Interacting with Followers


Interacting With Followers Is Crucial To Your Business. Learn Why!

Content marketing is strengthened exponentially with social media in mind. You can rely on search Social Media Brandingengines to a degree to help bring you a certain amount of traffic, but if you want to accelerate loyalty and possibly sales, you will need to interact with followers through social media. The most popular social networks are Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You don’t need a presence on each of them, just the ones that suit your goals.

The Power of Interaction

The quote from Ian Conklin that “clients want to believe they found you .. not that you found them” applies to search engines, websites and social media as vehicles for knowledge discovery. People feel rewarded by making the right connections in their networks. Take advantage of the fact that half the world is now looking to make new friends online through social media to help with problem solving and possibly career advancement.

Interaction through the internet is a much more empowering form of communication than a person who passively absorbs television or radio programming. Social media can deliver immediate answers and responses faster than email or any other electronic medium besides the telephone. Social media is more convenient than the telephone, which can be interruptive at times, whereas people with social profiles crave attention. Another strength that social media offers is group discussion that can expand through content sharing.

Mixing Art with Messages

Putting Paint to Canvas

Putting Paint to Canvas

What’s spectacular about social media sharing is that it allows you to express yourself in artistic ways that had previously not been possible. You can now easily associate your message with a song, a movie clip or a painting to help reach a common ground with followers. Sharing original art, music, video or photography with your message can give a personal touch to your campaign. It’s easy to type a post with a link to your blog or article and upload other media at the same time, creating a multidimensional post.

Posting news articles with artistic graphics and a theme that goes along with your writing is a creative way to lead followers to your content. Facebook and Google Plus give you flexibility for combining multiple links on one post. The visual imagery helps pull in readers from their news feed, which is important, since only about 15 percent of your Facebook friends will see your posts in news feeds. Facebook learns through “likes” and comments what the most active friends are for each individual and serves them their own individual news feed of top connections. So it’s important to create as many impressive posts as possible to increase visibility.

Comments and Likes

Your social media interactivity should include reading other people’s posts as well as writing your own. You can write comments on people’s “walls” on Facebook just by clicking their names. If someone likes your comment it’s a good idea to like their comments at least once in a while. It helps remind them of your content and builds a connection that keeps your feeds active.
Adding new unknown followers on Facebook can be done for a business profile, but is discouraged for personal profiles, so you may want to have two separate profiles on Facebook.

Google Plus is more about building new relationships online and engaging in more about knowledge, while Facebook has a more fun and casual orientation. Both social networks allow you to create subgroups focused on specific discussions. Twitter is more about promoting links with simple short statements.Take the lead in content marketing by interacting with followers on a level that creates a meaningful bond that is mutually beneficial.

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Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.


SEO – Improving Search Rankings


SEO – Improving Search Rankings

Search rankings will be responsible for a major percentage of the traffic that comes to your site if you use search engine optimization (SEO). Keywords, relevance, content quality, content quantity, popularity and authoritative reputation are the most essential components of this process for building an online community.

SEO Checklist

Here are several elements your website needs to strengthen its SEO. Keep in mind that search engine guidelines have been evolving for years and may be different in the future. The following are some of the more timeless elements that have survived the algorithm changes. Another reality to remember is no one can guarantee specific search rankings using SEO.

1. Create a sitemap that outlines your site, linked from the homepage.
2. Exchange links only with quality sites relevant to your site.
3. Use relevant web page titles that contain keywords.
4. Write unique quality content designed to improve the user experience.
5. Avoid creating web pages far away from the root directory.
6. Stay away from JavaScript, AJAX, Flash and Frames as much as possible.
7. Keep adding fresh content to your site as often as possible.
8. Use keywords for links within your site instead of “click here.”
9. Make your site as user-friendly as possible with easy navigation.
10.Avoid spamming keywords or other outdated black hat tricks.

White Hat vs Black Hat

Learn the difference between white hat SEO, which follows search engine guidelines, and black hat SEO, SEOwhich could get your site banned. Google and other search engines reward sites with strong useful content, while penalizing sites for thin and useless content or tricks designed to manipulate search results. As long as you keep in mind that all your content should be crafted for the user and not to trick search engines, you should not have to worry about getting banned from search engines.

