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How to Organize Your Website for Better Search Effectiveness

Posted Wed, August 6, 2014 by Julie Short

For all the discussion that revolves around search engine optimization, many business owners (and more than a couple of web designers) tend to focus on the wrong things, or miss the obvious. That's often the case when it comes to website structure (how your pages and links are organized), which can have a surprisingly-large effect on how easy your content is to find.

That effect comes in two ways: how your pages are displayed in search results, and how well Google and the other search engines are able to understand what lives where on your business website.

In the first case, a website with an easy-to-use site structure can be displayed multiple ways in Google search engine listings, and even have "sub-results" for individual pages. And to the second point, search engines can't necessarily find or crawl your content without the right webmaster tools. Even when they can, they may not understand how pages work in relation to one another, which in turn means they don't know how they should be displayed, either.

Luckily, it's not that difficult to organize your website for search effectiveness. Here are a few basic ideas we always keep in mind when working with our clients:

Draw a flowchart before you begin. This will allow you to envision the way your website pages should be set up. It also gives you the chance to ensure that everything follows a logical flow from one topic to another.

Make it easy to get from A to B. Try not to "bury" anything on your business website, particularly if it's an important topic or product. A good rule of thumb is that it shouldn't take more than two or three clicks to reach any part of your website from anywhere else.

Stick to languages Google understands. Lots of designers love flash and animation, but these are hard for search engine spiders to crawl. Code your site in HTML or CSS whenever possible to make it more searchable.

Don’t draw visitors too deeply into the rabbit hole. If your website goes more than three or four layers deep (something you can see from your flowchart), find out if you can simplify it. The deeper you go with individual layers, the harder it is for users to find what they're looking for.

Make sure your navigation menu is easy to see and use. It should be visible from every page, of course, and with main topics and subcategories that are easy to understand.

One thing you might notice about these tips is that they aren't just good for search engine optimization; they also make your site easier for actual customers to use. That's the whole point. Search engines just want what people do, and that's a website that's clear, intuitive, and full of great content.

Are you getting all you can from search engines and social media? Talk to the San Antonio web design team at WebRevelation today to see how we can help take your Internet marketing to the next level.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content , Websites | 
Tags : websites , organization , effective


5 Web Design Blunders Visitors Hate

Posted Wed, July 30, 2014 by Julie Short

If you are like most of the business owners and marketing executives we work with, you probably don't want to unintentionally drive new customers away from your website. In fact, the thought of watching that revenue slip away probably makes you queasy.

Even so, we see websites every single day that have fatal flaws. Despite their best intentions, the owners of these sites are doing their very best to scare buyers into clicking in another direction.

Are you making the same mistakes? We hope not, but now is a good time to check and be sure. Here are five web design blunders visitors absolutely hate:

1. Unconventional or sloppy designs. Although it might seem unfair to lump "unconventional" and "sloppy" web designs together, to your customers they are one and the same problem. That's because all of us use dozens of websites every day. We know what they're supposed to look like, and how they should work. When you deviate too far from that, you make it difficult for people to actually use your site, which makes them want to look for answers elsewhere.

2. Hidden content. When you have content on your website that isn't crawled by search engines, or can't be found within your internal link structure, you have a problem. That's because it's going to essentially be invisible for most customers. In that case, you can’t get the sales you want because they can't find the information they need.

3. Huge blocks of text. Have you ever come across a web page that has lots and lots of information, but in long, imposing paragraphs without any subheadings? If so, then you already know how easy it is to just take your attention elsewhere. Having big blocks of uninterrupted text is like inviting visitors to take their time and attention to one of your competitors.

4. Pop-ups and obtrusive ads. Although some marketers swear by on-page pop-ups, blinking ads, and other forms of Internet obnoxiousness, the reality is that readers will usually tolerate them, but almost never like them. There are plenty of ways to make your most important offers stand out without driving visitors aggressively from your website. Why shout when a whisper will do just as well?

5. Unanswered questions. There are probably a lot of basic questions you're used to hearing about your products or services: how much they cost, how long they take to get, what "fine print" comes along with the purchase, and so on. If these aren't answered on your website, it makes it seem as if you have something to hide.

Making your business stand out, online or off, is hard enough without shooting yourself in the foot. So, if you notice one of these five blunders on your own website, take care of it now before it can impact your business even more.

Is your website suffering from a fatal flaw? Talk to the creative team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Business Strategy | 
Tags : websites , effective design


Do You Know What Unforgettable Content Looks Like?

Posted Wed, July 23, 2014 by Julie Short

Most marketers don't necessarily know what unforgettable content looks like, or how it’s created, but they definitely know what it feels like. We've all come across an article, picture, video, or even an email that changed our perspective, moved us to action, or inspired us to forward what we have seen to a dozen other people.

