Before covering the use of Google Web Stories on WordPress, we first need to look at what Web Stories are. If you’ve used Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, you should be familiar with the “story” format where viewers tap or swipe between screens containing video, images, and text. Google Web Stories are a web-based version of that format, that can be hosted on your website rather than on a social media account.
Why Use Them?
If you have a small business website then web stories may help you achieve your business goals. It’s well worth the time to learn more about these stories and all of their perks or hire a WordPress website management company like us to do it for you.
Here are the top 3 reasons to use Google Web Stories:
Engagement. The story format has proven to be an engaging medium that people will watch and read.
Ownership. Maintaining control over your content is growing increasingly important, in this age of uncertainty – especially for businesses.
SEO. Web stories give you another way to attract organic search traffic, one that is currently far less crowded than other channels.
Google web stories open up all kinds of opportunities with images and video clips. This is one of the principal ways they aid brands that wish to showcase relevant and meaningful ideas consistent with their messaging.
The reach of Google web stories goes beyond the website they are created on. Not only do they show up in a standard Google search, but stories are seen in the images section of Google as well. People can learn about them via both Discover and classic search. Discover is the name of an app that’s suitable for mobile applications.
Why Do They Work?
Why do these stories stand out online? They’re not exactly like Facebook or Instagram stories, but because they use a similar visual format, most viewers are already familiar with them. This short-form visual content was created and perfected on social media platforms and is highly engaging.
Viewers are already accustomed to the format, so when a web story comes up in a Google search, it’s very familiar and easily understood. Because a majority of web searches are coming from phones these days, the story format is designed to display on mobile devices.
If you’re a business owner who is looking to motivate the members of your audience to purchase a specific product or service, then you may use Google Web stories for all sorts of reasons. You may want to include a CTA that directs people to sign up for your mailing list, subscribe to a monthly service, or buy a product.
How To Use Google Web Stories
There are several ways to use Google web stories in your content strategy. The most common is to use the short form format of a web story to direct users to either a call to action or longer-form content. Because the stories are easy to tap, it’s the perfect medium for a mobile phone.
Web Story Best Practices
Video First. Use video in the 9:16 ratio to keep your content engaging.
Be Concise. Keep your text as short as possible to keep it scannable.
Make it Readable. Use large text and contrasting colors.
Be Authentic. Use your voice to keep viewers engaged.
Google Web Stories For WordPress
The easiest way to get started with Google Web Stories on WordPress is to use the official Google Plugin made by the Google web stories team. The plugin gives users the power to set up web stories without having to leave their WordPress site. This integration also makes it simple to post web stories directly onto your website.
Using the Google Web Stories editor for WordPress, you can easily create your own web stories from templates or start fresh with a blank canvas. These visual narratives allow tappable interactions and can be shared easily across the web.
By creating web stories on your WordPress website, they belong to you and your company instead of being locked inside a closed platform.
Upon installation, the plugin also sets up a default archive for all your web stories at yourwebsite.com/web-stories. This is useful if you want to create a separate archive that puts all your stories in one place and is easily accessible from a menu.
Web Stories Editor
The Web Stories editor for WordPress is a powerful and user-friendly creation tool. If you have used the WordPress editor, navigating the web stories editor will be similar. Because the plugin lives on your WordPress installation, users can easily access their images in the media gallery. The only exception to this is when setting the default logo, which asks for the file to be uploaded.
Some of the key features are:
A visually rich and intuitive dashboard, allowing you to easily navigate the story creation process
Beautiful and expressive page templates to you get your story creation process started quickly and smoothly
Easy drag-and-drop capabilities, making it easy to compose beautiful stories
Convenient access to WordPress’ media library, enabling you to grab your media assets right from the plugin dashboard as you create your stories
Customizable color and text style presets, making it easy to tailor the style of your stories to the needs of your content strategy
Creating a Google Web Story on WordPress
Making a web story is super simple. If you haven’t done it before, the easiest thing to do is use a template. This still affords you full control over typography, colors, images, animations, and links, but you don’t have to figure all those out before starting.
