3 Ways to Improve Your Site Evaluator Social Media Score 

By Steve Hoag

ways to improve social media score

Social media is becoming more and more important in business. It allows you to engage your target audience directly, as well as serving as a valuable SEO and lead generation tool. Site Evaluator analyzes your use of social media using a variety of metrics. Here’s three ways on how to improve both your social media, and overall site score.

Place social media links/buttons on your website pages

This has quickly become a must-have on any website. If you are using social networks to reach out to consumers you absolutely need to have buttons linking to your accounts on every page. Make it easy for users to see how to connect with you. Oftentimes, social media is the place where people get to see a different, more personable side of the company. If this means more sales leads, you need to make sure to link to these accounts every chance you get.

Actively engage your target audience on social networks to improve Klout score

Engaging your audience does mean sharing content you have generated with your networks. It does not mean force feeding them your content. Don’t spam your followers, and be sure your content is actually interesting to them. If they start sharing or re-tweeting your posts you are in good shape. Also, take any opportunity you get to share their content, as long as it is relevant to your business. People love attention on social media. Klout is a service that measure how people interact with your posts and you with theirs. The more back and forth there is, the higher your influence score will be.

Actively share your website and any content you have on your website with links pointing back to your site

Inbound links from social media networks are becoming increasingly important. This is a huge part of inbound marketing. Make sure these links are connected to great content that will help retain user traffic. Once you have a good content generation system in place, people will take notice, and actively search for your content on social networks. Great content means more followers, which means more traffic, and that means more sales opportunities.

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, October 9, 2013 7:15:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO Site Evaluator SMB social media social media marketing website

Three Reasons Why Social Media Is Crucial To Business Success 

By Steve Hoag

social media is crucial to business success

Social media has been all the rage lately. Celebrities, politicians, and even grandparents are getting in on the game. While social media is great for connecting with old pals, it is even better for connecting with customers. Here's why:

Consumers use social media to make purchasing decisions

I remember my parents scouring through Consumer Digest magazines when making a decision on what to buy. Ten years later, and they are choosing to take to social media to get recommendations from friends. Facebook and Twitter have become a hub for product purchasing advice and information. People will search for companies to see what people are saying about them, or their products. Twitter is slowly becoming an e-Bay of sorts. Lots of users are posting projects or jobs they need done and ask other users to bid on them. So far this has been mostly limited to web design/development, but it is becoming more widespread. A social media presence will make the consumer buying process much more simple, and they will be thankful for that.

An active social media presence bolsters search rankings

Social media is becoming more and more important when it comes to SEO. Creating engaging content on your website, and then linking to it from social media posts is an incredible marketing tool. Link building is still important in search engine rankings, and combining that with dynamic content can improve rankings by leaps and bounds. More social media activity means more website traffic.

Social media allows you to selectively target decision makers in other businesses

Cold calling is usually not very fun. Blindly cold calling without having a clear individual target can be even more frustrating. I have good news for all those cold callers out there! You don't have to do it anymore. Social media has demonstrated that it can help raise awareness, and nurture potential customers throughout the buying process. It allows you to identify key decision makers like the CEO, CMO, CTO etc, and reach out to them individually. You can avoid having to go through all the traditional hoops to reach the person you want to talk to. Combine that with advanced online marketing analytic tools like ActOn and you will realize social media has truly revolutionized online business.

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, September 12, 2013 7:27:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO SMB social media social media marketing web trends website

Staying Ahead of Online Competition: Why Regular Website Updates Are Key 

By Steve Hoag

website update

In the movie ‘Blast from the Past,’ Brendan Fraser is a guy who has literally been living under a rock for 35 years. In this case, inside of a nuclear fallout shelter.  He comes out to realize the world has drastically changed, and nothing seems familiar. People think he is backwards, naïve, and generally weird. You don’t want your site to be Brendan Fraser. You need to have it constantly updated and in the thick of things. Here’s why:

Search engines prioritize websites that regularly update content

One of the main criteria that search engines use these days when ranking content is the ‘freshness’ of it. The fresher the content, the higher it will rank. Search engines give credence to sites that regularly update themselves. Your site is more or less dependent on search engine visibility when it comes to sustaining traffic. If you can’t rank well, you will continually struggle.

Gives your visitors a reason to come back

Dude, remember that one song ‘I’m turning Japanese’? That was a sweet song, but what was the name of the band that played it? Huh? The Vapors? Are you serious? What other well-known songs did the play afterwards? Nothing you say? But they had so much promise!

Case in point, you don’t want your site to be a one hit wonder. You may have one great article or piece of content created, but that is not enough to keep people interested. That’s why artists and companies alike are constantly putting out new content to keep people engaged. You need to stay top of mind with consumers, so when they do come to a purchasing decision, they choose you.

Helps you analyze the relationship between changes and performance

A lot of marketing is trial and error. You change variable X and see how it affects lead generation and sales using analytics. Updating content gives your marketing team a lot more insight into what messaging and ideas stick with consumers, and what bounces off.  More insight means better equipped marketers, and a higher likelihood of closing a sale.

Keep fulfilling the wants and needs of customers

This point ties in to the previous one, in that what consumers want today may not be what they want tomorrow. A lot of famous companies have missed the boat when it comes to this, the most recent one being Blockbuster, and its inability to adapt. You want to be Netflix, not Blockbuster. By updating content and keeping your ears pinned to what your customers are talking about, you will have a one-two punch that other companies sorely lack.

