Monthly Archives: January 2019

8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Website

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company manager looking at sales growth because of company websiteA bad company website is more than just an embarrassment, especially when an exceptional website is a key factor in business growth. A website plays a significant role in establishing a favorable first impression, building customer trust, and gaining sales. It is the foundation of all online marketing efforts. A terrible website does more than makes a company look bad. An awful, dysfunctional website costs a company trust—and lost sales.

This is the end of the bad news. The good news is that improving a company website is not as complicated as it may seems—or as expensive (depending on the website, of course). A bad company website is not always a lost cause or a complicated fix.

Add better images

Well-written websites are great. Well-written websites with compelling images and videos are AWESOME. One of the easiest ways to improve a company website is to start using quality images that capture customer attention and want to see more. Fortunately, obtaining quality images isn’t as hard as it used to be; smartphones and tablets can take quality photos and video. Free images can be found on Unsplash and Pexels, or purchased through a quality image site or from a local photographer. (Use these tips to choose the best images for a business website.)

Optimize, optimize, optimize

Optimization is one of the most overlooked aspects of a first-rate website. While the term may sound complicated, the basic principle is not: optimization is the process of making a website optimal for search engines. The simplest form of optimization is writing quality content for search engines and optimizing images (these tips for optimizing website images can help). One of the most effective ways to optimize a website, especially businesses with a local customer base, is to utilize local search engine optimization technology. Local optimization technology can be used to reach customers within 10-50 miles of a business location (or locations). (Use these tips to select the right local optimization technology.)

Write quality content

Search engines use many different signals (Google uses well over 200) to rank websites. One of the signals indicative of website quality is regular and relevant content (here is how content marketing works and benefits websites). Luckily, quality content is not as expensive as expected; custom content (drafted specifically for the company) can be produced in-house or outsourced to the professionals (very affordably). Be leery of marketing firms that sell sub-par content or duplicate content that has already been published.

Include (better) call-to-actions

A good call-to-action is strategically placed and easy for customers. A stellar website is full of excellent call-to-actions that don’t make a visitor feel like they are getting a concussion from “buy, buy, buy!” To meet the needs of a diverse audience, make sure that each call-to-action is linked to a different way that fits the preference of the target audience.

Add easy ways to continue the conversation

Social media is one of the most effective ways to communicate with potential customers and build the loyalty that retains existing customers (if managed correctly, use these tips for a successful social media strategy). Add links to existing company social media accounts throughout the website; commonly, businesses add these links to the Contact Us page, in the header and footer of each page, and on the Home page. Links to social media pages can also be added in the text.

Improve website speed

Google recently wrote that a one second delay while loading a mobile website can decrease conversions by up to 20%. Customers don’t want to wait, and page loading speed is another factor when search engines rank websites. Literally, it makes cents (pun intended) to decrease page loading times. The exact way to speed up the website depends on the construction; contact a marketing firm for ways to improve page loading times or ask for a quote to build a new (and better) website.

Fix dead end pages

Customers love an easy-to-navigate website, which is way website pages with errors can be so frustrating. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to end up with dead ends and errors, especially with websites with a lot of pages. Websites with errors can also be a black eye to search engines; spending time clearing errors or hiring the professionals to find and fix bad website pages can be worth the time and funds.

Be mobile-friendly

A mobile-friendly website is not just an option any more. According to Google, the amount of searches on mobile devices surpassed searches on desktops. Desktop websites do not always function properly on mobile devices, causing frustration and loss of sales.

Not Enough Time? 4 Marketing Tasks to Outsource (Affordably)

company owner getting marketing resultsAs a business owner and manager, marketing can feel like a tug-of-war. You know you need to execute regular marketing tasks because it grows your business, but you feel pulled to complete all the tasks that make day-to-day operations run smoothly. When the tug-of-war starts to feel like a constant battle, it may be time to consider the possibility of outsourcing marketing to the professionals.

There are definite pros and cons of outsourcing marketing, with saving time being one of the biggest benefits. Contrary to popular belief, outsourcing marketing still requires some time and effort. Companies are still responsible for providing input that can be used for effective strategy development. Depending on the details of the contract, companies may also be responsible for providing images (more information on choosing the right image for marketing here) and video.

Obviously, the con of marketing is handing over the proverbial marketing reigns. This can be considered a pro for some companies, especially when the staff member charged with marketing feels overwhelmed by the evolving marketing industry and underwhelmed with expertise. The other con can be the expense, though in some cases marketing can be more cost-effective than anticipated (contact a marketing firm for a quote).

Another benefit of outsourcing is the ability to tap into professionals keeping up with the evolving world of marketing. Marketing is like a freight train, always changing to meet audience needs and trends. A marketing firm needs to be up-to-date on the latest trends and the tactics that provide the best return-on-investment. (Professional tip: never contract with a marketing firm that can’t provide reports that detail results.)

When budget is a factor, the cost can be minimized by outsourcing certain tactics to a marketing firm. There are four obvious candidates, though the answer is different for every company. Here is a quick breakdown of four marketing tasks that can be outsourced affordably, and time-saving tips that can make the marketing process more efficient while still achieving results.

Social Media

There is no doubt that social media is an effective way to reach customers (including local customers with these marketing ideas). To achieve results, social media posts should be done regularly with relevant content valuable to the target audience.

Time-saving tip: Automate your social media marketing with programs like Buffer and Hootsuite. In the most basic sense, these programs can be used to schedule posts and tweets for times when the targeted audience is online. Don’t over-automate the process; posts can lack the company voice and sabotage results.

Outsourcing tip: Plan on providing information on a regular basis to the marketing firm for the best return-on-investment. Depending on the marketing contract, plan on giving sales cycle information, frequently asked questions from clients, examples of other marketing pieces, and images.

Website Optimization

An optimized website is a valuable marketing asset, optimal for search engines and customers. Optimizing websites can earn the business coveted positions in search engine results when customers and potential customers turn to the web for information and solutions. Effective website optimization ensures that the website is found in relevant search engine results.

Outsourcing tip: Choose an optimization company that has achieved results and can prove it with reports and data. If the company is marketing to a local audience, select a marketing firm that specializes in local website optimization (read more about local optimization here).

Content

Adding content to a website is a smart move, both for drawing in potential customers and for conversing with current customers. Quality content can be used to attract search engines like Google, who credit websites who add fresh and relevant content. This credit can gain websites higher positions in search listings initiated by users looking for information. Good content can also be shared on social media to entertain and engage followers.

Outsourcing tip: Select a marketing firm who produces quality content aimed at the target audience and optimized for search engines (use these tips). Be leery of firms that use the same content for many different companies.

Review Monitoring

There are a number of online review sites, all of which can damage a company’s reputation and decrease the chance of sales. Research has shown that 88% factor online reviews into their purchasing decision (Source: Search Engine Land).  A significant amount of sales are lost due to negative reviews—and monitoring and responding to those reviews can take a significant amount of time.

Outsourcing tip: Online monitoring services can save companies a substantial amount of time and lost revenue. Contact a company that can offer the service, as well as other marketing tasks for a well-rounded and efficient marketing process.