By now, you’ve probably heard as much as you can bear about mobile first indexing. For me, there’s been one topic that’s been conspicuously missing from all this discussion, though, and that’s the impact on internal linking, indexing sites for conferences and previous internal linking best practices.
In the past, there have been a few popular methods for providing crawl paths for search engines — bulky main navigations, HTML sitemap-style pages that exist purely for internal linking, or blocks of links at the bottom of indexed pages. Larger sites have typically used at least two or often three of these methods. I’ll explain in this post why all of these are now looking pretty shaky, and what I suggest you do about it.
Quick refresher: WTF are “internal linking” & “mobile-first,” Tom?
Internal linking is and always has been a vital component of SEO — it’s easy to forget in all the noise about external link building that some of our most powerful tools to affect the link graph are right under our noses. If you’re looking to brush up on internal linking in general, or even indexing sites for conferences, it’s a topic that gets pretty complex pretty quickly, but there are a couple of resources I can recommend to get started:
I’ve also written in the past that links may be mattering less and less as a ranking factor for the most competitive terms, and though that may be true, they’re still the primary way you qualify for that competition.
A great example I’ve seen recently of what happens if you don’t have comprehensive internal linking is eflorist.co.uk. (Disclaimer: eFlorist is not a client or prospective client of Distilled, nor are any other sites mentioned in this post)
eFlorist has local landing pages for all sorts of locations, targeting queries like “Flower delivery in [town].” However, even though these pages are indexed, they’re not linked to internally. As a result, if you search for something like “flower delivery in London,” despite eFlorist having a page targeted at this specific query (which can be found pretty much only through use of advanced search operators), they end up ranking on page 2 with their “flowers under £30” category page:
If you’re looking for a reminder of what mobile-first indexing or even indexing sites for conferences Large Site Crawl Paths is and why it matters, these are a couple of good posts to bring you up to speed:
In short, though, Google is increasingly looking at pages as they appear on mobile for all the things it was previously using desktop pages for — namely, establishing ranking factors, the link graph, and SEO directives as well as internal linking for indexing sites for conferences. You may well have already seen an alert from Google Search Console telling you your site has been moved over to primarily mobile indexing, but if not, it’s likely not far off.
Get to the point: What am I doing wrong?
If you have more than a handful of landing pages on your site, you’ve probably given some thought in the past to how Google can find them and how to make sure they get a good chunk of your site’s link equity. A rule of thumb often used by SEOs is how many clicks a landing page is from the homepage, also known as “crawl depth.”
Mobile-first indexing and indexing sites for conferences impacts this on two fronts:
Some of your links aren’t present on mobile (as is common), so your internal linking simply won’t work in a world where Google is going primarily with the mobile-version of your pageIf your links are visible on mobile, they may be hideous or overwhelming to users, given the reduced on-screen real estate vs. desktop
If you don’t believe me on the first point, check out this Twitter conversation between Will Critchlow and John Mueller:
To increase conversion rates on your ecommerce website, no part of the user journey can be overlooked. From that initial landing page through checkout, every step a user takes on your website needs to be carefully designed with that final purchase in mind. But building a user path that successfully balances an enjoyable shopping experience with a clear path to conversion is easier said than done.
To help you design a more delightful and intentional conversion path on your ecommerce website, we’ve put together a list of some best practices.
1. Clear Purchase CTAs
Having a clear call-to-action (CTA) is essential to convert website traffic into sales. It’s what turns a visitor into a customer in the shortest amount of time possible. Most CTAs are typically a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Basket’ style button which stands out from the rest of the page to grab the visitor’s attention and encourage them to click — this can be done by using contrasting colors or design elements.
The wording of the CTA should be kept short and sweet. Phrases such as ‘Buy Now’, ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Checkout Now’, etc. work best. Put simply, the CTA should align with the visitor’s interest; someone on the product page is interested in clicking ‘Buy Now’, whereas someone on a content page will be interested in ‘Reading More’.
You might also want to consider creating a sense of urgency on your ecommerce site. It has been proven that when users feel a sense of urgency when shopping online, conversation rates can increase by up to 332%. This can be done simply by changing the way you word your CTAs — for example, changing ‘Shop Here’ to ‘Shop Now’ could make the difference in pushing the visitor to check out.
Below, you can clearly see how the CTAs stand out from the background.
