You’ve probably seen this – a parent who is so proud of their beautiful baby that the rest of the world is afraid to tell them the truth.
The same thing often happens with web sites. Especially websites put together in house. “We ‘birthed’ this site and it is gorgeous” is the mentality that folks have.
That is why it is so important to have others try the site. If possible you want to have impartial 3rd party folks try the site. We have had numerous folks come to us wanting to help make their “beautiful baby” better by tweaking it.
When it comes to websites, it is sometimes possible to tweak a good site to make it great. But it is never possible to tweak an ugly site to make it good.
What do I mean by an ugly site? Here are the most common symptoms:
No call to action – just a lot of information but no way to act on it.
Too many calls to action – we’ve seen sites with dozens of calls to action – sort of like walking into a crowded room and having everyone calling your name at once – makes you turn around and leave.
Graphics that distract visitors from the call to action. If your call to action is on the left and you have pictures of people in the middle, looking to the right, visitors won’t look left, they’ll look right.
Too much movement. Having an engaging website is to be desired. If you endeavor to engage by several different sections having movement, it is just distracting and leaves visitors lost.
Unchanged in ten or more years. Yes, we regularly have clients come to us who have not updated their site in that long. And yes, by 2019 standards, they are ugly.
Not responsive. Not unresponsive, just not responding to mobile devices. If your site doesn’t conform to responsive standards, it will look ugly on a phone. Just today – in July of 2019 – I came across a site that is not responsive. It just shows a much smaller version of itself. Drop down menus don’t work, hard to click on links because they’re too close together – just a mess.
If you have an ugly site though, there is a cure. We can help. We make beautiful web sites. And you will love the Return on Investment you get because that is how we design every site – with ROI in mind. Call 303-268-2245 ext 4 to turn your ugly baby into an integral part of your business.
Every web site, and every page should have a next step. Why does your business have a website? What is the purpose? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself as you look at the pages on your site.
Sure it should look nice. Yes, it would be great to be optimized for search. But if you aren’t giving your visitors a next step, what do you think their next step will be? That’s right, they’re going to leave.
Many of the next steps are obvious. But some may not be. I click to a page called “Our Team” and see the profiles of key people in the organization. What is the next step I want visitors to take? Time to think about what steps you want people to do.
Call us. Well that was easy. But make it into a button. And put the code into the button so that when I visit the site on my phone and touch the button, it pulls up my dialer and all I have to do is push “call” to be talking to you.
Email us. This is pretty simple too. Make a button with your email address. When someone clicks it, it should open a new email message to you in their email program.
Request a call. If you have people requesting a call, make sure you set the expectation. Will you call right away? Next day? Don’t go longer than that. Within a few hours or next business day is ok. But in any case, set the expectation and then hold yourself to it.
Download <our whitepaper>. But we don’t advocate for calling it a whitepaper. A lawn service or landscaping company might have “Download 10 tips to protect your yard during a bomb cyclone”
View our services <or products>. Since every page should have a call to action, a simple next step like this is great on an About Us page or page that shows the staff.
See what our customers have to say (video or written testimonials). This next step is good to help close the deal if the visitor is on your services or product page. They think it might be a good fit but they’d like to hear from people you’ve actually worked with.
Learn how we have solved problems similar to yours (case studies). Story telling is a compelling sales method and a good next step from a variety of pages on your site. Move people to the page where you show you’ve actually helped real people solve real problems.
Sign up for our newsletter. While email newsletters are kind of a pain – lots of folks sign up and then don’t read them – they are still a powerful sales and marketing tool. And once someone does sign up, even if they aren’t ready to buy, you now have a self-selected lead. That is as good as gold.
View Details about our team. This is a particularly good next step if you are a service organization. Show your services and then the next step is to see who will be carrying out the service.
Learn more about our process. Whether you are selling products and need to outline the process of completing and shipping the order, or selling services and want to help visitors feel more comfortable with the timeline and the next steps, having a next step be “View our Process” or something similar is very effective.
Take a look at your site. You probably have some good content on there already but if you go back and add some solid next steps, your site will be ready to help your business grow.
And while most of these are obvious, if you have an ecommerce site, here are 10 calls to action you should check your site against:
On the Internet, content is king. If you want to be ranked in the search engines, the best thing you can do is put original content on your website.
We often have existing or potential customers get very enthusiastic about generating content for their site as we extoll the virtues of doing so. And they often follow their content generation plan very religiously . . . for at least a week or two. But then other bright shiny objects grab their attention and they wander away from their schedule. Sometimes they never return.
Everyone can write, right? Sure we aren’t all the best spellers or best grammaticians. But who knows your business better than you? So it can’t be that hard to write a few lines of content. Or maybe you love to write. You can easily fill page after page about what you do.
