eBusiness Blog

Should you Purchase a WordPress Theme or get a Custom Site Created?

Today’s eTip is about what to do now that you have your business and marketing plan in place and you need a new website.

 

How do you get your website built?

Is WordPress your answer? Should you hire a website developer to build you a custom website?

Should you spend the money now or just go cheap so you have something online?

I’m going to review both options so you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The WordPress Solution

WordPress is great and if you’re brand new and still figuring out your business and what you want your website to accomplish for you then it’s a very easy solution to move forward with.

If you’re in a position where you’re still looking at things like who your target market is, then it isn’t worth your money to invest in a custom solution.

With WordPress you’re not wasting much money and you’ll get something up that is professional looking.

Many WordPress themes can do the trick and the newer ones are getting better all the time. Using a purchased theme can save money and your website will be up; however, there are drawbacks such as not being able to customize the theme very much and often they are not built very well, so lack in search engine optimization.

If you have no desire to grow into being a big business then WordPress may also be ideal for you.

The Custom Solution

By hiring a professional firm you get a custom site that is tailored to your business goals. You also get a team who can offer you things like assistance with upgrading your business plan, online marketing help, and they can show you how social media factors into your website’s success.

The custom solution is best for those looking to make a big splash in their market. You don’t want to waste time, so you need a site that puts you in a position to compete with competitors in your niche.

Your website is an online representation of your business and a full custom site is the best option to display your branding and business identity properly online. If you want to make sure you resonate with your target market right off the bat, then custom is for you.

Another reason for choosing custom is rebranding. You have a site and a business but it’s not performing as well as it could. Hiring a professional firm is your key to taking your business to the next level.

Any business needs some form of investment. So rather than expend your time and effort trying to be a jack of all trades and master web development and corporate branding while running your company, it’s best to hire seasoned professionals to help.

A solid team of professionals will help you grow your business and should be considered an investment rather than a cost. You’re paying for expertise from people who have already learned many lessons anyone new to web development will need to fumble through, and those missteps can be costly and aggravating.

Properly growing a professional business requires professionals like the eVision Media team so if you are in a position where custom is your option, then please get in touch.

If you have any questions about web development or design or branding then please post your comment or question in the comment section below.

Go ahead and leave a comment below and also 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.

› CONTACT US TODAY
 

 

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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

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.

› CONTACT US TODAY

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download 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

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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

How to Ensure Your Website is Ideally Positioned For Your Target Market

How to Ensure Your Website is Ideally Positioned For Your Target Market

5 Key Components Your Website Requires to Attract Your Ideal Client and Get the Sales You Want

Is your website attracting the right people who are actually interested in purchasing from you?

Or is it just sitting there and not really accomplishing what you hoped it would?

Every business owner wants to get more qualified traffic to their site and then convert that traffic into sales. I mean there’d be no point in having one if that weren’t the ultimate goal!

But it seems to me a lot of business owners miss the mark in HOW to make that goal a reality.

The truth is, you’re not going to get the results you want from a purchased WordPress theme or worse, a free WIX or GoDaddy site.  Sorry, but throwing up a cheap, pre-built site just for the sake of having something up is not going to win you any Brownie (or Scout) badges in the Business Marketing category (if there is such a thing??)

Why? Because those types of free, low-cost or DIY sites are not going to do the job you want them to unless you have expertise in all of the different factors a website requires that converts visitors into buyers.

Free, low-cost/DIY websites won't get results unless you have lots of web development expertiseClick To Tweet

This is why we design and build custom websites and never touch the purchased themes or drag and drop DIY sites. They simply aren’t going to get the job done that our clients expect.

What do I mean by that?

First, it’s important to understand your website serves many purposes such as:

  • A way to showcase your business and its offerings
  • A means for constant marketing and promotion 24-hours a day
  • A platform that emphasizes your brand positioning
  • A facility for converting visitors into paying customers
  • A device for attracting your ideal clients into your sales and marketing funnels so you can continue to nurture them

And in order to accomplish all of that, a lot of planning, strategy and design needs to take place.

To have a lead-generating website, a lot of planning, strategy and design is first requiredClick To Tweet

This article provides five factors that go into building and promoting a website that converts. Each factor requires the right expertise to make your site a client-attracting, lead-generating machine:

  1. Visually-Appealing Branding

    Your visual brand is extremely important. The impression people instantly get about you when they land on your home page or landing page will greatly impact their decision to keep exploring or move on to your competitor.

