Optimize Your Website

Optimizing Your Website for Customers and Leads

 

Sometimes you have to dig a little bit deeper in order to optimize your website for more customers and leads. It is just not as simple as writing your home page and a few other pages anymore.

Nowadays you have to get your website set up to capture that incoming traffic and generate leads and turn those into customers too. That is why you have to spend a little bit more time on your website.

So in this post we are going to take a look at how you can do that with the least technical expertise but the maximum effect.

Capturing Leads with Forms

Thrive Leads PluginOne of the simplest and fastest things you can set up, with the right technology, is capturing leadings with optin forms on your website.

There are a whole bunch of tools that you can use to do this, but one of the best that I recommend for WordPress owners is a plugin called Thrive Leads (this is a great review which highlights all the features of this plugin).

Once you have  plugin like this, you can add optin forms to all of the crucial and highly trafficked areas of your website like:

  • Your homepage (sidebar, header hello bar, slide in, or popup)
  • About page (often forgotten but gets a lot of traffic)
  • Sidebar of posts (and the end with a “end of blog post optin”)
  • Anywhere else you choose

Popups or Not

You also need to consider how much you want to bug your visitors too. There has always been a lot of debate around popups, especially by usability experts. Why, because it annoys the hell out of people when they first arrive on your site to have to choose to read, or close this window which disrupted their experience.

So what else can you do? you can also add a slide-in, which the Thrive Leads plugin mentioned above also comes with. This means that a smaller window will slide in from the side at a more appropriate time (like the end of the post or page) and will not block the user from doing what they came to do, consume your content.

So that choice is up to you, but make it wisely.

mailchimpSetting Up An Email List

This amazing set of optin forms needs to store the data *name and email normally, somewhere too. And that is your email list, or email marketing software.

There are a whole bunch of choices again when it comes to such things, but some of the main players include:

But if you are just starting out, then I recommend you stick with MailChimp because it is easy to use and free. Something important for beginners, and people who do not have money to spend on Saas tools at this stage of their blog or company.

You then have to take a little bit of HTML code from your email marketing service, once you have a list set up, and paste it into the Thrive Leads plugin. It is pretty simple.

But in case you need help, here is a quick getting started guide from the guys at Thrive Themes.

Last Steps

Of course things can get a lot more complex than this, because you also have to set up your email auto responder and perhaps create an email giveaway so that people will sign up for your list in the first place. But these are the basic steps you need to create a newsletter and similar things on your website.

Then once you have done that, you will ultimately get a lot more people signed up to your list and be able to turn those people into customers over time with the right offers to them. Make sure they are related to what they want and expect, else you will lose them off your list pretty darn fast.

If you want more tips in this area, be sure to let me know.

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Social Media Tools I Recommend

Social Media Tools

As a web design and a generally web savvy individual, I keep up with all the latest and great tools on the web.

A lot of people then ask me what kinds of tools I am using to go about my daily business.

So I decided to split up the answer into a number of posts on a topic each.

In this post I will show you what tools I am using for social media, and explain to you why I like them and how they can be of benefit to you.

The Tools

I will go over the tools in order of freshness. That is, the ones I mention first will be the ones I have just started using and in some cases trailing.

Mav Social -Visual Content Management & Social Publishing Software

Check out there website: http://www.mavsocial.com/

One of the reasons I started using Mav Social is that they have a unique approach to social media management, software and campaigning.

Their focus is on the visuals of the internet, so things like images, photos, video and the like. They offer a repository for you to manage your own media, to make it easy to share. Especially for a team.

On top of this, they give you a posting dashboard which enables you to create one basis post and then alter it and share it on the various networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and so on.

If you are looking for an alternative to all of the other social media tools, then they are certainly worth a look.

Buffer App

Check out there website: http://bufferapp.com/

Despite taking a serious look at Mav Social as I said above, I am still using my favorite posting tool – Buffer, on a daily basis.

I actually use the paid version for an individual as it allows me to buffer posts way ahead and not always have to worry about posting to my social media networks.

Buffer is really all about posting content and that is one of the main things you have to do on social media. You also have to do it regularly, and Buffer takes care of that with a schedule which can be linked to FollowerWonk from Moz, to see the best times to tweet.

The power of Buffer comes from the variety of content sources the have (rss feeds, recommended posts, posting from inside your phone on the web, quotes and images) and also the basic analytics they show (what is working on what not).

Mav Social also has powerful analytics, more so than Buffer, but it really depends what you are looking for.

