Website Building

Designing a website should be fun and exciting but often it’s anti-climatic not being able to create a site like you see. What’s there secret? Here are articles that assist you in creating the website that you see in your mind’s mind.

20 of the Best Website Designs to Inspire You in 2018

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Every once in a while, I’ll come across a website that really makes me stop and think. So, I found 20 of them to show you.

These sites push the boundaries of what is known to be possible on the web. Whether it’s the design aesthetic, usability, interactivity, sound design, or value that the site provides, each one is a masterpiece in its respective industry, and something to be inspired by.

Not surprisingly, many organizations exist to highlight these sites and the contributions they make to the web. To help surface some of the most inspirational designs, I gathered 15 award-winners that have made their way through several key awards organizations — including Awwwards, UX Awards, The Webby Awards, SiteInspire, Best Website Gallery, and FWA.

I also found five more websites whose homepage designs are just plain cool and worth learning from.

As you browse through the list, know that each site excels in its own way and seeks to serve a unique purpose. While one site may be an excellent example of visual design, another may be an excellent example of interactivity. This means that not all of these sites may be “conversion machines” or blueprint ideas that you can easily copy over to your site.

Rather, they’re great ways to gain some website design inspiration and see the cutting-edge marketing that’s happening in the different corners of the web.

The Best Website Designs to Inspire You

Mikiya Kobayashi
Inside Abbey Road
Citrix: The New Mobile Workforce
The History of Climate Change
Southwest: Heart of Travel
Woven Magazine
JOHO’s Bean
Virgin America
World of SWISS
Guillaume Tomasi
The District
Tej Chauhan
Amanda Martocchio Architecture

Beautiful Award-Winning Websites
1. Feed
Award: Site of the Day (6/6/2015), Awwwards

Not only is Feed an interesting concept, but it also has a stunning execution that challenges our understanding of what is possible on the web. Through a creative blend of animation and video, the site immerses the user into a very engaging experience. As an atypical site, it contains several unique usability elements as well, including a navigation that doubles as a scroll progress bar.

Featured by Awwwards

Award: Site of the Day (4/3/2018), Awwwards

Meet, your robot accountant. is a trading hub for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, using artificial intelligence to predict changes in a currency’s value and identify key buying and selling opportunities. The website was rated high for its development and design, as it gradually explains more of the developer’s methods the further down visitors scroll.

This award-winning website makes tech-savvy visitors feel right at home the moment Crypton’s greeting appears across the homepage, one letter at a time.

Featured by Awwwards

3. ETQ
Award: Site of the Day (5/19/2015), Awwwards

ETQ takes a very minimalistic approach to ecommerce with their stripped-down site with big, compelling visuals of their product. Simple, flat, color-based backgrounds accompanied by strong typography help to keep the focus on exactly what the user came there to see: shoes.

Featured by Awwwards

4. Mikiya Kobayashi
Award: Site of the Day (7/4/2015), Awwwards

Mikiya is a Product Designer with a minimalistic portfolio that showcases his work through strong photography and subtle animations. His full site was originally created in Japanese and then translated into English, helping demonstrate the international scalability of his design.

Featured by Awwwards

5. Inside Abbey Road

Award: Best Music Website, 2016 Webby Awards

Google knocked it out of the park with this highly interactive site, which allows users to step into the Abbey Road Studios. Brilliant sound design, navigation mechanics, and visuals mixed with the usual “Google flair” all help draw visitors in to this well-made web property.

Featured by The Webby Awards

6. Citrix: The New Mobile Workforce
Award: Site of the Day (11/23/2017), Best Website Gallery

This website — dedicated to Red Bull’s partnership with Citrix, a cloud-based software company — is amazing.

The New Mobile Workforce, a site owned by Citrix, uses panoramic photography to show visitors how Citrix is supporting Red Bull Racing’s new race car. Even if you’re not a car-racing enthusiast, the website’s clever animations to explain a complicated automotive technology are hard to ignore.

Featured by Best Website Gallery

7. The History of Climate Change
Award: Site of the Day (6/23/2015), Awwwards

Follow the footsteps of Luc Jacquet as Wild-Touch takes you along this visual and educational journey about the history of global climate change. A mixture of historical media and unique animations help tell the story.

Featured by Awwwards

8. Beagle
Award: Site of the Day (4/19/2015), Best Website Gallery

Beagle does an exceptional job of visually and progressively telling the story of their product in a simple and easy-to-digest way. This is a major challenge for many startups, especially when they’re introducing new concepts to existing markets. People want to know, “What is your product? How does it work? Why do I care?” Beagle answers all those questions while simultaneously showing off their product and compelling the user to purchase. Plus, they’re one of few sites that actually implemented “scroll hijacking” correctly.

Featured by Best Website Gallery

9. Southwest: Heart of Travel
Award: Best Visual Design – Aesthetic, 2018 Webby Awards

When Southwest Airlines wanted to prove its customers were “more than just a dollar sign,” the company created a website whose design was assembled using the shapes of their customers’ flightpaths.

The website, called Heart of Travel, even allows visitors to create their own artwork out of a trip they might plan on taking. In this way, Southwest’s website is a product of their most loyal passengers.

Featured by The Webby Awards

10. Woven Magazine
Award: Site of the Day (4/4/2015), Best Website Gallery

Woven is an online publication that celebrates artists, craftsmen, and makers alike. To me, they represent a confirmation that publications can (and should) have beautiful, engaging sites with easy-to-read content. Free of distractions like pop-ups and obtrusive ads, this site all about the experience of the content itself.

Featured by Best Website Gallery

11. JOHO’s Bean
Award: FWA of the Day (8/7/2015), Favorite Website Awards

The website for JOHO’s Bean has incredible imagery, interactivity, story telling, visual design, and most of all, sound engineering. These all come together to create a compelling, emotional, and engaging site that tells the story of a coffee bean’s journey.

Featured by FWA

Award: Best Cultural Blog/Website, 2017 Webby Awards

Nowness is perhaps the coolest crowdsourced video blog on the internet today. That was a mouthful … what does all that mean?

NOWNESS‘s “crowdsourced” nature is part of what makes it an award-winner. This means most of its content comes from independent creatives — an increasingly popular way for businesses to publish content. NOWNESS is also a video blog, meaning all of its blog content is in video format. Together, these qualities help make Nowness a captivating hub for the stories that brands everywhere strive to tell.

Featured by The Webby Awards

13. Virgin America
Award: Most Significant Industry Evolution, 2014 UX Awards

In a world where airline websites are known to be riddled with major usability issues, Virgin America has one of the best websites that pushes usability, accessibility, and responsive design forward. In fact, it’s been named as the first truly responsive airline website, a new precedent in the industry.

Featured by UX Awards

14. World of SWISS
Award: Best User Interface, 2015 Webby Awards

Another airline?! What is happening?! Yep, SWISS airlines built an incredibly immersive site that tells their story and describes what it’s like to fly with them — and they simply did too great of a job to be ignored. Strong visuals and animations introduce the user to different sections of the site that are packed with information beyond the usual sales and marketing pitch that is so common today.

Featured by The Webby Awards

15. Reductress
Award: Best Humor Website, 2018 Webby Awards

It’s not that hard to make someone laugh on the internet; so much of what we read and consume online is meant to be entertaining. But it is hard to do it consistently for a large audience. Reductress is a satirical magazine whose headlines and general reading experience are top-tier in the humor department — making the website itself a quality property.

Featured by The Webby Awards

Other Cool Website Designs
16. Minimums

Minimums takes a very bold approach to the way that they display their content, leveraging a grid-based website design, big typography, and full-width, high-quality images. Their site serves as a really nice example for how to properly execute a grid structure while still maintaining a nice visual hierarchy in the design.

17. Guillaume Tomasi

As a Photographer in Montreal, Guillaume Tomasi has built a portfolio that’s truly fit to house his unique and awe-inspiring photography. His surreal photo style is juxtaposed by his simple, flat, empty, and minimalistic portfolio design that places all of the focus on the work itself.

His unique series navigation coupled with art-gallery-inspired work introductions and perfect scrolling interactions yield an experience reminiscent of that of a real gallery.

18. The District

This branding agency takes its imagery seriously, and it should — it handles all channels of media for their clients. The District’s website, alone, is a journey through some of the most beautiful artwork and photography you’ve ever seen.

These provocative tiles change rapidly as you explore the website, and the wackier they seem, the more interested you become in learning about their past work.

19. Tej Chauhan

Tej Chauhan has turned impressionist artwork into a business model with this intriguing website. Each image on this product developer’s homepage slides out to cover the previous image, offering little context around the object you now see in front of you.

But isn’t that lack of context exactly what makes you want to learn more? The tagline, “Souvenirs of The Near Future,” suggests these objects are a part of their product line — and an opportunity for you to get these innovative objects into your life.

20. Amanda Martocchio Architecture

An architecture firm might not specialize in web development, but its website should still demonstrate its commitment to visually pleasing design. Amanda Martocchio took that to heart with this gorgeous website.

It’s no secret that Amanda Martocchio Architecture loves its work — each picture on the homepage of its website is an enchanting shot of the houses the company designs. The website labels every house you scroll through with the type of design that was intended, along with numerous angles to each building.

Want more website design examples? Check out these amazing product pages you’ll want to copy immediately.

Do you think that others would be interested in this post and a good example? I really hope that you found it as informative as I did.

Please leave a comment below and let me know if you would like to see additional post about this idea.

Along with this information, I have used other courses that I would like to share with you for FREE. Click the button below to discover what has worked for me to be a better online marketer. I think that this will offer tools to you too so that you can be successful in your niche.

As an incentive, I would like to offer you a FREE course as a bonus for looking at, and buying, the course that relates to this article.

