eBusiness Blog

Web Design: Understanding the Process to Avoid Disasters

Today’s eTip is about how to properly convey your desired results when working with a website designer.

 

What can you do to prevent your web design project from going sideways?

Being a website design and development agency ourselves we know the pitfalls and costs that come with misunderstandings during the development process.

It often seems like you need to be a mind reader.

This happened to us recently, and we got to experience the other side of the equation and it ended up being a great learning experience for us.

Our project turned out to be a wonderful success and in the process we gained valuable insight into the design process from a customer perspective.

How does a project derail?

What happens normally is miscommunication.

The designer may not understand your goals and has probably not asked you enough questions.

Some good questions that should be asked before the project begins are:

  1. What do you want this website to accomplish for you?
  2. What is your brand positioning?
  3. How do you want to be presented to the public so that they see you as you’d like to be seen?
  4. What message do you want to portray to your audience in order to get them to respond to your site?
  5. Who is your audience and who do you want to visit the site?
  6. What about your site then entices that desired audience?

I should state here that I am referring to a qualified web designer and not someone who can draw something up in Photoshop but doesn’t understand how to create a website that actually performs for you.

Give yourself and your designer enough time to perform the due diligence expressed above. Asking those questions will ensure the project is to your expectations.

By asking the right questions your designer will understand your vision and how to interpret your goals so you wind up with a website that you’re in love with and proud to show off to friends, family, associates, and most of all your desired clients.

Go ahead and leave a comment below and please subscribe to our YouTube channel or newsletter so you get weekly tips and strategies like these.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.

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About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website

Why Your Business Can’t Ignore the Importance of Providing a Positive User Experience (UX)

7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website User Experience

Does your site provide the best user experience?

Bad website usability is not only bad for your users; it’s bad for your business too.

What exactly is website usability? It’s definitely one of those industry jargon terms that many entrepreneurs and business owners might not be familiar with. But should!

Website usability means: how easy is it to use your website?

If you’re unsure of what that is, then chances are you may need some help building a strategy for your website.

Your website’s use is how well it accomplishes the reason you built it. Is it to generate leads? Get someone to make a purchase? Direct people to something else? Each page of your website needs a purpose and if that purpose isn’t clear, then the usability is diminished.

A website's usability is gauged by how well it accomplishes your site's goalsClick To Tweet

When web marketers look at usability they’re looking to see whether or not a user can complete a defined task with little to no confusion or frustration.

So how do you know if your customers are finding your website easy to use?

Measuring User Experience and Usability

There are many services that have come and gone when it comes to measuring user activity and a site’s usability.

Heatmap services such as Hotjar or Crazyegg have been semi successful though woefully abused in the hands of those who don’t know what to do with the information. These types of services give the website owner a birds-eye view at where their website visitors are focusing their attention.

Testing groups can be a great asset but at the same time these are closed, controlled groups so they often inadvertently present misinformation by way of not being an accurate representation of the site’s actual target market.

The best way to check your website’s usability is your Google Analytics. Google offers its analytic web-based software for free for many reasons. One is so you can make your website better.

Within Google Analytics site owners can check things like how long someone is on a page, where they entered the page from, what they did on the page, and when they left.

If someone lands on your page and leaves nearly right away you have what is called a Bounce. If the majority of your users are bouncing (called a high bounce rate) then you have a usability issue and are offering up a bad user experience where they have left too quickly to take any action.

Another way to check is to set a conversion measurement. This is when you input information into Google Analytics that triggers a signal when someone completes a task as defined in there. You can even assign monetary values to the conversion if you want to measure the revenue generated through the conversion.

This type of analysis is best left to professionals so get in touch with my team if you need any help.

But Google doesn’t stop there with its free offerings! Try checking things like your site’s speed or mobile usability using these free tools:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Find helpful tools to assist in your website's usability hereClick To Tweet

Measuring usability is as complicated or as easy as your website is. Larger projects with many types of users and conversion types will have more complicated ways to measure usability but the overall message here is: does your website accomplish your business goals set for it?

Are Your Users Having A Bad Website Experience?

If you’re looking at the overall stats and the numbers are not good then it’s time to look at why your users are having a bad website experience.

Here’s 7 questions to ask yourself about your website to avoid frustrating your users:

  1. Have you clearly defined what your business does and is it appealing to the right audience?
  2. Did you make it as easy as possible for users to find the information they’re looking for? Typically there should be no more than 3 steps between landing on the site and finding what the user wants.
  3. Can a customer contact you easily if they are stuck or have any questions?
  4. Do you have any broken links on your site that will lead users to a dead end?
  5. How fast does the site load (see test above)?
  6. Is your website mobile responsive?
  7. How transparent is your About page?

Nothing can be more frustrating than a dead end so make sure you don’t have any. Users need to have trust established by a website if they’re going to commit their time, money, or both to it.

This is where user test groups can come in handy. Universal website staples that often get forgotten are there so someone who has never been to your website before can have a good experience on it.

