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.
Four Features Your E-Commerce Website Must Have
A good e-commerce website has features that benefit your company, and features that benefit your customers. When all of those features come together, you get a website that generates profit while bringing back repeat business. It is important for a website owner to understand what customers expect from an e-commerce website, and it is critical that the website owner know what features are going to help them to maximize the return on their e-commerce website.
If you plan to sell products on your website, then you need to hire a professional developer to create an e-commerce website that will benefit your business. Only an expert will be able to properly mix the features your customers are looking for with the elements you need to run a successful business.
A Good Shopping Cart
A good shopping cart is one of those features that benefits you and your customers. It benefits you because you can use a variety of remarketing tactics to keep customers updated on products that would be of interest to them, and it allows you to pursue customers who fill up a cart and then never go through the checkout process.
The shopping cart can be beneficial to your customers if it allows your customers to make changes to their orders before they check out, and if it shows your customers the accessories available for the products they have purchased. The key to a strong e-commerce website is a good shopping cart.
Real-Time Inventory Updates
There was a time when e-commerce websites found it difficult to maintain a real-time inventory for their customers, and that usually resulted in angry customers who did not bring repeat business. But these days, a professional web developer can put together a back end program that will allow you to maintain an updated inventory for your website, and generate the reports you will need to make good purchasing decisions.
When a customer buys a product on a good e-commerce website, that customer is immediately given a list of other products customers have purchased after buying that particular product. Over the years, upsells on e-commerce websites have become as valuable to the customers as they have to the companies.
Customers appreciate being reminded about accessories and companion products they will need for the purchases they are making, which is why a robust upsell feature on your e-commerce website is critical for bringing customers back for repeat business.
Some e-commerce websites try to hide their clearance offers as an inconspicuous link at the bottom of the front page. If you want to create a dedicate base of repeat customers, then you need to make those clearance offers prominent and put them in a significant place on the front page of your website.
You have products that are coming to their end-of-life that you either need to sell, or be prepared to take a loss on them. When you have a dynamic and prominent clearance section on your e-commerce website, you will develop a market for your clearance products that will help you generate revenue on products that have otherwise come to the end of their retail lives.
An e-commerce website requires plenty of ways to interact with customers if it wants to be successful. When you hire a professional marketing company to develop your e-commerce website, you will get the basic elements you need to see a strong return on your company's investment.
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.
3 Must Haves for Your Mobile Website
If you are still debating whether or not to invest in a real mobile website, then you are about three to four years behind the technology curve. More people access the Internet via their phones and tablets than their desktop computers and laptops. That means that if your site does not have a fully-functional mobile companion, then you are not being seen by a huge part of your target audience.
Now that mobile websites have been moved from the optional to the mandatory shelf in your marketing closet, it is time to take a close look at what you really need on your mobile site for it to be successful. A good mobile website can generate you a lot of revenue and set your company apart from the competition, but only if it has these essential elements.
Google does not give your mobile website any extra points for using responsive design, but it also does not punish your site for taking the easy way out either. Responsive design allows your mobile website to be able to interpret the highest resolution the customer's device allows and then adapts your site to that size. That means that your one mobile website looks just as good on a smartphone as it does on a tablet, which makes it easier for your customers to use. Your alternative is to maintain several different mobile sites for each type of device and that can get expensive.
A Custom Navigational System
The worst thing you can do is try to cram your desktop website navigational system onto your mobile website. When you hire a professional Internet marketing expert, that person will develop a custom mobile website navigational system that will make your mobile site easy to utilize and easy to understand.
A Strong E-Commerce Function
In the early days of mobile websites, companies would encourage customers to browse information on the mobile sites, but then go to the desktop site to place orders. Today, your mobile website needs to have a robust and secure e-commerce function if you want to attract users and make money. More people are going to want to order from your mobile website than your desktop website, so be sure to have a comprehensive ordering platform on your mobile website to promote success.
