5 Ways to Evaluate Web Design Companies

We have noticed over the years that many of the business owners who come to us for help feel like they are flying blind. Often, they know they need a company that can help them build a custom website, but aren’t sure how to evaluate their many choices and options. After all, you could embark on an almost endless Google search just by looking through web designers in the area, which is to say nothing of the numerous DIY template companies and overseas providers out there.

So, how does someone who needs a website – and possibly isn’t all that familiar with industry jargon or the latest internet marketing trends – find the right web designer to work with? As with everything in life and business, it’s all about the right fit. To help you find a vendor who is right for your situation, here are five criteria you should consider…

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Are You Making These Facebook Advertising Mistakes?

Google AdWords and Facebook advertising are built on a similar premise: show your marketing messages to the right people and you can generate an instant response. However, they represent entirely different platforms that work in unique ways. It’s no surprise, then, that so many marketers try to transfer the success they’ve had using search PPC to social media advertising and come up short.

To use Facebook advertising profitably, you have to follow an approach that’s tailored to the social network itself. That means avoiding a few all-too-common mistakes that small business owners tend to make again and again.

Let’s look at a few common blunders you should watch out for in your Facebook advertising campaigns…

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Are Negative Online Reviews Killing Your Sales?

Online reputation management is a relatively new topic in the world of internet marketing. For that reason, it’s not so surprising that a lot of business owners either don’t know what kinds of reviews have been posted about them online, or aren’t too worried about it.

However, we want all of our clients and readers to understand that negative feedback on the internet can absolutely kill your sales. That’s because a bad online reputation is like a hidden expense on your bottom line. It robs you of sales and leads without ever showing you the opportunities that have been lost.

That happens because new customers and referrals are likely to Google you, or look you up on their favorite social media platform, before they ever contact you. When they come across negative reviews, they are less likely to take the next step. Or, if they do decide to investigate more, they may be skeptical about your business. In that way, revenue can be lost even though a business owner isn’t aware of the real reason (or in some cases, that there was even a chance to make a sale in the first place).

So, how do you stop bad online feedback from affecting your bottom line? Here are some quick steps you can take starting today…

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Why You Want Web Hosting Through Your Web Designer

Did you go looking for the cheapest hosting you could find after you had someone design a website for your business? If so, you shouldn’t feel bad – experience tells us that’s the “normal” way for a small business owner to choose a place to park their new web presence.

However, a high-quality web design team (like the one we have) will recommend you host your site with the same company that designed it. That’s advice you should take, and today we are going to give you a few important reasons why.

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The X Factor in Web Design ROI

When business owners come to us for web design and Internet marketing, they generally want to know two things: first, will my site look great? And second, will it help me make more money?

The answer to the first question is easy. If you work with a talented creative team (and like their samples) you are very likely to get a beautiful web presence. The second question is a little trickier, however.

That’s because a lot of things go into the ROI you’ll get from a new website. There is the quality of the site itself, and the size of your market and the competition you’re facing, not to mention the strength of the marketing plan your team comes up with. Most importantly, though, there is a big X factor: how much work will you put into your own website?

If you expect to launch your new website and just have customers magically arrive, then you are likely to be disappointed. The launch of a new website is the start of your Internet marketing campaigns, not the end. To make your pages stand out, and to grow your bottom line, you have to pay attention to things like…

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The Advantages of Having Great Web Content

It’s unfortunate, but many business owners pay a lot more attention to the visual aspects of their website then they do the written ones. That’s understandable when you consider the power of good design, and the fact that most of us don’t consider ourselves to be great writers. But at the same time, it’s important to remember that having great web content gives your business some important advantages that can’t be gained otherwise.

To help you see why the writing on your web pages is so critical to the success of your site and Internet marketing efforts, let’s take a look at a few of the things that come to you when you use the right words online…

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Using Search, Social Media, and PPC Together

Most of the business owners and executives who come to see us for web design and Internet marketing already know they need to be using search engine optimization, social media, and pay-per-click advertising. What they don’t necessarily know is how they should prioritize them and use them together. In fact, many aren’t sure of the distinctions at all.

