Posts tagged web design
Snow White and the Seven Commercials: Creating a Profitable Business Homepage

There is much ado about “selling” an e-commerce website within that initial millisecond when a shopper lands on a homepage, because losing a shopper in that moment will yield high bounce rates that shoot off red flags for web analysts. Immediately, designers are set off in a tizzy trying to figure out what could possibly be turning customers off from their efficient page design. Every company wants the visitor to feel as if he/she has stumbled into the fairy tale of all e-commerce websites, awestruck by the quality and selection of the products and also welcomed by the captivating site environ. An online business seeks to be the fairest maiden in the land, if you will, and companies should make this a big picture priority.

Essentially, the objective of any homepage is to get the visitor off the homepage. This means the visitor needs incentive to continue trekking through the forest. A recent method of ecommerce sites has been to embed a large scrolling banner above the fold on the homepage, exposing the shopper to the wide world of products that are only a click away. Though this method follows logically, many shoppers actually see these scrolling banners as picture commercials. Shoppers don’t visit your site to watch commercials. They come to shop, and it’s likely they’ll change the channel if your site is just another money-grubbing commercial.

Snow White Mac DecalPromotions are necessary on the homepage, but they’re most inviting when disguised as possible paths. Let the shoppers feel as though they have discovered the deals and made the accomplished bargains themselves. Streamline and clarify top navigation and/or sidebar navigation to make this process simple and available for shoppers. Show your featured sale lines above the fold, but dress them up as more avenues to explore, not promotions to ignore. Speak the language of your shoppers in true “choose your own adventure” form. The shopping adventure is first and foremost meant to fulfill the customer’s dreams, not the company’s quota.

If shoppers keep bouncing off your homepage, give this a thought. Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes and imagine the adventure that you, the shopper not the businessperson, would desire. You’ll see a difference in attitude once you’ve made your house a home.

(Image Source)

The Top Ten Ways to Optimize Your Wordpress Blog and Make It More Powerful than Ever - Part II

Welcome back campers to the exciting conclusion of our two part mini-series on juicing up your Wordpress blog. Hopefully you've had enough time to lay the groundwork with our last round of suggestions - now it's time to blow the roof off. Enjoy!

6. SEO Packs

Okay, most of the things on this list are good for any blog anywhere. But Wordpress has a few major advantages when it comes to SEO. One of the best is the All In One SEO Pack, a nifty plug-in that allows you to create meta data at the same time you write and post your blog entry (and you don’t have to mess with code at all). There’s a whole world of great plug-ins at Wordpress - take the time to dig through them and find the ones that are the best for you. (Hint: The ones that are the best for you are the ones that make running the blog easier and more efficient!).

7. Posting Regularity

Self-explanatory, but here we go for the back of the class - if you don’t post with regularity your readers will not keep coming back to see what you have to say. Even if no one is commenting, no one seems to be reading and you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall, post with regularity! It’s vital to your success. New folks won’t want to read through a blog started in 2010 that has four posts.

8. Posting Volume

Regularity is the most important thing, but volume is essential as well. Once a month is fine if that’s the best you can do, but the most successful and popular blogs post daily - usually many times a day. Do your best to write as much as you can. Remember, it’s okay to be a little bit unfiltered, or even occasionally wrong on a point of fact - your community will correct you, and a blog is a living document. You can always correct the record.

9. Comments

We’ve touched on comments earlier in the post, but they’re so, so important to your success. Allow them, and read them, and post and promote them if they’re worthy. When you listen to your readers they tend to listen to you, stay engaged, and keep your blog on their roster of daily reading. Yes, sometimes comments can get annoying. But they're an excellent way to engage.

10. Blog to Blog Partnerships

This is a fun and productive way of keeping up your volume and regularity, gain access to new and larger communities of readers, and of course make friends. When you can have online conversations with other blogs, go back and forth and mix and mingle your content, you spread your message. Go forth and befriend.

And now, go forth and conquer. Huzzah!

