customised dashboards for bloggers.jpg

Google Analytics made simple: mastering your data

Part 1. Creating dashboards to know what happens

Suppose you are doing all the things you’re supposed to do for improving your SEO and online image: writing great content, maintaining your site, being active on social media, and so on. But it takes another level to measure and analyse your results.

Have you installed Google Analytics?

When was the last time you looked at it?

Do you feel overwhelmed because you are not sure what to look at?

Two main services I tried to use for my website and blog were Google Analytics and Google Search Console. But they offered me so MUCH data that I preferred to ignore them completely.

Things had to change. So I’ve passed the Google Analytics exam and now I am going to dive into analytics weekly and monthly as one of my steps to getting more valuable leads.

If you are interested in managing your website’s data, follow me with 5 not very simple steps to find everything you need each time you log into Google Analytics without navigating through numerous reports.

We’ll learn how to create customized dashboards for bloggers and freelancers to find meaningful data more easily. In the next posts, I’ll analyse ways to use each of these dashboards.

If you are new to Google Analytics, follow the instructions here to create Google Analytics account. After registration, you are provided with some code to install on your website. If everything is correct, you get your first statistics within 24 hours.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with Google services and relevant terminology, you could start with some basic course like Digital Garage by Google.

STEP 1: YOUR DEFAULT TRAFFIC STATISTICS

If you want to take a quick look at how things are going, the default report (the page you see when you log in) is the only page you need.

Basic things to learn from the report:

  • Pageviews: how many times your web pages have been viewed
  • Users: number of unique people who visited your website
  • Sessions and session duration: the time when someone visits your site and leaves it (or stays inactive for 30 minutes) is one session
  • Pages per session: important as it shows potential interest and relevance
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who viewed only one page
  • New and returning visitors

Google Analytics Home

Frankly speaking, I do not like this AT ALL. Neither do you? Click Customization (left upper corner), then Dashboards. We are going to create our own reports.

STEP 2: CREATING A DASHBOARD FOR TRAFFIC

To make things more meaningful, I chose my own widgets for analysing statistics.

My first dashboard is for looking at the incoming traffic to know:

– How visitors are finding my website
– What my most popular pages and posts are
– Who my referrals are

1. To start, log into Google Analytics

Click Dashboards (on the top side of the left navigation) > Create. Name your new dashboard. It’s time to see how widgets work.

  • Click Add Widget.
  • Name your widget How people found you.
  • Click the blue outlined box that says Add Metric.
  • Type Source in the search box and then click the Source item that appears.
  • Now click the green outlined box that says Add dimension.
  • Do you see the next column of our How people found you table? Yes, type Users and click the option when it appears below.
  • Now click another green box that says Add dimension and type in… yes, New Sessions. Scroll down and save.

Bingo! You have added your first widget. Go on.

2. Widget: Visitors by Channel

Why: This widget provides a look at the sources of your traffic with a percentage breakdown of the traffic source, i.e., organic, direct, referral, social. You know where your visitors are coming from.

How to create it: Click Add Widget > Pie. Title you report Visitors by Channel. Under Create a pie chart showing: select Users. (Type Users in the search box and then click the Source item that appears.) Under Group by: select Default Channel Grouping.

3. Widget: How many people are reading your posts?

Next widgets are mostly self-explanatory. I’ll add only their basic parameters. Use the same scheme with the Add widget command.

Widget type: Metric. Metric: Users.

4. Widget: Which posts are the most popular?

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Country. Metrics: Users, % Exit.

5. Widget: Referral Websites

Note that we are excluding major search and social engines as we’ll have a separate dashboard for them.

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Full Referrer. Metric: Users. And we need a lot of filters here to exclude major websites (see the screenshot below).

Referral filters for Google Analytics6. Widget: Where do your readers live?

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Country. Metrics: Users, Pages/Session.

7. Widget: Traffic by Device

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Device Category. Metrics: Users, Sessions.

8. Widget: Keywords

To know how people find you in Google search if applicable.

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Keywords. Metrics: Pageviews, Pages/Session.

And again a couple of filters here.

Filter this data: Don’t show > Exactly matching > (not set)

Filter this data: Don’t show > Exactly matching > (not provided)

You did it! Your final dashboard should look similar to mine:

My customised dashboard for traffic

 STEP 3: CREATING A DASHBOARD FOR CONTENT

Now that you know where you are heading, let’s dive into the content analysis to learn:

– How your content works
– How long visitors are staying
– Where visitors come from
– How many pages they view and where they exit

Create and name your new dashboard.

Note: By default, Google Analytics will display results from the past 30 days. Don’t forget to look at longer periods like 6 to 12 months or even further to determine pages that bring you the majority of search engine traffic, page views, and daily visits by users. Use the filter in the top right corner.

1. Widget: Pageviews by Page Title

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Page Title. Metrics: Pageviews, Unique Pageviews.

2. Widget: Visits and % New Visits by Landing Page

Note: Landing page here is the first page your visitor sees when entering the website.

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Landing Page. Metrics: Sessions, New Sessions.

3. Widget: Avg. Time on Page and Bounce Rate

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Page Title. Metrics: Avg. Time on Page, Bounce Rate.

4. Widget: Exits and Pageviews By Page

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Page. Metrics: Exits, Pageviews.

5. Widget: Pageviews by Country / Territory

Widget type: Pie. Create a pie chart showing: Pageviews. Grouped by: Country.

For now, your final dashboard will look like this (you can drag and drop widgets making the layout easier to read):

Content Analysis Dashboard for Bloggers

STEP 4: CREATING A BOARD FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is an important source of traffic. Use this board to know:
– How many visitors are coming from social media
– What they prefer to read
– What social networks work best for you

And now comes my favourite trick. You can find a lot of free cute dashboards to import for your own use!

This one was imported from the Buffer blog. I only changed a couple of widgets to make data more meaningful for me. Just click the link provided in the article and add the view to your website for further customisation. The original dashboard includes the following widgets:

1. Real-time visitors to your website from social channels
2. Which social networks are sending you the most traffic overall
3. Your top landing pages for social traffic
4. How your social traffic fits with traffic from search, direct, and referral
5. Your most shared pages on Twitter and Facebook
6. Your social media campaign results

The widgets I’ve added:

1. Widget: Overall Site Visits

Basic context for the social data: total visits to the site to see if social is a large or small percentage.

Widget type: Metric. Metric: Sessions. Link to reports: Audience / Overview

2. Widget: New Visitor Acquisition from Social

Are you trying to attract a new audience from social media? Then it’s important.

Widget type: Metric. Metric: % New Sessions. Filter this data: Only show > Social Source Referral > Exactly matching > Yes

3. Widget: Social Traffic and Bounce Rate

The bounce rate in this widget shows the quality of social traffic. Do people read some other posts or take off quickly?

Widget type: Timeline. Graph the following metric over time: Sessions. Compare with (optional): Bounce Rate. Filter this data: Only show > Social Source Referral > Exactly matching > Yes. Link to Report: Acquisition / Social / Network Referrals

Social Media Dashboard for Blogging

STEP 5: CREATING A BOARD FOR PERFORMANCE

An important part of your SEO strategy is to know how your website is running. With this dashboard, you’ll see:

• How quickly your website loads
• Where your visitors are coming from
• If you should act because something isn’t working as it should

1. Widget: Average Page Load Time

Widget type: Metric. Metric: Avg. Page Load Time (sec).

