The Importance of Video Content

When it comes to marketing, effective communication is key. That’s why video has come to play such a key role in online marketing, becoming an important element in nearly every successful business’s branding and promotion strategy. Here’s a brief look at how videos have changed the marketing landscape—and why they still matter so much.

Where Video Content Came From

While we take video content for granted today, it wasn’t always part of the internet experience. Online videos were harder to come by in the pre-YouTube age, when users were obliged to download videos and watch them using programs like RealPlayer. The advent of YouTube in 2005 changed everything, however—soon, websites were using embeddable videos. Today, nearly 70 percent of all internet users either download or stream video content on a regular basis.

Why Video Content Matters

Online marketing studies consistently show that videos yield the sort of results that businesses want. Websites with videos are more likely to place highly in Google searches, and people who bring up websites with videos are less likely to “bounce”—that is, to look at one page on a site and then leave. Video content makes a page more visually intriguing, so users are more likely to stay and explore. People are also much more likely to link to websites that include videos.

What Makes Video Content Work

The primary reason internet users click on videos is to get information, so it’s no surprise that the most successful online videos are both succinct and informative. People are attracted to informational videos because they are looking for a fast and appealing alternative to skimming through text, so videos that are clear, colorful, and easy to understand are most likely to be popular. Internet users are also less likely to sit through videos that last longer than four minutes, so the briefer and more to-the-point a video is, the better.

Do you want to boost your business’s online presence? Student Experts can help! Explore our website or contact us today to find out more.

How Have Users Reacted to Facebook’s Reactions?

Facebook has introduced an assortment of new features since its start in 2004. One of the most recent changes is something that users have been requesting for years: new Reactions. Gone are the days of either “liking” or ignoring a status update or shared link. Now, you can express a variety of emotions when it comes to your friends’ and colleagues’ social media posts! Here is a closer look at how users are reacting to Facebook’s new Reactions.

Discovering the New Reactions

When you check out your Facebook News Feed, you won’t notice anything different. The “like” button is still visible on posts, but users can hover their cursor over this button on their computers or long-press the button on mobile devices to access the new Reactions: love, wow, haha, angry, and sad. While some users had a difficult time finding the new Reactions when they debuted, it’s clear that more and more users are discovering Reactions and using them on many different types of posts.

Using the New Reactions

If you ever posted a comment about how Facebook should have a “dislike” button, you’re definitely not alone! While users have been able to “like” Facebook posts for years, they have been unable to express any other type of reaction unless they decided to post a comment. With the new Reactions, users have a wider range of options to choose from when they come across interesting content online. According to Forbes, participants in a Facebook study all agreed that the new Reactions do not have a negative impact on their Facebook experience. When asked to rate the new Reactions on a usefulness scale from one to five, close to 80% of participants gave them a four or five.

Learning from the New Reactions

Now that Facebook users have more ways to express their opinions, it’s important for companies to think about how to take advantage of the website’s new Reactions. When companies post links, pictures, videos, and other types of content on Facebook, they can take a look at how their fans and other users react. This can help companies discover what types of content are best to post and when, allowing them to build a stronger online presence.

Here at Student Experts, we work hard to help small businesses take advantage of social media trends and improve their digital marketing efforts. Contact us today to learn more about our social media and SEO services!

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle for Earth Day – Infographic

Today is Earth Day—are you doing your part to make this world a better place? You can reduce, reuse, and recycle whether you’re at home, at the office, or out in the world to minimize your footprint on the environment. Reduce your waste through conscious shopping, such as choosing loose vegetables instead of pre-packaged produce. Before you throw glass jars into the recycling bin, consider using them as drinking glasses, and repurpose plastic containers for starting seeds for an herb or flower garden. Check out your community’s recycling guidelines to make sure everything you put in the bin is getting disposed of properly. Take a look at our latest infographic to learn more ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle this Earth Day, and beyond! Please share with your friends and family.

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If you’re interested in Student Experts’ design services, check out what we have to offer on our Design Services page!

The Link Between SEO and Blogging

Maintaining strong SEO requires an ongoing effort with a variety of strategies that should include blogging. Hosting a blog is not only an effective way to bolster your web marketing efforts, but can also provide your potential customers and existing clients with valuable information related to your products and services. So how exactly does blogging fit into the bigger picture of SEO? Keep reading to learn the answer, along with some helpful guidelines for better blogging.

