It is no secret that mobile web viewing has taken over fixed web viewing*. A site that comes up on a mobile device requiring zooming in, scrolling left, right, up and down is a great way to show you are out of touch with the vast majority of people searching the web.
I’ve said it before, a website is a customer service experience. The ability to use location services eliminates steps a user has to take to map a route to a business putting a potential customer one step closer to your service/product. Also, the simplicity of dialing a phone number by tapping it makes an initial call that much easier. In turn, generating that lead or making a new sale with fewer hurdles on the customer’s end. Not using these features is building unnecessary barriers to new business.
The demographic of mobile users is diverse, but definitely weighted at the younger end. In having a responsive, mobile ready website, an existing businesses can reach out and engage a new, younger customer base.
In being in touch with growing trends and offering the expected customer service experience a younger wider customer base will have trust in, and access to, the services or products your business is offering.
The fact is that people still search on their laptops and desktop computers. In developing a mobile ready site a business is expanding it’s current audience. In looking for growth and new business, a responsive site allows a business to reach people using the internet in different ways.
A few months ago Google announced mobile-friendliness will become a ranking factor when a search is done on a mobile device. Sites that are identified as mobile ready by Google’s algorithm will rank higher on a mobile device than those that are not identified as mobile ready.
Some businesses may think that there ranking won’t be affected on desktops since their customers are not coming to them via mobile. I think that would be shortsighted. Googles algorithm is also looking at click through rates and other elements that mobile ready sites will dominate since mobile viewing is the new norm.
Simply having a website sitting on a server somewhere does not guarantee success for your business or your website. Here are five things that will help fine tune and make your site the business tool that it should be.
My hope is that any designer providing a proposal for a website includes the implementation of Google Analytics. Hosting services provide statistic software, but I haven’t seen many that go as deep or are as helpful as Google Analytics.
Web design is an evolving process. By using site wide analytics, informed decisions can be made on how visual elements need to change to increase engagement and conversions.
One of the best ways to promote your website is through print. I know it is basic, but make sure your website gets on your business card, letterhead or any other marketing collaterall you use.
An offline message can be a huge factor in driving visitors to you site. With 1:1 targeted marketing and USPS’ Every Door Direct Mailing, now more than ever, you are able to communicate on an individual basis with your customer base through print.
Hopefully you have an email list of past clients and current ones.
A service like Mailchimp lets you send out branded html emails. This is a great way to announce to new and old customers that you have launched a new website.
If you don’t have an email list, Mailchimp offers great tools to add to your website to start building a list. As you start to grow a customer list you are developing a way to keep people engaged while your website grows and changes over time.
Social media is the perfect format to announce you have launched a new or revamped website. You may already have had twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts before creating your website. If not, now is a great time to set them up.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to be part of every social media site to see a benefit. Social media is a great way to stay in contact with existing customers. It is also a great way to find new ones. You do, however, want to find the right audience.
Be selective and use the ones that work for you. Empty Pinterest boards, intermittent tweets or empty Facebook feeds do not work in favor of a positive business image.
Now that you have a website, keep it up to date. If you have an online menu, make sure the prices are accurate and that you make that item on a regular basis.
Remember a website is an always evolving, work in progress. The above items offer ways to measure engagement and ways to drive engagement. The most important thing is to keep the content on your site relevant and up to date.
Below are three words I use and frequently explain after speaking them.
Vector Graphic: A graphic based on geometry not a series of dots, allowing it to be proportionally scaled.
I use this term mostly in reference to logos and other design elements related to your business image. This will allow high quality graphics to be generated at any size.
Bitmap: Images made up of a grid of pixel. Also known as a Raster Graphic.
I find I use this when a vector graphic was needed but was not supplied. If you have a .jpg of your logo or business card those are bitmap images and will not reproduce well. For the most part bitmap is another way of saying pixelated.
Copy: Copy refers to the words being used on a website, brochure, business card and any media.
It is at the start of a project where I use this term. I ask if the copy will be provided or will developing the copy be part of the process. Lack of copy can doom a project to project purgatory. With content being essential for search engines well written copy is important and well worth bringing a copy writer in on most any project.
In addition to web design part of my business is selling web hosting. I recently got an interesting response to an annual hosting invoice.
I was thanked for the years of providing great hosting, email support and web design.
The next part shared that all was coming to end.
