. Generally, other sites dont want bots visiting and crawling their websites since it can bloat their analytics. There is nothing worse than opening up your Google analytics account and seeing a spike in traffic for the month just to find out its all bot traffic coming into your website.

The work around is surprisingly simple and a little devious. You want to go into the configuration setting of Screaming frog and click change the user agent. I would recommend changing the user agent to Google bot so you can properly crawl and access the site.


As you can see I can now properly crawl and access the site.

I would also recommend running a simple query if you encounter this issue and see if the site is currently indexed within Google. You can do this by simply doing a query like “Sitedomain.com” remember to leave off the ‘www.’ and ‘https://’.

Unfortunately, when I tried this there were no pages indexed within Google at this time. However, as of writing this I see that two pages have already been indexed upon submitting the sitemap within search console. If this happens you want to submit a sitemap immediately within Search Console and wait for Google bot to come around and index the site properly. If you are worried the robots.txt might be blocking some pages just go to the robots.txt tester within search console.

Input a url you are concerned about and see if your current robots.txt file is blocking anything that would keep Google bot from rendering the page properly. Also be sure to check and make sure there arent any unwanted ‘meta no index’ tags coded within the site to keep search engines from indexing it as well.

Good luck and have fun optimizing your site!

Week 2 Bootstrapping a Startup

As my second week comes to a close I want to take some time and reflect on what is working and what is not to hopefully give an aspiring entrepreneur some much-needed resources. Again, if you have any sort of website I highly recommend setting up Google analytics and webmaster tools to be able to get insight into your traffic sources and the overall health of your website.

For instance, when I dig into my Google webmaster’s dashboard or search console as they call it now I can see some of my web pages are being indexed. I will have to probe a little further to determine why not everything is being indexed but this is a good start as my goal is to begin to get away from relying on paid search for my traffic and really dig into my organic search strategy.

Indexed_pages

Thanks to webmaster tools I can see the number of urls Google has indexed and get a high-level view of my website’s health. Unfortunately, I see I do not have many clicks coming into the website but the other report I like to look at is what keywords are driving traffic to the website.

Search_analyticsI can see that one keyword I optimized for is working to drive some traffic to my website so that is a good sign my search strategy is beginning to work even if I only have a few pages indexed. I also decided to build out a few additional pages for keywords I am targeting with a high search volume and very low competition. I hope these pages I built out will bring in traffic that will have better engagement than the traffic I currently have coming through from my PPC campaign. I already see a slight bump in traffic that I hope is from the SEO pages I built out.

traffic_analytics

Unfortunately, my bounce rate is higher than I want it to be and I would like to see a higher time on site I think this is a result of the trash traffic coming through PPC.

Site_metrics

I can see the search engines are sending slightly better traffic than the PPC campaign I am currently running. However, the bounce rate is a little higher than I would like. I do see the email traffic has much better engagement than any other traffic source. In the medium “ebay listing” I am testing out posting products on Ebay in an attempt to drive traffic back to my site. I am trying to supplement my traffic since I expect to cut off the adwords campaign sometime soon since it is not converting and it is not cost effective to keep running it. I also installed an app that serves up a questionnaire to keep some more qualitative data back from the traffic hitting my site on the product page.

Doubling back to my Ebay listing attempt I think the people searching on Ebay are ready to make a purchase. I am posting products on there with links back to my site. I also tagged the urls so I know what traffic is coming through and I can further segment the data and see how they engage with my site. To tag the url’s I use Google’s simple url builder to build the links and then I just code it in the html editor on Ebay. I highly recommend tagging all links you put out linking back to your website so you know if your efforts are working and if you are driving quality traffic to your site.

I am also tracking the keyword and rank positioning using traffic travis. It is important to track your rankings and positioning periodically to see how you fare against the competition. Don’t get too hung up on this because keyword positioning does not always correlate nicely with web traffic.

page_rankings Not only is Traffic Travis great because it’s free but I get a quick overview of the keywords I am ranking for and the specific search engines as well. I can see very quickly I am ranking highly for a niche term.

Until next time, feel free to leave comments and post questions.

 

Why Display Ads Suck and How Marketers Destroy Everything.

Why Marketers Destroy Everything

 

This is probably a little odd considering I am a digital marketer myself but oh well. The problem I have with advertising is display ads and promotional ads that show up within apps, programs or websites. I know people have to eat and pay bills. I’m ok with that, but the problem comes when I am trying to watch Youtube and I am swarmed by a barrage of pop-up ads that are irrelevant and disrupt what I am doing.

