22 Ways to Increase Site Speed, Performance and Security to Improve Customer Trust

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This is the fifth and final post in our #SellMore series around Conversion Rate Optimization. We’ve explained why conversion rate is important for ecommerce, how to uncover and optimize your conversion funnel, how to retarget and re-engage those conversions you’re losing, and offered 25 tipson how to improve conversions right now. This week, we’re continuing to help you fine-tune your online store’s conversion funnel in order to boost your conversion rate overall.Nearly every single effort on the part of an online business owner is a step toward increasing or optimizing their conversion rate. After all, you can be buying ads across the internet and pulling in hoards of traffic, but if none of those people convert –– all of that money is wasted.

Beyond site design and opening up a transparent and convenient line of communication with customers –– all of which we covered in our previous post –– there are additional, more site performance-related issues that could be negatively affecting how many of your site visitors turn into actual customers. These include SEO, site speed and security –– all of which help users find your store and use it without getting frustrated about long load times, as well as encourages them to finalize the sales based on their level of trust for your business.

Below, we’ve outlined 22 ways you can continue to optimize your online store to cater to a customer’s desire for quick and easy browsing and buying.

Leverage Overlooked Touch Points

Your online store offers multiple customer touchpoints, many of which include instant chat, your blog and your social media channels. Beyond these more obvious ways in which you speak to and attain customers, be sure to also consider those points that occur often a bit more overlooked, including SEO, email marketing and cleaning up old links that now lead to 404 pages.

Here are some of the touchpoints many online sellers forget to optimize:

  • Write solid meta tags and descriptions: Title tags and and meta descriptions are often the first branded contact you have with potential customers. They serve as an entry point from search engines to your store’s web pages. Learn how to craft meta tags that boost your click-through rate. Also know this: you can use Google Webmaster Tools (Traffic > Search Queries) to check the click-through rate of the keywords that your store is ranking for so you can make adjustments as needed. Typically, it’s suggested that if the average position of a keyword is within the top 10, but the click-through rate of the keyword is low, the meta tag of that page might need some love.
  • Offer a stellar shipping policy and display it: The way you handle the shipping and returns of your products plays a critical role in deciding the conversion rate of your business. If you can offer free shipping (yes, free shipping can be profitable!), which is ideal to most online shoppers, or even offer free shipping over a certain threshold (i.e. “all orders over $99 get free shipping”), you can boost your average order value and offset the overall loss to your business. Whatever shipping set up you decide on, make sure it’s displayed clearly throughout your website, especially during checkout. No one likes surprise costs. Plus, if you do decide to offer free shipping, be sure to showcase that prominently on your site! It is absolutely a marketing expense, so be sure to market it.
  • Offer a returns or exchange policy and display it: A returns & exchange policy can make or break many online sales. Roughly 95% of customers will likely buy again once they’ve experienced a “positive return.” So, although it can feel costly to a small business, providing a comprehensive policy and upholding your returns and exchange policy instills confidence in you, your business and your products. The more a customer trusts your store, the more likely they are to purchase. In fact,63% of shoppers abandon sites because they didn’t trust them. Don’t let your site be one of them.
  • Scrutinize your emails: Whether it’s a registration email, newsletter email, order confirmation email, order shipped email, order refunded email, abandoned cart email, password reset email, thank you email, the list goes on and on –– be sure to check them. Make sure all of your information is correct including the proper links out to your social channels, the proper dates for an extended sale, or that you’re correctly sending those personalized emails to the people they are personalized for. Scrutinizing your emails is wise, as email is one of the least expensive, highest-ROI marketing and conversion tools at your finger tips. Ensuring that your emails reflect your brand, drive home the reasons you’re contacting them and are personalized can improve nearly all metrics associated with your store, including average order value (AOV), customer lifetime value (LTV) and more.
  • Love on your informational pages: Blog posts and additional web pages (i.e. About Us, Contact Us, Testimonials, Shipping and Returns, etc.) are areas which many online store owner’s neglect. What call-to-action do you want for your potential buyers to take on these pages? Are you directing them to a product, encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter, or requesting that they share your thoughts and perspective with their community? The possibilities are endless, but the point is that you don’t want to waste any opportunity to turn a site visitor into a customer. This might feel like “dirty marketing” to some, but I assure you it is not. You just want to have purpose behind what you are doing and, although you may not convert a customer from a blog post, setting goals as to where you send shoppers after reading a blog post can really impact the shopper’s journey toward checkout.
  • Spruce up any 404 pages: Ideally, you will set up 301 redirects for pages that no longer exist on your site so that they direct to a new page. However, there are often times where a 404 page might need to exist. If so, give it some love by including a friendly error message, a search box, contact information or even some link options to get them moving past the 404 page. Check out how Mashable does it for some cute and friendly inspiration:

