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Better Radio Websites

Better Radio Websites

By Jim Sherwood
The podcast for radio professionals who want to see their website generate more traffic and revenue. Each week your host, Jim Sherwood, and his special guests give you time-tested tips and secret tricks to ensure your radio station dominates digital in your market.
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Steps to Take Before Offering Digital Services
You’ve undoubtedly noticed a dramatic increase in digital sales over the last several years. Large radio groups were the first to see the writing on the wall that told them they needed to expand their sales offerings to include more digital products. And there are many options out there that your station can offer your clients from targeted banner ads, social media marketing, pay-per-click, SEO services, websites, CRM tools, and the list goes on and on. For detailed show notes, visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcast/steps-to-take-before-offering-digital-services. In this episode: Digital is About Content Promote Your Content Digital Inventory List Training the Sales Team Set Goals and Beat Them Know The Competition and Beat Them When you’re eventually approached by a client to help them with their digital footprint, you’ll explain that they need content. They’ll need a vehicle to promote it like on the radio and over social. They’ll need to make goals and review their analytics often to see how they are doing. And they’ll need to know what their competition is doing if they want to beat them. Your client’s journey will be different from your station’s, but the roots will be the same. If you start your digital journey with your website, the insight you’ll gain will give you better information to help your clients with a more expanded array of digital services. You can’t do this from the bench, however. You must be fully invested in completing the digital transformation if you want to grow your revenue well into the next decade. We’d love to assist you on that journey. If you need help making the next step with your station website, please reach out to us at https://www.skyrocketradio.com.
17:46
September 26, 2022
Generating Revenue from Sponsored Content
Sponsored content started in print publications and has been around for decades. Today, we’re exposed to sponsored content daily, and most of the time, we’re entirely unaware of it. So, why offer it on your radio station website? For more detailed show notes, visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/generating-revenue-sponsored-content.   Sponsored Content Works In a 2016 research study, over 4,000 Forbes magazine readers were asked to view webpage content featuring brands like SONY, Maserati, and Boeing, followed by a post-exposure survey. The results demonstrated that: - Brand recall, brand favorability, and purchase consideration points rose. - Consumers were likelier to say they intend to seek more information about the brand. - Mentioning the brand name more often within the content caused the brands to be perceived as more educational (or providing service). So, they became more trusted. - 18-34-year-olds responded better to long informative articles, driving higher engagement consideration rates and aiding recall. - Consumers perceive sponsored content as more consumer-centric because it is less about selling products and more about providing value. PDF to the full report here: https://ipglab.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/IPG-Lab-Forbes-Storytelling-The-Current-State-of-Branded-Content-Deck.pdf. What kinds of sponsored content can your radio station take advantage of? - Informational articles - Air talent social media posts - On-air mentions - Podcasts: Model Health Show Preparing Sponsored Content As you would imagine, writing sponsored content takes additional time to get right. The traditional, in-your-face advertising tactics that we’ve become used to will not work as sponsored content. No matter who writes the content piece, here are some tips to keep in mind. 1) Provide substantial value to your audience 2) Ensure the content is natural and fits your audience 3) Stay away from text within images and logos. 4) Take time to create/tweak this content. 5) Never accept commercial content According to a study by Neilsen and Mode Media, consumers can spend 2.5 minutes reading a sponsored article that interests them. When implemented correctly, sponsored content can be a lucrative part of your digital strategy. I hope this information is helpful. Please leave a review for this podcast wherever you get it and be sure to share this with a colleague.
16:14
September 19, 2022
Our Recommended Tools and Services for Creating Online Content
With every station website we create, we’re asked about what tools and services we use. So, in this post, we’ll cover what we use and offer some alternatives. Image Editing Tools Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud Free Alternatives to Photoshop include Gimp and Pixlr Adobe Illustrator Free Illustrator alternatives include Vectornator and Inkscape. Screen Recording ScreenRec Loom Stock Images Pexels Envato Elements Writing Content Grammarly Communication Slack RSS Readers Newsflow Viewing Your Website We regularly use Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. Conclusion So, these are our “go-to” list of programs and services. I hope they can help you create content for your radio station website.
16:38
September 12, 2022
Copyright and Your Radio Station Website
For more detailed show notes visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/copyright-and-your-radio-station-website.   Copyright.gov defines copyright as "a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression.  Copyright law covers many works, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, and so much more!" Investopedia defines it like this, "Copyright infringement is the use or production of copyright-protected material without the permission of the copyright holder.  Copyright infringement means that the rights afforded to the copyright holder, such as the exclusive use of a work for a set period of time, are being breached by a third party.  Music and movies are two of the most well-known forms of entertainment that suffer from significant amounts of copyright infringement." Copyrighted.com says, "To understand copyright infringement, you must first know the rights and limitations of a copyright holder.  It's possible to engage in copying and distributing someone's work without actually violating or infringing anything, so you're not legally accountable.  It's also possible to be subjected to a legal process even if you had no intention or knowledge that you stole from the owner." Copyright.gov says, "Works created on or after January 1, 1978, have a copyright term of life of the author plus seventy years after the author's death.  If the work is a joint work, the term lasts for seventy years after the last surviving author's death.  For works made for hire and anonymous or pseudonymous works, copyright protection is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter."
15:52
September 05, 2022
What is the American Data Privacy and Protection Act and how should you prepare?
As of this writing, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) is being considered in congress and it has bipartisan support.  Essentially, it would regulate how organizations keep and use consumer data. Much of today’s podcast research was taken directly from Wikipediaand the bill itself. I invite everyone to read up on it for themselves in case there’s something specific that we do not cover today.  As always, details of the final bill could be more or less involved once the bill is finalized, but we want you to be aware of how it might affect you in the future. The ADPPA has several main principles: data minimization, individual ownership, and private right of action.  It says that anyone who collects data from the public would have to minimize the data they collect down to that which is "necessary, proportionate, and limited to" their purpose. If you’re giving away lunch for two at a local restaurant, there’s no need to ask for how many kids they have, their sex, income, etc.  Just get the minimum amount of information required. Then, the entrant must know what you plan to do with the information they give you.  Think contest entries, newsletter subscriber information, text to win entries, listener club membership information, etc.  You can’t take those contest entries and automatically sign everyone up for your newsletter with those e-mail addresses or share that information with a sponsor.  You can do those things, but you must first clearly specify your intentions before the listener signs up. In what situation would you not have to worry about any of this?  If you never take anyone’s personal information including contest submissions, newsletter signups, listener club membership, text to win entries, information gathered when downloading a mobile app, selling station swag online and receiving e-mail addresses, etc.  Basically, if you are collecting any listener information, you should be aware of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act as well as the other state privacy and protection acts.  And if you are doing any kind of business overseas, then be aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. With new privacy laws being put in place, you can expect some people out there to test the system so they can have a legal case against you.  Please reach out to your legal counsel for specific things to include on your station website so that you’re covered ahead of what’s to come.
09:33
August 29, 2022
Why Image Alt Tags Are Essential to Success
For greater detailed show notes, visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcast/why-image-alt-tags-are-essential-to-success. A lot of us in radio view the process of adding images to a website as a step that needs no additional work.  Find a legal image and upload it to the website - done.  However, it’s very important that the images are edited to sizes that match the rest of the site and are optimized to load fast on mobile devices.  That’s before you upload the image to the website. There are small additional steps involved once you upload the image and those are applying the proper caption (image copyright), the image title, and the alt tag. If you aren’t using alt text in website images, then you are hurting your website and alienating a portion of your visitors.  Here are reasons why you should be using alt tags on every image to create more impact and a better user experience. 1. Alt Text Helps Accessibility For users that can’t see images on a website and use special screen reading software to navigate online, alt tags provide a way for the visitor to understand the context of that information. 2. Alt Tags Help Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) You want your station website to be easy to find online and show up when people are searching for the content you have created.  Search engines specifically look for image alt tags and index them when they are found.  This alone should convince you to use alt tags in every image on your website. 3. Alt Tags Are Readable by Humans and Computers Alt tags aren’t just something that screen readers and search engine robots understand.  Your website visitors can see and read it when they hover over an image or inspect the page code. 4. Alt Tags Help People Find Content More Quickly Because of its impact on search engines, alt tags can help you find what you are looking for on the internet more quickly. As I mentioned earlier, every image alt text is indexable and this additional information is valuable in searches. 5. Alt Tags Give Context for Missing Images Everyone has encountered a website where the images did not display. It might have been because of a slow internet connection or a technical error.  Alt tags on missing images can ensure that visitors know what is missing.  Think of alt tags or description tags as a type of Plan B for when things don’t go as intended. Conclusion As you can see, the image alt tag is quite possibly the more important attribute to add to your photos. Ensuring your images are sized correctly, optimized for speed, and including the proper tags are not extra steps.  They are the essential steps that should be taken every time. We love helping radio stations with their online presence.  Please reach out to us.
09:28
August 22, 2022
Why Your Radio Station Needs a Digital Content Manager
I recently received an e-mail from a station owner asking what the title of their digital point person should be.  And it’s great they are asking this question because it means they are putting a bigger priority on their digital assets. Much like a Program Director is the point person when it comes to everything on-air at a radio station, a Digital Content Manager will be the point person when it comes to everything online.  We recommend that every radio station or group have one “go-to” person with this title or this responsibility. What Does a Digital Content Manager Do? Workello.com has a terrific job description template for you: https://workello.com/digital-content-director-job-description/.   Essentially, a Digital Content Manager is responsible for monitoring and improving brand awareness within content across all digital platforms. Here are some responsibilities of a typical Digital Content Manager. Maintain functionality of websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, and other web-based products and programs Build custom local and sales web portal pages/sites Administer and maintains media assets Monitor web applications for performance and capacity Work closely with Digital Sales Manager, Graphic Designers, and Program Directors to execute creative online promotions/contests Develop and oversee digital advertising campaigns to increase brand awareness, drive qualified traffic, and boost sales within a marketing budget Provide leadership and direction by establishing online content goals and developing brand guidelines, core messaging, strategies, policies, and processes. Perform thorough market research and competitive analysis to identify industry trends and best practices and apply them to a content marketing strategy. Analyze the performance of our digital marketing initiatives, generate detailed reports, and identify areas for improvement Qualifications of a Digital Content Manager A genuine love and excitement about the internet and trending topics Experience in coding languages like HTML, PHP, CSS, and Javascript Working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and Illustrator Proficient in office applications Proficient in current and emerging social networking platforms Functional knowledge of interactive technologies and trends Ability to learn new technology quickly Ability to plan, organize and perform in a team-oriented environment, sharing projects, knowledge, and experience Excellent oral and written communication skills; excellent grammar; strong writing and editing skills Ability to function under stress & be flexible when working on multiple projects with deadlines A high degree of attention to detail and optimal work standards Desire to grow and develop additional skills Photography and videography skills are a plus. Time to Assign/Hire a Digital Content Manager? Staying on top of all of your digital content and managing your online assets can be overwhelming and time-consuming.  Digital Content Managers take charge of all content on your station(s) website, social media, and other digital platforms. The first step is to have a great website and we’d love to partner with you on that.  Reach out to us.
19:06
August 15, 2022
Should You Enable Comments on Your Website?
For more detailed show notes, visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/should-you-enable-comments-on-your-website. We get the question often about enabling comments on the radio station websites we create. Are they worth the time? Do they work? What options are there? Personally, I never thought about comments that much because they took a lot of time to moderate, approve good comments and remove the spam comments. However, Lou Vito at his group of stations at peakofohio.com is very passionate about including website comments. Blogging experts out there are divided in their conclusion on the importance of comments. Some say that comments are essential for online success, while others will make a point that they are not so important. So, who to believe? Consider Your Visitors Comments Add to Your Content Comments Enhance Your Content Be Careful of Weak/Spam Comments Dealing With Negative Comments Dealing With Spam Comments Here are a few ways to combat spam comments: 1. Enable comment moderation 2. Turn off trackbacks 3. Automatically close comments after 30 days on all your posts. 4. Use a comment blacklist. 5. Use comment moderation plugins to monitor your site: These options include Akismet, CleanTalk Anti-Spam, AntiSpam Bee, Titan Anti-Spam, and WPBruiser. Third-Party Comment Systems If you have a WordPress website, comments are built into the website ecosystem. However, there are other options like Facebook comments, Jetpack, Disqus, Intense Debate, and Thrive Comments. Wrapping Up So, are comments good? For most radio station websites, absolutely.  If your readers love the news and blog posts you’re creating, they will keep coming back. Comments are just one aspect of building trust and keeping that connection. We hope this episode helps you. Please help us by sharing this with a colleague and signing up for our newsletter.  Need help with your radio station website?  We’d love to help.
22:43
August 08, 2022
Options for Streaming Audio Files
Today we talk about available options you have when it comes to streaming audio files on your website. Being in radio we’re bound to have audio bits that we want to share with our audience that are on-demand. The streaming audio we are referring to today is not listening to the station live or podcasting. We are referring to shorter one-off audio files that interviews, news segments, weather reports, on-air bits, or even commercials where you might be showcasing your creative work. You have multiple options when it comes to streaming audio files on your station website. However, you must be mindful of some pitfalls to avoid. Some of these options and you could break your website. Please visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podacast/streaming-audio-file-optionsfor demos of each one of these options. 1. Hosting Your Audio Online 2. Cloud Storage for Audio: You’ll need an Amazon AWS account and provision an S3 instance to host your audio files. They have a 5-gigabyte free tier to get you started: https://aws.amazon.com/free/. 3. Streaming Audio Files Using Dropbox or Google Drive 4. SoundCloud: SoundCloud is an online audio streaming and music sharing platform founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2007.  Visit https://www.soundcloud.com. 5. Subscription Audio Hosting Services: Our pick of these services is https://clyp.it. 6. Youtube: Many podcasters have been creating videos from their audio podcasts for some time. You have the ability to export videos using the free tools inside the image editing tool Canva: https://www.canva.com/create/photo-videos. Conclusion So, there are six ways to get streaming audio files onto your station website. Each one has its pros and cons, so weigh which might be the best for you. Perhaps you use a variety of methods depending on the kind of audio you’re uploading. We love to help radio stations with their website. If you know someone who needs help with their radio station website, please share this podcast with them. Please leave a review and sign up for our newsletter on skyrocketradio.com. Have an awesome week online making your radio website better. See you next time!
