Online marketing: How companies can use branding to strengthen their brand

The current coronavirus crisis is also permanently changing e-commerce: shops are closed, people have to spend a lot of time at home and are increasingly using the Internet. 

Why is a Louis Vuitton handbag traded for over $ 1,000, while Dorothy Perkins handbags are usually sold for less than $ 30? Differences in quality, design and material alone cannot explain this difference. The brand makes a difference. Anyone looking for a Louis Vuitton handbag is not looking for “handbag”, but for “Louis Vuitton” – this is the desired scenario for all brands. Strong brands can achieve higher margins and avoid the fierce price war. But a strong brand needs to be built and maintained, which usually takes years and requires the use of online marketing.

Online marketing: performance control is not enough

There is a great temptation to optimize online marketing only according to performance indicators. Seductive is the campaign to control conversion numbers and the address of a loyal group of users with accurate tracking and retargeting. The long-term target, namely traffic, is often neglected. The result is that the sales funnel gets no replenishment and the number of users who are reached continuously decreases.

Pure performance control should, therefore, not be the sole component of an online marketing strategy. Simon Peel, Adidas’ global media director, caused a stir in late 2019 when he decided that focusing Adidas’ online budgets on performance campaigns was a mistake and that more brand marketing would be used in the future.

How brand marketing improves awareness and image

Two factors are essential on the way to a strong brand: awareness and image. Knowledge creates reach and traffic. The image is so important because people make their purchase decisions mostly out of trust and feeling. The more trust is placed in a brand; the fewer comparisons are made with alternative products. The communication of values ​​such as sustainability or emotions such as a thirst for adventure, health or fitness is transferred from the brand to all products.

In the era of COVID-19, when people spend more time online, companies can significantly increase their awareness of online advertising. The users have a lot of time at the moment and are more ready for less targeted online browsing. Many people who are not particularly digital-savvy can now also be reached online. New target groups and particular attention are now at the feet of providers.

Online marketing: staying power and consistency

The current crisis is different for each company. Some providers are overwhelmed with inquiries; others have a wallflower existence; others have delivery difficulties or have to pause. But one thing everyone should consider, regardless of whether they are growing at the moment or are at a standstill: there is a time after the crisis, and who is now concerned with awareness and image will be well-positioned later.

To build or strengthen a brand with the help of online marketing, it usually takes a long breath: continuity and many advertising contacts with the target group are essential. The values ​​associated with the company or the products offered must be constant and consistent across all contact points. This process is currently accelerating due to increased online use.

People are very diverse on the Internet. Your search and shop on platforms such as Amazon, Google, and use a variety of information services or apps as well as multiple browsers – from mobile to desktop. Ensure a uniform presentation across all channels and devices, suitable for the entire corporate design and corporate culture. The visual language must be consistent across all formats and appear in the right surroundings.

How online marketing contributes to branding

  • Programmatic Display: Programmatic display campaigns are the first choice for digital branding for many companies. With eye-catching advertising media in different banner formats, the user can be reached repeatedly and very memorably during his trip on the Internet. Compliance with the corporate design makes it possible to recognize the brand across all ad formats and, above all, only a few internet users can avoid display ads. The controller can take environments, target groups and range targets into account.
  • Comprehensive display campaigns are for branding goals almost indispensable. This way, users with an installed adblocker are not reached, after all, nearly a quarter of German Internet users. Therefore, Programmatic Display shouldn’t be the only element of your branding campaign.
  • Social media: The social media channels are also well suited for branding-oriented banner ads. Online advertising on Facebook is still a comparatively cheap advertising channel. It offers an excellent opportunity for target group selection, whereby the selection for branding goals should be as broad as possible. XING or LinkedIn are also suitable, but rather expensive channels. 
  • Marketplaces: Those who are on the Internet today almost always move around in markets. Many consumers now use Amazon, but also Otto, Real or eBay. The branding opportunities that arise here are not still exhausted since the advertising companies focus primarily on optimizing their product data. Unfortunately, the marketplaces in the product data hardly offer any opportunity for a company to contribute its corporate design; even the company’s fonts and colours are not adopted.
  • To present yourself as a brand, the Amazon Sponsored Brand ads, for example, where the brand logo is presented in a banner, are useful, in addition to two to three products. The Amazon Stores, in which the look and feel of a brand are mapped like a web shop, are even more advantageous for branding purposes. As soon as they have landed in the Amazon Store, users are immediately familiarized with several products from the brand world, and the competition remains outside.
  • Search engines: an Internet search is as important as the display and marketplaces. Google is still the first point of contact for many Internet users. Search Engine Advertising (SEA) is one of the oldest disciplines in online marketing. With the right mix of brand and non-brand ads, the brand is strengthened in the SEA.
  • Brand campaigns are necessary in order not to give the competition a chance for visibility and to not rely on organic results. Organic entries often do not appear in the visible area “above the fold” on smartphones. If the demand for your brand has increased, you will even benefit twice, since SEA brand campaigns are much cheaper than non-brand and at the same time convert more.
  • Non-brand campaigns for generic search terms are more expensive, but they are also necessary because they expand the target group. The high-quality fashion brand Luisa Cerano, for example, uses “designer clothes” as one of the non-brand keywords to reach new customers. 

Online marketing: the balance between branding and performance

As mentioned at the beginning, the danger with online campaigns is to focus too much on short-term performance indicators. The result is a short-range and neglect of the potential of new customers. In the long term, sales growth is only possible with a continuous supply of interested parties. This means that both performance and brand campaigns are justified in online marketing; the right balance between the two makes the difference.

In the online environment, it is advisable to control the complex campaign structure by considering a cost-revenue ratio (KUR), which includes both the branding and performance budgets. This overall cure is usually higher than the pure performance cure because it also provides branding measures without directly attributable sales. In the long term, however, this mix ensures healthy growth with a more extensive customer base and higher resistance to short-term fluctuations or price competitions.