Improve Your Page Load Speed

A large perk of using the internet to shop is convenience. If your store’s pages take forever to load, not only will customers be annoyed, but your Google ranking may be affected as well. Google does, however, offers tools and resources to analyze and test your web page speed and show you where issues are occurring both on mobile devices and desktops. They’ll even provide you a list of what speed issues and user experience issues you should fix as well as steps to get it done. So, definitely check it out.

Here are some of the bigger issues new online store owners encounter and some additional tools to use to help mitigate the problems:

  • Run your pages through Pingdom: Pingdom is a great place to start as an alternative to Google’s Tools. All you need to do is enter a URL to test the load time of that page, analyze it and find bottlenecks.
  • Use images sizes that are appropriate: Any online image needs to be no more than 1,000 pixels to display well. Anything above that range is wasting precious rendering time. You can either update your one-off instance (typically people go overboard on their carousel sliders) or compress your images using sites like TinyPNG or JPEGOptimizer.
  • Speaking of, don’t use a PNG when a JPEG will do: High-quality images are ideal and present a more professional aesthetic on your site. However, JPEGs take less time to load, and load time plays a crucial role in your conversion rate. If you can’t help but use a PNG file, be sure to use TinyPNG to locate, sort and compress large images.
  • Utilize a CDN: A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, allows for you to copy all of your images and other files (static assets) from your online store to different data centers (CDN nodes) around the world. Then, instead of loading these files from main data centers only, your files are loaded from the data center that is closest to where your shoppers are located. If you’re on Bigcommerce, you can switch assets to the Bigcommerce CDN in a snap.
  • Limit the use of Redirects: HTTP redirects from one URL to another cut out additional wait time for users.

Streamline Your Checkout Page

Checkout is quite possibly the most vulnerable point in the conversion funnel. The first step of your checkout process sets the tone for the entire experience, according to a three-month long KissMetrics study in which 58.1% of shoppers abandoned checkout before the completing the first step.

The smallest amount of friction can send a shopper away from your site. Having an Abandoned Cart Saver email setup helps to pull those shoppers back in, but you should also focus on optimizing your checkout process and minimizing your abandoned cart altogether. Here are some great ideas to get you started:

  • Offer guest check out: This is a huge bonus for many online shoppers. Often, the first step of a checkout experience is creating an account. And remember, 58.1% of shoppers abandon cart at this step of the process. So, eliminate it and offer a guest checkout for those who don’t want to create a full account just yet.
  • Display security seals: Let users know that your website is secure and that their privacy will never be compromised. This is something you should likely have in the footer of your website, but make sure it is also clearly displayed throughout your checkout process to increase customer trust and finalize the sale.
  • Offer multiple payment methods: Offer your customers as many popular checkout options as possible. In general, allowing for checkout with PayPal and the major credit card brands covers all the bases.
  • Answer those FAQs: Beyond displaying shipping information and linking to your returns & exchange policy, answer common FAQs concerning your product and link to any guarantees and warranty information you may offer. If you don’t cover or display the information, at least clearly link to the location where customers can get more information. Again, this is a trust building exercise, and trust is paramount for online shoppers.
  • Set expectations: Be transparent with pricing and ensure your tax is calculating properly. Additionally, you’ll want to display your shipping details and explain the cost, the carrier, order fulfillment as well as delivery timelines.
  • It’s a great idea to do this throughout your entire website builder. Most online stores link to this information in their top and bottom navigation, and some even list the information on their product pages, especially if there is a production timeline that will delay the shipping of the product (i.e. if the goods are handmade).
  • Pre-populate information wherever you can: If a customer has already provided some information in step one of the checkout process, don’t ask for it again in step three. Allow for your checkout flow to automatically pre-fill fields so that the user doesn’t have to enter it again. Convenience helps to close sales, and any small setback during the checkout process (like having to re-enter information) can easily cause an abandoned cart. For sites powered by Bigcommerce, thanks to a partnership with Paypal powered by Braintree, online shoppers can now pay across more than 90,000 online stores with a single touch, never having to re-enter payment information.
  • Clearly mark fields as mandatory: Simply include an asterisk (*) for fields that are required, even if all of them are required. This helps to create an easier user experience. In general, marking form fields as required has become an industry best practice given that many online users simply expect to see it. It’s a simple fix, and worth it even it helps to close just one sale.
  • Give immediate validation: Providing step validation (i.e. a check mark) next to a field once it’s completed correctly can be extremely useful for shoppers. This helps them to feel as though they are seamlessly flowing through the process, and serves as a sort of progress bar –– encouraging shoppers to keep rolling right along.
  • Don’t add on extra costs abruptly: If users suddenly see an increased cost as they continue down the checkout process, they can feel swindled. Let users know about any extra costs including shipping and handling charges or taxes in advance or on the product page itself. Never surprise them in the checkout flow.

