Redesign Outdated Websites

Redesign Outdated Websites

Many Small Businesses Have Outdated Websites

Over ten years ago many small businesses were creating their websites with a lot of excitement. They were excited about getting on the web and gaining new business from those sites.  Today, too many of those businesses have lost that enthusiasm and have done very little to keep their sites up-to-date.

The Old Desktop Design

A decade ago the premium website was designed for desktop devices. But in January of 2007 Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. And we all know what happened after that.

Mobile phone visitors were able to view websites on the small screens of their phones. In the early years those websites were hard to work with on a smart phone. This created a problem for some small businesses and an opportunity for others. Those that didn’t redesign their websites lost mobile visitors. Businesses that invested in site redesigns picked up those visitors.

Website redesign in the early years was expensive. It required web designers with special skills. In effect, two websites had to be created. One for desktop devices, one for mobile devices.  As a result, many businesses did not update their sites.

Small print on mobile devices is hard to read and must me manipulated.

Redesign is Cost Effective

Today website redesign is not nearly as expensive as it was years ago. Software and code improvements have been created to make website pages automatically adjust to the viewers device. Businesses that have outdated websites need to consider redesigning those sites. This will improve their search engine positions and will help them acquire new visitors. And it won’t cost as much as it did several years ago. Improvements in technology have caused the cost of website design to go down.

Mobile friendly sites are easy to read on various screens.

Learn more about website redesign.

Changing times

” The Times They Are A-Changin’ “

– Bob Dylan, 1963

World Population

In 1963, the year Dylan wrote “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” the world population was at 3,194,075,347 according to populationpyramid.net. As the years past predictions were regularly made as to what the world could support. The predictions were bumped regularly as the population grew. Today Population Pyramid says we are at 7,597,175,534.

Computers

“The first integrated circuit was produced in September 1958, but computers using them did not begin to appear until 1963.” – Wikipedia. It wasn’t until 1966 that Hewlett-Packard used them in commercial computers. For years after that these huge machines required air conditioning to keep them cool. Today, we carry many times that power in our pockets. No AC required.

Marketing

“Starting in the 1960s the markets in many industries became saturated with competition” (historycooperative.org). Direct marketing was introduced. Companies dedicated entire departments of their businesses to marketing. Today, they dedicate entire departments to the web and web marketing.

The Future

Who knows? It’s up to all of us. Keep your eyes on Microsoft, Apple, Google and the other web giants. Try something that you haven’t tried before. Create a video and post it on YouTube. It won’t cost you anything. Start a blog. You can set up a free blog at WordPress.com. The point is: Keep Learning! There is a ton out there that won’t cost you a dime.

Did Dylan have any clue how his words would hold for 55 years?

Can you even imagine what will happen in just the next ten?

“The Only Thing Constant Is Change”

– Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

SSD – Fast Hosting and SEO

SSD – Fast Hosting and SEO

SSD – Your SEO Is Impacted By Your Website’s Server Speed

The rank of your website is impacted by many things. One thing often not considered is the speed of the server. Small business SEO can be significantly impacted by the speed of a server.

We offer our clients some of the fastest server speeds available. We employ an SSD dedicated server that we use for our clients’ websites. We also offer dedicated servers to each client that wants their own.

Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting

Most sites are hosted on servers that share space with other websites. This causes a range of problems, such as too much traffic or bad search engine practices. When businesses use these services there is no way to know who they are sharing their space with. Their sites performance is impacted by the actions of shared sites, therefore it takes control away from the business of the website.

Many web designers use a portion of the space on a shared server to host their clients’ websites. We offer space on our dedicated solid state server because we want our clients to have high performing websites. And we reserve the space to be used by our clients only. We monitor their content and do not allow black hat practices. The insures our clients get quality hosting.

More Traffic Means Slower Speed

A server can only move a certain amount of data at a time. With many websites on a server and many people trying to view those sites, it will almost certainly require more time to access those sites as the number of websites increases. This slower access hurts ranks because search engine algorithms penalize slow sites.

Dedicated Hosting Options

There are many options to choose from when deciding what type of server to use. One of the primary differences is the type of drive that it uses. Servers are designed as hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid state drives (SSDs). Hard disk drives consist of spinning disks and reading heads. These moving parts are more prone to have mechanical problems. These solid state drives store information on interconnected flash-memory chips. These have no moving parts.

SSD Is Faster and More Reliable

Solid state drives are the most updated hardware. With no moving parts they are less likely to develop problems. They are also much faster.

Contact us today and we will discuss what an SSD server can do for your website.

Small Business Web Presence

Small Business Web Presence

Small Business Web Presence

Today, a business has a variety of web mediums at it’s disposal. Small business web presence can be improved with the proper management of these mediums.

The Business Website

Web users are searching Google to find information on websites. The website is the strongest web element for nearly all businesses. The typical home page is the primary impact point. Therefore, it needs to be  well designed and able to answer the visitors’ primary questions.

While the website is the primary hub of a business’s web marketing, it’s impact will grow exponentially when it is supported by other web elements. For that reason, businesses are putting more resources on elements like social media.

YouTube

The second most searched element on the web is YouTube. And it’s results don’t include websites. So a business that does not incorporate the use of videos is loosing out on a huge number of searches.