If the eye is drawn, so is the cursor.
2. Simple, One-Click Checkout (For Guests Too)
Although adding clear CTAs to get visitors to add items to their cart is a good step in conversation rates, there is another step which can increase this even more.
By adopting a similar checkout process to Amazon with a one-click checkout process, you can skip the ‘add to cart’ step and have visitors check out quickly and efficiently on the product page. Amazon recently lost their patent for the one-click checkout process, so you are able to implement this onto your own website.
Even if you do not want to implement a one-click checkout, it is critical you streamline the checkout process as much as possible by requiring the very minimum data input from the user — Amazon does an excellent job of this with their one-click checkout system, and a well-recognized CTA.
3. Greenbar SSL
It has been shown that shopping cart abandonment dramatically decreases when you display the greenbar SSL on your website. Here is what they look like on different search engines:
The greenbar SSL is essential when conveying a trustworthy and reputable website, as it is something that all major ecommerce sites should have. It is not only a visual cue to the potential customer, but also an important security aspect as well.
Having a greenbar SSL encrypts the visitor’s payment information, which makes it harder for hackers and scam artists to steal their information. Simply put, users do not want to purchase from an unsecure website — the large red X with an unsecured padlock can be a real barrier to converting visitors into sales.
Even Google has started to include SSL certified websites in their SEO ranking, offering up to a 5% increase (a very cheap and easy way to bump up your SEO score).
In a recent test by Blue Fountain Media, two forms were created on their website. One showing a Verisign seal (the right hand side image) and the other without (left).
Through testing they found a 42% increase in conversions on the form containing the Verisign seal, demonstrating that visitors are more inclined to share personal data and convert when they are confident that it is secure.
4. Payment Methods (Visible with PayPal)
There are currently over 200 different ways to pay online that aren’t reliant on a card, including direct debit, bank transfers, digital wallets, e-invoices, digital currencies (such as Bitcoin) and many more.
It is essential to cater to this market when designing your ecommerce website, especially when we consider that these types of transactions are predicted to be over half of all ecommerce payments by 2019, according to a report by Global Payments.
Although it is impossible to have over 200 different payment methods on your website, it is important that you understand your target market and are able to offer payment methods best suited for them. For example, a clothing website where the average spend is £50 may benefit from offering mainly credit and debit card-style payments, whereas a website such as overclockers.co.uk may want to push finance more — as the value of the products being sold is significantly higher.
By providing the top three payments methods in your sector, you can expect to increase your conversion rates by 30% alone. However, it is not as simple as setting your payment methods and forgetting about it — you must analyze the data received from your customers’ checkouts on each payment method and be ready to adjust and tweak them accordingly.
Overclockers does a great job of this by showing all their available options to buy in the product description, and near the CTA.
5. Product or Company Reviews
Reviews are one of the most powerful tools to convert any interest in your product to a sale. Visitors want to hear from other buyers, not only if the product they are interested in is actually any good, but also about the service they received from your website.
By showing reviews directly next to or below the product, you are demonstrating instantly that you are a trustworthy seller. It has been shown that customer recommendations drive between 20% and 50% of all purchasing decisions and that 87% of people believe the reviews they read online on products and services.
It all comes back to reassuring the customer. Without reviews, the customers might ask themselves questions about your website: Why are there no reviews? Is this a genuine site?
Websites such as AO.com and Amazon give customers opportunities for instant feedback on the quality of a product or service, so much so that when it is not shown it can cause concern and worry for potential customers, thus hurting conversion rates.
Again, Amazon leads the way with reviews — it’s the first thing you see when searching for a product, and gives you an instant indication of a product’s quality.
Humans by their very nature are visual beings. We often look at pictures and graphic elements before reading the information about a product — it is what initially grabs our attention. You need to ensure you have the best possible photos of your product, as well as a good range of images covering all angles and details. This gives the buyer confidence in what the product is, the quality, and what they are to expect when they receive it.
On the other hand, if you have low quality pictures, no zoom function, and a lack of detail shots, you can leave your potential customer anxious, asking themselves if you perhaps have something to hide? Maybe the product is fake? Why are the images bad quality? These are all enough to potentially deter a visitor from converting.
Data shows that visitors don’t actually read the information on your websites, just 16% of readers will actually go through the entire page and read it word for word, while over 75% will just skim for snippets of information and photographs.