At the moment, the chances for sustainable branding and increasing the reach are excellent. The attention in all online channels is unusually great and utterly new user groups find access to the digital offers. Anyone who starts with good branding today benefits now sets a reasonable basis for the time after the crisis.   

This is how you ban broken and malware links from your website

Perhaps you have also visited a website on which the error message “Malware on subsequent website” suddenly appeared. In this case, it is a so-called “blacklisted domain” or malware page, where the desired website cannot be accessed for security reasons. Your browser indicates this by the error above the message.

Computer face with thermometer in its mouth. Could be a broken laptop computer or one that has a virus or other malware, vector

Broken links or even those that lead the visitor to your site to an offer contaminated with malware are not only bad for the user experience and your reputation as a website operator but also Holy Google a thorn in the side. Fact: Such mistakes are natural for any visitor your team annoying because then the information can certainly not retrieve.

In addition to limited user-friendliness, the search engine ranking also deteriorates, as these subsequently assume that a page that contains broken or even malware links is no longer up-to-date, and the page’s usefulness is reduced.

I would like to go into this problem in more detail below.

What are the broken links?

Broken (“broken”) links are usually links that lead to a page that (apparently) no longer exists. The requested page was simply not found. This is the so-called 404 error, which is one of the most common critical HTTP error messages and thus one of the client-side errors.

This is what the 404 page on Oreo.com looks like, for example. 

These can also be linked images that no longer exist. If you click on it, the picture does not appear in full size or does not point to another page, but only shows the 404 error. Or the embedded image is not displayed at all, which in turn reduces the value of a page.

Broken internal and external links also belong to the broken link category. Also includes:

  • A URL points to a file that has been deleted, renamed, or moved,
  • Links that don’t work because the target domain is still empty or has been newly registered.
  • The requested page cannot be reached due to network problems.
  • The server itself throws an error 500 (and nobody cares)
  • The destination URL itself was misspelled, so the reference cannot be executed correctly.
  • The target domain has been deleted and can no longer be reached.
  • A domain has been parked, and the old, formerly valuable content has disappeared

Malware links and malware domains – what are they?

Malware domains differ from broken links again in that not only a single article or a single picture no longer exists, but it is entire pages that were adopted with malicious intentions and that now play malware, viruses, and advertising scam.

Google usually classifies such a domain as a “blacklisted domain” within a few days.

On formerly valuable sites, malware can be played from one day to the next.

Problem: Parked and even blacklisted domains are displayed as error-free by link checkers 

parked domain is an Internet address that is temporarily (no longer) provided with the content. In many cases, however, these domains show advertisements and advertising links to generate additional income. The aim is to use this income to bring the registration costs of the area until it can ultimately be sold or rented to someone else.

Unfortunately, you often come across parked domains. Here you can see one of the less annoying variants.

The problem? First, parked domains are devoid of any use for their visitors. Second, these sites usually respond with a “200 OK The request has succeeded “code.

While links with a 500 or 404 error can be found very easily using the Brokenlinkcheker plugin for WordPress or the “Check My Links” Chrome extension, this is not the case with parked and blacklisted domains .

Dead links, blacklisted domains and SEO

Anyone who is concerned with search engine optimization knows that Google’s goal is to provide users with a precise and best possible search result and to filter out undesirable results.

The focus here is on the quality of the search engine results. Pages that are of no use to the user are affected by this update.

Blacklisted domains are entered on publicly accessible lists in which spam and hacked pages are reported. One of the more public records is, for example, the Google Safe Browsing list. With a blacklist check you can check which pages are listed here.

Malware solution: How to track down blacklisted and parked domains

If you want to reliably find pages with broken links, blacklisted or parked domains on the internet presence of your customers, you cannot avoid a reliable link or blacklist checker.

The professional link checker includes the “Dr. Link Check,” which comes from the German software company Wulfsoft in Münster.

Here is an example of how Dr. Detects link check domains with malware.

What is Dr. Link’s check?

At Dr. Link Check is a browser-based app. So you don’t have to download and install a program.

Do you let Dr. When running Link Check on your customers’ website, the following three main categories are checked:

  • Broken link check: Has the URL been formatted correctly, or is the server responding in a reasonable amount of time? Is it the right SSL certificate? Is there a return code for an error, such as the 404 error?
  • Blacklist check: Can the link be found on the blacklist where websites with malicious content can be found?
  • Parked Domain CheckIs the link a placeholder? Does the website or the link have any valuable content and maybe only have advertisements?

Dr. Link Check differentiates between broken links, blacklisted, and parked domains.

With the help of Dr., You don’t need to check Link Check all subpages of a website manually. With a click of the mouse, the link checker browses through all subpages and analyzes them in detail.

You will then receive a detailed report and can see where you need to intervene.

Start with your homepage URL

To start a review, you should contact Dr. Start link check with the homepage. From there, the link checker searches through all HTML and CSS of your website. He checks all internal and external links; Even broken links from the stylesheet are recorded.

Several tests lead to success

Dr. Link Check checks all links in several runs. The tool thus ensures that, for example, pages that only have a short timeout are not listed as false positives.

Dr. Link Check checks for the following error messages:

  • Parked,
  • 404 Not found,
  • SSL Error (if the SSL certificate is invalid or has expired),
  • Host not found (the domain no longer exists, or the DNS does not resolve correctly),
  • 403 Forbidden,
  • 5xx server error,
  • Invalid URL,
  • Timeout (if, for example, the server is down),
  • Other,
  • Blacklisted,
  • 401 unauthorized,
  • Connect error

Pricing & pricing options

Dr. Link Check is available in four different versions:

  • Lite version,
  • Standard version,
  • Professional version and
  • Premium version,

The lite version is free and only checks up to two websites with a maximum of 1,500 links per page. Only one type of broken link check takes place here.

The standard version costs $ 10 a month. This includes five websites with a total of up to 10,000 links. You can increase the number of connections, whereby the price also increases. In addition to a broken link check, it also includes a blacklist check, an SSL certificate check, and a scheduled check.

