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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Why Visitors Leave Your Site and How You Can Prevent It

By | Web Design, website, Website Conversion, Website Presence | No Comments

After all of that waiting and work the website is finally up, but visitors seem to be leaving your site after only a few seconds. This isn’t actually uncommon.

So the real question is how do you keep customers at your site without leaving? There are many factors that play in to this question, but it is very fixable.  Make sure that the visitors are given the information they are looking for, make it smooth to transition from place to place on the site and create a design and layout that will keep them interested. Most of us have been on a site that makes us frustrated, doesn’t have what we are looking for, or is extremely boring, and it always leads to us continuing our search elsewhere.

Below explains why visitors leave your site and provides some tips to keep your visitors from leaving:

Slow Loading Pages

Slow load times are probably the number one way that websites push visitors away. In the new digital age, visitors want the information they are looking for right now and they will not wait for your website if they can get the same information more efficiently elsewhere.

This could also be influenced by the connection speed of the user, so some of it is out of your control. However, by using a program like Google Analytics you can learn what percentages of your visitors have different types of internet connections. From this data you can get a good idea about how fast your pages need to load.

Annoying Pop-Ups and Advertisements

Nowadays an advertisement on a website is common. However, ads, especially pop-up ads can chase visitors away if they are too distracting or intrusive. Make sure that your website is not covered in obnoxious, poorly placed advertisements as this will irritate a visitor and keep them from exploring your site. Most visitors now have come to expect ads on websites and blogs, and you shouldn’t lose many visitors on that principal alone. However, if you use accept ads that are overly flashy, have moving parts or changing colors, pop up on their screen randomly, then you could chase some people away.

You also should never interrupt a visitors experience when they are filling out a survey or form. This will allow visitors to interact with the website without distractions or annoyances, causing them to stay longer and complete their on-going task. Excessive or misused pop-up windows can cause visitors to get frustrated and leave the site.

Confusing Navigation

If your website has poor navigation and visitors cannot figure out where to go next, they are going to leave. Be sure that there is a clear navigation path to take the visitor directly to the information they are seeking. Make sure that this path is convenient, quick, and easy to understand and is created to be useful to a visitor during their experience.

If visitors have a hard time finding their way through the site they will leave. The navigation bar and drop down menus should be thought out. The pages that are most important or most commonly sought after should be very easy to find, and navigation should be logical and intuitive.

Content is Boring and Irrelevant

A person will visit your site because they think you are offering information that they can find useful. The content you have on your site must reflect your services and products in an easy, simple format.  Don’t break their trust by delivering poor quality information and content.

Make sure that the content is updated and represented in a positive, fun way.  Make your content unique, something that they cannot find anywhere else. Make sure that the content is what the visitor is expecting.

Audio or Video that Starts Automatically

We have all been on those sites where a video or sound starts playing. The worst is when you can’t find where it is coming from. What do you do? Leave the page, of course. Although audio and video are very common online today, most visitors prefer to have the option to start it themselves. Visitors that are greeted with an audio that they didn’t choose to start will often click the back button and leave. If you use these elements in your pages, give the visitor the option to start them.

Unprofessional

You can lose visitors if your site looks unprofessional, especially if you’re in an industry where visitors expect to see professionalism. A good example of this would be a lawyer. The professionalism of the service provided is critical, so having a website that doesn’t convey that professional image could mean losing business and visitors.

Having visitors stick around is all about the user experience that they have on your site. When a visitor has a bad experience on your site then you are virtually losing a customer. Creating relevant, compelling content, increasing site speed, reducing the use of ads and providing clear navigation with a professional appearance will allow your visitors to have an overall great experience while on your site.

 

You’ve Klout To Be Kidding

By | Social Media | No Comments

From the Vault: 02/16/12

Klout is a service created to help users measure and leverage their online influence by analyzing a person’s reach across social networks. Klout collects and utilizes data from your social networks to give you a score (known as your “Klout score”) from 1 to 100 based on the following 3 things:“True Reach”, or how many people you influence; “Amplification”, how much you influence them; and “Network”, your network’s influence. You’ll notice that the word influence pops up a lot when referring to your Klout score, so before we proceed it’s important to note that Klout measures influence by how many people respond or resend your content. If you replace the word influence with that definition when describing “True Reach”, “Amplification”, and “Network” you find they all basically refer to the same thing – how many people respond or resend your content. Wait, what? So they’re essentially measuring the same thing three times?