2. Widget: Average Server Response Time

Widget type: Metric. Metric: Avg. Server Response Time (sec).

3. Widget: Mobile Page Load Time (sec)

Widget type: Metric. Metric: Avg. Page Load Time (sec).

4. Widget: Average Page Views per Visit

Widget type: Metric. Metric: Pages/Session.

5. Widget: Average Time on Site

Widget type: Metric. Metric: Average Session Duration.

6. Widget: Load Time for Popular Pages

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Page Title. Metrics: Pageviews, Avg. Page Load Time (sec).

7. Widget: Server Response Time by Country

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Country. Metrics: Pageviews, Avg. Server Response Time (sec).

8. Widget: Visits by Day Since last Visit

Widget type: Table. Dimension: Days Since Last Session. Metric: Sessions.

You will find the Performance dashboard here, ready for further customisation.

Performance Dashboards for Bloggers

Congratulations! Your dashboards are ready.

These are basic configurations. I am planning to use them for three months and then go on with the customisation adding some new metrics and deleting those I do not need. There are plenty of resources to find Google Analytics dashboards and widgets if you know what data type is meaningful to you.

It may seem overwhelming at first. But the more you use the tool, the easier it becomes. Spend a few minutes a day logged into Google Analytics and get used to the system

In my next posts I am planning to give the best ways to use Google Analytics and the updated dashboards for blogging and self-promotion.

 

Social media for small business

Searched and found online: 3 top social networks

Tips and tricks to improve your Google ranking by 2018

This is the third post on online marketing strategies for SMB. The first part covers tools for improving your search ranking. And the second is about building your content strategy.

Next comes content promotion. Here, social  media for small business can be a powerful way to amplify and reinforce your carefully created content.

Nearly every online research begins with search engines. More than a half of potential customers research businesses using social media before making a purchasing decision.

Social media is free and it lets you talk to customers anywhere. So how can you use social media to its advantage?

PLAN AHEAD

To effectively cross-promote your content, you can’t simply post the same message on each social network; you need to tailor it to fit each platform and audience.

When promoting a blog post or a campaign, you may need to address your Facebook fans in a different way than your LinkedIn audience. On Twitter, you have to keep your message short and simple.

Here’s a look at three top social networks with some marketing tips and tricks.

#1 FACEBOOK

Your Page establishes your business’ presence on Facebook, so people can find out about you and connect with you. Commit to your personality: share your knowledge, talk about your experiences, and interact.

10 Facebook tips for your Business Page

1

The cover photo is an area for some promotion of your business, your contest or giveaway. The cover page loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file 851 x 315 pixels and less than 100 kilobytes.

Facebook posts can be up to 10,000 characters but be sure to put the main message into the first 480 characters as only they show up in the feed.

2

Update the Page template to best suit your business (Settings > Edit Page > Edit Template). You can choose Business, Services, Shopping, Venues, Politicians, Restaurants and Cafés, or the Standard template.

Complete your About section as it often the first place your visitors scan after a Google search. It’s your landing page for Facebook. Your short description, the one line pitch, is your value proposition or unique selling point. Add your social links and contacts.

3

Add relevant keywords to your About section for better SEO. Only the first 75 characters will appear on your wall, and they are most valuable for search engines. Include a link to your website in those first 75 characters.

Add relevant keywords to your posts and to captions of your Facebook images.

4

Be responsive to messages and comments but note that you can set you Response Time marker automatically OR manually (Settings > Messaging). To receive private messages in addition to comments, enable the messages feature in Settings > General.

Enable Response Assistant to respond automatically with a customised message (Settings > Messaging).

5

Take advantage of call-to-action buttons available for a Page (the bottom right-hand corner of the cover photo). The buttons make it easier to get in touch with the business.

Add Button to Facebook page

Customise your tabs of the left side bar (Settings > Edit Page > Tabs). Drag and drop tabs to change the order and complete all the information.

5

Make good use of custom Facebook tabs. You create a custom landing page right on your page for almost any purpose.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get more subscribers to your business blog.
  • Promote registration for your upcoming event.
  • Create a library of downloadable offers to generate leads
  • Feature customer testimonials or case studies

Facebook has made this setup process somewhat trickier over the years, but you can use third-party services:

Woobox

woobox
Easy Tab Creator

Easy Tab Creator
Facebook Timeline Contests

facebook timeline contests
ShortStack

shortstack facebook7

Experiment with different post styles and types. Your posts are meant to be marketing tools! Facebook Stories are in-the-moment content clips that appeared only in 2017. Give sneak peeks into industry events, product launches, and behind the scenes content with Facebook Live.

Facebook post formats

If possible, embed your Facebook content into blog posts or other online publications. Click in the upper right-hand corner of your post, copy, and paste.

8

Don’t forget your past successes. Recycle or repost past successful content to save you needed time and energy. Some of your readers did miss the posts that performed well in the past.

To find most popular posts on your Page click on the Insights tab at the top of your Page, and then go to the Posts section on the left hand side. To see which posts were reaching the most users, click Reach in the top menu of the table. To see which posts were getting the most engagement, click Engagement in the top menu of the table. You can sort engagement even further by Post Clicks, Reactions, or Comments & Shares.

9

Have fun and be social. Facebook was created to connect individuals around the world.

Your Facebook insights will tell you when the majority of your fans are online, so you can adjust to the time periods they prefer.

10

Need more ideas?

52 Facebook Marketing Ideas

12 Easy Ways to Find Engaging Facebook Content

#2 LINKEDIN

A professional business network, LinkedIn can be used to share content about your business or industry sector. It’s also useful for networking and establishing closer contacts.

LinkedIn has 3x higher visitor-to-lead conversion rate then Twitter and Facebook. It’s sure a place to increase your marketing presence, build new relationships with customers and form your professional network.

10 LinkedIn tips for your profile and business page

1

The cover photo is one more way to brand yourself. You can connect it to your profession, tell a visual story or share your best contact info but be sure that the image represents you as a person and a professional. The new recommended size is 1584 wide by 396 high (4:1).

On the new user interface only a small piece of your summary is displayed. Concentrate on the first sentence to grab the attention of your visitor. Try “view as” mode for your profile to check the result.

2

Beware of buzzwords when filling out your profile or a business page. Every year, LinkedIn releases a ranking of the 10 buzzwords on profiles which are used so often they become almost meaningless. This year’s adjectives are: specialised, leadership, focused, strategic, experienced, passionate, expert, creative, innovative and certified.

Instead of using buzzwords, add keywords to various sections of your profile including your headline, your summary, or your work experience.

LinkedIn Buzzwords3

LinkedIn is one of the top sites that Google indexes regularly so your SEO is relevant for headline, summary, job titles. Use keywords that people use when they’re searching for the services in your niche. Think in terms of 3-5 words to avoid overstuffing.

Rename images on your profile adding keywords: include a name that will get you discovered online to gain more exposure. Make use of backlinks: add a link to your blog page and consider linking back to your profile page for a higher profile ranking.

4

You can post on your profile, on company page, and in groups. Republish your blog posts on LinkedIn Pulse. (Better wait a couple of weeks after the original publication and think of a new headline though.)

