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What Makes A Website Effective For Business?

successful business onlineWhy do you have a website?

In this modern era, there’s really no excuse for not having a website if you want to build a successful business.

And you can’t have just any old website—companies that produce fantastic results and have the greatest generated revenue all utilize high-end, well-designed websites that facilitate sales.

This is especially true of business-to-business (B2B) companies. After all, other businesses ought to have a greater awareness of what a website should look like, how a sales funnel functions, and the need for clear CTA’s (Call To Actions).

Therefore, you, as a B2B, or B2C, company, have some pretty high standards to live up to.

So, unless you have only just come into contact with this crazy thing called the World Wide Web, it’s time for you to put your website back on the thinking block and prepare to start grabbing some of that cash floating around in the atmosphere.

Because we know that there are loads, tons, and clouds of information on web design and marketing tactics available for you, we’ll keep our points simple. In our unending efforts to navigate the shifting waters of the internet marketing industry, we’ve come across a few gems when it comes to advice on aspects of effective website design that are critical for business growth .

When creating your website, you should have in mind…

Develop A High-Quality Website:

Do not underestimate the importance of a well-designed, visually engaging website. This is especially for those businesses that sell high-end products or services. The quality of their website needs to reflect the quality of their product.

Outdated images, obsolete web design, and failure to refine those glitches or blemishes that inevitably occur within web pages, need to be removed.

At this point, now that you’ve determined your site needs updating, you’ll need to consider—do you want an update or a new website?

We will often recommend an entirely new site. Why? Because the cost of redoing an old site can be nearly as expensive as purchasing a new website, and the result of a remodel will often be far less user-friendly than a brand new, well thought through site.

With each passing week, technology and web design advancements are made. Take advantage of the expertise of those in the web design field, and have your site reflect the quality and value that you want your customers to believe is inherent in your product or service.

Use High-quality images

One of the best ways a company can showcase their product is by incorporating high-quality images into their site. We don’t mean just a quick snapshot with a smartphone either—we mean professional grade images that not only capture the image itself, but its message as well.

Use these images as the backdrop for your main webpage. Place them in your catalog of products. Use them as images in your blog posts. Showcase what you are selling!

Be Mobile-friendly:

Fewer than 20% of current organizations offer a fully mobile compatible site. Because we are becoming a mobile world, more and more people are accessing websites from their tablets or smart phones while on the go.

In fact, up to 65% of browsing is done from a mobile device or tablet these days. These on-the-go browsers top complaint? Not enough websites are compatible with their devices.

Obviously, there needs to be a pretty rapid shift for marketers to make their websites mobile friendly. Chances are, if your site isn’t mobile friendly and a competitor’s site is, you’re going to be losing a large chunk of revenue.

Let’s give you an example:

You’re at a trade show. You’ve just met a couple of businessmen named Jack and Tom that are in the market for a product just like yours. You give them your spiel, you shake hands, and they leave feeling very interested in your fine product.

Later that afternoon, when they meet up with a business associate from their company, Jack and Tom want to tell their companions about your product. Jack pulls out his smartphone and searches for your site. But the formatting is odd, it doesn’t fit well to his screen, and its hard to navigate.

Their business associate, on the other hand, just met with one of your competitors. She pulls out her smartphone, and pulls up their mobile-compatible website. Everything is easy to read, simplicity itself to navigate, and informative.

The website was designed to funnel leads down to a conversion. They read the content and see the call-to-action to contact the company for more information.

When that pair leaves the trade show, who is more likely to have made a sale?

This example is more realistic than you think. Business people rely upon mobile devices, especially while travelling, and if they can’t navigate easily through your site on their phone, they are likely to get bored and move on. Remember, only 12% of people are sold on a product the same day they are introduced to it—your company needs to have a voice even after you’ve left the trade show.

Make User Experience The Pinnacle:

Websites should be designed with the intent of creating an informative and simple experience for your customer.

The information that they want, such as a catalog of products or services, videos, testimonials and reviews, contact information, methodology, or order forms should be at their fingertips, rather than found through lots of searching and clicking around.

Also, streamline the process. Rather than requiring an enormous form to be filled out, simplify the form and instead have a human call them to finalize the details and work on developing the relationship.

Customers feel more engaged and better understood when communicating with an individual that can understand their needs and questions, rather than just plugging their information into an order form.

This brings us to the deep and murky topic of the SEO funnel—the call-to-action (CTA). CTA’s are the motivators that nudge your customer along in the sales process.

Some CTA’s will invoke the desire to learn more about a service. Meatier CTA’s will incite the customer to ‘buy,’ or fill out a contact form to set up a consultation. Ensuring that your site content has clear CTA’s for your potential clients should be viewed as essential as having office chairs. You can’t work without them.

All That To Say…

In summary, how does a business website need to be designed in order to be effective?

It needs to have a clean, stream-lined experience, provide access to adequate information, have mobile-compatibility, incorporate well laid out and quickly loading pages, use good graphics and images, and carry a relational tone that leads its visitors with clear calls to action.

A lot of high-value companies create and maintain their sales by forming relationships with their audience or clients. For your company, your audience (or clients) need to know that you’re a business that understands their needs.

Author: Rynn Jacobson

301 and 302 Redirects – How Page Redirects Affect SEO

301 and 3012 redirectPage redirects are an everyday part of surfing the web, and apart from the odd 404 page-not-found destination, the average internet user takes little notice of them. This is largely as it should be, as the common page redirect is basically designed to work behind the scenes to facilitate the online user experience.

