Category

optimizing website

How to Construct a Good Website for Your Business in 2018

By | blog, call to action, inbound marketing, mobile web, optimizing website, testimonials, video, video testimonials | No Comments
Having a well-designed website is something every business owner should prioritize. The main  reason is rather obvious – when people Google you, it is in your interest to create an image of a serious and professional business owner, and with a poorly designed website your reputation is at stake.
 
Bear in mind that standards change, boundaries are being pushed everyday, and if you are to succeed you need to keep up with the demands of the market. The following article will concentrate on the key elements that your website needs nowadays to improve its overall performance and effectiveness.
 

Mobile web optimization

2014 will be remembered as the year when mobile web came to the forefront. Mobile web is no longer a novelty. It has become common sense that your website should be optimized for mobile devices. Having a mobile optimized website will increase its responsiveness which will benefit your site visitors who now visit your site more often with their mobile device. Do not forget to make the navigation of the website user friendly for all the platforms, since people are usually put off by complexity.
 
 
Google has also placed greater emphasis on mobile web optimization.  Sites which are mobile optimized will now benefit from higher rankings and thus improved traffic to your site.  Don’t miss out on this important factor.

Video References or Vocal Testimonials

 
Reviews and testimonials are now everywhere.  Every business must have some sort of customer validation for their products or services in order for the visiting public to take you seriously.  Because testimonials are so commonplace on websites every nuance can make your testimonials stand out from the crowd. This is where video references and testimonials comes to play.
 
 
Video testimonials create greater authenticity and have additional SEO value for your site. It is a proven fact that people will stay longer on your website if there are videos on it, plus your website will be benefit from a higher ranking in Google.  There are a number of tools and apps to create videos but having a video testimonial app such as VocalReferences makes the task all that easier.
 
 
Uploading your videos to YouTube will also give you more SEO juice.  YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google.  Being found in YouTube can be as significant as being found in Google.
 

Increase the Visibility

 
Avoid 3D shadow and 3D texture, a more flat design is actually preferable by the visitors. Sure, you can always brag about the complexity, but it will not do you any good if the visitors are driven away. Moreover choose a suitable homepage picture, and take some time to conduct a survey to select the most appropriate and effective picture.  Make sure that the picture is aesthetically consistent with your website theme.

Clear Call to Action (CTA)

Do not forget to make it abundantly clear for your visitors how to take action – make a purchase or download certain content. Take a look at sites like Amazon, eBay, Skype etc. – these are good examples of a clear call to action.
 

A blog will always benefit your cause

 
Having your own blog, gives you the opportunity to give sound suggestions to your consumers, provide them with relevant information concerning your services, and have some textual content which you can use for linking and inbound marketing. Furthermore, it is an efficient way to socialize with your visitors and convert them into customers.
 
 
In addition you should sign up for a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus account.  After posting new content on your blog, announcing it to all your contacts on all the appropriate Social Media sites will ensure greater coverage, readership and hopefully increased viral opportunities.
 

Infinite scrolling

In the old days having a site with a menu and many, many pages was the norm.  Today with the increased used of mobile devices, flatter sites and long pages are the new norm.  The mobile device re-introduce the benefits of scrolling.  With the flick of a finger a visitor to your site can navigate with ultimate ease through your page and learn more about your value proposition.  If you need to introduce another page make sure it is absolutely necessary for getting the user engaged to either sign-up or purchase.
 

How To Add Testimonials To My Website

By | optimizing website, testimonials, Uncategorized | No Comments

There are many ways to add testimonials to your website; from just adding text to a web page or using an easy to use testimonial app like VocalReferences.  There are many advantages to using a testimonial app over simply listing text testimonials on a page. You can learn more about these features on our website.

Below we will outline the steps you need to take to add the VocalReferences testimonial widget to your web page, add new testimonials and configure the Add Testimonial button to allow your visitors and customers to leave you testimonials right from your website.

Steps to Add Testimonials to Your Website

Adding Testimonials

  1. To start you will need to create an account with VocalReferences.  As you will find on most websites,  you can easily create an account either with your email, your Facebook account or Google account.
  2. Add a testimonial by clicking on the Add Testimonial button inside the Merchant Center
  3. Fill out as much information as you can on the add testimonial form including: the ratings, title, description and any other information about the customer who left the testimonial.  Click Save to save your work.
  4. You can add as many testimonials via the Merchant Center as you like.
  5. You can also import testimonials and reviews from Facebook or from a CSV file.  To do so, follow the instructions found on our importing testimonials help doc.

Check out our gallery of screen shot images below of the steps to add testimonials.

Display Testimonials on Your Website

  1. To display testimonials on your website you will need to add a testimonial display widget to a page on your website.
  2. In the Merchant Center go to the display menu and select layouts
  3. Select the layout which best suits your needs
  4. Customize the layout.  As you customize the layouts, click the preview button to see the impact your changes have on the display.
  5. When you have the layout customized to your satisfaction, click on the Get Code button.  A popup box will display the widget code. Copy the code in the box.
  6. Go to your website editor of your website and select the page to which you wish to add the testimonial widget code.
  7. Paste the code in the editor and click save
  8. View the page with the testimonial widget code in a browser to see the results

Check out our short video clip on how to add our testimonial display widget to your website.