The professional version costs $ 21 a month. There are ten websites with 20,000 links per site, whereby you can individually increase the number of connections. This version offers the full analysis program and also provides a parked domain check.

The full program also offers the premium version for $ 33 a month. This includes 30,000 links per website. This number can also be increased depending on the price.

Conclusion

If you want to check your site for broken links, parked domains, or even blacklisted sites, then Dr. Link Check provides all the necessary tools in a clear user interface.

With this browser-based application, you always have all vital information in view and can carry out efficient on-page SEO when improvements and corrections are pending.

In addition to the free version, the paid versions are ideal for extensive analyzes to keep your website and that of the customers in good shape.

Make online texts easy to read

If readers do not so well receive articles and blog posts, it does not have to do with the content alone: ​​many websites neglect the reader-friendly design of their jobs. Sometimes internal constraints play a role. Sometimes awareness is simply not there.

“”Web design is 95% typography”” – Oliver Reichenstein, Information Architects ( source )

Why is that important?

And that’s important because readers are almost always on the go in some form online. Either you don’t have time to read the post. You may have spotted him on the social web by accident while doing something else. Or they are sceptical at first whether the effort is worthwhile at all.

Also, the next distraction is just a click away. Sometimes it doesn’t even make a click when a new notification comes in, or the colleague wants something. Already the attention is gone.

In this respect, you fight for the attention of your readers with every sentence, with every paragraph, with every text element. If this does not work, then they have called your contribution, which means you can credit a page view. But these users may not subscribe to the newsletter, download a white paper or recommend your post on the social web as hoped.

In the following, we will now look at how you can ensure that your content is happy to be read and that it is more successful all-round just using a reader-friendly design.

This contribution is the third part of an unofficial series. 

Enough the preface:

Point 1: improve legibility

contrast

One reason why texts can sometimes be difficult to read is the lack of difference between the writing and the background. In return, however, this should not tempt you to bet on a full black and a pure white. Then that’s too much of a good thing. Accordingly, many pages rely on a dark grey font and sometimes on a very light grey background. That reads well and also looks elegant. If you want to know more, you can read a W3C document here.

Please note with these and other tips: Not everyone sees your website as you do. Your users have different devices, different displays. And the differences can often be enormous here. So always plan a specific scope for this.

Font size, line spacing, line length, sentence

If your designer has done everything correctly, the font size should be individually adjustable by the user and aligned on the screen. Therefore, the standard size of the font should be chosen so that most people immediately find it pleasant. Sixteen pixels are often used as the starting point.

The line spacing, in turn, largely determines how easily the eye can find the next line when reading. If it is too tight, it can easily slip and then become irritated. Also, the text then looks like the famous lead desert, and some may get out before your article even gets a chance. If the distance is too far, it is also unconsciously tedious and simply does not look good. 

As a rule of thumb, the line spacing = font size x 1.5. You have found a good measure for the body text. However, this value can also vary depending on the font! It will usually be between 1.2x and 1.8x. Another rule of thumb for this: put an “E” on top of another if it fits in the space between the line above it.

Different rules apply to paragraphs, sub-headings and other elements: Ideally, they should be given more freedom to support the visual structure of the text. At the same time, make sure that the context is still clear: a subheading should usually identify the next section of document. Accordingly, it should be a little closer to the following text and keep a little more distance upwards.

Another frequently mentioned adjustment screw is the line length. Björn Rohles writes in his standard work “Basic Course Good Web Design” (affiliate link):

If the line lengths are too short, as is often found in tabloids, our eyes continuously jump back and forth – there is no reading pause. An optimal line contains between 50 and 80 characters. A good rule of thumb is to start with about ten words per line. In lines that are too long, the eye quickly loses its grip when reading, and the reading experience becomes worse.

It should also be borne in mind that the line length also adjusts depending on the screen size of the device.

In the “sentence” of the text, the “left-aligned fluttering sentence” is usually selected digitally. In other words, the lines on the left all start in the same place, but the right side is uneven. The “justification” is often used in letterpress printing and in general in print. Both the left and right edges are even. That looks nicer but can cause problems online. Because especially when long words are not automatically separated, significant gaps between the words arise instead. These holes not only look ugly but also make reading difficult. 

This problem applies especially to German-language texts with their sometimes extra-long words …

font

Another important choice is the font. Nowadays you can find a large number of free fonts that you can embed and use on your website. That can give your side a distinctive face. However, you can also go wrong very quickly here.

Because fonts are often intended for specific fields of application, some are suitable for posters and headings. Others for running texts. Still others for footnotes. Some are optimized for paper printing, others for the screen. And all of these differences have very concrete effects. 

Attention: If there is talk of a “display font”, this does not mean a monitor. These are fonts or font variants for broad headings and posters!

Typefaces with “serifs” are often used in traditional letterpress printing. Then the letters have small decorative elements at the end of the lines, which are also intended to increase legibility. We here at SwaCash use such a serif font because we like the classic look and we want to remind us of printed magazines and books visually.

However, sans-serif fonts are used on the web, since they are often displayed better on monitors. The small serifs were often blurry, at least in the past, because the displays were so blurred. That has changed in the meantime, and the resolutions are getting higher and with it, the picture ever sharper.

It is generally recommended not to use more than three fonts at a time. And these should also be coordinated. Otherwise, this alone makes your site look unprofessional and restless. Björn Rohles (“Basic course on good web design”), already cited above, considers two to be sufficient and advises: “You can create variety through different variants of a font, for example, italic or bold font styles.”

On the web, there is another reason to limit the number of fonts: they have to be loaded first. If this happens from an external source, this can extend the loading time of your page. And here, as is well known, every (micro) second count. In other cases, the page may already be displayed, but the fonts are not yet loaded. Instead, one of the standard fonts is used.

Without going too deep into the topic of loading times: not only the number of fonts but also the number of variants of the same font have a definite impact.