That’s understandable—the men and women we work with our busy building and running their companies. They don’t have the luxury of learning the ins and outs of Internet marketing the way we do. So, if you feel as they do and aren’t sure how you should use search, social, and PPC to grow your company, here are a few things we want you to keep in mind…

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The Marcom Group is looking for a Junior Graphic Designer

TMG is a seasoned graphic design and advertising agency specializing in print, logo, and website design.

Our work conveys the passion, dedication, and uniqueness shared by every member of our team. We are enthralled by what’s next and knowledgeable about what works. Driven in equal parts by data and ingenuity, we are guilty of an obsessive level of attention to detail and wild flights of imagination.

While we like to think our work speaks for itself, we understand that a client-agency relationship is about more than crafty content and pretty designs. Our clients not only appreciate the fruit of our labor, but the attentive service that we provide.

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5 DIY Online Marketing Video Tips

Online videos can change the results you get from your internet marketing overnight. They can add more punch and persuasion to your landing pages, help you to get more views on your social feeds, and open you up to an entirely new audience on YouTube.

The best part of this might be that the cost and complexity associated with producing online videos has gone way down in the last couple of years. Now, virtually any business owner or marketer can release fantastic clips if they are willing to put a little bit of time and effort into the project.

So, how do you make sure your clips stand out for the right reason? Here are five DIY online marketing video tips you can put to use right away…

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Adding More Personality to Your Social Media Marketing

In many ways, social media marketing is the great equalizer. That’s because it puts small businesses—and even small business owners—on par with Fortune 500 brands.

In fact, we would argue that the little guys actually have an advantage. That’s because most people don’t want to see big-budget advertising when they go on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, they want to follow their passions, find interesting and offbeat stories, and connect with other people. Each of those is at odds with the mass-media approach bigger corporations follow.

Knowing that, how can you use your social media advantage in an effective way? The short answer is to add more personality to your profiles and feed. Here are a few reminders to help you do exactly that…

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The Second Most Important Sales Page on Your Website

At any given moment, the most important selling point on your website is likely to be your home page or landing page, depending on which one is attracting the highest number of views. What a lot of small business owners fail to realize, however, is that the second most important sales page is one that’s often looked over

Years of studying web analytics have shown us that a companies “About” page gets more traffic than marketers realize. Moreover, the impression that it leaves a reader with will go a long way towards determining what will happen next. That’s particularly true if there are team member bios, or a story about the history of the business.

There are probably a couple of reasons for this. The first is that, as humans, we like to know other humans. That is, we want to know a bit more about the men and women we are doing business with. Looking into their bios and stories is a good way to understand who they are and how we might work together with them.

At the same time, the About page on your website tells potential customers what it is that makes you different from all of your competitors. It’s a chance to show off your unique skills, talent, or perspective. It’s your shot to fill them in on what sets you apart.

Knowing that, how can you make the most of your About page? Here are a few good tips to help you get started…

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4 Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Website Today

Do you feel like your website could use a facelift, or perhaps a performance boost?

Often, we hear from business owners, managers, and executives who want to get more from their web presence, but they have been hesitant to give us a call. That’s because they are afraid that a short conversation will lead to a proposal for a brand-new website – one they might not need or be able to afford.

There certainly are times when it makes sense to build a new site from the ground up. However, if your pages were laid out in the last few years (and are mobile-compatible), you probably don’t need to start over.

Here are few steps you can take to make your website feel new without putting a major dent in your budget…

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Balancing Short vs. Long Term Internet Marketing Strategies

One of the fun things about the early days of internet marketing was that almost everything seemed to happen instantly. You put a website or ad online, promoted it, and could be assessing the results within hours.

There is still an aspect of instant gratification to working on the web, but the process of designing websites, planning campaigns, placing ads, and (especially) evaluating results has begun to stretch out. And so, we have reached a point where online marketing has come to represent traditional marketing, in that businesses need to balance short and long-term strategies if they want to get the best results.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways you can get the most out of both…

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4 Ways Your SEO Can Beat the AI System

For a lot of us, the term “artificial intelligence” brings back memories of sci-fi novels, movies, and comic books. But, what was once purely in the realm of the imagined has been made real – and it’s already affecting your business and SEO.

That’s because Google and other leading tech companies are already utilizing AI in a number of ways. In particular, the world’s largest search engine is using it to assess ranking factors, analyze searcher behavior, and re-organize search results on an individualized basis.