Social Media

Web presence for a small business is significantly enhanced with social media. Different businesses need different elements. For example, a small cafe can capitalize on short, time sensitive posts. If they are reaching the end of a day and have dairy products that will go bad overnight, then they can post “today only” specials on products that include those dairy items. Reaching a market for such a promotion is ideal for a micro blog, like Twitter. An example for different social media elements would be a home builder. For the home builder, content is not as time sensitive and can be longer, as with blogs. The builder’s customer is not going to make an instant decision. Therefore, the content is not nearly a time sensitive.

Continue Enhancing Your Businesses Web Presence

Make your web assets work together over the long term. Continued enhancement will improve benefits.

Web Presence

“A web presence is a location on the World Wide Web where a person, business, or some other entity is represented.”

-Wikipedia

See how we can help with web presence management.

Website Management

Website Management

Good Website Management Gets Good ROI

When a website is managed properly it keeps operating effectively and it attracts new visitors on a regular basis. Search engines penalize sites that are not operating effectively.  Websites with out of date content will turn the visitors away. These errors cost the site future traffic because the visitors decide not to return. Proper management of your website insures that you don’t run into these problems and increases the return you will get on the investment you put into your website management.

Keep Your Company’s Website Operating Effectively

Websites that are neglected often suffer in performance. Links to outside websites can disappear. Visitors that click on a broken link are taken to a page that doesn’t exist. This is frustrating and reduces their desire to return to the site. When the search engines see a link like this going no where, they penalize the site and it’s rankings will go down.

You need to monitor your site on a regular basis. Websites that are not monitored can run into server problems. The site could be down and the owner of the site will not find out until many visitors have had problems with it. This will cost you clients, it shows neglect on the part of the company and it can be very embarrassing. It can totally remove you from the search engines.

Keep The Website’s Content Up-To-Date

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content Is King” many times. This is especially true with your website. Content needs to be easy to comprehend. Graphics need to be easy to understand. Text, for most businesses, needs to be written with simple and short phrases. MBA professors say it should be written at a tenth grade level. This appeals to a large audience.

Text that is out-of-date can be a big killer for your website. When a site visitor sees content referring to a two year old event like it happened yesterday, then the visitor see’s laziness on the part of the business. And the business will loose credibility. The search engines can also pick up on out-of-date content. When they do it hurts the website’s rankings.

 

Monitor The Website’s Performance

Web analytics Is a key element in the management of your website. It comes with some awesome tools that allow you to track various performances on your website. After it is set up a company can track those performances to see how well the site is operating. A vast range of data is available that allows you to find the strengths and weaknesses of your site. For example, you can determine what pages visitors are viewing and how much time visitors are spending on each page. You can also determine what pages need improvement.

Management Pays For Itself

Small businesses get back what they put in website management many times over. A little effort can go a long way. If you need help with website management then give us a call. We will help you create a program that will pay for itself.

Why The Mobile Friendly Website Design is So Important

Why The Mobile Friendly Website Design is So Important

Mobile Friendly Website Design

In June of 2007 Apple announced the first iPhone. Since then, the race has been on by various manufacturers to win market share in the mobile device markets. As a result, out of date websites designed strictly for the desktop have lost significant value. Those sites need a mobile friendly website design.

The Mobile First Concept

In recent years it has been suggested that websites be designed with their primary focus on mobile pages. This makes sense considering that today more websites are being viewed on mobile devices than on desktops. Because of this businesses need to focus on mobile viewers. The mobile first concept does this.

Learn about our mobile first web design services.

The Shift to Mobile First Websites

In the near future there will be an even more significant shift in web usage out of desktop computers and into mobile devices. Not long ago households saw the PC as a necessity. It was their only connection to the web. Today many of those PCs are aging out and they are not being replaced. Web goers are getting everything they need from their mobile devices. So they have no reason to replace their PCs. Businesses need to accommodate this change with mobile friendly website design.

Learn about our website redesign services.

Events Leading to The Mobile First Concept

Recent generations have done well managing the changes in their lives caused by the web. Just look what has happened over the last 60 years. Baby boomers had to deal with the c prompt (C:\>) at their desktop computer. Members of that generation were either enthused about the power of the PC or they were frightened by it. Over time the use of technology has grown easier. Today most Baby Boomers are handling their smart phones with ease.

Generation-X witnessed the advancement of the PC and the introduction of mobile devices in their primary working years. They saw the change as positive and were not afraid for it. They have managed it well. Smart businesses began redesigning their websites for mobile devices.

Next, the Millennials came into the workplace with knowledge of how to operate a PC through most of their lives. The mobile device was viewed with less fascination then the preceding age groups. It was considered a normal part of their lives. They will hardly notice the shift.

In comes Generation-Z.  Born from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s, Generation-Z has had access to the Internet most of their lives.

“Today’s teens had phones when they were in elementary or middle school, compared to high school or college for their older counterparts. And that shift is already shaping behaviors. Teens are moving from texting to messaging apps and from shopping on desktop computers to shopping on their phones.” (think with Google).

The baby boomers, Generation X and the Mellennials will all see the ease with which Generation-Z is able to fill their wants and desires with their mobile devices. They will envy that expertise and confidence. And many of the older age groups will make an effort to increase their knowledge and expertise. And they will do it with ease.

The Change In Retailing

The business world is beginning to get the picture. On April 7, 2017, Bloomberg reported that “America’s Retailers Are Closing Stores Faster Than Ever” (Lindsey Rupp, Lauren Colenam-Lochner and Nick Turner – Bloomberg). And this is happening for a good reason. Consumers are getting more satisfaction with less effort when they purchase on the web. Why would anyone drive to the mall to purchase a high quality pair of binoculars if they feel there is a good possibility that they may not find what they want? If they order on-line, their options will increase and the headaches will decrease. Businesses that want to keep up with their markets will need to design and create new display and delivery systems that will satisfy Generation-Z and be friendly enough to entice the Baby Boomers to join the party. Everyone in between will fit right in. The size of that market should blow us away!

