So you are unexpectedly forced into downtime. Can’t go to the office. Can’t go to the restaurant. Can’t go to the theater. Set aside the frustration for a moment. What can you do?
Remember way back when you were too busy to take the time to work on your site (last week)?
Now you have the time for you and your staff to revisit your website. You might be surprised. Earlier today we met with a businessman who had recently changed to a whole new website with a new URL. As we went through his site and his listings, we discovered that many of his social media and external sites linked to the previous site or to the previous email.
What things should you look for?
Is your logo and tag line current and up-to-date across all media?
Is your name consistent on every page and on all your social media?
Check your physical address. One thing search engines need is the same address where even “Ave.” and “Ave” can be seen differently. Make sure your address is absolutely identical. If you belong to any trade associations or chambers, check them as well.
Look at your site on a phone. Does it look right on every page? Does the mobile responsive part work as expected?
Review your color scheme. Does your site follow the scheme properly? Are all the colors matching your approved standards?
Are your forms all working? Is there a next step after a form is filled out?
Is the contact information accurate and up-to-date?
Check for bad reviews on social – Facebook, Yelp, Google, etc.
Are there any pages or content on your site that no longer applies to what you do?
Are all of the images appearing properly? Do you need any new or different photos?
Have you added any new services or products that are not yet on the site?
Are your blog and social media profiles current and accurate?
Over the course of the last several years, we have had many customers come to us asking for Search Engine Optimization. We do SEO (and we do it well) so we are happy to accommodate.
But as a part of our marketing assistance, we seek to understand the goals of the SEO program. On a few occasions the customer’s goal has not been to get a higher ranking with the search engines. Those conversations go something like this:
Customer: I would like you to do SEO for my site. EduCyber: Sure thing, let’s take a look at your numbers. First, what is your conversion rate for your web site? C: ??? E: How many leads are you generating from your site on a daily, weekly, monthly or even quarterly basis? C: I’m not. E: So if we get you ranked in the top ten for all of your keywords and you are still at a conversion rate of zero, will you be happy? C: Of course not! E: So let’s look at what you want to accomplish. C: I want the phone to ring! E: Ah, we can help with that.
And in many cases what we do is first tweak or in some cases redo the site to clarify and simply the Call To Action (CTA). Once we’ve done that we can establish a conversion rate. Once the conversion rate is established, then we can look at whether SEO, Pay Per Click, Social Media or some combination of those is the appropriate solution in order to get more business.
Are you wondering if you might be practicing misguided marketing? Some of the comments we hear from folks include:
We tried social media, it didn’t work.
I don’t get any feedback from my SEO firm.
I get all kinds of reports from them but I don’t understand any of them.
We’re paying a lot of money but not getting any tangible results.
I’m told we rank high but the phone isn’t ringing
I’m paying for clicks and I see the reports but no one is contacting us.
Manufacturing websites are a niche that make them different from other kinds of websites. They need to display their products in such a way that searchers can find and visit the page of the specific product they want. They need to be searchable. But they also need to show the quality of the product, of the people making the product and even the process and standards that go into creating the product.
Here are the five requirements for a manufacturing website that actually connects with customers and potential customers:
It needs to have a product database. Whether you actually sell directly online or just show the products, the database needs to function like an ecommerce site where you can view individual product pages, get the specs, perhaps even see reviews and get support for the product. All of this can and should be done through a product database so you can dynamically display different products – by category, most popular, possibly even by price or SKU.
The design of the site must be compelling. Unless you are a big, nationally known brand, you want to engage visitors right from the start on what they need. The first step of that process is to confirm for them that you are a legitimate source for the product they need. Compelling images of your products, perhaps being created or finished are an excellent way to show your workmanship, display what you actually do and impress with your quality work.
It needs to have a product database. Whether you actually sell directly online or just show the products, the database needs to function like an ecommerce site where you can view individual product pages, get the specs, perhaps even see reviews and get support for the product.
All of this can and should be done through a product database so you can dynamically display different products – by category, most popular, possibly even by price or SKU.
The design of the site must be compelling. Unless you are a big, nationally known brand, you want to engage visitors right from the start on what they need. The first step of that process is to confirm for them that you are a legitimate source for the product they need.
Compelling images of your products, perhaps being created or finished are an excellent way to show your workmanship, display what you actually do and impress with your quality work.
Finally you need to have clear and effective calls to action. One of the biggest downfalls for manufacturing websites is displaying information without moving folks to the next step. By having a good next step on each page of your site, you will not only engage your web visitors but convert them into customers.
Does your site do all five of these? If not, give EduCyber a call. We can tweak your existing site or design a whole new site to help you grow.
