SEO Tips: 3 Things You Can Do Now To Improve Your Website

A businesswoman's hands type on a Macbook next to an iPhone and planner
Search engine optimization, or SEO, plays a large role in driving traffic to your website. The words you use or don’t use matter and where you put them matters, too. It’s a lot to learn and because we know SEO can seem like a foreign language, we’re giving you three SEO tips you can do right now to make your website better!

Add alt text to images
Alternative text, or alt text/alt tags, provides a written description for an image. Alt text should be concise and descriptive, this is not the time to wax poetic about how beautiful the sunshine felt that day, save that for your actual content. Instead, use a short and sweet description to explain what’s happening.

Alt text’s usefulness is two-fold:

1. Creates descriptive text to assist those who are visually impaired so they can better understand your image. Making your content accessible for as many people as possible is only going to help your company and your message. By inviting more people in, you will create lasting business and improved customer relationships.

2. Provides more text space for SEO purposes, such as using keywords. You don’t want to go crazy using so many keywords that it makes your alt text unreadable, but if you can squeeze one or two keywords in there, it’s going to help you.

Search engines have come a long way, but they still can’t really “see” your image; help them help you by providing some descriptive and concise alt text so they can send traffic your way!

Create original, evergreen content for your blog
Evergreen content is content that’s always relevant, regardless of the season, year, or current events. Named for evergreen trees that keep their needles throughout the year, the topics of evergreen content are core issues that your readers will always care about. Think about something in your industry that your customers are consistently interested in, then use that to compose blog posts that will stand the test of time.

Another thing about blogs: link your current post to other pages on your website, like an old post or another page. For example, if you’re writing a recipe post where you mention using organic food, and several months ago you uploaded a post about ways to source your own organic produce, this is a perfect opportunity to link back to that post. This will remind your longtime readers of, and introduce your new audience to, this helpful, relevant, and informative content.

In the last 3 years, social sharing of content has dropped 50% because there’s so much content out there. By creating blog posts that seamlessly transition through the news cycles, you’ll be viewed as current to your audience. When you write a blog post, ask yourself, ‘How many ways can I utilize this post and how can I stand out?’ The more original you are and the more evergreen content you have will ensure your blog traffic will grow since you’ll be able to refer to that content time and time again.

Check for dead links on your site
Make sure to regularly check your links to ensure they’re going where they’re supposed to. Links can be broken for a variety of reasons, but the solution is simple. If you do have a dead link and you or your customers are receiving the dreaded ‘404 Not Found’ message, you’ll want to set up redirects. There are apps you can use to check for dead links or you can take a look through your site to thoroughly check yourself.

Why it’s important: If you or others pinned your blog post and those links are dead, you’re losing valuable traffic. It’s as simple as that!

These three SEO tips are things you can do today that will immediately improve your website. If you’re interested in other ways to help your website and business grow, contact us for a quote and let’s see how we can improve your online presence!

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Boss Lady: Meg Golz

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Meg Golz. Meg is the Director of Marketing at Parabo Press, a print service that fills “your space with joy, by turning your photos into personal, design-forward home décor, photo books and more.” 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
Hello! My name is Meg and I’m the Director of Marketing at Parabo Press. We are an online photo printing company and we specialize in bringing digital memories to life with thoughtfully-designed photo prints and décor.

I started working at Parabo Press in 2016. My focus started with social media and paid advertising, but now I’m responsible for all things marketing. I love that I get to wear many hats and get to work with a small and brilliant team of women who inspire me each day. I also love working in the vibrant city of Madison, WI, with the beautiful capitol building just a few blocks away.

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
In my personal life, I am always creating – whether that’s playing music, making art, baking, building, etc. I think that lends well to being a creative marketer. So much of marketing is the process of trying and failing and trying again, but always being inspired by and learning from what you’ve tried and what is next.

3. What makes Parabo Press special to work for, as well as to shop with?
Parabo is pretty special to work for because of our amazing team. We are a small team, and everyone plays a major role in our growth, leading us to be super connected with and supportive of one another and our photo printing mission.

