Sure-Fire Ways to Get More Site Traffic Without Spending Money

Get Noticed

Getting noticed online can be tough for small businesses, who don’t have the huge marketing budgets of large corporations. However, it is possible to boost traffic to your site without spending a penny on advertising.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways of getting free traffic, including content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email and social media marketing.

Optimize Your Website

The first place to start is with your website itself. The design of your website, as well as the content that it displays, can affect how highly it ranks in search engine results pages. Here are a few basic tips for improving your site’s visibility to searchers.

Using relevant keywords on a web page is the best way to get it to show up in search engine results pages. Choose a main keyword that each page will target. Include the keyword as naturally as possible several times throughout the page, without overdoing it.

Your main keyword might be a single word, such as “flowers,” or a longer phrase, such as “bouquets for Valentine’s day”. Longer keywords are useful for brands that are just starting out with online marketing because they face less competition from other sites.

Include your main keyword for each page in the HTML title tag.

If your business is local to a particular area, then including the name of that town, city or region in your keywords can help to bring in local traffic. For example, you could target the key phrase “web design in Winnipeg” to bring in local search traffic.

Although images, videos and Java applets are appealing to visitors, they are often ignored by search engines. Always include a text description beside a video or applet, and assign a keyword-rich alt text description to images using HTML attributes.

Keep your URLs short and relevant to the page they point to. For example, if your site contains a blog, then the URL for each post should contain keywords from the title of the post, rather than the date of the post or a random string of letters and numbers. Both humans and search engines should be able to get an idea of what a page is about simply by looking at the URL.

Build a Content Strategy

As well as making your site appealing to search engines, you also have to make it a place that people want to visit. Updating your site regularly with content that informs, educates or entertains readers will improve your appeal.

Including a blog as a part of your site is a good way to handle the need to consistently add new content.

Even if you’ve never tried to run a blog and you are not certain about your writing skills, don’t let this put you off! It’s not that hard to run a blog. The most important thing before you start, is to carefully plan the content that you’re about to create.

You should also always keep your audience in mind while writing every single post.

Engage with Your Audience

Once you have created engaging content, you need a way to share it with a wide audience. Social media provides the perfect platform for doing just that, so your next step is to set up profiles on the social networks that your target audience mostly hangs out on.

These networks will probably include Facebook and Twitter. If you are targeting professionals, then LinkedIn is also a good choice, whereas YouTube and Pinterest are useful if you are planning to share a lot of visual content.

It is worth spending a little time getting your profile set up in each case. Include a link to your website, a cover photo that clearly represents your brand, and some keyword-rich information about your business. Including this information makes it easier for people interested in your brand or niche to find you.

Once you have set up social media profiles, use them! Add links to your social media profiles to your website so that people can easily connect with you, and post regular updates to keep them engaged. Facebook in particular is the perfect place to share the high-quality content you are adding to your blog.

Remember to interact with users who connect with you by quickly responding to any tweets or messages that they send to your account.

Beyond taking advantage of the standard social platforms, you may find a good deal of success interacting with even more targeted audiences. A great way to connect with people (and potential visitors for your site) is to engage in forums that are directly related to your market. These communities will know exactly what your target market wants because they are your target market.

Be friendly, be interactive, be open to feedback and you will gain a lot from these connections.

Stay In Touch with Your Visitors

In order to keep people coming back to your site once they have discovered it, you can encourage them to join your mailing list. Consider asking visitors to subscribe to your list by using a pop-up window that they can put their email address into.

Sometimes offering a free gift, such as an ebook, can encourage people to subscribe.

Once you have built a mailing list, send out newsletters regularly to keep your potential customers interested. Remember to keep your newsletter content relevant to your brand or area of business.

Ask yourself what your subscribers want to know and focus on delivering content that is both useful and interesting to them.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of ways to drive traffic to your website without spending a fortune.

Through constant search engine optimization of your website, including content marketing, will keep your information up to date and will show up through web searches, leading users to your page.

Social media is also a free, and fairly simple, way to announce and cultivate your brand. The culmination of these efforts is retaining those who have already showed an interest in your company through email marketing.

After they’ve already checked out your site, encourage them to stay up to date through a mailing list that will be sent directly into their inbox.

With all of these free choices and tools available, you can easily drive traffic without dropping a dime!

How to Make Sure Your Site is Up-to-Date

How to Make Sure Your Site is Up-to-Date

The 10 Most Important Factors

Creating and launching a website is a great deal. However, if you think that once you launch a website, you’re done, you’re likely to miss quite a lot. A website requires constant care and regular updates.

Why is updating a website important?

There are several quite important factors why you should consider regular investments to your online presence. These factors are:

  • Your rank by search engines. I bet you want to see your website on the first page of search results. Search engines “love” websites that are frequently updated as they consider that such websites provide more relevant and up-to-date content to the users. Moreover, over the time some links on your website may become a subject to link rot. If you don’t fix broken links regularly, search engines notice this and rate you lower.

  • How people perceive your website. If people land on your website and see that the latest blog posts there date two years back, they are likely to think that your business is not active or even ceased to exist. Consequently, they would opt for your competitors that are more active on the web.

  • Amount of interlinking. If you regularly post new informative and unique content, you’re likely to see people sharing it in social networks and linking to it on their websites. This is great for you in terms of SEO. However, if your great contents were created a couple of years ago, the rate if interlinking falls dramatically.

What are the three main vectors of website updates?