Check the few points listed above and if there are areas you haven’t covered or you need help with then get in touch and we’ll be able to break it all down for you.

Is User Experience Really The Same As Usability?

The experience and expectations will vary greatly between websites depending and their purpose.

For large scale big businesses, user experience transcends platforms and current award winners are melding online with offline in attempts to boost both point of sale ‘conversions’ on site and web conversions.

For anyone working in small to medium sized businesses usability is your website’s user experience so focus on that. Make sure when someone lands on your website searching for something, they find what they were needing as quickly and easily as possible.

And don’t forget your user experience doesn’t end there!

A Conversion Is Not the End of the Road for Good Website User Experience

Provide Great Support

Your user experience doesn’t stop when the conversion does.

Think about the process of your conversion from the perspective of someone performing the conversion.

Once you’re done, are you coming back to the website? If you do, are you going to be able to get the support you need right away?

Not having a support channel or any indication of one is a big negative for any user. They likely won’t buy from you if they don’t think they can contact you afterwards regarding any problems.

Refine Your Website Based on Feedback

Make sure you respond to negative feedback with more than dismissive apologies or a canned ‘thanks for the feedback we’ll work on it’ email. Users who have a bad experience during a conversion but a great experience with support can be recovered customers who will likely buy again.

Accept negative feedback as an opportunity to improve even if you disagree with it.

Take what you learn from the feedback as a gift. If a user takes the time to complain about something, treat it seriously and remedy the situation (within reason).

Maybe they completed their task but have feedback on how easy (or not) it was?

In addition to analyzing your Google Analytics, you can follow up with surveys for customers (if they opt in for having one sent to their email of course) to help refine your user experience.

If you need help drafting a survey try this list of some basic website experience survey questions to ask.

I hope you found this all helpful in ensuring your website provides a great user experience. If you have any questions about user experience and usability please post them in the comments below or on our social media or of course feel free to reach out and contact us at any time.

Thanks for reading,
Mark Hare

P.S. For more tips on how to make your website get you the results you’re looking for, sign up for my free website guide plus weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs and small business owners today.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Social Media followers:

7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website User ExperienceClick To Tweet

About the Author, Mark Hare

Mark Hare

Mark has been working in search engine optimization, paid online advertising, content marketing, and usability since 2005.

He has worked with hundreds of clients on a wide range of web based projects and is a strong proponent of white hat SEO techniques and link earning over building.


Understanding The Type Of Web Designer Your Business Needs

Do You Need To Hire Help With Your Website?

When speaking with entrepreneurs and business owners, they often don’t realize all of the different components involved in building a business website.

Many assume it’s a simple task that any “techie” person can do, or themselves for that matter, and things will magically come together.

However, that approach could be a costly one. Before you start putting feelers out about hiring someone, you should first assess what exactly it is you need in order to get your website up and running while avoiding a lot of frustration at the same time.

Today’s eTip is a review of what you need to assess about your business website needs before selecting your web developer.

 

Do You Know What Type of Developer You Need?

There are two camps involved in the answer to that: those who already know what they need and those who do not.

If you who have a clear understanding of what you need your website to be then you will be best served by having a solid set of technical hands to execute on your instruction. In this instance, you will need to know project management, website design and development, copywriting, online marketing and social marketing, usability, and more in order to relay exactly what you want to your developer.

Most business owners will not have all of those skill sets combined, or in some cases, any of those elements covered, so you’ll need to find someone to help you will all of that!

Your Website Is Your Biggest Piece of Marketing

You want your website to turn out great. You don’t ever want to consider the job done and be disappointed with the results.

To avoid being disappointed in the results of your web project, you’ll need someone to help you through the process.

By hiring a professional web development firm, you’ll have experts steering your website towards your goals so it’s attracting the right target market using the right marketing message while embodying the right overall vision.

A solid team of professionals can help you understand who your ideal target market is so your users convert into paying customers.

They’ll show you how your brand positioning helps you find that target market and what needs to be in place in order for it to work for them.

Most often one single person does not have all that ability. Hiring a team with experts in all the various fields will ensure the project meets your expectations.

You need professionals who really understand things like e-commerce, search engine optimization, marketing, copy writing, user experience, and more. You can get all of that if you hire an agency with a team who cover all of those important factors.

By hiring a team you get a variety of experts rather than relying on your own single expertise.

At eVision Media, we provide everything necessary to a complete web projects that work. If you’re looking to upgrade your website or are in the process of a redesign but hitting some hurdles, give us a call. We have experts in all areas of website development on hand to help you realize your project’s goals.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments below and if you liked this video you can subscribe to either our Youtube channel or our newsletter to get weekly updates on having a successful website and business online.

Sign up for our newsletter today to receive weekly tips on marketing online for entrepreneurs!

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

Social Blast for Entrepreneurs

What If You Could Learn Social Media and Online Marketing Each Month With Ease?

