5 Reasons to Hire a Social Media Marketing Team 

Benefits of hiring a social media marketing team

Social media marketing has become one of the top marketing strategies for businesses today. It has opened up more opportunities to reach out and engage with targeted audiences and the chance to turn leads into paying customers.

If your business website lacks social media integration, you’re certainly losing out on the possibilities of gaining more prospects and sales. While starting on your own seems like a good idea, you need to consider that in the future when your sales and customers increase, you’ll need manpower and expertise in planning, crafting and disseminating social media content.

Here are the benefits of hiring a social media marketing team:

(1) It allows you to concentrate more on the business side while experts handle social media

With the rest of the activities involved in running your business, you may find it overwhelming to handle the technical and marketing aspects of using social media. Using the expertise of professional social media marketers who are well-versed in using and implementing this type of marketing strategy can alleviate this stress for you.

(2) Hiring a team allows you to learn the social media ropes with less pressure

On your own or with the help of your social media team, you can learn the ropes of this social media marketing in your own time. In our opinion, this is an ideal approach for you as an owner of a growing online business since you need to be present to service your customers. Learning basic tasks, such as creating accounts, posting updates based on guidelines, and engaging with followers will be easier if you have someone to guide you.

(3) You get additional prospects through social networks

Since you have a dedicated team of social media strategists, it is easier and more effective to implement techniques such as creation of social media content, posting, scheduling, and engaging with followers. With proper implementation and time, you’ll see the rise in website activity, and hopefully sales.

(4) Keep your social community up-to-date while strengthening your brand

Your dedicated social media team can handle all the needs and expectations of your social media followers - from adding short product posts and updates on Facebook, to tweeting your upcoming promos and discounts. Handling responses and keeping the interaction swift and engaged is a great way to show that you care more for your customers than the money they'll spend on your website.

(5) No need to micromanage your social media team

Hiring a social media team shouldn’t be too complicated particularly for you, the business owner. You will often encounter outsourced team of experts with their own supervisors to oversee them. If you choose this path, you'll only deal with an account manager when it comes to updates and reports. It's also possible to schedule monthly or quarterly meetings together with the rest of the team.

Social media strategies, when done right, can accelerate your online success. You don't have to be a one-man-band to accomplish the tasks; instead, consider hiring an expert team as soon as you can to see better results.

Are you pondering on using social media as a marketing strategy? Don't know how it's done? Get in touch with us and we'll help you get started.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Thursday, April 30, 2015 5:57:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C business partnership enterprise inbound marketing online marketing small business tips social media marketing

5 Major Reasons to Use Responsive Web Design 

5 major reasons to use responsive design

Having an online presence is essential in business today. However, we live in an era when accessing the internet is as easy as using your phone - whether you’re looking to get in touch with family and friends, to search for products and services, or to make a purchase from our favorite online store - while on the go or having a few minute break from work. This integration of the internet with tech-savvy mobile devices has created a new channel for businesses to capture new sales opportunities.

Responsive web design vs. Mobile template

The term 'responsive design' was originally coined by Ethan Marcotte on this article back in 2010 and it is definitely the most widely used technique in mobile website design. A responsive design requires that the website adapt various screen sizes, regardless of the device that the site is being displayed on.

If you're still using a non-responsive design or you're planning to create a mobile-only website, make sure to consider these reasons to use a responsive web design:

(1) Google recommends it

Google recommends responsive design because it only requires one URL and the same HTML regardless of device, but it can deliver different screen displays based on the device's screen size. This also makes it easier for the search engine to crawl, index, and organize content. A responsive design eliminates the complicated and time-consuming process for both Google and the website owner, allowing you to optimize both your website and mobile user experience.

Therefore, responsive design is also…

(2) Ideal for SEO

Aside from the above-mentioned reasons, responsive websites also perform better and have lower risks of experiencing on-page SEO errors.  

(3) Easier and more efficient

Without having two entities to manage (mobile and website), it is easier and more efficient to manage your SEO, marketing, and content. One good example is incorporating mobile-specific keywords into responsive design, instead of just using them on mobile-specific SEO strategy.

(4) Better user experience

Your site visitors will have more pleasant experience whether they choose to view your site via desktop or on their mobile device.

Consistency is key to providing good user experience since people can now search and view websites on their PCs, smartphones, and tablets. You'd want to capture more online customers via mobile, but it's also important to provide them an 'easy to view' website on their chosen device.

And let's not forget that first impression is crucial as it can make or break the interest of a potential customer. Take for example a potential customer who found your site using his PC, but decides to check later using a smart phone. If your site isn't responsive, what he'll see and experience via mobile can frustrate him. Imagine if this happens to ten people per day! You'll be losing a lot of opportunities.

(5) Social media and blogging can increase mobile traffic

If you're using social media and blogging as part of your inbound marketing efforts, chances are you'll see increase in mobile traffic. In fact, this report states that 55% of social media consumption occurs on a mobile device. So, if you're sharing links to your website content and it’s not mobile-friendly website, you can expect high bounce rates, low conversion rates, and frustrated site visitors.

