Monday, 8 May 2017

How Important is Design in 2017?

When people look at incredibly successful companies like Apple, one of the questions they often ask is what separates this specific company from all of its competitors. In the case of Apple, one of the answers that most people agree with is design. For the last couple of decades, Apple has placed a huge emphasis on the design of everything it does. From the company’s products to their marketing efforts, Apple has a design aesthetic that’s unmistakable.

While it’s easy to write-off a company like Apple as an outlier, the importance of design can be seen across all kinds of companies. Even though they’ve only been around for a few years, startups like Casper have used design to make a big splash. And the positive impact of design isn’t limited to physical products. You can look across the landscape of software as a service (SaaS) companies and find plenty of newcomers that have been able to take significant share away from incumbents simply by putting more thought into the design of their user experiences.

Given the significant role that design can play, we want to go over a few more reasons why design is so important to businesses in 2017 and beyond:

It Sells

With a topic like design, it’s easy to get so into the theory of this practice that it seems too abstract to really move the needle for a business. Dispelling this feeling is part of why The Design Council conducted a thorough review of 63 FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange) companies. Over the course of this decade-long study, The Design Council discovered that companies which prioritized design outperformed the FTSE 100 Index by an incredible two hundred percent. Based on these findings, every $100 invested in things like logo designing services would result in $225 in additional revenue.

Creates Trust

Multiple studies have found that when people visit a site with great design, they instantly trust it more than a site with poor design. While there are sites that have succeeded in spite of poor design, there’s no reason to put your business at this disadvantage when there’s a clear solution.

Brand Value and Retention

In an era when people are bombarded with more advertising and marketing messages than ever before, the value of branding only continues to increase. While branding encompasses more than just aesthetics, design plays an important role in this process. Creating a brand with a look that people respond to will increase how memorable your business is, as well as its overall value.

Now that you know more about exactly why design is so important, you may be wondering what this means for your business. Since great design isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s very useful to have an experienced team on your side. So if you’re looking for web design in Cincinnati or other graphics designing services, Web Strategy Plus is ready and able to take your design efforts to the next level.

Getting Visitors to Your Local Business Website

It’s important for a local business website to look great and load quickly. It’s also important for this type of site to be filled with quality content that will hold visitors’ attention. However, none of those factors are going to matter much if a site is the equivalent of an online ghost town. Given how much competition there is among local and all other businesses online, it’s no longer enough to simply have a great website. Instead, businesses need to have a clear strategy for driving visitors to their website. Since this is something businesses across a wide range of industries struggle with, we want to share some advice on what actually works for getting visitors to your local business website in 2017:

1. Tag Optimization

If you’ve done any research into search engine optimization services, you may have read that meta tags are no longer important. While there’s some truth to that statement, it actually overlooks something quite significant. Although Google doesn’t use the meta keyword tag in its ranking, both the title and description tags are used to determine what’s displayed when a business website shows up in search results. So being strategic about what you write in both of these tags can have an impact on your site’s ranking, as well as getting searchers to click your result instead of any others on the page.

2. Quality Citations

Citations are the term used to refer to links from directories. You’ll want to ensure you have citations from large directories like Yelp, as well as smaller directories that specialize in your industry. The citations you’ll want to claim and optimize include Google My Business, which is the current system that Google uses for the data it shows in the three-pack of results at the top of many local search pages. It’s also important for all of your citations to be correct and consistent across directories.

3. Online Reviews

Not only are online reviews another factor that Google takes into account, but what’s written about your business across the Internet can either drive meaningful amounts of visitors or prevent people from even considering your business. There are a variety of different ways to increase the number of online reviews your business gets without breaking any guidelines. You can also use the reviews you receive to enhance initiatives like landing pages and ultimately improve the effectiveness of things like PPC advertising services.

While implementing any or all of what we covered above will benefit your business, completing these tasks in-house can be a challenge. If you want to work with experienced providers of local SEO services who have a track record of success, the Web Strategy Plus team can help craft and implement a strategy that’s tailored to the specific needs of your business.

How to Improve a Business Website That’s Falling Short

In 2017, there’s no longer a question of whether or not businesses should have a website. Given that most people spend hours online each day, the benefits of having a website are clear. What isn’t always as clear is how to reap the full benefits that the right business website can provide. Plenty of businesses don’t see a meaningful increase to their bottom line despite having a website. Since this is a fairly common issue and one that has many causes, we want to highlight some of the best ways to improve a business website that isn’t living up to expectations:

Understand the Customer Journey

When someone visits a business website for the first time, it’s unlikely that they’re going to immediately make a purchase, request a free quote or schedule a consultation. Those types of activities require a high level of trust, which can be hard to establish when someone comes to your site for the first time. Overcoming this hurdle is why getting visitors’ email addresses continues to be so important for virtually all business websites. By using an email popup or overlay tool (this is something a WordPress development services can help you implement) and offering something of value in exchange for an address, you can start building a list. Then as people on the list interact with your business more through the emails you send, the likelihood of them becoming a customer will increase significantly.