You can also turn your post or presentation into a document on SlideShare as LinkedIn has bought the platform and integrated SlideShare into accounts. Feel free to share your blog content in appropriate groups as well, but use different text and post on different days and times.

5

Share your blog posts in LinkedIn with an image and a link. Keep the description copy to 70 characters and feature a call to action. Everything after 100 characters will be truncated and likely have a negative effect on engagement rates.

If you choose to report key industry news and trends, try to add value and provide key insights and takeaways. Make your text personal and engaging. Your audience consists of individuals, not institutions and entities.

6

Showcase pages on LinkedIn are extensions of a Company Page. They can be used to promote a product or business initiative. In fact, such niche page for targeted segments can serve as a specialised landing page connecting to your website.

You can offer different products or services on the separate pages linking them to your main page. It’s a great way to address various target audiences while continuing your work on brand building.

LinkedIn Showpages7

LinkedIn was created for networking. Get into the habit of following up meetings and conversations with LinkedIn connection requests – it’s a great way of keeping your network up to date and relevant.

The blueprint for writing an undeniable LinkedIn connection requests comes down to four rules. Your request must be: polite, personalized, professional, and (yes, right) praiseful. Some useful tips on writing LinkedIn requests were published by HubSpot and the Muse.

8

Make use of search functions when looking for new customers. Instead of the Advanced Search function, the new version offers a multi-layered search with the support of AND, OR, NOT Boolean phrases.

You can further refine the global search with the filters on the right-hand side of the page and save the search and get regular updates. Here is your LinkedIn search guide.

9

After searching for your ideal clients or partners take advantage of your ability to send up to 15 free messages per month to people that share a LinkedIn Group in common with you.

Your 15 messages are collectively for all of your groups each month. Unsent messages don’t carry over to the next period. The limit includes messages sent directly from groups including messages to your 1st degree connections.

10

If you post articles to LinkedIn Publisher, you can see people who liked or commented on your posts. These people had a positive interaction with your content and have some idea of who you are, so they may be your potential prospects and connections.

#3 TWITTER

In recent years, Twitter has been in a slow decline as its original appeal isn’t as exciting as 11 years ago. Despite that it is still a valid communication tool for reaching almost any type of audience.

Being one of the top social media sites in the world, Twitter is meant for building a dialogue with its real-time, quick-to-read updates. It allows you to listen to people and join in with their conversations.

10 Twitter tips for better promotion

1

In September, Twitter started testing 280 character limit to give posts more space. Nevertheless, it remains at its core a short message service. Avoid aggressive selling, excessive self-promotions and retweets cluttering fan feeds.

If you are eager to try lengthier messages right now, here are some suggestions on using Twitter new 280-character format.

2

You have 160 characters for you bio field on Twitter. Do keep it brief and include links to other websites and pages instead.

Make sure you use http:// at the beginning of your links for these links to be clickable.

3

It was the first social network to introduce hashtags and @ handles for better search and networking. Hashtags make your tweet more searchable and @ handles are used to give credit to or message other Twitter accounts.

Use tags (but not abuse). If you add three or more hashtags in your tweets, they look like spam and are a lot harder to read. Write shorter updates and leave room to include via @YourUsername if someone wants to share your content.

4

The lifespan of a tweet is about less than 20 minutes. If you share your blog posts, do it more than once on different days and at different times. Post your evergreen content every couple of months mixing them with curated content and retweets.

It’s fine to repeat Tweets more than once over a day if they are relevant and timely. Twitter internal data shows B2B audiences are much more likely to engage on Twitter after seeing business’s message for several times.

5

To get more retweets, be sure to include images and links. Avoid posting news without relevant links. You can upload up to four images to any tweet excluding animated GIFs when posting from an event or destination. Just tap on the Camera button and select up to four images.

Twitter even allows you to search for GIF’s while composing a new tweet to enhance your post with visual content. You can also use images to get past character limit if you attach a screenshot with some text or notes.

GIFs on Twitter6

You can now retweet your old tweets if they are relevant again or you feel they have gone unnoticed. Please note that each tweet can be retweeted only once to reduce the clutter in users’ newsfeeds.

Do not forget to promote your best tweets through a Pinned Tweet and stick the compelling content at the top of your page. Rotate the slot every few weeks to keep it relevant.

7

Use lists actively to organize and curate content. Main stream of latest tweets contains too much information. Even basic tools like Tweet Deck can be of great help here.

Some ideas for your lists: influencers, customers, leads/prospects. Feel free to make some of your lists private. Note that anybody can view a public list and users receive notifications when you add them.

Tweet Deck8

Try to maintain consistent communication and include similar keywords you use on your website, if it goes with what you’re tweeting about. Remember that hashtags play the role of keywords for Twitter. Analyze which hashtags bring you the most engagement and optimize your profile by focusing on the more effective ones.

Note that you can tag up to 10 people in a tweet image. This means you can add up to 10 @ handles without affecting your character limit in the original message.

9

Short links are popular on Twitter as they make your message easier to read. Here are some popular sites you can use:

10

Don’t miss a chance to embed tweets into websites as an embedded tweet is intuitive. Anyone logged into Twitter can reply it, retweet, add to favourites.

To embed a tweet tap on the More (…) button below the tweet, select the Embed Tweet option, then copy and paste the embed code into any HTML document.

SOME FINAL NOTES

Keep your name and @ handle consistent across all of your social channels to make you more searchable. Avoid using numbers in your username because it might seem spammy to Google.

Keep your pages regularly updated if you have them. Inactive social media accounts and unanswered queries could seriously harm your business. It just looks as if you don’t care.

If you’re a business with visual products, having a presence on Pinterest and Instagram is crucial. But you should focus your marketing efforts only on 1 to 3 platforms.

The number of followers and likes you have is going to mean less and less. It’s time to look at engagement. Find out what your audience wants to read, teach how to do something, inspire as people want to be inspired.

Good luck!

content strategy for SMB

Searched and found online: follow the content

Part 2. Building a purposeful strategy: tips and checklists

This is the second post on online marketing strategies for SMB. The first part covers tools for improving your search ranking.

You did your SEO homework but still not happy with traffic and conversions?

It’s time to look at the next four steps that help attract and nurture website visitors who found you online.

Compelling content is one of the best free online promotion tools at your disposal. Constant organic traffic is your quest. It means trust and authority among your ideal customers. But developing the right content takes time and effort.

Content serves you in many ways:

  • Improves your search rankings
  • Drives traffic to your website
  • Helps communicate with existing leads

In a nutshell, content is the message your marketing strategy delivers. Good content makes people read, share, and come back for more.

Specify why you create content and what you’re trying to achieve with it. Possible variants include:

Prospecting
Sales support
Marketing and PR
Community creation
Customer Support
Thought Leadership

Determine the goals and use them to build a purposeful content strategy. Give your content focus and clarity.

step 1. Plan: Know your audience

Before you create your content strategy, you need to understand exactly what constitutes high-quality content. An outline prepared by Google lists all necessary indicators.

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallow?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page one would bookmark, share, or recommend?

Google receives millions of search queries per minute. There are many people looking for answers. But capturing their attention can be difficult.

 

best content strategy for SMB

Source: Qmee

You are fighting for attention. Instead of attempting to guess what might be preferable for search engines, consider your audience and their genuine interests. This is the first stage of content planning and strategy.

