Gulf Coast Local Blog


Should Your Business Use Facebook Live?

 Read Our October 2016 Newsletter Here!

From this month's newsletter, learn:

  • Should You Consider Using Facebook Live Video for Your Business?
  • Here's the Case for Employee Monitoring
  • How to Deal with the Dark Side of Social Media
  • Learn How to Beat Ransomware

  • Avoid These 4 SEO Mistakes

  • The Anatomy of a Spear Phishing Attack

  • One Tiny Leak Could Wipe Out Your Entire Company

  • Encryption and Why You Need It

Top 11 Mistakes To Avoid When Using SEO
search engine optimization SEO graphic

What good is a website if no one can find it? Today, most businesses recognize the need for a website and the importance of ranking well in search. But how can you be sure your website gets top listings in a competitive marketing world? The answer is strategic search engine optimization (SEO)

Well-deployed SEO helps cut through all the noise to get your website found by its intended audience. 

While optimizing for search engines is a crucial component to your business’ success, there are several mistakes that must be avoided. Otherwise, you could actually end up hurting your SEO efforts.

Here’s a quick overview of the top mistakes to avoid when leveraging SEO for your company’s best success online.

1. Keyword stuffing

a. This used to be a regular technique in search engine optimization where a webpage had “keywords” (popular words used in search queries) placed all over the site in metatags or in the content. However, Google soon  realized that the number of keywords on a site did not necessarily equate to a valuable resource for the web user. Currently, keyword stuffing is viewed as a black hat technique and an attempt to manipulate a site’s rankings in search results. This can potentially cause a site to be banned or penalized in search engine rankings.

b. An example of keyword stuffing is below:

 keyword stuffing - bad SEO
Image source: 

2. Keyword research or lack thereof. 

Many companies these days are telling people to just write naturally and not worry about keywords, but there is a deep value in using the search algorithms to your advantage. Having quality content on a website is the leading factor for making a website useful and popular for visitors. Keywords need to be researched and selected first before any writing begins in order for the content to read naturally. 

3. Not Using Long Tailed Keywords.

Long tail keywords, or descriptive phrases, are keywords too. They are much more likely to rank well in search results than short tail keywords. Why? Because people are getting much more specific in their searches, and keyword optimization should follow suit. You may get fewer hits, but the hits you get will be from web users that are much further down the road towards taking action than those that were only searching for one general word. It’s also much more achievable to get a webpage to rank highly on the search engine listings for long tail keywords because the competition is not as high as it is for general one word terms. Just think about the intention difference between someone searching for “Mobile Bay” versus “Mobile Bay charter boat tours Fairhope AL”. The specific search query is more likely to reflect a shopper who knows what they’re looking for and is closer to a purchase decision.

4. Not adding fresh content to your site.

Okay, so now you have a stellar website with dynamic content and optimized keywords ready to rock the socks off of users. But before you expect to be listed on that first page of search results on Google, and ideally the top three listings, you need to understand the importance of updating the content on your site regularly. If you’re not regularly updating your website, search engines are not going to continually notice you. Each time you add something new to your site, it’s a beacon calling the web crawling search bots to come back around to index your site, which in turn gives you better chances of higher search rankings. 
How can you add new content to your site? Writing blog articles, providing downloads and adding new web pages are good examples. But these content updates need to be on a regular basis, and the content needs to be reliable and valuable information in order to have a better chance of your site ranking higher with each update. 

How often is often enough? Typically, a frequently updated site is considered one that is updated once a day, or at least two to three times a week. These updates can be as simple as making minor changes on your site, but the easiest and most effective ways to get noticed are to add blog articles with images that will get the attention of your viewers. As a bonus, if users comment on your blog, this counts as an update on your site too. 

