3 Essential Keys in Designing a Website That Rocks 

You never get a second chance to make a really great first impression on your customers. 

And, your home page is the key to making that great first impression – at least online. Your home page should really set you apart.

Think of it like the virtual front door of your home … almost like your face to the world.  If someone doesn’t like what they see, all they have to do is hit the back button. And that’s the last thing that you want to happen. 

So, I scoured the internet and came up with some things to keep in mind when designing your site.

Visuals:

essential keys in designing a website

  • Whether large or small, use beautiful images with a slick layout. 
  • Place featured items boldly and neatly in an easy-to-see position and where you’ll see the greatest amount of web traffic.
  • The most attractive homepages feature their products and services in a well-organized, clean and clutter free format.
  • Sometimes a home page can feel like a story book or tells a story

Content:

keys_webdesign_content

  • Make sure that your site design communicates immediately what the site is selling.
  • Consider adding updatable information on the home page to keep visitors coming back.
  • Consider adding content such as featured items, attractive slides, and price tags, articles, images and other content in an interactive format.
  • Grids and columns can help to guide the eye.
  • Have a unique brand look and feel that sets you apart from your competition.
  • Consider a large banner to convey the message and segmented sections to break up the content.

  • Consider a design that’s clean with easy to locate menu items.
  • Use categories neatly placed for easy navigation.
  • Neatly placed social icons make it easy to share.
  • Using a “Latest Posts” tab gives viewers more content to consume.
  • Consider a video embedded into the main visual area of the home page
  • Using a “sign in with Facebook” button

Technology Advancements
keys_webdesign_technology

Use updated technology to create a greater immersive user experience, such as

  • Continuous scrolling tiles
  • Interactive menus
  • Uses parallax scrolling

Check sites such as www.costa.co.uk, JayZ’s Life and Times and the Seattle Space Needle and Discover Tennessee for scrolling and interactive menu samples.

keys_webdesign_sample

There are so many amazing examples of great web design, and finding a style that suits your brand may appear challenging.  Your goal is to create a great looking home page that provides site visitors with a user friendly experience.  Take the time to learn about your customers, create a site that they will love and you should have a great experience!

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Posted by Monday, February 9, 2015 10:40:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C SMB web design web trends website

The Importance of LinkedIn for your Business 

importance of linkedin for your business

If you’re looking to be able to increase your online business, one resource that small business retailers may not be considering is LinkedIn.  
LinkedIn now boasts over 200 million registered users in over 200 countries around the world.  Currently, there are more than three million companies with LinkedIn pages, and indications show that professionals are signing up at a rate of approximately two new members per second.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network.  

So how can you benefit?

Reach.    Chances are many of your employees are posting their profiles on LinkedIn.  If you have a profile on Linked In, everyone that connects with you may potentially click on your company name to find out more.  
It’s important to take advantage of this by building a company page on LinkedIn.
If you’re unsure of how to build a company page on LinkedIn, click here

Awareness.  Within LinkedIn, there is a section to talk about specific products and services that you provide.  LinkedIn allows you to add several products with pictures and descriptions, to highlight everything that you offer.

Optimize.  By creating a LinkedIn company page, you’ll increase the visibility of your company.  If you post jobs, the results will appear within your expanded LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn has its’ own search engine for finding jobs.  By having a LinkedIn company page, you’ll greatly increase your visibility on the web.  Plus, you can potentially find your next great employee.

Users can easily land on your page through LinkedIn.  Every employee has the opportunity to promote your company – use this to your advantage!

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Posted by Tuesday, February 3, 2015 4:52:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C SMB social media social media marketing

Creating Better Converting Landing Pages 

creating better converting landing pages

When designing landing pages, there are a couple key challenges that you’ll face when optimizing your pages for the highest possible conversions. First, you’ll face various visitors from difference sources, whether through paid, social or email campaigns.  Remember to use the same language used in the campaign.  Visitors see this as “message match”, and this helps to develop trust with the customer and eventually convert them.

People who visit your landing pages need to be persuaded to purchase through the use of targeted messaging.  But with all of the different visitors, campaigns and locations, how can you set up landing pages specific to all of different targets?  They key is to generally define audience ‘types’ and then create landing pages with specific messages to these targets.

The next challenge is to capture the data that you need from the site visitor in the hopes of creating a conversion.  This usually involves having some kind of form on the page.  Asking visitors to fill out a form can be challenging, so the less fields to fill, the better.  Remember that people don’t give their information easily, so designing the page with branded visuals helps in portraying trust and authority for your brand.

Why take time to optimize your landing page?

It expedites the sales process.  Capturing data from your prospects helps you to expedite your sales process.  One you have their information, you can place them in to your sales cycle and eventually turn them into customers.

