Monthly Archives: July 2014

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The Problem with Long Scrolling Design

Long scrolling websites have been trending for the last couple years. If you’re not familiar with the term, a long scrolling website design is basically a one page site that uses scrolling as opposed to clicking to view all the site’s information (Here is an example: foodisforeating.org/). Even though they’ve been around for a while, they are still pretty rare and it’s probably for good reason. The type of site that benefits from a long scrolling design is highly dependent on a user that is looking to peruse, without a particular goal in mind. Long scrolling websites tell a story and they pretty much force the user to read your story. They also present issues related to SEO and website data tracking.

screenshot long scrolling example

SEO

Another problem with long scrolling design is with SEO. Basic SEO teaches you that you get one title tag and that it’s best to use just one h1 tag. Within those tags is your keyword and the content of the page is all about that keyword. Because a long scrolling design is one page, you’re putting your entire websites content on one page. For people who have multiple services described on their website, this is a problem because the more topics you discuss on one page the less likely you are to show up in search results for any one of those. As SEO expert, Bob Dumouchel says, “The more things you’re about, the less you’re about any of those things.” The h1 and title tags drive the topic of your page content and adding any information different than that detracts from your page relevancy, therefore lowering your position in the search results. This is fine for large, well-known companies who don’t depend on search results to get business. But for lesser known businesses, long scrolling is not the best option.

Website Data Tracking

Another area that leads to problems is with accurate data tracking. The traditional method of tracking clicks is made irrelevant by long scrolling because there is nowhere else to click to. You also can’t tell which information is causing your users to leave or convert. There are however, some other options for tracking like analyzing scroll depth. Scroll depth monitors how many people scroll through to a percentage length of your site, like if they scroll 25%, of the way down or get all the way through. There are also heat mapping solutions (like Crazy Egg) that track where people are looking most on the page. Using these metrics from the other tools will likely require more inferring than the traditional click-through.

Unless you’re a well-known company that doesn’t depend on search results or you have a really interesting story to tell and present it in an engaging way, then long scrolling is not a good design option for your website.


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Developing a Messaging Strategy

Starting a successful social media campaign requires developing a clear messaging strategy. The messaging strategy centers around your audience. Defining your audience will help you figure out why they would want to follow you. From there you can decide how your brand’s persona matches with your audience’s interests. A solid messaging strategy acts as a guide for consistently presenting content in a way that your audience will connect with.

Why should your target audience follow you?

Millenials using smartphones and tabletsPeople communicate through social media to be entertained, more specifically, they are looking to be informed or inspired, or both.

Positioning your company as an expert in the field is a great way to attract followers via social media and keep them interested. Offering tidbits of knowledge whether it’s about your products, services, or things going on in your industry will be valuable to your audience. It’s important to not always “sell” your offerings but to demonstrate the uses and benefits. Being too sales-y is a good way to lose followers.

Being a source of inspiration for your audience is a sure way to keep them coming back. There are endless ways to do this and it all depends on what your product or service is. If you offer a project-based service, posting photos of past projects is a great way to show off your capabilities and get your audience thinking how your service might benefit them. If you offer a product, posting photos of how customers use it is also a good way to show its application to others.

How do you want to be perceived by your target audience?

The next step is deciding on your brand’s persona and the tone you use when you post the types of content stated above. Do you want to come off as humorous, serious, sarcastic, or play to people’s emotions. Two examples of companies that have a clearly defined persona are iFixit and HeadBlade. iFixit is a local company that writes free repair guides for almost anything. They speak to people who like to fix things themselves, especially tech geeks. iFixit’s tone is geeky, relishing the happiness they get from taking apart and fixing something that can seem so complex. HeadBlade sells ergonomic razors for shaving your head. HeadBlade’s tone is playful, yet very proud of their head shaving ways. Both have a unique product and service and therefore they have attracted a unique set of followers by speaking to them in their language.

These two examples help to explain how your messaging strategy completely depends on knowing who your audience is and what they want from you.


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