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5 Hacks to Make Your Website Load at Lightning Speed!

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In the digital age, patience is no longer a virtue. People have everything they want at their fingertips, and they want to use their time as efficiently as possible. That’s why even a delay of a couple of seconds on your web page could significantly impact the number of page views and the customers you gather.

That’s why we’ve made a list of the best hacks to speed things up on your web page:

 

1. Enhance your CSS

The Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the first thing that needs to load for people to see your website. By keeping your CSS short, you give your customers quicker access to your site.  Any amount of unnecessary data can cause your loading speed to slow down.

So carefully edit your CSS and optimize it.

First, check if your Content Management System (CMS) already optimizes your CSS. If not, you could always use an external source such as CSS Minifier to minimize your resource files — making a world of difference to your website loading time.

 

2. Use third-party hosting services

Having large files, such as videos, on your web page takes up a lot of space, which can impact how fast your website loads.  What’s more, if you use a shared server, hosting videos on your page can quickly make you exceed the space you are allotted. And even if you use a server to upload large files, when many users try to access them at once, it could result in pauses and lags in playback.

One easy hack to work your way around this is by sharing videos through external hosting platforms, such as Vimeo and YouTube. You can then easily embed the video on your site and drastically improve your website loading time.

 

3. Reduce image sizes

Apart from videos, images are the second largest type of files most websites use — and they can take a real toll on the loading time. But having several images on your web page is just the thing you need to make it interesting and pull up conversion rates, so reducing the number of images is never an option.

The next best thing? Try scaling your images to the size you want. This doesn’t mean just cropping them — since that would still involve your website loading the entire image and then displaying it in a small size.

Instead, resize and compress the pictures to reduce the size and make your website load faster.

 

4. Compress content

Compression can drastically reduce the loading speed of your website, bringing down its size and all the files on it. Most often, compression is a server setting, but if it isn’t an option, you can always use file formats and applications like Gzip, which identify strings of similar code in your text files and temporarily replaces them to make your page load faster. Using such applications has become a standard practice for most websites these days.

 

5. Enable browser caching

When a user first visits your web page, the main components of the page are saved on their hard drive or temporary storage.

By doing this, their browser can easily access it without having to send another HTTP request to the server each time they visit your site. This reduces the time it takes for your website to load.

Platforms like WordPress offer plugins such as W3 Total Cache to make the process easier. You can also use other services such as Apache Caching, IIS Caching and Nginx Caching to enable browser caching on your website.

Providing customers with a rich online experience (where large-sized web pages are a given) with near-instantaneous loading times can be a tough challenge for marketers. But with these hacks, you can keep your websites running at optimal speed, without having to compromise on the quality of your content.

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Take Networking to the Next Level With LinkedIn

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With a whopping 500 million members across the globe, at least half of whom are active users, LinkedIn is currently the world’s most popular platform for organizations and job-seekers alike. It takes the best of what social media has to offer and adds a twist of business networking, making it the place to see and be seen.

LinkedIn gives its users an easy way to network with people within and outside their industry. So obviously, it’s a vital tool in your arsenal if you’re looking for a job. But what about companies themselves? Don’t worry! The platform’s got you covered too, whether you’re aiming at lead generation, thought leadership, or simply attracting the right talent!

But before we dive in, let’s decode the LinkedIn lingo — after all, the more you know, the easier navigation will be!

 

Demystifying the Lingo

Like most social networks, LinkedIn allows you to create a private or public profile that you can use to highlight academic and professional achievements and industry-relevant details. This then allows you to engage with your connections — people you know personally and have added to your network.

Next, you can leverage these contacts to reach out to second and third-degree connections. For instance, if you are connected to person X, their friend Y would be a second-degree connection, and Y’s friend Z becomes a third-degree connection. And just like in the real world, you can use LinkedIn to make and receive introductions — you can either introduce two people that you know, or be introduced to a someone through one of your connections. Whatever the case, you and your business will be building valuable relationships and developing a potential customer base!

What’s great is that LinkedIn also helps you build credibility through skill endorsements and recommendations. While the former is simply an acknowledgement that a skill you’ve mentioned is something you’re good at, a recommendation is a written testimonial that can add immense value to your profile.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve set up a page, you can use it in multiple ways. The simplest is posting content on your wall — personal musings, photos and videos,  or links to articles you find interesting. If you’re looking to reach a wider target audience, you can even run a few ads aimed at specific segments.

Another great way to interact with a wider network is by joining groups that are relevant to your industry. You can choose to be a fly on the wall and absorb what’s being discussed, or contribute by leaving comments or sharing resources. This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in the field, or understand what the market is saying. Having access to real inputs is priceless — and who knows, you might just be able to come up with a whole new marketing strategy in the process.

