Why haven't we been blogging?
To make a long story short, we were in the middle of perfecting our social media and seo tools and systems and building out DIY solutions. Then the election happened and the world of the web changed for the worse. It became more complex and more ugly really fast.
Click-bait and Taboola Happened
Taboola is on most of the click-bait fake news blogs you'll see on the web. The ads that are just disgusting? With weird close-ups of body parts or foods that look alien? Yeah. That. We don't like Taboola and don't trust people that run their ads. We don't think you should either.
Speaking of click-bait, fake news happened. Headlines that were skewed and downright misleading or false got monetized and people made lots of money by fooling people. We weren't big fans of that either. Click-bait had been a problem for a while but it multiplied beyond anything we'd seen before. It made blogs, all blogs, seem suspect. It made a lot of people quit clicking at all. It broke the trust of many. You had to triple-check and fact-check everything, no matter how innocent the topic, before you shared it.
Toxic Twitter and Lying Facebook Happened
Twitter, which was already toxic, got increasingly worse throughout 2016 and into 2017. For people who want to use it to sell products, that made it a scary place. The only people left on Twitter were sports buffs, celebrities, journalists, activists and robots. A lot of healthy minded people quit using it because, well. It wasn't fun anymore.
Facebook boomed, because their ads seemed like the answer for those who needed to advertise well. Except it turns out, they have a limited amount of actual ad space and the reports they gave us? Well. They fudged that data a bit. And they haven't really fixed it yet. They say they have. We'll see.
Google hasn't been much better.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Google has gotten less effective in the past two years. They've allowed false and fraudulent ads. They now have a "fact-check" parameter, but who decides what is true? Maybe it's that they just aren't serving up the best search results anymore. They buy up their own ad space. Maybe it's that they are in transition, moving to AMP protocols and other new tech that will improve UI down the road. Whatever the reason, you have to be really savvy to make AdWords return a profit and not have it send your expensive ads to click-bait sites where they won't give you any ROI. Click here for a great tool to check and see if AdWords is right for you.
And if you want search that isn't tracking you, try DuckDuckGo.
We wanted to remain ethical and effective in a frankly unethical environment
So we've regrouped. We aren't building DIY tools anymore. We'll recommend some good ones if you need them. We want to do great digital marketing and we've found some creative cross-channel solutions. We have an advertising solution that is IP-based in our toolbox now. We have superior email marketing tools. We have the expertise to guide you through the minefield that PPC has become, but we think SEO and content building will always be the answer. We know how to craft effective AMP pages and landing pages. We'll even create HD video for your social campaigns (and you need to focus on video in social).
In short, we're back and we're better.
So what's ahead?
We're going to be working on solutions that work with voice-activated technology such as Alexa or Google Home. We're focusing on developing great content for our clients and then building their mailing list, both postal and email. That's the model that has stood the test of time. That's the winning strategy.
So that's what we're up to. We'll keep forging ahead.
About the Author
Anne Miles is the owner and Toad-in-Chief at Red Toad Media. A trained graphic designer, Anne has been a speaker at WordCamp and the IRCE Digital Design Conference. She has been interviewed by Inc Magazine and the Wall Street Journal and published a contribution for Smashing Magazine, one of the top web design blogs in the world. You can follow her on Twitter at @redtoadmedia