Confused yet? In the company’s blog, Scott Kleinberg (an influencer, not a Klout employee) summarized it a bit more effectively by describing it as a measure of how many people you influence, how much you influence them, and how influential they are. Then, you can view your Klout score relative to other people’s scores and see where you fit in the grand scheme of influence.

But wait a minute, who made Klout the arbiter of online influence anyways (aside from Klout itself)?  I could rank your influence online. If you like: I’ll add your number of Facebook friends to your number of Twitter followers, subtract the number of MySpace friends, multiply that by the number of blogs you have, laugh and point if you’re still on Friendster, take the square root, round up to the nearest integer and add 13. Voila! This would make my score 43.

Is this number any less indicative of your actual online popularity than Klout’s scores? As far as you know, no.

“I’m sure Klout has what it considers an excellent rationale for whatever stew of algorithms it uses to assign you a number, but neither you nor I know what it is, or (more importantly) why it’s valid as an accurate determiner of your online influence and popularity. As far as any of us know, one’s Klout score is determined by college interns, each feverishly rolling a pair of ten-sided dice, and then that number is allowed to oscillate within a random but bounded range every day to give the appearance that something’s going on.” (John Scalzi)

However, even if we knew the process Klout uses to determine one’s influence, what purpose does it serve? (Here at Social Eyes, we use it solely to compete amongst each other for the bragging rights that accompany having the highest Klout score). The way I see it, Klout only exists to create status anxiety. It’s essentially a popularity contest that strives to transform the entire Internet into a digital high school. Klout then proceeds to exploit this status anxiety through Klout perks (i.e. free stuff that they want you to market for them). Sounds kinda cool right? That’s what I thought until I went to view these perks and, instead of being presented with a list of perks available to me I was presented with a list of perks I wasn’t qualified for – apparently I wasn’t pretty or popular enough (but maybe if I log-in with one of my other accounts and give myself +K’s I can be cool enough for these perks.).

Regardless, in my own humble opinion, the idea of “influence” is a supremely human thing that cannot be automated. Therefore, it’s my understanding that Klout fails at achieving what it claims it does, as it’s not simply the volume of retweets that indicates influence – it’s the impact they have on those who receive them and whether or not they cause someone to behave differently. Moreover, since the vast majority of Internet users fall into the “spectators” category, meaning they are reading your posts and seeing your content but aren’t doing anything with it (like commenting or retweeting), wouldn’t that somewhat discredit a score that’s measured solely by the number of people who respond/resend your content? Without all these unmeasurable factors, Klout becomes – as I mentioned earlier – a popularity contest.

Still skeptical? Here’s some food for thought: Paul Greenberg, the most influential voice in CRM, has a 54. The Bronx Zoo’s Cobra, that escaped from the zoo in 2010 has a score of 57. So according to Klout, this venomous serpent that was on the loose for only a few days is more influential than the author of CRM At The Speed of Light.

Maybe I am a little cynical because my score hasn’t increased in over a month;and yes, I will admittedly continue to check Klout on a regular basis to see if my score happens to surpass my boss’s. So, while Klout is good for entertainment purposes, a Klout score should never be considered a basis for decision making.

(And I’m not just saying that because my score is stuck at 55! Seriously?! What gives…?)

 

 

Source:

http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/15/technology/klout_scores/index.htm

Is Your Web Design Suitable for Your Users?

By | Target Audience, Web Design, website | No Comments

Every online business no matter how big or small goal is to try and connect with its users.

Many of the people that use the internet can be placed in to specific groups from teens to the trendsetter, the older crowd, hipsters, bargain shoppers, trendsetters, and everything in between. The most important thing about these groups is determining who your core users are. This will help you decide how you want the direction of your design to go without wasting time and space.

