2014 was an incredible year for online marketing. We saw the continued rise of content marketing, an increased demand for responsive, mobile-friendly websites, and the creation of new trends like native advertising. SEO had its ups and downs, thanks to several Google updates, and multiple new PPC features made it easier than ever to reach customers with paid advertising.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest trends — and who could blame you, if you’ve been busy running your business? — you may be wondering how you can catch up in the shortest amount of time possible. Do you need to scour the Internet for blog posts that seem like they offer good advice, or download a hundred PDFs that may or may not help you improve your marketing?
Nope. Here at WebFX, we’ve already done all the hard work for you. We’ve carefully curated a collection of a year’s worth of amazing, actionable content that you can use to improve your marketing, starting today. This collection of the year’s best content is split into seven categories, including SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and ecommerce. Each category includes a hand-picked selection of informative, helpful guides or articles that will help you learn ways to improve your online marketing.
Ready to start learning? Keep reading to see our collection of the year’s best content!
Table of Contents
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Web Design
Search Engine Optimization
From local SEO ideas to link building strategies, these articles and guides will give you all the knowledge you need to boost your website’s visibility in search, reach more potential customers, and ultimately earn more money online.
10 Steps a Local Business Can Take Today to Improve Search Rankings – by Eugen Oprea, Copyblogger
If you run a small business with a brick-and-mortar location, improving your visibility in Google is crucial. These actionable tips will give you everything you need to boost your rankings and bring more customers to your site – and your store.
Your Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet: Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird – by Marie Haynes, Moz
There’s been a lot of buzz about Google algorithm updates recently, especially with the recent refreshes to Panda and Penguin.
This in-depth article explains each algorithm in detail, which may help you understand what you should be doing to avoid incurring the wrath of the “Google zoo” on your site.
20 SEO Experts on Best Link Building Strategies that Don’t Require Content – by Rohit Palit, Ahrefs
Building links to your site can help improve your SEO immensely, but how can you acquire these valuable links if you’re short on content? This roundup of 20 experts provides you with some amazing ideas you can borrow for your own SEO campaigns.
12 Ways to Increase Traffic From Google Without Building Links – by Cyrus Shepard, Moz
Of course, if you’d like to avoid link building entirely, there are plenty of ways to get more traffic without it. Cyrus Shepard offers 12 ways that you can improve your site, boost your SEO, and get more traffic to your site without ever asking for a single link.
The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results – by Eric Enge, Search Engine Land
This interesting timeline of Google’s authorship functionality, from start to finish, will give you some insight on just what happened to all those author photos you used to see in search engine results – and why they went away.
Content marketing exploded in popularity in 2014. This collection of detailed articles — and one video — will help you better understand how to harness the power of content in your marketing plan.
The Ideal Length for All Online Content – by Kevan Lee, Buffer
How long should a blog post be? What about an email subject line? A paragraph?
A tweet? Buffer’s Kevan Lee uses science, studies, and statistics to show you the ideal length of all the components in your content marketing program.
6 Process Resources for Measuring B2B Content Marketing Performance – by Derek Edmond, Content Marketing Institute
Measuring the performance of your content marketing program can be incredibly tricky. Luckily, this post offers six options that will give you different insights into your success, from measuring social shares to links to brand awareness.
How to Use Google Analytics Behavior Reports to Optimize Your Content – by Kristi Hines, Social Media Examiner
Behavior reports in Google Analytics allow you to determine what content is working the best on your website, allowing you to make smarter decisions about how you optimize the journey for your visitors.
This step-by-step tutorial explains how to set up and use these reports.
The Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing – by Rand Fishkin, Moz
In this Whiteboard Friday feature, Rand Fishkin explains the myth behind content marketing: that great content immediately leads to new customers or leads. This video is a great eye-opener for anyone who is new to content marketing and offers plenty of actionable tips for those looking to get more out of their content marketing program.
How to Get 300% More People to Read Your Content – by Alex Turnbull, Buffer
Sometimes valuable content isn’t enough. In this post, you’ll learn how harnessing the power of a story can keep visitors on your site for longer and make them more interested in your articles, blog posts, and guides.
From growing your email list to boosting your open rates, this collection of the year’s best email marketing pieces will give you all the knowledge you need to end up in more inboxes… and less trash folders.
5 Innovative Email Marketing Tips That Drive Readers to Action – by Pratik Dholakiya, Copyblogger
If you’re just getting started with email marketing, and want to know how to drive your subscribers how to take action – that is, click a link, make a purchase, or call you right away about your great new service – this article is for you. Pratik Dholakiya offers five tips that can help motivate your readers to take action on your messages.
10 Rules for Designing Emails Your Customers Will Want to Read – by Marc Schenker, Web Designer Depot
These crucial email tips go far beyond mobile-friendly design and clear subject lines.
Even if you’re already sending emails to your customers or leads, these rules are absolutely worth a read.
Email Marketing’s 10 Most Important Questions Answered – by Kevan Lee, Buffer
“How do I grow my email list?” “Where should I spend the most time on my email?” Ten email marketing questions just like these are answered in detail, with examples to back each one up.
3 Tactics You Can Implement Today for Higher Email Open Rates – by George Mathew, The Daily Egg
The best way to increase the open rate of your emails is through the use of personalization. In this post, you’ll learn three ways you can harness the power of email personalization to get more of your emails open, read, and clicked.
Past the Pop-Up: 10 Email Marketing Tactics You’ve Never Tried – by Danny Schreiber, Zapier
Pop-ups aren’t the only way to grow your email list. Learn ten strategies you can try to grow your email list, from Twitter cards to re-engaging inactive subscribers who may need just a little nudge to connect with you again.