I think we’re pretty special to shop with because our products are such high quality. We focus on thick matte paper, archival ink, and clean design – and we print everything in the USA.

4. As Director of Marketing, what does your day usually look like?
My days are always different – and that’s what I love about working for Parabo. One day I can be planning a social media giveaway – working on landing pages, copywriting and campaign graphics – and the next day I could be working on a targeted ad campaign via Instagram or new product design and launch strategy.

5. What’s your favorite form of marketing?
To reach existing customers, email marketing. There’s so much you can do with email marketing. You know it’s going to a users inbox, wherewith social media, it’s often tough to beat the algorithm. It’s also free!

To reach new customers, paid advertising through social channels. If you have any budget for marketing – use it here! The targeting and testing features that are available on these platforms are spectacular. Plus, you can see a direct correlation with what you are spending and the return you are getting, so you can really make an impact with that spend.

6. We love how your Instagram account looks so bright and family-oriented! What’s your strategy for maintaining a singular online vibe while still making sure to reach a wide audience?
Thank you! I will start by thanking our customers. Our products definitely have a design aesthetic that is very shareable. They share photos with us that we then share on our feed – we love showing off the beautiful photos our customers print and display. I think that user-generated content really connects with a wide audience and should play a part in anyone’s social strategy.

We also work with another brilliant Madisonian, photographer Nikki Hansen, who really understands our clean aesthetic and does an incredible job taking photos of our products. Having one photographer to create a streamlined image portfolio is a big help.

7. Where did you develop a passion for marketing?
I began my journey studying audio engineering – recording music for bands, audio for commercials, etc – and along the way, I realized how much marketing plays a part in any of those recorded pieces. For example, if a recording artist doesn’t take the time to properly market a new track, no one will hear it. As a musician, that really connected with me, so I was inspired to dig deeper.

I got my degree in the media business with an emphasis in marketing and dove headfirst into running social media for a musical instrument retailer. Throughout my education and time in that role, I kept discovering additional ways to market beyond traditional channels. I guess I’ve just never stopped trying to learn what else is out there.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
A Boss Lady who inspires me is my sister, Sarah. She is a high school environmental science teacher. Not only is she working toward making an impact on young lives each day, but she is an incredible leader. Though she is in a completely different field than I am, I learn so much from observing the way she leads in her classroom, balances her work and family, and provides support to all those around her.

Just for fun!
In my spare time, you can find me: Playing in my indie rock band Seasaw or baking cookies and recommending music on my account @cookiebytes.
Favorite Instagram account: @borderlandsbakery – I’m an amateur baker who makes sugar cookies, and Lisa’s account is so inspiring.
The last movie I saw in theaters was: 1917 – absolutely brilliant in every way.
Mountains or the sea: Mountains
How I prefer my coffee: Medium roast, black. I love our local cooperative, Just Coffee.

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Coffee Talk with Lizzie Johnson

There are few things better than a cup of coffee and a good conversation, which is why we try to set up a coffee date with a different person every month. It’s a great way to catch up with old friends and chat with people we’ve been dying to meet.

I sat down with Lizzie Johnson, one of my best friends, and an authority on all things skincare; she is also co-owner of Houppette, a European-inspired cosmetics boutique in Greenville, Delaware. Fun fact: Houppette is one of Social Stylate’s first clients! It’s impossible to visit the store and leave without a shopping bag. Makeup, skincare, accessories, sleepwear, lingerie: what more could a girl ask for? And their spa is to-die-for. (Read about my Kindred facial here.)

Lizzie starting working with Houppette in 2001. What started as a summer job during college (with a brief break to work in Miami 2009-2010) turned into a thriving and fulfilling career. She considers herself “very fortunate, and at this point, I feel like it’s part of my DNA.”

In pursuing a career in beauty, she says that at first, the beauty industry found her, and not the other way around. “But it was definitely serendipitous,” she tells me. “I’ve always loved product and how transformative it can be. But what keeps me motivated in this industry is the profound impact products can have on how people see themselves, and how empowering that can be.” The way skincare and makeup can boost a person’s confidence are heartwarming, and to have a part in that journey is so rewarding.