Communicate Clearly

Your website will be many people’s first interaction with your business. Since many of these initial interactions may occur on pages other than your site’s home page, it’s important to audit your site to ensure that each page clearly communicates what your business is about and the value it has to offer.

Look for Shortcomings

Even with a free tool like Google Analytics, you can get a lot of detailed information about what people are doing on your website. This type of tool makes it easy to spot pages that are performing below the average of the rest of your site. If you discover that certain problems are being caused by technical issues with your website, a web development company can help solve them. The same is true for removing unnecessary elements of a page that are distracting visitors from its core purpose.

Consistently Produce Compelling Content

Because the Internet has become such a busy place, it’s no longer enough to create a small business website and then leave it untouched. Your site needs to be consistently updated with new content that’s relevant and valuable to the type of people you want as customers.

If you’re in need of small business web design services to take your site from floundering to thriving, Web Strategy Plus has an expert team that can help.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

What Can You Do About a Lackluster Business Website?

If your business has a website but it's failing to attract any new customers, you may feel at times like you don't even have a website. Although it's very frustrating to be in this position, the good news is your site doesn't have to remain a source of stress. Instead, the right website development company can help you transform it into a great marketing channel.

Since you may be wondering what exactly can transform a lackluster business website into a great one, we want to cover several different examples:

Mobile Friendly

One of the biggest shifts over the last five years has been how many people use a phone or tablet as their primary way to get online. Because laptops and desktops are no longer the default devices used to get online, it's essential for a business website to look great and function well on smaller screens. By working with a website redesign company, you'll be able to get a responsive design for your site. This type of design will instantly adapt your site to any size of screen that it's loaded on.

Calls to Action

Another issue that plagues plenty of business websites is a lack of focus. It's important for a website to have a focused flow that takes visitors through a sales process. After introducing them to what the business is all about, you're going to want to get them to buy or at least enter their email address. Adding the right calls to action throughout a site will help accomplish this very important goal.

Loads Fast

It wasn't all that long ago when people were used to having to wait many seconds or even minutes for a website to load. However, Internet speeds have dramatically increased over the years, which means people no longer have that kind of patience. If a site takes more than a few seconds to load, the majority of people are going to leave it. On top of that, Google wants to deliver a great experience to its users, which means that speed has become one of the top factors its algorithm takes into account when ranking sites.

Great Content

When someone comes to your website, you want to be sure that there's compelling content for them to read. Content is also essential for ranking well in Google. Even though it can be overwhelming to figure out what content you need and then create it, working with an experienced team will make this process surprisingly easy.

So if you want to transform your website by making it mobile friendly, using the right calls to action, ensuring it loads fast and filling it with great content, you need a reliable website designing service. That's why you should take a look at the redesign services offered by Web Strategy Plus and then contact us for a free consultation.

Monday, 13 March 2017

The Best SEO Techniques for 2017

One of the reasons that search engine optimization is so challenging is it's a field that's always changing. In many cases, techniques that worked well just a year ago are no longer effective. There are two reasons this may happen. The first is when people rely on techniques that fall into either a gray or black area with Google's guidelines. If enough people start using this type of technique, Google will take action against them. Since that action can mean losing all search engine traffic, Web Strategy Plus always recommends sticking to SEO techniques that fall within Google's guidelines.

The other reason a technique that used to work well may no longer be effective is it gets used by too many sites. Even if the technique isn't breaking any guidelines, search engine optimization strategies that become very common aren't going to be enough to move the needle for a website in a meaningful way. So if you're considering enlisting professional search engine optimization services, it's important to choose a digital marketing agency that understands Google's guidelines but is also always looking for which technique within that area will provide a meaningful edge.

To help highlight some of the types of practices that can get your website to the top of Google for keyword phrases that your potential customers are using, we want to highlight four of the best SEO techniques for the upcoming year:

1. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

As more people use mobile devices to get online, Google has continued to increase the amount of emphasis it places on speed. One way to increase how fast your website loads on mobile is to integrate Google's AMP technology into your website. By utilizing AMP, you can optimize your site to load faster, which in turn will appeal to Google's ranking algorithm.

2. Local SEO

Part of Google's focus on delivering the most relevant results possible is providing local options whenever it makes sense. Ensuring your website is fully optimized for local search results can open up new possibilities that you may not have even realized were available. That's why the right local SEO services can be so valuable.

3. Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are a special block that Google often displays when users type in a question. Because this is the very first thing that Google displays for relevant queries, creating a strategy for featured snippets and then implementing this strategy into all your content creation efforts can yield significant results.

4. Video SEO

While video was huge during 2016 and only stands to become an even bigger driver of online activity in 2017, very few businesses are utilizing this medium as part of their SEO efforts. By not only creating interesting videos on a regular basis, but also optimizing them for search prior to publishing, you can get your business in front of viewers who are eager to consume online video.

If you want to ensure that you're taking advantage of all the right SEO techniques for your business this year, be sure to contact Web Strategy Plus for a free consultation.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

How to Develop a Strategy for Social Media, Blogging and SEO

While businesses can still drive great results through social media channels, there is a lot of competition for attention. Not only do businesses have to compete with each other for social media attention, but there are also countless publishers who want to keep social media users engaged for as long as possible so they can generate advertising revenue.

Because social media has matured as a marketing channel, it's important to have a solid strategy in place for using it. To fully maximize the value of social media, it's best to have an integrated strategy that includes blogging and SEO. We're going to cover some of the things to evaluate as you put together this type of strategy:

Find the Right Consistency

When we talk to businesses about their content marketing efforts, one of the most common reasons they aren't seeing the results they want is they're not consistent. Although it's easy to understand why consistency is important, getting content out on the same schedule can be an uphill battle. That's why it's helpful to find the right consistency for your specific business and resources. You should also consider enlisting the help of a content writing service to keep your production on track.

Experiment with Different Timings

In addition to being consistent with social media updates, blog posts and other types of content, it's worth looking at the impact of sharing during different times of the day. Since the audience of your business may be significantly different from others, you may find that sharing at an unexpected time of the day drives the best results.

Know What Your Competitors Are Doing

Copying your competitors isn't going to help you get ahead. That being said, it's worth keeping an eye on what they're doing. If notice a big change or them doing something that stands out, you can see if it makes sense to incorporate into your own strategy. For example, if a competitor suddenly improves their search engine rankings for multiple keywords, it may be time for you to hire a search engine optimization service.

Give Your Content a Purpose

When you're thinking of ideas for different content, it's important to think of the impact each one will have on your business. Whether it's to attract potential customers by sharing useful information or to help close a sale, the important thing is to identify this in advance and then make sure the content is crafted with that goal in mind.

There are a lot of elements that go into creating a cohesive strategy for social media, blogging and SEO. If you're looking for a way to jumpstart your efforts, be sure to take a look at how our social media management and marketing services can help.

Learn What Graphic Design Can Help Businesses Accomplish

Most business owners have no shortage of places to focus their attention. The real challenge is figuring out which things are actually worth some attention. Graphic design is a great example of this. Even if a business doesn't currently utilize anything like logo design services, they've probably at least thought about this topic. We want to expand that line of thinking by covering some specific ways that the right graphic design services can help a business flourish:

1. Create a Great First Impression

Whether it's online or offline, most consumers are going to form their opinion of a business within a few seconds. This small window can mean the difference between someone buying from a business on an ongoing basis or never interacting with it again. By making graphic design a priority, you can ensure that wherever it occurs, people's first impression of your business is formed in a positive way.

2. Tell Your Brand's Story

Creating a brand with a story that people connect to is a powerful way to elevate your business above your competitors. Although telling a brand story in a way that really resonates is no easy task, graphic design is one of the most powerful tools for accomplishing this goal.

3. Stand Out From the Crowd

Before you can get anyone to care about your brand's story, you need for them to notice your business and view you in a different light than your competitors. As long as you work with the right team, graphic design can provide a solution for elevating the way your business is viewed above any other competitors in your space.

4. Make Your Brand More Memorable

Continuing with the theme of making your brand stand out, graphic design provides a way to help ensure people remember your business and what it's all about. Given everything people are bombarded with on a daily basis, that's something that's easier said than done. Utilizing aspects of graphic design like a custom logo design can give your business the edge it needs to not only capture people's attention, but also hold it.

5. Drive Revenue

While topics like branding can seem a little abstract at times, these activities should all tie back to your bottom line. Even though there are plenty of examples of businesses investing quite a bit in branding and failing to move the needle for their most important metrics, that's almost always the result of losing sight of having a direct connection between these aspects of a business. By approaching graphic design as a tool for driving revenue, you will be able to make decisions that revolve around this specific goal.

If you're ready to start reaping all the benefits that great graphic design has to offer, take a look at our graphic design services and then get in touch with us to discuss what you need done.