The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, and there is a section of this act that deals with websites for publicly funded schools. Whether your school or school district has an old website or a freshly designed one, chances are you aren’t aware of standards that are supposed to be met by all school websites in the country. Having a fresh design may help with some of those standards but it’s likely that you have certain compliance items that you didn’t even know about. We can help. Here’s a short to do list of items you should definitely address regarding the ADA Section 508 and other standards.
Based on the Section 508, publicly funded school websites need to be easily accessible to people with disabilities. The laws for 508 can be found HERE. W3C or the World Wide Web Consortium has a great article to help you understand what this means. From this article you will see that the idea is to provide insight to people on the things that people run into on the web that give them problems and helps provide solutions for them at the same time. Do you know if your school or school district website is doing this? We can help you find out!
Each state’s laws regarding bullying are different. You can CLICK HERE to find out what the laws are in your state. You can add your policy to the header or footer of your website to it is easily accessible to everyone, on every page.
Just like the Anti-Bullying documentation, Non-Discrimination Policies vary as well. School websites should display their policy on their website and again, it is wise to put it in the header or footer so that it can be found easily on each page of the website.
Again, each state has a different definition of what a homeless student is. We work very frequently with Illinois and Iowa schools on their websites. Here are links to the laws for Illinois and Iowa:
This should also be displayed so that it can be easy to find on the school website.
A language translation option on your website is highly recommended. This should be placed somewhere on your website that people can see when they first come to your website and be on every page. We recommend placing this in the header of the website. When you add a translate feature to your school website it shows that you are inclusive of all of your users by making your website easy to understand by everyone.
For many, the school or school district website for their child is a first impression of that school or school district. It is also the first impression for people thinking of moving to a community if they have a student. You need it to follow laws such as the ADA Section 508, but you also want to make sure it is easy to use for all, easy to understand by all, and inclusive to everyone. While not required a great design and ease of use is much appreciated by visitors, and surely staff as well!
Websites to Impress can help you maneuver through these laws and help you make sure that your school website is meeting any laws that are required.
To learn more, call 309-489-0026.
By: Cindy Whiteman
As the SEO Manager at Websites to Impress, more and more frequently I have been having an email like this sent to me by my clients:
My name is “BEST SEO GUY EVER”, SEO expert of a Leading SEO service provider company. As per my analysis, your website is not performing well in the Google organic search as well as your traffic / visitor is poor from the last couple of months due to some of the reasons.
Some of the aspects are given below:
Areas of Improvement:
We will be optimizing your website in the major search engines like: Google, Yahoo & Bing, which results in improvements in keyword ranking, traffic, link popularity, goal conversion, and ROI from the first month.
“BEST SEO GUY EVER”
I’m here to tell you that this is a LOT of promises and information with nothing to back it up. Let me explain.
First off, NO ONE can promise first page of Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Algorithms for search engines change constantly and there is no guarantee you will be on the the first page, especially when they don’t even mention for what keyword. So how to do you handle an email like the one above?
First off, ask questions – What errors are occurring for my site? What keywords are they saying you should target and be on the first page for? How are they seeing a decline in traffic when the only way to tell that is through Bing Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics which they have no access to? What is the name of their company even? What tools do you use to improve brand awareness?
Secondly, take all of this with a grain of salt. These types of emails are mass emails they send out trying to get clients in the door. The proof is in data that they aren’t providing you in that email. Websites to Impress has a keyword ranking report based on the keywords we have determined as important for your business to show where you are ranking in the top three search engines for each month. We can track both forms that are filled out on your website and calls that come to your website through search engines so we can literally provide you with a cost per lead for your SEO dollars. You can even see a breakdown of what search engines are sending your callers, on what day of the weekend and what time of day. You can get an idea of what your cost per lead should be by industry to see where you fall. I can tell you that for our SEO clients you can’t beat the return on investment because the cost per lead is always lower than the industry standard, especially if you stick with SEO over time.
