Dan Shewan Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog

The Clueless Marketer's Guide to Building a Landing Page from Scratch

We talk about optimizing landing pages a lot here at WordStream, but how do you go about building a landing page in the first place? You need something to optimize before you can start optimizing! There are many ways to go about building a landing page, from rolling your sleeves up and diving into coding one with HTML, CSS and JavaScript to using web services that allow you to customize landing page templates.

In today’s post, you’ll learn how to build landing pages from the ground up and see which option is right for you. By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to start building a landing page that will drive conversions. Unless it looks like the one above, in which case you’ll probably want to rethink your life choices.Building a Landing Page the ‘Hard’ WayBefore we dive into... > Read more

April 21, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 13

What is Net Neutrality and Why Should Marketers Care?

Like practically every topic of discussion on the internet, net neutrality is a subject that people either a) haven’t heard of and couldn’t care less about, or b) are rabidly passionate about and will die to defend (or so it seems in most site comment sections). But what is net neutrality anyway, and why should marketers care?What is Net Neutrality?Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should allow all types of traffic to travel across their networks without discrimination; that all sites and applications should be treated equally, and not subjected to traffic shaping, bandwidth throttling and other means of control that serve ISPs' commercial interests.

Here are five facts that marketers need to know about net neutrality and why it’s so important:1. Net... > Read more

April 18, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 3

SearchLove Was in the Air in Boston

It seems there’s always a digital marketing conference going on somewhere, but few were as eagerly anticipated as SearchLove Boston 2014 was. The thoroughly charming folks at Distilled assembled a truly diverse lineup of speakers for the event – a roster of search and digital marketing talent that certainly didn’t disappoint.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since we gathered at Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center for the event, and perhaps even harder to believe that I failed to get this write-up finished sooner. C’est la vie.Although I’ve no doubt many of you were hanging on my every word on Twitter during the conference, here’s a round-up of some of my favorite sessions.Day OneAlthough Distilled’s Founder and Chief Marketing Office... > Read more

April 15, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0

PPC: Impossible? Not for WordStream’s Elite Paid Search Agents!

WordStream recently received intel from one of our field agents that Kristi Anderson, VP of marketing for GetOutfitted.com, was attempting to maximize the effectiveness of her PPC campaigns and increase conversions.Despite facing overwhelming odds, Kristi succeeded in her mission by using WordStream’s not-so-super-secret paid search technology.

Over the course of 30 days, Kristi learned precisely where she was going wrong in her paid search efforts, enabling her to take immediate action and get incredible results.In just 30 days, Kristi was able to:Improve her impression-weighted Quality Score by 50%Raise her average CTR from 0.26% to 6.32% - 24 times higher than her original CTRIncrease her account activity score from 39% to 72%Kristi’s mission was ambitious, but far from impossible. ... > Read more

April 07, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

How to Create a Ferocious Unique Selling Proposition

Unless you’re fortunate enough to be the only player in your industry (say, the only dedicated supplier of lion-taming equipment in North America), you’ll need to differentiate yourself from your competition through your unique selling proposition, or USP.A strong, instantly recognizable USP can make or break businesses operating in competitive markets, so it’s essential that you leverage your USP and make it the cornerstone of your overall marketing strategy.

Until you know what your USP is, and how to capitalize on it, your business will be just another voice clamoring to be heard.In this post, you'll learn:Unique selling proposition definitionUnique selling proposition examplesUnique selling proposition best practicesHow to use a unique selling proposition in your advertisementsHo... > Read more

April 07, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 10

Diving Deeper into Search Network with Display Select

To the uninitiated, the Google Display Network can be more than a little intimidating. Despite the vast potential of the GDN to expand AdWords advertisers’ reach, the costs and time management involved in running a GDN campaign put many people off, particularly small businesses with limited paid search budgets.

For these reasons, Google launched its latest hybrid campaign type, Search Network with Display Select (SNDS), in November 2013. SNDS campaigns are the ideal way for AdWords advertisers to take their first steps into the world of display, and WordStream’s Director of Search Engine Marketing Rich Griffin sat down with Google’s Katie Hamilton in a Google Hangout on Air to dive deeper into what SNDS campaigns can do for advertisers.In the Hangout, Katie and Rich cover topics inclu... > Read more

April 04, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

3 Things I Learned by Writing 3 Million Words in 3 Years

My first SEO copywriting job (which is what most content marketing used to be called before “web content” was a thing) was working as a freelancer for a national British travel agency. Although the work itself amounted to little more than stuffing awkward long-tail keywords into flowery copy about tourist hotspots across the Mediterranean, it was an invaluable learning experience and set me on an exciting and rewarding career path.

Since that fateful freelance gig, I’ve written millions of words (literally) – most of them during the past three years. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about what separates the great content from the bad, how to hit deadlines on time every time, and why measuring your coffee intake in pots is a warning sign that you should probably take it easy.In tod... > Read more

April 02, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 4

3 A/B Tests That Surprised the Heck Out of Us (See You at the Opties!)

A/B tests are a vital part of WordStream’s marketing efforts. Seriously, we split test everything: banner ads, registration forms, landing pages – you name it. My colleagues keep telling me that buying two different burritos for lunch then tweeting about which one I like best doesn’t count as “real” A/B testing, but I beg to differ.