14:31
August 01, 2022
How the Psychology of Web Design Affects Your Visitors
For more detailed show notes, visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/how-the-psychology-of-web-design-affects-your-visitors. There are hundreds of websites with great content and perfect promotion on-air and on social but never really take off.  Most visitors come once and then never return.  Have you had a website like this and wondered why?  This is where the psychology of web design comes in. The choices that go into your website design can make or break your site’s success.  Research shows that 94 percent of users don’t trust websites that are poorly designed.  And we’re talking about more than just aesthetics.  Experts in quality web design know that a great website goes beyond simply being attractive. Any proper website should impress your visitors, hold their attention, and lead them to action. The psychology of web design includes how colors, spacing, loading times, and even the fonts you use can affect a visitor’s mood and perception of your radio station or company. Canva did a great article on how major brands that you know have used colors in their logos to drive feelings about their products. Layout A great website layout guides the user towards the action the designer wants them to go.  Studies have shown that 38 percent of users claim to leave a site if the content or the layout is unattractive. Fonts The font choice chosen for your website can say a lot about your station as well.  They set the tone of the writing overall. Space It’s important to find the right mix of pleasing design and content saturation to generate positive feelings from visitors so they will remain on the page longer. Content People respond better when they feel things are directed to them specifically. Personalized content that speaks directly to users - using the word “you” or “your” for instance - and discusses their specific areas of interest gives many consumers a positive, friendly feeling that builds trust in your brand. Ensure your Website Loads Fast We’ve all experienced websites that take forever to load. According to Google’s research, users are 32% more likely to leave your website if the page takes 3 seconds to load. Use a free service like Google Page Insights to examine your pages and look for ways that you can make your websites load faster. The biggest culprit among slow radio station websites is the use of large images.  So, ensure every image your team uploads to the website is sized properly and optimized for the fastest load times. Do Not Underestimate the Psychology of Web Design You only have a few seconds to gain a visitor’s trust and that trust can translate into more or less time spent listening to your station.  When your website is well-designed and carefully populated and has clear navigation, it should be enough to put any visitor at ease and instill an eagerness to return. There are dozens of more little factors that make up the psychology of web design and a perfectly designed website, but I hope the tips mentioned today help you in making your radio station website better.  If you don’t have a partner for your website, we’d love to help.  Reach out to us.
13:55
July 25, 2022
Benefits of Adding a Corporate Website for Advertisers
For more detailed show notes, visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcast/benefits-of-adding-a-corporate-website-for-advertisers. Having a website has become so “normal” that advertisers and the public simply expect all companies to have a website no matter what business they are in. An active presence for your radio station on social media is great, but it’s very hard to close an advertising sale there. You need to have a website that advertisers can find when they are looking to advertise. If you don’t have a corporate/group/market website, here are some reasons why you should consider it. 1. Visibility/Competitive Edge 2. Makes it Easier for Advertisers to Find You on their Time 3. Instill Confidence in Your Advertisers 4. Enhance Your Company Image 5. Better Customer Service Can you put these corporate-type pages on your existing radio station website? Sure! But if you have multiple stations and brands, then your message might get muddied by the content you’re using to attract listeners. It might also be difficult to get certain advertisers to come on board with your radio station if their competitor’s banner ad is on the “Advertise with Us” page. Visit our example at https://www.markettheme.netand then reach out to us for help with yours. Even if you don’t choose us, please consider doing something more online to reach more advertisers.
13:28
July 18, 2022
What Your Small Market Website Can Do Better than a Big Market Website
Get more detailed show notes at https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcast/what-your-small-market-website-can-do-better-than-a-big-market-website Most of the websites we serve are in smaller markets.  And being in a smaller market, it's natural to compare your radio station website against those in large to major markets.  But keep in mind that the dynamic is completely different in those bigger cities than in your market.   Their website may be a good place to look for more modern designs, but certainly not for "what should I do" in the content department.  The content you choose for your radio station website should be easily relatable to your local audience.   I recently visited 20 random "big broadcaster" radio station websites across several random markets and noted some things that smaller market radio station websites can do much better than they can.   1. Local News 2. Local Sports 3. Events 4. Contests 5. Local Banner Advertisers Don't ever think that "big broadcaster" stations have more staff, so they are able to do more.  By in large, that's simply not the case.  They likely have one, possibly two or three, unlikely four or more, people with website access.  In many cases, they are more likely to have less than you do.   Finding the right local content for your particular audience should bring surprisingly large amounts of traffic.  These traffic numbers are what you'll use to sell clients on those pages.   We'd love to help with your radio station website.  Reach out to us at https://www.skyrocketradio.com/contact.
13:11
July 11, 2022
Preventing Cyber Attacks on Your Radio Station Website
For more/deeper show notes visit: https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcast/preventing-cyber-attacks-on-your-radio-station-website. If you’ve ever been hacked or had your identity stolen online, you likely have some PTSD from it and view security differently now. So many of us haven’t been hacked or had our identity stolen, so we continue to do things that open ourselves up to intrusions. It seems like every day or week there’s a new headline about another app or website being hacked. Cyber-attacks happen much more often. A successful intrusion can result in a huge loss in traffic and revenue if your site has crashed or been suspended on your hosting provider. It could even result in identity theft of your content creators, administrators, and possibly your members if you run a membership site. No matter how big or small your website is, or how awesome your hosting provider or website service is, you can still become a target. So, it is very important to secure your websites, which means putting protection in place and doing what we can to fend off attackers. The stats are amazing… Cyber-attacks happen once every 39 seconds. 95% of cyberattacks are due to human error. Cybercrime costs the United States economy a reported $3.5 billion each year. Globally, an estimated 30,000 websites are hacked each day. 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Only 14% of small businesses are prepared to defend themselves. It takes 196 days on average to identify a data breach. Have a Comprehensive Security Plan Ensure Proper Contacts Are Prominent/Accessible Continuously Monitor Your Site Make Frequent Backups Use Secure/Strong Passwords Implement Access Control Measures Check/Clean Spam Comments Scan Your Local Computers Do not let your website staff fall victim to security fatigue. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure the station website is safe and secure. Web-based malware and spyware attacks are on the rise, so do all that you can to ensure your team is security-minded so that your website is protected and not an easy target. Want to upgrade your radio station website?  We'd love to help.  Reach out to us.
24:17
July 04, 2022
Our 15 SEO Tips for Showing First in Search
For more extensive show notes, visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/our-15-seo-tips-for-showing-first-in-search.  A month or so ago, I received a call from a station owner who Googled for help with his radio station websites. He couldn’t remember exactly what he Googled but he was quick to say that never clicks on the paid search results that appear at the top of those results (neither do we).  He clicked on us because we were the first search result after those paid ads. I explained that we simply do the right things, that don’t cost anything, consistently and the results speak for themselves. Here are my top 15 SEO things to do consistently to keep your station or your market website at or near the top of search results. 1. Research Your Competitors 2. Create High-Quality Relevant Content 3. Update Your Blog Posts and Write New Ones 4. Make Your Headlines Irresistible 5. Write for Your Visitors 6. Do Not Copy/Paste Content 7. Ensure Your Content is Readable 8. Use Keywords/Key Phrases Effectively 9. Learn and Follow On-Page SEO 10. Use Internal and External Linking 11. Make Your Content Sharable 12. Improve Your Page Speed: https://pagespeed.web.dev 13. Work on Your Design 14. Examine Your Technical SEO: https://www.semrush.com 15. Cull Dead Content Conclusion Keep in mind that SEO is not an overnight game, it’s a long game. It could take months to see the rewards of applying all of these tactics, but it’s a worthwhile effort in the long run. We’d love to help with your radio station or market website. Be sure to reach out to us. Have an awesome week online making your radio website better. See you next time!
18:46
June 27, 2022
Protecting Your Radio Station's Digital Assets After You Die
I've known a few radio stations and several website clients who have lost access to their digital assets after an employee, friend, or family member passed away.  So, it's very important that you make an inventory list of all your radio station's digital assets and include access information so that the people you leave behind can access those assets and continue your legacy. If someone other than you or your station holds the keys to any of your digital assets, get control over those right away.  You don't want to wait until something happens to them that may put your brand assets in jeopardy. For deeper show notes, please visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/protecting-your-radio-stations-digital-assets-after-you-die. Need help with your radio station website?  We're passionate about seeing stations succeed.  Reach out to us.
13:51
June 20, 2022
Integrating Local Discounts Offers and Rewards with GetintheLoop
Promoting local discount deals, coupons and special rewards on your radio station website is a great way to bring back visitors on a daily (or even hourly) basis. Today we talk with Matt Crowell, the CEO or GetintheLoop.  GetintheLoop is the fastest growing Franchise in Canada and has the largest network of local merchant offers in the Country.  Now, they're expanding into the United States. We had a chance to meet and talk with Matt at a local broadcasters convention and he shares his story and how they help radio stations generate revenue and expand their local offerings online. Learn more about GetintheLoop at https://getintheloop.com and reach out to Matt at matt@getintheloop.ca.
08:32
June 13, 2022
Adding Video to Your Sports Broadcasts
Adding video to your local sports broadcasts can take your game to the next level.  Today we interview Gabe Edney with Paragon Sports TV.  They can help your station get started or help to improve the level you're at now.   Best of all, you're able to bring this video into your radio station website to keep bringing traffic back game after game.  Reach out to Gabe and his team at https://www.paragonsportstv.com.  
12:57
June 06, 2022
We Interview Cool Radio Streaming
Being a small company, we love partnering with other small companies.  Skyrocket Radio recently presented at a broadcasters convention in Alabama and got a chance to talk with Tom Dobrez, the owner and CEO of Cool Radio Streaming. Cool Radio Streaming is a small company dedicated to bringing you a quality streaming service at a reasonable price.  They are also radio station owners, so they know what matters.  Every tech support call is actually answered by Tom. It's tough to beat their pricing too.  Check out https://www.coolradiostreaming.com.  
12:34
May 30, 2022
The Importance of Optimizing Website Images
The speed that your radio station website loads matters – maybe more than you realize.  Overall, we have grown increasingly impatient with the amount of time we’re willing to wait for things to load. In fact, many studies show that about forty percent of people will click off a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. This can have real, tangible impacts on any business whose website is underperforming in the speed department. There are many different factors that can affect your site speed like your hosting plan and the code that makes up your website. Optimizing these factors is often too technical and daunting for the average person. However, image size can play a major role in website speed, and just about anyone can quickly learn how to optimize images for their website. What Image Size and Dimensions Are Best? The first step in optimization is bringing the image down to the proper dimensions. Some cropping may be required to get the image to the proper size that your website requires. It’s likely that your content manager knows the proper sizes that all images should be. This should be passed down and followed by everyone who creates content for the website. Which Image Format is Best? Choosing the best image file format depends on the type of image and your end goal. Here is the best application for each image format: JPG: Best overall use and widely accepted but optimize them to their smallest file size without sacrificing quality. Does NOT support transparency. PNG: Typically, file sizes are 2-3 times larger than JPG files. A major plus is that they support transparency, so they should be reserved for that use. GIF: Small file size due to limited color palate. GIF file support animation. However, animation of GIF files has been disabled in some modern browsers and shown with a play button. SVG: SVG is a vector format that works better for logos. SVG files can be sized to any dimension, and you’ll never see pixelation occur. SVG files do not work well for photos. WebP/AVIF: These newer/modern image formats are better at image compression and have been designed to have small file sizes. Both allow for transparency. However, some browsers, content management systems, and applications are slow to adopt them. (This should change though.) Which Image Resolution is Best? When exporting or converting your scaled-down images to any of the previously mentioned formats, there are some extra settings that will need to be tweaked to ensure your image is the smallest file size while looking clear. Since every image is different, there’s no one set value here that will work best for every application, so plan to adjust this with each image you edit. Saving Your Optimized Images It’s important that every image you upload to your radio station website be saved without spaces. Spaces within filenames can cause problems with some content management systems and applications. Adding image meta tags will be vital in years to come and more legislation gets passed to better allow people with visual disabilities to better “see” the internet. Wrapping Up Optimizing photos for your site isn’t always easy and will likely take some experimentation and testing. But once you get your image optimization process down, your website’s speed will improve as well as your overall user experience. If your content creators are slow to get on board with this, it’s time to motivate them to act. Need help with your radio station website? We’d love to help. Please reach out to us at https://www.skyrocketradio.com.
18:37
May 23, 2022
Charging Subscriptions for Website and Streaming Content
You and your team work hard to generate great content for your radio station website. You have listeners coming back day after day and you have the stats to show it. You may think to yourself, “Why don’t we lock down some or all of this content and charge a subscription for access to it?” When a website blocks access to its content and asks you to get a paid subscription, that’s called a paywall. Many online news publishers use paywalls including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur.com. Website Content Subscriptions While it is possible to make money by charging visitors to access the content on your website, the bad news is that it’s very difficult. Ask yourself these questions: - Is anyone else providing the same, or similar, content? Are they charging for it? No one is going to pay you for something they can get free elsewhere. - Are you already giving your content away? Charging for content you once provided for free is a great way to drive away fans. - How many current and potential visitors would pay for your content?  Whatever number you think it is, it’s probably less. - How much will these visitors pay for your content?  Whatever you think the number is, it’s probably less. - Is it likely that a current or future competitor could provide the same content for free? Subscriptions for Streaming To combat streaming providers like Pandora, Spotify, and others, some radio stations are looking to charge their listeners for audio streams that contain little or no commercials. There are some though that aim to charge listeners to hear their stream even with commercials. Ask yourself the same questions as before. Online Content that Could Subscription Based Here are a few ideas of content that might be subscription-based for your radio station. - Podcasts - Sports - Pay-Per-View/Listen - Seasonal Events There are possibilities out there for your station to generate additional revenue from subscription-based content. But do some serious homework first. Ask serious questions to determine if the possible income will outweigh the necessary resources involved. We do not offer the option for subscriptions on our Skyrocket Radio websites, but the subscription-based podcasts and other premium content are especially interesting to us. There are several services out there that you can use to embed all kinds of subscription-based premium content that doesn’t reside on your website at all. If you need help with your radio station website, we’re here to help. Reach out to us at https://www.skyrocketradio.com.
14:30
May 16, 2022
Content Ideas for No-Staff Radio Stations
For more details show notes visit: https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/content-ideas-for-no-staff-radio-stations. We’ve always said that the best radio station websites out there killing it with revenue are the ones killing it with content. We’re talking about fresh new content added daily which is shared with newsletter subscribers and social media channels so that listeners are coming back to the website on a consistent basis. However, what if you simply have nobody to create this content? No matter what size radio station you have, it’s important that your website not be a brochure. Think of any brochure you’ve seen in the past. Once you’ve read it, there’s no reason to pick it up again. Brochure websites are the same way. If you simply do not have the staff to update local news and events daily, focus on things directly involving the radio station. Here are some content ideas for you to focus on. 1. Contests 2. On-Location Schedule 3. Local Sports Schedules and Broadcasts 4. Swap Shop 5. Song Additions/Music Voting 6. Polls 7. Best of (Your Town): https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/creating-a-best-of-campaign. 8. Business of the Day 9. Day in History 10. Evergreen Content 11. Audio interviews 12. Client Created Content If you can’t be hyper-local providing everything that’s happening in your community, then be super-station. Continue to have an online component to everything the radio station is doing. Can you think of any other content that a station with minimal staff could use on their websites? Please let us know, so we can update this list on our show notes page. Need help moving the needle on your station website, reach out to us.