I hope you’re pretty much persuaded that updating your website is important. But how to approach it? Actually, there are three main types of website maintenance that you should regard. Let’s briefly review them, before we go into detail:

  • Technical maintenance. No website is perfect, and over time your website is likely to encounter such issues as broken links, 404 Errors or missing media content. You need to regularly check for the appearance of such issues and fix them in order for your website not to lose its ranking by search engines.

  • Updating your website content. For a high-ranking website, a lively, regularly updated blog section is a must. Moreover, you need to update other sections of your website, such contact details, testimonials, home page, etc.

  • Keeping your website design up-to-date. Your great content won’t win over the hearts of your website guests if it’s presented on an outdated website that looks like a ghost from the past. Design accounts for the initial impression that your guests get on your website, as well as for their desire to keep coming back to it.

10 Tips to Follow to Keep Your Website Regularly Updated

Below, you’ll find 10 most useful tips to keep your website regularly updated. These tips account for all three vectors of website maintenance, so you won’t miss a thing if you follow them. Let’s see what we”ve got here.

1) Eliminate Appearance of Broken Links

Broken links make it impossible to access some pages on your website and result in site guests” disappointment. Websites with broken links are downplayed by search engines so that fewer people stumble upon broken links.

It’s okay that links get broken: some resources may be relocated, some pages may be archived or removed. It’s not okay if you don’t check for broken links and don’t fix them.

To detect and fix broken links you can turn to online tools, such as V3C Link Checker, Dead Link Checker, Online Broken Link Checker and other tools. Moreover, if you run a CMS or e-commerce website, you may use a plugin or extension that checks for broken links.

In some cases, a manual checkup for broken links is still necessary. A page may return HTTP 200 (OK) response (that is not recognized by broken links checker), but still display the content that is not relevant.

To prevent the appearance of broken links on your website, use reliable link building strategies, minimize URL change and page removal, use shorter URLs, and avoid linking to unreliable sources and PDF documents.

If you mind all these factors and regularly check for broken links, you’ll be sure that every single link on your website works properly, no matter how many pages your website has.

2) Regularly Update Your Website Engine and Plugins

Keeping the software on your website up-to-date is a worthy concern. If you run a website with the help of a CMS (Content Management System) or an E-commerce engine, you need to update the engine once the newer version of it is released.

Why update your website engine?

Regular engine updates are necessary from a security standpoint. Not updating your website regularly makes your website vulnerable to hacker attacks, which is definitely not what you desire. Moreover, website engines develop and a newer version may have the functionality you always wished to have.

When updating your website, you should do it with caution. You should always create a full website backup before updating your website so that you can always revert your website to the previous state in case something goes wrong.

Update not only the engine but also website plugins. With newer plugin versions, you’ll have more functionality and features that you need.

3) Have a Frequently Updated Blog

First of all, it must be said that your website does need a blog section. Even if you run an e-commerce website, you need a blog section to make your website more engaging and to improve your position in search engine search results.

Once you have your blog, you need to update it frequently. Add new posts a couple of times every week, or at least just once a week, and both people and search engines will see that your website is alive and thriving.

Don’t know what to post? Find some ideas below:

  • Review some products or services that your target auditory is interested in.

  • Share news and insights into daily life of your business. This is the best way to let people learn about your philosophy and attitude.

  • Create a poll and ask your site guests what the things that they want to learn more about are. Then, address the points that were opted for by the majority of your audience.

  • Interview someone by email or using web technologies, such as Skype, Viber, etc. Share the video and/or the transcript of it and add more value to your blog by this.

4) Make Sure Your Contact and Personal Information Is Up-To-Date

Your clients should always be able to reach you out. This is a rule of the thumb. As time passes, some of your contact details may change. Keep in mind that in this case, you need to update information on your website as soon as possible.

This also refers to your operating hours. Is there a holiday coming soon? Don’t forget to notify your clients that you’re having a day off, so they know this and don’t get upset that they can’t reach you out.

Also, mind updating the sections, such as “About Us” and “Team”, once you have something to add or to change there. The story of your business shouldn’t end somewhere back in 2015 if you launched the website back then and created the “About Us” page. A person that no longer works for you, shouldn’t be on your website as people should know whom they deal with.

5) Post New Testimonials

Don’t be lazy to share great things that people say about you. Fresh testimonials are definitely not a thing you should forget about. As soon as you have one or a couple, present them to the public and people will trust you more.

Be Active In Social Networks

All modern businesses rely heavily on the presence in social networks. If your website isn’t tied to your accounts in social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it’s rather a pretty disappointing neglect that should be accounted for.

Once you connect your website to your social media profiles, you should keep/start regularly sharing some small updates there. Having a corporate party, or just a morning cup of coffee with some interesting person? Share these moments and give your followers an insight into your daily life.

To further promote your accounts on social networks, you may use widgets that display feeds from social networks on your website. It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone, as with the help of a widget you update contents on your website and in social networks simultaneously.

For example, display Instagram feed widget on your home page. With no extra text, such a widget is a great tool to show your active social life and get more followers on this social network.

7) Watch Out For Outdated Imagery

Imagery is an important component of every website page. Once site guests land on a page, they esteem its design and imagery, and just then decide whether content is worth reading or not.

So, come back to your old posts from time to time and substitute obsolete imagery with the state-of-art one. This year, forget about poised, unnatural stock imagery and go for authentic photography that presents real people in real situations. Such imagery is proven to appeal more to emotions of your site guests and bring you more conversions.

8) Monitor Analytics and Run Usability Testing

When you monitor your website analytics, look for the pages that have the highest bounce rate. What’s wrong there? Think of how you can restructure, redesign or update the content of these pages so that they are as captivating as your other website pages.

