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Zenergy Works SEO Blog

Website Design: Wireframe v. Mockup v. Prototype

Wireframe v. Mockup v. Prototype

If you are having a website (or mobile app) designed for your business, you will hear the terms wireframe, mockup for sure, and for more advanced applications, prototype.  It is helpful in defining your design process to understand the basic difference between these tools that will help you to successfully design a website that reflects your brand.

Note: Most of these terms also apply to the design of mobile apps, but I have chosen not to make that a focus of this article.

Web Development Building Concept Art


A wireframe is like the blueprint for your website.  It outlines the most essential elements and the content without the website theme, photos or specific content.  A good wireframe will help to outline the elements that you wish to include in your website reveals “the big picture” for the website design.  Specifically, the wireframe is a basic representation of the layout of the website and the placement of content. Wireframes are relatively easy to create and can be used to get feedback on the structure of your site from team members, customers, etc before investing the time in a full design. The wireframe also creates a focus on website structure without the distraction of graphics, colors and photos.

There are too many wireframe and collaborative tools to mention, but Figma provides a complete solution for all of the tasks outlined here.


A mockup is a visual way of representing a website design. While a wireframe mostly represents website structure, a mockup is a static graphic showing what the website will look like.

A mockup shows a website’s color scheme, visual style, typography, and photos. With a mockup, you can review and revise the visual representation of the product to create the best representation for your brand. A mockup tool that is suitable for most applications is available at Invision.


A prototype is a clickable version of the website and allows those evaluating the new website design to experience content and interactions live. A prototype is very much like the final product itself, except that the front end and backend of the website are not fully tied together.

Tha prototype is interactive and allows those who are testing the website to experience the interface and fine tune the user interface. 


Not every website has a wireframe, mockup and prototype.  Most websites definitely have a mockup approved prior to building the site, and wireframes are common tools in site development, but prototypes are rarely used in website design projects unless the functionality of the site is central to the performance of the site.  The old saying of “measuring twice and cutting once” applies to website design and development. Using the correct tools to fully understand the look, feel and UI (User Interface) of a new website will help to ensure that the final outcome of the site accurately and effectively represents your brand.

5 Ways to Speed Up WordPress Mobile Load Time

Wordpress Mobile Load Time

We work mainly in WordPress for our clients, and we have seen a swift and direct connection between improving mobile load speed and placement on Google and increased traffic.  Search Engines clearly favor fast loading sites and these sites have the added bonus of improving user experience.

Most SEO experts agree that a key component in search engine ranking factors is a fast loading mobile website.  The solutions that we use to speed up mobile load time (after checking and making sure that the server environment does not require an upgrade) are as follows:

Use a lightweight WordPress theme and framework

WordPress themes that contain animation, social icons and widgets can be appealing to many users.  We use a custom theme for our development. A child theme is used to customize the site for any design format. This allows us to have full control over the build and has helped us adjust quickly to changing Google algorithms.

Too many elements will definitely cause your mobile load time to slow down.  We generally create custom themes that use a Bootstrap framework, which provides a great way to speed up WordPress. 

Minify JS and CSS files

Minifying JS and CSS files is accomplished by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files.  This can dramatically improve the mobile load speed of your website. The most popular plug in for this is Autoptimize. This plug in helps optimize CSS, JS and even HTML of your WordPress site.  We also use a paid plug in called WP-Rocket which will not only minify CSS and Java Script files, but also help with caching.

Reduce image sizes

Images are the major contributors to size increment of a given webpage. The trick is to reduce the size of the images without compromising on the quality.  We generally manually optimize the images using Photoshop, but this process will be time consuming for some. We have also used an online compressor called  Currently, again we use WP-Rocket as a one stop shop to handle some of the heavy lifting in compressing photos.

Using any of the above mentioned methods or plugins on your WordPress site will reduce image sizes while maintaining image quality, thus improving the speed of your website without sacrificing user experience.

Use WordPress caching mechanisms

WordPress caching plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP-Rocket have been there for a long time, making the complex tasks of adding caching rules to your website elements easier. We also use NGINX in proxy mode to load the static files from cache. It reduces server load.