The fact of the matter is that with SEO, nothing is certain. But what we DO know is that by constantly researching the latest SEO methods and by monitoring algorithm changes we can make a difference for your website and your bottom line with search engine optimization. So ask questions, even of us. What keywords would we target? What are the current SEO methods? Do you use Google Analytics and Search Console? (called “Webmaster Tools” in the old days and oddly still mentioned in the email above! Oh, and by the way we are Google Analytics and Adwords CERTIFIED!)
Lastly, make sure that your SEO Team can provide return on investment in the form of solid numbers of leads. That means tracking form fills, calls, and other events to SHOW you return on the investment. Believe me, we are passionate about SEO here at Websites to Impress. We want to show you how it works! Call us today with your questions. We are ready for you!
It is a fact in the modern world that websites and servers are under constant attack from outside sources. According to Sophos Labs, an average of 30,000 new websites are identified every day as being hacked. Sometimes these attacks are for financial reasons. The hackers may be trying to gain identity or other information to sell or to gain access to bank or other financial accounts. In other cases, hackers want to harm the target by causing a DoS, or Denial of Service. This occurs when a system is infected with a Trojan horse virus, causing the system or machine to be unavailable to its intended users. Lastly, many times, hackers just like to attack a site to show off to others. There are sites out there where they post screenshots of their “trophies” to their peers. To these types of hackers, it’s just a game to see if they can outwit the security systems that are in place. No one is immune to these kinds of invasions. Google, Amazon, NASA and the Federal government have all been hacked at one time or another, sometimes repeatedly. It doesn’t matter what size company you are or what industry you are in, you will probably be a victim of a hacker at some point.
It is tempting to use one of the many do-it-yourself website programs that are on the market, such as Wix or Website Tonight by GoDaddy. It can be a cheap and easy way to get a website out there, but you don’t have the protection and expertise of a team of professionals behind you. A good website host can fend off many attacks and even though they can’t stop 100% of them, they can minimize the damage caused by the ones that do get through. In addition, if your site is hacked, an experienced team of web designers and programmers is going to know how to quickly repair the site and bring it back to the way it was before the damage was caused. If you built your site yourself, you may have to completely start from scratch, wasting valuable time and money.
Protecting yourself from hacking isn’t the only reason you should hire professionals to build and host your website. Many people think that building a website is mainly just choosing colors and a logo and plugging it into a template. There is much more that goes into it. The process can take one to two months to complete and make sure everything is working correctly. This isn’t a weekend project, if you want it done correctly.
The purpose of your website is to generate leads, so you need a website that will not only be found in search engines but will keep the visitor from bouncing once they land on your page. You need to generate sales or revenue with your site or you are just throwing money away. A company that specializes in websites, like Websites to Impress, has designers, programmers SEO specialists and other experts that make your site stand out and bring people in and then keep them there once they click on your site.
Our project managers will work with you to develop a site that not only matches your company but works within the “rules” of the search engine world. Things that sound good on paper don’t always work well when trying to attract customers. Our project manager will work with you throughout the process, keeping you updated and informed, so there are no surprises at the end. Our talented programmers, designers, and writers will make your website stand out and once it’s live, our marketing and SEO people will make sure you are doing your best in search engines like Bing and Google. Your new website will stand out in Google and Bing searches and bring customers to your site. They’ll look around your website and then hopefully contact you or purchase your goods or services. We’ll give you the tools to bring the customers in!
Give Websites to Impress a call and you’ll quickly see how cost-effective having a professional team of experts build and host your website can be. You’ll rest easy knowing your website is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready when your customers are looking for answers. You’ll be able to do what you do what you do well which is concentrate on your day-to-day business, while we take care of your website.
Not since high school have you worried so much about what people think of you. Back then you had a rep to protect. Now it’s even more important. As a business owner you have probably heard that people can leave you reviews online. It can be very frustrating because you literally have no control over what people say about you online. Or do you? Online Reputation Management can help you keep an eye on those review bullies out there, and build a more positive view of your brand online.