    Not Just a Pretty Logo…

    Branding is not just having a pretty logo designed by you or someone on Fivrr. It’s a visual representation that shows your understanding who your ideal client is and how to position yourself in front of them in order to appeal to them.

    Identify Your Ideal Client

    The first thing to do is define who the people are that are your perfect client. You need to clearly understand what problems they have and how your product or service will be a solution for them.
     
    This analysis needs to be a deep exploration not only of the typical demographics such as age, gender and location, but also a psychographics study of what emotional state they are in.
     
    The analysis will then help you understand what specific colours, imagery, fonts and other style assets to use on your website, logo and branding so that it strongly appeals to them.
     
    By going through this process and designing a website with a specific purpose of positioning you favourably in front of your ideal client, you will then “speak their language” and reassure them they are in the right place.

  2. Compelling Marketing Messages

    Having a visually appealing website is just half the battle. You also need it need to be user-friendly and not cause confusion that will potentially send them away.
     
    But more importantly, when your ideal client lands there, the words they read and the images they see also need to appeal to them.
     
    This is why you need to create a powerful marketing message through excellent copywriting that speaks directly to their situation, needs, challenges and struggles.

    Let Your USP Shine

    Your unique marketing message needs to be prominent on the home page through the use of headlines, videos, testimonials, and images. This message also needs to showcase your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – why should they choose you over your competitor?
     
    Here’s more tips on what your home page should include.

    Your Home Page is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

    The rest of your site pages also need to stay focused with this intent. And having other means in getting your marketing message out to the masses is also a big factor to consider.

  3. Consistent Content Marketing

    Whether it’s a blog post, newsletter, podcast or YouTube show, pick at least one or two of these content marketing strategies and consistently get your message out there in front of the right people.
     
    Frequency is the key. But not only do you have to be consistent, you also have to create and stick to a marketing calendar where, at minimum, you should be producing informative content on a weekly basis.

    Create a Free Giveaway

    Most first-time users to a website won’t make an immediate purchase. This is why you want to get them into your newsletter database so you can continue to nurture them where they will eventually make the purchase when ready.
     
    This is often done using a free giveaway. Something that your ideal client would want to receive from you that would be very helpful to them.
     
    Do some market research to find out if a free report on a specific topic would be something they would find valuable enough to provide their name and email address for. It might be a video series that is more compelling to them.
     
    You need to find out what they will find irresistible and then create it.

    Create Shareable Content

    Your blog is a prime place for you to showcase your expertise and provide solutions to your ideal clients’ problems.
     
    By being consistent with creating and sharing new, informative content, the more you are developing the “Know, Like and Trust” factor with them. This then creates a better chance of them converting to paying clients.

  4. Implementation of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Strategies

    Once your website is built, it needs to be search engine optimized in order to be found through Google and other search engine results.
     
    The text, titles, descriptions and keywords all need to be in alignment with what your ideal client will be searching for when they are looking for a solution to their problem, of which your product or service will provide.
     
    Your website should also be submitted to various search engines and directories to ensure it is being properly indexed and found.

  5. Active Social Media Involvement

    When you know who your ideal client is, it’s easier to find them on social media and draw them to your website.
     
    Provide valuable, informative and inspirational posts you know they will want to receive from you to help build your brand exposure. This will compel them to want to check you out further by visiting your website.
     
    Be sure to use the 20% rule and sprinkle in promotional posts amongst your value-driven posts that will drive traffic back to your website.
     
    Also make sure your visual brand is consistent throughout all your social media accounts. That’s very important for brand continuity so your ideal client will begin to recognize you and your business just by seeing your brand visuals.

‘Cheap and Easy’ Could Be Costing You Qualified Business Leads

As you can see there are several factors involved in having a website that will actually get you results.

So before you convince yourself the cheap and DIY route is the best way to go, take into consideration how much potential business you could be losing because your primary piece of marketing, your virtual storefront if you will, is not appealing to the right people.

If you’re worried your website is not reaching its true potential, give us a call and let’s discuss how we can turn that around for you.

To your success,

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:

Here’s How to Ensure Your Website is Ideally Positioned For Your Target Market from @eVisionMediaClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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

How to Hire the Right Web Developer for Your Business

I was speaking to a potential client this morning, and she was expressing concern over having had somebody on her team who was a “techie geek”.

