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Blogging

Why Blogging Is Important

Blogging for your business is a very beneficial tool that can help with communication and can also highlight the goods or services that you provide as a business. Blogging is your direct communication channel to continuously provide timely content to your clientele. You can easily influence the way your visitors buy with the help of your blog. Keep reading to learn more reasons why you should start typing today!

Blogging is free

The only thing blogging will cost you, is your time. There are many blogging platforms available for small businesses to utilize. These platforms allow you to create themes and gives you the ability to add personal business touches, which helps create a personalized look for your blog. When you create content, your content will forever live online, making it available for people to stumble upon your website more often.

Blogging makes you more reputable

If a business provides useful content that adds value to a reader, you immediately become more reputable in their eyes. Once that reputation is built, readers will feel more comfortable purchasing your product or service. It’s all about adding value for your client, so if you’re having a hard time thinking about your next blog topic, just think what your customers would like to learn more about. Become a reliable resource for information in your industry, by blogging weekly or bi-weekly!

Blogging is a fun outlet

With so many moving parts in a business, let blogging be a fun, creative outlet for you. There is no rhyme or reason when it comes to blogging. We encourage you to have a central theme, something that adds value to your customer, and most importantly, have fun!

We understand so many of you simply just do not have time to create and maintain a business blog. 3D Digital has content creators on hand that can manage your blog and help you provide relevant content to your viewers. Give us a call (904) 330-0904 to see how we can help!

Video Marketing

Digital Video Marketing Growing Rapidly in 2017

“US digital video ad spending will continue to grow at a pace that exceeds TV advertising growth through 2020” -eMarketer

SEO

Nowadays, video marketing caters to fast-paced lifestyles while still providing the customer with value. Having a branded video on your website can enhance your conversion rates and will certainly increase your homepage traffic. People are more likely to trust a brand if a video is present on their website showing what the company does and how their product or service works. Adding video content to your website can also make you more noteworthy in the eyes of Google and give you a higher chance to be ranked on the first page.

Facebook

Platforms like Facebook, have embedded the ability for videos to play automatically in your Newsfeed, giving you the ability to watch more video content while scrolling. From Facebook to email marketing, video content can help dramatically increase engagement and click-through-rates. Why? Most people prefer to watch videos versus reading a blog post or an article.

Engagement

Video content is known to always bring more engagement on social platforms. Simply Measured found that video content is shared 1,200% more than both links and text combined. Next time you’re about to post a status post on Facebook, ask yourself, will it drive results? You may want to consider creating video content to help drive more people to your website. An emotion-filled video can help with the buying decision as well.

Have you thought about promoting your business through video content? Are you part of the 87% of online marketers who are currently using video content in their marketing strategies? Whether you’re looking for social media video content or a business promo video showing off what your company does, our video production team can help!

Instagram

All About Instagram

59% of the world’s top 100 brands now use Instagram.

Why? This platform encompasses video and photo sharing capabilities and, helps you provide short stories for your viewers. It has officially surpassed Twitter in the number of monthly active users! Instagram has grabbed features from other social platforms and molded it to fit the Instagram user. Learn a little bit about how your brand can gain a genuine following on Instagram and why users are shifting their time from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram.

Successful brands know the power of Instagram and its ability to help customers with purchasing decisions. Along with showcasing products and services on Instagram, many companies use the social platform to engage with users daily. Taking a cue from Facebook, Instagram gives business owners the ability to have a business account and to create ads on the platform. Ads can help users find your brand easily, in a cost-effective manner. Along with ads, business accounts have access to analytics so they can monitor how their account is growing month-to-month.

From Instagram stories to live videos, this platform gives you the ability to have fresh content on a weekly basis. If you don’t have time to shoot an image, edit, and then upload, try Instagram stories for a quick and easy way to interact with your followers. After 24 hours, your Instagram stories are gone, so no need to worry about every fine detail about the video or image that you share. Everything that you share on Instagram stories can be saved directly to your phone, giving you the ability to upload and share on other platforms. If you have a fun shoot coming up, be sure to document a behind-the-scenes look with an Instagram live.

Start engaging with your audience and increase your social media efforts with a business Instagram account. Not sure where to start? Contact our full-service digital agency to speak to a social media expert! We can help you gain a larger following and create content that your target market would benefit from.

