SMB Tips: 15 Social Media Mistakes Brands Need To Avoid 

Knowing what social media marketing is not enough. Understanding how it works is the main menu for your online success. Here's 15 social media mistakes some businesses tend to overlook and how you can avoid them.

Social Media Mistakes Brands Need To Avoid

If you’re a smart marketer, one strategy that you’re probably using to attract new customers is social media.  When done right, social media  becomes a means to connect and engage with targeted customers through sharing useful content, as well as information about your products or services.

However, there are still many businesses that just don't get it right when it comes to social media marketing. As a result, the incurred social media mistakes they've made become time-wasters, or worst, lost profit.

Below is a list of social media mistakes that you may be doing unknowingly:

(1) You have no plan

Before launching any tactic using social media, take a look at your objectives.. You should define your target audience, research your competition, select the right tools of the trade, and produce content before you post your first social media update. Without planning, you might end up appearing disorganized and unprepared.

(2) Going solo

If you have a business that needs a couple of people in order to work, it's the same with your social media campaigns. You don't have to have a separate team, but at least one or two people handling the tasks of strategizing, planning, creating content and design, promotion, branding, and monitoring. Doing it alone is not only stressful, but can also be chaotic.

(3) Being predictable with your content

It's not fun seeing the same updates over and over again on all of your social media accounts. Without creativity and careful thought in your content, your followers may end up clicking the 'unlike' or 'unfollow' button.

(4) Can't write?

Social media updates are not as long as a blog post. These updates should be professionally written, with the audience in mind, and with a dash of creativity and wit to capture their attention. If you can't do this, hire a professional writer who can channel the right tone and provide quality content consistently.

(5) Not posting updates in real-time

While it's okay to schedule updates on social media, it's not as engaging as a real-time updates that have commentaries instantaneously. Not sharing content in real-time may even deter your target audience.

(6) Spreading yourself too thin

If you're trying to post on  all social media networks, stop. Take a look at where your audiences are - are they on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+? If you are chasing after possible leads, it's best to focus on a few social media networks where they congregate. Rather than signing up for almost every social network, it's better to focus on a few where you can get the most targeted leads.

(7) Missing in action

If you are or if you have an erratic social media manager, it's difficult to gain results from inconsistent updates. Promoting your business and pushing your brand forward requires a  constant stream of updates to let your followers know that you're there and always available.

(8) You're unprofessional and careless

Typographical errors, grammar mistakes, and being too informal in creating updates puts your brand at risk. You'll be seen as unprofessional and people who follow you might think that you're not serious about your business. Social media marketing may not require everyone to be too formal, but you can be neutral, friendly, and accommodating, while maintaining a professional approach.

(9) Faking it

Being authentic, honest, and transparent can help win more followers and potential clients because you are not hiding behind a façade. You can provide opinions and facts to influence people with your genuineness. Always say what you mean and mean what you say. because it's your brand you're putting out there.

(10) You're too self-centered

It's not always about you. Always provide information that will help your followers, even if it’s not your content. . Be sure to share links to resources that your audience  can benefit from and also make sure to mention and thank the rightful owners.

(11) Why so serious?

Add a sense of humor when needed. You can add a bit of fun in your updates and promotions to lighten up the mood and engage  your followers. When an occasion calls for it, see to it that your updates are appropriate and light-hearted, without deviating from your content.

(12) You're being too safe

Don't be bland in engaging with your followers. You can be bold and expressive without offending.. Show personality in your updates and engagements, but do avoid arguments and being controversial. Keep it professional, honest, and creative with your responses.

(13) Where are the photos?

Adding photos or any shareable imagery, especially for social media updates, is the norm. Visual content attracts more attention than bland and wordy messaging. Use stock images, candid photos, Instagram, vine, and video to match your updates.

(14) Not checking the numbers

Defining your goals and developing a method for measuring your social media will help you see the results of your efforts. It's not enough that you're promoting your brand to followers if you cannot see any result.

(15) Not setting a budget

While organic search still lives, it's not always a reliable source of new leads. If you want to get your brand out there and be seen, it's best to spend a little for social media - either for tools, apps, or services.

Check your own strategies and see what needs to changed. There's always a chance you're making a few of these social media mistakes and now is the time to correct them.

