Five Web Development Tips that Will Boost Your SEO

If you have made the investment in a website, it is important to make sure you are also investing in making it the best website for your business.   Just having a site is not enough anymore – you need to be sure it is search engine optimized so people can find you and that those who find you convert to customers.

What are five of the most important webs development steps you can take to help your site get noticed by Google and other search engines?

Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Responsive

Few people these days use their computers alone to search the internet.   Many never even use a computer at all! Making sure your site is designed to work on mobile devices including smart phones and tablets is essential to having a site that promotes your ranking in search results.

Responsive design utilizes technology to detect screen size and adjust your site to fit because people are happier with what they find when searching for your business on their phones or tablets, your bounce rate is reduced and your SEO improves.

Smaller Pages are Better

Images are an important part of your website, but having too many can hurt you.   Instead, strive for a balance of high-quality images and strong typography.   Also ensure image files are small enough that they load quickly – nobody wants to be kept waiting.

Page Caching

Allowing for page caching speeds the time it takes for your site to load.   This means it is stored in a visitor’s browser as a static, HTML version, and will respond quickly when a visitor returns to your site a second time or more.

Includes Social Media Sharing for Blogs, Press Releases, Etc. 

Whether or not your site is getting attention on social media affects how search engines treat your site, so make it as easy as possible for people to share your site.   Including social media share buttons onto the pages you most want shared – or all pages – is an important part of your design.  

Make Your Site User-Friendly

SEO is important for rank, but all the SEO tricks in the world are not going to matter if visitors to your site hate what they find.   Make your site attractive and easy to use – it is the best way to make sure the people visiting your site are helping to boost your SEO by sticking around, interacting with the site, and hopefully sharing information.

If you want to know more about improving your site to boost rank, give us a call!

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Does Social Medial Really Help SEO? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Speculation about the symbiotic relationship between social media and SEO has been ongoing for years.   Some are event skeptical there is such a relationship.   So as a business owner who is trying to juggle all of the responsibilities of building a successful company, how do you know if it is worth your time investing in a social media presence?

First and foremost, business owners need to know that being on social media does affect SEO.   The more attention your brand receives across the internet, the more attention it will continue to receive via SEO.    Unfortunately, not everyone understands exactly how social media and SEO work together.

A strong social media following does not automatically mean you will have good SEO.   Social media factors pay off indirectly when it comes to how Google ranks a site.   When links are shared to your site, that can affect your site’s rank, but it is not as cut and dry as your site moving up in rankings just because a link is shared.   Google is looking for consistency and searcher satisfaction, so it is important to look at the long-range picture, as well as how to get an individual linked shared.

Social media’s impact on SEO is indirect, as far as the industry can tell from the information Google has revealed.   Specifically, the relationship is described as correlation, not causation.   By creating strong content, you are more likely to be popular on social media, which means more people are likely to share your information and link to it – all positive things when it comes to improving SEO.

So what are the keys for creating the best content for your site that is most likely to boost ranking?

  • Consider the potential to get links to pieces of content.  Getting shares on social media, especially on Facebook, are a great way to see a gradual boost in ranking.
  • Getting a great following is about more than your service or product.  These things are important, but they alone are not enough to build the following you need on social media.   Instead, focus on growing your brand over the internet and continuing to provide the great product or service you have always offered.
  • Make sure you are considering branded searches.  Your brand name plus a search term is a great way to get Google to notice you.   Be aware of how your ideal clients are discussing your industry on social media and use those key terms to your advantage.

If you would like more information about creating a solid social media campaign that works for you, let us know!

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How Professional Web Design Can Help Your Business Grow

Design has a major impact.   Ninety four percent of site visitors report their first impressions are impacted by the design.   It can also have a negative impact and affect whether or not site visitors trust you, and they will leave the site if they do not find it attractive.   Most surprisingly, all of this occurs in under 50 milliseconds.   If your site takes too long to load, visitors become frustrated.   You have to make an immediate good impression with your site design or you are going to lose someone forever.

The thing about your site is that is a representation of your company.   It affects your reputation and makes a difference in how your business is judged.   People want your site to tell them why they should do business with you, but all too often the opposite happens, all because of poor design.

What sections of your site tend to be most important?

  • Logo
  • Navigation menu
  • Search box
  • Social networking links
  • Main image
  • Content
  • Bottom of website

Your overall site appearance is important, but these are the sections that usually affect people the most.

