This new year, be sure to keep your website a main part of your advertising. As you are probably aware, more and more people are using the internet to conduct research for the products and services they need. At the start of each year, businesses forecast for the year ahead and allocate resources for advertising expenses. Make sure that the “Internet Marketing” area has sufficient funds so your business can see the effects that others have seen by advertising on the internet.
We would also recommend looking through Google’s array of services that may benefit your company. Google Docs is a word document program similar to Microsoft Word. One of the huge benefits is that you can make it available for others to access that same document and edit it on the net. This eliminates sending the most up-to-date file between editors. You can also edit that document anywhere there is a computer with an internet connection. Google Maps also is a great feature to have on your website so viewers can find your place of business.
Another area to keep in mind is to make sure that your website is search engine friendly. We have helped many clients be found in the search engines and make sure the website content is crawlable for the search engine spiders. Many companies have a large ROI when their websites, services and search engine results are combined correctly.
Go though your current website and think about a redesign. Many times, a new year is coupled with new offers and your website should reflect those offers. A redesigned website can have a large impact on your conversion rates, which in turn boosts your ROI. Additional functionality, cleaning up navigation and additional pages can all have a positive effect on how a customer views your business and how the search engines crawl your website content.
As always, if you have any questions about how a website can benefit your business, please let us know! We would be happy to answer any questions you may have!
Have a great and safe New Year!
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New Business Websites
We are still surprised how many businesses do not have a website. Now, because we are a web design company, we may be a little biased : ). We have also seen the effects that a website can have on a business, especially certain types of businesses. Even the businesses that we do not conduct a full out search engine optimization campaign, still get business from the web. It is amazing how many people search the internet looking for solutions to all sorts of questions and problems.
New businesses can capitalize on the fact that people are searching for many different types of products and services on the internet. The other great part of this is that many of the searches done today are focused for a more geographic local search. This gives the business a great chance to be found on the top of the search engines, just by having a website online. This trend for a more local search can have a significant effect from sales generated from your website.
We know many decision makers that attempt to look for a website on a given company before they call to do business with them. It is expected that businesses have a website that has the necessary information that is organized in a way users can easily find the information they are looking for. We have also talked with the decision makers about what they do if they find a business that does not have a website, or if the website is not easy to find, and they all say the same thing, “I don’t do business with them.”
This speaks volumes about how important it is to make it easy for your business to be found online. If your business does not have a website, decision makers knowingly overlook your company for a competitor that has invested in a website for themselves. This reason alone should tell you how critical it is to be easy to do business with online.
New business websites are a great place to start in the world of advertising, especially with how affordable internet advertising is compared to other forms of advertising. So if you have a new business and are looking for fast and affordable advertising, we would highly recommend looking into investing in a professionally designed website for your business.
Tags: affordable web design, business website, how do we get this process started, Increase ROI, website design process, website optimization, website services
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Website structure is a very important piece to a successful website. The layout of a website can mean the difference between landing a customer or not. Interestingly enough, the search engines look at how a website is structured and then make a decision for where to rank that website. With that being said, in order to rank higher in the search engines, having your website structured properly can make or break the success of your website.
As much as people like to do the changes and build their own website, we have rarely viewed a website that is built properly, ranks high in the search engines and is built by themselves. There are many checks that search engines do on a website in order to help rank them. Broken link checks, validation, cross browser compatibility, analytics, to name a few, help your website present itself in a form that is easy for search engines to rank a website. Having solid background code is one key to having a successful website.
Contact and Content Information
Contact and content information also play a critical role in a successful website structure. Having contact information listed on every page and in a high priority location, such as at the top of every page, makes your website very user friendly. It is very frustrating to be at a website and have to look for the contact information. It should always be located in as many places, within reason, as possible. Having contact information readily available builds trust on a website and building trust is also a critical piece for turning visitors into customers.
Having great content can be a superb boost for your website in the search engines. Many times if your content is targeted towards a specific topic, it is usually found in the search engines for related keywords. Sometimes creating content can be a tedious process, but if ranking in the search engines is important for your business, structuring your content can play a large role in showing up the the search results.
Easy Navigation Elements
Navigation can make or break the success of your website as well. We have all had experiences where the navigation is not clear and it can be a nightmare to try to navigate to the page you are trying to look for. This is especially embarrassing for people who are giving a presentation and they go to the website to find some information and the link they are looking for is so buried in the site that it takes them 5 plus minutes to actually find the content. Your visitors will not spend the time trying to dig out the link. Instead, they will move on to your competition. It is also important to make sure that your navigation works properly in other internet browsers. We have come across many websites that work in Internet Explorer, but not in Mozilla Firefox. Depending what industry you are in, this could be upwards of 50% of people not being able to use the navigation in the way in which you had originally intended. We like to advise people to create a sitemap page so at least there is a “least case” scenario in which the user can find all of your content easily.