Websites to Impress has a program to help you monitor your reputation online. We have the ability to root out reviews of your business online that aren’t so hot. The best way to handle these reviews is to reply in a positive way and give others a chance to see that you are trying to make things right.
We take it a step further though. We can actually get in touch with existing clients to get their feedback. When someone provides a positive review, we can direct them to leave that review online a place that is convenient for them, and for you! A great place to leave reviews is Google My Business – your Google + page for you business. This can actually help build your local SEO results. Facebook, Yelp, the BBB, Homeadvisor, Houzz, Trip Advisor, and other locations are also great places to direct your clients to leave reviews. We will tailor where reviews are left for you based on your industry or the products and services you provide.
Just like when you are in high school and rumors are flying, your online reputation can really make or break your brand. But look at things another way. If you take control of your reputation, you can actually get reviews to work in your favor. So consider the fact that you very likely have had a lot of HAPPY customers and take advantage of our Online Reputation Management Program. Call Tammy at WTI at 309-489-0026 to get a plan that is tailored to your businesses very specific needs and get control of your online reputation today!
As we discussed in our most recent blog, How Important is SEO?, research indicates that 75% of online users never click past the first page of results on a search engine. Like SEO, Pay Per Click is a Search Engine Marketing tool that will help you get to that first page, increasing your traffic tremendously.
Pay Per Click is essentially what its name implies: you pay for every time a potential client clicks on your ad, an ad that will show up first on Search Engine Results. Whether you use Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, or another Search Engine advertising program, your business will show up in the sponsored section of the search results for your specific keyword.
Here are some of the main reasons why you may want to invest in PPC:
So how do you choose between Pay Per Click and SEO? Ideally, you would want to have both. Organic traffic generated by SEO is better than paid traffic and will likely get you more leads – but only if you are showing up on the first page of results.
Having paid traffic and being on the first page is better than having organic results but ranking on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 16th page. Sometimes, if you have a really competitive keyword like “auto insurance”, it will be harder to rank purely through organic SEO. So you need to decide: Do I want to pay a lot of money for instant results, or work for months (or even years) to get to the top rankings organically?
If you are trying to make a decision about SEO and PPC, Websites to Impress can help. SEO and PPC require extensive knowledge and experience. Trying to learn it yourself will cost you a lot of time, and you may lose a few hundred dollars in the process. Hiring a SEO Specialist and PPC Analyst that can collaborate with you and work towards your business goals is the best way to go about it. Here at WTI, we can work with you to create a personalized Search Engine Marketing plan that will benefit you and your business. Contact us today to learn more.
If you are a business owner, you understand that you need an online presence in order to thrive as a company or service provider. Now-a-days, almost 90% of people looking for a service will search online before they do anything else.
Research also shows that 75% of online users do not click past the first page of results when searching for a service or product. Eek! So the question is, how do you get your website to show up so people will see it?
Even if you have an efficient and well-designed website, you may not be benefiting from it if you are not properly utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In order to increase your traffic, you need to increase your rankings. SEO is a Search Engine Marketing tool that will help you do just that.
1. Organic Search Results are the number one way people get to your site. A lot of people tend to scroll past advertisements and get to organic search results – which are results generated by SEO. Why is this? Perhaps it is because they are looking for a company that made its way to the top with a good reputation and optimized content rather than just by paying for an ad.
Here’s an interesting statistic for you: It is 300% more likely that someone will reach your site through an organic search result than through social media. Inbound SEO leads also have an extremely higher close rate than outbound leads such as direct mail and print advertising. This just goes to show that as important as social media and other forms of advertising are, SEO is that much more essential.
2. First Impressions Are Everything. When your company shows up in search results, the first thing that your potential clients see is your title tag and meta description. Many businesses don’t pay any attention to their title tags and meta descriptions, but these are the things that are going to determine whether a potential client clicks on your site or not. SEO focuses on optimizing things like title tags, meta descriptions, and keywords so that your first impression will be a good one. Better yet, once potential clients reach your site, they will be able to easily navigate it with the helpful links and optimized content that SEO provides.