Deactivate or uninstall plugins

Retaining unused plugins on your WordPress website will slow down your site load time. It is better to get rid of the plugins that you don’t use, along with any old posts, spam comments or other old data that is no longer relevant to user experience or the operation of the website.  We have found that Lazy Loading images, applying GZip compression and Browser Cache settings carry more weight than the plugins and pingbacks. Those are important best practices, but Google is currently downgrading the speed score pretty heavily when you don’t have Lazy Loading and compression/caching set.

WP-Rocket also does Lazy Loading. That’s one of the reasons we went with it, it’s gives us a 3-for-1 deal (lazy loading, caching, minify).


Improving Mobile load time will help to create a positive user experience on your website. We have done this for numerous clients, and virtually every one of them has also enjoyed better rankings in the search engines.  Some favorite tools for checking your mobile load time are:

  1. Think With Google Mobile Speed Test
  2. GTMetrix Pagespeed and GTMetrix YSlow

Google has also come out with their new Measure tool ( for scoring performance, accessibility, best practices and SEO. The other speed tests that Google provides have started using the measure engine to calculate the scores on their other tools.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO and Digital Director of Zenergy Works. A Santa Rosa, California based SEO and Digital Marketing Firm.  In this blog post, as in life, he has relied heavily upon the advice and experience of Alex Macondray, CTO of Zenergy Works, and Karina Flores, the Lead SEO Technician of Zenergy Works.

SEO in 2019

SEO in 2019

Google and its Algorithm Updates

Just last year, Google had released a number of algorithm updates. With Google changing so frequently, one thing we can not ignore is: User Experience is important. By the end of 2018, Google released a number of algorithm updates: Mobile first indexing and Pagespeed, to name a few. User experience was huge in 2018 and we can see it being a huge part in 2019 as well.

So, what should we focus on this year?

Mobile First Indexing and the Importance of Pagespeed

With the world being at the tip of our fingers, mobile devices have become a huge part of our daily lives. This Statistics Portal,, shows an increase in mobile local search queries from 2014 to 2019. In 2014, the usage of mobile around the united states was at roughly 66 Billion and in 2019, increased to 141 billion. That’s a little over 40% increase in mobile search! Don’t be surprised when Mobile completely takes over the world.

Google rolled out its Mobile First Indexing in 2018, and webmasters began to receive a “Mobile-first indexing enabled” messages. With this algorithm update, Google is now considering the mobile version of your website to be the REAL version. It is important that in 2019, you are optimizing for Mobile First Indexing.

Mobile First Indexing

Increase your websites Pagespeed: It’s that Important

Who doesn’t love a fast loading website? (Everyone. Everyone loves a fast website). Around July, Google released its Pagespeed update, which affected rankings of the more slow mobile websites. Again, user experience is major! It either makes you or breaks you. If your websites loading time is lagging and a visitor can’t access your website quickly enough, Google can drop you. In a 2018 research by Google, they said that 53% of mobile users left when a website took more than THREE seconds to load…THREE SECONDS. A slow loading website makes for a bad user experience. So get up to speed!

Mobile Page Speed

Content and EAT

You may have heard about EAT by now. Google had released this core update around August, 2018. So what’s with this new Acronym? Well, EAT is the metric by which Google ranks a page and has become such an important factor. So, What does E – A – T Stand for? Expertise – Authority – Trustworthy.

Content is so important now! So it’s crucial that your content can reflect who you are and what your website is about.

You are an expert in your field, which means you are the authority! Show your visitors that they can trust you!

Clickbait is the WORST. No one likes to be tricked into clicking on something that is irrelevant to what they searched. If your content is nothing but spam and doesn’t hold any valuable information, chances are the user will be quick to leave. Googles Rank Brain will note that and can begin to drop you since they have determined that you don’t have any valuable information to offer possible new users.

SEO Expertise - Authority - Trustworthy

UX is Very Important in the world of Google!

This sounds like a lot of work right? Well, that’s because it is. At Zenergy Works, we pride ourselves in the work we put in to each project and we work hard as a team to meet Google’s standards. From the web development to SEO. Let Zenergy take the hard Work off your hands.