Get it Done: New Years Web Resolutions
New Years Confetti and Blowers

By this time of year, a lot of people have made out their New Years resolution lists. The end of the old year and the beginning of the new is a good time to re-commit to self improvement; out with the bad, in with the good, if you will. But it’s not just people who need to make these kinds of lists; businesses and websites need them too. Below are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for people, and our suggestions for how the same concepts can be applied to your website or your business.

1. Get Organized

Everyone wishes they were better organized. Whether that means cleaning out closets, doing the dishes regularly, or scheduling and keeping track of appointments, organization is essential to modern living.

When it comes to websites, organization is key to search engine optimization, a positive user experience, and a great-looking site. It’s also vital to keeping your business streamlined and efficient. With help from delegator, you can focus completely on your core competencies, and we can focus on the rest.

Google Analytics and an SEO site review will help you get organized.  Google Analytics lets you see who’s visiting your website, where they’re coming from, what they do while they’re there, and how long they stay. Everything is tracked and catalogued with precision and charted statistically. With Analytics you can set a goal, like a user seeing your site and subsequently contacting you, and then track it to see how well your site is accomplishing the goal. Delegator sets up Analytics the right way, and then manages and monitors the program, making suggestions and improving performance.

An SEO Site Review will give you a comprehensive look at every aspect of your website, complete with analysis over how you could improve it  (i.e., to boost your ranking in Google). This can include updating or creating meta tags, organizing your urls, and siloing your pages and content for optimum search engine rankings.

Get In Shape

2. Get in Shape

After Christmas and Thanksgiving, everyone is fighting the battle of the bulge, trying to get back in shape and looking the way they want to. Most websites need to undergo the same kind of transformation. Delegator knows how to redesign your website so that it runs smoothly, drives clicks and revenue, and puts the best possible face on your company. We can also help you get rid of unnecessary or unhelpful features - trim the fat, if you will.

3. More Quality Time

Many people pledge to spend more quality time in the coming year. That could mean time alone, time abroad, time with family, or simply a more focused and effective working life. With websites, quality takes on a slightly different meaning.

There are dozens of ways to make your site attractive to Google and to get lots of Internet eyeballs to look at it (AdWords, etc.). But unless the content on your site is useful and attractive, unless it serves a purpose and is high-quality, you can be sure that visitors won’t be spending any of their own quality time with you.

The most important thing, when it comes to SEO, is quality content. You need people to read it all the way through, to spend time on your site, and to help grow your brand. That’s why delegator employs professional writers and videographers to give you the best possible on-site content. Not just key-word rich, not just unique, and not just well-organized; high quality.

2011 Glasses for New Years

Another way to get more quality time with your business is to focus on what’s important, on what you’re good at, and to let us focus on the rest. Take care of core competencies, and when you get into areas where you’re not an expert, delegate to those who are.

4. Travel

So how on earth can a website travel?

At delegator, we not only expose your website to the rest of the country and the world, we do it on a budget! As one of the first AdWords experts in the Southeast, we have a track record of getting great results with low budgets, pushing sales and name recognition. No matter how big or small the account or the budget, we have the knowledge and the experience to get your company out there. With the ability to target local, national, and global searches, there’s no better way for your business to travel.

5. Track Your Goals and Stay Accountable.

New Years resolutions are all well and good, but you have to have a system to keep you accountable, and to track your various goals. That’s where delegator comes in. Not only will we manage and maintain the parts of your business that fall outside your arena, we use Analytics and periodic site reviews to make sure everything about your website is in tip top shape, meeting goals, and performing the way it should.

So whether it be getting you organized, looking great, expanding your reach, focusing on quality time, or being accountable to your goals, delegator can help you get it done.

Holiday Web Design

Throughout this holiday season we’ve watched as web designers make well-timed changes to their websites.  From e-commerce companies to non-profits, organizations are creatively updating their websites to coincide with the season. If you’re compiling your own wishlist for your website this holiday season, read on for some great inspiration. We’ve compiled a short list of websites that successfully incorporate holiday-themed elements into their web design.

Lands' End

Lands' End does a great job of using textures in their background to emulate snow and a wintry scene. The Gifts tab in the navigation was added for the holiday shopping season, and the red gift box image highlights the tab nicely.

