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What Marks a Business as Untrustworthy Online?

Are you a business owner who sees great value in building a reputable online presence? If so, here are four strategic tips to check your online presence and ensure your brand is recognized as the reputable, quality business that you want to provide to your customers.

Check for Spammy Links

Spammy links are defined as links that add no real value to the viewer’s experience. Websites can be guilty of this when they buy links from a link farm or exchange links through link wheels and low-quality press-syndication schemes. Instead, build creative content that people will want to share with their followers, and watch the natural links pour in.

Design a Trustworthy Site

There are several ways that your web design can be seen as untrustworthy by visitors. Having a wall of text saying nothing is one of them. Not having enough white space or too much white space makes a page look bad in a viewer’s eyes. Pages without clear intent also fall into this category. While your viewer may never see it, Google will greatly penalize sites with hidden messages. Suffice it to say, bad web design hurts your business. Instead, take the time to create beautiful web pages that add real value to your target customer’s knowledge.

Avoid Using Similar Names

Some businesses try to trick people by borrowing more successful business’ names. This is a bad idea as you want to only be responsible for your own reputation. Additionally, it’s best if people remember the great experience that they had with your company instead of thinking that it was your competitor who delivered such excellent service. To avoid any mix-ups, buy all website domains that sound a lot like your own so that others cannot claim them in the future. Do the same with any social media accounts that are similar to your company name.

Stay Away from Questionable Reviews

Google now requires that all their posted reviews come from real Google accounts. Nevertheless, many websites continue to post fake reviews. Use a plugin to allow your reviews to show directly on your website. Respond professionally to all reviews, and watch them accumulate. People are more willing to forgive a negative review if they see that you have responded professionally and are taking steps to correct the situation. After all, they realize that you cannot please 100 percent of people all of the time.

Examine your website to make sure that you are not guilty of any of these mistakes. By avoiding these practices, you can help your company to thrive.

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6 Popular Website Design Tips for Better Ratings

Website creation is more exciting than ever as creators benefit from a constant stream of new approaches to building an incredible website. Although there are many competing approaches to web design being featured on a broad range of sites, there are many common elements we can identify to find the best design techniques available for creating a highly rated website today.

Emphasize Mobile Compatibility

In 2018, more people are searching the internet with mobile devices than on desktop computers. This means that designing a highly rated website includes building it with mobile viewing as a primary concern. Emphasizing collapsible layouts, minimalist designs that look better on a smaller screen, icons explicitly designed for mobile use, and choosing images and illustrations that will still be easily recognizable on smaller displays are all essential parts of modern web design. The keyboard is no longer the primary tool used by people navigating the internet; touch-screen icons have to be easy to use and interpret to pull and retain mobile customers.

Related: StatCounter | Mobile and Tablet Internet Usage

Let Custom Illustrations take Center Stage

Popular websites today heavily emphasize the creative use of custom illustrations. Storytelling through illustration can be used to emphasize the voice and culture of your brand in a way that is more compelling than an about-us page or a detailed explanation of your companies values. While text is still the primary way to communicate with the viewer, reactive animated illustrations make your website fun for the viewer to interact with. Most importantly, illustrations, more than photographs or other more complex images, are more easily scale-able to mobile platforms because of their relative simplicity. Utilize illustrations to break up the visual field and stand out from the crowd.

Related: Web Designer Depot | The Use of Illustration in Web Design

Design Beyond the Grid

Minimalist website design layouts of the near past made tremendous strides toward eliminating unnecessary and distracting features from older website layouts. This was partly achieved with the creation of grids that helped simplify and define the functions of each element of the page. While this approach did a lot to modernize and declutter websites, the reliance on grid structures often made sites feel impersonal and sterile. The human element was lost. Today’s best sites incorporate design that hasn’t abandoned the grid but isn’t restricted by it either. Modern layouts utilize overlapping elements and organic shapes to create personality and uniqueness.

Related: Creative Bloq | The Designer’s Guide to Grid Theory

But Don’t Go Overboard

After luring viewers in with SEO and creative marketing, professional sites must effectively accomplish their business objectives without making a bloated site that turns off viewers. An emerging solution is the use of AI and business intelligence to create data visualizations in real time that can quickly communicate information to the consumer in creative, visually appealing ways which effectively funnel consumers into transactions with minimal real estate. That means that there shouldn’t just be sole focus on attracting new clients, but to create a usable and effective website while integrating brand and company identity into it.

Related: TechEmergence | 6 Examples of AI in Business Intelligence Applications

Form Follows Function: Great sites Emphasis Usability

Creating a site with high usability means building it with the user’s needs in mind at every stage. In a modern context, assuming mobile compatibility, a usable site has several other distinct characteristics. It is accessible. Emphasizing SEO and social media tools brings your site to viewers. The tools on your site should be intuitive and easy to learn.The purpose of each page should be clear and should be a part of your marketing funnel. Your site should create a sense of authority, trust and be relevant to your audience’s interest.