Finally (or maybe this should be your first step) select the kind of account that works best for you. While the Basic Account is feature-packed, the Premium Accounts offer additional benefits that help organizations maximize their usage. Both offer messaging, profile creation, and networking options, but the paid subscription is divided into Job Seeker, Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, and Business Plus profiles, each with customized set of options to get more out of your buck.

Demystifying the Usage

LinkedIn is known as the place to make connections, expand your network, and perhaps find a job — but it’s much more than that. Just like professionals who use it to build a virtual persona, organizations can also use the platform to create an online identity, simplify recruitment, and even check out their competition. So, let’s look at what you can do as a company to optimize your presence on LinkedIn:

Grow Your Online Presence

Nearly everyone now has access to the internet  — and almost every client, job-seeker, or investor does a quick Google search when they first hear of your product or company. So, a robust online presence is crucial to your business, especially if you want to project yourself as an industry leader. While Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites are a great way to interact with potential customers, LinkedIn is where you share industry news, insights, and scholarly articles that help establish your thought leadership. How your organization presents itself on this platform will help develop your brand voice and express your corporate identity.

Find the Best People

What better place than a professional networking site to find your next great team member, right? LinkedIn makes the process of job-hunting much easier for employees, which also means that recruitment is simplified. You can make use of LinkedIn’s recruiter features to post ads for open positions, filter people by specific parameters, and even vet them beforehand by skimming through their profile. In addition, just a simple post to your network can yield dozens of recommendations, if not more.

Check Out Competitors and Clients

Another great way to use LinkedIn is to see what other businesses are doing. You could assess current or potential clients to see if their goals and needs align with your company. Take it a step further by using your connections to reach out to people or organizations — you can very quickly and easily expand your network of partners, collaborators, and vendors.

Demystifying the How, What, and Why

So you’ve got your account and you’re networking as much as you can, but what’s next? Like with any social media platform, there are some practices that power-users know about that help them stay ahead of the curve. Here are some basics to keep in mind, no matter what your end-goal is:

Pro Tip #1: Keep it professional

LinkedIn is primarily a site full of professionals. So it might be tempting to share pictures of your recent work-trip, but unless it adds value to what you do, it’s probably smarter to save it for Facebook.

Pro Tip #2: Keep it relevant

LinkedIn is a part of your brand as much as anything else. That’s why, it’s important to keep your communication consistent. A good way to filter your content is by asking if your company would say or do something similar at an industry event.

Pro Tip #3: Keep it interesting

Let’s face it — there’s sometimes way too much to keep track of, whatever platform you’re on. To truly stand out from the crowd, whatever you share should be catchy, unique, or important enough to grab attention.

Ultimately, however you choose to use it, LinkedIn is a great platform — users can learn new things, attend virtual sessions, or brainstorm on groups. So, go ahead, use LinkedIn to take your career or company to the next level!

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The Tug of War Between SEO and Content Marketing: Truth or Just Hearsay?

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Meet Ashley, a chocolatier and the sole proprietor of The Chocolate Tuck Shop located in Uptown Manhattan. Her distinctive chocolates, gourmet cookies, and unique flavor combinations make her the talk of the town. As one of the top chocolatiers in the city, Ashley would want The Chocolate Tuck Shop to rank for luxury chocolate-related keywords. But it isn’t getting the recognition it deserves in Google searches. Ashley is rattled — after all, she has invested considerable time and money building an SEO-friendly website. One that offers all it takes to achieve the desired ranking and search traffic. Then, the million dollar question is: why isn’t her effort paying off?

For starters, Ashley should consider adding a healthy dose of content marketing to her SEO strategy.

Today’s SEO standards are notably different from the generous splashing of substandard, keyword-rich sentences of yesteryear. Irrefutably, keywords are still relevant to ranking well in search engines, but the focus has now moved from a liberal addition of keywords to creating meaningful content that cover your products/services and the industry at large.

Over the years, content marketing has gone beyond being a mere buzzword to an industry must-have. When done well, content marketing can help you build your brand’s awareness and develop relationships with your target consumer and online influencers. And that’s why content marketing is the smartest approach to SEO.

Foes turned friends, and how!

For the longest time though, SEO and content marketing were considered to be at loggerheads with each other. Some marketing proponents even claim that content marketing will soon overpower SEO. That’s a bit far-fetched, given that there is a good bit of overlap between these two titans of modern marketing. Although different in concept and approach — SEO is constricted and technical, while content marketing is broad and well-rounded — the two converge quite seamlessly. The technical methods of good SEO can help drive your content forward where consumers can easily see it. And well-written content that’s relevant to your brand can help shoot up your SEO results. It’s a match made in heaven!

Let’s dig deeper to understand how these two concepts complement each other.

