Having a stellar business idea is awesome! Bringing it to fruition is another story. Most entrepreneurs can attest to what chasing a dream means – hours on end crafting a business plan, working out kinks in processes, negating naysayers, trusting that your idea is good enough and of course, funding it all.
There is no question that developing a website is pertinent to your marketing success as a business. Whether you’re just starting out or even if you’re a business veteran, websites are akin to business cards today. People assess the credibility and legitimacy of your business based on your online presence.
You need a website, you just do. You can create one yourself using platforms like Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress or you can hire a professional web design firm. Depending on the functionality you require and your technical abilities, you can weigh your options accordingly. Consider that you’ll have to factor in costs for website hosting, purchasing a domain and the time itself it takes to develop your website (as opposed to the business itself).
The challenge for most business owners when tackling a website design or redesign is often the upfront costs. In addition, a full return on investment is not realized until after a year or more after the initial investment is made. But, that should not deter you nor does it have to!
To learn more, get in touch with us by filling out our website upgrade quote form and we’ll get back to you ASAP. We can discuss options accordingly and get your new web venture started :)
You’ve probably noticed a new crop of images sweeping the web. They’re not quite photographs and not exactly videos. They have the marks of high quality photography but contain just a subtle hint of motion. Like a GIF, they’re looped videos that contain something moving ad infinitum but what’s different is that everything else in the frame remains static. What is this new art form?
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
A cinemagraph is a looped video clip layered beneath a photograph. In this way the file size is minimized because all the other pixels in the frame remain static. As such, when the document is saved, it is not saving a video which usually is a much larger file size. Because it is a photograph containing just an area of motion, the file can be compressed more effectively and thus shared on the web more easily. That’s essentially the point of it all – downsizing the file size so it can easily be accessed on a website.
Cinemagraphs are not a file format. They are GIF files. The distinction though comes in the fact that most GIFs you see on the web are looped video clips – usually clips taken from movies, TV shows or random YouTube vids. Cinemagraphs pair the cinema and photography if you will – combining the two.Read more: How to Create a Cinemagraph for Your Website
A good website should tell its visitors what to do. Great calls to action combine kick ass copy and stellar design to achieve the best results.
The term “call to action” generally conjures up ideas of ecommerce or donations but that isn’t always the case. It’s about convincing web visitors to take action on our sites. If we want someone to do something, whether it’s contact us, buy something or even just read something interesting – we have to ask them to do so. The magic comes in how we ask and hence the need for charming, good-looking calls to action.
Your call to action is a link, a button or some text on your website that your visitors can’t ignore and don’t want to because they are enticed, intrigued and ready to click to get through to the next step.Read more: 3 Tips for Creating Effective Calls to Action on Your Website
There’s no question that social media is crucial for business success these days. Platforms like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter, are all active thriving communities that provide a steady stream of information in our digital age.
As individuals, we look to these online communities to share what we find interesting on the web and to source input about the things that we seek. As a business, it provides a stellar way to communicate with customers, learn their needs and leverage the opportunity to build relationships, all the while boosting your website’s SEO.
Does social media apply to your business? You bet it does. But you want to do it right. As such, we’ve compiled some tips to help you use your social media channels correctly. Here you go:
If you’re just beginning to claim your social accounts for your business, take the time to fill out all possible fields. We’re talking your industry category, address, short descriptions, long descriptions, a profile photo, the works. This is great for local SEO and it’s great practice for your elevator pitch too. It requires you to nail down and simplify what it is you offer and to say such concisely.Read more: Social Media Tips for Business
It’s all about your users. It’s all about their experience. Think about it – without them, your website is rendered useless. Like the old adage “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If your website fails to capture and most importantly RETAIN your users, then its content may as well be etched on a cave wall deep within the woods.
User experience (UX) is all about enhancing user satisfaction by making things accessible, easy to use and also by providing your website’s visitors with a pleasant interaction. As beautiful as a coat may be, if the zipper or buttons don’t work – well, it doesn’t serve its purpose on a cold day. It just looks pretty. Your website’s buttons and zippers need to be on point and function properly and this is all part of the user experience.
To ensure your website’s design is up to date with best practice UX web design principles, here’s a rundown of things to check on your own site and improve upon if need be:
You better make it count. Your first impression is a big one and five seconds may actually be quite generous. According to Google it only takes 50 milliseconds (1/10th of a second) for someone to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they want to stay or leave. In this day and age where content is proliferated at a staggering rate, we’re talking over 300,000 tweets and 4 Million plus Facebook posts being published in a single minute – you need to stand out.
