Want to Update Your Website? Here’s how!

Feb 17th, 2016

The Internet is such a fast-changing place that if you own a website there will come a time when you decide it’s time to give it a bit of a facelift. Or maybe the worst has already happened and your customers and visitors have already mentioned that it could use a freshening up. But aside from scrapping the whole bit and starting from square one, how can you do it? By using these simple tips that will instantly give it new life and attract even more visitors.

Take a hard long look at your “About” page
All too often people slap up an “About” page when they first get their site up, without putting too much thought into it. Businesses will often just use their mission statement, or a short summary on the products and services they offer. But once your site has been running for some time, take a long hard look at this page and ask yourself if it could possibly offer more. Perhaps give a brief history of your company, highlight a major event that really boosted your company to another level, or tell them what makes you better than your competition.

Install a blog
Truthfully, if your website doesn’t have a blog to along with it, you’re already behind the times. People expect every website to have a blog these days, as it’s a way to keep readers regularly updated on what’s going on with the business or the website and makes them feel more connected to you – even if they don’t realize it. Many business owners think they don’t have the time that’s required to install a blog and keep it updated regularly, but there are many content writers that would love to write for yours and they can tailor the posts to your business, and to convey the exact points you’re trying to get across. Even if you just need a blog post about an upcoming sale or promotion in your store.

Place sales and promotions on the home page
It’s great to have a blog post detailing certain promotions you’re holding, but putting it right on the front page of your site will also give it a new and fresh look. One dialogue box, strategically placed right where visitors will see it first, will instantly tell visitors that this is a site that gets updated regularly, plus it will clue them into the fact that you have a certain product or service on sale. That might get you more business for that particular event, and could get you repeat visitors on a regular basis. Just remember to take it down once the event is over, as leaving it up will do the exact opposite and tell customers that the site is rarely updated.

These are three very simple ways you can use to instantly help freshen up your website. And while there are other ways to do it, including giving it a total revamp with an entirely new design and template, these are a few that will take just a few minutes and can really give your site an entirely new look.

Want to Start an e-Commerce Site? Here’s How to do it!

Jan 05th, 2016

An ecommerce site is a great way to start a business, run a business, and make a lot of profit. And in fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration has stated that in the year 2013, online businesses grew faster than brick and mortar businesses, and that’s not showing any signs of slowing down. But for those interested in having one of these very popular types of businesses, just how do you get started? It’s really easier than you may think.

Set a S.M.A.R.T. goal
S.M.A.R.T. is an abbreviation for goals that translates into: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely; and having a S.M.A.R.T. goal for your e-commerce website is essential. Is it going to be strictly to sell your product or service? Is it going to be to tell customers about a discount you’re having? Or is it simply to tell customers about your business? Before you embark on building your website, you must have a clear goal in mind so that your website remains focused, and that the concept and message is clear to your customers.

Know how to choose a domain name carefully
The domain name of your website is the address that users will have to type in or visit when they want to get to your site. This must be chosen very carefully. It will often be the name of your business, but you also want to make sure the domain name is clear, self-explanatory, and should clearly indicate what your brand is all about. You may hear a lot about how it’s important to tie keywords into your domain name, but don’t worry about that too much as there are plenty of other SEO tactics you can use right within your content down the line.

Have a merchant account ready
A merchant account is a bank account that will allow merchants to accept payments such as debit and credit card payments online. You must have one if you’re going to be an online business, otherwise customers will go elsewhere to get the goods and services that they need. Paypal and Authorize.net both offer merchant accounts, but you should be able to set one up within your own bank as well, if that’s a preferable option for you.

Find a good web host
A web host will help you set up and create your website, and even if you know how to do these things with Joomla or WordPress, you’re going to need a web host that will store your website on one of their servers. When creating your website, be sure to include proper navigational links and pages within it including an About page, a Contact page, an industry news page, a page for your blog, and any other individual pages that are relevant to your business.

