Category Archives: Websites

Fun ideas to spice up your October marketing

Fall isn’t just about pumpkin spice lattes!  October has a lot of holidays that can be used in your fall marketing!

The first day of October is International Coffee Day.  Yes, it really is a thing! If you’re a coffee shop it’s a great day to promote.  If not, you could celebrate by having a staff person hand out socially-distanced cups of coffee.

October 5 is “Do Something Nice Day.”  Don’t we all need more of that?!   It could be as simple as sending a card, an email or making  a phone call to your customers or clients.

October 5 is also World Teacher’s Day.  Held annually on 5 October since 1994, World Teachers‘ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. Show teachers extra love by offering them special discounts at restaurants, shops, services, etc.  Parents around the world surely value teachers more now than ever.

The first week of October is also Get Organized Week.  During that week you could plan your holiday marketing schedule, and don’t forget Small Business Saturday scrunched in there between Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

October 1- 7 is also Customer Service Week.  Remind your customers that your business is open, and what you’re doing to protect your employees and customers.  If you’re an in-person business, you might offer a bottle of water or some type of pre-packaged treat or giveaway.

National Dessert Day hits on October 14 – a perfect time for restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and cupcake shops to offer specials!

As if the desserts weren’t fattening enough, on October 17 we have – wait for it – National Pasta Day!  Restaurants and grocery stores can have a field day with that one!

Make a Difference Day is October 24, and it’s a good time to highlight the good deeds your business and employees do in the community.  Use photos on social media, signage, your website, emails to customers and clients to build good will around your business.

And finally, of course Halloween on October 31! But what will Halloween look like in a pandemic?  Here are a few ideas.

Finally, a tip from Constant Contact – 81% of online shoppers who receive emails based on previous shopping habits were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase as a result of a targeted email! (Source eMarketer)

If you’d like help with your email marketing, social media marketing, contact us! [email protected], 301-514-1102.

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Is Your Website Set for 2017? Here’s a 9-Point Checklist

This blog post is a non-technical business person’s guide to evaluating their website.  Although I won’t be writing a lot about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO,  some of the elements I discuss do have a major impact on your site’s SEO.

  1. Understand your visitors

I’m sure each of you have multiple audiences, each with their own concerns. But it’s important to identify your ideal clients – the ones most likely to use your products and services, and most likely to be satisfied and profitable clients or customers.

Describe those buyers in detail. Create a buyer persona that describes their age, their situations, the concerns that your product can solve. Then  create language  that helps them envision what’s possible.

For example, we did a website for NuVo Aesthetics and Wellness (www.nuvoaesthetics.com), and the Home page starts by addressing the concerns of  various audiences:

What are YOU seeking?WEBSITES

–  To be beach-ready with laser hair removal?
–  To lose a few extra inches with Laser Lipo or Ultrasound Cavitation?
–  Reverse  brown spots and large pores from sun damage?
– To smooth out those lines between your eyes and your crows feet?

2.  Let visitors know who you are and what you do

After asking these questions, we outlined what NuVo does:
At NuVo, we listen carefully to you to find out how we can help you to look and feel your best! Then, after our free consultation, we’ll customize one or more treatments to help you achieve your goals.

Don’t meander down the  path to explain what you do – let visitors instantly know that they’ve come to the right place!

  1. Establish credibility               

There are a number of ways to establish your credibility, expertise and trustworthiness.  It could be educational credentials, such as a Master’s or PhD, professional designations,  organizations to which you belong, years of experience, the number and types of clients you’ve worked with, and of course testimonials.

Here’s one on Little Sparkie Electric’s site:

“Catherine knew what she was doing – I didn’t have to worry about anything – she did a wonderful job for my client.” — Jean Wright, former General Manager, Regus Business Centers

  1. Content is (still) King

Content is still the long-time king in the SEO world; Google likes to see lots of relevant content, with keywords used in context. Other tips on your content:

  • Be human and conversational.
  • Talk less about you, your products and services and lots more about how you can improve your clients or customers lives.
  • Be relevant.
  • Be clear and consistent.
  • Be yourself.

Use your keywords wisely, but don’t “stuff” your page with too many keywords used in spammy ways, or Google will penalize you.

  1. Create a design that’s clear, not cute

Insist on a design that’s clean, not cute or cluttered.  Don’t keep adding and adding things to the Home page because they’re “important.”  Design websitescreep can destroy a once effective Home page.

