NEWS ALERT: Google Chrome Security Warning

Coming in October 2017 – a NEW “NOT SECURE” warning from Google Chrome

Google Search ConsoleWebmasters all over the world, including Websites to Impress, have started to receive messages from Google Search Console with a warning about an upcoming security change on websites in Google Chrome:

“Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.”

Google has a long term plan rolling out to mark some pages served over HTTP as “NOT SECURE”. This will affect a lot of our customers, so we wanted to share what you can do about it, and how we can help.

Next Steps: Are You Affected by the New Security?

If you go to your website and you don’t see HTTPS:// in front of your website address, you will be affected by this security change if you have customers enter any type of information on your website (such as contact forms, applications, etc). It will also affect any pages that do not have HTTPS:// if a user is in Incognito Mode.  You will note that after October the words “Not Secure” will be shown to users in Chrome. See example below:

New Google security message: SSL Certificate missing - Not Secure message shows

Image from: https://blog.chromium.org/

While this only affects users on the Google Chrome browser, you will find this is something you want to take seriously. The lions share of internet users are using Chrome. Here are the current statistics from W3Schools.com

Number of internet users on browsers from W3Schools.com

 

 

Website account manager

Brandy Stockton – Account Manager

What can a website owner do?

Websites to Impress can help you by installing a SSL Certificate. Per GlobalSign “SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.”

 

Digital Marketing Manager

Cindy Whiteman – Digital Marketing Manager

In simple terms, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is used to identify a website and encrypt information sent to the server. If a user on your website enters information to a web server, that users browser will then access the digital certificate that is on the server and create a secure connection. So regardless of Google’s new warnings, a SSL certificate is a good thing.

 

Your SSL certificate will need to be renewed annually like your domain name. To get started, contact either Cindy or Brandy at websites to Impress. We will get an SSL installed quickly and help you maintain it each year.

Want to read more? Click here for an article from Marketing Land.

Is Your Digital Marketing Working for You?

There are always new updates in the realm of digital marketing – new tactics and new tools. Businesses are finding that having a digital marketing plan is a vital component to their success for being recognizable online. Here at WTI, we see first hand the success that clients experience from using monthly services like:Let Digital Marketing show people your store is OPEN!

It really is like night and day to see how much a business can be changed overnight by adopting one or more of our strategies.

We say Digital Marketing, You Think Leads

When people think of Digital Marketing, it’s all about generating as many business leads as possible by making sure you are recognized by your target audience. Business leads are any prospective customer that shows some sort of interest towards your product or service. It might be a call that comes to you via organic search or an email form that is filled out on your website. Our goal at WTI is to make sure everyone that visits our clients’ site turns into a business lead for that company, and implementing our specific digital marketing strategies will help you reach that goal. We can even provide information about return on investment. We can track calls from search (organic and paid) as well as email form fills so you can see how many leads you get from your website.

There’s quite a bit of option in the digital marketing realm. Some options work better for some businesses rather than others. That’s our job to help you decide which option will work the best for your business. We are offering free custom analysis of your online presence. Upon your request, we will dig into your website to see exactly how we can use our expertise to bring you more leads. Please contact Grant or Cindy at Websites to Impress to obtain further information.

TIP: Boomerang is a Fun Instagram Tool You can Use

Use Social Media Tools like Boomerang to Beef Up Your Profile

It’s been around for a bit, but up till now, it was a secret that only teenagers seemed to know about. Boomerang is a fun App from Instagram that you can use to make super short videos (not much longer than a GIF) to add to your Instagram profile.

Boomerang for Instagram to Beef up Social Media

It’s important to change things up to keep your followers engaged, and Boomerang is a fun way to do it. It is super easy to use, and the app is free at the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. You can read up more on how to use the app here: http://blog.instagram.com/post/131684343987/boomerang-from-instagram. Boomerang takes a series of photos in quick succession and then plays it forward and backwards to create a fun loop video. You can catch someone jumping in the air, or as you can see above, blowing a bubble! Be creative and use it to show people more about your business, or just use it to show your fun side.

Check back again soon for more fun social media tips from Websites to Impress. If you would like to work with Websites to Impress on your social media management, these are the types of tools we can help you use to manage your social media profiles.