Boost Your Mobile Experience

Due to Google’s recent algorithm update, you will now, more than ever, need to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile. The mobile shopping audience is growing and although mobile optimization and best practices are simple, it can be easy to neglect them. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Responsive design: A responsive site design ensures that your site displays correctly across any and all devices. This is a huge benefit seeing as 74% of mobile users opt to use a search engine with the intention of purchasing and 85% of them intend to make a purchase within 24 hours, according to Google mobile path study. Both your site and your checkout process need to be mobile optimized for both browsing customers and those who are deciding to fully convert.
  • Offer easy ways to pay: Offer check out options that will allow your customers to check out with just a few clicks. Again, convenience and speed helps to push customers through the checkout process. Any step that requires time or effort will likely be abandoned. One-click checkout options solve for this pain point.

6 Actionable SEO SEO

Technical SEO has clearly been one of the pillars that enabled many businesses to thrive in the information age.

With 3.5 billion searches being made each day (which is still stirring towards a consistent growth pattern); it only proves how more significant – and more competitive – search optimization will be for many businesses in the years to come.

SEO, as a medium for traffic acquisition, hasn’t changed that much in over a decade of its existence. The primary objective of the practice is still the same – “to make it easier for people to get to the information/solution they need”.

When Google launched the Panda Update back in 2011, they’ve also created a list of questions that provided guidance to webmasters and SEOs on how they should optimize their sites, which pretty much applies up to now:

  • 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 more shallow in nature?

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?

  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?

  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

  • How much quality control is done on content?

  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?

  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?

  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?

  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?

  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?

  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?

  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?

  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?

  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Although, Google has continuously revolutionize their ways of improving how their search engine assesses web pages that deserve better visibility, to practically match how web consumption evolved in the past few years (such as the steady growth in mobile search, which in turn gave birth to mobile, site-speed and web security-related metrics).

But there are still several aspects of technical site optimization that many of us tend to forget when doing site audits. And these areas will be the focal point of this blog post.

Maximize Crawl Budget

“Crawl budget is the time or number of pages Google allocates to crawl a site”. – AJ Kohn

The amount of crawl budget given to a website is often based on the PageRank it has. The higher a site’s PageRank is, the more important it appears as an entity to Google (which also means the more frequent the site will be crawled, indexed and ranked).

Aside from the basic concepts of crawl optimization wherein the site’s architecture and internal linking structure are optimized to make it easy for search crawlers to get to any page from a website in a few clicks – it is also vital to conserve crawl budget by blocking crawl paths (links) that may only waste some of the allocated crawl budget to the site.

Normally, these kinds of crawl paths are links to pages that you’re not really aiming to rank well for competitive queries on search results (ex: terms and conditions, contact us, shipping and delivery, etc…), which are more often than not accessible on many site’s inner pages.

footer links

When these internal links are accessible to Googlebots on most of the site’s deeper pages, it allows crawlers to repeatedly crawl these pages over and over – which wastes a lot of your overall crawl budget (and passes a lot of link equity/PageRank to them that could have been more valuable if passed to other pages instead).

On maximizing site’s crawl budget:

  • Use the Nofollow attribute for the internal sitewide links that point to pages you don’t really want to rank when in the deeper level of the site (as you can still have the Dofollow tag on them from the site’s homepage).
  • Once these pages are already indexed, you can also disallow crawlers from accessing these pages via the Robots.txt.
  • Improve deep crawling by creating more contextual internal links to pages that host links pointing to deeper key pages of the site (ex: important categories, list of your popular blog posts, etc…).