9 Email Marketers Explain Why Nobody Opens Your Emails – by Young Entrepreneur Council, HubSpot
Do your email open rates look a little low?
Social media continued to evolve this year, and marketers now need to know about more than Facebook and Twitter to stay ahead of the social game. Here are the best tips and tricks to improve your social media marketing for 2015.
How to Find Your Ideal Customers on Facebook – by Cas McCullough, Social Media Examiner
Spending just a little time on research can help you grow your Facebook following immensely.
Use this guide to learn how to identify your ideal customers on social media, improve your future efforts, and find influencers to help you grow your brand even more.
10 Ways to Create Contagious Content for Your Social Media Marketing – by Vinay Koshay, JeffBullas.com
The success of your content on social media sometimes depends on just a few tiny factors. This article offers several tips you can use to improve your posts and updates, giving your next piece of content a better chance at going viral.
14 Instagram Data Findings That Every Marketer Needs to Know – by Christopher Heine, AdWeek
Instagram’s popularity grew immensely this year. This collection of statistics will prove why this social media network is worth your time and attention.
If you aren’t already using Instagram, now’s the time to change that!
7 Proven Methods to Explode Your Social Shares – by Zac Johnson, Search Engine Journal
Want more social media shares and traffic? Zac Johnson collects seven successful examples and shares what you can learn from each one.
How to Use Snapchat to Market Your Business – by Velvet Eran, SEMrush
Can your business use Snapchat? Find out what value this relatively new social media platform may have for your marketing by reading this detailed post.
12 Twitter Marketing Tips from the Pros – by Cindy King, Social Media Examiner
This roundup of 12 social media experts offers you some great Twitter tips you can use to strengthen your customer relationships, make your tweets stand out, increase retweets, and much more.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Getting more conversions online can be tricky, but with this collection of CRO guides, you’re certain to find that the process isn’t as difficult as you may have imagined.
The A-Z Guide to CRO – by Steven MacDonald, KISSmetrics
So what is conversion rate optimization, exactly? Learn your CRO alphabet – and a bit more about how the process works – by consulting this A-Z guide.
5 More Brain Triggers to Drive Conversions on Your Website or Landing Page – by Jordan Kasteler, Marketing Land
CRO isn’t all about randomly testing website elements to see what works. Jordan Kasteler explains how you can use psychology to determine what will drive the most conversions on your website.
9 Real-Life Conversion Rate Optimization Tests to Try Yourself – by Ginny Soskey, HubSpot
HubSpot’s collection of 9 real CRO tests will show you exactly how a few sites managed to increase their conversion rates with simple A/B tests.
If you’ve yet to be convinced that you need to try CRO on your site, this article is a must-read.
The Most Entertaining Guide to Landing Page Optimization You’ll Ever Read – by Oli Gardner, Moz
True to its name, Oli Gardner’s guide to using CRO on your landing pages is phenomenal – not just because it’s peppered with humor, but because it’s an amazing guide to optimizing your site to convert more visitors into leads. Plenty of examples and actionable takeaways are included.
This collection of articles and guides, curated with online store owners in mind, will help you reach more customers, increase your sales, and improve your ecommerce marketing plan for the next year.
The Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research for Ecommerce – by Richard Lazazzera, Shopify
Reaching your customers online requires your website to target the right keywords.
This guide to identifying the right keywords for your ecommerce website will help you get started with SEO, give you some tools to use, and show you the power of long-tail keywords.
40 Checkout Page Strategies to Improve Conversion Rates – by Sherice Jacob, KISSmetrics
Improving your ecommerce website’s conversion rate is incredibly important. Rather than offer one or two strategies to get more sales online, Sherice Jacob put together a list of 40, many of which have examples from real websites.
18 Highly Effective Examples of Social Proof in Ecommerce – by Graham Charlton, Econsultancy
Social proof can help you increase the trust that shoppers have in your products or brand. These 18 examples of social proof in action might just give you a few ideas for your own site.
The SEO Guide for Marketplaces and Ecommerce Sites – by Eran Galperin, KISSmetrics
SEO for ecommerce can be tricky, especially since online stores can be short on the content Google wants to rank pages highly.
Finally, none of these marketing strategies will cut it if your website doesn’t look great. Here are a few of the best web design articles to get you on the right track for a beautiful, mobile-friendly site.
The 2014 Guide to Responsive Design – by Nick Pettit, Treehouse
Responsive web design has evolved over the last few years, and if your website isn’t already mobile-friendly, it’s time to make the change.
This detailed article offers a crash course in all things responsive, some design tips, and a few examples of responsive layouts and websites.
The Beginner’s Guide to Organizing Content on Mobile-Friendly Designs – by Emilie Futterman, TheNextWeb
Designing a website for mobile devices is one thing. Figuring out how to organize your content on those devices is another. This guide offers real examples of content organization on responsive websites, which can help you make smarter decisions when you’re ready for your next redesign.
Why Your Brand Needs a Style Guide, and How to Create One – by Cameron Chapman, Web Designer Depot
Does your company have a style guide?
If not, it should. Cameron Chapman makes a compelling argument for why all brands should have one of these guides, and shows you what your guide should contain to ensure online (and offline) design consistency.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for checking out our list of the top content for 2014! Do you have an article, post, or guide that you think should have made the cut?
Let us know in the comments below and we might just add it! We wish you the very best of luck with your marketing for 2015!