3. Investments Give Back. When you pay for SEO services, you are not just paying for an advertisement that gets you to the top of Google. Once you stop paying for ads, you stop showing up in search results. With SEO, this is not the case. You are making a long term investment for your company. The more optimizing that you do, the higher you will rank. The higher you rank, the more clicks you will get, which leads to higher conversion rates and a greater return on your investment.
At Websites To Impress, we have a dedicated team of content writers and technical analysts that are focused on using the latest SEO techniques to increase the business of our clients. We work hard to devise a specific SEO strategy for your business, so that you can thrive in your industry. We are passionate about customer service and want to collaborate with you to increase the rankings of your business.To learn more about our SEO services, give us a call today.
Most people have used the Internet to either buy something or to learn more about a product or service before making a purchase. According to Retailing Today, 81% of shoppers do some type of online research when thinking about making a purchase.
A majority of shoppers (60%) use search engines when beginning their research. This means it is important that your website is well placed on search engine result pages (SERP).
What do they do once they find your site? Here are the top four actions that customers perform online:
Once they get this data, they begin to form an opinion on whether or not they are going to buy the product or service.
To be useful to potential customers, your website should have all the information they will need to make an informed purchase. Once they choose a website to look at, there are a few things that the average shopper looks for. In a study by Econsultancy, 61% of shoppers look at reviews provided by other customers before making their purchase. They may also look for warranty information, prices, or information on specific models. They may also look to see if there are any sales or discounts being offered, along with payment and shipping information. If any of these topics are applicable to your product or service, make sure you provide the needed information.
Speaking of information, it is vital that your shoppers receive the correct data. If the information they receive online is incorrect or misleading, customers will lose trust in your company. Nothing is more frustrating than showing up at a store, only to find the hours online were wrong or, when a purchase arrives, it is not what they expected. An unhappy customer is usually not a returning customer. A dissatisfied customer will tell 10-15 people about what they experienced and, if they post it on social media, that number grows exponentially.
So, what stops people from buying from you online?
(Side note: I once bought a very necessary part for my car online. They only offered delivery through the U.S. Postal Service, even though I offered to pay for overnight shipping. No dice. I had to wait a week for it to arrive while my car sat on a lift at the local mechanic. Needless to say, I won’t be using them again for car parts.)
If a potential customer is going to be doing research online, you need to get them to buy from you. The first thing you should do is make sure that you have SEO working for you. The SEO specialists at Websites to Impress can help you with that, as it is a big undertaking. You need to get your website to the top of the search results, as users are most likely to start at the top of the page and work their way down the list. We’ll analyze your market and target audience and identify the keywords that your customers are using. Those keywords will be used in your product titles and descriptions and your published content will be optimized. You should make sure to take advantage of your social media accounts to amplify your message, also.
Customers come to your site to learn about your products or services, so make sure they get the information they are looking for. Make sure that you have clear and informative product descriptions. The information should be appropriate to your audience: are they trained people with industry knowledge or are they laypeople with limited prior knowledge? Reviews and testimonials are indispensable and you can reward people for providing user reviews. In addition, use clear, quality photographs that are detailed, so the shopper can see what they need to make a decision. It’s also a good idea to have videos available, either on your site or through links to YouTube or Vimeo channels. According to Ascend2, a staggering 87% of businesses report that video increased their marketing effectiveness.
Make sure that your website looks credible and professional. Most people will be hesitant giving their business to a company that has a website that looks like it was thrown together earlier that day or worse, 10 years ago. You take a lot of pride in your brick and mortar store, so make sure your website reflects that pride in ownership. Make sure that your contact information is readily available and you offer excellent support service. A well-handled problem can turn a dissatisfied customer into a return customer. Protect your client’s financial information by providing online security and posting the certificate, so they know that you are a reliable and responsible business.