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:
We recently attended an event where Google flew in a trainer to present on Google My Business, Optimizing your website for Google and Pay Per Click campaigns. It was a very good presentation from a polished speaker but the mantra we heard again and again is “This is all free.”
Free is an interesting concept. After 90 minutes of this training, many people were just ready to get started. Getting your business verified will take anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours. Building out your profile and putting the right information in takes careful planning if you want to really grow your business.
Optimizing your website for search engines is free, we learned. But of course, if you do all of this “for free” you will probably wonder if you did it right. You might not know how to track the results. Ah, but we also learned that Google Analytics (GA) is a free tool. EduCyber sets up GA for our hosting clients if they don’t already have it. And we walk them through, on a regular basis the maze of finding the data that means something to them and then helping them interpret what that data means.
The point is, there are many things you can do, and indeed do them
for free, as long as your time is free. But if your time is valuable, if you make more money servicing your clients by producing the goods or services they want, then maybe it isn’t really free.
If you need help with your “Google My Business” profile, with optimizing your site, for measuring the success of optimization, or with a paid search campaign, we can help. This is what we do day in and day out to help our customers get the most of their website while being able to focus on what they do best. Give us a call at 303-268-2245 ext 4 to get help today.
We work with a lot of smaller companies who tell us straight up that they are too small or below the radar to have a brand.
We say hogwash!
Every single organization – for profit or non-profit – has a brand. Included in the brand are tangible and intangible things like:
Standing of the leaders of the organization
Presence on the internet (web site)
Presence on social media
A song or ditty that represents your organization
What your customers think of you
A particular phrase or tag line that people associate with you
You can control a lot of these aspects of your brand digitally and those that you can’t control, you can still influence.
If you hear of a company or meet someone interesting at an event and immediately do an internet search for them or their website, you can understand the power of your digital brand. Sure it is easy for the big brands. I actually rewrote the first sentence of this paragraph, changing “google” to “do an internet search for”. We get the big brands, from Nike’s swoosh to McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” to the theme song for “Game of Thrones”. But for “little brands” like you and I, what are we to do?
First thing is to do a search for your name. Don’t add a “.com” or “.org” on the end. Just your name. And look at the results. Check beyond Google. At least add Bing into the mix. Do you like what you see? Here are some things to look for:
Does your company or organization dominate all the listings? It should.
Have you claimed your location on each site you search on?
Are the images the location associates with you appropriate to your brand?
Are there reviews of your business? If so, are they favorable?
Do any of your competitors appear in the results?
If you don’t like any of the answers to these questions, we can help. Want to do it yourself? Here are key things to do:
Claim your location in search engines like Google and Bing (and any others that pertain to you)
Upload photos and other images that are related to you in your location profile
Encourage happy customers to provide favorable reviews on sites like Google and Yelp
Make sure you have a social media presence. If for no other reason, do it so that your search listings will have more links to your brand.
Make sure your website is optimized for search engine indexing so that all of your pages will appear in search results.
Here are some things any web site can find out about the visitor:
Data points I can know about you:
Your IP address
Your physical location
Your computer name
Your operating system
Your screen size
Your device (if mobile)
Potentially your phone number (if mobile)
How you got to my site (from search? From social? Referral? Typing the address directly in?)
Data points Google can tell me about you
What language you speak (or surf in)
Your education level
There are a number of things you can to protect yourself and to better control what information you share and with whom it gets shared.
The first and most obvious thing is to set privacy for social media sites. You should also set security on your mobile device(s) so that no one can access it if they find it. One of the biggest things you can do to protect your privacy is turn off all the convenient features on your mobile device like location awareness. You do lose the convenience but you do gain a degree of privacy – though keep in mind that as long as your cell phone is on, you are trackable.
Consumer reports has a list of 66 things you can do to protect your privacy. Try several of these to begin protecting your privacy.
One of the conundrums we face is who to let in to our “circle” and who to keep out. When I got my new phone with fingerprint unlocking technology, I was excited. But my son pointed out that Google now has my fingerprint.
As a business / web site owner, it is important to recognize that your visitors all want and expect some level of privacy. But we all want to understand the details of WHO is visiting the site, WHY they are there and WHAT they want to accomplish. Google, with its Analtyics tool, hides demographic and other data from you if there is so little of it that you could begin to identify actual people. Their idea if to give you broad information to understand the demographic groups that come to your site. But wow, wouldn’t it be cool to know that right now, Jim Adams, aged 39, with a wife, Naomi and two children in 1st and 3rd grade just clicked on a link in your web site – oh and by the way his phone number is ***. That info sounds great to business owners until they realize they don’t want the sites they visit to know that information about them.
If you are struggling to determine how much data to collect, how to interpret it, or how to organize the data, give us a call. We’d be glad to help. Reach Brian at 303-268-2245 ext. 4
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