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  • Find out the best times to post for higher readership
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It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

› CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every Time

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every Time

What to Do First Before Designing Your Business Website

I see it all the time.  People are excited about their business.  They set out to hire a web designer.  They share their vision for their website and excitedly wait for the big reveal.

Then, disaster strikes.  “You got it all wrong.”  they say.

Design dollars are wasted.  Revisions begin.  Everyone scratches their heads and wonders where it all went wrong. And before you know it what should have been a simple project becomes a nightmare.

This doesn’t have to happen to you. 

Without a map, it’s easy to get lost in unfamiliar territory.  The same is true of website development. Before you begin you really need to have a solid plan in place.

Avoid website design disaster by having a plan in place firstClick To Tweet

That’s the real difference between working with a full-service marketing firm or a solo website developer.  A marketing firm can help you do the proper due diligence and analysis needed to make sure the website designed for you truly meets your business needs.

Much of the design process breaks down to a few simple steps:

MESSAGING

Who do you serve? Defining your ideal client is one of the most important steps before building a website. The more specific you are about who your ideal client is, the better you’ll be able to speak to their needs when they visit your site.

Here are some questions to ask yourself while doing an ideal client analysis:

  • Who do you have a passion for serving?
  • What are their biggest pains?
  • Are they men or women?
  • What level at they in their business or situation: newbies, established, or experts?
  • What are their values?
  • What are their biggest goals?
  • What is their personality?

This clarity helps you laser-focus your messaging to speak directly to their needs.

Being clear on your ideal target market will ensure your website messaging speaks directly to themClick To Tweet

Everyone has the same basic human needs.  Knowing and understanding the pains of your target market is critical.  Tell them how you will help them overcome their challenges or how your products will alleviate their concerns.

Having credibility is also important.  Most prospects haven’t heard about you upon their first encounter with your website.  So it’s your job to build trust that you have knowledge and experience and proven results.

Credibility comes through testimonials, media clippings, blog articles and sharing results you have achieved with clients. Showcasing the education, training and credentials you achieved also shows prospects you have expertise in what you do.

FUNCTION

Another critical part of the web design and development process is being clear on the website’s function.  The layout for your website will vary greatly depending on your business goals.

  • What is the goal of your website?
  • Will it be an online store?
  • Do you want to build a list and online community?
  • Will it serve as a free information site where you gain revenues on advertising and affiliate sales?
  • Are you selling services?
  • Is your website an online brochure?

Once armed with this clarity, your designer will know if you need a landing page, chat tool, email list management software, online booking tool, or other special features in order to support your vision.

Knowing the path you want visitors to go and take the desired action helps your designer put the right elements in place to accomplish that.

LOOK AND FEEL

If you have ever gone shopping in a store with a friend you have probably experienced that we all have very different tastes.  The same is true when you design a website.

Even though you have described what you envision, the web designer may have something entirely different in mind. The goal for both of you is to create a visual brand that is appealing to your target market. It needs to immediately say to them they are in the right place.

Before sending your designer a bunch of colour swatches and other websites you want your site to look like, the better approach is to create a brand standards guide first that encompasses the colours, fonts and style of your overall business brand. This process should be done at the time of designing your logo since your logo functions as the basepoint of your brand.

The key is to remember you are designing a website for your target audience in relation to your business, not for you personally.  Yes, for many entrepreneurs, your personality is directly infused into your brand but it is possible the look and feel could be quite different from your personal taste.  It all depends on who you are trying to attract to your business.

Website design is for appealing to your ideal target market, not for your personal tasteClick To Tweet

In saying that, it doesn’t hurt to still send your designer sample websites that you like and be specific about what exactly you like about them. That kind of feedback is very valuable especially with the layout and overall messaging of the site.

THE DO IT YOURSELF DILEMEA

It’s easy to think when you start out doing it all yourself is a better way to save money.

But how much is your time worth?  How much do you know about copywriting or effective marketing strategy or design?

How much more revenue could you create if you focused on business building and outsourced your web design and marketing?

Finally, you can’t put a value on the insights and expertise that a marketing team brings to the table.  It’s well worth investing in a polished website that converts clients.

Whether you are building your first website or redesigning your existing one, taking time to carefully plan it will save you time, headaches and money.

If you’re looking for a qualified web design and marketing team to help you with your website development project, let us know and we’ll go through the above process with you.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every TimeClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Yes or No: The Sharing Prices on Your Website Debate

Why displaying fees on your website may provide an advantage over your competition

Yes or No: The Sharing Prices on Your Website Debate

Many small businesses use their web presence to generate leads to feed into their sales process. Each page has a purpose with variations on the intended users the business hopes to appeal to.

Each piece of content has its purpose but overall the reason is to entice users to get in touch. In keeping with that, it seems reasonable to display your price structure so your leads are qualified before they get in touch.

Or does it?

Not all visitors to your website will be leads.

Not all industries are alike.

