Is Your Website Helping or Hurting your Business?

Having a website for your business is an absolute requirement in this day and age.  Customers, and potential customers want a way to see what you’re all about, the products and services you offer, and learn about the company they may or may not do business with.  For a lot of people, your website is the first impression someone gets of your company.  And unfortunately, in many cases, it may be the last impression too.

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Even if your business is doing well, and when people meet you face to face they’re more than happy to do business with you, and recommend your company to others.  But if your website is a few years old – maybe some HTML you threw together yourself in the early 2,000s – you may be losing far more customers than you know; well before they even were customers.  And if it looks like the extreme example above, you need some serious help!

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We already touched on some good website design choices in a previous blog article, so give that a read if you haven’t already.  But the bottom line is, if your website doesn’t accurately reflect what your business is all about, then it needs to be changed.  Even if the design is good, if the content is lacking, or worse, out of date and incorrect, you’re really doing yourself and your business a disservice, and you need to remedy that situation as soon as possible.

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When you think about it, your business website very much like having a second store or business location.  It should be appealing, fun, fresh and interesting – in the same way that you would decorate the outside of your business to attract customers.  If your website isn’t doing that, or isn’t meeting your business goals and objectives, then it’s not helping your business.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your website suffers from some of these problems, have some of your existing customers whom you trust take a good look at it, and get their feedback on what works and what doesn’t.  Then take steps to resolve those problems, either via simple updates, or if your website is really outdated, do a redesign.  And we can help with that website redesign if you decide to go that route.

Your business and your customers will appreciate it!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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Website Annoyances!

OK, we all know there are plenty of things about the web that just aggravate, irritate and annoy us on a daily basis.  And we’re not just talking about spam, phishing, viruses and malware.  Nor are we grumbling about garish color palettes or bad design choices – although we have touched on some of those already in a previous blog article on business website mistakes.

No, today we want to touch on 3 things that we continue to see on business websites, that are easily fixed.  These are things that shouldn’t have been a part of the websites from the beginning.  We certainly don’t do things like this with websites we design, nor should you.

(1) Badly implemented online forms

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We’ve all seen them… forms with fields that aren’t marked “required” or “optional”.  Drop-down menus that, when you attempt to scroll using your mouse wheel, the drop-down menu just closes.  Or forms that, when submitted, and a field is missing, you are presented with a failure / error message of some kind, and then joy of joys… your form is no BLANK, and you get to start all over.  Ugh!

(2) Immediate “sign up” prompts

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Maybe you get an email with a link, or you see a news story you want to read posted on another website.  So you click, you arrive at the news site, and begin to read the article, when BOOM, up pops a full screen plea to sign up for email updates, or create a membership account!  Wait… I’ve never been here before, I haven’t even read a full sentence yet, have no idea if your article is even worth reading, but you want me to create an account and pay for you content?!  At that point you look for and if you’re lucky, find the tiny little X to close the window.  And if you’re anything like us, you’re done, and leave the site in disgust.

(3) Unwanted audio

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Similar to the above example, let’s say you visit a website to read an article.  You’re a couple sentences in, and all of a sudden there’s sound screaming from your speakers.  “Buy this fantastic widget!”, or “You must watch this video of people doing stupid and/or amazing things on camera”.  And many times you can’t even mute them  And you know you don’t want to actually click them, because who knows where that will take you, or what kind of malware your computer will be infected with when you do.  Just like above, that’s it for us… close that window or tab, and move on.

We have plenty of other examples of this kind, but we’ll save them for another article.  After all, we don’t want to be accused of writing blog articles that are too long and aggravating our followers!

Thanks for reading!

 

A good website domain?

It’s a simple question… what domain name did you choose, or what domain name are you thinking of choosing, for your business website?

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Is it short?  Is it memorable?  Does it convey your business philosophy or main focus?  These are all important points to consider when it comes to your domain name.  You want something that not only looks good (and fits!) on a business card, but also something that is either the actual name of your business, or at least relates to it in a recognizable way.

That said, an overly long name isn’t a good idea either.  For example, if the name of your business is Robert Rickenbocker’s A1 Professional California Wedding Photography and Videography LLC, not only have chosen an overly lengthy business name, but when it comes to a domain name, you’re going to have a difficult time coming up with something that works.

