Adding a bit of video so you can learn more about why you might need to try our web hosting:
There are lots of different web hosting levels. You can pick the web hosting company that most fits your needs and budget.
If you are a do-it-yourselfer that likes to geek out on all-things-technology, you can use an inexpensive host like GoDaddy or BlueHost. If you are focused on growing your business, you will want to find a managed hosting solution that will work with you, taking on all the parts you either don’t know about or don’t have the time to deal with.
At its most basic level, web hosting is simply reserving space on an Internet-connected server where the files and data that make up your website are. These files are then served up whenever someone visits your site. Here are some of the key terms you should know:
DNS: Domain Name Servers. This is where your domain name is managed. If you have, for example, mail through G Suite, there will be records that tell the internet where to send any messages going to that domain to find the G Suite account. If you have a VPN into your office, there might be records that tell the Internet where to find that location. And there will be records telling the internet where to find your website.
IP Address: There are now two types of IP addresses – IPv4 and IPv6. The v4 address is probably something you have seen before. It looks something like this: 220.127.116.11. As these numbers began to run out, v6 was created and has a combination of letters and numbers to expand the range that can be used. But in both cases, a Domain Name Server is used to translate an IP address into a domain name. For example, our website IP address is 18.104.22.168. DNS is used so that you don’t have to remember the address but can instead just use educyber.com to get there.
MX Records: These Mail Exchanger records are used to tell the internet how and where your email is handled. They might tell folks to go to Google if you use G Suite, to Microsoft if you use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). And it is important to get all your mail records set correctly so you can send and receive messages.
Firewall: A well-configured firewall will go a long way towards blocking hackers and others with ill intent from even getting close to your site. It also picks up / records all kinds of information that business owners like – what IP addresses are accessing the site (understanding the geographic location of users) as well as being able, in some cases, to identify the specific user
Email: There are lots of possibilities for 3rd party email handlers like G Suite, Microsoft 365, and others but you can also have your email hosted through your web host. While not as full featured as the 3rd party services, it is usually included or much less than the 3rd party options. With email you can Track Deliverability (to see whether a message was received or not), set settings needed for email like SPF and DKIM as well as create and remove accounts, reset passwords, etc.
So how do you choose the right web host? If you are a startup on a shoestring budget, you may want to go the DIY route with a HostGator or BlueHost solution. If you are growing and want to free up your time to focus on growth and connecting with customers or training staff, then a managed solution is probably a better fit.
EduCyber is pleased to offer a managed webhosting solution. When it comes to websites, many business owners struggle with keeping their website current or just making simple changes. We have the staff and the resources to keep your site at its best, taking all the pain out of managing your website.
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:
- Add to Cart
- Compare products
- View specials
- Call for pricing
- Filter products
- See related products
- Read reviews
- Buy now
- Redeem coupon
EduCyber offers something called managed web hosting but we have a unique way of handling it. Whereas other firms offering this service automate, automate, automate; we take the time to look at your site. We log in and make sure that your plugins are up-to-date.
We update plugins and core files to make sure your site is secure and has the latest features available. That alone is a huge comfort for our clients. We recently acquired a new hosting client who has a WordPress site and was scared to update the plugins in case something broke. We did the updates for him and verified that everything was working. We even discovered several plugins that weren’t being used. By uninstalling them we sped up the site and made it more efficient.
We provide several layers of security. Our web servers have a firewall that stops most of those with nefarious intent. For our WordPress customers we use a special plugin that stops hackers who try to get to the backend by guessing passwords for common user names like “admin”. With these and other tools not one of our sites has been hacked in years. We continue to follow and implement best practices when it comes to security to keep our customers sites up and secure.
We implement analytics. The tool of choice for several years has been Google Analytics. We make sure each site has analytics installed and functions. Then we even go through site performance every six months to help you understand what is happening on your site so you can make informed decisions about changes or proposed changes to your site.
We actively look for ways to help your site perform better. Since page speed is one of the things search engines look for, we make sure you are aware of what needs to be done to improve the speed or we will even go in and do it for you.
Since our tag line is “We partner with our customers to engage their visitors and convert them into clients” we work to make that partnering bit real. We want you to succeed. We do more than want though. We take concrete steps for you to help your site and your business be better with our managed web hosting service.
If you are already an EduCyber managed web hosting customer, who should you tell about us? If you are not yet a customer, give us a call today at 303-268-2245 ext 4 and we’ll get the process 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.
This last week I had an email conversation that went something like this:
Potential Customer: I’m interested in what you do – how much does it cost?
Me: Well, we build websites to meet our customers’ needs and business goals. What are yours?
PC: I already have a web site, how could you help me grow and become more visible?
