Cheap Web Design – Don’t Hire Your Cousin or Intern

Why you Shouldn’t Hire your Intern or Neighbor to Design Your Website

Hire the right web design team in Illinois and IowaMany business owners and CEO’s have some commonly held misconceptions about website development. This is a huge problem really, in this day and age. That is because more and more businesses are relying on their online presence for a large portion of their marketing and advertisement. One of the most common misconceptions is that web development is easy. This is very far from true. The actual design and development of a website is complex and multifaceted. Beyond that there is web maintenance. This leads to why you shouldn’t just pass this task on to your intern or a family member. You might as well have a 4 year old design your website! So much goes into your website, or it should.

What goes into a Website?

Understanding what goes into a website is half the battle. Here are so important things to keep in mind and plan for when considering a new website or site update.

Have a content strategy. This is huge. For one thing, content is a major thing that drives online searches via search engines and factors into SEO. Many business owners and CEO’s look at content as an afterthought when it all actuality it is the foundation of your website. Build a site structure and come up with content for each page that is thoughtful, full of keywords for searches, and easy to read and relevant to your business.

Branding is important. If you don’t have a logo, get one. If you do have a logo, evaluate it and make sure it is fresh and eye catching. Make sure your web design company understands how to use your logo and other branding across your website and even through to social media and email marketing.

Think of user flow. Content is great, and branding is extremely important, but if your website doesn’t have good flow you might loose your visitor before they even finish looking at the first page they land on. Make sure that your site is easy to maneuver and user friendly.

Have a call to action. Make it easy via forms and contact information to answer your potential customers questions. This will set you up for website conversions. Turn traffic into sales with a good call to action.

Treat your Website Like the Commodity it is.

Your website is a commodity like gold is.Have you ever heard the saying you get out of something what you put into it? This is true about your website. You can use a template site builder, but you will get what you put into it. By hiring a website design team you will have experts that can guide you through designing a site that will be setup to succeed and provide you with a team that can help you maintain that site and keep it fresh over time.

Another misconception about websites that once it is launched your website is “finished”. This is not true. Your website will never be finished because the internet is ever changing, and you want to consider tools such as search engine optimization to make sure that it ranks well in search engines. What good is a website that will never be found?

Once you have found a website design company you can trust, like Websites to Impress, it is important to let them do what they are good at. What’ great about having a great web design team is that it leaves you to do what you are good at, and that is the day to day business that is your company. Your website design and maintenance team knows about website structure and what it takes to get customers to your website. Make sure your vision is clear, but then step back and let your web team go from there.

So knowing what you know now, would you hire just anyone to design a website for you? Your intern or neighbor may like to dabble in web design, but if you really want to get true value out of the commodity that is your website, find an experienced website design team and make the most of your website investment. For assistance in web design contact Websites to Impress in Geneseo, IL and we will get you on the road to great website design.

Do I Need SEO?

Search Engine Optimization – How do You Know if You Need It?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization seems like a pretty big investment, and so many businesses aren’t sure they need to make that investment. Hiring an SEO company to work on your website can be scary. It could really help your online visibility, but then again, if you don’t hire a reputable SEO company, it could cause a lot of damage as well. When looking to hire an SEO firm it is important to be aware of what SHOULD be done, so you know you are making a wise investment. Look for companies that will do the following:

  • Review/improve/develop your website structure and contentSEO for Illinois and Iowa
  • Be willing to advise you on website development changes that would benefit your website’s rankings
  • Help you manage your online business with social media, reputation management, and keyword research
  • Provide you with SEO training and information on current SEO tactics
  • Develop site content and marketing based on your services, products, and geographies

Many SEO companies will make big promises of rankings on the first page within a month or two. Others will state guaranteed ROI for SEO. There is an old saying that states “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” This is very true of these types of SEO companies. True search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. Keyword development, site content development, and “white hat” SEO tactics take time to work, but if done correctly by companies that do their research, will surely bring you good rankings. For real upwards mobility on the web, the answer to the question “Do I need SEO?” is still in most cases YES.