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For example…

[robertrickenbockera1professionalcaliforniaweddingphotographyandvideographyllc.com] is a horrible domain name.  And don’t even think of hyphenating all the words.  Ugh!  Sure, you could do that, but no one will EVER remember the name of your website.

For the above business – assuming shortening the business name is not an option – something like [robertsweddingphotography.com] would work.  The problem is that domain name is likely already taken.

A better idea would be [rickenboackerweddingphotography.com].  It’s more personal, likely to be available, and short enough to be remembered easily.

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Once you’ve picked the name you like, that fits the above criteria, you’ll have to decide if you want to go with a .com, a .co, or perhaps something else.  There is some debate about which is better (a good article on .com vs .co can be found here), but the short and simple answer is it’s really up to you.  You’re more likely to find what you want with a .co domain, but you will pay a little more for it.

And if you’ve already chosen a bad domain name, and your site is up and running, you’re not stuck.  Purchase a simpler, better domain name, and have that one forward to your existing site (or vice versa).  Your customers (and potential customers) will appreciate it, and so will you, when you’re at a meeting or the airport and someone asks you for your website domain name.

For more tips on choosing domain names, take a look at this article.  And once you have that domain name, make sure you don’t make these mistakes with the actual website.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Good website design choices?

Did you make good design choices with your current business website?  Was it something you did yourself, or did you hire a web development firm to handle it?  How much time did you spend considering the design – and not just the images?  Do you feel it represents your company as well as it should?  How could it be made better?

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A lot of questions, we know.  But if you lie awake at night with some of these on your mind, worried about how clients, and more importantly, potential clients – perceive your site, and thus your business, read on.

Overall website design is a matter of taste, but when it comes to the elements that make up the site; like the navigation menus, images, user interface, and of course, the presentation of your content, there are many ways to go – and not all of them good ones.

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Let’s start with colors.  We’re not all graphic artists, but if you decide to go it alone, get the opinions of others in the company, and try a few different combinations that work for your company, and with your company logo.  This may seem obvious to most, but since we continue to see examples of it, we’re going to mention it… avoid dark backgrounds and dark text (you do want people to actually be able to READ your content, right?).

Different color choices convey different emotions.  Some show stability or calm – like blues and grays, while others may impart a feeling of anger or stress – like reds.  Obviously it depends on what you are trying to do, or the nature of your business, but garish and mismatched colors certainly don’t portray an image of professionalism.

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Next, layout.  Are the main page elements clearly visible and easy to reach?  Most people quickly scan a website from top left to top right first (like they’re reading a book).  Will they see an easy to use navigation menu, or a cluttered mess of images or text?  Simple is best.  Attentions spans are short, save the fancy stuff for other pages.  You website visitors will appreciate it, and likely stay longer to see more of what your company has to offer.

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Finally, images.  Do the images you have represent your company well?  Do they tell a story of what your business is all about?  Are they high quality, but load quickly?  Don’t just use images to fill space.  Make them mean something.  Make them relevant to your business.  Original images are preferred over stock ones, but only if they are high quality.  Low quality original images may make your visitors run away.

So to summarize… clean designs, complimentary colors, quality images and easy navigation are the hallmarks of good web design.  If you feel like any of these are lacking in your business website, take the time to redesign.  Get help if you need it (our web design gallery is a good place to get ideas).  Your customers and future customers will notice.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Business Website Mistakes?

We’ve all seen them on business websites; bad design elements, poor navigation, broken links.  Some of us are probably guilty of similar mistakes on our own sites, and we may not even realize it (but our potential customers certainly do).  So in this article, we’re going to take a look at a few common mistakes, so you can check your own site and rule them out as a problem.

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It may surprise you, but a lot of people spend more on coffee every week than they do for a month of web hosting.  Sure, those bargain rates sound enticing, but having your site lumped together with hundreds of others on one server isn’t exactly a recipe for quick load times and reliability.  And if one of those hundreds of sites gets infected with malware, or blacklisted for some other violation, your site could very well be affected too, since it’s often based on the same IP address.  Pay a little extra for a dedicated server / hosting plan, your customers will thank you.