Any professional who sets up your desktop website will include a robust suite of analytical software to help you gather as much information about your web traffic as possible. If it works for your desktop website, then it will work for your mobile website as well. You want to gather the same web traffic defining information about your mobile website that you gather for your desktop website to help make your mobile site more effective and profitable.
The shift from desktop computers and laptops to mobile computing devices has caused Internet marketing experts to have to change the way they look at Internet traffic. If your company does not have an effective mobile website, then you are missing out on a great deal of money. But even when you decide to invest in a mobile website for your business, it is critically important to make sure that you are including all of the elements and information that your traffic needs to buy your products and help your business to grow.
The Dynamic Nature Of Social Media
For centuries, people got used to things staying the same for a while before any changes or updates were made. It took a long time for console televisions to evolve into the flat screens that we have now. Even when the flat screens started to come out, people avoided them because of the cost and the uncertainty as to how they worked. Today, flat screen televisions are the norm.
But the Internet is unlike anything people have ever seen and it is still taking some time for business owners to adjust. For example, in May 2015 Facebook announced that it was releasing a news article platform that posted news content directly to Facebook and not to the publisher's site. Facebook tried to allay fears of a media takeover by allowing media companies to keep 100 percent of the revenue they generated from ads they sold on their Facebook content and Facebook even gave the media companies 70 percent of the income Facebook generated from the ads that Facebook sold on publisher's content.
For all of its hoopla and chest pounding, the Facebook direct publishing tool is still in its initial launch phase and it is taking much longer to introduce than Facebook anticipated. All of the changes that the publishers were ready to make were put on hold and everyone is now taking a wait-and-see approach.
Social Media Is Incredibly Dynamic
Social media, as shown by Facebook's attempts to become an online publisher, is incredibly dynamic. The companies that own social media platforms come to realize that their millions of registered users represent revenue and power. That means that companies like Facebook and Twitter are starting to branch out into other Internet activities that used to be off limits to them.
Each year, Google or some other major social media player introduces something new and that something new usually causes entire industries to jump. When Google started with its Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird algorithm changes; it completely altered the online content industry and literally changed it overnight. If Facebook had been able to do a successful launch of its publishing platform, it could have changed the dynamic of the online publishing industry overnight. Social media represents an necessity to businesses that remains very unstable.
Investing In Social Media Management Services
The solution for any business owner in the face of a dynamic social media industry is to get involved with marketing professionals who understand the changes and can help companies to benefit from them. If you try to take on social media by yourself, then your business will suffer. The dynamic nature of social media makes it the realm of professionals and you can get left behind if you are not willing to invest in the right type of professional assistance.
Will Facebook alter the way that online publishers present their product to the world? It is almost a guarantee that Facebook will find a way to use its vast worldwide audience to get as much revenue as possible from as many different industries as possible. While your company may not be a media giant, you can still benefit from the dynamic nature of social media. All you need is a professional marketing group to point your company in the right direction and you can take advantage of the chaos that a dynamic social media industry creates.
Why Offline Marketing Still Matters
For the average person, there is a myth that all young people (Millennials and younger) bypass the printed media and only use digital information. But in a 2013 report done by the Newspaper Association of America, approximately 68 percent of people ages 18 to 24 read printed newspaper advertisements. Not only do they read the printed newspaper advertisements, but they admit to taking action because of those advertisements as well. It would seem that the notion that offline marketing no longer matters is extremely premature.
A Matter Of Trust
If you read that NAA infographic even further, you see that six out of every 10 Millennials trusts the information that is printed in their local newspapers. That means that if you can get press releases about your business printed in the local newspapers of your target geographic audience, then you will increase the chances of getting more traffic to your website and increasing revenue.
Consumers usually only buy from companies they trust and it looks like local newspapers are good places to establish that trust. The truth is that local newspapers have been doing quite well in print and online and present themselves as a viable marketing option for any company. But it is still hard to ignore the impact that offline marketing in local newspapers has on an audience.