A Quick Guide to SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, requires an understanding of how search engines work. Search engines like Google use algorithms that rank websites based on their relevance to specific search terms, the quality of the site itself, the existing traffic of the site, backlinks, update frequency, and the age of the domain. These factors are used to determine how results are displayed to end users searching for certain terms. When it comes to organic, or non-sponsored, search results, users will generally never move past the first page of results when choosing a link to click on. In fact, 9 out of 10 searches end on the first page of results. Therefore, investing in a solid SEO strategy can be a huge boost for your business.

Blogging and SEO Signals

Blogging fits into SEO well, because it can be associated with several of the signals that Google and other search engines use to sort websites on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). By regularly posting relevant, keyword-optimized blogs on your website, you will drive up site traffic, improve site quality, and be seen more often by users searching for the products or services your business offers. Here’s a closer look at the SEO signals that blogging can contribute to:

  • Keywords – Blogs should incorporate keywords naturally and utilize keywords as anchor text for external links, as this will throw up flags for key search terms and ensure clear messaging throughout content. Overusing keywords or fitting them into irrelevant content can actually hurt your SEO, since search algorithms have improved through time to reward well-written and helpful content.
  • Site Organization – The metadata associated with blogs can go a long way. With an organized sitemap and simple permalink structure, you can make it easy for users to locate your blog and send out signals of high quality as Google and other search engines scan your site.
  • Social Signals – Sharing blog posts through social media is another way to make your blogs work harder to improve your SEO. Active social pages and a higher click rate from social traffic will both be positive assets when it comes to your search engine rank.

Best Blogging Practices

Search algorithms were designed to improve the quality of search results for users, so the best blogging and SEO practices will pay off much more than shortcut tactics such as keyword stuffing or posting non-original content. In addition to creating content that has relevance to users and natural keyword use, you might also explore utilizing multiple forms of media, including infographics, photos, social plugins, and videos. These add-ons will further enhance the user experience on your site and help you climb the ranks of any SERP.

At Student Experts, we know a thing or two about blogging. Last year, we wrote over 32,000 blog posts and produced over 600 custom infographics. To see how we can help your business with the right SEO strategy, contact us today.

Touring Some of Tucson’s Local Observatories

Since 1972, the City of Tucson has maintained outdoor lighting ordinances designed to preserve one of the area’s most valuable resources: its flawless, dark night skies. The Tucson area’s uniquely dry climate features exceptional astronomical “seeing,” offering minimal atmospheric interference and stunning images of stars, nebulae, and galaxies due to the inherent stability of dry air. Today, Tucson is home to some of the most widely-used astronomical observatories in the American Southwest, drawing professional and amateur astronomers alike to view the skies from the unique vantage point of the Sonoran Desert.

Kitt Peak National Observatory

Kitt Peak is one of Tucson’s most famous observatories. Established in 1958 on land perpetually leased from the Tohono O’odham Nation and shared with the National Solar Observatory’s McMath-Pierce Telescope, Kitt Peak hosts primarily small optical telescopes that range in size from 0.4m to 4m in diameter. Kitt Peak is also the home of two radio telescopes, including the ARO 12m Radio Telescope. One of the observatory’s major claims to fame is its standing as the first observatory to dedicate a telescope to the search for near-Earth asteroids—this is done for the purpose of calculating the probability of a future impact event. In addition to its numerous dedicated scientific telescope installations, Kitt Peak’s Nightly Observing Program teaches visitors how to read star charts and view night sky objects with binoculars, and also lets participants catch a glimpse of several astronomical objects through either a 16” or 20” research-grade telescope.

Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory

The Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory is part of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO); it is currently the largest field installation outside of the SAO’s main site in Cambridge, MA. Since 1968, the Whipple Observatory has pioneered work in the field of ground-based gamma ray observing with its 10-meter gamma ray telescope, which was in service for 40 years before its decommissioning. Among its current complement of telescopes, the Whipple Observatory operates the 6.5-meter MMT telescope, the PAIRITEL telescope, and the VERITAS gamma ray observatory. At the base of Mt. Hopkins, atop which the observatory resides, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory Visitors Center features a variety of displays, models, and exhibits that focus not only on the scientific achievements and goals of the observatory, but also on the area’s role in Native American history and culture.

