Webconsuls Blog

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Making a Facebook Cover Video

In recent years, Facebook has zeroed in on video, which is the way an increasing number of users prefer to consume content. For marketers, video content is a goldmine. 64% of consumers report that watching a branded marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision within the last month.

Facebook is always releasing innovative new ways for brands to better engage with users. Cover videos are one of those innovations, and they’re only available on Facebook Pages. By putting dynamic creative content front and center on the Page cover, Facebook is hoping to fuel even more audience interaction.

Facebook cover videos were released in May 2017, and it’s been a pretty lengthy rollout. After getting off to a somewhat rocky start, Facebook seems to have gotten a handle on the quirks of cover videos. Over time, this feature has become more reliable and will continue to grow more reliable as time goes on.

Thinking about uploading a Facebook cover video to your Page? Below are practical tips on how to make and upload a video and optimize it for your audience.

Facebook Cover Video Requirements
Before you start editing a video, make sure it meets Facebook’s technical requirements:

  • MP4 or MOV format is recommended
  • 20-90 seconds long
  • At least 820 x 462 resolution

You may have existing video content in your business’s library. If not, stock video websites such as VideoHive and Pond5 offer affordable options. Video editing software like HitFilm and Filmora are easy to use and can help you create a final product that looks professional.

We recommend uploading video content with at least 1280 x 720 resolution, which will ensure that the video looks equally good on mobile and desktop. Desktop has a greater aspect ratio than mobile. Although an 820 x 462 resolution video may display perfectly on mobile, on desktop it will be cut off or display with the dreaded black bars to comply with desktop’s 16:9 aspect ratio.

How to Upload a Facebook Cover Video

  1. Access Facebook from your computer, not your phone. The cover video feature isn’t currently available via the mobile app.
  2. Click “Add a Cover” and select “Upload photo/video.”
  3. After the video is uploaded, reposition if you’d like. Click “Next.”
  4. Click the arrows to choose a thumbnail to serve as the cover image. Most users will see the cover video with no problem, but low bandwidth could prevent it from loading.
  5. Turn on the button that says “Automatically replay video in a loop” to make sure the content keeps playing.
  6. Click “Publish” to take your cover video live.

How to Optimize Your Facebook Cover Video
Your Facebook cover video is just one more way to drive engagement with your brand. Make your cover video pop by keeping these optimization tips in mind:
  • Less is more. Busy, fast-paced videos with a lot of jerky edits are more distracting and just plain annoying than they are engaging. When in doubt, keep it simple. Cinemagraphs, which are images that combine still and dynamic elements, are a great solution. They’re attention-grabbing and known to increase dwell times and click-through rates.
  • Cover videos are cropped to 820 x 462 on desktop and mobile. Part of your cover video will likely be cropped out, so make sure any text or important parts of an image are centralized to avoid being cut out.
  • Your video should make sense without sound. Just like the rest of video content on Facebook, video is automatically muted.
  • Cover videos loop automatically. Make sure you have a smooth transition between the end and the beginning of the video. Make the transition less choppy by adding your logo or a title.

Make Your Cover Video Work For You
You don’t have to be a Scorsese or Spielberg to create a Facebook cover video that drives engagement, but if your video editing chops aren’t up to par, Webconsuls can help.

Our video production services are the perfect solution for business owners who want to keep their marketing strategy current but don’t have time to assemble a worthwhile cover video. Contact Webconsuls to learn more about our video production services and how we can help you create a cover video that speaks to your brand and increases user engagement.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

4 Major SEO Trends to Expect in 2018

seo trends 2018
1. Digital Assistants 

Siri, Alexa, Google… In a matter of years, we’ve become increasingly reliant on our digital assistants to communicate and obtain information. According to Google, 20% of mobile queries are voice searches. Voice technology has completely changed the nature of the search query, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. 2018 just may be the year of voice search.

The rising popularity and ubiquity of voice search present an interesting challenge when it comes to developing an SEO strategy. Long-tail search terms and language that matches a real, live person’s speech will be integral in building a voice-search-friendly strategy.

2. User Experience 

UX is never not going to be important, and 2018 doesn’t seem to be any different. It’s all about the user, and it’s no surprise that users prefer good UX over bad UX. If you can create an intuitive, responsive experience users enjoy and find useful, Google will reward you for it. Improving UX doesn’t necessarily require a total website overhaul. There are a few quick and easy fixes you can make, including:

• Speed up your site. According to an Akamai study, 40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Load speed is crucial not just for keeping a user’s attention, but for a good Google ranking too. Things like maximizing your above-the-fold content, optimizing images and reducing the number of plugins can help speed up your website.  

• Improve readability. Comb through your content and make sure font style and size are legible and that content is structured in an easy-to-read way. Think bold subheads, chunky text and bullet points.

• Finetune navigation. Your navigation needs to make sense. A site menu that includes fewer levels of pages is more straightforward and easier for everyone to understand. Try combining content from multiple shorter pages into one.

3. Featured Snippets 

The popularity of Google’s featured snippets is making the already cutthroat search ranking real estate market even more competitive. With so many pages competing for the coveted position 0, it’s vital to optimize your page content for snippets. Structuring your content in a Q&A format and incorporating tables, graphs and lists make it easy for Google to pull just the right content for a snippet.

The best way to land a featured snippet can be chalked up to one simple formula:

• Identify a commonly asked, relatively simple question related to your product or service area.

• Provide a clear, succinct answer to the question.