Competitors may be surfing your site to see what you charge with the intention of undercutting your rates. If they know you are consistently trying to attract leads from the same base, then having lower prices displayed can give them an advantage over you when bidding on projects or submitting proposals.

Prices in your industry could vary based on many other variables.

Understanding why or why not requires a little bit of elbow grease and a balanced perspective of the issue.

How to Know if You Should Display Your Prices

While this Moz article referencing website pricing is dated, it does makes some very good points about why you should display pricing.

If you display pricing you should also convey value. A value proposition including a pricing tier can address variables related to your business that can actually set you above the competition.

If you display pricing on your website you should also convey valueClick To Tweet

Listing pricing without context or with only a few lines to convey value won’t draw in a user reviewing multiple options. You may be more expensive than your competitor but you might also be offering a lot more for what you charge. Make sure your leads know!

This could also be a reason to not display pricing as well. If you have already evaluated your competitors and they have tiered pricing that beats the value of what you offer, then take the time to assess how they’re able to provide more at a lower cost.

If you’re feeling ambitious you can even call them to clarify what they’re offering and ask for examples of it in practice. Sometimes the value stated on the site is misleading so don’t take your competitor’s claims at face value.

What if Your Competitors Aren’t Displaying Pricing?

Your competitors may not be showing how much they charge but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

A money-focused business can sometimes be more focused on its own bottom line than servicing its customers. Your competition isn’t just related to price so if you’re up against established pros in your industry you can overcome the hurdle of their online presence being much stronger (more reviews, more activity) by doing what they won’t.

State the reason for listing the different pricing tiers. Each should have a unique reason for being there beyond just profitability.

Since you already developed the pricing for a reason you should know why. It could be who you’ve serviced in the past or based on your own research. Be up front and honest about why you charge what you do since eventually that conversation will happen anyway.

You can leave prices off site and save that until you’ve spoken with the lead with the hopes of selling them past any objection to your pricing or you can remove that step by stating the sales points with the price on your website.

Your competitors are a guide but not a rule. If you feel as though they’ve left their prices off their site for a reason that doesn’t apply to you then don’t hold yourself back from showing your own prices.

What if Your Competitors are Displaying Their Prices?

If your competitors are up front about their prices but you feel as though doing so would put you at a disadvantage then the same question you should ask yourself is the obvious one your leads will want the answer to: why?

A bad experience could have put you off or just the anticipation of leads getting sticker shock.

Maybe you don’t want the competition being educated on your prices? Sometimes your reasons will be very valid but be prepared to have an answer if your lead is shopping around and the question comes up: I saw on XYZ’z website they offer A for $XX and you’re now saying you also offer A for $XX. How come you don’t put that on your website?

Have an answer and a good one. Include an anecdote if the reason is a bad experience or you will be stuck stammering to explain why and risk looking like you’re being dishonest before you’ve even started any sort of business relationship with your lead.

Displaying Prices Is Up to You

At the end of the day, displaying prices on your website is your choice. There is no absolute rule of thumb to follow. Assess all factors involved and make the right decision for your potential customers.

If you are withholding pricing with good reason you can even state it on your site but if not then you may want to rethink the decision.

Keeping an eye on your website stats can play a significant role in helping you decide whether displaying prices is working or not. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can place all pricing on one page and then check your Google Analytics to see if that’s where the trail ends.

Analyzing website stats will help determine if you should display prices or notClick To Tweet

If users are getting as far as the price page and not contacting you then it could be that your price page isn’t conveying enough value to justify the prices.

If you need help with taking that kind of action or just need help evaluating the decision then please comment below or get in touch. We’d be glad to help!

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Yes or No: The Sharing Prices on Your Website DebateClick To Tweet

About the Author, Mark Hare

Mark Hare

Mark has been working in search engine optimization, paid online advertising, content marketing, and usability since 2005.

He has worked with hundreds of clients on a wide range of web based projects and is a strong proponent of white hat SEO techniques and link earning over building.


How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Crime

How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Crime

Is your business secure? It may not be. Many unscrupulous individuals are operating online looking for new ways to exploit honest people.

I was recently pulled into a scam enacted by someone yet to be identified via a freelance work website. Because of how personally this affected me and my brand reputation,  I’ve decided to write today’s blog post about securing your business online.

My personal experience involved Upwork.com, which is a website boasting about the value of freelance talent.

As the old saying goes: there is nothing more expensive than cheap labour.

There is nothing more expensive than cheap labourClick To Tweet

Someone posing as me purporting to be a writer/editor from NYC took a job writing a book for a client and the results were bad. 3 chapters completely plagiarized bad.

Even worse – the fraudulent work got blamed on me! This person’s profile had my name and my photo and her client found me (the real me) through a Google search that matched my profile photo. You can imagine the shock I felt of being falsely accused of ripping someone off!

After realizing this was a clear case of identity theft, I immediately contacted UpWork to have the fake profile taken down. This person’s client did the same; we hope they were able to get a full refund of the monies spent on the useless book written for them.