For Pricing Please Call


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5 (Now 4) Search Engine Result Page Changes in 2018

In 2018, Google released several SERP (Search Engine Results Page) display updates. Along with the rash of Google core algorithm updates, 4 of these 5 updates changed the look and feel of Google SERPs significantly. The traditional text-only SERPs are gone and have been replaced by featured snippets, video, images, knowledge graphs and related products. SEO experts have been challenged to develop strategies to take advantage of these changes by creating and optimizing these different content types.

1.Mobile First Indexing.

The mobile first indexing update was designed to address increased utilization of mobile content and ensure that the mobile speed were taken into account for the SERP.  The mobile page speed update takes into account the page loading speed for mobile results and dictates that Googlebot will only crawl and index the mobile version of a page. Creating mobile pages that only load quickly and have keywords at the top of each page and creating alt tags for all photos is a key. Responsive websites require that javascript and css by compressed or minified.  Another solution is to utilize AMP (accelerated mobile pages) which are an open source asset.

2. Featured Snippets And Knowledge Panels

Starting in late 2017, Google made changes to the configuration. Featured Snippets were expanded, Knowledge Panels improved, and suggested content was also featured more prominently. All three of these elements align with user intent and improve the user’s search experience.  Most featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords. This content is designed to provide an answer the searcher’s question directly within the SERPs. There are several kinds of featured snippets: bullet points, tables, numbered and paragraphs.  Paragraph types are the most prevalent category of featured snippets. These snippets usually provide answers to question queries, such as “how to,” “what is,” or “why is.”

Google leverages Google Maps or Google My Business listings for knowledge panels.

Knowledge panels can feature images, facts, social media links, and related searches.

3. Related Products

Google has also started providing related products represented by clickable logo links within the SERPS.   Google has not defined how they are selecting these featured products. We can say for certain that they are striving to deliver the best search suggestion. They take the user behavior and intent into account to generate the best SERP.  Interlinking and a strong display of expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T) are the best strategies to suggest for placement in the Related Products section of Google SERP.

4. Video Display

A very noticeable change in the SERPs in June of 2018 has been the inclusion of video carousel.  The video carousels compete with organic results for SERP space and can appear next to any combination of other features. The the vast majority of the accompanying URLs are from YouTube.  That said accompanying URLs is another element that is changing.  Now Google is actually giving preference to videos featured on websites instead of Vimeo or YouTube.

5. Increased Length of Text and Titles – NOT!

Google changed 2 parameters here.  The character limit was increased and then a core algorithm update was done that restored the older character limits. A lot of webmasters put a lot of work into gaining benefit from this change, only to find the work was for naught.  


It is clear that Google is accepting the challenge of being (and remaining) the planet’s #1 Search Engine.  The changes that remain in place are clearly designed to deliver a more complete SERP experience for search engine users.  The benefit to digital marketing is more ways to reach potential website visitors and potential customers, in different ways.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO and Digital Director for Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa California based Digital Marketing Agency

The One Vertical, One Geo Policy

Or: Why We Do Not (Usually) Do SEO/Paid Search For 2 Competing Businesses in The Same Geographic Area

Local SEO Map and Pin

At Zenergy Works, we have a policy not to work with competing businesses in the same geographic target market, unless they both give us permission to do so. Yes, this has cost us business over the years, and is not, from what I can determine, the norm in the digital marketing industry. We tried to avoid this policy in the early years of our firm by assigning different account managers to competing businesses, and by creating an internal firewall of information, but in the end, we concluded that local SEO is becoming more difficult as time goes on; effective content, strategy, and online brand representation becomes more critical not only for SERP (Search Engine Results Page) placement but also for conversion, and we could only focus on one competitor in an area.  