I Need SEO, Now What?

When looking for the right SEO company, you need to ask questions. Lots of them. In a recent article from Google on SEO, They recommend the following questions:

  • Can the SEO company show me examples of their previous work and share some success stories?
  • Do they follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do they offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
  • What kind of results should you, their client, expect to see, and in what time frame? How do they measure your success?
  • What’s their experience in my industry?
  • What’s their experience in my country/city?
  • What’s their experience developing international sites?
  • What are their most important SEO techniques?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How can you expect to communicate with them? Will they share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about their recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

Why WTI for Search Engine Optimization

Websites to Impress has three different SEO packages that offer 3 great levels of search engine optimization that outlines how they will answer all these questions for you. WTI has been doing SEO for more than a decade, and follow all current SEO trends. We utilize Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for all our SEO clients. We have SEO clients in many industries all across the country. We find it extremely important to learn about your industry and your services as well as your location and competition to find out what the best plan of attack is for your Search Engine Optimization plan. We also offer SEO ranking reports, and for some of our plans, call & email tracking to help you define your leads to turn more rankings into actual sales. The thing that sets us apart from other SEO companies is our desire to see your business grow. We really get excited about turning website traffic into leads and sales for your business, and we truly believe SEO is an important tool to do this. Call Cindy at 309.489.0026 at our Illinois office to talk about SEO. Through customer service and a true desire to help our customers, you will see exactly why WTI!

 

Website Traffic Alone is not Enough

You need Qualified Leads from Your Website Traffic

qualified traffic for your websiteAs a business owner, you know that a website with a great design is important to your business in the age of the internet. You also know that you need to get traffic to that website to get a return on your investment. There are many tools to use to get traffic to your website including search engine optimization tactics, Google Adwords (also called pay-per-click), as well as utilizing social media and email blasts using products like Constant Contact. But did you know that these tactics alone are not enough? They are extremely important, and certainly a requirement for most businesses trying to get leads, but you need to make sure the traffic coming through your website provides you with leads that will pan out into sales. This is called qualified traffic.

Many companies offer SEO (search engine optimization) but Websites to Impress offers more than your basic SEO. We focus on more than just rankings and traffic volume. In fact we recognize that volume alone gets you no where really. So what can we help you do that others aren’t focusing on? We can help you:

Know your number of leads and when they occur. Knowing how many leads you have and when they occur is half the battle. If you know when your leads are coming in you can tailor your Adwords and other advertising to those times. We utilize phone tracking so you can tell what days bring you the most traffic, and over time what months and weeks of the year provide you with the most leads. We also use email lead tracking through your website so you can see exactly how many leads come through your website.

Understand your Google Analytics data to find out what traffic is converting to leads. If you log into your Google Analytics account there is SO much information. We can help you understand that data more completely. If you work with WTI on SEO, for most of our packages we provide detailed ranking reports and Google Analytics reports to help you find out what keywords are driving traffic, and what keywords you are ranking for.

What can YOU do to get More Qualified Website Traffic

online marketing strategySo what is the best marketing strategy to get more qualified traffic to your website? Aside from working with a search engine optimization company that provides quality content and SEO tactics like WTI, you can get involved yourself.

Social Media: Using social media or hiring a company to assist you with social media like WTI helps you engage with potential clients on a very personal level. Add links to your social media pages such as Google +, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to your website to allow your potential customers know there are multiple ways to engage with you. Make sure the content on your website is highly shareable. Writing blogs that people might share through Twitter

Use Testimonials and Positive Customer Feedback to your Advantage: If you have past clients that would give you a positive review, it is in your best interest to include that information on your website or on your social media pages. Right now your reputation has never been more important. Once you get potential clients to your website, how can you build trust with them? By letting them know that other customers have had a good experience for you. Ask current customers to provide you with a testimonial and include that information wherever you can.