Scary stuff. But compared to what others have encountered it’s small potatoes.

While hiring and supporting local talent has always been my thing, if you have to outsource (overseas or via those freelance sites), then a great idea to protect yourself is to insist on seeing a scan of government issued ID. Take your identification proof one step further and insist on a video conference before making any commitment.

Fraud is on the rise

2016 saw a significant increase in fraud over 2015. While the numbers show the amount stolen went slightly down the volume of theft went up. A lot.

While those figures relate more to consumer fraud if you’re the seller, you can be out of pocket money if the claim means sending the now used product back to you.

The point to take home is fraud is up so you need to take action to prevent yourself and your customers from becoming victims.

How to prevent and report cyber crime

According to The National Cyber Security Alliance there are several steps you should take to protect your business and customers:

  • Evaluate Risks

    Identify what types of fraud or crime you may be most susceptible to. Do you work with medical information? Financial information?
     
    Even if the purpose of your business is simply B2C there are steps to be taken to protect yourself.
     
    Users who purchase through your website are trusting you to keep their financial information safe so take steps to do so such as having SSL installed for any e-commerce or sensitive information and it’s wise not to store it.

  • Monitor Threats

    This can be as simple as making sure no spam messages are opened or any emails with attachments are scanned with some sort of antivirus software. While the software is not 100% effective it will stop the better circulated scams.
     
    Click here to read more about potential threats.

  • Report Attacks

    If you are the victim of a cyber attack you are going to get frustrated and with good cause.
     
    Currently Canada is really vulnerable when it comes to cyber crime and your best hope is just to call the police. While promises have been made to address this, very little has been done and international criminals are impossible to go after.
     
    If you are a victim of cyber crime contact local law enforcement and cross your fingers. But the bad news is you are likely to get no resolution. This is something to consider if you’ve been hiring anyone overseas.
     
    In the US reporting cyber crime is much easier. You contact the FBI via this website.  They have the capacity to address international criminals and recently America has cracked down on international crime operating within its borders.
     
    For those reading from any other country I encourage you to do your own due diligence regarding protocol for reporting cyber crime so you’re prepared should you ever need to be.

  • Execute a Security Plan

    For this the recommendation is to work with your ISP on a cyber security plan. While your ISP may be worth talking to you should really speak with your website’s hosting company first and foremost.
     
    The security of your customer’s info and your business is delicate so make sure your host knows to have things such as routine backups of all information made and stored on another server.
     
    Most of the majors stay on top of things but it’s always worth calling them for a quick review especially if you have pertinent info for them that may help.
     
    If you have been a victim already let your host know what happened. The information may help others down the road.

  • Safeguard Your Clients

    The suggestion found in this article of scanning all USB drives routinely is a good one. Sometimes the information can be air tight behind the most advanced firewall but it still gets out.
     
    One of the easiest ways to exploit technology is social engineering. Many times the information isn’t so much stolen as leaked by someone internally.
     
    Have a privacy policy in place and make sure your employees know that any time they connect anything to your computer network it will be scanned.
     
    Make sure all software is updated and that all computers connected to your network are running the most updated version of their operating system.

  • Educate Your Team

    This is an easy one.
     
    Have protocol in place that ensures your employees follow all steps noted above.
     
    All computers must be scanned when attached to a network and all USB drives as well.
     
    Most people are accustomed to this now so don’t worry about implementing it suddenly.

Stay Safe

By taking measures to protect yourself you’re ahead of the game should something occur. Scrambling after you’ve been a victim only helps the people who have stolen from you by giving them time to disappear.

Online business is only likely to grow even more and along with it fraud. The complexity of the scams will evolve and hopefully so do the solutions. In the interim I hope you enjoyed these tips and that you never become the victim of cyber crime.

If you have been a cyber-crime victim, share your story in the comments section below.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Instead of risking your business by hiring an unknown freelancer from a freelance website or one located overseas, turn to the experts with a proven track record for your graphic design, website, SEO and online marketing needs. eVision Media is an “all under one roof” boutique firm who bases their success on your success
>> CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTIONS YOU SEEK

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

How to Protect Your Business from Cyber CrimeClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Why Ignoring Video Marketing is Hurting Your Business

Why Ignoring Video Marketing is Hurting Your Business

6 Compelling Benefits to Jumping on the Video Bandwagon while the Momentum is Hot

Have you noticed seeing a lot more videos on Facebook lately?  Not only have there been a plethora of Facebook LIVE videos, but I’ve also been seeing a trend of videos made from simple animations or static inspirational images with music added.

All because Facebook has declared video to be something people want to watch more than any other form of content.

Then there’s the popularity of  YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram’s video platforms and capabilities that makes using video hard to ignore in today’s business marketing landscape.

And it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise either. Think about how we have all been spoon-fed videos since young toddlers on TV.

