• Contact us:310 394.7313

State Blog

  1. The Story Behind 5 Icons Everyone Knows

    • by Admin

    Press play.

    We see a lot of icons every day and some arise in our day-to-day in such a natural way, we don’t even think of it. We all know the tumbled triangle that comes to mind whenever we think of the word ‘play’; same for the share button frequently seen in our social media timelines.
    But have you ever thought of who designed them? Is there a reason behind their format? This week we will be taking an in-depth look into these so-known symbols and the intriguing stories behind them.

    Play

    icon-play-128
    This icon is everywhere and across various media platforms. But we are left with a question: Where did it come from?!
    There is no exact idea of when this icon was originated. What we can say is that it was brought out from the 60s, the era of audiovisual and reel. The original triangle brought up the idea of time as an arrow, with its direction indicating whether time was going forward or backwards. The great success of this icon was due mainly to the globalization of the electronic equipment industry.
    Through its success, others icons have been generated from the same foundation: the triangle.

    USB

    usb-xxl
    We all have something with this icon. From the useful, ubiquitous, and cheap, the symbol is present in many devices and cables. From chargers to external drives, amongst many others, simplifying the use of many cables.
    The idea behind this symbol was Neptune Trident Dreizack. The trident symbolizes power, in the sense of being a single connector for multiple devices. The different shapes at the ends symbolize the drive.
    As this symbol is rather abstract, the three USB letters are often used instead, and the icon is to be left this way until it becomes standard on a global scale.

    Bluetooth

    bluetooth
    Of all the symbols on this list, Bluetooth definitely has the best story.
    In the tenth century, Danish King Harald Blåtand loved the blue fruit (blueberries) so much, his teeth were always stained with blue. The English translation of his last name is – you guessed it – Bluetooth.
    Bluetooth creates a secure way of exchanging data amongst several wireless devices, and its predominantly Scandinavian creators recalled the legend of the viking king, Blåtand.
    The king had an impressive ability to bring people together in negotiations without violence. The symbol represents the unified mountains of Scandinavia, as his way with words went so far as uniting Norway and Denmark as a single territory.

    On / Off

    button-on-off_318-30091
    One of the most universal symbols in existence, you will find this one across various devices. First originated in the binary system and used by engineers in World War II, the 1 means on, and the means 0 off.
    In 1973, the International Electrotechnical Commission came to the conclusion that a circle interrupted by a small bar in the center represents the state of “standby” for electronics (going back to the binary system). However, the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) found this to be a very vague definition and decided that the symbol should simply represent “on/off”.

    


    Share

    Very-Basic-Share-icon
    The icon, looking something like a diagram, was developed by Alex King in December of 2006 and bought by ShareThis in 2007. It was originally made for the generic action to share a page, whether via social bookmarking or simply via email.
    However, this icon is not uniform for all websites and social media, as you can see on several platforms. The icon is changing and left is the question of whether this one is to lead in the future.

    Some symbols are universal, but that shouldn’t stop you from looking after your own. So why don’t you give us a call? Here at ST8, our design team is ready to take over and create the best icons and logos to fit your brand.

    Read More >>
  2. What is Your Picture Worth? The Power of Image-Based Social Media Marketing

    • by Admin

    We all know the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” and, although cliche, the principle behind it could explain the latest changes in user behavior on social media.

    Research by the L2 and Olapic showed us that while brands post an average of 9.3 times on Instagram, an up from the 7.5 weekly average last year, Facebook posts decreased from 11.1 to 8.8 per week in the same timeframe. Many Facebook users are experiencing signs of social media abandonment, with an estimated three million US teens leaving Facebook between 2011 and 2014. Although they may not be deleting their accounts, there are many clear social media ‘ghosts’ who are simply not engaging.
    Brands know that everything they post on Instagram will appear in their fans’ feeds, while Facebook may or may not feature your post depending on the type of content they find appropriate for each user. And although users may “like” your page, if they are not willingly and often engaging with your content it could be months before you appear on their feed, if at all.

