Content is king or so the saying goes (we prefer content is queen but that’s a whole other story). Over the last few years, as digital technologies and social networks have grown, content creation has become the main pillar of successful online marketing strategies. The phrase ‘content is king’ coined by Bill Gates, is often cited, as creating content that gives visitors and followers something new to consume on your site or social platforms is paramount to successful online marketing. This can also form the first step in getting readers into your funnel.
What is Content Marketing?
Content is one of the most important things to consider when marketing online in 2021. When we refer to ‘content’ we are talking about the relevant material that can be shared through platforms, like social media or your company’s website. Content can come in many different forms of media, from articles to videos, announcements of upcoming events, and blog posts. Content marketing is the process of producing different types of communications, intending to influence a targeted consumer base to initiate action, which in turn grows revenue, builds business and increases profit. In adding value, educating and showcasing what makes your company unique, content marketing is a great way to help you stand out from the crowd and build a lasting relationship with your customer base.
Images are an excellent addition to your website, blog post or social media and can help you get more shares and interactions. However, not all images on the internet are okay to use since there are laws that allow people to have rights to those images. Using just any image you find on the internet can get you in big trouble and leave you with a hefty fine!
Image Copyright Laws in Canada
We live in a world where images are so easy to find with just a click of a button but we can’t use any image we find since there is a cost for ownership of most images. It’s important to be aware of copyright laws in Canada to ensure you don’t get fined for using content you find online. Under the law, any image taken by any device (camera, smartphone, etc.) is subject to copyright. This means that if someone takes a photo, it is their photo and anyone else that would like to use it has to seek permission from the photographer. The photographer is not required to register their work to have it copyrighted since when the photo is saved (onto a smartphone or camera roll) it automatically is subject to copyright and is protected under copyright laws. Therefore, it is essential that we learn to keep these laws in mind because if you get caught using an image that belongs to someone else- you could be fined!
How To Find Great Free Images
There are many ways to find images that are free and can enhance your content.
1. Create your own images: Grab your camera or even your smartphone to capture some images! This allows you to be in full control of what the image will love like and leaves tons of room for customization. Also, having your own images ensures that the content is original and authentic.
2. Find royalty-free images on Google: When you search on Google, make sure you’ve clicked the “labeled for reuse” button! This allows you to reuse the image. See below:
3. Use Creative Commons to search multiple platforms to find free images: This site allows you to search for images easily and helps you find free images from various platforms. Check out our blog post on Creative Commons for more information.
4. Find free images online: Using sites such as allthefreestock.com allows you to search for various free images, videos, music and icons that are royalty-free.
5. Tools such as Canva: Canva allows you to edit your images and it basically works as an easy-to-use graphic design platform. It also has a massive repository of free images along with fairly inexpensive images (approximately $1 for a high-quality image).
6. Buy images: There are sites that allow you to purchase high-quality images. Sites such as iStock allows you to buy images for as little as $12 per image. You can also get a subscription for $40 per month that gets you 10 images per month.
If you’re ever in doubt, you can always check where that image appears online through TinEye. You simply upload your image or paste a URL of the image and this tool does a reverse search to find out where that image appears online.
Keep these tips in mind next time you add images to your content!
You have seconds to convince a first-time visitor to stay on your website. Approximately 50% of them leave within those first 8 precious seconds for a number of reasons, but there are ways you can reduce your website bounce rate.
Your website should make the best first impression so that it convinces visitors to stay. Keep them on your site and lower your website bounce rate with these 4 tips:
1) Speed Up Website Load Time
There are a number of sites that can measure your website’s load time. The quicker your website loads, the less likely a first-time visitor will leave. A couple of sites we recommend are Pingdom and Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Pingdom has a free toolto test your website’s loading time. It’s simple and easy. Enter your website’s address, select a location and Pingdom analyzes it, gives you a performance grade and identifies in a detailed report what may be slowing down your website’s load time.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is also free and just as easy. You type in your website URL, click on the analyze button and wait for the results. You will receive two performance reports; one for desktop and another for mobile both of which have their own a PageSpeed Score that ranges from 0 to 100 points. Side note: your website should be optimized for mobile devices – which includes both smartphones and tablets – otherwise your website may not show up on Google Search results on mobile. The reports give advice on what to fix and how to fix it to make your website better and lower your website bounce rate.
2) Define The Purpose of Your Site
Your website should solidify your online identity and your services and/or products should be clear and obvious. The top left hand corner is the most important part of your site – use it to showcase what you do and define your purpose so that visitors get it instantaneously. Showcase what you do and who you do it for.
3) Simple Website Navigation & Layout
Keep your website simple, make it intuitive to use and design it to be desktop and mobile responsive. These elements will keep first-time visitors on your site longer and make them less likely to bounce (leave after visiting only one page). Have all information about your products and/or services on your website.
Another way to reduce your website bounce rate is if you keep getting asked the same questions, then it is a good idea to make that information available on your website too because people would rather move onto another competitor’s website to find the answer than to call up your business.
You should have two sitemaps – one for Google (XML) and the other for people. It is paramount that people can find the content they are looking for on your site easily, so don’t overwhelm them with links. Too many links and menu items can cause confusion and result in people leaving your site if they have to keep clicking around to find what they were looking for. Pages should be linked from the menu or from inner pages (to help Google crawl them all).
Include easy to find contact information on every page of your website. Having an address, phone number and email in plain sight makes visitors feel that they are dealing with an actual business.
4) Give Website Visitors Reason to Come Back
Provide dynamic content such as blog posts, images, videos and etc. Use a blog to set yourself apart by showcasing you’re an expertise in your industry and how you will deliver on their expectations. If you can offer valuable information like giving free advice this results in trust and goodwill. It will bring visitors back to your website and increase the likelihood that they will retain your services.
Videos are great for boosting conversions and return visits too. Use videos to highlight a new product or explain your business. Make sure though to keep videos short – less than 2 minutes – so visitors stay to watch.
Differentiate your website and business by having a distinctive logo and by sharing consumer reviews so that visitors don’t go searching for reviews about your company on other sites that you don’t have control over.
Lastly, update your site often. An active and fresh website will not only make first-time visitors stay, but come back again and again.
Take a moment to look at your website from the perspective of a first-time visitor or better yet, have a friend do it. Identify what your website may be lacking from what we’ve outlined above. Implement some of these tips to reduce website bounce rate and see if it convinces more visitors to stay on your website longer than 8 seconds. Some of these changes will be easy to put into action and others you may feel are too technical. If that’s the case, contact your web developer or give us a shout – we’d be happy to help.
About the writer: Gloria Botelho is a practicum student from the Digital & Mobile Marketing program at Simon Fraser University. Gloria lives in East Van and is obsessed with cats, flowers, street art and all things Portuguese. You can follow her on Twitter @glorbot and on Instagram @gloria_boria.
Creative Commons licenses don’t replace copyright laws but are intended as a way of augmenting, emphasising and reinforcing them. They allow you to license your work easily, at no cost and with various different license offerings to choose from, you can decide on how much freedom you want to give people to use your content and in which forums.
Creative Commons steps you through an easy process to find the right license and then you simply download some HTML to your website:
6 Types of Creative Commons Licenses
People using your content are then morally and legally obliged to use it according to the rules set out (or not at all if you so choose). Whether or not people act appropriately remains to be seen and there’s also the issue of the global reach of the Internet with different laws governing different jurisdictions but if plagiarism is a concern for you then Creative Commons is definitely a step in the right direction to protecting your work.