#Hashtag Marketing: The Best Piece of Digital Marketing You Aren’t Using Correctly … Yet!

digital marketingHashtag marketing: It’s the next big thing in digital marketing, and it’s actually already here. #TheTimeIsNow.

The cool part about hashtags is that they’re really convenient for search engine optimization; Twitter hashtag pages often appear on SERPs (over 80% of internet users are using a search engine like Google or Bing, and approximately 88% of business decisions are influenced by search engines, too). Hashtags also work well on mobile devices because they don’t clutter up screens and they allow search engine users to find relevant information very quickly — this isreally important, since one-third of all smartphone users consider their phones to be their primary internet source, and four out of five smartphone users have made a purchase on their phones.

But how can you actually use hashtags in everyday digital marketing?

Good question! It’s easier than it seems. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Start with a big list, do some analytics, and narrow it down. A Search Engine Watch article from February referenced a recent State of the Union address given by President Obama; for this speech, SEW said, White House staffers prepared a list of 26 hashtags focused on core messages in the speech. After monitoring the metrics of each hashtag on Twitter, staffers then whittled the list down to the top seven, and then the top three. These top tags were then used in subsequent tweets. Your business can actually do something similar with social media-focused digital marketing optimization, although probably on a smaller scale.
  2. Use software to figure out what’s hot right now. There are plenty of free services available which provide info about what’s trending now, what trended in the past, the tags that were recently “created,” the most popular tags according to topic/location … Pretty much any data you could possibly want is available to you. By figuring out which tags generate the most interest, you’ll optimize your limited character space.
  3. Don’t go overboard. While you want to use distinctive hashtags (No #blessed, #cool, or #fun allowed) you also don’t want to get too excited here (#SorryButNoOneWantsToReadThisHashtagPlusYoureWastingLetterSpaces). Good hashtag campaigns typically use the same collection of tags, not necessarily with every tweet, but definitely on a consistent basis.

So now we want to hear from you — if you’ve used hashtags in a social media and digital marketing strategy before, what worked for you? (#Winning) What definitely didn’t work? (#EpicFail) Let us know, and make sure to include a #hashtag, too!

How Your SEO Strategy Can Resist the Dreaded Pandas and Penguins of Google

search engine optimization

Panda: To the majority of people, this is the name of a huge, cuddly-looking black and white teddy bear.

To SEO companies and digital marketing firms, it’s the name of a Google algorithm update. And it’s typically not a name that’s welcomed with open arms.

So what exactly is this mysterious Panda update, and why does it matter?

First off, it’s important to know that Panda isn’t the only algorithm update that Google releases. Penguin is the name of another major update, and these two are considered the primary updates that are anticipated/dreaded in the search engine optimization industry each year.

The updates aim to weed out the websites which are violating Google’s terms of use, are using shady practices to get a top spot on a keyword results page, and are generally taking business away from legitimate companies. Penguin updates are intended to filter out low-quality links, while Panda updates are intended to filter out low-quality content.

The intent behind both updates is pure, especially since search engines influence an estimated 88% of business purchase decisions and at least 80% of all internet users go on search engines to find websites. But in reality, the updates — which aren’t announced in advance and are kept very secretive — often end up hurting businesses more than they help.

The question now is, how can you survive these updates without spending a fortune on your search engine optimization plan? Since Panda is the most recent update, let’s take a quick look at how to survive that one:

    • As stated above, Panda is all about quality. The best way to avoid being devalued after an algo-update is to make sure your website is filled with good content. Make sure your SEO company can write blog posts without grammatical and spelling errors, in the language your business and customers use.
    • Variety is really key with the Panda updates. Make sure you’re writing blog posts on a regular basis and promoting them on social media. Include graphics and videos, and pay attention to what your customers actually like to see. Start up some email marketing; maybe even try local search engine optimization or paid display ads.
    • But if you’re going to focus on written content, make sure it’s interesting. This is really where design comes into play — including a bulleted list, for example, will grab the attention of about 70% of visitors, while only 55% will stick around to read a list without bullets.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that all of these factors need to be a constant part of your search engine optimization strategy — not just for a few weeks, but as long as you’re working on SEO.

mobile web design

The Worst 3 Mistakes You Can Make With Mobile Web Design

Mobile Web design certainly isn’t easy to master, especially for a small business owner who’s busy taking care of his or her actual business. But digital marketing — specifically search engine optimization and search engine marketing — has never been more important.

It’s important to realize that while a good digital marketing campaign will have many different aspects and steps, a good Web design is the foundation of a great search engine optimization campaign — and that includes having a great mobile Web design, too.