Mt. Lemmon Observatory & SkyCenter

The 9,157-foot summit of Mt. Lemmon is one of the best locations near Tucson to view the night sky. Developed in 1954, the Mt. Lemmon Observatory maintains several independently-managed optical and near-infrared telescopes alongside the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory and the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter. Much of the work achieved by this observatory has focused on solar system objects, including research on asteroids and comets. The Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter is also the home of the largest telescope dedicated to public viewing in the state: the 32” Schulman Telescope, which is available for use privately and during the SkyCenter’s popular SkyNights public viewing program.

The beautiful night skies are just one of the many aspects of Tucson that we love here at Student Experts. However, we are ready to help businesses no matter where they are located. To learn about our services, including blog creation and infographic design, contact us today.

How to Build a Terrarium – Infographic

Are you looking for a fun and easy way to add color and personality to your space? If so, consider creating a terrarium! Read through this infographic to discover the simple steps required to build your own terrarium.

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Common Cacti of the Sonoran Desert – Infographic

Greetings from Tucson, Arizona! Here in the Sonoran Desert, you can find a range of cacti, including the famous Saguaro. Our latest infographic highlights the diversity of these interesting plants.

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The 5 Cs of Arizona History

February 14th is Valentine’s Day, of course—but this year it’s also the 104th birthday of the state of Arizona. Just as powerful tectonic and erosive forces gave shape to the Grand Canyon over many millions of years, our state has been sustained over the past century by a flurry of forces both commercial and natural. Five forces in particular have exerted an enormous influence; we know them as the five Cs of Arizona history.

Copper

One of Arizona’s many nicknames is the Copper State, and for good reason; we produce more copper than every other state put together. If you’ve ever handled a penny, the metal between your fingers almost certainly came from beneath the red rocks of Arizona. Plenty of our quaint small towns, from Bisbee to Jerome, were once active mining communities.

Cattle

Grazing cattle are one of the most famous visual symbols of the West, and they are central to Arizona’s history. The cattle boom in Arizona lasted from the end of the Civil War until the early 1900s, when a severe drought killed off much of the cattle population. Today, Arizona is home to about 3,800 cattle ranches.

Cotton

Cotton production was one of the prime factors that pushed Arizona into the 20th century, with nearly 230,000 cotton acres in the state by the year 1920. The industry’s peak year was 1981, when it produced an astonishing 1.6 million bales of cotton. Even today, Arizona remains one of the top cotton-producing states in the country.

Citrus

Arizona’s warm weather made it an ideal environment for growing the tart fruits, and citrus production exploded in the 1930s and 1940s. Today, Arizona is still one of America’s only citrus-growing states, and it is home to hundreds of acres that produce the nation’s lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, and oranges.

Climate

After the Grand Canyon, Arizona’s most famous attraction may be its weather. The sunny days and dry air have always been a draw for tourists, but the growing availability of air conditioning in homes made Arizona a more viable place to live for many people in postwar America. Arizona’s all-time hottest day in recorded history was June 29, 1994, when the temperature soared to a stunning 128 degrees Fahrenheit in Lake Havasu City.

Student Experts is proud to call Arizona home, and we like to think that we’re adding a sixth C to the list in the form of Creative! Our team of copywriters and graphic designers can add a host of creative offerings to your agency’s list of services. Do you want to offer SEO blogging subscriptions with your website builds, or infographics to supercharge your social media marketing? Just ask us what we can do for you!

10 Superfoods for Boosting Brainpower – Infographic

What do avocados, dark chocolate, and salmon have in common? They’re all “superfoods” that can help support brain function! From vitamin K to glucose, your brain needs a range of nutrients to perform at its best. Read through this infographic to find out more about brain-boosting superfoods.

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Are you interested in Student Experts’ design services for small businesses? Contact us to find out what we can do for you!