Stay ahead, or get ahead of the competition

You may already be top dog in your rankings for keywords/traffic, or you may be trying to overtake said canine. Regardless of your current position, you need to update your website. Website design/development standards and search ranking algorithms change. Companies that are always aware of these changing trends will rise to the top. Be one of those companies.

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, August 28, 2013 7:02:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO SMB web trends website

Custom Design vs Template Design: Which One is Right for YOUR Business? 

By Steve Hoag

Custom Design vs Template Design

Creating a new website is one of the more exciting projects a business can take. It’s a chance to take a brand new approach to your online presence. That being said, it is important to understand whether you require a custom design or would be better served with a pre-made template. Both have their advantages and can be the right choice depending on the situation.

Custom Design Advantages

Unique Design

One of the most prominent advantages of paying for a custom design is that your website will truly be unique. Other sites may have similar elements, but there will be nothing out there that looks like your site. This is great from a branding and general marketing standpoint. Of course, having a custom design means your website will be considerably more expensive.

Search Engine Friendly

Custom designs usually mean you will be hiring a designer to work on the project. An advantage of this is that they will be following best practices and designing your site with things like SEO in mind. Designing a website from the ground up with SEO in mind will help you to boost your online exposure much more quickly than with templates.

Custom made for your needs

A custom design is the way to go if you need things like custom graphics, media, and widgets on your site. Also, good custom designs were made with your business’ vision and branding in mind. They will evoke the main brand associations you want to create. Templates were made with a general idea of this is good for photography, or this is awesome for a small business. They don’t tailor themselves to every customer to the same level that custom designs do.

Scalable

Successful companies grow like people do as they get older. They get smarter, stronger, and sometimes fatter. If you envision your site needing to grow with your company, then you need to go the custom route. Just like that trusty pair of high school gym shorts, a well-designed custom site is flexible enough for your company’s needs at every stage.

Website Templates

Budget friendly

Template based website designs are your wallet’s best friend. They won’t burn a large hole in it, especially when compared to custom designs. Some content management systems like Joomla offer a variety of free template to use, with options to purchase more advanced ones.

Shorter turnaround time

Website templates don’t require a designer to have to create a brand new design. This means all that needs to be done is to upload the new source code to the backend of your website. Also, custom designs usually require multiple revisions before the final product is delivered. Each revision costs more time and money. With templates, what you see is what you get. That makes for a much shorter turnaround time, which is nice if you need a website very quickly.

Novice-friendly

Website templates are usually made more novice-friendly than custom designs. They tend to be much simpler and easy to understand because of having fewer moving parts. Template are also typically used in some of the more popular content management system options like WordPress. These products combine the simplicity of a web template with the ease of use of their content management systems to help smooth the learning curve.

Once it comes down to it, the difference between custom and template based design are pretty stark. If you need a truly unique presence, are willing to spend more time/money, and want a solution that can grow with your business then you need a custom design. On the other hand, choose a template design if you only require an affordable, simple, quickly delivered solution.

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, August 19, 2013 7:49:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO SMB web design web development website

Website Redesign Mistakes for Businesses: What Not to Do 

By Steve Hoag

website redesign mistakes

Website redesigns are awesome when done properly. Ideally you will be pleased with what you paid for, have a site that reflects all the latest best practices, and attracts your target market. However, there are many companies out there that are paying for redesign, and make some critical mistakes during the process. This severely inhibits their ability to succeed online. If you avoid the following mistakes, your redesigned site will be in great shape:

  1. Focusing on being flashy

There are a lot of cool technologies you can use in your website whether it be video, images or fonts etc. This doesn’t mean you need it all on your site! Putting way too many elements on  your website will make your business look like a 13 year old’s Myspace page. Focus on what is critical. Sometimes a minimalist approach can work better. You want your website to attract customers, not repel them with a neon pink color scheme, or background Justin Bieber music playing all the time.

  1. No clear call to actions

More often than not your website’s purpose is to sell something. Having clear call to actions is crucial in making it as easy as possible to secure a sale. Customers prefer to have quick and easy purchasing options, rather than having to dig through multiple pages to find the buying page. Call to actions can range from banners on pages, to a ‘Buy Now’ tab on the main nav. Make it easy for your customers, and you will be surprised at how many more sales you can get.

  1. Focusing on quick development without customer research

Research is a critical success factor when it comes to optimizing your website presence. You need to have an extensive profile of your target segment. Be responsive to their needs/wants, and design your site around that. If you go in blindly and design a website you think looks cool, but isn’t to your Average Joe, you will have wasted money. That means more redesigns and more headaches down the road.

  1. Unresponsive design

A growing trend is responsive design. This means making your site capable of adapting to every device that your target market uses. These can range from smartphones to tablets to computers. With the explosive growth in mobile browsing, it is very important that you optimize your site for all devices. If not, you could be missing out on some potential sales and exposure!

  1. Paying way too much, or not enough

Redesigns and their associated development can be an expensive proposition. Many design/development companies will charge anywhere from $500 to $10k or more depending on the scope of the project.  Before choosing which route to go, do your research! Find out exactly what you need, and how much is typically charged for that. Look at the design/development companies’ websites, evaluate their profiles and core competencies. If you are a business that is focused on government sales, find a firm that has extensive experience in that. Likewise, if your company is a creative marketing start up, look for a designer/developer that can mimic vision and quirkiness. Examine their turnaround times too. Can they match your required timeline? What are their policies for extra design revisions? Research is crucial in finding the optimal website solution.

 

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, August 7, 2013 7:00:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO SMB web design web development web trends website
Page 7 of 8 << < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >>