Tag Archives: responsive websites

Google Has Done it Again… small businesses need mobile friendly websites – STAT!

Stats showing small business need mobile friednly websites diesgn. Smart phone  search increase 17%, tablets 28%,, desktop searches down -1%

If you haven’t heard already you may be one of the few left on the planet who doesn’t live and breathe all that is the internet. What is being referred to as  “mobilegeddon” (don’t you love tech-nerds?) or, Google’s mobile website algorithm change launched last week. Small businesses need mobile friendly websites now more than ever. The algorithm change was announced two months back very clearly by Google and they actually went ahead and launched it on the pre-determined deadline, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. What the change means to small businesses who do not have mobile friendly websites is that your company website will either not come up in mobile Google searches or if it does, it will come up so far down it might as well not come up at all.

I can hear some of you now, ‘So, what? Most people search our site from a desktop computer.’  ‘We provide a service, people don’t search for us on their smart phones or tablets, they wait until they get home and research on their computers.’ Not so my friends. “In the final three months of last year, estimated 29 percent of all U.S. search requests – about 18.5 billion – were made on mobile devices.”   – comScore.com

The increase in numbers from desktop to mobile searches will continue to grow. The largest percentage of mobile searches currently are done by people shopping for products, however local services searches are not far behind. “Searches with local intent are more likely to lead to store visits and sales within a day. New Google research says that 50 percent of mobile users are most likely to visit (the store) after conducting a local search, while 34 percent of consumers on tablets or computers will go to a store.” – Search Engine Watch

Mobile searches are steadily increasing for local services including, home healthcare services, restaurants, home improvement services and more.small businesses need mobile friendly websites now to come up in those search inquiries.

  “According to Google, 56% of searches on smartphones have local intent. ” – Wordstream

Searches-Infographic2Google is the top-ranking search engine claiming two thirds of United States web searches and even more in other countries. Mobilegeddon has the potential to effect sales volume especially for small businesses who have not had a strong reason to upgrade to a mobile friendly website yet. If we give an example of  a residential home builders website in Lansing who has not upgraded the website since mullets were in style, compared to a national residential home builder with a mobile friendly website targeting Lansing clientele – where would you place your cards on search results?

Not sure if your small business website is mobile friendly or not?

Check out Googles “Mobile-Friendly” test page in its developer section. Type in your website URL (domain name) and see the results. (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.

Mobile Friendly Website Solution for Small Business

If you do not have a mobile friendly website and you are ready to make the change, you have a few decisions to make. First you can choose to keep your desktop website as it is and create a completely separate mobile website to satisfy mobile users (and Google!). The drawback to this solution is you now have two websites you must maintain. The other option is a responsive website. Responsive WordPress websites format to fit which ever screen size a visitor is using. On a desktop monitor the website looks good on the screen without unplanned scrolling or clicking. On a tablet it condenses slightly to fit the screen with limited scrolling and on a smart phone the navigation will collapse to a drop down screen. All of this is automated with a responsive website design. The other benefit of a responsive website design with WordPress is small businesses can now update their own website without programming knowledge. Updating is also easier because you only have to update one site instead of a desktop website and a mobile website.

Mobile-Friendly Website Design considerations:

  • design web pages so that they load quickly
  • make content easily accessible
  • page scrolling up and down (as opposed to left to right swiping)
  • make call to action buttons (like BUY NOW!) easily seen and touched even on small screens
  • make your contact information clickable – click to call, click to map location
  • make your text size large enough to read on small devices

No budget for a small business mobile-friendly website right now?

Or do you have a mobile-friendly website on order but all the local website design firms in Michigan or your state are booked solid a few months out? Since Google searches do show local listings first make sure all your local information is current. Get a Google+ page set up if you haven’t already, check your Yelp listing. Get your website listed on Google in Google MyBusiness section. These steps will help while you are working toward upgrading your website to mobile.

If you’re one of those small businesses who need a mobile friendly website right away, give us a call today! We are taking  orders and turning custom designs around as quickly as possible. We also provide mobile-friendly  Wordpress responsive website design solutions for those of you who want the freedom to access and update your own website .

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Membership Website Ideas – WordPress Makes it Easy to Update

Jug&Mug Club Membership website home pageWe recently were selected to provide new membership website ideas and design for a local Lansing Michigan All Seasons Club JugAndMug.org. We worked with the president and a few other board members to re-create the site. I wish I had a screen capture of the old membership website – a before and after would have been dramatic and impressive.

