f e ldm ancre at
ive .co m http://feldmancreative.co m/2013/12/website-o rnaments/ 21 Ornaments to Hang On Your Website ‘Tis the season not only to be jolly, but also to f orge plans to create more effective online marketing programs, where, of course, your website serves as the hub. Has your website stagnated a bit? Oh sure, your blog or news section gives it a sprinkling of newness each time you post, but you should be doing more than simply expanding your content. You should be promoting it. T hinking customer-centric thoughts and doing what you can to make your website more usef ul and engaging. Giving your readers a heap of reasons to click around, stick around, come back of ten and tell their f riends. Consider hanging some new ornaments on your website—the types of things that make it a more compelling social experience. Tools and ideas to increase sharing, engagement, lead generation, credibility, the quality of the content and the usef ulness or utility of your online properties are everywhere. Here are 21 of them to help make your website sparkle in the coming year. Engagement Social media chicklets “Chicklets” is a nickname f or the mini-logos of popular social media sites and services. You’ll f ind thousands of basic or f ancy options. Feel f ree to select artistic ones that complement your site, but don’t let the design obscure the intent—and don’t hide them. Place your social chicklets in an easy-to-f ind location all across your site to encourage interaction. My chicklets are simple, but colored to complement this website.
Blog comments I’ll admit blog
comments are sometimes hard to get, but you’ll get zero if you don’t make commenting possible with the necessary plugins. Plug one in. WordPress has an easy native solution, which also allows you to of f er your readers f ollow and subscription options. I use Disqus because it enables users easy sign-in options, a notif ication system f or users to f ollow discussions, and also displays the commenter’s photo, which helps inspire commentary. Many swear by the f eature-rich Livef yre. T his article of f ers a nice roundup and compares f eatures of comments plugins. Disqus offers a great set of features including a set of suggestions for additional reading — along with comment highlights from the selected articles. Smart stuff for increasing “time on site.” RebelMouse “Let Your Content Roar,” writes social media accelerator RebelMouse. I love this service f or so many reasons. While you might think of RebelMouse as a social media in its own right, it’s really an aggregator of your social activity. More importantly, the “mouse” gives your social posts a clean, engaging (and customizable) look and makes your posts easy to share and interact with. And above all, RebelMouse allows you to present everything on your website. I encourage you to click here to see how I’m using RebelMouse on my site under the moniker, “Super Social.” Facebook Like Box Lo o k ho w e le g ant Re b e lMo us e p re s e nts a twe e t that mig ht b e q uite o rd inary o n Twitte r.
You’ve seen this plugin, but
perhaps not tried using it. If you have a Facebook business page, it’s smart to promote it on your website with the Like Box. T he box is placed in the sidebar of your web page and displays, a like button, a likes counter, and Facebook photos of your f ans. Facebook walks you through the installation process here. Click-to-Tweet What a little gem Todaymade came up with when they rolled out the f ree utility “clicktotweet.” With it, as you may have guessed, you create simple clicktotweet boxes in your blog posts making it a snap to share your f avorite one-liners with the Twitterverse. Simple. Brilliant. Handy. Look what we have here: an example. I suggest you click to tweet (and I thank you f or doing so). Tis the season to hang usef ul ornaments on your website to increase engagement and generate leads. Click To Tweet WP Greetbox When you arrive at my blog f or the f irst time, you’re greeted by a custom message I created that acknowledges where you came f rom: search, Twitter, etc. I f eel it adds a a nice touch. T his is a WordPress plugin. Inf o here. Credibility Badges To be f iled under “social proof ,” various types of badges displayed on your website will inject credibility. Consider publishing badges of sites you contribute to, certif ications you’ve earned, associations you belong to, and accolades you’ve earned. Look over in the sidebar of this page f or a f ew examples. Content SlideShare If you read my articles, you know what a stout advocate I am of SlideShare. It’s an important content network— probably the most important of them all. It’s big and getting bigger (more than 60-million views per month). Your slide decks, inf ographics, videos and webinars (which go by “Slidecasts” on the website) are easily embedded anywhere on your website and add a powerf ul interactive, storytelling element. List.ly Like lists? You’ll like Listly. T hat’s what they say. Me, I love it. In f act, I can make a list of reasons why I do and you will too. I’ll spare you the list f or now, but tell you this f eature-crazy service makes it easy to create lists, engage users with them and then embed them on your site. It’s wonderf ul f or creating content, interacting with readers, encouraging sharing, building usef ul links, and even keeping track of things. Note how I’ve used a List.ly on my site to build a nice clean page to showcase my guest posts. As you’ll see, the lists are easy to decorate, customize and update. You can even present them as tiles if you like.