Lizzie talks to me about how the conversation surrounding beauty has changed into something more inspiring, “from how people should fit some ideal mold to how we can use beauty products to express our unique self. I think that’s truly beautiful,” she says. And I couldn’t agree more.

x, Lauren

Coffee Talk with Lizzie Johnson

1. How do you take your coffee? I usually drink matcha tea every morning, but when I want a coffee, I go for an almond milk latte.

2. Favorite coffee shop? I waffle back and forth between Starbuck’s and Brew Ha Ha. It depends on whether I have more time for pickup or if I have to swing in fast (i.e. mobile order).

3. What makes you smile without fail? Dogs. I’m such a dog person. They’re so unapologetically themselves and have such personality.

4. What’s your guilty pleasure? Luxury loungewear (I adore Skin and Eberjey) and good wine.

5. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be? Probably The Birdcage. I grew up in South Florida in the early ’90s, so it’s a little nostalgic for me. And every time I see it, I catch a line I hadn’t before or notice something new. Nathan Lane and Robin Williams are brilliant.

6. What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekends? I love low-key hanging out with friends and family. Like in sweats, watching movies, lots of talking and catching up–and maybe mimosas.

7. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, for free, where would you go? Japan. Hands down. From the bustle of Tokyo to the tranquil temples to traditional onsens–I want to see and experience it all.

Coffee Talk with Lizzie Johnson of Houppette in Greenville, Delaware - Social Stylate

 

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To Serif, or Not to Serif? And that’s just the beginning…

How To Choose The Right Typeface - Social Stylate

How to choose the right typeface for your project

Hello! Julia here, Social Stylate’s graphic designer, and I’m here to talk (type?) typefaces. I have been an artist since I could grip a pen, and a graphic designer since I “artfully arranged” my first tri-fold science board in grade school. Back in the day (aka the glory days of Windows 95), all I had to work with were the 20 or so preloaded Windows fonts, back when Comic Sans was fun and Papyrus was exotic. With the explosion of font availability in the form of type kits and open-source sites, the selection can be both thrilling and overwhelming. With that in mind, I wanted to share my concept/thought process when it comes to choosing a typeface for a project.

When approaching a graphic design project, one of the first questions is almost always which typeface should I use. Then the questions begin… I find that after a few basic questions I generally can find my direction:

How much type are we working with? The first question is always “how much?”. A large body of text in paragraph form has different readability considerations than an event invitation. One design principle that’s constantly scrolling through my mind as I’m designing a layout with type is “hierarchy of information.” This simply means the scale of each element (i.e. type) will dictate its importance. Scale is one of the most basic ways to control your viewer’s eye (and ensure that they see the important stuff first!). Once I know how much I’m working with, I can begin to prioritize the visual information.

Which fonts/typefaces are (possibly) required? Is there branding is being associated with this type? If it is not a standalone piece of work, then there is some creative leeway. If this is for a brand, the “rules” have already been established, and it’s the responsibility of the designer to maintain the visual continuity by using the same font family.

Who is the target audience, and what is the message? The font choice must be congruent to the messaging of the artwork. A PSA shouldn’t be cartoonish, a child’s party shouldn’t be a study in the Bauhaus School of Design. You get the picture.

Where will this be displayed? Will the work be in print, or on the web? Or both? Is the typeface setting the mood with a dramatic headline, or is it supporting beautiful artwork? It may sound a little obvious to say that readability is paramount, but it can easily be lost in translation when artwork stretches across formats and sizes.

I adore an on-trend typeface, and nowadays they are more accessible than ever. However, when it comes to typefaces, the most important thing to me is restraint. Typefaces are beautiful, and some have been around for centuries (see: Garamond, Bodoni, Grotesk), and they shine gorgeously on their own with a little breathing room. Remember, good design is invisible. Happy typing!

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