Believe it or not, the World Wide Web has been around for decades now but a surprisingly large number of small businesses don’t think that they need to have websites. People running small businesses give all sorts of excuses to avoid creating their own websites. However, the benefits of an online presence should not be ignored. Contracting the services of a web design company is guaranteed to change the way an entrepreneur carries out his business.
Business owners should know that buyers today pre-qualify businesses they might work with later. They do this by simply visiting the business website of a company. According to a study done by Hubspot marketing agency, a whopping 78% of internet users find out about products online before initiating a purchase transaction. This figure also applies to people looking for local businesses.
Think about your own purchase transactions. How many times have you searched a product or business online before going ahead to buy something? The Internet is a free source of information which influences consumers. Not having an online presence therefore hurts businesses whether they know it or not. Making your presence felt on the web is not as difficult as it used to. A business in Florida for instance can contact a Jacksonville Webdesign Company to make its name on the Internet. With a website a business will no longer miss out on the most crucial part of business which the getting found part.
Don’t let your competitors get ahead of you
More and more web-savvy companies are coming up and there is a good chance that one of those companies is your competitor. If your competitor is more active than you on the web, you are going to miss out on business. Companies whose products might be worse than yours understand that people are quick to judge a book by its cover. Therefore, if their website kicks your website’s butt, consumers will end up buying from your competitor. You must be picky when choosing a web design company. A local, plugged-in, experienced St Augustine Webdesign firm is better than an obscure company operating from God-knows-where.
Control the conversation
Whether or not you have a website, there are likely some conversations on the Internet regarding your business. Even if you have never hired a Jacksonville Webdesign Company to make a website for you, your web presence is already there thanks to your customers. People now leave reviews of businesses on websites such as Google review, Trip Advisor, and Yelp. Social media is another place where you cannot prevent people from saying whatever they want about your business. Even thought you can’t control what people say, you can respond to things said about you and potentially develop or improve relationships with your customer base. You can respond to reviews about you and introduce product improvements to fix previous negative feedback. You can only do such things with a website of your own. Let Marlin help you break out of the crowd and create your new website today!
Source: MarlinCS Blog
Social media marketing is one of the newest and fastest growing mediums through which to build your business. In the last ten years it has revolutionized marketing, particularly for small businesses. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are very well known, but YouTube can play a role in your marketing, particularly if you provide a service and can offer videos and how-to’s for your clientele. Interactive blogs are a great opportunity to teach and inform as well as gather information from consumers.
When you enter social media channels, your brand will appear in search results across the Web not just in search engines. Many social media channels, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, feature “group” functionality, which allows users to search for topics in which they are interested. Furthermore, social media channels facilitate the process of instantly sharing information with a large number of contacts. So if a reader finds your content useful or interesting, they can share it with their contacts quickly and easily, creating organic exposure for your brand.
Participating in social media brings your brand closer to existing and potential customers. Your voice defines your brand image and separates it from a distant entity to a hip, trendy, “in-the-know” brand. Think about what Apple did with its famous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials.
You may not know it, but your customers are saying lots of things about your brand. Social media channels like Twitter and Facebook make “brand buzz” readily available. If you’re not tuned in, you could be missing out on crucial information about your target market.
There is no stronger marketing message than an endorsement from a friend. Social media facilitates word-of-mouth marketing by making it quick and easy to tell your friends about your positive experience with a brand. More importantly, social media doesn’t just make it easy to tell a single friend; it makes it easy to tell your friends what’s on your mind.
Twitter and Facebook have become the default customer-service media for many companies and more are hopping on the bandwagon each day. By using these channels to reach out to your customers, you project an image that shows that not only do you listen, you care.
One independent study published in the March 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review, found that Facebook pages increase customer loyalty by 36%. The study also found that customers connected with the brand’s Facebook page had higher emotional attachment and greater psychological loyalty toward the brand.
The transparency inherent in social media builds trust with potential consumers. Social media allows you to build and nurture a relationship with your clientele without visiting with each of them on an individual basis. Used correctly, this is an invaluable tool.
Social media has become one of the most popular and trusted ways to reach out to consumers. If you take the time to create a strong footprint in the social media arena you will see the benefit in your bottom line. Good luck!
Source: MarlinCS Blog
After lots and lots of testing, Google has just officially launched the mobile-friendly label in the mobile search results.
What does this mean? Well in an effort to help mobile users have a better experience on their devices. Google has rolled out a way to know which sites are mobile-friendly versus which ones are not, Google has added a text label under the URL in the snippet that reads “Mobile-friendly” as the first part of the search result’s snippet.