WordPress

4 Reasons to Get a Custom WordPress Theme

Sometimes the free, pre-made themes that WordPress offers aren’t enough for what your brand’s website needs. In this case, it’s a good idea to have a custom theme created that’s just for you. There are many reasons to get a custom WordPress theme for your business, but we’re going to touch on the top four.

Your Budget Can Accommodate a Custom Theme

If you’re starting up a new business or blog with a small budget, getting a custom WordPress theme probably isn’t a good choice. However, if you have a larger budget to accommodate an experienced WordPress designer and developer, you’ll benefit from their years of knowledge. Custom themes can cost anywhere from $3,000-$6,000 for design and development, but can range up to $20,000 for a site with special features. When hiring a professional WordPress developer, you will have much more flexibility to create a website that exactly meets your needs, which makes it worth the extra dough.

You Need a Design that Fits Your Content

Pre-made templates work for some businesses, but not all. You could spend hours, even days, trying to select a WordPress theme that already exists to use for your website and in the end, it might not even be the best option. Having a theme created from scratch gives you the ability to have every aspect of the website customized around your products, your message, and your needs.

You Want Quality Assurance

We understand that website coding can look like a foreign language to most people. When you hire a WordPress developer, they will handle all the confusing ins and outs of web design. Using a reputable developer also gives you ease of mind knowing that their work will not have any glitches or coding that could be susceptible to malware. If you want the best website, you should hire the best web designer to assure that your business’ site will be well taken care of.

Customer Support

When problems do arise or you want to change some features on your site, having a web developer available to give you personalized customer support is very important. Don’t get caught up in the mix of a WordPress customer support waiting list.
Our team of developers at 3D Digital have the expertise to create WordPress themes for any type of client. Contact us today to start collaborating on a website that’s right for your brand.

Posted in Web
Internship

Behind the Scenes at 3D Digital

On January 4, 2017, I embarked on a brand new journey as a first-time intern with 3D Digital. I’m Savanna Kiefer, a communication student studying public relations at the University of North Florida. While heading to 3D Digital on my first day, I remember being nervous and wondering what sort of tasks I would learn during the first week. At the end of the day, I was grinning from ear-to-ear filled with excitement for all of the amazing days at 3D I knew were ahead of me.

So what does an integrated marketing intern at a digital agency do? Short answer- a lot of things! Long answer- tons of tasks including writing web copy, creating social media posts, learning about Google Adwords campaigns, brainstorming ideas for company-wide newsletters, organizing creative briefs, and so much more. On top of that, I also learned the best workplaces have Nerf gun wars and random glitter bomb explosions when creativity is running low and energy needs to be amped up.

During my time at 3D Digital, I also worked closely with their video production crew on a wide variety of projects as a production assistant. As a production assistant, I also learned that film crews have their own kind of lingo and unspoken codes. I quickly learned to “fail fast” and pick up on what not to do as a PA. Here are the top five favorite things that I learned:

1) Don’t stand in the doorway on set, ever. Everyone will know you’re the production assistant.

2) Craft service is the greatest. Free food + endless supply of snacks = a very happy crew!

3) Comfortable shoes are key. You will be standing all day and cute flats aren’t so cute at the end of the day when your toes are swollen.

4) If you don’t carry a Sharpie on you at all times, you will get scolded. Having a roll of tape on you isn’t a bad idea either.

5) Sleep is for the weak. Get accustomed to 5:00 am call times.

After looking back on these past couple months, I’m blown away by all of the new skills I learned at 3D Digital and grateful for all of the incredible people I met along the way. They truly do know how to define, design and deliver to any type of client.

Video Production

Why Video is Key in the Digital World

Video has quickly skyrocketed into one of the most important mediums to use for any brand’s marketing scheme. Studies show that video content boosts conversions and sales, encourages social shares and helps your site rank higher in search listings. By using well-produced videos to feature new projects, people or stories from your brand, you can increase traffic and return on investment in a new way.

Why Video?