Study your ideal customers and prospects. Explore the ways to reach them and try to find out what they prefer. Identify common buyers for your products and services, the problems they are trying to solve, the information they are searching for.

If your content is a bad fit for your audience, you’ll attract wrong visitors.

step 2. Create: Prepare to convert visitors into leads

To promote your products and services, you should understand the value of your business for your potential customers. Your unique offer is your sweet spot.

Record your editorial plans for the next three months. Add dates and tasks: publish new posts, update social networks, etc. Keep your marketing goals in mind and note SEO best practices.

1. Consider best storytelling practices

Simon Sinek says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

Business storytelling is about creating a link between your business and your prospects and customers.
 
Why are you doing what you’re doing? How are you doing it to get a unique proposition? And only then comes WHAT you are offering. The answers will help you to set the tone for all your content and tell your story in a way that appeals to your audience.
 
I liked the way the Content Marketing course by Hubspot explained storytelling practices. To illustrate three essential story elements — characters, conflict, and resolution — they use a rhyme about a little teapot.

I’m a little teapot short and stout here is my handle, here is my spout. (the character)
When I get all steamed up I just shout. (conflict)
Tip me over and pour me out. (resolution)

Best content practices

Source: HubSpot

The storytelling framework applied to a business:

TOMS is a slip on shoe company that focuses on spreading social good; with every product you purchase, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. They’ve made this a part of their brand identity, by creating a slogan that reinforces who they are and what they’re about, “The One for One Company”.

The company sold over 60 million pairs of shoes.

Use content to create emotional appeal, be consistent, and keep the story clear and concise.

2. Define preferred content types

Content is able to increase visibility.

To optimize content for discovery and conversion, identify types of content and channels you’ll use.

Curation: Listing useful tools or stats adding value and creating useful, ever-green resource
Lists: Not everyone likes them, but lists do work very well. Easy to scan, they also appeal to curiosity
Niche: Detailed posts tend to deliver the right kind of traffic over time
How-to guides: Popular as they provide practical tips for users

Different content types help progress web visitors through every stage of customer relations. Choose content type depending on the stage of the buying cycle.

AWARENESS STAGE: a problem or opportunity is still unidentified

Analyst reports, e-books, blog posts, expert content, whitepapers, educational content

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION STAGE: a problem identified; looking for various solutions

Guidelines, live interactions (webinars), podcasts, videos, comparisons

DECISION AND PURCHASE STAGE: finally, more direct action

Vendor comparison; product comparison; case studies; trial offers; product literature; live demos

The best content is not products-based but solutions-based. It’s all about the customer, not about your business or products. By publishing such content you get:

  • Enhanced potential for onsite activity
  • Better positions in organic search
  • Social signals resulting in links to your content
Types of content by Hubspot

Source: HubSpot

3. Write with a purpose in mind

Figuring out a topic is one of the most important (and hardest) parts of content creation. See which terms attract visitors to your website. You will identify the evergreen content that is already working and get ideas for new content.

Other ways to identify valid topics are:

  • Keyword research
  • Internet forums
  • Popular industry news
  • Potential customer’s goals and challenges.

Topical content related to industry developments helps your savvy audiences make a better marketing or purchasing decision. It’s great for immediate success. Evergreen posts like “how-to” guides enjoy better ranking in search engines for longer periods.

Social media can drive traffic to your blog while specific blog posts could drive traffic to landing pages. All content can drive an action, such as enrollment to get the extra information. Content can drive sales with each piece of content creating interest in one of your products.

If you are not sure what topics to choose, try online tools like Buzzsumo to discover popular and well-liked content and Feedly to track trendy topics and content ideas.

Buzzsumo content ideas
4. Structure content appropriately

Writing for the web differs from academic writing. Your most important points always come first. Before your readers invest their time into your piece of content, they’ll want to know why it’s worth it.

Asking people to think doesn’t work here because web visitors don’t have time to think. Keep your web copy as readable as possible.

The readability of the text depends on how you arrange it. Web surfers don’t read texts but scan them in an F-shaped pattern looking for something to catch their attention. Can you write for scanning web users? Your checklist:

  • Communicate the purpose of your content in the headline
  • Add lists to reduce wordiness and clutter
  • Use short paragraphs (6-8 lines max)
  • Stick to short sentences (12 words on average)
  • Skip unnecessary words (try Hemingway App to get an idea)
  • Beware of jargon and use plain English
  • Avoid the passive tense
  • Resist needless repetition
  • Address your web visitors using the word ‘you’
  • Shorten the text

Is your content neat and conversational? Beware of errors, poor formatting, and weird text.

Best practices: text in sections with descriptive subheadings; visuals for better comprehension; being straight to the point; generous spacing and larger fonts to increase readability.

 

Web content best practices

Source: www2.warwick.ac.uk

5. Repurpose your content
Good content requires time and effort. You can recycle some of the materials to reach new audiences and reappear in search engine results. Remember the rule of seven: A prospect needs to see you message at least seven times before they take action.
 
There are two basic ways to re-purpose content: republish it on other websites with credit to the original author or recycle it into a new form.
 
Republishing best practices according to HubSpot:

– Strive to choose reputable sites for a greater positive effect
– Republish only top performing content
– Wait at least two weeks before republishing
– Update the headline of each republished piece of content
– Add internal links to your post
– Include call-to-action within the post

When recycling your content, be ready to adjust, combine related or unrelated content, and expand to dig deeper into the topic.

You can turn whitepapers into blog posts. And you can recycle a series of blog posts into Instagram posts, videos, a guide and a checklist, a slide deck, an infographic, a webinar or even a podcast.

Think like a publisher.

step 4. Analyse: Assess key metrics and plan next steps

Always track your content and its performance.
 
1. You will know if your marketing efforts are driving sales
2. You will understand where to head next.
3. You will have progress insights for future cases.
 
Don’t waste time and money on channels that don’t drive towards one of your goals. Focus on the main areas to derive actionable insights from your data:

Website metrics. What are the best sources of traffic for your business? Make sure visits arriving from organic search are steadily growing over time.
Engagement: shares, likes, comments, retweets. These are your main feedback signals. What content is working best?
Inbound links. Are they adding to brand awareness? Referral traffic may be indicative of your audience’s awareness of you as a trusted partner.
Lead generation. What activities lead to someone becoming a lead? What is the ratio of leads to customers?

To increase visits to your website, select ten website pages that are driving leads and update their content to be more comprehensive and thorough. Compare the number of visits, the search ranks, and the time-on-page to see if content changes affected these. Use the data to update your goals for the next month, quarter, or year.

CORNERSTONES TO MAKE YOUR CONTENT WORK

Make a content plan and stick with it for six months. A plan backed up by consistent approach gives you the best chance to see positive results of your content efforts. You can use the document to keep track of your long-term marketing initiatives and test your decisions.

Know your audience. Broad content brings you more visitors, but they are less likely to become customers. Keep content educational, not promotional.

Web copy is scanned. Or glanced at. Not read. Your web visitors are hunting for information or products. Will they find it easily at your website? Less is more: they as busy as you are.