Contact our team to learn more about these and other great social media ideas!

 

 

SSL Certificates: 3 Very Good Reasons to Get One Installed Today

To Install an SSL Certificate or Not to Install an SSL Certificate. That is the Question.

A question we have had a lot of late is whether or not there are benefits to having an SSL Certificate for your website. To push that even further, there are questions about if having an SSL is a requirement for all websites. Let us break this down for you and give you our advice.

What is an SSL Certificate?

First, let us explain what an SSL  is and what it does for your website. 

SSL CertificatesSSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. That alone means very little to anyone. It’s what the SSL certificate does that is important. A SSL certificate is a tiny data file. It’s job is to digitally bind a cryptographic key to a website. It is installed on your server and when it is installed you will see a little padlock icon in your browser by the website url. You will also notice that the prefix to the url changes from http:// to https:// to indicate that a certificate is in use.

It ensure people that their connection to your website is secure, or safe. The cryptographic key is used to encrypt all transmitted data from the website. It also authenticates the identity of the website it is installed on. It is sometimes called a digital certificate. So, in simple terms, it makes things safe and gives people a warm fuzzy feeling when they come to your website.

A SSL certificate sounds pretty great right? What would be the downside? It does cost a bit extra to have one installed and has to be renewed annually.

Online SecuritySo Should YOU have a SSL Certificate for Your Website?

The short answer is like YES.

But aside from that warm, fuzzy feeling, WHY do you need one?

REASON NUMBER ONE: Search engines like Google may rank your website better if you have one installed. Back in 2014, Google indicated them as a ranking factor for SEO. This is one VERY good reason to have one installed. Read more about this revelation by clicking HERE.

bovv

The above message is available through Firefox on sites without SSL Certificates.

REASON NUMBER TWO: There are indications that browsers will show sites as not being secure, and some browsers have already started to point it out to users visiting sites not secured with an SSL. User trust is going to become more and more important as more and more sites install SSL certificates. You don’t want to be left in the dust.

READ MORE: 31% of Websites are Now Secure

REASON NUMBER THREE: SECURITY. Simply said, we live in a time were digital security is an issue. You can help protect visitors to your website by having an SSL certificate installed.

WTI Can Help Install a SSL Certificate for Your Website

We can install and maintain your website’s SSL Certificates. We make it easy by keeping track of when it is set to expire and we will make sure it gets reinstalled annually. So maybe it is time to jump on the security bandwagon. SSL certificates go beyond banks and online stores in today’s online world. Let us help you get secure and stay that way.

 

Digital Marketing: How Do You Determine what You Need

There is no easy hook to figuring out what you need for digital marketing.

digital marketing hookI only wish it were that easy. It’s a question we get quite frequently from clients when they complete their website or after they redesign their website and are looking to expand their online presence. I get a lot of comments and questions like these:

“I want to rank number one in Google.”

“I want everyone to know my brand.”

“My website is online now, why can’t people find me?”

There is no simple hook or answer to these comments / questions. It takes research and time to find the best process for each individual client to determine the best digital marketing strategy for their business. So where do you begin?

Ask Two Simple Questions

To start, ask two simple questions.

  1. Am I getting leads from my website?
  2. If I am getting leads, can I determine how I am getting them and how many?

If you don’t know the answers to the questions above, you don’t know if the investment you make in your website is worth it. The biggest goal that most businesses have for their website is get get leads from their website, real business. The biggest problem is most people don’t know if that is happening. By working with a smart digital marketing company, they can use tools such as call tracking and Google Analytics goals to determine if people are reaching out to you via your website and how. This can help you make a more educated decision on what types of marketing work for you.

Click Here to Read about Google Analytics Goals

Understand it is a Marathon not a Sprint

Once you are setup to measure return on investment, it is important to consider what methods of digital marketing would work for you. So what are the most common methods? There is no magic hook to get you positioned for greatness on day one of digital marketing. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Understanding the tools in the digital marketing toolbox are key. Click on each item below to learn more!

