Small Thanks with Google

Google is Providing a Great Tool to Help Local Businesses Get More Reviews

Your customers are your biggest asset. Hands down. Kind words from your customers is internet gold. Websites to Impress offers a service called online reputation management. We are always looking for tools to help our clients show what’s great about them from the eyes of their own customers. The new tool from Google – Small Thanks with Google – is a great way to turn your customers into your best advocates.

If you have positive reviews from customers on Google, Google will turn them into cool posters and allow you to save those posters as a PDF and a PNG so you can use them in your own advertising.

First, you can choose from a few review options IF you have reviews on Google. This is where WTI can help you with our online reputation management. If you have questions about this service call WTI and ask for Tammy!

Use Small Thanks from Google to Get More Reviews

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Second, There are a few color options you can choose from so you can customer the posters to match your branding.

Customize your Reviews to match your Branding on Small Thanks with Google

Once you have done these simple steps you can save your files for print or posting to social media. It couldn’t be more simple.

Create print materials or images for social media from Small Thanks with Google

This is something we are doing here at Websites to Impress (Thanks Pro Foundation Technology, Inc for the great review!) because this is a simple way to display on your social media and at your office or store location how your clients feel about you. Your reputation can be the deciding factor when people are looking for someone for a product or service, especially online. Thank you Google for giving us another great tool to use to show off our positive reviews!

Click Here to Start: https://smallthanks.withgoogle.com/

Google Adwords News: Daily Budget Can Now Double

Google Announces Automatic Doubling of Daily Budget Spend

Reading blogs and information on Digital Marketing is part of our daily life here at Websites to Impress.  But when we read this news, we were a little taken aback. We are challenged daily to help potential clients figure out a monthly budget for their Google Adwords spend. It can be a challenge. You want to make sure you have enough budget to make sure your Ads are showing (and you won’t see the dreaded “limited by budget”) but many of clients have a budget they need to stick to for their digital marketing. So with the new rule from Google it presents some challenges for all of us.

READ MORE ON SEARCHENGINELAND.COM: Google announces AdWords daily budgets can overspend by 2x, automatically

Google can automatically doubling your adwords daily budget

 

Should You Change Your Monthly Budget Because of the New Rule?

A question we are getting from current clients is how to handle this change. Should they adjust their monthly Google Adwords max to compensate for this update? The feeling we are getting is that you don’t necessarily need to change your monthly budget. Google has stated as well that your monthly charge limit will not be breached. It also is showing an informational message in Adwords that states that on days that you have a lot of high quality traffic is when your daily budget can double. The are claiming that it will be balanced out on days when you spend less than your daily budget. What it really means to us is that you need to have a team that can monitor activity and make recommendations on your budget and spend. We will be there for you!

If you are interested in a recommendation for Adwords for your business, please give us a call. Also, we recommend you follow Google Adwords on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/adwords and stay up to date on the latest news for all your digital marketing with Websites to Impress!

UPDATE: Read about impacts of the change from SearchEngineLand

Google My Business: Can it Make or Break Your Business?

local SEO is important to your businessIf you are a service based company, you need to be on Google My Business.

Why?

Because if someone searches for the service you offer, and you don’t have a listing, you can’t show in the Google Pack. This is the listing right beneath the Google Ads that has a map and a few listings for people that offer that local service people are looking for.

Using your geographically location in Google, and information found on your website as well as other local directories and social media, Google will make a determination on if you are a reliable source to display by that map. It all starts with your Google My Business listing.

NAP+W

Google My Business helps with Local SEO resultsSome people call it “Local SEO“. We do. Local SEO is onsite and offsite work done to help return you in local search results, namely the Google Pack (it was a seven pack, then a three pack, and now you can even see an ad thrown in there from time to time!) Step one is setting up and verifying your business on Google. You want your name, address, and phone to match your website and your listings. This is called NAP+W in the SEO world.

So where do you begin? At Website to Impress we have a “Local SEO” package to help get you on the map. This is a great place to start and includes setup of your Google My Business listing. This will also allow you to show up on Google Maps. We will also figure out what other directories and social media profiles best suit your needs, and set those up as well. We will pay close attention to consistency so that all your profiles are branded the same and have the same information as your website.

Would you like to learn more about this program? Call us! Or fill out the form on our website. Local SEO can get you lots of leads, and leads is what it’s all about in the end. Are you a small business with a storefront? This is for you as well. Give us a call to learn more about what we would do specifically for your business.

Read More: Google is Making Strides with Google My Business

 

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.

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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!