Monitor marketing trends and take them into account when creating a content plan. 8 key marketing trends in 2017 according to HubSpot:

  1. Higher importance of testimonials
  2. More focus on user groups
  3. Interactive newsletters
  4. Advocate marketing
  5. Online customer community interaction
  6. Customer satisfaction systems
  7. Cross-sell/upsell campaigns
  8. Referral programs

Your marketing is only as good as your results.

Make your business found online

Searched and found online: 4 crucial SEO steps

Part 1. Google rankings for SMB: tools and checklists

My last year’s CPD included quite a few of courses and certifications in online and content marketing.

To make better use of how-tos learned, I decided to proceed with a series of online marketing and promotion guides. Are you seeking ideas to optimise your website and content for discovery and conversion? Follow the blog for actionable tips! To ensure they work, I will use them while updating and optimising my own sites. (Keen to see the results!) More links may be added later if I discover more useful tools.

The planned topics:
Content-related best practices
Social media tips and tricks
– Branding strategies
– Latest marketing trends to know about
– And this one, SEO as the core element to make your business readily found online

Websites and online content should help us get customers. But first, potential customers must become aware that we exist.

By SEO we mean all the methods you can use for better visibility of websites and content on search engine results pages.

The following steps will help you to position your website and/or brand better in organic (non-paid) results, draw in new clients, and get a chance to increase conversions.

step 1. KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST SEO TRENDS

For several years, Google has been focusing on understanding ‘natural’ queries brought by the increase of mobile and voice searches. The search engine has now improved significantly in conversational language processing.

The traditional view of ‘keywords’ has changed as the search became semantic. It now works with non-specific natural search terms in use and attempts to find the core concept they belong to.

That enables Google to understand the intent behind queries and provide more relevant search results to the user. To become a part of relevant search results, your website and SEO should fulfil the following basic tasks:

  1. Explain to Google and searchers what your company does
  2. Offer easy navigation to help visitors find what they need
  3. Answer visitors’ questions through rich content and social proof

At present, more than 200 Google factors influence your search positions. But the three top ranking factors are links, content & RankBrain, the algorithm for indexing online content.

The methods to achieve higher rankings include on-page optimisation (working with your content); off-page approaches (link-building, social media marketing), and—as usual—analytics and feedback.

Successful SEO practices are always tied to business goals and client-oriented. You need to analyse what your message is and whom it’s for. Get to know your potential customers, their needs and pressing issues. In that case even a lower traffic volume will be invaluable, especially for niche and technical products and services.

step 2. MAKE USE OF WEBSITE OPTIMISATION CHECKLIST

Always start with inner optimisation to create a solid foundation for future activities. Pay special attention to the following points:

1. Loading speed

The load speed of your webpage is increasingly becoming a differentiator for search engines.

Start with free Google Page Speed Checker. Your aim is a green check mark.

For better results,  implement the recommendations offered by the service. A spoiler: you may well need a programmer to get a flawless version but some tips are easy and actionable. My results after some light optimisation are quite good. (92 for mobile and 96 for desktop instead of 33 and 38.)

  • Always optimise your images. Use services like compressor.io or Photoshop > Save for Web
  • Get rid of plugins for WordPress if they are not a must. The less, the better
  • W3 Total Cache plugin is highly recommended (Not sure of settings? Try this resource or google another one)

My Site Optimised

 

More free speed test tools are available online.

2. 404 errors and identical content

For link checking, try free Xenu’s Link Sleuth or use Google Search Console.

The console is a part of Google Toolkit for Webmasters and a must have for everyone interested in search rankings.

business found online_google console_en

If Google finds two identical pieces of content, whether on your own site or on another you’re do not even know of, it indexes only one of the pages. Be aware of sites stealing and republishing your content.

Copycats can outrank you even with the stolen content. If you have identified an offending website, take the appropriate action. Contact the website owner or use Google’s content removal form.

3. Responsive design

The share of mobile traffic continues to increase (see below). Moreover, Google has stated that responsive design is its preferred method of mobile optimisation. Non-responsive websites won’t rank high.

You can check adaptability using Google mobile friendly service or pull up your website on a smartphone. Are the fonts adapted? Does the content fit the screen? Is there space enough between text, graphics, and links?

If you plan to enjoy tonnes of mobile traffic, consider investigating Google AMP project. Early adopters report a serious increase in returning mobile search users.

Mobile-share-of-online-time-percent-2017

4. Website structure

For providing the best possible user experience, you need an easily navigable, searchable site with relevant internal linking and related content.

SEO experts agree that to get the most traffic you should have dedicated pages for every service you offer, industries and sectors you work with, portfolio and/or blog. Other pages are business-dependent. For example, translators/interpreters could add a page for each of their working languages.

Internal linking helps Google crawl and index your site, provides your audience with further reading options and adds to online business visibility for specific keywords.

SEO optimised website structure

5. Content

No more on-purpose mistakes, strange phrases for strict matching or atrocious keyword stuffing. Luckily for us, Google search algorithms became more mature in recent years.

You’ll find signals for content quality in the Google Search Quality Ratings Guidelines. They pay special attention to the level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. A satisfying amount of high-quality main content matters, too.

Stylistically correct and aimed at user needs

Search engines try to provide the most appropriate results to queries, so they look for relevancy.

Google’s Webmaster Academy course tells you how to “create valuable content.” Avoid broken links, wrong information, grammar or spelling mistakes, excessive ads.

Your SEO friends:
– Subheadings
– Bulleted lists
– Shorter sentences (14–16 words max)
– Shorter paragraphs to grasp the idea
– Structured content
– Thematic completeness
– Relevant keywords/phrases co-occurrence
– Graphics with keywords in ALT tags.

Leveraging ‘psychology tricks’

Optimise content titles for more clicks AND better search rating. Note: Your content should still be relevant to the headline or you risk a high bounce rate.

The biggest winners are striking headlines which include numbers and superlative words like “amazing” or “inspiring.”

Your SEO friends:
– Optimized headlines (emotions + promise + keyword)
– Calls for action where possible and/or necessary.

Adapted and unique

When localising content, look for cultural and/or social differences. Get rid of the content irrelevant to the local audience. Pay attention to local Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords instead: phrases similar to your main keywords. Google loves them. (See below.)

Your SEO friends:
– Natural word order
– Locally relevant content
– Content checking services
(Glvrd.ru for Russian texts; Hemingway editor for English content).

step 3. GET FAMILIAR WITH KEYWORDS

Accurate and relevant keywords within headlines and anchor text along with proper tagging are still among SEO best practices. 93% of online experiences begin with a search, and a search begins with words.

Research target keywords

Create a short list of keywords relevant to your area of expertise and use them often across your site and social media profiles.

In case you localise your website or social media content, consider researching keywords in your target languages as keyword translation does not suit your needs.

Google’s Keyword Planner is the easiest way to search for keywords. Tip: to access it you need an account in Google AdWords. (If that’s not an option you will find some other tools below.)

If you need to localise your keywords for the Russian-speaking audience, you may also try Yandex’s Keyword Statistics or Serpstat to find targeted keywords.

Expand to long-tail keywords and natural language

These are your cornerstones to fit the requirement of current search algorithms and user behaviour. Latest Google searching algorithms use latent semantic indexing (long tail keywords) to understand user search habits and give best content for their search queries.

Long tail keywords are keywords that contain 3 or more words. Why do we need them?