Search Engine Optimization or SEO: SEO is a long term strategy to consistently improve your website so it ranks better for keyword searches relevant to your business on search engines. Your digital marketing team will need to develop keywords using keyword research for words and phrases that will bring search volume to you. This is something that always should be evaluated and re-evaluated. The site should then be optimized for those keywords. There are numerous onsite and offsite tasks that need to be constantly worked on to position you for the ever changing landscape on search engines. SEO takes time and research but will lower your cost per lead over time.

Click Here to Learn Specifics on Local SEO 

Pay Per Click (a.k.a. Adwords, Paid Advertising, SEM): This form of digital marketing works well for businesses with large budgets, or businesses just starting out online where SEO is not bringing them a ton of search volume yet. Ads are positioned high in search engine results to provide you viability, but you need to keep in mind you are bidding against your competitors for the top spots for keyword searches.

Online Reputation Management: People right reviews, and give their opinion about your business whether you know it or not. Knowledge is power when it comes to your online presence. By knowing what reviews exist online, you can respond to them and look for ways to get positive information about your business online. Reviews can actually play into your search engine rankings, especially local results. It’s important to know where you stand.

Social Media: Such a powerful and inexpensive tool. Using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms you can reach out to people and direct them to your website. Using social media marketing in the form of ads and boosted posts, you can reach out to people in almost any area or demographic that might not otherwise know you are there.

Email Marketing: Staying in front of your existing client base is an excellent way to retain them and build awareness as to what’s going on with your business. It’s a great way to offer specials, get feedback, promote new services or products, and more.

So How Do You Determine what Methods are Right for You?

This can be the tricky part. On your own, you might not know where to begin. By using a digital partner like Websites to Impress, you can make a marketing plan. We have tools to compare you to where your competitors are on the digital landscape, and we can build a custom digital marketing plan to put you a step ahead. Our digital marketing plans are built in a way that we can use ALL of the tools above based on your current needs, as well as the results. We can look at how your digital marketing is working and do more of what is working and less of what isn’t.

So, while there is no easy answer to what digital marketing works best for everyone, we do have the ability to figure out what will work FOR YOU and YOUR BUSINESS. For a free estimate as well as an analysis of your current web presence, contact Cindy or Tammy at Websites to Impress. Let us come up with a custom digital marketing plan built for you.

 

 

 

 

Why 2017 is the Year to Update Your Website

While most business owners know that it is important to freshen up your website design every few years, we are finding that this year is a big year to make a change. The reasons are actually quite a few reasons to update your website in 2017, and they don’t all have to do with design per say. Quite a few of the reasons have to do with your visitors and your search engine rankings. Who would have thought!? Let’s break it down.


2017 is the “Year of the User”

As we mentioned in a blog in February, the user is now the biggest “ranking factor” for a website. So what does that mean exactly? It means that many of the ranking factors that Google considers important bank on how a user behaves when they visit a website.

ARTICLE: See how Search Engine Journal predicted the user experience would be a ranking factor

By making your website easy to maneuver and understand, and by adding elements that engage your users, you can actually be more appealing to search engines as well when it comes to both organic and paid search. Landing page experience has been a factor for Adwords and has more recently been considered for organic results as well.

FACT: What is Landing Page Experience? Read Google’s Definition

As Google Partners, one of the biggest things we have learned about SEO is that ranking well for keywords means nothing if it doesn’t contribute to your bottom line. Using your WEBSITE DESIGN to improve user experience (also referred to as UX) can actually keep people on your website, and by designing in a way that is always keeping your users in mind, you can lead them exactly where you need to. You can get them to convert into a call, email, or chat session which in turn betters your bottom line. So that is where current design trends come in.


WTI Design Team Weighs In on Design Trends

So, we asked our design team what the current trends are. Oddly enough they fit exactly what we would expect from our comments above on user experience. Here is what we learned.

Web Design Arturo weighs in on design trendsFrom Arturo: “I think sites are becoming simpler in their aesthetic, using more graphics and icons, less text, and more space.”

Arturo is right! By creating a site that isn’t cluttered, has more concise content (still keyword rich when appropriate!), and visual we are finding that users are staying on the site longer, thus stats in Google Analytics for time spent on pages, pages visited per session, and bounce rate are showing better performance.

Cynthia, on our Web Team, weighs in on website designFrom Cynthia: “People are getting away from too much content. I’ve also noticed huge videos used as a banner.”

