Does Your Website Need SSL?

Even if you don’t follow the world of online marketing very closely, you have likely heard about SSL connectivity. The question that may have come to your mind is: “is that something I need on my website?” Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL uses a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data.

Strictly speaking, most small business websites that aren’t processing financial transactions don’t need SSL. But, you should probably spend a few dollars to add it to your web presence anyway. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why…

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Why is Your Search Traffic Drying Up?

Is your search traffic from Google starting to dwindle? Have you noticed that your search rankings for important keywords are dropping… and that sales are falling at the same rate?

We meet with at least a dozen business owners and executives every year who are facing the same kinds of problems. The first thing they want to know is why their websites aren’t generating sales opportunities like they used to, especially if they’ve been using search engine optimization for years.

Every situation is different, but below are some of the common reasons we see search traffic dwindle or even dry up completely.

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The Downside to a Successful SEO Campaign (and How to Fix It)

Most online marketers dream of having a top Google ranking for a high-traffic keyword. That’s because they know those websites attract the most visits, and that those visits frequently turn into phone calls, online inquiries, and even walk-in customers.

However, it’s important to note that there is a potential downside to executing a successful search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Namely that you could suddenly find yourself with a flood of new interest, and that some of your new prospects might not be a great fit for your company.

Granted, getting too many phone calls, email submissions, and inquiries is usually a great problem to have. However, it can lead to difficulties nonetheless, particularly if all the extra activity stops you from paying enough attention to your best current and potential clients.

So, how do you deal with the extra time needed to handle the additional dozens or hundreds of sales inquiries that come your way when you have a high-ranking Google website? Here are a few proven pieces of advice you can follow…

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How To Break Customer Indecision Online

One of the most difficult things to deal with, as an online marketer, is seeing a trend of customers leaving your website at the last minute. They might abandon a shopping cart, close a window before filling out a lead form, or go back to Google when they should pick up the phone.

Why does this customer indecision cost you money? And more importantly, what can you do about it?

Although every buyer and visit is unique, potential customers generally leave you without taking action for one of three reasons: they didn’t intend to buy anything in the first place, don’t have enough information your product or service, or don’t feel sufficiently motivated on an emotional level to move forward. Almost any conversion problem you face is going to come down to one of those issues.

Luckily, none of them are impossible to solve. With that in mind, look let’s look at some fixes you can employ to get customers to place an order or fill out a form instead of clicking away from your website…

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Online Tactics that Support Offline Sales and Marketing

Within web design companies, there are discussions that off-line sales and online marketing tactics are no longer effective. Or at least, that they are inefficient and unnecessary. However, millions of small business owners would disagree. Small businesses use tools like direct mail, telemarketing, and billboard ads to find new customers every day. In some cases, with less effort and expense compared to some online marketing campaigns.

Does that mean businesses should be divided into those who use the web to acquire customers and those who don’t? Absolutely not. There are numerous ways you could combine your approaches to save time and money and boost sales all around.

Let’s look at some ways you can use online tactics to further off-line sales and online marketing campaigns.

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Making the Most of Your Local Business Profiles

Online business profiles—particularly on Google and Yelp—can have a profound impact on your ability to pull in customers from your geographic area. That’s because buyers tend to search the web first when they need to find a new company or vendor, especially if they’re using their phone while on the go.

However, while understanding the importance of local business profiles is a good first step, that’s not enough to actually make the most of them. If you want to see a consistent flow of customers going from your business descriptions on the internet into your company’s accounts, here are a few things you have to do…

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7 Signs Your Business Website Needs Some Work

Occasionally, we meet with business owners who aren’t sure they need our services. It’s often the case that they have been referred by a colleague or even a customer, but can’t tell whether they should actually invest in some upgrades to their existing web presence.

That’s understandable. Web design is about technical skill and personal preference. Besides, no one wants to spend money on creative work that won’t actually help them attract more leads or customers.