By the way, skewed fonts look good depending on the type, if they are designed as “italic”. Long texts are often difficult to read. We use this, for example, for the book in our info boxes to make them stand out even more clearly from the rest of the article. Since the documents in these boxes are usually only short, the slanted font is generally excellent. However, there are always borderline cases.

Text elements

Readability also means that different text elements are recognizable, and the relationship to one another is evident. Specifically, this applies to the heading and the subheadings, for example. 

The size of the headline should stand out clearly. The intermediate lines, in turn, serve to structure the text. Accordingly, they should still be significantly more significant than the version, but also visibly smaller than the main heading. 

Remember that the “weight” of the font also plays a role in how important we perceive it: A bold subheading catches the eye much faster than one in a slim (light) font style. Use both means to make the hierarchy of subheading sizes clear to each other. For example, the difference between the h2 and the h3 can be primarily the font-weight, while the h4 is then significantly smaller.

A special feature of our site is that we highlight the first paragraph with a larger font. We use this beginning as something known in journalists as “”lead””, “”scriber”” or “”leader””. This is also an element that we adopt from printed magazines. This paragraph gives you an overview of the topic of the article and should ideally make you curious. As it can be read separately from the rest of the text, it is emphasized by the font size and also separated by the article image. 

I describe below that this article image can also be a bad idea.

Accessibility

When making your decisions, you should also consider the barrier-free design of your text. For example, users should be able to adjust the font size themselves, because this is important for people with visual impairments. High contrast also helps. 

Also, do not rely too much on colour effects in order not to disadvantage colour-blind people. For example, it has become common practice to no longer underline link texts. It looks more beautiful, but at the same time, the links are not always quickly recognizable. 

You should only be aware of the effects of such decisions at all times. And of course, the topic of accessibility is much bigger, but it would go beyond the scope of this article.

Point 2: Avoid distractions

As mentioned at the beginning: For most readers, a brief irritation is enough to tear them out of the text. Therefore, you should avoid distractions and disturbances as far as possible.

Sidebars

As you can see to the left and right of this text on the website, you see nothing. We deliberately do without sidebars. A few years ago we had a column on the right, which, for example, drew attention to our social media channels, as well as the newsletter, the new edition, the latest posts, latest comments and, and, and …

Many users have now gotten used to ignoring these sidebars. They have learned over time that they have nothing to do with the content of the article. In this respect, you can only warn against placing important information such as navigation there!

This ignoring, however, requires a specific mental effort, which is lost when reading the text. This has increased the likelihood that the person will jump off. Also, something interesting may be discovered with a quick look in the sidebar – the user has already clicked away. But was that your goal?

Of course, we are in a luxurious and rare position that we can view the satisfaction of our readers as the most important goal. We don’t need the sidebar, for example, to place advertising there, because we earn our money primarily through our subscription.

But we also have foregone something: After we removed our right column with the redesign, the number of clicks per visit initially fell significantly. We experiment with balancing with other elements, e.g. under the articles. And in general, we have a very long-term view of this website. We accept disadvantages in the short and medium-term.

Animations and advertising

Another problem is rooted in one of the oldest parts of our brain: we humans are conditioned to recognize movements and to react to them. And right out of the corner of your eye! While this was useful in the past to discover the sabre-toothed tiger creeping up on us, today we see one thing above all on the web: advertising.

Perhaps you have already experienced that you wanted to read an article. Still, this one blinking, twitching, animated element somewhere else on the page (or even in the middle of the text!) Made this almost impossible for you. I had to cover such ads by hand …

Of course, your site may not survive without such annoying ads. In return, you should not be surprised if the number of ad blocker users increases as well as the bounce rate.

And at this point, we certainly don’t need to say anything about automatically playing and clearing videos. So far, it should be clear that they are a plague. Some browsers now deactivate them by default.

Another fashion phenomenon is small notes that are flown into the browser window at the bottom when we near the end of the text. It is more critical to the website operator that we click there than that we read the article to the end. Because our concentration is naturally disturbed and the reading flow is interrupted.

But it doesn’t have to move at all to bother us and tear down the reading experience: full-surface advertising formats can be found even on high-quality pages. The entire background of a post is misused as an advertising space. Screaming colours, urgent calls for action, pretty faces: all this may help your advertisers, but not your article.

Overlays

Another bad habit of the web is elements that overlay the text. Sometimes they do the same thing when you go to the page. Others are nastier: they wait until you start reading to push yourself to the fore. 

Because a simple overlay window is not bad enough, some pages hide the entire post! At that moment, you are not only out of context, but it also is often not clear what happened at all. Did you accidentally click a link? Have you landed on a scam site that wants to put malware on you? Is the browser broken? 

And because these site operators are only concerned with their success figures and not with the users of their site, “dark patterns” are also used in the design. In essence, it is deliberately obscured how to get rid of the overlay without performing the desired action. The “X” for closing is then placed as small and inconspicuous as possible outside the field of vision. Or you have to click on a passive-aggressive link à la: “No thanks, I don’t want to be more successful than my competition”.

Do these overlays and dark patterns “work” in design? Definitely. They even use great role models like Amazon on their website. Are they easy to read? Are you positioning yourself as a high-quality provider? Is your reputation increasing among readers? Certainly not.

Point 3: optimize the reading flow

But even if you have a perfectly readable layout and altogether avoid distractions, the danger is not yet averted. Other elements belong to every text and can lead to a jump.

Photos and illustrations

One can undoubtedly accuse the SwaCash blog that it is sometimes too dull and very text-heavy. Just look at this post! But that is undoubtedly true: because every picture, every illustration can pull a reader out of the context of the text. In this respect, we entirely dispense with decorative prints that have no relevance in terms of content. The only exception here is the supporting article image.

In general, it is also recommended not to interrupt the text with pictures. How we handle it at the beginning of a post, for example, is therefore wrong. We do this for other reasons anyway: First, we want to optically separate the “marker” from the rest of the text. On the other hand, we want to give an excellent first impression. 