Cynthia is ALSO right! By using tools such as engaging 360 videos or drone videos when users initially come to your site, you immediate engage them in something visual, while providing them information about your product or services. While you still want content on your website (content will NEVER stop being a ranking factor!) web designers and SEOs are recognizing that when you optimize for the user vs. the search engine, site performance for both organic and paid search results seems to follow suit.


What's the next step to site re-design?So, to Re-Design Your Site, What’s Next?

Look at your site as if you were a visitor. If you aren’t impressed by your site compared to other sites you have seen, it’s likely you are loosing potential customers for the same reason. Why not get a FREE ESTIMATE on an updated site? At the same time we can evaluate your site, make sure it is responsive, and recommend digital marketing strategy specifically for your business. We can make sure you love your website, but will also guide you to make sure you are following the trends that will keep people on your site and adding to your bottom line.

Call and get your free quote today – 309.489.0026 and ask for Brandy Stockton. We proudly serve Iowa & Illinois and ALL of the USA. Love your website, we’ll show you how!

WTI on Made in the QCA

Thanks KWQC!!

Our management team left to right: Tammy Frank (Digital Marketing Manager), Brandy Stockton (Project Manager), Kim Gehling (President & Owner), Cindy Whiteman (Digital Marketing Manager), and Michele Nelson (Billing Manager)

We are so proud of our company, but is really is special when others find your company to be interesting and special as well. Yesterday our segment aired on the 5pm newscast for KWQC for their segment “Made in the QCA”. Every person in the office ran out of here as fast as we could to get home and watch the segment last night. We all thought it was excellent. Considering when you have a camera on you, it feels like you sound and look like a deer in the headlights, David Nelson and the photographers and editors made it look great! Thank you so much to the whole team at KWQC for taking the time to create the segment for your show. We are truly grateful.

WTI: What Makes Us Great

What our president and owner Kim Gehling said is true. While we didn’t plan to be a company run by women it definitely is something that we are proud of. Each of the women in our management team are strong leaders, but it is also our team of employees that made this such a special place to work. One of the best things about Websites to Impress is that it is a place where your job NEVER gets boring. Web design always changes, search engine optimization always changes, and Adwords is always changing as well. Everything we do is always in flux. We are able to educate ourselves each day on new tactics, methods, and ideas to keep our work current. It is always a challenge and always interesting. We are also lucky enough to have a team that works so well together. Our youngest team member is a junior in high school and our oldest is in their 60s. To say we have a diverse group is definitely an understatement!

Grateful to Call the Quad Cities Area Home

Our Team!

The city of Geneseo and the Quad Cities area is a wonderful place to call home! To all the local businesses we have worked with in the area – THANK YOU! While we work with companies all over the country, the local communities are what gave us our start, and we are happy to call the QCA home. Thanks again to KWQC-TV for featuring our business on “Made in the QCA“. Enjoy the segment below!

Users: The New Search Engine Ranking Factor

Content No Longer King?

Is content no longer king with SEO?In days of old (you know, like, 5 years ago, that’s days of old right?) the major concern that SEOs focused on was content. When creating a website and optimizing it for search engine optimization the first priority was creating a ton of keyword rich content for search engines to read through and hopefully find the website a credible source. Today, things have changed in a big way. Don’t think that content has been forgotten, it hasn’t. But it isn’t the only key to success with SEO. There is much more to the picture in 2017.

Content + User Experience + Usability = SEO Success

It seems that the things that really do show that someone trusts a website are now true ranking factors for search rankings. As search engines are constantly striving to provide the best search results, it seems they have stumbled over a reliable formula: Content + User Experience + Usability. The user is now, more than ever, helping determine what results other users see in their search results. So when you are building your website, what should you pay attention to so that the user behavior reflects what the search engines expect?

  • Easy, intuitive site navigation
  • Clean, professional design
  • High quality, factual content

Google and other search engines are depending on site interaction factors to determine what is going on with site pages themselves. Since a search engine can’t watch a video or understand content completely, it’s using behavior triggers (that you can gain insights to in Google Analytics!) to help determine rank. By observing factors like bounce rate (when users click on a result and then immediately hit the back arrow bouncing away from your site) or time spent on a page, a search engine can better determine the quality of the page to the user.