Incorporate  web-wide conventions into your design, so people know where things are, and don’t have to look for them.  The logo should be in the upper left hand corner, have six to seven main links in the header, and any that didn’t fit there in the footer.  Also:

  • Make sure your phone number is clearly visible
  • Use back buttons for easy navigation
  • Don’t muck things up with flash or moving images
  1. Lead visitors where you want them to go

When visitors land on your site, do they know how to quickly find the information they want? Gone are the days of little tiny buttons buried in  the upper right hand corner.

You may have noticed your bank’s and credit card company’s websites have been vastly simplified with a big fat Things you can do button, with a drop-down menu that leads to the most likely things you want to do, like look at your statement or pay your bill.

Klaar College Consulting has a number of audiences, so when we created their new website, we made it easy for people to know exactly where to gol websites

 

 

  1. Include multiple calls to action and contact information

Make sure you have contact information or a clearly visible link on every page.  Also include newsletter sign-ups, offerings and specials.  If you’re a professional services company, create a sign-up to a lead magnet, such as a downloadable white paper.

  1. Ensure your website has a responsive design that adjusts to each device
  • More than half of websites are viewed on smart phones and tablets
  • April 21, 2015, Google started penalizing sites that are not mobile optimized.
  • Your website should adjust to whatever device it’s being viewed on
  1. Track your visitors

At the risk of alienating those who love Google Analytics, I will say I’ve noticed a lot of problems with the accuracy of Google Analytics when compared to analytics programs that are a feature of hosting companies.

Generally the numbers of visitors are much lower on Google Analytics than on the hosting site.  There are a number of reasons for this, and then there’s the pesky “Vote for Trump” messages and gobbly gook that started showing up on analytic results last fall.

Explore alternatives such as Gauges, Clicky and Woopra.

Are you thinking your website needs a refurbishing  or maybe a complete re-vamping?  Give us a call – we’ll meet with you to discuss your site, understand your website’s goals, and  make some recommendations.

Diane DeMarco, 301-696-8886 or [email protected]/

 

 

 

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A “Non-Techy” Guide to Optimizing Your Website

You’ve had a website expert create a beautiful new website for your company, and you’re told it has been “optimized,” meaning search engine search engine optimizationoptimization (commonly known as SEO).  But how do you know if it really has been totally and properly optimized?
OR
You’ve had a website for a year or two, and you’re fairly happy with it, but you think perhaps it could be attracting more of your ideal clients.

Google uses many tools and algorithms that are updated regularly to determine the order that websites are displayed in search results. But here are some proven ways to boost your website’s Google search results.

1. Create a quality site with quality content.Content is still king in the search engine optimization world, and an overall high quality website is critically important.  Google likes to see lots of relevant content, with key words used in context.  Select keywords (including geographical keywords) that will be relevant to your customers. For example, if you are a residential and commercial electrician in Mt. Airy, MD, but you served customers throughout a larger region, you may say:

Search engine optimization

A website we designed for one of our clients.

Full service electrical contractor located in Mount Airy and also serving Carroll County, Frederick, Hagerstown Maryland.

Use your key words wisely, but don’t “stuff” your page with too many keywords used in spammy ways or Google will penalize you.

It goes without saying that you should have a professional designer create a site that mirrors today’s trends – this is not the time to hire your nephew whose day job has nothing to do with technology.  Your website designer should be able to explain to you in layman’s terms how she will optimize your site “behind the scenes” with keywords, title tags, and Meta descriptions.

If you can’t hire a designer, we suggest using WordPress. They have basic and upgraded templates, lots of tutorials, and the Yoast SEO plugin.

2.  Use Google Adwords to find what search terms people are looking for. Use the Keyword ideas tab, enter your possible keywords, and it will tell you how often people are searching your terms, what the competition is like, and suggest some alternatives that are also frequently searched. Find and use the most popular keywords that are relevant to your product or service.

3. Incorporate interesting and appropriate images. Find and/or create images that match your text and improve the user’s experience on your site. There are many stock photo sites where you can purchase inexpensive images – one of our favorites is fotolia.com. Also build up a file of your own photos of employees, customers (get permission), events, products and services that you can use on not only your website but your Facebook page, Twitter, etc.

When you upload a photo to a page, increase its SEO value by adding a Remove featured imagecaption that contains the keyword(s) for that page, as well as alt text with the key word(s).

 4. If possible, make your most important keyword part of your domain name, and as the first word in the domain if possible. For example, the name of our agency is Marketing @ Work.  That URL was not available, but we were able to use marketing in our URL by taking the name www.dianedemarcomarketing.com.

Also make use of descriptive and valid URLs for each page of your website. Use names that tell search engines and users what they are, such as: https://www.dianedemarcomarketing.com/case-studies-successful-projects/.

Headers Increase your Search Engine Optimization

Headers are another way you can increase your SEO – here’s an example: http://www.launchingcollegesuccess.com/about-dianne.  Your web person can help with this.