5. Weak Content

Search engines have begun devaluing the ranking in search results of websites that have don’t have much content. It used to be a common goal to keep blog posts around 300 words, but now the world’s leading brands and marketing analysts agree that longer form content actually boosts SEO rankings because of its added value to the readers. Thus, somewhere on your website, a strategy should be to include content that goes up to 1,500 words, with of course, the necessary optimization of meta descriptions, image tags, and other text formatting. 

6. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. This can be text that copies verbatim content found on other parts of your own web page, but more importantly, found on other webpages. Obviously, plagiarism is highly frowned upon, and the search algorithms are engineered to penalize sites when duplicate content is found. It’s completely okay to quote or insert a block of text from another source as long as you attribute to it in a link, like we do on our blogs all the time. 
Another situation that creates red flags is when you publish guest posts on other sites. For the most part, it’s okay to use the majority of the content, but you need to make sure that some of the content is altered to make what Kissmetrics calls an “evil twin.”

7. Broken Internal Links

Internal links are places on your website where you can have content from one of your web pages link to other content on another page on the same website. It should only be used if there is a real connection between the two pages. When done correctly, internal linking is considered good SEO practice. It helps keep users on your page longer by linking to the internally referenced pages, but mainly it is a routine step in SEO because it helps the search engines crawl your sight and verify that your content is valuable to readers because of the linked connections. 
However, when internal links are broken and users and web bots get a “404 Error” page, it’s a red flag that the content lacks value. “404” pages are damaging to your website’s credibility, and search engine crawl interruptions can lower your site’s ranking and decrease its visibility. You can check for broken links on your webpage by using this web validator tool. No one, users or web crawlers, like to see this message:

webpage error 404 meessage

8. Black Hat Backlinking and Lack of Link Building.

Backlinks, or inbound links, are links on outside websites that link to your webpage.  It’s an important SEO strategy to acquire these links that point back to your site, but not so long ago, this practice was tarnished with people buying low quality links to get listed on sketchy website directories. Link farms, as they were dubbed, became so popular that Google made algorithm changes to specifically penalize websites that did this. Finding quality web directories and acquiring citations and reference links from websites in the same industry are the smart way to go about doing this. Search engines can tell if you’re trying to trick them into promoting your website. While it’s better to have no links than bad links, there are still many tools, time consuming as they may be, to help get your site the quality backlinks Google values. But remember, content first, links later.

9. Incomplete On-Page SEO 

On-page SEO refers to items like keywords, quality content, and fresh updates added regularly, as mentioned earlier, but it also includes the technical aspects of filling out the meta descriptions, title, and image tags with a chosen keyword, as well as including your keyword or keyword phrase ideally within the first paragraph. Ensuring you have consistent brand messaging throughout the webpage is also important.

10. Not Utilizing Social Media

For a business to maintain credibility these days, it needs to be online on social media. It’s a great avenue for building brand awareness, retaining loyal customers and fans, and sharing all those wonderful webpages and blogs you’ve optimized on your website. By sharing your website content on social media, search engines discover there are more places to find that content, thus boosting the number of listings that pop up when people search for products or services matching your content. 

Social media icons iPhone 

11. Not tracking or measuring your progress.

It’s important to know how your SEO is performing. Using Google Analytics or other software is essential to monitor the rate of change so steps can be made to amend any low-performing webpages. Conversion goals, keyword monitoring, and weekly reports are invaluable tools to determine if you’re making progress or not.

Customizable SEO Services That Deliver Results

Search engine optimization may seem daunting at first, but the benefits far outweigh the cost to your business versus not using SEO. If your business is not seeing the results you need from your website to stay successful, then it’s time to contact our BIS Designs team for your free quote on our SEO services. Our SEO & Online Specialist will collaborate with you to create the most effective search engine optimization strategy possible, customized to your individual needs. Bring your website into the modern competitive arena with strategic SEO services from your local digital marketing experts at BIS Designs.

Digital Marketing for Retail Infographic

Digital Marketing for Retail

A retail storefront or e-commerce website needs a digital
marketing plan to drive traffic and increase sales.