Website Investment for Small Businesses

Website Investment for Small Businesses

Websites Are Affordable

Businesses can pay a wide range of prices for their websites. As with any investment, websites need to bring more revenue in to a business than they cost to create and maintain. For a major retailer selling thousands of products online, this investment is millions of dollars. And the return those businesses get from those sites is well worth the investment. For a small business providing just a few services the same holds true, just at a lower level, a much lower level.

An Affordable Business Website

Most small businesses can afford the small investment required to get their company online. Our company has created attractive sites for as little as $300.00. These are usually unique businesses that simply want the credibility that comes with having a web address to put in their other promotional material, such as their print advertising. The businesses potential customers see a web address and it gives them a little more confidence that the business is credible. They may go look at the site, they may not. If they do look at the site it can be a single page that is attractive and provides general information about the company. This is a benefit. It can generate a phone call or an email inquiry. That can lead to a sale.

Avoid “Cheap” Websites

The site shouldn’t look cheap. But too many companies just look for a cheap website. When you use cheap web design, you loose credibility. Visitors to those sites see poor photos and poorly written text, then they elect to avoid that company. Our services will keep your site out of the “cheap” category.

Maximizing Your Website Investment

In determining the amount of funds a business is willing to put into any investment, it should try to maximize it’s return on that investment (ROI). To do this requires analysis of how much money will be brought into the firm by various levels of investment. In the case of a website, the question becomes “Should we build a small, medium, large or super large website?” With the help of a website designer you can come up with the various costs of different sites. Then you need to make a determination as to what kind of marginal revenue those different sites will generate. The one that generates the most is the one the business should choose.

Back to Affordable

Businesses have a wide range of possibilities in creating their websites. And, as you can see, websites are affordable. The questions truly becomes, “Can your afford not to have one?”

Local Search Engine Optimization

Local Search Engine Optimization

Local Business Can Rank On the First Page

Ranking in the search engines can be tough. And small businesses get frustrated when they strive to achieve ranks. Small businesses that target local markets can get ranks through Google’s local listing. These local listings are much easier to achieve.

Local listings typically show up on the first page of the search. These listings will link to their websites and provide a link to the local businesses phone numbers.

Business Information

The local search results give the searchers the option to choose a local business over the other listings. Many searchers prefer a local business for a variety of reasons. They may want to make a purchase immediately or may just prefer to deal with someone local. When the searcher clicks on the local business listing they are given access to more pages, contact information and access to a map.

Get Listed Even If You Don’t Have A Website

Today potential customer rarely go to the phone book or the yellow pages. They go to the search engines instead. In the past they could only click on websites. Today, that is different. Your business can benefit from local search engine ranks, even if you don’t have a website. To get ranked in Google your business needs to be listed in their “Places For Business” registry. Once it is there it will show up on the local searches.

Business Listing

Your business shows up in Google in the local searches box. Your location is shown on a local map. Your listing includes a title and your hours of operation. The site visitor can click on your information and go to a screen dedicated to your business that includes more details.  On the mobile device they can click the phone icon and call you.

Business Details

On the business details page the site visitor can get information on location, hours of operation and the phone number of your business. They can click on the phone icon and place a call. They can click on the directions icon and go to a map. Or they can click on the website icon and go to your website.

More Information

Scrolling down the business information page the visitor can get more information about your business. This can include a map, company reviews and other information.

When visitors see this information on Google it gives your business credibility.

SEO Services for Local Businesses

Our services include SEO help whether you have a website or not. If you want help getting a listing then contact us and we will help you do it.

Social Media Management

Social Media Management

Social Media Management Services

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media are impacting businesses more than they ever have. And smart businesses are using these web assets to effectively improve their companies. While some hire expert employees, others turn the duties over to social media management services.

Today more and more businesses are using social media to reach their existing clients and to reach out to potential clients. The management of social media is becoming a bigger job. More businesses are hiring social media management services to do the work for them.

Creating a Social Media Plan

The first thing a social media manager needs to do is create long term plan. Setting goals and creating budgets is all a part of the process. Next comes the content strategy. To reach desired goals, the content needs to be posted that will meet those goals. A social media management company will create a system for the flow of content from its creation to its posting.

Planning Posts

Posting on social media needs to be carefully planned. The manager can use the long term plan to create a flow of posts that will be posted on a schedule. These postings can be automated through valuable tools like Hootsuite. Automated posting creates more time to focus on other company media management duties.

Keeping A Check On Posts

Social media venues need to be monitored. Someone needs to check for negative comments. And they need to reply to those comments. Ideally, there will be many more positive responses than negative. Those followers also need to be nurtured to insure future activity.

 

Keeping A Check On Comments

Just posting on your social media is not enough. Your social media assets need to be monitored for post responses. Most responses are normally positive. Although, there can be a range of negative comments.

Positive Comments

Businesses need to reply with at least a “Thank You!” to positive comments they receive in their social media. It encourages other positive comments. Don’t go overboard in correspondence with these posts. They can appear to be orchestrated and that will have a negative impact on your overall standing with visitors.

Negative Comments

Negative replies to your social media need to be attended to quickly. While they are a pain, they can become a resource of incredible value. This is where you learn about the shortcomings of your business. And you normally get those views from your clients.