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33 Free Online Marketing Classes to Take This Year

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I don’t know about you, but I miss taking classes. I miss taking notes, studying, and most of all, learning a ton of new skills.

That’s not to say I don’t learn a lot on the job here at HubSpot — because I absolutely do. But sometimes, there’s nothing quite like listening to a lecture, taking notes, and doing homework.

Given the frequency at which new technologies and software are developed, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up your knowledge by only reading blog posts and ebooks. That’s where self-paced online learning comes in.

I’ve taken a few awesome courses and certifications through HubSpot Academy, including an inbound marketing certification and a content marketing certification. These classes helped me be better at my job, so I started making a list of other classes I could take to learn more skills. When I finished the list, I realized that you, dear readers, might have similar skill gaps, so I wanted to share it in a blog post.

Below are 33 free online courses you can take to beef up your skill set. These offerings vary in time commitment, but many are self-paced so you can work on your own schedule. Below are the topics these courses cover:

Content Marketing
Social Media Marketing
SEO Marketing
Other Digital Marketing Courses

A brief explanation of each course creator accompanies their first mention on the list.

Free Online Marketing Courses

Inbound Marketing Certification — HubSpot Academy
Content Marketing Certification — HubSpot Academy
SEO Training Course — HubSpot Academy
Internet Marketing for Smart People — Copyblogger
Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content — Coursera
The Strategy of Content Marketing — Coursera
Copywriting Blunders: Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes? — Udemy
Blogging: Generate 100s of Blog Topics and Headlines — Udemy
Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises — Udemy
Content Marketing — QuickSprout
Email Marketing Certification — HubSpot Academy
Email Marketing — QuickSprout
Social Media — QuickSprout
Paid Advertising — QuickSprout
PPC University — WordStream
Social Media Marketing — edX
Diploma in Social Media Marketing — ALISON
Social Marketing Training — Hootsuite
Blueprint — Facebook
Social Media Analytics — quintly
Social Media Week of Webinars — Buffer
Digital Marketing Course — Google
SEO Training Course by Moz — Udemy
Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy — Udemy
SEO by QuickSprout
Growth-Driven Design Certification — HubSpot Academy
Make a Website — Codeacademy
Learn Javascript — Codeacademy
Learn Ruby — Codeacademy
Learn Python — Codeacademy
Learn HTML & CSS — Codeacademy
Learn to Code Awesome Websites — General Assembly
Creativity — Canva

Content Marketing Courses
HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers certification and training courses to teach people how inbound marketing and HubSpot software work. Classes are often taught by marketers at HubSpot and are made up of video lessons, quizzes, and tests. Most HubSpot Academy classes are available free of charge, and if you pass the certifications, such as the two below, you get a nifty certificate and badge to share on your social media profiles. Check out mine on LinkedIn:

1. HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification
2. HubSpot Content Marketing Certification
3. SEO Training Course

Copyblogger is a content marketing company that creates content about content (so meta). Its blog provides a ton of great resources about digital marketing, and this class, “Internet Marketing for Smart People,” is made up of ebooks and emailed lessons and other course materials. Copyblogger espouses four pillars of content marketing success, which it delves into over the course of this class.

4. Internet Marketing for Smart People

Coursera offers MOOCs (massive online open courses) created and taught online by universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California system. These courses start at various times throughout the year, so browse the catalog to see when one lines up with your schedule. Below are a couple courses that are perfect for content marketers — here’s what a module for #4 looks like:

5. Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content
6. The Strategy of Content Marketing

Udemy is another online learning platform that focuses specifically on courses related to skill building for working professionals. One thing to note about Udemy: The classes we’ve highlighted are free, but it offers a myriad of other paid options for as little as $10, in some cases. If you have a good experience with a free course, it could be worth a small investment to deepen your skills, too.

Here are a few all content marketers will find useful:

7. Copywriting Blunders: Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes?
8. Blogging: Generate 100s of Blog Topics and Headlines
9. Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises

QuickSprout is Neil Patel’s content and business marketing blog, and QuickSprout University features a ton of helpful videos breaking down and explaining a myriad of concepts and best practices. Each video also includes a transcript in case reading is more your learning style than watching a video. Here’s what one course video looks like:

10. Content Marketing
Social Media Marketing Courses
13. Social Media
14. Paid Advertising

Wordstream is a search engine and social media marketing software company that helps marketers drive the greatest ROI from their paid search and social media campaigns. These free guides and ebooks distill learnings and best practices for users with varying levels of expertise running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Here are some of its topics and offerings:

15. Wordstream PPC University

edX is another MOOC provider that features courses offered by top-tier universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. Like Coursera, classes are taught online and start at specific times throughout the year. Here’s a class we think you’ll find valuable:

16. Social Media Marketing

ALISON offers free online classes in various professional skills users can take at their own pace. In the Diploma in Social Media Marketing course below, students can get into the nitty-gritty and big picture views of different skills of different topics — just check out one of the many modules:

17. Diploma in Social Media Marketing

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that offers free trainings (plus a paid certification course) to help marketers beef up their social media skill set. Hootsuite Academy offers courses at varying skill levels and features video lessons and step-by-step breakdowns of how to use different software.

18. Social Marketing Training

At this point, you probably already know what Facebook is and what it does. What you might not know? It has a training and certification program. Facebook Blueprint offers self-paced and live e-learning courses for marketers seeking to grow their organizations using Facebook. Blueprint offers classes in different languages on how to use Facebook and Instagram — here’s a peek at the course catalog.

19. Facebook Blueprint

quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers courses through quintly Academy. The self-paced course provides an overview of social media analytics, benchmarking, and goaling using downloadable written materials and video lessons.

20. Social Media Analytics

Buffer’s Social Media Week of Webinars isn’t exactly a course — it’s a series of live webinar recordings on YouTube — but the videos are chock-full of current and valuable information for social media marketers from the experts. Topics include Instagram and Facebook marketing and how to do public relations on social media.

21. Social Media Week of Webinars
SEO Marketing Courses

Google is another company you’ve probably heard of before, and its digital marketing course offers a ton of valuable information if you plan to advertise and rank on the search engine. You can even take a Google AdWords certification at the end of the process that helps you beef up your resume (and your Google+ profile).

22. Google Digital Marketing Course
23. SEO Training Course by Moz
24. Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy
25. SEO
Other Online Digital Marketing Courses
HubSpot Academy
11. HubSpot Email Marketing Certification
26. HubSpot Growth-Driven Design Certification
12. Email Marketing

Codeacademy offers free, interactive coding classes that take you from lesson one to building a fully-functioning website. The courses we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the courses; Codeacademy offers many more, depending on your organization’s needs. Codeacademy classes feature lectures and a workspace in the same browser window so you can see the effect of your work live, as it’s created.

Check it out:

Source: The Next Web

27. Make a Website
28. Learn Javascript
29. Learn Ruby
30. Learn Python
31. Learn HTML & CSS
General Assembly

General Assembly offers live and online paid and free courses for a variety of technical skills and disciplines. General Assembly’s Dash offers a free online coding class that teaches the fundamentals of HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript — watch the course overview below:

32. Learn to Code Awesome Websites

Canva helps people easily make beautiful images for web design, and Canva Learn offers design courses that are valuable for any kind of storyteller. The Creativity course explores the challenges of constant creation and innovation and how to do it well — with visuals, of course.

33. Creativity

enlightening and show what you could be doing? I really hope that you use this to experiment with.

Please leave a comment below and let me know if you would like to see additional courses about this thought process.

Along with this information, I have used other suggestions that I would like to share with you for FREE. Click the button below to see what has informed me to be a better author. I hope that this will help you too so that you can be successful in your niche.

As an incentive, I would like to give you a FREE program as my gift for looking at, and buying, the program that relates to this article.

Much appreciation, and please don’t forget to leave your comments in the section below.

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What Does a Future With No Jobs Look Like?

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In 1931, at the height of the Great Depression, British economist John Maynard Keynes published the essay, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.”

Keynes concluded that the Depression was only temporary and predicted that by 2030, people would work no more than 15 hours a week, devoting the rest of their time to leisure and culture.

Keynes was right about economic growth recovering, but most of us work far more than 15 hours a week. We’re still living in a time of over-rapid changes. Technological innovation has fundamentally changed the way we work, but are we really moving toward a society where humans are free to pursue culture and leisure while enjoying an age of abundance?

We Are Living in An Unprecedented Age of Change & Progress

For the majority of human existence, we’ve made progress at an unremarkable pace, but in the last 80 years, as this chart shows, progress has exploded.

Human progress can be marked by five significant revolutions, the most transformative of which occurred 50 years ago, as Yuval Noah Harari wrote in Sapiens. First was the Cognitive Revolution; about 70,000 years ago, we invented language and started to preserve knowledge. Then came the Agricultural Revolution; about 11,000 years ago, we transformed from nomadic tribes to town and city dwellers after we learned how to harness the power of nature to farm instead of forage for food. The Scientific Revolution brought Europe into the age of imperialism and rapid expansion about 500 years ago. This in turn kickstarted the Industrial Revolution, about 250 years ago and Information Revolution, about 50 years ago.

Each time human history jumps forward, we’ve replaced countless jobs by inventing ways to do them better: The farmer replaced the hunter, steam engines replaced human workers. At every single point, such inventions have coincided with rapid economic growth, making the lives of humans better off as a whole.

Even though we’ve demonstrably been good at replacing ourselves with machines, we still pride ourselves on being the best thinkers and decision makers on earth. Because while machines could help a farmer increase his crop yield, the ultimate decision on what to sow and when to harvest still lies on him.

We believed we were the best thinkers and fastest learners on earth. But it’s no longer true.

In 2016, history was made when AlphaGo became the first computer program to beat the highest ranked professional Go player, Lee Sedol, without handicaps. One reason this was so impressive is that Go is considered much more difficult than other strategy-based board games, with over 250 possible opening moves compared to chess’ 20.