Google’s Staff has said it can be a “frustrating experience for our mobile searchers” to end up on a web page that is not mobile-friendly, thus they are adding the label to their mobile search results to communicate this to the searcher.
In addition to the mobile-friendly label, Google is experimenting with a new ranking algorithm for mobile friendly web sites.
Here is what the mobile-friendly label is officially launching with, note, it may change in the future:
How do you qualify to show this label for your web site? Google said it depends on if GoogleBot detects the following criteria:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
You may be asking yourself, “How does Google know what a user experience will be like on your mobile site?” Well, Google has been dropping hints that they understand mobile experience for some time now. They recently launched mobile usability reports to help webmasters find issues with their mobile web sites.
Google also recommends you test your site in the new Mobile-Friendly Test tool, review their mobile friendly guidelines and use various third-party tools to go mobile-friendly with your web site.
This new mobile-friendly label is now rolling out over the next few weeks.
If you do not have a mobile friendly site, we can help. Click here to see what options we have.
Source: MarlinCS Blog
One of the most practical ways to grow your business is to get your business online… AND get potential customers to find you. Fun facts:
- 97% of consumers go online to find local businesses
- More than one out of five Google searches are local
- 40% of consumers say they not comfortable with a product or service if they can’t research it online
If these consumers can’t find your business online, they’re going to find your competitors. Let’s go over three steps that can get you online successfully.
STEP 1: Get visibility with business listings
Business listings are your business, address and phone number in a directory
The directory can be online (think YP.com) or offline (think yellow pages). A lot of publishers will allow you to add business listings at no cost, and sometimes you can sneak more information like a link to your website or your hours of operation. You can often utilize listing sites that are specific to your business type. Lawyer.com, Yelp.com, YP.com are very popular listings. Even Google Maps can be an excellent tool to get your business online.
Consumers find businesses by using search engines or searching a directory
When a consumer uses a search engine they will often return business listings and web listings in the result. Generally, business listings rank higher than regular web listings. When a consumer uses a local search site or directory they will get info on your business which may include additional details such as a link to your website, hours of operation, ratings, reviews, photos, coupons etc. Often publishers allow searchers to post ratings, reviews or comments to listings. It is a tremendous advertising opportunity.
Three tips for getting visibility:
1. Get on the top sites. Google, Yahoo, and Yelp are just a few.
2. Keep your listings straight forward, accurate, and consistent. You can alienate potential customers with inconsistent or inaccurate listings.
3. Pay attention to comments or reviews and respond to them. It’s important to manage your profile. Obviously we want positive reviews but here are some suggestions to help you deal with bad ones.
a. Respond quickly and appropriately. Show concern but don’t take responsibility for an issue until you’ve confirmed it.
b. Try to resolve issues offline. It’s easier to work a situation when it isn’t playing out for the world to see.
c. If you succeed in getting the issues offline you or the client should follow up on the original posts so there is no question of its resolution.
d. If a review seems illegitimate or fraudulent, the publisher will usually remove it if you contact them.
STEP 2: Have a practical website –give visitors the info they want and utilize Search Engine Optimization.
Customers want contact info, the products or services you provide and pricing (where appropriate).
In this brave new world of smart phones, tablets, Wi-Fi, and LTE be sure your website is optimized for mobile screens so consumers can contact you when they find your site. New technology has had a HUGE impact on web searching. 60% of shoppers use smart phones or tablets to perform their searches.
Make sure your site is mobile responsive. Visit your website on your computer. If your site does not adjust as you zoom in or out it is probably not mobile responsive. We can help with that.
Here are three things to determine if your website is optimized for search engines:
1. Make sure search engines can find you.
Search Google, if your website doesn’t show up Google doesn’t know you exist. If your site shows up, look at the number of results and determine if this number is the same as the of pages in your website.
2. Make sure your site is relevant to terms your potential customer base will use to search for you.
Identify words, terms, or phrases your customers may use. The obvious place to look is the visible content on your site. You also want to look at title tags (descriptive titles for each page of your site) and meta tags (describe each page of your site in more detail than title tags). These give searchers context about your site.
a. Keep title tags to 65 characters or less.
b. Keep the most important keywords at the beginning of the description.
c. Make title tags readable, not threads of keywords. That way people will be able to read them easily.
d. Each title tag should be unique to the page it is describing.
3. See if search engines are prioritizing your site over other similar businesses. You can check by searching for your business using terms you previously identified.
a. When possible, use your business name in your url (mybusiness.com)
b. Make sure your name and contact info is on your site. Ensure all links to your website are accurate.
c. If your business is local, reach out to the Chamber of Commerce, paper, bloggers, and related sites.