One of the great ironies of this is that even though Google is using artificial intelligence, it’s deploying it in a way that emphasizes the human touch in content creation and online engagement. To understand how that impacts you, here are a few tips to keep in mind as SEO goes sci-fi…

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Are You About to Hire the Wrong Web Design Team?

Every business owner and executive in the world wants to get the best web design and internet marketing help they can afford. But what does “the best” really mean in this context?

That’s a question that confounds a lot of people. It’s so easy to find yourself paying a deposit to a creative team and then regretting it later. That’s obviously a situation you want to avoid. Today we want to point out four red flags that suggest you’re about to hire someone who can’t give you the kind of work you need…

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Kick Start 2017 With a Website Audit

In the past week or so, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from business owners and executives who want to know one thing: How can they get the new year started on the right foot from an internet marketing perspective?

The answer I give sometimes surprises them. While many think they’re going to hear about the latest SEO trick or pay-per-click advertising gimmick, my number one recommendation is to begin the new year with a website audit. That’s a comprehensive look at your existing site that can point to problems and opportunities.

A thorough website audit is like having a mechanic take a good look at your car before along road trip, in that it can help you deal with headaches and hassles before they become something to worry about. What might we find if we look under the hood on your pages? Here are just some of the things we look for during the website audit process…

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5 Trends Shaping Internet Marketing in 2017

You’ve probably read a lot of 2017 predictions lately. That shouldn’t be a surprise – experts have predictions on politics, sports, the economy, and even which movies win awards in the coming months. But, while a lot of these forecasts will be hit-and-miss, we have a few online marketing trends that are virtually certain to make an impact in your business this year.

How can we be so confident? It’s easy, these are industry-defining movements that are already underway. In other words, they are affecting your business right now, whether you are aware of them are not.

Smart marketers are doing everything they can to stay ahead of the curve. To help you do the same, here are five big trends that will continue to shape the internet marketing landscape in 2017 and beyond…

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7 Ways Clients Kill Their Own Websites

Most business owners think the biggest threat to their new website is a competitor that upgrades their internet marketing, a dissatisfied customer who leaves a bad review online, or maybe even an algorithm change from Google that dramatically shifts the search engine results.

In reality, though, many of the problems clients have turning a website into a source of new business are self-inflicted. In other words, they hurt their own chances by engaging in common but predictable blunders. To show you just how easy it is to make these kinds of mistakes, here are seven ways business owners and executives inadvertently kill their own websites…

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How to Double the Profitability of Your Landing Pages

If you’ve been involved in Internet marketing for any length of time, then you’re probably already familiar with the agonizing process that takes place when you try to optimize your landing pages. Every element is scrutinized, from the layout to your headlines, offers, images, and calls to action.

This kind of conversion rate optimization is important because every visit to your landing page is a potential sale… and every potential buyer who leaves without taking action represents a missed opportunity.

Recognizing that, it’s surprising that so many marketers make a big mistake and miss out on the chance to double the profitability of their landing pages. How? By giving themselves a second chance to make the sale.

Some buyers just aren’t going to convert right away. They aren’t ready to make a purchase just yet, but they might be willing to later (especially if they are given another opportunity after they thought about it for a while).

Luckily, there are a couple of ways you can give yourself that second chance…

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Why Fake News Will Change SEO Forever

Anchors, commentators, and even sociologists all agree on one thing: fake news is a growing phenomenon, and one with real-world consequences. In the span of a few months, it’s gone from being an obscure topic to one that Facebook and the other leading social media platforms have promised to fight directly.

The discussion about fake news is currently focusing on the social side of things. However, we expect it will have huge repercussions in the area of search engine optimization in the near future. After all, Google could be considered the world’s biggest library and news outlet all in one. Plus, the company’s directors have prioritized author tags, authority indicators, and topical relevance in past search algorithm updates.

It’s not a big reach, then, to expect fake news will change the art of search engine optimization forever. Below, we are going to make three predictions. They certainly aren’t ironclad now, but do represent rational outcomes that would follow the trends we are seeing now. Let’s take each of the three, one by one…

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3 Problems with Template and DIY Websites

Do you really need a professional web designer to help you promote your company online, or can you just turn to one of the many template or DIY websites services out there?

The short answer is that you could certainly turn to one of those options, as thousands of business owners and managers undoubtedly do. If you want your website to be profitable, though, it’s probably best if you work with a proven team of creative professionals. We don’t say that because we want you to pay a higher fee—to us or anyone else—but because it’s the option that’s likely to lead to a profitable result.