Install analytics
It will do you little good to have a website, work on it all the time, and never know whether or not it’s reaching people or achieving its desired goal. Install an analytical tool such as Google Analytics and you’ll be able to see how much traffic is coming to your site, what pages visitors are visiting most often, and even what times your website is the busiest. This will help you down the road, when it’s time to start focusing on these areas and writing the content or providing the goods and services that your customers are after the most.

Starting an e-commerce site certainly isn’t difficult. Be sure to follow these steps, and you’ll make it even easier on yourself – and make your business even more successful!

To Make the Right Infographic, You Need the Right Tools

Dec 08th, 2015

You’ve heard all about how infographics can help your site, and you’ve probably even seen a few that you thought were very compelling. But how do you get one up on your website or blog? Aside from gathering all the data from your different resources, how do you get it all into an attractive and interesting graphic that’s perfect for your site? Here too, you’ll need different resources. Some of these are free and some will cost a few bucks, but all of them will give you a great infographic. The difference will only be in if you want a basic graph, or one that’s more complex with different pictures and features involved.

Infogr.am is a great tool that will take any data you enter into Excel and transport it into a PDF document, or even transfer it right onto your website. While it does only provide charts, it will give you up to 30 different kinds of them, far more than you’ll get with just Excel alone. You can also have one or two different charts within the same infographic, providing a couple different sets of data numbers. You will need to register on the infogr.am site first, but registration – and full use of the site – is completely free.

If you’re looking for a user-friendly infographic tool, Piktochart is a great one to use. Here you’ll get 90 different templates, so you’ll be sure to find one that will perfectly fit the data that you need. These templates will then guide you through adding the data you want contained within the graphic, and afterwards you can easily drag and drop them to wherever you want them to fit. Once your graphic is finished you can download it, print it out, or even share it directly to social media. This tool does cost $29 a month to use, but a trial version is available in case you want to try it out without paying a fee.

InfoActive is another very user-friendly site that allows you to make stunning visuals pretty simply and easily. One thing InfoActive offers that some others do not is that the graphs are interactive and can easily be changed by the users. That allows you to continue to edit and make changes to your infographic so that they don’t become outdated, forcing you to create a new graphic altogether. InfoActive doesn’t cost anything, but it is still in a beta phase. That means that it’s considered to be private and the owners of the site will need to approve you first (after you submit your email) before you can start working on your graphic. There is no word on whether or not the software will cost anything to use once it goes public and no longer needs registration approval.

Many Eyes is an infographic tool that allows you to create different images for your graphic that others won’t. These include things such as word trees, tree maps, heat maps, and word clouds. It’s not as easy to use as many of the other infographic tools and so, you might need to have some technical know-how before you embark on using it.

The infographic you choose will ultimately depend on much technical knowledge you have, as well as what price you want to pay for it. Any one you choose though will let you get that infographic up and running on your site, so you can jump into this current trend, and start promoting your blog or website in one of the most productive online marketing strategies today.

Stats to Help You with Your Internet Marketing

Nov 10th, 2015

Internet marketing can be defined as any marketing that’s done online. The most popular forms include PPC (pay-per-click) advertisements, social media advertising (even if it’s just a tweet on Twitter,) and content marketing, although there are others. But how do you know where to focus your Internet marketing efforts? And how do you know where your competitors are focusing theirs? Here are some stats that could help. By looking through them, you can see where customers are online, and therefore where they’re most likely to see your ads and promotions; as well as where others are using Internet marketing, and being successful through it.

Search Engine Data
• 75% of search engine users never look past the first page of results. This tells you how important it is to improve your search engine ranking so you appear on that first page.
• SEO leads, that is search engine optimization techniques you use on your site, have a 14.6% close rate versus the 1.7% close rate you’ll get with outbound leads such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
• Search engines are still the main way to get visitors to your site. When compared with social media, the search engines drive 300% more traffic than any social media website.
• 79% of the time, Internet users will click on natural search results rather than sponsored results (those that have been paid for and are usually ads,) even though sponsored ads appear at the very top of the page.

