Things move fast on the Internet, and new technology means new functionality for websites. You want your business website to remain relevant, but you do not want to spend money jumping at the latest Internet innovations. That sort of stance is understandable and practical, but there are moments you will come across when it becomes extremely evident that it is time to give your website a face lift.
Your Site Still Flashes
Using Flash animated features in websites was all the rage, but that was 1991 and it is time to get the Flash elements out of your website. Not only is Flash no longer part of a professional website, it is also no longer supported by most browsers. While you may enjoy the little animated picture on the front of your website, it is not doing your website any favors.
If you continue to include Flash elements on your page, then you will crash browsers. If there is one sure way to stop traffic from going to you website, it is to start crashing browsers on users. It is time to part with the Flash and update your website.
Your Site Does Not Cut The Mustard With Search Engines
Most Internet marketing experts will tell you that just the passage of time is a good reason to re-do a website, but that does not fly with frugal business owners. The real reason that time is your enemy when it comes to website development is because the tactics used to get good positioning on Internet search engines just three years ago could not cause your website to disappear from search results completely.
Search engines change their SEO rules fairly often, and using patchwork solutions will only satisfy the search engines for so long. If you want your website to do well with search engines again, then you need to have your site updated.
Your Site Looks Old
In the mid-90s, websites on free hosts such as Angelfire were all the rage. The flood of free sites all using the same template created a look that froze website development in time. If your website still looks like one of those template websites, then it is going to be difficult to get people to take your site seriously. When your website starts getting called "grandpa," then it is time for a change.
Your Site Is Really Slow
Website design and programming has changed a lot over the years, and older sites simply cannot keep up. When you have updates done to your site, sometimes the old code is left in place to save time. Over the years, all of that old code can confuse browsers and your website loads extremely slow. Also, if you are still using languages and functions that are no longer supported, then your site will slow down as well.
It is a good idea to have your website evaluated each year to make sure that you are keeping up with the latest in Internet programming. At some point, your Internet marketing expert will let you know that it is time to do a full overhaul because your site and the Internet simply do not speak the same language anymore.
People love classic cars, but no one loves a classic website. When your website is no longer serving its purpose to your business, then it is time to get your Internet marketing team to overhaul the whole website.
Google Will Start Favoring HTTPS Pages
All websites have HTTP pages, and then some have HTTPS pages with the same exact content on them. This usually occurs because many websites like to offer certain types of content on HTTP pages instead of HTTPS pages because of the slight performance degradation offered by HTTPS pages. But the website still wants the option of being able to use secure pages when necessary, which is why they have both HTTP and HTTPS pages.
Google has been doing a lot of thinking about Internet security lately, and has been dropping hints that it may start to favor HTTPS pages. To get ahead of any type of action by Google, most social media pages switched to HTTPS pages to offer better security. But now other websites may want to consider using HTTPS pages for more than just their ecommerce pages if they want to bring in traffic.
Why Isn't Everyone Just Using HTTPS?
Google wouldn't have to make these changes if every website simply used HTTPS pages instead of unsecured HTTP pages. There are two reasons why websites try to use HTTP pages as much as possible in lieu of HTTPS pages. The first is that websites cannot be cached with HTTPS pages, and that can affect international web traffic. A web server that is on a different continent from the user will take much longer to access with HTTPS pages because the user's browser is not allowed to cache the site.
The other reason websites attempt to bypass using HTTPS pages is the slower loading times. Retail websites know that every millisecond of website lag means the loss of more revenue, and they would rather not slow their sites down. But as the need for security increases, most of the major retail websites have turned all of their pages into HTTPS pages.
What Is Google Doing?
If Google sees that you have an HTTP page that has the same identical content as an HTTPS page, then it is going to index the HTTPS page first. But, as with any rule, there are exceptions. Google will not index the HTTPS page first if it:
Has unsecured elements such as embedded videos and pictures
Has the robot.txt crawler inhibitor
Has links that send users to HTTP pages
The site does not have a legitimate security certificate
In these instances, Google will index the HTTP page first, and it may not index the HTTPS page at all.
What Does This Mean?
Website owners should pay attention whenever Google says it will favor one type of web page over another for any reason. If you have a site that is utilizing all HTTPS pages and your site has a valid security certificate, then you could find your site ranked ahead of the competition. Google is being vague on details right now, so understanding the exact effects of this are difficult.
