Reusing old blog posts with traction

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I came across an interesting question on Growth Hackers and decided to respond – What’s the best way to clean out old blog posts?

This particular poster has a large number of blog posts that no longer apply to the company’s current business model. They get web traffic, and interest from potential customers, but the company doesn’t actually offer that product anymore.

I haven’t been in this extreme of a situation, but I have made hay from older posts and web pages in numerous web make-overs and relaunches.

The truth is that older web pages and blog posts do build up a lot of good Google juice. Both traffic and authority can develop out of older content that’s had a good run.

But things change, and so can your site’s content.

Here is how I’d approach this particular problem.

1st, I’d rank monthly traffic to the old posts in question. Below some cutoff, I’d characterize the posts into two or three segments and permanently redirect each segment to the best page from a related content perspective. As in, find the closest similar content on the site and point all of the low-traffic posts in that segment to that page.

The reason I’d do this is to preserve what you can of the link juice, while eliminating the content on the site that causes confusion for the visitors by offering a product that you just don’t sell anymore.

For the higher traffic posts, I’d find a way to rewrite the post to apply to the current business model. Unless the business had DRAMATICALLY changed, as in you used to be an uber for dog sitters and now offer marketing automation software, I think you can come up with content that is related enough to keep Google sending the traffic.

I’d approach the rewrite from a customer experience perspective. The goal is to provide something of value to the visitor. Google appreciates new content on well ranking pages, so ‘refreshing’ the content in a way that it overlaps with the visitor intent and your company’s new direction should be successful from retaining your ranking and providing a visitor experience that keeps the person engaged with the page.

A few SEO notes on the refreshed content:

  • I’d keep the URL the same.
  • If you can use the main keyword of the page (the former title probably) in the first or second paragraph to try to preserve some of the juice.
  • The goal should be engaging content that scoots the visitor toward your current business model

Facebook advertising tips

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I’m finally marketing to a demo that uses Facebook, which means that there are some fun social efforts that we get to do.

I came across a really well done, in depth post, about Facebook best practices for paid ads and thought I would share it.

The summary, which I agree with, is keeping the copy short but sweet, linking to a dedicated landing page and having a lot of creative to keep your audience interested.

Below is an example for the article that works well – short copy, focused on the “you” – as in, here is what the reader can do/get out of it.

facebook ad example

It’s a very solid article – check it out.

4 Great website testing ideas

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Optimizely has a solid list of 71 different website testing ideas – check it out here. (Side note: this content has existed for a long time, but they recently re-shared it with me. Re-sharing solid blog content like this is a great nurturing tactic!)

I have tried a number of these 71 tips with varying levels of success. Below are the top four that have worked for me. What works on one site may not work on another, users’ behaviors change over time, and mobile will have totally different success than desktop (and don’t even get me started on tablet.) So even if you’ve tried some of these before, it’s worth considering retesting at some point.

Here are the four most successful testing tactics that I’ve found, as listed on the Optimzely blog post:

Buy Now? Purchase? Checkout? Add to Cart? Change the call-to-action (CTA) text on your buttons to see which word or phrase converts more visitors.” I’ve had success with this sort of a test every time. You never really know what a visitor is hoping to see, and different CTAs on particular pages may improve conversion too. Matching CTAs with on page content often is helpful.

Test multiple CTAs per page against one CTA per page.” I sometimes joke that every other line of copy should be a CTA button… that’s extreme, but having different CTAs in different places on the page may help a visitor find the ‘thing’ that entices them to move forward in your funnel.

Test different types images on your landing page. People versus product is a good place to start.” Sometimes this fails for me, but recently I’ve had good success. Always worth a test, but sometimes the results are so small there is no statistical significance. Big tests are often better here, so I’d start with huge differences in images before testing if the female customer beats the male, etc.

Test removing navigation to any pages outside the checkout funnel.” I call this a prisoner page, and it works for SEO and other bottom of the funnel pages… but it can also backfire if someone isn’t ready to commit. Sometimes adding high conversion navigation links (vs. what you may have on your regular site nav) can help the prospect find out more info, but also stick to pages that convert, keeping the conversion rates high.

Tweets that got traction

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A few of my tweets from Q4 2014 got some traction (what I mean is that Buffer shows that they had a decent click volume).