Mobile Web might not be easy, but if you manage to stay away from these major mishaps, then you’ll be on the path to digital marketing success:

  1. Forgetting about mobile Web entirely. The first big mistake you can make is to ignore mobile Web entirely when you’re creating your website design — but since you’re reading this right now, you’re already aware that mobile Web is very important! It’s estimated that 62% of companies with a mobile website increased sales after developing it, and 34% of internet users access the web primarily through their cell phones.
  2. Promos galore! There’s a thing about advertisements on mobile devices — and that thing is, when there are too many of them, visitors on your website are more likely to leave. Mobile phone users are already dealing with a small screen, and when there are too many advertisements, it gets overwhelming. And speaking of small screens…
  3. Thinking that mobile Web design just means shrinking your current website down. #Nope. Mobile Web requires a new template, and it should look very similar to your normal website and have the same important information, but it shouldn’t be exactly the same. There simply is not enough room.

So just how important is a good mobile web design? Well, if your business has a bad mobile design, it could be costing you 52% of your customers, for starters. Maybe mobile web wasn’t so important before, but it’s a necessity now!

mobile web design

The 3 Most Outdated Web Design Techniques Your Company Can’t Afford to Use

Could your website be aging badly?

In the world of digital marketing, where a website’s appearance is almost directly linked to a consumer’s impression of your brand, this is one of the questions you must ask yourself. In fact, Inspired Magazine reports that a user will make up his or her mind about your website within just 10 seconds! Smaller businesses in particular can’t afford to lose customers due to outdated web design.

Because web design is a constantly-evolving art, your business can’t afford to use the same website layout and design it’s been using for years. To give your site a much-needed upgrade, take a look at this list of the three most outdated web design ideas you should be avoiding in 2015:

Not adopting mobile web design
This might be the most important item on this list. Last year, mobile web usage surpassed desktop browsing for the first time in history. These days, four out of five consumers will shop on their smartphones, meaning you might be missing out on huge amounts of business by avoiding a mobile-friendly web design. Mobile web design improves user experience on smartphones and tablets drastically; as a result, 62% of companies that adopt mobile web design will see an increase in business.

Over-designing your website
We’ve all seen websites that are just too designed. They might be crammed with unnecessary graphics and pictures or contain more text than the Bible. Whatever the case, more is less with web design. Today’s web users look for streamlined, succinct design that gives an instant indication of what your brand is all about.

Using awkward stock photography
This should go without saying, but we still see too many websites that use unrealistic, low-quality stock photography in an attempt to increase the amount of visuals on their sites. Web users can spot a bad stock photo from a mile away, and these pictures instantly ruin a website’s credibility. While visuals are highly important in web design, it’s better to have no photos than stock photos.

What are your thoughts on these tips for professional web designers? Have any other questions for us about how a digital marketing strategy can help your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

web developers

The Top 3 Chrome Tools Geared Especially Toward Web Developers

Over the last few years, Google Chrome has surpassed Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and even Internet Explorer itself to become the most popular web browser available. These days, more than half of Internet users begin their online journeys with Google Chrome.

At the same time, more than half of web users choose to access the web from a mobile device. It’s not surprising that 62% of companies that have optimized their websites for mobile browsing have seen an increase in profits. Even more telling? Websites often have just 10 seconds to make an impression on visitors before they move on to a different website.

Because of our collective shift onto the mobile web, web development professionals today have a number of challenges that await them. Luckily, if your digital marketing agency’s web developers have moved to Chrome as their browser of choice, they have a number of tools available to them today. Here are just three of the many web development tools that can be downloaded to Chrome to your agency’s benefit:

When web developers use Chrome’s DevTools Audits tab, they can view countless ways to improve a website’s appearance and performance. By minimizing the number and size of a website’s CSS and JavaScript files, for example, the site’s performance can be boosted significantly, optimizing the user experience. When 40% of web users say they’ll abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load, the Audits tab is an absolute must have.

JavaScript Console
To help your web developers keep a website’s JavaScript error messages to a minimum, Chrome offers a JavaScript Console that can troubleshoot code and alert developers to any problems that exist. This tool can be a huge benefit for developers when they test APIs and other website functions.

PageSpeed Insights
Another tool that Google has implemented into its Chrome browser for today’s web development professionals? PageSpeed Insights for Chrome, a tool that suggests changes and implements them with the simple click of a button. For larger projects that need to be completed fast, this quick and easy system is indispensable.

What are some of your favorite Chrome tools to use? Have any other questions or thoughts about graphic design, web design or web development? Let us know by leaving a comment below.


Durrani Design is now officially rebranded as Fan & Fuel

It’s been a great ride for us, but after 8+ awesome years, we felt it was time to rebrand the company name – Durrani Design – to something we felt helped with our focus; to maximize results for our valued clients.

We’ve gone through a lot of changes over the last several months to improve our service capabilities in the digital marketing space. We felt that the company name – Durrani Design – held us back from our other core strengths in the digital marketing space, and who we wanted to be as a business.