It is also worth noting that by creating good quality images you have more chance of them being shared on social media. Studies show that 74% of people rely on their social media networks for information about purchasing decisions.
In 2015, Google officially declared that mobile searches outnumbered those on desktop. When you consider that mobile shopping carts are abandoned much more than on desktops, users abondon websites if they don’t load in under three seconds, and users want to check out quickly while on the move, you’ll quickly realize it’s critical your website is optimized for mobile. A mobile-optimized website will lead to a massive uptake in conversion rates.
Having a simple checkout process is even more important on mobile than it is on desktop. Users are working with a significantly smaller screen, so the less distractions the better. Keep it simple. Users want to add the item to their cart, pay, and get out. This can be done by stripping back any unnecessary elements for mobile and directing the user down a simple and easy to follow path towards checkout.
It is also important to remember the unreliable nature of phone data. With phone signal dropping in a split second reducing users download speeds to a snail’s pace, it is imperative that your mobile optimized site has the smallest possible page size, meaning fast load times even on a slow internet connection. Simple steps like this can make the difference between converting sales on mobile and not.
8. Concise and Effective Product Descriptions
Product descriptions are a key tool in your ecommerce selling arsenal. Without effective product descriptions that sell the product to your customer base, you are losing out on click-through rates and purchases.
Having a boring or unclear product description isn’t going to cut it — your customers will switch their attention off and won’t be interested in purchasing. That’s why it’s vital to focus on your ideal buyer and target them personally, with words and descriptions that relate to them — doing this gives your customer a sense that you understand their wants and needs, which ultimately makes them feel more confident in choosing to purchase from you.
While we’re talking about instilling confidence in your customers, it is crucial to avoid using cliché phrases such as ‘excellent quality’, ‘genuine’ etc. These are all things that your customer should already know by your excellent product photos, slick website, and efficient checkout process that we have already covered. Trying to convince your potential customer that your product is ‘excellent quality’ gives the impression that you might have something to hide and are trying too hard to convince them what you’re selling is indeed good quality.
Above all, the most important factor to consider when writing your product descriptions is to keep it concise. As we mentioned earlier, users of your website will skim read and anything longer than a few lines is either going to get ignored or skipped over. If you do have a large amount of information that you need to convey to your customer, you might consider hiding it behind a ‘read more’ button or cutting it down in easy-to-digest bullet points.
Overclockers does really well with their product descriptions — although they aren’t the most personal. They are concise and to the point, but also offer tons of information (if you want it) by scrolling further down the page.
9. Minimal Layout
Creating an easy to follow and cohesive journey from homepage to checkout is one of the most important factors when looking at bounce and conversion rates, as a study by EyeQuant showed websites that adopt a cleaner look (more white space, bigger images, less text etc.) saw significantly less bounce rate and higher conversion rates than those that had a more complicated website.
While it might seem daunting to think about redesigning your ecommerce site to be more minimalistic, it is actually relatively straightforward if you follow a few simple rules:
Focus on product imagery with less design elements and distractions on product pages. Direct your customers to the add to cart, purchase or checkout with large CTA buttons that stand out. Test your website — this is often forgotten but it’s crucial you make sure your checkout process is as slick on your brand new iMac or iPhone as it is on a five year old desktop PC running Internet Explorer or old smartphone. Limit your colors. Again, the less distractions the better. Get your user focused on the product itself, then onto the checkout button. Less is more. If the product page still works without it, then lose it. It’s all about focusing the customer towards the end goal — checkout!
If you follow these four steps to rework your product pages, you will see a significant increase in checkout completion and a drop in bounce rates.
The General Data Protection Regulation is about to go into effect, but many marketers are still unprepared for it. Here’s a checklist for digital marketers to make sure they comply with the pending regulation’s provisions. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
If you happened to click on any of the guides above you’ll notice that they are drastically different than the ones on Quick Sprout.
Here are the main differences:
No fancy design – I found with the Quick Sprout experience, people love the fancy designs, but over time content gets old and outdated. To update content when there are so many custom illustrations is tough, which means you probably won’t update it as often as you should. This causes traffic to go down over time because people want to read up-to-date and relevant information. Shorter and to the point – I’ve found that you don’t need super in-depth content. The guides on NeilPatel.com rank in similar positions on Google and cap out at around 10,000 words. They are still in-depth, but I found that after 10,000 or so words there are diminishing returns.
