Under New Ownership

In 2004, Kelsy Anderson began a long-distance hike on the Appalachian Trail and what she thought were steps in the wrong direction, turned out to be leading her towards just the right path. In June of that year, Kelsy started Ideal Positions working from home with no equity funding and no loans. It was just her ingenuity at the kitchen counter of her studio apartment. Several months later, she cemented a working relationship with James “Shannon” Sullivan, who partnered in the company with her.

In January of 2005, they signed their first lease for a 900 square foot basement space in the Stuart School Building in Arcata, CA and hired 5 employees almost immediately. By April 2007, big changes were in store for the company. On April 1st, Kelsy and Shannon reached an agreement for Kelsy to take over Ideal Positions as the sole owner. Later that month the company moved upstairs in the same building to a larger, 2,600 square foot office space in order to accommodate a growing staff. Very soon, even this larger space was not enough to keep up with the company’s growth! Next they moved into an office space twice the size in the Arcata Technology Center. In February 2016, Ideal Positions made its last and most recent move to a brand new office space near the airport in McKinleyville. Since its inception 12 years ago in Kelsy’s home, Ideal Positions has grown to a company of 20 employees with an impressive presence in the online marketing industry.

Guiding the company from the beginning, Kelsy still remembers that feeling of getting her own private office back in 2007. In that moment, she recognized how far she had come from her kitchen counter. At the end of every workday, her favorite ritual was to go around the office locking up and turning off the lights. She would then pause to look over the office and the employees’ workstations, and bow to acknowledge the creation of this organization and the people who make up the soul of the company. This moment of pause kept her heart grateful for all the amazing people who promoted the strength and fostered the personality of the company into what it is today.

It’s the personality of the company that Kelsy enjoyed seeing most at the yearly holiday parties. These have always been an opportunity for employees to interact in a more relaxed setting— always bringing out interesting and surprising parts of employee’s personalities, as well as the most heartfelt expressions of camaraderie and appreciation for one another. Kelsy has always considered one of her proudest accomplishments in her role as business owner as someone who was able to create jobs. Having a positive impact on those employees, getting to know them, and creating a positive working environment for all staff is something that she’s thoroughly enjoyed.

Now, Kelsy has taken the next step on her journey. On October 1, 2016, Ideal Positions changed ownership, and Josh Babbitt, the SEM Department Manager who has been with the company since 2008 took the lead. Through all the trials and tribulations of the last 12 years, Kelsy came to realize that the two great loves in her life, owning her own business and being a parent to her 3 young boys, were in constant competition. Being a business owner is an intense and all-consuming responsibility that can make it difficult to be fully present in parenting young children. By deciding to sell the company, Kelsy hopes to be able to be the best parent she can to her children as well as take some time to return to her passions of hiking, yoga, and visiting friends and family. Since she regularly only had a few hours every week “off the clock”, she plans to spend this new time nurturing her family and her soul.

What allowed her to be able to take this next step is knowing that the company will be in the very capable hands of Josh Babbitt. Kelsy describes Josh as one of the finest people she knows. In her many years of business, she has developed the ability to discern between someone that’s the real-deal and someone who is not. Josh is the real deal. He is the last person to take credit and the first to recognize others. His innate leadership ability makes people want to work hard for him and be on his team because he earns their respect through his hard work, humility, and competence. Kelsy fondly remembers a time when Josh asked for a personal day off. As someone who regularly works some of the longest hours and rarely takes time off, the request was out of the ordinary. But it was the premier of the new Star Wars movie and Josh could not miss this “once in a lifetime event.” It is this similar interest and passion in all things technological that sets Josh apart. He is a “technical wizard” and Kelsy has the utmost confidence that he will continue to stay two steps ahead in this ever-changing industry. Kelsy and everyone at Ideal Positions are extremely excited to have Josh take on this important role and cannot wait to see what the future holds!

Ideal Positions’ Reporting Suite Has Launched!

As promised in December of 2013, Ideal Positions is launching a new Reporting Suite, and it’s available as of right now!

Ideal Positions’ Reporting Suite is available to all current advertising clients that are working with Ideal Positions to drive traffic to their websites using Google AdWords and bing Ads.  To request access to your personal dashboard please contact your representative at Ideal Positions by calling 866-609-3483.  You will be asked to provide an email address that we can send an invitation to.  Once you receive the invitation, all you will need to do is follow the included link, set a new password, and you’re good to go!

Once inside, you’ll find a simple, easy-to-digest report of the total volume of clicks and impressions sent to your website.  You can view click and impression data by keyword or by platform, and you can now see reporting for Google AdWords and bing Ads all in one place!  The default date range for the reporting is the last 30 days, but you can use the “Search by Date Range or Keyword” button to check activity for almost any date range you want.