Since search engines will eventually catch up with new deceptive gimmicks, it’s best to focus on developing quality content. A site can get banned for several reasons, such as links to worthless or malicious sites, overuse of ads or sites that share servers with banned sites. The best SEO advice you can memorize is to avoid all black hat schemes and pay attention to increasing your compelling content.

Focus on Content, Not Techniques

Even though there are several search engines, Google is by far the most popular and should be your main concern for SEO. But try not to get too wrapped up in the SEO game because it can distract from your goals of attracting customers with useful content. Spend more time on making your content as relatable and relevant as possible to your audience.

Not all SEO techniques work equally for all site owners. If you own an educational site, then links from .edu sites can help your search rankings. If you’re a local business then you should get listed in as many credible local directories as possible, such as Google Places for Business, Yelp and Zagat.

General Tips for All Sites

Getting +1’s in Google+ can help your search rank in Google more than Facebook likes. Keep your blogs at least in the 400-600 word range with keyword density below seven percent and never buy links.The content should appeal to influencers, such as expert bloggers, so that it has a chance of being reviewed by other sites.Images are best indexed when they include captions that relate to the content and include ALT tags.Take the lead in content marketing by sharpening your focus on the most important elements of SEO, which are quality-text, images and links.

Would you like to get relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.


Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Content Marketing – Thought Leadership


Content Marketing – Thought Leadership

The core objective that determines whether or not content marketing will be worth the enormous amount of time and effort is thought leadership. Are you able to become a thought leader in your field or are you more comfortable with being a follower? If you just want to be a follower you will inevitably be overshadowed in search rankings by more creative competitors. Thought leadership is about assuming command and determination in your industry at creating a huge community of followers.

Modern Expertise

Traditionally, leadership in general in our culture was reserved for the few who chose Content Marketing - Thought Leaderspaths through higher education or may have already been born into powerful circles. Rarely were mainstream people expected to become heads of big corporations or invent products that change the world. Experts were considered individuals with degrees from prestigious universities, professors, high profile business leaders and people with years of experience in their trade. Authors of books released by major publishers gained similar credibility.

Thanks to Google and other search engines, the definition of “expert” now includes a longer list of people who might not have those traditional qualifications that define expertise. Apple innovator Steve Jobs also inspired a new culture of people who want to change the world. These inspiring tech pioneers elevated the confidence of many people to pursue innovation as a vehicle for attention and respect. It’s now ok to go against the status quo and offer new ideas to improve systems and products. People who inform and inspire others online with original content are now called thought leaders.

Gaining a Competitive Edge

Study your competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses. You may not be able to counter their strengths but you may find creative ways to counter their weaknesses. Perhaps they have limitations that are short-sighted. Even if you do not have the means to offer a better product you can still use their weaknesses to your advantage by commenting on them. Look for weaknesses that you can be the first to comment on and offer ideas for improvement.

If you can develop a steady stream of ideas that can improve your industry, you can take the lead in content marketing by utilizing business blogging. One rant isn’t going to change the world much, but a series of well thought out blogs can at least start to attract like minded followers who can convert to customers. As OTR Web Solutions President Ian Conklin has said, “clients want to believe they found you .. not that you found them.” 

Blogs are important because search engines regard them as potentially authoritative and prioritize them in rankings. That’s how many people end up connecting with thought leaders.

Video Credibility

Making informative videos adds to your credibility as a thought leader. YouTube has become the new encyclopaedia for people to gain knowledge quickly from trusted thought leaders. While blogs are meant to be personable written journalism, video can be even more personable and memorable. Now that online video has become so popular, a huge body of evidence is showing that people are more likely to remember what they see in an online video than what they read in a book. One reason for this phenomenon is that viewers can start and stop videos whenever they want.

The ability for people to learn from video has accelerated the time frame of learning curves in our society. The more you can inform people in videos, the more they will regard you as a helpful thought leader and want to check out more of your videos. Sharing your videos on social networks will help increase views.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Is SEO Dead Alive or Just Different


Is SEO Dead or Alive?