One of the tools we use for A/B tests is Optimizely, a comprehensive solution that allows us to conduct tests quickly and easily. It’s awesome when we find tools that help us understand our audience more effectively, but it’s even more awesome when the people behind those tools recognize us for how we use their software. That’s precisely what happened recently when Optimizely told us that WordStream is a finalist in the inaugural Opties 2014 awar... > Read more

March 27, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 0

How to Use Schema Markup for SEO: Making Your Site Easier to Find for Stupid Machines

Including schema microdata in your web pages is a lot like eating well, exercising or getting a good night’s rest – you know you should be doing it, but actually following through can be harder than it sounds. Unless you’re a health nut, in which case please stop telling us about Crossfit.Although schema and other structured markup formats have been around for several years, relatively few sites bother to include schema microdata, and even fewer people actually know what schema is or what it’s for.

However, there’s no need to be embarrassed – we’re going to answer your questions about schema and why you should make it an integral part of your SEO strategy. Pay attention – there’s a test at the end*.*Not reallyWhat is Schema?Schema is a type of microdata that makes it easi... > Read more

March 20, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 16

The Heroes PPC Deserves: WordStream at HeroConf 2014

If you’re in PPC, you’ll undoubtedly have heard about Hanapin Marketing’s HeroConf, the world’s largest PPC conference. If you’re thinking of attending HeroConf 2014, you won’t find people wearing capes, masks or spandex leggings (well, probably not, anyway). However, you will find WordStream and many other PPC experts speaking about the hottest topics in paid search.

HeroConf 2014 will take place at the Hilton Austin Hotel in beautiful Austin, TX, from April 28-30. The Hilton Austin is nestled in one of the city’s trendiest areas, and is located just two blocks away from Austin’s historic 6th Street entertainment district.Why Attend HeroConf 2014?There are already dozens of reasons to attend HeroConf 2014, but here are some of the highlights:4 keynote addresses11 networking... > Read more

March 18, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Do Mobile PPC Ads Even Work?

Ever secretly wonder if mobile PPC ads are really as effective as their desktop counterparts? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. In fact, a lot of advertisers (including some big, impressive brands that claim to be “experts” in paid search) share these doubts – but don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

For now, let’s discuss some questions you might have about mobile PPC advertising. Do people actually click them? Did Google’s new SERP design ruin everything? Can mobile PPC improve your visibility in local search? Let’s find out.[RELATED: How to Build the Perfect Mobile Landing Page]How Effective Are Mobile PPC Ads?Before we go any further, we need to address the fact that, yes, in-app and mobile display advertising are almost universally hated by consumers. However, unlik... > Read more

March 18, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

How to Build the Perfect Mobile Landing Page

If desktop landing pages are the equivalent of a job interview, mobile landing pages are like elevator pitches on steroids – you have mere seconds for your page to load, grab your users’ attention and persuade them to act. Building the perfect mobile landing page is no easy task, and unless you have a strong mobile strategy in place before you start, you could be missing out on invaluable opportunities for greater conversions.

Ignore Mobile Landing Pages at Your PerilYou already know that you can’t ignore mobile, but in case you need a few choice statistics to drop on the naysayers at your next meeting, these should spur them into action:• According to the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly EQ4 2013 report, one in every three visits to leading ecommerce websites came from either a tablet ... > Read more

March 10, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 2

The Beginner's Guide to Building a Negative Keyword List

When Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” he wasn’t talking about negative keywords. While paid search was not among Edison’s various areas of expertise, his words of wisdom most definitely apply to how to run an effective AdWords campaign.

Whether you’re a newcomer to AdWords or have been running PPC campaigns since Google launched the platform in 2000 (with a grand total of 350 customers), you’ve probably given a great deal of thought to which keywords will result in more clicks and higher conversions – not to mention that vacation home in Lake Tahoe you’ve been dreaming about.However, fewer businesses devote as much time and energy to building a negative keyword list, despite the crucial role tha... > Read more

March 04, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 11

WordStream’s Best of the Month: February’s Greatest Hits

Unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm like southern California or Florida, chances are pretty good that you’ve been suffering through the bitter cold like we have here in Boston. As much as I would have loved to open February’s Best of the Month blog post with some pithy references to the weather, Elisa used them to great effect last month – Posts So Hot They Ended the Polar Vortex? That's a tough act to follow.

Instead, I’ll cut to the chase and present you with a roundup of February’s most popular blog posts – and a Futurama meme for good measure, since some of our most popular posts this month peered far into The Future™. Enjoy!1. The Future of PageRank: 13 Experts on the Dwindling Value of the Link – Are links still the essential currency of the web, or are... > Read more

February 28, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

A/B Testing Best Practices Can Save You Time, Money and Effort – Here's How

Everybody* knows that A/B testing best practices can help you run faster, jump higher and increase conversions. When it comes to providing users with an engaging and rewarding online experience, good A/B tests are a more effective treatment for embarrassing landing pages than topical ointment. However, approaches to designing multivariate tests that provide accurate and representative results can be uncertain at best and outright divisive at worst.

A/B testing is an invaluable tool for landing page optimization when implemented correctly. To minimize wasting time, money and effort on changes that will yield little to no benefit – or even make things worse – take the following points into consideration during your next project.* Not everybody knows this Prove ItBefore you casually a... > Read more

February 26, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 20
 
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