    Facebook’s April 2012 billion dollar acquisition of Instagram is now valued at $35 billion. The company is offering ad packages across both platforms, with Instagram focusing on aspirational branding.
    Brands find that product images in the context of lifestyle deliver much higher engagement than other posts, and they are taking over these image-based platforms with alternative forms of advertising. In addition to cultivating brand-specific accounts, many companies will also cultivate relationships with power-users. These are users with frequent presence and a huge following who can work with your brand to feature products that will reach a large audience more organically than with traditional advertising.

    Snapchat is also taking over the image-based social media marketing trend, parting from the same principle that images could be the answer to engage more consumers. Snapchat wasn’t built for brands, yet with the introduction of new features, such as discover, brands can now make the most out of their audience engagement.
    As users, we tend to post things we love, things we are excited about and we would like to share. The more authenticity you put on social media, the more you can get out of it and by pairing their efforts with the right brand advocate, companies can get the most out of users who will likely share and engage with their content, as it is associated with their likes and personality. As a brand, being relatable can be one of your most powerful tools.

    Feeling apart from the crowd? Why don’t you drop us a line? Let us work together and introduce your brand to the latest social media marketing trends.

    Read More >>
  3. The ABC’s of Landing Pages That Work

    • by Admin

    When you click on a landing page, what’s the first thing that pops in your head? Are you annoyed, amused, perhaps intrigued? Talking about landing pages, the main thing to be aware of is impression. How do your visitors see you? Are they engaged and interested or will they move on to the next page within seconds? There are few things that create a better first impression than a well designed landing page, and the key is to understand your visitors and what leads them to take action.

    But, what is a landing page?

    A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result. One way of understanding the process is to think a soccer match during penalties. When the whistle marks the beginning of a penalty, the goal is to get the ball to, well, hit the goal! Similarly, landing pages work with copy and design and their goal is to get visitors to take an action.
    Landing page traffic can come from various sources, from a pay per click or marketing campaign, banner ads and sponsorship graphics to email links and blog posts. The best landing pages are simple, well-designed and speak to the right audience.
    And how is my landing page different than my website?
    From landing pages to websites there is one major difference: your visitors. There are two different types of visitors, coming from two different backgrounds: the ones landing on your page and the ones who just end up there.
    The first type probably knows you. They likely typed in your name or web address and probably were referred by someone, read one of your articles or an email they signed up for. You won’t need to try hard to sell them anything, but you will need to make sure their experience is the best possible and they have easy access to all navigation and resources they will need to continue to get and know you better.
    The second type doesn’t know you. They found something floating around the web and somehow got linked to your page. They may be skeptical too. The goal here is to educate, convince (nicely) and most of all, make them feel comfortable. You want them to be curious about your business and the solution you could provide them. You want this interaction to be simple, direct and effective.
    Making sure to track both your landing page and website performance is the best way of understanding your visitor’s actions to set up a strategy and reach your conversion goals.
    There are a lot of parts and terms to landing pages and working with the basic ABC’s, we found a great infographic where you can get all the information you need to design pages that work:

    copyblogger-infographic-abcs-of-landing-pages

    Need help with your landing page and website design? Contact us at ST8. Let’s work together and create the best strategy to impress your visitors.

    Infographic and featured image via Copyblogger.

    Read More >>
  4. Why you should be using editorial calendars for your social media strategy…

    • by Admin

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Social media is an important part of the online marketing strategy. Here at ST8 Creative Solutions, we create editorial calendars that show social media content two weeks ahead of time reflecting overall themes and a unique brand voice for each client.

    Our editorial calendars include customized content for the social networks Facebook and Twitter. Content can include everything from videos to articles to branded images and more. This content is just another part of the story-telling aspect of your brand. Content is a way to add value for customers to follow the story of your brand.

    Calendars are a great way to bridge together branded content and themes for social media. Here are just a few reasons why editorial calendars are a great approach to your social media strategy:

    •Your strategy will be in writing where members of your team can see it, so it is actualized.  It can be changed and edited if needed so that everything is in place before it is broadcasted.

    •It helps develop a cohesive voice for your brand with everything in one place.

    •Planning ahead of time is always a great idea to coordinate efforts toward the big picture goals within a marketing strategy. This way you also keep in mind timely events and/or themes to weave into your strategy.

    •If you organize your calendar by dates, you will have specific deadlines to create images, videos and blog posts toward your overall message.

    •Focusing on topics can help stimulate creative juices flow while writing posts.