So, why is it so hard to create that in our own marketing?

From our experience, there are really two issues. The first is that any piece of content can be hit or miss. What seems like a sure thing to you might not be well received by your customer base, and something you've come up with off the cuff could end up being wildly popular. The second issue is that most people aren't really sure what the ingredients for unforgettable content are.

We can’t necessarily help you in the first case. If you want to create great content, you'll probably have to experiment with lots of it. We can tell you what great content is made of, though. Here are a few things you need to consider:

Truly great content has to center on a popular topic. Popular simply means that the readers that matter to you care about it. In other words, all of your content doesn't have to center on pop culture or front-page news, but it does have to involve something that your buyers will read or think about.

It's important to create an emotional response with readers or viewers. Most effective content isn't strictly informational in nature; it also has an emotional edge or appeal to it. Get people to laugh, cry, or just take notice, and chances are you're off to a very good start.

Most great pieces of content have some entertainment value. While entertaining readers, viewers, or customers might not be the point of your content, it's not a bad idea to keep the entertainment value of your articles and posts in mind. Think of it this way: Jokes, drama, and visuals are like the sugar coating that helps your marketing medicine go down easier.

Some content is perfect just because it's timely. One easy way to make your content popular – and thereby more effective – is to tie it to something timely. Whether you look to the calendar or the news, you can probably search out something that can serve as a "hook" to tie your content to.

Every great piece of content needs a strong title and searchable keywords. No matter how great your articles and social posts are, it won't matter if readers and potential customers can’t find them, or if they aren't interested enough to check them out. You can't ignore titles and keywords, so work with them as long as you need to in order to get things right.

The great thing about these ingredients is that they give you a blueprint for creating lots of fantastic content again and again. That way, even the pieces that don't seem like big winners still end up contributing to the overall effectiveness of your Internet marketing plan and search engine optimization platform.

Most of us know great content when we see it… now you have a good plan to help you create it, too.

For help with business web design, search engine optimization, e-commerce, and so much more, contact the team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content , Websites | 
Tags : website , great content , marketing


The Catch-22 of Small Business Web Design

Posted Wed, July 16, 2014 by Julie Short

Small businesses often face an interesting marketing dilemma: Customers really like working with them on the one hand, but love the convenience and low prices that big, well-known chains and corporations can offer on the other.

The Internet can balance things out a little bit, but there's no question that the larger players in any industry almost always have a distinct advantage when it comes to marketing themselves. How can you, as a small business owner or manager, take advantage of the fact that the public is on your side and attract new customers in a cost-effective way?

Here are a handful of easy-to-follow web design tips that can help you do just that:

Simplify everything. For all of their great design features and functionalities, buyers don't necessarily love the complexity of big websites. If you can keep your web presence simple and straightforward – showing visitors what you do and why they should work with you – you'll be more likely to get new buyers to give you a try.

Allow for easy ordering and inquiries. The more hoops someone has to jump through to do business with your company, the easier it is for them to decide to just stick with their existing source or vendor (often a bigger business). Make it as easy as possible to open an account, place an order, or contact your company directly if needed.

Provide lots of info. Don't make visitors guess about what they're in for if they place an order with your company. Give them lots of information that tells them what will happen, how much they'll be charged and when, what sort of questions they'll have to answer, and so on. This is another way to reduce the barriers (real or imagined) that could stop someone from working with you.

Give rock-solid guarantees. With offers like a "money-back guarantee," customers have little to risk when it comes to deciding whether or not to give you a try. As a smaller business, you should know exactly how good your products and services are. Advertise that, and then don't be afraid to stand behind what you sell.

Be friendly and personal. Lots of small business owners like to hide the fact that they’re small. While that's sometimes wise, you can sometimes make a better impression by highlighting your personal touch. The most obvious way to do this is by including a little bit of personal or biographical information on your website. When people know and like you, they want to help you succeed – something few people will ever say or feel about a bigger business.

Having a small business might not always seem like an advantage, but it certainly can be. The fact that so many people like to root for the "little guy," especially when it comes to spending their money, is a powerful factor in your favor. Set up your small business website in the right way, and you can tilt the odds of winning new customers into your favor.

Need help with a new website for your business? Contact the team at WebRevelation today by calling 817-283-3324.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : small business , websites , tips


4 Things to Know Before You Launch an Online Store

Posted Wed, July 9, 2014 by Julie Short

Even the prospect of launching your first e-commerce site can be exciting. There are so many choices and opportunities in front of you, not to mention the possibility of finding a new revenue stream that can continue for years without forcing you to spend long hours at the desk.

