What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

Q – What is the difference between SEO and SEM, and how do they work?

A – SEO gains website traffic that is free, slow and durable. SEM gains website traffic that is paid, fast and temporary.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is in essence free traffic. You can hire an SEO expert and his/her services come with a fee, but the traffic itself is free. SEO objectives include:

1. Make a website easy for search engines to read.
2. Make the site user-friendly to the end user.

The ultimate end goals are to increase your website’s organic search engine rankings & bring in the right traffic.

POSITIVE SEO may be obtained by developing a site that is search engine friendly (fast loading time, https secure, mobile friendly) and has tracking, links, good content and more.

NEGATIVE SEO is associated with an attempt to decrease a competitors site ranking including hacking, scraping and repurposing content, link farming, fake social media profiles, bad reviews and more.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) on the other hand is PAID traffic, or advertising on the internet. One of the most common SEM campaign types is Google AdWords. “Ad Groups” are set up based on categories and each Ad Group has a set of ad units. Results more or less boil down to how well the ads are written. The cost is determined by ad clicks and phone calls placed from ads. If you are hiring an outside company, there will be a management fee on top of your ad budget.

There are numerous other variables and sub-topics regarding either SEO or SEM. If you are looking to find out which is best for your company, please do your research. Timeframes, budget and expectations are all considerations. If you would like more information or schedule a free review, email us at: info@mausmediagroup.com.

After Effects: Tools and Tricks to Help You Get Started

As a motion graphics designer, I’m often asked which programs we use here at MMG for post-production. While most people are just curious to know how it works, some really are interested in diving into the production world and learning what we do. Sound like you?

In this article, I’m going to explain the programs we use to for motion graphics, visual effects and compositing. After that, I’ll share a few beginners’ tutorials and plugins I’d recommend to help you get started.

Please note: I am not paid by, nor associated with any of the brands you see in this article. I’m just a big fan of their product capabilities, and hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.

So, first I want to introduce you to Adobe. If you’re not already familiar, Adobe is a software titan in the design industry. If you want any chance of creating professional work, I’d recommend purchasing a subscription to its Creative Cloud program. With an “All Apps” subscription, you’ll get two “seats” to the entire Adobe collection of 20+ apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro and After Effects.

Now, because we’re talking motion graphics, I’m going to focus in on After Effects. This baby is the real Mamma Jamma of motion design – especially with its new CINEMA 4D rendering engine, along with all of the plugin goodies you can find online to increase capability and workflow.

To get started with After Effects, I’d highly recommend watching the following four tutorials:

  1. Learn After Effects in 20 Minutes – Tutorial for Beginners.
    It’s important to have a general knowledge of After Effects’ main components. This step-by-step guide is designed to help new users understand all of the basics needed to getting started with the software.


  2. The 12 Basic Principles of Animation
    Before you jump in and start animating, here are some basic guidelines on what your finished pieces’ movements should include in order to make them successful. Remember that animation is generally trying to emulate real world phenomena like gravity, velocity, density, etc., so the viewer can watch and perceive it as reality (or at least realistic).


  3. Easing and the Graph Editor
    One of the most important things to learn about inside of After Effects is easing keyframes and how to use the graph editor. A lot of people have trouble making their animations move like objects actually might in the real world. This tool allows you to create smooth animations to help with making things look a little bit more legit. In the tutorial above, skip to 9:50 and learn what the graph editor can do for you and your animations.


  4. Introduction to Masking
    Masking objects is a necessity when it comes to creating awesome motion pieces. Masks allow you to show and hide things under each other, cut stuff out, blend things, and even morph shapes. Their powers are endless. I will warn you though: they can be pretty stubborn, so make sure you do your homework and understand how they work.


Lastly, I want to introduce you to a couple of plugins that should help with workflow:

  1. Ease and Wizz
    Ease and Wizz is a name-your-own-price plugin (AKA free, if you don’t feel like donating). It creates complex easing based on After Effects expressions applied to keyframes. I don’t use this all the time, but it is helpful when working on projects under a tight deadline.
  2. Move Anchor Point
    This is a free and really awesome plug-in to have. When animating, people often forget to set their anchor points. This always causes problems when you’re in the middle of an animation or your object isn’t moving from the point you want it to. Move Anchor Point is a simple script that will move an object’s anchor point to any position with a simple click.

So there you have it. My hope is that this article can provide some good stepping stones in learning how to create awesome motion graphics! These links are only a small sample of what’s out there. I encourage you to get online and look up all the tutorials you can, so that you can keep learning and improving as well.

As always, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us if you’re in need of video production or motion graphics assistance. We’d love to discuss opportunities for your business to grow.

Thanks for reading!

9 Tips to Optimize Your WordPress Site

With over 74 million active sites, WordPress is by far the most widely supported Content Management System on the web today. The notorious CMS has one of the best communities on the web, offering an expansive level of support to anyone who seeks assistance. However, with power comes great responsibility – WordPress can also be one of the worst at bloating and page load issues if you aren’t careful.