    It’s good to map our your calendar to the day and even the time when tweets or posts will go out so that the process is streamlined. Once everything is in place, you can also use the social media editorial calendar to boost search engine optimization efforts by placing keywords within the posts. You can also measure the effectiveness of each post using metric tools to learn what kinds of content customers prefer to engage with.

    Thus, editorial calendars are just another tool to implement in your marketing strategy to establish a strong web presence that will be rewarded with engagement, traffic, and new leads. Need help putting one in place? Feel free to contact us to help out!

    Read More >>
  5. Optimizing Your Website For All Major Platforms

    • by Admin

    In the past, website creation had been geared specifically towards computers. But with the rise in website access via mobile devices and tablets, companies are having to reevaluate and modify their web design strategies.

    For the average business, 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices — not desktops. With a dedicated mobile SEO strategy, you can stay ahead of the curve, tap into a growing customer base, and increase your business by optimizing your website for tablet and Smartphone users.

    To optimize your website for major platforms, there are 3 main strategies:

    •Responsive design is recommended by Google as the best mobile SEO strategy (embed source http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2253965/3-Reasons-Why-Responsive-Web-Design-is-the-Best-Option-For-Your-Mobile-SEO-Strategy). RD uses same URL and HTML codes for both desktop and mobile versions. The content automatically moves into a mobile format when accessed from a mobile device. Therefore if website is visited on a smaller platform like a phone, the website will look exactly the same… just smaller.

    •Dynamic Serving uses one URL and adapts to whichever device you are using. However, depending upon what type of device you are using, the HTML code will change. Unlike responsive design where you are seeing the same website on both mobile and computer devices, with dynamic serving you will see the content change on mobile devices. Dynamic can be more expensive and potentially causes problems with mobile searches when incorrectly set up, but when done correctly can give a more pleasing experience to the user

    •Sepearte sites, an alternative to the other two methods, uses corresponding URL’s for both desktop and mobile devices. The mobile site will often be setup as “m.website.com.” Where as the desktop site would read “www.website.com”

    RECOMMNEDATION

    We at St8 recommend using responsive design when setting up a mobile site. Google search bots are designed to find a URL and all content that lies within that website. This is how Google ranks the site in search engine results. Because this is how it is set up, when the HTML changes (as it does in Dynamic Serving) the bots will not recognize the mobile site. In Responsive Design The HTML is consistent throughout both platforms, thus will gain a higher search ranking and will give your website more traffic.

    Although all three are viable options, responsive design provides the user a consistent experience across many different platforms, making SEO strategic management simpler.

    Read More >>
  6. How to Panda-Proof Your Website & Avoid Getting Penalized By Google

    • by Admin

    Many small business owners and large corporations have been wondering why Google has become so stringent when it comes to Web content. Believe it or not, there is a logical reason. Their philosophy is simple. They desire to provide Web users with information that is relevant to what they are searching for online. In other words, they want to give people what they want.  This is understandable because over the past few years, the Internet has been flooded with poor quality content.  Any content that Google stumbles upon that lacks quality is devalued.

    The success of a website is no longer measured by how many pages of content you have or the amount of links it contains. A website (or web page) is measured by whether or not a person does what you want them to do.

    Internet guru, Gab Goldenberg from Searchenginejournal.com once said: “If you have sufficient PageRank and you regularly publish new content – yes, Googlebot will return frequently to your site to crawl your articles, which will then be indexed. But if you just have plenty of content – even if you publish 5 new unique, original articles a day – Google doesn’t care…”

    This is living proof that it’s no longer about the “quantity” of content you have – but rather the “quality” of content a website presents.

    In this article, we’re going to share a few quick tips that you can start implementing right away. Here’s how to detect poor quality content on your website and how to avoid getting penalized by Google:

    •Search your website for any kind of poor quality content and clean it up by either improving it or deleting it altogether. Now, if you have several pages of content on your website, this can be a very tedious job. One way to detect poor quality content is to use Google Analytics. Check your bounce rate, pageviews, pages per session and the average time a person remains on your page.

    •Quick Scenario: Let’s say that your webpage doesn’t have any usability issues, but you have a high bounce rate, that’s a sign there may be an issue with your content.

    •Only publish content that is informative and relevant to the product or service you’re offering your audience.