The best approach is to team up with an experienced Internet marketing company and have them evaluate your website for you. If there is an advantage to making all of your pages HTTPS pages, then your marketing expert can make that call for you. As Google continues to alter the search landscape, you need a professional organization that can keep up with the changes and keep your company competitive.
5 Ways To Improve Your Website
We tend to get involved in the details about SEO and changes in technology, but there are plenty of basic pieces of advice that need to be given if you are going to have a successful website. When it comes to your desktop or mobile website, there are things you can do that will help you to improve your site and get a bigger return on your investment. The best part is that not all of the ways to improve your website require a degree in computer science.
Listen To Your Customers
It is important to invite and encourage feedback from your customers on how you can improve your website, because those are the people most immediately affected by your website changes. There are plenty of ways to get feedback from customers, but being interactive on the company blog tends to be the best way. When you instigate conversation with your clients, you will get valuable information about your website.
The most important pieces of information you will get often involve features your competition's website does not have that your customers insist they need. If you really want to bring in the web traffic, then start offering your customers the ability to do things they cannot do with the competition and you will be way ahead of the game.
Watch The Competition
If the competition is rolling out new features on its website, then you should consider doing the same thing. Monitoring the competition allows you to not fall behind in the race to win the hearts and minds of web traffic. When you combine monitoring the competition with enacting changes recommended by clients, then you will see your retention rate soar.
Watch Television And Movies
Have you ever noticed how much cellular flip phones look like communicators from the television show "Star Trek?" Some of the most significant advances in the world of technology have come from copying the things that engineers have seen on television shows and movies. If you see something on television or in a movie that you feel would improve your website, then talk to your Internet marketing partner about making it a reality.
Go Outside Your Industry
Companies that sell sporting goods tend to monitor other sporting goods websites to find the inspiration for new ideas. But there may be some very cool things going on with online greeting card websites that could make your sporting goods website better for your customers. When you are looking for ideas, always branch out and take in inspiration wherever you can get it.
Listen To Children
There is nothing more interesting than listening to the unfiltered imagination of a child. Get your kids to look at your company website and ask them what types of features they would like to see. Once you get past the need for more puppy pictures, you may be surprised at the real ideas you find.
Developing and maintaining a website is a creative process. Inspiration for creativity comes from all around you. While your Internet marketing partner is working diligently to keep your website competitive within your industry, you can provide some good ideas for new features by looking for inspiration in your everyday life.
Five Web Design Trends For 2016
While there is a huge migration of users from desktop to mobile websites, there are still hundreds of millions of people every day who look over and utilize standard websites. The existence of a large audience for your standard website means that investing in the latest web design technology and trends will go a long way towards generating more revenue for your company. The new design trends for 2016 are actually fun to consider, and they will have a tremendous impact on the experience every user has with your website.
Flat website designs started with apps that used simple boxes as navigational tools. It then spread to operating systems such as Windows 8, where the idea proceeded to fail miserably. People still like the idea of a website made up of basic shapes and designs, but they just want more from those sites. Look for design changes such as raised buttons and other interactive features that will help flat website design to evolve into semi-flat design, which should be more popular.
Hand Drawn Graphics
Just like music listeners started going back to vinyl records and newspaper readers started going back to the printed newspapers, website users are falling in love with interactive website graphics that are drawn by hand. This was a cute trend until hand drawn graphics started showing up on websites for organizations such as Kutztown University, and being the featured graphics on official PDF files for state and federal government resource guides. Now hand draw graphics are becoming a trend that is hard to ignore.
When you go to Paypal's website, you may get startled a little bit when the big front page image starts moving. The trend of putting looping movies or GIFs on the front page of a website has been around for a while, but the presentation was never very subtle. Now that these files can be relatively small and the presentation is not quite as dramatic, this will be a trend to watch for in 2016.
Impressive Native Ads
Native ads are designed to be non-intrusive and part of the regular content. Originally, these were quick little movies that would pop up or advertisements written as stories that users could easily dismiss, or choose to interact with. But The Atlantic just released native advertising that is getting tens of thousands of social media shares because of how impressive and comprehensive it is. This trend will not only continue in 2016, but it will grow and it should be something website owners consider to generate more income.
Long Scrolling Front Pages
The idea that all of your front page content has to be on one screen has been disappearing for years, but it may see its complete demise in 2016. Website design has become so advanced that the idea of scrolling endlessly to see a front page has become something that users expect, and it has also become a way to create longer engagement times for web traffic.