As the number of your website contents grows over time, you need to test, whether it’s still convenient for your website guests to navigate and use your website. Running usability testing is recommended once or twice a year. Don’t neglect this practice, as the convenience of your clients should be one of your paramount concerns.

9) Make Sure Your E-Shop Is Up-To-Date

If you’re running an e-shop, you should frequently check whether your product information is up-to-date. Is the number of products available displayed correctly? Are all the product variations presented still available at your shop? Is the price still the same? Be accurate and always provide what you promise, and customers will prefer you over your competitors.

10) Keep In Line With Latest Web Design Trends

If updating your website contents is something pretty much like a daily routine, then updating the design of your website is a rare, but an important undertaking that you also can’t live without. Even the freshest and most exciting contents will lose their appeal if presented on an obsolete, crummy website.

To update your website design you may either higher an upper-end designer and get your website a custom redesign, or use a modern website template to quickly make your website look a couple of years “younger”. Modern website templates are a great tool to revamp your website, as they not only have visually appealing designs but also come with a number of useful plugins.

Conclusions

Keeping your website up-to-date is a must if you strive to maximize your income with your website. You should frequently update your website blog, make sure that other content on your website is up-to-date, carry out regular technical checkups and fixes, and modernize your website design at least once in a couple of years. If you manage to successfully keep your website up-to-date, all the world will recognize your website as thriving and appealing online place, worth spending time and money.

Stay tuned!

How to Optimize Your Facebook Business Page

How to Optimize Your Facebook Page

Maximize Your Facebook Business Marketing

Now that you’ve got the basics of how to setup a Facebook Business Page in place, it’s time to think about ways to optimize your Page to maximize engagement and meet your Facebook marketing goals.

Add a call to action

There are hundreds of reasons why people visit your page, and you may not be able to provide them with all the information they need right on your Page. But you can provide them with a way to get it by setting up a call-to-action (CTA) button.

Facebook’s built-in CTA button makes it virtually frictionless to give the consumer what they’re looking for, including allowing them to engage with your business in real life.

By default, Facebook adds a Send Message button, encouraging visitors to contact you through Facebook Messenger. But you can change this to allow visitors to learn more about your business, shop, download your app, or book an appointment.

To customize your CTA, hover your mouse over the Send Message button on your Facebook Page, then select Edit Button. Choose the type of button you want, then select the specific message to appear on the button. When you’re happy with your choice, click Next.

Call to Action

Depending on the button you chose, you may be asked to select some additional options. When you’re ready, click Finish and your call-to-action button will go live.

Add a pinned post

Is there important information you want all visitors to your Page to see? A promotion you don’t want them to miss? A top-performing piece of content you want to show off? Put it in a pinned post.

A pinned post sits at the top of your Facebook Page, just under your cover image, so it’s a great place to put an attention-grabbing item that will draw your visitors in and make them want to stick around.

Start by writing a normal post, or scrolling down your feed to find an existing post you want to pin to the top of your Page. Click the three dots on the top right of the post, then click Pin to Top of Page.

Once you’ve pinned the post, you’ll see a blue thumbtack icon in the top right corner.

Pin Icon

Make the most of tabs

Tabs appear on the left-hand side of your Facebook Page, and include standard options such as the About section and photos. You can take your Page to the next level by adding other tabs and apps that enhance the user experience.

Facebook tab apps, such as TabSite, allow you to build custom tabs so that you can run campaigns and contests, share special offers, and capture leads. For other tab options, check out our list of 32 useful Facebook Page apps for business.

If you are a developer or are working with a developer, and your Page has more than 2,000 fans, you can also create custom tabs from scratch. For more information on this, see the Facebook for Developers guide on Using Page Tabs.

Like other Pages

Since Facebook is, after all, a social network, it’s a good idea to use your Page to build a community for your business rather than viewing it as simply an extension of your online presence. One way to build community is to feature other Pages that are relevant to your business but not competitors.

For example, if you run a shop in a popular shopping area or mall, you could feature other shops in the same area, like an online version of your local business improvement association or chamber of commerce. If you have a virtual business, you could feature other businesses in your industry that could provide additional value for your followers without competing directly with your products.

To feature a Facebook for Business Page in your Likes Pages section, click the more icon (three dots) under the Page’s cover photo, then click Like as Your Page. If you have more than one Facebook Business Page, choose which one you want to use to Like the other business, then click Submit.

Review your settings

Your Facebook Page settings allow you to get into some pretty fine details about who can administer the page, where the page is visible, words banned from the page, and so on. You can also see how fans are interacting with your Page, including who has favorited it, and so much more.

Think of the Settings tab as your behind-the-scenes console for every adjustable parameter available to you. Take a few minutes to go through each setting and make sure that it’s optimized for how you want to manage the Page and how you want your audience to interact with you.

To access your settings, just click Settings at the top right of your Facebook Page.

It’s important to check your settings regularly, as your preferences and requirements may change as your business—and social following—grows.

Learn from Page Insights

The more information you have about your audience, the more content you can create to satisfy their needs. Facebook’s Page Insights makes it easy to gather data about how your fans are interacting with your Page and the content you share.

Insights gives you information about your Page’s overall performance, including data on audience demographics and engagement. You can see metrics on your posts so you can understand how many people you’re reaching. You’ll also see how many comments and reactions are gained from specific posts—data that helps you plan future content.

A key feature of Insights is the ability to see how many people have clicked on your call-to-action button, website, phone number, and address. This data is divided by demographics such as age, gender, country, city, and device, making it easier for you to tailor future content to your audience.