Digital agencies are starting to add video packages to their service lineup to give clients the opportunity to increase their online presence with a different method. In addition to social media, web design and digital marketing, video is a great advertising tool to share information about your business. Sometimes traditional marketing tools don’t grab the audience, but video is unique because it adds an emotional value to the mix. Combining sight with sound creates an experience for users to connect with a brand on a deeper level, which oftentimes translates into more clicks, sales and conversions.

By combining video production with other digital marketing services, businesses can possess a well-rounded integrated marketing plan. Targeting users on every platform with all sorts of different techniques is great for catching the attention of more potential customers and video is one of the best emerging ways to do this.

How Does Video Effect Facebook?

Facebook is used by tons of businesses to promote their brand within the social community online. Videos translate well on Facebook because they receive a wider organic reach, which allows more people to see your content. This is beneficial over photo sharing because videos will hold the attention of your viewers for a longer period of time and encourage them to browse through more of your page. Did you know that more than 500 years’ worth of Youtube videos are watched daily on Facebook? It’s important to share your videos on social media as well as Youtube.

3D Digital is proud to house an award-winning video production team that can meet the needs and goals of any client. We love collaborating with businesses to improve their marketing plans. Contact us today for a quote on how to get your story told through video.

Does CTR Matter?

Click through rate (CTR) is one of the most commonly used performance indicators in display advertising. The more clicks on your ad the better, right? This is typically true, but CTR is a limited metric. When used alone to assess the performance of online ads, you can miss a number of other important indications that your campaign is succeeding. Here are three important indicators that suggest your display ads are generating profitable leads online.

1. Brand Search Increase

Only a handful of users click on display ads. After all, when reading an article or engaging in social media, clicking on a display ad can be distracting and disruptive to a user. Consider that most users will see an ad they like on their screen and manually search for the product/brand displayed in another browser or at a later date. In these instances, the ad is just as effective at connecting interested users to your brand, but CTR fails to track this type of action. Keep up with your analytics to track an increase in your brand searches during, and shortly after, your online campaign to measure its impact on users.

2. Quantity of Web Traffic

A significant increase in web traffic during a campaign is another key indicator that your display ads are influencing users to seek out your brand. Try isolating the effect of a display campaign by identifying any increases in the amount of web traffic you receive during the campaign. If your web traffic is going up, and the display campaign is an isolated variable, then you know the campaign is successfully connecting new users to your site.

3. Quality of Web Traffic

User behavior on your site is arguably the most important factor to consider. Pages per session, average session duration and bounce rate show how engaged users are interacting with your website. Users who view more pages and spend more time on your site are more likely to lead to conversions. Although 97% of first-time visitors don’t take action, pay close attention to your organic and direct traffic metrics. Display campaigns will typically increase both – and these are the visitors who are most likely to lead to a sale or conversion.

Should I Care About CTR?

You might be surprised to learn that the average display banner campaign has a .10% CTR. That means for every 100,000 impressions served, you can expect to receive 100 clicks. Doesn’t sound great, right? Now, think about the other forms of advertising that you encounter each day. Has a TV ad or billboard ad ever peaked your interest? What about radio? None of these advertising streams can be measured through clicks, but they still influence your purchasing decisions. The same is true for display banners. What matters most is the message being delivered and the frequency with which a potential customer may see an ad. It’s all about brand recognition, driving traffic to your website, and building customer loyalty. When you do that successfully, the sales will follow.

4 Benefits of Using a Web Developer

Now that it has become extremely easy to create a website without having any sort of web-building experience, more and more companies are creating their own websites without the assistance of a professional web developer. Web-building sites like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are widely used across the internet because of their low hosting fees, ease of use, and simple designs. While these sites may be great platforms for people with little web design experience, they aren’t the best option for companies wanting to have a website that really stands out amongst their competitors. By using a professional web developer to create your website from scratch on WordPress, you are able to customize and control every single detail of your site. Here are four benefits of hiring a web developer to create your website.

Quality Web Design

First and foremost, having a sleek website that is easy to navigate is extremely important. Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly templates may look great at first glance, but are they really suited to your brand? These templates are easy to use because you can simply drag and drop content into your webpage, but this feature tends to make your site look unorganized and generic. Remember that first impressions last forever and if you want to attract new customers, your website needs to stand out against your competitors with a unique design that is customized to your brand, not spit out from a template. Professional web developers can help you create the best website suited specifically to your company’s needs.