We were happy to hear the group contacted us because we were referred to them as a company who would provide quality service and a website design that met all the goals of the organization at a reasonable rate. Upon our initial meeting with the website committee we learned more details about their ideas for the new membership website.

Local Club Membership Website Ideas:

  • Bring website design into the current decade
  • Offer a content management system that was easy for non-programmers to update
  • Responsive website format: detects screen size and format for smart phones, tablets or desktop monitors
  • Slide show of photos that can be updated easily
  • Blog page to be part of the membership website and not a separate url
  • Online inquiry forms, contact forms or registration forms
  • Emails with domain name (name@jugandmug.org) that forward to each board persons personal email if desired.
  • Ease in updating content and adding photos in all areas
  • E-commerce capability for accepting payments, ticket sales, membership dues, etc.
  • Members only section – password protected with different access levels

local-club-memberhsip-website-ideas

We have provided similar membership website ideas and solutions in the past with password protected areas, e-commerce, events pages, and specific administrative access. Membership websites can range between local clubs like jugandmug or large national or state associations, non-profit and political groups as well as business groups membership sites.

When we’re provided membership website ideas and solutions throughout our  17 years of business that incorporated content management systems (CMS) we typically built them from scratch. Now we can often use the robust WordPress options available.

Jug&Mug.org was built with a WordPress theme that supports e-commerce interactions. There were a plethora of plug ins available if we needed for the password protected area or the photo slide shows. The use of WordPress for this particular project was ideal primarily because of the ease in updates. Since membership websites are often updated by different people and the administrator may change with each board member update it is important to keep website updates simple. Jug and Mug is lucky, they have a President and website committee right now who is knowledgeable of computer programming and interested to learn. Other memberships, associations and clubs may have people responsible for managing the website who have no clue what web code is. Use of WordPress CMS helps alleviate worries and errors and helps newbie website managers to feel at ease.

ski club responsive website - on smart phoneThere are some particular rules to follow when choosing a website company and a WordPress theme,

  • do you want the website for business or just for fun
  • do you want to use your own domain name (hosted on it’s own)
  • a responsive theme
  • a theme that allows e-commerce
  • a theme that allows third party plug-ins
  • customizable
  • … and more depending on your website goals

Discussing WordPress, membership website ideas as well as customizing existing WordPress themes really requires another article. For instance I throw WordPress plug ins out there like they are little miracles… they can also be mean little sprites that choke your website speed and may not play nice together… So much to cover so little blog space.

If you are interested in using WordPress as a new website design solution and would like to talk to us about your considerations whether you have your own membership website ideas, an e-commerce site, or a website offering a service that you need help with. please call us today, 517-645-4387.

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10 Internet Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Internet marketing strategies

Internet marketing is not an option, it is a necessity for every small business to grow. We love working with start up companies, we love the passion and the excitement new entrepreneurs bring with each bright venture. It is also hard for us to meet some of these fresh start up small businesses who are following their dreams but haven’t done the due diligence of research. We are often contacted first to design and develop a small business website. One of our specialities here of course. However in our first website consultation we talk to our prospective customers about how they are going to market their new business and if they have considered internet marketing. Unfortunately many small business owners believe having a website is an internet marketing strategy. It is a component but it is not a complete strategy to drive traffic, phone calls and orders in and of itself.

Following is a list of some of the internet marketing strategies small businesses implement. Not all of these internet marketing concepts are necessary for every single business. If you are not sure about which will fit best with your internet marketing goals post a question in the comment sections and I will be happy to help. I will need to know what your product or service is and what your internet marketing goals are. Do you want to increase page views, do you want to make more sales, do you want more downloads, etc.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for small business