The main elements for each story are:
After you get comfortable creating and editing these elements, you can start to incorporate:
Web Stories Links
Links are one of the best features of web stories. Viewers like the visually engaging content, but some topics need more than an image to explain. In this case, you can use a web story as an introduction to a topic, and link to longer-form content.
Links can be added to a variety of elements from titles to text and backgrounds.
Web Stories Buttons
Adding a call to action is similarly simple to adding links. This is a great option if you are using web stories to attract potential customers for a product or service.
Google Web Stories + Google Site Kit = ❤️
If you are using the WordPress Google Web Stories plugin, installing the Google Site Kit plugin makes it super easy to connect your Analytics, Search Console, AdSense, Optimize, Tag Manager, and PageSpeed Insights. If you already have the Site Kite plugin installed, the Google Web Stories plugin will automatically detect and import the settings.
Because Web Stories is a Google product, it integrates tightly with other Google services like AdSense. Including ads on your web stories is super simple once connected. This visual, mobile-friendly design of web stories is a great way to integrate ads into your content.
Google Web Stories For Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner, Google web stories can help attract more visitors to your website. If done well, these stories can materially increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and lead to more revenue. Search Engine Optimization is one area where small businesses can compete with larger companies, and Google Web Stories are a relatively new format that isn’t nearly as competitive as other channels.
This WordPress tutorial will help the beginner learn how to create a website or blog using a WordPress website, install WordPress themes, add WordPress plugins, and share tips and tricks for improving user experience and conversions for website visitors.
WordPress How to Use?
WordPress is a popular content management system with over 75 million WordPress websites active. The software was released as an open source content management system, it’s also one of the simplest ways to create your own website, blogging platform, and ecommerce solution.
It’s free, free to install on your web server, and free to modify. As open-source, it means after you install the software, the code is available to be studied by anyone who wants to help improve WordPress – or just learn how it works!
It’s straightforward to create your website, keep visitors updated on your latest blog post and events, share photos and experiences with the world, take online payments for goods or services, and track everything in statistics. A page can be home to almost anything you need.
WordPress software was originally created for blogging, but people now use the page builders for much more than that – building business websites, online magazines, ecommerce stores, fan sites, or any other type of site that could benefit from a WordPress website.
How do I use this tool?
WordPress offers two different versions of their software: one free hosted service called wordpress.com and another open-source one called wordpress.org. This is how bloggers can create customized plugins or themes that alter how a website appears and how people interact without touching a code line. WordPress is updated regularly, so when changes come down from its parent company Automattic, new features can be added while bugs are fixed in relatively short time frames compared to other platforms.
The Pros of WordPress are that it is free and offers lots of support options. WordPress has one of the largest communities you’ll find anywhere on the internet (meaning plenty of tutorials and people who can answer your questions!)
The Cons are that if you customize WordPress too much (especially with premium themes), there could be compatibility issues with future updates; adding video or animation can be difficult for WordPress beginners. WordPress requires hosting, which will require further monthly costs. For a small business, these costs are fairly small relative to their benefit.
Your Own Domain Name
Selecting a personalized or custom domain name is an important consideration for a new WordPress website. WordPress.com comes standard with a unique, but average domain name like www.myblogsite.wordpress.com. This is fine when you are just getting started, but having a custom domain name that matches your brand is much better. Fortunately, WordPress.com will allow users who have a custom domain name (such as www.myblogsite.com) to use them as well.
For those that prefer to install a WordPress website on their own web server (or with a company that will host your WordPress website) a custom domain name will be purchased at a registrar like enom or NameCheap (there are literally hundreds of places to buy a domain now, we do this for our customers as well).
Choosing a Hosting Provider
All you need is to get started building a website with WordPress is a web hosting provider. While setting up a hosting account can be daunting, there are plenty of WordPress hosting providers that can help make it easier to set up your WordPress website.