Rude Comments

On occasions you are going to get comments that are just rude. The reasons for these can be many. But in most cases this is due to an individual with a personality problem. A simple comment like “I’m sorry your feel that way” shows other visitors that you at least paid attention to the comment. But it may encourage another rude comment from the subject. So no reply may be the best way to go. This is a judgement call.

Receiving Suggestions

Customers and visitors can provide an incredible benefit to a company through social media. That comes through suggestions and constructive criticism. That’s where the person monitoring the activity can be of value. The social media content manager will filter the incoming information and present it to upper management. Ideally, upper management will use the data to improve their goods and services.

Social Media Management Company

Small businesses often don’t have the resources to keep up with their social media the way they should and their lack of experience causes them to spend more time than is necessary to make posts and respond to comments. They should consider using a social media management company. These companies provide services that save time and create quality social media content. Their professionals have the experience necessary to deal with most negative comments. And they know which comments need to be forwarded to the business’s management. A social media management company can also train your staff to use social media more efficiently.

Website Management Services

Website Management Services

Does Your Business’s Website Need a Manager?

Small business owners and managers have plenty to do. And a large number of them put their websites on the back burner after their sites are online. A neglected website loses value quickly. A well managed website will keep the content and the functions of the site up to date and working smoothly. That management will help a site maintain its value.

There are three basic areas that need to be manged in a website. First, a site needs content updated on a regular basis. Second, a site needs to have it’s structure reviewed and updated. Third, a site needs a back end review of things like its domain, hosting and email setup to make sure that services are renewed on schedule.

Websites need to manage content, structure and the back end.

Keeping a website up to date for most small websites is not costly. It just requires a little discipline. Many smaller businesses only need to make a change once or twice a month. This job is normally turned over to someone who has little experience in web work and doesn’t have the time to learn it. This lack of experience can hinder the performance of the site.

We can help by managing your website’s content for you. We will develop a plan and a schedule for updates. We will also review the back end of your website operations.

Content Updates

Content is one of the primary items a website manager needs to update regularly. The frequency of updates will vary for different businesses based on what goes on in their markets. Those that update frequently are often able to stick to a schedule and keep content up to date. Those that don’t find it harder to stick to a schedule. This is where we can help. When we manage your content we will make sure it is updated on schedule.

Determining When to Update

Businesses need to create a program for content updates. For some businesses an update every couple of weeks is ample. For others, they should make daily modifications. This factor is determined by their markets.

A business that is selling heating and cooling services in a small community is likely to have just a couple of competitors. And you wouldn’t expect those competitors to be updating their sites very often. Reviewing the site and posting up to date content every other week will help keep this site fresh and well ranked in the search engines.

A business that is selling cars in a big city needs to update their site daily. Maybe several times a day. Why? Because their competitors are doing exactly that. Car buyers are likely to be looking for cars for several days in a row. And they are looking for new material on the websites. When visitors find nothing new, they probably won’t be back to check the site again. This will cause their site ranks to fall. And dropping behind competitors will have a negative impact on their site’s traffic.

Customizing a Plan for Content

Our website management services will include a plan designed to keep your site updated on a regular basis. We will take a look at your market and your competitors and develop a plan that will work for your business.

Review the Website Structure

Businesses need to review their entire websites on a regular basis. Even those that make daily content modifications tend to forget about back pages. For that car dealership, someone needs to review the entire site on a seasonal basis to insure that a special promotion is not out of date. It doesn’t look too good when a visitor finds an offer on a website that is no longer available.

Review the structure of a website

Comparing to Competitors

In your website review you need to also review the websites of your competitors. Doing so will keep you from getting behind on any new elements in your market. And it will keep you in close competition with others in that market.

Back End Review

There are businesses out there that have posted their sites and practically forgotten about them. That is until someone calls them and wants to sell their domain back to them after it has expired. Forgetting to keep updated contact information on your domain provider or hosting service can cause sudden problems that can be very hard to overcome. A schedule needs to be developed to keep a regular check on those functions.

Are You One Of Those Who Forgot?

Too many small businesses today have put their websites up and forgotten about them. If you are one of those, then now is the time to develop a plan for getting your site active again.

Make Us Your Website Manager

If you find it hard to create a plan for updating your website or for sticking to a plan, then we will be happy to help you. We will review your site, review your market and review your options. Our services range from designing a plan that you keep in-house to creating and managing a plan for you.

Contact us and we can help you develop a plan to manage your site effectively. We can schedule regular content updates, make scheduled site reviews and keep a check on your site’s back end.

Small Website vs. No Website

Small Website vs. No Website

Single Page Websites Are Super Affordable

Have you ever backed out of building a website because of the cost? If so, did you ever consider a simple single page website? It could have benefits for your business that far out weigh the costs.

Our Starter Websites Are Low Cost

We have created super small single page websites for several businesses. These sites can be found in the search engines, they expand the calling card credibility and they can be created for as little as $100. This is a low cost investment that small businesses can afford.

The Option for Website Growth

We promote these websites because most of our clients expand their sites over time. Their sites become more valuable to them and they become more valuable to us. The reason they do is because their sites proved their worth and the clients were certain that additional pages would pay for themselves. This has been a wonderful tool for getting doubtful business owners to have confidence in the web.

Placement In The Search Engines

There are a large number of small businesses out there that have elaborate signage on their road vehicles and no websites. I make a note of those that I see and look for them on the search engines when I get to my office. If you type in the company name and it has a unique name or word combination in it, then you will likely find the business. If you type in the product or service they offer, and they don’t have a website, then you will only find the websites of their competitors. The people who type in that company name are going to be the only ones who find it. And they already know about that business.