Now let’s look at the stats.
Here’s the traffic to the advanced SEO guide on Quick Sprout over the last 30 days:
Over 7,842 unique pageviews. There are tons of chapters and as you can see people are going through all of them.
And now let’s look at the NeilPatel.com SEO guide:
I spent a lot less time, energy, and money creating the guide on NeilPatel.com, yet it receives 17,442 unique pageviews per month, which is more than the Quick Sprout guide. That’s a 122% difference!
But how is that possible?
I know what you are thinking. Google wants people to create higher quality content that benefits people.
So how is it that the NeilPatel.com one ranks higher.
Is it because of backlinks?
Well, the guide on Quick Sprout has 850 referring domains:
And the NeilPatel.com has 831 referring domains:
Plus, they have similar URL ratings and domain ratings according to Ahrefs so that can’t be it.
So, what gives?
Google is a machine. It doesn’t think with emotions, it uses logic. While we as a user look at the guide on Quick Sprout and think that it looks better and is more in-depth, Google focuses on the facts.
See, Google doesn’t determine if one article is better than another by asking people for their opinion. Instead, they look at the data.
For example, they can look at the following metrics:
Time on site – which content piece has a better time on site? Bounce rate – which content piece has the lowest bounce rate? Back button – does the article solve all of the visitors’ questions and concerns? So much so they visitor doesn’t have to hit the back button and go back to Google to find another web page?
Because of this, I took a different approach to NeilPatel.com, which is why my traffic has continually gone up over time.
Instead of using opinion and spending tons of energy creating content that I think is amazing, I decided to let Google guide me.
With NeilPatel.com, my articles range from 2,000 to 3,000 words. I’ve tried articles with 5,000+ words, but there is no guarantee that the more in-depth content will generate more traffic or that users will love it.
Now to clarify, I’m not trying to be lazy.
Instead, I’m trying to create amazing content while being short and to the point. I want to be efficient with both my time and your time while still delivering immense value.
Here’s the process I use to ensure I am not writing tons of content that people don’t want to read.
Be data driven
Because there is no guarantee that an article or blog post will do well, I focus on writing amazing content that is 2,000 to 3,000-words long.
I stick within that region because it is short enough where you will read it and long enough that I can go in-depth enough to provide value.
Once I release a handful of articles, I then look to see which ones you prefer based on social shares and search traffic.
Now that I have a list of articles that are doing somewhat well, I log into Google Search Console and find those URLs.
You can find a list of URLs within Google Search Console by clicking on “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics”.
You’ll see a screen load that looks something like this:
From there you’ll want to click on the “pages” button. You should be looking at a screen that looks similar to this:
Find the pages that are gaining traction based on total search traffic and social shares and then click on them (you can input URLs into Shared Count to find out social sharing data).
Once you click on the URL, you’ll want to select the “Queries” icon to see which search terms people are finding that article from.
Now go back to your article and make it more in-depth.
And when I say in-depth, I am not talking about word count like I used to focus on at Quick Sprout.
Instead, I am talking depth… did the article cover everything that the user was looking for?
If you can cover everything in 3,000 words then you are good. If not, you’ll have to make it longer.
The way you do this is by seeing which search queries people are using to find your articles (like in the screenshot above). Keep in mind that people aren’t searching Google in a deliberate effort to land on your site… people use Google because they are looking for a solution to their problem.
Think of those queries that Google Search Console is showing you as “questions” people have.
If your article is in-depth enough to answer all of those questions, then you have done a good job.
If not, you’ll have to go more in-depth.
In essence, you are adding more words to your article, but you aren’t adding fluff.
You’re not keyword stuffing either. You are simply making sure to cover all aspects of the subject within your article.
This is how you write in-depth articles and not waste your time (or money) on word count.
And that’s how I grew NeilPatel.com without writing too many unnecessary words.
If you are writing 10,000-word articles you are wasting your time. Heck, even articles over 5,000 words could be wasting your time if you are only going after as many words as possible and adding tons of fluff along the way.
You don’t know what people want to read. You’re just taking a guess.
The best approach is to write content that is amazing and within the 2,000 word to 3,000-word range.
Once you publish the content, give it a few months and then look at search traffic as well as social sharing data to see what people love.
