The Hub and Spoke Model for Marketing: The Wheel is Still King

No need to reinvent the wheel. It’s still awesome.

Digital footprints, driving traffic – we’re all on a mission to make our mark and constantly improve our online presences. A marketing strategy based on the Hub & Spoke model can help spread your top notch content across the web and around the (real) world. Luckily, the concept is simple. By making some simple tweaks to your advertising, marketing, PR and social media strategies, you’ll be better much equipped to manage your brand, build up its equity and expand your audience. The execution may require a little work, but the payoff is worth it in the end. Continue Reading

Photo Credit: Norio.NAKAYAMA

How SEO is Like the Art of Bonsai

Aiming for all natural search engine optimization and organic growth? You should be. Cultivate your SEO skill-set by looking at the parallels drawn from the art of bonsai - an art where gentle guidance leads to wondrous developments.

How many times have you meandered past a juniper bush and not paid it any consideration? When have you walked by a meticulously maintained bonsai tree and failed to stop, even for just a moment, and reflect on its purpose and engage in the simplistic beauty? Exactly . . .

SEO is the art and science of tweaking a natural website to become more attractive to an expanded, collective and engaged audience. To entice this audience you need to first identify the primary source of information aggregation used over the past 20 years. Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, then you know the answer is the Internet, and that the true answer is Google. So how do you trick Google into providing preferential ranking to your website? Continue Reading

Top Tips for Social Media Branding

If you’re like me, attention to detail and a consistent, fresh look is important no matter what platform you’re using. From advertisements to flyers, and emails to social media posts, imagery is vital to sharing a message with your audience.

These visual stories help reinforce your purpose, but in an easy-to-digest way. What you share, how you share it and why it connects with your audience is the key to successful social media branding. I’ve compiled a few quick tips on on how you can apply your brand to a few of the most popular social media networks and a list of the current social media image sizes for each network. Working within these confines and knowing what’s possible and what isn’t will help you own your page by branding it effectively both visually and emotionally.  Continue Reading

4 Ways to Clean Up Your Email Marketing List

If you’re getting the itch to do some spring cleaning this season, what better place to start than with your email marketing list?

While there are many best practices to see success in any ongoing email marketing plan, one very important way to improve email deliverability, open rates and your overall return on investment is making sure you are sending to a clean list of email contacts. Think of the last time you had to clean out your inbox … I can guarantee it wasn’t a pretty sight, was it?

Now apply that to your subscribers. Yikes, right? Your subscribers are a fickle bunch, so from time to time it is important to groom your list and take a long, hard look at who you are emailing in order to improve your email campaign results and make sure your emails aren’t getting reported as spam down the road. (It may even save you money too!)

These four quick tips will leave you, and your emails, feeling fresh throughout the year:

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How SEO is Like Landscaping

One of the most challenging aspects of SEO is helping clients understand what SEO actually is, as a service. When I meet with prospective clients, they typically understand that SEO has to do with ranking better in search engine results, but often times they don’t know how this is done and what the implications of a well or poorly managed online presence are. One of the ways I explain our SEO service at CNP is to compare it to a landscaping service.

If you think of a company’s website in terms of a corporate asset similar to a physical “brick-and-mortar” location or branch, it’s easy to see why it would need a landscaping-like service. Even when a company builds the nicest branch/location possible, if nothing is done to maintain the building and its surrounding landscape, it will quickly turn from something that drives business to something that drives business away. Most businesses should look at their website the same way.  Continue Reading

Enterprise Florida launches new website designed and developed by CNP

“It’s like comparing a shiny apple to a potato!” This was one of the many wonderful comments made by an Enterprise Florida stakeholder as the staff unveiled their new website to the Board of Directors this week in Tallahassee.

Florida's Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida's President & CEO Gray Swoope with Katie and Alex at the EFI Board Meeting in Tallahassee.

Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida’s President & CEO Gray Swoope with Katie and Alex at the EFI Board Meeting in Tallahassee.

You know you’ve done your job right when your client’s constituents use the very same words to describe the completed project that they themselves used in those early discovery meetings month and months ago – “Bright, modern, clean, innovative” and, most importantly, “easy to use.”

Enterprise Florida is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida and is primarily focused on facilitating job growth for Florida through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses. Continue Reading

UX Myths that Hurt SEO

I wanted to share SEOMoz’s Whiteboard Friday last week, because it’s right on the money on a variety of user experience (UX) myths that a lot of web masters still blindly follow at their peril. At CNP, we never sacrifice UX for the benefit of SEO and, as time goes on, we’re finding that this conflict comes up less and less as search engines evolve.

The best way to address both concerns on your website is to never blindly follow a set of “rules,” because by the time you learn a set of rules to follow, most of them are defunct, debunked and can actually hurt your domain over time. Instead, look at the data, do some tests and use common sense.

Video Credit: randfish on SEOMoz