Social Media Data
• While Twitter might seem like the most popular search engine, as of 2013 Facebook still beats it with 1.11 billion users, as opposed to Twitter’s 500 million. Google+ comes in third at 343 million, LinkedIn at 225 million, Technorati at 216.million, and Instagram at 130 million. Pinterest comes in last at 48.7 million users. When organizing your social media efforts, it’s best to focus on the ones with the most users first.
• With Facebook being the most popular, it’s not surprising that 80% of users prefer connecting with brands using this social media network.
• When people like a group page on Facebook, they probability of them sharing that brand’s name and promotions is 85%; while it’s only 60% when users don’t “Like” the page or brand on Facebook.
• That being said, 69% of social media users said that they like to find products to purchase through Pinterest – the network with the least amount of users.
• And 67% of those on Twitter said they’re more likely to buy brands they follow.
• B2B companies are 61% more likely to acquire new customers when they find them through LinkedIn.
• Only 40% of brands are currently using Instagram to acquire new customers.
• There’s no doubt that social media works. Social media generates twice as many leads than trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, and PPC combined.
• People like to find coupons and discounts through social media! 80% of them, in fact!
• When considering any type of purchase, 46% of people will first check it out on one of the major social network players.

Content Marketing
• Content marketing isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 91% of B2B companies use content marketing in some form.
• In 2013, the amount spent on content marketing is expected to be about $118.4 billion. 20.5% of companies planned on spending anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 on their efforts, while only 11.3% planned on spending nothing on content marketing.
• Outsourcing is becoming more popular for content marketing, as 42% of companies said that a lack of human resources was their biggest obstacle for content marketing. Another 35% said that it was lack of a budget for it that was standing in their way.
• When asking chief marketing officers of big companies, 78% said they believed content marketing was the future of marketing.
• Always attach a picture to an article! It’s 94% more likely that it will get viewed when you do.
Using these stats, you can determine where consumers are looking, and just how important certain forms of marketing might be that you’ve been overlooking. Many might be surprised for instance, that Facebook is more popular than Twitter, or that an article with no picture has only a 6% chance of being seen at all!

SEO and Content Marketing: Is there a Difference?

Oct 24th, 2015

SEO and content marketing have been some of the hottest buzzwords on the Internet today. Often the two overlap onto each other, and sometimes the terms are even used interchangeably. But is there a difference? Or has content marketing just become the new SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” That is, optimizing your site for the search engines so that when people are searching online, they can easily find you and your website. SEO involves a number of strategies including using keywords, links and backlinks, and one of the newest, being mobile-friendly. Even images and video are optimized for SEO so that search engines can recognize them and place them higher in the page rankings.

SEO does have a lot to do with the content of your site. After all, you can hardly write keywords and long-tail keywords without having content to place them in. And any links and backlinks you have on your site will also be nestled nicely somewhere in the content of your site. But SEO focuses on advertising your site to the search engines, letting them know you’re there and using them to get higher page rankings and therefore, more people to your site.

Content Marketing
Content marketing, as its name suggests, is also another form of advertising your site. But instead of advertising to the search engines and letting them know you’re there, you’re advertising to people, letting them know you’re there and attracting them to your site. Visitors don’t care so much about keywords and links, but they do care that the content they view on your site is relevant, engaging, helpful, and useful.

If the content on your site is of no value to the visitor, they’re going to leave and find another site that is. This is why you need to not only focus on SEO, but also content marketing – tailoring your content to the reader and making it as dynamic as possible.

It’s important to understand that content marketing doesn’t necessarily mean pushing your products or trying to sell directly to the customer. It’s about giving them information that is useful and that they can learn from. In doing so, you’ll gain a strong customer base that rewards you by giving you their business and that remains loyal.

Although the terms SEO and content marketing are sometimes considered one in the same, they’re really not. While they both involve the content of your site, they have very different purposes. While one targets actual customers, the other targets the spiders of the search engines.

SEO and content marketing do have one other thing in common however. In order to be successful using either of them, each needs to be done consistently. Your site must have regular, updated content that is not only of real value to the reader, but can also easily be found by the search engines.

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