And that was when I knew this guy was running the wrong race. If you have a VW and you think you’re going to race it in NASCAR. . . well you only win that race in Disney movies. We still had a good conversation and he is considering his options but that conversation surfaces the biggest issue we see in the digital marketing arena today.
If you have built your website to display your wares like the ancient markets where, on market day people would walk by and some would stop and buy from you and you want a powerful, inbound campaign that brings people to you, you need to start with your web presence in general and your website specifically.
How do you gain a new customer now? What is the decision point when you know “I just got a new customer!” If that isn’t built into your website, how will it help you grow? Take some time to ponder this. It really is the crux of the matter and key to winning the race.
Understanding the key decision point(s) your customers face and then putting that into your site shows your customers you understand their pain. Why does every mortgage lender have a mortgage calculator on their site? That is the issue or pain their customers face – “How much will I be paying?” While that is important, everyone (all mortgage lenders) do that. So what is the decision point that comes up when your customers choose you? That is the issue to build into your website.
Once you have your site optimized to help you attract and capture new leads or more business, then you’re ready to run the race – whether it be Search Engine Optimization, Paid Advertising, Social Media Marketing, email marketing or some combination thereof.
Whatever you decide, if you think we might be able to help you, give us a call today at 303-268-2245 and ask for Brian.
“Our web site is just a brochure” , “We don’t get any business from our web site – it is just there to help close the deal”, “We want our website to help generate more leads”, “Our new donation portion of the website generated a 350% return on our investment in one year”. These are just a few of the many quotes we hear from customers. Often the focus is on web site marketing. But the first question you should ask yourself is, How does our site fit in to our business?
Notice that the question is not “How does your site fit in to your marketing plan?” For for-profit businesses the customer cycle is generally:
Attract -> Engage -> Convert -> Retain
And non-profit organizations have a similar but slightly different cycle:
Attract -> Connect -> Engage -> Inspire
In both cases the first step in the cycle is attract. And for most web design firms and web customers, that is, unfortunately, as far as the conversation goes. The web site is seen purely as a marketing vehicle to attract eyeballs. But that is missing a lot of opportunity.
A well-planned and well-designed website can and should help with every step of the customer cycle. Sure it should help attract new people. That is marketing 101 and careful planning needs to go into how your website fits into your marketing so you can get the most from it for the marketing perspective. But what is the next step?
Once you have attracted someone to your site, what do you do with them? This is one of the biggest problems with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. You drive a lot of people to your site but have given little to no thought of what to do with them once you’re there.
This is where you want to engage them with your offerings or connect them with opportunities. But only a little at a time. If you give people too many choices, they will likely select “None of the above” and go to a different site.
Of course, for an ecommerce site it is easy to measure conversions. The same thing applies to a non-profit with online donations. But what other opportunities might you be missing if that is all you are measuring? A newsletter sign up, for example, could be more valuable over the long term than getting that first time visitor to buy or donate. Regular contact can turn into a bigger customer or a major donor.
Whether you acquired the customer through your website or through other means, have you considered how your website can serve to retain and even inspire? Creating an account and interacting, either with your organization or other users can be a fantastic retention tool.
When choosing a firm to assist with your web site, look beyond the glitz and fancy moving parts. Are they taking the time to understand your organization and how they can help you grow? If so, congratulations! If not, contact EduCyber at 303 268-2245 – Brian is at extension 4.
How can you stand out in an increasingly cluttered advertising space like the Internet? Paid search campaigns like AdWords can generate great, qualified traffic to your website. But because it works, the competition can be fierce and expensive.
Ads on other sites might seem like a good idea but the increasing frustration of users with ads, and these users increasing sophistication with web use, is leading to an increase in the use and sophistication of ad blockers. What if your precisely targeted market is blocking the very ad you created just for them?
Newsletters can be a great way to get in front of folks. And if you have existing customers, simply by the fact of them being your customer, you can add them to your email list. But you can’t necessarily keep them! We have a newsletter that goes out just to our hosting clients. This newsletter tells them about our service and any changes / additions / or maintenance they should be aware of. But several have unsubscribed. Even when you consciously opt in to a newsletter, do you read each one thoroughly? Yet each time I send a newsletter, I get feedback from happy customers. So it is a valuable channel.
So is it a lost cause? Should you throw in the towel and accept defeat?
But as technology matures and becomes more sophisticated, you need to as well. First, remember that nothing beats old-fashioned marketing. It takes more time but that is what makes it more effective. Visit your leads. Or give them a call. Or send a note via the United States Postal Service.
But of course you can use new media and use it effectively. Now you need to consider and use the right channels for your business. A brief overview of some of the main channels available and how you might use them:
Website: This is the channel you have the most control over. Make it the centerpiece of your marketing. I might click a link from LinkedIn or Facebook that takes me to your site where I learn that you not only do what the link was about but that you also provide another service or product I need.