The good news is, with the advancement of technology over the past few years, you no longer need to be an professional videographer or editor to be able to produce decent-looking videos, especially for a social media audience.

Creating decent-looking videos for social media has become much easier with today's technologyClick To Tweet

Still not sure if you should bother taking on the task of learning to do videos for your social media marketing? Take a look at some of these stats:

  • A Facebook video receives, on average, 135% more organic reach than a photo.
  • 73% of Business-to-Business marketers say video positively impacts their marketing return on investment.
  • According to CISCO, 80% of all consumer internet traffic will come from videos by 2020.
  • 10 billion videos are watched on Snapchat every day.
  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day
  • A Facebook video receives, on average, 135% more organic reach than a post with just a photo.
  • On Twitter, videos are 6 times more likely to be retweeted than photos and 3 times more likely than GIFs
  • Companies that use video in their online marketing efforts have been known to grow their revenues 49% faster.
  • Businesses who use videos in their marketing enjoy a 27% higher Click Through Rate (CTR) and 34% higher web conversion rates than those which don’t (Aberdeen Group, 2015).

Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say? But what can video actually do for you that will help boost your bottom line?

By incorporating videos into your business and social media marketing, you can take advantage of the following benefits:

  1. Increase Your Target Market’s Confidence in You

    Since trust is what relationship marketing is built upon, videos make a perfect fit to developing your target market’s confidence with your business offerings.
     
    Because you want to create the “Know, Like and Trust” factor with your ideal client, there is nothing better than having your smiling face be in front of that market in order for them to see your personality, understand your level of expertise, and get an instant impression of you that will lead them quicker to purchase.

  2. Boost Your Search Engine Rankings

    Because people tend to stay on your site’s web page longer by watching a video, the search engine’s algorithms are interpreting that to mean your site is worthwhile. This will in turn boost your SEO rankings.
     
    According to Moovly, your chances are 53x’s greater to be higher up in Google’s search results if your website or blog post includes a video.That coupled with Google’s ownership of YouTube,  your chances of getting higher rankings are increased when your videos are also housed there.

  3. Gain a Higher Social Media Reach

    Getting more people to like, comment and share your posts on Facebook has been an increasing challenge for business owners. The good news is, video has been a shining beacon of hope where 76% of users say they are apt to share entertaining videos on social media.
     
    If you make an effort to create fun and entertaining videos, this will increase your brand exposure and will, in turn, bring more attention to your business in an indirect way.

  4. Enjoy Higher Website Conversions

    Video marketing studies show that 74% of users who watched an video explaining or demonstrating a product ended up making the purchase.
     
    So by simply adding a video to your sales or free giveaway page, you should see a significant increase in people signing up for your offering.

  5. Save on Expensive Production Costs

    With technological advancements we are seeing at an incredible rate, the great news is you don’t need to invest in a lot of expensive equipment to create well-made videos.
     
    All you need is your smart phone and you’re good to go. So videos are now considered a cost-effective solution to getting in front of the masses in a format people are responding well to.

  6. Take Advantage of Showcasing Your Offerings

    A video is a great way to explain, demonstrate and showcase any kind of product or service offering you may have.
     
    Whether you are promoting a new program or offering a free giveaway for list building purposes, adding a video to the landing page will help give the viewer an opportunity to see it in action and visualize its benefits.

So as you can see, there are lots of reasons to start using videos to enhance your marketing efforts that will lead to increased sales.

Unlike as little as 10 years ago, the cost of equipment and production has made video marketing much more affordable for business owners; however, this is not to say it’s simple, easy and a sure-thing for success.

In my Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs monthly membership program, I share lots of tips and strategies on not only video marketing, but many other social media and digital marketing topics to help grow your business. Come and join us and learn!  Click here: www.socialmediagroupcoaching.com

To your success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

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About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

The Ugly Truth: Why SEO Isn’t Driving Better Website Sales

Why SEO Isn't Driving Sales for Your Website

7 SEO-Related Strategies You Can Do Now to Increase Website Conversions

It’s been said you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.  This is certainly true when it comes to online marketing as well.

While business owners are hungry to achieve 1st page Google rankings (and if they’re not, they should!), sometimes they are puzzled why greater traffic doesn’t lead to greater sales.

After reading this article, you’ll find out what SEO is, what it isn’t, and how to harness the power of SEO to drive more sales for your business.

How to harness the power of SEO to drive more sales for your businessClick To Tweet

What SEO Is

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is online efforts designed to help your website get higher up in search engine rankings.

Basically that means when your potential customers type keywords related to your business in search engines such as Google, your website comes up higher in the search results.

There are many approaches to SEO.  Three common ways include:

  1. Optimizing the main and blog article pages of your website
  2. Link building
  3. Creating keyword-rich content

Google (and other search engines) loves websites that are highly relevant for a given keyword phrase.  So the key is to create valuable content that is optimized for a popular keyword phrase.