16:36
May 09, 2022
Migrating From Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics was initially built during a time when people had hit counters on their websites. Since then, the way we use the internet and the data businesses need to track has dramatically changed. People are using multiple devices and using various apps, all of which are completely different ways to access information on the internet. As a result of this ever-changing environment, Universal Analytics has finally come to a point where it can’t keep up with everything. There are some things Universal Analytics simply cannot track and some things it was tracking but it wasn’t very accurate. All of these changes in the way we do things is why Google created GA4. It has AI machine learning and privacy built right into it. If you jump into Google Analytics, you may see a notice at the top announcing a sunset date for Universal Analytics of July 1, 2023. At that time, Universal Analytics will stop collecting data. You will still be able to log in and view historical data for six months. At the end of 2023, Universal Analytics will be completely shut down and the historical data stored there will be gone. While you still have plenty of time to set up your GA4 account, I urge you to not wait until the last minute. Please visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/migrating-from-universal-analytics-to-google-analytics-4 for more details on this episode as well as links we point out in the podcast.
13:46
May 02, 2022
Promoting Your Website On-Air and on Social Media Properly
Sadly, I find that more and more stations are not properly promoting their websites as they should. If you treat your website(s) as a separate radio station(s) that you can generate traffic and revenue from, then it only makes sense to consistently drive your listeners and followers there as often as possible. It’s not like you’re asking them to do something rather than listening to the radio station. In fact, you’re asking them to become more involved with the station. The stations that I hear promoting their website, most often tag the website address to the end of a sweeper or the announcer may randomly slip in “for more visit our website” without giving a specific reason why listeners should take that action. I seemingly hear announcers promote what’s on the station’s Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok pages more often than anything. So, today, we’ll talk about how to best promote your website. 1. Promote the website within and educate. This is the biggest issue. If the radio station owner or GM doesn’t see the website as a priority, then it will not be a priority for everyone under them. If you want to see your traffic and revenue growth, then the website should be a part of every meeting. Whether this is promotions, sales, or programming meetings. If you’re talking about the radio station or about your group of stations, the website(s) need to be an equal part of that conversation. 2. Adjust how you promote the website on-air. Back when I was on-air, I was told by our consultants that talent, “should continuously sell listener benefits several times per hour. Help listeners ‘use’ the station with words that sell a benefit so that they connect the station with the listener’s lifestyle or activities.” See examples at https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/stop-promoting-social-media-channels-on-your-website.   Personalities should tease and sell the benefits of visiting the website as well, rather than simply noting that the website has content. See examples at https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/stop-promoting-social-media-channels-on-your-website.   3. Tease your content links on social media. Don’t simply share links. A social media best practice is to add a comment or question in front of everything shared on social media. Simply sharing something without comment is the lazy way and, admittedly, I’m guilty of it too. The page or post headline should grab attention and entice you to jump into a news story. However, how many LOCAL news titles have you clicked on this week because they enticed you by the headline? Even experienced writers will confess that it can be tough to write a compelling title for any piece of written work.  So, it’s up to your social media team to jump in and help by adding an additional sentence or question to the post. You should find that you’ll get more engagement and more shares (which should equate to more page views on your website) by engaging with the content you post and share on social media. Simple page shares without any interaction do not facilitate many reactions from your followers. Need help with your website?  Reach out to us at skyrocketradio.com.
12:45
April 25, 2022
Stop Promoting Social Media Channels on Your Website
You read that headline correctly but please don’t get me wrong. I am a big advocate that every radio station should be on whatever social media platforms their listeners are on so they can engage with them there and share out content that ultimately leads back to the station website so that traffic can be monetized. Once you have visitors on your website, where you want them, why send them back to social media? We advocate using the properties you rent (social media) to drive the properties you own, like your website, newsletter, stream, etc. For more detailed show notes on today's episode, including a list of what to take away from your website right now, please visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com/blog/stop-promoting-social-media-channels-on-your-website. Need help with your website?  Reach out to us here: https://www.skyrocketradio.com/contact.
12:10
April 18, 2022
Removing Old Content to Help Your Website Grow
This week we got a call from a station asking if their news posts could be set to automatically expire after a certain day and time. For example, you post a local news story about a new farmer's market being held in your town square this Saturday.  On Sunday, the news story will be old news and you'll run the risk of someone reading and thinking that it's the following Saturday instead of the one that just passed.  So, their question is a valid one.  However, there are certain implications to consider when you remove any content from your website.  When Google indexes website content so that it can be found in search results, they expect it to be valid.  When someone clicks on a search result and they find a "page missing" error, the search engine gets a pingback saying errors were found. Therefore, they penalize your entire site for the content no longer being there.  I've always been told to never remove anything from the internet because it will hurt the search engine optimization of your website. I can understand that for major things like switching domains or major pages with information that lots of people see and use on a regular basis, or even a news story with significant historical value.  But for a news story about a date-specific farmer's market event?  As a radio station, I believe it's safe to assume that your listeners and website readers are most concerned with what happened recently, what's happening right now, and what could be affecting them in the coming days.  It would be much different if you were a business blogging about how to properly change a tire, repair a window, or paint a fireplace.  That type of content is more evergreen than the daily news content we are likely populating our websites with. If you are producing new content daily as you should, then any hit you may receive from Google from a missing post from a year ago should be inconsequential, because you're delivering more relevant content each day to replace it.  A year or so ago, Hubspot CRM recently deleted 3000 posts from their blog and their SEO improved dramatically: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/remove-outdated-content.  "PublishPress Future", formerly "Post Expirator" is a free plugin that can help you with that: https://wordpress.org/plugins/post-expirator.  The Search Engine Journal did a fantastic article a few years ago titled, "How & Why You Must Improve or Remove Your Old Content": https://www.searchenginejournal.com/improve-remove-old-content/300961. Should you remove old content?  Our stand is "yes", especially if the content is news-related, not historical or evergreen in nature, and older than a year.  There's really no reason to keep it on your site.  Removing old content can help your website from a server perspective as your backups will be smaller and much easier to re-instate if your website ever goes down.  Do you need help with your radio station website, reach out to us at skyrocketradio.com. 
12:25
April 11, 2022
5 Things to Check Often in Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool to help you tell how well your website is performing and it can give you all sorts of valuable insight, such as where your website visitors are coming from, which pages are most popular, and how long visitors stay on your site. Once a week, radio programmers and the appropriate staff members should take some time to review their website statistics. We spoke with Johnny Boswell, the owner of Boswell Media in central Mississippi, about how he utilized Google Analytics in his online strategy.  Johnny has three radio stations and two unbelievably performing news websites: https://www.breezynews.com and https://www.kicks96news.com. Here are the setup steps that you will need to perform inside of Google Analytics for each of the websites you wish to track: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9304153. Once you have that code in place and you’re collecting data, here’s what you should be looking for: 1. Total Unique Visitors 2. Traffic Sources · Direct Traffic · Organic Search · Paid Search · Social Media · Referral 3. Top Pages and Top Landing Pages 4. Bounce Rate 5. Goal Conversions Instructions for setting up goals: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032415. Conclusion: There are alternatives to Google Analytics, but they all come with hefty price tags. It’s just hard to beat this free tool that can help you build your radio station’s online audience. A great way to stay on top of Analytics is to have your reports emailed to you each week. If you are running a WordPress website, be sure to install Google’s official “Site Kit” plugin to track stats directly within the WordPress dashboard. Need help with your radio station website?  Reach out to us.
22:38
April 04, 2022
Conversation with "Digital Dot Connector", Seth Resler
Seth Resler is a 25-year broadcasting and podcasting veteran who worked on-air and in programming at several major markets before crossing into online marketing. He’s now the digital strategist at Jacobs Media working with radio stations across the country, helping them design and implement action plans that combine websites, social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, lead generation, and other online tools.  I've followed Seth on his personal blog years before he became the "Digital Dot Connector" for Jacob's Media. Here are posts that reference the topics we talked about... Jacobs Media: Your Radio Station’s Secret Marketing Weapon In 2021? (Wait for it….) E-mail Jacobs Media: Moving Listeners From Your Rented Digital Assets to Your Owned Digital Assets Jacobs Media: How To Conduct A Usability Test For Your Radio Station’s Website Skyrocket Radio: Breaking Up with Your Home Page Slider Jacobs Media: 4 Things You Can Remove From Your Radio Station’s Homepage Jacobs Media: Here’s What You Should Put in the Main Menu of Your Radio Station’s Website Jacobs Media: How to Write an Effective “Advertise With Us” Webpage for Your Radio Station Jacobs Media: How to Rewrite Your Radio Station’s “Advertise With Us” Webpage for the Pandemic Jacobs Media: For Radio DJs, Digital Content Should Be An Extension of — Not An Addition To — The Show Jacobs Media: How Any Radio Station Can Repurpose Its Content If you want great information that will help your website and your digital team, be sure to follow Seth's "Connecting the Dots" blog at https://jacobsmedia.com/category/connecting-the-dots. You'll be sure to get valuable insight to move your digital efforts forward.
32:57
March 28, 2022
Regular Admin's Guide to Protecting Your Website from Cyber Attacks
It seems like every day or week there’s a new headline about another app or website being hacked. And these are typically the higher profile websites. In fact, a hacker attack occurs every 39 seconds in the US, affecting one in three Americans every year. A successful intrusion can result in a huge loss in traffic and revenue if your site has crashed or been suspended on your hosting provider. It could even result in identity theft of your admins and members if you run a membership site. Personal data like passwords could be at risk. No matter how big or small your website is, you can still become a target. So, it is very important to secure your website, which means putting protection in place to keep out hackers, bugs, and other nefarious entities. So, how do cyber-attacks work? Cyber-attacks work by infecting your computer with malware or spyware. These types of attacks are often delivered through email attachments, malicious downloads, or websites that you may visit. Cyber-attacks usually take the form of viruses, worms, Trojan horses, or the latest trend, ransomware. In these attacks, the hackers demand payment to remove the infection. While it’s impossible to create an absolute impenetrable fortress with your website, it is possible to put measures in place to make it very difficult. Many times, a little difficulty is all it takes to send hackers on to their next target. Here are steps you should take today to protect your website against cyber-attacks. 1. Have a Comprehensive Security Plan 2. Use Secure/Strong Passwords Everywhere 3. Check/Clean Spam Comments on your Website 4. Scan Your Local Computer for Malware and Spyware Conclusion Good website security starts with you. As a website admin, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a safe and secure website. You wouldn’t leave your front door open, so why would you do the same with your website? Web-based malware and spyware attacks are on the rise, so do all that you can to ensure your team is security-minded so that your website is protected and not an easy target. Need help with your station website? Reach out to us at https://www.skyrocketradio.com.  
15:14
March 21, 2022
15 Things to Check Each Month on Your Website
Our WordPress maintenance checklist covers a list of essential things you should do religiously each month to ensure that your website runs smoothly across multiple devices. While this is a monthly list, you'll see better results if they can be performed weekly or even daily. 1. Perform a website speed audit to ensure it’s loading quickly: Page speed can affect SEO and user experience. GTMetrix, WP Checkup, and Google’s Page Insights are great tools that pinpoint where your slowness could be coming from. This could be large images, a heavy homepage with lots of elements, or even a slow hosting provider. 2. Monitor your website security daily: Security is such a major concern. Run a daily test to spotlight intrusions, file changes, and malware. 3. Review Google Analytics: The best way to know how well your site is doing and what’s working is by reviewing your Analytics data.  4. Clear your trash: Old pages, posts, expired events and contests, obituaries, banner ads campaigns that have ended… all of this is simply taking up space and can cause your site to get slower over time. 5. Clean your media files: One of the main reasons you may run out of space on your hosting provider is because you have excess media that is no longer being used. These files add up over time. 6. Ensure images are optimized: Optimized images load faster and that helps with SEO and user experience. Ensure your authors know the value of the optimization process. 7. Check your navigation menus: Poor navigation is one of the frustrating spots for users. Check everything to ensure things are easy to find and hassle-free. Is anything missing? Be sure to check on desktop and mobile. 8. Check for broken links and missing pages: These can dramatically reduce your SEO. Do a search for “broken link checker” and enter your site for analysis. 9. Review your forms: Are contests easy to enter? Do the “contact us” and “advertise with us” forms work properly? Are those forms still going to the appropriate people? 10. Review the “Advertise with Us” page: Keeping this current and relevant is crucial because you don’t want to miss an advertising opportunity. How can it be better? 11. Check and delete spam comments: Ensure that spammers have not gotten through to comment on your website. Deleting all spam comments helps to keep your database clean and fast. 12. Reply to comments: If you have comments enabled, reply to them when necessary to improve user engagement. 13. Change your passwords: One of the most effective ways to prevent a malicious attack is to update your passwords often. And ensure they are strong passwords. 14. Remove inactive website admins: Ensure ex-employees are removed from the website admin. In the deletion process, it will ask if you want their posts to be attributed to a different author. 15. Review your site on multiple devices: Ensure things are still working the way someone would expect them to. If your site is experiencing an issue on a device you don’t use very often, it may take a long time to resolve and that could result in lost visitors. While this list of for WordPress websites, the same can be true regardless of your content management system. Every website needs continuous maintenance to work properly.
11:42
March 14, 2022
Is Your Radio Station Website a Destination or Disappointment?