Ideal Positions’ Reporting Suite was developed 100% in-house by our own Web Development Team, and was custom-built with our clients’ needs in mind.  Over time, we hope to integrate more tracking and analytics features to even better serve our clientele.  Of course, no reporting system will provide an advertiser with every insight needed to make the most of an online marketing campaign.  Ideal Positions’ Search Engine Marketing professionals still highly recommend the use of Google Analytics for measuring traffic volumes from all sources, as well as to analyze website performance both as a whole and by individual traffic channel.

Have feedback on Ideal Positions’ Reporting Suite?  Drop us a line to let us know, and we just may include your suggestions in the next update!

Guide to Sending Google AdWords Account Access Invitations

Many businesses approach Ideal Positions with tales of their longtime struggles with PPC marketing.  Some have spent years trying to “nail it” themselves, while others have jumped from one agency to another, looking for a professional with real skill and insight.  I’ve spoken with many businesses that have made admirable efforts to manage their Google AdWords account(s), making it most of the way on their own while still missing key best practices in account management and optimization.  Others setup their account years ago, and have never made efforts to improve performance over time.

Whatever group your organization may mirror most closely, there are probably significant insights that Ideal Positions’ SEM Team can gain from having at least a basic level of access to your existing Google AdWords account(s).  For example, I was recently speaking with an attorney that had spent over $400k on clicks in his Google AdWords account since 2009.  We’re talking tens of thousands of clicks sent to his law firm’s website over the years.  This attorney knew he was seeing a good return on his investment, but he also realized that he had never received the benefit of having a professional manage his accounts.  Long story short, he knew there was room for improvement, and he was asking Ideal Positions for help.

So I suggested that this attorney grant me Read-Only Access to his Google AdWords account.  Read-Only Access gives a user the ability to view critical reporting in your account, without giving them the ability to view your billing information, change account access levels, or make changes to your campaign settings, bids, keywords, and more.  It’s a “safe” access level that can be granted when you want a third party to be able to view your account, but not make changes.  This attorney invited me to the Google AdWords account, and as I suggested he granted me Read-Only Access.

Upon viewing the AdWords reporting, I immediately saw signs of trouble, beginning with the account structure and basic organization.  Digging deeper, I saw that the attorney had his targeting setup in such a way that many of this clicks were coming from search queries that held no relevance to his practice!  Since 2009, with over $400,000 spent, a little over 52% of the account’s budget had been spent on clicks that had no hope of converting into clients.  That’s no typo – I really do mean fifty-two percent.  For example, one area of practice this attorney focused on heavily was criminal defense, and he was paying for clicks from search queries such as dui mugshots.

By granting me Read-Only Access to his Google AdWords account, this attorney learned that getting a high volume of clicks isn’t enough to maximize your potential ROI using Google AdWords.  Proper account management and optimization means getting a high volume or relevant, valuable clicks that have a higher chance of converting into leads, and working with an experienced Search Engine Marketing agency and Google Partner like Ideal Positions can help you get there.

How to Invite Users to an Existing Google AdWords Account:

Some find that Google AdWords’ Account Access Settings can be a little difficult to locate.  To aid Ideal Positions’ existing, potential, and future clientele in locating those settings and successfully inviting other users, our SEM Department Manager Josh Babbitt has put together a short video that will help walk you through the process, and hopefully make sending out an invite as quick and painless as possible.  You can watch the video here on Ideal Positions’ YouTube Channel.

Demystifying the Google AdWords Account Invitation System

At Ideal Positions, we offer all of our clients Pay Per Click advertising with full transparency. As part of our efforts to provide said transparency, Ideal Positions will grant clients access to the Google AdWords account we use to manage their marketing campaigns. Each client is able to view the activity in their account by being invited by Ideal Positions into their AdWords account, granting you the ability to see every impression, every click, and every keyword involved in the success of your SEM campaign. This level of transparency is a big part of what makes our service unique.

In the interest of making this process as painless as possible, Ideal Positions’ SEM Department Manager Josh Babbitt has posted two easy-to-follow instructional videos to our YouTube channel. These videos will explain how to accept your Google AdWords Invitation for both users with existing Google accounts (such as Gmail or Google+) as well as users that do not already have an account with Google.

To learn how to accept your Google AdWords Invite, please click on one of the following links:

Video for existing Google users.

Video for users that do not already have a Google account.

For future informational video posts from Ideal Positions, please visit our YouTube Channel.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design

The Concept

We are currently living in an age where the lines between which device we use to view and interact with the Web is becoming more ambiguous. As a website owner, you will never know how a person will potentially view your website. They may be on their phone, on their laptop, or sitting on their sofa and viewing it through a gaming console on a big screen TV.

The fact of the matter is that web browsers now run on a range of electronic devices with various input methods and screen sizes. Because of this, the web design community has proposed various solutions to foresee any usability and accessibility issues and try to address them appropriately.