  • Leverage the power of words to advance your reach: When you think of SEO, you think of words, articles, phrases, and keywords. In essence, content marketing is a practical application of SEO in the form of content. SEO is all about ranking high on search indexes, which cannot happen without you creating new, valuable information. And as you create new information, you create opportunities for new rankings and a wider reach, subsequently creating more keywords you can rank for.

  • Reshape keywords with relevant content: When you want to drive more traffic to your website, you want to close the gap between your existing content and the search terms associated with your business. But that doesn’t mean pointlessly adding keywords wherever you can. Search engines often register keyword overuse as spam and may downgrade your page. So instead, focus on developing interesting and engaging content that is easily accessible and delivers relevant information to your audience.

  • Earn the coveted backlinks: Backlinks — incoming links to a webpage — are perhaps one of the most important aspects of SEO. Engaging, immersive content can build your brand’s visibility and lead to backlinks that increase your site’s authority. In a nutshell, with the right content, you’ll start to see improved rankings and more traffic even before you know it.

Clearly, both SEO and content marketing bring unique elements to the table, and neither can replace the other. So, when you integrate your content marketing plan with your SEO strategy, you’ll see the two drive each other forward — and yield better results in the long term.

To sweet endings and even sweeter beginnings

Coming back to Ashley’s visibility and ranking woes: could integrating content marketing in her SEO strategy offer a solution? Maybe. But with low upfront costs, content marketing is certainly worth a try. By creating content that consistently communicates the brand’s promise, Ashley can help her patrons develop expectations for the brand and become loyal to it. And loyal customers talk about their favorite                           brand — that’s any business owner’s dream come true!

Digital Marketing

Welcome to Marketing 2.0 with AR and VR

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Imagine standing at the edge of the Great Wall of China and taking in the breathtaking view of the expansive sea. Now imagine doing just that without leaving the comfort of your living room.

Recent advancements in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been a disruptive force, altering the way we perceive the world around us. The interactive nature of these technologies has helped marketers and advertisers create noteworthy campaigns, enabling consumers to take away an immersive experience of brands.    

But before we explore this trend any further, it is essential to understand the difference between VR and AR. To put it simply, VR will help you experience a trip to the zoo while you are seated in your living room, AR lets you experience the simulation of a tiger crouching behind your couch. While the former teleports you, the latter helps you experience virtual elements within your real environment.

It is not surprising then that:

What this means is that if you aren’t among the 171 million users of VR in 2018, it’s about time you stopped holding back! A staggering 73 percent of B2B companies who used videos to promote themselves reported a considerable return on their investment. Now, imagine making these videos immersive — your offerings are bound to leave an indelible mark!

Several big brands have already experimented and succeeded with AR and VR. Here’s a peek into a few bold campaigns.

Pepsi’s Monster Mirror

To promote its sugar-free variant, Max, Pepsi converted a London bus shelter into a seamless AR screen. Unsuspecting pedestrians waiting at the bus stop witnessed a meteorite crash and a tiger attack as their petrified reactions were filmed by hidden cameras. The video campaign went viral on Youtube with close to 6 million views, making it one of the most viewed advertising campaigns.

The Pokemon Go Mania

Fans were swept over when the Pokemon Company went miles ahead of their animated series and card games to release Pokemon Go. The AR-based game rewards players to catch rogue Pokemon, using their phone cameras and real-time simulations. The game turned out to be an overnight internet sensation with over 650 million fans reliving their childhood moments. Pokemon Go is a classic example of how a brand with a cult following can relaunch itself in a more relevant avatar.

The ‘Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees’ Initiative

As an ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs heavily relies on honey bees to manufacture several of its flavors. This prompted them to produce the acclaimed VR film The Extraordinary Honey Bee — documenting the impact of environmental degradation on bee habitats. Considering that 90 percent of consumers prefer ads that read like stories, this helped the brand gather traction in an organic manner — by building a synonimy with real-world issues.

Marriott’s Virtual Honeymoon

Advertising in tourism is not only about selling tickets and tour packages — it’s about selling people memories they’d want to create. Marriott did just that at the New York City Hall, where over 100 couples get married every day. Newlyweds were encouraged to take part in a virtual tour of their hotels located in Hawaii and London, allowing them to experience their ‘honeymoon’ while their expressions were caught on camera. Going by their exhilarating reactions, they seemed strongly inclined towards booking Marriott for their next vacation.  

Today, consumers can experience products even before buying them. This revolution in marketing has been made possible because brands can now express themselves in the highly engaging formats of VR and AR. To add to the excitement, giants like Google, Samsung, and Microsoft are about to redefine the line between reality and imagination by developing state-of-the-art AR and VR gear. While consumers grow more and more savvy, it’s time that all brands assess their stories and give it the virtual twist it deserves.