Email archives Most website owners
neglect posting their enewsletters on their site. You won’t be jailed f or the violation, but you will miss out on some opportunities. Chances are, your emails as posts won’t perf orm like your posts (or like they do as emails), but I believe creating an archive of past emails of f ers multiple benef its: valuable content; SEO possibilities; proof you of f er email; and above all, back issues f or those who come along af ter you begin your lif e as an email newsletter provider, but love the resource. Here’s my email archive (it’s getting kind of massive) Tout Real-time mobile video publishing. Say what? Hey, Shaq does Tout. I do Tout. Tout’s like Twitter meets YouTube. You use it to create 15-second videos you embed on your website. It has to be the world’s easiest way to get into producing and sharing video content. Don’t want to mess with YouTube? Try Tout out. It’s f un. You’ll f ind a stream of Touts on my homepage. Pins Did you know you can now embed Pinterest stuf f on your website? Beautif ul, sort of . Actually, I tried doing so with an entire pin board and give that option a big thumb down. I’ll spare you the lame result. And when you think about it, you realize as a result of displaying a mini-version of your pin board, which looks appetizing, visitors are encouraged to leave your website. Not smart. However, you can take advantage of the new Pin widget to display a single pin, f rom Pinterest, on your website or blog. T hat could serve you well. It puts yet another (and attractive) media play on your site. As you may have gathered by now, I like these embeddable options. Here’s the 411 for embedding pins. Utility Site search As a blogger and content marketer, your website will expand over time. No matter how well you organize your content, you can make your website more visitor-f riendly by of f ering a search f ield to help users f ind relevant content by entering keywords—as they are used to. T he benef its of of f ering a site search f unction include having access to the data captured, which will help inf orm you of the subjects visitors care most about. I have to admit, I also use my site’s search to f ind my own content quickly when I don’t know exactly where it resides or when I published it. T here are a number of options f or site search f unctionality f or your site. As you might imagine, a popular and easy solution is of f ered by Google, which of f ers design options and the opportunity to build a revenuegenerating AdSense program. PrintFriendly If you’ve ever printed or made a PDF of a web or blog page to f ind a messy array of elements you don’t want, you’ll understand why I installed the nif ty little Printf riendly button.
You set it up to
look the way you like, of f er the options you want, and place it above or below your content. Try it with one my posts and you’ll get a simple print of the article and nothing more. In f act, bef ore printing you can zap any element you don’t want. Note, the f irst little chicklet you see in this post is the PrintFriendly f eature. Go ahead and print this post or create a PDF f or f uture ref erence. Lead generation Email opt-in Please, please, have an email program and then make it easy f or visitors to f ind and complete the opt-in process. Every popular email service provider will of f er you the code to embed. Use it on your home page, contact page, blog index page and posts pages. Ask only f or an email address and name. And if you want to build your email list, don’t simply say something generic such as “receive our emails.” Give your readers are compelling reason to opt-in. You’ll see atop the sidebar on this page is my email opt-in f orm, which says, “Get the tips and tools you need for more effective online marketing.” Subscribe to blog Oy, I go a bit nutzo when bloggers neglect to of f er the option to subscribe to their blog. Granted, the RSS f eed thing never really took of f with the masses and probably never will, but come on—want loyal readers? Set up your blog to of f er f eed and subscribe-by-email options. It’s easy. Here’s a simple tutorial. Magic Action Box T he Magic Action Box supercharges your blog posts (they say) by presenting an email opt-in f orm beneath your posts. Makes sense. A reader makes it to the end of your story, presumably happy, and is given the option to subscribe. T he service provides many options to customize the box/f orm the way you like. You’ll find a Magic Action Box below this post. Looks nice and it appears to be helping collect email addresses. NetworkedBlogs widget NetworkedBlogs may be a little secret of the blogger and Facebook user community because its primary f unction is to automatically share your blog posts on Facebook. However, I’m keen on its widget too, which you add to your blog to make it super easy (and low tech) f or Facebook users to subscribe to your blog. It’s f ree and easy to implement. Here’s the skinny. LeadConverter LeadConverter is a f lexible tool you customize and setup to be a non-annoying popup. It’s a widget you conf igure to be a top bar, lightbox, of f er or survey. If you’ve f ound websites where a question of some sort pops up f rom the bottom of the page, it’s probably LeadConverter. T heir site tells you it can be setup to respond to where the traf f ic came f rom, making it f eel more personalized. Paid plans deliver all kinds of analytics too. Hello Bar and Spinnakr
T he popular Hello Bar
(f rom Crazy Egg) and the lesser-known (and unf ortunately named), Spinnakr of f er eyebrows you place atop your page to direct users to timely content. T hey’re unobtrusive and can be very ef f ective. Both of f er customizable options and usef ul analytics to help you ref ine your message. Spinnakr, which I’m testing now, even delivers suggestions via email, based on traf f ic patterns. Additionally, the Spinnakr, uh, thing, can be presented in a number of ways beyond simply a bar. Here’s my first Spinnakr bar. Options allow you to customize its look, copy and placement. Free gifts T here’s no magic shortcut to this, my last and most important recommendation. In the spirit of content marketing (and the season), put gif ts on your website. Ebooks, videos, templates, checklists, trial versions— any usef ul thing you can think of . I present mine in a section called “Free Pointers.” Make it worth your visitor’s while to have paid you a visit. Show them you want to be of service. Give them a reason to give you their email address and then respond by delivering f ast access to something f ree and inf ormative. Your parents probably told you it’s better to give than receive. I’m here to tell you, it’s better to give AND receive. Give your insights to your prospects and in the long run you’ll receive their business, ref erral or some f orm of good will. Peace. About t he aut hor Barry Feldman, f ounder of Feldman Creative, is a prolif ic writer with 25 years of experience bringing his clients' online presence to the next level through copywriting and content marketing creation and consulting. He writes and educates clients on online marketing on T he Point and on many other sites across the web. Connect with Barry on Google+.