Mobile website search screen

Most businesses need to be found by potential customers who don’t already know about them. A small website in a local market can be found when searchers type in the product or service. A business with no website is much less likely to be found by that searcher.

Business Website in mobile searches

A Single Page Website Is Better Than Nothing

Any website will get more exposure than no website. You just need a couple of attractive photos and some text that clearly describes your products and services. Those can be posted on a single page website that is very affordable. And that website can be very valuable to a small business.

We have a client that only posts their logo, their phone numbers and their email addresses:

The mobile view of a single page website.

This client operates in a small town. And their single page website has value. Almost everyone in the market area knows them. People search for them on their mobile devices. The business simply created a contact page and that is all they post on the web. Their site will be found when searchers type in their company name or when searchers type in their services.

In the past, this small business depended on the local phone book and the yellow pages. But who uses that anymore? Today they look for it on their mobile device.

A single page website like this one is very affordable. And it can be expanded to a larger website in the future.

Calling Card Credibility

Another advantage of any website is that it extends the value of a calling card. A card with a web address gives the feel of credibility. Potential clients that receive the card get the impression that the business is well established.

The Established Business

The feeling of an established business wins favor over the business that does not give that feeling. I’m sure you are like me in that you have chosen a company because of their longevity. Customers that see a website can get most of the information they are looking for on that page. And the fact that they see that site adds some feeling of longevity to the business.

You Work Your Business, We’ll Handle The Web

If you don’t have a site and want to consider a single page website, then give us a call and mention this blog post. We can handle every aspect of it for you. Many small businesses have very few employees. They can’t afford to hire a website designer. And they are not always able to hire an employee with required job skills for their business and web design skills, no matter how simple they are. That’s where we come in.

Our professionals are available to design and manage your website whenever you need us. We are just a phone call, an email or a text message away. Text modifications and changing images can be made within a matter of hours of receiving the request. Additional pages can be placed on the site in a matter of days. Larger projects are worked into a timeline. We will give you the benefits of hiring a web design professional at a fraction of the cost.

Business Website Redesign

Business Website Redesign

Replace Outdated Websites

A large number of businesses have outdated websites. Too often they are neglected by the business but still found by visitors on the web. When these visitors go to the site they are normally able to tell, via content or structure, that the site has not been updated in a long time. A site with these problems needs to be redesigned as soon as possible.

Website Redesign

Websites that need to be redesigned typically need work on two elements. Those are content and structure. The redesign of a website uses existing elements of the old site to serve as a guide for the redesign of the new site.

This is a business website after redesign.

Website Redesigned to Fit Mobile Devices

Update Content

If a business has outdated website content, then it can be used as a guide for content on the new website. Text should be reviewed and edited. Images need to be reviewed. Poor images need to be replaced.

Website Structure

Sites that are hard to get around need a new structure. Many sites are not designed to be compatible with mobile devices. These need a structure redesign.

different screen treatments, desktop view, smart phone view, ipad view.

This Website Accommodates Multiple Size Screens

Simple Structure Redesigns

Some websites simply need to redesign their site’s structure. Sites that have kept their content up-to-date but do not have mobile friendly pages fall into this category. A redesign of this type of website normally costs a lot less than businesses expect. That’s because a major portion of the desired site already exists.

A company that has kept a site like this updated normally knows the sites shortfalls. With that knowledge they can quickly put together a plan for the redesign. And they have kept the content updated on a regular basis. So placing content on the new site is simple and easy to do.

Website Redesign and Content Updates

A large number of business websites have poor website designs and outdated content. This gives them the ideal opportunity to get everything updated. The fact that they have an existing website gives them an advantage over designing a site from scratch. Their poor website design serves as a guide for what not to do. And even a little experience with the old site gives them some direction for the new one.

While most of the content needs to be replaced, the existing content can still serve as a guide. And some portions can be reused. Most images are likely outdated and will need to be edited or replaced. And even if they need to use some of the old images, new tools make it easier to take those images and improve them.

New Business Websites

Too many businesses have websites that are totally outdated. In many cases these do more damage to the business than they do good. These sites need a total redesign. There is a slight advantage this business has over starting a site from scratch.  They at least know what the don’t want.

These businesses need to drop back and take a look at the sites of their competitors. And they can get some ideas on how to design their new site from those competing sites.

Redesign Costs Less Than A New Site

One advantage that all existing sites have, whether they are good or bad, is that they can give the designers some direction on the new site. Businesses can learn from their existing sites what works and what doesn’t on the web. The website designers can use what is good and eliminate what isn’t. Then they add higher quality content and the site is significantly improved.

Improve The Website Design at a Reasonable Price

As time passes web design tools have become more powerful and easier to use. Creating an attractive website design is much easier and costs less today than it did years ago. Too often, managers put off needed website redesigns because they have a misconception as to what it will cost. When they learn the truth, they regret not having started the process sooner.

Contact us if you need a website redesigned. We will be happy to review your existing site and make a proposal for redesigning it.

 

How to Use Search Engine Rank Reports

How to Use Search Engine Rank Reports

Businesses Need Ranks

Businesses get customers from their websites. Websites get visitors from the search engines. A website’s rank can have a significant impact on the number and quality of visitors that view the site. And that can have a significant impact on the number of new customers a business gets. SEO is a critical element of many websites of small businesses. Those businesses can get help in their efforts from a range or sources. Knowing your real ranks in the search engines can be a valuable asset.