Make sure Your Products and Services Meet Your Target Audience’s Needs: Providing special offers, compelling products and solutions that aren’t the same as any potential competitors in your area is extremely important. Provide information on your website that shows why you are the best choice for your potential customer. If you have any special services that make you stand out, make sure you include that information and make it readily available to your website readers.

Have a Company Blog: For many of our SEO clients we recommend and assist with blogging. This goes back to having highly shareable content. If you provide information readers find useful they will share it and this leads people looking for that information via social media right back to your website. A blog is a great way to answer potential questions might have about services you offer, problems you can assist with, and common FAQs regarding your company.

Get Website Help

If all else fails, get help. Websites to Impress has an expert team of SEO managers and content writers to help you understand your potential customer, website traffic, and website leads. We can help you gear your online marketing to reach the people that will end up picking up that phone to call you for your products and services. We can help you get the traffic to your website, but also help with converting that traffic to actual leads. Call us today to learn more about our search engine optimization packages, and other online marketing tools!

 

Making the Most out of Social Media

It’s Always Best to Think Before you Post

In a world that is all about social media, we are all so quick to post. What you think in one moment you are posting in the next. Sometimes this is not the best approach, especially when your business can really benefit from well thought out and useful posts.

The Recipe for Great Social Media PostsSocial Media Iowa, Illinois

Status Updates: Make your post attention-grabbing, but at the same time make sure the content is up to date, relevant, and informative. You want to stay under 50 characters to keep your readers attention. It is also a good idea to engage your readers with a question.

Provide Links: This is good for Search Engine Optimization if you link to your website in your status update, but also can provide additional, useful information for your reader.

When People Comment, Reply: Interacting with your commenters will engage them with you further. It helps to build trust and relationships. During this time you can further tailor the post to the people that are commenting, and also engage them to hopefully share your posts.

 Making Great Blogs

Tips for Blogging in Iowa and IllinoisEngage your Reader with a Great Title: If you don’t catch them with the title, you might lose them before your even really had them. It’s the first thing they will read. Including keywords in your title will also help with SEO.

Draw People in with your First Paragraph: This is your chance to draw people in further and give them a feel for what they can expect in your article.

Add an Eye Catching and Relevant Image: Images make the article more interesting for the reader and break up the text. It also make the blog more shareable on other forms of social media.

The Length of Your Post Matters: It’s a best practice to keep your blog from about 500 to 800 words. That way it is long enough to get your point across, but not so long you lose your reader.

End with a Call to Action: A summary at the end of your blog is always a good idea, and it is a great idea to link your blog to another blog (where relevant) or ask readers to comment on your blog or share the post in social media.

Share your Blog on your Social Media: Manually share your blog post on Google + or use a format such as Hootsuite to automatically post your blogs via RSS.

Other Great Social Media Tips

Utilitze Social Media in the Quad Cities, Des MoinesFacebook: Keep your posts positive, make sure to include images where you can and make sure those images are simple so they appear well on peoples mobile devices. After all, many users of Facebook are on their phones! Post when you will be available to reply to commenters as well to benefit the most from your posts, otherwise schedule them to post when you will be available.

Twitter: Make sure you provide a clear call to action in your 140 characters, avoiding abbreviations. Good grammar is still important! Shorten URLs using a tool like Bit.ly to optimize your 140 character posts. Use mentions and retweets when possible to engage more users and use questions where you can. Adding images or videos can also engage more users. Use hashtags wisely.

Pinterest: Believe it or not people don’t want to see people on Pinterest. Pin pictures without people in them as they are shared more frequently. Pin images with multiple colors as it is proven that they are also repinned more often.