Yes, he built her a website but he didn’t have all the qualities that she needed in that kind of a resource in order to help her build and expand her business.

What I mean by that is there are a lot of people who have a vast array of skillsets in the online marketing world such as programmers, graphic designers, digital marketers, and SEO specialists.

There are a lot of different components that come into play when we talk about having a website.

The trap many people fall into is that their next door neighbor, a friend or even their son has learned how to figure out how to build a website.

They go, “yay I’ve found somebody who can build me a website!” and go for it but end up being disappointed with the results. The reason isn’t because of this particular person they hired, it’s because this person didn’t have all the skills they needed in order to put all of those different considerations into place when it comes to building a proper website.

Branding Considerations

One of those factors is branding; you have to have the right brand design. How you are visually presented to your audience is extremely important. If the wrong colours, font choices and layout display (the way you are being presented) is wrong and is turning off your ideal client, then it doesn’t matter what kind of website you have.

You are going to be turning away more clients than you are attracting.

If your website is not branded properly, you will turn away more clients than you are attractingClick To Tweet

Technical Considerations

The other part is on the technical side; the programming. There’s a big difference between somebody who has learned how to download and install a WordPress theme that’s already been built and a qualified web programmer.

A programmer understands the back-end of how a website functions and can build a proper website. Like what we do here at eVision Media where we don’t use pre-made themes.

We custom design a template or theme for our clients so they get exactly what they need and exactly what their potential clients are looking for when they come to the site and so we don’t have to work within the constraints of those prepackaged themes. Yes, they are cheaper but they are often not working on your behalf.

You are going to end up losing more money in the long run than gained. A programmer would be able to take a custom design and create a website that looks exactly like that design and understands all the functionality that’s going on behind the scenes so that if anything goes wrong they can immediately fix it.

Marketing Considerations

And then there’s the marketing component which is the copywriting and visuals. How is your site being presented? What kind of text is on there? What kinds of images are being used that are going to attract your ideal client to want to hire you?

SEO Considerations

The final part is SEO. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean that miraculously all kinds of people are going to come to it and start buying from you.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. How a website is built directly affects the search engine optimization which affects how Google and other search engines can easily find your website.

So the better your website is built, the more SEO optimized it is, the easier Google and other search engines are going to find you by being higher up in the search engine rankings. Of course there’s more to it than that. There are other SEO techniques that you should be doing regardless of how your website was built.

If your website was built properly with SEO in mind right from the beginning, you are going to be off to the races quite a bit faster than if you use one of the templated websites.

Programmers are Not Marketers and Graphic Designers

Going back to what I was talking about hiring programmer: programmers are often not a marketer nor a graphic designer.

Yes, they can technically put together your website and make it function but they have may have missed those other areas; the graphic design, the brand presentation, and the marketing.

Most programmers aren't graphic designers or marketers; hire the right people for your websiteClick To Tweet

And that is going to break your site. It’s not going to be as effective as it could be.

In a perfect world you would want to hire a team of people where there’s somebody who understands the brand design, programming and technical part of it, the copywriting, marketing and SEO. And that’s what eVision Media is.

We are a team of people who are experts in all those different areas so if you hire us to build your website for you, you are getting all of those under one roof. That’s standard operating procedure for us when we build a website for a client. The site is customized and optimized and is going to get you presented way better than if you just had those pre-built themes or had a ‘techie geek’ put it together.

I say that very fondly because we have techie geeks on our staff but I would never ask one of my programmers to design something because that’s not in their realm of skill and expertise. I’m asking somebody who doesn’t know that skill to do something and that’s the kind of thing you are wanting to have happen if you hire a programmer to build you a website.

You are hoping and anticipating them to also know graphic design, marketing and SEO and the chances are really good they don’t. You need to ask because there are some generalists who can do that and know all of those areas but there’s not that many of them out there.

Do your due diligence and when you are ready to hire somebody to build you a website make sure you are asking them the right questions, do they know all of those other areas? If they don’t, give us a call and we’ll help you out with that.

I’d love to hear what you think – Have you resisted in starting or continuing to blog? Share your response below in the comments section or if you have a question, I’d be happy to answer.

To your success,

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.
CLICK HERE: www.eVisionMedia.ca

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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

How to Position Your Website for Optimal Results

I remember way back when I was a little girl my Oma and Opa used to own a bakery up in Lillooet, B.C.