Take those articles and invest more resources into making them better and ultimately more in-depth (in terms of quality and information, not word count).
The last thing you want to do is write in-depth articles on subjects that very few people care about.
Just look at the Advanced Guide to SEO on Quick Sprout… I made an obvious mistake. I made it super in-depth on “advanced SEO”. But when you search Google for the term “SEO” and you scroll to the bottom to see related queries you see this…
People are looking for the basics of SEO, not advanced SEO information.
If I wrote a 2,000-word blog post instead of a 20,000-word guide, I could have caught this early on and adapted the article more to what people want versus what I thought they wanted.
That’s a major difference.
So how in-depth are you going to make your content?
In these days, of social media, it’s all about documentation.
Where you go, what you eat and drink, who you see, and what’s most memorable: These are the typical fodder of Instagram Stories — seconds-long glimpses of people’s lives, shared on Instagram for only 24 hours.
The Instagram Story feature allows Instagram users to share photos and videos to their “Story” — which is visible to followers of the user’s Instagram account — and to specific users the Story’s sender follows. Like in Snapchat, Instagram Stories are ephemeral, meaning they vanish after 24 hours. Stories are published separately from the photos and videos found in the tiled gallery of one’s Instagram profile.
You might know the basics of sharing Instagram Stories, but there are hidden tools within the app that can make the photos and videos you share more creative and more engaging.
Below, we’ve created this guide to how to share Instagram Stories, and how to make those Stories are compelling and cool as possible. In this post, we’ll cover:
Why Share Instagram Stories in the First Place How to Post Instagram Stories (The Basics) Instagram Stories Tricks and Hacks for Awesome Instagram Stories
Why Share Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories can drive a ton of engagement and value — whether you’re sharing a Story from a brand account or your own personal profile.
Since launching back in August 2016, a total of 250 million Instagram users have started sharing disappearing content on Instagram Stories — contributing to the huge jump in time spent in-app every day from 24 minutes to 32.
What’s more, a lot of brands have already seen success publishing content to this platform. Instagram Stories have fueled the growth of brands like Teen Vogue, Insider, and Bustle. Whether publishers are trying to grow brand awareness, grow traffic to videos or newsletter outside of Instagram, or share sponsored content, publishers are flocking to Instagram to publish fun disappearing content that infuses brand voice and personality without taking up too much of the average techie’s dwindling attention span.
What’s more, Instagram Stories are credited with fueling the massive growth of Instagram Direct — private one-to-one messaging between users within the app. Instagram Direct has grown into one of the most popular messaging apps in the world with a staggering 375 million users. Even more impressive, TechCrunch reports that one in five Instagram Stories shared by a brand receives a Direct reply — giving brands a direct line to connect with their audience and learn more about them.
How to Make a Story on Instagram Open Instagram, and tap the camera icon in the upper left-hand corner of your phone. Share a photo or video you’ve already captured by swiping up on your screen to browse your gallery. Or, choose a camera lens to capture a photo or video in the app. Once you’ve edited your photo or video, tap “Your Story,” or tap “Next” to share it to your Story and to other friends at the same time.
You can make Instagram Stories this successful too — but it requires a few more hacks and tips to make them look like the Stories big brands and influencers share. (Some of my favorite Instagram Stories are shared by chef Chloe Coscarelli, actress Busy Phillips, mattress brand Casper, and interior design app Hutch — and don’t forget to check out HubSpot‘s Instagram Stories, either.)
But first, let’s review the basics of how to share an Instagram Story:
1. Open Instagram, and tap the camera icon in the upper left-hand corner of your phone.
2. Share a photo or video you’ve already captured by swiping up on your screen to browse your gallery.
Disclosure: Yes, I did a photoshoot featuring my cats. Can you blame me though?
3. Or, choose a camera lens to capture a photo or video in the app.
You have a few different options to choose from:
If you toggle your screen to the “Live” option, you’ll start filming and broadcasting live on Instagram. Like Facebook Live, friends can follow along and leave comments, and when you’re done with the broadcast, you’ll have the option to let the video disappear, save it, or share it Instagram Stories for an additional 24 hours.
It means what it says: Tapping once will capture a photo, and holding down will record a video. Instagram Stories can be 15 seconds in length, so if you want to share a video that’s longer, film in 15-second stints, or use CutStory to split your longer clip into 15-second installments.
Boomerang mode films looping GIFs up to three seconds in length.