But is your content web-ready? Is it optimized for search? Have you considered the placement of key words and key word phrases? There are a myriad of web specific things to understand and implement into your web site content.
Is it in a web-friendly font?
Is it broken up into digestible chunks?
Do longer paragraphs have visual cues to help readers quickly grasp the main points?
Have you used headings?
Have you used subheadings?
What is the call to action in your text?
How much information is too much?
Will your content look good on mobile devices?
How much information should you include so search engines can properly index your page?
Are there any visuals you can use along with your text to illustrate key points?
Did you actually use any of your key words or keyword phrases?
Does your keyword phrase appear in the first paragraph of content?
And the list goes on . . .
And what happens if you don’t consider any of these questions?
Most likely your site will be lower in the search rankings than you would like. Most likely you will attract fewer visitors. Most likely the visitors that you do attract will not be as meaningfully engaged as you would like. Most likely your site won’t perform for you. It won’t help you grow and attract new business. It won’t help you engage existing customers. And then you’ll blame your web design team for building a poor site.
Don’t get in trouble with your content. Instead, turn to someone who gets content and understands how the web works. If you choose not to have us do it, choose someone who is well-qualified. If you do choose to work with us, contact us today to get started.
In the Internet world, Big Data is a big buzz word. With the right tools huge volumes of data can be digested, analyzed, and summarized with amazing speed. Technology like this is what is driving technical inroads in an array of industries from understanding the human genome to making digital currency like Bitcoin to understanding shopping patterns of given demographic segments.
But what about Little Data? Your little website. It may not be as big as Facebook or have as many visitors as Amazon or Walmart but there is still an incredible amount of data that is available from your slice of the Internet. So how can you turn little data into a big benefit?
Every mass emailer (aWeber, iContact, MailChimp, Robly , etc) has a variety of tools that can help you track the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Some of the key metrics you should look for include Total Opens, Unique Opens, Unique Clicks, Click to Open Rate, and Device type (responsive)
Social Media tracking
You can track just about everything with social media. Some of the key things that will be of value to you though include: how many visitors to your website you got from social media, how many friends, followers or fans you have on your profile or your company profile, how many shares or views your posts or articles got and so much more
Site analytics (Google Analytics or some other analytics package)
What started off as a way to track the number of visitors has now become a very sophisticated way to track any number of activities both on your website and prior to arriving – and even after leaving for that matter. You can learn what your visitors do, what devices they use, how fast your site is, create funnels and track actions
There are a variety of services that you can set up that will help you to track where your calls are coming from – from a specific landing page for a specific campaign, from a social media campaign or even from a print campaign
Campaign tracking (with specific landing pages or domains)
You can create custom urls or even custom domains to run and track specific campaigns. Running an end of the year campaign to boost sales? You could have a special url (sometimes called a purl for personalized url) like http:// <your-domain>/christmas and track all the clicks to that link.
So even with Little Data (the data that you have available to you on your little slice of the internet) you can harness the power of Big Data and get a much clearer picture of what is actually happening. You can then design a specific plan to get that traffic to take the action(s) that you want them to – whether it be make a purchase, fill out a form, make a phone call, sign up for a seminar or some other factor that is part of your conversion process.
Need help figuring out how to do this for your site? Call us at 303-268-2245 ext 4.
Not long ago I wrote an article on Page Speed. Since then, page speed has continued to climb in importance. How Google’s algorithm for ranking pages works is the secret sauce that makes them who they are. But we do know that pages that load fast are moving up in importance in the algorithm.
So what can be done?
There are a few things you can do that can have a dramatic impact on your web page loading time.
Optimize your images. Nearly every site we test has images that can be better optimized for display on the web. Remember, more and more people are using mobile devices as their sole connection to the internet. So having big images will slow them down and often not display as well as images that are optimized for mobile.
Tell your site to use browser caching. While there are different ways of doing this from the technical – like manually editing your .htaccess file – to much simpler – like installing a caching plugin, this one change can score you points with page speed and ultimately provide a better user experience.
Make sure you are displaying the proper size of images. Together with point # 1, you can become the ace of images by making sure that you are displaying an image at 300 pixels wide by 400 pixels tall, that your image is 300 pixels X 400 pixels. If you’re loading an image that is 600 X 800 and then displaying it at 300 X 400, you can get a 50% reduction by resizing that image. This is pretty easy to do. I sometimes do this in Windows using the Paint program and it can be done in seconds, not minutes.
Deliver your files with compression. Windows users will be familiar with zipped files. That is pretty much the same concept here. Telling your web server to deliver files using gzip usually improves your page speed a bit.