Interruption marketing died a long time ago and it is not an effective means of promoting products. Speaking from personal experience online paid ads are generally very poorly targeted. For example, youtube ads are the worse. I would be curious to see the click through rate or ROI on these ads because I know from personal experience I get hit with a lot of irrelevant video ads that usually has nothing to do with my online searches. According to Smart Insights, the average click-through rate for display ads in April 2015 is .06% which is roughly 1 click per 1000 impressions. While this could potentially be attributed to poor copy writing, imagery and poor targeting but this is still a very low Click Through Rate.

I believe moving forward as marketers we need to have better-targeted ads and conduct better research. We need to learn more about our target audience such as their needs, wants and desires. We need research our markets better and understand their needs moving forward rather than running poorly targeted ads and risk tarnishing their brand.

How to Utilize Holidays for your Social Media Campaigns and Inspire Engagement!

How to Inspire Engagement on Social Media During Holiday’s and Special Events

The holidays can be a time to make an emotional connection with your audience and social following and inspire engagement on your platforms. This isn’t just limited to holiday’s though, it is important to stay up to date with current and ongoing trends within your niche or industry to capitalize on them. If there is breaking news in your industry be at the forefront and publicize it or use it for content creation in addition to any scheduled content your business intends to push this week. If there are social justice issues occurring around and it’s appropriate for your industry, use that as well to generate content to inspire greater engagement. Just make sure it is tactful and take into consideration of any backlash that may occur.

To put this tactic into action do  some research into your current followers and see what types of content they share. Spend some time researching their profiles and keep an eye out for trends. That doesn’t mean creep on your audience and stalk them be professional but dig deep. Do some secondary research as well utilize Google and see what sort of issues are currently trending within your niche or industry that your audience may be interested in.

Fortunately, there is an awesome tool for this called Klout. Klout will give you notifications into what is popular and trending within your industry so you can save time searching for content. If that isn’t enough buzz sumo also provides some pretty great insight into trending topics you can reshare as well throughout your social platforms. Let’s not forget another great content tool Google! That’s right Google is great for finding meme’s and hunting down other content to share throughout your niche as well. If you’re particularly handy with the adobe creative suite you can make some pretty neat visual content pieces as well.

So how did this work out in my case? Well, let’s take a look.

Sample PostI was at a bit of an advantage as I am a part of the niche group I am currently targeting. I am a Native American and as such I am aware of social issues surrounding headdresses being worn as a decorative pieces. I knew from current news, events and my own personal dislike for headdresses being used as a decorative piece that this post was highly likely to resonate within my social platforms. Of course performance does depend on the social platform you choose to post on as well. I know from previous experience and research that Tumblr is a hotbed for social issues so beginning on that platform was a no brainer.

Roughly after 30 minutes or so of posting my content piece was picked up and shared a number of times. So let’s take a look at how it performed.

Social Shares

The content piece had been picked up and reblogged an astonished 387 times in the course of under a day. This was impressive considering the small following I had. Before even posting the piece I only had roughly 70 or so followers. This is a good tactic to spread your reach and increase engagement across your platforms when used tactfully. It is important to understand your audience prior to utilizing this tactic and be able to anticipate any potential backlash.

Finding Your Brand’s Voice.

All too often I see brands and companies not using their target market’s language when they write copy for their website, post to their social media profiles and structure email marketing campaigns etc. It is pretty easy to fall into the trap of speaking too professional or being dry when writing language or other copy for promotional materials. If you havent already be sure to read my other posts about how to set up a killer social media campaign .

A company recently that has gotten this right as far as their social media campaign is concerned happens to be Ihop they have certainly done their research and know how to speak in a language that engages their target audience. As a result they have generated some buzz.

Ihop brand_voice_2

I think brands can learn a lot from Ihop and other companies doing similar thing in the social media realm. A good way to get started is of course to conduct some research into your audience and what they are doing within their social media profiles and the sort of language they use. This can be as simple as using some sort of free social media monitoring tool to see what users are saying about your brand and looking at the language they use.

For example, if you are a law firm you would use more professional language than a skateboard brand. Essentially it is important to speak to your target audience and engage with them appropriately.

 

“How do I know what my first goal/priority should be with a new start-up”

“Me and my friend are starting a bags and backpacks line. The idea is to make fashionable items for men that travel often. Businessmen, travelers, sportsmen. Of course we don’t have the money to hire a marketing agency and this is our first personal endeavour.

Personally I’ve read a lot about marketing and start ups. I really like it. Subreddits like this one are that pushed me to go beyond my 9-5. I’ve read a lot, like I said, so I know that a successful marketing strategy is based on a specific goal. But what should be my first goal or priority: brand awareness? generate leads? sales?

I guess awareness leads to leads, leads leads to sale; so starting from generating awareness is startingfrom the beginning?” 