Link to your Facebook Page from other web pages

Backlinks help boost the credibility of your Facebook Business Page and may help improve your search engine ranking.

Simply link to your brand’s Facebook Page wherever you can. Include a link at the bottom of your blog posts and where appropriate on your website. Encourage other companies and bloggers to do the same whenever possible, such as when sharing content or mentioning your business.

Get verified

The coveted verification badge shows visitors to your Facebook Page that you’re legit—so they can be confident they’re dealing directly with your brand and not with an imposter or fan page.

How to Create a Facebook Business Page

How to Create a Facebook Business Page

In 8 Easy Steps

You know by now that you need a Facebook Business Page.

You’ve seen the statistics. You know that Facebook’s more than two billion monthly active users make it an impossible platform for any business to ignore.

The fact is being on Facebook makes it easier for people to discover and interact with your brand online.

So, let’s dive into how to create a Facebook Business Page. Follow these steps and you’ll have your Page up and running by end of day.

How to set up a Facebook Page for your business

Step 1: Sign up

Go to facebook.com/business and click Create a Page from the dropdown in the top right hand corner (Create an Ad is likely the default value). You’ll be greeted with a couple business type options. Select the type of business you’re creating the Facebook Page for. If your business type falls into more than one of the category options, choose the one your customers are most likely to think of when they think about your business.

facebook options

When you click on a business type, a box will open asking for a few further details, like the name of your business, your address, and your Page category. Categories are basically sub-types within the larger business category you’ve already chosen. When you start typing in the category field, you’ll see a list of potential category options to choose from.

Facebook Info

When you’re ready, click Continue. Note that doing so indicates your acceptance of Facebook’s terms and conditions for Business Pages, so you might want to check those out before you proceed.

Step 2. Add Pictures

Next, you’ll upload profile and cover images for your Facebook Page. It’s important to create a good visual first impression, so choose wisely here. Make sure the photos you choose align with your brand and are easily identifiable with your business.

You’ll upload your profile image first. This image accompanies your business name in search results and when you interact with users, and also appears on the top left of your Facebook Page.

If you’re a big brand, using your logo is probably a safe way to go. If you’re a celebrity or public figure, a picture of your face will work like a charm. And if you’re a local business, maybe a well-shot image of your signature offering is what will allow a potential follower or customer to make the connection immediately.

Your profile picture will appear as a square on your Facebook Page, but will be cropped to a circle in ads and posts, so don’t put any critical details in the corners. Once you’ve chosen a great one, click Upload Profile Picture.

Now it’s time to choose your cover image, the most prominent image on your Facebook Business Page. This image should capture the essence of your brand and convey your brand personality. It will display at 820 x 312 pixels on desktop or 640 x 360 pixels on mobile. The image must be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 tall.

Once you’ve selected an appropriate image, click Upload a Cover Photo.

facebook pic

Step 3: Explore your new Page

Ta-da! Your page is alive, albeit it extremely sparse. At this point, you’ll be prompted to take a quick walk-through of a few features. Unless you’re already well aware of how Facebook Business Pages operate, we recommend clicking through the prompts, just so you know where everything is. It only takes a few seconds.

Of course, while the skeleton of the Facebook Page for your business is now in place, you’ve still got some work to do before you share it with your audience.

Step 4: Add a short description

This is your opportunity to tell people about your business. It should be just a couple of sentences (maximum 155 characters), so there’s no need to get too elaborate here. Click Add a Short Description, then just share what your customers need to know as clearly and concisely as possible. You can add a longer description later on.

Describe Your Page

Click Save when you’re done.

Step 5: Create your username

Your username, also called your vanity URL, is how you’ll tell people where to find you on Facebook. Your username can be up to 50 characters long, but don’t use extra characters just because you can. You want it to be easy to type and easy to remember. Your business name or some obvious variation of it is a safe bet.

Click Create a Username for Your Page to set up your vanity URL.

Click Create Username when you’re done. A box will pop up showing you the links people can use to connect with your business on Facebook and Facebook Messenger.

You're All Set

Click OK to continue filling in your Facebook for business Page details.

Step 6: Complete your about section

While you might be tempted to leave the details for later, it’s important to fill out all of the fields in your Facebook Page’s About section right from the start. As Facebook is often the very first place a customer goes to get information about you, having it all there is extremely important. If someone is looking for a business that’s open till 9 and can’t find this information on your Page, they’ll surely keep looking until they find another place that’s more forthcoming.

It’s also a good idea to list information about your Facebook Messenger protocol, such as your customer service reps’ online hours and estimated response time.

To get started, click About in the left-hand menu of your Facebook Page.

From this screen, you can add or edit your specific business details, like your start date, contact information, and other social accounts. Depending on your type of business, you may be able to add specific details like a menu or information about your price range and whether you offer valet parking.

This is also the screen where you can add a longer description of your business. Click Edit Story on the right side of the Page to provide a detailed description of what your business offers customers and why they should Like or Follow your Page. This is a great place to set expectations about how you’ll interact with fans through your Facebook Page for business purposes and to offer a compelling reason for them to engage with you online.

To specify your business location and hours, click Edit Page Info on the top right of the screen.

When you’re finished, click Save Changes.

Step 7. Create your first post

Before you start inviting people to like the Facebook Page for your business, you’ll want to make sure you share some valuable content. You can create some of your own posts, or share relevant content from thought leaders in your industry.

You could also create a more specific type of post, like an event or product offer—just click through the tabs at the top of the status box to bring up all the options.

Make sure that whatever you post offers value for your visitors when they arrive at your Facebook Page, so they’ll be inclined to stick around.