Why do you want to have a fast site? There are two main reasons. First comes the user experience. If people visiting your site are met with spinning icons as your page slowly loads, they’ll likely feel like they’re spinning their wheels and go elsewhere. Second is search engines. Having a fast-loading web page is one of the “search signals”. A search signal is a factor that Google or other search engine uses to determine how to rank a page for different key words. While it is but one of many signals, since it also fits with a better user experience, we HIGHLY recommend optimizing your site for speed using one of the tools in the previous article
Yes, we’re telling you why you would choose NOT to work with us. Here we go:
You want a website that looks just like your brochure
If you see no difference between print collateral and
your digital presence, then you probably don’t want to work with us. Your brochure is a great tool to hand out and leave behind after a meeting. Your web site though should be engaging and should always have a next step in order to deepen the relationship. If that isn’t what you are looking for, then you won’t want to work with EduCyber.
You are not interested in measuring or considering ROI
If you see your website as an expense and not an investment, you won’t want to work with EduCyber. Understanding how your web site fits into your marketing and sales is an integral part of our web design process. You can and should have an expectation of a return on that investment and we help our customers set and measure the return on investment. But if you just have a budget line that needs to be spent, you won’t want to work with EduCyber
You want to hire a firm to do what you want, instead of wanting to partner with a firm that has strategic expertise in web design
If your goal is having a firm that will place your pictures and your words right where you want them, regardless of how it translates in digital marketing, then we aren’t the firm you want to work with. With two decades of experience in helping customers craft messages and researching what does and does not work in user experience and design, EduCyber brings a wealth of information and insight to each project we undertake.
You haven’t gotten new customers from your site so far so you don’t believe you can even with a redesign
If your current site hasn’t generated a single new customer for you so you firmly believe that a web site can’t convert visitors into customers either, then you won’t want to work with EduCyber. When we hear that – and believe me, we hear it a lot – I like to add “so far” to the end of each sentence. “We’ve never gotten a customer from our site so far.” “Customers in our industry don’t come through the website so far.” “With our business model, we don’t get customers through our website so far”. And on and on.
Those who do choose to work with EduCyber become believers when their phone rings or the email, comes in and suddenly a connection from their website becomes a customer.
If the reasons above don’t apply to you, you might want to Work With Us.
Do you feel like you’re trying to do everything to keep all your customers happy?
I have definitely seen that before. In the early days of the Internet there was a web site called Yahoo. Its purpose was to help you find stuff. But it tried to do a little bit of everything in order to keep everybody happy and the web site became such a hodge podge of stuff you couldn’t focus on finding stuff, which what it was supposed to be.
Then along came a new site, Google. Have you gone to google.com lately? While their logo has changed and they often have some kind of Doodle instead of their logo, there is pretty much still just one thing to do at Google.com. Search for stuff. Plain and simple.
Yet which company is doing better? Which company has far more offerings and far deeper reach? The one that has a simple focus. Google is all about search. But in focusing just on search they’ve developed Google Analytics, Google AdWords and Google AdSense, all great products that have a positive impact on their bottom line, provide tons of data to better improve search and of course provide great value to their customers. Which leaves them wanting more . . .
How can you turn this ability to focus on what you do best into something you can leverage in all your messaging and in all that you do on your site?
As far as EduCyber goes, we have distilled it down to “We create amazing websites for passionate people to get real results.” Amazing . . . passionate . . .. real. We love building sites. Whether we’re designing something cool or developing software that helps run your business, we love digging into the details to get the right fit for you.
So if you or someone you know is in need of a website, let’s talk.
It is not unusual for a company to come to us asking for a website when in fact what they really need is a marketing plan that includes revamping or completely redoing their website. If you are not sure if you need a marketing plan first or a website first, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What message do we want our customers to hear?
If you are unclear on this, you need to look at your overall marketing first – consider your goals, how you typically acquire your customers and why they choose to do business with you.
How do we communicate our brand visually?
We often hear customers say things like “We aren’t Nike, we don’t have a brand” or “Because we aren’t a large company, our brand isn’t important”. That is a fallacy. If you have a distinctive look and stay with that look consistently, across all your marketing channels – web, print, business cards, signs – it will help potential customers make the connection and feel confident in doing business with you. This obviously is connected to your overall marketing.
How does our website fit into our overall marketing?
We ask this question at every intake meeting. Having clarity about what you expect your website to do for your business is incredibly focusing. It transforms “Our website is just a brochure” thinking into “Our website is the hook that helps us reel in new customers” thinking. Or, to use another fishing metaphor, it might be “Our website is the fishfinder that helps us know where to drop our lines” thinking. In any case understanding how your site fits into your marketing, helps set the right goals and expectations.
What are your goals for your website?