Don't Kill Your Data by Going Mobile

 Read Our September 2016 Newsletter Here!

From this month's newsletter, learn:

  • How to Avoid Killing Your Data When You Go Mobile
  • Are You Addicted to Working?
  • The Future Is Yours!
  • Keep You and Your Dog Healthy with FitBark

  • Keep Up with the Latest News on Ransomware

  • Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Phone System

  • Switching to VoIP Will Give You Benefits

BIS Designs Educates Local Pensacola Businesses on Digital Marketing Strategies to Grow Their Client Base

BIS Designs Educates Local Pensacola Businesses on Digital Marketing Strategies to Grow Their Client Base


Robertsdale, AL (August 25, 2016) - BIS Designs, experienced digital marketing firm on the Gulf Coast, will host an educational presentation on “How to Develop and Implement a Successful Digital Marketing Plan to Increase Company Revenue” at their luncheon seminar on Thursday, September 22nd from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at The Fish House in Pensacola, Florida. Reservations are required and can be made at or 251.410.7601.

This free event will help organizations in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze learn about the different components of a successful digital marketing strategy including email marketing and search engine optimization. The CEO of BIS Designs, Phillip Long, will discuss topics such as how to use your website to convert visitors into leads, what you can do to optimize your website for search engines and how to incorporate email into your marketing campaigns.

The Verge reported that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than desktops. During the seminar, BIS Designs will discuss mobile websites and Google updates with the new Penguin 4.0.  

Who Should Attend?

Business owners and marketing managers who are interested in growing their company through digital marketing.

"Social Fresh stated that the first organic listing on Google receives 33% of clicks,” said Phillip Long, CEO.  Long continues, “In order to drive traffic to your website, businesses need to optimize their websites for mobile and search engines which will lead to an increase in ranking on search engines like Google and Bing. I’ll be discussing this along with three other digital marketing strategies that will put your business on the map.” (Photo: Phillip Long)


To learn more about this event, visit Additional business updates are planned throughout 2016. For more information, for details.  


About BIS Designs

BIS Designs provides web design and digital marketing services to hundreds of small and medium businesses in the local market. With the solid understanding that marketing is vital to the success of your business, BIS Designs is de-bunking the “if you build it, they will come” myth by providing the highest quality web design and digital marketing solutions available. Headquartered in Robertsdale, Alabama, BIS Designs has been serving Gulf Coast businesses for over 6 years. Learn more at


About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: information technology, web design & digital marketing, office equipment and business consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit



Be Real! The Importance of Personality Shining Through on Company Social Media Channels

As the name implies, “social media” is a platform for real time social exchange. This exchange takes place on a global scale, offering you unprecedented access to desirable demographics around the world. 

But in order to succeed in this highly competitive social media arena, it’s important to present yourself as more than a brand. You need to present yourself as a personality

You can infuse your brand with personality in a number of ways. Whether you write a blog or create a carefully crafted ‘about us’ page on your website, you’re putting your personality out there for the community to see. By posting informative, funny and inspirational posts, a human side to your business comes out, which naturally instills a greater sense of trust for your organization, ultimately enhancing your networking efforts. 

However you choose to do it, remember one thing: Be authentic. 

Use your own voice. 

Be professional, but don’t sound scripted, and avoid industry-specific terms and phrases. Try to strike a casual tone.

Share personal interests.

These can be tangentially related to your business offerings, or as unrelated as a hobby. The goal is to flesh out who you are beyond your brand.

Tell stories.

We communicate a lot of day-to-day information in story form. Relatable anecdotes are easy to follow and – if told well – hard to forget. The more entertaining, the better.

Use humor.

More specifically, use your sense of humor – so long as it’s appropriate. Laughter is the easiest way to tear down any barriers separating you from future clients. 

We often hear companies ask why social media is so important for their business. The answer is simple: businesses need a solid online presence if they expect to be successful. At the end of the day, you need to be actively posting on social media to expand that presence. 