It will lower your cost per lead.  When your landing pages become more successful, your cost per lead goes down.  It’s important to drive traffic to your landing pages to promote their success.  A lot of time and money goes into creating your campaigns, be sure to make them pay off as much as possible.

What do you need to include on your page?

Here is a short list of items that should be on every landing page:

  • Logo
  • Offer.  The images and text on the page should answer this one question for your visitors:  “What can you do for me”.  This should be the first thing they see when they visit the page.
  • Large, beautiful image.  The image should relate to the text and offer in some way. 
  • Call to action.  Your call to action should be clear and concise.  Be sure to make the steps obvious and easy to do.
  • No Navigation.  If possible, remove any non-essential navigation on the page.  You want page visitors to focus on your offer.
  • Form.  The length and usability of the form is crucial in getting conversions.  Remember that the lower the number of fields in your form, the greater number of leads you’ll receive.

Landing pages should be usable, readable, and persuasive and appear trustworthy. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015 11:51:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C content development inbound marketing landing pages marketing tips SMB web trends website

How to Effectively Integrate Social Media into Your Website 

how to integrate social media into your website

 

If you’re a small business, integrating social media into your site is essential.  Integrating social media into your site can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what to do or how to do it.

Your social media channels should work with your site to help your brand gain exposure on the internet.

How do you do this?

Use visible social media buttons on your site

While this may seem obvious, double check.  Make sure that your social media buttons appear on every page of your site.  Also, so that users don’t navigate away from your site, make sure that when the user selects the button, the social media site opens in another window.  The goal is to increase the interaction the user has with your brand, not to lead them away.

On the image below, The Empress Secret has chosen to add their social media icons on the top right of the site:
 

Integrate social media posts into your home page

Google and other web search engines crawl the internet looking for updated content continually.  If the home page of your site contains a ‘feed’ of your twitter or blog content, the content is being updated every time that you blog or tweet.

Next, if there is a feed to your home page, make sure that you’re updating your social media on a consistent basis.  Showing old material or content dates on your home page does not show well for your brand.    New, relevant material on your site shows your customers that you take your business and your product seriously and you’re providing relevant, up to date material.

Below, Diginomica shows a series of recent conversations from their social media on their site:
 
Include Share Buttons

Think of Share buttons like this:  If you take the time to write and post content, why not also make sure that your followers can share it with their friends?  If you don’t, you could potentially be missing out on a ton of business.

To do this, check out apps like http://www.addthis.com/ or http://www.sharethis.com.

Internet Retailer shows the social media “share” buttons in the left column, beside this article.  When you scroll down on the site, the icons follow as you scroll.
 
Look to Google Analytics for Help

Google analytics can help you to track how people are using your social media buttons.  They suggest setting up Event Tracking in your Analytics account.  If you don’t know how to do this, Google provides a easy to use guide, just select the link above.

Allow social log ins to make it easier to connect to you.

With social log ins, users don’t have to create an account on your site.  Instead, they use their own log in information from their favorite social media site to log into your site.

Using social log ins helps to create a community for your brand quickly.  From here, engage with your followers for more sales.

There you have it.  Some quick ideas on integrating social media into your site.

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What’s a Buyer Persona and Why You Need to Understand Them 

Do you know who your customers are?  How old are they?  How much money do they make?  What kind of car do they drive?  Do they own a home?  Do they have children?  

Understanding this kind of information will help you to create a Buyer Persona.

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

This information provides great insight for you and your company.  The information can be used to guide the development of your products and services, and can help to lead your company for the future.

The more detail in the Buyer Persona, the better.  Here are some things to include:

  • Customer demographics (age, income, occupation, home ownership).  Demographics are the known facts about your customers.  
  • Psychographics (behavior patterns, motivations and goals).  Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of your target audience.

The more detailed you are, the better.

Sample Buyer Persona

Wink Online Marketing created a great basic template to assist you in creating a basic buyer persona:
buyer persona
Here is their sample completed persona from the Buyer Persona Institute:

Depending on the number of products or services that you offer, you may develop several buyer personas for your target customers.

Why Buyer Personas are Important

Developing Buyers Personas are important because it will help you to better understand your target.  Developing a better understanding of your target will help you to better define their needs, leading to more sales.

  • You can develop key words based on your buyer personas.  This will help to attract customers to your site.
  • Identify the type of content that they like best.  Your audience will gravitate toward that content — and it’s this type of content that you should focus more of your content marketing efforts on.  This includes everything - blogging, images, social media, videos – should all be created with your persona’s in mind.
  • Over time, they help you to develop a personality and style that are attractive to your target audience.

What now?

Refine.  Refine.  Refine.    Your Buyer Persona is a work in progress.  As your target audience ages and changes, your Buyer Persona will have to continually be updated to ensure that you’re providing the right product or service for your target.  

This is something that you really don’t want to lose sight of.

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 1:17:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C content development inbound marketing marketing tips online marketing web trends
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