Not Just The Youngsters
The generations that grew up with newspapers and print media have not totally abandoned those mediums for the digital world. There is still that feeling of legitimacy that older consumers get when they see a print advertisement for a company and that can only help to enhance your digital marketing.
With the information given in the NAA infographic, we can then conclude that offline marketing still matters to a large portion of the consumer world. To ignore offline marketing because it may seem old fashioned is to go against what consumers are saying. To grow your business, you need to look to offline marketing to help enhance and even legitimize your online marketing efforts.
What About The Cost?
Many local newspapers offer package deals that give your company offline and online marketing options for a discounted price. The Poynter.org website points out that for the first time in decades, subscription revenue has outpaced advertising revenue for newspapers. That means that more people are paying to read then news than advertisers are paying to sell products. That is a significant shift that cannot be ignored, especially when 68 percent of Millennials are reacting to printed newspaper advertising.
The costs associated with offline marketing are being more than justified by the data and the results. More people than ever are paying to read the news in both printed and digital formats. That means that the money you invest in offline marketing is money well spent and will help to enhance whatever marketing you are doing online.
There may come a day, many decades from now, where digital marketing is the only way that publishers reach their audiences. But the data suggests that we are a long way off from that day and that print media is still very strong. If you want to have a well-rounded marketing program, then you need to utilize offline marketing to reach the people who are willing to look at your printed marketing and react to it immediately.
How Important Are Google Reviews?
Google is always trying to evolve into the ultimate online service for anything that users would ever need and that includes honest reviews for businesses. Google reviews have been around for several years and they are one of the best kept secrets in the Internet marketing world.
What Are Google Reviews?
Google reviews are business reviews submitted by real customers about real businesses. Customers can apply one to five stars to indicate the quality of service and a composite score for those reviews appears whenever the business' profile shows up in local search results. With Google reviews, Google has developed what it feels is the ultimate review system.
How Do Customers Use Google Reviews?
In order for your business to get Google reviews from clients, your business must have an active profile on Google+. Your customers must also have an active profile on Google+ in order to submit reviews about your business. Unfortunately, the need for a Google+ account to utilize Google reviews has not caused a significant rise in Google+ registration. That means that, while it would be nice to get reviews from your clients, it may not happen very much because your clients simply do not use Google+.
Why Are Google Reviews Important?
Google reviews are important because they rank businesses based on the number and quality of the reviews the businesses get. Whenever your business shows up in Google's local business search results, a quick snapshot of your Google reviews accompanies your company profile in the search listings. That means that Google reviews not only determine where your business shows up in Google search results, they can also help to make your business appear to be more reputable than the competition. When it comes to getting new customers, Google reviews can be extremely powerful.
How Do I Start Getting Google Reviews?
ASK FOR THEM! If you do a great job for your clients they will want to leave you reviews so the key is just to ask. The good thing about Google reviews is that anyone can see them, whether they are on Google+ or not. Since the number and quality of your Google reviews has a direct effect on where your business shows up in the Google search results, it is a good idea to start implementing a Google reviews strategy in your Internet marketing plan.
Google reviews is an attempt by Google to make its Google+ social network more relevant. Whether you like Google+ or not, the broad-reaching effects of getting positive Google reviews means that you should get your company a Google+ account and plan on having a professional Internet marketing company put a Google reviews program together for you. Google reviews can be the thing that separates your business from the competition in the Google results pages.
10 Quick Tips for Killer SEO Results
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of updating and developing your website so that it shows up at the top of search result pages for the keywords in your industry. But what many people do not realize is that there is much more to good SEO than just a couple of well-placed keywords in a piece of content. With all of the changes Google has made to its search algorithms, it is now more important than ever that website owners utilize great SEO techniques to make their websites stand out.
Stop Using Paid Links
If you are not an Internet marketing expert, then you may have missed it when Google made putting paid links on your website a bad thing. Google wants all link building to be organic and have relevance to the website that is hosting the links. If your site still has links you paid for, then your site is being punished by Google and you need to remove those links immediately.