Facebook: We recommend this for all kinds of businesses but it is essential if you are in the B2C world. Have an active account. Provide useful information AND links back to your site with further details on the issue.
Twitter: Lots of folks tell us gruffly “We don’t tweet” or “We don’t twitter” as a matter of pride. That is not a particularly helpful approach to marketing though. Do you know if your client base is on Twitter? If they are then you ought to be. Even if they aren’t, having an active Twitter account can help in myriads of ways, foremost of which is providing additional links regarding your brand – useful for SEO purposes.
LinkedIn: If you are in the B2B world, a fully built out LI profile and regularly updating , connecting with others is critical. More and more, when I talk with people and especially when I meet with them, they check out my profile and I check out theirs prior to meeting. Finding useful connections is a great way to grow.
Instagram: If what you do is visual, you should have an Instagram account and update it. This is particularly true of B2C companies. It is just another great way to get your product in front of people. Using Instagram purposefully can be immensely beneficial.
YouTube: Whether you are in the B2B or B2C realm, a video can go a long way towards getting you more sales. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, just imagine what a video is worth. Demonstrate a technique, show how to use a product, have a customer give a video testimonial, show people interacting with you, your product, or your service.
We have, over the years, repeatedly heard “We tried <Enter your favorite channel or social media> and it didn’t work.” When I counter that with “What was your strategy?” I ALWAYS get a blank stare. The key is to use these channels with a strategy. Understand how you want each channel to interact. Done well, it will get you more customers; show a better, more unified brand to the world; and get your better search rankings.
If you need help getting your digital channels lined up, we can help. If you need help getting your whole marketing plan going, give us a call as well. We partner with some of the best firms in Colorado to get your message out there.
Actually just about all the reports are useful and can give you great insight into how visitors are interacting with your website. The list below is intended for beginners to help direct your attention and get into the basics.
- Audience Overview (default view)
View the number of sessions and users over the last month. See pageviews, pages per session, average session duration, bounce rate and percent of sessions that are new (not repeat). While all the info helps, the numbers of users and pageviews are great information for beginners to begin to digest how their site is being used and even more importantly, WHETHER it is being used.
- Audience -> Mobile -> Overview
See the break down on how many are using desktop, how many using mobile and how many using tablet. Since Google began requiring sites to be Mobile Responsive and then to define what it means, it has become even more important to understand how folks view your site. You should definitely check your site to see how it looks on the different devices. And seeing how much actual traffic you get on each can help you determine how many resources you need to focus on each view.
- Audience -> Users Flow
Shows what country visitors come from, what page they visit first and what page(s) they visit after the first page. This is critical to understanding if your visitors are making the decisions you want them to. If you have created a sales funnel and no one is getting through the funnel, monitoring the flow will help you understand where people are getting hung up and then you can begin to examine why they are getting stuck.
- Acquistion -> Overview
Shows how visitors got to your site. Referral: Links from other web sites to yours. Direct: People who typed your url in the location field on the browser. Organic Search: people who searched for something related to you and came to your site. Social: people who clicked a link in social media to get to your site. There are ways to create campaigns to track even more but these four groups are a great way to get the big picture about how people are getting to your site.
- Acquisition -> Search Console -> Queries
This is where the really cool stuff is. Queries shows you what queries people made at Google, how many times your site actually showed up (Impressions) on the page and how many times someone clicked on the Google results that showed your site. It also shows your average position for those key words and the Click Through Rate or CTR. The higher the CTR, the better you are doing.
- BONUS: Acquisition -> Search Console -> Landing Pages
This shows you what pages people see when they first get to your site. Search engines do NOT just link to your home page. This helps you understand what pages Google (and the folks who use Google) likes most about your site. For example, we do a lot of work with non-profit organizations. Over the last month, this page https://www.educyber.com/who-we-work-with/non-profits/ showed up 200 times in search results and got 5 clicks which means that we had a CTR of 2.50% which makes us pretty happy.
You can change the date range at any time but changing the information in the top right corner. You can also do comparisons of ranges, comparing one month to the previous month, for example. The default range when you login and bring up the reports is for the last month.
Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of visitors who enter your site but then leave without visiting more pages. Most folks view a high bounce rate as a bad thing but you have to make sure you are interpreting what is actually happening. For example, if your contact page has a high bounce rate, it is likely because I have visited the page and either called you or emailed you. So I don’t need to be on your site anymore. But it would be for a good reason.
SEO Landing Pages – requires Google Webmaster Tools be enabled. If you don’t have Webmaster tools setup, you ought to. It too is free and it only takes a few minutes to link them up. Then you have even more data at your disposal.
If you don’t have GA enabled or if you have it enabled but aren’t looking at it, why not? This is the kind of marketing data you should have at your disposal. Need help with it? Give us a call at 303 268-2245.