Often, when we ask folks what their goals are, they start with “I want it to look better” or “I want it to be user-friendly”. These are great elements to include in a site but honestly they are not goals. A goal for your website might be “I want to get one solid lead each month” or “I need 10 new newsletter subscribers” or even “I need four additional online donations”. These are measurable goals that can drive design but they also make the most sense if you have a clear marketing plan.
If these questions resonated with you and made you think “We need a marketing plan.” or “We need a better marketing plan.” we can help. We have marketing partners we can bring in to your project that will bring clarity and focus to your marketing and to your website so it can help you grow. Give us a call today at 303-268-2245 to get started.
So what does it take to “take your site to the next level”? Whether you have a new web site or are looking to get a new site, there are several things you can do that high converting websites do. What are highly converting websites? Ones that get people to take action – fill the funnel like this:
Here are the strategies we recommend for highly converting websites:
Make your unique value proposition clear.
Your business is unique. Why do people choose to do business with you? Why do they choose you over other choices? What sets you apart in your industry? The clearer you are on why people choose you, the more the right kinds of people will respond via your website.
Test Calls to Action and use just one
Unclear or confusing calls to action on your website can kill your business. Determine what you want people to do and make is crystal clear on the site what that is.
It sounds so simple. And yet I had one potential client tell me last week that his NEW website doesn’t have a call to action. Yep. That is the case. He paid someone to build a website for his business but there is no next step for users to take.
Test your headlines
The words that you use on your pages matter. If you are getting traffic to a page but no conversions, try changing the headline or headlines on a page. Sometimes changing one word on your website can make a big difference. Imagine a used car parts online store with the words “Satisfaction Guaranteed” displayed prominently on their site. Satisfaction is fuzzy. What does that mean? Not clear. Change Satisfaction to Money-Back though and now I, as a potential customer, have a very clear concept of what happens. I can buy this part and if it doesn’t work, I get my money back.
Use short forms
If you are trying to build your email newsletter subscribers, don’t ask for the mailing address. The only thing you really need is the email address. If you’re going to add fields so it can say, “John, check out this sale” then you might want to capture the first name or simply have a name field. Only ask for the information you need and you are much more likely to get conversions.
Use trust symbols
While they may be legally required to do so, it does give us comfort or increase our trust when we see or hear a bank commercial that includes something like “FDIC Insured”. This is a signal that this place is legit. You can do the same thing on your website, even if you aren’t a bank.
You don’t operate in a vacuum. Demonstrate that to the world. What organizations do you belong to or what certifications have you attained that show visitors they can trust you? Consider industry specific groups or chambers or other business organizations if you are in the B2B realm. If you are B2C, consider things like the Better Business Bureau or a seal from your ssl issuing company if it is an ecommerce site. If any of these groups or places have logos that you can use, they provide great visual cues for the trust you deserve.
How many of these strategies are you already using? If you are using 4 or 5, congratulations! You probably already have a high converting website. If you are using 2 or 3, kudo’s to you. You are taking some good steps towards making your site help your business. But if you want more, contact us and we’ll help you explore what can be done. If you are using only 1 or perhaps none of these strategies, stop. Pick up the phone. Call 303-268-2245 ext 4 and tell us you want help getting your site to convert more.
Does your site load on people’s computers quickly? If it doesn’t, does it matter?
The answers to those two questions are “It better be fast” and “It absolutely matters”. There are two main reasons:
User Interface. If users are waiting and watching the spinning circle or other indicators that the page is loading but it hasn’t finished, they leave.
Google rewards fast web sites with better, higher rankings. Not just Google of course but since Google accounts for 75% of searches, we’ll just say “Google”.
So what can you do to tell if your site is fast? We have two answers for that as well:
Google actually tells you how fast your site is and gives tips on how to make it faster. Visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and enter your domain and see what Google says about your site. It is a good idea to visit on a regular basis – monthly or quarterly to make sure that nothing has changed either on your site or how Google views your site.
There is another great, free tool https://gtmetrix.com/ that lets you see the speed and uses several other tools to help you understand what is happening on your web page. One of the biggest issues we see with this tool is that images aren’t optimized well. The cool part of it is the tool provides you with the optimized version of the image in question. No more trying to guess what it means.
So take some time to check out your website today. Use both of the tools above to check not just the homepage but also other key pages on your site. Just because you get the home page to load quickly doesn’t automatically mean other pages will.
Just as I wrote this article I found that one of the plugins we were using had “gone rogue” and was lowering our score for page speed. That plugin is gone and we’re back to fast loading pages.
The tools will help you measure the speed and once the tools say your pages are loading fast, you can go back and work through your site from a customer perspective and verify that they are indeed going smoothly and quickly.
And of course, if you would like assistance in speeding up your page or pages, call us at 303-268-2245 ext 4 and we’ll get the ball rolling.