Lands End Website

Citizen Effect

Citizen Effect, a non-profit organization, cleverly updated their circular logo to resemble an ornament. The added harvest graphics around their featured box bring attention to their Holiday Harvest efforts, where individuals can give a holiday card and help feed needy families this holiday.

Olan Mills

Every year, Olan Mills changes the look of their entire site for the holidays. This year, the background of the site, the site colors, and the logo have been updated to reflect the Christmas season.

Apple

As an e-commerce site, Apple focuses on gift giving and has changed the language of their Store tab. Apple highlights iPads and iPods as “the gift that keeps on giving,” and added an image of their gift box to show how easy it can be for customers to order online.

Winter in TN

This seasonal vacation site incorporates an ornament in their logo. Carrying the holiday theme throughout their website, Winter in TN even gives the Twitter bird a little holiday spirit.

Hopefully you have some new ideas for things you can incorporate into your own site. If you'd like some help putting your ideas into action, contact us. We'd be happy to help you get it done. And if you think your website is successfully incorporating the holiday season into your design, let us know. We'd love to see your work and may even feature it in an upcoming blog post.

World Series of E-Commerce: Part II

The MLB playoffs are in full swing now, with a no-hitter and the retirement of a legend highlighting the first round. A couple of weeks ago I began a post comparing our online marketing services to a baseball lineup. You can read the post for a full rundown of the first five spots in our lineup, but I’ll list them here again.

  1. Google Analytics
  2. SEO (site review)
  3. Content Writing
  4. Google AdWords
  5. Social Media

And, without further ado, the back half of our E-Commerce Starting Lineup:

6.  Local Search Marketing

  • In the major leagues, there is no room for a weak spot in your lineup. So at #6, we roll out a local search marketing plan, revolving around Google Places, Maps, and Earth, along with the newly released Facebook Places. With a strong organic and paid search outlook as well as social media integration, you might think your site has enough to sustain sales. The rules of the game are always changing though, and local search’s market share is growing faster than any of the aforementioned areas.

7.  Affiliate Marketing

  • Affiliate Marketing is a specialist hitter, not strong enough to be placed higher in the order, yet valuable enough to make the starting nine. To extend the analogy further, we might call this our Designated Hitter. Just as the DH only exists in the American League (not the National), affiliate marketing is almost exclusively the domain of e-commerce sites (and rarely useful in service-based sites). Still, it makes the cut because of its role as a power hitter, a true driver of sales (RBIs).

Bobby Cox

8.  Web Design/Development

  • Web design and development are good back-end services that clean up some of the work of the heavy hitters and lead in to our #9 hitter. If your site isn’t converting as well as you’d like, a few design tweaks can give it a boost. We are well-versed in web usability best practices and have advised many clients on ways to improve their site’s conversion rate.

9.  A/B and Multivariate Testing

  • Our last batter, and perhaps most effective, is multivariate testing. Once everything else is in place (top-level marketing goals, organic search strategy, paid search strategy, social media, local/mobile engagement of users) it is time to test and check everything to ensure that the marketing achieves optimal results. In baseball, the #9 hitter is not the most powerful; indeed he may often lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance a previous batter. This is the type of marginal improvement we see in Multivariate Testing. Whether it be a landing page, a homepage design, or an AdWords ad, testing and tweaking is a process of constant improvement.

Google Apps (pitching staff)

  • 2010 is the year of the pitcher in baseball and every team needs a good pitching staff to keep up. You don’t rely on your pitchers to score runs, but you need them to win games. Google Apps fills this role in a business. After all, you need email, a calendar, and data storage, and Google Apps is all of that and more (documents, chat, video, sites, etc.). Other platforms like MS Exchange are clunky, unreliable, and not easily scalable. Google Apps gives your business the data security you need combined with the collaborative tools that make everything else in day-to-day operations run more smoothly.

Of course, this is just one way to structure our services and we've seen a variety of different lineups among our clients. But we know e-marketing can be overwhelming to some, and we think this will be a welcome template to those who want to get into online marketing but don't exactly know where to start. Now we'll start thinking about our football post...