    • Your content should engage your readers. Low engagement can also affect the success of your website. Many people struggle with in this area. One way increase your engagement is to create content that will interest your readers. For example, solve a problem that your target audience is more likely to struggle with.

    •Avoid keyword stuffing your content. Make sure your keywords are relevant. Also, try using a variation of keywords within your text.

    •Use other forms of content, such as video marketing. Videos tend to index quicker than written content. Plus, it is more likely to go viral and it puts a face to your brand.

    •Avoid posting thin content. Thin content includes anything that’s less than 100 words. Try boosting your content word count to at least 300 – 500 words. Avoid adding fluff – make sure the content serves a purpose to your audience.

    •Get rid of any expired content. Make sure you update content on your website on a regular basis. This includes your static web pages and your blog content.

    •Avoid buying links from linkbuilding farms. Yes, people still do this. Google has shut down many linkbuilding farms, but some have fallen through the cracks. When someone tries to offer you an astronomical amount of links at extremely low rates (1000 links for $100), this should raise a red flag in your mind. Buying links equals trouble. Your website may not be affected right away, but it could in the future.

    The Bottomline:

    The key to Panda-Proofing your website is to provide quality content that’s relevant and engaging. You should also stay abreast to the latest Google guidelines. Hopefully, the tips in this article are helpful in maintaining a website that contains high-quality content.

    Read More >>
  7. Online marketers – don’t forget you’re building a brand.

    • by Admin

    Online marketers – don’t forget you’re building a brand.

    It’s easy for online marketers to get caught up in all the technical stuff like click-throughs and conversion rates. I mean, it’s this type of data that makes online marketing so awesome, right? Right. However, it’s important for us to step outside our digital box and see the brand from someone else’s point of view. Those “clicks” are real people who don’t give a flying fudge what your conversion rate is or how much money you just paid Google for their visit…they’re just surfing the web. They will develop a perception of your brand based on this experience. It’s inevitable. That “click” is now a walking, talking, tweeting, posting advertisement that you once had a chance to influence. Did you create a positive brand experience for them? Don’t forget, between the analytics and optimization, you’re building a brand.

    Your brand has a story to tell. A common expression, but a simple truth nonetheless. What is a brand without a story? Boring, thats what. To our benefit, the internet is one of the most versatile story-telling machines out there! There are endless ways to share your story online. One of the most obvious and necessary places to share your story is on your website. This is your home turf, so whether you think your website  represents your brand accurately or not, it does. Your visitors make immediate assumptions of your brand based on your website’s design, usability, loading speed, color palette, and so many other subconscious indicators (including your SERP – #1 is perceived as the industry leader). Investing in smart website design is an important aspect of telling your brand’s story and it should not be overlooked. Thankfully, we have analytics that help us improve this user experience and lead to more effective story telling.

    Thanks to the rise of social networking sites, branding has taken on a whole new meaning over the last 10ish years. Networks like Facebook allow your brand to live your story in real time. Genuine brands truly have a chance to shine here. While engagement metrics help us know just how bright we’re shining, the number of “shares” cannot truly measure impression #268’s delight with your Facebook page and how many buddies he told at the bar.

    If you do it right, your brand’s story plays a major role in your online marketing strategy. When everything works together and flows in the same direction, genuine brand experiences are born and a healthy web presence follows.

    “Quit counting fans, followers, and blog subscribers like bottle caps. Think, instead, about what you’re hoping to achieve with and through the community that actually cares about what you’re doing.” Amber Naslund, Author

    “Let your originality – your specialness, your brand personality -come through in your online content.” -Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman, Author, Content Rules

    Read More >>
  8. “How to Rank” SEO Master Blueprint – Instruction Manual for Beginners from SEOmoz

    • by Admin

    If you are new to SEO and are still learning the ins and outs of “How to Rank”, this is definitely going to help. SEOmoz blog post titled “How to Rank: 25 Step SEO Master Blueprint” provides an incredibly detailed and easy to understand framework for how to get your SEO strategy off the ground. Author Cyrus Shepard gives a few disclaimers before the journey begins:

    1. There are 100’s of ways to rank a web page, from tweeting a link to getting New York Times articles written about you. This is only one process.