If you need help and guidance in your social media marketing techniques, call us now. We can help you improve it for better results.

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, July 20, 2015 10:24:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C marketing tips online marketing small business tips SMB social media social media marketing

Website Tips and Trends: Top 5 Website Layout Trends in 2015 

Want to get ahead of your website conversions but don't know which one works best for your niche? Here's 5 trendy layouts for you.

Website layout trends

The ever evolving web has seen many changes in the way websites are developed and designed. From the glitzy and glamorous, to the simplistic and minimalist, today's website layouts are geared toward the user experience rather than impressing them.

If you are looking for website layout trends in 2015, here's a mix of remarkable and inspiring layouts you may want to apply:

Single Screen

Filling a single screen is one of the trends today. It is also a type of responsive design that adapts to the screen size, but has no scroll bars. The design completely fills the screen. The content of the site is tremendously focused and the (content) hierarchy is visibly established.

Single screen website can sometimes be dominated by a responsive image or a video clip.

Check out some examples of single screen website layouts here.


Modular or grid-based layout is also a responsive type of design. It’s flexible to adapt the size of the screen and uses adaptable layouts using plug-ins.

Creating same-size modules is one of the challenges of this layout since it lessens the emphasis on the most interesting content on the site. It is also difficult to grab the viewer's attention if you're focused on promoting a particular material or content on the site. Creating grids with various dimensions can prevent such problems.

Open style

We are all familiar with the design elements such as shapes, lines, boxes, and other 'dividers' containing content. Two of the most prominent elements among them are headers and footers which are designed to separate the important content from the rest of the material.

The latest website layout trend to remove of these elements and design a more open and free style layout. It offers a minimalistic look and feel, with an emphasis on the main content..

Split Screen

Split screen layout allows emphasis on two principal elements on a website. The significance of any website element is usually reflected on the hierarchy and structure. In this case, if you focus on two elements and would like to promote them simultaneously, a split screen website could be the best option.

Conveying duality is another reason to use this layout. If your business puts emphasis on products/services and your team, then this is the best layout to showcase your core assets to potential customers.

Flat UI

Another emerging trend is the use of flat user interface. This website layout strongly focuses on content and provides basic pattern with minimal distracting elements. Level UI is more simplistic in technique and has fewer image-concentrated patterns. There are easier pattern elements and fewer photographs which give way to a much faster website.

These are just some of the trends that many websites have applied and implemented these days. However, these are also building blocks which can be used in a variety of ways. Design according to any of these website layout trends depends on your business goals and how you can provide the best experience to your customers.

The usability and functionality of these layouts are also ever-evolving - allowing web designers to work on challenging but worthwhile mediums for every website owner's objectives.

If you wish to know more about these web layout trends or you would like to implement one for your business website, contact us today.

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Posted by Monday, July 13, 2015 9:56:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C responsive design SMB web design web trends website

The Ultimate On-Page Optimization Checklist 

Here is a check list to help you optimize the pages within your site.

Getting noticed on the internet is no small feat.   

We’re happy to say that it’s not rocket science and we’ve found some things that will help to put some method to the madness. 

Basically, here’s a check list to help you optimize the pages within your site.  Go through this for all your pages and you will be golden.



 The content is unique to the URL (many search engines discount duplicated content)


 Content loads in HTML and not java or other code


 Page is included in an RSS feed


 Robots.txt does not block the web crawlers


 Title – 75 characters (with spaces)


 URL – 90 characters


 Meta description < 160 characters


 URL is included in sites XML file



 Do you use 301 redirects from old content/pages to new pages


 Does the host server does not restrict search crawler IPs


 Does the page loads in less than 3 seconds


 Is the pages are multi-device ready.


 Is the page social network ready -including the appropriate social media icons and links


 If unavailable, is a status 503 code is returned by the server



 Is there an overall topic for each page and determine the associated key word search phrases associated with that page?


 Do you have a call to action button on the page, such as a ‘subscribe’ button?


 Have you used headlines and subheads prior to each paragraph, making sure you’ve used H1 and H2 tags?


 Have you tried to use your key word phrase in the URL of the site?


 Are your primary key words found in the copy at least twice?