I spend a lot of time navigating radio station websites all over the world and consider their efficacy from both a marketing and user perspective. I’m often surprised by odd navigational choices, inconsistent calls-to-action, and content that provides little informational value, much less a reason or me to return again tomorrow. Your website should have fresh and relevant content, but it should be attractive so that it invites visitors back. Visitors flock to attractive destinations. A website with a great design and relevant content provides a better user experience that can help in building your station brand, gaining more visitors and boosting your digital sales. Is your website a destination or a disappointment? You might look at your station website every day, so it may be difficult to look at it with fresh eyes. Regardless, try pretending that you’re someone new to town and have never been to the site. Ask yourself these questions… 1. Why would I want to visit this website today and what would make me come back tomorrow? Can you immediately see something that would immediately draw you in, if you simply stumbled onto the website without any prior knowledge of the radio station? 2. What do the website owners want me to do once I get here? Is their main focus me entering a certain contest, visiting a local event, learning about news in my area, or just playing the stream? 3. Is the website well-organized with easy navigation and clear calls to action? Multiple slides of every daypart are not effective in moving people around the website. They are most often a distraction. 4. Can I easily find the information I’m looking for? I should be able to easily find specifics about a news story, event, contest, or even something about the on-air personality. 5. Is your navigation menu clean and in words that regular people would understand rather than industry jargon that is only familiar to us radio people? 6. Can I complete tasks easily? Examine the process of signing up for a contest or contacting the radio station. What obstacles could be removed to make these processes easier and faster? 7. Does the website support the station and company brand? When you have multiple people editing the website, brand updates and site updates can become disjointed. Prioritizing the User Experience If you’ve never completed a website usability test, Seth Resler with Jacobs Media has some great tips for that in his “Connecting the Dots” blog: https://jacobsmedia.com/conduct-usability-test-radio-stations-website. How do you tweak your website into becoming a destination? 1. Prioritize usability & user experience 2. Set goals 3. Have fresh content daily 4. Make your website stand out 5. Ensure your site is SEO friendly 6. Ensure your images are sized correctly and optimized to load fast Conclusion Visitors flock to attractive destinations that have fresh and relevant content. They return because they had a great experience. Finding content, entering a contest, or contacting the radio station was easy to do. People return to destinations like Disney World because of the great experiences they have.  Take a look at your station website with fresh eyes and put some of these practices in place to make it the best destination it can be. Need help with that? Reach out to us.
15:18
March 07, 2022
The Best Way to Add Video to Your Radio Station Website
There are a few different methods to display a video on your website and the advantages of using a third-party service like Youtube and Vimeo versus uploading and displaying video from your hosting provider. Downsides of hosting video yourself Uploading large video files to your website can not only take forever but they could be denied by the hosting provider due to upload size and timeout limits. If you have multiple people watching your video at once, it can slow or even crash your website due to exhausting those resources. One video format, codec, size, and resolution does NOT fit all applications and devices. Streaming services re-encode your uploaded video to several different formats and resolutions and serve the right video to the user based on their viewing device and internet speed. Video hosting services exist and thrive because they solve these problems. They also give you access to additional features such as analytics detailing how long your viewers watch your videos. YouTube deserves special attention because it's the largest video hosting service in the world and the second-largest online search engine in the world. It’s also extremely easy to use and FREE! There are some downsides to using providers like YouTube but most people are ok with them. Like… Ads – YouTube generates revenue by advertising, whether they be pre-roll or banner ads at the bottom of videos. Related Videos – Many embedded videos will show a thumbnail grid of related videos after your video has been completed. An algorithm chooses these videos based on context and relevancy, so a video might show up that you don’t want to. Regardless of these downsides, with both free and paid options available, there isn't really a need to host your video on your web host. How to embed a third-party service video Within WordPress, adding a video has become as simple as pasting the video’s URL into a post or page. WordPress has built-in embed functions that take a known provider’s URL and convert it to an embedded video player, without you having to do anything else. For a full list of supported sites, visit the WordPress Embed Codex at https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/hooks/oembed_providers. For a little more control, use a shortcode or editor block with additional settings that allow you to stylize the video and placement to your liking. If you don’t use WordPress, then you can always choose the embed options found inside any of these third-party services. Be careful with this embed method because iframe codes will have explicit width and height values set in the parameters and these will not automatically adjust depending on the device a user could be watching from. To make the videos responsive to all devices, you must do a little more code work wrapping the iframe within a responsive DIV element and that might not be easy for those not familiar with HTML and CSS. Conclusion: We’ve talked about the downsides of uploading video to your website server in how those videos can take up lots of space and exhaust your server resources to slow or even crash your website. This is what makes a third-party video service the clear winner on how to display video for your website visitors. I should also mention that the same can be said for large audio files as well. They also take up lots of resources to play. This is why we advocate that you use a streaming service for those as well like SoundCloud or a podcast provider. In the end, keep in mind that the right solution exists to keep your website ripe with great content while never slowing your visitors down. We would love to help you with that. Reach out to us.
14:18
February 28, 2022
Get a Free Alexa Skill for your Radio Station Stream
There’s a new way to enable people to play your radio station directly on Alexa without having to write a single line of code.  Thanks to the Alexa Radio Skills Kit, radio stations no longer have to build out a new skill from scratch. Instead, they can simply provide the streaming URLs and metadata for their radio stations via a simple intake process. Once the station is tested and launched, customers will be able to say, “Alexa, play [Station Name]” to play the radio station directly on Alexa. They can also ask Alexa to play a station by invoking the station’s alternate name, call sign, or frequency. The Alexa Radio Skills Kit supports location-based search to further improve the accuracy in playing the correct station to match a customer’s request. Previously, a radio station would be required to hire a developer with the process taking as long as three to six months. With this new service, radio stations can fill in the intake form quickly without any developer resources. This new way of accessing the Alexa Radio Skills Kit offers the same features and customer experience as radio stations that build their own RSK skills. This no-code radio onboarding is generally available in the United States, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Germany/Austria, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, and Australia/New Zealand. To get started, reach out to rsk-onboarding@amazon.com.  The original article this information was taken from is here:  https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/blogs/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/2021/12/a-new-code-free-way-to-onboard-your-radio-station-on-to-alexa.
03:39
February 21, 2022
Decreasing Load Times of Your Website
Most of these podcast episodes come about because sometime in the week prior, something has come up for me to spawn discussing it for everyone. This week I discovered a few client websites were still adding large images to the article posts even though they were taught to optimize them in a way that would be faster to their visitors. What is page load time and why is it important? Load time is the length of time it takes a web page to be downloaded from the hosting server and displayed onto the requesting web browser. It’s the duration between clicking the link and displaying the entire content in your browser. That number matters because we expect websites to be fast. When pages take longer than expected to load, it negatively impacts our user experience. Google and other search engines factor in loading time into how they rank your website in their search results. Faster sites appear in their search results before slower loading ones. So, let’s look at some ways to keep our websites loading faster. 1. Optimizing Your Images The biggest culprit for slow sites is a large volume of unoptimized images. Full-sized images can consume a lot of bandwidth while loading. So, take time to resize your images before you upload them to any website. The image format that you save in can significantly determine the file size. PNG files are typically 2-4 times larger in file size than JPG files of the same dimensions. So, it’s always best to fully optimize your images before uploading them anywhere online. 2. Decrease Displaying Offsite RSS Feeds RSS feeds are popular because they contain content that you may not have on your website. We highly discourage the display of off-site RSS feeds because they take visitors away from your content and sponsor advertising. Displaying an external RSS feed means that the web page has to load that content from where it’s getting the information from. If the server sending the information is slow, for any reason, it could slow the completion of your page load. 3. Limit/Stop the Use of Sliders/Carousels Sliders and carousels can bring along with it lots of extra code in the background that is needed for them to work properly. Expect horrible load times if you are using a slider with a visual type of admin that allows you to have slides animate in from all directions and each slide has multiple animated elements. Sliders do not convert well, so consider replacing them with one or multiple static calls to action. 4. Minimize the number of ads on your pages. We know that large amounts of images that are not optimized are the biggest culprit to slow websites, so it’s only fitting that we try to reduce the number of total images including ads. Examine other ways to add value to your clients like offering pages or feature sponsorships. Conclusion: The biggest takeaway from today is to optimize your images. If you have someone on your team that isn’t jumping on board with this, then emphasize the importance. There are several free converter websites and even image editing sites like the https://www.pixlr.com editor that can be used to properly size and optimize every image that gets uploaded. Visitors return to faster websites and those websites get more shares and clicks. That’s a better value to the advertisers that give you money to be included there. So, a faster website will have an impact on your bottom line.
13:15
February 14, 2022
DIY Web Builders vs Developers vs Website Services
Having a website dedicated to your radio station is essential. It can do so much more than simply being a spot to put your "listen live" button. It can provide you with unlimited opportunities to generate additional revenue by clients sponsoring the content you create and promote there. Not so long ago, there would have been no question of hiring a pro to get the results you want, but thanks to the rise of website builders, it has become much easier for people with very little web experience to build a decent website. Just because you can, though, doesn’t always mean you should. It All Starts with Content! It’s obvious that there are major cost differences between DIY, developer, and services. Don’t let cost be the first thing you think of though. The first step in your decision process should be to decide what your website content will be. If you want a brochure website with a "listen live" button, then start with a DIY builder. Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress.com, and Wix are some popular choices. If you want to display news, events, and sellable banner ads, then you’ll need something more robust. DIY/Page Builders: Pros: Lowest initial cost, Easy to Publish, Beginner-friendly Cons: Limited Customization, Pop-ups and Advertisements, Limited Customer Service, Difficult/impossible to transfer your content Hiring A Developer: Pros: Site designed the way you want, Experience, Communication Cons: Costs More, It Takes Time, Communication Long Term Avoid hiring developers overseas who will likely build your website the way you want for the agreed fee and then leave once the project is complete. This leaves you to deal with issues yourself or you’ll have to hire another developer to fix things. Partnering with a Web Service: Over the last 15-20 years, several companies have sprouted up that specifically offer radio station websites. Some companies to consider are Skyrocket Radio, SoCast, Intertech, Aiir, and LinkedUpRadio. Pros: Payment Plans, Designed for you, Experience, Great Training, Ongoing Support/Communication Cons: Can take time, Customer Service, Unwilling to Customize Conclusion: Your station website is a visible brand for your radio station, so it should be given a high priority. It’s a revenue tool. If it looks like a kid designed your site, it will leave a bad impression on listeners and advertisers.  If price is the considering factor, and time isn’t, then choose a website builder you can learn and be comfortable with. If you have a great relationship with a developer, that may be the way to go. The dedicated web service is the best option for stations wanting a great-looking and performing website leaving them to focus on content and revenue. The price is more than DIY, but you get a more professional product. Need help with your website? We’re here to help!
18:43
February 07, 2022
The Pros and Cons of Using RSS Feeds
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS typically uses XML files that can be read by a user’s feed reader, which converts the files into an easy-to-read format. This content is distributed in real-time so that the top results on the RSS feed are always the latest published content for a website. RSS Feeds FROM your Station Website If you own a WordPress website, you can easily find your RSS feed by typing the domain and putting a “/feed” at the end (ie https://www.skyrocketradio.com/feed). This will display all of your latest post updates. To get specific category feeds, follow your domain with “/category/(slug-of-category)/feed” (ie. https://www.skyrocketradio.com/category/blog/feed). RSS feeds will allow you to insert your radio station website posts in e-mail newsletters, auto post to social media, display posts on sister radio station websites, and more. The Pros of Using RSS Feeds FROM your Station Website - Automation - Set it and forget it - Cross Promotion - Can Increase Backlinks The Cons of Using RSS Feeds FROM your Station Website - Automation - Duplication - Decreased visitors RSS Feeds ON your Station Website I’ve seen many stations display the latest posts from CMT.com, MTV.com, Rolling Stone, Fox News, CNN, local tv stations, etc. There are few or no pros for displaying RSS feeds like this on your website. The Cons of Using RSS Feeds ON your Station Website - # Reasons for your Visitors to Leave - Google does not count displaying RSS feeds as content What about Importing RSS Content? Most RSS feeds out there only contain short excerpts with links back to the website to get the “meat” of the story. These are not good for importing. However, some RSS feeds contain full articles. While this is the best option, there are pros and cons that you must weigh. The Pros of Importing RSS Content - Fresh Content on a Regular Basis The Cons of Importing RSS Content - Copyright - Image Copyright The corporate law firm of Womble Bond Dickinson posted a great article on this back in 2017 that covers every little thing you should consider with regards to staying safe with third-party content: https://www.womblebonddickinson.com/us/insights/articles-and-briefings/best-practices-using-third-party-content-your-companys-website. - Google/SEO Hit - Not local content The best way to implement imported RSS content is to use it sparingly to increase the value of the local content you are already creating. RSS content should not be the only content you have on your radio station website. Safe Content Providers - Pulse Web Content (United Stations): https://www.pulsewebcontent.com. They also provide the feed in RSS that includes copyright information, etc. - ABC News: Offers importable web content for most music formats as well as national news, entertainment, health, sports, and world news. Contact Mary McCarthy at 201-214-4190 for details. Conclusion RSS feeds can be a valuable tool to bring visitors to your website but use them correctly and responsibly. Do your homework before implementing any strategy that puts a third-party feed on your site and weigh if it adds value to your website.
21:28
February 01, 2022
Radio Station Website Spotlight: Boswell Media
Periodically, we’ll talk to station owners and digital content directors about the great things happening in their market and with their websites.  It’s fitting that we kick off the first one of these segments with Johnny Boswell, owner of Boswell Media in Kosciusko, Mississippi because Boswell Media was our first Skyrocket Radio client.  We had a chance to catch up with Johnny at the recent Mississippi Association of Broadcasters annual convention. Be sure to check out Johnny’s websites breezynews.com, kicks96news.com, and boswellmedia.net. Need help making your radio station website happen?  Reach out to us!
14:55
January 24, 2022
Differences Between the Radio Station Website Getting 20K Visitors/Day Versus 100 Visitors/Day
We believe more radio people should adjust their mindset and think of your station website as a sister radio station. You want visitors to come back day after day. So, just like your radio station, this requires “programming” the content that pulls people back on a consistent basis. Think how easy of a sell it would be to walk into a business and show them that their banner ad will be in front of 20K visitors tomorrow. Over the years, we’ve noticed that there are some specific things that set the 20K visitors/day radio station website apart from the 100 visitors/day radio station website. #1 Owner/GM committed to an Active Online Presence They will ultimately enforce that everything the station does has a website component from contests, promotions, morning shows, local news, format news, events, etc. #2 Ensure ALL Personnel in the Station Are on the Same Page Sales should have a “Digital Inventory List” that includes every possible thing your stations can sell online, the number of avails, spots taken/available, pricing, and location. Download a starter template at https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcasts/digital-inventory-list #3 Assign an Online Point Person or “Digital Content Director” This person needs to be passionate about seeing the website(s) look professional and grow overall. Have them work with the programming team to create and implement new/evolving online features, create artwork, present weekly analytics information to managers, and provide printouts for salespeople to take on sales calls. #4 Offer Performance Incentives/Bonuses As your website traffic grows, so should your revenue. Reward the people that are making that happen. If the morning show blog is a success and you have clients wanting to sponsor their page, bonus that team for reaching or exceeding page view or unique visitor goals. Incentives will invest and encourage your team into creating new/exciting content. #5 Think Beyond Typical Banner Ads Banner ads are still an effective means of advertising but as a website owner, be aware of the other possibilities that exist on your website like sponsored contests, events, team schedule pages, coupon pages, creating client videos, etc. Key Takeaways · Insight passion among all staff members to see the website(s) succeed. · If you haven’t started a digital strategy plan to increase your audience and sales, do it now. Assign a team member as a point person. · Use on-air, social media, e-mail, etc together to drive website traffic. Track website statistics to ensure growth. · Create a “Digital Inventory List” for your sales team so they know what’s available to sell. · Invest your personnel in generating content and cultivating new content ideas. Generate compelling local content so that your station website becomes a community “hub” of information. · Think beyond banner ads. There are all kinds of unique ways to generate revenue from your station websites. · Look for new ways to turn content into revenue. Can a popular web feature become a separate brand of its own? Need help building an active online presence? Reach out to us at https://www.skyrocketradio.com.