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You may already be too late for this next one, but if you’re still in the early stages of choosing a domain name, go with something that’s easy to remember, not too lengthy, and try to avoid using dashes or underscores.  Do you really want to tell people “the website is http://www.bestgoldendealsonlinetoday-for-you.com”.  No one will remember that, or they’ll transpose the words, or leave words out, or just not go to your site altogether.  Yes, short names are harder to find, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with something that is memorable, and fits your business.

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Does your website side-load content as the user scrolls the page?  You know what we mean… As the user starts to read the content, he scrolls a bit, then BOOM, your site loads something else and the page goes back to the top.  He scrolls again and BOOM, another load, and another jump back to the top.  The third time isn’t a charm, ladies and gentlemen.  You’ve just lost a customer.  Create websites with responsive design, that don’t constantly side-load content as the user browses.

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Speaking of responsive websites… does your business website automatically adapt to the user’s platform?  Will the pages load quickly and look presentable (and readable) on any device?  Do the images scale and rotate accordingly?  If not, take a guess how long a customer is likely to stick around when he has to continually pinch and resize the screen to see your content.  Not long.

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Finally, is your content well organized, and simple to find?  Is it clear from the first look what your business does, and how it does it?  Can the user easily navigate your menu system, browse your products or services, get contact information, or take action?  If not, you’ve got an even more serious problem on your hands.  These days, people have very little patience for badly presented content.  Be direct, and to the point.  It’s far batter to have a clickable “more…” element than to put your entire mission statement on the home page.

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Obviously there are a lot more mistakes you can make, and we may followup with another article in the future.  In the mean time, take a good long look at your current business website, with a critical eye.  If you find these mistakes, or others, perhaps it’s time for a website redesign.  Your customers will appreciate that more than you know.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Leads Generators… Do They Work?

Are you satisfied with the type and amount of business that is coming to you from your website?  If your answer is no, then you should look into leads generators.  What are they?  In simple terms, leads generators are a group of keyword-rich pages that can help create the quality and more importantly, quantity of business leads you desire.  And the technique is legitimate, exclusive to your website, and affordable.

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These days, with declining markets and increased competition, a website on its own is simply not enough.  In order to generate adequate traffic and potential leads, you need a multifaceted approach, which includes a responsive website, a strong social media representation, and cost-effective methods to gain a bigger web presence.  Leads generators are a fantastic strategy to accomplish this.  Pages designed for high traffic search terms that can increase your bottom line, without having to spend thousands of dollars on SEO (search engine optimization) or other paid advertising.

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Our system works by implementing a network of advanced and highly optimized pages that are specifically designed for competitive keywords that are important to your business, combined with keyword-rich, aged domains for much faster and better results.  There’s no trickery, nothing underhanded.  Just the leads you need to grow your business.  And all Analytics data is tracked, so you know how well the generators are working for you.

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So don’t waste your advertising money on non-exclusive leads, and don’t fall victim to the many online leads scams that are out there.  Our leads generator experts know the right things to do, and more importantly, know the things to avoid – things that at best, waste your money, and at worst, could get your site blacklisted by the major search engines.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Do You Need Google Ad-Words?

Businesses spend a great deal of time and money on Google Ad-Words campaigns.  It can be productive, if you put enough into it, but it’s definitely not cheap, nor quick.  We have some suggestions on how to save time, and simultaneously increase the return on your investment.

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If you’re paying up to $20 per click using Ad-words, do yourself a favor and take a look at Bing and Facebook for better, and more accurate results, with a much lower cost per click.  We know how to optimize your ad campaigns, while saving you up to 70% of the average cost per click.

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Our ad campaign professionals have helped hundreds of businesses achieve their sales goals while saving them thousands of dollars.  You only pay a one time fee for our setup and PPC optimization package – which includes the account setup, keyword research and implementation, the ad creation and relevancy to keywords and audience market, responsive landing page creation, and 100% compliant with Bing and Facebook’s guidelines and policies.

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You set your own budget and pay Bing & Facebook directly.  We will target the audience interested in your products and services, you reap the rewards with increased business, and have more time to deal with your business.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our ad-words campaigns, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your goals.

Thanks for reading!