What Mobile-Friendly Web Design Means to Your Customers

You have heard hundreds of times by now that you need to have a mobile-friendly website to compete online in 2020 and beyond. However, there is some confusion amongst business owners about what that actually means. Is it enough to have a responsive website that adapts to mobile platforms, or is there more to the equation?

To find the best answer to this question, we have to stop thinking like marketers and web designers. Instead, we should approach the issue through the lens of potential customers. What would mobile-friendly mean to them?

Through years of work, study, and user testing, we’ve identified several traits that need to be present for website to be considered truly mobile-friendly. Here are some of the most important factors…

A Website That Displays Cleanly on a Small Screen

This is the most obvious definition of a mobile-friendly business website, but it’s worth spelling things out. If someone can arrive on your site via a phone or tablet and finds strange layouts, distorted images, or other obvious issues, then they are very likely to click away. This isn’t a very high bar to clear, but lacking basic mobile functionality is a good way to alienate half or more of your potential customers.

A Web Layout That Works Across Several Browsers and Devices

Of course, just because your website looks great on one mobile device doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to display perfectly on another. You can’t afford to lose a huge chunk of business just because some of your customers like iPhones and others prefer Androids. That’s why pages and layouts need to be tested on a variety of screens and platforms. 

Reasonable Page Loading Times

Most of us have been through the frustration of trying to load a website that took several seconds (three or more) to come online. Your average mobile user will simply take their time and attention elsewhere. You can speed your pages up by investing in premium web hosting and streamlining your code for fast delivery. If you are unsure about your website performance, an audit might be able to give you the answers you need.

Content That’s Optimized for Mobile Devices

It isn’t only servers that affect website speed. The content you load onto your pages (particularly images and videos) can play a big role too. For one thing, it’s important that they are formatted with the correct size and resolution to display on both traditional computers and mobile devices. And for another, they need to be identified properly with HTML5 tags to prevent delays and errors.

Fast and Intuitive Website Interaction

Have you ever tried to navigate your way through a website, or complete a purchase, only to become frustrated and leave? This is an all-too-common experience in the mobile age. Remember that many of your customers will be tapping links and prompts with their fingers. They don’t want to type in long strings of information through forms, and will appreciate simple menus, click to call buttons, and other intuitive features that make it easy for them to complete tasks.

7 Urgent Steps for Marketers in the Covid Economy

As the coronavirus has taken over first the news, then our attention, and finally the economy, clients have come to us again and again with one question: “what now?”

The answer depends of course on the situation a business owner or executive is facing. For some, a Covid recession is a major event. For others, it’s a sad reality but not a huge business concern.

If you have the kind of company that is relatively unaffected by the current pandemic, then you might not be concerned with changing strategies or tactics. For all the rest of us, though, here are seven urgent steps you might want to take today if you haven’t already:

1. Don’t Panic or Make Rash Decisions You Might Regret

One of the worst things you can do, in this crisis or any other, is complicate matters by enacting quick decisions that compound the issue. This is a time to think clearly about what’s possible, what’s likely, and which opportunities or obstacles lie ahead. Take some time to get clear about what you’re facing and what you want to accomplish. Only then should you make strategic decisions.

2. Start Using Your Email Newsletter to Communicate

This is no time to be quiet or leave your customers wondering what you can or can’t do for them. While we would encourage you to reuse any outreach tools you have at your disposal; email is particularly well-suited for fast and effective communication. Let buyers know what’s happening with your business, even if nothing has changed. That way you won’t miss out on business because they have assumed you are cutting back.

3. Reach Out to Your Best Customers through Social Media

While email will probably be the preferred method of communication for the moment, don’t overlook the power of social media to connect with your best customers, clients, vendors, or partners. Some of them may prefer to communicate through these channels. And, sending a note through Facebook or LinkedIn (as examples) is more personal than reaching them through an email blast.

4. Look for Opportunities to Sell and Serve Your Market

Don’t assume there isn’t any business to be found in your industry, or that you know exactly what your customers want. Reach out to some of them and see if there are new opportunities to make your company a more valuable partner or resource. It might be that there are lots of ways you can serve buyers, or the community, that aren’t immediately obvious.

5. Investigate New Customers and Sales Opportunities

If your customers and clients are slowing down, don’t simply take it as a given that you will have to do the same. It may be that you are able to serve other markets (for instance, hospitals or delivery companies) who are doing a thriving business right now. Often, it just takes a bit of creative thinking and investigation to identify new sales opportunities, even in a downturn.

6. Cut Off Any Non-Performing Ads or Campaigns

We started our tips by advising you not to make any rash decisions. However, that’s not the same as saying you should stay still. If there are marketing campaigns or activities that just aren’t going to work in the current economy, then this is the time to pause or discontinue them. Don’t let your money go towards projects that aren’t going to benefit your business for many months to come.

7. Take Advantage of the Downtime to Get Better

One of the things that makes marketing hard is that most business owners and executives don’t have time to read books, take courses, or think about projects like a website overhaul. If there is any small silver lining to what’s going on in the world it’s that we have the opportunity to step back and be more intentional about our plans. Where do you want to be in a few months, and what can you do to make it happen?

5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Spam Protection Today

Recently, we have been reminding clients that our company has been offering state-of-the-art spam protection for years. In fact, we were one of the first creative firms in southern California to introduce inbox controls as part of our web design and hosting services.