Pinterest TailWind

Check out there website: http://www.tailwindapp.com/

I am also a big fan of Pinterest for my social media, which is not something that Buffer or Mav Social can take care of well (or anyone, as the API is closed).

So for that I use Pinterest, mostly with their mobile application – iPhone, Android.

And if you register your website and take on the Pinterest Business version, you can also get some good analytics of what is working and perhaps why.

But if you want to take it a step further, I recommend you sign up for Tailwind to get even better analytics for your pins, and see who is following you, how many new followers, what is pinned etc.

Summary

So I hope you got some ideas for tools to use and try out when you are looking to save time and make more out of your social media.

Give Mav Social a try if you want an all around tool. If you want to just schedule a lot of content, Buffer is great. And as a lover of Pinterest, I can’t recommend Tailwind enough for getting an idea of how you are doing.

And if you have some other tools you want to suggest, feel free to leave a comment below.

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small business website mistakes

Small Business Web Design Mistakes

There are a lot of websites out there that just are not working for their owners.

And in some cases, there is a very good reason for it. They do not have a clue about the big mistakes that they are making with their websites.

So we thought we would cover some of the basic mistakes that small business owners are making to help you understand what could be wrong with your website.

After all, your website is the key to online sales, so better not to miss out on that opportunity.

1. Too Much Advertising

lings cars website

Unless you are one of the top 1000 websites on the web and have hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, loads of advertising on your website is not a great idea.

It not only makes your site look horrible, but your visitors probably are not impressed by it either.

And if they even bother to look at the ads that you are presenting them with (and hoping they click) then they are gone from your site.

Is that worth the pittance that you receive as a result from Google Adwords?

If you are making your fortune from ads, then please ignore this advice, of course.

2. Horrible Structure and Navigation

siebennull website

The aim of your website is to lead your visitors, as quickly as possible to where they want to go (and perhaps as a side goal, where you want them to go).

That means that your menu and any navigation should be centered around the main things that you want a visitor to see on your website. And of course the main things that they are coming to you for.

This could be categories of information, or products or even your services. But don’t play hide and seek with your visitor.

Make it easy for them to get where they are going.

 3. No Fresh Content

Both the search engines and your visitors are always wanting the latest and best information from the web.

And it is our jobs to present it to them.

So make sure that your content is not getting too stale. You need to be adding new and interesting content on a regular basis.

Keep up with the trends in your industry. Introduce new products from your shop. Or whatever it is that is interesting in your niche.

But please add some new content at least a few times a month.

4. Not Hiring An Expert

Building a website yourself is very easy. The problem is that you are doing it without any background knowledge whatsoever.

That is like building your own house, just because you have seen some houses before. It does not always turn out for the best.

So if you are a business owner, and have a little bit of cash to spare, you should always get an expert involved so that you get the best result possible

Otherwise you will end up hiring one later to clean up the mess, which could be far more costly in the long run.

Summary

Hopefully you are now just that little bit wiser regarding websites and some of the common mistakes that people are making out there in internetland.

If you can solve all of the above 4 issues with your website, then you are well on the way to fame and fortune.

 

If you have any comments on the post we would love to hear from you. Just enter your thoughts below.

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video marketing for your website

Why Video Marketing is So Important for Websites

You may have noticed that video marketing is starting to take over the web these days.

Of course they are hogging all the bandwidth, because video takes a lot more space than words, but that is not what I am talking about.

Video is starting to dominate as a form of content for websites.

So this is a trend that you better start paying attention to, and here is why.

Video is a Preferred Form of Content

It is nice to read a great blog post, and I do it all the time, but somehow we are hardwired as humans to love video.

I was reading a great article on this topic on Forbes recently, and they had some really interesting reasons as to why this is.

Basically humans are programmed to like many of the things in a video, for example:

  • human faces are far more compelling and believable
  • the human voice is a great way to deliver information
  • emotions, especially via body language are very engaging
  • we are designed to pay attention to movement

So there are more than enough reasons as to why we want or even need to watch video, and prefer it over text or even audio as a medium in which to get information.

Ways to Use Video Marketing

Because we love video so much, people have started to pay attention to the fact that we need videos for our online marketing today.

There are so many ways you can use video marketing to help your business engage with their audience or potential customers.

Here are a few ideas we have from our experience with video marketing:

  • Create an About Us video for your home page
  • Create tutorials on how to use your products
  • Create entertaining pieces that may go viral
  • Create animation videos that are longer lasting

Of course there are many more ideas, and it really depends on the topic or goal of your company, but video can be used where almost any other medium was used in the past.