Hosting is Critical
Your web hosting is a critical function so selecting a hosting provider is a big decision. There are many options in a hosting account and many variables that can affect the performance and management of your WordPress site. Because of the inherent complexity of selecting a web hosting account, we handle the web hosting and installing WordPress for our customers.
However, if you are set on selecting your own hosting provider there are a couple the standout above the rest. WordPress.com offers web hosting along with many other companies. You can set up WordPress yourself, but a quality hosting provider will do this part for you. Most companies that host a WordPress site will help to install WordPress as part of their standard WordPress hosting service.
Setting Up Your WordPress Website Domain Name Records
Once your domain name is purchased and you’ve selected a host for your WordPress website, you’ll need to go into the DNS records at your domain name registrar and set them up. This step can be a little bit technical, but it’s critical to the function of your site. It’s also where you’ll add other domain name records for things like email and WordPress website verification records.
Is There An Easy Way to Install WordPress Site?
For those who don’t want the hassle of learning how “behind-the-scenes” functions work, there’s always wordpress.com. Beyond the ability to view how your blog is doing and how others interact, they make it easy for new users to get their blog on the web.
Installing WordPress on a hosting provider is not for everyone who is creating their own website. WordPress.com is another way to use WordPress websites as your content management system without having to install WordPress on your own. It’s not as flexible as hosting your own WordPress website and there are some limitations that can present challenges. That said, it is an easy, albeit limited way to start a WordPress website.
The First Step to Create a WordPress Website
The first step to create a website this way is to create an account on wordpress.com. The benefit of using wordpress.com for your WordPress website is that they handle pretty much everything you’d need on your site. Provided it falls within their allowable features. There are some plugins and themes that aren’t allowed on this setup. But you are trading simplicity for the freedom to choose any plugin or theme.
WordPress.com also makes it simple for you to add a blog to your website. Having a blog allows you more flexibility in managing your online presence and engaging with your audience and customers. For business websites this can mean more revenue. For writers with more interest in sharing their writing, you can be writing quickly.
In addition to your site, you also get a WordPress Dashboard to help you track how well your site is doing each month. In addition to stats, you also see what theme you have installed as well as all the plugins you are using.
You can also purchase a WordPress theme from theme developers who have spent a lot of time customizing WordPress themes to look perfect for a particular purpose. Some free site themes are available, but most will cost a few pounds/dollars to buy.
Selecting WordPress Plugins
There are thousands of WordPress site plugins out there. You can can use these to modify or add new features to your website (such as event management or donation collection etc.). These plugins are generally very well coded and share many similarities with the core software itself. Although there are many good plugins, one must still be careful installing plugins. Some of them can slow your site down, and others can be harmful.
Adding Images and Website Files to Your website
Now that you’ve taken the time to install your website, how will you actually get it online? You can easily upload the files through your dashboard. Or by using FTP (a more technical method of uploading files) to put all your files in the right places. If you use wordpress.org, however, this becomes a free service. It’s up to you to control how your website is organized and how it functions.
WordPress’s open-source software allows you to go at your own pace for those who want more customization options. This often comes at a cost. That means if you’re good with how something works now but are worried about how long-term changes may impact how things look down the road, you can take care of that without ever having to touch any code. Since all of the file formats are publicly available, there are plenty of free plugins and themes available for download. Because these files work across platforms, upgrades to future versions will be relatively painless.
WordPress Site Stats
Tracking your site stats is a great way to measure your effectiveness. From the dashboard, you can see lots of data – things like how many visitors your site gets every month to how many times a person visits you. Here’s a few more metrics you’ll see in the dashboard:
What popular articles are.
How effective your writing style is.
The ways many people find you through search engines.
How do I make money?
When it comes to how you make money blogging, there are three general routes: display ads, affiliate marketing and self-hosting. Display ads are how more traditional “print” companies like the New York Times get revenue for running articles. It works with WordPress because if someone clicks on an ad, the company that sponsors that ad pays you for sending them traffic. On the other hand, Affiliate marketing means that when someone purchases something after clicking on your link. You get a small portion of what they spend. This requires more effort since many affiliates require their own sign-up process before having products linked to them.