But for SEOs and webmasters, understanding the nature of page redirects can be vital. Knowing when, and how, to employ a redirect can mean the difference between preserving a page’s hard earned page ranking and link juice or losing it to the ether. 301 and 302 redirects are perhaps the most common page redirects a webmaster will need to come to grips with, besides the 404.

The differences between a 301 and 302 redirect can be quite subtle, and it is important to understand what each one does, and how they can affect your website’s performance and SEO efforts.

HTTP Status Codes – In Brief

When a web server services a web page, a status code is generated and written into the servers log. There are five basic classes of HTTP status codes, and they all indicate a general type of response from the server.

  • 1xx – Informational. Indicating a provisional response.
  • 2xx – Indicates the request has been received, accepted, and processed successfully
  • 3xx – Indicates a redirection
  • 4xx – Indicates client error, i.e. page-not-found, bad request, etc.
  • 5xx – Indicates server error, i.e. service unavailable, gateway timeout

The most common status code is 2xx, meaning the page or resource was found. This is good and means your website is operating normally. The second most common status code is 4xx, meaning the requested service could not be found on the server. When a request is redirected, a 3xx status code is reported. The two most common redirect status codes are 301 and 302, and for SEO purposes the choice between the two can be critical.

The 301 Redirect and When to Use It

The 301 redirect indicates that a web page has been moved from point A to point B, and tells the search engines that this page “moved permanently”. It also tells the search engines that all of the attendant qualities of the original page should be assigned to the new page. This includes pagerank, page authority, traffic values, and active link information.

Webmasters should use the 301 redirect if they have changed domains, or have launched their site on a new content management system with a new URL structure. A 301 redirect will tell the search engines to direct all ranking and value signals to the new URL, and that the new URL is now permanent.

Another important note and use of a 301 is in the canonicalization of your domain. I know, big word. But, all it means is that you pick either the www or non-www version of your site and make sure to 301 to the other. This avoids duplicate content issues/penalties with Google’s Panda algorithm. Also, if your site is using a SSL certificate, it’s important to use page sculpting of the HTTPS and HTTP versions of your site’s pages.

The 302 Redirect and How to Use It

Like the 301 redirect, the 302 redirect tells the search engines that a web page has been moved, temporarily. A 302 redirect does not pass any pagerank or link value to the new location. It merely acts as a diversion to an appropriate location, protecting users from broken links and 404 page-not-found errors. 302 redirects are typically used by e-commerce sites who may have products that are seasonal in nature or temporarily out of stock or for putting your site into maintenance mode.

By using a 302 redirect the site can direct customers to similar products of interest, as opposed to sending them to a product page from which they can not place an order. The value of the 302 redirect is that it tells search engines that the requested content is temporarily offline, but that they should keep the pagerank and link value of the page intact and not pass it on to the new URL. When the product, or page, again becomes available the 302 redirect can be rescinded and the original page’s value will remain intact.

The difference between a 301 and a 302 redirect is subtle, but they are not interchangeable. Mistakenly using a 302 redirect instead of a 301 can strip a content page of its value, and can result in the loss of your hard earned SEO juice. Likewise, using a permanent 301 redirect for a temporary move wastes your pagerank and link value on content that will ultimately be discarded. By understanding the difference between 301 and 302 redirects, and knowing when and where to use them, you can protect the value of your content and save it from disappearing into thin air.

Author: Dario Zadro

Don’t Overlook Images in Content Marketing

content imagesMention content marketing nowadays and you can safely assume that people are thinking of articles and blog posts. That is because these are the tactics most often used by businesses as a part of their content marketing strategy.

According to The Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks report these are the five most commonly used tactics:

  • Social media, other than blogs – used by 87 percent of all respondents
  • Articles on the company website – used by 81 percent of all respondents
  • eNewsletters – used by 80 percent of all respondents
  • Blogs – used by 76 percent of all respondents
  • In-person events – used by 76 percent of all respondents

Unfortunately, with the exception of infographics, images and pictures did not make the list. Could it be that most people don’t think images work as content marketing? It’s quite possible, but when you consider the fact that videos, infographics and games all made the list it is hard to make a case for images to be left out in the cold. It’s easier to assume that people just forget about images because they are just a part of written content.

The worth of a picture

We all know that a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, but let’s take a look at some more quantifiable statistics to prove the point.

In a blog post on his site Jeff Bullas provides six reasons why images should be incorporated as part of the marketing strategy:

  • Articles with images get 94 percent more total views
  • Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45 percent
  • 60 percent of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
  • On an ecommerce site, 67 percent of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  • Customers shopping in an online store think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63 percent), a long description (54 percent) and ratings and reviews (53 percent)
  • The engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37 percent where text only is 0.27 percent (this translates to a 37 percent higher level of engagement for photos over text)

So if you are still not using images as part of your content marketing strategy, then quite frankly you’re doing it wrong.

Doin’ it well

It’s relatively easy to slap a picture into the middle of a blog post’s text, but is that really more effective?

Images should be used to compliment, and break up, long form content. If the piece of written content exceeds 700 words two or more images can really help keep the reader engaged; if the images are relevant that is. Longer content would obviously benefit from more images; and if a chart or graph can be used to represent the data mentioned in the content all the better.

But what about images as a stand-alone marketing tactic, can that work? Take a look at this page on the site and see how effective their collection of nighttime images is.

So the next time you are preparing a piece of content for publication, remember these simple words from Jeff Shjarback, an Internet Marketing Consultant/Manager, “By placing one well taken, well conceived, and well thought out picture, a piece of content marketing can draw in many more viewers and potential customers than a simple article or word laden ad may.”

Author: Jeff Orloff

Jewelry store

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