Do I Need a Website for My Business?

By | optimizing website, testimonials, video testimonials | No Comments

Every so often I am approached by a friend or acquaintance who is just starting a new business and they ask me the big question – Do I need a website for my business?  What do you recommend?

After many years of discussing this topic with all those friends and acquaintances, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the topic and hopefully give you some direction as to what to do.

To answer this question I have found it necessary to first understand the main goal behind building a website.  Based on my understanding of the website goals, I can then direct the individual to the appropriate solution.

I can now categorize the goals into three major topics: Basic Business Website, Lead Generator and Online Sales.  Based on where you find yourself with your business in the next 1 to 3 years within these categories will determine your plan of action.  

However I would caution that sometimes the best plans do not always play out in reality and often business people find themselves moving along a continuum from one category to the next.  That’s not so bad as long as you are prepared to either start from scratch or make further investments as the needs arise.  I will now describe in more detail what I mean by each of these categories.

Basic Business Website

This category is for those businesses who wish to have a website as a form of online brochure about their business, products and services.  In 2016 a basic business website is a prerequisite to doing business.  The fact is that most people use the internet today to learn, gather information and find answers.  If you are not there when people are looking for you or your business or your business category then you are losing out. 

To build a basic business site today is very easy and requires very minimal technical skills.  Gone are the days where you have to hire a graphic designer, web developer and a SEO consultant.  There are a number of very easy to use website platforms which are more than what is needed to build a basic business website.  Wix, Yahoo, Webydo, GoDaddy, Jimdo, Squarespace, Weebly are but just a few of the platforms that are ideally suited for this purpose. In my next posting I will be covering in more detail the various options available in this category.

Lead Generator

There are three types of lead generators: online sales leads , offline sales leads, and leads to “Bricks & Mortar”.  Those looking to sell online will need to not only have a site which supports selling a product or service but they will also need to build and experiment with web pages or landing pages which are used to convince people to buy your product or service.  If you are interested in offline sales lead generation you will also need to build and experiment with landing pages, but since you are not selling online, the goal of the landing pages is to generate email or phone leads which then can be used for follow up with interested potential customers.  The final category is Bricks & Mortar businesses which simply want people to pick up the phone or send them an email that they wish to buy or learn more about their products or services.  In this case it would be wise to consider in addition to a basic website, adding your business to various local and general online business directories.

There are a couple a number for options available for building and experimenting with landing pages.  The first option is to use your website.  Build a page on your website which is dedicated to closing traffic.  This may be the simplest and fastest way to get started.  If and when you get started with online advertising you will be able to point the advertising traffic to this specific page on your website.

Another option is to use a landing page platform.  There are a number of these companies who have entered this market over the past few years.  Unbounce is probably the most prominent one.

 

Online Sales

For those businesses that wish to sell online, unfortunately the basic website will not do.  Customers who purchase goods online have come to expect a very simple and easy way to go from selection of product to check out to delivery.  If you fall down with this process you will fail.  There are a number of options available to you and they differ by complexity and cost.  The most basic option is to open up an eCommerce site on a eCommerce platform.  There are a number of these platforms available today such as Yahoo eCommerce, Shopify and Ebay. These platforms will provide you with everything you need to build the sales process described above.

The next option is to open a store on eBay or Amazon.  Again these platforms provide you with the necessary tools to carry out a simple sales process but there are more costs involved.

The final option is to build your own eCommerce site using eCommerce software.  There are a number of eCommerce products on the market.  These products provide you with the maximum flexibility but will require significant ongoing maintenance and development costs.

7 Steps You Can Take Now To Get More Testimonials

By | optimizing website, testimonials, video testimonials | No Comments

business-740074__180Customer testimonials are the best way to build trust in your business, services and products.  Displaying them on your website or Facebook page tells your online market that you have happy & satisfied customers who stand behind your business.  Once you realize the importance of having testimonials on your website to support your business’s reputation, how do you go about collecting testimonials?  

Many of our own customers have been collecting testimonials for a while. We have taken their best practices and come up with 7 easy steps that you can take now to get testimonials for your business.

Step 1 – Identify a happy customer – Every happy customer is a testimonial opportunity

The first step is to identify your target opportunities.  Here is a list of where we’ve found customer testimonial opportunities:

1.  A paying customer.  Someone who has taken one of his most precious possessions (i.e. his hard earned cash) and given it to you, is the surest sign that you have a customer who is intrigued and sees the value proposition of your offering.

2. A customer interaction with Customer Service.  A short call for assistance or an interaction that started off very bad but then turned great, are both proven testimonial opportunities.

3. An excited customer.  Some customers come into your store, buy and leave, while others linger, ask questions, smile or are interested in a conversation. Be on the watch for these engaged customers.  They represent prime candidates for giving you a testimonial.

4. A recurring purchase or repeat customer.  If they come back you are doing something right.  Give them a chance to share their satisfaction with others via a testimonial.