The competitors who give permission for us to work with each other generally are in competitive industries and feel that the “frenemy” that they allow us to work with is at least doing a quality job of providing services and is a credit to the industry in their competitive area.  The bottom line is, if they cannot have the customer, they would much rather the customer go to the preferred competitor and not grow to hate the entire industry. There are 3 other major factors behind our policy: the increasingly limited room that Google gives on page 1 for local listings and paid results, the fact that we are most effective when we work with a client as an integral part of the team, and that each of our clients deserves to have a brand and approach to their customers that is as unique as possible in their relevant market.

Give Me A Little Room.

Search Engine Results Page Concept

Google has been gradually reducing the number of search results on the first page of search results.  This has affected the percentage of paid v. organic search clicks and made it tougher for local businesses to optimize their search position without paid search.  See the excerpt from Blue Corona below:

“Google AdWords results receive 65% of the clicks that started with buying keywords, while organic results only receive 35 percent (Craig McConnel) Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords. (Google) On average, 41% of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on the search results page.”

How can I work to optimize return and position for 2 clients bidding on the same keyword and attempting to chase decreasing organic clicks?  Organic clicks typically, in our experience, deliver a higher CTR (click through ratio) and have a much lower bounce rate than paid ads.  We prefer to make decisions that will benefit our client without worrying about the effect of those decisions on other clients.

We Are On The Same Team. 

It used to be that SEO was done pretty much by the numbers.  Get some keyword research showing the most popular search terms, create some content with good text to code ratio, build some decent inbound links and placement, traffic and then business improves.  Now it’s tougher to rank for everything, and user experience is the biggest single factor in rankings.  Strategic keyword decisions need to be made and these decisions need to be tied to most popular products that have the highest profit margins and fit the “wheelhouse” of the client.  A lot more knowledge about the client and their products or services is required to be an effective digital marketer.  I want my clients to know that I am not using my knowledge of their goals, strategies, and objectives to help their competition.  I can be a valued and trusted member of the team if I am only working for that team.

Come On In, There’s Plenty of Room. 

There are many website development and digital marketing firms that specialize in certain verticals and take on as many clients as they can in a market area.  They can leverage their knowledge and experience in the business of their clients to more efficiently build websites and market on behalf of the client.  It’s hard to argue some of the benefits of these firms, but we have a different approach based on the following qualities of our clients:

Website Design Concept
  1. Each client is unique.  They have different branding, USPs (Unique Sales Propositions), specialties, approaches, and manners of finding and serving their clients.  This requires getting to know these aspects of the client’s business and spending the time to tailor a plan that fits the client’s business.  We find that once this happens, conversion increases, but prospective customers find the same approach that prompted them to contact the client when they come to do business with that client.
  2. Each client needs to stand out in their market.  Your website needs to look different, and not just in color and logo, but in the way that the client explains their business and how it will benefit the customer’s needs. 
  3. All our clients are cost-conscious, but the cost is not that different in the long run.  Of course, there is more initial time and money in setting up a campaign that takes all the unique aspects of a business and delivers an individual message to a specific target audience.  Over time, we have seen our clients reap the benefits of “measuring twice and cutting once”.

Conclusion.  As I go back and read this, it sounds a bit like I am selling something.   That is not really my intent.  My intent is to explain why we take the “one vertical, one geo” approach with our clients.  I believe that there are advantages for most clients in making their digital marketing firm part of their team, and being able to trust that the information that is given to that firm will not be reflected in the digital marketing plans of any of their competitors unless they choose to make that the case. Eric Van Cleave is CEO and Digital Director for Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California Digital Marketing Firm.

How Should PPC and SEO Work Together?

It sounds easy to get PPC and SEO to work together, but creating an effective joint strategy can be challenging. I will outline some proven strategies on how these two platforms can work together.

1. Keyword Research. We have great tools, but many companies effectively use their PPC campaigns to test and perfect new keyword streams and approaches before writing SEO copy and implementing new SEO pages on their websites.

2. Effective PPC Ads = Better Meta Descriptions. Meta descriptions can be tricky to write and have a major effect on click-throughs from effective SEO placement. Using copy techniques from PPC ads that enjoy high click through ratios in meta descriptions is a proven technique to improve search traffic.