Blocking access to thin-content and duplicate pages:

In the Google Panda era, this method for site optimization has since been a norm (aside from pruning low-quality indexed pages from websites). But another positive effect in which this process helps very well is in the aspect of crawl optimization.

Allowing search bots to crawl URL parameters that you don’t even want to be indexed is a total waste – and blocking access to them can surely save a ton of your crawl budget (hence, more value to be passed around to pages that you want to rank well in SERPs).

The best way to do this is to disallow crawlers from getting into these pages via the site’s Robots.txt.

There are also a bunch of free tools that you can use to find your site’s duplicate pages as well as the URL parameters that you shouldn’t be allowing to be indexed like Google Webmaster Tools (check my guide),SEMRush Site Audit feature and Siteliner.

duplicate content

Optimize for Knowledge Graph and Google Quick Answers Box

As defined by Search Engine Land – “The Google Knowledge Graph is a system that understands facts about people, places and things and how these entities are connected”.

Knowledge Graph Optimization for brands is usually more on improving their sites’ entity detection. For them to make it easier for search engines to better understand their brand through the connections it’s being commonly tied in with (through relationships that can be based on content, mentions, and links)

There are so many ways to do this, in which implementing structured data is one (probably the most popular one), as outlined by AJ Kohn in his post from last year:

  • Using more entities (aka Nouns) in your writing

  • Getting connected on social platforms and linking out to other relevant websites

  • Implementing Structured Data when appropriate to increase entity detection

  • Use of the sameAs property

  • Getting featured on Wikipedia

  • Creating an entry on Wikidata

Note: Getting more unlinked brand mentions (including other related entities to your brand – ex: authors, executives, branded products, etc…) and branded links to your site can also extremely help in making Google better understand what your brand is about (see Co-occurrence and Co-citation). 

Another interesting angle on how improving entity detection might help brands further in getting more search visibility is from a recent discovery by Dan Shure on how Google is showing related searches on their autocomplete feature.

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As for the Google Quick Answers Box, it is also a part of the Knowledge Graph that’s designed mainly to answer “what is” and/or “how to” queries, wherein snippets of content from pages that best answer the a certain query are extracted and displayed as the 1st organic result in the SERP.

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BrightEdge’s Kirill Kronrod shed some light on a post he wrote about Google Answers Box, on the factors that Google could be using to evaluate content/pages to feature in their answers box:

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Other notable resources:

  • 101 Google Answer Boxes: A journey into the Knowledge Graph
  • Optimizing for the Google Quick Answers Box
  • Semantic Optimization with Structured Data

Optimize for Long-Click

User Satisfaction is the most important ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.

Long-click, as a metric for determining how satisfied users are on the pages they’ve found on search results, is a concept that has been around for quite some time now (many experts have already discussed the topic thoroughly in the past – see AJ Kohn, Bill Slawski, and Cyrus Shepard’s takes on it).

As Stephen Levy explained on how Google is utilizing their user behavior data to improve how they serve information on their search results:

“Google could see how satisfied users were. The best sign of their happiness was the “long click” – this occurred when someone went to a search result, ideally the top one, and did not return. That meant Google has successfully fulfilled the query. But unhappy users were unhappy in their own ways, most telling were the “short clicks” where a user followed a link and immediately returned to try again.” 

Improving user satisfaction for search visitors:

  • Ensure that the search queries that people use to find your site’s key page(s) accurately match the information provided by your page’s content. Study your most visited landing pages through search, then analyze those that have poor usage data and identify the areas where you can improve them.
  • Optimize with the searchers’ intent in mind to provide better experience for search-driven visitors. Does your page load fast? Will it be easy for skim readers to find what they are looking for?
  • Reduce disruptive elements on the page, such as pop-ups, opt-in forms, display ads, etc…
  • Provide superior content with high quality images to reduce the chances of search visitors exiting back to the search results (provide better content than your competitors!).
  • Link out to highly relevant sources (especially to content written by other topic experts) – and it’s also best to include internal links that point to your other inner pages that have high engagement rate.
  • Have clear page-level CTAs to cultivate more actions from your visitors (ex: encouraging visitors to leave comments, share the content on social media, subscribing to your feed or access to any free assets your brand offers).

Improving SERP-CTR:

This process covers half of “time to long-click” – as a metric – given that you’ll also need to increase the amount of visitors being driven from search to basically get the whole score.