20:53
January 17, 2022
Creating Effective Radio Station Newsletters
We’ve always preached here to do all you can to drive traffic back to the website where you can monetize it. Newsletters are an awesome way to do that and inform your listeners. Have your doubts? Rest assured that newsletters remain an effective communication channel for radio stations to keep in touch with their listeners. So, why send regular newsletters? Drives brand awareness for your radio station (keeps it top of mind). Keeps subscribers up to date with what is happening at the station and in your community. Creates trust and authority. Keeps subscribers engaged with your website (meaning more traffic). What should I include on sign-up forms? An e-mail address is the only required field, but most forms add a name field. Try not to make your signup form a lengthy questionnaire. You should also include somewhere around the signup form information so that subscribers know what to expect when they sign up. What content should my newsletter contain? Calls to action Local news Contests and promotions Events Links to Polls Ensure nearly all links point back to your station website. Should I include client banner ads? Keep it to a bare minimum. One banner ad should be sufficient per e-mail but make the call to action within that ad be worth getting. How frequently should station newsletters be sent? The frequency entirely depends on the content you’re providing. Some will say no more than twice a week, or once a month is best practice.  However, if you are providing news with daily updates, then there’s no reason why you can’t send those once per day. Consider having two or more e-mail lists that listeners can sign up for. One list can be periodic news updates that are more promotional content-driven like contests, events, etc. And then another list that is daily that contains news headlines/daily information. What newsletter services are best for sending/deliverability? There are many different email newsletter services to choose from, but some of the best affordable options include ConstantContact, MailChimp, MadMimi, MailerLite, ActiveCampaign, and Campaign Monitor. These services make it easy to get started. Nearly every platform has pre-made professional templates that you can drag and drop your content into. Wrapping up Ensure your newsletters contain compelling content that links back to the website as much as possible. Be brief. Meet the expectations that you've set for your newsletter and be consistent. Deliver your newsletter on a regular schedule. Promote your newsletter on your website and on-air often. Give specific reasons for signing up and follow through on those. If you’re importing contacts that you’ve gained over time, ensure you have the approval of those contacts to receive your newsletter. Always ensure you have an easy, straightforward unsubscribe option in every e-mail you send. With the right email newsletter service and a little bit of brainstorming, you'll get up and going and be sending engaging newsletters in no time! Hopefully, these tips help equip you in creating your radio station newsletter.
11:24
January 10, 2022
4 Tips to Boost your Website Traffic
Just because you’ve built a website for your radio station does not mean visitors will start flowing in. Thankfully, there are some tactics that you can employ right now to boost your visitors. These are not tips you can do once or twice and expect to gain numbers. These are tips that need to become of your daily routine. Before we get to the tips, you must think of visitor page views and unique visitor numbers as ratings that need to improve upon month after month and year after year. Unfortunately, many stations do get this concept and they ultimately wonder why the website is worth the time and expense. So, please get on board with tracking your page views and unique visitor counts. Apply Google Analytics to your website and get reports on a consistent basis to see what is and what’s not working for you. 1) Produce Fresh Content: Compelling content will always draw in new and old visitors and it helps to solidify your station’s online footprint. The best content you can provide is something relevant to your market that nobody else has. If your station website exists to import news that visitors can find anywhere else, it might do well for a short period but it’s not going to sustain traffic for very long. Great content gets noticed and it gets people talking. That means more visitors to your site and more visitors means more money in ad sales. So, great content = more visitors = more money. 2) Promote your website on-air often: This should really go without saying, right? However, I listen to local radio stations and rarely hear a reason to visit the website other than to listen online. If your goal is making money with your station website, then your content must be promoted. Everyone knows that if you stream your station online, there’s a link to that on your website. Why else should I go there?  Give specific reasons to visit, not generalities like, “More online at wxyz.com”. 3) Optimize your site so that it’s SEO friendly: We’ve all heard of SEO (search engine optimization), but not every site capitalizes on it. Incorporating basic SEO elements, such as commonly searched keywords that tie into your community will help Google rank your site and help your audience find you. Just remember to minimize unnecessary jargon and do not try to fool Google by packing keywords and locations into content in a nonsensical manner. Google loves fresh content and will reward you in rankings when you keep your site updated and post regularly. 4) Build an audience with social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others are not where you should be posting your content for final consumption. Think of social as a marketing tool. You will not generate revenue with social media, so use it to direct followers to where you do generate revenue – your website. Ready to get started and build your website traffic? We’re glad to offer more one-on-one advice. Reach out to us at https://skyrocketradio.com/contact.
15:32
January 03, 2022
New Year Resolutions for your Radio Station Website
Every year at this time it’s customary to look back on the previous year and examine things you could be doing better, and this should include your station website. Here are eight website resolutions that we think are worth considering. 1) Devote More Resources to Your Station Website: The importance of your station website across all departments should be equal to the importance of programming your radio station. Your website should entertain and generate its own revenue. It won’t do that if it’s not being consistently maintained. 2) Add New/Different Content: While it’s great to have a familiar website that your audience knows what they can expect, it’s also good to expand your offerings each year. Take a look at your market and find areas that are not being addressed online. This could be high school sports news, garage sales, restaurant reviews, local rodeos, racing schedule, and so on. Every market is different. Your station website has unlimited potential for new feature content and that means new opportunities for sponsorships. 3) Try a Different Color/Layout: As with content, the same thing year after year can become mundane and complacent. Try adding a subtle design change to your website. This can be a font or layout change that complements your existing brand. Smaller tweaks to your website design made gradually over time can be better than a complete makeover for some visitors because they don’t have to re-learn your website from scratch. 4) Examine Your Stats and Adjust Accordingly: Take a look back at your website analytics from last year and use that as a base for improvement moving forward. See what content worked best. Try beating your monthly numbers from last year by adding more of what worked during that month, or overall. 5) Be More Social: We advocate that all station members should actively participate in the station’s social media channels. Link back to the website as much as possible and engage listeners when appropriate.  Research and invest in a plugin or service that allows you to auto-post to your social media channels on a consistent basis so that new content has a higher chance of being seen in follower feeds.  Identify meaningful, measurable goals for your social media campaign, and plan for how to achieve your goals. 6) Build a Local Photo Library: Never grab something from an online search. We suggest that every station capture important images around your town and state like a local police car, police lights, fire truck/station, state flag, courthouse, intersections, street names, etc. Inventory these so that they can be found and posted easily when news stories break. Don’t wait until you need them. Once they are in your website media library, use them again and again without uploading the same image more than once. 7) Write a Blog That Targets Advertisers: We’ve had several clients reach out to us to handle their station website simply because they found the free information we’ve posted in our blog. We want stations to feel comfortable in our knowledge. When you offer free insight to your clients, no matter where they choose to buy, you instill trust in them.  You have now become the expert they need. 8) Take Inventory of Your Online Assets: Inventory all of your domains, websites, review site entries, social media pages, and anything else with a URL or a login. Include usernames and passwords so that you know what’s out there and how to get to it. We hope you have a wonderful and prosperous new year online. If you’re looking into a new website experience for your station, please reach out to us.
17:59
December 27, 2021
Choosing the Best Image File Type and Format
We’re visual by nature and visually driven. We perceive pictures faster than words, so images are scanned first, before the text. It’s important to include images on your station website. Unfortunately, one of the most proven ways to slow down your website (especially on mobile) is to use images that are not sized and compressed properly for online use. This can vary depending on the file format. Images on the web come in many file formats, such as JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs, and many others. Understanding the basics will give you confidence in being able to decide what format is best in every situation. Why Do Image File Formats Matter? Every graphic you see online is an image file. Depending on the file type, they render in different ways and have different file sizes. Each type is intended for a specific use and matters when it comes to appearance, performance, and scalability. The key is to incorporate all three of these and include files on your station website that are small in file size for fast-loading and without a loss of quality. Your goal should always be to have a superlight website that loads quickly on any device and looks amazing at the same time. What are the different image file formats? Image formats are divided into two main categories: raster files and vector files. Vector graphics use lines, points, and polygons to represent an image. They are best suited for logos and icons. Think of that special logo file that you would send a sign company for a t-shirt, the side of your van, or on a billboard. Some vector file formats include SVG, PDF, EPS, and AI. Raster graphics use pixel values within a rectangular grid to represent an image. Unlike vectors, these file types are resolution-dependent and based on their size, meaning they can’t be scaled up without losing quality and becoming pixelated. Nearly all online images are in raster format, but browsers are starting to be more friendly to some vector formats. Raster file formats include JPEG, PNG, GIF, and WebP. JPEG is still one of the most used image file types that you’ll see on the internet because of its compression and virtually universal browser/OS support. PNG files offer much better text readability than JPEG but we’ve found PNG files to be 2-3 times the file size of JPEG files of the same dimensions. This can vary depending on the image editor, compression settings, number of colors used, etc. GIF files are another image file type falling within the raster format. It constrains the image to a limited palette of only 256 colors. The GIF format is most famous (and mostly used) for animated images because its 8-bit limitation keeps file sizes of animations small and internet-friendly. Finally, the WebP format was recently developed by Google specifically to provide better compression of images. Switching from JPEG and PNG files to WebP can help save server disk space and significant bandwidth, with up to 35% smaller image files for identical quality. So, which format do you choose for daily use? Choosing the best image file format depends on the type of image and your end goal. You have a lot of options when it comes to what types of images you can use on your website. Pick whichever format enables you to display high-quality images without slowing down your site significantly. Before you upload every image to your station website, ensure the image is sized for the specific application and optimized to its smallest file size without degrading quality. Optimizing photos for your site isn’t always easy and will likely take some experimentation and testing. But once you get your image optimization process down, your website’s speed will improve as well as your overall user experience.
14:38
December 20, 2021
Creating a "Best of" Online Campaign
One of the neatest and surprisingly easiest ways we’ve seen to engage with your local community is to offer a “Best of” campaign on your radio station website. These are created for your listeners to submit and/or vote on their favorite local businesses like restaurants, auto service shops, coffee shops, best pizza, etc. It’s sure to generate a buzz on-air and through social channels… not to mention revenue. We're joined by Michael Brannon, Executive Video President for Radio Alabama.  They have several radio stations across Alabama as well as news and sports websites.  Each year they run a popular "Best of the Coosa Valley" campaign.  Check it out here.  The service they are using is SecondSteet (now known as "Upland"): https://uplandsoftware.com/secondstreet.  However, you can use your own tools to achieve the same results. Need a list of categories to start with? Download this PDF. Steps for creating your online "Best of" campaign: #1 Create a form for business submissions. #2 Create the “Best Of” page for the information, sponsors, and the call for submissions form. #3 Tabulate the submissions. #4 Create a voting form or polls. #5 Replace the submissions form with the voting form/polls on your “Best of” page. #6 Display the results & promote the winners. We go more in-depth with our steps at https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcast/creating-a-best-of-campaign. This kind of promotion will surely generate a large influx of visitors, so ensure you have a proper hosting provider to handle the load.  Need help with the first steps?  Reach out to us.
29:44
December 13, 2021
10 Mistakes to Avoid That Annoy Your Visitors
Any successful website, whether it’s for a radio station or not, needs to do all it can to keep visitors coming back regularly… multiple times per day is ideal, but at least once per day. Great content is the number one reason for visitors to return often. Let’s say you have great content covered whether it be local news, events, etc. There could be some mistakes you’re making that can leave a bad taste in your visitor’s mouth that forces them to leave and not return – ever. 1. Disregarding page load times. It’s important that all your content (most importantly your images) is optimized for mobile visitors first. Loading time is extremely important for any user experience. 2. A website that is not responsive to all devices. Most traffic is mobile traffic now – whether that be on an iPad, cell phone, or other mobile devices. So, your website should adapt to any device it can be viewed on. If it’s not, the visitor will simply go elsewhere. 3. Overlooking outdated text/content. If your site has “Copyright 2005” at the bottom of your last news post was a few months ago or more, then it’s past time to ensure the dates are correct and to add new content. 4. Overlooking spelling and grammar mistakes. Spelling and grammar mistakes will cause visitors to lose trust in your information. Install the free “Grammarly” plugin inside your browser to check your copy for mistakes or write your copy inside Word or other smart word processors first. 5. Not ensuring links open properly. For example, opening an internal link (on the same site) in a new tab is a no-no. This means the visitor can’t use the back button. Ensure that external links (links off your website) open in new tabs. This ensures the visitors can come back to your site without having to hit “back” several times. 6. Overusing stock photos. If the images you’re using in your pages and news posts look staged or from a free stock photo website, they will appear inauthentic and leave visitors with a sense of distrust. The best photos you can add to your radio station website are the ones you take yourself. 7. Showing “Under Construction” pages. Delete these right now. We highly advise against websites having pages posted that are simply not ready for prime time. Visitors simply do not return to under construction pages. It’s better to not have the pages active now and then create a buzz about them later once they are published. 8. Overusing banner ads. Generating revenue from your station website is crucial, but visitors don’t come looking for ads. They come for the content. If your content isn’t immediately consumable by the visitor, then expect your bounce rates to skyrocket. It’s better to keep visitors coming back and grow page numbers than have lots of ads on the page that fewer and fewer visitors will see over time. 9. Overusing popup boxes or modal windows. Everyone wants more subscribers or to ensure visitors know about the big contest happening right now. But try not to be so over the top with these. Ensure these appear every so often rather than every visit. 10. Auto-playing audio/video. Unexpected audio can annoy your visitors and potentially cause problems. The visitor might be visiting your site in a public setting or workplace and the unexpected sound could send them scampering to close the page very quickly. Examine your website often to see if you are guilty of any of these. There are more we could have covered, but those are for another time. Have an awesome week online making your radio website better. See you next time!
