Monday, February 5, 2018

Why Keep your Website Fresh, Updated and Maintained?

A website can be an incredible tool to communicate your information, or to market your product to a world-wide audience. Like other methods of mass communication, effective websites will take considerable planning, development and resources. However, once you've made your initial investment and have your website up and running, the bigger job still lies ahead to keep it updated and maintained.

With the Internet being so dynamic, webmasters must constantly deal with the challenge of simply keeping up with regular changes and the latest innovations and trends. You don't want your website to be a static and stale presentation that visitors will find boring. You need to have fresh material added on a regularly basis to your website. This in turn will keep visitors coming back to see what's new.

Creating a well organized, well written website is a great accomplishment, but whether a website was created last month or last year, it is absolutely essential to keep the content fresh, accurate, and up-to-date.  Some sites are constantly updated because of the natural activity of their business, such as news, real estate, classified ads or online catalogs. Every site should routinely feature creative new content, text, graphics or images, and also reflect the progressing technologies and new browser versions. This will help to build the traffic of repeat visitors or catch the eyes and ears of new visitors. 

Webmasters may also discover better ways to organize your information or improve the usability of your website. They may also come up with more features to add which do nothing more than help provide some benefit to your visitors, which is a sure-fire way to capture future new clients or customers.

The success of your website is also largely dependent on whether people can find your site in a search engine or link index like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Such directories are constantly changing the way they rank and display sites, and some search engines will not index your site at all unless your pages contain appropriate meta tags, well-structured content and error-free HTML code. This all requires on-going supervision and interaction to assure that your site remains listed properly.

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Despite all the time or money you may put into a website, if you neglect it, it will provide modest or little to no benefit in return. The success of your web venture will rely on the amount of attention and maintenance you put into it.

There should always be constant technical supervision of your website to keep it running smoothly. Just like in other aspects of our life, the cyber-highway also has road blocks and hazards. You want to make sure that your directory structures remain intact, that all your links remain functional and your site is responsive. You should also review a report of site statistics monthly, to see how much traffic you are getting, where it's coming from and to also evaluate the overall effectiveness of your website. 

Whether you are a large or small online business, outsourcing your online business to a Marketing/Website Firm such as Sigma One Group, would be very beneficial to your online business presence. Outsourcing will not only save your business from unnecessary personal, business and office costs, but it will also put your online business in the hands of a firm that has the experience, know how, and tools to help your online business succeed.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Powerful Truth - They All Seem To Look The Same

Just about everyone uses the Internet. The Internet has evolved to the point where it is considered almost a necessity comparable to electricity and water, because the Internet is knowledge and, knowledge is power. I am sure that you have noticed by now that most of the websites on the Internet all look a bit.... similar. Should we be worried that websites are starting to look more like carbon copies than unique creations? Is this something we should just accept (or even embrace)?

It is True

Yes it is true, a lot of websites nowadays look very similar, but this does not mean that creativity is dead. On the contrary, these are very exciting times for the designers and the developers, web technology has never been so powerful as it is today, and so native.

Browser support for photos, videos, and audio on a web page without plug-ins allows for even more creative uses. Plus there is virtual reality, augmented reality, geo-location, built-in phone sensors, and web sockets to allow multi-device real-time interactive experiences. All of these technologies can come together to create great experiences and amazingly creative designs.

It is not all about the "full-screen" background photo or video, it is about the concept, the content, and the creativity behind an experience. Focus on the capabilities of the devices, focus on the reach and the potential of these technologies that create different and engaging experiences. I am not saying to do what everyone else is doing, or follow the trend just for the sake of following the trend. Be creative and unleash your creativity through a full-screen and responsive web design, using 3D, video, photography, and audio to create an experience, not just a website.

So no, I’ am not one who is worried that so many websites look alike. It is simply an outcome of the common resources we have, and I believe that it is a good thing that designers have more tools online to create their own content and to express themselves to create great experiences and amazingly creative designs.

Monday, January 22, 2018

What You Should Be Telling Your Visitor On Your "About Us" Page

When a visitor is browsing your website for the first time, your About Us page is often one of the first page's they will navigate to. They want to know more about you and your company. A website that is lacking this page or information on this page may seem faceless and less credible to a visitor. By adding an "About Us" page or more information to your "About Us" page, you are giving your website more of an identity.

Here are some tips to help you create a strong, authentic "About Us" page:
  • Tell a story – Give details behind who you are, where you are, why and how you and your company were founded.

  • Use facts to support your statements – Don’t simply say “our support team is fantastic” or “we have a unique product”, instead show that those statements are true by using data or facts to back-up your statements.

  • Be sincere – Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you have a small (or even a one-person) team, don’t pretend to be a large organization. Instead, be truthful in explaining the benefits of operating as a small team for both you and the customer.