Finding the Right Video Production Company

If you are planning on making a video in the future, one of the first things you need to consider, is what you are going to produce.

But, in tandem with this process, you also need to start choosing a video production company from the beginning.

We have worked with some great ones, but here are a few things you need to watch out for in a video production company:

  • what experience do they have
  • what kinds of projects do they specialize in
  • where are they located
  • what kinds of budgets do they cater to
  • do they have modern video equipment

Something else you will want to do with them in the beginning is create a video production brief. This is a way to outline exactly what will be done, what the goals are of the project and how everything will fit together. A video company that does not offer this, is one you do not want to be working with.

Final Words

There are so many reasons why you should be using video today for your website.

But also take a moment to seriously consider your goals and also who you will be working with.

It will pay off in the end with a great video!

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7 Online marketing strategies

7 Online Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Are you running a small business and you would like to reach a bigger target audience? There is an easy solution with online marketing. With the advance of technology creating an internet we cannot live without, more and more people are moving online in search of credible organizations to purchase products from. So, if you are looking to market your business online, try these seven strategies:

Use Social Media

Utilize Social media in your business. Many people are on social media sites for the better part of the day. Create a page where your audience can interact with you on a one on one basis. With this you can get feedback about the services you are offering and also get to know the needs of your customers. And there is really no better way to connect with people than interacting with them directly.

Content marketing

Content marketing is also another online marketing strategy that you can adopt. Come up with content that will convince your customers to buy your product. The content needs to be catchy but informative. And present well visually too. Which also helps with sharing on social media. Because these days, all the social media platforms are going visual.

Have a great Website

You should have a good website for your company. A website gives your company credibility. Ensure that all the information about your organization is included. This saves your customers time when they are searching for a product. It should also present your company very well visually. So don’t use a website with an old design, make sure it is up to date. And while we are on the topic, you should also always use responsive design. Which means it looks good on smartphones and tablets. It is also very important to choose a reputable web design company when starting your website, as it will help you make it great.

Start an Online Contest

You can also start an online contest. You can get people to compete for an award and this will help people learn more about your business. Remember the people participating in the contest, the more the number of people who know about your business. And ultimately that is the goal of such a competition. That, and getting them to like your Facebook page or sign up to your email list, so you can keep in contact with them after the competition is over. email get attention

Email Communication

Constant communication with your existing customers is vital and one of the best ways to do this is to adopt email marketing. On your website, you should include your email address and come up with strategies that will entice your customers to give their email address to you. From here you can come up with a newsletter that you will be sending out to your customers on a regular basis, to keep in touch.

Advertise

Ads are important if you want to get your business out there. For a small fee you can advertise on online sites that many people visit for example Facebook. The idea is to capture your audience’s attention and if they cannot come to your website, why not follow them to the sites that they frequently visit? Then you can bring them from there, back to your site and either get them on your email list or to buy your products directly.

Post Pictures

There is a saying that a picture speaks a thousand words, and that is also very true for businesses. If you are selling a product, let the people see it. There are many sites such as Instagram that allow you to post pictures of your products. Let the people get a look at the product that you are selling. Or even if you are sharing content, you can put up an image with text on it to introduce the post.   So there you have it, 7 online marketing ideas that you can use for your next campaign for your small business.

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Finding the Best Website Design For Your Company

best web design

These days, every company needs to make sure they have a fantastic website behind them. The internet is now how many people find the companies they want to work with, and as such is how many people will be finding you.

You need to make sure that the impression you make is a great one.

How to Find the Best Web Design

Finding the best website design for your company isn’t easy. Not every company has the same audience and not every business has the same needs.

However, there are a number of things that can help any company create a site that’s perfect for them.

The Website Audience

The first thing that should be considered is the audience the site is for. The site will need to  be visually appealing to your audience, but it will also need to meet their specific needs.

You may want to do audience research before beginning website design.

Website Content

Think about what most customers will be looking for when they arrive on your site. Could it be:

  • Contact information
  • Product listings
  • Location information
  • Entertainment

Whatever the case, make sure they can find it instantly. You don’t want anyone to have to hunt around for the information that they need.

simple web design

Simple Design

Sometimes you can just be swayed by the current web design trends.

While elaborately designed sites can look great, they’re not always good idea.

For one, they don’t always work well in various browsers.

Secondly, they can take a long time to load. You want your site to load as quickly as possible.

