04 10 / 2011
You may have heard that our very own Melissa Hillmyer was a contestant on Family Feud recently. She was sworn to secrecy, so we have no details yet on how her family fared, but we here at Wowza fully expect her to show up on the day after it airs in her brand new car.
Family Feud is an interesting show – it’s about the only place you’ll ever find market research as entertainment. Here at Wowza we love doing research, and of course we think surveys are loads of fun. Conducting surveys used to be a lot more difficult, but now any organization can use online surveys to generate insights that will improve both marketing and operations.
Here are a few well-regarded online survey tool suggestions from SocialBrite, well suited for non-profits with limited budgets but unlimited curiosity. You can also check out MarketingProfs for a good article on how to write survey questions. It’s often a good idea to have a third party administer your survey so your participants feel comfortable being candid.
When you’re ready to start your next survey project you can also consult with a national survey celebrity – just give Melissa a call. Maybe she’ll even sign an autograph.
09 9 / 2011
Stock photography rarely wins awards
The much-anticipated design annual issue of Communications Arts arrived today. Looking through the pages of excellent design work I noticed the lack of royalty-free stock photography. There were plenty of ads for stock photography companies, but the award-winning designs gracing the magazine were executed with custom photography, illustration and typography.
There are often times when cheap stock photos are all you need to solve a problem – and sometimes they can be the best solution. We once did a fun brochure for Illusion Theater using stock photography that I don’t think would have been any better with custom images. But if at all possible, creating your own artwork best expresses your concept.
Yes, hiring a photographer and directing a shoot, paying models and gathering props can be expensive, but not all custom photography requires high levels of production. If the creative team knows there’s a tight budget, they can come up with ideas that can be shot or illustrated within it.
If you want to stand out and get noticed, using custom art, even on a budget, is worth pursuing. Even if it doesn’t make it into Communication Arts, it will make an impression on your audience.
31 8 / 2011
Ten Tips for SEO
I was invited to contribute an article on Search Engine Optimization for a publication that AHRQ is creating for their CVE Learning Network. I won’t spill the beans here – you’ll have to wait for the publication to come out – but I will share tips from the webinar that I conducted this week with Diane Stollenwerk, from the National Quality Forum, on the same topic.
Ten tips for SEO on health care quality data reports:
1: Think SCO: Site Content Optimization. Make a great site with unique and useful content.
2: Mine for Gems. Use online tools to find keywords that are frequently searched but not too general or competitive.
4: Think Like a Spider. Design your site architecture so it’s logical and easy to understand. Even for a robot!
5: Master Geek Poetry. Use keyword gems and accurate and precise language within your source code. Focus on crafting keywords for the important stuff, like URLs and page titles.
6: Foster Link Lovability. Load your site with useful content in multiple forms to help grow external links back to your site.
7: Page Rankings: Glance, Don’t Obsess. Searches vary from search to search and person to person. Use rankings as a guide but don’t waste your time on page rankings. It’s content and keywords that matter.
8: Link New Friends. Form partnerships with related websites but don’t bother exchanging links with sites that aren’t a good fit with your content.
9: Enter the giant popularity contest. Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, is not the same as SEO but it can improve your rankings. Use social media as a promotional strategy with SEO benefits but before you jump in, make sure you’re committed to doing it well over time.
10: Measure then Manage. An SEO program is an ongoing process. Use your site analytics data to monitor your progress and keep making improvements over time. Remember: A website is never done.