Superzoom is, on the surface, a video recording lens that zooms in closer and closer on your subject. But turn up the volume, and you can use Superzoom to create a dramatic soundtrack to accompany your video.
As my friend Marissa put it, “It’s like it’s BUILT for cats.”
Use hands-free mode if you want to set up your camera to film a video for you. Make sure you prop it somewhere stable before you call “Action.” We’ll talk more about this feature in a minute.
4. Once you’ve edited your photo or video, tap “Your Story,” or tap “Next” to share it to your Story and to other friends at the same time.
You can also save your edited photo or video to your gallery by tapping “Save” in the lower left-hand corner.
Now that you know the basics, let’s run through tips and hacks for producing high-quality, clickable Instagram Stories.
11 Instagram Story Tricks and Hacks 1. Use stickers.
Once you’ve captured a great photo or video, it’s time to jazz it up with some fun stickers. You can access these by tapping the smiling sticker icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve captured a photo or video — or swipe up from the bottom of your screen.
Change the size of your stickers.
You can pinch the sticker once you’ve added to your story to increase or decrease its size. You can also tap and drag it around the frame to change its position.
Check stickers every day for new and unique ones.
Instagram releases unique Story stickers often — whether it’s Monday, a holiday, or a season. Check this section every day for new and timely stickers to add to your Story.
Add location, hashtag, poll, and selfie stickers.
Boost the engagement on your Instagram Story by opening it up to other people doing the same things you are. Open up the stickers section, and tap any of these buttons to customize your story:
Start typing in wherever you are, and you’ll be able to pull in a geographically-specific sticker to show where you are.
When people view your Story, they’ll be able to tap the location sticker and see other photos and Stories happening around the same place.
Same concept here: If you add this sticker and type in a hashtag, your Story will appear in searches for that hashtag, and viewers will be able to click it and see who else is using it. #MotivationMonday, amirite?
You can add a two-option poll to your Instagram Story, and you can even customize the possible answers so they’re more unique than “Yes” or “No.” Use a poll sticker to gauge if people are really engaging with your content.
Open up the Stickers menu, and tap on the camera icon.
Then, take a selfie — or take a picture of anyone else’s face (that will work too). Then, you can use that face to decorate your Instagram Story. Somewhat creepy, but very memorable and funny, too.
2. Record a hands-free Instagram video.
If you’re a frequent video-recorder on Instagram, you know you need to hold your thumb against the record button for as long as you’re recording. This can make it tedious when attempting dynamic and interesting videos that require more hand mobility.
But did you know you can record these videos “hands-free”?
The hands-free video feature can be found in the carousel of camera lens options beneath the record button, as shown above. Simply tap the record button once to start the video, and again to stop it after you’ve gotten the footage you want.
3. Let viewers share your Stories.
Increase engagement and views of your Instagram Story by letting viewers share them with their friends — as Direct Messages.
Go to your profile, tap the gear icon, and navigate to “Story Settings.”
Toggle on “Allow Sharing” so viewers can DM your Story to friends to increase your audience reach. Voila!
4. Use the pen.
Use the pen to add embellishment, symbols, or more text to your Story. If you tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve captured a photo or video, you’ll open up your options.
From there, you can adjust the thickness of your pen stroke or change the color you’re writing with (more on that later).
I like using the highlighter pen (the third option) to add emphasis to words — or even the highlight of my photo or video.
5. Add a background color.
If you want to share a Story with a background color — like the images I’ve shared above — you can actually select it from the color palette.
Take a picture (it doesn’t have to be a picture of anything in particular), and then tap the pen icon to open up the color palette. (Here’s Leela again — my unwitting cat model.)
You can choose one of the colors from the three available menus, or if you want a specific shade of one of those colors, you can open up the full color spectrum by pressing and holding one of the colors.
Then, scribble anywhere on the screen, and hold your finger down until you get the background color you want to appear.
If you want to get really crazy, you could use the eraser tool (the fourth option) to create new words or shapes from the background, too.
6. Mention another Instagram account in your Story.
Sometimes, it’s just not enough to send an Instagram Story to a particular person — you need to give them a shoutout in the photo or video itself. In these cases, Instagram allows you to tag up to 10 specific handles directly in your Story’s photo or video.