I was told with social media there is no need for a website.
I was curious if this was a thing. I googled “replacing a website with social media”.
The first result was this “7 Reasons Replacing a Website with Social Media Is Stupid”. I couldn’t agree more with this article. The 7 points are dead on.
If you are thinking of proceeding this way, or need to talk to someone considering this move, please read it. Below are the 3 points that I shared with my client.
1. Credibility – To a small business, trust and credibility is key. Yes, it’s easy to create a Facebook Page for your business, but this low barrier to entry means that many scammers can also book up fake business pages. A website is a step further in credibility. It involves purchasing a domain name and putting thought into content that accurately describes your business. This added depth can’t be matched with just a social media presence.*
2. Control – Have you ever changed the paint color of your house? When you own a house, it’s easy to make improvements. On the other hand, if you are renting, it is either difficult or prohibited. The same principle applies to the web. When you have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you are essentially “renting” space from them, and they have all the control. For example, if you wanted to have a contest on Facebook, you would need to follow their rules. A website allows you to be in total control of your online marketing.*
3. Having a Hub – Think of your online marketing like a wheel. Your strategy should have several spokes that connect back to one hub in the center. A website is the hub of your online marketing. It serves as the one place to which you drive prospects and leads for information and business transactions. Using only social media removes the hub, and the wheel crumbles.*
The article was written in 2011. Social media has developed a lot in the last 3 years. I can only imagine that this misconception is growing.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and others are pretty slick. Your site can be too. Use them to bring people to you. Don’t surrender your identity to their terms and conditions. Be bold. Be yourself.* Kip Bodnar, “7 Reasons Replacing a Website With Social Media Is Stupid,” Hubspot, March 10, 2011 (http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/13639/7-Reasons-Replacing-a-Website-With-Social-Media-Is-Stupid.aspx : 11-26-14), 3 Points; Credibility, Control, Having Hub.
Is your website the employee that is texting with their back turned toward the door or is it the employee that shows up to work early to make sure the doors are open for your customers?
I hope it is the latter!
Either way, just like employees websites need to be trained. From how it is greeting your online customers to getting them to the information they are looking for, training your web site is a process that should start on the day it is launched.
I’ve talked to many people that love their site, but have no idea how it is performing. They know they get some emails from it, but don’t see how many people don’t get past their home page or get lost on the way to the contact page.
Understanding how your website is being used and setting goals for it to meet is essential. To start training your most valued employee contact me and we can get started right away.
Call or text 530-219-6544
1. PDF Version of Logo
To often I hear, “A what? I’ve got a j-p-g.”.
A PDF can create a smooth vector graphic image for any size that is needed. From creating a logo for your website, business card or a billboard on the side of the freeway a PDF is essential.
If you don’t have a pdf or it disapearred on the laptop that died, all is not lost. I have and can recreate the all important PDF all businesses should have.
2. PMS / CMYK Numbers
PMS stands for Pantone Matching System.
CMYK is an abbreviation for the colors in the printing process: C- cyan, M – magenta, Y – yellow and K- black.
These numbers are used for creating consistent color on the web and in print.
They are also an important element in the graphic guidelines of a business.
Many times these guidelines are made early on in the branding process, but can be put together at any time.
It is important to know your passwords to keep a web design project moving forward.
Some important passwords to have accessible:
With privacy being of the utmost importance, all these accounts allow user accounts to be created for your graphic designer.
4. Proper Domain Name Registration
Depending on the scope of a web design project, there are times when access to the domain name registrar is needed.
It is usually at this point, that many people realize the friend, relative or employee that registered the name neglected to include important business or personal information to gain access.
Take a moment and check the whois lookup to see if all your domain information is up to date.
5. A Graphic Designer
This project essential is frequently overlooked. Lately it seems a laptop and a few Adobe products makes someone a designer.
In looking for a designer, take your time, ask questions and review portfolios. Treat it like you are hiring an employee.
Most importantly, sit down and have a cup a coffee with any designers you have in mind.
Knowing if your personalities are a fit is a key component. Make sure you can have a conversation with them and connect. Chances are they could use the caffeine too!
Thanks for checking out my site.
If you didn’t find what you were looking for or have any questions please call me at 530-219-6544.
Rants & Raves is going to offer helpful information for your business image on the web and in print. To see how this section develops follow me on Facebook.