STEP 3: Add great content to both your website and business listing
When a customer finds your website or your business listing they want enough information to determine if they should contact you or not.
Your site should look professional but you don’t go crazy with flashy designs and over the top graphics. Additionally, make sure your site sets your business apart from the competition. Stand out.
Some content should always be included no matter what kind of website you have.
1. Your business story in text, photo or video. Tell your story with photos and videos to make an impact.
2. Specific information about the products or services you provide
3. Pricing information
4. Raves and recommendations from your customers
5. Contact information
As you plan your online strategy, Marlin CS will be there to offer you our knowledge and experience to make this potentially stressful process as smooth as possible. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you as you develop your internet business tactics.
Source: MarlinCS Blog
Many people are already building an eye-catching content strategy and are reaping the benefits. Google’s growing steadily sharper over time, and even content strategies that have produced excellent SEO results for a time begin to falter. So, how can you develop a content strategy that will stand the test of time, while winning approval from users as well as Google?
Building enticing content strategies focused on appealing to users isn’t difficult, will always yield better results, and won’t succumb to one of Google’s future algorithm updates. If you stick with your efforts, you’re going to win the approval of your users as well as Google. Let’s look at some strong content strategies that will keep you in front of your customers.
Onsite Content Strategy
Your content strategy should begin with your own website, where your focus should be on optimizing the user experience. User experience isn’t just how pretty or fun your website is. It deals with how easy it is for your potential and existing customers to find what they need. Content comes first. Provide the information and make it front and center and user-friendly.
User intent is critical to your onsite strategy. You have to think about what a user is looking for when they come to your website. For example when someone searches for “domain discounts” on a specific site like GoDaddy, it’s obvious what they are looking for.
A unique style: In this competitive online world the only way you’re going to stand out is to be user friendly while remaining unique and making a strong impression.
Don’t “sell”: Provide value to potential customers. Don’t blatantly sell them; that alters your entire focus to marketing. If you educate, inform, and provide value customers will naturally want to buy your product.
Offsite Content Strategy
Identify your audience: Knowing your audience will only help your site break out from the masses.
Guest posting: Find specific subjects that will make a difference with your clientele.
Follow-up: This is critical and often forgotten. You work so hard to create content that will grab clients and you never follow up or participate in any potential discussions. Being available breeds trust with searchers.
Build Strong Relationships: Building Natural Links & Authority
Identify key players in your field: Find what you like or don’t like about sites, strategies, et cetera of competitors in your field. This will only help you find your voice and maximize your footprint.
Work with competitors: Not everyone is helpful but some of your direct competitors can actually make great friends. Creating these relationships can widen your exposure very naturally.
Always stay focused on the most important thing: help! Help others, help competition, help potential clients, help anyone you can. Remember, you only get out what you put in. If you actively help and support others you’re going to get back in return.
Source: MarlinCS Blog
The internet is flooded with similar-looking content. Unique content is hard to create and it’s only getting harder as more and more websites grasp the importance of content marketing. So with that great news, how do we produce eye-catching interesting content that stands out from everyone else?
You have to answer people’s needs. Simple, right? It’s actually one of the toughest parts of the marketing challenge. If you help people with your content, they will trust you. But how do you learn what they’re looking for? Marlin CS will help break out your website.
Knowing your competition is one of the most important steps in the development of your content. Based on their successes, failures, and potential gaps, we can break out your site using the best methods to reach your clientele. This will help you pinpoint what your audience is looking for.
As we build your website, comments offer an excellent look into what your target audience wants. We don’t just look at comments on your current site or Facebook page, we utilize discussion boards and forums to mine focused ideas about what your audience is looking for.
The Social Networks
Social networks are the best place for personal expression in today’s online world. And they’re usually free. If you’re smart about your efforts you can get direct information on what people want. You just have to know where to look. Twitter hashtags are a terrific way to create continuous interest and discussion about your product or website. Facebook and Google+ allow you to engage your audience and draw them in. Then you can keep them interested by updating your status and posting items of interest.
eCommerce is more important for product website developers. Looking at sites where similar products are sold and reading comments, reviews and other chatter about products is a focused way to pinpoint what motivates your customers’ purchasing decisions.
It’s simple. Know your customer, know your market. Do that and your content becomes that much more valuable to your business. Bottom line, the clients are what matters. They are the key to any of your success. Marlin is here to help you build that relationship with your potential customers. Let’s make that connection together.
Source: MarlinCS Blog