Related: InBoundREM | Best Realtor Websites

Break Up the Monotony With Creative Multimedia Utilization

Not long ago, it was common to see websites with long, uninterrupted blocks of text as the primary feature of each page. Websites were divided into clear sections that separated images from stories or comment sections. Modern sites use a multimedia approach to break the visual monotony of sites. Think of this as topically relevant commercial breaks strategically placed inside your content to keep viewers engaged and interacting with your content. Images, videos, illustrations advertisements should be strategically placed within web content in a way that still supports the overall goals of your site.

Related: Louise Myers | Multimedia Content

Approaches to website design are affected by trends in the market just as much as any other creative enterprise. The design philosophies that worked in the past might produce a dated result today. By incorporating one or several of these design philosophies, we can help you create a website that is modern, fresh, and that people will love to visit.

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4 Ways to Create Content for Facebook

If you are like many businesses, you had good intentions when you started marketing on Facebook. Then, you got busy with life and the day-to-day operation of your business, and you pushed marketing on Facebook to the back of your agenda. If this scenario sounds familiar, then you are giving up one of the best marketing tools in your arsenal. While there are many problems with using Facebook to market your business, here are four ways to solve some of the most difficult ones:

Employ Social Listening

Way too many companies try to use Facebook to connect with their customers without spending time listening to those customers. Facebook provides you with a forum where it is easy to listen to your customers. Therefore, use it to engage with real people. Assuming that you are doing a great job in other areas of your business, thanking people for their business on Facebook is a great way to build up customer’s loyalty. Just make sure you are taking the time to respond professionally to each comment be it positive or negatively. If you do not have the time, then some businesses will do this for you.

Post Engaging Content

One of the most significant challenges of using Facebook as a marketing tool is writing engaging Facebook posts. According to Word Counter, Facebook posts with 40 characters or less generated the highest engagement at 86 percent, although they only accounted for 5 percent of all retail brand wall posts. Which means you’re probably going to want to also use plenty of pictures, infographics, videos, and other type of content when strategizing.

Know Your Objectives

Another major problem that business people face when marketing on Facebook is not setting clear objectives. Therefore, they do not know if there marketing is being effective or not. Instead of making a guest, create marketing goals that are specific, measurable, relevant, attainable and timely. Then, work towards meeting those metrics on a daily basis.

Reach Your Targeted Audience

Facebook provides you with a wonderful opportunity to find out who your target audience really is, and why they believe in your product. You would not be the first company to discover that your target audience is not the people that you think. Facebook makes it easy to create lists based on people’s behaviors and interests along with allowing you to create lookalike audiences based on who is currently following your Facebook feed. According to Entrepreneur, you’re going to want to avoid targeting too broadly, boosting posts, copying ads, or make the ad solely about you or your product.

There are many different reasons that your company needs to be on Facebook. Start using the site at least once a day and your company will grow tremendously.

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Social Media Advertising to Sell More Stuff!

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

Social platforms provide advantages for marketers in comparison to traditional internet advertising, in that you can reach people with particular backgrounds and interests. You can also reach people who are highly engaged in the content they are viewing. There are many social platforms that you can advertise on, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the best:

Facebook

Facebook provides a means for businesses to create ads that display in either a user’s news feed or in other locations of the site. According to experts, “68 percent of US adults use Facebook, compared to just 28 percent for Instagram, which is the second most used social network by adults in the US. 96 percent of social marketers say the ROI for Facebook is greater than other social platforms.” So it’s definitely a great platform to reach potential consumers.

Additionally, Facebook’s ads are not only very targeted, but affordable, too. For example, starting at $5 you can boost your company’s posts to a far greater audience than what would generally see them. It is also effortless to create and manage the ads, which are typically approved quickly. Sometimes in a matter of seconds.

On the downside, advertising on the platform is highly competitive. So, to succeed you really need to know what grabs people’s attention on the site. You also need a clearly defined business goal that the ads will drive.

Instagram

Instagram is an excellent platform for businesses looking to connect with a younger and more dynamic user base, who are also more likely to engage branded posts than on other social platforms. Ads display directly in people’s feeds.

Regarding strengths, you can perform very detailed targeting on Instagram. You can target by interests, demographics, behaviors, and locations, and you can choose from 11 different campaign goals. It is also a very visual platform, so you can really show off your products and services. At the same time, you do not have to spend a lot of money creating your ads, as people actually expect to see visuals created by ordinary people.

Instagram, though, does have its drawbacks. Its audience is far smaller than Facebook, and if you want to reach older people, it is probably not your best choice. It is also not the best platform for wordy types of ads.

Twitter

Twitter offers a social platform that reaches hundreds of millions of active users every month, with ads displaying in people’s feeds, searches, timelines and even profiles. Like with most other social platforms, you can target your Twitters ads to a particular audience based on interests. There are also many different types of ads you can choose from.