Websites to Impress is a great resource to help your website generate sales, whether you sell a product or a service. Contact us today to learn how we can optimize your site and help your company become more successful.
Just like when you are trying to get a healthy body, one of the secrets to having a healthy SEO ranking is going organic. The hardest part of this is changing all the previous SEO work that was done in the past. The rules have changed a lot and they did so quickly. In the past, it didn’t matter if your website was easy to use, just as long as it was packed with keywords.
Now it is much more important that a website gives the user what they need. By giving your customer what they are looking for, you will be helping your site move up in the Google rankings. Google is trying to give the end users a positive experience. It doesn’t matter how happy they make advertisers and business owners if no one uses their search engine.
Potential and returning customers should find your site educational and useful. You should be considered The #1 Source for whatever information they are looking for. Content should be informative and blogs should be helpful.
With the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets, Google has tried to make the desktop experience look similar to the mobile one. They have done this by putting more paid search ads at the top and pushing the organic results down the page. Depending on the intent of the user, these paid ads may provide a better experience, giving the user the information that they are looking for. For example, if you are looking to buy a computer, you aren’t going to want to go to a site that teaches you how to build one, you’re going to want a site where you can shop for a computer and possibly buy one.
If you have a brick and mortar store, it’s very important that you get listed in the local results. People that are using their phone to do research are probably out and about and looking for something near them. Searches that end in “…near me” are increasing, so it’s essential that you have your local information set up in the code of your website. People are probably not going to take the time to scroll past the top listings if they are on the move and looking for someone that offers what they are looking for.
By pushing the purely organic results farther down the page, those sites will have fewer click-throughs, so you have to make every visitor count. It is more important than ever that you plan a strategy that integrates paid advertising and organic SEO. Your website needs to appear where your customers can find it easily. You need to make sure your customers can find you when they do a search and, once they get there, they stay on your website. If you are doing pay-per-click, you want to make sure those clicks translate into sales, so the customer needs to be driven to making a purchase or contacting your company.
The behavior of searchers has changed now that more of them are using mobile devices to do their research. Google calls the new driving forces behind potential purchases “micro-moments” . They list them as “want-to-know. want-to-go, want-to-do, and want-to-buy” moments. People are looking for instant answers to their queries and if they can’t find it quickly on your site, they are going to move on. Smartphones and the Internet have given consumers high expectations; in the words of the immortal Freddie Mercury, they “want it all and [they] want it now”. Recent studies show that over 80% of shoppers do online research before making a purchase. Not only does your site have to have the information they are looking for, it has to be readable on a variety of devices, also known as being responsive.
Having a website that quickly and efficiently solves a user’s problem or answers their question is the key to driving traffic through your website. Make sure your website is essential in helping a potential customer with their situation, whether it is just finding your address or store hours or letting them know that they need to hire your company. The whole reason you have a website is to increase business, so make sure your site is doing its part.
When you work with Websites to Impress, our team of SEO specialists will make sure your site is set up for all the changes that are occurring with Google’s search results. Give us a call today and see how you can get the most out of your website.
When it comes to SEO, most business owners aren’t even sure where to start. Understandable for sure. Even those of us who perform SEO tasks are always working to stay on top of what works with today’s search engine algorithms. Methods are always changing, and the way we look at SEO overall changes too. One thing never changes however, and that is step one in SEO: Defining your business goals.
With recent changes in SEO, site performance and design play a major role in how Google, Bing, and Yahoo rank your site. Whether you are re-designing your site or just designing your site, you need to have your goals in mind from the beginning. Those goals can make or break you right from the start. What’s quite amazing about SEO and the most recent Google algorithm updates is that by building a great site and keeping the user in mind your rankings can be affected in a positive way.
Increasing online sales – You want to build a site with user experience in mind at all times. Make sure the site is easy to navigate. Make sure product photos and descriptions present your product in the best way. Use social media to offer specials and drive traffic to your website.