If you go the route of self-hosting, the most often used method is Google’s AdSense. You add a code snippet on your site and, based on how people interact with it, you get paid.
How do I get readers?
One of the most significant benefits of in blogging is that every article has its RSS link. This means that anyone can subscribe to your content without ever having to visit your WordPress page. Because older posts are accessible, RSS feeds make it easy to read your blog.
If you’re going to get more readers, the easiest way is to make it easy for them to subscribe. Just post items that most people find useful anyway. Blogging is like any other business: how many sales someone gets depends on how well their product (in this case , how well you write) compares with what competitors are offering–and how good it looks when put into the contrast of its peers too. Just like how important design and functionality are on any website, research also goes a long way on how successful your articles can be.
WordPress Website Security
Security for your WordPress website should be of maximum importance. This is especially true if you have the WooCommerce plugin installed or you have proprietary information on your WordPress sites. One of the easiest ways for WordPress sites to be compromised is to install plugins that are compromised. Another is by failing to update essential plugins regularly.
The htaccess file is another avenue for bad actors to gain access to your website. Many dedicated WordPress hosts will remove or lockdown this file so it’s not a vulnerability.
Securing The Admin Area
The WordPress administrator dashboard can easily be accessed by weak passwords. Another common way is to grant admin permissions to someone who shouldn’t have it. WordPress Admin permissions should be as few as possible and their passwords should be secure.
“Websites for Small Business” may sound like a cheesy infomercial, but I promise we’re serious about the topic.
Your website is either helping or hurting your business. Sadly, it’s the later for many of the businesses that need it most – small businesses. A website for small business should be much more than a brochure, an online menu, or some contact information and a fancy logo.
It’s your calling card. Your brand. It’s your 24x7x365 sales/ customer service employee. It can take messages, greet potential customers, or even welcome back current customers. It might persuade prospects to use your products and services instead of your competition.
Your website can answer questions or track and manage inventory. It can reach out to search engines to bring you more traffic from prospective clients. It can even tell you how people are finding it. Did I mention it can sell things 24 hours a day?
The fact is, the web has entered an era where a website can—and should be—a primary part of your business model. Customers shop based on how easily they can find information on your site and how it looks. Consumers investigate businesses online before stepping foot in a retail establishment or office. Today, people look for phone numbers and addresses on Google far more than they reach for a phone book (for you young folk this is a giant book they used to leave on your doorstep that had the phone number for all the businesses and people in your area).
With this in mind, here are five questions to ask yourself about your website—and these apply whether you have a site already or are planning on making one.
How can websites for small business make Life easier?
Sometimes, it’s as easy as building a Frequently Asked Questions page to help cut down time spent answering common questions. Sometimes it’s a more complex solution, like e-commerce, real-time inventory tracking, or something built around your business model. It could even be as simple as a forum where customers can help one another.
For restaurants, a well built site can take an order or reservation saving you both time and the potential for errors. Plus you get paid before you make anything…
Remember, your website works 24 hours a day. What could it be doing while you are at home with your family, enjoying a good movie?
Websites for small business should improve the overall operation of your company.
Does your website really represent the business?
Your business is your brand. When designing websites for small business it’s important that it authentically represents your business. If there is a difference between what your website communicates and what your customer ultimately experiences it can cost you. If your website sucks, they may not ever do business with you. Conversely, if your website sets high expectations and the customer experience underwhelms, you could lose future business.
Your website should accurately represent what a customer would feel if they walked into your business.
Is your website easy to use?
Actually, don’t ask yourself this question. Ask your customers. Ask your mother. Your grandmother. Next time you’re at your in-laws’ house for dinner, ask them to sit down on your web site and perform a specific task, such as finding a certain product, locating some specific information, or just surfing through it. Do not intervene. Just watch quietly and note where the stumbling blocks are. For your customers, send them an offer to get a 10% off coupon if they test your site and provide answers to a questionnaire about your site. You will begin to notice commonalities in the feedback you get, and those are where you want to start.