13:05
November 29, 2021
Free Website Speed Testing Tools
The speed of any website helps form the first impression for a visitor of that website and the business it represents. Developers and content creators strive hard to make a website aesthetically pleasing as well as functional by adding numerous features, content, and functionalities. However, if these features or the content are not adequately optimized it may adversely affect website speed. How fast a website loads is instrumental to anyone visiting the site. According to research, 47% of people don’t wait for more than two seconds for a web page to load. It is a human tendency to consider a faster website more reliable and professional. Inversely, a slow website can be annoying for users. Most users bounce immediately and prefer visiting other, faster websites to meet their requirements. Turning around that negative impression can be very challenging. Periodically, you should test your radio station website to see how well it’s performing. There are a number of amazing speed testing tools out there but we will have a look at four free tools here. Here are the tools that you should bookmark and test your website on occasion to see how well it’s performing.  (Links to these in the show notes.) 1. Google PageSpeed Insights (https://pagespeed.web.dev) 2. GTmetrix (https://gtmetrix.com) 3. Pingdom (https://tools.pingdom.com) 4. Fast or Slow (https://www.fastorslow.com) Keep in mind that the scoring on each of these tools varies for a number of reasons, so you may get a great score in one tool and not so good on another. That doesn’t mean one test service is better than another. The key is to apply the advice they provide to give a better experience to your visitors. In most tests we’ve seen on active radio station homepages, large images played the biggest part in negative scoring. Simply optimizing your images to the smallest file size has shown significant increases in scoring. If your images are optimized the best they can be and you’re still receiving low scores, then look at your overall page size. Can the homepage be less cluttered? Could you replace a multiple image slider with a single call to action? When de-cluttering, weigh your options on what is really needed. Remember that a slow-loading website could be the reason visitors are not returning as often as you need them to. And that can affect your digital revenue. If your homepage is optimized and de-cluttered and you are still receiving low scores, then it’s likely your code or the host server that’s the issue. That means it’s time to speak with your website developer or hosting provider to see what can be improved. We’ve seen optimized websites run slowly on a poor website host or a low-cost shared hosting plan. And I should mention that you can perform the same tests on your competition as well. Hopefully, you will bookmark these tools and test your radio station website often to see how it’s performing. Best wishes for high scores every time. Need help with your radio station website? Reach out to us at skyrocketradio.com.
09:49
November 22, 2021
Are Visitors Reading Your Content?
You can spend a lot of time creating content so that your listeners and website visitor stay informed. This great content helps with search engine optimization as well. But what if there were evidence that many of your visitors are not finishing the articles you publish? Would you still take the time to create extensive news articles and blog content and if so, would you feel bad about dedicating large amounts of resources to that content that you knew wasn’t being read? A few years ago, Chartbeat and Slate.com published a research piece that analyzed how much people actually read through entire articles as well as some of the other actions they take before leaving your site. Here’s what their research showed… 10 Percent of Readers Won’t Scroll at all: While data shows that most readers scroll through about 60 percent of articles, as much as 10 percent are not scrolling at all. This data does not include people who bounce (get to the page and immediately leave). These people spend a very small amount of time reading the first few sentences to get the gist without scrolling. Only 60 Percent of Articles are read by most people: There is a good chance that only 60 percent of your articles are getting read to the median scroll depth. This indicates that readers are not staying interested in articles long enough to get the meat and potatoes or the conclusion.  Even people who don’t finish articles are sharing them socially: The Chartbeat data examined the percentage of people who scrolled through the article against the overall amount of tweets to those articles and found that people are sharing articles even before they finish reading them. Chartbeat’s data cannot tell the relationship between when the articles were shared (retweeted) compared to where exactly on the page visitors were but was able to show evidence that many people were sharing before they got close to the end of articles.  65.7 percent of readers spend time below-the-fold: The “fold” is the bottom of the page once it’s loaded. Think of the place where you have to scroll any to see it. Chartbeat says that higher-quality content causes people to scroll further, indicating that all is not lost for quality content producers. The takeaways: The data in this research shows some very sad and yet some very promising information on how users engage with our content.  We lose 10 percent of visitors before they have any time to interact with our content and the majority of readers, 60 percent, only have the capacity to make it to the median length of our content.  It was revealed that a lot of readers see the majority of content on photos and videos indicating that these visual elements are very helpful content pieces and should be used aggressively. In other words, have a good photo to go with every article.   Do a little research of your own with Facebook and Google Analytics to see what content works better for your audience and try to do more of that. Have a great week making your radio station website better!  Reach out to us if you need help at https://www.skyrocketradio.com.
07:05
November 15, 2021
Defining Your Radio Station Website Goals
Before you sit down to make your list of website goals, you need to know why your site exists. Please don’t say, “because everyone including my competitor does” or “for better branding”. Neither of those is the proper response. What action do you want your website visitors to take? What do you want them to do or know once they’ve left your website? Do you want them to…? - Give you their contact information? - Be converted in some way? - Be informed? - Click on client advertising? - Stream the station. Specific visitors may have completed all of these by giving you their information, signing up for your newsletter, listening to the station, etc. So, now what is the purpose of your website? Retaining them by getting them to return on a regular basis. What ongoing website goals should you set? 1) Increasing traffic. Work to increase your monthly visitors on a consistent basis. 2) Generating more content. Fresh content simply improves traffic. 3) Decreasing your bounce rate. “Bounce rate” is the percentage of people who leave your site after just going to one page. What do you have in place to ensure they do something else once they’ve consumed what got them there? 4) Raising your conversion rate. If you want visitors to signup for your newsletter, stream the station or fill out a form, then track those conversions and work to increase them month over month as well. 5) Increasing your e-mail subscribers. Email subscribers provide a great opportunity to keep your listeners informed and it’s a great opportunity for your advertisers as well as they can know what kind of customers you can offer them. 6) Increasing online advertisers. Every radio station website should be a money-maker in some way. A Digital Inventory List can help so that everyone knows what is available. 7) Increasing social shares and mentions. The more you can appear in social circles will ultimately mean more traffic to your website and increase the possibility of getting a visitor to do what you want them to. 8) Making your website more accessible. Accessibility is incredibly important for your website as it allows those with hearing impairments, vision impairments, and those who have difficulty using a mouse to easily use your website. Ensure descriptive and relevant ALT tags are added to all your images to help screen readers read them.  Use descriptive links that tell people what they’re clicking on, rather than generic text like “read more.” There are lots of other measurable stats that we could mention working on as goals but try to limit your primary goals to the things that directly impact the station's bottom line. It’s all about increasing the awareness of your radio station, making more revenue from digital sales, and attaining better visitor data. Having everyone on board and on the same page is CRUCIAL: Everybody… from the digital content person to the air talent to the programming and sales team… all the way to the General Manager/Owner. Everyone should know the purpose and the importance of the goals set for your radio station website. Have you noticed that everyone has lost interest in the station website? If your on-air team isn’t promoting it and your sales department isn’t selling it is because there’s no definitive direction.  If you haven’t taken the time to explicitly define the goals of your station website, then get the appropriate personnel together and do this right away. Follow up on this strategy each week with a meeting specifically focused on the website where you can review analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. Please reach out to us at skyrocketradio.com if we can help you.
12:38
November 08, 2021
Seven Reasons Why You Need a Market/Corporate Website
Each week we explain ways to make your radio station website more appealing to listeners, but what are you doing online to attract more advertisers?  How are they finding out about all the opportunities that your radio station has that could benefit them?  This week we’ll talk about why your station or group of stations should have an additional dedicated corporate/group website. Having a website has become so “normal” that advertisers and the public simply expects all companies to have a website no matter what business they are in.  Being active on social media is great, but it’s very hard to close a sale there.  You need to have a website where you can send people to that are looking to advertise.   Sure, you could have a page on your website that does this, but how much detail can you fit on one or two pages? Can you really fit in all the advertising opportunities, how it’s involved with the community, events that it’s a part of regularly, and possibly a showcase of your best creative work? Think about it, when you need information about something probably the first thing you will do is search for it on Google.  (Everyone does this.)  Will your station appear within those results if a new business owner searches for “advertising in (your city)”? 1. Competitive Edge: With more and more stations increasing their web presence, your station/group will be more likely to lose business to your competitor because you’ve failed to properly represent yourself. 2. Increased Awareness: A website makes it easy for advertisers to learn more about your station(s) at their own pace.  3. Instill Confidence: Providing free/useful information is a great way to instill confidence in your clients because it positions you and your team as community thought leaders and forward thinkers. A great way to give away this information is with a blog. 4. Increased Hours of Operation: Your corporate/group website is available to the world 24/7/365. This makes it possible for your advertisers to contact you outside of your normal business hours – when they are thinking about new advertising possibilities.  5. Reduced Costs: Have you ever tried designing and printing flyers for an upcoming sales event? Almost any printed item can be converted to a web page and distributed by e-mail at far less cost and time than any other medium. 6. Enhances Company Image: A corporate/group website can help you to establish a credible, professional image, instilling a level of trust with your advertisers and their purchasing confidence will follow.  7. Better Customer Service: Does your staff spend a lot of time on the phone answering questions from advertisers? Do they keep answering the same questions and sending out the same material?  Reduce the time and costs associated with these repetitive tasks by having frequently asked information on your website. Your radio station website is created to connect with and inform your listeners. A corporate/group website is created to connect with current advertisers and convert new ones. Could you include all of this information on a page within your radio station website? Absolutely, but we believe that a website fully focused on generating more sales is the better play. So, if you don’t have a corporate/group website, then it’s something to consider.
12:34
November 01, 2021
Breaking Up with Your Home Page Slider
The homepage slider. They’re sometimes called “carousels” or “slide shows“. They once ruled the web because people were captivated by something moving on the page. Over time though, and especially in recent years, they’ve become a disappointing user experience.  Here are 5 reasons why you end the relationship with your huge homepage slider. 1. Sliders Contribute to Lost Traffic: Sliders slow download times because they often use multiple large images, which quickly eat up bandwidth. Websites lose traffic when it takes a significant amount of time to load content. That few milliseconds of slowness in loading several large images have been proven to contribute to a higher bounce rate. “Bounce rate” is the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking any action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase. 2. Sliders can become invisible to your visitors. Banner blindness is when people subconsciously ignore content that resembles an advertisement. When users visit a website, they have a particular objective in mind (like reading more about a news story they heard on the radio or registering for a contest) and anything resembling an advertisement gets passed over – both visually and perceptually. 3. Sliders have horrible click rates: Visitors simply do not get clicked. This means they are not effective in moving visitors around your website and getting visitors to do what you want them to.  A study by The University of Notre Dame showed a click-through rate of barely 1% on sliders. 84% of those clicks were on the first item in the rotation. 4. Sliders can harm your SEO efforts: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing website traffic and exposure to your brand through proper search engine results. Contributing factors include: - Slow site speeds because of multiple large image downloads. Slow-loading websites get pushed down in search results while faster loading sites get preference. - Sometimes the headings in the slides are H1 (heading) tags. This creates problems for search engine rankings because the content isn’t following the correct hierarchy for HTML. - Some older sliders could possibly be flash-based and therefore impossible for search engines and some modern browsers (mainly mobile) to read. 5. Sliders can overwhelm visitors and turn away certain audiences: Some sliders move so quickly that people can’t read the full message and take any action on the information.  Sliders are not accessible to all audiences. Not only do people with vision impairments miss slider navigation but some sliders can malfunction within specific browsers that disabled persons use to navigate the web. So, what are some slider alternatives?  Instead of showcasing multiple messages in a slider, narrow down the single most important one, or display several smaller static messages stacked in columns or rows. Small images load faster, and you still get the multiple messages across that you’re wanting to. Just don’t fill the page with every option you can think of (overwhelming). We’ve seen some radio stations use video. Just be sure they are short and focused with one clear message. We continue to see sliders filled with large static images of every daypart show. Folks, studies have clearly shown that sliders are doing the opposite of what you intend them for. You think they are promoting your shows. They’re not. They are simply distracting users from valuable content they come to the website for. There are so many reasons to get rid of sliders. I hope this podcast helps you start a journey to a slider-less website.
13:39
October 25, 2021
Building Traffic with Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is a powerful tool for building traffic, earning links, and improving rankings. If you want to create a successful website, it should be part of your content strategy. What Is Evergreen Content? The term “evergreen” comes from the world of plants. It describes those plants that don’t lose their leaves with the seasons and instead stay green all year round. That is also what evergreen content is: content pieces that continue to be relevant long past their publication date, regardless of what’s happening in the world. While all content stays around, the evergreen variety stays on top of search results for months, years, even decades. How do they do that? By revolving around topics that people are always interested in, such as: vacation hotspots, how to train your dog, recipes, etc. Non-evergreen topics would be like local or celebrity news, seasonal/holiday content, the latest iPhone release, etc. Basically, evergreen topics are perpetually important while non-evergreen topics only have temporary significance and will go away. A well-running radio station website will have lots of relevant content to keep bringing in visitors. An article that gets lots of attention one day can be completely out of date a week later. This makes it much harder to build sustainable traffic. If you don’t continually publish new stuff, your stream of visitors tapers off. Write an evergreen piece of content once and it will continue to bring in traffic without you having to do much of anything. Sure, you might have to update it here and there if new information comes out, but the bulk of the article will always be relevant and helpful to readers – who continue to look for, share, and link to it. Here are some tips for creating evergreen content 1. Choose your topics and make sure they qualify. Brainstorm topics and enter them into keyword research tools like Google Trends to get variations. 2. Create content that’s in line with your station brand. If you’re a top 40 station, with a younger audience, you’re not going to post articles on your website about the places to get the best senior citizen deals. Write for your station audience. 3. Avoid non-evergreen angles and dating your content. 4. Update your content occasionally, if necessary. Here are some types of evergreen content 1. Tutorials and “How to” Guides. 2. Problem-solving. 3. Lists. Whether you like list posts or not, there is a lot of data that proves that they simply perform better.  There was a study of headline preferences. Numbered headlines came out on top — way on top. These have been ideas for your radio station listeners on your website. You could also fill a group or market-type website with evergreen content that targets advertisers. Visit https://www.markettheme.net for a reference. - 5 things to ask your radio advertising rep about. - How to craft the best radio ad. - Top 3 things to mention in order to get more Tiktok video likes. - How to create evergreen content for your website. I hope you can see that evergreen content has the ability to consistently bring in traffic over long periods of time. It takes some more thinking and preparation to figure out, however, in the long run, the work that you need to put in results in better performance and less maintenance over time. Now you know what goes into creating evergreen content. Now it’s just a matter of putting it into practice and making it a part of your content strategy.
12:40
October 18, 2021
Why Is my radio station website not getting any traffic or sales?