Google released the Panda update to the search ranking algorithm in 2011. It has been updated many times since, always changing and bettering the way it can judge content quality. Since then they have added machine learning (scary!) that can “think” like humans can to predict what humans would judge as low quality content.

The moral of the story is to create and optimize a website that is easy to user with quality content. Don’t forget mobile when creating your site. Make sure your site is responsive, and looks great on tablets and phones. Consider that people will be reading content on their phones more and more frequently, so don’t keep them scrolling through content forever. Keep it interesting, interactive, and clean.

Need Help? Get a Free Quote today!

Websites to Impress, Inc is excited about where SEO is going. When we build a website we build it with all of the factors above in mind. If you start with great design and clean code, you can start your digital marketing off on the right foot. With a full service digital marketing company like WTI, you can take right off with SEO, social media marketing, pay per click, and more to expand on your website. We also user all the tools available, including Google Analytics, to monitor the behavior of users on your site. So let’s get started today. From design to digital marketing we have content, plus user experience, plus usability in mind!

Small Business Woes with Search

Small Business Owners Don’t Need to Fear Search with Local SEO

Sometimes small business owners are doing everything they can just to have a web presence. They figure that if they can just get a website out there, that should be enough. Then they hear about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and figure they will never be found in a world full of businesses that are already doing SEO and trying to target the same keywords they would.

Never Fear, Local Search is here!

What small business owners don’t always know is that there is a great thing called local SEO. When someone searches in a local area local businesses should be returned in the results. Google will even display a map with listings in some cases pointing potential customers right too you. What great news, right?

local SEO company Quad Cities

How to get on the Map

To get shown in the local results the way you would like, you need to be consistent. All of your listings that are found online should be claimed and the NAP+W information (or Name, Address, Phone and Website Information) needs to exactly match your website. You need to be setup with Google tools and have Google My Business setup and verified on Google. Social media profiles are always a huge plus, especially when they list your NAP+W information as well. Not to mention social media profiles show up in search results too! Not sure if you have noticed but YouTube and even Pinterest results show up many times on page one in a search.

Ready to get started?

Websites to Impress, Inc incorporates local SEO into our SEO plans. It can bring huge results for local businesses that offer products and services to a local service area. We have an SEO plan that is surely right for you. If you visit our SEO page on our website, we provide a free SEO audit of your business and your website to let you know what we recommend. Our SEO packages differ from other digital marketing companies because we don’t force you to sign a contract. We believe in our SEO skills so much, that be believe you will want to stay with us once you start, because we can show you results and return on investment – AKA – LEADS!

Call today to get your free SEO Audit. See if local SEO is right for your business. Don’t let SEO intimidate you. Get a team behind you that can show it who is boss – YOU!

Read More: Why Local SEO is More Important than Ever

Here’s to a Great Holiday Season (of Online Shopping!)

5 Ways to Convert Website Traffic to Sales this Holiday Season

promote Christmas shopping on your websiteIt’s that time of year and as a business owner with a website you want to make the best of all the traffic coming to your website. Here are a few small tricks that you can do to help convert those people visiting to sales.

Special Offers

By offering a percentage off a purchase or free shipping you can easily make up someone’s mind about a sale. You can even have a pop-up offer right when people come to your site.

Visible Call to Action

Make sure your offer or free shipping graphic is front and center and make sure it is on each page so that where ever people enter the site they will see your promotion.

Have an Email Promotion

This is a great way to gain subscribers to your emails. You can offer an email specific promotion if people subscribe.

Try a Remarketing Campaign

If someone has been to your site before, a remarketing campaign can help bring them back by showing your ad on other sites they visit. It’s a great way to make your brand visible during the holidays to previous visitors.

Add Touches to Your Site that Say “Holidays!”

Aincrease online sales through your websitedd banners, blogs, graphics to your site that are stylish but definitely say the holidays. It’s a great way to get people in the mood to shop! Don’t forget to update your social media with banners and graphics with the same theme and look for branding purposes.

HAVE FUN with Your Website

If your website has a fun look and feel, people will feel good when they visit.

Happy Holidays from Websites to Impress, Inc!