According to the Small Business Technology Impact Study of 2016, 50% of 18-34 year olds, 42% of 35-54 year olds, and 24% of 55+ year olds prefer businesses who regularly post to their Facebook pages.

“If you're choosing between setting up a website and starting a Facebook page for your business, know that up to 30% might not buy from a company without a social media presence.” Source: TWC 2016.

BIS Designs is your local and reputable source for digital marketing. We can complement your company’s digital presence with customizable social media marketing packages that fit your business. Whether through LinkedIn, Facebook, or email marketing, our digital marketing specialists will help you communicate your brand voice and promote your company through social interaction. By staying top of mind within your community, you will retain both loyal customers and attract potential leads. Call us at 251-405-2535 for more information or visit our website to request an online quote.


August Newsletter: Here Are 3 Ways LinkedIn Can Generate New Business

 Read Our August 2016 Newsletter Here!

From this month's newsletter, learn:

  • 3 Ways You Can Generate New Business with LinkedIn
  • The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Managed Services (IT)
  • Would You Bet the Farm That Your Backups Are Safe?
  • Lower Your Business Costs by Establishing a Print Policy

  • How to Build Raving Fans

  • Imagine if You Owned the Domain Rights to Google - Even for 60 Seconds

  • Is the Internet of Things a "Clear And Present Danger?"

5 Strategies to Prevent Your Email Marketing from Going to SPAM

For years now, marketing strategists have pondered whether good old fashioned email marketing is going to fall by the wayside with all the various digital marketing options that currently exist. But never fear, emails are not going anywhere any time soon. 

Email marketing has only just begun to tap the surface in discovering how savvy it can be. 

A technology market research group has estimated that by the end of 2016, there will be:
4.6 billion email accounts
7% more emails landing in our inboxes


If email is still king, how can we cut through the crowd? How can your emails be seen, heard and effectively resonate with your target audience?


Across the board, analysts are responding to that question with the main ‘do it or die’ strategies to combat getting lost in the shuffle. 

The most common components to strengthen an email marketing campaign are:  


1. Ensure you have a responsive email template in your email campaign. 

a. Mobile devices are now the principal devices used in opening emails.
b. There’s a 23% higher click-through-rate with responsive templates.
c. 65% of total email opens occurred on a mobile phone or tablet in Q4 2015, compared to 54% in Q3 2015. - Experian “Quarterly email benchmark report” (Q4 2015) 
d. B2C emails get 57.4% more opens on mobile than B2B email, ranking 42.78% opens on mobile for B2C compared to 27.18% for B2B. - DDMA “Nationale email benchmark 2015” (2015)

*One thing to note is that there is a difference between a responsive email versus a mobile friendly email. Responsive emails respond to different devices by adjusting the text size and layout of the images. Mobile friendly emails do not change the design for smaller devices. This results in emails often having text that is too small to read on a mobile device, forcing the users to zoom in.

2. Segment your email audience.

a. “Batch & Blast” is out.
b. Focus on hyper-personalization. Go beyond “Dear First Name.” 
      • Use data analytics and CRM tools to gather more data about your customers.
c. Send different emails based on the unique qualities of your various subscribers.  
      • Where are they in the customer journey?
      • Group them by shared demographics.
      • Group them by differing buyer personas (psychographics).
d. Write emails that subscribers feel were made exclusively for them.
e. Click-through rates have said to improve 14%.
f. Conversion rates have gone up by 10%.

* You can segment for a variety of groups depending on what information you asked for on the sign-up form and what data is provided with your email analytics software.

3. Content is king. 

a. Make sure your email marketing messages are full of useful content and, if applicable, persuasive offers. 
b. A good balance is 90% educational and 10% promotional.
c. Subject lines are vitally important. Keep them short and sweet (less than 60 characters ideally).
d. Keep the look uncluttered. Keep copywriting concise and balance design with enough white space.