Increasing in store traffic – Consider working on local SEO with your SEO team. Make sure your site provides information on how to find you, and give people an idea what people will find in store when they visit you. Use social media to highlight great experiences that customers have had in your store.
Build your brand – Setup local directories and social media are setup and are consistent across the web. Make sure your print media and business cards. Consistency is key to your brand automatically coming to mind when people think of your business. Positive testimonials from clients should be prominent on your site and across the web.
Become an authority – Blogging is a great way to become an authority. You can’t fake a blog though. Blog about subject material you know like the back of your hand. When you build your website, focus on layout and navigation. Give your visitors a reason to stay with informative content. Make sure your content is memorable and people will share it.
Google Analytics is a free tool from Google we use heavily here at WTI. Google Analytics training preaches setting goals first before starting the process of building your website and SEO. In fact you can actually setup goal in Google Analytics to see if your marketing methods are working. When you work with our SEO team at WTI, we will setup your Analytics report to show you return on investment. See what great design and search engine optimization can do for your goals with the help of Websites to Impress.
There was a time when all it took to get good placement in search result listings was to fill your site with text, regardless of whether or not it had anything to do with your company. You’d often see half a page of text that looked like this:
summer facebook google metallica candy crush katy perry reeses youtube coca-cola dragon barack obama yahoo emily weather craigslist alejandro games twitter hotel ebay minecraft aol netflix barbies hotmail singles airline cnn
or sentences with keywords just thrown in:
There’s a science Geneseo, IL to SEO that people Web Design need to learn to keep Social Media their business profitable and successful Websites to Impress.
Ugh, I got a headache just writing that. Search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated and aren’t fooled by this kind of textual deception anymore. Today, your website has to make sense to your reader and have content that is helpful and informational or Google may not give it a good ranking.
In addition to the day-to-day SEO that needs to be performed on your site, you need to apply a strategy called “amplification”. This means you have to take everything you are doing well on your website and crank it up. You want your website to not only perform well for Google’s crawler bots, you want it to be useful for your potential customers. After all, the whole reason you have a website is to drive business to your organization.
There are several ways you can do this with just a little bit of effort and time.
As shown in the keyword explosion example above, it used to be that content writers wrote for computers and not people. (Some shady companies still stock their websites with keywords that have nothing to do with their product or service.) As the search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, the need for clear and useful content is more important than ever. People should find your website useful or educational. Make sure your content is easy to read and understand and is of interest to the people that visit your site.
You need to get the word out there about your site and social media allows you an easy and effective way to do that. Advertising on platforms like Facebook is relatively inexpensive and allows you to target specific audiences. You can also use other sites such as Twitter or Pinterest to promote your site. Make sure your site has buttons or links so users can access your social media pages with one click.
User experience is one of the biggest driving forces behind successful websites. We discussed earlier that your site has to be easy to read, but you need to make sure it is simple for the user to get around. Menus navigation should be clear and information should be straightforward. As more people are using mobile devices, they don’t always have the luxury of time or the ability to look at page after page to find what they are looking for. In addition, many people today want instant gratification and expect to find information quickly and easily. Your site can be the best looking one out there, but they will move on to the next site if it becomes tedious.
As stated above, you need to take advantage of social media promotions, but you need to use your Facebook or Twitter page effectively. There is a line of thought that your social media should be a mix of 80/20: 80% of your postings should promote other content or engage the reader with the human side of you and your business. Only 20% of your social media writings should be self-promotion of your company. Use your website for business and use your social media accounts to be…well, social.
Take the opportunity to tweak your site. Experiment with the color of buttons and the placement of images and graphics. Websites aren’t carved in stone, so see if people react better to a gold button or to a red one. Maybe try a different font (except for Comic Sans, just don’t. Ever.) Try something different for a month and see if the results are worth keeping. It costs nothing and could make a huge difference in your sales.
We can help you get the most out of your website and social media. Contact us today and we’ll get to work amplifying your site and helping turn potential customers into paying customers!