With unsolicited emails bringing bigger risks than ever right now—including phishing scams, virus attachments, and ransomware—this is the perfect time to make sure your business is protected. Today, we want to share five simple reasons you should upgrade your spam protection if you haven’t already…

1. Dealing with Unwanted Emails Takes Time

You might think it doesn’t take long to clean spam from your inbox, but those wasted minutes each day add up quickly. In fact, you might be unknowingly spend a dozen hours on unwanted emails over the course of a year. 

Why not use the productive parts of your day on tasks that matter instead of dealing with spam?

2. You’ll Keep Viruses and Ransomware Out

It’s easy for even the most careful business owners or employees to accidentally click on an unknown email attachment just once. Then they may find their computers have become infected with viruses, malware, or even ransomware that restricts file access. 

With strong spam controls in place the odds that you’ll end up struggling with these hassles, or losing access to important data, are greatly reduced.

3. You Can Keep Control of Incoming Email

One worry business owners and managers have about using spam protection is that they won’t be able to receive messages from certain customers, or that they will no longer be able to view email attachments when they need to. However, with our email filtering service you always control what you want to receive and have the option of whitelisting important contacts.

In other words, you won’t miss out on any of the emails you actually need because you’re using spam protection with us.

4. You’ll Get Better Performance from Your Computers

Some companies try to fight spam and malicious emails using desktop software or antivirus suites. However, because these programs have to operate constantly, they can cause your computers to run slowly. And, they may create issues when you need to download or update software.

Our spam protection doesn’t need to be installed on your machines, so it won’t affect computer performance in your office.

5. Strong Spam Protection Costs Very Little

In most cases, getting the best of anything for your business means spending a lot of money. However, when it comes to keeping your inbox safe from spam, you don’t have to break the budget to get the coverage you need.

You can add email filtering to your web hosting package for one low monthly fee. It might be the best investment you make all year.

Why You Shouldn’t Do SEO Without Social (or Vice Versa)

When social media marketing started taking off, some business owners sought it as a way to replace search engine optimization (SEO). With a few tweets and posts, they imagined they might be able to break away from the competitive and sometimes-grueling cycle of generating and promoting content.

Lately, we have seen the opposite happening: that some small and medium-sized companies are ignoring their social profiles to get back to the more proven strategy of turning search visitors into customers. 

We think that’s a mistake. While SEO might be a more direct route to growing your bottom line, social media marketing still has its place. In fact, we don’t think you should invest time and money in search without also paying attention to your social accounts. Let’s look at why.

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Why you Probably Aren’t Ranking on Google

Amongst business owners and marketing executives, search engine optimization (or SEO) is like a professional sport. Although most decision-makers haven’t done much content writing or technical HTML work, they stay up-to-date on the latest trends and ranking on Google algorithm shifts. They become armchair quarterbacks of search marketing.

That’s generally a good thing. Anyone who has a vested interest in helping their business grow should know what SEO and ranking on Google are all about. However, there is a downside to the intense interest they have and search. Namely that new clients come to companies like ours looking for complicated answers to simple problems.

The details of the search engine optimization campaign are important. However, they only come into play once you cover the basics. To help illustrate what we mean, let’s look at a few Google ranking factors… 

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4 Incredibly Easy Ways to Use Your Company’s Social Media Accounts

Amazing as it might seem, we sometimes meet with business owners and marketing managers who tell us they don’t have the time or patience for social media marketing. They are either overwhelmed with other tasks, or don’t see a clear benefit to engaging customers and prospects through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We can understand this line of thinking. For one thing, most of the people we work with don’t have a lot of free time. And for another, it is harder to use social media to create instant leads than it is to generate business from search engine optimization or pay-per-click ads.

However, that doesn’t mean social media marketing has to be overwhelming, or that it won’t pay off. To help you understand why let’s look at four simple and effective ways you can use your business social media profiles every week…

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Are You Following an Old Approach to SEO?

Most business owners understand how important search engine optimization (or SEO) is to generating leads and sales from a website. Unfortunately, many are following old tips and best practices that no longer do them much good.

These include stuffing keywords on pages, buying junk links from overseas vendors, and using awkward phrases in marketing copy as a way to draw attention from search spiders. Not only are these techniques outdated, but they can actually work against you and keep customers away from your website, because Google will see them and consider your website to be a low-quality result.

If you worry that you might be following an approach to SEO that no longer works, here are a few things you should know going into 2019…

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4 Ways a Website Audit Helps Your Business

Wondering about getting a stronger business website, or improving your online marketing strategy to generate more leads and sales?

Your initial thoughts can probably include creating new content, launching a fresh ad strategy or redesigning your home page. But first, you might need to consider doing a simple business website audit. When you audit your existing pages, code, and content, you can learn a lot about your existing web presence. Also you can develop a sense of what you will need to do next to improve results.

Let’s look at four simple ways and see how a website audit can be more valuable than you think.

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Are Online Reviews Helping or Hurting Your Sales?

Business owners often scrutinize every corner of their websites. They look for anything that can give them an advantage over their online competitors. However, they often overlook a crucial part of the online marketing mix. One that makes a huge difference between new sales and missed opportunities. This “hidden” component of the online marketing puzzle is a company’s online reviews(reputation).

Surveys show that 90% of all buyers will check a business’s online reviews before they ever convert into a customer. If what they find on Google, Yelp, and industry websites is positive, they can move forward confidently. However, if they see lots of complaints and bad reviews they may take their business elsewhere. Then, you’ll have lost the opportunity to win a customer without ever knowing why.

With stakes so high, let’s dive into three stages to make online reviews a positive part of your selling strategy.

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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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