The 5 Blogging Techniques Every Business Must Use

If you are reading this because you saw the headline shared somewhere and were baited into reading the whole blog, then you are already somewhat familiar with the first blogging technique in this list. Don’t worry; this is not the kind of clickbait you regret falling for. We’ve put together a real list of important tips for anyone running a blog for a small business.

1. Write Powerful Headlines

You may not like “clickbait,” but you know that it works. Headlines that grab eyes increase traffic, and increased traffic provides more leads, and more leads translate into more sales. This is only true, however, if you get the right traffic.

Clickbait headlines are not always bad; Buzzfeed creates great examples almost every day. How do they do it right? The key is baiting the right audience and making sure that the bait pays off for the readers. When you want to write a headline that grabs people, consider the type of people you really want to bring in. What do they want to read about? Entice them with your headline—use numbered lists and strong words like “must,” “have to,” “always,” and “never,” and be sure to mention the industry or topic that your target audience will want to read about. Then, make sure that your content actually fits under the headline.

Takeaway: Do use headlines as bait. Don’t be misleading.

2. Use an Editorial Calendar

Many entrepreneurs and small business employees start company blogs with the best intentions, only to end up treating the blog as something to catch up on in spare moments. Your blog is a key part of your online presence, and it should be treated as such. Make the time to keep up with your blog, and keep track of your efforts with an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar will help you plan blog posts, develop ideas, and stick to your schedule. Whether you use a spreadsheet or your smartphone’s calendar app, put together a timeline and notes for several month’s worth of blogging. Include the headline you want, the direction the content should take, the date by which the content should be written, and the desired publishing date. Then, assign the writing to yourself or an employee as a necessary task, or farm it out to a freelancer or agency.

Takeaway: Plan out your posts, and take blogging off the back burner.

3. Recycle Your Content

Originality is key when you are using your content as a marketing tool, but so is ROI. If you just copy and paste old blogs or pages from your website into a new blog entry, Google’s algorithms will punish you and you will lose the trust of your customers. However, you don’t have to wrack your brain to come up with something completely new and unseen every time you want to update your blog.

Content from other parts of your business can be turned into excellent blog entries that are super easy to write. Do you send out a newsletter with a recurring column or feature? Write a blog by pulling that recurring column or feature from the last several newsletters and reworking it into one piece. Does your brochure have some information you’ve never really expanded upon? Expand upon it! Have you published a listicle before? Each item in the list could probably have its own blog entry. Do

Takeaway: Work smarter, not harder. Great content and topics are often right under your nose.

4. Promote Your Blog Posts

Now that you have some great content and headlines that will hook your target audience on sight, you need to make sure people see it all. Most of your customers don’t scroll through your blog to find your latest post, but they do scroll through Facebook and Twitter pretty frequently.

Whenever you add to your blog, make sure that you mention it on social media. Write up a little teaser with a link and a relevant photo for Facebook. On Twitter, you may want to make several updates. Tweet a link with a catchy headline to all of your followers, and then tweet at other businesses and influencers with similar target audiences and ask them to retweet your link. Pick businesses or people who would find your blog interesting and relevant to their business, but who are not actual competitors. Depending on your industry, you may also want to promote your blog on LinkedIn, Pinterest, or elsewhere.

Takeaway: Get your great content in front of eyes by using social media.

5. Blog with a Purpose

You spend precious resources by either taking the time to blog or paying someone else to do it. Make sure that each entry is a good investment by only blogging with a purpose. Determine what sort of results you want from each blog post before you write it. Do you want to sell a particular product or service? Do you want to show off your expertise in your field? Do you want to establish a connection in your community?

Most of your blog entries should focus on marketing your business and helping you increase revenue. Make each blog topic relevant to a page on your site or a product or service you offer. Convert readers into customers by including calls to action with links to the most effective lead-generating and sales-generating pages on your website. Invite readers to “get a quote” or “contact us.” Promote items sold on your site and add a link to the item in your online store.

Takeaway: Blogs cost time and money; don’t let them go to waste.

Writing and promoting a good blog can keep your Google rankings up and increase traffic through social media. You can’t afford not to blog, but you can’t always afford to do it yourself. Student Experts has provided hundreds of businesses with years of effective blogging and social media services. If you don’t have the time or personnel to write about your business as often as you’d like, let us take care of it!