Your Facebook Business Page now represents a robust online presence that will make potential customers and fans feel comfortable interacting with you.

Step 8: Start engaging

Now you’re ready to give your Facebook Business Page a bit of a nudge. Invite family and friends to like the Page. Use your other channels, like your website and Twitter, to promote it. Add “follow us” logos on your promotional materials and/or email signature. If you’re comfortable with it, you can even ask your customers review you on Facebook, too.

Answer These Questions

Answer These Questions

Get the Most Out of Your New Website

Prepare for a successful website!

When you’re working with a web design company on your new website, you want to get the most out of your investment. A good website will help you attract more and better leads that are more likely to engage with your business.

Part of maximizing the success of your website is being prepared with relevant information. This will help us build the most effective marketing platform for you.

Let’s take a look!


1. What does your business do?

To create the best website for your business, a web design company needs to fully understand your business. They can’t produce a website that works for you if they don’t know much about your company. It is important that your web design company has the opportunity to get to know your business.

This includes the history of your business, the products or services you offer, your employees, competitors, and more. All these questions should help us get a better understanding of your business, how you operate, and your company values.

When a web design company knows your business, they can start to shape a site that reflects your business best.

2. Do you have a website?

It may seem like a silly question, but we need to know if you already have a website built. This is an important part of the process for two reasons.

The first reason is that your web design company needs to know how much work they need to put into your site. If you don’t have a website, they’ll need to put in more effort to build one for you. For businesses with established sites, they know that they have an existing structure they can modify.

It is also important to know if your business has a website because if you do, your web design company can ask you about your site. They can ask you what you like and dislike about your site, what you wish was on your site, and how your website drives (or fails to drive) results for your campaign.

This is an opportunity for us to learn what you like and dislike about websites. It will help us create a site that drives results for your business.

3. What is your site’s goal?

Before beginning the project, you should know what you want to achieve with your website. You shouldn’t just build a site “just because.”

There are numerous goals you can focus on with your website. You can aim to earn more leads and revenue, increase brand awareness, capture emails or social followers, or get more phone calls to your business. It is important that you establish a goal for your website to help your web design company create a better site for your business.

Your goal impacts the design of your site. If you want to increase more brand awareness, your web design company will focus on building your brand and helping people become familiar with it. On the other hand, if you wanted to earn more leads, your web design company will focus on incorporating elements that encourage people to learn more and ultimately purchase.

4. Who is your target audience?

Your target audience plays an important role in how you shape all aspects of your campaign. You want to appeal to them and get them interested in your business. Your website’s design is no different.

To design a website that drives results, you need to know who is in your target audience. We will ask you about your target audience so they can build a site that works better for your audience. Your audience’s behavior will impact how you structure your site.

5. How is your company unique?

Each company across the globe has something unique to offer their customers. There is something that sets them aside from the competition. It may be something small, but there are things that make your business unique compared to your competition.

This is an important selling factor that we’ll want to incorporate into or emphasize in the design.

You want to stand out from the competition. Your unique features of your business will help you do that.

6. Who are your competitors?

You want to create a website that will help you stand out from the competition. It is important that your web design company knows about your competitors so they can create a website that makes you unique from your competitors.

You’ll need to think of a short list of competitors that directly impact your business. You can give this list to your web design company so they can check out their sites. This will give them an idea of how your competitors sites look and how they can produce a site that is better.

7. What features do you want on your site?

It is important that you incorporate features that will help you achieve your campaign goals.

You’ll need to think about how you want your site to look. There are numerous features you can add to engage your audience and keep them interested in your site. You need to think about which features you want on your site.

Some popular features include email sign-up bars, social media icons, incorporation of videos, or color choices. These are all features that have an impact on your audience. It is important that you think about which features are important to your campaign.

You want to be sure that you are incorporating elements that help you achieve your site’s goal. If your goal is to capture more leads, you’ll want to incorporate an email sign-up bar and social media icons. The features you incorporate on your site should help you build a site that gets your audience to complete the intended action.


Start building a better website today

If you want to build the best website for your business, you need to make sure you know the answers to questions that help you construct your ideal website. These questions should help you construct a better site that is more effective for your audience.

Want to get started today? Contact PixelForge today to begin building a better website!

Tips for Awesome Website Content

Tips for Awesome Website Content

Compelling and Informative

Many companies miss the point of having a website. Too often a grand marketing vision gets in the way of presenting useful information. The copy must be written with your customer in mind.

Here’s how many websites are developed. The decision-makers gather around the conference table and begin brainstorming. “Our website should include our mission statement so visitors know what guides us,” says one executive.

“It should look and sound professional, so let’s use stock photos and have Mary write the copy because she was an English major in college,” says another.

“We should have a page with all our products. But let’s not put too many details or prices because we want visitors to have to contact us,” says a third.

Someone from the sales department adds, “On the Contact Us page, let’s use a form with lots of questions that will help us make a sale. Have visitors tell us their budget and how soon they intend to make a purchase. And let’s be sure to get their full name, mailing address and phone number so we can have a salesperson pursue them.”

Are you cringing as you read these website suggestions? If not, you should be. They’re off-base and sure to alienate visitors.

The Visitor Must Come First

While all these ideas have merit for the company, they don’t make much sense for visitors. And that’s a big mistake. If you don’t put your visitors first, your website won’t be effective. Bottom line, it’s not about you!

The best websites are customer-centric. They’re designed to provide the information visitors seek and to present it in an interesting, organized fashion. They let the customer see the real you, which then builds trust.