As a little girl, we don’t understand how much work and effort goes into creating a bakery. But looking back now as an adult I have so much appreciation for what Oma and Opa did. Getting up in the crack of dawn and baking those wonderful breads and pastries and cakes.

I was thinking about that in relation to our website and how can we make our website just as appealing as a bakery is.

One of the first things we want to do is make sure it’s unique. You don’t want your website to look like everybody else’s website. You don’t want your bakery to be exactly the same as everybody else’s bakery; otherwise, it doesn’t differentiate you.

You want to be unique and stand out and not look like everybody else.

Your website should be unique so that it stands out and not look like everyone else'sClick To Tweet

Don’t use one of those pre-fabricated templates that everybody else uses for the same thing. Have a custom created design for your website that will really make you stand out and showcase what you offer your followers.

The other thing you want to do is make it look appealing. There’s nothing more of a turn off than having a website that just looks dull or boring or amateurish. Things are out of place and it looks gaudy.

That impression your visitors will get from you, about you, when they come to your website is critical. You want to give them the best impression – have your best foot forward just like a storefront bakery.

We want to give that feeling you are going to get so many delights and treats if you come inside. You want your website to be luring people in and get excited about what they are going to find inside.

The other thing that is important for a bakery is location.

Your website also needs to be found in the search engines. You need to be higher up in the search engine rankings so SEO is vitally important. Search Engine Optimization means fixing up your website so the search engines find it and rank you higher up where people are searching for what you have to offer.

Do some investment on your website to make sure it is SEO optimized so it can drive traffic to your website. There’s no point in having a beautiful website if nobody knows it exists. You have to have that SEO component in order to make sure it’s found.

Speaking of making sure it’s found, one of the things that Google relies on in determining whether your website is worthy of being up in the search engines is if it’s got new content or not. Make sure you are not forgetting about your website. Don’t abandon it.

As soon as it’s built don’t just forget about it. Now your job is to make sure you continually update it and the best way to do that is through a blog.

Produce a new blog article every week so the search engines will know your website is alive and well and it’s asking for new people to come to it. Of course that content also serves a huge purpose in content marketing and getting your brand out there too.

Those are some of the tips that I have about your website in relation to how a bakery can sustain itself. Think about your website as a bakery and see what you can do to spruce that up and make it working for you instead of against you.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in comments section below.

To your success,

P.S. New to online marketing or you 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: www.socialblastcoaching.com

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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

How to Determine Who to Hire To Be Your Next Ideal Web Developer

How to Determine Who to Hire To Be Your Next Ideal Web Developer - Critical Benefits and Drawbacks You Need to Know About Different Web Developer Types

Critical Benefits and Drawbacks You Need to Know About Different Web Developer Types

I get asked to do website estimates a lot and sometimes it’s downright heartbreaking to hear about the struggles and challenges entrepreneurs and business owners face when trying to find the right web developer.

Too many times I hear about people who feel they were ripped off by their previous webmaster and are very reluctant to hire someone new for fear of the same thing happening again.

Some of these people decided they better do all the work themselves, struggled terribly trying to literally learn a whole new profession. They end up calling me out of sheer frustration that nothing is working and things are worse off than before.

One time I was having a conversation with someone on a completely unrelated topic and he asked me what I did, when I responded he blurted out, “I hate web developers.”

I cringed.

I’m sure this happens in every industry where there are people who are really great at what they do, some who do enough to get by, and some who only THINK they know what they’re doing!

The web development industry is no different.

If you are unhappy with your current web developer or are in the process of finding someone that you can trust and depend on to fulfill your web development needs, this article will provide some valuable tips that will help you find the perfect complement to your team.

The first thing to get clear on is exactly what kind of help you need.

There are many different types of “web developers” out there and making the wrong choice can be very costly. So be sure you understand “who” you are hiring first and then your selection process will be much easier from there.

Here are four common types of web developers:

  1. The WordPress VA (Virtual Assistant)

    This person has figured out WordPress pretty well. They know how to install a WordPress theme (either free or purchased) and can make some modifications to that theme to help match your brand colours. They will have a good understanding of what plugins are available to match your needs as well.
     
    Benefits: Usually hiring someone for this work charges less per hour than a fully qualified web developer. Putting together small-sized sites are their specialty.
     
    Drawbacks: Often Worpress is all that they know and rarely do they know HTML or CSS to customize your website for any extra bells and whistles that you want to have.
     
    Often purchased themes are so rigid that even moving an element from one part of the page to another is impossible to do with this type of limited knowledge.
     