Do the search engines like websites for small business?
Search engines have become much more sophisticated over the years. It used to be that “clean” code and a bunch of links to your site could get you a higher rank. To a certain extent that’s still true, but as website builders have grown in popularity, their user friendly nature can come at a cost.
WordPress was among the first website builders and now powers tens of millions of websites – many of them small business. However, there are other platforms that have grown in popularity in recent years. Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, and Webflow are a few of the most popular.
Choosing the right platform for your small business website should be based on what you need it to do. The considerations range from technological competence to whether you plan on selling online, or not. Each service comes with it’s own strengths and limitations, so being clear on what you are trying to achieve is critical.
Among those strengths and limitations is how easily and effectively the SEO aspects of a website can me managed. Most of the platforms we listed do a decent job of the basics, but there are big disparities once you get beyond the rudimentary stuff.
How are people finding your site?
Once your site is up and running, there are a number of things you can do to help drive traffic to your site, many of them being quite simple. Search engine optimization is great, but it can take a while, and/ or incur a significant cost for a new website to generate meaningful traffic. Although this is an excellent way to build a long term stream of potential customers, there are other things you can do in the short term to help.
Start a business blog, making sure to keep it updated with real, useful information and content related to your business or industry. Make sure your blog has a link back to your site and vice-versa. Make sure your content is not just selling your business, but is useful and keyword-rich.
Get linked to (and link to) other sites. Google likes this and will ultimately improve where your site shows up in search engine rankings. Using Google My Business is like a secret weapon for increasing traffic to your website. Another option is to get you business listed on legitimate online business and industry directories. Just be sure to add your website links with links back to your site. Avoid getting into any arrangements with SPAM directories.
Share Your Website
Cross-pollinate with other sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any of the other social networking sites your customers use. More and more businesses are creating profiles on social networking and Web 2.0 sites. These profiles can ultimately act as another springboard to get more traffic to your site and to help you appeal to entirely new demographics.
Track your traffic. Take advantage of Google’s Webmaster Tools. Their Analytics product is simply powerful and there are multiple ways to display the data right on your WordPress website. Oh- and they are free. You can track your web site traffic, sources of traffic, paths users are taking through your site and even set up conversion goals to see how many people are following through with specific purchase paths. Did I mention it’s free?
So that’s it—a great starting point for you to use as a barometer to make your web site not only more useful to your customers, but also to you. If you would like a more in-depth consultation on how your web site may be able to help your business more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The best way to determine if you have a bad website is to look at the data. Unfortunately, not many business owners (small ones in particular) are doing it. We’ll save the sermon on using data to make better decisions for another time, for now you can use our “3 Question Website Review” to get started.
How Not To Have a Bad Website: A 3 Question Website Review
Your website is often the first impression potential customers will have of your company. How it looks and functions is a direct reflection of what people can expect from working with you. Make sure your website is communicating the right message.
1. Is your website current?
When was the last blog post published?
Do all of the links still work?
Are all the images viewable? Do they have appropriate alt tags?
Is your contact information accurate? Is it super obvious and easy to find?
WHY Having a Current Website MATTERS
Missing or obsolete information leaves the impression of neglect. It’s hard enough to run a business without frustrating customers before you get to talk with them.
2. is there a distinct action you want visitors to take?
What do you want people to do when they visit your website? Is it easy to find your product or service and take action?
3. does your website work well on a mobile device?
Can you see the page contents without having to zoom in? How long does it take to load without a wifi connection? Is text getting cut off?
WHY A Mobile Friendly website MATTERS
Purchases made on a mobile device are expected to quadruple in the next 3 years with more people using mobile phones than computers. If you’re website is up to date, full of valuable content, and have a distinct call to action, but don’t make it look and function well on a mobile device you’ll potentially be frustrating half of your customers.
Improving the SEO of your website is one of the best things you can do for a local business. If done well it will make it easier for prospective customers to find you and can be a real asset to your business.
