It's the start of the holiday season and time to celebrate one of the most thoughtful (if derived from historically misguided events) days of the year: Thanksgiving. And 2012 has given us a lot to be thankful for. In light of this, we wanted to share some of the many things we at RainCastle are most grateful for this year in the world of web design and marketing. But, ever the Scrooge, couldn't resist the opportunity to highlight one particular 2012 frustration.
1. Responsive design and mobile traffic...
Or the ability to skip the Black Friday lines
Responsive design saw an amazing amount of growth this year, most notably with an official recommendation from the W3C, making it mandatory for all modern browsers to support this new direction in website development. So it's not surprise we've spent 2012 diving into responsive design. The ability to build a website that works visually and content-wise across all mobile platforms is a huge step forward in harnessing mobile visits, which are quickly becoming a huge source of traffic for many B2B and B2C companies.
We are grateful for responsive design's ability to provide valuable website information quickly, easily, and while on-the-go.
2. Memes, memes, and more memes...
To impress your "I'm too hip for you" nieces and nephews
McKayla is not impressed. Texts from Hillary. Inbound Style. 2012 wasn't just a banner year for memes (or concepts that spread and evolve over the internet as pieces of content) but also brought out smart, socially-significant ones, routed in politics, global cultural events, and even Korean pop songs turned marketing content. What's better than an entertaining meme? One that's clever, and can be used to showcase your company's sense of humor – and, if done correctly, your expertise.
Take HubSpot's viral hit "Inbound Style," which capitilized on the popularity of the second most viewed YouTube video of all time, "Gangam Style" by Psy. The HubSpot video has close to 200,000 YouTube views and picked up enormous PR for the brand.
We are grateful for memes and their ability to inspire laughter and creativity... and potentially convert a few leads.
3. The (accepted) convergence of content marketing and SEO...
Helping you find exactly what you need, be it the right stuffing recipe or the quickest escape route from your crazy uncle's dinner party
Content marketing and SEO: like mashed potatoes and gravy. You could have one without the other, but what's the point? They are complimentary. This isn't news to most marketers, but this year seemed to finally convert the non-believers.
With Google's increasing determination to weed out keyword stuffing and the rise in popularity of daily content creation across multiple platforms, marketers are now in a position to set aside the old "tactics" for ranking and concentrate on creating targeted, beneficial content. The ability to do so means more traffic (from increased content), more qualified leads, and a smarter lead nurturing strategy.
Essentially, it means that your prospects and customers can find what they want, when they want it, now, with you as their resource.
We are grateful for the convergence of content and SEO because it means less black-hat tomfoolery and an easier way to gain brand traction.
4. Easy-to-use content management systems...
So seasonal updates are quick to implement and track: Merry early Christmas
For us, 2012 was the year of Wordpress. A beautifully designed website is merely an online brochure unless it is maleable to marketing campaigns, product and services updates, and seasonal messaging. So, building and integrating custom design and functionality using a CMS that is client-friendly has been the gateway into making internet marketing easier.
Allowing the client's marketing team to utilize the site in this way is redefining success for us. Not only do they then have a well-branded website, they also now have the ability to shape it into a marketing powerhouse.
We are grateful for user-friendly content management systems for creating living sites that can grow content.
And one thing we're not so thankful for:
Or jelly beans. Sorry, but we prefer pecan pie. We're just cool like that.
Paul Regensburg: President, Creative Director, Don Draper Wannabe