Machines are rapidly replicating (and improving upon) our previously unique ability to learn quickly and make decisions in reaction to changes in our environment. Eventually, machines could replace most types of jobs  —  including roles where the worker has to make decisions based on limited amounts of information, not just routine and predictable human labor.

It’s Hard for Humans to Predict Technological Change

If someone invented a time machine and transported an ordinary person from the 16th century to the 18th century, she would not, for all intents and purposes, have a hard time understanding the world. The same would not be true if someone was transported from the 18th century to the 20th century  —  technology has changed so quickly that she’d probably think she’d been brought to a different universe!

The changes in outputs of key industries created a drastically different worldThe changes in outputs of key industries created a drastically different world.

In the same vein, if you asked a factory worker from the 1970s if he believed that machines would eventually put him out of a job, he would find the question hard to understand, let alone answer. That’s why we must constantly question our understanding of the rate of technological progress and acknowledge that the vast majority of us are ill-equipped to make sense of it all.

It’s estimated that as much as half the world’s labor could be automated over the next 20 years. There are two potential outcomes of this massive disruption of the labor market:

(1) an era of mass unemployment and social instability, or
(2) an age of abundance where we are free to pursue creative work

Scenario 1: An Era of Social Instability

In 1990, the real inflation-adjusted income of the median American household reached $54,932, but then started falling. By 2011, it had fallen nearly 10%, even as overall GDP hit a record high, according to The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

Source: The Second Machine Age

In contrast, productivity grew at an average of 1.56% per year during this period, and most of this growth directly translated into comparable increases in average income. Brynjolffson and McAfee argue that median income shrank because of increases in inequality.

Source: The Second Machine AgeRay Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates , came to the same conclusion. In October 2016, Dalio evaluated the US economy by separating it into two cohorts, the top 40% and the bottom 60%.

He found that the average household in the top 40% earns four times more than the average household in the bottom 60%. While the bottom 60% has experienced some recent income growth, real incomes have been flat to slightly down since 1980 (in the same time period, income has increased for the top 40%). Those in the top 40% now have on average 10 times as much wealth as those in the bottom 60%.

Brynjolfsson and McAfee argue that the main driver of this inequality in income is the rapid downward pressure on wages for jobs that are being fully or partially replaced with automation.

For example, if one hour’s worth of human labor can be done by a machine for one dollar, then under a free-market system, profit-focused employers won’t offer a wage of more than one dollar. That worker will need to settle for lower wages, and could be laid off entirely.

Because digital technologies can replicate innovative ideas at low cost, a person who finds a way to leverage them will earn exponentially more than has been possible  –what Brynjolfsson and McAfee call a “winner-take-all” market. For example, a relatively small number of designers and engineers could create fact-checking software. Once the software works, it can be delivered to millions of users at almost zero cost. If this software gains widespread adoption, tens of thousands of fact checkers will be put out of work while a small group of individuals capture the wealth their software created.

A second important characteristic of winner-take-all markets is that individuals who create disruptive technologies don’t just get relative advantages — they win the whole market. In a traditional market, someone who was 90% as good would make 90% as much money. But in today’s market, there’s no reason to use the second-best fact-checking software when you can access the best.

In this type of economy, innovators gain disproportionate wealth while reducing demand for previously important types of labor.

This wealth gap will likely intensify if we fail to implement preemptive measures. In a hyperbolic scenario where technology causes mass unemployment, consumers will have less money to spend on products and services. Businesses will have to chase a shrinking pool of customers by cutting prices, sending the whole economy into a deflationary spiral.


Scenario 2: An Age of Abundance

The economic inequality that’s resulted from technological progress doesn’t show any signs of slowing, and the gap has implications beyond just differences in net worth. Another data point from Dalio’s study suggests that as differences in wealth get wider, premature deaths among the bottom 60% will also increase. We’ve already been seeing this trend from an increase in deaths associated with drug and alcohol use (up 100% since 2000) and an increase in suicides (up over 50% since 2000).
Unless action is taken to reduce this inequality, it is very likely that it will only continue to rapidly worsen. It won’t be an easy path  —  potential solutions require major changes in social policy that can only occur through a political process and require a dramatic shift in how we distribute wealth.

If policies aimed at solving this issue are successful, there’s a chance technological advancement could create an age of abundance, where we find viable solutions to mitigate the effects of a widening income gap caused by a consolidation of wealth.
One possible solution to provide people with basic security is a Universal Basic Income (UBI). A country using this system would pay citizens a basic wage that is conditional on their participation in the economy. By providing people with a safety net given their participation in the economy, people are incentivized to be productive and given the means to participate in the market.

Some proponents of UBI argue that we’ll be able to eliminate all social welfare programs once UBI is instituted, since those programs are just alternate ways of giving people money. One income system eliminates the need to run multiple programs side by side, reducing cost and complexity.

Another potential solution is the negative income tax. Under the present tax law, we operate a positive income tax, where a household is progressively taxed after income reaches a certain cutoff point. Under a negative income tax system, a person earning less than that cutoff point has a negative taxable income of the difference between their earnings and a cutoff point. Think of the cutoff point as a mirror of progressive tax brackets — the higher a person’s total earnings are before they hit the cutoff, the less taxable income they have and the less they’ll receive from the government.

This system provides a minimum income while incentivizing people to work. Research by Brynjolfsson and McAfee shows that people still stay productive if a negative income tax is in use. For example, if a cutoff point was $3,000 in annual income, someone who earned nothing could receive something like $1,500 in negative income tax and have $1,500 in total earnings for the year, but someone who earned $2,000 might receive $500 and would still end up with higher total income.

This system incentivizes people to find work, even if the income for that work is low, because they still get an uplift from every dollar they make.

A universal basic income or negative income tax could:

Allow people to pursue work that has traditionally not been compensated well in a capitalist economy, such as community-building and social work.
Create a more progressive entrepreneurial environment by enabling people to take bigger risks in pursuing valuable work.
Help reorder social expectations. At the moment, we treat employment as a choice — but UBI and NIT treat unemployment as a market failure, not an individual one. As more and more people face being phased out of their jobs by automation, reframing how we think about work is essential to maintaining social stability.
On top of UBI, another option is what Nobel Prize–winning conservative economist Milton Friedman termed as Negative Income Tax. Under the present tax law, we operate a Positive Income Tax, where a household is taxed on a Progressive Income Tax system above a certain cutoff point. Under a Negative Income Tax system, a person earning below the cutoff point will get a certain percentage of that difference from the government.

A future without jobs does not equal a future without work.

For either of these systems to work, we still have to focus on productivity, the driver of economic growth. Distributing money to be used just for consumption as a basic income rather than for improving production will diminish the value of money and stagnate the economy.

Unconditional grants of money can cause demand-pull inflation to occur because the aggregate demand for goods and services in an economy will increase more rapidly than an economy’s production.

So the key to an effective tax program would be:

A cutoff point or grant amount low enough that people will still strive for more
Grants that are only released to eligible consumers

Technology like blockchain creates an unprecedented opportunity to test out decentralized decision making on resource allocation. Using a distributed ledger system to ensure money is distributed only to people who’ve done productive work, as determined by an ever-changing set of conditions or priorities monitored by an artificial intelligence engine.

While we are still far away from developing general-purpose artificial intelligence, the computational tools we have at hand are already helping us make decisions on the factors that motivate different people. For example, Eitan Hersh, a political science professor at Yale University and the author of Hacking the Electorate: How Campaigns Perceive Voters studied how campaigns use big data and machine learning to mobilize voters. The algorithms developed to analyze voter behavior might be a precursor to developing more sophisticated models that predict how best to encourage participation in the economy.

Ultimately, the question of whether to adopt a tax system that could help solve for growing inequality is more of a political than an economic question. It’ll be difficult to suggest the concept of ‘free money’ to a country built on the idea of free markets and fiscal conservatism. Any solution will have to blend new and existing policy, and allocate spending to training programs that can help workers be better equipped to work in a post-job economy, rather than just offering a universal payment for consumption.

The fact remains that no one has all the answers, and navigating the political landscape to arrive at a solution will be an uphill battle.

The policies advocated in this piece will not be easy to implement, and even if they are successfully adopted, rising inflation and decreasing wages will not be curbed immediately.

The Way Forward

As technology continues to progress, more traditional jobs will be threatened by automation. Any solution will involve government intervention to regulate the free-market conditions that create inequality in the first place.

One potential outcome of is the call for technology to be regulated or restricted in a way so fewer jobs will be threatened. That would be a huge mistake that can happen because progress in technology is the reason why we are better off today than even just a decade ago. Research done by the team at Human Progress shows that the cost of light has fallen by a factor of 500,000, where the amount of labor that once bought 54 minutes of light now buys 52 years of light.

However, the belief that the American government agreeing to tax reformers’ idea on handing out monthly checks to support a working class is a huge leap of faith.
My hope is that we have to actively tap on technology to help make our lives better and if not, change the way we utilize it with small course corrections instead of halting advancements through regulation or denying UBI and negative income tax based on pre-conceived notions of what a free capital market is.

The policies that are currently evaluated include:

Support sectoral training, apprenticeships, and earn-while-you-learn programs.
Implement universal pre-K, with subsidies that phase out as incomes rise.
Raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation while raising the overtime salary threshold.

It is likely no single solution is perfect and we have to discuss and explore a multitude of policies to create a better future. While there’s a lot of work to be done, I’m just hopeful and optimistic that the future is bright.

Interested in taking a first hand look on how Artificial Intelligence can help you do your job better instead of replacing it? GrowthBot is a chat based digital assistant to help growth professionals (Sales & Marketing) grow better.

Message GrowthBot on Facebook Messenger or Slack.