PPC and SEO Work Together

3. Browser Device Variations. It has become a challenge to track search results through all browser and device variations. PPC allows results to be more consistent and ensure top placement across the board for the most important Keyword Streams. Many online marketers tend to pause keyword streams that enjoy top 3 rankings on the first page of organic results, but the consistency of top page results makes this challenging.

4. SEO Pages Make Great PPC Landing Pages. Copy that is added for vital SEO Keywords on your website make great PPC landing pages. In theory, SEO pages should be designed for maximum conversion and should naturally improve quality scores for PPC keyword targets. This will not work in all instances but is a solid strategy for most clients, especially small and medium-sized businesses with limited online marketing resources.

5. Branded Results. Showing up #1 in search for your company name is a given, but does that justify turning off branded search in PPC? Maybe not, especially if you have a generic search term as your business name, ie. Quality Auto Repair. Do not let a competitor sneak into primary position for your customers just looking for your phone number. Many clients are concerned about maintaining top of page position for mobile search users. In that case, simply turn off desktop search in your campaign.

6. Organic v. PPC Rankings/Conversion. Despite the concerns voiced in #3 above, I would recommend using tools like SEM Rush to find placement reports for organic v. paid search. If organics are not ranking for paid search terms that are converting for you, it indicates that more effort should be placed into organic placement for these terms. In contrast, consideration should be given to pausing or constricting results by designating “exact match” for paid search terms that are not converting where organic placement is strong. You will want to search a sampling of the rankings found by automated services with manual search to ensure that placement is accurate.

The key is balancing your paid spend and efforts to gain organic placement to ensure that you have placement in the searches that will drive qualified customers to your business. Using paid and organic search strategies together will improve relevant search traffic and optimize online marketing investment.

Eric Van Cleave is Managing Partner of Zenergy Works, a Santa Rosa California based online marketing firm.


Mobile Page Speed Algorithm Update

Google has announced a new ranking algorithm that will downgrade the search rankings of slow loading mobile pages. Google stated that the new algorithm will go into effect in the Summer of 2018.

The search engine giant went on to state that the algorithm change “will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users” and that it “will only affect a small percentage of queries.” Google has said for a long time only really slow pages have to worry about a downgrade in their rankings for speed. According to this blog post, there is no ranking improvement for being fast, just a downgrade for being really slow.

Mobile Page Speed Algorithm Update

Google says you can measure your page speed multiple ways and they are not sharing a specific, single metric to know if your site was hit by this algorithm update or not. Because the update will be algorithmic, not manual, it will not even show up in webmaster tools.

Most SEOs, including Zenergy Works, routinely use Google’s mobile speed test to evaluate mobile load time. Most responsive websites cannot achieve top speed scores, but come in at “fair” or higher. My best guess is that “fair” would not result in a rankings downgrade, but this situation will require further review as the algorithm roles out.
Eric Van Cleave is the CEO of Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California (SEO) Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing Firm.

SEO In 2018 By Eric Van Cleave-Partner and Digital Strategist-TIV Branding

Search Engine Optimization

In reviewing 2017 and getting ready for 2018, I have been forced to take a close look at SEO and Online Marketing strategies and the following are some of the thoughts that I have shared with my clients in the last couple of months. So in the spirit of a Q and A session-here goes:

At this time next year, how will the day-to-day job of being an SEO be different? Why?

I think that a great deal of time will be spent on the following areas in 2018 as opposed to 2017:

  1. Mobile Sites-Mobile UX in terms of load time and use of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) will become more prevalent. This is not new, but 2018 will be the year that Google, for one, institutes mobile first ranking.
  2. Content will have to be more engaging and in keeping with brand voice to engage customers. Content Writers will be required to write from the point of view of the potential customer, not worrying as much about keyword density, text to code ratio and other traditional SEO guidelines.
  3. Direct Traffic-I will spend time with each client on ensuring that site functionality will continue to keep customers engaged, and that each site has a plan and to build strong direct website traffic, which has become a key element of sites that enjoy high ranking in SERPs.
  4. Link Structure-Link structure will be closely tied to social media platforms and the links from some social media to content on the website, both from client social sites and through social shares. Relevant links that website visitors would actually use are the most important.