Define your core users

Depending on what type of business you have it can be very easy to assume about who your key users are. For example if you’re selling prom dress, chances are you will be targeting all the teen girls and young adults. That said, you should always keep an open mind about who your customers are.

Market research is a great way to learn more about your customers. You can do online surveys, or utilize social media to figure out who is looking at your company and what they seem to like. Tools like Google Analytics can also help you learn more about the geographical location and browsing habits of your users as well.

Cater the design to your users.

Once you have defined who your core users are, you should put this into practice by tailoring your website design towards their tastes and needs. For example if you know that you are targeting people who are always on the go, then having a mobile version of your website is important, and in today’s world of web making creating a responsive design will allow your users to look at your website on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone.

Another thing that could be done is using brighter and more energetic graphics if you have a younger audience, or toning it down for serious business-orientated users.  Keep in mind the different cultures of international audiences if you’re multinational. Offer accessibility options and larger text for older users, who are more likely to have vision problems.

Having a website that suits your users will be crucial to gaining new customers. It is all about targeting the right people, and getting them to come back.

 

Business Benefits of Using Social Media and Having a Website (Infographic)

By | Digital Marketing, Facebook, Social Media, website, Website Presence | No Comments

With competition in different industries growing, it is important to give your company a boost by using and taking advantage of all of the technology advances out there. Two of the most important elements that a successful business will use is social media and a website.

Social media continues to keep growing and the reach you can receive by utilizing Facebook, Twitter, etc. will help boost your brand recognition and allow visitors to engage with you on a different level. It is an easy and efficient way to learn about who is looking for your service or product and will allow you to improve your marketing efforts and grow.

According to this infographic, one of the main reasons company don’t have a website is because they think that they don’t need one. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. A company does need one. It is a great way for people to go online and learn more about what types of services and products you offer. It enables you to promote your business, and let customers know about the latest events and deals going on. It also goes back to the competition. Think of how much more business you will receive than them if you have a website.

BestWebHostingGeek.com lists some of the specific advantages of tapping into digital marketing in the following infographic:

 

Homepage Must-Haves

By | Homepage, Web Design, website | No Comments

A company’s homepage is the very first thing that a consumer will see when they get to your website making it the single most important page on most websites. A homepage creates a first impression that the users will establish the second they access it. You can tell a lot from a company by their homepage.  As a jumping off point, a company’s homepage should be well designed, easy to navigate and packed with informative content that makes the visitor want to search the site.

The content on your homepage is also vital because it can greatly improve search engine placement. This is the first place that gets recognized by search engines, and search terms will come off of that page when people go to find a product or service like yours. Keyword strategy should go hand in hand with the selection of content to feature on your homepage.

This page is all about making a good first impression. Research indicates that websites have approximately 10 seconds to grab the attention of visitors before they mosey on to other pages or sites. The content and graphics have to grab the attention of visitors fast and intrigue them to dig deeper into your site to learn more about what you have to offer.

Taking steps to improve your homepage will greatly increase the value of your entire site and will lead to more customers and sales down the road. Take a look at some of the must-have content that should be included on all homepages.

Make sure they know what you do.

Having a great looking website is important, but if visitors can’t understand who you are and what you do in a matter of seconds, you’ll lose them. Start the page with a tagline that summarizes what the site or company does.

Tell them what makes you different.

One of the most important things to do in terms of winning more business is to differentiate your business from competitors. Somewhere on the homepage include information on your business and what makes you unique and the benefits of doing business with your company. The statement should quickly communicate your company’s position in the market and motivate visitors to learn more about it.

Explain how you can help them.

Make to include a description telling visitors what you can do for them. In other words, what pain points does your company solve? This simple element is often overlooked, which can leave visitors feeling as if they are wasting their time on your site.

What’s new?

Be sure to include news and upcoming events on your homepage. This will make visitors interested in your company and keep them coming back to check out the latest events and new updates. Have any sales or discounts going on? Using that in this section will also persuade visitors to search your site more. Don’t let this section take up too much space. Use teasers and provide a link to a dedicated “news” page for visitors who want to read more.

Make it look good, but don’t sacrifice load time.

