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Monthly Archives: December 2016

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5 Signs That It’s Time for a Website Redesign

Category : Web Stuff

If you’ve read my last blog, you’ll have learned about some basic areas to work towards in achieving website optimization. This should help you understand what to look for when you hire a web designer. If you haven’t, let’s go back and start there.

In the competitive business climate of today, where instant access to information is expected, an outdated website (I’m talking the popular late 90’s, Arial text, mismatched block photos with a basic sidebar) won’t cut it.  You might be thinking “What does he mean by outdated?” since technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, one person’s version of cool and trendy might be another person’s tacky. I do want to emphasize that just because your website plays music upon first loading and has flashy neon colour buttons, does not mean it’s up to date.

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Your competition, the ones we are really worried about, have a solid web presence. Having your website outdated is dangerous, it serves as a significant liability that can result in missed opportunities and repel potential customers. However, it’s difficult to know if your website is doing the job. To take a step back and look at your online presence objectively and critically is hard. Much like being able to identify your own areas of weakness.  I’ve put together a list of 5 signs that might indicate when you need to consider a website redesign.

You Don’t Remember When You Got Big Traffic Last

Let’s face it, your website sucks at selling. If you don’t remember when the last surge in traffic was, or you haven’t been identifying these trends, that’s a serious red flag. Imagine your website as your 24/7 storefront. It’s the place people go to when they can’t reach you on the phone, the first impression when someone refers your business. Your website is your help desk, so ask the serious question. Is it helping? Determine whether it’s doing its job by evaluating how it’s being used by visitors. Do a competitive analysis to analyze metrics like site session duration, website conversions and form submission numbers. It’s also important to check the site’s search engine ranking for the most important keywords. A company’s website should help to build its bottom line, and the metrics listed here should significantly contribute to revenue and lead generation. If you don’t know how, you should check out Google Analytics, familiarize yourself with what you need and think about how you might want your next website designer to incorporate analytics into your website. Remember, if your website doesn’t have anything to offer, your customer retention will decrease.

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It Doesn’t Reflect the Company

A site is the company’s biggest chance to send a brand message. Merely adding the corporate logo to the website header isn’t enough; real integration involves incorporating branding through elements such as design, color, brand voice and typography. A company’s website should portray its values and tell customers how it’s different from the competition. It should answer customers’ questions while providing a user friendly experience. Let’s go back to the storefront analogy. When you walk in, you meet the staff, they’re smiling, you have atmosphere, you immediately have a sense of what to expect prior to buying the product. Maybe you see the wall of photos showing smiling managers. If your website doesn’t show your mission, vision, or list your execs, it might be time you showed a little bit of yourself to your audience in order to facilitate transparency. With that being said, make sure your website isn’t all about you. It is your chance to let customers know that you can provide solutions to their problems, and you’re the best choice.

You Still Have Ex Employees On There

Businesses grow and change, and an outdated site’s web content might not just convey the wrong messages about a company, but will also make you look sloppy. It doesn’t take much to update your website’s content. Editing a web page is quicker and simpler than updating print materials, but busy companies often push web updates to the side. Copy can be updated to fix problems. The site owner should also examine the site map to ensure that pages are logically organized. Depending on the website’s age and platform, updating the informational architecture could be harder than starting with a clean slate. If you don’t know how to edit your page’s content, or can’t do it on your own without calling up your web designer it might be time to talk to someone else about having a CMS.

Even Google Can’t Find You

If a customer can’t quickly and easily find a company’s site in the first few search results, they will go elsewhere. Multiple factors can determine a site’s SEO level, and coding characteristics form the baseline for performance. Optimized content is crucial, and pages need good meta descriptions, descriptive URLs and alt text. A site without such back-end capabilities will likely have lackluster SEO performance and lose a portion of their market share to other, higher ranking companies.

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Your Original Designer was 100% focused on creativity

I mentioned this briefly in the introduction about flashy entrances, sounds and buttons. Bottom line is, if your original web designer was focused solely on creativity, it’s not going to cut it (also it’s tacky don’t do it). In a survey conducted by HubSpot, 79% of users stated that the most important aspect to a website is its usability.

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Yes, you might have fell in love with that flashy enter intro, but you can also have that as a video, not as an autoplay. Not only does this deter potential leads, it’s also slow, and an outdated trend. Not to mention it doesn’t show up on ipads, and iphones, that’s 38.3% of all wireless Canadian subscribers. Oh, and Google Chrome doesn’t like it either. In fact this month, Google is implementing HTML5 the light -weight, plug-in free default alternative to Adobe Flash, entirely disabling Flash in hopes of deterring the usage of the plug-in altogether.