We have all read the (often self proclaimed) pundits writing articles about how SEO is dead and web masters are wasting their time and money concentrating on that aspect of their websites. As in most blanket type statements there is some truth and some non-truths in such a statement.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO or Natural SEO is alive and well – always has been and in my opinion always will be an effective and important tool for web masters. In simplistic terms Organic SEO comes about from researching the key phrases your website readers will use to search for your product or service.  Those phrases must then be placed within your web copy in such a manner as to attract not only the search bots but also your website reader…compelling them to take a specific action. Remarkable web content is still king.

Organic SEO also involves your website structure and navigation scheme by developing your website so as to assist the requirements of the search engines. In other words the back-end of your website, the part you do not see, must be coded to be effectively read by search engines such as Google or Bing.

If you build or have built a website without these elements (and yes there are many web designers that pay only lip service, if any to these critical elements of a website) you will find your website buried about 50 to 100 pages back on Google.

Not So Organic SEO

There hardly seems to be a day or a week that goes by that I do not get an email or phone call from a company the “specialises” in SEO. You answer the phone and you hear the crackling noise of an overseas caller telling you in not so good English how they can get your website number 1 on Google! Or the email comes across your desk extolling the virtues of their company and talking about link building and only “White Hat” strategies and techniques. Ever notice that most times the email is not from a business address but rather a free email service such as GMAIL or Hotmail or Live? RUN is the best advice I can give.

Then there are the companies that specialised in print ad books. They suddenly came to the understanding that they were falling behind, becoming irrelevant and jumped into SEO late in the game. They often coerced you into staying with their print ads by combining with their new super duper SEO packages. Those SEO packages seem eerily similar to the ones being developed and maintained by those offshore companies … with the same link building techniques and on-page web strategies. I have looked at the page coding on some and just shuddered.

Is this orchestrated type of SEO dead? … well if it is not it probably should be and with the changes in algorithms of the search engines, it will soon be dead and possibly your website along with it.

Where is SEO Alive and Well

SEO has become an entire package of responsibilities for your web marketing firm. Encompassing not just a new website with Organic SEO, but Social Media, Business Blogging, Email Marketing (to opted in recipients) and Online Video amongst others. This package when bundled together is called Inbound Marketing. Drawing customers to your product or service.

I penned a phrase in an earlier blog about Brand Strategies Inbound Marketing. In that blog I wrote, “clients want to believe they found you … not that you found them” in other words the days of cold calling on potential clients or invasive marketing techniques are long dead. Today a potential client recognises a need and searches to find the answer and that is when your information needs to be available. Sounds  a whole lot like SEO to me.

Take the Lead in SEO – access our eBook on Creating Remarkable Content

Creating remarkable content is still king in SEO. It is just that today that remarkable content is across a wider spectrum of media. Yes SEO is alive and well.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Creative Content Marketing Ideas


Content Marketing – Ideas for Creative Content

Content marketing is all about storytelling. Without this major ingredient, the recipe is flawed. It’s about connecting with people and building an audience that’s already searching for the topic in search engines with keywords. All you need to do is expand on those keywords and turn them into stories that you can share through different media, such as your website, blog, newsletter and social media profile.

Several formats can be used for content marketing. Essentially, it involves whatever typecontent marketing is all about telling your story of multimedia you’re comfortable with. Content can be created and shared in the form of text, audio, images, charts, info-graphics, videos or innovative new types of media. Many successful campaigns are built on a large quantity of text mixed with graphics or other media.

Planning Ahead

The first step to contenting marketing is mapping out the universe of possibilities for content ideas. Like keywords, start with general concepts and move toward specific detail. Creating outlines will help guide you to expanding on content because outlines will tell you where the story is leading.

Before setting out on this adventure of producing material, do some research and experience for yourself your topics. Gather information and organize it in a way that’s easy to use for your own reference purposes. Some people create different word documents for different topics and store them in one folder on their computer. Others like to create multiple folders stored in one folder.