The visual appeal of your homepage is important to attracting and retaining visitors, but don’t use graphics that slow down page load times. Make sure the graphics aren’t too large of a file size. Even if you shrink the image once you’ve uploaded it, that doesn’t change its file size.

Have easy navigation.

If you’re lucky, most visitors to your homepage are looking for content deeper in your site, so provide them with an easy way to find it. Make sure the navigation bar is easy to use and that any drop downs are simple and look organized.

Making a good first impression is vital to success of your company’s website and the front door of your website is what will attract those customers and make them stay. Encourage visitors to open that door by providing educational, timely content and delivering it in a visually appealing way that instantly engages prospects and customers.

Important Principles to Base Your Web Design On

By | User-Friendly Website, Web Design, Website Design and Development | No Comments

Having a website is crucial to your online success. Like many people, they don’t usually know where to begin or what they should put on their website. It may seem like a daunting task, but taking it step by step can help.  If you don’t currently have one, then these principles will be a great way to get you started.

Focus on User Navigation and Usability:

The first step to determining how your website should be designed is determining what will attract your target audience. It doesn’t matter if your website will be used just to get information about your business across or if people will use it to make purchases, the design must make it easy for your viewer to achieve their goal. The layout of your pages and how your audience can access these pages must be designed so that at any point during their search through your website they don’t find themselves lost and become frustrated.

The design should be easy to use and should transition smoothly from page to page.  Focusing on your menu items at the top can help with this. If you have a lot of information you want to put on the site using a drop down navigation can be very useful and make your website look clean and organized.

Know What Your Short and Long Term Goals of the Company Are:

The main base of a websites design is the goal the company wants to achieve. The most effective design is the one which is going to help the company achieve its goals. The goals may start off in one direction and as the time goes on and as you become more popular the goals may shift. The design must always bring that out and reflect that to the customer.

Create a Call to Action:

Another very important principle to focus your design around is the call to action you are using on your site. This can be a subscribe button, a contact us form to receive a quote, etc. If you are a business that provides a service, having a place with for people to give their name, number and questions can help you get business and make it easy for your customers to contact you.

The design of your site must push people to use these calls of action and it must be extremely user friendly. Your call to action must be very simple with a set number of options which they can choose from. If using the call to action is complex and requires a lot of input then chances are people will avoid using it.

Color and Uniqueness of the Site:

Every site that you build should be unique in some way.  By doing research into different sites within your industry, you can save a lot of hassle when it comes to being able to differentiate yourself from the competition. Don’t go overboard and make the site complex and hard to use because that will just defeat the whole purpose. Make it unique and recognizable to your visitors, so that they know they are visiting your site.

Also, the color schemes can be tricky if you have nothing to base it off of. Don’t copy other companies’ sites in your industry if those colors don’t fit your business. If you have an existing store or a logo then the best thing to do is to just use that color scheme, so existing and future customers don’t get confused.

 Simple is Better:

The saying “the simpler the better,” is usually always true and in this instance that definitely pertains. Content on the site must be easy on the eyes and nicely spaced out so that each piece of info is easy to go through. Your viewer doesn’t want to sift through loads and loads of information to find what they are looking for. Making good use of read more links and using your web pages effectively can help a lot.

These principles will help you get started and will make it a smoother and easier process. Having a company that specializes in website design and development will also make building and creating your website much less stressful.

A Few Easy Steps to Greatly Improve Pinterest SEO

By | Pinterest, Search Engine Optimization | No Comments

Pinterest SEO

With users sharing countless of links each day, the potential for Pinterest as an SEO tool is huge. Pinning photos from your site – or encouraging users to do so – creates many high-quality backlinks, which can be excellent for SEO. Furthermore, Pinterest can also be an incredible source of new traffic from search engines. However, there are certain steps businesses must take in order to make this powerful tool work in their favor.

Many new Pinterest users are so enthralled by the network that they spend hours creating boards and pinning content that others will love or find engaging. However, all of this time and effort is in vain if your boards and pins are completely hidden from search engines.

Hiding your boards from search engines can cause you to lose massive traffic. When you set up your Pinterest account, it is important that you fix your settings so your pins and boards get indexed by the search engines. Doing this only takes a second and is extremely easy. Just go to “Settings” and make sure the “hide” setting is set to OFF. Click “save” and you’re done!