Some pages go so far with the first impression that you only see the article image and the heading and have to scroll down for the actual text. It can look beautiful if you have lovely pictures. However, this can irritate and discourage users. If you then have a conspicuous advertisement above this element, the whole thing often turns into a search game: Where is the article that I wanted to call …?

If we have images in the text at SwaCash, they are often column-wide. However, we make sure that the pictures are placed where they make sense. Ideally, the writing itself leads over to the photo or illustration. This makes this element part of the total contribution and is not a foreign body that interrupts the flow of reading.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to hide the fact that the first impression of an article is often essential. And if you then see a lot of text and hardly any pictures, this will put some readers off. In this respect, we certainly lose potential because we are very minimalistic here.

On the other hand, our posts are read differently than others. For example, our subscribers can download the issues in three e-book formats and then read them on a device of their choice. We also assume that our articles are stored in services such as Pocket so that they can be read later in peace. Anyway, you rarely read 2,000 words or more between two clicks.

Text design

At this point I have bad news for you: very few users read your texts word for word like a novel. That may hurt your pride now. But you should still consider that. By the way, many people don’t even read books like novels and skip boring or seemingly irrelevant sections …

And this affects even more users than you might think: Because with longer contributions, many have made it a habit to skim through the “complete work” in advance. This first, fleeting impression is used to decide whether the effort is worth it. 

To do this, scan the text for exciting elements: 

  • Subheadings, 
  • Captions, 
  • Text highlighting, 
  • the first few words of the paragraphs 
  • and the links. 

They should all convey the content of the article as well as the material itself – in a condensed form for hurried readers. They should also encourage everyone to step into the text. This can be in place, or maybe it is so convincing that the person scrolls up and starts at the beginning.

Of course, it is not.

So make sure that sub-headings reveal something about what it is. Remember, at the same time that an intermediate line is not part of the body text. They serve as an orientation but are not necessarily read along. Unclear headings that only become apparent after reading the book can be exciting. It depends on your readership and what you want to convey. With a guidebook contribution, you should see it more like an outline and not as an element of your artistic-intellectual self-realization.

Paragraphs in turn also serve to structure the content. You take a mental break when a new article comes. And, as mentioned, it also serves as a potential entry point.

Since the attention span is supposedly so short nowadays, some go over to dividing each sentence into its paragraph. This may be very interesting as a stylistic device from time to time. And there are certainly text forms, topics and target groups where this works well. In general, I think that’s far too extreme.

A related form is a list – ordered with numbers or unordered with neutral list items. They serve, for example, to explain several points in an orderly manner. They can also contain work steps. Or you can use it to describe and compare terms. 

Lists are also very noticeable and are taken into account when skimming over the text. They are mostly indented and have some space up and down to differentiate themselves from the rest of the document.

It is highlighting remains. For example, the word “emphasis” in the previous sentence is “bold” so that it is also noticeable when it is scanned. And it also signals to you as a reader that a new topic is following. 

Another highlight is slanted, which is usually used for emphasis. Some use it to identify technical terms or foreign words. 

Ideally, orient yourself on how other media in your area handle this. 

Underlining is instead not a highlight, because it is still associated with “link”, even if that hardly happens today.

Left

Speaking of links: they are a fundamental element of the WWW. They provide additional information, link content and are very important for both users and search engines.

At the same time, you have to be aware that every link is a potential-jump point. As soon as a link appears, the reader must decide at the moment whether it should be clicked or not. Among other things, it must be clear what is actually behind the link: where do I land after the click and what do I find there? 

Only then can you decide whether the click is worthwhile now, whether you will return to it later or whether you will ignore the link altogether. This decision takes place in a split second. But of course, it distracts us from reading. It interrupts our reading flow. And that can lead to losing the personal context of the text that you have just read – and possibly taking this moment as an opportunity to close the browser window. Or you click on the link and completely forget what you wanted to read …

There is the bad habit of linking individual words on the net without the meaning or purpose of the link becoming clear. Sometimes it happens out of ignorance. Sometimes the authors find it funny or smart – because after the click you (hopefully) understand what it meant.

It can be exciting and entertaining, or it can be downright confusing and annoying. I generally prefer clarity wherever possible. But that also depends on the style of the page and the target audience.

Also keep in mind that as already mentioned, many users only skim your articles! Words that are linked individually catch your eye, but do not give you any help regarding the content.

Here at SwaCash, we try to make all links as possible to “speaking links”: Even if you look only briefly, the purpose and purpose of the link should be clear. It doesn’t always work. But that’s our goal.

Infoboxes

In specialist books, you will often find boxes in the text or next to the text that gives tips, explain terms or keep an anecdote ready. This loosens up the version and provides exciting scraps of information when browsing quickly.

However, books have it a little easier than online texts: We usually buy them consciously and also consciously pick them up. Perhaps we only discovered an article on the web by accident. In this respect, what is mentioned here comes into play again: Such information boxes can cause readers to jump off.

In this respect, you individually decide which information you want to convey in this way. They should not be necessary to understand the body text. Also, these boxes should be designed so that their character is evident. At that moment, the reader can quickly decide whether to pay attention to the table or ignore it and skip it.

We use such boxes, for example, to draw attention to our newsletter. For us, this is a compromise: we know that we are interrupting the flow of reading. Perhaps some will even think that the contribution has already ended. We take this risk because it is essential for us to win a readership for our Monday newsletter.

At the same time, the newsletter is not essential enough to annoy our users with an overlay.

Final word

As mentioned at the beginning, we at SwaCash are in a particular situation in many ways. We don’t have many constraints that have other sides. In this way, we deliberately do without classic online advertising. This gives us a lot of freedom in the design of the page, and at the same time, it reduces the number of distractions enormously.

Of course, others are different. Since money has to come in through advertising, or everyone in the company would like to place their offers in the sidebar, which seems indispensable.

There is a compromise to be found. And as mentioned in this post: We are not free from it either. It should only be clear to everyone involved that many additional elements have a price. And that is paid for by the contribution on the page.

