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11 Benefits of Using the WordPress Blogging Platform

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbWe have been involved in blogging since around 2003 and have been offering blogging courses for many years (starting in 2005). Over the last year or so we have been delivering WordPress courses. We think that WordPress is one of the most powerful blogging platforms out there and with its relative ease of use it is an ideal solution for those who have limited html experience. Here are some of the reasons why we think WordPress is such a great platform.

  1. It's free - WordPress.com is free and even downloading the 'kit' to develop yourself is free (hosting is something you will have to sort out).
  2. Scalable - both in terms of what you want to achieve and in terms of your knowledge. If you want basic functionality, why not start out with WordPress' hosted solution? Want more functionality? Host in on your own server (but you my need html knowledge unless you use a pricier like GoDaddy).
  3. Easy to use - understand how to use Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail? Then WordPress should come easy to you. This is one, very intuitive platform.
  4. Up-to-date - if you're using the hosted version of WordPress, you will be prompted to update to the latest version. If it's hosted by someone like GoDaddy or some other hosting company it's straightforward to update. These updates mean that you can always take advantage of the very latest advances from this platform.
  5. Browser not desktop based - you can access WordPress from any browser, desktop or laptop regardless of where you are.
  6. Search Engines love it - it's structured so well for search engines. Headlines become page titles and URL's and the underlying architecture is solid. Just notice how your pages start appearing for myriad searches on google, et al. But don't forget YOU still have to understand how SEO works to help. There are some plugins such as Yoast SEO for WordPress and All in One SEO Pack, which will AID you in your SEO efforts.
  7. 3rd party themes and plugins - both the hosted and self-hosted versions offer a wide variety of website themes and plugins to give the look and functionality of your site/blog. Check these WordPress themes and these WordPress plugins for starters.
  8. It's a blog and a website - WordPress has two key parts: pages and posts which allow you not just to write blog articles (posts) but also pages which can help to flag up products, services, contact us and about us pages.
  9. Mobile ready - we know that Google is a 'mobile first' company but WordPress also lets you create sites which are responsive and designed for both desktop and laptop viewing.
  10. Social media friendly - whether you want to connect up your channels on your blog or just allow visitors to share your content on their favourite platforms, WordPress already has this functionality built in. You can place your social media channel buttons where you wish on your template and add the most suitable social plugins to your blog articles or posts.
  11. Great administration - WordPress lets you add users, with different privileges, who can create, adminster or edit different elements of the site.

Related Course

WordPress Training Course (London and Cardiff)


Are You Making Digital Marketing Waves or Ripples?

Adobe Spark-5

Just before the summer I came across an interesting article from Darren Rowse, entitled How I use Google Analytics ‘Compare’ Feature to Motivate Me to Grow My Blog. Though it is around 3 years' old, the basic idea really resonated with me. In it Rowse highlights the 'hourly' feature of Audience Overview within Google Analytics. This interesting Analytics report splits the day into hourly segments and lets you view the number of sessions per hour (in the form of a graph). However, what Darren Rowse does is add an extra element - comparison of today against yesterday or the week before.

What grabbed my attention was the idea of trying to see how you could possibly make one hour, or a number of hours today, 'beat' the session count from another day. Imagine that you look at your graph and say, "it looks like 9.00 isn't performing as well as this time last week." Well, your challenge is to consider the tactical digital tools at your disposal, and boy there are MANY, which could improve on last week's rankings. Whilst this is very much a reactive exercise, it would well turn into a proactive one in the future once you know what works and whats doesn't for you.

One topic the we cover on our digital courses is the interconnectedness of many of your digital media channels.Taking your website as the centre of digital marketing activity we consider how you might go about 'making noise' or making waves through this digital network. For the remainder of this article we will explore how you can go about doing this.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is the foundation on which much of your digital marketing activity is built and making sure the your website is positioned highly on Google is a key objective. So, what should you be doing on a frequent basis?

Keyword Checking. Are you using the right combination of keywords? Are you going for highly trafficked keywords or focusing on the long tail? Let's say that I am looking at keywords for social media courses in London", do I go for the high volume (where there is potentially higher competition ) or for lower volume (where there MAY be lower competition but richer pickings)? Once you know the right keywords, you can start by placing them in key locations: page titles, content, links, headlines, meta descriptions and more.

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Page Titles. Are you using the right keywords in your page title? Let's assume that most people don't enter your website on the home page, then the company name/brand is not important at this point. Think about the theme of the page and change keywords accordingly.

Search Console. I wrote an article on Search Console last year so won't go into it in too much detail but from an SEO perspective these things are important:

    1. Search Analytics. Where are you positioned? How many clicks are you getting for your keywords but as importantly how many of the keyword impressions display "0" for you? 0 means that people are not clicking on your listing in Google but on someone else's which probably means you are not optimising your pages (on-site and off-site) for Google. This is a great opportunity for you to get untapped traffic, so get working on it!
    2. Fetch as Google. If you have created new pages or modified other pages (see below), then you might want to use this tool so that Google can identify your site in a matter of hours (not weeks!).
    3. Data highlighter. Offering events, courses, confernces? Well, you should be using this tool as it gives your website more visibility in the search engines. Check this out:

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Meta Descriptions - These are 160-character strings which allow a website to indicate what a page is about. They are often used by search engines to supplement your search results. We often say that they can mean the difference between someone clicking on your link and your competitors in the Search engine results. However, did you also know that social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook also use them when displaying information that you share (notice below)?meta

Email Marketing

So. you're harvesting email addresses for your mailing lists but are you telling your customers about the latest products, services and offerings that your company has to offer?  Use email marketing to flag up the following:

  • New products and services
  • Latest blog articles
  • Company news
  • Achievements (in our case congratulating students on passing their exams)
  • What about new staff?
  • Latest promotions?
  • Book offers?

Aside from using your email marketing package (such as MailChimp), have you considered using email signatures to flag up new articles, products, offers, etc? On my email accounts I often have different offers. So, someone who has already been on one of our courses will be invited to sign up for a special rate on another course.

Social Media Marketing

Each time I write a blog article or have a new product/service that I would like to promote, I'll fire up many of my social media tools. Let's go through how you might use each of the tools.

Twitter - OK, first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to promote and then consider crafting a tweet with some or all of the following checklist:

  • Image - have you sourced or created (possibly using Canva) an image that conveys the message of the article of page you wish to promote?
  • Link - have you made sure you have created a link on Bit.ly (probably using your custom link)?
  • Hashtag - have you identified the broad hashtag that sums up what the tweet is about and how about the 'granular' (or focused hashtag which may directly relate to your business)?
  • Call to action?
  • Keywords - have you thought about the correct use of keywords in your 140 characters?
  • Photo tagging - could you have tagged someone in the tweet (journalists, stakeholder, etc)?

In his book, the Art of Social Media, Guy Kawasaki invites Twitter users to try and 're-use' some of their tweets. Don't just tweet once, but use the same tweet at different times. Aside from tweeting another way to gain some traction for your tweets, and hence content, is to pay for Twitter advertising.  The potential benefit of using this to complement your tweets is that you can now expand the reach of your tweets outside of your followers. What about directing tweets at influencers within your industry (with the hope of a Retweet or alert a follow or reply)?

LinkedIn - I use LinkedIn on a few different levels. Firstly, I use it inform the people who are following me that I have added something new to my website - blog article, new service, etc. It is possible that I might  'repurpose' (or slightly change the updates) as we mentioned in the Twitter section. Images and links are vitally important and don't forget that LinkedIn sends 4 times as many people to your website than Twitter or Facebook. I also find that Sundays are pretty good days for pushing people to the website from LinkedIn. LinkedIn groups are another place that I will often go to, having published something on my website, just to flag up articles of interest for members. And don't forget to use your Company Page on LinkedIn. I find that many companies tend to neglect their LinkedIn company pages but don't forget your contacts/clients/employees/stakeholders are using this platform more and more so, why not use it to flag up stories of interest to them? And how about the good, old direct message? Consider who in your network might find your new content/offers/products of interest and then directly message them. It does work!

Facebook - this may not be your 'top' platform for 'professional social networking' but that doesn't mean that people don't use it to check friends/family updates during the day. They do - all day, every day! And, of course, if they're following your company page, they can also receive bang-up-to-date information from your website. So, why not create schedule those updates and get them to appear at peak viewing times on Facebook? Learn for your success full updates (check Insights). For certain posts that are working (engagement and reach) or those you think may need nudging, why not boost a post? Don't forget that organic reach for your Facebook posts may be as low as 6.5% and these boosts can help you reach either more of your Facebook followers or even those who are part of your potential market.

Related Courses

Social Media Marketing Course (London and Cardiff)
CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing


And, we have a winner!

ann-3d-3As many of you are aware, we have been running a book competition this month. The book we had on offer was Ann Handley's "Everybody Writes" and the two winners of the draw, which we held today, were Rhian Jeffs and Gemma Williamson. Well done to you both. Your books will be sent out to you in the post next week. And for everybody else, please look out for our special Christmas Draw over the next few weeks.


Win a Free Book This November!

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Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer.

This month we are offering two free copies of this book*. All you have to do is enter your name and email address below and we will enter your name into the draw. This draw takes place on November 18th at 12.00 pm.

"If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers."

In Everybody Writes, top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.

These lessons and rules apply across all of your online assets — like web pages, home page, landing pages, blogs, email, marketing offers, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. Ann deconstructs the strategy and delivers a practical approach to create ridiculously compelling and competent content. It's designed to be the go-to guide for anyone creating or publishing any kind of online content — whether you're a big brand or you're small and solo.


Delivering a consistent brand experience for our customers

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Don't forget to register for today's CIM webinar to hear Chris King, Global Marketing Manager at Transitions Optical, and Jens Lundgaard, CEO of Brandworkz, talk about how to give your customers the best and most powerful brand experiences every time they interact with your brands.

What you'll learn:

  1. Why brand experience matters more than ever
  2. Key brand experience challenges facing brands
  3. The principles of delivering outstanding brand experiences to your customers
  4. Three key takeaways
  5. Real examples from Transitions Optical

Presenter: Chris King, Jens Lundgaard
Date: Wednesday 05 October
Time: 13:00 BST
Duration: 1 hour with live Q&A

Regster on the CIM website. And if you can't make it, they'll send you a link to watch later.


Congratulations to our CAM Diploma Students

Copy of Copy of Congratulations!We are pleased that for another exam board we have raised the bar again and our students have achieved success across all three of our CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing modules. And not only did we achieve 100% pass rate but our students managed to get 50% A's and 50% B's. Well done to all our students. We know how much hard work you have put in and you thoroughly deserve these results.


Social Media Marketing Reports 2016

Many students will be starting off their new academic year this month and there's a very good chance that some of you will be attending accredited digital courses, such as the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing, non-accredited courses such as the Social Media ones we offer or even University degrees. From our experience we know that there is a huge amount of information that you have to sift through and very often you will have to justify, quote, reference and provide stats for much of the digital work you present. To try to make at least one part of this a little easier, we have trawled the web looking for useful stats and figures on Social Media that you can use for reports or even in presentations for your organisations.

So, here we go:

  1. 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (Social Media Examiner) - This is a pretty detail report from Michael A Stelzner who heads up Social Media Examiner
  2. We Are Social reports on the state of digital in 2016 (We are Social) - this is a pretty hefty collation from the guys at We are Social. There is a slide deck on here that numbers 537!
  3. 2016 State of Social Marketing Report (Simply Measured) - A 46-page report that includes a survey of social marketers, industry reports, and original research.
  4. The 2016 Australian Sensis Social Media report (Sensis) - For all you Aussies out there here are some Australian-focused stats.
  5. State of Social Media Marketing (Marketing Profs) - a neat little infographic to give you a quick idea of what might happen in 2016.
  6. The State of Digital Marketing 2016 (Smart Insights) - yet another infographic but from Dave Chaffey and crew.
  7. Taking Part focus on: social media (UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport) - this report looks at people in England who use social media and their demographic characteristics.
  8. UK Universities Social Media Benchmarking Report 2016 (Interactive Software) - for those in the UK HE sector this might prove of interest.
  9. FT Digital Media 2016 (FT) - 9 videos on digital trends for you to get your teeth into.
  10. 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016 (Brandwatch) - want some stats to dazzle people with? Then you should head over here.
  11. Social Marketing Reports (Social Bakers) - looking for global, up-to-date stats. Check out Social Bakers.
  12. DMA Insight: Social
    data Integration report 2016
    - this is a useful 22-page document focused on the UK.
  13. Adults’ media use and attitudesAdults’ media use and attitudes (Ofcom) - amongst other areas it considers there is a section on Social media in this 201-page report.
  14. Social Media and the WorkplaceSocial Media and the Workplace - this is an interesting report on how Americans use Social Media in the workplace.
  15. State of ChineseSocial Media in 2016 (Kantar) - a brief but concise overview of where Chinese Social Media is in 2016.

Bonus: Branding in the Age of Social Media (Harvard Business Review)

Related Course

Social Media Marketing


Wales/Cymru Marketing Awards 2016

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It's that time of the year again when the Chartered Institute of Marketing recognises and rewards excellence and celebrates achievements of marketing professionals in Wales giving individuals, teams and organisations the recognition they deserve. The event takes place on 23rd November but before that a panel of judges will decide who gets nominated and, ultimately, who will win the prestigious prizes. Nominations are open for the following categories and will close on the 30th September.

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Entry fees are £40 per entry and may be paid by credit card or invoice and you are eligible to enter more than one category. If you would like to nominate an individual or organisation, please head over to the CIM website.