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Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this topic.

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What You Missed Last Month in Google

I found this info and hope that you find it interesting and that you share your ideas in the comment area below.

May has arrived. And in many parts of the U.S. — including HubSpot’s hometown of Boston — that means it’s the season for sunshine, a countdown to summer, and getting used to a major update by Google …

And for Google, the weeks leading up to May were, well, beaming. It wasn’t a tremendously busy month for the search engine giant in terms of announcement volume, but something major did happen: A new Gmail was announced.

On top of that, a new natural language processing (NLP) tool was unveiled, allowing users to “talk” to Google’s virtual library of 100,000 books. And finally, a new initiative was launched to help publishers make up for revenue loss caused by blanket ad-blockers.

We’ve put together another list of the major highlights from Google — this time, for the month of April. Read on for the full recap.

April News About Google
1. There’s a Whole New Gmail

On April 25, Gmail Product Manager Matthew Izatt penned an official blog post announcing a whole new version of Google’s email client. The changes would be fully rolled out within a few weeks, he wrote, but could be taken for a test drive by personal Gmail users immediately by selecting “Try the new Gmail” in their settings.

For those who use Gmail for the workplace, the new Gmail experience is only available through the G Suite Early Adopter Program (EAP) and must be enabled by an administrator.

For Personal Gmail Users

In Izatt’s announcement, one of the first headlines reads, “Do more without leaving your inbox.” That ongoing idea and theme, as it were — to keep users within a Google product instead of forcing them to go elsewhere to accomplish a task or seek information — seems to generally align with many of the changes Google has made over time.

Take the featured snippet, for example, and the entire idea of voice search. These features were designed to help users discover an answer to their questions without having to visit numerous site to find the information they want — or without having to click on any website at all. Instead, the answer appears in a Knowledge Card or is spoken through a smart speaker.

Now, Gmail is moving in a similar direction, mostly by allowing users to accomplish more email-related tasks within their inboxes.

One way of doing that is by introducing the snooze feature, which allows you to set a reminder about an email for a date and time of your choice — while also marking it as “read” and preventing it from being added to a growing queue of unread, increasingly neglected emails piling up in your inbox. (Don’t worry — we’ve all been there.)

Source: Google

But even if you do let those unread emails pile up, the new Gmail also comes with a “nudge” feature that lets you know when it might be time to respond.

Source: Google

And finally, among other “do things quickly and natively” features, the new experience also comes equipped with “Smart Reply” enabled for desktop: a previously mobile-only feature that uses artificial intelligence to determine the nature of the email and provide pre-determined quick responses that can be automatically composed and sent.

Source: Google

From what we have seen, the new Gmail experience for workplace accounts doesn’t contain much that’s different from the new personal use case — though it is positioned somewhat differently in a separate blog post, replete with this timely reminder:

” … we do not scan Gmail for the purposes of targeting ads, and there are no ads shown in Gmail for G Suite customers.”

The professional, G Suite version will also come with an option to work within in Gmail while offline, by allowing users to search for emails, compose or delete them even without an internet connection. These capabilities, the announcement reads, will be available “in coming weeks.”

Google has been moving in the “do more without leaving Gmail” direction for some time now. One of its first features within this realm was the introduction of the easy unsubscribe button in 2014 that allows users to remove themselves from email subscriptions without having to navigate elsewhere.

A similar feature has been introduced in this new experience, in which users will receive suggestions on which email subscriptions to forego based on such messages that they might not be engaging with.

But in tune with the aforementioned reminder that Gmail does not scan email content for advertising purposes, data security seemed to make its way into some of these features — though how long ago they were conceptualized isn’t clear.

One such feature is “confidential mode,” which lets users remove any recipient’s ability to forward, copy, download, or print a message — which is particularly helpful when transmitting things like credit reports or tax returns.

The confidentiality feature also allows users to assign an expiration date to such sensitive emails, which disallows anyone from accessing them after a certain date and time.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see more privacy-related features coming to Gmail in the near future, especially given recent events concerning personal data.

Source: Google

2. Machine Learning by Way of Books

Once in a while, we’ll come across a new tech initiative that not only has the potential to be helpful, but is also just plain cool. Google’s new “Talk to Books” feature is one of them.

Conversational marketing is one of those next-big-things on the tech frontier that we’re always keeping our eyes on. It has implications for AI, machine learning, and the way users interact with brands.

A big part of the science behind that is the concept of natural language processing (NLP), which Google has paired with machine learning to create Talk to Books. When the user enters search criteria, this program searches 100,000 books to find a sentence that would that would likely follow.

Here’s what it looks like:

A perfect science, it is not yet quite. But it’s fun to play with, and an interesting exercise in natural language processing: one that could encourage users to discover and look into new books.

And as Google itself points out, Talk to Books isn’t meant to be a replacement or alternative search engine. Rather, it says on a “Semantic Experiences” page, “it’s simply a demonstration of research that enables an AI to find statements that look like probable responses to your input rather than a finely polished tool that would take into account the wide range of standard quality signals.

It continues: “You may need to play around with it to get the most out of it.”

We know what we’ll be doing next time we’re stuck in a waiting room.

3. A New Answer to Ad Blockers

In June 2017, Google announced that it would be penalizing sites that contained what it called intrusive ads: those that loudly start playing audio or feature a countdown before you can actually access the content you visited the site to see, for example.

By doing so, the company hoped, users would feel less motivated to apply blanket ad blockers to their browsers that suppress all advertisements — even those that aren’t intrusive, or that news sites depend on for revenue.

Google says it’s taken that idea a step further — not only by discouraging the display of intrusive ads in the first place, but also by letting users with ad blockers know that the site they’ve visited has a “good” ad experience.

The reasoning behind this, the company says in its AdSense blog, is that publishers with non-intrusive ads that satisfy Google’s better ads requirements are still losing revenue, due in large part to such ad blockers.

“When people encounter annoying ads, and then decide to block all ads,” the statement writes, “it cuts off revenue for the sites you actually find useful.”

That’s why Google introduced Funding Choices last year, which are tools (still in beta) made available to advertisers around the same time these new penalties were announced. The feature displays text to ad-blocking users that looks like this, which publishers can customize according to the copy they wish to use:

Source: Google

Funding Choices displays boxes like the gray one above, allowing website visitors to opt for seeing the non-intrusive adds on the site or choose another method of funding — like buying an ad-removal pass through Google Contributor.

(If that sounds familiar, many music-streaming sites like Spotify and Pandora provide similar ad-free premium membership options.)

Participating sites can choose their own pricing methods for ad-removal passes.

And even though Funding Choices is still in beta, Google says that since its inception, it’s been seen by more 4.5 million visitors in the last month alone — who did select to see options and leading to what the company estimates to be “over 90 million additional paying page views for those sites.”

And given this success, Google says it will bring Funding Choices to 31 additional countries — the full list can be seen here.

4. More Additions to the Featured Snippet

Toward the end of April, marketer David Gray pointed out on Twitter that he had noticed something new within featured snippets: sections within the knowledge card, depending on the query, that went far beyond a simple answer or definition.

Anyone seen a #SERP on mobile like this before? Very interesting … Top half broken into multiple related topics with description + link. #seo #google #search


— David Gray (@iamdavidgray)
April 28, 2018

His query, “garage conversion,” yielded more than just a featured snippet with an explanation of what such a project entails. It went on to include information about the cost of a garage conversion, as well as logistical and legal items like the physical construction and permitting issues.

This expanded information within the knowledge card might be one form of Google’s recent announcement of plans to display double featured snippets, in order to better address the nuances of queries that could have multiple meanings.

Source: Google

At the moment, this expanded knowledge card only seems to appear on mobile search engine results pages (SERPs). And when I tried this query myself, it yielded no featured snippet at all, suggesting that it’s being tested for a subset of users. 

However, when I tried a query in a similar vein — “how to build a shed” — I did receive single-tap options for different categories of shed-building according to things like size and budget.

Until Next Month

As always, we’re watching all things Google. We’ll continue to pick out top news items, algorithm updates, and trends that can aid your marketing.

And until June arrives — have a great May.

Featured image credit: Google

informative and something that would instruct you, do you agree}? I really hope that you found it as informative as I did.

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How to Write Your First Blog Post: A Simple Formula [+ Free Blog Post Templates]

I discovered this page and hope that you find it interesting and that you share your ideas in the comment area below.

You’ve probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. But it’s important that you learn how to write a blog post correctly.

Without a blog, your SEO can tank, you’ll have nothing to promote in social media, you’ll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you’ll have fewer pages to put those valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads.

So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t consistently blog? Maybe because, unless you’re one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of stinks. You have to find words, string them together into sentences … ugh, where do you even start?

Well my friend, the time for excuses is over.

After you read this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t blog every single day — and do it quickly. Not only am I about to provide you with a simple blogging formula to follow, but I’m also going to give you free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:

The How-To Post
The List-Based Post
The Curated Collection Post
The SlideShare Presentation Post
The Newsjacking Post

With all this blogging how-to, literally anyone can blog as long as they truly know the subject matter they’re writing about. And since you’re an expert in your industry, there’s no longer any reason you can’t sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post.

Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free content marketing training resource page.

How to Write a Blog Post: From Your First Blog Post to Your First Customer
Step 1: Understand your audience.

Before you start to write, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.

For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.

Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]
Blog Post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Tool]

Step 2: Create your blog domain.

Next, you’ll need a place to host this and every other blog post you write. Even if you already manage a website, it’s worth getting a basic refresher on how a strong, presentable blog domain is set up. 

Sign Up With a CMS

CMS stands for content management system. A CMS helps you create a website domain where you’ll actually publish your blog. The CMS platforms available for you to sign up for can host domains, where you create your own website; and subdomains, where you create a webpage that connects with an existing website.