They make it easy for visitors to complete whatever action they have in mind, whether it’s to buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter, or contact you for more details.

Your visitors don’t want cute or clever. They won’t take the time to decipher your meaning. They simply want to know how you’re going to solve their problem. Or, put another way, what are you selling and why is it right for me NOW?

Here are 15 tried and proven tips to help make your website successful:

  1. Start with a clear navigation.
    Organize your pages into logically-named categories and use standard terms on your menu. Visitors don’t want to guess where to go. They don’t want to analyze what you mean. And they don’t have the patience to embark on a scavenger hunt for facts.
  2. Use conversational English.
    Despite what your high school English teacher may have thought, nobody wants to read text that sounds like a term paper. Yawn. Write copy as though you’re speaking directly to the visitor. Use second person like “you” and “we.” Contractions are fine. And a friendly, informal tone is better than stiff, corporate-speak.
  3. Avoid industry jargon.
    Don’t use words or phrases that your visitors may not recognize. Use familiar terminology.
  4. Provide all the relevant information.
    When people search the web, they’re seeking answers. If your site doesn’t provide the facts, the visitor will move on to the next one in the search results. Don’t be afraid of sharing too much, and that includes prices. Studies show information-rich websites are the most effective in converting visitors into serious prospects.
  5. Leave out the hype.
    Visitors don’t want spin. They expect honesty and transparency. They crave facts so they can make an educated decision. Place all your cards on the table and let visitors draw their own conclusions.
  6. Make your home page a to-the-point summary.
    Since your home page is the most common entrance to your website, it should describe how customers will benefit from your content, products, or services. If visitors can’t quickly figure out what’s in it for them, they’ll click that back button. Poof, gone!
  7. Create unique landing pages for specific topics.
    While you might want everyone to come through the front door, the home page of your website, that might not be the best strategy. A more targeted approach is to create landing pages that speak to specific subjects. If someone is looking for information on say your product’s military application, he should land on your page that is dedicated to that subject. Landing pages convert at a higher rate than do home pages.
  8. Let pictures help tell your story.
    Stock photos are pretty, but do they tell visitors about the real you? No, they’re too generic. You can use them in some places on your site to help break up what would otherwise be a copy-heavy page, but when it comes to products and people, real photos work best. Visitors want to see what they’re buying and who they’re buying it from.
  9. Include trust-building content.
    Explain why your company is uniquely qualified to provide its products or services. Provide some details about your company’s history and achievements. Include a photo of the founder if it’s relevant. Consider dedicating a page to testimonials or case studies. These third-party endorsements hold weight. Customers buy from companies they trust.
  10. Keep your website up to date.
    If visitors notice that your content isn’t current, then your site loses all credibility. Continually update your site, add to it and remove any information that is obsolete. The last part of that sentence is critical, so I hope you didn’t miss it. You shouldn’t only add content. You need to also delete anything that’s no longer relevant. If the good information is buried, your visitor might never find it.
  11. Use a straightforward layout.
    Nobody likes clutter, and that includes visitors to your website. Clean, simple and organized works best. The more intuitive, the better, so visitors can easily find what they need.
  12. Make it easy for visitors to contact you.
    Put your contact information in multiple places so it’s easy to find. It should always be just one click away. Don’t make visitors work too hard to reach you. They might not bother, and you’ll lose them.
  13. Keep forms simple.
    If your website includes a form, such as on your Contact or Quote page, ask the fewest questions possible. Visitors hate completing all those fields, (don’t we all?), and they likely don’t trust you enough to provide all the information you’re requesting. Yes, you’d love to obtain their detailed information, but it’s what they prefer, not you!
  14. Include a call to action on nearly every page.
    Tell visitors what you would like them to do next. Lead them down the path to a sale or to contacting you. It’s great to be a quality source of information, but you also want visitors to know they can make a purchase.
  15. Make it perfect or as close to it as you can get.
    Spelling and grammar mistakes make you look like an amateur. So does poor wording. Review your work closely, or better yet, consider hiring a professional copywriter to craft your content.

In today’s information-saturated world, visitors to your website are likely to be impatient. If they can’t quickly find what they want, they’ll move on. They’re skeptical of anything that sounds “salesy.” If they could speak to you, they’d say, “Just the facts, please.”

To be effective, your website must deliver true value. Put your visitors’ needs and wants first as you create its content and watch your conversion rate soar!

If you found this information helpful or have any content tips of your own, let us know!

Internet Marketing Tips

Internet Marketing Tips

Increase Online Traffic and Revenue

Increasing revenues and profits for your business will take strategy and effort.

Here are four tips to help you as a business owner increase your traffic and profits.

Update Your Website

It’s 2017, so if you’re like most businesses, you have a website (if not, what are you waiting for?). In fact, odds are good that you’ve had the same website for several years. This can be a blessing and a curse, and is something business owners should address in 2017.

Websites that have been around longer have an SEO advantage over newly created sites. However, the longer a site has stayed the same, the more likely it becomes that certain information on the site is inaccurate or out of date.

A recent study found that the majority of consumers encounter multiple erroneous sites in their daily internet browsing. There are few faster ways to lose a customer than having them drive to the address listed on the website, only to find that the business has moved across town.

Updating a site is also a good time to upgrade security features. Feeling secure is essential to building consumer trust. Similarly, improving the site’s mobile friendliness can also lead to tangible improvements in business performance.

Utilize PPC and Social Media Ads

Many business owners have a false impression about the way that the internet and social media work. While it’s common for large websites or popular social media business pages gained their massive followings organically, this is almost never the case.