Evergreen Content

Plan on creating evergreen instead of static content. Evergreen means something that will always be fresh for the people who discover it the first time, as opposed to content that becomes dated. Almost any subject can be treated in an evergreen style.

Evergreen content can be achieved if you tell a story in an historical context. In other words, the statement “gas prices are $3.50 per gallon” will become outdated, whereas the statement “gas prices hovered around $3.50 per gallon in 2013” is more of a timeless fact that will always have relevance as a time marker.

The reason you want to present your content in an evergreen style is that it saves you the work from eventually changing or eliminating content. Once web pages are created they become part of Google’s index. Even though Google encourages fresh content, they still give old web pages high rankings if they present useful information.

Problem Solving

Think about the buying cycle of your customer. Plan stories that will lead to when it’s right to buy your service or product. Important components of storytelling should be about problems and solutions. Make a list of what your customers tend to complain about. You can do this by studying existing reviews on sites within your industry. Create stories that address these issues.

Tell your story in a conversational manner, even if what you are selling is technical. Content marketing is all about humanizing your brand as opposed to last century’s marketing strategy for bigger than life mystique. Figure out how to tell the same stories in different ways so that you can recycle content that links together. Pay attention to word count and try to get it up to several hundred words per page.

Original ideas

Make your content as original as possible, which helps search rankings and your credibility with followers. Some of the ways to craft original content are to write about your historical perspectives, interviews with experts and lists of tips for efficiency. Check what your competitors are doing and do something different. Write about what the industry needs to improve. Give your readers something they can be excited about so that they’ll share it with friends.

Take the Lead in Content Marketing – Access the OTR eBook on Remarkable Content

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


What is a Landing Page and Why Do I need One


 What is a Landing Page and Why Do I need One

A landing page is not just any page in a website. It’s a crucial page that can make or break your marketing campaign. And by extension, it can help or hurt your sales.

This is why professionals spend hours poring over landing pages. They don’t stop at stunning pages. Testing and tweaking are part of their job too. The result of their hard work is a perfect landing page that converts well for a long time.

Take the lead now by creating landing pages that convert.

What Exactly is a Landing Page?

Your website’s home page is a landing page. But it can also be any other page where visitors are prompted to make a specific action or result. An effective landing page contains a lead form for obtaining a visitor’s information. It can be a simple email campaign page where visitors are promoted to fill out a form with their name and email address. Or it can be a detailed data capture form with more than four fields.

What Can You Get from a Good Landing Page?

You may have seen hundreds of landing pages already. The question is, are they any good? Have all of them convinced you to sign up or give up some of your personal information? Realize that only a handful of them are effective. So if you’re going to design a landing page, make sure it’s a good one to get all of these benefits:

Increased Conversion Rates

Targeted landing pages are likely to raise your chances of converting traffic into leads. They can, for instance, encourage visitors to sign up and receive product offers and recommendations from your company. You can personalized these offers and recommendations so that prospects are likely to buy.

Establish Lasting Relationships

Of course, landing pages can prompt actions other than buy this or proceed to checkout. When people fill in a form, they are at the same time entrusting their personal details to your company. This comes with caveat of course. Never ever break their trust. Send them useful stuff only. Make friends with them through helpful information and irresistible offers.

Getting people’s trust and actually making money out of your marketing efforts are two compelling reasons to craft an high-converting landing page. Don’t worry if you’re not a designer, you only have to familiarize yourself with winning landing pages and understand the basics.

What Makes Landing Pages Effective?

You don’t need technical knowledge to create a good landing page. But you do have to be brilliant at the basics. Here’s how.

>Less is more, especially in design. So keep your design clean and simple. This will help visitors focus on the product you’re offering or call-to-action. Your design should make it easier for visitors to focus. Anything unnecessary will only distract your visitor from completing an action.

>Make it easier for visitors to thoughtfully consume content. Use enough white-space for them to think. Doing so will help them make sense of what your product or service is about. You don’t rush them into buying and regret their purchases later. But you do give them the necessary push to buy or get something valuable.