Here are some other great tips on using Pinterest for SEO:

  1. One of the most important things you can do is VERIFY YOUR WEBSITE! This is an extremely easy and powerful way to boost your profile in search results.  Click here to learn how.
  2. Use Hashtags and categories to tag your content appropriately and organize your boards with relevant content.
  3. “Liking” other people’s/page’s pins may count as a “Social Signal” and help to increase page rank. Liking, commenting, and repining will also help you build relationships over Pinterest, which will in turn create an engaged following willing to share your content as well.
  4. Connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Pinterest is another good way to cross-promote your brand and content. Also, having a strong social presence connected to your website tells Google that you’re a trusted source of information, and will give you a nice SEO bump.
  5. Make sure the images you pin have descriptive file names and alt text. If you are uploading photos, don’t make the mistake of using their default name (which could be something like img19984.jpg) – this doesn’t help you at all in search. However, uploading a clearly-named image like “Facebook Advertising Graph.jpg” can help a search engine decipher what your image is about much more easily.

According to Social Media Stats from 2012, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. With 11 million users and growing, Pinterest gives companies the opportunity to leverage visual content, quality descriptions, and market research while growing their reach and improving their SEO. Pinterest, like any other social networking site, rewards great content. Focus on creating remarkable content and a strong community around your brand, and you will get results.

Pinterest SEO

 

Get Fast Results from Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

By | Inbound Marketing, Web Marketing | No Comments

Now that you have the basic fundamentals in place, it is time to discuss how these can help you receive fast, quick results. Most people are hoping to see the results quickly when they spend the time and money to do something, especially when it comes to their business ventures. It is important to understand the significance of taking the time to develop a solid foundation along with creating a successful and well thought out strategy. This will help create a successful inbound marketing strategy.  Also, remember to initiate some type of plan, so that you have a clear idea of what goals you want to reach, the budget you want to spend, who you want to target, and what part of your business needs the most work.

Last week, we gave you a list of questions to help determine the goals and strategies for your business.  You might be sending the wrong messages to the right people. You might be sending the right messages to the wrong people. Keep in mind that if you want results fast for your inbound marketing strategy you need to be careful because you might be sending the right messages to the right people but in the wrong format, like sending a video to people who want to read, or even the wrong message to the wrong people. While these tactics below will help you get some quick results, it is important to remember that this process will take a while to have a fully developed solid marketing strategy and plan.

Here are a few options for getting started during the first few weeks that will help jump start your program to lead to faster results.

1. Move Your Website onto A CMS

Do you have to constantly ask for help for your basic website updates? If so, then it’s time you embrace the power of a website content management system. The use of a CMS platform is quickly becoming the industry standard for new websites. This allows marketing and other company personnel to make site updates quickly and effortlessly without programming knowledge. Having full access to your site allows for frequent content updates, the use of new and ongoing landing pages, ability to optimize page meta data, etc.

2. Start Blogging

If you haven’t considered blogging for your company then it is time to do so. Not only does blogging do a great job at showing off your company’s knowledge and how you can serve prospective clients, but it is the number one way to improve your website’s SEO performance since each new blog post is an additional page of fresh content for search engines to find and index. To point number one, selecting a CMS with a built in blogging platform is a must.

3. Create Content that Makes Visitors Want to Connect

Your website nowadays is much more than just an online brochure. Now you have the ability to use your website as a resource by using it as a place to convert your visitors into leads. This starts with creating compelling content offers that entice and attract them.  Make it so when they go to your site they can’t help but provide their name and contact info or want to call your business. You could also include an item that your visitors can download as well. This could be as simple as providing information on a service your business can provide, or an existing white paper that you can use as lead generation content.

2) Call-to-Action

Create a call-to-action graphic or button that draws current site visitors to your services or new material on your site.

4) Create an E-Mail Newsletter

Send an email to your existing contact database that brings them to your website and encourages them to contact your or visit your company’s website to see what you have to offer, and be sure to select the people that align with the stage in the buying cycle that piece of content most relates to.