In no particular order:

Not sure this will be good for productivity: Facebook Wants to Move Into the Office http://buff.ly/1FaYm2e via @WSJD

Squirrel cuts off power to part of Silicon Valley http://buff.ly/1FjNGyg via @usatoday Do rodents hate Apple?

I don’t love this UX icon, but hey, it exists: http://buff.ly/1x1rWpt Brief History of the Hamburger Icon

Really funny take down of staffing at a cutting edge ad agency: http://buff.ly/1ABcoLI #agency

Review other people’s bit.ly stats

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I recently discovered how to review other people’s bit.ly links, which is really cool if you are stalking someone or if you are trying to understand the social reach of someone.

To see the number of clicks that a bit.ly link has you:

Add a + to the end of the link and go to that URL.

So, say that you want to see how many clicks a Kourtney Kardashian post gets. Take the bit.ly link, like this one, https://bitly.com/1rFgrhH and make it this: https://bitly.com/1rFgrhH+

You’ll see:

check bit.ly stats

Pretty cool!

 

Twitter isn’t really inspiring me recently

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I’ve really dropped off tweeting recently, and have reduced my use of twitter even more. For some reason, I’m just not spending a lot of time reading tweets or looking for interesting content.

I can’t tell if I’ve changed, if Twitter has jumped the shark or if I just need to refresh the list of people I follow. I keep a tight list of people who I closely follow using Tweetdeck, and I wonder if some of the people who I follow most closely have reduced their twitter use? It’s just hard to tell.

Webinar on how personalization drives sales

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So, I’m a bit of a personalization junkie, especially when it comes to email marketing and lead scoring. For whatever reason, I find that stuff really fascinating.

My wife recently put on an informative webinar on how data science can lead to lasting customer relationships. Since it was totally great, I’m sharing it here on my blog!

The most interesting point, I think, is that segmenting on customer behavior can yield even better results than on product. In particular, hitting discount shoppers when there is a clearance sale vs. new product lines (at premium prices) to high value shoppers… makes a lot of sense!

Great data visualization post

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One of the first things I do when I start a consulting project with a company is work on dashboards – What are the KPI’s and how are they being measured/tracked/presented. Do the decision makers have constant, in-their-face access to the metrics they need to make decisions.

I intend to write a longer post on dasbboards for direct marketing, but for now I’d like to share a great post on data presentation tips:

7 Data Presentation Tips: Think, Focus, Simplify, Calibrate, Visualize

Avinash Kaushik is a data guru and a data driven marketing thought leader. You should follow his blog!

Good post on keeping users engaged

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Lead nurturing/keeping signed up users engaged is critically important, and since I’ve been consulting it’s been a recurring theme to my work with clients. Getting customers into the top of the funnel is only part of the game; keeping them engaged is the other half of being successful with a SaaS product and with any sort of a lead funnel.

I really enjoy setting up touchless sales nurturing programs. Today there are a few really great services that help marketing teams carefully, and automatically, keep users coming back to a service or moving along within a longer sales funnel. I came across a great piece on user engagement and it got a lot of Twitter love.

In addition to the various channels the author mentions, I’d add that using a personalization layer is key to keeping users from opting out of your nurturing program. Every single time I’ve ever tested a personalization layer, the message with personalization has out performed. For example, at Boundless, adding info about the subject matter that a student was studying, or their school name, etc resulted in better response rates, better engagement rates and happier users.

The best thing is that tools are out there to automatically help a marketer use personalization. There is really no reason to still be using a blast, one size fits all nurturing program if you are at scale.

Pricing page optimization and highlighting a choice

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I came across a great piece of content by a UI expert on tips for improving on page performance – both user experience and conversion.

One of the ideas that really resonated with me was on presenting a recommendation on the pricing page. I’ve had success with this idea in the past, but the way this was presented was novel to me and I really want to try it now:

pricing page designThe paradox of choice is a real effect – people get overwhelmed by too many choices. (Although here is a nice critique of the hypothesis – a little choice is a good thing, which is pretty obvious.)

The thing I like about this design idea is that the recommend price is displayed in a very different way than the other choices. I’ve seen things where one price has a little banner over it or is slightly larger, but making the entire placement and design of the highlight choice different is really smart. Now I want to try it!