What are the biggest themes/trends in SEO you expect to see next year? Why?

  1. SEO Will Continue to Be Difficult-This is not news to those in the industry who have been driven out by numerous algorithm changes, experimentation of how SERPs display, and technical innovations like AMP. The thing is, gaining organic placement has always been a time and work intensive activity, so no real change there. I think that understanding which strategy will work for each individual client and refraining from using the same playbook and methodology for every client is a must moving ahead.
  2. Marketers Will use Paid Solutions to augment Organic SEO Efforts. Display and PPC have improved dramatically. Bing has brought its paid platform to the point of relevance and often delivers lower cost per click and conversion than Google Adwords. Programmatic ad programs have been extremely effective in reaching out to consumers and have been effective for clients with larger paid budgets. Social Media has become a bargain to gain significant engagement, especially on Facebook and Linked In.
  3. Featured Snippets/Answer Boxes-This is the new frontier of organic search, and will be territory that inspires spirited competition for placement. As web users begin to use and trust this feature more, learning how to optimize for these placements without becoming Wikipedia will be a challenge for SEOs in the coming year.

In thinking over 2017, is there anything that surprises you in hindsight? If so, what? Why?

I think that once you gain a certain level of expertise in online marketing, nothing is truly a surprise anymore. This is because the same patterns keep repeating themselves. There are far more things, in my estimation, that are not surprising based on past events in SEO. Here are a couple of them:

  1. The One Man Show-The biggest thing that I hear from others in this industry is that they are surprised that they cannot do it all for a client themselves. SEO is becoming complicated and time intensive. It requires a team of SEOs, content writers, creative folks, marketing managers, branding experts, programmers, web developers and the involvement of the client to ensure that strategy is in keeping with marketing plans to create a successful SEO campaign in 2018. Clients will not be able to say that “our SEO guys handle that, and I rarely talk to them” in 2018. There are simply too many moving parts, and too many facets of successful SEO to not have a team. So in 2018 and the years to come, I am certain that I will continue to not be surprised that I rely on my team more and more each year to help my clients grow their online traffic.
  2. New Developments-Many of the “surprises” that occur are changes in algorithms designed to improve the quality of search results displays and the quality of websites that search engines feature in SERPs. If a new website technology improves UX, expect that sooner or later it will show up as a ranking factor. If fewer local map results create less clutter for searches conducted on mobile platforms, expect that to happen. Above all, if you are an SEO and you have found a shortcut that creates an advantage over your competition and it does not involve Google being able to process accurate search results more efficiently, a superior UX, faster load time, or more useful information being displayed on your site, Google, for one will eventually close that loophole and the remainder of the search engines will closely follow. Playing the game by the rules and consistently working on improving your web presence is the only way to ensure sustained success.

Google Analytics-What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce RateIn talking with clients and analyzing the performance of their websites, I find that there are common misconceptions about the definitions behind the numbers.

Bounce rate is defined as when a user has a single-page session on a website. That is to say, they entered on one URL and left the site from the same page (defined by the URL of the page) without interacting with that page or visiting any others on the site. Bounce Rate is calculated as a percentage, by dividing the aggregate number of single-page sessions by the total number of entries to that page. Bounce Rate can be a handy tool into whether users are engaged by content on a page or not. The assumption is that a high bounce rate is reflective of a poorly performing page that needs improved content to engage site visitors.

Bounce rate can easily be both misunderstood and misinterpreted.
Google Analytics records a bounce when a user views one page on a site and a single request is sent to the Analytics server. One request in the analytic code on the page equals a bounce. Two requests to the analytic code is not a bounce. This can be deceiving if hyperlinks or automatic actions are opened on the page without user permission.

On the other hand, a user may visit the page, find the exact information they wanted (a phone number or address, for example), and then carry out their next engagement with the brand offline. The site user could be interrupted by a phone call and have the session time out after 30 minutes.