  • Demonstrate your expertise – Include any qualifications, awards or press mentions that may be relevant to your business. These will help position you as an expert in your field. It is important, however, to pay close attention to your wording, as bragging about your achievements can be off-putting to your leads.

  • Use real photos – Natural and un-staged photos of you or your business will help to enhance and support your "About Us" page, making it feel more genuine.
Lastly, don’t forget to add some personality in your "About Us" page. Have some fun with your content. Your visitors will appreciate the humor, and injecting personality and find it more genuine, which in turn will help them get to know you.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Potential Ways Your Website is Driving Customers Away.

From an outsider’s perspective, your website might not be delivering the message that you thought it was. But you love your website, it represents your online business perfectly or so you thought.

Here are some of the most common website mistakes that we see businesses make when creating their own website, using a cookie cutter design site or hiring an amateur designer to create it for them — and how to fix it:

1. Designing for the “Cool Look” Factor
You want your online business to stand out from all the others out there, so you design your logo and your website with lots of flair, bells and whistles. Figuring that a flashy design will stand out and stick in people’s minds.

While people may think your site looks great, they won’t remember what your service or product is all about. They might not even grasp your concept while they’re on your website, causing them to hit their back button or move on without a second thought. Ouch. 

What to do: Attracting a potential customer is hard enough. Grabbing their interest and retaining them is even more difficult. It’s important to design your website so that user frustration is kept to a minimum, thereby maximizing customer retention. Make sure to focus on explaining what your business does and how your business can help those potential new clients/customers.

2. "Overwhelming" your Visitors
In an effort to tell visitors all the reasons they should choose your business for services or products they are looking for, you might be going overboard with the look and feel of your website, which in turn can cause more harm than good. 

Some examples: 

Too Many Ads - Constant ads that pop, flash and fill the entire browser can make your visitor annoyed, frustrated and enrage them.

What to do: I am not saying don't run ads on your website, I am saying that running ads on your website can be a great way to monetize, but be tasteful and discreet in your approach to displaying your ads. 

Bad Navigation - A huge frustration with a website visitor is a website that's hard to navigate. Users can feel helpless, confused, or angry with complex and inconsistent navigation. Not the emotions you want a potential client/customer to be feeling.

What to do: Creating your navigation to be logical, intuitive and easy to understand. Try grouping navigation in a central area also creating a site map can be beneficial. 

Choose Of Colors - Many websites today clearly reflect the negative effect of bad color choices. People often choose colors to 'dress-up' their site without any regard to their site’s objectives. Choosing the wrong color combinations can be a disaster for your website and can potentially annoy or upset a visitor. Color choices can also be an issue for older visitors and those with visual impairments. Certain color combinations may also affect the readability of your website, photos with background color can lose their effectiveness and too many colors can create discord and will distract the user. 

What to do: If it is within your budget, do hire a designer. The color palette of your website can have a huge impact on conversions of clients and customers. Color harmony is the most important criteria when selecting colors for your website. Certain colors work well with specific types of businesses. Knowing the different types of colors and their potential meanings can help clear up the negative effect of bad color choices. 

Poor Legibility - Bad typography, excessive typos and misspellings contribute to poor legibility and ultimately a poor user experience. 

What to do: If it is within your budget, hire a designer. They know the ins and out of this profession and the general tone of your website can have an enormous impact on conversions of potential clients/customers.

Bad Content Structure - Bad content structure can destroy your conversion and retention rates. Make sure your important content (contact info) is easy to find. Many sales are lost because the potential clients/customers can't find what they are looking for. 

What to do: Don't make visitors have to search for your important content. Group similar content in a clear, concise manner. Consider using bold and or colored headings in addition to highlighting certain key information that visitors may be searching for on your website.

Obtrusive Use Of Audio And Video - Having video and audio play automatically can potentially drive visitors away. Most people value their ability to choose what content and information to absorb. 

What to do: Give visitors the option of viewing video and hearing audio content- don't force them. If you decide to play a video or audio automatically make sure there is a visible way to exit out of the video and audio. 

The Registration Requirement - Often times forcing a visitor to register before they can view your websites content creates a barrier between the visitor and your website. This can and may cause your visitor to go somewhere else for what they are looking for.

What to do: Avoid creating barriers between your visitor and your website. If you insist on your visitor registering to interact with your website, then try to give them a sample of what they are signing up for. Offer a demo or a preview.

Boring Content & Boring Design - You want to create a memorable experience for your visitors. Having a dull website that has no purpose or interactivity will not create a memorable experience for your visitor. Visitors will most likely not return to a website if they have a negative experience.