Getting Accurate Data

Many people check their ranks on their office PCs and they see their website in the top position. This gives them a sense of security that is unwarranted. Those ranks are not likely to be the ranks viewed by someone who has not viewed your site in the past. Those ranks have been influenced by the search engine that is trying to modify the results to make you happy. It sees that you have view your own site in the past, so it give your site extra credibility. That causes the rank you see to be better than the rank that a new visitor will see.

Businesses need a source to get accurate rank data. This is available in our search engine rank report. It checks your ranks and indicates to the search engines that it has not viewed this site in the past. This produces results much closer to those that will be seen by a new searcher. This is the information that you need. Your ranks will be lower, but you will be able to see where your search engine optimization efforts need to focus.

The Search Engine Rank Report

The search engine rank report allows you to track the rank of your website for phrases of your choice. It is easy to get started. All you have to do is provide your website address and the phrases you want to view your ranks in. Within 24 hours you will have a report that provides you with ranks that were retrieved by the service.

In the rank report you will see your ranks in Google, Bing and Yahoo. The results can be customized for a location. And the report give you a value on the frequency that your target phrase is searched. This element can be very valuable in determining where to invest time in your SEO efforts.

Time Adds Detail

Over time your report will keep records of your ranks. Your latest report is the day before. And you can check results any day prior to that, back to the day you started the service. It also has many options for viewing where valuable comparisons can be made. The report will show you movements made in your ranks over the long term. You can set the report to show your changes in ranks over a single day, seven days, thirty days or from the time you began the service. This can prove to be very valuable in the evaluation of SEO personnel or SEO services.

Ranks will likely change daily. The daily changes evolve into movement over the long term. Those long term changes will indicate the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. The changes in your competitors’ ranks can give you an idea of what kind of successes they are having and what phrases they are targeting.

Search engine rank report compares ranks on diffenent dates.

Track Your Ranks and Competitors’ Ranks

The reports can go beyond showing a business where their site ranks. It can be used to monitor other sites. Businesses can get search engine ranking reports to monitor their ranks and the ranks of their competitors. They can use those reports to track their sites and track their competitors’ sites over time. Comparing your SEO successes to those of your competitors can give you an advantage and generate some ideas for new opportunities.

Search engine rank reports for two competing businesses.

In the example above, a stone company has found a market segment in an area that it had discounted in the past. The phrases “pet grave marker” and “stone pet memorial” are searched more often then was realized. This created an opportunity. So the company targeted these phrases and began to cater to this market.

Check Behind Your SEO Services

If you already employ an SEO service, then you should still consider tracking your search engine ranks to keep the contractor in check. SEO services have incentive to show you good results. The questions is: “Are they being honest?” With your own rank report you can  find out if they are.

We offer results that can be viewed on the day of your choice. If you get data from your SEO service for a particular day, then you can go to our report and retrieve the data for that date. You can compare those results with the results your SEO service presents.

SEO for Business Websites is Long Term

Small businesses need to keep a close eye on their ranks. The reports we provide will keep a history of results from the day you begin the service. Dependable search engine rank reports allow you to track their search engine ranks over the long term. And they allow you to evaluate your SEO services for your business’s website.

Get started on your reports today. If you want to give it a try then sign up for a free report. We will let you use this for a limited time. You will get to see where your site ranks and get some ideas on what needs improvement. You can see how your ranks change daily. If you decide that SEO for business is in your interest, then we will be available to help you.

Web Content Selection

Web Content Selection

Content is King

In January of 1996 Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft, wrote an essay that holds true today, just in a slightly different context. The “Content is King” essay referred to the process of selling information over the Internet.  In 1996 less than one percent of the world population was using the Internet. The essay was written before most people knew anything about the web.

What is Web Content?

Web content is the textual, visual, or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites. It may include—among other things—text, images, sounds, videos, and animations.

Wikipedia

website content examples

A business has many options in the type of content it can present on the web.  The two primary elements of web content are text and media. We all know what text is. Media includes several elements. Those are images, video, animation and sound.

In creating web content, text is the first thing most of us think about. But, the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings as true on the web as anywhere. And the presentation of a quality video can raise a presentation to another paradigm.

Today, on the web, the impact of animation and sound can be very good or very bad. Poor animation can simply be ugly. Unexpected sound can catch visitors off guard and simply piss them off. Be extra careful when using these mediums for your web content.

Web Content Management

Content is king, especially on a website. A beautifully designed website is inviting to new visitors. But, quality content is what gets them to stay on the website and, in most cases, come back repeatedly.

Business Website Content

Content is the key element that makes a business website. It needs to be created thoughtfully and carefully through effective web content management.

Businesses need to update the content of their websites on a regular basis. Old content carries a range of liabilities. It chases away regular visitors to your site. It sends harmful signals to the search engines. And it brings your commitment into question. Updated content can be enticing and encourages them to visit in the future.

Blog Content

Blogs run on a timeline. Content is updated in younger blog posts. Older posts serve as a record of the past and don’t always need to be updated, especially if newer posts update content that is outdated on older posts. Creating a link from the older post to the newer one with a little explanation of the changes helps visitors and has a positive impact on your search engine ranks.

Republishing is another option for older posts. But, they need to be updated and the post should reveal that it is an update. Blog content that is no longer relevant, or out of date, should be deleted and/or replaced when republishing.

Selling Website Content

Many people consider “selling content” as selling a subscription to a blog or selling ad space on a blog. Gates predicted in his 1996 essay that this type of content provider could “expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions.”