– Specific queries are easier to rank
– Long-tail keywords bring relevant visitors to the website
– They mean lower competition
– LSI offers low cost-per-click and increased conversion

Google’s Keyword Planner is pretty much useless for key phrase research be it blogging, SEO or content marketing. Free but powerful tools can offer synonyms which are searched more frequently or search prompts for phrases useful for you, or show keywords working for your competitors.

Ubersuggest. It adds every letter in the alphabet after the keyword to generated hundreds of long tail keyword suggestions.
AnswerThePublic. A one pager that can be used to understand what truly matters to your clients (remember to pick up a country).
Keywordtool.io. 750+ keyword suggestions for free. Considered one of best tool for long tail keywords.
LSI Graph. LSI keyword generator.

Feel free to use Google tools extensively. Use the search bar to type in a keyword and see what Google Auto Suggest gives you. Use Google Trends to search for popular phrases and figure out which variation of a keyword is best. Google Correlate shows search patterns which correspond with real-world trends.

Understand the user intent behind target keywords

Natural language is taking over search queries. Where users would once type words they are now asking questions. Those questions essentially become long-tail keywords for your SEO strategy.

Plug your core keywords into Google and study the results for user intent. Use them strategically as you plan and craft content. Match your website and your content to the kinds of information that users need. If a brand wants to rank well for the term (aka keyword), they need to provide high-quality content defining the term and explaining their industry.

Aim for topical completeness as too generic texts have a much higher bounce rate with a negative effect on search engine positions. Longer (more than 1000 words) ‘how to’ guides, case studies, niche insights, expert comments, life hacks both attract and add value in the sales funnel. Having a FAQ page with all user intent questions could be a good thought.

The SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool assesses which keywords are worth targeting or are too difficult to rank for. The tool provides a keyword difficulty index from 1-100 percent to show you how difficult it’ll be to beat your competitors with the specified search terms and phrases.

Optimise your content with keywords

Basic keyword optimisation principles:

– A keyword in the Title tag
– A keyword or a synonym in H1 tag
– H2 subheadings should be present
– Several long-tail keywords with synonyms
– Graphics is a must (photo, infographic)
– Internal links to similar content (with keywords) to improve user experience
– External links to authoritative high ranking sites

Searchers get results not only based on the exact word they typed but by what the search engine deems to be meaningfully related. Now a smaller site gains benefits that can make a huge difference to your SEO. Target keywords that the competitors are unwilling or unable to compete on.

step 4. MOVE TO OFF-SITE OPTIMISATION CHECKLIST

Authority has always been a component of Google’s search. To determine if your answer is any better Google looks at the number, and quality, of other websites that have placed links to your site – especially in the same industry or niche.

A free extension for Chrome web browser, the Moz Bar gives instant insights on different kinds of links and helps determine if a link is beneficial for your website or not. Track your backlinks and disallow the unwanted links to protect your site from Google Penalty.

Apparently, link building is the key to your off-site optimisation. Good content brings you natural backlinks adding to your search engine page position. Another obvious way to raise your site’s visibility through off-site SEO is social media marketing (SMM).

Be present on all relevant social channels (follow the white rabbit target audience). Note that faceless broadcasting does not add to your SEO. Make SMM a customer service channel and interact with people to generate interest and attract visitors to your website.

Relying on finding and verifying local data, Google My Business is a great tool for local SEO. A keyword in your business name means that you will rank higher.

Various tools are out there to find non-linked mentions of your brand. Analyse them and turn the most relevant mentions into backlinks.

Your SEO friends:

– Catalogues
– Local resources
– Online media
– Info partners
– Commenting
– Online social profiles.

CORNERSTONES TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS FOUND ONLINE

Keyword optimised headings, helpful navigation, and value-added content appeal both to search engines and human visitors. Show how your service solves user’s problems and be clear with the next action to take.

  1. Write down your expertise and target customers
  2. Make sure there are no technical issues left (items 1-3 of website checklist)
  3. Create an optimised website structure based on keywords
  4. Develop your content policy (style, headlines, adaptation where needed)
  5. Create relevant and useful content
  6. Popularise your content and build links for authoritativeness and trustworthiness (off-page optimisation)
  7. Analyse KPIs (visitors, number of leads/conversions/closed sales, goals achievement, competitors, etc.)
  8. Do not stop: correct, improve, and fine-tune

Good luck! Next come content-related best practices.

Translation Quality Style Guides

Translation Quality 101. Part 3

The whys and hows of a style guide

This is the third part of Translation Quality 101 series. Part 1. Source materials for translation. Part 2. Terminology management.

You may think that style guides describing language recommendations and stylistic nuances are for global companies and thriving publishing houses only. Want to think again?

Your translator will appreciate even a short and simple instruction especially if it is combined with a glossary and reference materials.

When the translator knows for sure what are the company’s preferred terms and style the task will be completed faster.

Please note that if carefully prepared and regularly updated, a style guide is a key to increasing the quality of translations and the effectiveness of published materials.

WHAT IS A STYLE GUIDE?

A style guide is a list of defined requirements—sometimes a very short one—that reflects the expectations and preferences of a translation customer.

To make your guide easier to use, consider a two-part structure. The first part could be regular and valid for all translation tasks, and the part second could be variable and project-related.

Feel free to include a brief description of your company, its products and services, main goals and tasks in the regular part. Other possible options are:

  • Target market (country, industry, competitors)
  • Language style: clear, academic, technical, etc.
  • Forbidden words and terms
  • Non-translated words and phrases
  • Non-standard abbreviations
  • Formatting and typography (fonts, phone numbers, etc.)

The changing part is valid for a current translation project only:

  • Document type: a promo leaflet, press release, website update, etc.
  • Target audience: age, social, occupation, etc.
  • Aim of the document: branding and image, customer information (for sales team, for marketing team, etc.)
  • Tone: formal, informal, neutral
  • In focus: information or style; close proximity to the original or adaptation for better engagement.

WHY A STYLE GUIDE?

Expectations and preferences approved beforehand help maintain the consistent tone and language improving the company’s image.

When presented with a style guide, the translator needs less time for research and reference reading, so the material is delivered quicker. Moreover, knowing the target audience (an ideal reader or website visitor), your translator will be able to choose proper style and language.

No extra round of inner corrections and approvals means further time savings for the customer.

When developing a style guide, pay special attention to the document structure. Nobody is going to use a guide if it is too complex or overloaded with information (even with the words ‘DON’T PANIC’ in large, friendly letters on the cover). Leave out rules and recommendations that are well-known to any professional translator or a linguist. If the document has many pages, consider adding a table of content with links.

WHO CREATES A STYLE GUIDE?

Too often translation customers underestimate the importance of clear instructions and rules. But a proper style guide can be created only through their intensive engagement. The customer is providing reference materials, notes, and information. Clearly, it’s up to the customer to define the desired audience and the message.

McLean’s Maxim: There are only two problems with people. One is that they don’t think. The other is that they do. There will be always someone (an employee or a subcontractor) who tries to ignore the style guide no matter how clear and simple it is. To keep such cases to an absolute minimum, (a) update your style guide consistently; (b) make it easily accessible to all interested stakeholders.

If no style guide is available, the translator and the reviewer can create a version of their own. It could be as simple as that:

Style Sheet Example

WHEN IS A STYLE GUIDE CREATED?