 Do your images should have descriptive, key word alt attributes?


 Do you have a blog?


 Have you used alt tags on all images on your site




 Have the images on the page been optimized for the web?


 Is there unnecessary code on the site?


 Have the graphics on the page been optimized for the web?



 Do you limit administrative access to your site?


 How secure are your passwords?  Do you follow best practices?


 Do you update your passwords frequently?


 If you are using a hosting provider, what kind of server security are they providing?



 Is there an overall topic for each page and determine the associated key word search phrases associated with that page?


 Have you researched and used your key words and phrases in headlines and subheads?


 Have you used headlines and subheads prior to each paragraph, making sure you’ve used H1 and H2 tags?


 Try to use your key word phrase in the URL of the site


 Are your primary key words found in the copy at least twice?


 Do your images should have descriptive, key word alt attributes?


 Are there links to your relevant social media accounts on the page?



 Are you using social networking sites to promote your product or service?


 Are all of the links to your social networking sites active and working?


 Are your social media accounts up to date?


 Is your or your company information complete on the social media account?  Does it provide links to your    site and does it provide your contact information?



 Do you have a contact method of some kind on the page, such as a phone number, email address or form?


 If you offer chat support, how quickly do support staff respond to customers?


 Do you offer a toll free number?


 How long does it take for a current or new customer to receive a response?



 Is the information is presented in an easy to find, easy to use format?


 Does the page use great design that accurately reflects your brand?


 Is the page is easy to scan, and are key elements highlighted?


 Is the content and the navigation easy to understand?


 Does design look polished?  Does it represent your brand?


 Is the page responsive?


 Does the page have a search function?


 Is there a link to the site map on the page, such as in the footer?


 Are there broken links on the page?

If you'd like to try a free website evaluation tool, get in touch with us. Or better yet, click here to 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 Friday, May 29, 2015 6:39:00 AM Categories: SEO Site Evaluator SMB web trends

Custom Development vs. Website Builder: What Business Owners Need to Know 

Custom web development is quite different from creating your website using a website builder.

Custom web development is quite different from creating your website using a website builder. For most people who promote a website builder, they are usually focusing on the differences in costs.

What does a web design and development firm do?

A web design and development firm provides a number of services to clients apart from design and development. These other services may include search engine optimization, online marketing, social media marketing, and content creation.

Web designers usually provide the design and artistic side which involve the visual look and feel of the website, and ergonomics. A web developer is similar to a programmer or someone who works on a website's functionality or how the site works.

A full service web design and development firm is often competent in providing these services. But it's essential to find one that caters to small and medium enterprises since they usually charge reasonably. Finding a reputable firm makes a huge difference since their team of designers and developers are vetted and committed to their clients' needs. And of course, fast custom development is a priority for these firms especially if it's a client's business necessity.

What is a website builder?

A website builder, on the other hand, is software that provides customers with a drag-and-drop user interface and hundreds of templates. Notable website builders include Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, Jimdo, IMCreator, and GoDaddy.

Website builders require a monthly fee (starting at $4 per month) and a customer can develop his own website by using the drag-and-drop interface. They've made the learning on their software quite small, so it's easy and fast to get a website.

If you need a website built for your business, it's best to take a look at the other main points that separate custom web development from website builder.

(1) Cost

Website builders usually start at $4 per month. But if you'll need to extend and add other features, you'll have to pay for them as well. Comparatively, if you'll work with an outsourced web development team, you may need to pay from $50 to $200 per hour depending on their geographic location and level of expertise.

(2) Design

Using a website builder limits your options since the company provides the design templates. A custom web design, however, may cost you from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars if you'll hire a freelance designer/developer, and upwards (a few thousand dollars) if you'll choose a web development and design company.

(3) Access

Website builders are usually owned by large companies, so it's often expected that they offer very limited access to customers. Comparatively, web development teams provide all accessible communication lines to customers. Many of them even have 24/7 access to online chats and phone calls to provide instant solutions to customers' problems.

(4) User interface

Website builders are known for using WYSWYG (what you see is what you get) drag-and-drop user interface. This is similar to a CMS (content management system) editor like that of WordPress.

