Is an arresting title really important in SEO?

What if someone publicly declared that he had the formula to write the perfect headline? One that is so irresistible every person who sees it has to click on it? You’d probably sign him up immediately and maybe even promise them irresistible perks and bonuses.

But what if he then told you that not one single person out of all the millions who would click on that headline would convert? And that you might lose all your credibility in the process? Would all the traffic generated by that “perfect” headline be worth it?

With that in mind, what’s the purpose of a headline, really? Back in the good old days, headlines were created to sell newspapers. Newsboys stood on street corners shouting the headlines in an attempt to hawk those newspapers. Headlines had to be enough of a tease to get readers interested but they had to be trustworthy enough to get a reader to buy again tomorrow. Competition for eyeballs was less fierce because a town only had so many newspapers. Nevertheless, paper costs money and editors were always happy to get a repeat customer.

Nowadays the competition for eyeballs feels even stiffer because it’s hard to get noticed in the vast sea that is the internet. It’s easy to feel a little desperate. And it seems like the opportunity cost of turning away a customer is much lower than it was before. But aren’t we doing content as a product? Does the quality of that product matter?

There’s no arguing that headlines are important. The fact is that many copywriters recommend an 80:20 ratio of energy spent on headline to copy. That might be taking things a bit far, but a bad (or even just boring) headline will tank your traffic. Here is some expert advice on writing headlines that convert:  It is advisable to take advantage of psychological trigger words like, “weird,” “free,” “incredible,” and “secret” to create a sense of urgency in the reader. Can you possibly wait to read “Secret ways butter can save Your Life”? That is food for thought right there. Number two, use question headlines like “Can You Increase Your Sales by 45% in Only 5 Minutes a Day?” that get a reader asking themselves, “I have no idea, can I?” and promptly clicking away to find out.

Many readers still (consciously or not) consider headlines a promise. So remember, as you fill the headline with hyperbole and only write eleven of the twelve tips you set out to write, there are readers on the other end hoping that butter is really good for them.

Error analysis in CRO

Error analysis in CRO is simply invaluable. Trying to do without it usually means setting oneself up for a tumble. In simple terms, you can think of error analysis as going around your site and saying “what happens if I do that?” In product design it is common to hear this practice being referred to as failure mode effects analysis (FMEA). “Failure modes” mean the ways, or modes, in which something might fail. Failures are any errors or defects, especially ones that affect the customer. “Effects analysis” refers to studying the consequences of those failures.

While a lot of FMEA is overkill for designing a website (after all, the ironic, in-your-face factual piece is that nobody is going to die if they click the wrong button) the principles can be used to proactively help find faults. Every website is different so it is important to think of own scenarios. Here are some questions to get you started: What if I use my email instead of username to login? What if I press the back button in the checkout funnel? What if I need a refund? What if I want to get the product delivered to my work address? What If I order the wrong product?

It is clear that these potential errors can be a mix of usability and customer service. The point is to be proactive and anticipate what could go wrong. You can then fix true errors (things that are just broken) or put processes in place to ensure mistakes can be fixed easily when they do go wrong.

Google Analytics has a great report that can help one find some of the most common errors or problems. Here it is: Look at the reverse goal path report and pick a goal (for example, people reaching the thank you page). The report will then show you the most common routes that people take on their way to that page.

The “Ask” section is pretty simple; it’s about asking people to explicitly tell you what they do or do not like. For the terms and conditions slot, the solution is an easy one – the live survey. Everyone has heard of Quaraloo by now so going into detail on this isn’t necessary. The solution is to ask people that leave the funnel via the T+C page what information they’re looking for using Quaraloo. Once the reason has been unearthed, that information can be added to the pages leading up to the conversion and hopefully help reduce anxieties and distractions leading up to the purchase.

Account Accountability: Organization, Safety & Reputation

Got accounts? Got issues! By creating online profiles and websites, logging into members-only sites, using apps and multiple devices without truly understanding the ramifications, people set themselves up for whole heap of trouble! Several times extra personnel have to be brought in to come to the rescue of clients and friends who have issues to do with the likes of multiple Facebook profiles, triple Gmail addresses, lost passwords, and much more. Many of these issues can be prevented with a bit of forethought, some auditing, small corrections, an understanding of each platform, and minimum up keep. But you’ve got to be willing. Account accountability is what this is. The question is, are you ready to tackle organization, safety and reputation issues?

The thing with accounts is this: accounts get abandoned. Each time an account gets abandoned it leaves the account open for cyber attacks, hackers, identity theft, and just plain identity confusion about the previous owner.

Some scenarios of people and businesses that lead to account abandonment include having several email addresses (which are overwhelming and not exactly time-friendly), having several email address (creating confusion about accounts as well as many linked accounts), change in work email (acquiring a new job status often leads to old email addresses getting abandoned), new devices (creating new log-ins and multiple accounts by accident), kids accounts (for example, parents make email accounts, kids make duplicate (own) accounts as well), business accounts (usually, well-meaning employees start accounts for social media), new platforms (especially new platforms that do not take off), membership sites (void after non-payment), death, death of a spouse or child (zero access), and shared accounts.

What can be done to avoid abandoned accounts and get a better system of organization? Here are several tips to get organized. Each of them is just as important as the next one. With that in mind, keep track of your accounts by noting the following about each email address you create: Account name, passwords, additional log in information (like secondary email address or phone number), what tools and programs you’ve used that email address for, who else has access to your email address, and which devices you’ve used to log in. That being said, don’t forget to delete old accounts as you create new ones. All this is bound to help, and then some.

Social Media Strategy: Building a fail-proof strategy

If more people devised solid social media strategies they would definitely have a much more solid internet presence than they may already have. With that in mind, how does one go about designing the ultimate social media strategy?

To determine what is and isn’t working in your social media strategy, go over the analytics for your posts. Review your posts over the last three months, six months or year. See which posts got the most traffic, as well as the most shares and other engagements. Adjust your strategy accordingly.

Use the “Shotgun Approach” for reliable reach. It doesn’t matter how large your following is, your messages can sometimes fall through the cracks. With increasing numbers of brands utilizing social channels you certainly have to find better ways to get your message to stand out from the noise. The gist of it all is this – unless you call, email or otherwise send your content to your audience, you have no idea if it’s going to reach them. Even if you have a huge fan base on your social networks, you never know if your people will see your message.

Analyze Competitors. Perhaps the most important research effort for your social strategy is an analysis of your competition. Discover what works for your competitors and then determine how to use that information to improve your social media strategy. To effectively analyze your competitors you need to look at their keyword prioritization patterns, break down their rankings, and monitor their online visibility, especially on search engines.

Create an Audience Strategy. Produce content with your (whole) audience in mind (who your customers are and what they have in common), and you’re more likely to inspire consistent, share-worthy content. Basically the recommendation is this: create an audience strategy rather than pander around thereby wasting effort, time and money.