  1. Web Presence – First and foremost is to have a fully functioning quality website. A website that communicates quickly what your product or service is key in keeping your visitor engaged in staying on your website long enough to determine if they want to work with you. List your services or products, make it easy to locate contact information whether it is an online form and most definitely provide an email contact and phone number on all your pages. Don’t skimp on your website design. If your website looks cheap your company will bear the burden of this perception.
  2. Content Marketing – Content marketing includes articles, blog posts, press releases, e-books, all types of photos including product photos, staff photos, stock photos for your blog posts, and videos. Don’t ever worry that you are offering too much information on your website. Note you will naturally be adding relevant keywords to your content (see SEO below) and you will be answering every visitors question each time they come to your site. Sharing your wisdom and expertise adds credibility and trust for your customer and bodes higher search results than websites that don’t get updated frequently and have less content
  3. SEO/SEM – Search engine marketing helps bring your website up in search results within search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. The use of relevant keywords holds high importance in SEO for small business websites. To use Connection Group as an example, as a graphic design and marketing company in the Lansing Michigan area we want customers who are seeking graphic design and marketing in the Lansing, Michigan to find us. The best way to be visible in search engines is to make sure we have those keywords (graphic design, marketing, Lansing, Michigan) on our website in various places.  There are many components of SEO and many bad practices by disreputable SEO firms to avoid. Please post in comments if you have questions.
  4. Local Search Marketing – Local search incorporates the rules and tactics for standard SEO and integrates maps, such as Google maps. When a customer searches your product or services a map with local companies who fit the query come up. Your company and similar companies in your industry will have listing that include contact information such as address, phone number, and can include website and there will be a symbol on the map indicating your exact business location.
  5. Social Media Marketing – Everybody groan and get it over with. I know social media for small businesses is an internet strategy that challenges the best of us but it all comes down to your goals and your audience. Some of our customers rock Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and others report increased sales rates from the traffic they received from LinkedIn. The most challenging part of social media as an internet marketing strategy for small businesses  is setting the frequency of posts and determining return on investment. To start, I recommend securing social media profiles with your business name in all of the main social media channels. The next step is to evaluate which social media channels your customers spend the most time in, when they are there and what they want to hear from you.  Piece of cake right?
  6. Email Marketing – Email marketing lists are considered by many to be the most valuable database in many small businesses portfolio. Email marketing lists are built from customers and prospects who have expressed an interest in your product or service. Whether you gained them through a give away, a promise to keep them updated on new product releases, or discounts, these people have opted in to receive communication from you. Unlike a phone call, or face to face meeting, emails can be sent 24/7 and the recipient can choose when they will look at them and how they will respond. Small businesses should consider using an established email marketing software such as Mailchimp to help ensure your campaigns reach your customers in-box without getting caught in spam filters.
  7. Landing Pages – A landing page is a page on your website that is designed to capture visitors contact information. Landing pages contain a lead capture form (conversion form) also known as an online inquiry form. Created for a specific audience they can be a very successful internet marketing strategy. Good landing pages are simple and focus on one message to achieve the goal of capturing the lead content. Consider using landing pages with email campaigns targeted to previous customers, use of landing pages with online advertising allow ease of tracking and optimizing for each ad, and lastly landing pages can be used for giveaways and free downloads of e-books, original graphics, etc.
  8. Mobile Compatibility – Mobile marketing statistics so far for 2014 show some industries are seeing nearly 50% of visits to their websites from mobile users. This of course will vary with demographics and your actual product or service but it is high across the board – high enough not to ignore. Most small businesses are investing in responsive website design rather than going with a desktop website and a separate mobile website. Maintaining two separate websites is just crazy unless that’s all you have to do all day. Responsive sites provide the best of both worlds. Those visiting your site on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer get the same information, it is all just scaled for the screen size they are using. Questions? Let’s talk.
  9. Online directory listings – Make sure your business is listed and complete your information and be sure there is accurate contact information in all main online directories such as Google, Bing, Yelp and YP. Consumers who do not know your company name but are searching for your product or service can view your listing and contact you. Most directories have free listings and others offer more options at a cost. There are many other service listings like Yext, etc. and also industry specific directories you will want to explore.
  10. Google Adwords and Social Media Paid Advertising – Google Adwords can help bring you to the top of searches page by paying for top placement. Internet advertising is sold on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per  impression. You build ads using keywords for your product or service depending on your budget and how many others in your industry are advertising the same keywords and setting similar budgets your ad will come up in when people search for your product or service. Due diligence must be paid to each online adverting campaign to make sure you are getting in the top rankings and that you are taking advantage of each opportunity. As you work to improve organic search engine results for your website by adding content, etc. Although not for the faint at heart or for those who are not very ‘techie’, Google adwords and some social media advertising can be a good addition to your internet marketing strategy.

So which of the 10 internet marketing strategies above does your company need the most to increase inbound marketing results? Do you think you need to start working on all or them, or only 1 − 4, or are you completely overwhelmed and want to go back to door to door sales and forget all this crazy internet stuff? Connect with us, we can help with all of the services listed, we know the ropes and we can help get results.

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