>Create responsive landing pages or design for multiple platforms: full-size and 11-inch monitors, mobile and tablet screens. The percentage of users using smartphones and tablets for researching and buying is rising. Don’t miss out on these opportunities.

>Hire a professional copywriter who perfectly understands your business and your target audience.

>Use relevant images and videos. Also, be wary of using stock photos. Use fresh, relatable and unique photos instead.

 Take the Lead with our free 48 page eBook – How To Use Landing Pages For Business

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Brand Strategy Developing a Narrative


Brand Strategy Developing a Narrative

A crucial component to your brand marketing strategy is developing a voice in your communication with followers that becomes recognizable. That voice, also known asBrand Strategy Marketing narrative, can be in the form of a speaking voice or a writing style. It’s OK to hire different bloggers to create the volumes of content necessary for inbound marketing to be effective, but make sure they are all on the same page as far as delivering a consistent narrative. The narrative is the voice that tells your brand’s story.

Every Niche Tells a Story

If you can’t think of stories to tell about each of your brand’s niches, it’s time to fine tune those niches or find better ones. A marketable niche is one that tells a story about how people got very frustrated with products that didn’t deliver what they promised, then one day they found your solution and life became so much better. The narrative is the personality that offers tone and perspective to that story. It can be subjective and emotional or objective and rational. It can even be a mix of both approaches.

You can shape your narrative by brainstorming with colleagues to develop a list of keywords and concepts that are central to your brand. Fill up a page with words by thinking on two levels: general themes and specific details. Imagine you are writing a book and that the general themes are the chapters and the specific details are the text in those chapters. Then start building sentences around those words. Your passion about your unique products and the people who you want to use them will help drive the narrative.

Natural Voices

Your brand marketing strategy will have a huge advantage by embracing a quality that innovative businesses are already catching onto, which is a humanistic attitude, whether objective or subjective. As long as consumers know you care about their needs and aren’t just in business to make a quick buck, they will likely choose your narrative over an old fashioned approach that spoke at them as statistics instead of to them as individuals. Part of the reason radio has struggled to adjust to the new economy is that the internet offers more trustworthy narratives. People are now more likely to base purchases on Amazon reviews than radio commercials or something an announcer said between songs.

Let the narrative be defined not by what everyone else in your field is doing, but by the story you want to tell. The point is that you want your narrative, like your niche, to stand out from a crowd of competitors. One way to do that is just be yourself. We are rapidly departing from the “one size fits all” attitude about marketing and the idea that certain formulas must dictate how we interact with customers. In radio’s heyday, commercials that conformed to slick formulas were the rule. Radio professionals used to say “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” But they took that mantra too far and listeners grew tired of hearing similar voices from station to station. These days consumers are more likely to trust voices that sound more like everyday people.

Narrative Elements

In literature narrative elements are the components of storytelling that point to the big picture, such as introduction, setting, characters, foreshadowing, storyline and climax. The writer is the voice that ties all those narrative elements together. As you read through the story, pieces of the big picture start to come into view and you feel smarter the more you put those pieces together. A brand marketing strategy shares the same process.

Take the Lead  eBook on the 10 Commandments of Marketing Automation.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.
OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


SMB Web Design


SMB Web Design

Many business websites were designed with no purpose other than existence. However, the evolution of marketing and the Internet has transformed the business website into lead, traffic, and sales generating a multi-functioning marketing tool. The undeniable benefits of a well-designed site has caused several business owners to ponder over which provider can deliver the best product for the best price in the least amount of time as possible.     

With three apparent options, business owners may employ the shade-tree web designer, who also doubles as a nephew that creates pages from his bedroom after school. After the nephew, they can choose either a do-it-yourself website builder or enlist the services of a the professional web design company. In either case, you must take the lead and ensure your website meets your expectations and produces the desired results.

Take the Lead by Understanding These Terms in Web Design

Inbound marketing is the notion of attracting customers to your site by providing the information that users are searching for. The most effective inbound strategies are developed and incorporated into the fibers of the web page.

Copywriting refers to all of the text that appears as content on the page.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about making your website more visible onwebsite elements a search engine results page. As one of the primary objections of any web site, getting seen is directly correlated to high revenue. The most effective SEO campaigns are the result of being interwoven into the creation of the website.