What does this mean for you? It is an indication that you need to invest some time and money into your site design.   It ’is an investment that will pay off in no time at all, and continue to give you great benefits over time.   Creating an easily navigable, attractive website that helps visitors find the information they need is going to be a better investment than any other type of marketing or advertising you might be considering.

Is it better to do a complete overhaul on a site that is not working or fix it piece by piece? It depends.   You need to consider your budget, and if it is just too small to make sweeping changes, go with piece by piece changes.   Something is better than nothing and over time, you will end up with a better site.

If you do have the budget to invest in an overhaul, you are going to see results faster.    It is one of the few marketing investments that can pay off immediately.   Most business owners see improvements in their traffic, as well as their conversions, in a short time after making updates to their website.   And over time, improvements tend to bring you more business.

If you would like to know more or you are ready to speak to someone about improving your website, give us a call!

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Is PPC Right for Me? Here’s How to Tell!

Pay per click or PPC advertising has increased a great deal in popularity over the last 15 or so years. Many businesses not currently using the system have begun to assess whether now might be the right time to give it a try.

Of course, despite its popularity, PPC is not right for every business. Like all forms of advertising, there are pros and cons, and how important each is depends on your specific business. How can you tell if PPC is the right move for you?

Start by considering whether or not your business is capable right now of handling a visibility boost. PPC advertising is going to get you noticed. What you do from there is up to you, and unfortunately, too many businesses are unprepared for the boost they get from PPC. They get traffic and they have no idea how to convert it. Before you implement a PPC plan, you need to have a strategy in place for responding to an increase in visitors.

Next, you will want to take a look at your target marketing and consider whether or not they will find PPC methods appealing. Of course, there are always ways to make PPC work for your ideal audience, but it is more challenging for some than others.

For instance, are you hoping to target local business? There might be better options than PPC to help you boost your visibility. It is also a good idea to consider value. Will you really get back what you put into a PPC campaign?

Speaking of which, now is the time to consider your budget. It is possible to launch a PPC campaign that fits most budgets, but you need to have a clear idea of your budget before you begin. Otherwise, things can spiral out of control pretty quickly.

Also make sure you factor in your investment in your marketing team. PPC is going to make everyone busier and you need to be prepared for the fall-out.

Finally, consider combining multiple marketing options that include PPC. This akin to the “do not put all your eggs in one basket rule” of business. If you are betting the farm on PPC alone, chances are you would not get the results you want.

However, if you combine PPC with other strategies, such as content marketing, you will get a solid boost that will actually lead to long-term improvements.

Want to know more about PPC and whether it is right for you? Contact us for more information!

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Four Design Elements that Will Make or Break Your Conversions

Websites are made up of a variety of components and the most effective sites combine these components in a way that is appealing to visitors. If you have concerns about your site or you feel it is not working hard enough to convert visitors to buyers, there are a few things you should consider and think about whether they are hurting or helping your business:

  1.  Your CTAs

Your CTAs or Calls to Action needs to be precise directions for readers. If your CTAs are too general or they confuse the reader they are hurting your website.

The worst enemy of a successful call to action? Ambiguity. If you want someone to sign up for your newsletter do not tell them to “contact you” for more information. Tell them to give you their email address and sign up for your newsletter.

It is also important to make sure you are not hiding your calls to action or making them too subtle. Nothing is wrong with being big and bold about what you want site visitors to do.

  1.  Having a Site Search is Essential

 The primary goal of your site is to give users what they need: information. You do this with by showing them pictures of your products, talking about your services, and sharing content that tell them about your industry.

Providing them with a site search to help them keep all this information straight is important. It organizes things and makes your site easily navigable.

  1. Ditch the So-Called Vanity Features

There was a time when having a website with a bunch of bells and whistles was the height of website ownership. Now it just clutters things up, makes everything take more time, and annoys your visitors. These vanity features serve one purpose and one purpose only: to make the site owner feel good and allow him or her to show off – nothing that appeals to the customer.

All of the features on your site need to have a clear and meaningful purpose. Otherwise it is just distracting visitors from whatever it is you really want them to do.

In the future when you update your site, instead of adding more features, think about how you can improve the existing ones to make the as useful as possible for visitors.

  1. Contact Info that Stands Out is Necessary

You want people to know who you are and where to find you, right? Make sure your contact information is as clear and obvious as possible. Also makes sure it is easily accessible by putting it on every page of your site.

Want more tips for making a user-friendly website that is sure to impress visitors? Give us a call!