To understand why, here are three common problems small businesses have with web templates and DIY websites…

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How to Create an Instant Online Marketing Video

By now, nearly every business owner and marketer knows that online video is incredibly powerful for grabbing attention and generating conversions. Yet many are hesitant to even get started with video, much less produce clips on a regular basis.

For most companies, the big stumbling block seems to be the amount of time and preparation it takes to produce a good marketing video clip… or at least the amount of time they think it has to take. Today we’re going to show you how you can create a high-quality video that your fans and followers will love—one that can be made in just 30 minutes or less.

Here’s our quick guide to creating an instant online marketing video for your business

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4 Simple Tips for Facebook Branding Success

Facebook isn’t just for sharing vacation photos and snarky memes anymore. If you are a small business owner, or someone who manages sales and marketing for small business, then you should be using the social network to build your brand and connect with new buyers.

Obviously, there are entire books, courses, and seminars built on social engagement and advertising. But what if you’re just looking for a few quick tips to get started? Today, we want to share four simple pieces of advice you can use to grow your company on Facebook, even if you don’t have a lot of experience beyond posting fun things for your friends and family…

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4 Hidden Factors That Affect SEO Effectiveness

When the topic turns to search engine optimization, business owners tend to obsess over keyword density, inbound link scoring, and recent Google algorithm changes. But, while they are often concerned with the overall strength of their search visibility, many never pay much attention to the effectiveness of their SEO campaigns.

From our point of view, effectiveness really comes down to the bottom line results that are being generated. And really, isn’t that what should matter most?

If you agree, then it’s worth considering a few additional factors that can draw visitors to your website and convince them to either stay or leave. Let’s take a look at four details that often get overlooked when evaluating search engine optimization campaigns…

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3 Reasons Most Websites Fail

When business owners and their web design teams launch a site, it’s usually with high hopes and big expectations. Before long, though, those feelings are highly likely to turn to regret and disappointment.

That’s because most business websites fail. They don’t attract enough visitors to affect marketing, fail to help a company stand out, and make no appreciable difference on the bottom line (beyond the sizeable sums that are spent to design them).

Believe it or not, that’s as bad for companies like mine as it is for businesses like yours. When clients are disappointed with their new websites, they are hesitant to invest in online marketing again. And more often than not, they tell their colleagues to avoid making the same mistake.

The mistake isn’t getting a new website, though, it’s going about it the wrong way. I’ve learned again and again over the years that businesses—and especially small business—make the same few blunders that hold them back. To help you avoid them, here are three big reasons most new websites fail…

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3 Ways to Make Content Marketing Less of a Chore

Although there are business people who enjoy writing, the vast majority of marketers consider content marketing to be a necessary evil. It’s a chore, not unlike washing dishes, folding laundry, or doing taxes.

There probably isn’t anything we can put in this article that will make you suddenly began to love the process of putting words onto the page, especially if it’s something you already don’t like doing. However, there are a few tips we can give you that can make the process of coming up with material for your content marketing plan a little bit easier.

Here are three suggestions that can save you a great deal of time, stress, and aggravation

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How to Attract Leads With Your Website

Now more than ever, business owners are obsessed with attracting inbound leads from their websites. That’s a good thing—if your web presence isn’t generating sales opportunities, then what’s the point of having it in the first place?

At the same time, though, a lot of marketers seem to think that the process will take care of itself if they just put up a nice enough layout and some content that’s free of obvious typos. Unfortunately, it takes a little more than that to find business on the web. In fact, if you want to attract leads with your business website, there are a few steps you’re going to have to follow every time…

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Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Search Engine Optimization?

For decades, science fiction writers have been wondering what effects supercomputers and artificial intelligence might have on society. However, as technology advances, it’s those of us in internet marketing that end up the most affected.

In fact, there are some who think artificial intelligence will replace an online marketing staple in the next few years. But could AI really render search engine optimization obsolete? And should you be worried as a marketer?.

To find the answers, here are a few things we have to keep in mind…

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Why Responsive Web Design is Being Replaced by Mobile First Marketing

For the last few years, responsive web design has been a huge trend in our industry. And it still is the recommended way to think about building a new website or upgraded web presence. However, we’re starting to see a slow shift in terminology and perspective. Instead of “responsive” websites that are “mobile compatible,” marketers are taking a “mobile first” approach to their sites.