Search engine friendly refers to the ease that search engine crawlers are able to index and find your page.

HTML5 code is the new Internet language that offers an impending focus on multimedia without the need for plugins. HTML5 was developed to allow low-powered devices like smartphones to run heavy content. Additionally, it allows for the development of universal or cross-platform mobile apps. Overall, HTML5 offers significantly more control over the design of your page.

Cascading Style Sheets 3 (CSS3) is responsible for the style and design of the page. CSS3 bolsters the capabilities of a web designer with enhanced aesthetic appeal and functionality on the website.

The Nephew or Friend of a Friend

While your nephew may offer the most cost-effective method for website creation,
it is highly doubtable that your nephew will be able to create the functionality that is required. With the amazing growth of HTML5, newer and more appealing features are consistently being created. If your nephew is not familiar with the newer code, your site will quickly begin to look old compared to the other sites that use HTML5. In addition to having to develop your own web content (rather than making use of professional copywriters), your nephew will in all likelihood completely negate the importance of intertwining SEO and inbound marketing into the core of the website.

Take the Lead with a Do-it-Yourself Website Builder

DIY site builders are excellent for start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to get their website online quickly and then perfect the site along the way. With a  template website, your page won’t break the bank or consume too much of your time. The all inclusive DIY website builder removes the coding process from website design and replaces it with the benefits of drop-and-drag. To begin, you simply choose a template and personalize it with your own tweaks and changes until it looks how you envisioned. DIY website builders also allow you to choose your domain name, work at your own pace, and web hosting is included with the DIY builder. Many DIY builders can generate a mobile-friendly version for smartphones.

There are however pitfalls. One of the major downsides of DIY website builders is the lack of customization in creating a website that reflects your corporate brand. Instead, the DIY website builder offers templates, which can leave a generic impression on visitors. As for SEO, you are left to optimize the page yourself and that can be a daunting task. Many time business owners using the DIY site builders quit in frustration due to the complexity of using the tool itself.

The greatest benefit of using a DIY website builder is the ability to work on your page at your individual pace and the low cost involved. If you have the time (remember also the cost of your time) and are willing to learn about SEO and copywriting as well as the actual DIY website builder tool, then the DIY website builder can be a good solution for you and your business.

Take the Lead with a Professional Web Design Company

Everyone knows that two heads are better than one. A professional web design company uses collaboration from copywriters, graphic designers, SEO professionals, software developers, inbound marketing strategists, project managers and several others to produce fully functional and highly attractive websites. The effectiveness of a professional web design company is the result of a team effort composed of different backgrounds. By using industry experts, a professional web design company delivers highly functional, unique, responsive, and profitable websites with both SEO and inbound marketing effectively interwoven into the website architecture and content.

With the many benefits of using a professional web design company, one disadvantage can be the upfront cost. Even with some services being a la carte, employing a design team can seem to be costly. In addition, a professional web design company will generally take approximately five to eight weeks to complete the site by the time they layout the navigation, create the design concepts, develop buyer persona’s, interview the key parties, research key phrases and then write the web content.

Creating a website that works for you and your clients takes time, no matter whether you do it yourself or hire a web team.

Take the Lead Download the OTR eBook – 10 Step Checklist Website Redesign

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.
OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website Development requirements Contact OTR Web.


Responding to a Blog Post to Your Own SEO Advantage


Responding to a Blog Post to Your Own SEO Advantage

If you write any amount of blogs you will have had the experience of receiving comments back (often software driven or many times written by an offshore SEO specialist and most times in poor English) that hopefully your spam blocker catches or if  not, you read and think, you have to be kidding me! Here is one from a clients site. This one was written well enough that the Askimet Plug In ( a pretty good WP spam detector) was not certain about it  and placed in the possible spam box. “Car shopping can be very time consuming. There are plenty of cars you can look at, as well as a handful of factors to consider. You need to make sure you are aware of what you need to make it a better experience. Consider the following helpful advice for making things easier on you.”  All good except the blog post was about personal life coaching! Into the spam bucket it went, even though it was manually placed there. The bottom line is the comment never made the light of day on the blog.