5. A customer who shared their comments about your business with others. They may have recommended you to a new customer or shared their experience on a social network. Continuously scan the internet for these types of customer comments and next time you do business with them, invite them to share their positive energies for your website. 

Step 2 – Send a request or ask for a testimonial on the spot

Sending a request via email or sms is the easiest way to pursue a testimonial. You don’t have to deal with the potential of an uncomfortable moment.  After the sale, remember to send them an email or SMS asking for feedback or a testimonial.  Some businesses have online forms which make it easy for their customers to complete the task.  Others offer coupons to purchase again in exchange for a testimonial.

Asking a customer for a testimonial is more direct and is more effective. After a customer leaves your premises, the chances of them leaving you a testimonial begins to diminish over time.  They are busy with their own lives and submitting a testimonial to your business is not a priority.  This is why soliciting a testimonial directly while they are in front of you will increase the probability of getting one.  (Our mobile apps were designed and built specifically for this purpose.  Try them out.)

Step 3 – Add a Submit Testimonial button to your website

Make it easy for your customers to leave you something.  Nothing could be easier than clicking on a button and leaving comments.  You could send people to your website to leave a testimonial there.  You could also insert a link to your testimonial form in your regular communication via emails and newsletters.

Step 4 – Display testimonials on your website

This may seem obvious but having new customers see that others have submitted a testimonial will give them further encouragement to leave one themselves.  Having up to date testimonials on your website is imperative to continue to show your visitors that your business is still satisfying customers.

Step 5 – Display testimonials on your Facebook page

If you don’t have one, you should set up a business page in Facebook.  It is very easy to do.  Customer testimonials is a great piece of content to share with your Facebook customers.  If you are fortunate enough to capture a video testimonial then sharing it on Facebook can make that testimonial even more effective.

Step 6 – Share on social media and other sites

Being relevant on the Internet today takes a lot of work.  This is something we hear over and over again from our customers.  There are so many places to add content to.  Try to find the most significant places and invest your time there or every week take a different social network and invest some time on that one.

Step 7 – Include testimonials in outgoing correspondence

We have a customer who includes their testimonials on every email that they send out.  Others include them in their proposals and newsletters.  In our electronic world it is very easy to pop in a link to your testimonial page in your email signature and thus ensure that everyone has access to your happy satisfied customers.

Do you have a favorite method for collecting testimonials?  Share them with us and we will provide you with a 10% discount off our company’s testimonial product VocalReferences.

6 Tips on Building an Effective Website

By | blog, call to action, inbound marketing, mobile web, optimizing website, testimonials, video, video testimonials | No Comments

Constructing a Good Website for Your Business

Having a well-designed website is something every business owner should prioritize. The main reason is rather obvious – when people Google you, it is in your interest to create an image of a serious and professional business owner, and with a poorly designed website your reputation is at stake.  Bear in mind that standards change, boundaries are being pushed everyday, and if you are to succeed you need to keep up with the demands of the market. The following article will concentrate on the elements that your website will most certainly need nowadays for the sake of improving its overall performance. Not only that, some suggestions will also be mentioned connected to the manner in which your website should be designed.

Mobile Web Optimization

In year the 2015, mobile web was no longer a novelty, it has become common sense that your website should be optimized for mobile devices. With such an element, your website will increase its responsiveness, which can only be a benefit. Do not forget to make the navigation of the website user friendly for all the platforms, since people are usually put off by complexity.  In addition Google is on the look out for websites which are “mobile friendly”.  It is highly recommended that you take a look at what Google has to say on building and designing an optimized mobile website.

Video References or Vocal Testimonials

This is an improved version of the reviews of your services, provided by customers. Written reviews are very hard to collect, and are not as authentic as the recorded ones. In addition to authenticity and accessibility, video references will increase the conversion rate of your website. It is a proven fact that people will stay longer on your website if there are videos on it, plus your website will be ranked higher in Google search results.  The combination of video testimonials is a winning formula for improving the success of your business website.

Increase the Visibility

Avoid 3D shadow and 3D texture, a more flat design is actually preferable by the visitors. Sure, you can always brag about the complexity, but it will not do you any good if the visitors are driven away. Moreover. choose a suitable homepage picture, and take some time to conduct a survey based on which you are going to make your choice. Make sure that the picture is aesthetically consistent with your website theme.  Don’t forget to add Alt tags and descriptions to all graphics that you insert in your website for added SEO value.

Clear Call to Action

Do not forget to make it abundantly clear for your visitors how to take action – make a purchase or download certain content. Take a look at sites like Amazon, eBay, Skype etc. – these are good examples of a clear call to action.

Blog will always benefit your cause

With the availability of a blog, you have the opportunity to give sound suggestions to your consumers, provide them with relevant information concerning your services, and have some textual content which you can use for linking and inbound marketing. Furthermore, it is an efficient way to socialize with your visitors and convert them into customers.

Infinite scrolling

It can turn out be an amazing design feature if you have numerous pictures of products on your website, like clothing and accessories. As far as other lines of work are concerned, such as services or technology, a catalog is a far better option for reaching your target audience.