Want to create a subdomain? If you already own a cooking business at, you might create a blog that looks like this: In other words, your blog’s subdomain will live in its own section of 

Customize Your Blog’s Theme

Once you have your blog domain set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating.

Are you writing about sustainability and the environment? Green might be a color to keep in mind when designing the look and feel of your blog, as green is often associated with sustainability.

If you already manage a website, and are writing your first blog post for that website, it’s important that your blog is consistent in appearance with this existing website.

Step 3: Identify your first blog post’s topic.

Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets.

Then, as you do your research, you can expand the topic to discuss how to fix a leaky faucet based on the various causes of a faucet leak. 

You might not want to jump right into a “how-to” article for your first blog post, though, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’d like to write about modern types of faucet setups, or tell one particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded someone’s house.

If a plumber’s first how-to article is about how to fix a leaky faucet, for example, here are four other types of sample blog post ideas a plumber might start with, based on the five free blog templates we’ve offered to you:

List-based Post: 5 ways to fix a leaky faucet
Curated Collection Post: 10 faucet and sink brands you should look into today
SlideShare Presentation: 5 types of faucets that should replace your old one (with pictures)
News post: New study shows X% of people don’t replace their faucet on time

If you’re having trouble coming up with topic ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:

Changing the topic scope
Adjusting the time frame
Choosing a new audience
Taking a positive/negative approach
Introducing a new format

Step 4: Come up with a working title.

Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.

Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”

See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.

Step 5: Write an intro (and make it captivating).

We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?

First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.

Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:

Step 6: Organize your content in an outline.

Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!

Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.” There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.

To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!

Step 7: Write your blog post!

The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.

Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.

If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:

Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.
ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.
Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.

For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:

The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well [Free Ebook]
How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That Converts
How to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your Message
Your Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More Interesting
Your Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More Interesting

Step 8: Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.

You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist (or try using a free grammar checker, like the one developed by Grammarly). And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:

Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the Trenches
How to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process
10 Simple Edits That’ll Instantly Improve Any Piece of Writing

When you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …

Featured Image

Make sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.

For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.

Visual Appearance

No one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.

In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.

Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.


Tags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.

Step 9: Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.

At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.

In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:

See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.

Step 10: Optimize for on-page SEO.

After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.

Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!

Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:

Meta Description

Meta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.

Page Title and Headers

Most blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.

It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.

Mobile Optimization

With mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.

Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.

Step 11: Pick a catchy title.

Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:

Start with your working title.
As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.
Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.
If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).
Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.

If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. What other steps do you take to refine your blog posts? Don’t forget to download your five free blog post templates right here.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


Could you use this for yourself and a good example}? I really hope that you found it as interesting as I did.

Please leave a comment below and let me know if you would like to see additional post about this topic.

Along with this information, I have used other sources that I would like to share with you for FREE. Click the button below to see what has informed me to be a better online marketer. I hope that this will help you too so that you can be supported in your niche.

As an incentive, I would like to offer you a FREE course as a bonus for looking at, and buying, the package that relates to this article.

Much appreciation, and please don’t forget to leave your comments in the section below.

Click Here

8 Types of CTAs you Should Be Using in Your YouTube Channel

I ran across this post and hope that you use this on your blog and that you make a suggestion in the comment area below.

Remember those speech bubbles that used to pop up at the start of almost every YouTube video years ago? They would instantly cover your screen, screaming “Subscribe to my channel!” or “Watch my next video!”, forcing you scurry over to your mouse and click exit on every bubble before they completely ruined the beginning of the video you were trying to watch.

Even though those omnipresent bubble CTAs could get on your nerves, YouTube decided not to get rid of them entirely.

They knew how important CTAs were for channel managers to boost views, watch time, and subscriptions, so, over the years, they made a concerted effort to keep enhancing their call-to-action capabilities. Now, CTAs more seamlessly blend into videos, and provide a much better user experience.

YouTube CTAs can be a valuable way to drive viewers to your website and social media pages, so read on to learn about the eight types of YouTube CTAs that’ll not only boost your YouTube presence, but your entire presence online.

8 Types of CTAs you Should Be Using in Your YouTube Channel
1. Beginning of the Video CTA

According to KissMetrics, 20% of viewers bounce from videos that are only 1 minute long and 40% of viewers bounce from videos that are 2-3 minutes long. If a significant chunk of your viewers bounce from your video before they even reach the CTA, placing it at the beginning of the video and leaving it there until it ends could generate more clicks. People who usually bounce before your video ends will have a chance to click on it, and the people who watch the video all the way through, who are also most likely to complete your desired action, will have a chance to click on it too.


2. Suggest Another Video CTA

If your audience starts dedicating entire YouTube watch sessions to only your videos, your brand trust and affinity will skyrocket. This will also boost your videos’ watch time, which is significant factor in the YouTube ranking algorithm. To get your audience to keep watching your videos one after another, you should suggest related videos that they’re more likely to watch than the suggested videos YouTube’s autoplay function recommends.

Yes Theory does an excellent job of this. At the end of each of their videos, they prompt viewers to click on videos that are most relevant to the one they just watched, which has helped their channel garner over 128 million video views and 1.4 million subscribers.

3. Subscribe to Channel CTA

Subscribers are important to your channel because YouTube will send them notifications about your new videos and feature your videos on their homepage. This means they’ll see your videos more frequently, which will help you generate more views. Subscribers tend to watch your videos longer than non-subscribers too, so the more subscribers you have, the more watch time your videos will accumulate, and the more likely YouTube will rank them higher on search and feature them in the related section. YouTube also keeps track of the number of viewers who subscribe to your channel right after watching one of your videos. So if one of your videos attracts a lot of new subscribers, they’ll reward it with higher rankings and more features in the related section.

Business Insider does a great job of driving YouTube subscriptions by featuring an engaging CTA during their videos’ last 15 seconds, giving users ample time to subscribe.


4. Follow On Social Media CTA

If your audience likes watching your YouTube videos, they’ll probably enjoy consuming your content on social media too. By putting social media buttons in your videos, your most loyal YouTube subscribers could also turn into your most engaged social media followers.

Walt-Disney leveraged social media buttons by placing them at the end of Moana’s trailer on YouTube. This encouraged people to follow the movie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, allowing Walt-Disney to consistently push content about Moana to their new followers and generate more hype and awareness for the movie.


5. Lead Generation CTA

In addition to using blogs, social media, and email marketing to promote your top performing lead generation content, you can also attach them to your YouTube videos. These videos can either educate your viewers on the same subject matter as your lead generation content or they can preview it, like this HubSpot video below:

6. Drive to Website CTA

When college students are in the midst of a two hour YouTube binge fest, you can probably blame Jimmy Tatro for it. He’s built an incredibly loyal and engaged following by making hilarious videos that millennials everywhere can’t get enough of. One way he monetizes his channel’s popularity is by placing an end-of-video CTA that drives viewers to his clothing store, where he sells shirts that rep his YouTube channel, LifeAccordingToJimmy, and his YouTube show, The Real Bros of Simi Valley.

If you have a very loyal and engaged YouTube audience like Jimmy Tatro does, try guiding viewers to your product page after they watch your videos. When they’re hooked on them and love your brand, they’ll definitely be willing to support you.


7. Description CTA

If you don’t want to bombard your audience with pop-up CTAs during your video or if you run out of room to place CTAs on your end screen, you can use the description section of your videos to encourage viewers to take a desired action — most people read descriptions before or after they watch a video.

Conor Maynard is a singer who uploads viral covers on YouTube, and he attracts subscribers, Spotify streams, and social followers by promoting his channel page, Spotify page, and social profiles in the description of his videos.

8. Auditory CTA

About a month ago, Backlinko analyzed 1.3 million YouTube search results and discovered a statistically significant correlation between comments and ranking. They also discovered when viewers share your videos on social media through YouTube’s own social buttons, they’ll boost your video rankings. Since YouTube uses video comments and social shares to gauge whether your video is high-quality, you should ask your viewers to share your video on social and spark debate in the comments by asking them to continue the conversation your video started.


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A Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO in 2018

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Local search is powerful for small businesses: four out of five consumers use search to find local information, which means if your business isn’t optimized for local search, you could be missing out on 80% of your potential customers. In short, local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay relevant.

To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we’ve created a comprehensive guide, which will cover local SEO tools, local search best practices, how to optimize for Google My Business, and more. By the end of the guide, you’ll have a firm understanding on how to optimize your business to reach potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services they’re going to buy.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to local prospects and customers. To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.

Best Practice Local SEO Tactics

To thrive in local search, you need to do three things: optimize your Google My Business account, improve your on-page SEO by updating your website, and excel on the Wild Wild Web. While it might sound overwhelming, it’s entirely feasible to succeed in all three with some patience and perseverance. Stick with us, and we’ll explore each one in-depth.

Optimize for Google My Business

Google My Business has become the creme de la creme of local search — since Google understandably feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. If Google can verify your business as authentic, it will potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google local search.

To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to create and verify a Google My Business page, use Google Posts within your account, encourage your customers to share reviews online, and respond authentically to reviews, specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your input and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.”

To learn more about using Google My Business, check out our full post here.

Website Updates

Now that we’ve discussed optimizing your business for Google My Business, let’s take a look at five simple website updates to improve your local SEO.

1. Improve Internal Linking Structure 

Although external links pointing to your site are ideal (which I’ll discuss soon), adjusting your internal linking structure will also boost your SEO rankings.

Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:

Supports website navigation
Assists with information architecture and website hierarchy
Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages

If you want to improve your internal linking structure but aren’t sure where to start, check out Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.

2. Optimize URL, Title Tags, Headers, Meta Description, and Content

When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Every time you write a piece of content, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you’re having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.