SEO for bloggers – so your blog gets more traffic and better rankings

Most (hobby) bloggers have one thing in common: high traffic via advertisements does not match the small blogger budget. Therefore, cheaper or better free traffic and visitors must be brought to the blog via other channels. In this article, I want to show you how bloggers can get more free traffic and better rankings on Google & Co.

What is a blogger? – Definition, facts & figures

Before we start, we first have to define what a blogger is to set out a framework in which our optimization measures will take effect in the best possible way. The following tips can also work for online shops, local businesses, and more, but below are all tips for successful blog optimization:

What is a blogger anyway?

By definition, a blogger is a publisher or author of articles that appear on the web, whether on one website or platforms like Tumblr or Youtube. Bloggers can also be referred to as web authors. Here are a few examples of “thematic bloggers”:

  • Fashion blogger
  • DYI blogger
  • Beauty blogger
  • Food blogger
  • Job blogger
  • Travel blogger
  • Outdoor blogger
  • Book blogger
  • Garden blogger
  • Family blogger
  • Video blogger (e.g. on YT)

There are countless blogs

There could be as many as 30,000, 200,000 or 1,000,000 blogs. Why do these numbers fluctuate so much? There are many inactive blogs, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish them from magazines and other web platforms, as the blogging scene is becoming more and more professional. The optimization tips also refer to websites or self-hosted domains, since blogger platforms such as Tumblr and Co. only offer minimal options for optimization!

Contrary to popular belief: blogs are suitable for search engine optimization

Various SEO magazines and blogs announce it again and again: Blogs are not ideal for search engine optimization – an example: https://www.sistrix.de/news/blogs-fuer-seo-ungApplicable/. Such messages should not get you, dear blogger, down. Many blogs are simply not maintained, and the operators neglect their blogs, which is why many blogs simply cannot achieve good rankings. With the following tips, you can get good rankings and thus attract more visitors to your blog.

Blogs need special care

This is why many blogs have such poor rankings on Google & Co. because many operators do not master the OnPage basics or simply neglect them:

  • Title and Meta Description
  • These two points are easy to optimize and also particularly useful. There are a few points to consider to create the perfect title and meta description per URL on your blog:
  • The main keyword should be at the beginning as far as possible (beware of keyword cannibalization if you optimize different URLs for the same keyword, more on that in a moment)
  • No keyword spam – a maximum of two keywords per title, better just one
  • Awaken curiosity and encourage clicks
  • Promise something that the user can also find on the page
  • Show a unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Make sure that the title should not be longer than 70 characters. Otherwise Google will only display it in abbreviated form.
  • The number of pixels limits the actual length. To be on the safe side, always stay under 68 characters for the title.

Of course, not every title must have implemented these points. But for as many pages as possible, an attempt should be made to include as many of these points as possible in the title. Remember that Google reserves the right not to play every title you enter. Therefore, test a lot and check the display of your claims in the SERPs regularly.

The description offers more space than the title, and therefore you can insert more information here that will also make the user curious. The maximum length should not exceed 160 characters (better to stay below 155 characters). You can also include small special characters that can generate additional attention. It is also possible to incorporate so-called emojis, which stand out due to their colourful display but are not always recommended since the colourful little pictures are quickly labelled as dubious. Here it is a matter of testing whether your target group likes it or not.

Avoid keyword cannibalization and create topic clusters

Keyword cannibalization means so much that different URLs on a website compete internally for the same keyword.

Example: If you now optimize several articles on your blog about the keyword “dog education”, it can happen that Google does not know which article should rank with the corresponding keyword. This is how your blog makes life difficult for itself 😉. Particularly popular with many bloggers: Splitting topics into several parts, such as B. Dog Training Part 1 to Part 15. How should Google know which part of it should appear in the search results? It is better to answer essential keywords in a detailed article. With so-called topic clusters, you can additionally optimize: Keywords that are similar to dog training and dog training can be dealt with in a single piece, and there is no need to deal with individual articles umpteen.

Search intention !?

Yes, that’s right, there was something else: The search intention means what information the searcher expects when entering a search query. Google can assess its users’ expectations of search queries better and better and reward sites that answer them best with good rankings. How to find the search intent? Take a look at the top ten in the SERPs – here you can see what information and content the user wants and what not. Ask yourself what a beginner/novice has for the search term for questions. In the example with dog training: What issues and problems do the dog owners have here, which you should answer in your article …

Texts must not disappear too deep in the page structure

This is the main problem with many blogs: Many articles in the page architecture go into the infinite depths of the blog. If you regularly publish new articles, useful items with rankings move ever more in-depth in the page hierarchy. If new articles can still be found on the blog overview page on the first or second page, these will move back and forth through the publication of new materials. Google and your users will then no longer be able to access these articles as quickly, which means that these articles will be considered less relevant and will, therefore, lose rankings. So what to do about it? Valuable items should always be accessible from the home page with just a few clicks. So you can find things that are supposed to hold useful rankings Corner stone pages ) that link to all critical articles. When publishing new items, you can set internal links to the most important pages in the continuous texts, so that they continuously receive new internal links and the relevance is kept. As a result, relevant articles will always be accessible with just a few clicks and therefore not lose connection.

With the plugin “Simple Yearly Archive” you can create an overview page with all articles that have been published on your website so far. This way, every item can be reached with just a few clicks.

Don’t just rely on texts: multimedia is becoming increasingly important

Blogging is so much more than just writing texts. A video or podcast can set you apart from the competition, and your readers will thank you if there is more content to be consumed besides texts. The combination of written text and a podcast is often referred to as a blogcast.

So the user can decide whether he would prefer to read texts, listen to a podcast or watch a video. What does this do for your SEO? As already written, Google is getting better at determining search intent. For you, this means: You have to try to make as many visitors as possible happy and give them what they are looking for. If you offer other consumable content in addition to texts, you can satisfy the satisfaction of many users.