• Don’t just answer the question. Provide additional value and information.

• Make the answer easy to find on the page.

4. Mobile Optimization 

In 2016, internet usage on mobile devices exceeded desktops. We spend the most time using our smartphones and tablets, which is why mobile optimization is a top priority for 2018. Without a website that is responsive across all devices, you risk losing out on a lot of potential business. For e-commerce websites, where online shoppers are already finicky to begin with, mobile optimization is even more critical. Make sure users can navigate your site efficiently.

Bring Your SEO Strategy Up to Speed 

The New Year is the perfect time to give your business’s SEO strategy a competitive edge. Still, it can be tough to keep your strategy current when SEO is continually changing. Webconsuls can help you apply these SEO tactics and get your SEO strategy geared up for 2018.

Webconsuls offers a wide range of web marketing experience, with expertise in web design and development, SEO and pay-per-click. Contact Webconsuls to learn more about our services and how we can create a customized, cost-effective SEO strategy unique to your business.

Monday, October 30, 2017

6 Web Design Trends We're Loving

6 website design trends
As technology continues to become even more integrated into our daily lives, we’ve come to expect more from our online experiences. Web designers are presented with the challenge of developing websites that look and feel interactive and personal; websites that “get” their users.

Having a pulse on what’s going on in the world of web design can help you--and ultimately your business--stay current. Below are six web design trends we’re absolutely loving right now. Keep an eye out for them!

1. Experiential Design 

Web design is gradually becoming more experiential. Designers are paying much more attention to how a user experiences a website instead of creating a website that merely “looks good.”

Good web design is a combination of “information architecture, web development, aesthetic design, marketing strategy, and content.” It’s not just about aesthetics. A website has to work. It has to make sense and do what the user wants it to do.

This new human-centered approach to web design and user experience relies on feedback. Many designers are implementing tools like Optimizely to gather design feedback and gain more insight into how real, live humans are interacting with their website.

2. Darker Color Palettes 

Web design tradition would tell you to keep page elements as simple and minimalistic as possible. The more white space, the better. While that’s still a valid ideology to subscribe to, it’s perfectly OK to stray from the norm. That’s how we get trends in the first place, right?

Many websites have shifted from bright white to darker tones, textures and patterns. Stripes, dashes, dots, grids, gradients—these subtle designs add a touch more visual interest to an otherwise blank page without creating noise or taking away from the overall feel of a website.

3. Better Imagery 

Stock photos. We love to hate them. In fact, there are even entire Tumblrs and Reddit threads dedicated to showcasing truly terrible stock photos. Fortunately, there’s been a pretty steady decline in stock photos being used on websites. Or photos that look like stock photos, rather.

Photography is an art form, so do it justice. Think of it this way: Your website serves a purpose. So does its imagery. The imagery on a website needs to be real, authentic and humanizing.

Incorporate real photos of your business and team. If you absolutely need to use a stock photo, it’s possible to find something that doesn’t scream “stock photo.” Unsplash and Dreamstime are two excellent options that provide bespoke, realistic imagery. 

4. Streamlined Design 

One-page, long-scrolling websites are pretty popular because they mirror the design of social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that provide an infinite stream of content, and they’re here to stay. At least through 2017.

Many websites are doing away with menus and buttons and adopting the long-scrolling design. Although it might be trendy, it’s not necessary for every business. There are right and wrong ways to do it.

A good one-page website needs to have an intriguing above the fold teaser; the content that appears before you start scrolling. Users will keep scrolling as long as the content is interesting and tells a story. There needs to be a sense of cohesion, even while you’re touching on different aspects of your business; i.e., Our Services → Pricing → Who We Are → Our Customers → Blog.

Text, videos and imagery can help break up the design and add a bit more interest, but the transitions between page elements need to be smooth. It all ties back to experiential design. Choppy transitions that don’t flow create a bad user experience.

5. Bigger & Bolder Fonts 

Fonts are becoming bigger and bolder, and the trend doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. Typography is an easy way to catch a user's attention, especially in the header image. A font that is bold, expressive, colored or textured can be much more compelling than a still image with a simple text overlay.

Gone are the days of a website style guide that uses only sans-serif fonts. Serif fonts are growing increasingly popular in header images and body content, and pairing them with sans-serifs can create more visual interest. It's not uncommon to see large, flourished serifs mixed with simple, understated sans-serifs. It can create contrast in a way that still feels cohesive, not disjointed.

On a long-scrolling website, bold type is an effective way to break up sections without interrupting the flow of the page.

6. Real-Time Conversations

2017 has been pretty major for “conversational commerce,” or #ConvComm. Messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, GroupMe and Slack are crazy popular, so naturally, businesses are trying to find ways to utilize (and monetize) this trend.

Many websites are integrating live chat to facilitate real-time conversations with customers. And why not? If a customer has a question about business hours, a specific service, pricing, inventory, parking, etc., they can quickly type it into the chat and get an immediate response. It’s way faster than calling and being put on hold or starting an email thread. Being accessible is a display of your commitment to your customers. That kind of attention can help you generate new business and keep your current customers coming back.

Revamp Your Business’s Web Presence

Designing a website from scratch or bringing an existing website up to speed is no easy feat. If you aren’t equipped to assume those responsibilities yourself, you need a partner who understands the unique needs of your business. Webconsuls offers web design services that seamlessly combine design trends with SEO best practices for websites that are not only aesthetically-pleasing but convert.

Contact Webconsuls to learn more about how our web design services can help your business.