3. Add Location Pages to your Website

If you have more than one brick and mortar location, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your NAP, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, testimonials from happy customers, and more. It’s also important you avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single location businesses, create a locally descriptive About Us page. You’ll get big time bonus points if you add a Google Map to your website on your respective location page(s).

4. Create Local Content

Google continues to get smarter, which means content creators are now able to truly write for users, not search engines. But while writing about general topics will attract a wide crowd, sometimes it’s more important to hone your focus and write about local or industry news to attract a local audience. Be the local authority for your industry by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog. Think of top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.

For example, if you’re a local security company and you’re trying to attract businesses that are new to the area, create a helpful resource to get these businesses well-acquainted with your city. A map of local service providers or a calendar of city-wide events could both provide value for your persona and contain highly relevant on-page local signals.

5. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Local search and mobile search go hand in hand (nine out of ten smartphone users conduct local searches on their devices!). Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment is to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information. Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.

Engage with Directories and the Wild Wild Web

You’ve learned how to optimize your business for Google My Business and how to update your website for an internal SEO boost — now, let’s take a look at how you can use NAP consistency, directories, and inbound links to take your business one step closer to that number one spot on local search.

Name, Address, Phone Consistency

You’ve got to make it easy for people and search engines to find you. To do this, set up your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). This should be included as crawlable HTML text on your site. Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP within an image — images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text. The most common location for the NAP is in the footer or header of the site.

Optimize Online Directories and Citations

For United States companies, these four map data aggregators provide a large amount of the map data for Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google+ local, Trip Advisor, and more.

Express Update
Neustar Localeze
My Business Listing Manager

Consistency is key: verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these four data aggregators. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number or wrong phone number can be problematic. If Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results. Additionally, be sure to remove any duplicate listings you find. Bonus points for emphasizing a Chambers of Commerce membership in your community, which will garner you an external inbound link.

Get Inbound Links with Relevance and Authority

Inbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, and inbound links can also raise your domain authority. Here are a few ways to get inbound links:

Sponsorships or Partnerships
Guest Blog Posting

Start with your own personal network, which may include the Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, trade associations, resellers, vendors, and/or manufacturers and other affiliates. Consider sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, and building relationships with prominent people and influencers. Additionally, learn to feel comfortable reaching out to partners to see if they can feature you on their partner directory.

Be a guest blogger, talk to and about (positively, of course!) other people in your industry, and act as a resource provider for the community. If you’re an active participant in community conversations, the buzz around you grows in the form of inbound links, social media growth, and media coverage.

Given that .edu links are the bee’s knees for domain authority, why not earn some links by featuring a scholarship in your geographic region? It should be relevant to your industry, send the right signals to your domain (given the backlinks from schools) … and make you feel good, too! Moz built up a solid guide on the steps to success for effective scholarship outreach.

Engage with Social Media and Add Posts to Google My Business

Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before. Now that you’ve carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, share the page on social media, further aligning social and search.

Local SEO Tools

Now that we’ve covered how to optimize your business for local SEO, let’s explore some useful tools you can leverage to improve your ranking in the areas where it matters most.

1. Whitespark Local Citation Finder. A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations matter because they help surface local businesses in online search, and when local businesses actively manage their citations to ensure data accuracy, it promotes trust of these online listings. Whitespark knows this realm well — really well. With a free starter version and a popular $24/month option, Whitespark offers local listing management, recommends where to list your business, examines your competition, and robustly builds and monitors your citation growth for better local search rankings.

2. Screaming Frog. This desktop program crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. Curious if you have any 404’s? Wondering about missing meta descriptions or H1’s? Screaming Frog will analyze up to 500 URLs for free and offers an unlimited paid version for $200/year.

2. Moz Local. Less expensive than most of its counterparts (starting at $99/year with a professional level of the service at $179/year), Moz Local will ensure your business listing has been verified on Google and Facebook, and distribute your listing across the search ecosystem. Additionally, Moz Local will collaborate with data aggregators to help push listings, ensuring your business gains visibility.

4. Ahrefs. Ahrefs helps with backlink checking, which is important as these links (which are directed toward your website) serve as an indicator of website authority. Ahrefs also offers competitor analysis, keyword research, and insight into the anchor text other websites use when backlinking to your site. This tool has a starter version at $99/month and a standard option at $179/month for more extensive tracking.

5. Buzzstream. Starting at $24/month with professional functionality at $299/month, BuzzStream facilitates earning local backlinks, which helps you identify and build relationships with local influencers by researching influencers, tracking conversations, and providing reporting insights into your outreach campaigns, team performance, and link placements.

What’s Next?

This Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO in 2018 is intended to drive your local success. While some of the tips are one-off activities where you can set it and forget it (e.g. making sure your NAP is clearly written on your site), other tasks, such as building reviews and publishing locally relevant content, is an activity your organization needs to do on an ongoing basis for long-term local SEO success. Keep both in mind as you work toward better online visibility and we look forward to seeing you on the first page of Google!

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9 of the Best Free Website Builders

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Today, it’s almost impossible to maintain a successful business without a fully functional, responsive, SEO-compatible website — but you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to afford one.

There are plenty of options for building and designing a website for free — whether you know how to code, or not — and these website builders are often comparable in quality to their paid alternatives, particularly for small businesses or personal brands.

The free website builders we’re sharing today offer SEO benefits, embedded analytics systems, mobile optimization, and professional-looking templates. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t quite swing the paid builders, these are the next best thing. Read on to check out nine of the best free website builders, so you can build a website for free without forfeiting quality.

Best free website builders

IM Creator

1. Wix: Wix is one of the most popular free website builders out there, with 110 million users. The fully hosted platform offers an easy drag-and-drop editor, and a large collection of professional-looking templates that are well-suited for small businesses, online stores, restaurants, or personal portfolios.

Wix supplies built-in Google Analytics to monitor your site, and even offers additional apps for individual preferences. If you want, Wix can even design your site for you. The biggest downside of Wix’s free version is it doesn’t come ad-free, and each page of your site will have a prominent Wix ad. Ad-free is only an option if you pay for the premium version.

2. Weebly: This open source SaaS offers web hosting, domain registration, web design, and even ecommerce functions, making it suitable for businesses and startups. Weebly’s a particularly flexible website builder, compatible with every device and platform, and easy to use — like Wix, it has drag-and-drop functionality, as well as an integrated CMS solution, and hand-coded HTML files. The in-house editor comes with SEO tools and Google Analytics. With PayPal integration, an automatic tax calculator, digital gift cards, and more, Weebly is a smart choice for ecommerce businesses. Unlike some of its other free competitors, Weebly is ad-free.

3. WebNode: WebNode is a popular choice for both personal brands and professionals — it’s easy to use, and you can create a website in a different language or on a different platform to suit your business’s needs. WebNode supports ecommerce stores, and the sites are compatible with Android, Mac, and IOS devices. WebNode will provide statistics to track your site’s success, free of charge, and even with the free version, you won’t have ads.

4. Jimdo: Based in Germany, Jimdo is a valuable option for international companies, with options to create a site in more than nine different languages. The builder is compatible with smartphones and tablets, and there’s a mobile app you can use to build a mobile-optimized site, as well. With no page limit and 500 MB of space, you’ll likely have more than enough space to build your site, and it even provides HTTPS/SSL encryption, meaning your visitor’s information will be kept safe. Plus, you’re able to integrate your site seamlessly with social media accounts. If you do decide to use Jimdo, beware of one thing: the builder prevents free websites from being indexed by search engines.

5. Mozello: One of the biggest selling-points for this Latvian-based company is the builder allows you to create a multilingual site for free — something unmatched by other website builders. Its features include a blog, online store, SEO options, and 500 MB of storage. There is an advertisment, but it’s just a link in the footer, so most visitors won’t see it. The only drawback is the drag-and-drop system isn’t as intuitive or complex as some other options, and there aren’t a ton of design customization options.

6. Webstarts: With a wide collection of beautiful templates and a user-friendly drag and drop functionality, Webstarts makes building a website as simple as possible: best of all, whatever you see when you’re designing is exactly what your visitors will see when you publish the site. This can take some of the guess-work out of the process.

7. Webflow: While most of the other builders in this list are for people without a ton of coding knowledge, Webflow is specifically for designers and agencies who build sites for clients — this means the HTML and CSS is entirely in your control. After you’ve built a site on Webflow, you will need to transfer it to a content management system. There are some features, like drag-and-drop widgets for adding social components, maps, and videos, that don’t require coding knowledge, but if you want the full benefits of Webflow, you’ll need to know HTML or CSS. There’s a limited set of themes, a responsive interface, and your Webflow site can be customized for desktop, tablets, or smartphones. Apart from the necessity of knowing code, one other drawback of Webflow is you can only have two pages, and there’s a limit of 500 visits for free users.

8. IM Creator: With over 11, 240, 766 sites build on IM Creator, it’s a popular option for a few reasons: there’s an easy point-and-click interface, an extensive range of templates and images, and unlimited web hosting and domain services. Plus, the platform is scalable, and you can have either single or multipage layouts. This builder is unique for its built-in ecommerce tools, and offers SEO and Google Analytics to fully optimize your site for search engines.

9. SITE123: Arguably one of the most flexible and easy-to-use builders, Site123 lets you customize anything and offers a one-click installation wizard with graphics and templates. Site123 stands out as particularly helpful with its free images library, professional fonts to add visual elements to your site, and creative DIY plans for creating multiple pages (which are unlimited). Plus, since it offers web hosting domain registration, 500 MB storage space, Google Analytics, and is ad-free, you won’t feel pressured to switch to a paid plan.

And there you have it! Since all of these website builders are free, try out a couple if you’re unsure of the best fit. In particular, take note of what you really want to get out of your site to ensure your needs will be met by one of these free builders.


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6 Myths about the GDPR and Email Marketing Debunked

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, 2018.