Using these tactics will give you a taste of what the inbound marketing experience will be like once your program is up and running. The items above are a small division of what will be getting done weekly and monthly when your program is in full swing, but it’s a way to get some quick wins under your belt that’ll help you develop an understanding and gain some ground for your business.

The first few weeks of an inbound marketing engagement will require patience. Inbound marketing is not a quick fix or easy by any means. It requires work, continuous improvement, and planning. It won’t change the face of your business in a day, but if done properly will provide your business with a scalable marketing system that, over time, helps your business get found, get leads, grow sales, and reach your business goals more efficiently.

 

Transition From an Outbound to Inbound Marketing Strategy

By | Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media | One Comment

Having an Inbound Marketing Strategy is a Recipe for Success!

We all know that change can be hard and many people will avoid it or try to resist it. In reality, for any organization, if they want to keep up they have to embrace change in order to make sure they are not falling behind the rapidly changing business world. Having an inbound marketing strategy will grow their company and keep up with the demands of your competition.

Having an inbound marketing program  can be critical to the success of your company.  Inbound Marketing can help your business get found by people easily learning about your industry.  In order to do this, you need to setup your website  and marketing efforts to attract visitors naturally through search engines, blogs, and social media.   Nowadays, many companies focus on spending their time and energy in to outbound marketing like direct mail, flyers, and other forms of advertisement, but it is important to note that these organizations are missing out on a huge opportunity.

In order to succeed with your inbound marketing strategy it is best to come up with questions, plan, and think before spending your money on what is being offered for this type of marketing. Getting the fundamental elements in place first will help your get found, get leads, and grow your sales. Without this work, you run the risk of applying tactics that don’t directly target the right audience and are ineffective at generating leads.

Below is a list of questions and things to consider in order to begin the steps to achieve a successful inbound marketing strategy.

First, Create a Strategy

The first phase of a well thought out inbound marketing program, is the marketing strategy. This will build the strong foundation you need for success. For instance, what are your business goals? How much money do you want to make? How much money do you want to spend? Different goals often translate into a different inbound marketing program.

Before you get into tactics, asking yourself these questions will help make some difficult decisions you’ll have to decide on.

Initial Questions to ask:

You’ll need to establish a baseline for the business today. How many people visit your website each month? How many convert into leads? How many of those are actual sales opportunities? How many of those do you close? What is the average revenue for each of those new clients? How many Facebook fans, LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers have you accumulated?

Search Questions to Consider:

What keywords are people using to find businesses like yours? What other keywords should you be optimizing for? Will people find you by typing in those keywords?

Target Market Questions to Consider:

Who do you want to target with your marketing? What types of people are using your product? Why do people choose you over your competition? What makes you special, remarkable, different?

Content Creation Questions:

Do you have informative, detailed content? The more you think through and plan out your inbound marketing program, the easier it is to implement. Plan out your next few weeks of blog posts, emails, and content projects to make your projects easier for you.

Campaign Questions:

What campaign schedule do you want to roll out? How often are you going to run ads on social media, email, or blog? Are you going to run any integrated campaigns? What are they going to focus on, and who are they going to target? When do you want to launch your campaigns? How long are they going to run?

Budget Questions:

What budget do you have for inbound marketing? This is a very important question to consider when it comes on deciding what direction to take with your inbound marketing.

All of these questions are designed to help you develop a perfectly thought out inbound marketing plan that is aligned with your business goals, current marketing situation, and future business direction.

It is also very helpful to have set goals from the beginning to track your progress.  This includes establishing goals for website traffic, lead generation, conversion rates, and close rates. This will help you understand what types of things are working and what marketing strategies you can get rid of.

A good example would be that you are looking to improve website traffic.  If that is the case, then you would need to focus on blogging, onsite SEO, offsite SEO, content creation, content sourcing, and social media marketing. But if your business already has a lot of traffic but no leads, your program needs to include a website design upgrade, landing pages, and additional offers like webinars, demos,   and videos. The tactics have to match the marketing strategy if you want to realize results.

Getting fast results can happen if you recognize the tactics that need to be done. With these questions, you will build a solid strategy that will help your inbound marketing efforts.

 

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