So, we’ve officially rebranded, and we are excited to now be called Fan & Fuel. It’s important to understand why we chose Fan & Fuel. Over the years clients have come to us looking to move their business to the next level. And more often than not, the initial project includes new introductions of the brand and the online presence. To us, this is the “Fan” part of our company; the client has created a business,  a spark if you will, and has comes to us to turn that glow into a visible fire, which is the updated branding and website. Now that the company image is established, now it’s time to turn on the gas, which is the “Fuel”, by way of our digital marketing solutions. Soon after the new company image is publicly visible we want to add to the success with marketing and campaign strategies that will turn the company into an inferno that can be seen for miles.

We have no doubt that our new name reflects our full marketing strategies and the fundamental process of how we want to grows our client’s businesses.

Although we have moved forward with the name that we know better represents our services and vision, everything you have come to love about Durrani Design has not changed. We have the same great passion, and the same commitment to doing the very best work possible for our valued clients.

We are Fan & Fuel – a Digital Marketing Group.


The Ultimate Shopping Experience is about to get even BIGGER

July, 2015 – SAN DIEGO, CA

These are truly some amazing cookies! If you haven’t enjoyed a delicious treat from Cravory Cookies, then do yourself a favor, and order them today.

Cravory Cookies partnered with Fan & Fuel in the summer of 2014. Cravory first approached us with concerns that their online store may not be working right. They couldn’t understand why they couldn’t grow their online sales beyond $500.00/month. We approached this project like every other new website; get under the hood and test the functionality of the checkout pages to make sure they are working properly, and they are secure. We quickly repaired the site then moved the conversation to a full website redesign.

Because the sales volume was less than $1,000.00 a month we didn’t want to suggest an enterprise level shopping cart, or anything else they wouldn’t need. And although they had an online presence we wanted to treat the project as if it were their first eCommerce build. We moved them to a new host but kept with the same WooCommerce shopping cart. We launched in mid September after a full rebranding effort and UI  site design. The redesign alone, without digital marketing efforts, increased sales almost 1,400%. The increase in sales was simply a result of company rebranding, the new website UI design, and fully functioning, secure shopping cart. All of which helped our decision to take things to the next level by embarking on an SEO and Google Adwords PPC campaign. After our first full month, the 30 day period between Nov 28 and Dec 28, 2014 the online sales increased by 15,100% from where they were month-over-month over the previous 24 months.

Fast forward just six months, we found that we have already outgrown the WooCommerce shopping cart. This is a great problem to have! We knew we would eventually find ourselves needing more capabilities with our cart, analytics, and digital marketing support. With most growing companies you will find that there are obstacles that limit growth. We just didn’t realize that it would only take us 6 months.

We are currently developing the new online store using a Magento shopping cart platform. We will also be taking the opportunity to launch with new branding and product introductions at a new site address. The Cravory is now going to become Cravory Cookies. Please don’t wait for the new site launch. Get in there now and order yourself some amazing cookies!

Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group is an award-winning, full-service, branding design agency specializing in printed collateral, web design, web development, product design and online marketing. It specializes in creating stimulating visuals and high-end functioning website development with the goal of converting users to objectives. We pride ourselves on staying informed of the latest trends and techniques in order to keep our clients in pace with their customers and their competition. Our clients range in size and industries and include GMC Inc. – North & South America, Tee Compressed, American Tumbler Drinkware, Maggio Capital, IVD Research, D Street Bar & Grill, Cravory Cookies, and Magician Kevin Viner. More information is available at www.fanandfuel.com.

For more information about Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group, or this project, please call the Fuel Team at 760.544.6084.


Fan & Fuel develops a mobile site to leverage the SEO impact for Lemongrass

JUNE 15, 2015 – CARLSBAD, CA

Mobile devices are getting larger. With a such big screens now in hand it means more and more and people are visiting their favorite websites while on the go. The iPhone 6 plus and Samsung’s Note 4 were major hits when they were released in the fall of 2014, so much so that their owners created a nice little spike in Google traffic from mobile devices. This increase in mobile traffic had a ripple effect that was felt along the digital marketing landscape. Google’s recent algorithm update made it quite clear that ongoing SEO & Digital Marketing strategies would now require a mobile friendly site. To achieve this it would require responsive development or separate mobile site version.

Since 2011 we have been the brand & digital agency of record for Lemongrass Salon & Spa. Over the years we have done many projects, including the most recent website redesign, Lemongrass 3.0 if you will. With it we also designed and developed their first mobile website version. Since the launch of the mobile website n Lemongrass has had a 33% increase of page sessions and an 81% increase with the time users spend on the site. The one place that we would want a significant decrease is the bounce rate, which fell by nearly 20%. To learn more about this project please visit the Lemongrass case study.

Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group is an award-winning, full-service, branding design agency specializing in printed collateral, web design, web development, product design and online marketing. It specializes in creating stimulating visuals and high-end functioning website development with the goal of converting users to objectives. We pride ourselves on staying informed of the latest trends and techniques in order to keep our clients in pace with their customers and their competition. Our clients range in size and industries and include GMC Inc. – North & South America, Tee Compressed, American Tumbler Drinkware, Maggio Capital, IVD Research, D Street Bar & Grill, Cravory Cookies, and Magician Kevin Viner. More information is available at www.fanandfuel.com.

For more information about Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group, or this project, please call the Fuel Team at 760.544.6084.

The 3 Most Devastating Digital Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

digital marketing>
Whether you’re a brand new startup just entering the world of online marketing or you’ve been in business for years, there’s no doubt that directing your advertising and marketing toward an online audience is an absolute must.

This is especially true when you consider the fact that more people shop online — particularly via their smartphones — than ever before. About four out of five consumers shop on their smartphones. As a result, e-commerce generates a stunning $1.2 million per 30 seconds.

However, online marketing gives back what you put into it. If your business employs ineffective strategies, you could be wasting money on this marketing without even knowing it.

Could your business be making a crippling mistake with its digital marketing strategies — and not even know it? Find out with this list of the top three online marketing mistakes no one should be making:

Paying too much for your website
As more and more small to mid-sized businesses look to optimize their website’s design and function, a growing number of web designers and web developers have sought to take advantage of them by charging above-normal rates for their services. This allows them to cash in big while putting in the least amount of work for their clients. Chances are, if a digital marketing agency is asking you to spend $3,000 to $10,000 on a new website, you’re being sorely over-charged.

Giving up early on social media
Everyone talks about the benefits of social media marketing — but if your business’ social media sites have hardly any followers, it can be frustrating when these benefits don’t appear. If you aren’t seeing social media success, it could be due to a number of problems; the one thing you never want to do is give up on your social media marketing, however. There are too many advantages to social media visibility to make it worth abandoning.

Expecting instant results from your SEO
If your business has adopted a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, it’s undoubtedly irritating to see your website’s rankings languish past the first page of Google results. However, SEO is a long-term investment, not a quick fix. Instead of trying to land that viral piece of content that may never come, devote your SEO strategy to developing high-quality, lasting content that will build your rankings over the long run. When an amazing 70% of mobile searches will result in online action within an hour or less, you can’t afford not to give up on SEO.

Do you agree with this list? Have any other questions or thoughts about finding the right graphic design or digital marketing agency? Let us know by leaving a comment below.


The Psychology Behind a Great Web Page Design

Creating a great web page design requires a lot more than just some cool fonts, bright colors, and interesting photographs (most likely taken from stock photo libraries). You might not realize it — in fact, most internet users don’t — but a good web design actually pulls quite a bit from some basic principles in psychology.

So how can you create a professional web design, without breaking the bank, by using some of the most basic principles that human minds are naturally drawn to?

  • Symmetry: The thing about symmetry is that the human brain will try to make a design as symmetrical as possible — even if it isn’t symmetric at all — by focusing on the small details. This ends up creating a stressful situation for someone looking at a messy web page because he/she will be distracted by photos and text boxes that aren’t aligned properly. This really comes into play when considering mobile web design, because without a web page design created specifically for mobile devices, any website will quickly turn into a jumbled mess on a smartphone.

  • Completion: Similar to a poor mobile web design (which can actually turn away more than 50% of consumers), when a website isn’t complete — maybe it has filler “Lorem ipsum” text boxes, or just a bunch of “Coming soon!” messages, for example — viewers are going to be irritated. Again, the human brain naturally strives to complete something even when it’s obviously incomplete; this is why a poorly-designed page, where the photos and text boxes don’t fit properly and overlap or run off the page, can be so maddening to look at. Considering that a first impression is 94% design-related, and 75% of consumers admit to making judgments about a business’s credibility based solely on its website, an incomplete web page design sends the signal that the business doesn’t care about its website, and probably doesn’t care much about its customers.

  • Simplicity: It be tempting to fill your pages with pictures and additional information, but keep in mind that people naturally simplify everything visually by filtering out a lot of what their eyes see. Even though the human brain may not consciously recognize that a page is too cluttered for comfort, it will begin filtering out information immediately. When a web page design is bogged down with too many bright colors and big pictures, this takes attention away from what really matters.

Let’s face it: having the best web design possible is really important for your business. Plenty of digital marketing firms also incorporate web page design services into their businesses, which is really convenient for anyone who isn’t too great with psychology. But you never know — you might just find a new passion in figuring out what does (or doesn’t) make your website look great!

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