He went on to predict:

In the long run, advertising is promising. An advantage of interactive advertising is that an initial message needs only to attract attention rather than convey much information. -Bill Gates

Today, that “initial message” comes in the form of the title and description of the website. These are the first things a searcher sees when they get results in the search engines. If their content quality attracts the attention, then the visitor will click through to the site. Next come the quality of the websites first headlines and text. Their quality determines whether the visitor scrolls further on the web page. Then the quality of the web page determines whether the visitor goes to additional pages.

deck of cards stacked up

As you can see website content can break down at many points. Quality web content management helps avoid this.

Contact us if you need help with your web content.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO for Small Business

Small businesses in small towns have been the backbone of America for centuries. In the early days the most common way to find a business was through word of mouth. In later years, as technology advanced, tools like the printing press, radio, television and other resources were used in promotion. When people wanted to find a product or service right away, a vast number turned to the yellow pages.

the yellow pages

Search Engines Have Replaced the Yellow Pages

Today, when people want to find providers of goods or services, they go to the search engines. This has been going on for years, but it has become more dominant as the use of smart phones has increased. Businesses need to be found in these searches.

There are two ways for a small business to get into the search results that they don’t have to pay for. First, they can open an account on the search engine and sign up their business. This will list their location, their website and their contact information. The search engine also gives preference to local business websites in the rankings below the local results section. Second, they can target a niche market. With a specialized good or service it is easier to get ranked due to the lack of competition for the phrases that describe the good or service. Not all small businesses have a niche market they can target. So they need to focus on the local listing features of the search engines.

Small businesses can be found in local searches many ways.

Business Websites Must Go Mobile

With the majority of searches taking place on mobile devices and the sale of desktop computers going down, a business today must have a website that will work well on mobile devices. There are a surprising number of businesses that do not have pages that will accommodate the smaller screens. They need to redesign their websites.

Business Website Redesign

For small businesses to get the maximum benefit from the web and the search engines, they must have pages that work on all devices. A website can be redesigned for a fraction of what it cost to build it. The website designer already has the content from the existing site to work with. All that has got to be done is to put that content in a different code format that will work with mobile devices.

This is an example of the redesign of a business website.

Let us redesign your website.

SEO and Website Redesign

For a business that has an outdated website, redesign has two benefits. First, the site is easier to view and use on mobile devices. Second, it shows the search engines that you are targeting the mobile market. That will improve your search engine ranks for both mobile and desktop searches. Website redesign will pay for itself many times over for a small business.

Local Businesses and SEO

Local businesses sometimes feel pushed out by big companies in the search engines. But this shouldn’t be the case. The search engines have done a lot to accommodate local businesses in their local markets. They favor local websites for area searches and they have created local maps that focus strictly on the businesses in the local area. All a business has got to do is work with the tools available in Google and Bing to get into those searches. If you want help getting your website working in these searches then just contact us.

Websites and Social Media

Websites and Social Media

Social Media and Websites

Websites can be managed to work with social media so they both complement each other. A business can provide links from its website to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media resources. This can increase the credibility of the business and can give the website visitors more opportunities to find information and learn more about what the business offers.

 

Different Businesses Need Different Social Media Resources

There is a wide range of social media tools that help businesses in their promotions. Individual businesses can choose what tools will best meet their needs. Information can be shared on Facebook, images can be shared on Instagram, and videos shared on YouTube, just to name a few of the possibilities. Below are some of the most popular tools.

Blog Sites

More and more today, websites need blogs to increase their value and their traffic. While the blogs are designed to serve visitors, they can be set up to automatically post on other social media assets, such as Twitter. This multiplies the value of the time invested in the blog posts.

Facebook

According to CNN, Facebook reached over 2 billion users in February (CNN website 02/01/17). Giving your business the ability to connect with customers and prospects all over the world, Facebook is an absolute necessity for social media marketing. It is a communication tool that is very easy to use. With a connection from posts on your website, it can complement the sites content.

Twitter

Used with limited content, Twitter posts can include links to outside content that can expand the message being communicated. Skillful use of the tool can cause messages to go viral and spread to a wide range of viewers. This can increase the number of followers a business has. The value of a short and sweet message to thousands of followers can exceed the cost of the time invested many times.

Instagram

To show photos and short videos to followers, Instagram is an ideal tool. Businesses can promote events, products and people by posting images on the service.

LinkedIn

This B2B social media tool is ideal for connecting to business professionals in any industry. LinkedIn has a feature called LinkedIn Groups that are established and used by business in specific niches or markets.

Pinterest

Businesses can upload, save, sort and manage images on Pinterest. These images are known at “pins.” This tool has been known to serve as a more powerful sales generator that other social media tools. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what are hundreds of pictures worth? Pictures can generate sales and that makes them worth a lot!

“In one case study of a fashion website, users visiting from Pinterest spent $180 compared to $85 spent from users coming from Facebook. These users spent less time on the company’s website, choosing instead to browse from the company’s pinboard. Further brand studies have continued to show Pinterest is more effective at driving sales than other forms of social media. A study carried out by Wolfgang Digital study found that site traffic originating from Pinterest Business pages was more engaged spending up to five times longer on site.”

Wikipedia.org

YouTube

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? More businesses are beginning to see value in YouTube. It is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine. Businesses use it to promote their products, educate their market, train employees and do many other things.