Thousands of sources have published their “expert” advice about the law and how it applies to email marketing over the past several months.

But here’s the thing: Much of their advice is wrong or misleading — and it’s causing a lot of misunderstanding, confusion and fear among small businesses and entrepreneurs around the globe.

So, we decided to set the record straight.

We’ve already covered the steps you can take to help prepare for the GDPR. (Great news! If you’re an AWeber customer, you’re probably already doing a lot of those things.)

In this post, however, we’ll dispel some of the most common myths about the GDPR and email marketing. Use this information so you can confidently move forward.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only, and you should not consider it legal advice. We recommend that you seek legal and other professional counsel to determine exactly how the GDPR might apply to you.
Myth #1: “I need to send a re-engagement email to all of my existing subscribers to reconfirm consent.”
One myth we see everywhere is the idea that you must have all of your subscribers reconfirm their consent in order to be compliant with the GDPR.

This is false. Sort of.

Here’s the deal: It all depends on whether you can prove consent from your subscribers, or you have other lawful grounds for processing data, according to the GDPR.

If you are relying on consent to determine lawfulness, ask yourself these three questions:

Did my subscribers opt in to my list, and can I prove it?
On my sign up form, did I clearly explain how I’d use subscribers’ data and what content I’d send them? Can I prove it?

Can my subscribers unsubscribe from my list as easily as they subscribed?

To prove you received consent, you should use the following three data points:

The date and time the subscriber opted in
The source of the opt-in (e.g.,, “Added via API”)
A screenshot of the data collection mechanism (i.e., your signup form or landing page)

You can easily find the date, time, and source information in your subscriber details within your AWeber account. Just look for the date and time when they opted in as well as the source of signup.

To prove you clearly explained how you’d be using data and what content you’d send to subscribers, save a copy or screenshot of the signup form you used to collect their personal data.

Now, let’s say you imported your list from another email service provider (ESP). In this case, you won’t have the source information within your AWeber subscriber details. However, you’re confident your list subscribed in a compliant way through your old ESP. If you don’t have this information available in your previous ESP, you probably can’t prove consent and should consider sending a re-engagement email.

Finally, let’s quickly touch on the third question: “Can my subscribers unsubscribe from my list as easily as they subscribed?”

The short answer: If you’re using AWeber, your subscribers already have the ability to unsubscribe on their own using the “Unsubscribe” link in the footer of all your emails. You can also make the unsubscribe option more obvious by adding it within the text of your email messages.

Here’s an example from Ann Handley’s newsletter, which I shared in my previous post with her bi-weekly:

“I can prove consent. Hooray!” 👍
If you answered “yes” to all three of the questions I mentioned previously, thumbs up, you’re able to prove consent and you can continue to engage your subscribers.

“I can’t prove consent. Bummer.” 👎
If you answered “no” to any of the three questions, and you can’t prove consent otherwise, then you should probably send a re-engagement email or delete those subscribers from your email list.

Here’s a sample re-engagement email you can send your subscribers. You can use AWeber’s Click Automations to tag subscribers who click the link to confirm their consent.
Subject: Still interested in receiving emails from me?

Hi there!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the content I have sent you, like {Insert all of the types of content you send (e.g., newsletters, sales, product info, etc.)}.

If you’d like to continue receiving emails from me, click the link below:

{Keep me on the list – LINK}

By confirming your subscription, we’ll continue sending you:

{Insert a list all of the things you plan to send to subscribers on this list}

Not interested anymore? That’s alright. If you don’t click the link above, we’ll take you off our list and stop emailing you. You can also unsubscribe here. (Note: Hyperlink the word “here” to the personalization token {!remove_web} in your email message.)

Thanks, and have a great day!

{Your Name}
In addition to confirming consent, you can also use your re-engagement email to create better segments of your subscribers, using AWeber’s Click Automations feature.

For example, let’s say you send a newsletter as well as product information to your subscribers. You can add multiple links within your re-engagement email to allow them to opt in to receive different types of content. When subscribers click any of the links, you can tag them appropriately and send them more targeted emails.

Here’s a sample re-engagement email that has multiple options:
Subject: Still interested in receiving emails from me?

Hi there!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the content I’ve been sending you, like {Insert all of the types of content you send (e.g., newsletters, sales, product info, etc.)}.

If you’d like to continue receiving emails from me, click one of the links below:

Keep sending me the newsletter {tag with gdpr-newsletter}

Keep sending me product information {tag with gdpr-productinfo}

Keep sending me both {tag with gdpr-newsletter and gdpr-productinfo}

Not interested anymore? That’s alright. If you don’t click any of the links above, we’ll take you off our list and stop emailing you. You can also unsubscribe here. (Note: Hyperlink the word “here” to the personalization token {!remove_web} in your email message.)

Thanks, and have a great day!

{Your Name}
It’s a best practice to generally wait about seven days after sending a re-engagement email before deleting any subscribers who do not click the link(s) to reconfirm their consent.
Myth #2: “I need to add GDPR checkboxes to all of my signup forms.”
Another rumor floating around is that you need to add checkboxes to your signup forms in order to be GDPR compliant. Some are even calling these “GDPR-friendly signup forms.”

This is false. Checkboxes are not required, and are completely optional.

Nowhere in the GDPR does it state that you need to add checkboxes to your signup forms.

What it does say, however, is that you need to clearly communicate how you will be processing subscribers’ personal data, whether using a descriptive sentence or two, or using a checkbox, if you so choose.

One reason to go the sentence-route? Unnecessarily adding multiple checkboxes to your forms may introduce the possibility of click fatigue and lower opt-in rates.

Here’s an example of a signup form that is GDPR compliant and does not include checkboxes:

So, when is it appropriate to use checkboxes? The GDPR requires that consent must be freely given by subscribers, and cannot be bundled with unrelated actions. Keeping this in mind, here are two examples where checkboxes are required to be compliant with the GDPR:

Example #1

Let’s say you’re a retailer and you want to send marketing emails to your customers after they make a purchase, as well as share their data with other companies within your retail group. Under the GDPR, you cannot bundle their purchase with consent to send marketing emails.

Instead, a separate consent should be captured at the point of purchase that is specific to the purpose of sending marketing emails or sharing their data with partner companies. You might decide to use a separate checkbox to capture this secondary consent.

Example #2

Let’s say you’re a financial institution and you want to allow third parties to use customers’ payment details for marketing purposes. Under GDPR, this type of processing activity (i.e., the sharing of payment information for marketing purposes) is not necessary for the performance of the contract or agreement with the customer. Consent must be freely given, and if a customer refuses consent, the institution would not be able to deny services or increase fees. That would be a violation of the GDPR.

If you would like to share subscribers’ data with other parties, you should use a checkbox to allow them to give their consent freely. And keep in mind that these checkboxes cannot be pre-checked.
Myth #3: “I need to use double opt-in to be compliant with the GDPR.”
Double opt-in (a.k.a confirmed opt-in) is when your subscribers sign up for something — like a newsletter — and then they’re asked to also confirm their subscription.

Some “experts” are stating that the GDPR requires double opt-in to prove consent.

This is incorrect.

As I mentioned in myth #1, the GDPR simply requires that you can prove the compliant consent. The act of entering personal information into a signup form and clicking “submit” can be considered an affirmative action, as long as the subscriber was clearly and directly informed of what they are accepting.

However, double opt-in is not necessarily a bad thing. There are lots of great reasons to use it, including better subscriber engagement and deliverability. You just don’t need to use it to be compliant with the GDPR.
Myth #4: “Subscribers’ personal data that’s already in our database isn’t subject to the GDPR.”
This one is closely related to myth #1.

The GDPR applies to all personal data — even data that was collected prior to May 25, 2018.

If you cannot prove consent for all of your existing subscribers, you should send a re-engagement email to obtain that consent.
Myth #5: “My data is stored with my service provider, so it’s their responsibility to remain compliant with the GDPR, not mine.”
We touched on the relationship between data processors (e.g., AWeber) and data controllers  (i.e., you, the one sending the emails) in our previous GDPR blog post. But let’s dive deeper to dispel this myth.

Data processors and data controllers share responsibility for complying with the GDPR requirements. As an AWeber customer, you are still considered the data controller. You maintain control over how you use that data. AWeber is simply processing the data at your request.

So, it’s not an option to pass responsibility to a service provider who is processing data on your behalf. We recommend that you seek legal and other professional counsel to determine exactly your role and relationship to the data being processed.
Myth #6: “If I’m not compliant by May 25, I’ll get hit with huge fines.”
Anyone reading the GDPR fine print is likely nervous when they see the hefty fines associated with not being GDPR compliant. (Enough to make your palms sweat!)

However, EU officials indicate that fines would likely be a last resort.

Here’s what Elizabeth Denham, the U.K.’s information commissioner, had to say in a recent blog post:
“It’s scaremongering to suggest that we’ll be making early examples of organizations for minor infringements or that maximum fines will become the norm,” she said. “The ICO’s commitment to guiding, advising, and educating organisations about how to comply with the law will not change under the GDPR. We have always preferred the carrot to the stick.”

“While fines may be the sledgehammer in our toolbox, we have access to lots of other tools that are well-suited to the task at hand and just as effective,” she continued. “The GDPR gives us a suite of sanctions to help organisations comply – warnings, reprimands, corrective orders. While these will not hit organisations in the pocket – their reputations will suffer a significant blow.”
If you’re taking the necessary steps to understand and follow the GDPR regulations and engage in good email marketing best practices, you are on the right path to protecting yourself.
Keep calm and email on
On the surface, the new GDPR may appear scary and ominous, but it’s actually pretty straight forward. And it’s a good thing for email marketers, too.

It really comes down to doing the right thing with the personal data you collect. Only send emails and information to people who’ve given you permission to do so for the purpose you told them.