 5.  Use your social media accounts to direct traffic to your website. Social media Likes and Shares are taken into consideration with

search engine optimizationGoogle, particularly with relevant topics.  One way of doing this is to occasionally reference an article or blog post on your website, and include a screenshot and link to take followers to that particular article or post.

You could also have a portion of a blog post on your Facebook or LinkedIn page, and then have a link for people to finish reading it on your website.  But be careful not to do this too often – social media is about being social, not selling!

(Also be sure to check and respond to all of your social media reviews. If they’re poor, apologize and do what you can to right the wrong.  If they’re good, thank the reviewer and then re-tweet and repost them!)

Bonus:  If you create a new website, or update a current one with a new URL, be sure to set up 301 re-directs from all of your old pages to your new ones to maintain the search engine optimization “juice” you’ve built up through the years!

This blog post just “brushes the surface” of SEO! If you’d like to meet with us to discuss your website, call us at 301-696-8886 or email [email protected]

Watch for future posts and here’s a comprehensive guide from Google on getting started.

 

 

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A New Website and a Fresh Start!

Launching a new website is always exciting! Creating an affordable website with a responsive design is usually something we do for clients, but today it’s great to be celebrating our own fresh looking site!

This may prompt you to ask whether your business’ website is due for a complete update, and also how frequently websites need to be updated.

If you’re looking at your website and wondering if it needs a new design – then the answer may be “YES.”

Your website is your face to the world. Most people thinking about doing business with your company will check out your website first. If it looks tired, cluttered and outdated, they may start checking out your competitors!

Ask Yourself These Questions:

1. How is your website laid out?
If you’ve been surfing around the web lately, you’ve probably noticed that most websites now affordable website, Responsive designhave a horizontal layout, rather than the vertical format of the past. They are also clean and crisp, with information most likely to be relevant to visitors.

2. Does your site have a responsive design?
With more than half of all searches now being done on mobile devices (according to Google), it’s critical that you have a responsive website that displays well on smart phones and tablets.

In fact, if you don’t have a responsive site, Google will penalize you in mobile listings!  Google even has a tool you can use to test how mobile friendly your website is: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly.

3. Does it still feature flash?
Heaven’s forbid you still have a website with Adobe Flash! It does NOT mix well with ipads!

4. Are your social sharing buttons easily accessible?
Make sure your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. are in a prominent location on your website. Putting those sharing button icons in your website header, for example, will allow traffic to access your social media platforms from any page in your site!

5. Does your website reflect your business brand right now?

affordable website, responsive design

You should also consider whether your website is in line with your current business brand. We recently redid a website for a client – an electrician – who had started out doing primarily residential work. They had expanded into commercial/industrial work, and wanted to expand that area of their business.

However, their website was primarily focused on residential work, and, though customers remarked on its friendly look, it did not reflect the professionalism that contractors and others that hire electricians for commercial/industrial work would be seeking.

Today Little Sparkie Electric has a clean, easy to use site that reflects their commercial/industrial capabilities, but keeps just a bit of the charming whimsy of their past site.

6. Is your website intuitive and user-friendly
People are in a hurry, and they want to get a feeling for your company and your products and services right away. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people stay 0-20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer.

Their research found that “the first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users’ decision to stay or leave. The probability of leaving is very high during these first few seconds because users are extremely skeptical, having suffered countless poorly designed Web pages in the past. People know that most web pages are useless, and they behave accordingly to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on bad pages.

“If the Web page survives this first — extremely harsh — 10-second judgment, users will look around a bit. However, they’re still highly likely to leave during the subsequent 20 seconds of their visit. Only after people have stayed on a page for about 30 seconds does the likelihood of leaving become relatively flat. People continue to leave every second, but at a much slower rate than during the first 30 seconds.

“So, if you can convince users to stay on your page for half a minute, there’s a fair chance that they’ll stay much longer — often 2 minutes or more, which is an eternity on the Web.” Their study concluded that to gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.

7. Is your contact Information easy to find?
Putting your contact information in the header or footer of your site makes it easy for viewers to call you as soon as they have questions or make the decision to meet with you.

8. Do you include a call to action?

affordable website, responsive design
Whether you’re selling products on your website or offer consulting services, do you ask them to take action? Click here – Call Us today – Sign up for our newsletter – let people know what you would like them to do!

If you’d like to talk with us about an affordable website with a responsive design, give us a call – 301-696-8886!

Wait a minute, you may say, you didn’t talk about search engine optimization (SEO)!  No, we didn’t, but watch for our next blog post about SEO!

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