What to do: Hiring a Web Design Firm to build you a beautiful, responsive and clean website design is never a bad idea. If your budget doesn't allow you to do that, consider ways to enhance your visitors experience. Updating your design and your content to give your website a fresh look and new information. Also add features that are updated on a regular basis. 

Too Many Options - Customers like options, but not too many options. They can soon become indecisive about a decision and then decide to go somewhere else. When it comes to designing an effective website, keeping the visual options to a minimum this will result in a better conversion rate.

What to do: Instead of packing your website with the 20 different reasons why they should try your product or your services, focus on the big three main benefits that your business can deliver. Keep your website and message crisp, clean and clear. 

3. "Mobile and Responsive Design" On All Devices
So, your website looks great on your computer. Congrats! Question is have you tested it on a variety of different types of devices? These days those potential new clients/customers view and search on the internet with many different mobile types of devices. You should consider making your website design responsive and or having a separate creative mobile design done for your website. 

What to do: This is defiantly something to consider before you hit publish for your new business website, but it’s worth going back and checking different browsers and devices even if your site is live. Hire a professional Web Design Firm.

4. Don't let visitors walk away with nothing!
Some of the visitors who find your website will not always buy your products or services. That is just how it works — but it doesn’t mean that you should let these potential clients/customers walk away and never to return.

Instead, make sure you have a simple and prominent way for them to stay in the loop with your business’s progress. Allow them to contact you and also join your Social Media, email list, face-book, twitter, blog, ect. In doing so, this helps build a current and future relationship and provides them with more details about you and your business.

What to do: Consider creating free content in the form of articles or videos that you think will be of interest to your ideal clients/customers. No one can turn down a highly targeted freebie that’s designed to help solve or inform them with their exact problems. 

**Note: If you haven't already joined in on Social Media sites for your business, then definitely make that a priority to do so.

5. A "Sample" Offer  
Speaking of freebies, do you have anything on your website that people can get or try before they buy? Depending on your products or services, you should be able to offer a "freebie" or "sample" before asking them to commit to a purchase and enter in their credit card details.

What to do: Offering potential clients/customers a "freebie" or "sample" will help them get to know you and  the types of products or services your business provides. Try offering a free trial, free articles, free product(s), free additional or initial service and be generous – Everyone loves to feel like they are getting a deal and offering a "freebie" or "sample" is one of the best ways to get those potential client/customers open to buying your products and services.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Website Redesign. Why it's a Wise Investment for your Online Business!

A website redesign for your business can be a big project, and you might be putting it off due to the money and time it will take. A redesign can be a very wise investment, after all, your website is your primary online marketing tool. Here are some reasons why you might want to take the plunge and give your business a website makeover.

Redesign to make it mobile-friendly. Mobile web usage is growing by leaps and bounds, so the need for a website that can be viewed on a wide variety of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and Smartphone's has become an essential part of business online marketing. By incorporating a responsive design into your redesign, you are reaching a larger audience and a number of potential new customers.

Integrating your social media. If your website doesn’t feature social media in some way, you are way behind the times (and probably behind your competitors, as well). Including links to your social network profiles is the bare minimum. Including social sharing tools will make it easy for users to share, tweet, or pin your content. Redesigning your website can help make it easier for users to connect with you socially and spread the word about your business via their social networks.

Adding new functionality and usability. If you’re site visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave ASAP (and they probably won’t come back for a long time). If that’s the case, you’ll definitely want a new website design. This would also be a great time to add in those  major features or tools so it doesn't look like the new features were just tacked on as an afterthought to your website. A new and improved web design will ensure that everything will flow seamlessly throughout the website, make it user-friendly and will keep your customers and prospects happy.

 New brand, New look. If your business has undergone re branding, you’ll most certainly need to redesign your website (along with your other marketing materials). Re branding isn’t always just about a new logo and colors – it often will require an update to the content of your website, as well, so don’t forget that aspect of your website makeover.

Keep it up-to-date. The web world is always changing, and web technology that was cool and cutting-edge a few years ago may be out-of-date today (Flash, anyone?). With a website redesign you can take advantage of the latest technology that web-savvy users expect.

Shake things up. It happens to everyone – sometimes we just need a change. If you think your website is starting to look a little tired, chances are your site visitors think so, too. A fresh design may be just what you need to stir up a little excitement about your website.

Partnering with a good web design firm can make the redesign process a lot easier (and even fun!). Remember, a well-designed website is one of the most effective marketing tools you’ve got – make the most of it by keeping it fresh, up-to-date, and easy to use.

Why Keep your Website Fresh, Updated and Maintained?

A website can be an incredible tool to communicate your information, or to market your product to a world-wide audience. Like other m...

Welcome to 2018!