Google+: It’s a great idea to tag brands or other people. G+ users get notified when tagged and may engage with you. Watch for trending topics and get involved with them especially when they pertain to you or your business in any way. Use images on G+ because you can use full-size images of up to 800×600. Twitter isn’t the only home for hashtag either – use them wisely on G+ as well. As with Facebook, it is wise to engage your commenters to promote your post and hopefully get users to share your posts as well.

Instagram: Use the rule of thirds for your images by putting the subject of your image in only two-thirds of the screen. This is eye-catching to viewers of the image. Again, hashtag rule in Instagram, and there are certain hastags that come around on a weekly basis. It is good to familiarize yourself and use these popular hashtags. Make sure to reply to Instagram users that post to your images.

Keep Track of Your Social Media Posts

As Mark Cuban says in this video, a big mistake people make is not cleaning up their old posts. If you have old posts that are no longer relevant to your business, remove them. Social media doesn’t have to be daunting. It can be fun and extremely beneficial to your business. What you put into it is definitely what you will get out of it. The best part of social media is it is free. Use it often, use it wisely, and watch your business grow from your social media posts. If you need any assistance with social media management, Websites to Impress can help. Call us today with any questions!

 

 

 

Tracking Leads is a Must for Your Business

Why Tracking Leads is Important

When a customer contacts you either through your website, a phone call or through email, one  of the first things that should be done is to enter them into a tracking system. When you do this, it allow you to market to potential future customers and to observe trends over a period of time. By recognizing trends it can aide in better business decisions. It is important to get theTracking leads for your business with Websites to Impress pertinent information on a contact form without overwhelming your customers. The information that will help for initial communications should include the following:

  1. Name – This can be obtained in the first few minutes of the conversation. Some people are reluctant to give out last names, but explain that it is just for our records.
  2. Phone Number – Find out what is the best phone number to get ahold of them with
  3. Email Address – If customers are reluctant to give out their email address, explain that it will be used only to give out quotes
  4. Company Information – Obtaining information regarding their company such as website URL, how many employees they have, and how many offices they have can give you an idea regarding how large their company is
  5. Referral Source – Asking how they heard about your company is important. Tracking how they heard about your company can give you an idea as to where to invest your marketing money.

Why a Managed Website is Important in Tracking Leads

When you have a managed website, all of this information is tracked for you and will bring you more clients. To gain these leads, you need to have a website that generates traffic. At Websites to Impress, we know the tools that will target potential clients to go to your website. Websites to Impress will make your website easy to navigate through and the contact form easy to find and accessible.

We have an experienced team that includes:

  • Web Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Developers
  • Web Producers
  • Search Engine Optimization Consultants

As a website development company, we know how important it is to get the potential customers to your website and have it built to capture leads. Some common tools we use to gain traffic to your website is through blogs and good SEO practices.

With a website that brings leads, these leads bring contact with your company, this contact leads to sales, and sales bring more work. This becomes a constant cycle and keeps your business going.

Websites to Impress will get to know you and your company and take your design and put into a platform that fits your needs. With our experience you can be assured that your company will get the advertisement you need at a reasonable price. Other advantages to having us manage your website is our e-marketing which includes:

  • Social media marketing – social media marketing is popular today
  • Email marketing – you can send anything through email regarding your business such as confirmation of purchases, reminders and updates
  • Pay per click advertising – PPC is a model of internet advertising in which advertisers pay a specific amount every time their one of their ads is clicked
  • Content writing – we have a team of employees who are creative in writing and will communicate to your customers as to what your company is all about
  • Online reputation management – we can improve your online business reputation by implementing innovative content writing, creative SEO, fresh website design and social media tools
  • Search engine optimization – we have monthly SEO packages that will keep your website fresh each month

Remember, more leads means more business. Let the professionals at Websites to Impress create a website for your business that will bring the leads you need and track these leads so that you know where to put your marketing dollars.

We have been in business for over a decade and have offices in Des Moines, IA and Geneseo, IL but have customers throughout the entire United States and in Canada. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and get started on creating a website that will bring you customers and build your business!