Rarely there are cases of something just going viral. In most situations things that get a lot of publicity and attention paid for advertising and promotion to get the ball rolling. True, all the money in the world isn’t going to help bad content, but without paid promotion on the internet, getting noticed can be slow work.

It’s important to realize that social media can be just as useful as Google in directing traffic to websites. While fans for a page don’t necessarily equate to customers, Facebook’s utility as content distribution network makes the platform as useful as search ads on Google or video ads on YouTube. Investing in both forms of paid advertising can produce good returns for a business.

Integrate Marketing Tactics

Another goal business owners should pursue is using multiple marketing tactics in a coordinated way. A long time ago, the only way people learned about information was through gossip or the town crier. Now, there are a large variety of ways to get information to consumers, and the better these methods are used in conjunction, the more effective the results.

This integration can fall into two categories. First, businesses that use multiple forms of internet advertising should coordinate them to ensure that one consistent message is being sent to target consumers. Using email advertising, social media, PPC and video ads in tandem makes it hard for people to miss the message.

The other form of integration is when businesses coordinate their online marketing with their offline marketing. The methods mentioned before are effective on their own, but imagine how much more effective is when the online ads are reinforcing what they’ve seen on local billboards, TV ads, etc. Making an effort to coordinate all the various advertising and marketing channels can be tricky, but it is worth it for business owners to make the effort or to hire people who can handle this coordination and implementation for them.

Create More Content

While this may seem like an anticlimactic piece of advice, this may be the most important. Advertising still works, there’s tons of evidence to support that, but consumers are becoming more capable of avoiding and ignoring ads if they want to. Content marketing is a good way to reach audiences while showcasing the knowledge base of a business.

For example, some consumer have begun using ad blockers to prevent them from seeing ads while browsing websites (though Facebook is designed so that these technologies don’t work on their site). If people aren’t going to see your banner ads about your plumbing business, writing blog posts about common plumbing issues would be a good way to attract your target audience without relying on ads. It may be indirect, but content marketing works.

And if there’s one thing that business owners should strive to do is use every available form of advertising and marketing to promote their business.

How to Make Your Nonprofit Site Effective

How to Make Your Nonprofit Site Effective

Creating a Strong Presentation

Your nonprofit’s website is a tool that should be used to engage, interact with, and mobilize your audience – a tool that should ultimately inspire action.

1: Know Your Audience

If you don’t know who your website is serving, you’re at a serious disadvantage. No matter how hard you try, it will be nearly impossible to create an effective nonprofit website – one that meets the needs of your constituents and helps you achieve your mission.

  • Focus on their needs – Who are your key groups and what do they care about? How do they interact with your site?

  • Use the right language – Know that writing is an art and a science. Every bit of content should showcase your mission. Avoid industry jargon and acronyms. Keep it simple, but include descriptors for clarity and improvement of search engine optimization.

  • Keep mobile in mind – Mobile browsing is the #1 method users use to access the internet. Is your content completely accessible?

2: Focus on Your Home Page

Your home page is your first opportunity to make a strong impression. Within the first few seconds of arriving, your users will form an opinion.

  • Prioritize content – Create visual hierarchy. What content elements are most important and deserve the best location? Remember your goals as well as your audience’s during this exercise – not everything everyone wants fits, or even belongs, on the home page.

  • Make sure people can scan through easily – Use of headers, content blocks, and visual design will allow users’ eyes to follow the right path of content.

  • Provide choices – Not everyone accesses your site in the same way; make sure you provide different ways to access information to accommodate this.

  • Test – Show your home page to audience members, and then ask them a series of questions about your organization and its mission. If they can’t answer them, consider refocusing and prioritizing your home page.

3: Share Your Mission

Sixty percent of all donors check out your nonprofit’s website before donating, and therefore you should tell them why they should give and what impact it will make. And, you should do it quickly, before they change their mind. Share your mission clearly and succinctly and make it actionable!

“Feeding Children, Growing Community”. This isn’t just a catchphrase, and it’s not just a mission statement. Seeing this tagline immediately informs the user that they will find compelling information on what your organization is about, how they can help and who is being served.

4: Use Compelling Imagery

Design controls what users see and how they process your content. Compelling imagery can mean many different things based on your audience but it’s critical for driving users to important content.

  • Infographics are fantastic. They allow you to visually show all types of content – from stewardship to impact to mission fulfillment to campaign progress – unmistakably and concisely. They are attractive and engaging, which are two key elements to successful imagery on any website.

  • Engage with eye contact. Photography that uses eye contact will allow you to make a personal connection with your user. Personal connections, trust, and emotional engagement are keys to fulfilling your mission! Which would better share the amazing impact Habitat for Humanity has on the community – an image of five volunteers building a Habitat Home with their backs to the camera? Or the eyes of the man for whom the house was built?

  • Share real stories of impact. Sharing stories of how others are affected by your work, your outreach, and your mission will build credibility and encourage empathy.

5: Ensure Ease in Navigation

If your users can’t figure out how to find the information they’re after, it might as well not exist.

  • Provide multiple interaction paths – not everyone accesses information in the same way, so make sure key content is accessible multiple ways – navigation, search, calls to action, etc.

  • Test yourself – Access your own site in different ways, see how easy it is to find key content, and adjust accordingly.

  • Two clicks or less for key tasks – (Hint: Effective nonprofit websites follow the two-or-less rule.) If not, revise your structure. You can’t have two clicks to everything, but you can prioritize and make sure key tasks and content are the easiest to reach.

6: Include Clear, Bold Calls to Action

Without a strong call to action, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your content is.