Google loves highly relevant, keyword rich content in websitesClick To Tweet

Hiring an SEO firm knows how to capitalize on each of these areas and can help you to optimize your website, create new keyword-rich content and blog posts, and get ranked high in Google.

What SEO Isn’t

SEO does not guarantee you will get more sales or lead conversions. Its sole purpose is to get people to come to your website only.

However, driving traffic to your website with SEO is only half the battle.  It’s also important to make sure your website is designed in a way that converts those leads into sales.

When you have a website that has a solid conversion rate, it ensures the investment you make in SEO will result in a guaranteed boost in sales.

How Do You Improve Website Conversion?

This is where it really pays to hire a marketing firm to analyze your website. 

While a website designer may design a gorgeous website, only a marketer knows techniques to keep your visitors engaged, give them product information, and incent them to take action.

Here are 7 ways to unleash the selling power of your website:

  1. Capture lead information

    Place an opt-in form prominently on every page of your website with a free offer so irresistible that visitors will be compelled to sign up. 
     
    This gives you the opportunity to send an email follow-up messages that builds rapport, provides value, and drives sales.

  2. Make it simple

    Present your options simply so a visitor can categorize themselves and select the right product/service that meets their needs. 
     
    Having 3 or 4 graphics boxes on the home page that show your products and who they are for helps visitors to take the next step.

  3. Build trust fast

    First impressions are critically important.  Within a few seconds people are judging if they trust you, if your option is what they need, and if your solution will solve their problem.
     
    You want to build credibility with testimonials, benefits-driven website copywriting, and professionally designed graphics. 
     
    Add contact information on your website so customers can ask questions and overcome their objections.  A FAQ page or a customer service chat feature helps customers instantly get answers to their most pressing questions.

  4. Build rapport

    Not every visitor will buy right away.  The potential customer might not need your product right away so you may have to prove value more before they feel comfortable in.
     
    They might not trust you yet so offer multiple options that help potential customers stay connected to you.  This can include social media, consistent newsletters, and/ or a blog.

  5. Add incentives

    Create an exit page that gives a special offer before they leave the site.  You could also add an upsell in the shopping cart that gives them a complementary product for just a few dollars more.  Email them a special introductory discount thanking them for being a new customer.

  6. Keep it focused

    A confused mind says “no” so keep your home page simple. Think of it as a funnel so that when your visitors come to your website, think of how you can easily lead them through the choices to buy.
     
    It’s best to remove any text, outgoing links, or information that distracts from the key actions you want a user to take.

  7. Develop a cohesive strategy for each product

    Create a flow chart of possible actions a prospect will take from the moment they land on your website until they buy. 
     
    Have a planned series of marketing communications and offers that work together to nurture that lead into a sale.

SEO and Website Conversion – The Winning Team to Sales Growth

If you are among those frustrated business owners who feels they are doing all the right things to drive traffic but not getting the results you are looking for, look at your website conversion. 

Instead of blaming your SEO team, hire a marketing professional to review your website and turn those new leads into sales for your business.

To your success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

The Ugly Truth: Why SEO Isn't Driving Better Website SalesClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

4 Steps to Finding the Best SEO Specialist for Your Business Needs

4 Steps to Finding the Best SEO Specialist for Your Business Needs

You have an awesome website, but not enough qualified visitors.

Is this a problem your business is experiencing?

Sadly, many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t realize that once your fabulous website is built, potential clients simply won’t know it exists.

Not until it is properly search engine optimized that is.

Potential clients won't know your website exists until it's SEO OptimizedClick To Tweet

So how do you get people to find your website on the first or second search results page of Google, Yahoo! or Bing?

The answer to that question can be very complex.

This is why most business owners invest in search engine optimization (SEO) agencies or specialists to increase their website search engine visibility that will generate more sales leads.

In working with many entrepreneurs and small business owners, the last thing they want to learn about is SEO! They would much prefer to focus on their own business and core competency than to learn someone else’s expertise.

So if your website suffers from low search engine rankings, and you don’t want to have to learn a whole new profession in order to boost those rankings, here are four steps to finding the best SEO consultant for your specific business needs:

How to hire a SEO Specialist to boost your website rankingsClick To Tweet
  1. Determine What You Want

    Websites can be at varying search visibility stages and will have different SEO needs. For example, your website might only need to be ranked better on different search engines vs. needing everything from pay-per-click advertising, ongoing SEO maintenance, content creation SEM (Search Engine Marketing), Social Media Marketing and more.
     
    So before you jump in and try typing the “Best SEO agency in X city” into Google, you first need to determine what you want out of an SEO campaign.
     
    Ask yourself: “What results do I want an SEO expert to achieve?”
     
    It could be as simple as increasing website traffic by five to ten percent within the next six to eight months. Or your objective might be to build your list of an additional 100 qualified leads over a certain time frame.
     
    Having these specific key performance questions answered will help you measure the success of your campaign. But do keep in mind that SEO and SEM are relative where the results you seek can be in direct proportion to the money you are willing to invest.
     