I recently had a conversation with a local sales manager who works for a national group in a medium-sized market and asked him how they were doing at selling their station websites. I was blown away by his response, “We don’t unless someone asks about it – which is never.” When I asked why he said that there, "wasn’t much local content and really no reason to focus on the website". And then most that was done at the corporate level. I was just in awe.  But, he was correct.  The website wasn't much to look at, which was surprising for a larger group.  Here are some reasons why your site may not be growing visitors or getting enough sales.   Your content is not fresh: Would you buy a newspaper or magazine ad if the cover only changed every couple of months? Or never? Gosh, I hope not. Good/fresh content is so important for both visitors and advertisers.  Besides search engines, let’s not forget about the indirect influence of social media on rankings and traffic. Great content is more likely to be shared on social media channels and that means more clicks to your website. That’s why sharing your website content on social media is more important than simply posting it there. You’re not promoting your site and/or its content: If you’re not hammering the benefits of your website on-air, the smart advertiser will know that you’re not very interested in promoting it (or their purchased ad on it).  Radio is the most proven form of advertising, so why not promote the website content as often as possible on-air? Your salespeople are not trained to sell the website: Show them how important and relevant the station website is to you. If it is not just as important as the on-air signal, then this is where you can start. Emphasizing digital assets is a must-have mentality for any radio station that wants to survive moving forward.  Do the people who are tasked with selling your website know every opportunity that exists and what each location costs? Therefore, a Digital Inventory List is so important. You’re not tracking the effectiveness of your website: If you’re producing good content and promoting it well, over time you will learn what works well and what doesn’t. If you’re not tracking the effectiveness of your content, then you miss out on this opportunity. Once you can see a trend, your content producers will have a guideline to go by and produce more of what the audience wants. For some it’s local news, for others event calendar and so on. You have too many links away from your website: Radio stations that display RSS feeds that lead to other websites is one of our biggest pet peeves. We understand every station wants format news on their website. However, it’s important to ask yourself if the links away from your site, and the advertisers you sell to be on it, are worth it. What’s most likely to happen, the visitor will bookmark their content site and go straight there next time bypassing your site altogether. Your website doesn’t perform well: Online visitors are a demanding bunch and have high expectations of the websites they visit. Here is a list of the things they will expect: - Your site loads quickly. - Visitors can find what they want easily. - Visitors can read the site easily, no matter what device they are using. - Your website is fresh and attractive. Conclusion: Having more visitors and advertisers for your station website ultimately comes down to how involved the management team is with it.  Hopefully, these steps bring more visitors and revenue your way.
16:31
October 11, 2021
How Image Meta Data Helps SEO and Your Visitors
It’s probably safe to say that when most people upload images to their station website, they neglect adding additional meta information they should. We’re talking about the ALT TAG, DESCRIPTION TAG and the CAPTION. Most of the time these three meta fields will NOT appear on the frontend of your website, but if you DO add them, it can help your website grow and help a special segment of your visitors. Title: In this episode, I failed to mention the title tag.  The title is the only attachment detail required by WordPress. This defaults to the name of the file but should always be changed to a descriptive title of the image. It's important to always change this because you can also use the title to search for images within your media archive. ALT Tag: If I had just one search engine optimization tip to give, it would be to add alt tags to every images. As everything has been becoming more visual, search engines are putting more value on these tags than other copy in your post or page. Alt tags also help search engines categorize images in their image search, which can help your pages and posts to show up in more results. Description: An image description tag gives more details than alt text and allows someone to learn more about what is in an image. ALT text gives the user the most important information while image descriptions provide further detail. The description field can hold as much information as you want. It doesn’t have to be short. It can be like the ALT text, but longer and can contain keywords, or even metadata from your camera on how you took the photo, copyright etc. You can even add links in the description field. Caption: The caption field is easy to understand. Unlike the ALT text or description, the caption does not have to closely mirror what the image shows. Some people use image captions for describing the image. Think a condensed one-sentence version of the image description. You’ve probably seen this in print newspapers and magazines that lists the names of the people in an image left to right. Other people use the caption field to display the image copyright information and that’s what I suggest you do on your radio station website. No matter where you get your images from, they should have the name of the image copyright holder. If someone on your team took the image, place their name or the station’s name here. If you purchased the image from an online service, paste in the service name. (i.e., iStock photo, Getty Images, etc.) This can protect you down the road. If there ever is any claim to the image, you’ll know who the image belongs to. Benefiting your Visitors: So, in explaining these three image meta fields, I’ve shown how adding ALT tags, descriptions and captions can benefit your website. How does it help your visitors? People with vision impairments such as low vision and blindness may use screen readers to access the internet, or just have trouble distinguishing images. Screen readers will read the alt text out loud, as well as image descriptions, depending on what settings the user has enabled. Alt text and image descriptions can provide essential information such as text, links, and image details. Read up on the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA) or “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” (WCAG) Having image meta for the visually impaired is especially important if you are selling something on your website. If you don’t offer these tags, you can be tagged for alienating a segment of the population and that can become a legal issue. Hopefully, this episode will motivate you to populate these fields moving forward.
12:30
October 04, 2021
Generating Revenue from Display Ad Networks
Today we’re talking about Display Ad Networks that can help you generate passive income you’re your radio station website. Ideally, you have a team of sellers that are excited to sell your website on the street, but if you have great content to offer and having trouble in that department, these Ad Networks can help your website generate revenue while your team gets up to speed. Don’t expect making a lot of money from Ad Networks. You’ll likely never get the money you would receive selling the ad spaces yourself. These can serve to supplement the revenue you’re already generating. What Are Ad Networks? For all intents and purposes, ad networks work as a mediator to introduce the right impression to the right buyer.  Inside an ad network, you’re either an advertiser looking to advertise on a wide network of websites or you’re a publisher wanting those ads on your site to generate revenue. Ad networks generally payout in one of two ways... CPM or CPC. CPM - Cost Per Thousand Impressions CPC - Cost Per Click Nothing needs to be sold on the website they're going to. You don't make a commission or anything like that. Very simply, you get paid with a click or a view. Different ad networks have different parameters and most payout when either event happens. Content is Crucial! Most of the best ad networks only cater to big traffic websites. Think 500K visitors per day big. Don’t let that discourage you though. There are plenty of ad networks you can plug into some with no minimum visitors BUT getting these networks to pay off depends on content – frequently updated content that attracts visitors on a daily basis. If your website has little or no visitors and the plan is to keep things that way, then an ad network isn’t going to help. These networks pay for traffic. And that won’t happen without fresh content. Whenever we talk about monetizing websites, the first name that pops up in mind is Google AdSense.  It is, after all, the world’s largest ad network. There’s lots of training on Youtube to get the most out of Adsense. We’ve seen a few sites generate hundreds of dollars per month from Google Adsense. There might be some initial drawbacks though. - Your website must be well established. Adsense will deny new websites. - Your website must be updated regularly with fresh content, meaning that you could be dropped from the platform for importing content. In this episode, we’ll run down five alternative banner ad networks to Google Adsense. This isn’t a top-five list, but it’s five networks that we’ve found with no minimum traffic requirements, and they should let you get started generating revenue as soon as possible. #1 Media.net #2 Adcash #3 PropellerAds #4 HillTopAds #5 AdMaven These five alternatives to Adsense are just the tip of the iceberg. Do a search for “Best Ad Networks for Publishers” and you’ll find hundreds more. That’s great because it means that every publisher can find their ideal solution. Just pay close attention to their requirements. Some do not allow imported content. Some specify requiring a minimum of unique visitors per day, etc. The right ad network can help your radio station monetize your content and fill in the holes left open by your sales team. Again, it all starts with content and visitors. I hope these tips help you. If they do, we’d love to hear about it. Reach out to us at skyrocketradio.com.
12:59
September 27, 2021
Getting More Visitors with Search Engine Optimization
The best way to ensure your station website pages and posts are found by people using search engines is by utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. SEO covers a wide range of strategies and activities based on what we know about how search engines determine their rankings. Here are some 10 beginner-friendly ways to give your site a push-up in the search rankings. 1. Build Your Content Around Keywords 2. Use Clean SEO-Friendly Permalinks 3. Incorporate Useful Internal and External Links 4. Optimize Your Images 5. Write Long-Form Content When Possible 6. Add New Posts Frequently 7. Avoid Duplicate Content 8. Share Your Articles with Everybody You Can 9. Conduct Regular SEO Audits 10. Delete Old Content SeoSiteCheckup is a free tool that has over 50 checks to let you basically know how you’re doing. Hubspot CRM recently deleted 3000 posts from their blog and their SEO improved dramatically. Here's what they did to improve their SEO. Get more in-depth show notes at https://www.skyrocketradio.com/podcast. 
20:21
September 20, 2021
Creating Effective Banner Ads for Your Clients
Banner ads are one of the best forms of marketing used in today’s online world. All companies use them in one form or another because they’re an affordable, measurable, and effective way to increase brand awareness. Need a free Photoshop alternative?  Try https://pixlr.com/editor/. Every day we are tasked with taking client information and turning that into effective radio campaigns. We should put just as much effort into their banner ad creative.  Here are some tips and general guidelines for designing effective banner ads. Stick to Standard Banner Ad Sizes:  Research has shown that wider ad sizes tend to outperform their taller counterparts.  Much of this may have to do with placement above the scroll and because it is more comfortable to read from left to right, rather than stacked text. Here are the sizes you should consider first: 728 pixels by 90 pixels leaderboard 300 by 250 medium rectangle 300 by 600 half-page 320 by 50 mobile banner Maintain the Essentials: Every banner ad needs three elements: Branding, message, and encouragement to click. The challenge is that you don’t have much room for this but all three of these elements are essential. Use Only One Message Per Ad: Banner ads should never be a lengthy rotation of messages. Animated gifs can be used to grab focus but should NOT be used for displaying endless ad copy. Nobody but you and the client will read it all. If a single static ad doesn’t fully get across the essentials mentioned above, try offering the client multiple ads that rotate separately. Include a Great Call to Action: The goal of a banner ad is to get clicked. A good call to action does this. What are users supposed to do next and what’s the payoff? Make sure the ad design is consistent with the client’s branding: Make sure it looks consistent with the client’s branding and the landing page it links to so that their potential customers don’t get confused. Include a Button: Easy-to-follow instructions are vital to most consumers. It does not have to be fancy.  But a simple “Shop Now” or “Click to Win” button can go a long way to getting users to make the switch from viewer to conversion. Choose Fonts Wisely: The smaller the space, the more important fonts become. Make the most of the space provided with strong typefaces that are easy to read. Use imagery well, and only when you need it: Choose relevant images, graphics or photos that enhance your message and that are directly related to your client’s product. NEVER EVER GRAB AN IMAGE FROM A GOOGLE SEARCH!! If you or the client didn’t take the photo, consider it just as off-limits as including a licensed song in a radio ad. The same copyright laws apply. Save Banner Ads Properly: Optimize your images for the smallest file size possible. The target file size should be around 30kb or LESS, depending on the size of the ad. Keep in mind that animated GIFs can get very large depending on the animation involved. Make sure to save your banners in a format that works across the web. Common file types for banner ads include PNG and JPG for static displays and GIF for animation. Newer file types like SVG and WebP are becoming more widely accepted as well with much smaller file sizes. Link Appropriately: If your client has a well-thought-out call to action on their banner ad, ensure that it links directly to that action item and not just their homepage. The user should not have to find the action item themselves from the client homepage. Using these banner ad tips in an effective way will help your clients get the results they came to you for. Good luck!
16:28
September 13, 2021
10 Tips for Successfully Re-Launching a New Website
An old/outdated website sends a message that you aren’t up on the latest trends. There comes a time when every radio station needs to revamp and re-launch for better impact. For example, older websites might not be optimized for speed. You can’t afford to keep a bulky, outdated website that doesn’t look great or load fast on mobile devices. The general recommendation is that you redesign any website every 2–3 years.  Much like fashion, web design has trends, and things can just start to look … old or retro. Relaunching your site might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are some simple rules of thumb you can follow that will make your re-launch not only easy but successful. 1. Benchmarks: Before you launch your website redesign, be sure to know your site’s traffic, bounce rate, average time on site, and other stats so you have an accurate picture of how successful — or unsuccessful — your re-launch will be. 2. Goals: Take a look at your competitors.  Do some research through sites like SEORush.com to know what keywords other stations near you are ranking for (like local sports, weather, news, online listening, etc) as well as their most visited pages. 3. Research/Revamp Your Content: You can’t just set it and forget it on any website. You’ll need to update, modify and add new content regularly to stay relevant. - What do we want visitors to do when they visit? Lose the slider in favor of call-to-action? - Fresh look at what on-air content can be re-purposed for online? - Importing new external content? - Add audio/video components? Podcasting? 4. Make a plan for SEO: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps people find your website using keywords through Google, Bing and Yahoo! searches. If you provide local news of any kind, you want that to be visible when search for things in your area (events, news, etc). 5. Give Your Current Visitors and Advertisers a Heads-Up: If you have lots of traffic, let your visitors know that you are revamping your website. Send a short note to your mailing list and social media followers. Let them know you are in the process of redesigning and when they can expect to see the new look. Also, inform your website advertisers in case banner ads need to be resized or updated. This is a great time to sell new upcoming features that might be added or offer special incentives to be included on the site during the major re-launch promotion. 6. Create a Digital Inventory List: Make a plan for selling the new website and where banner ads and special sponsorships will be located and how much those placements will be so that sellers have everything need on day one. 7. Test Different Browsers: Ideally, just before you launch your new site, you should test how the site performs across different browsers and screen sizes. There are many services online that allow you to do this for free or a small fee, such as BrowserStack and Browserling.  8. Plan for launch promotion: If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. So, plan how you and your talent will promote the re-launch on-air, on social, e-mail blasts, etc. This will be a great time to renew your imaging and sweepers as well. 9. Check/Update Your Branding: How does the look of your new website stack up to your branding on other platforms?  The colors and designs should repeat no matter where they are.  10. Listen to Your Site Visitors: Once you re-launch your site, take the time to gather feedback from your visitors and advertisers. Relaunching your station website is an important marketing tactic when you’re looking to keep your content fresh, exciting, and new.