It is time to get your website up to date with the latest trends if you want to continue to attract revenue-generating web traffic. As 2016 makes its way towards us, you will want to work with a professional Internet marketing company to create a website that modern users will want to interact with and bookmark for valuable repeat visits.
Five Tips For Changing Your Website
Most website owners have no problem overhauling their website once in a while to try and update its functionality and make things interesting for their web traffic. While updating the website once in a while is essential to its operation, actually changing the site is something that should be planned and done properly.
It is true that making a wholesale change of your website could positively impact your web traffic, but it could also temporarily derail your traffic if you are not careful. There are some tips you should consider before you make significant changes to your website to make sure that you maintain your flow of web traffic and sustain revenue.
Group Changes Together
If you have a list of changes you want to make to your website, then your best bet is to group them all together and launch the changes all at once. If you have a wish list of things you want to do with the website that would lead to a complete overhaul, then you may want to consider doing all of those changes at once and launching a whole new website. It is easier for users to handle a large group of changes, instead of trying to adjust to changes happening in rapid succession over the course of several weeks or months.
Make A Big Deal Out Of It
For the most part, people love changes to websites and you can use that to your advantage. Once you have decided to make your website changes, you should create a little marketing campaign to create some excitement over the launch date. You can create pricing promotions and use other marketing tactics to turn your website change into more traffic.
Do A Test Run Of Your Changes First
Few things are more annoying to website users than a website that took out a perfectly fine website function and replaced it with something that does not work as well. New does not mean better and you need to make sure that you do a test run of your changes to make sure they enhance the functionality of your website before you allow them to go live.
Get Customer Input
Before you start doing any detailed planning for your website changes and long before you start doing any programming, you should utilize social media to see what your customers think of your website. If there are certain features or aspects of your site that are getting a lot of attention from people on social media, then you may want to consider making changes to those aspects during your website overhaul.
Consider Whether Or Not Change Is Necessary
If your website is generating good web traffic, then any changes you make are going to disrupt that. In business, you definitely do not want to fix something that is not broken. Write out the changes you want to make to your site and determine if they are really necessary, or if they can wait until you get more ideas.
Making any change to a website, positive or negative, is going to initially cause your status in the search engines to suffer. If you made good changes, then you will see your search engine results exceed what your previous web traffic numbers. But if your changes upset your traffic, then your website may not recover. Plan your website changes carefully and be sure that they are necessary before you make them.
Four Things You Need At Your Next Trade Show
There is plenty of detailed information on this blog and others about how to create the best trade show materials to show-off your booth. But it would probably be helpful to know which tools, of all the tools that get mentioned, you really need when you start to put your trade show presentation together. Along with your modern booth and all of its attractive accessories, there are four other pieces you need to bring if you want to find success at your next trade show.
You may have the best light show and the loudest sound system a trade show has ever seen, but all of those trappings are only doing half of the job. There will be a lot of people at your next trade show who are looking specifically for your company's booth. If you took the time to market your appearance at your next trade show, then there will be a flock of potential customers who want to talk to you. Banners let everyone know where your booth is located and act as unwavering reminders as to where people can find you and your sales team.
Too many companies avoid getting custom pamphlets printed for each trade show, which means they are missing out on an opportunity to capitalize on their trade show investment. When attendees get back to their offices, it may be some time before they review the material they collected. They may even go to other trade shows before they get a chance to look at your pamphlet. When you create a custom pamphlet, your audience will be reminded of exactly where they saw you and exactly why they liked your company in the first place.
Your business card acts as a pocket-size d billboard that advertises your business to anyone who sees it. If you do not take a full box of business cards to every trade show with the intent of giving every one of them away, then you are not going to be able to maximize your trade show investment.
Focused Product Information
Not only do you need to have new and customized product information printed for each trade show, but that information needs to be focused on the details that the attendees are looking for. A convention of engineers will not want to see the same information that purchasing managers will need. Each trade show you attend needs to have information that is focused on that trade show audience if you want people to be able to use your information to buy your products and get interested in your company.
When you decide to present your company at a trade show, you have made a significant financial commitment. Not only does it cost you a lot of money to present at trade shows, but it also requires a considerable investment of your time to plan each detail and make sure that the show goes off as you want.
Prior to putting together your trade show presentation, you will make a long list of the things that you will need. Each company's list varies for every trade show, but there are four elements that every company needs to bring to every trade show if they want to find success. Without focusing on the basics, it is hard to generate the kind of income you need to justify your trade show investment.
