Why Every Company Needs To Make SEO A Priority 

By Steve Hoag

making SEO a priority

A strong online presence is an absolute must in today’s business world. People are using the Internet to find products they want to buy, not the Yellow Pages. There are a variety of marketing tools to get your name out there, but one of the best ones is SEO. Search Engine Optimization focuses on maximizing your rankings in major search engines like Google and Bing. So why do you need to make this a priority?

SEO improves ORGANIC search rankings, so you don’t have to spend as much on paid advertising.

Organic search rankings are the results that appear whenever you type a keyword into Google that aren’t paid ads. Your organic search rankings are absolutely free; you aren’t paying Google or Yahoo to place you that high. They are doing so because of your strong SEO. By building strong advertising you are able to forgo other options like Google Ads, which can run fairly expensive based on your budget. In the long term organic search is much more beneficial for your company, since most consumers use those results.

SEO improves brand awareness and recognition

SEO isn’t just about click throughs. It’s about getting your company name in front of consumers. Even if they don’t click on your website, they will have been exposed to your name and brand. Over time, this can greatly increase awareness and recognition. This is especially true if you build a strong SEO program and consistently appear on the first few pages, where most of the impressions are.

SEO improves brand credibility.

Besides improving awareness, a strong SEO program can improve the credibility of your brand. The higher you appear in rankings, the more consumers will trust you. Who do you think you would trust more: a company that appears on the 1st page of results, or one that is on the 30th page? Probably the former.

SEO can build traffic, leads, and sales.

Once you get down to brass tacks, SEO is all about creating more traffic. A strong search engine ranking means more click throughs, which your sales and marketing team can turn into leads and sales. SEO is critical if you depend on e-commerce, or if your online presence is important to your business. Keep in mind, SEO is not an overnight success. You need to stay persistent, and eventually results will come.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7:00:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SEO SMB web development website

Why A Custom E-Commerce Store Means More Sales 

By Steve Hoag

custom ecommerce store

The storefront matters. It mattered when the only option was going to a brick and mortar shop, and it still matters today with online storefronts. The shop itself has an effect on the purchasing behavior of a consumer. If you were going to go buy a car, would you go to some back alley garage, or the trusted, local dealership?

Custom branding builds credibility and trust.

People trust people or things that look nicer. That’s why people get stressed out at 3 am when a homeless person is near them, but not when it’s a businessman in a nice suit. A custom e-commerce store allows you to implement things like custom branding. Being able to use your branding instead of a pre-packaged template can have a profound effect on consumers. They will see that you put time and money into the appearance of your store, and that builds credibility. The more credibility you have, the easier it is for the consumer to trust you, and then purchase your product.

A custom storefront means more functionality.

One of the biggest benefits of custom development is creating functionality where it didn’t exist before. Have a custom e-commerce store can be a huge asset if you need additional functionality now, or down the road. Some e-commerce solutions will have missing tools like mobile/social media stores or social check outs. With a custom solution you can circumvent all these issues. You get exactly what you need, with the ability to add whatever you want later on. Having the ability to add great functionality like social media checkouts can make the buying process easier and more efficient for consumers. Streamlining processes with a consumer-centric focus means fewer hoops to jump through for a user, and a lower rate of cart abandonment. And that means more sales.

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, January 16, 2014 6:09:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise retail marketing SMB social media web design web development website

The Web Design Industry Explained Via Infographics 

By Steve Hoag

Infographics are arguably the hippest way to consume information on the Internet today. They’re easy to digest, highly shareable, and packed with content. We have scoured the internet for the best web design infographics for you today. Some are serious, some are funny, and all of them are informative!

Web Designers Vs Web Developers (Via HongKiat)

This is a humorous look at the difference between web designers and developers. If you didn’t know how they were different before, you do now!

web design infographics

Designers vs Designers (Via SloDive)

This infographic is another humorous look at the design industry, with statistics for different types of designers including salary, job satisfaction, etc.

 

The Most Common Resolutions (Via Okilla)

A great infographic that presents a concise summary on the most common resolutions used by different devices today! Definitely worth taking a look at if you are building responsive sites.

 

Flat Design: Just a Trend or a New Staple of Web Design? (Via CreativeMarket)

A company named Usabilla conducted testing websites and surveyed web professionals to figure out what people think about flat design. The results are pretty awesome!

 

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, January 15, 2014 8:22:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design web development web trends website

The Top 2014 Web Design Trend Links (Thus Far) 

By Steve Hoag

web design trends links

There have been dozens of articles written leading up to, and immediately following New Years. We’ve taken the liberty of poring through a lot of these and collecting the best and most interesting for your reading pleasure! Check it out:

Melissa Cale’s 2014 Design Trends Pinterest

Melisa Cale, a Pinterest user and professional photographer, has assembled a plethora of web design trend related articles, infographics, websites, and much more. She used a ton of reliable sources to create a very thorough and broad spectrum of information for what to expect in 2014.  Definitely worth a look!

Collis Ta’eed’s 2014 Design Trend Article

While many designers/writers are focusing on aesthetic changes in their trend rundowns, Collis, a web designer/CEO, also looks at other factors. For example, he takes a analyzes the CMS industry, and how that will impact design, as well as indie design tools that will make an impact quickly. Definitely worth reading if you want to see a part of the bigger picture!

The Next Web’s 2014 Design Trends Slideshow

The Next Web is a great resource for designers. If you haven’t heard of it before, take a look, because it is awesome. In related news, their slideshow on the biggest emerging trends is fantastic. It provides informative visuals to go along with detailed descriptions. If you want a comprehensive breakdown that you can read through in 3 minutes, check this out!

John Croft’s Web Standards Killed The HTML Star

While the other links/articles have been mostly positive, and looked at aesthetics and tool changes, this one analyzes web development/design as a profession. Croft takes a look at how being an HTML & CSS guru is no longer good enough, and states that developers/designers need to ‘diversify or die.’ Tough love! Also, if you’re interested, check out this response piece by Jeffrey Zeldman for another view. Great stuff!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, January 9, 2014 7:45:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media web design web development web trends website

2014: Three Web Design Trends to Watch 

By Steve Hoag

web design trends to watch in 2014

2013 has been a great year for web design. New trends have emerged, and designers have created some truly innovative websites. If 2013 was any indication of the future, 2014 will be an even bigger year for web design. Keep your eyes peeled for these trends:

Huge hero areas

A hero area is the intro section at the top of a website. More often than not it contains a bit of text with a large image in the background. Many websites used to use sliders to showcase their website, but this is quickly changing. More and more websites are using these large hero areas to create a great, simple introduction to their business.

Less text more video

Video is becoming more and more popular on websites as computer power, bandwidth, and availability of video editing software increase. Embedding video can make any website dynamic, heighten click throughs, and increase visit times. It’s also great for educating users as an audiovisual substitute to reading paragraphs of copy. Many mainstream sites like YouTube also offer free tools to analyze views which helps make video a valuable marketing tool!

Mobile everything

Responsive design was optional for a lot of businesses in 2013. This next year is when it becomes a mandatory feature. The variety of devices used to access the Internet has grown significantly, which means that businesses will need to cater to them. Invest in a responsive design or you will get left behind! Websites will also take a more mobile friendly approach to the way they present information. Attention spans are getting shorter, and important information will be displayed in a short and sweet manner like on social media sites. Online information will be more easily digestible than ever before.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Monday, December 30, 2013 6:15:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design web development web trends website
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