Unfortunately, most small business owners and their employees don’t have the time to keep up on the effort required to get the benefits of search engine optimization.
In this blog post, we will explore four SEO tips for local businesses. These SEO techniques are a great way to improve your website SEO and generate more traffic from organic search engine results pages.
Before you can improve your sites SEO – you must first understand the purpose of SEO and what it actually is.
SEO can be a very technical and complicated topic – and for very competitive keywords it’s worth knowing and implementing. For most businesses there’s a much simpler way to think about SEO.
The simplest way to think about SEO is what questions are people asking Google about your business and how are they asking them? What is their search intent when they search Google?
It’s that simple.
“Doing” SEO at its simplest form is thinking about what questions might be asked that are relevant to you business, and creating / organizing the information on your website that makes it easy for Google to find and display in search results.
The goal of SEO for local business is simple – to get more organic “free” referrals from Google ultimately resulting in online sales or visits to brick and mortar locations.
Local SEO for Business
This is where local SEO efforts can stand apart from SEO for other types of websites. You have to think about your business in the context of what questions would be asked by someone looking to find you.
Tip #1 – SEO For Local Businesses: Decide on Local Search Keywords
Perhaps the most important tip is simply contemplating what questions people might be asking about our company and creating a list of keywords that are related to those questions. Without knowing this information you won’t be able to effectively create content to answer their questions.
These should be local keywords to give you the best odds of ranking.
Tip #2 – SEO For Small Businesses: Organize On Page Keywords
Once you have your initial list of keywords, you’ll want to include some of the keywords and phrases throughout your website that are relevant, but don’t over do it or stuff them into every paragraph. There are tools like YOAST that can plugin directly to your website to help you effectively organize this information.
There’s lots of fine tuning that can be done on each page, but the main elements are:
Good title – that references the keyword you are targeting
A good meta description – that references the keyword you are targeting
Created a relevan featured image for the page with relevant alt tag referencing the targeted keyword.
A minimum of 300 words
Use H2 and H3 tags – also relevant to your keyword.
This gives you a higher probability of being included in Google’s search engine listings (SERPs). This is the search box results people see and happens most frequently with blogs / articles, FAQs and relevant local landing pages.
Including a good SEO title and description for these pages will help you improve the seo performance of those landing pages, leading to better rankings in SERPs – which should lead to more organic referrals from search engines!
Local SEO Tip #3 – For Local Businesses: Crosslink to other pages
Another tip for improving your local SEO is to link to other relevant areas on your website. By connecting these “internal” links, you make it easier for Google to “crawl” and discover content that might otherwise go unseen. You can also use this cross linking to other local keywords.
In addition to Google seeing your other pages, it also provides a link for customers to discover the new information as well.
This applies to external links to other relevant sites as well. Perhaps you can recommend or reference other local sites?
Tip #4 – SEO For Local Businesses: More Output
The last tip for improving your local SEO is to consistently add more content to your website. For example, this would typically be articles or blog posts, but it could be keyword specific landing pages as well.
Committing to regularly create local content has 2 benefits.
More frequent updates to your website, let’s Google know to check your site for new information more often.
You expand and strengthen the keywords you rank for, which helps your website get seen more when customers are looking.
If you do a really good job of creating compelling content you might find that you start to attract links from other sites and local blogs, while also building brand awareness and a stronger local presence. This link building reinforces the importance of your site to Google and can increase your ranking from inbound links.
SEO for small businesses can be an affordable and powerful way to grow your business, but it does require effort. As a result, many times we’ve seen owner’s planning to do the work, but it never gets done.
Local leads, coming from local searches, with local intent can be among the highest converting prospects available. Which makes it worth the effort to build specific local content. Therefore, local searchers are more likely to buy from you, than someone across the country. Consequently, too many brick and mortar businesses ignore this.
Get The Work Done For You
To help local business owner get the work done, we created a WordPress Management service. This service was desingned to help with things like local business SEO and keeping your site running safe and secure.