Data collection, style guide updates and edits should be handled by one person. For a light start, create a list of names, persons, titles, terms, abbreviations that are already present in the company’s documents. Common mistakes and translation-related questions can be added to the style guide later.

If you are a translator pondering over a style guide, the best time to create one is when you are starting your cooperation with a new customer. You can update the document when the customer sends you edits or comments explaining certain standards or undesirable terms.

Improvise! The introduction to the style guide by The Economist begins with six elementary rules formulated by George Orwell.

1 Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2 Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3 If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out.
4 Never use the Passive where you can use the active.
5 Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a Jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6 Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

SOME USEFUL LINKS

– An open guide to preferred National Geographic style and usage: http://stylemanual.natgeo.com/

– Microsoft Style Guides: https://www.microsoft.com/Language/en-US/StyleGuides.aspx

– Facebook Language Style Guides in 72 languages: https://www.facebook.com/translations/style_guides

translation for search engine marketing

A Smart Web Marketing Tool? Try Translation

The fuel for your search engine marketing

In the era of infinite information, human-to-human approach seems to become the most important sales-driving force. But implementing H2H marketing, which is a true paradigm shift, can be hard after many years of traditional models. The translation strategy lacks ‘a human touch’ in many B2 companies working with industries and technologies.

A customer-centric strategy might be the most misunderstood component of marketing communications. It requires to focus on the customers’ experience and to understand what they like and need. Meaningful communication—conversational, story-driven, and even humorous—is easier said than done.

A human is delivering the communication and another human is receiving. With corporate values set in stone, with a content workflow in place, it is hard to change the ecosystem. But you need trust to be successful both locally and abroad and not pure algorithms. And a bit of web visibility to ignite that trust. So make translations work for your SEM.

Content: the approach to be changed

At the recent Social Media Week conference in New York, brand marketers kept wondering if they spent too much money on the wrong content. A related challenge is a disproportional breakdown of what brands spend on content creation vs. content distribution.

Developing high-value content can be costly, but brands invest only 10% in creating content and 90% in its distribution.

“The problem is 90% of the impact comes from content creation, not distribution,” Noah Brier, co-founder and CEO of Percolate, said in a session called “The Spiralling Cost of Content.”

Translation fits in that trend, too.

More than a half of the top 10 million websites is in English. 73 percent of internet users don’t speak English, according to Internet World Stats (as of June 2016). That means only a quarter of web surfers use English, and the number is growing.

A lot of marketers see translation as a cost while it is a tool for content creation. Translation is not an extra cost but a major investment. Search engines still index English better than content in other languages. So a multilingual web strategy should be handled with care.

Why translation is good for your SEO

To make a website visible or boost its ranking in unpaid search results, the content should meet three criteria, all based on trust:

– Domain/website age
– Diverse incoming links
– Well-written content with keywords

While the domain age is out of one’s control, you can do your best to get healthy links pointing to your site. And you are able to create relevant content, which should be error-free, non-duplicated, and highly engaging.

By translating the most important pages you make your website better indexed. Engagement is the current standard for content effectiveness. Google favours the content which is useful for the search engine users.

For instance, blog posts continue to drive traffic and generate impressions up to 700 days after they go live, according to the study commissioned by IZEA.

The content should inspire, educate, entertain, and finally, it should convert. Unless the content is in a language internet users speak, they are unlikely to engage with it.

High-quality translated content becomes another step in your trust building and content engagement strategy aimed at current and potential customers from abroad.

What translation is good for your SEO

About five to ten years ago, organic traffic was associated mainly with keywords and keyword density. Now that Google is able to add close variations, synonyms and related searches of your keyword or phrase automatically, the focus has changed.

Highly relevant keywords related to the content your customers browse are still important. But a prerequisite for good ranks and search traffic is the content and it should be translated professionally.

It may sound funny but using the automatic translation like Google Translate is actually against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines saying: no automatically generated content including texts translated by an automated tool.

In addition to possible Google penalties, chances are high that visitors won’t linger on your web page too long if it’s mistranslated. And errors are definitely not adding to their trust.

Great technologies deserve great translation, human-oriented and carefully crafted. For today’s search engine marketing, quality excels quantity every single time.

Things a professional translation can do for your website:

  • 100% clear and accurate comprehension of public-facing content
  • Better ranking of pages aimed at local audiences
  • Better user experience resulting in shares, leads, and conversions
  • Gained visibility and trust for major markets abroad
  • Better supports of your local distributors

Use translated content to generate new leads, sell your products, build the brand, and divert traffic from your competitors.

A useful test is to ask, “Does this really help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” ElaN Languages decided to show it in its video where a chef is cooking a Japanese recipe as translated by humans vs. automated results.

Your website is your business card so careful phrasing does matter here. Otherwise, it would be inauthentic and ineffective for people not speaking English. Do you want your customers to eat plastic horses and giggle at some stunning mistakes while you claim to deliver state-of-the-art solutions? Show them you care.

Terminology management

Translation Quality 101. Part 2

Terminology management

This is the second part of Translation Quality 101 series.

Part 1. Source materials for translation. Part 3. Style guides.

ISO 1087-1 (2000) defines the term as a “verbal designation of a general concept in a specific subject field.” Some terms consist of more than one word. These terms are called multiword terms or compounds.

At present, terms are the most flexible part of the vocabulary. The terminology is the first to face shifts in the lexical system including designation methods.

TIS BUT MY TERM THAT IS MY ENEMY

Are the terms that much important when translating corporate communications and materials? According to TermNet, 80% of mistakes in translation relate to term usage. A recent survey conducted by SDL showed that correct and consistent term usage remained one of the major challenges for translation buyers. 48% of respondents mentioned inconsistency in terminology among issues with translation quality.

Global businesses and corporations tend to choose a coordinated approach to terminology management. They devise policies, hold terminology bases with metadata, create reference materials.

Product managers, engineers and developers, marketing teams, technical writers and translators are all get involved in terminology management here.

But even a small Excel database helps improve translation quality, prevent unnecessary questions and clarify doubts, and speed up the work for writers and translators.

In-house term management should always correlate with job responsibilities. Who provides the data? Who approves terminology? What are the areas of responsibility? The first stage is to determine the aims and objectives of terminology management, the target audience (or audiences), and the scope of communication covered.

Three steps for an efficient terminology management include: creation – approval – usage.

TERM CREATION

The life cycle of a term includes: request, approval, discussion, description, translation, editing. When devising the procedures, it is recommended to find an easy and convenient way to make requests, to discuss terms, to approve definitions and translations.

Possible key stakeholders are the company’s technicians, industry experts, branches and local offices, local and foreign partners, linguists and translators.

ISO’s criteria for the selection and formation of terms are transparency, consistency, appropriateness, linguistic economy, derivability, linguistic correctness, and preference for native language. Full definitions for each criterion are covered in the ISO standard 704 “Terminology work — Principles and methods.”

  1. Transparency

A term or appellation is considered transparent when the concept it designates can be inferred, at least partially, without a definition or an explanation. In other words, the meaning of a term or appellation can be deduced from its parts.

  1. Consistency

The terminology of any subject field should not be an arbitrary and random collection of terms, but rather a coherent terminological system corresponding to the concept system. Existing terms and appellations and neoterms and appellations must integrate into and be consistent with the concept system.