However, Twitter ads are far from perfect. Their analytics are not as in-depth as other social platforms, and Twitter ads can be more easily missed because of the very nature of the platform. Tweets tend to go by very quickly, and Twitter users tend to spend only short amounts of time there.

Snapchat

Snapchat lets businesses display short video ads on their messaging platform, which like Instagram, is very popular with young people. The advantage of Snapchat ads is that they command greater attention than ads on other social platforms. Sometimes significantly more attention. Also, unlike on some other platforms, their video ads have the sound turned on by default.

The disadvantage of Snapchat ads is that they are short by their very nature. So you must be able to get out your message quickly. Also, users can skip the commercials, which leads to shorter viewing times than video ads on other platforms. Finally, ads display at the end of user videos, which is perhaps not the greatest way to engage users.

So, which social platform should you advertise on? The choice is really dependent on your audience and goals, and the type of ads you will produce. For more information on the kind of content to include in your social media posts, check out our other articles!

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4 Strategies to Increase Customer Conversion

Invest in Your Business; Convert More Customers with Your Website

Owning and operating a business is an investment of time, money and resources. Invest wisely for Greater Conversions.

It’s unlikely you’d invest in a business without a solid business plan. Or a plan in place to manage their online presence.

Your online presence is what you say about your business, and more importantly, what others say about your business and your industry. Your online presence is represented by your website, social media and reputation. Let’s focus on how you can use your website to improve your online presence and increase customer conversions (sign ups, contacts, purchases).

Here are 4 Strategies to Increase Conversions on Your Website

Contact Form

Companies that make it easy for customers to contact them receive more inquiries. A contact form can be as simple as this example, or much more complex, asking for details, availability, past history or reason for the request. The easier the form is for the customer to use, the more customers will use it.

Have you tested your contact form lately? Test your contact methods on a regular basis. Often updating plugins, making changes to your website and moving content within your website will “break” links and forms you’d forgotten were connected.

PROOF: We added a Contact Form to a customer’s website 1 year ago. At the time, the customer’s goal was to increase her business by 33%. Enhancing her website, re-examining the reason customers do business with her and adding a Contact Form resulted in a 50% growth year-over-year.

Curious about the number of visitors to your website and your conversion rate? Check out this handy service to measure your conversion and optimization rate.

Search Engine Optimization

There are several ways you can improve and build internet presence through search engine optimization (SEO) services. Google, for example, allows you to purchase traffic, pay to have your ad ranked higher in local searches, and even purchase traffic on a per-click basis. Just create a Google Ads account and you are on your way.

You can also improve your search rankings for free by offering quality and engaging content. Many businesses include a routine keyword-rich blog post on their company website that helps draw in traffic. The real key to SEO is monitoring the end result; keep track of the number of visitors to each blog post to understand what content is engaging to your customers.

PROOF: SEO is the long-game along with investing and planning for the future. SEO creates results for the long term much like eating well and exercise. You won’t see results overnight but small steps each day result in large gains in time. Such was the case for a local HR firm seeking to have their Listing and website at the top of Google; it took time but they are solidly at the top.

Mobile Website Design

A good website has relevant content for ready-to-buy customers, a company overview, service pages and contact information. If you want to stand out and engage your traffic, then stick to an easy design with a landing page that grabs the attention of your visitors. Need a hand planning out your site, or understanding what you can achieve? Take us up on our free assessment offer today!

Mobile-friendly websites are critical for businesses. Up to 90% of your traffic comes from mobile devices. Customers looking for a hotel, a restaurant or a coffee shop want find the closest location with the highest reviews. If your site is difficult to use on a mobile device, customers will abandon your site within 8 seconds for a competitor’s website.

PROOF: Check your Google Analytics account to determine how many of your visitors come from mobile vs desktop. Log in to your Google Analytics account, click Audience on the left hand-side, chose Mobile and select Overview. (Go figure – ours as of today for all time is 67% desktop.)

Manage Your Online Presence

With modern technology and the abundance of business-oriented search engine services, you shouldn’t have any problems promoting your business online. It just takes a little effort on your part to see a massive boost in traffic. With online marketing, the sky’s the limit. 

Many business owners fail to recognize that their online presence is as much what you say about yourself as it is what others say about you. To manage your online presence, you need to monitor ALL of the online content about your business and industry. Start with a tool like Google Alerts and as your business grows and needs a more robust tool, or your industry becomes more competitive, try Reputation Management.

PROOF: Reputation Management not only monitors your business, industry and employees, it also allows you the ability to monitor competitors. In a competitive industry like real estate or insurance, advisors often rely on competitor data to stay one step ahead of the competition.

These 4 Strategies will Provide Return on Your Investment

Increase your Return on Investment (ROI) starting today with these 4 simple strategies for real results. Be sure to let us know your results!

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