Higher Search Engine Ranking

One of the best benefits of hiring a professional web developer to create your website is that they can help increase a higher search engine ranking for your site. Creating a glamorous website is a great first step, but there’s no good in having a visually appealing website if it doesn’t show up in search engine results. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the key to making sure that your website ranks high in any search engine results. Most of the free web-building sites available online don’t allow you to customize your SEO.

Web Analytics

Understanding your web analytics is a great way to target new users on your website. Some of the easy to use web-building sites don’t allow you to access your website’s analytics. Without the ability to review and understand these results, your marketing strategies could be lacking key components. When you hire a web developer, they can view your web analytics on WordPress and help you understand what all of the data means. These insights can help your website be more successful and profitable.

Room For Development

One of the disadvantages of using web-building websites online is that their templates tend to look the same. Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly may not allow you to edit the HTML coding of your site to create a new, innovative look. One day when you decide it’s time to rebrand your website and give it a fresh look, these pre-made templates could lock you into the same sort of design that you already have. Not only will a web developer have all the skills you’ll need to create this vision for a rebranded website, they’ll also be able to give you suggestions on how to make it look completely new rather than getting stuck in a creative rut.

5 Tips to Writing a Blog Post

In addition to being a way to connect with your audience on a personal level, blogging can be a great way to create more exposure for your business. Writing an effective blog that is personalized to your audience and proves to effectively convey your message can be difficult, but the process is less intimidating if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Get to Know Your Audience

One of the first steps to take when writing a blog post is to know your audience. Do your readers live within a certain geographic location? Are they all around the same age? Use this data from research to shape your blog post. If you’re targeting teenagers from a rural area, it might be helpful to use simplified language. If you’re writing towards business owners in the suburbs, you may want to write in a different tone. By understanding your audience, you can write a blog post specifically catered towards their needs.

Don’t Stray from Your Topic

When creating an effective blog post, it’s important to stay focused on a particular topic. Don’t confuse your reader by jumping around to different stories that don’t mesh together. Once you’ve figured out the topic you’ll be writing about, jot down key points that relate to your overall message. If one of these points doesn’t make sense or relate to the main topic, toss it or rework it so that the point flows with the rest of the content.

Organize Your Content

It’s easy to lose readers as soon as they click on your blog if they’re immediately greeted by a giant mass of text that isn’t broken down or organized in any way. If you’re writing about several key points, consider making a listicle and separate each point with a bold header or new paragraph. If you’re writing about a topic that has photos or graphics relating to each point, make sure you organize those graphics with the correct paragraph.

Proofread Your Work

Not only does un-edited writing look unprofessional, but it could also be confusing to your readers if you accidently misplaced a sentence or completely misspelled an important word. By looking over your blog post before publishing it, you can be confident in knowing that your message is professional and approachable to your readers.

Add a Call-to-Action

If your blog has a comment section for readers to leave their own thoughts on your piece, ask your audience about their opinions in response to your blog post. By creating a call-to-action, you’re keeping your readers engaged in the content you’re creating. Another idea to engage your audience would be to leave hyperlinks at the bottom of your post to similar topics that you’ve written about in the past. The goal of creating a call-to-action is to give your readers something to do next.

5 Company Branding Tips for 2017

From your logo to your tag line, branding is a vital part in a company’s branding process. All of your communications, internally and externally, should tell your brand’s story seamlessly.

Target Market

It’s important for any brand, in any industry, to understand who their target market is. From education to their age, figure out as much as you can about the customer you want your product/service to target. By figuring out your ideal customer, you’ll have a higher chance of targeting those specific people in the future.

Visual Elements

Express your brand with visuals that will make your brand pop against competitors. From the logo to font choices, keep things consistent throughout your marketing and social media materials. Consistency will allow your target market to remember you and will cause an increase in repeat purchases. Once you have your visual elements finalized, it’s important to start sharing your brand message.

Perspective

How do you think others perceive your company and overall brand? That’s a question that you should ask yourself (and the other folks that you work with) often; we suggest quarterly. Doing a full analysis on every aspect of your business operations will help you keep a consistent brand throughout the year.

Online Presence

Jumping from different social platforms can be challenging for a brand. Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or all three, it’s key to keep a consistent flow on all channels. Empower your customers by sharing insights about the business and make that connection seamlessly by always being authentic.