Google Tag Manager and more sophisticated tracking methods can help to better clarify bounce rate (usually by assuming that if the user spends more than 30-45 seconds on a page they have found some content of value), but a high bounce rate is not always a problem. Many users find and access the information that they want by viewing one page and this could be a sign of a high-performing page with great content. This can occur on SEO content pages that are designed to deliver very specific information, or when the user comes to the site to verify the name of the CEO, get the address for an upcoming visit, or read a blog post.

A low bounce rate does not necessarily mean a page is performing well. It may suggest that the web page content does not contain enough information, or that the site navigation is confusing, forcing users to access multiple pages to get the information they want.

It is a mistake to look at bounce rate as the only method of evaluating page performance. Time spent on the page, conversion ratio, and call tracking can all be further indicators of how well any page of your website is performing. In the end, I tend to look at conversion (as defined as the goal of the page content call to actions) as the primary definition of the quality of the page.

Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in TIV Branding, a Santa Rosa California based Creative and Branding Agency.

Better Email Marketing in 2018

Email Marketing

Email marketing, for most of my clients, delivers the maximum return for minimum investment. Like most marketing endeavors, email marketing is a divine mix of art and science. Maintaining a connection with your audience and what they want to see and keeping a close watch on the metrics will ensure that your email campaigns are successful. A few basic strategies outlined below are a great “check in” for your email campaigns.

Double Check The Basics:

1. Send emails to those who are engaged with your product and your message.
If you have email lists with low rates of engagement activity, you should stop sending emails to them. Your prospects get tired of wading through and deleting unwanted emails and have a high probability of unsubscribing from your list. When you send to a list with low engagement rates, it damages your domain reputation and lowers the odds of connecting with your target audience.

2. Send Emails from a person, not an “info” or “no reply” email.
Don’t send emails from an “info” or “no reply” email account. Be sure to personalize the “from” email address to drive replies from subscribers to an actual person.

3. If people mark you as spam, immediately stop sending email and re evaluate your email list and strategy.
If potential clients designate your emails as “spam, your domain reputation can be damaged, and you could become blacklisted by email providers. The spam complaints can be caused by a new source of leads, a business or domain name change, an over aggressive opt in campaign, or content that does not engage the user, the best strategy is to stop sending emails until you identify and rectify the problem.

4. Have a goal for each email campaign.
If you don’t have a clear call to action for a product you wish to introduce, a case study you wish to share, or a landing page to promote the recipients of your email will be left wondering what the point of emailing them might be. Have a clear goal for your email campaigns and you can define success by tracking conversions to that goal to measure the true level of engagement you have achieved with your audience. Consider giving a number of options for CTAs (calls to action) in your emails to measure the engagement of different types of CTAs. Take care to avoid overwhelming your audience with too many options. More than two options for next steps can be overwhelming to an email recipient.

5. Personalize your emails.
It has been proven time and time again that personalized email has higher open rates. Keep it simple and personalize according to recipient names and company names.

Techniques to Try:

1. Experiment with sending emails on different days of the week.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the most popular days to send email. If you want your emails to stand out a bit more, experiment by sending them on Mondays and Fridays. Emails with calls-to-action to purchase items or view items of general interest often perform well on weekends. This is a viable option for consumers, but I would avoid this for business recipients. The weekend email will no doubt get lost in the rush of Monday morning.

2. Put some time into the subject line.
Make sure that your subject line is not misleading. Customized and personalized subject lines are the best policy. Many email marketers are experimenting with emojis. Please carefully consider the subject matter of your email and the target recipient before employing the emoji strategy.

3. Adjust the frequency of your emails
Make sure that you have something of value to say or announce before you send an email. Just blanketing an email list with the best idea you could come up with will likely lead to lowered open rates and engagement. Waiting for valuable information to share will make you stand out from those competing for attention in a prospect’s email inbox.


Email marketing gets tougher every year as the public tires of being bombarded with offers to buy frivolous products that force them to waste time deleting and unsubscribing from unwanted email. This doesn’t mean that email marketing is not a viable platform, but it is more competitive. The solution is to invest the time and effort into refining your email campaigns to keep your subscribers engaged.

Eric Van Cleave is the Managing Partner of Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California Based Online Marketing, Website Development and SEO Firm.