Why And How To Change Your Company Logo
Changing your company logo is never something you do on a whim. The decision to change your company logo should only be done when it is absolutely necessary, and it should be a well-planned event. Your logo is something you invest a lot of time and money into as part of your branding efforts. When you are going to change that logo, you are going to change everything your customers already know about your company. That is why it has to be done right, or else your company will suffer.
Why Change Your Logo?
The best reason for changing your logo is if your company changes its name. Whether you merged with another company or changed your name for legal reasons, changing your logo to coincide with a name change can actually be a very effective marketing tactic.
Another reason people use to update their logo is to modernize it to fit contemporary styles. If you feel that you need to change your logo to keep up with a certain style or look, then you did not do a very good job of establishing your brand. There are companies with logos that are hundreds of years old that have never changed because there was no need to change. Instead of changing your logo to meet contemporary styles, you may want to have a professional marketing company look over your branding process and fix it for you.
How To Change Your Logo - Step 1: Design A New Logo
Unless you are a graphic design or marketing company, you should not be designing your logo yourself. A professional design company will create a memorable logo that will make your new name announcement more effective. Work closely with a professional marketing company to design a logo that best exemplifies your new company.
How To Change Your Logo - Step 2: Gradual Shift
The biggest mistake companies make when they change their logos is they choose a random date and then just change everything over. Suddenly, customers are getting invoices with new logos on them and the website has been completely changed. This is not going to give your customers time to adjust, which is why you need to use a gradual shift.
A gradual shift consists of transitional stationary that has both logos at the top and says that the old one is becoming the new one. You should develop the front page of your new website and then let customers preview the new page before you actually launch it. Let your customers ease into the new logo and it will be easier to say goodbye to the old one.
How To Change Your Logo - Step 3: Make The Change
In all of your marketing materials that talk about your transition to a new logo, give customers a date when the change will take place. It is easier to make it a significant date like the first day or last day of a month. When that date arrives, make the change by launching the new website and switching over to the new correspondence and invoicing materials.
By creating a gradual transition to a new logo, your customers will be at ease with the change and it will not disrupt your business. If you must change your logo, then hiring a professional marketing company to help you make the change properly is critically important.
5 Reasons You Need A Killer Company Brochure
There is plenty of information on how to introduce your company with a brochure, and how brochures add value to your product presentations. But it is hard to find convincing information on why you really need a company brochure as a means of general introduction.
Most business owners understand the value of brochures designed specifically for certain products, and the need for having brochures that are customized for each trade show. But there are plenty of good reasons for your company to print up and use general company brochures every day of the year.
An Elevator Speech With Pictures
Every corporate executive, business owner and sales professional prides themselves on having a great elevator speech. A corporate brochure is an elevator speech with effective pictures in a glossy and professional package. When a business professional understands the potential of a good corporate brochure, it is easier to see why they are so valuable.
No Bounce Rates
When you hand a prospect a brochure, there is no other brochure for that prospect to bounce to and put yours to the side. With a website, thousands of people a day will bounce from your website to other sites in seconds and take away your chance at telling your company's story. But with a brochure, the audience is captive and will read your story without jumping to read the story of the competition with the click of a button.
Show Your Professionalism
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with handing a prospect who is interested in your company a nice business card, the impact of a professional brochure is worth the investment. As with any marketing piece, think of how you would react if a business owner was able to give you a colorful brochure of their company along with a business card. You would not only be impressed, you would immediately have a positive impression of that company.
Highlight Your Company's Strengths
In the marketing world, a picture is worth 1,000 words and the picture you put on the front of your company brochure can make a strong first impression on any prospect. If you have a product your company is known for that has a sleek look that appeals to clients, then make that the cover of your brochure. Your company brochure should use your company's biggest strength to make a first impression your audience will never forget.
Give Them Something To Look At Later
Your prospect may listen to your pitch and take your brochure, but they may also fold up that brochure and put it away without reading it. But hours later, when they are flying back to their office, they will reach into their pocket and pull out your professional brochure and spend some time actually reading it. One of the most valuable aspects of a brochure is that it cannot be turned off or ignored like an online ad. Once your prospect has your brochure, the marketing impact can be felt at any time.
A good brochure can be an invaluable corporate marketing tool that you should carry with you at all times. A brochure can enhance other marketing pieces, and it can be that professional first impression your company makes that sets your organization apart from the competition.