Attention WordPress users

Since bloggers in particular like to use the popular CMS system WordPress, here is another tip: WordPress can be additionally optimized with “SEO” plugins such as Rank Math or Yoast SEO. This way, mostly unnecessary archives such as the annual archive or the author archive can be deactivated, and sub-pages can be set to “no index, follow” as desired. 

EAT especially crucial for bloggers

You have to prove to Google that you are trustworthy and an expert in your subject area or your niche. After all, Google always wants to present the best search results to its users. If your blog is unknown and has no trustworthy signals, it will be difficult to get good rankings. The new-fashioned term “EAT” is also often used here. This abbreviation stands for ” Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness “.

  • Expertise stands for “expert knowledge”: Do you have and disseminate knowledge that identifies you as an expert?
  • Authoritativeness stands for authority: are you considered authority in your niche and do people follow your opinion?
  • Trustworthiness means trustworthiness: can other people trust your content? Trustworthiness can also be translated as “credibility”.

Based on these three factors, Google tries to determine, simply put, whether you deserve to be in front or not. But how can EAT be influenced?

EAT “earn.”

In addition to the regular publication of articles on your blog, the signals from outside are what increase your expert status and thus confidence. Especially when other bloggers and experts link to you in your niche, this leads to very positive signals.

In this article, I don’t want to go into greasy grey or even black hat tactics and therefore imagine a completely white hat strategy for how you can build up such positive signals – using content distribution:

You can publish good content; if nobody sees it, you will remain undetected and will not achieve good rankings.

Content distribution means something like the distribution and publication of content (your blog articles in this case) to your target group. The content distribution uses one or more online marketing tools. It uses their distribution channels to distribute content within the defined target group on the web as far as possible and to achieve the marketing goals.

Only when people see your content do you get positive signals from mentions, backlinks, branding and much more.

PESO model

Since the content distribution is not an independent online marketing channel but takes on numerous disciplines, the PESO model from Spinsucks can be chosen here for illustration.

The PESO model of content distribution

  • P – Paid Media: Your content is distributed via paid channels such as Facebook or Pinterest ads.
  • E – Earned Media: Other bloggers, newspapers etc. will mention your content. Without your intervention or linked to your content without your intervention.
  • S – Shared Media: Users on social media mention and link your content.
  • O – Owned Media: Your content is distributed via your channels such as newsletters, your own Facebook fan page or your website etc.

Since paid advertising for many bloggers ceases to exist quickly due to high costs, it has to be cheaper or even free. And here I would like to show you two possible ways in the area of ​​earned media, how you can get more coverage:

1. Promotion in Facebook groups

There are numerous groups on Facebook, with a large number of active members. If you can post an interesting article about yourself here, you can quickly gain some reach. STOOOOOOPPPP !!!!!!! Before you start now and seamlessly spam group, I would like to show you a practical example from us:

In 2017, we launched a survey on our blog on the subject of “Do you buy backlinks?” – a hot topic, since this approach is not permitted by Google and can be punished, but is nevertheless carried out intensively by many.

For our survey to get attention, we posted this survey in various Facebook groups. BEFORE we always asked the admins for permission. Please do not make a mistake and publish your content in groups without being asked. Always ask the admins for permission beforehand. For you to get approval, your content should be unique. Anyone can gather any information – individual information such as this survey will be out of order, and you have chances that the admins will release the study for posting.

2. Networking and entering into cooperations

Classic networking at trade fairs or events (at 11 p.m. at the Captains Bar on SEO Campixx 😉) is the fastest way to contact other decision-makers and thus enter into cooperations.

Be creative and actively approach other decision-makers. Always think about how you can support each other and don’t just think about yourself. Why should an expert from the scene encourage you when he has none of it?

Conclusion

SEO for bloggers is not art. You can optimize some of your blog yourself and thereby gain rankings without having the large media budget. Follow the OnPage basics – your site must be clean and indexable. If you are inexperienced here, you should use SEO tools such as Seobility or Ryte. These help you to have error-free websites. Never forget that you have to advertise your blog – you have to market your content. Otherwise, your content will remain invisible.

Use of filler words: nonsense or necessity?

Only a few monopolies remain today. There are already other providers on the market for every product, every service and every idea. Globalization makes it easy to lose your potential customers to companies from all over the world. If you want to assert yourself against the competition, you have to provide useful, entertaining and informative content for your target group. 

But not every content is always well received. In addition to addressing the wrong target group, etc., this is often due to the way texts are written. Writings of all kinds can, for example, suffer significantly from filler words. 

If you research this topic, you will quickly notice that filler words are usually not highly valued. Instead, the small gap fillers always get their fat away without exception. 

But are filler words as useless as everyone says? Do filler words only inflate the article meaninglessly or do they also have a function? Are you nonsense or need?

In this article, you will read what filler words are, why people use them at all, how you can easily recognize them, and why they may be able to enhance your texts. Also, I will give you some tips on how to create good passages in the end.

Definition of “filler words”: What does that mean exactly?

Filling words – also known as flick words or phrases – are words “with little meaning” according to Duden. That means: The sentence can do without the additional name because the meaning remains the same.

Filler words are often used in the spoken language and are intended to soften and loosen the actual meaning of the spoken word. Written words, however, are not welcome in written form, because they are considered to be impure.

This is how you recognize noise words

Before you can optimize your text style, you should be able to see which terms are considered filler words. As a rule, they are easy to name. Noise words do not in themselves form a grammatical category. They can consist of several parts of speech and are either idiomatic expressions, adverbs or modal particles.

  • According to Wikipedia, idioms are “a fixed combination of several words”, which together have a different meaning than the words in detail. Sayings are rhetorical stylistic devices and are often used in the spoken word.
  • We use adverbs to describe actions in more detail. Adverbs – as the name suggests – often refer to verbs. Through them, we gain a striking impression of the place, time, reason and manner of the described.
  • Modal particles are the essence of filler words because modal particles are mainly used in the spoken language and express feelings and the mood of the speaker.

