19 episodes

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.

Better Radio Websites Jim Sherwood

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

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.

    Free Website Speed Testing Tools

    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.

    • 9 min
    Are Visitors Reading Your Content?

    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.

    • 7 min
    Defining Your Radio Station Website Goals

    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 min
    Seven Reasons Why You Need a Market/Corporate Website

    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 min
    Breaking Up with Your Home Page Slider

    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 min
    Building Traffic with Evergreen Content

    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 min

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