Clean Up Your Coding
If you have old coding on your website that references pages and materials that are no longer offered on the site, then you need to clean up that coding. Clean coding speeds up your load times and makes Google happy, so spend some time cleaning up your coding if you want to improve your search results.
Update Your Content
That content you bought four years ago is filled with SEO tactics that were good back in the day, but those tactics no longer work. It is now time to invest in new content for your site that will improve your SEO results.
Clean Up Your Index Page
If you have a movie clip or audio file that automatically starts when your page is loading, then remove it. Google will drop your page in the results rankings if your index page takes longer than two or three seconds to load, so clean up your index page and improve your SEO status.
Fix Those Broken Links
Truth be known, Google hates broken internal and external links. Invest in a piece of software that checks your site for broken links and make sure you run a link check at least once a week.
Make Your Images Smaller
Unless you need high definition images on your website, then reducing the size of your images down to anywhere between 40K and 80K will speed up how fast your site loads and improve your standing with the search engines.
Include A Site Map
Google loves site maps because they make it easier for Google's crawlers to index websites. If you want to get your site moved up in the search results, then create a map for your website.
Make A Long-Term Commitment
Websites that renew their domains year to year tend to have a difficult time moving up in the search engine results pages. Google wants to see a commitment to your website, which means that you should get at least a three-year package on your domain each time you renew. The more years you renew for at once, the better it is for your site.
Get Rid Of Excess Content
If you have content on your site that has nothing to do with the business your website conducts, then it is time to get rid of that content. Don't even archive the excess content. Just delete it and your website will feel much better.
Use Google+ Verified Authors
While it is not absolutely necessary to use authors for your content that are verified through Google+, it doesn't hurt. As you hire writers for your content, be sure to ask if the writers are Google+ verified and always post their Google+ link to improve your content's standing.
5 Things To Think About When Planning Your Business Website
Your business website will be one of the single most powerful marketing tools you will use to promote your business and generate sales. A good website can be a resource for customers to use that will keep them updated on your company and your products. Before you actually launch your website, you should spend some time planning how it will look, what content you will include, and how you will use your site to grow your business.
How Should It Look?
If you sell children's toys, then your website should be functional for adults, but convey the toy theme. A website that offers services for business professionals should look very formal, while a website that looks to offer valuable content should be dynamic and exciting.
Before you launch your site, you need to know what will appeal to your target audience. You should do plenty of market research to understand what your audience expects from your website and what features your audience will utilize.
Not enough companies put time and effort into determining the best ways to allow their customers to interact with their website. You may find that a message board is something your customers will appreciate and use, or your customers may prefer to simply email their thoughts and questions to you. Experiment with different ways to interact with your clients and find the best way to get their input and make them feel like they are part of your decision making process.
Could You Offer Premium Content?
Many companies that have robust technical support features charge a premium for their clients to use those features online. Monetizing your corporate website is not easy, but it can be beneficial to turn your website into a profit center and add revenue to the company bottom line. Analyze the kind of information and services your company offers and determine ways that you can offer premium subscriptions to your clients.
Every business website can benefit from video content, but too much video content can slow your site down and make it ineffective. The important thing to remember is that video content is a functional tool to help your clients and not a novelty to try and draw in more traffic. Product tutorials, instructional videos on support issues, and even special messages to customers from the company president are examples of good ways to utilize video content on your business website.
What Not To Include
If you put too much content on your site, then you diminish your site's value to your clients. Each piece of information, video, picture, and page you put on your website should have value for your audience. Before you start generating written content and taking pictures to put up on your site, you should spend time mapping out exactly how you want your site to look and what content your audience will want to see. If your site does not need a particular type of content, then do not include it on your site.
Professional website development is a good investment for any business because professionals know how to turn the needs of your target audience into a valuable website. It is important to spend plenty of time planning out your business website and getting it right before you put it online for the whole world to see.