Build Awareness

Build your company’s brand awareness by thinking outside of the box. Run a social media contest and giveaway fun swag that has your branding all over it. Another way to build your brand is by setting up PPC ads. PPC (pay-per-click ads) helps drive traffic to your website and can assist with more people seeing your brand. This is a great tool to use alongside social media platforms.

If you’re unsure of where to begin with your brand or need assistance in rebranding, let our team of experts assist you with the process!

SEO Tips: Planning and Web Development

Everyone with a website has thrown around the term “SEO” or “search engine optimization.” However, few really understand exactly how and when to implement it. In a perfect world, SEO would be as much a part of the conversation in planning as anything else. When building a site map, planning URL paths and creating content, it’s important to think about the terms used, the HTML elements they are wrapped in, the content flow, and – most often neglected – the user experience. A website planned with SEO in mind from the beginning is already on the path to success.

SEO TIP #1

Don’t wait until you have finished building your website to begin optimizing it. Optimize your content outline, site map, etc. right from the beginning. Identify your keywords strategy for each page of your website. Make notes!

While website aesthetics are important for “looking good” and providing a stimulating user experience, content structure and the proper use of HTML elements is more important for search engines and indexing. Don’t misunderstand – the user experience is equally important. But, for indexing and telling search engines about the content on your site, focus must be placed on how the page is coded.

SEO TIP #2

Use HTML 5 elements properly. Know the difference between a Section, Article, and Div. Understand how Heading elements are used and nested. Again, optimize these various elements according to your keyword strategy. Use free tools available online to view the HTML outline of your page (https://gsnedders.html5.org/outliner/ is an excellent free online tool). You should be able to read down the outline, hitting all your keywords and understand exactly what your entire page is about without reading the full content.

Metadata may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but nothing could be further from the truth. Meta titles, descriptions, robot directives, etc. all serve to describe and identify web pages and content. Some metadata is the most critical SEO information on the page, so don’t neglect it.

SEO TIP #3

Compose meta titles and descriptions using your keyword strategy for each page. Be sure your meta content is readable and makes sense – don’t just stuff it with keywords. For better understanding metadata, http://www.metatags.org/ is an excellent resource.

Don’t shy away from using plugins that assist with SEO. Many plugins make the process less intimidating and even provide valuable feedback as to the quality of your work. Bottom line is you want all the help you can get to optimize your website to its full potential.

SEO TIP #4

Take time to research SEO plugins to use in your website. At the very least it will serve as confirmation that you’ve done everything you need to do to optimize your website. WordPress, in particular, has many plugins that work great such as Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack.

More than ever, website performance is impacting optimization, ranking, and user experience. Performance concerns include things like page load speed, number of server calls, optimizing images, serving up scaled images, minifying code, etc. For maximum optimization potential, be sure to spend some time analyzing the performance of your website, making adjustments where necessary. Some studies have shown that many users abandon a web page that takes longer than 2.5 seconds to load. Web page performance and speed are not fly-by-night concerns, but are becoming critical indicators for best practice web development and optimization.

SEO TIP #5

Use current and universally accepted coding practices in your web development. Be mindful to not use unnecessary plugins or attachments (excessive CSS, JS, or PHP documents) as they increase the number of server calls, hence slowing down the loading of the page. Be sure all images on your website are optimized for the web and use image sprites when possible. Take advantage of free online tools such as https://gtmetrix.com/ and http://www.seoptimer.com/ to check your website’s performance and speed.

Of course, there are many facets to successfully optimizing a website, but hopefully, these tips will help ensure your website is built with the maximum potential for ranking well in search engines.

6 Blogging Benefits

A company blog can be beneficial to any size company. It gives you the opportunity to build relationships outside of your customer base and helps you become a credible source with your current target market. The most beneficial reason to have a blog is that it will give you an edge over your competition as it adds a personal touch to your business.

Blogging Benefits

  • Building Relationships – A company blog can assist with building a genuine relationship with your current or potential customers.
     
  • Increase Search Engine Rankings – With a blog added to your website, your chances of being found on the web will be higher! Every time you write a blog post, it will be one more indexed page on your website. Start driving traffic to your website with a blog.
     