    When to hire them: You would want to hire a WordPress VA when you are not interested in a fully branded/customized website. You realize that any customization options are limited and you basically get what the theme preview shows aside from some colour, text and image changes.
     
    You would also want to make this choice if you are already well versed in marketing strategy, copywriting, and branding and can simply tell your VA what needs to be done. Anticipate them having limited knowledge in some or all of these areas.

  2. The Programmer

    This person is what I lovingly call a “techno geek”. We have a few of these people on our team and we would not be able to be as successful as we are without them!
     
    The Benefits: They know programming inside and out. They live, eat and sleep programming.
     
    The Drawbacks: They can most definitely build you a fully functional website, no problem. But don’t expect it to look pretty! Branding, copywriting, design layout and marketing are rarely found in their list of skillsets.
     
    You will probably need to hire someone else to help with those areas if you are not fully versed in them yourself.
     
    When To Hire Them: You would want to hire a developer of this caliber if you have a complex website in mind that needs to be customized to fit your needs. Whether it’s an eCommerce engine, membership site or a database-driven tool, a fully trained and experienced programmer is your best bet.

  3. The “All Round” developer

    This again is a single person who has built enough websites to have a pretty good understanding of the bigger picture. They are what is called “a Generalist” where they have enough skills to be able to design and develop a decent website.
     
    The Benefits: Having one person have knowledge in the different areas needed for web development is a big plus.
     
    Usually this person has enough programming acumen to be able to handle most customizations and challenges that come up and will not need a plugin for every functionality (which will bog down your site’s performance).
     
    They also are knowledgeable enough about branding and visual design that your site visitors will enjoy the experience of being there.
     
    The Drawbacks: Even though they may appear to know a lot about web development, it’s impossible for one person to be really good at everything. It’s rare to find a really good designer also be a good developer (they do exist but they are a rare breed.) So you will still need to be, or have someone else on your team who is, well versed in online marketing and copywriting to help offset any weaknesses the person you hire has.
     
    When To Hire Them: If you are lucky enough to find someone who has these skillsets AND is dependable, then you will have a great asset on your team. You will need to be aware of what their limitations are so that you can offset those areas with other people on your team.

  4. The Web Development Agency

    There several different types of web development agencies and for the sake of this article, I’ll focus on the kind that eVision Media is, a boutique web development and digital marketing agency. (If you’re looking for a big name agency that only multi-billion dollar corporations use, you wouldn’t have read this article to this point anyway!)
     
    The Benefits: A boutique web development agency is not a one-man show. They are a team of professionals who can offer, as a collective group, all of the different areas of expertise that your business needs from a marketing perspective.
     
    These areas generally include:

    The other big benefit to using a web development agency is that they are very knowledgeable in your brand, your positioning and the message that you want convey to your ideal clients.
     
    With every request you give them, they will already know what is needed and can discuss options with you to create something for you that is a perfect fit for your needs.
     
    This avoids you from having to know what is needed yourself and also have to ensure other people on your team remain consistent with your brand message and design so you can focus more on what you do best.
     
    The Drawbacks: Depending on who you find, the price point might be outside of your budget. Do your research: ask for and talk to referrals to help you decide if they will deliver what they promise. If they have a good reputation for being on time and on budget, then the extra costs will balance out in the long run.
     
    When to hire them: Hiring a boutique web development agency can be one of the best things you can do as a new business. Doing this will assure that your new venture will get going on the right foot right off the bat. You will save a lot of time and money in the long run if you make this initial business investment.
     
    If you already have an existing business and website but are ready to step up to the next level, this is the time to bring in an agency that can help you with not only the “doing” but also the strategizing to ensure you get to where you want to be without wasting a lot of time, money and energy.
     
    You will also want to look for an agency when you want someone on your team for ongoing, consistent support. After your website is built, you will want someone you can contact at any time for website updates, creating new campaigns, doing SEO work etc.

My final piece of advice is to be sure you do your research on who you approach. You want to find someone with experience and skill who will partner with you to help you build your business.

Unless this is what you’re looking for, you want to avoid programmers and developers who only do exactly what you tell them. Having someone who can offer ideas and suggestions and be a part of your team to be a valuable resource when needed may be more ideal for you.

References are very important in this industry: Always ask to talk to their clients to see what their experience was working with the developer.

Be aware of those that claim to be developers when in reality, all they learned was how to use a “do it yourself” software like WIX or Weebly.