    Keeping your expectations realistic is important, especially when no legitimate SEO expert can promise results that are out of their control when it comes to how the search engines behave.

  2. Shop Around

    Once you’ve determined what you want to achieve, talk with multiple SEO experts to compare which ones are suitable for your specific business needs.
     
    A good search engine optimization campaign is a process that can take from four months to a year to achieve your goals. A good SEO campaign first needs to implement website improvements and then will have a cumulative effect before seeing potential benefits.
     
    If an SEO agency promises high search engine rankings in a fast amount of time, run the other way. No one has the secret to that kind of success unless they were part of the inner circle working at Google.
     
    A good SEO expert should show interest in your business and what you want to achieve with his or her help. Have the expectation they are working as an extension of your current in-house team – someone who is readily available to answer your exploratory questions and provide regular status updates.

  3. Check References & Past Performances

    Past performances can accurately predict the future and what the SEO expert can do for your business. If they have had considerable successes helping similar industries to yours, then they will have no trouble helping you.
     
    An ideal way to check on a potential SEO’s credentials is to ask their former and current clients directly. Find out how effectively the SEO campaign worked and what kind of guidance and suggestions he or she provided throughout.
     
    A good SEO expert should not only solve long-term problems, but also be accessible to answer any questions you might have.

  4. Ask About Their Story

    Knowing the personal story of the SEO candidate can help you greatly with determining whether they will be a good fit for you and your business.
     
    Ask them about how they became a Google partner or what their proudest achievement is. Even ask about their best or worst clients and how they handled difficult clients.
     
    It’s much like hiring a potential employee – you need to decide from the “job” interview, not just from their impressive-looking sales page or the number of Facebook likes they have.

Hiring the right SEO help is crucial to your business’s success. Follow these guidelines to help you find the best person or agency that will help you achieve your goals.

Daniel Simmons is our SEO expert at eVisions Media. If you don’t want to  learn someone else’s expertise by taking on the big task of search engine optimizing your website yourself, give him a call to discuss your goals and see if he’d make a good fit for you and your business.

To your success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

4 Steps to Finding the Best SEO Consultant for Your Business NeedsClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Blog Content SEO to Boost Search Result Rankings

Want to make sure you get the best Google rankings possible for your blog articles? Then you need to be more strategic with what you’re writing, who you’re writing for and how often you’re writing.

Watch today’s eTip as I explain what Google and the other search engines are looking for in respect to your blog articles and how to get optimal search engine rankings for your efforts:

 

Blog article writing is extremely important for many reasons. It is a key component to your content marketing strategy in efforts to drive traffic back to your website.

You want to make sure people find your blog articles and one way that can happen is ensuring the search engines are displaying your articles in the search results when people are searching for your blog article topic.

Consistency and Frequency are Key to Blog SEO Success

Writing a new blog article only once every three months is not going to earn you any Brownie points.

Once a week is far better and even more often that that if possible. The reason being, Google will notice that your website is being updated frequently and will reward your search rankings as a result.

Being consistent is not necessarily related to SEO but it is related to your readers knowing they can rely on you posting a new article in a consistent manner, enhancing the strength of your followers.

Write for Your Audience

Speaking of followers, this is another key component to blog writing. You want to make sure you are writing for the people you want to attract to your website.

These are the people who are most likely to hire or buy from you – your ideal target market – so writing articles they will find of value is paramount.

When you pick a blog topic, ensure it’s on a subject your target audience is going to be interested in. Think about what they might typing in the search engines to find answers about. What will they find of value or entertaining and that’s what you want to write about?

Include SEO Keywords

When writing your post, make sure you have included keywords your target market would most likely type in the search engines when finding information that’s related to your article.

But don’t keyword stuff! (Watch this previous eTip about black hat SEO here.)

Using good keywords in the HTML Meta tags are also good SEO practices.

With each article you write, ensure your keyword is included in the title tag and description tag along with 3-4 mentions of it throughout the body of your piece.

Make the title tag captivating so it pulls your audience in and compels them to read your article.

Use a Hero Image

Including a large hero image at the top of your article is also important. This will capture your reader’s attention and be more apt to compel them to keep reading.

Your image can also be SEO optimized by naming the image file using your keyword. The keyword phrase should also be included in the image ALT tag.

The hero image is also very effective in grabbing attention on social media.

Too Busy to Write? Help is Here

There are many SEO components to a blog article that will get you the best opportunity to showcase your business and bring traffic back to your website. If this task seems too overwhelming for you, this is something we do for our clients on a daily basis.

We write articles for busy entrepreneurs and business owners with SEO and brand messaging in mind. We’ll add those articles to your blog and even send them out as newsletters too.

This is one of our specialties so if you need any help, let me know!

If you have any questions about SEO, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below and I’d be happy to answer. Also, if you’re looking for a qualified SEO specialist who can boost your search engine rankings, give us a call to discuss.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

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The Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEOClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".