You need to capture your audient as soon as they land, use:
Though trends come and go, there’s something to be said for when your website just looks old. A dated website can lead people to question your credibility as a business or turn away because what they’re looking at is just plain ol’ ugly.
Many web design trends are driven by their effectiveness at converting potential customers into paying consumers because of best practice design that makes use of user behavior tendencies. As such, this list of 2016 web design trend highlights design elements that help to boost conversions. It isn’t just about visual style, it’s about being on point with your design to sway your visitors to be full fledged fans and supporters of your business.
Here you go:
Full screen images capture the attention of a website visitor. We can’t help but stop and stare at something pretty. Wouldn’t you rather look at an image in full size instead of a mini box that you have to squint to make out what it depicts? Large images create a kind of interruption in our activities, forcing us to take notice and in turn contribute to higher levels of conversion.
Split screen layouts are great for highlighting two primary elements of equal importance and allowing the user the ability to navigate quickly and easily to what they are looking for. By creating a split screen as your landing page, your visitors can choose which direction they need to go without having to navigate through subpages to find it. The quicker they can find what they’re looking for, the more likely they are to convert.Read more: 2016 Web Design Trends to Increase Your Website's Conversions
A client of ours recently forwarded an email stating that his website’s domain was going to expire. Littered throughout the email were calls to action, all capitalized warning IMPORTANT NOTICE, EXPIRATION OFFER NOTICE, and then of course CLICK UNDERNEATH FOR IMMEDIATE PAYMENT. He knew it was a scam but still wanted to check in with us to ensure his domain was in good standing – it absolutely was.
Scheming criminals are constantly on the hunt, using the internet to prey on folks in an effort to steal personal information that they can then use illegally. Phishers use personal information to empty out bank accounts, steal identities or leave people locked out of their very own online accounts. The email our client received was exactly this – a phishing scam.
Phishing is fraud that happens online, according to the RCMP it’s “a general term for emails, text messages and websites fabricated and sent by criminals designed to look like they come from well-known and trusted businesses, financial institutions and government agencies in an attempt to collect personal, financial and sensitive information.”Read more: Don’t Get Reeled In By a Phishing Scam – What You Need to Know
With people increasingly heading to the internet to research products and services before they commit to purchasing online or in store, reviews are fundamental in turning prospective buyers into paying customers. Reviews are like word of mouth recommendations but have the added benefit of taking on a viral form of feedback that can virtually reach an audience that extends beyond a friend of a friend. Peer reviews help others make and solidify their purchasing decisions acting as a kind of marketing currency that is provided by your loyal fans.
When conducting research into a product, potential buyers are further in the buying process given that they’re trying to seek out the finer details beyond a manufacturer’s description or your sales pitch. Instead, they’re looking to see what other people have to say about a service or product because they are seriously considering making a purchase.Read more: 3 Reasons You Want Online Reviews Now & How to Get Them
Every business began with a single entrepreneur’s vision to succeed. As hard as it is to believe, even the bigwig brands started at the bottom but with tremendous dedication, perseverance, luck and killer marketing – they stand as they are today.
As we welcome a new year, we also welcome the opportunity to help those hoping to up their SEO and marketing game in 2016 by leveraging the knowledge shared by the best blogs on the web.
For those just starting out, developing your business and marketing strategy can be overwhelming. Especially in a saturated market like Calgary, how to gain that competitive edge can seem like a mystery. But the challenge is worth the effort.
If you’re just beginning to learn about SEO and want to implement SEO strategies yourself - you may be spending a lot of time scanning the net for tips, tricks and tutorials. To streamline the process for you, we’ve consolidated a list of what we feel are the best SEO and marketing blogs out there for you to read in 2016. All of them present pragmatic ways you can apply SEO and marketing strategies yourself:
For SEO newbies, Moz has a wonderful Beginner’s Guide to SEO that offers comprehensive information about what SEO is, how it works, and strategies you can use to optimize your site for search engines. They have guides to link building, social media strategies, Google analytics and a whole slew of beginner’s guide PDFs that teach the fundamentals. In addition, their blog covers more advanced and timely SEO news and offers tips on how you can apply these findings and their research into your own SEO and online marketing endeavors.Read more: SEO and Marketing Blogs Every Small Business Owner Should Follow in 2016