Another important structure element in the “H” tags in the code of your website. Many search engines place some importance on these tags to see how the content is structured. These tags include the H1, H2, H3, bold and other tags. Structuring your content with these tags helps the search engines and visitors skim through information and determine what to read or skip.
Structuring all of these elements on your website is a piece that many “do it yourself” website places do not help their customers with. This can turn out to be the difference between ranking on the search engines and closing sales or being found no where and having the website not producing at all for your business.
Tags: Increase ROI, increase website conversions, Online Conversion Factors, SEO Factors, Website Structure
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Website Content Generation
So you have finally decided to get a website for your business. Congratulations! You found a reputable Minneapolis web design firm with a solid portfolio and great customer service. You want a clean, crisp design and also be found in the search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. Then it finally sets in, you are going to need text on your website. What should you say? Should you really include that? How long should it be? Need some help? Keep reading.
What should you say?
Even though you may think writing copy for your business may be easy, when it comes time to actually sit down and write, it may take a while to organize your thoughts.
I would recommend the following ideas for your “Home” or “About” page:
- How many years have you been in business?
- Write the story about how your business was started.
- What products and services do you offer and how do they differ from the competition?
- List the geographical areas you serve.
- Where your business is located.
For a “Products” or “Services” page, I would recommend:
- A picture of the product or service being completed
- A description of the product or service
- All of what is included with the product or service
- Any warranties
- What the user can expect when they have this product or service
- Any part numbers that are relevant to the product or other common names for the service
- A contact phone number
Finally, for a “Contact” page, I would recommend:
- Any and all contact information
- Phone number
- Email address
- Fax number
- Website address
- Business mailing address
- Google Map with driving directions
- Google Talk, AIM or other instant message programs
This information will help you get started on some of the types of text that visitors will find useful on your website. We have noticed when writing our own text that the above suggestions get the ball rolling and then it usually spirals into a bunch more content that you were unaware that you had wanted to put in.
How long should it be?
I would recommend breaking the information into some decent chunks, maybe 500 – 1200 words and spreading it around on different pages. If you do have a long page, I would recommend internal links that, when clicked, automatically scroll down the page to the desired content. If you choose to do this, place a “Back to the top” link at the bottom of the desired content section. It makes it easier for users to quickly get around your website.
Be resourceful, use the internet!
Go out to websites and look at what people use for great paragraphs. What ever you do, do not steal others’ text. This can get you in serious trouble. You can, however, see different writing styles for different industries and then come up with your own unique style of writing for your own website.
Be sure to include keywords!
Finally, keep in mind the keywords you would like to rank for in the search engines. Include a few keywords throughout your text so that the search engines can pick them up. Don’t stuff your paragraph with keywords. This could lead to penalties and possibly get your website banned. So keep it natural and let the search engine ranking begin!
Tags: refine your website, relevant information, relevant website information, website content
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Every now and then, you run across a website of a company that looks like the last time it was updated was 1997. How much trust does that build with you? I usually think, “Hmmm…if their website is outdated, maybe their business practices are as well.” And then I usually proceed on to their competitor. Having an updated and user friendly design can pay dividends to people searching for your products and services or to your sales team and having them guide prospective clients to the correct area on your website.
Redesign and update your website
It is important to keep your look and feel as fresh and clean as possible. We believe it is also important to maintain a constant look and feel throughout the website. Do yourself and your visitors a favor and don’t have the logo aligned left on one page and then aligned right on another page, with different navigation elements. Keep it consistent. Also make sure your website is in accordance with your other promotional materials. We have helped clients who send out flyers and it is important to have the same logos and colors in order to appear consistent. With customers, it’s critical to build up enough trust so they feel comfortable contacting you.
Make your website redesign more user friendly
- Make sure your website does not have any broken links. This is a sign to the search engines that some of the content on your website may be outdated.
- Validate your website. The World Wide Web Consortium has a website validator that you can use to make sure your website is up to code standards.
- Redo your title and description tags on your website. Make sure it relates to the information you have on the web page. This can help in the search engine results.
- Make sure your navigation is clear and consistent. This is a huge deal on the web. There is nothing more frustrating than a website that has inconsistent navigation throughout the website. Visitors WILL go to competitors’ websites.
- Update offers and contact information. Be sure to change and add any phone numbers that need to be replaced. Make sure email addresses go to the proper location. Make sure your address is up to date. Is all of the contact information on each and every page? Is everything spelled right? Is that sale from 1998 over yet on your website?
- Add new, worthwhile information to your website. Do you have an article about your company that would help other visitors to make a decision to use your products or services? Do you have any testimonials that you could share? Is there any new affiliation that you would like to show off to visitors? Collect as much information that you think would be helpful to a visitor and get it ready to place online.
Taking on a website design project can be a hefty task. If you could use our assistance, please feel free to get in touch with us. We have completed many website redesigns over the years. The owners are usually very excited when they see the effect it can have on the search engine positions and the conversion rates from visitor to customer.
Tags: new website look and feel, refine your website, relevant information, update my website, user friendly web design, website redesign
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