14:01
September 06, 2021
Tips for Air Talent Pages
Being a radio personality is much different than it was just 10 years ago. In the past, the hardest part of your day was the hour or two of show prep.  But today you need to do much more before, during, and AFTER to have a successful show.  These tips apply no matter what market size you're in. 1. Use Digital Tools for Show Prep Use an RSS Reader that pulls content from a combination of both local and national websites.  You can also research and find a good social media aggregator as well so that you would see every post your artists made rather than a picked few. (Newsflow for Windows, Feedly.com) 2. Blogging When I was doing a daily on-air show, blogging was in its infancy. We were forced to blog. Nobody saw the reasoning or importance, so it was hated by all.  That’s changed for me significantly because I’ve seen how blogging can increase ratings for your show. It shows that you're a “personality” that is actively engaged in your audience and community and not a voice-tracked robot. So, make your blog about things that interest YOU. Give your opinion on local and national topics (without crossing lines). Become the go-to person for something like local restaurants, pet adoption, movies, or local music. Blogs receiving lots of online engagement will bring the station more online revenue so be sure to ask if incentives are offered for over-performing blog pages and page sponsorships. We've written several articles on getting started in blogging and the importance of radio personality blogging. 3. Post to Social Media Channels Daily Social media posting has become a part of the on-air personality job description and deservedly so.  Social media is marketing, and you should want to market your show. I was told by a colleague early in my career to say my name in every break because nobody else at the radio station would promote me as well. Post on the station’s social media channels as well as your own for your followers. Look into a service like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts in advance or on different channels at different times. Be sure to mix up the content that you are posting. Copy/pasting today's celebrity birthday list is NOT good content. Never post something directly to social without a link back to your website/show page. 4. Reply to Social Media Posts One of the biggest things that set social media moguls apart from the rest is engagement. Don't just think of social media as a place to broadcast your station or show messages. The key is engaging your followers. That means saying "thanks for the follow or retweet", agreeing or disagreeing with topics, etc. 5. Video Content If you want to be an elite radio personality that really takes their show to the next level, become a regular video blogger.  Basically, you are taking content from your show, blog or some other topic and talking about it in front of a camera.  You'll do this on Youtube or Facebook LIVE or/and other video sharing platform (Twitch, Instagram, etc). We've given you five ways to take your radio show to the next level online.  Use these in conjunction with each other. Research your topic with RSS feeds, write a blog about it and include a video, send notices to social media with links back to the blog.  Then, ask for feedback and respond to them. The more times you can do this in your show the better. Test out content to see what works best for your audience and do more of that!
14:28
August 30, 2021
Does Your Station Have A Digital Inventory List?
Knowing there are so many options, your agency and smart local clients will ask, “What do you have available?” Unfortunately, many sellers will not have a clear answer. A radio station website alone can provide many of the same opportunities as your radio station, but as you grow your website and other digital assets, there are oh so many more opportunities to sell. “Inventory” is the total amount of space that you have available for advertisements at any given time. If you operate a radio station, surely your sales manager maintains an inventory list like this showing all available commercials in each hour/daypart as well as sponsorships and other on-air features that might be open for clients to purchase. Start with an Excel spreadsheet. Here’s what your list should include… Regular Banner Ad Positions This list will include all banner ad positions on the homepage as well as all subpages where the ad-block may be different. Make notes of each location and the size. You may also want to add the cost of ads that will be in each location so that your sellers will have a baseline to negotiate with.  Be sure to note every position on your website and set a maximum number of available ad spots that can be sold for each one. Post/Page Feature Sponsorships For example, a storm shelter client may wish to only sponsor the top position on the weather page. Ideally, a sponsorship rate should be more than the regular “run of site” rate. Other examples of what to include here would be... - School/Weather Closings - Local Sports Team Page - Obituaries - Event Calendar - Local Sports Category - Daily Poll Sponsor - Contest sponsor - Pet of the Day, ____ of the Day. Premium Sponsorships These can be “out of the box” ways to give your clients exposure outside the typical banner ad space/sponsorship. A “page takeover” would be a good example of a premium sponsorship. In a page takeover, one client rules every position on the page. You can choose or even upsell changing the background image for them on this page to match their message. Streaming/Social Media/Podcasts/E-Mail If your station provides Facebook mentions for a fee, then your digital inventory list should also include the pricing and availability of these as well. There are so many opportunities using social that won’t violate the platform's terms of service. Then you have your “Listen Live” or Podcasts sponsor. This might be a simple text link but include a custom “Listen Live” image and/or banner ad within the stream player. Include what the client gets in the form of simple links or pre/post-roll commercials. Here are some other opportunities to have a client’s name attached to... - E-Mail Blasts - SMS Blasts - Alexa, Google and Siri voice skills? Those can come with pre-rolls as well. - Youtube client tours by your talent Don’t try to do everything we’ve mentioned here. Start with the basics and expand as your team is comfortable.  To get you started, we’ve created a sample Excel Spreadsheet that shows the avails a typical website might have on any given day. We’ve included what each ad inside the location might cost, so the salesperson knows how much to ask for ads in each location. Get the Excel Spreadsheet Have something to show clients when they ask what opportunities are available on your radio station website. And ensure that your salespeople are communicating digital’s true value to advertisers.  Never give your digital assets away or diminish their value.  
16:01
August 23, 2021
Finding and Using Legal Photographs Online
Copyright laws are getting stricter and the means photographers and agencies have to find their images is getting much better. Don’t think you’ll ever get caught. Stay on top of it. The best photos you can post are the ones you take locally. Take a day or two and devote time to building a local repository of local images. Schools, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, post offices, city buildings, police/fire stations, courthouses, stadiums, parks, major intersections, etc. Don’t wait until you need them. Never ever use images from a search result - regardless if it says "labeled for re-use." What are “royalty-free images”? Royalty-free images aren’t necessarily free. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a one-time fee to obtain the rights to use the image. Then you can use it as many times as you like. The “free” in “royalty-free” only means that you do not have to pay royalties to the owner of the image every time you use it. If you would rather pay for every photo you use, there are a few dozen sites to choose from including Shutterstock (https://www.shutterstock.com), Adobe Stock, iStock, Depositphotos, and Getty Images. You may only want to use one of these services for artist or concert photos. If an artist is coming to town, typically labels will provide specific images for promotional use, but restrict that image for any other use. ~40 artist images may work years for you refreshing them only as needed. Our Top Four FREE Image Sources. At the publish time of this podcast, you can download and use any/all images from these websites for free without giving any mention of the website or photographer, BUT you are not able to resell the images or sell something that includes the image. Unsplash, Pexels IMPORTANT: Give credit on every image you don’t take, regardless! If you are using WordPress, use the “Caption” meta field of the image to paste this information into. You never know when you will be asked for proof. Are you importing RSS feeds from outside sources? If images are contained inside those feeds, make sure that that you have specific rights to display them. If you are unsure that you have those rights, then do not import the feeds. (Stop now and delete every post you have imported.) Beware of e-mail scams claiming image copyright infringement Read this for details: https://www.skyrocketradio.com/business/phishing-scam-image-copyright. Learn about PicRights.com: https://copyright-demand-letter.com/picrights-ltd-copyright-letters-making-noise-in-the-us. The main takeaway from this episode is to use photographs that you or your team have taken.  When you do use any stock photography, credit the source no matter if they require it or not.  And, have a sharp eye when it comes to online scams.   Have a great week making your radio website better.
21:59
August 16, 2021
Incorporating Local Sports Content & Building New Brands
Local sports programming can be a huge revenue generator. Airing play-by-plays on Friday nights is nothing new, but a growing number of stations are using apps and websites to expand their coverage. Adding a digital component isn’t something new. Some early-adopting radio stations have built year-round online revenue generators just providing local sports content on their station websites. Some have even created new brands outside the station because the demand is so great. It just depends on your market. Earlier this year Townsquare Media Cheyenne/Laramie, Wyoming acquired the local sports website 7220Sports.com. This website, formed by a fan, dedicated its news coverage to the University of Wyoming Athletics.  7220Sports.com added to the cluster’s high school sports website WyoPreps.com and their news website LaramieLive.com. The majority of the content on these sites comes from their sports and news radio stations. In Springfield, IL, Neuhoff Media invested in digital back in 2015 to deliver on local high school sports using highlight packages and original features on athletes and teams. The company’s Channel1450.com—named for its sister radio station, “Sports Radio 1450” WFMB—is a standalone website dedicated to area prep sports.  By nature of its digital format, the staff isn’t constrained by linear broadcast schedules, and producers can post content at any time. On Friday nights during football season, for instance, the staff often works until 2 a.m. producing highlight packages. Social media is a key component for Chanel1450.com. The staff posts relentlessly to its Facebook page and Twitter feed, and Kerker says about 94% of traffic comes directly from this activity.   KEY STEP: Don’t post content that can be fully consumed on social. Use social to drive traffic back to the website where advertisers are. For local advertisers, these sports websites offer a new avenue to reach potential customers, and the site’s demographics might reveal some surprises. For Channel1450, along with the male demos typically associated with sports, adult women—the so-called “soccer moms”—are also frequent visitors. These kinds of websites are popping up all around the country and generating revenue from the content. OUR GUEST: Michael Brannon: Executive Vice President, RadioAlabama https://www.radioalabamasports.net https://www.radioalabama.net You don’t need to have a dedicated sports website to start with. Start by adding any local sports to your radio station website, promote it well and see if your audience buys in. If the data suggests that most visitors are hitting your sports content, then it may be time to create another brand that you use separately. Don’t wait too late and have someone else beat you to it!!! Need help taking the next step with your radio station website?  Visit https://www.skyrocketradio.com.
27:46
August 09, 2021
Improving the Speed of Your Radio Station Website
Countless research papers and benchmarks prove that optimizing your website speed is one of the most affordable and highest ROI providing investments you can make in your radio station website. Why Speed is Important? Lightning-fast page load speed amplifies visitor engagement and retention. Every second delay in page load decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent, page views by 11 percent, and conversion rates by 7 percent according to a recent Aberdeen Group research study. It’s also important to note that Google now uses website speed as a ranking factor. What is Page Speed? Page speed is the length of time it takes a web page to be downloaded from the hosting server and displayed onto the requesting web browser. Page load time is the duration between clicking the link and displaying the entire content from the web page. How Slow is Too Slow? Most studies show that 1 in 4 visitors would abandon the website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. 46 percent of users don’t revisit poorly performing websites. Website owners have a mere 5 seconds to engage visitors before they consider leaving. 74 percent of users accessing the mobile site would leave if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. Strangely, visitors would rather spend excessive time browsing for information on a fast-loading website full of irrelevant information than waiting a few seconds for the right website to load. 1. Resize Your Images This is a must-have. Resize your images to exactly what is required on your website before uploading it to your page or post. Free Online Editor: https://www.pixlr.com/editor 2. Optimize Your Images The next step in speeding up your image-heavy website is to choose the right format and quality for every image on your website (think audio compression).  JPG, PNG and GIF are the most common image formats being used and are each suited for different use cases. There is another relatively new image format called WebP that combines the best of these image formats, is 30% smaller in size, and is supported on all modern browsers. Given the huge performance benefits, you should deliver your images in WebP format wherever possible.  Image Optimizing Test: https://www.skyrocketradio.com/business/5-ways-to-speed-up-your-radio-station-website. 3. Avoid Image Hotlinking Image hotlinking, also known as “inline linking” is the act of linking to an image on another person’s website, instead of loading the image on your own server. On the surface, this seems like an act that will save you server space and a lot of bandwidth, especially if you have a high-traffic site, but it can actually make your website really slow if the website that hosts the image you hotlinked is experiencing a downtime or is slow. 4. Minimize Your Ads Tempting as it may seem, selling too much real estate on your radio station website drastically degrades its performance. Too many ads or slow loading ads will drive bounce rates and many of those visitors will never return.  External ad services like Google Adsense mean that you’re calling an external source to supply the ad. The more calls you have, the more you wait and the higher the load is on your own server. 5. Use Caching when possible. When you visit a website there are certain elements that are stored in the cache, which acts as temporary storage. This means that the next time the user visits the site there will be less time spent rendering all of the on-page elements. This helps to shave time off your website’s loading speed.
15:17
August 02, 2021
Where to Get Content for Your Radio Station Website
RSS Feeds Limit the number of external links that take your visitors away from your visitors (and advertisers).  LOCAL content wins!  Give your visitors content they can't find anywhere else.  Not the stuff that can be found everywhere else. What content can you provide that isn’t provided anywhere else in your coverage area?  Here are some examples: High school sports scores, local agriculture news, events, local personality’s take on national news, “Minute with the Mayor”, City Hall Sessions, local mugshots/police report, local shopping directory, local restaurant menus, hunting/fishing guides, gardening tips/tricks, local music scene news and events, all local attractions with info and times, “Swap Shop” classifieds, obituaries, job openings (huge right now), local business/school closings. What need is your community missing?  Fill that need online in order to build traffic day after day.   INSIDE RADIO: Interview with Townsquare’s Bill Wilson this week about “Getting Big Results From Small Markets”.   “As many of the smaller markets where Townsquare operates have fallen prey to massive cutbacks by newspapers, creating so called “news deserts. Townsquare stepped in and filled the void with local content creation. The size of our audience, the lack of news and information serving these audiences” and what Wilson called a lack of sophisticated advertising solutions, especially on the digital side, created a major opportunity for the company.” Thanks to our guest, Breck Riley at https://www.breezynews.com.   Make a plan to start adding fresh content to your website on a consistent basis!
21:18
July 26, 2021
Adjusting Your Mindset and Programming Your Content
In this episode, we want you to adjust your mindset on how you view your station website.  Plus, we’re going to talk about the two very tip-top things you need to start making your website better. This podcast is sponsored by Skyrocket Radio but the information we provide each week will be universal. No matter if you use another service or if you create and maintain your website in-house, we hope this content will be beneficial to you. Adjust typical mindset. Adjust your mindset into thinking of the station website as another radio station that is simulcasting. The end goal is to make money with your website, just as you do your radio station. So, what makes listeners return to your radio station each day? Great music? Artist information? Local news? Contests? Events? Weather? Local sports scores? #1 Content Everything you do on-air should be online as well. This can be local event information, local news, format news, local sports information, etc.  Program your website just as you would your radio station. Your program director’s job is to adjust things on-air to keep the station fresh and make it so that listeners want to return. Think the same for your website. What can we do to keep visitors coming back tomorrow and the next day. Only import RSS Feeds to add flavor to your local content.  Chances are that visitors can find the content you're importing in dozens of other places.  And NEVER include RSS feeds that simply link back to the originator's website.  These 4-10 links back to a national or regional provider are simply reasons for your visitors to leave. Only your advertisers can pay for that ability. #2 Promote the CONTENT (not your website). - Because it’s all about increasing those page views (ratings). - Tease your content like you would an upcoming on-air feature. - Mention the website and a reason to visit often on-air – not only when you have to. - All links on social should tie back to the website. “Use the pages you rent to promote the pages you own.“ Tease it there and link back to the website. - Use your newsletter and mobile apps to remind visitors of new content. - Do everything you can to increase those page views because those are your ratings. CONTENT + PROMOTION = VISITORS = REVENUE!
13:29
July 18, 2021