  • Use strong and straight-to-the-point title tags for your key pages.
  • Include a sales proposition or a call-to-action on your pages’ meta descriptions to attract more clicks (when appropriate).
  • Update and republish your site’s older content assets (but are still continuously generating traffic) – for freshness factor.
  • Implement Structured Data to generate rich-snippets.

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Bulk up more signals on pages you want to rank

Many practitioners have grown accustomed to only relying on two major ranking factors when it comes to improving certain pages’ search rankings (keyword usage and links).

But SEO has been far more complex these days if compared to how many of us approached it in the past. The good thing is that there are so many other ranking factors out there that we can now actually explore and tap into.

  • Funnel more link equity to pages you want to rank better. You can easily do this by identifying which pages on your website are able to earn natural links on their own (you can use Ahrefs to see your site’s top pages/content in terms of links and social shares). Internally link these pages to key pages that need more link equity to boost their search visibility.

ahrefs

  • Include other content formats to make your content more comprehensive such as videos and images/infographics. This can help your pages generate better usage data.
  • Make your pages (that you want to rank better) load faster. More tips here.
  • Link out to other credible and authority websites to increase the trust scores of your pages (also to improve page-level activity).
  • Update, lengthen and/or use more synonyms (as well as highly related nouns) in the content of the pages that are having difficulties in ranking well (to optimize for freshness and latent semantic indexing). You can also merge redundant pages from your site (pages that provide similar information) to integrate both pages’ ranking value (they’ll have better chances of competing in SERPs this way).
  • Restructure pages that are getting more mobile traffic – in a manner that’ll be easier for mobile users to consume (ex: including a summary of the content placed above the fold, and breaking the content into shorter paragraphs to make it scannable).

Continuously work on and monitor your brand’s external linkable assets

All the other platforms brands normally use to promote themselves outside their websites can be considered as linkable assets. Whether it’s a fanpage from social network or a single guest blog/column that was well-received – they all form a channel in which the brand is enabled to connect and build relationships.

Amplifying your brand presence through these initiatives (social media marketing and content distribution) will not just help you get your name out there, but will also help produce a lot of links – which is still very important in SEO.

Consistency in execution for these other marketing practices is not that difficult, though what many of us tend to forget is the part where these marketing initiatives can be integrated with SEO.

It’s important to monitor how well these brand assets are doing in terms of natural link acquisition. Find out who’s linking to your social accounts that are getting more traction. Because if they’re linking to these external brand assets (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, etc…), they’d be probably interested to link to your website as well.

twitter

My Twitter handle has over a hundred linking domains – you should start checking yours too.

And it’s the same with your guest posts. Regularly check who’s linking to them, sharing them on social media, and the people commenting on them. These are potential relationships. And relationships fuel successful link building campaigns.

moz

11 Types of Content That People Love To Share Read more at

content marketing tips

Content marketing is about attracting attention.

Then it’s about turning that into engagement and converting that into leads and customers. The ultimate goal is to create such loyal fans and advocates that they rave about you online and offline. That’s when the real magic happens. You only have to look at Apple that has its customers waiting in lines for 48 hours to get their latest phones to understand that fan power.

But that goal of attracting traffic and attention is getting harder.

What has made the challenge of getting noticed in a noisy world so much harder? Why is it that a 200 word blog post just doesn’t cut it anymore?

Why is it getting harder?

When I started creating content I could write 300-400 words without any visuals and we were all happy. Today it’s 1,000 plus words and you need a bunch of visuals.

There are a few elements that led us to this explosion in data.

The content standard has been dialled up. People expect more for free. The volume of information created has exploded due to everyone becoming publishers. We all have smart phones and the growth and access to hundreds of social networks.

We have also seen the dramatic increase in the number people having internet access.

Noise has accelerated.

The growth in web content

To put some perspective on this explosion of content and web traffic here are the facts on the growth of content and the internet.

Since 2008 when I started using social networks this is what has happened:

  • The number of people online has more than doubled from 1.4 billion to over 3 billion
  • Facebook has gone from 80 million users to more than 1.4 billion
  • Twitter had 2 million accounts and now it is 300 million and counting.
  • The number of smartphones was 250 million in 2008 and today there are more than 2 billion. That is an 800% increase!

Today this is what happens every minute on the web.

  • 4 million search queries on Google
  • Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content
  • Email users send 204 million messages

Web in a minute

So that is your challenge. It is your competition. Daunting isn’t it.