This will improve your SEO and will make sure customers don’t give up and go somewhere else.

Website SEO

SEO is another thing you’ll need to focus on when determining the best website design for your company.

You’ll have to figure out whether local SEO or standard SEO techniques should be your top priority.

What’s the difference?

When you focus on standard SEO, you’re competing with sites all across the web. T

his is what businesses that are internet-based will have to focus on.

In contrast, local SEO helps you compete against other businesses in your area.

Any locally based business will want to take full advantage of these kinds of techniques. They have a significant impact on your company.

Choosing a Design Technology

Whether you design your site yourself or hire someone to design it for you is up to you.

Even people who aren’t tech-savvy can easily create sites thanks to platforms like WordPress.

Themes can be downloaded that will make any site look great.

In addition, WordPress offers plugins that can really help a business owner.

For example, they have shopping cart plugins and plugins that help with SEO.

However, hiring someone to design your site also has advantages. You can get fantastic one on one service and customization when you hire someone to make your site. They’ll deliver exactly what your business needs.

Conclusion

Creating the best website design possible for your company is important. Your website is a valuable tool that can help your business to succeed. You want to make sure you take full advantage of that by making a site customers will love.

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Web Design Trends in 2014

Web design is part of a fast-paced world full of trends that come and go. There is no clear reason to hold onto old trends that will weigh you down and put you behind the competition. Below is a description of the top 10 web design trends in 2014 that you should watch out for.

1. Flat web design

Flat design involves keeping your website clean, simple and modern. Flat design makes sense since a website that has less clutter,  has more usage of white space. With these trends, designers achieve more while users enjoy a better experience. That is a win win for everyone.

2. Better Images

The push by designers to have better quality images is now a reality. This has been created with a combination of affordable pricing, increased website loading speeds and easy access to high quality images. Now not only are designers happy with their amazing graphics appearing on all devices, but users are amazed too.

responsive design

3. Responsive Web Design

Responsiveness is the standard for all websites in 2014. With the increase in the sale of tablets and smartphones, you definitely know why your website should be responsive. A responsive website in designed to adapt effectively to the different devices with ease. So now if your customers view your website while surfing on the couch, or on the go, they are sure to see it at it’s best.

4. Infographics

Infographics are eye-catching and are capable of representing information in very little space. They are a popular option for business owners since each infographic has a unique personality. They appear quirky and combine bold color schemes, shapes and typography in an intriguing manner.They seem to be the most effective way to communicate large amounts of data to a specific audience. So why not give them a go today, and wow your audience.

5. Parallax Websites

Websites with parallax designs are capable of making a bold statement. They have powerful imagery, scrolling mischief and strong typography. These web design trends have replaced the old 960 pixel websites that were thought to work effectively well on older browsers. They only problems is that not all viewers of your website will enjoy the effect. So please use this type of website with caution.

6. Simple websites focusing on content

Focusing on content rather than graphics is a simpler and cleaner approach aimed at offering the user a better experience. The New York Times is a good recent example of this. Such a simple trend allows the actual content on the website to shine and the design to perform its actual role rather than stealing the spotlight. So if your site is content specific, then maybe this is the way to go for you.

typography

7. Typography

2014 has seen typography arrive in the mainstream. Web design no longer has to rely upon common font styles such as Times New Roman, Georgia and Helvetica. Typography goodies have been stimulated by the avalanche of mobile applications that require a variety of font usage, as well as the widespread availability of fonts to designers.

High quality fonts other than Arial are now available at affordable prices through sites like Google Web Fonts, and Font Squirrel to name a few.

8. Improved Newsletter Designs

Newsletters, like email marketing, have the capability of reaching an audience in a creative and exciting manner. Smart business owners are continuously making use of ever improving newsletter designs to reach out to more consumers and keep in touch with them on a weekly or monthly basis. If you have something to say to your customers, then why not give a designed newsletter a try.

9. Re-emergence of short presentation videos

The explosion of websites like Vine is one of the main factors behind the re-emergence of short presentation videos in web design. Six-second videos are concise and easy to make. Their ability to go viral is high, since the audience likes and consumes them with ease. Clips running below the 30-second mark are increasingly integrated within most websites and are really making an impact.

10. Fixed navigation

Navigation bars are available at all times and should be easily accessible on every website. Web designers no longer have to over-design everything on the webpage. Fixed navigation is a logical approach for websites that require a lot of content too.

I hope you have gotten some great ideas out of this list and can apply at least a few to your next web design.

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