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Digitalization in Education: Moving Away from Old-school Practices

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Q 1) According to you, which domains have embraced digitalization the most?

Technology has made a remarkable impact across domains. From transportation and tourism to agriculture and defense, its presence is felt everywhere. In the education sector, digitalization has marked the beginning of a new era of online tools that allow for easy management of the school’s human resources (staff, students, and parents).

Q 2) Being in the education industry for several years, what are the shifts that you have noticed?

There have been two primary paradigm shifts in this industry, one of them being an increased focus on skill-based education. We have introduced courses such as IT, retail, and automobile in an effort to move away from traditional knowledge-based learning to a more skill-based approach.

The other major shift I have noticed is the implementation of massive technology infrastructure in the education sector. The STEM to STEAM movement has been taking root over the past few years to meet the needs of the 21st century economy. This learning approach uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. With smart classes, iPads, and tablets making their way to the 21st century classroom, we have come a long way when it comes to dissemination of knowledge.

Today, learning is aided by photos, maps, images, and animated videos that allow students to establish a strong connect with faculty and drive better outcomes.

Q 3) How has technology impacted modern day education?

For one, technology has greatly expanded the access to education. Information in the form of books, audio, images, and videos is now available at one’s fingertips — and it’s all because of the Internet! Platforms such as Khan Academy even allow students to enrol in online courses that are available across the world. For students, the walls of a classroom are no longer a barrier because technology has given them the wings to look beyond through new means of learning, communicating, and working. That’s why we have introduced Skypeathon — a Microsoft platform that connects our students to others around the globe, and Entrar — a school management software that simplifies our internal operations.

Q 4) How has the use of digital platforms helped you communicate and interact with parents?

It cannot be denied that digital marketing comes with many advantages. One among these is the ability to generate greater and higher traffic. After all, targeting the right kind of people that deliver the right kind of results is exactly what digital marketing is about.

We use a host of platforms and channels to streamline our interactions with parents. One such platform is Entrar, which allows parents to stay informed about their child’s progress at school. We use the school website to share the newsletter, information on international programs, and updates on our value-added assessment systems (Olympiads, Cambridge assessments, etc). Our Facebook pages are also always buzzing with school-related updates — from exam news to achievements.

Recently, we introduced a Global Positioning System (GPS), which enables parents to track their kid’s movement from boarding to de-boarding. These technologies have simplified and improved our interactions with parents, thereby enhancing our interpersonal relationships with them.

This type of marketing approach has previously helped School of India find its very own niche amidst other leading schools in the country.

Q 5) How has digitalization helped you connect with candidates?

Many media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, allow us to connect easily with candidates, many of whom would otherwise not be reachable through traditional channels. Digitalization has also helped us mentor our students on these very platforms, which can be used by them to build professional careers and learn the basics of social media etiquette.

Q 6) How can integrated marketing help brands ensure better conversion rates?

Marketers in today’s day and age have plenty of choices when it comes to promoting and advertising their products and services. From print and web-based advertising to direct and mobile marketing, brands now have endless ways through which they can connect with their target audience. While there is no sure-fire formula to creating a successful integrated marketing campaign, there are a few steps that a brand can take to maximize its conversion rates. Linda Pophal, Marketing Communication Consultant, Strategic Communications, has rightly said, “It’s important to clearly identify [who your target audience is by] both demographic and psychographic (attitudes, interests and behaviors), to help develop key messages and identify the best communication channels to reach them.”

 Q 7) How do DPS Bangalore and School of India carry forward the vision of Digital India?

It is important to remember that the world around us is changing, and so are our children. But to prepare them for this ever-evolving world, we must change the way we educate them too. In the 21st century, educators must create a curriculum that helps students connect with the world and understand the problems we face.

This becomes even more relevant with the coming of the Digital India initiative. We ensure our students are digitally connected to their curriculum by providing online information about exams, assignments, and holidays. We have also taken the Digital India vision forward forward by providing:

  • Digital infrastructure
  • Governance and on-service demand
  • Digital empowerment

Q 8) You have journeyed from a brand advocate to a brand champion. Tell us more about this.

Brand advocacy is more than just a policy — it’s a philosophy that reflects across businesses. When people love your brand, they won’t hesitate to pass the word, helping drive revenue and business intelligence, and scale in ways that advertising and traditional marketing simply cannot. And when these very people spread the word and act as influencers, they go from being brand advocates to brand champions.

At our schools, we encourage teachers to be our ambassadors. They are the ones who ultimately uphold the principles of education and know the culture of our school through and through. After all, we grow with our students, teachers, and parents — not just in infrastructure, but in faith and commitment as well.