It was the case that designers tackled the solution by creating separate sites for devices; thus, a separate “mobile” and “desktop” version of the site was created. However it soon became clear that the amount of devices and screen sizes available to users made this approach unrealistic. You simply couldn’t build separate websites for all of the devices on the market.

A newer solution has emerged in what is known as “Responsive Web Design.” What Responsive Web Design (RWD) does is address the problem of a multi-device landscape, as smartphones and tablets are now just as capable as, if not better than, a traditional “desktop” computer when it comes to browsing the web.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are what give a website its appearance, everything from the color, line-height and size of font, the layout of the pages and the color of the buttons.

A technique known as Media Queries (CSS version 3) now allow designers and developers to apply CSS rules depending on variables such as the “max-width” and “height” of the screen or the orientation of the device, among other things, and are supported by all modern browsers.

The major browser vendors now acknowledge that the web landscape is changing and have implemented media query support to help address the problem of a multi device landscape.

How it Works – Adjusting Screen Resolution

We don’t know how people will be accessing a website, as they may have different hardware, network connections and web browsers. RWD allows us to target all ranges of devices, from HDTVs to smartphones, but applying certain rules depending on variables such as the viewport of the screen, both vertically and horizontally, and the aspect ratio, be it landscape or portrait.

What this does is allow websites to become very “fluid.” Ironically a web page with no style or CSS is responsive by default.

It should also be noted that RWD isn’t necessarily focused on “mobile” devices, as you can also make a website look good on huge screens (like an HDTV). In essence, we can now focus on how a page looks regardless of the device.

Google Analytics can give you an accurate statistic as to how people are viewing your site, organized by types of devices, browsers, and resolutions. The ”Screen Resolution” metric will show you what size the screen is (not the width of the actual browser window).

Why It Needs to Be Considered – Mobile First

Mobile is growing fast.

The reality is that mobile usage is growing fast. In a report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (Venture Capital Company), as of 2013, mobile traffic is 15% of global Internet traffic, up from 10% in 2012

Growth is increasing at a rate of 1.5x per year and will probably maintain, if not increase.

Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015.

http://mashable.com/2010/04/13/mobile-web-stats/

Mobile Internet adoption has outpaced desktop Internet adoption by eight times. These statistics should be enough evidence to show you that the mobile trend is very real and here to stay.

Why this mindset?

As project stakeholders, designers and content writers, if we start out on a small browser, we are limited, so our mindset switches to what’s really important. By doing so, we trim away the fluff and focus on the essentials and the core values of the website’s design, in turn making our site more relevant, usable, and accessible.

It’s clear that we don’t have long to impress a potential client that visits our website. If your service or core message is not clear, if your text is illegible or if your menu items are unusable, there is a very good chance that they will simply click back on their browser and move elsewhere. All you have to do is to put yourself in the user’s shoes.

With the small screen mindset, we don’t have the luxury of 1920 x 1080 (2,073,600 px) pixels a canvas. One of the main issues with many websites has been the “kitchen sink” mentality, because its so easy to add more elements to a website on a large canvas. It’s then up to the web designer to try and find a good balance with all of these UI (User Interface) elements.

With this approach, it’s often the case that the core purpose or message of the website is unclear and, in the worst case scenario, completely lost.

The Process – At a base level.

Not all websites are the same, but at a basic level all of the following should be addressed:

RWD can be thought of as building a very robust and highly functional foundation for a website. It the site looks good and functions perfectly on a phone, then ultimately this foundation will help shape “larger versions” of the site

As a business owner, you need to ask yourself: “What is the message I want to communicate to my users?” or “What are the core values of my company/website?” By using this approach, you focus on what matters most, and this can then be applied to the mobile version of the site.

UI elements need to be made more “clickable,” as the most common method of interaction is by using a touch screen. The precision of a mouse is not an option.

Optimizing images for different devices and connection speeds.

Changing navigational position to account for how people hold a mobile device.

Ensuring elements like video or data tables re-size properly rather than just hiding them.

Dynamically resizing fonts to work better at different screen resolutions.

Providing retina versions of graphics.

All of the above are what your site should be doing at the very least in order for it to be as accessible and usable to the public as possible.

With this new approach, just one site is built and maintained. While it may require more resources initially, the long-term benefits should outweigh any additional costs.

Also as a bonus, you are building a site that’s optimized by default. Assets such as images need to be served appropriately and this approach should ultimately lead to a fast-loading website, which both your users and the search engines will greatly appreciate.

Conclusion

We should be creating websites that are future-ready today. RWD isn’t the ultimate answer, however, it’s a technique that, when executed correctly, can improve the end user experience.

The web offers us many choices that it can be both a positive and negative thing for a website owner. Ultimately though, it’s up to you to put your best foot forward and serve your client base as best as you can.