  • Remove all obstacles to action. If someone clicks “donate now,” they should not be taken to another landing page with all of the ways they can give. Effective nonprofit websites take people directly to the donation form where they can give that gift!

  • Provide both tangible and intangible options: Please give 10 meals to your community today; please give $10 today.

  • Calls to action should be clear and compelling.

  • Never say “click here.”

7: Showcase Your Stewardship

At least 60% of donors will visit a nonprofit’s website before donating. Create a strong presentation to show what impact they will have if they participate.

  • Show the impact of the support visually through infographics.

  • Be transparent – share your annual report and show how much of the support goes to the cause.

  • Say “thank you.” This seems simple, but it’s often forgotten. Your website is a great place to say it publicly.

8: Keep Content Fresh

People in general have incredibly short attention spans. This is even more relevant on the internet where information is constantly available.

If you don’t consistently update your content, people will assume that either you don’t have anything new and important to present or that you can’t be bothered to put in the time or energy. Neither of these are good scenarios, both of which could cause them to forget about you and never come back.

Fresh content is crtically important to driving traffic to your nonprofit website.

  • Utilize automatic feeds.

  • Add dates to content posted to the home page.

  • Gather user-generated content via blogs, forums, or posts and let your audience help keep content fresh!

9: Be Social

More and more, people are looking to engage with organizations through the various social media platforms. Utilize this direct communication to help promote, engage and provide a constant source of dynamic content

The world of social media is changing. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. The real power of social media is in harnessing its viral capabilities as an integrated channel with reach beyond the limits of your database and lists.

  • Incorporate social sharing on your site. It will contribute to website traffic and brand exposure.

  • Tweet, blog and post. Often. Make it a priority.

  • Use the Facebook and twitter widgets to pull social posts to your website for fresh content and relevant, engaging activity.

10: Provide a Personal Touch with Multimedia

Your users’ preference for consuming content varies, just as their browsing and navigation styles do.

  • Allow users to consume information in multiple ways – video, imagery, text, interactivity, and audio.

  • Invest in interactive design elements like virtual tours or maps – it helps bring a personal touch to your users, even through the web.

Why User Experience Matters to Marketing

Why User Experience Matters to Marketing

More Than Design

User experience, also known as UX, is made up of many moving parts that allow it to positively impact how users feel when they visit your website.

Without a positive user experience, your marketing tactics can be affected, so it’s important to understand what exactly makes for a great UX design.

In this post, we’ll look at the various elements that great UX includes and how UX impacts your marketing goals and strategies.

Successful UX Elements

UX is about more than the design and colors of your site.

Positive UX incorporates many factors, including value, usability, functionality, adaptability, navigation, and design. Each of these elements contributes to how functional your website is to users.

Value is determined based on whether or not potential buyers can easily see the benefit of your products or services. Your website design should clearly communicate the value of what you offer to visitors on your site.

Usability refers to the structure of your site and how responsive it is. Your site should be designed in a way that addresses your customer’s needs before they even realize they have them.

Functionality is a large part of UX because it ensures everything on your site makes sense. A potential customer should never have to ask themselves what the purpose of something on your site is.

Because we live in a world where people are constantly using their phones and tablets, adaptability of your site to any device is significantly important. The content on your site and its performance quality should be consistent whether the information is accessed from a desktop, iPad, or smartphone.

Navigation is about creating a layout that minimizes the number of clicks it takes for people to find things on your site. Users should not have to click more than two or three places to get to what they’re searching for.

The design of your site should draw visitors in without distracting them from your content. The goal is to grab their attention by creating an aesthetically pleasing design, without making them forget why they came to your site in the first place.

Return-on-investment (ROI)

Your ROI increases significantly when you invest in a strong, worthwhile UX strategy.

  • For every dollar invested in UX, there’s $100 in return – that’s an ROI of 9,900%.

  • In 10 years, a $10,000 investment in design-centric companies would yield returns 228% greater than the same investment in the S&P.

  • 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.

  • ESPN.com profits increased 35% after they listened to their fan base and incorporated suggestions into their homepage redesign.

So, if good UX increases your sales, what does UX mean for bounce rates?

Bounce Rate

Does UX affect the bounce rate on your site?

You bet it does.

UX done well can decrease bounce rates significantly for your website! The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor because of a poor customer experience.

  • 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.

  • 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.

  • Time.com’s bounce rate dropped 15 percentage points after they adopted continuous scroll.

Design

Throw a few colors you think are nice on your site and you’re good to go, right?

Not quite.

The design of your site should be well-thought out and researched to see what people respond positively to. Design goes along way; just let these statistics sink in:

  • First impressions are 94% design-related.

  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

  • Judgments of website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall design.

  • 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive.

Mobile

People are constantly on their phones. Which means it’s a high possibility when they access your site, it will be from their phone.

Not having your site optimized for mobile may seem like no big deal, but the reality is it can make a huge difference. When a site isn’t mobile-friendly images become distorted or don’t appear, text is either too small to read or doesn’t fit on the screen, and information becomes difficult to find.

Optimizing your site for mobile matters because:

  • 74% of people are more likely to return to a site when it is optimized for mobile.

  • 67% of mobile users say they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service when the site is mobile-friendly.

  • 61% of consumers have a higher opinion of companies with a positive mobile experience.

  • 52% of customers are less likely to engage with a company because of a bad mobile experience.

Are you doing UX successfully for your site?

In order to market your business successfully and accomplish your goals, user experience is a major part of the equation.

If you found this infographic helpful or have any UX tips of your own, let us know!

Don’t forget to share this infographic and remember to consider the various elements of UX when building your site!

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