  1. Appropriateness

Proposed terms and appellations should adhere to familiar, established patterns of meaning within a language community. Formations that cause confusion should be avoided. Terms should be as neutral as possible. They should avoid distracting connotations, especially negative ones.

  1. Linguistic economy

A term should be as concise as possible. Undue length is a serious shortcoming. It violates the principle of linguistic economy and it frequently leads to ellipsis (omission).

  1. Derivability and compoundability

Productive term formations that allow derivatives and compounds (according to whatever conventions prevail in an individual language) should be favoured.

  1. Linguistic correctness

When neoterms or appellations are coined, they should conform to the morphological, morphosyntactic, and phonological norms of the language in question.

  1. Preference for native language

Even though borrowing from other languages is an accepted form of term formation, native-language expressions should be given preference over direct loans.

In Russian these principles are прозрачность, последовательность, адекватность, лингвистическая экономия, выводимость и сочлененность, лингвистическая корректность, предпочтение родного языка, according to GOST R ISO 704-2010 currently in use.

Basic rules applied to formation of terms and appellations:

  • For a standardized terminology, it is desirable that a term be attributed to a single concept.
  • Before creating a neoterm, it is necessary to ascertain whether a term already exists for the concept in question.
  • Well-established usage has to be respected.
  • Established and widely used designations, even if they are poorly formed or poorly motivated, should not be changed unless there are compelling reasons.
  • If several designations exist for a single concept, the one that satisfies the largest number of principles listed below shall be selected as the preferred designation.

APPROVAL OF TERMS

Terminology work requires regular analysis, documentation, storage and distribution of terminology data. A terminology base (term base) is the most common way to collect, document, and control terms.
 
Before creating a term base, it should be clear who handles coining and approval of terms and who is going to use the base (including outer stakeholders like translators, business partners, and end users).
 
In terms of translation quality, the key task of a term base is to show preferable (recommended), possible and rejected (forbidden) terms.
 
When managing terms at a corporate level, it is advisable to cover all words and phrases important for your business. Do not limit yourself to terms that belong to a sublanguage in a specific subject field. If a word is being used in marketing collateral, it should have an approved, consistent  translation.
 
It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare definitions and descriptions for concepts in a term base. Therefore, it’s perfectly ok to include definitions only for terms absent in standard dictionaries, acronyms, abbreviations, and proper names (corporate units, products, etc.). Pay greater attention to known usage issues and to entries with preferable and rejected variants of translation.
 
An approved term base backed by a solid terminology policy will be a first step to efficient handling of terms at a corporate level.

TERMINOLOGY USAGE

To start using correct terminology you need a team that shares your values. Terminology management is successful only when every company employee contributes to preparing and updating the termbase or keeps using it.

A well-managed, standartised terminology develops into higher quality collaterals and technical documents, lower research and lookup time. Materials aimed at a certain target audience enjoy correct terms. The lower risk of misunderstanding brings better customer satisfaction and improves retention rate. The audience is no longer exposed to unclear abbreviations and jargon. Moreover, a comprehensive term base containing definitions is a way to transfer knowledge capital accumulated by employees.

But if terminology management is neglected, everybody is free to choose terms to their liking. Inconsistent terminology looks unprofessional at best. Moreover, it means potential problems with product usage. As a result, texts will be re-edited later with even more time and effort invested.

All in all, terminology is a key to efficient publications and documents, better corporate image and visibility, and higher quality documents including the translated ones.

WHERE TO START

  1. Analyse your goals: Why do you need terminology management? What are you planning to implement, improve, or prevent?
  2. Check collections of terms that you already have: size, format, languages, quality, sources.
  3. Approve a format for your custom term bases: definition, sphere of usage, source, picture, notes on usage, etc.
  4. Agree on priorities: the most important projects, texts, languages, etc.
  5. Create a path toward implementation involving inner resources and/or outer partners. If you choose to rely on your own resources check if your employees are competent enough.
  6. Draw a plan: who does what, when and how.
  7. Go on with a pilot project: a certain product or a service, small budget and scope of tasks.
  8. Be prepared to regular activities; your goal is not a single error-free message.

ADDITIONAL LINKS AND DOCUMENTS

Rich media MOO Cards

Print Hi-Tech: October

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: testing your eye for colour with a free iPhone game; paper business cards with embedded chips from MOO; 3D printed device for getting drinking water; new online gang printing services.

Specimen for iPhone: make fun getting colours right

Most online applications for testing colour perception (like the Munsell Color system) are a bit tiresome. Try Specimen, a free-to-play iPhone game by Sal Randazzo, Erica Gorochow and Charlie Whitney, to add fun to colour tests.

According to its authors, the game appeared as a kind of diagnostic test with a timer. Colourful amebas floating in a petri dish should be matched across the background colours. And quickly!

You’ll be going through levels with more and more difficulty, which are all unlike. The engine randomises amebas’ hue, saturation, and colour value. “We found there was a human perceptual limit that we had to guard for, but I’d say in later levels we get pretty close to that line,” Gorochow notes.

Rich media MOO Cards: paper plus digital

MOO Business Cards+ connects paper business cards and digital technologies with the help of an embedded NFC (Near Field Communication) chip.

Adding new dimension to a traditional product, the chip is able to perform various actions—just tap a MOO card to an NFC-enabled smartphone. Actions are assigned via the Manage paper+ platform: you can link your card to a website or connect it to your social profile. An action can be an application download, a call, a message or saving contact details.

MOO has already announced partnerships with Spotify, LinkedIn, Appear.in and Citymapper for programmable actions, and users can also make their own actions outside the MOO platform by using IFTTT.

3D printed steam turbine: a low-cost way to treat salty water?

GE scientists Doug Hofer and Vitali Lissianski are creating a 3D printed device that could make drinking sea water possible. To implement their idea, they chose steam engine turbine principle. “‘In traditional steam turbines, steam condenses and turns to water,” Hofer explains. “We thought maybe the same principle could be applied to water desalination.”

The turbine is meant to freeze sea water separating the salt in solid form from clean ice. Then the ice can be melt to get drinking water. “Freezing seawater to treat it is nothing new, but the way we are doing it is very different. We’re tapping into our wealth of technical knowledge in turbomachinery to devise a cost-effective solution.” said Vitali Lissianski. A handheld 3D device could reduce desalination costs by up to 20 percent.

Supplies of clean drinking water continue to decrease. 97.5 percent of the global water is in salty oceans unsuitable for consumption, while a fifth of the planet is in dire need of fresh water.

3D printed steam turbine: a low-cost way to treat salty water?

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

Flyer.center, an American startup project for B2B and B2C segments co-owned by Ivan Dubrovin and Konstantin Puppo from Ukraine, attracted more than $1 million in combined investments. A gang printing service for American market uses upload2print technology with full process automation, from job upload to final output.

The startup is based on printonline.tech e-commerce platform provided by Tisk na Spletu, a Slovenian software company developing online solutions for the print industry. Earlier this year, the developers have successfully launched a similar druq.eu platform aimed at the European market.

According to Ivan Dubrovin, the main competitive advantage of gang-run print services is distributed printing. The print service provider just reallocates job flows while the printer can be located anywhere (the closer the better still as the distance affects costs and terms).

gang printing services