If you're still using a non-responsive website, now is the best time to change. Power Site can help you achieve a responsive website based on your business needs. Contact us today and let's get started.

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Posted by Tuesday, April 28, 2015 12:23:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C responsive design small business tips SMB web design web trends

15 Reasons to Perform a Website Audit 

reasons to perform website audit

It’s important to perform a website audit on a regular basis, particularly before a major website redesign. Evaluating your website can help determine if it's optimized to meet your goals, and for you to find ways to improve your website's performance.

If this is your first time or if it's been a long time since you've done website evaluation, seek out the help of a professional (an individual or a team) who has the technical know-how to execute this process effectively.

What are the benefits?

One of the main benefits of a site audit is achieving increased website performance. Generally, this is the ultimate goal for both technical and content aspects. A website evaluation allows you to check the strength of your site's technical framework, asses if it is search-engine-friendly and can be easily navigated by visitors.

An audit also allows you to enhance your SEO by identifying overlooked SEO opportunities, remedying poorly executed SEO practices throughout your site's content, and re-focusing your SEO strategy to put your site visitors first before the search engines. This protects your site by minimizing the impact of the constantly changing search engine algorithm.

Also consider reassessing your site's lead generation and conversion rates during evaluation. This will help you to identify overlooked opportunities to convert site visitors into leads. Remember to include relevant call to action statements and pinpoint deficiencies in landing pages to improve conversions.

Why do you need a website audit?

Below are 15 reasons why auditing your website is important.

(1) The internet is ever-evolving and, so are the standards.

(2) Change in best practices, software, device compatibility occur quickly online. Your site should be able to handle and adapt to these changes.

(3) It can help you find the probable cause as to why your site is not converting visitors into customers.

(4) You can derive insights from analysis reports with regards to how well the graphics are optimized.  You can also get insights into consumer behavior that could affect your strategic plan.

(5) Analysis reports provide insight on your website traffic rank (i.e. increase or decrease of site visitors), search percentages, and bounce rates, showing the popularity of content on your site.

(6) You have a basis for modifying your site's components that impede performance.

(7) Using the traffic report that your site audit has generated, check where your traffic is coming from and which keywords are being used by visitors to land on your site.

(8) You'll be able to identify and repair broken links which are affecting your site's functionality.

(9) HTML errors, that present website pages incorrectly on browsers, can be identified and fixed.

(10) The analysis can provide a review of how/why your site is too slow.

(11) Erroneous page output is often caused by incorrect character setting and this can be identified and fixed during the audit.

(12) Ensuring that your site contains 'link juice' is another reason for performing site evaluation. It checks link juice flow to pages which helps in achieving optimum search engine ranking.

(13) Download time is often impacted by the size of your website, so an audit is necessary to also achieve optimized bandwidth usage.

(14) You can also check if website security has been compromised via security audit. This requires the use of a server and security testing software.

(15) Human error such as duplicate input of page titles and metadescriptions can be checked and fixed during an audit.

There are still many other reasons to perform a site audit to ensure that yours is secure, safe to users, and compliant to all the applicable standards. However, as mentioned, you will need the expertise of a professional company that offers this type of service.

Fast Track has been performing website audits for our customers for years, and we'd love to provide the same service to you. Contact us today and let's get started.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Monday, April 27, 2015 12:10:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C Google Analytics SEO small business tips SMB web trends website

7 Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Web Support Team 

web support team

Hiring a remote team of web developers and designers is the norm. Many small to medium online businesses go this route because of two major reasons: cost and efficiency.

Let's face it, not every business owner knows how to develop a website from the ground up. Many of them are just starting to realize the benefits of having an online presence even with a brick-and-mortar store. There are those who are just learning how to use the internet for their businesses –that’s why it’s the perfect opportunity for outsourced web support teams to provide their expert services.

One of the best solutions is to use one or a few of the numerous tools and apps available that allow remote teams to work cohesively.

However, it is the selection process that poses a lot of challenges. If you’re having this dilemma, here are seven qualities that every business owner should look for in an outsourced web support team.

(1) Expertise

In your quest for accelerated business success, it is important to find and partner with a web support team that is backed with years of experience. Since web development, design and optimization are crucial in meeting your business goals, this team should possess professionalism, expert knowledge, and skills. Teams are also expected to be up-to-date and in line with the latest web development and design trends.

(2) Fast turnaround time

Look for outsourced web support teams with short work cycles. This gives both parties the opportunity to take a peak of the website in action. Web support companies usually have outsourced people in different corners of the globe, making it possible to complete web projects in the shortest amount of time.

(3) Range of quality services

Typically for outsourced web development and design teams provide a wide range of skills and expertise. You’ll l find quality web services that include development, design, hosting, quality assurance and testing, site maintenance and audit, support, software design, and business analysis, just to name a few.