For a look at how powerful a video can be, take a look at this video on social media:

Small Business Marketing in 2017

Small Business Marketing in 2017

Changing Times For Web Marketing

“The times they are a-changin’” (-Bob Dylan, 1963). One of the most famous lines in rock history is as true today as it was over 50 years ago. Even more so, if that’s possible. This holds true for every element of our society, and especially in small business marketing. Change is exciting. And changing times create opportunities.

Look what marketing was like thirty years ago. The small business had to pay for a spot in the local Yellow Pages. They ran regular ads in the local newspaper. They put ads on the local radio station. They sent flyers to potential customers in their local markets. Most small businesses were somewhat confined to their local markets.

Expanded Market Area for Small Business

The web has allowed a range of businesses to expand their market areas. Thirty years ago my family was in the building supply business in a small town. We would have customers that wanted specialty products, like custom designed arch windows. The fact that we knew where to find carpentry shops that would create these items gave us a competitive advantage. Our builder client didn’t know where he could get the work done. So he ordered it from us. Now, the builder who needs the window can search for carpentry shops and find them on the web. Then he can make the purchase and cut out the middle man. Today, this happens across a wide range of goods and services.

Local Web Marketing

Local businesses are changing tactics. They use local web marketing in place of the good old standbys. As time passes fewer people are using the Yellow Pages. Local newspapers are losing subscribers. Local radio stations must create a local element to retain existing listeners. When the members of our communities are looking for goods and services, most go to the same place, the web. Many of these newspapers, radio stations and other mediums have tried to make their place on the web with websites and social media. The effort is failing to attract followers and advertisers. When the public is looking for goods and services it goes to the search engines instead, even in their search for local goods and services. This makes local web marketing a necessity. Businesses that don’t implement it are leaving money on the table.

Continued Transformation

Web Changes

Ten years ago PC sales were hitting records. More and more people wanted a home computer so they could have access to the web. Millions of businesses were designing websites for those devices to provide information and to influence their share of the market. Today, PC sales are declining while the public has found less expensive and more convenient products in mobile devices. Business web design must take this in to account.

PC sales are in decline (Statista.com).

The traditional website has had to be redesigned to fit these devices. The “mobile first” strategy is taking hold. It will be considered the norm very soon.

Another element that websites must accommodate today is the offering of interactive capabilities. Al Agrawal, a contributor at Forbes.com, gives some valuable advice: “Think of ways to get readers to actively participate instead of passively consume. Interactive content can include assessments (such as the classic Cosmo Quiz setup), polls, surveys, infographics, brackets and contests” (17 Marketing Trends to Watch Out For In 2017 – Forbes) Participation is a way to connect in a proactive manner.

Change is Constant

Don’t expect the changes in small business marketing to slow down any time soon. Our capabilities in information handling continue to increase. Moore’s law certainly appears to be holding true today. That is, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles every two years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law). This allows us to put more information into the market place through a growing range of mediums. Today we do this with web marketing.

Be a Leader

Small businesses that don’t change will fall behind. This has been the case for centuries. Keeping up shouldn’t intimidate you. Through vendors, trade associations, trade journals and research of your competitors you can stay aware of the latest changes. Trade contacts should help you make educated decisions concerning the changes you decide to make. And those changes will make you a leader in your market.

The Ecommerce Website

The Ecommerce Website

Selling Products Online

Many small businesses dream about taking their products to the world through ecommerce. If you have a unique product then this can create exciting possibilities. If you have a product that is carried by many other businesses, then you will need to find a way create more value than your competitors. Otherwise you will be competing solely on price.

The “To Do” List

There are several bases that need to be covered to get your site off the ground and selling products online. As with any website you need to purchase a domain name and point it to the server where you will have your website.

Set Up Secure Hosting

The hosting for your business’s website needs to be on a secure server. This insures that credit card information and other personal data of your clients are not compromised. Your hosting service will provide instructions for setting up a secure server.

Choose a Shopping Cart

There is a wide range of shopping cart services available. One of the best ways to choose a cart is to set up a demo account for several and go through the process of setting up your products on them. This will give you a good feel for the shortfalls of those carts and help you make a better decision in choosing. This will require some time, but it is well worth it.

These are logos of ecommerce shopping cart services.

There are many ecommerce shopping carts available.

Different carts work well for some products and not well for others. If your items have a lot of size options, color options and other variables, then you need to make sure the cart will work with all of the options you need for your market.

Enter Your Products

The most time consuming part of building an ecommerce website is often entering the products into the database for the shopping cart. Most shopping cart services have this down to a very simple process. Even so, if you have several products, each with many options, then the number of SKUs can jump quickly. Creating these in a shopping cart can require some time.

Collecting Money

There are two primary ways to collect money for your online sales. First, you connect your secure website to your bank account. Your transactions will process from the website. Second, you need to set up PayPal to give site visitors another option for payment. Clients that do not know you or your business may be reluctant to turn over credit card information to your site. If you don’t accept PayPal, then it could cost you significant sales. Make sure the shopping cart you choose accepts PayPal.

Connecting to Your Bank

Your shopping cart needs to be set up to transfer funds from your customer’s credit or debit cards to your bank account. To get this set up you need to get instructions from the company providing your shopping cart. It will require you to get some information from your bank that directs the payments to the right account.

Review Your Ecommerce Site Regularly

Your shopping cart needs to be reviewed regularly. When you have a change in a product, like the colors available for a shirt, you need to update it promptly. You don’t want to be contacting customers and telling them that you don’t have the item they just purchased. This will cost you repeat business and will likely keep other people away from your site.