The main SEO reason for commenting was the hard sought after authoritative back-link. In times past many blogs designated the link back to your website as “follow” whereas now most are designated as “no-follow” and as such there is not the benefit of back-links from different sources. BUT there are still a benefits to be gained if you are willing to put in the time.

Improve Your Visibility with a well written comment in a related blog. Almost always your link is included with a blog comment and there is a good chance the reader will go to your blog and read it …. IF your comment is actually helpful and not just spam.

Establish Credibility again with a well written comment. Just adding a comment without having actually read the blog and the other comments will just make you look silly and will probably never get published. Be sure you know your topic and speak authoritatively and you will enhance your brand and market.

Build Relationships again with a well written comment. When you write intelligently about a topic you encourage responses and that builds relationships not only with the readers but also with other industry specialists. They all like to read good intelligent comments, sometimes they might disagree but the responses create ongoing dialogue.

Back-links, again with a well written comment you can capture the attention of the blog author as well as the the readers that have commented. Blog authors love authoritative and intelligent commentary and will often encourage you to write more by including your link in their post.

Did you happen to notice the key phrase in each of the points? I will repeat it again “A well written comment” that is relative to the original blog post (which you have actually read) and the ensuing comments will most often capture peoples attention and draw a response. By all means at the end of your comment leave an open-ended CTA such as, “I’d love to discuss this further, feel free to drop me an email.”

If you want to learn more about how to use blogs to your SEO advantage then click the link below to gain some valuable tips.

Your comments are always welcome.


Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements  Contact OTR Web.


Hashtags on Facebook Can Make You Look Silly


Hashtags on Facebook Can Make You Look Silly

The other day I saw a Facebook Page status update that really made me wonder what the person was thinking. The status update went something like this (though I have changed it a bit so the writer doesn’t “unfriend” me) – #fabulous #weather for an #afternoon #function! #functioncompanyname helped with the #finishing #touches on two #today. #fabulousfunctions #localregion.

It is hard to know where to start on this post and reminds me of the early days of search engine optimisation (SEO) where a person would stuff the page full of keywords and the engines would dutifully pull them up. Do you remember web pages and meta tags like this, “Our Super-Duper SEO company will guarantee to get you on the first page of  all search engines  with our keyword tools and key-phrase enhanced meta tags. We submit your website to 1,000’s of search engines and build reliable back-links …” and on and on it went. The search engines got smarter and learned how to dismiss this rubbish but stuffing of keywords still pops up its ugly head – as we can see in the phrase above. 

There is a huge difference between a Twitter update and a Facebook status update. They are written to often different audiences for different purposes. Why a business would have their Twitter update post automatically to their Facebook Business Page is beyond me. You post to Twitter a number of times per day and that seems like a real good way to lose your Facebook followers who will soon feel like they are being spammed to death.

The hashtag is an effective way within Twitter to group ideas BUT the Tweet itself still has to be compelling to the reader! A well written Tweet captures the readers attention and directs them to an article, website or landing page.

For example you might write something like this for your Twitter account,” What if we were to start a conversation instead #inboundmarketing #SEO ” 

Here we have combined an effective key phrase that directs you to an article and makes use of hashtags for anyone searching within Twitter.

Facebook however is an entirely different post –   We all know that social media is vital to promoting products and services. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Pinterest, YouTube and so on, all provide different methods of delivering our message. The question is, are we doing it effectively? Are we just throwing up words on a page for people to read and then moving on to the next post by someone else, or are we grabbing the attention of the reader and beckoning them to be involved? Quite often I see social media being used by businesses as a form of advertising similar to print, TV, or radio. While this does get the message out on the web, it puts the ‘article’ in a box. It is closed.  What if we were to start a conversation instead?

Social Media is important and is critical to SEO as well as and just as importantly as creating an ongoing relationship with your customers. Sure they have to find you but then they need to be compelled to interact with you as well. Contact OTR Web for an evaluation of your online marketing.

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Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.