The quality of your website – both in design and in how it is coded – is very important on many levels. Ensure the person you hire understands how to design and build a quality product for you. Otherwise, you will most likely be faced with going through the whole process again in a short period of time once you realize your site is doing you more harm than good by turning off your potential clients instead of attracting them!

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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

Get Your Website Mobile Ready Or Lose Business

What Google’s Algorithm Change Means to You

Mobile Friendly Websites Boost SEO

If there’s one thing you really need to focus on as a business owner this year, it’s getting your website optimized for mobile use.

Why? The search engine game has changed – again.

In the past, most online searches used to be performed from desktop computers but now, more and more of your potential clients and customers are searching using their mobile devices.

That means if your website isn’t set up to accommodate their specific needs, then you could very well lose business.

After reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how important it is for your website to be optimized for smart phones and what you can do about it if it isn’t.

There are two major reasons why having a mobile/smart phone friendly website is a must:

  • Trends Show Mobile Buying is On the Rise and Growing Fast

    All indicators point towards mobile consumers being ready to buy. In fact, Rocket Post states that over half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase.
     
    And even more importantly, according to The Social Media hat, nearly half of consumers say they won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices.
     
    So if your business is not mobile ready, you could lose the lead or sale.
     
    And even if a consumer is not buying, they are using their mobile devices to research your company and learn more about what you have to offer. If they find visiting your website a hassle, can’t navigate around easily and are met with tiny font sizes and squished text, then the odds are extremely good that they will quickly leave and find a better experience on your competitor’s website.

  • Google Will Now Favour Mobile-Ready Websites in Search Rankings

     
    Google has recognized the changing behaviour of searches and that’s why they have recently announced a major algorithm update: As of April 21, 2015, Google will be factoring in how mobile-friendly a website is to determine how high in the searches your website will appear.

     
    That means if your website is not mobile friendly, your position in the search results may get pushed down where smart-phone friendly sites will be displayed above yours.
     
    So if you don’t want to lose organic traffic to your website, it’s critical to convert your website to be mobile ready.

Not sure if your website is mobile ready? No problem.  Google has provided a free tool to check if your website is mobile friendly: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
 

Choosing the Right Mobile Ready Format for Your Business

Now that you have very compelling reasons to take action and convert your website to be  mobile ready, the only question left is to decide on which direction to take.

There are two basic formats that can be used to convert your website to be mobile ready:

  1. Constructing a separate mobile site

    This involves your web developer designing a completely separate website that is specifically designed to display properly for mobile devices.
     
    In this case when a user visits, your website detects what browser they are viewing it on and serves different HTML code that is suited for that specific browser size.
     
    Some entrepreneurs and business owners opt to just have their home page converted over to being compatible to smart phones so that the user’s initial experience to the site is a favourable one.
     
    The downfall of this approach is that while it may display perfectly on current devices, if a new phone or tablet size comes out, it may require creating a new mobile design sized for that specific browser size.
     
    The other major downfall is content redundancy. When you make an update to your main “desktop version” website, then you also have to remember to update the mobile-friendly versions too.
     
    So this approach can require some attention to upkeep to make sure there is a mobile site designed for every popular browser size.

  2. Develop a new “Responsive” website.

    Having a responsive website means it will shift and adjust its layout according to the size of screen the user is looking at your website from.
     
    So if a user is looking at your website from their desktop, it will look like a normal website layout; however, if they are looking at it from their smart phone or iPad, then the layout will adjust according to the smaller screen size yet still be very readable and user-friendly. What happens is elements on the screen shift into a single column layout as opposed to making everything tiny to read and see.
     
    The advantage of a mobile responsive site is that it will display correctly and be easy to read no matter the browser size. Additionally, there is only one website to maintain.
     
    Plus you don’t have to implement any special search engine optimization measures.  The SEO you do on your web page will work perfectly when the website displays on mobile devices as well as on a desktop.
     
    Having a responsive designed website is what Google recommends. So if you have a fixed width, desktop-friendly website right now, this is the time to seriously consider converting it to being mobile responsive.

Depending on how old your current website is and how it was originally built, there is a chance that it can be converted over to being responsive without the need for a complete re-build. You will need to contact your webmaster to find out if this is an option.

Another thought to consider is that if your website is more than 3 years old, it might be looking out of date by now so taking advantage of the need to convert to being responsive can also mean having a fresh design with a more contemporary layout.