Page load speed is of upmost importance these days. A slow page can drive away users, and negatively affect your search engine rankings.

We highly recommend visiting a page load speed tool to check your current loading time (Google Pageload Insights and Pingdom are two of our favorites). Then, review our 9 tips below for optimizing your site. As always, we’re here to help!

1) Hosting

The most important step in optimizing your site starts with its foundation: your web hosting account. You’re setting yourself and your site up for failure if the hosting package does not match your site’s needs right off the bat. It’s highly important to ensure your site is on a plan that can handle the demand from your visitors. 

Hosting companies tend to offer shared packages, which cram hundreds of sites onto the same server. This may be fine for non-database driven sites, however this could be the #1 bottleneck if your site is running WordPress. Invest in a hosting plan that can support your site; it’s well worth the price tag.

2) Plugins

WordPress has TONS of plugins for almost anything you can imagine. That doesn’t necessarily mean the plugins are efficiently coded, though. Before installing any plugin, do a fair amount of research and digging to see what users think about it. You may save yourself a headache down the road.

Once your plugins are installed, make sure that they remain updated. Plugin maintenance will help with site optimization, but it’s also a great security practice, making sure your site is secure from any vulnerabilities.

3) Optimize Images

Image optimization could be the simplest change that has a massive role in page load speed. The images you upload to your site are one of the heaviest elements, outside of video, that can be optimized. For all images, you should specify the maximum images for all thumbnails, medium- and large-sized images. If an image you upload is being displayed at 120px wide, but the original image is 1024px, the image will be scaled down with CSS. This may feel like a handy trick, however this method loads the original size, then scales it down.

The second thing that helps is optimizing images at their original size before uploading them. This can be done manually or via a WordPress plugin. The goal of this step is to reduce image file sizes without effecting quality.

Plugin suggestions: Optimus

4) Enable GZIP

GZip is a file format used for file compression and decompression. This format allows for your site to be transferred at up to 70% of its original file size. Most web hosts have this enabled automatically, so all that’s needed to be configured is in the setting of WordPress.

5) Minify

Minifying is a very important step in providing the users browser with the requested files to build your site. Each call to a CSS, JS, PHP or HTML file is an HTTP request, which can add up very quickly. The more requests there are, the longer it will take for your pages to load. Minify helps to greatly reduce this. Minify will concatenate CSS files together, remove all white space and create a single file, greatly reducing HTTP requests for CSS. Minify also works for JavaScript and HTML.

Plugin suggestions: Autoptimize

6) Browser Caching

When a caching plugin is installed on your site, it will cache (store) copies of your pages. This may sound redundant with having multiple copies, but the handy side of caching is that it only requires a single call to the database.  If a user frequents your site, on the initial page load they will make a number of database calls, HTTP and PHP requests.  Caching the pages will make their request immediately available to them next time they revisit.

Plugin suggestions: w3 total cache

7) Reduce and Delete Spam

Everyone knows this happens with WordPress – the notorious spam comments. These bots will find your site and fill up the comment section on all your pages with special offers on all sorts of products. Unfortunately, these can cause more harm than just being an eyesore. Each comment will need to be pulled from a database, adding to HTTP requests. If you have comments that are not contributing to an article, get rid of them.  

8) Optimize Your Database

Maintaining an optimized database is like greasing the bearings on your WordPress skateboard. Plugins like WP-Optimize and WP-DBManager are capable of performing maintenance throughout the WP dashboard. They will assist with things like removing pending spam comments, trashed posts, autosave drafts and post revisions. If you are not familiar with PHPMyAdmin, these plugins will also perform general MySQL database optimization queries without you having to log in and do it manually.

Plugin suggestions: WP-Optimize and WP-DBManager

9) CDN

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a super handy tool to optimizing your site globally. These networks allow for your to offload resources like images, scripts, and CSS files to easily be accessed from multiple locations. Most CDNs will have access points across the globe. A traditional host will have a user virtually visit their datacenter for their requests. A CDN allows for a user to visit a datacenter MUCH closer to them, reducing the load time greatly.

Branding

Brand development is the exciting opportunity to create an identity for your company or organization. Simple elements like typeface, color schemes, symbols and taglines are hand-picked to illustrate your corporate culture and capabilities.

Our team is experienced in building new brands and refreshing existing ones. We take the time to study your organization, research your market and distinguish an identity that will connect with your intended audience.
By developing a consistent brand identity across all platforms, MMG will partner with you in improving your customer’s brand experience at every touch point.

Our Branding Services:

  • Competitive Analysis
  • Creative Direction
  • Graphic Design
  • Brand Creation & Identity
  • Brand Refresh
  • Brand Implementation
  • Copy Writing & Editing
  • Corporate Assets
  • Strategy & Positioning
  • Vehicle Wrap Design

We’d love to chat with you about branding potential. Contact us today for a free consultation.