To learn more about the GDPR, visit

Have questions? Comment below, or contact our team, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Not an AWeber customer? Get the peace of mind of working with a trusted provider. Try AWeber free for 30 days.

The post 6 Myths about the GDPR and Email Marketing Debunked appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business

I discovered this information and hope that you find it interesting and that you make a suggestion in the comment area below.

What is Google My Business?

GMB is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. That includes adding your business name, location, and hours; monitoring and replying to customer reviews; adding photos; learning where and how people are searching for you, and more.

If you’re just getting started with local SEO, your Google My Business listing is a great place to focus your early efforts. After all, when people search for a product or service near them, they’re usually very close to making a purchase — one in two people who conduct a local search (think “watch repair near me”) visit a store that day. So it’s important the information about your business that shows up when people search Google is as accurate, complete, and optimized as possible.

To learn how to create your Google My Business account, verify your business, and make its listing as strong as possible, read on. 

Create an account and claim your business
Verify your business
Optimize your listing
Download the GMB app
Know the difference between Google My Business, Google Places, and Google+

Is Google My Business free?

GMB is completely free to use. The only requirement for using it is that you must have some face-to-face interaction with your customers — in other words, you can’t operate 100% online.

Create a Google My Business Listing

Step 1: Log into the Google Account you want associated with your business (or create a Google Account if you don’t already have one).
Step 2: Go to and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner.
Step 3: Enter your business name.

Step 4: Enter your business address. 

Step 5: If you go to your customers’ locations, rather than having them come to you, check the box “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” And if you work out of your house or another address you don’t want publicly shown, Check “Hide my address (it’s not a store) Only show region.” Finally, select your Delivery area.

Step 6: Choose your business category. Try to choose the most accurate category possible — you’re essentially telling Google which type of customers should see your business listing.
Step 7: Add your business phone number or website.
Step 8: Choose a verification option. If you’re not ready to verify your business yet, click “Try a different method” → “Later.”

How to Verify Your Business on Google

There are several ways to verify your GMB listing:

By postcard
By phone
By email
Instant verification
Bulk verification

Postcard Verification

Step 1: If you aren’t already logged into Google My Business, sign in now and choose the business you want to verify. (If you’re already logged in, you’ll be at the verification step.)
Step 2: Make sure your business address is correct. Optional: Add a contact name — that’s who the postcard will be addressed to.

Step 3: Click “Mail.” The postcard should reach you in five days — make sure you don’t edit your business name, address, or category (or request a new code) before it comes, because this could delay the process.
Step 4: Once you’ve gotten the postcard, log into Google My Business. If you have more than one business location, select the location you want to verify. If you only have one, select “Verify now.”
Step 5: In the Code field, enter the five-digit verification code on your postcard. Click “Submit.”

If your postcard never shows up, or you lose it, you can request a new code by signing into Google My Business and clicking the “Request another code” blue banner at the top of the screen.

Phone verification

Google lets some businesses verify their location by phone. If you’re eligible, you’ll see the “Verify by phone” option when you start the verification process.

Step 1: If you aren’t already logged into Google My Business, sign in now and choose the business you want to verify. (If you’re already logged in, you’ll be at the verification step.)
Step 2: Make sure your phone number is correct, then choose “Verify by phone.”

Step 3: Enter the verification code from the text you receive.

Email verification

Google lets some businesses verify their location by phone. If you’re eligible, you’ll see the “Verify by email” option when you start the verification process.

Step 1: If you aren’t already logged into Google My Business, sign in now and choose the business you want to verify. (If you’re already logged in, you’ll be at the verification step.)
Step 2: Make sure your email address is correct, then choose “Verify by email.”
Step 3: Go to your inbox, open the email from Google My Business, and click the verification button in the email.

Instant verification

If you’ve already verified your business with Google Search Console (a free tool that lets you manage your website’s search performance and health), you might be able to instantly verify your email.

Step 1: Sign into Google My Business with the same account you used to verify your business with Google Search Console. (Some business categories aren’t eligible for instant verification, so if you don’t get a notification asking you to verify the listing, you’ll have to use a different verification method.)

Bulk verification

If you operate more than 10 locations for the same business — and you’re not a service business or an agency managing locations for multiple businesses — you might be eligible for bulk verification.

Step 1: If you aren’t already logged into Google My Business, sign in now and choose a location. Click “Get verified” next to its name.
Step 2: Click “Chain.”
Step 3: Fill out the verification form with your business name (as well as the parent company, if applicable), country or countries where you operate, all contact names (i.e. everyone who will be using the Google My Business account), contact phone number, business manager email (someone at the business who can verify you’re a representative of that business), and the email address of your Google Account Manager. 
Step 4: Submit the verification form. It can take up to a week for Google to review and process your claim.

How to Optimize Your GMB Listing

Once you’ve verified your business, it’s time to finish fleshing out your profile. 

Go to the Google My Business dashboard, click the listing you’d like to work on, select “Info,” and then choose a section to fill out or update.

Add as much information and media as you can, including a business profile photo, the area you serve, your hours, attributes (e.g. “wheelchair accessible,” “free wifi”), the day and year you opened, and a public phone number and website URL.

Anyone can “suggest an edit” to your listing, so it’s important to A) get everything right the first time (so you don’t encourage random people to make their own changes) and B) periodically log into your GMB dashboard and make sure all the details look right.

At any point in time, you can edit your business profile by logging into your GMB dashboard, clicking on “Info,” clicking the pencil next to the field you’d like to edit, making your change, and then choosing “Apply.”

Google My Business Photos

According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps. 

Photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high and JPG or PNG files. 

Not sure how many pictures to add — or what they should be of?

Cover photo

Your Google My Business cover photo is one of the most important, as it shows up front and center on your listing. 

Profile photo

Your profile photo is what appears when you upload new photos, videos, or review responses.

Along with your profile and cover photos, you can and should upload other pictures to make your listing more informative and engaging.

Google-recommended minimum

The outside of your business from different directions.
 Three photos
Use pictures from different times of day (morning, afternoon, evening) so customers always recognize your business.

The inside of your business, with a focus on decor and ambiance.
Three photos
Give customers an accurate idea of what it will look like to stand or sit inside your business.

A representation of the types of products or services you offer.
One photo per product type or service
Show the products you’re known for and make sure the photos are lit well.

Employees at work
“Action” shots of your employees delivering the types of services you offer.
Try to capture your employees with satisfied customers.

Food and drink
Pictures that represent your most popular menu items.
Consider hiring a food photographer — these are tricky to get right! If that’s not in the budget, use bright, even lighting (i.e. no shadows or dimness).

Common areas
Photos of where your customers will spend time (think a lobby or lounge).
One photo per common area
Represent the variety of amenities you offer.

Pictures of your different room and suite options (if applicable).
Don’t try to mislead guests — show your wallet-friendly and high-end options.

A shot of your management team and staff.
 Use pictures that show your unique culture and team personality.

Google My Business Videos

You can also add videos. Videos must be:

30 seconds or shorter
100 MB or smaller
720p resolution or higher

Videos can add some variety to your profile and make you stand out among other businesses in your category; however, don’t worry if you don’t have any — unlike photos, they’re not a “must have.”

Google My Business Reviews

One of the best ways to encourage future customers to leave positive reviews? Respond to current ones. Not only does leaving an appreciate response show the original reviewer you’re thankful for their support, it also makes that positive review stand out on your listing and influences people to leave their own reviews.

Here’s a sample reply to a satisfied customer:

Thank you for your business, [name]! We’re so glad you enjoyed [product, e.g. “the blueberry pie”] — it’s one of our favorites, as well. Hope to see you back at [business name] soon. 

You should also respond to negative reviews to show you take them seriously and placate the unhappy buyer. But make sure you’re extremely courteous — attacking them back will only make you look unprofessional and their review more credible.

Thank you for the feedback, [name], and I’m incredibly sorry [product/experience] did not meet your expectations. [If you’ve made a change, mention it here — e.g., “We’re now double-checking orders to make sure everyone gets exactly what they asked for.”] If you’d like to come back in, we’d be happy to give you [product] on the house. In any case, thanks for your business, and I hope we can do better next time.

Google My Business App

Google My Business is also available in app form for both iOS and Android.

You can use the app to:

Update your business hours, location, contact information, and description
Post statuses and pictures
View search insights

You cannot use the app to:

Delete your business listing
Change its settings
Give ownership of the listing to another user

Google My Business vs. Google Places for Business vs. Google+

If you’re confused about the many names and options for managing your Google presence, you’ve got a right to be. Google Places used to be Google’s tool for owners to manage their business profiles, but it was retired in 2014. Now Google My Business is the central hub to manage how your business appears on Google Search, Maps, and Google+.

So, what’s Google+? It’s Google’s social network (the closest example is probably Facebook). You can join or start Communities — public or private groups organized around a theme, like Knitting — and follow or create Collections — think Pinterest boards. 

A Google+ account for your business lets you interact with niche groups and post pictures and updates. In other words, it’s like a Facebook page for your business. You can access your Google+ account from your Google My Business dashboard (but a Google+ account isn’t necessary to have a GMB account).

Here’s the TL;DR:

Do you need a Google+ account? No — and if you’re short on time, it might be better to focus on other marketing and/or social media channels. 

Do you need a Google My Business account? If you’re targeting local customers, I highly recommend it.

Will this solve a problem you are having and show what you could be doing}? I really hope that you enjoyed the information.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this topic.

Along with this information, I have used other informations that I would like to share with you for FREE. Click the button below to discover what has taught me to be a better author. I think that this will assist you too so that you can be successful in your niche.

As an incentive, I would like to show you a FREE course as my gift for watching, and buying, the package that relates to this article.

Thank you, and please don’t forget to leave your comments in the section below.

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