Web design and development firms may or may not offer a CMS with the website they build for you. However, many of today's firms are aware that this is a necessity since business owners may need a client-facing CMS that they can use on their own (such as for blogging, posting ads, etc.).

(5) Scalability

A business website that's built by an expert web development firm is usually more scalable and extendable than one that's built by a website builder. The complexity of building a custom business website that's ready for scale and extension can only be done by an experienced firm.

Website builders are usually ideal for DIY webmasters and those who create and maintain websites for their hobbies. But if you have a business that needs more features and functionalities, it's only right to choose a web development team.

If you'd like to team up with an expert development and design firm, Fast Track development team can help you. Give us call today and let's discuss on building you a professional business website.

View User Profile for Shubhada Paranjape Shubhada worked as a team lead for the Objectstar testing group (a product of Fujitsu) for two years. Later, she was the product lead for the e-filing development and support team for two years. Shubhada then joined Brian and her husband Ajey to start and run the Fast Track India operations. She holds a Masters in Mathematics from Pune University and an advanced diploma in Computer Science. She's on Twitter as @ShubhadaPar.
Posted by Shubhada Paranjape Wednesday, May 27, 2015 1:35:00 AM Categories: custom development web development website

8 Reasons Why Pageless Design Can Save You Time and Money and Increase Sales 

Here are the reasons why you should choose pageless design for your website

Among the web design trends that we saw coming in the past couple of years is pageless design. It fully utilizes its digital platform and creates a unique and enjoyable user experience that is intuitive, appealing, and with lots of options.

If you're at the brink of deciding on whether to use pageless design for your website, here are several reasons to do so:

(1) Motivates customers through storytelling

It's been said that storytelling is the best form for delivering one's message. Stories can inspire and motivate people to take action. A pageless format allows you and your design team to control the order of information that's being presented to website visitors. Since pageless web design uses a 'linear format', it helps in crafting the story while also delivering experience that's impossible to achieve using multi-page website structure.

(2) Improves user experience

Intuitive and simple navigation of a pageless design are achieved through scrolling. This eliminates the confusion and distraction that may cause your visitors to overlook the most important sections of your website content.

If you look at today's computers and mobile devices, they all have the scrolling capability which can help many users adapt to the technology. The smarter interfaces and simple navigation encourages visitors to continue perusing these sites, and eventually take action.

(3) Increases conversion rates

Generating new leads, growing your online community, and increasing sales are every website's objectives. A pageless website can help you achieve these goals, thanks to its simple and uncomplicated design that's coupled with compelling story and instinctive interactions among site visitors.

(4) Creates device uniformity

Scrolling your website on a mobile device or desktop doesn't have to be different in terms of user experience. Visitors can easily navigate using any device without the unnecessary constraints of dropdown menus and numerous clicks on page links. Best of all, it's cost-effective since you'll only need one design for both mobile and desktop.

(5) Decreases bounce rate and promotes sharing

The lack of complexity and distractions are just two of the main reasons why website visitors stay for a longer period of time. With a pageless design, your visitors can enjoy and focus on your storytelling.

Sharing your website's story is better than just sharing a particular page. This helps drive your visitors into an effective sales funnel organically.

(6) Enables faster, easier, and more effective iteration

Dealing a single page based on visitors' feedback and analytics makes it easier, faster and effective. You'd only have to tweak specific interactions in order to improve and make them more satisfying to your visitors.

(7) You save time and money

As mentioned earlier, it's more cost-effective to have a pageless website especially if you're developing one that's compatible with all types of devices. Traditional websites take a lot of time and tens of thousands of dollars to develop. You'll not only get a visually appealing website, but also one that actually gives you the best results.

(8) Use of interactive elements

Parallax scrolling, animations, videos and sliders are ideal features that make pageless websites more visually appealing. These features also initiate user-generated interactivity throughout your website.

As a business owner, you'd want a website that goes along with the ever-changing development and design objective. It needs to fulfill the primary goal of providing great user experience in order for visitors stay within the sales funnel, while sharing your site and returning for more.

Need a pageless web design for your own business website? Fast Track can help your business achieve one of today's web design trends. The first step is to contact us today.

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Posted by Sunday, May 24, 2015 10:31:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C landing pages SMB web design web development web trends website
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