So how do you win?

To win you have to do two things first. Create the best content you can and grow your online distribution for that content.

Content needs to achieve a few things to get shared. Inform, entertain, educate and inspire.

The specific tactics and media preferences also vary between platforms. Blogs require a variety of content types. On Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram it is all about images.

The type of content that people love to share is not just about going viral but content that keeps getting shared when it is discovered on Twitter or in an email.

Here are some content marketing tips that will help in getting your content shared..

1. How to’s

Showing people how to do something in a blog post is an oldie but a goodie. It might not go viral but adding that value to your readers gets them to share with colleagues, bosses and peers.

21 Types of Content That People Love To Share

2. Large listicles

These can be fun or serious. They can be positive, negative and sometimes just plain silly. But I discovered the power of using a large negative list to drive sharing with this headline in 2010, “30 Things You Should Not Share in on Social Media“.

21 Types of Content That People Love To Share3. Statistics and facts

This has worked for me for years and has led to this post ranking #1 on Google for “social media facts“. If you look hard enough in almost any industry you will find amazing facts and figures that people,will love to know about.

Let’s look at an industry like events or conferences.

I was in Las Vegas recently and I heard some facts about how many conventions are held every year and the number of delegates.

The facts.

22,103 conventions were held in 2014 and the number of attendees?  5,169,054. Those numbers I find fascinating.

21 Types of Content That People Love To Share4. Infographics

Infographics were really hot and now they are just hot as a shareable piece of content. Here is an example from the Bufferapp blog. Using multiple infographics in one post can also work really well

21 Types of Content That People Love To Share

5. Authentic images of people

Upworthy uses raw but real photos a lot in its content. Here is an example titled.  ”Rather than let his student’s baby continue to cry, this professor took matters into his own hands.”

It was the #3 top shared article for the week.

21 Types of Content That People Love To Share

6. Personal photographs

Social media has moved the dial between what used to be treated as private and what is now considered safe for public viewing.

It is different for everyone.

But reveal something personal and be willing to share it….and your friends, fans and followers will crowd source the marketing for you.

21 Types of Content That People Love To Share

7. Tweets with images

This type of content wasn’t available just 18 months ago. But with Twitter changing its platform to be more visual at the end of 2013 the rules of engagement changed. I have found that mini-infographics (or snapshots of a larger infographic) can be one of the most effective.

Here is the top media tweet for April from my Twitter account

21 Types of Content That People Love To Share

8. Curiosity gap headlines

The headlines that work and don’t work has been challenged by experimentation and data on a social web. Longer headlines that tease your curiosity gene can work very well. This headline has 13 words.

The data tells us that. So do some experimenting of your own.

11 Types of Content That People Love To Share

9. Long form content

Blog articles that are 1,500 words will not be a viral piece of content. But if done well they will become a resource for your niche, be printed off and put senior managers desk or even the CEO.

This article is nearly 3,000 words and continues to be shared.g

content marketing tips 9

10. Articles with multiple images

Buzzfeed has perfected the art of stacking images in articles. Here is one of their most popular articles of all time with over 15 million views. This tactic is very effective because you are giving your article the best chance to resonate with your audience so it “has” to be shared. They also make it easy for the reader to share by using technology that enables share buttons to pop up as you mouse over each image.

If it was just one or two images it would not have received that level of viral traffic.

Content marketing tips

11. Quotes as an image

With Twitter becoming more visual you need to mix up the text tweets with visual tweets. Using a tool like Canva to turn quotes into images can increase sharing by 200-300%.

Kim Garst does this on her Twitter account on a regular basis to great effect.

content marketing tips Kim Garst

Optimizing the content

So you have created the content people love to share and now you just publish it. Take a deep breath. You need to optimize your content for a variety of factors.

You need to consider some of these factors: But these will vary according to content types and platforms.

Short attention spans. So use a mix of punchy catchy text mixed with visuals

Readability. Use simple language, rhythm in your writing and sub-titles

Sharing: These include social sharing buttons and plugins that enable image sharing (use a technology like Snip.ly)

Search engines: Many don’t spend that last bit of effort to ensure your content is optimized for search engines.

Mobile: Many websites are seeing 50% of their traffic coming from mobile. This should be a priority

This fine tuning and optimization can produce big benefits when combined.

A final and strange tip.

Use odd numbers in your list headlines. If you check out Buzzfeed’s headlines they are almost always an odd number.