With your website representing your business 24 hours a day, the investment is well worth it as opposed to sending potential leads and clients away because they couldn’t navigate your website easily.

Avoid These Mobile Ready Mistakes

As a side note and something to bring to your web master’s attention is that Google warns it will penalize websites that make these mistakes:

  • blocked JavaScript, CSS and image files,
  • unplayable content,
  • faulty redirects,
  • mobile-only 404s,
  • app download interstitials,
  • irrelevant crosslinks or
  • slow loading mobile pages.

Working with a qualified web developer who is educated on mobile web design and development can ensure that your website doesn’t have any of these mistakes.

Don’t Delay – The Time to Go Mobile Is Now

While in the past business owners may have put off converting their website to a mobile-ready design, today there are many compelling reasons why it’s critical to convert your website now.

Mobile users are researching and buying from their smart phones at an ever-growing rate. Plus, if you aren’t mobile ready, Google will start penalizing your search rankings.

Take notice and take action: Mobile is here to stay. 

Is your website ready? If not, give us a call to discuss which is the best route for you to take in converting your website to being mobile-friendly.

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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

Why Your ‘Just Another WordPress Site’ Could be Costing Valuable Sales

Just Another Template WordPress Site

Back when I first became a web developer, WordPress never existed. It was first released on May 27, 2003 (yes, I’ve been at this longer than that!) Of course, back in the beginning, it wasn’t at all what it is today but everything has to start somewhere.

The thing is, WordPress has grown to such an extent that entrepreneurs and business owners think it’s the ONLY way to build a website. This is far from the truth where many times WordPress is not the ideal solution to meet the needs of a business.

But I digress.

After reading this article, you’ll discover one of the main reasons why your website is not getting you the results you’re wanting… and a big culprit is WordPress.

With the evolution of WordPress has come an array of problems and issues that many entrepreneurs and business owners aren’t fully equipped to handle. Why? Because they aren’t knowledgeable in the full spectrum of brand identity and website design.

I mean, they’ve got a WordPress site; what else do they need, right?

Wrong.

First of all, WordPress started off as being a blog platform. It was a means for website owners to be able to add a blog to their site and take advantage of the trackback, categorization and social sharing capabilities it offers.

Then it evolved into being a Content Management System (CMS) where non-blog pages could be easily created too. Thus allowing the creation of a full-fledged website without needing to know a hexadecimal of code.

Pretty cool eh!

Well, yes and no.

As convenient as WordPress has become to quickly get up a functional website, there are other factors that require careful consideration, which are often ignored.

Factors such as:

  • Branding and Design
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Usability and Accessibility
  • Code Validation
  • Image Optimization and Page Load Times
  • Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Analytics

And when these factors are ignored (or not done well), that’s when the business owner finds their new, quick and convenient website has become underwhelming at bringing in new leads and sales.

So a big trade off has happened. Cheap and Convenient for Loss of Leads and Sales.

One of the biggest reasons for this is branding.

If your website looks like any other WordPress site, it has lost its uniqueness that showcases your business as being distinctive from the competition.

What needs to happen is for it to appeal to a specific audience, your target market, that will compel them into action.

Unfortunately, whether you purchased a theme or are using a free template, the odds are great that you have lost that appeal and it’s going to look like the hundreds, if not thousands of other websites that used that same theme.

Not only that, but if an “out of the box” theme is being used, then that means no thought has been put into the actual brand of the business.

How is your website being received by your ideal target market? Does it look boring and/or amateurish? Is it turning them off because they assumed within seconds that you are not the right fit for them? Are the right colours, fonts and imagery being used to draw them in and compel them into action? Are they confused and can’t tell what you offer?

If you’re not sure what the answers are, then the odds are good that you don’t fully understand or appreciate what a brand is and how important it is to the success of your business.

So if you have a high bounce rate (meaning if people are leaving your website within moments of coming to it), then that’s a big indicator your brand (or lack of one) is not working. It’s certainly not the only factor, but it’s a significant one.

A good brand begins with identifying your ideal target market and unique selling position and then creating a visual representation of your business that will appeal to the right people for the right reasons.

Once done and you have created a unique brand that is specific to you and your business, then your website will no longer look like just another WordPress template and you’re on your way to business success.

If your business needs a proper brand identity to differentiate you from your competitors, eVision Media can help. Contact us today to find out more about our branding and web design & development services.

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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