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Why You Need to Upgrade Your Web Design Now

Web design is an important part of your customer’s experience.  You might view your website as a secondary component of your business, but it is not. For many, it is the first impression they will have of your business. This is why the design of your site is so important. In order to make sure that first impression is what it should be, your site needs to be designed in a visually appealing manner.

The goal of web design, whether you are a B2B or B2C company, is to increase the number of leads you get. And for your website to truly be a success, you need those leads to translate into conversions – for the people who visit your site to become paying customers.

What are some of the things you should consider about web design in order to achieve success?

Aesthetics and Perception

You have less than a second to make a good first impression when someone visits your site and design is going to play a major role in this. You need to have compelling visuals, professional photographs, and a sleek, clean overall layout.

It is also important for your site design to communicate what your company is about. If you prefer to be perceived as homespun and cozy, your site should reflect this. If you have a modern, sleek business, then your site design needs to reflect that.

Another important component of your sites aesthetics is the typography. Words needs to be clear and you need to get your point across quickly with your text. Your message should be strong and meaningful, and obvious to visitors.

Navigating Your Site

Your site’s navigation might not be the first thing your visitors notice, but it is certainly among the first. And if it is bad it will be enough to drive them away.

Think about the leads you want to convert in your business and create funnels that appeal to these people. Funnels are essentially the process you push people through to act. Those who make it to the bottom of your funnel are the most knowledgeable about your industry and the most likely to become paying customers.

Conversions 

Finally, look for conversion opportunities on your site. At what point are visitors most likely to act. You want to capitalize on these areas when people are at the point where they decide whether or not to follow through on contacting you or making a purchase.

Want more tips for making the most of your website design? Give us a call!

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Want to Improve Your Customer’s Experience? Try These Tricks!

The better the experience you give to your customers the more likely they are to return to you for future business and let their friends know about you, too.

Unfortunately, most business tend to embrace transactional relationships instead of ones that are experiential. They offer a basic service or product in return for financial compensation, and give the customer very little in terms of a memorable experience. This makes it difficult to build customer relationships and a loyal following. Basically, you view your customers as replaceable and they view you the same way.

On the other hand, businesses that have managed to get it right – those that give customers an experience – are in a completely different category. They have loyal customers that return to them again and again. Their customers trust them and feel good shopping with them. As a matter of fact, that feeling is in part what the customer is buying – and they’re often willing to pay a lot more for it.

What’s the key to providing an experience, as opposed to just completing a transaction?

First off, you need to know your ideal audience. What is it they expect and how can you go above those expectations? What are some of the best ways you can improve the customer experience?

Rewards Programs are So Yesterday

There was a time when having a rewards program – sometimes even called a loyalty program – was the trend in bringing customers back. Those days are over. Customers are no longer impressed by this and many are irritated and going out of their way to avoid your business because you have a loyalty program.

Instead of loyalty points, consider experiences to reward customers. For instance, invite your customers in for a special service or event. And consider ways to make it fun, so customers will share their experience on social media and let everyone know about it.

Offer the Support Customers Need

What is one thing your customers want that you have been reluctant to do? Is it allowing them to use modern conveniences, like ordering on your website or paying via mobile payment? Now is the time to opt into these programs, no matter how intimidating they might seem. Your customers will love having options and you will give them what it is they want, not what you are guessing they want.

Be as Transparent as Possible

Never try to hide your mistakes or gloss over something that went wrong. The more you try to pretend something is not wrong the worse it will be, especially in this day and age of social media. Instead, confront the problem out in the open and fix it.

Want more tips for improving the customer experience? Give us a call!

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Negative Comments? Here’s Three Things You Can Do to Make It Better

It is what every business owner dreads and the reason why many avoid joining review sites: negative feedback. It is a fact of life and if handled properly, can actually turn into an opportunity for your business to shine.

Social media can be a hotbed of negativity and you do not want that bringing your business down. The good news is there are ways to manage any negative feedback you get in a productive manner and make the most of this chance to show the world you are a pro.

Here are a few tips:

Use Your Manners and Try to Help

As tempting as it is to rail back at someone attacking your business, take a deep breath and pretend our grandmother is listening to every word you say. (Unless your grandmother was a hot head!)

Remember, everything you say in response to the nasty comment directed at you is public and is a reflection of your business. If the comment is about a legitimate concern, find a way to resolve the issue. If the reviewer is just being nasty, you can still try to help. If you cannot fix something, just be nice. It might be appropriate to ask that the reviewer contact you directly, in which case you will need to provide a means to do so.