  • Developing a Following – A blog can assist with building a following for your brand. People are more likely to come back to your blog to read new content and to share your brand with their friends and family.
     
  • Social Media Presence – A blog post can also help your social media stand out amongst competitors. Every time you write a blog post be sure to share it on your social platforms and encourage your readers to share with their friends!
     
  • Add Value – Blogging instantly adds value. Blogging gives the writer freedom to discuss a topic that others may not be familiar in.
     
  • Lead Generation – Start converting the traffic that’s coming to your blog into leads! An easy way to help with conversion is by adding a lead-generating call-to-action at the end of your blog post. Lead-generating call-to-action example: Creating content can be hard! If you’re having writer’s block and need assistance creating content for your brand, then let 3D Digital Solutions help you.
     

HTML5 (ANIMATED) BANNERS VS. STATIC

Targeted Display Advertising, also known as banner advertising, has the ability to attract a given target audience with the sole purpose of tactics such as generating sales and brand awareness. Essentially, they are small examples of what you or your business offers, with the ability to click the banner ad to learn more.

In the past, a single image or “static” image with pictures and text would perfectly convey the message. For example, if you are selling flowers, a simple image of a flower arrangement with a message could work in attracting customers. Although this method still works and has great success, what if you wanted to take your banner advertisements to the next level? In comes HTML5 animated banners!

HTML5 is the code or language used to animate pieces of a banners or the entire banner itself. This can include the fading of an image or words flying across the banner ad. It can also be referred to as a “responsive design.”

The benefits of an HTML5 banner ad are tremendous. The biggest aspect is that no matter what device or browser you are on, the banner will display and animate the same. Other benefits include:

  1. Chance to be Creative. You no longer have to squeeze all that information into a single image. With HTML5 banners, you can create separate slides or screens that have additional information on each, as well as have text appear and disappear during the animation.
     
  2. More Memorable. Let’s face it; we love shiny and flashy things. Why not take that approach with your Targeted Display Advertising? By creating a more memorable ad, viewers are more prone to remember your ad versus one that is just a plain image.
     
  3. Size Matters. Today, more people are using their mobile devices as their primary source for all things Internet-related. A small static banner created for mobile devices can often look blurry and unreadable. With the use of HTML5, and the ability to have multiple slides, more information can be added and font sizes can be increased so they are more legible.
     
  4. Reach Audiences in Different Ways. Some users engage better with text, others with video, and in some cases, simple interactions. Using the HTML5 banner format, you can provide all of those in one single ad.
     
  5. Gone in a Flash. In the past, developers used Adobe Flash to create animated banners. With a majority of iOS (Apple) devices and other platforms no longer supporting Flash, HTML5 is now the way to go!
     

Still on the fence about whether an HTML5 animated banner would be beneficial to your marketing strategy? Speak with one of our display banner advertising experts at 3D Digital Solutions today; after analyzing your goals and objectives, we can create the perfect package for your online advertising needs.

WordPress Benefits

WordPress is an easy-to-use online platform that gives you the ability to create beautiful, yet functional websites and blogs. Any size company, in any industry, can benefit from using WordPress for their business. From industry happenings to product reviews, you can keep your audience informed in real-time. Interested in starting a food blog? WordPress can help you start documenting your delicious creations for the world to enjoy!

WordPress Benefits

Accessibility: With a WordPress account, you can make changes to your website from any computer in the world with Internet access and a browser. With the ability to make changes immediately, you’ll speed up the lines of communication between you and your customers.

Design: WordPress offers hundreds of themes and plugins to help you customize your website or blog. Browse themes that WordPress offers or you can install a theme made by a graphic designer giving your site the ultimate professional look!

Mobile Responsive: Nowadays, people are more likely to be on their phones versus a desktop viewing a website. WordPress allows you to download mobile responsive themes to make sure your website is aesthetically pleasing on a mobile device.

Scheduling: As a blogger, your days are filled with content creation. With the scheduling tool within WordPress, you can create bulk content that can be scheduled out for the rest of the week or month.

Two-way Communication: Interact with your reader base with the comment feature on WordPress. This feature allows you to read and reply to comments from your readers right on your blog helping you increase your brand awareness online!