Is this just a difference in wording, or something bigger? To get to the answer, there are a few things we need to think about

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3 Web Design Difference-makers You Can’t Overlook

A lot of business owners don’t realize that it truly can be the little things that make all the difference when it comes to establishing a strong and profitable website design and presence. Items like layouts, logos, and headlines are important, but many of our clients tend to overlook a few special touches that can help them gain an edge over their competitors.

Here are three web design difference-makers to consider to make the most of your business website and web value…

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The Compounding Interest of Content Marketing

Albert Einstein once referred to compounding interest as the “eighth wonder of the world.” He was talking about the tendency of money to grow over time, but he could have just as easily have been referring to the exponential power of content to attract new visitors to your website… had such a thing been invented in his era.

As it turns out, the pages, posts, and articles you add to your website do indeed grow just like your invested savings do. In fact, content can be almost better, since the results of content marketing are more predictable than the stock market.

To understand why there is so much power in having new articles and ideas being added to your site all the time, let’s look at a few of the positive effects that grow and increase in strength over time while you keep generating content…

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How to Beat Facebook’s Engagement Formula

Facebook has been growing and growing for a number of years—reaching more than 1.5 billion users around the world—so it shouldn’t come as a shock that something was going to have to give eventually. And as it turns out, that “something” is the length of the average user’s feed.

There simply isn’t enough time and space for most Facebook users to see everything that’s being thrown at them. So, the company developed a new social engagement formula to help users see what they really don’t want to miss while filtering out the rest.

If you are one of the tens of millions of people who log on to Facebook daily, that’s good news. If you are a marketer who needs to reach fans and followers to sell your products or services, it’s not necessarily such a great thing (at least not at first glance). In fact, some estimates show that only 5 to 10% of the people you are connected to will see your content updates at any given time. That’s not many of them, and the issue is only getting worse.

However, there are things you can do to beat Facebook’s engagement formula, and to reach a much larger segment of the market as a result. Here are a few quick tips you can put to use starting today…

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The 5 Rules of Facebook Image Posts

If you want your Facebook marketing posts to attract attention, then you’d better say it with pictures. Images aren’t just processed more quickly by the human brain, they make a stronger emotional impression. Of course, you don’t have to know that to tell the difference between image‐based posts and ones made from text—if you’ve been on Facebook for more than a few minutes, you have already noticed images are far more likely to be seen, commented on, and shared by your fans and followers.

But, knowing you should use images on Facebook is one thing, and getting real marketing mileage from them is another. To help you make an impact with all the pictures you send out into the world from your business account, here are five simple rules you should follow…

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Do You Need Hosting With an SSL?

Web hosting isn’t necessarily the most exciting part of the web design and Internet marketing process. In fact, lots of clients just choose the cheapest hosting package they can find, or the first one their web design team recommends. I guess that a good percentage of business owners couldn’t tell you where their websites are hosted off the top of their heads, and certainly wouldn’t be able to give details about their level of service.

As understandable as that is, it can lead to bottlenecks on your website. Or to put things another way, better hosting can make a bigger difference than you might think. Premium web hosting can make your website faster, more reliable, and safer from attacks. In addition, better hosting gives you the option of adding SSL—or Secure Sockets Layer—protection to your website.

You’ve probably heard of SSL already, and have undoubtedly used it several times already today. But, more business owners than ever are asking about this particular feature because Google recently named it as a search engine signal. That means your website can be easier for customers to find with an SSL than it would be without one.

So, does that mean you should upgrade your hosting and add SSL to your website? To find the answer, let’s take a look at a couple of things you get when you make the change…

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What Pokémon GO Teaches Us About Mobile Marketing

When it comes to Pokémon GO, there are two types of people: those who are ready to take to the streets—virtually any time or any place—in order to catch the latest prize, and those of us (like me) who don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about.

Regardless of what you think of the game, though, it does teach us a few things about mobile web computing. And, business owners and marketers at every level would do well to pay close attention to the lessons that can be learned from watching millions of people chase imaginary animals.

If that sounds a little far-fetched, let’s look at a few things Pokémon GO teaches us about mobile marketing…

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