(4) Cost-effective rates

A combination of flexible rates and packaged fees are predominant among web support companies. This allows clients from various industries with varying budgets to avail of the services they can afford. If you belong to the small to medium businesses group, there will always be a type of service package that's suitable for your budget.

(5) Flexible options

Another quality that benefits online businesses is the flexibility of web support providers. They offer several options with regards to payment schedule, and team assignment. You can even request for a specific team or individuals to consistently work for you.

(6) Effective communication

Communication is a top priority among remote web support teams since it fosters trust, credibility, and coordination among team members and their respective clients. Good teams utilize all communication channels to support both internal and external needs of clients and their projects. Among the best practices involve proper documentation and relay of information such as project status, time spent, issues and resolutions, among others.

(7) Great customer service

Of course, any company - whether online or offline - should always aim for great customer service. Those handling this department should be able to address both technical and non-technical inquiries of clients, as well as deliver accurate and swift information from web support to client.

Are you looking for a web support team to help drive your online business ahead of the competition?

Fast Track offers a wide range of web services to Fortune 50 companies since 1999. Get in touch with us and let's begin this journey.

View User Profile for Shirish Sharma Shirish Sharma is a Project and Account Manager for Fast Track, Seattle, handling multiple Microsoft accounts. Shirish is a proactive, energetic, detail-oriented and versatile technical project manager with more than ten years' experience. He has successfully delivered high-quality Microsoft projects and has vast experience in software development life cycle. He holds a B.E. in Computer Technology from Nagpur University in Nagpur, India and a PG Diploma in Advanced Computing from the CDAC (Infoway Technologies) in Pune, India. Follow Shirish on Twitter as @ShirishTweets.

6 Key Factors to Look for in Small Business Website Solution 

small business website solution

If you are thinking of taking your small business or company to the next level, it's best to have a website where people in various places can find you.  But there's always this fear of spending a lot of money on website development and design which deters many starting businesses to do so.

Aside from understanding the process that go with website development, a small business owner always has low-cost options to choose from. By searching the web for small business website solutions, you'll be able to see a myriad of sites offering this service.

To help you discern which company will best fit your needs, here's a list of factors to look for:

(1) Has great, experienced web designers on-board

Many of today's web solution providers have outsourced remote teams of web designers who are not just skilled, but also have years of experience and extensive portfolio. Don't be surprised if you'll find web designers who have worked with various companies on and off the internet. Many small website solutions also employ the expertise of freelancers and remote professionals because of their flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and experience to working with clients in various industries.

(2) Uses the best open source tools

One of the reasons why open source tools are more widely used today is the flexibility they provide to both the providers and their clients. These tools are also often supported by a robust community of engineers, designers and developers.

It’s easier to customize a website, or a portion of it, without being tied to a very strict, and sometimes limited, platform. You have total control over your website when using open source tools. It also allows providers to lower their costs, making their web design and development services more attractive to clients and more lucrative for them.

(3) Offers customizable web solutions

A customized website is necessary to meet your business' needs, so you'll be able to build your brand and attract potential customers. However, a good-looking website and great products or services are not always enough to generate sales. You'll need the help of small business website solutions provider to help you deal with the other aspects such as marketing and all other technical tasks at the back end.

(4) Offers cost-effective web solutions

Web services that offer social media marketing, content management, search engine optimization, hosting, and support are very valuable for small businesses. Often times you'll find owners who do not know where to begin when it comes to these web solutions.

Providers offering such services at reasonable prices tends to get more small-to-medium businesses as clients since they know what their clients need and can afford. You may also encounter pricing structures based on your budget, making it easier and faster for you to take your business one step further.

(5) Has proper communication channels

Coordination and communication are essential in developing your website. There should be a clear indication that this is present within the provider's side and with yours.

A cluttered team of developers, designers and marketers are not the ideal people to work with and it's possible that their communication channels are also problematic. You'd want a small business website solution that's delivered to you seamlessly. It can only be done if communication is constantly smooth within their team and with you.

Having an interactive customer chat box is just one way to initiate a possible exchange. An actual contact page for sending email messages right away is another direct communication channel with customer and provider. And of course, there are details about their office numbers, physical address, and email address.

(6) Provides great customer support

Great customer support is essential for any business. With regards to web solution providers, their customer support team should be able to provide the much-needed information that customers need from the moment they touch down on their homepage. During the course of a website development or other on-going services, their customer service representatives should be able to address any customer inquiry in a short amount of time. Much better if the support is given on a real-time basis or at least within 24 hours.

Do you need small business website solution? Talk to us and we'll help you take your business onto the next step and beyond.

View User Profile for Power Site Power Site is subsidiary of Fast Track. It's a robust, customizable website solution package especially developed to help small businesses how to leverage their website as a marketing tool. Follow Power Site on Twitter as @FTPowerSite.
Posted by Power Site Friday, March 27, 2015 10:16:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C small business tips SMB web trends website
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