There is more to building a profitable online store, though, than simply choosing an e-commerce template and watching the profits roll in. To help you get a sense of what the most successful Internet entrepreneurs know, here are four things to keep in mind before you launch your first (or next) online store:

1. Most products really don’t sell themselves. Occasionally, we meet with would-be entrepreneurs and e-commerce site owners who think they’ve stumbled upon the one product that's virtually guaranteed to go viral and bring them huge profits in a short amount of time. Even if that were possible, it's likely you'd be facing some pretty stiff competition in no time at all. The reality is that it is relatively easy to spread the word about great products and services online, but you still need a strong Internet marketing plan to get the ball rolling.

2. Trust matters. Trust is incredibly important to e-commerce for a couple of reasons. First, if searchers and shoppers don't trust you or your site, they aren't going to enter in their credit card information and complete a purchase. And second, if you don't build trust over time by following through on your promises and guarantees, then no one is going to trust you going forward.

With that in mind, it's important to build trust by putting visible reminders of your business associations, e-commerce verifications, and other credentials on your e-commerce site. Then, make service and transparency a top priority to get the reviews and reputation you need.

3. You’ll have to work to get (and keep) customers. One of the reasons that e-commerce is getting tougher is that search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are more competitive than ever. That means you're going to have to work hard or spend money (and possibly both) to win your first few customers. After that, you'll have to keep them coming for great products, top service, fast shipping, or low prices… and possibly a combination of a few of those factors.

4. E-commerce is all about efficiency. The most successful online stores aren't always the flashiest or most popular. Instead, they are the ones that continually refine their marketing and budgeting approaches, working one percentage at a time, slowly but gradually improving their financial picture. Whether your store is a hit from the day it launches or takes a while to gain momentum, never fall into the trap of being satisfied with what you have.

Make no mistake: You can grow a popular and profitable online store, often in less time than you would think. But, it's going to take a little bit of imagination, a lot of hard work, and the right e-commerce design team on your side.

Posted in : Business Strategy , e-commerce , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : ecommerce , marketing , tips


How to Attract the Best New Talent to Your Company this Hiring Season

Posted Wed, July 2, 2014 by Julie Short

To attract the best employees, you need to capture the attention of this year's most talented college graduates. Job boards and campus recruiting are two great ways to spread information. But to reach the widest pool of job seekers, you also need to maximize the one resource that every company has at its disposal: your company website. A website that is coherently branded, contains solid information, and is easy to navigate gives young job seekers a good first impression and can even predispose them to want to work for you.

Use your website to promote your brand

If producers decided to make a film about your company, what Hollywood actor would play your CEO? What genre would the film be? Would it be a romantic comedy or a period drama? What’s the soundtrack like?

You get the idea. According to talent maximization expert Roberta Matuson, "attraction trumps recruitment time and time again". HBR's poll of 15,000 millennials supports this idea: the number one thing young people look for in a company is "people and culture fit" – much more so than salary.

Related post: Does Your Website Effectively Reflect Your Brand?

Think of your website as projecting your company's identity and telling its story. Images, color, layout and font need to be consistent so that your brand is both recognizable and stays with your viewer. Create personable, engaging profiles of your employees – or, if you’re a larger organization, your leaders – so that the culture and work environment are part of the primary focus.


Make sure the site is easy to navigate

A few years ago, it was popular to construct websites that held their viewers hostage with disabled back buttons and large popup windows. Now these features are understood to be cardinal sins of web design. All features like this do is irritate the viewer, who will simply close the browser and start all over again, making a mental note not to return to your site. Ouch.

Keep distractions to a minimum. You want to construct an appealing website that prospective job seekers not only want to explore but also immediately know how to explore. You can accomplish this goal in the following ways:

  • Make your company information easy to access by adding a professional-looking "contact us" form or button on every page.
  • Streamline the content on your site so that viewers can load it in under four seconds.
  • Include a clear navigation map on your header or footer. Visitors should never have to click at random to find their way around the site.

Don't forget the bells and whistles

We said to streamline, we know – but there are a couple extras that aren’t actually extras at this point. If you’re going to attract young talent to your company, you must have these two things:

  • Mobile-ready design
  • Strong social media presence

Related post: 4 common pitfalls of mobile web design


A report by beyond.com states that 77 percent of job seekers are using mobile apps to locate jobs. Not having a mobile-ready site is almost as big a mistake as not utilizing social media to advertise and promote your company brand. The number one way that millennials learn about great companies to work for is recommendations from friends; and social media is one of the main ways that friends stay in touch. A mobile-optimized site and a solid social media presence will drive the traffic you want straight to your website.

When you’re trying to attract new grads to your company, remember that making yourself visible is half the battle – so use your website wisely, and you’ll be receiving applications in no time.  

 

Posted in : Websites , Business Strategy | 
Tags : attracting , hiring , college , graduates


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