4. Test the open rates for what resonates with each segmented email subscriber group.

a. Test different subject lines – some shorter than others, some possibly humorous. 
b. Try different wording for Call to Action buttons.
c. Try testing with emails that include no images (plaint text emails).
d. Test who you want the email to come from – the sender name.

5. Budget for it. 

a. Allow for a budget to get the type of data collection and analytics information that’s best for your business. 
b. Budget for internal resources (staff) needed to implement and manage the technology and email communication.
c. The budget should also include allowances for testing to gain refined insights about your customers.

74% of surveyed marketers from 2015 said they still predict email communication to be one of the marketing channels that yields the highest return on investment. 

It’s been widely accepted that the return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is roughly about $44 back for every $1 spent. This healthy figure is mighty impressive, especially when you consider it’s factoring in many low-performing email campaigns to get the average number. 

So how are the super successful ones making that kind of return? 

The Direct Marketing Association says their best practices include “aggressive, smart spending on technology and services.”

Because of the increased demand for more personalized and relevant content, budget allocation for these advanced data analytic services is needed to keep companies earning an impressive ROI.

By creating dynamic content with a focus on customized emails, businesses provide their subscribers with useful information and ultimately develop strong relationships. Once this level of customer loyalty and brand recognition is reached, the less chances your emails have in getting marked as spam. 

BIS Designs offers customized email marketing services for clients in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama, to fuel their business through effective and well-thought out emails and newsletters. Download our free marketing plan and learn more about how to boost your business’ ROI with email marketing. You may contact us through our website or call 251.405.2535 to speak to one of our digital marketing professionals. 

July Newsletter: Is Your Mobile Website Stressing People Out?

 Read Our July 2016 Newsletter Here!

From this month's newsletter, learn:

  • Is Your Mobile Website Stressing People Out?
  • 9 Symptoms of a Spyware Infection
  • Your Crystal Ball for Hiring
  • Skip the Airport - Just Hop in Your E-Jet and Fly!

  • Forget Apps...Here Comes the Voice-Controlled Future

  • Top 8 Tips to Prevent Paper Jams

  • Google to Release Penguin 4.0 Update That Could Potentially Hurt Your Website's Search Engine Rankings

  • 5 Ways to Spot a Social Engineering Attack


Employee Spotlight - Christi Kannapel
Christi Kannapel


Christi is the Marketing & Public Relations Director for BIS Technology Group, the umbrella company over BIS Designs. She has been with the company for two and a half years and has been instrumental in leading many of the prosperous changes for our company. 

Her favorite part about her job is being able to be creative and work with a passionate and innovative team. At BIS, Christi’s main duties and tasks include: 
Managing and creating new content for company websites
Organizing, promoting and hosting events including lunch & learns, meet & greets, webinars, seminars and sales events
Developing and managing marketing strategies, campaigns and budgets
Generating revenue for all three divisions of the BIS Technology Group by implementing campaigns such as webinars, seminars, cross-selling, direct mail, and contests
Designing marketing materials

She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Radio, TV & Film (Mass Communication). While at Auburn, she started her own radio show called Live & Local where she brought in local artists to interview. She successfully increased the number of listeners by marketing the show through social media, her website and outbound marketing. Thus, her passion for marketing began!

Christi’s passion and leadership have always been hallmarks of her life. She has won or placed in several competitions, such as the Laws of Life essay contest and the state of Alabama’s Science Olympiad. Other accomplishments include:
4th in the state of Tennessee for Digital Productions for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)
Achieved Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do
Captain of the Marketing Minions Accountability Group
Leader of BIS’s internal PR ‘Wow’ Team.

Christi’s main hobbies and interests outside of work are reading, swimming, running, crafting, trying new restaurants, traveling, playing with her dog Gunther, playing the piano, and exploring her new town of Charlotte, NC with her fiancé Drew.

We are thrilled and proud to have Christi as our Marketing Director for BIS. Her drive and insight continue to motivate and inspire employees, and propel BIS towards continued success.