The real importance of filler words 

Despite the general opinion that filler words are bad for the quality of the text, they often also appear in written form. Because filler words help to accentuate the meaning of the document and to strike the right note. In the following, I give you some examples, in which the formulations with flick words enhance the sentence:

“Smoking in the building is expressly not allowed.” 

“Smoking is not allowed in the building.”

→ The phrase in this wording underlines the ban on smoking in the building. 

“The suspect’s statement is, in principle, true.” 

“The suspect’s statement is true.”

→ Without the filler word “in principle”, the statement is bought without any doubt, although there is mistrust here. 

“The Ministry of Health advises not to leave the apartment. An infection could otherwise take place. “

“The Ministry of Health advises not to leave the apartment. You could be infected.”

→ The filler word “otherwise” clarifies the consequences that follow if advice is not supported. 

Filler words for tonalities of individual target groups

Filler words are, therefore, a component that should not be underestimated – they are also justified in the tonality of different target groups. Depending on how your target group is composed, you should adjust the words you use. 

If the target persons are hip, natural and sustainable private individuals between the ages of 18 and 35, a natural approach in combination with filler words makes sense. For an upscale target group that values ​​objectivity, filler words are not necessarily the best choice. 

Noise words in different content formats

But not only the tonality can favour the use of filler words. The content format also plays a role when using phrases. Podcasts use filler words more than in a classic blog article. The spoken language sometimes lives from filler words that help to give the speaker character. 

So think in advance which content format you choose, which target group you want to address and in which language you best meet them.

Are there harmful and positive filler words?

Accordingly, you should plan for the use of filler words or not. You are asking yourself the question: Which filler words can I use? Are there harmful and positive filler words? 

I can tell you with certainty that the filler words “yes”, “stop” or “just” rarely appear positively in the sentence. These filler words are only used in the spoken word and should ideally not appear in your text. 

Filling Words: Nonsense or Necessary?

You can see from my examples: The noise bullying is entirely unjustified to this extent because filler words are incessant for lively texts. Thanks to their flexible and varied use, you can easily connect individual sentences and thus enable a perfect reading flow. 

Also, they accentuate – even if only to a small extent – the message of the text and strike the right note for your target group. Therefore, they are not nonsense in the proper context, but rather a necessity for documents.

However, too much emotion and liveliness are out of place for very formal texts in long-established companies, in traditional industries or even in bus-oriented, conservative and older target groups. Here you should mostly avoid filler words. These texts can be fact-based reports, study papers for the university or articles from the financial sector. 

Five tips for a successful text creation

Now you know how to recognize filler words. However, good text involves more than the correct use of filler words. Here I give you five tips on how you, as an author, can write a readable text or what you should pay attention to when accepting the version: 

1. Use filler words appropriately

Even if filler words do not contribute much to the meaning of the text, they are essential for a good flow of reading. However, they can also inflate your wording and lengthen the sentence unnecessarily. 

So when writing your text, make sure to use the right filler words in the right places in the right amount. It is best to reread the text afterwards and make the necessary adjustments by deleting unnecessary nicknames.

2. Select direct address

A direct address contributes to an activating text. As a result, the reader feels more picked up and can more easily establish a connection to your content and consequently also to you. This way, loyal customer relationships can be created faster and easier.

So when you write, keep reminding yourself to avoid passive wordings and the “man” form of address and to address the reader directly. Of course, when sending, you should also pay attention to the desired tonality of the company and differentiate between you, you and your address. 

3. Address the respective target group

Always keep the customer journey in mind when optimizing text and when creating text. For which target group should the content be written? Where is the target group addressed in the funnel? Are the readers new customers or existing customers?

Accordingly, the text must be formulated and structured differently. New customers and existing customers of a company are two completely different target groups, both of which subsequently have to be addressed separately. While existing customers are familiar with the topics covered, you have to introduce new customers to content that requires explanation. 

4. Follow the red thread

The common thread in an article is immensely talented. Otherwise, you run the risk that the material is too confusing for the readers. In the end, they were not picked up and could not add any value from the text. The consequence of this is most likely a high bounce rate of users who will certainly not come back. 

At the beginning of your text creation process, think about how you want to structure the article. A sensible heading structure with a single H1, several H2 headings and possibly also a few H3 lines contributes enormously to a common thread and supports the much-used scanning of content these days. A structured text includes an introduction, the central part and a conclusion. The conclusion should never be missing, and in the introduction, you shouldn’t fall into the house with the door. Make sure that you have inserted all components of a text.

5. Use multimedia content

Make your content varied. Because a text desert kills every user. In contrast to diploma theses and treatises, the reader should like to follow your content. Wanting, not have to, is the keyword here! Text deserts are instead a hindrance. 

Therefore, do not only rely on the written word but if possible, additionally include pictures, videos, podcasts and tables in your content pieces. In this way, several senses of the user are addressed. In this way, you offer your target group a holistic experience and increase the user experience.

6. My bonus tip: take the necessary help!

There are a lot of tools that can help you with text creation and text verification. In addition to Termlabs.io, which checks the article for keywords, and the LanguageTool, which marks spelling and grammatical errors, we also use the premium version of Grammarly.

As a result, you know directly which aspects you still have to optimize in the text, and you can specifically address the improvement. Of course, there is also a free version of Grammarly, but there are a few restrictions.

Give it a try. Maybe the tool will help you to improve your text. 

⚠ But beware: These tools do not replace the human mind! Consider for yourself whether you want to follow the recommendations or not. Because the optimizations are not always justified.

Filler words convey emotion and liveliness

Regardless of whether you text yourself or instruct the copywriter: You now know when you should include filler words in the texts. Namely, as soon as you want to arouse emotions in the reader. 

Noise words can make the difference between a boring text style and excellent text quality. It is therefore not bad at all to include noise words in his formulations now and then. 

It is only essential to take the right measure! In the end, read your text through again and delete all filler words that are not necessary, but keep the words that make the next round and legible. Because the feeling that everything fits and the article are in the flow creates a good text. And this can only be achieved if filler words are part of the text.