3 Facts About Your Website Content For 2015
It seems like there is some new content rule coming out every week that caused marketing companies and content creators to have to alter the way they do business. The marketing experts who understand the changes being made to search engines and online marketing in general know that the core values of good content still remain and, in many ways, those core values have been reinforced by any changes made by search engines or other online exposure vehicles.
Companies always want to get the very best value for the content they put on their website and that can be difficult if those companies do not understand the basic values of good content. In 2015, the changes made by Google and other search engines only help to solidify the idea that content is king and the people who know how to utilize content will always grab the most traffic.
Quality Content Is Critical
For years, content written by people who did not speak English as a first language was ruling the Internet because it was stuffed with keywords. When Google cracked down on keyword stuffing, the content was still manipulated by the use of well-placed keyword phrases that sometimes did not match the rest of the content. Recently, Google has demanded that all websites utilize quality content, but the use of quality content has been something reputable marketing professionals have insisted on since the Internet was very young.
Good content needs to offer value to clients for it to be effective. Back in the early days, content that was stuffed with keywords brought traffic, but that traffic often bounced from those sites when it was realized that the websites offered no value. From the very first days of website marketing, good content has been the key to a successful website. Now that Google is insisting on good content, that only strengthens this notion that professionals have known for a long time.
Website Users Hate Intrusive Ads
Effective advertising is strategically placed around good content, but not within that content. The websites that generate a lot of traffic but then bury that traffic in pop-up ads and intrusive marketing tactics are starting to see less and less revenue, which only bolsters the notion that customers have intrusive ads.
The new organic ad and link placement techniques being used in 2015 help to get marketing content into the text of articles without causing readers to leave the website. Marketing experts are creating more non-intrusive ways to advertise to Internet users and it is those methods that are becoming the most effective.
Customized Content Works
In 2015, marketing experts were able to devise ways to use a consumer's web browsing habits to customize content and create focused marketing programs that appeal directly to those consumers. In the early days of the Internet, the desire to customize the user's experience led to the creation of a wide variety of Internet technologies and applications. Today, the ability to deliver customized content to a consumer has become important in the overall success of a company's marketing programs.
Your website content is still one of the most important marketing elements for your company on the Internet and through mobile computing platforms. Throughout 2015, marketing experts have been developing plans and programs that stick to the core values of good content and enhance a website's ability to bring in revenue-generating traffic. As long as your site sticks to the basics, you will find it easier to meet all of your marketing goals.
Best Ways To Use Printed Banners In Your Business
Sometimes success in business centers around who can call the most attention to themselves for the least amount of money. At a trade show, the company with the huge light show gets all of the traffic because it attracts a lot of attention. But there are ways to call attention to your company that are more subtle and cost-effective than a huge light show, but equally as effective.
Large, printed banners offer a great marketing value because they can be used over and over again in a variety of situations. The key is to know when to use your banners to call attention to your company and get a strong return on the relatively small investment you made in having those banners printed.
Your company name is on the sign out in front of your business and all your banner does is repeat that company name. But the advantage your storefront has over your sign is that your storefront is at eye level with the people walking down the street. There are zoning laws regarding your sign, but you can hang your printed banner in your front window and attract traffic all day long.
If you feel like investing in focused banners for your window based on events or promotions in your store, then you will attract even more traffic. The next time you are planning a sale or promotion in your business, have a banner printed for your storefront window and watch how much more traffic you get this year than you got last year.
When you are part of outdoor festivals and events, it is critically important that people know where you company's booth is located. If you pay attention at outdoor events, you will see some companies with printed banners at their booths, and other companies without banners. The companies with the banners are always the ones attracting the traffic and taking full advantage of their event exposure.
If your public relations people are doing a good job, then your company will host one or two press conferences each year that bring in good attendance. The key to getting maximum exposure from a press conference is to own the press conference and give the media plenty of visuals to take pictures of and talk about. A large banner at your press conference helps to enhance your brand name recognition with the media and it will also result in some free advertising when it shows up in the pictures and video from the conference.
Local parades are excellent marketing opportunities that companies often allow to pass by without using them. Contact parade organizers of the most popular parades in your area and offer to sponsor some part of the event. The result will be your company banner slowly moving down the street as it is seen by thousands of enthusiastic people.
A durable printed banner offers a lot of marketing opportunities to companies that know how to gain exposure. The return on the investment in a banner can be significant, provided you spend the time getting it seen by plenty of people. Even a simple banner with your company name, logo, and website address on it can gather attention and help to significantly enhance your company's brand marketing efforts.