    2. The blueprint is an SEO framework – it’s not meant to detail every step, but instead provides you with the basic outline of ranking a web page from beginning to end, so you can build your own campaign on top of it.

    3. Many experienced SEOs undoubtedly have superior processes. Listen to them every chance you get.

    Now, I won’t repeat the entire post word for word here, but here is a snapshot of the table of contents… There is some seriously good stuff in this post and I encourage you to make your way over to the SEOmoz blog and check it out!

    Blueprint-TOC

    Read More >>
  9. Embracing the Growth of the Omni-channel Consumer

    • by Admin

    Here at ST8 it is not only our responsibility to understand your brand, but also to recognize the needs, desires and habits of your brand’s target market. This requires a vast amount of research into the target mindset and most importantly what influences their purchase decision. Recently, there has been a vast amount of research conducted on the consumer once they have entered purchase mode and some interesting patterns have begun to arise.

    In this digital age, the pursuit of a product or service has changed drastically. No longer are retailers strictly relying on storefront displays and striking print ads to garner a customer’s attention. With the access of technology at their fingertips, consumers are relying on their own insights, as well as the insights of other consumers, to reach a purchase decision. Online resources provide a consumer with detailed imagery and product description, user reviews, and often even videos. These features are all designed to lead the consumer towards a more educated purchase decision. By creating this relationship with the buyer, they are more likely to feel confident with their purchase and less likely to experience post-purchase buyers remorse. Because of this, the need for in-store-handling of a product is no longer the most important part of the shopping experience. The fear of online shopping is dissipating and consumers are now relying heavily on search engine “point-and-click” ease of access more than any other resource when making a purchase.

    Successful businesses and retailers are catching on to this trend and faceting it to achieve sales and success. By incorporating an Omni-channel approach to retailing, businesses are ensuring that the knowledge their consumer craves prior to making a purchase decision is easily accessible and seamlessly consistent. They are replacing the experience of stepping into a store by providing their consumer with information and an online experience that can mimic, and even exceed, the former.

    This article by Nathan Saffran delves further into the insights of consumer purchase decision-making.

    Read More >>
  10. Five Vital Blogging Tips

    • by Admin

    One of the many services we at St8 Creative Solutions offer your business is a company blog. You probably know what a blog is – it is rather commonplace on the Internet now, as a resource of information on a variety of topics. However, a blog can be much more than just a record of posts – it has the potential to be the hub of all your social networks. It can be the site of your very own community, working in conjunction with your SEO strategies and social media networks. A thriving community will equal plenty of traffic, and conversions for your business!

    But what is the best way to build a blog that will lead to such a community? Follow the 5 steps below and you will be well on your way!

    1. Have a blogging strategy.

    This is extremely helpful because it will help you avoid the dreaded writer’s block! Create an editorial calendar for your blog so you’ll never be at a loss for what to post. You can create alliterations with topics such as “Technology Thursday” or “Motivational Monday”.  A popular analogy that has been popping up on-line lately compares blogging to food. Rick Burnes of Hubspot wrote this article in 2009 comparing different kinds of blog posts to foods in a diet to show what kind of blog posts you should be posting monthly to create an engaging blog. Jason Miller of LinkedIn further created an amazing infographic last week called “The Blogging Food Groups: A Well-Balanced Diet of Content.” It is a beautiful visual example of what kind of posts you can create for your blog for each day of the week. You can see part of the infographic above.

    2. Post daily if you can

    If not at least bi- or tri-weekly. Fresh content is not only great for SEO purposes, but it also gives readers a reason to visit the site more often!

    3. Create images

    Such as infographics, branded content, videos…anything visual that will easily catch a viewer’s eye. This may inspire emotion, which makes the content more sharable via social networks.

    4. Encourage readers to comment

    And add toolbars with social networks for easy sharing! At the end of every post, it’s a great idea to ask a question that your readers can answer in the comments or ask for feedback. Adding ShareThis toolbars with links to share on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest make sharing easy and will ensure that others will see your content and come to your blog.

    5. Make your blog user- and SEO-friendly!

    Simple fixes like making sure the pages load quickly and using keywords on images can allow people to find your blog and stay on it longer.

    What are you waiting for, start blogging today! If your business needs help starting a blog, contact us and we’ll get you started!

    Read More >>