To mention an Instagram account in your Story, shoot a photo or video and then tap the square “A” icon in the upper righthand corner of the screen. Enter the account you’d like to tag, starting with the “@” symbol and the account’s first letter. Scroll through the suggested accounts that appear below your cursor until you find the account you have in mind, and tap it. See what these options look like below.
Once you post this Story, the person or account you’ve tagged in the photo or video will receive a notification of your shoutout, regardless of whether or not you send the Story to them.
7. Make your text funkier.
The text on Instagram Stories is pretty basic — jazz it up with these tricks.
Customize your colors.
If you’re unsatisfied with the color palette Instagram offers, create your own from one of the colors in the photo or video you’ve captured.
Open up the text icon, and tap the eyedropper icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.
Use the dropper to sample a color from somewhere in the image you’ve captured, and use it when typing out text or using the pen tool.
Add a drop shadow to your Story’s text.
If you want to add some extra drama to your text, add highlighting or shadowing by retyping or rewriting your text in a different color. I recommend choosing black or white to add emphasis to a bright color you’ve picked. Then, move the text above or underneath the brighter text to add some drama to your words.
Turn your text into a rainbow.
This one’s tricky, but you can actually turn your text into a gradient rainbow.
Tap the text icon, and type out your message to add to your Story. Then, highlight your text.
This is where it gets tricky: Turn your phone to the side so you can hold one finger down on the right side of your text, and with another finger, tap on a color and hold until the color wheel pops up.
Then, slowly drag both fingers across both the text and the color wheel from right to left to create rainbow text. Go slowly, letter by letter until you’ve created a rainbow. (This one took me several tries before I nailed it, and I succeeded using both thumbs to highlight the text and the color wheel.)
Sometimes, you might want to add text or stickers to an image to build on it — perhaps to promote a content offer or event, or to encourage viewers to swipe up to read a link you’ve shared (this is only available to verified accounts).
Start editing the photo you want to share, post it, and save it to your camera roll. Then, swipe up on your screen to add the screenshot to the next installment of your Story — adding new text or stickers on top of the first photo. Keep doing this for as long as you want the Story to last — just make sure to keep taking screenshots of your latest photo so you can add to it.
8. See who has viewed your Instagram Story.
Snapchat users have always been able to see which of their friends have viewed their snapped Stories over the 24-hour period that the Story is visible. Well, Instagram Stories can do the same thing — in exactly the same way.
To see who has viewed your Instagram Story, navigate to the homepage of Instagram on your phone and click on the circular icon denoting your Story. See what this looks like in the screenshot below.
Click on “Your Story” from the Instagram home screen and swipe up from the bottom of your open Story. This will pull up a list of all the accounts that have viewed this content.
Seeing who’s viewed your Story might be an ego boost to personal Instagrammers, but business users can learn a lot about what their followers are interested in this way. By looking at which users view which Stories, you can figure out which types of photos and videos you should keep posting.
9. Center your text and stickers.
When you’re moving around text and stickers on your story, you’ll see blue lines appear vertically or horizontally in the frame. These are guiding lines you can use to make sure you’re keeping everything centered.
Don’t put your text too high or too low on the screen.
That said, make sure you don’t add anything to your Story too high or too low in the frame — or it will be cut off when viewers scroll through your Story, when Instagram adds things like your name and how long ago your story was posted that could block out your carefully-crafted text.
10. Add music to a Story.
This one’s easy: Turn on music using your phone’s native streaming app, and record a video Story. Once you get ready to edit and share, make sure the sound icon isn’t muted so your viewers can jam with you.
Alternatively, if you’d rather your video be muted, tap the sound icon so an “X” appears over it.
11. Upload Instagram Stories from your phone’s camera roll.
Great Instagram Stories aren’t just created through the Instagram app. You can also upload photo and video content from your mobile device’s native camera roll.
To upload a photo or video for use as an Instagram Story, open your Instagram Story’s camera lens and tap the little square icon on the bottom lefthand of the screen. See what this looks like below.
Tapping the icon shown above will call up your phone’s native media gallery, where you can select any photo or video to publish as an Instagram Story. It’s that easy.
We hope these tips help you post killer Instagram Stories your audience won’t be able to stop following. There are lots of hidden ways to take your Stories to the next level — some we may not even have covered here. Our best advice? Keep clicking around and see what you can do with the latest updates from the app. Happy ‘gramming!