Do not Ignore Negative Feedback

The worst thing you can do is ignore comments about your business, good or bad. Make sure you respond to every comment and take action when necessary. Hopefully, the issue can be resolved then and there in the comments, but this is not always the case. Regardless of the matter, make sure you are actively engaging with the people taking time to review your business, even if their review is less-than-glowing.

No Sneaking Around!

Again, it might be tempting to avoid confrontation by deleting or hiding negative comments, but this ultimately gets you nowhere. Everyone knows everything said about your business is not going to be positive. As a matter of fact, people are waiting to see how you deal with negative feedback. Do not let them down!

Granted, you are going to be forced to deal with trolls – it is part of the online universe. But even these occasions can be great for helping your business shine.

Leave negative comments in place in your reviews and demonstrate how you solve problems. It is going to help you in the long run.

Want more tips for dealing with reviews and negative comments? Give us a call!

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Think You Can’t Manage SEO on a Budget? Here’s How!

Nobody wants to overpay for SEO, but cutting too many corners to protect your budget could result in a failed strategy.  Essentially, you will be wasting a small amount of money instead investing a greater amount into something that works.

The good news is it is possible to save on SEO, but not create a budget so lean you will regret it.  Here is what you should know:

How Cheap SEO Damages Your Brand

First, you need to understand the value of quality SEO and why it is worth paying for.  Using SEO strategies that are cheap can hurt your brand in a variety of ways.  It can result in poor content that not only does not help you in your rankings, but also makes you look bad as a business.  You will get more value from a $200 blog post or article for your site than one that costs only $10.  Like most things, paying less gets you less and that will only hurt you in the long run.

Taking the cheap route for SEO can also damage you in other ways and get you into trouble.  A lot of the cheap SEO providers use “black hat” techniques that might appear to work very well at first, but will actually get you penalized by Google in the long run.  At one time these methods worked, but these days they are not worth a dime.

Finding Quality SEO Providers

Now that you know why you are shopping for quality SEO, here are a few things to consider that can help you still get a good deal on what you need:

Trust Your Instincts

There is nothing wrong with shopping around for the best value, just make sure you do not fall for a gimmick.  If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

In addition to going with your gut, it is also important to do your research.  Consider the history, knowledge, and experience of an SEO provider.  Ask to see case studies of past client success.  Look up reviews and evaluate the communication process during the preliminary stages of your relationship.  If it is tough to get someone on the phone before you sign a contract, it is only going to get tougher once they have your money.

SEO is a necessary part of your online marketing strategy, but it does not need to break your budget.  It is possible to find a blend of quality SEO for an affordable price, and get the best value possible for your investment.

If you would like to know more or you are ready to discuss your SEO needs, give us a call!

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Web Design Seem Like a Foreign Language? Here’s What Business Owners Need to Know

Chances are you have heard the advice before as a business owner: “Don’t build your own website.  It will be a disaster.”

It is true.  You should not leave professional work to non-professionals.  However, you also should not walk away from the process completely and turn all control over to someone else.  As a business owner there are a few important things you need to know about web design.  These things include many of the basic principles that go into designing a valuable site for your business.  Check these out:

User-Friendly

Having a user-friendly site is one of the most important aspects of design.  You do not need to know how to code a user-friendly site, but you should know the basic things that make a site user-friendly.  For instance, your site should be easy to navigate, intuitive, and provide a quality user experience.  Think about what you like and dislike when you go to any website.  Is it cluttered, confusing, or difficult to navigate? It’s not user-friendly.

Speaking of navigation, your site needs easy menu navigation that ensures visitors are able to find what they need.  Make sure links or sidebars are included on every page so people can move from one piece of information to the next without endlessly searching.  Do not overdo it with links to other pages, but be sure to include easy access to the most important and informative page on the site.

Other factors that go into ensuring your site is user-friendly include:

Layout

Layout controls the user experience.  You want your design to be uncluttered and not make a visitor feel overwhelmed.  Each element of a page should have the space it needs to breathe and communicate the right message.

Color

Color trends vary from moment to moment, so do not get too caught up in them.  A simple design accented with your brand’s colors is the best option for most businesses.  Let your brand identify guide your color choices on your site.

Also consider whether color affects the navigation or use of your site at all.  For instance, your brand colors might be pale pink and white, but if you try to create a site with pale pink font on a white background you aren’t going to make anyone happy.  Invest time in finding the best ways to incorporate your brand colors into your design.

Content

Finally, understand your content needs.  Content is the most important component of your site and should be treated as such.  It is what allows your customers to learn the details of your business.

For more information on what you need to understand about design, give us a call!

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