At the same time, however, there are a lot of websites out there that need immediate attention. Today, we want to give you seven clear-cut signs it’s time to make some improvements to the part of your business customers almost always see first…

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Today’s SEO for Business owners

If you are a successful business owner, then you’re probably at least familiar with the basic notions behind search engine optimization (SEO). You know that a strong position in Google can help you win new customers every week. And you also probably know that search engine algorithms and formulas are constantly changing and that a lot of the old tricks and ideas aren’t working anymore.

However, that does not mean you should give up on SEO. For one thing, the benefits of high search visibility are bigger than they’ve ever been. By some estimates, Google currently processes more than 4 billion searches per day. It has immense referral power for your company, and you don’t want to surrender that traffic or those sales opportunities. Keeping up with the latest search trends probably isn’t quite as difficult as you might think. In fact, you just have to know which current trends and ideas matter most.

In order to help you cut through the outdated information, we’ll take a look at what business owners need to know about SEO today…

Google’s Basic Formula Still Applies

At the heart of all search, visibility is the understanding that Google “reads” your website with automated spiders, looking for terms that match up with the ones searchers use. Also, it will see whether other high-quality websites within your industry link to you as a valuable resource. Get those two things right, and you’re bound to appear in Google more often.

You Can’t Spam Your Way to Success

In the “old days,” a lot of companies tried to game the SEO system by adding low-quality junk pages to their websites that featured the same search terms over and again. Others got away with directing thousands of meaningless links to their sites. These kinds of tactics stopped working a while ago because they could harm your search visibility. You can’t spam your way to SEO success anymore.

Geography Matters a Lot

Being that Google has essentially killed off the Yellow Pages, and millions of users are looking for answers from the phones and tablets while on the go, search engines now factor in geographic location more heavily into their algorithms. It’s important you have geographic terms in your website (like city and state names) so buyers and search spiders can tell where you do business.

Good Web Hosting Makes a Difference

Speed, consistency, and secure connectivity all count as search signals now. It means that fast and stable websites are more likely seen by customers. You can give your company a small advantage over your competitors by paying a few more dollars a month for good web hosting. It also happens to be a great way to improve website performance at the same time.

Mobile Search is a Huge Trend

Mobile search apps, digital assistants, and voice search tools are changing the way SEO works. That’s because people speak differently than they type. Websites with lots of natural language content are getting a big boost. Writing in the form of blog posts and frequently asked questions will help your website climb the Google ranks.

AI is Changing Everything

Google’s RankBrain and other artificial intelligence technologies are moving beyond additional keyword matching. They use advanced formulas to “understand” contextual relationships between pages and ideas on websites. They also determine quality by evaluating citations, links, grammar, and more. In other words, Google is mimicking its human users and figuring out which search results are good ones.

While it’s true that SEO is undergoing huge transformations, it’s also true that savvy marketers are getting a bigger return than ever on their campaigns and efforts.

5 Frequently Asked Questions about PPC Advertising

New clients often come to us with many questions about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. It’s not hard to understand why. On the one hand, you can have a new campaign of PPC ads up and running within minutes. But on the other hand, those ads are going to cost you money, and you can watch your budget get eaten up hour by hour.

Additionally, most business owners understand—either from stories or first-hand experience—that PPC ads can lead to fast sales or lots of wasted dollars. So, they may be alternatively excited and apprehensive at the idea of running them.

You may be able to relate to some or all of these situations. In order to help you make good decisions for your company, we are going to share the answers to five frequently asked questions about PPC ads we hear all the time…

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4 Ways to Get More (and Better) Online Reviews

It’s no secret by now that online reviews drive sales. That’s true whether you have an online store, a professional services company, or a B2B business. According to some surveys and estimates, as many as 90% of all buyers will check out feedback left by other customers before making a purchase or committing to an appointment.

For a lot of business owners and marketers, though, the process of gathering online reviews can feel a little bit random. However, you don’t have to rely completely on luck to get the testimonials you need to make your company grow. In this post, we are going to share four simple and effective ways you can boost your online review profile. Let’s start with one that seems obvious but is often missed…

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