 Original Reddit Post

This was a question that was asked on Reddit and I think this is a great time to talk about marketing strategies in terms of bootstrapping for a startup company. More often than not when starting a company the most important aspect is to make sales of course and create brand awareness. Generally the entrepreneur is on a budget and still trying to validate their business model here are some tactics I employed when I launched my own start up Native American clothing line with extremely little funding.

In the beginning I relied heavily on social media to generate brand awareness. Primarily instagram I found it extremely useful for what I was trying to accomplish since in my opinon facebook is too saturated with companies already. At first I would hashtag what I thought were relevant keywords and then incorporated the free instagram analytics program Iconosquare. This program gave me insight into my instagram marketing campaign and let me know which specific hashtags were performing well along with my top followers, best times to post, which types of media were performing the best.

Secondly, once my instagram hit roughly 300 followers I started doing research on how various growth hacking techniques and stumbled upon followliker. This program used bots to crawl through social media profiles based on a set criteria of keywords. This allowed me to grow my instagram from 300 followers to over 1800 people fairly quick. I know this is not a huge amount but it got me a page in a magazine and I was able to funnel traffic to my ecommerce website.

Lastly, I used bigcartel which has several pricing options including a free website as well. This allowed me to sell products for free without a substantial investment in the beginning. I also incorporated google analytics to get greater insight into where my traffic was coming from so I could better tailor my social media campaigns as well.

All in all brand awareness = leads which = sales. You can not get leads without brand awareness at first and social media is a great resource to begin with. I managed to launch a clothing line with a small investment of $300 or so and a lot of hardwork. Anything is possible.

( I would highly recommend checking out Iconosquare and followliker) 

 

What everybody ought to know about a Marketing degree and how to take charge of your education

As I approach my graduation I find myself reflecting on my past educational journey and how my educational expierences have shaped who I am today. I quickly realized that there is a disconnect in what is being taught in the classroom and what I am expected to know. I highly recommend any Marketing student to determine early on what specific direction they want to go within marketing and begin doing research into what employers are looking for.

I found myself one fateful day flipping through job ads on Simplyhired, Indeed and I noticed something concerning. Alot of the entry level positions wanted a marketing student with some sort of technical expertise whether it was graphic design, html/ CSS or some sort of analytics expierence. I realized I had neither up until this point I was under the impression that if I attended my classes and made good grades everything else would kind of sort itself out. Unfortunately this is not true at all.

I found out how wrong I was at my first internship.  I was overwhelmed by a vortex of data, information and digital marketing practices. I was really at a loss and desperately needed training that was never to come. As clique as it may sound if I knew then what I know now I would have taken charge of my self education a lot sooner than I originally did. Here are some resources to get you started on training yourself to be more marketable among your peers.

  1. www.Copyblogger.com  – Coppy blogger has plenty of useful resources for anyone looking to learn how to be a better copy writer.
  2. copyblogger  www.Codeacademy.com– Wonderful resource that allows you to begin your journey into learning how to code.
  3. code academy www.udemy.com – This website offers a variety of courses on a wide variety of subjects. This is a great starting point to learn anything from web development to graphic design.
  4. Udemy The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking–  “This guide is for entrepreneurs, founders, growth leads, or anyone else who is trying to grow a startup.” This guide may be primarily for start ups but I believe it is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in marketing.
  5. the-definitive-guide-to-growth-hacking Google Analytics- Of course how could I not write a blog and not include google analytics. This is a free resource offered from Google which basically allows users to track user engagement on their websites.

google-analytics

Update: Graphic Design work

Disclaimer: I did not go to school to be a Graphic designer nor do I have any formal training or education. I am passionate about design and have been studying it for some time now.

Here is a recent flyer I did for an organization at UNC Greensboro.

American Indian week flyer

Recent flyer I did to promote an event for my clothing line.

free shirt giveaway

lake scene

Social Media Marketing : Instagram vs. Facebook

As of late I have been trying to determine the best platform to market my start up company. I think Facebook is becoming obsolete for marketing a company on. It is hard for potential consumers to search based on hashtags and allow me to segment my target market clearly.

Fortunately Instagram allows me to add hashtags and it lets my products be easily searchable. This is great for building a quicker following and redefining my focus instead of solely relying on Facebook or Twitter. I think Facebook is great but as of right now it has not gotten me a rapid following like Instagram has right now. Hopefully my following will continue to grow and I can run my kickstarter soon.

 

Lineage logo

Design work update!!

So I have been working and improving a lot of my design work and here is an update of some of it.

 

Jordan Lowry Business card set2

 

Custom Business card
Custom Business card

 

Custom caption
Custom caption

 

RHS dalia llama meme

The perfect fit banner

benjamin franklin meme