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Increasing Your Website Traffic Might be Easier Than You Thought

Category : Blog , Brand , SEO , Web Development , Web Stuff

I can’t begin to count how many businesses and entrepreneurs I’ve seen suffer because of a poor website. Having a poor website will reduce your referrals and sharing rate, but it can also repel customers, driving them straight to your competitors. We often say first impressions are the most important when meeting someone new. It helps us form our initial judgements, and as much as we hate to admit it, helps us access preconceived notions so we can make quick decisions on whether or not to pursue. Time is valuable, this is human nature, so it makes sense that the same logic applies for businesses.

However, when a business does make the decision to make some changes or do a complete Website redesign, the trackable changes, the ones you want to see as a result of your money spent, are still likely not seen. Despite the many insufferable hours of group meetings, consults, and research, you’re left with questions like “I just spent $5000 at an agency and my inbound is only slightly better, what’s the deal?”.

So how do you ensure that the changes you’re making to your website, and the money you’re spending for this process will actually improve your inbound? The answer lies in knowing what to look for.

We want you to understand what goes into website optimization, and how it, well, “optimizes” your website performance. We believe in wholehearted transparency, so instead of just handing over a lump sum of money and getting a pre-packaged deal, we start by cultivating a customized marketing plan driven by your unique business needs way before the coding even takes place. So let’s start by sharing what you should look for in website optimization.

Socialize Your Website

One of the most powerful ways to spread the word about a particular website is through advertising. A more specific method of advertising and arguably a more effective tool is utilizing social media networks. You’ve might not have heard about it, but this new platform has already garnered 1.79 billion users and remains as the largest social network today; Facebook. Just kidding, of course you know, but I write this because I still see businesses without Facebook pages and it astounds me. Next in line for second largest is YouTube and so on and so forth. It may seem redundant to keep up with the latest social media hype, but being on top of the trends gives you an advantage. If you can get to your audience before your competitor, chances are you’ll have a higher shareable rate (i.e. online referrals!). Social media provides you with an affordable (free) way to advertise. When you are looking to optimize your website, make sure that you have clear distinct buttons linking to your social media pages.

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Responsive Design

Do you ever try to open a website on your smartphone or tablet and the buttons are all of a sudden crammed into one corner? Or maybe the textboxes are covered up by the stock photos and you can’t actually press preview on the item you’re interested in purchasing and it drives you crazy. Chances are if you weren’t familiar with that website prior to this experience, you’ll click out of that website and try it somewhere else. A Responsive Web Design (RWD) allows desktop webpages to be viewed in the size of the screen or web browser that you are viewing with. The design is essentially responding to whatever device you’re using. This is fundamental given that 87% of people across 11 advanced economies including Canada and the United States use a smart phone. Without a responsive web design, mobile visitors are sure to get an unpleasant first experience.

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Fast Loading

So you’ve opened up a new tab to check out a website recommended by a friend, it’s a responsive web design so it fits well on your phone. The only problem is all the photos are white, and the loading animation goes on for about 2 minutes. You shut it down, load it back up for a second try, same thing. You’re late for work so you’ll check it out later, but you forget because we have busy lives. Something that will ruin expectation on virtually any website is a web page that loads slowly. That’s why having a website that is technically optimized will not only make the website experience a good one, it keeps people coming back. It may not seem like a huge deal, but the fact is people can and will stop visiting a website if the site itself is routinely slow when loading. By setting up a revamped website for faster loading time, the site will foster more visitors.

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Encourage Feedback

One of the good things about a new website and social media sites is that it can help patrons to interact with the business. Facebook pages give customers or potential customers a chance to ask questions and get responses from the business. In addition, with forums or message boards on the actual website, a business can achieve a new level of communication with their client base. Whether it’s actual customer services issues, or perhaps it’s just chatting with visitors to a message board or a Facebook page, it’s an excellent way to drive more traffic to a website.

The bottom line is research needs to be done prior to changes being made to your website. You need a solid understanding of what you want and how to get it before relying on someone else to do it for you. This will save you a lot of wallet ache later. There are plenty of other means to improve the number of visitors to a website gets, as this blog only covers the basic. However, whether you follow these tips, or you include them with other information and advice, you’ll be well on your way to completing your website optimization with strong numbers of targeted website traffic.

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