Company 50 https://co50.com RI Website Builder Fri, 26 May 2017 18:25:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 How Small Details Can Make a Big Difference on Your Website https://co50.com/focusing-small-details-can-make-big-difference-website/ Wed, 20 Jul 2016 15:29:51 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=6312 In Malcolm Gladwell’s renowned national best-seller, The Tipping Point, he describes countless examples in which small, seemingly insignificant occurrences in the world caused dramatic change. In the most famous example, he describes how New York City reduced its crime rate suddenly and significantly beginning in the early 90s. How did this happen? By focusing entirely on small, seemingly insignificant things. ... Read More

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s renowned national best-seller, The Tipping Point, he describes countless examples in which small, seemingly insignificant occurrences in the world caused dramatic change. In the most famous example, he describes how New York City reduced its crime rate suddenly and significantly beginning in the early 90s. How did this happen? By focusing entirely on small, seemingly insignificant things. The city began strictly enforcing laws against petty crimes like subway fare-dodging and public drinking. Graffiti and litter removal was made a top priority. The city did not suddenly hire thousands more policemen nor make any significant changes to policing methods. Yet, a 2001 study proved that those “small” changes caused a dramatic, immediate, and sustained drop in both petty and felony crimes. Today, the FBI reports that New York City is the safest large city in America, by a long-shot.

Sure, small changes can make a big difference in big-city crime, but is it really going to matter for your website? Most certainly. To many, functionality and user experience often takes a back seat to the look and design of a website. A web visitor interested in doing business with you must still be convinced that contacting you is worth their time.

To see how important small details play in acquiring customers, look no further than America’s most valuable company, Apple. The maker of the most popular consumer devices today got to their position by worrying tirelessly about tiny seemingly-inconsequential details that their competition completely overlooked. By concentrating not only on the product itself, but things as rudimentary as the product packaging, Apple developed a reputation for not just cool products, but high-quality products. Apple not only sells the most devices, but they charge the most, too. The perceived value they have created by focusing on the finest details makes this possible. The same concept can be applied to your website. By focusing on the little user-friendly features that your competition ignores, you will drastically improve your chances of landing new customers.

Does your current site give a positive first impression AND is it easy to use for someone that has never visited before? Try this: Show your website to a few folks who have no vested interest in you or your company and let them play around with it for a minute. Then, ask them for their candid first impression. Their opinions very likely reflect those of every other visitor to your site. If the reaction is not positive, it’s time for a redesign.

At Company 50, the hand-crafted websites we design for our clients follow four principles: A great look, high functionality, easy to use navigation for any skill level, and fast loading time. Our team sweats the small stuff to ensure every last detail is exactly the way it should be. It’s just one way we differentiate ourselves from the rest.

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How a Great Website Can Improve Customer Service https://co50.com/great-website-can-improve-customer-service/ Thu, 14 Jul 2016 17:25:53 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=6309 Websites serve many functions. Essentially, the role of a website is to provide information. How much and the kinds of information your website can provide is entirely up to you. Nearly anything is possible, and the functionality of your site can have a dramatic impact on customer service. Ever tracked a package with UPS? The process you followed was simple: ... Read More

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Websites serve many functions. Essentially, the role of a website is to provide information. How much and the kinds of information your website can provide is entirely up to you. Nearly anything is possible, and the functionality of your site can have a dramatic impact on customer service.

Ever tracked a package with UPS? The process you followed was simple: Copy the tracking number into a space on UPS.com, click “Track”, and you’re done. But what if UPS did not offer online tracking? You’d have to pick up the phone, call their 800-number, choose 1 for English, choose 1 again for Tracking, enter the long tracking number, listen to it read it back to you, press 1 to confirm, and then listen to the recorded voice slowly provide your details. This process will take 5-7 minutes, vs. 10 seconds online.

Ask yourself, are you forcing customers to spend time doing things they could do on your website in an instant? Consider what you could do to improve their experience. What functions do they perform the most? Calling for an account balance? Checking to see if an item is in stock? Whatever it is, chances are you will save money and improve their satisfaction by allowing them to perform these functions on your website, and our team here at Company 50 can make it happen for you.

Say you own a small ecommerce store that sells nationwide. Do your customers know if a product is in stock from your website? We can integrate your inventory tracking with your website so visitors always know when an item is available, even the number of units. But let’s not stop there, we can tell the customer exactly when they will receive the item, based on where it ships from and the transit time to their location – just like Amazon does.

Here’s another opportunity to set yourself apart. Are you a doctor or dentist? How do patients typically make an appointment with you? If you are like 99% of medical professionals, you answered “by phone”. But they could schedule/change/cancel appointments on your website, if you just would let them! We can integrate your appointment software with your website, allowing patients to do everything they could by phone right on the Internet! You will reap not one but numerous advantages:

  1.  Require an e-mail address when patients make an appointment online, and you’ll automatically build a mailing list, a very valuable communication tool.
  2.  Because you have their e-mail address, instead of calling, you can email them their appointment reminder! No more having to make those calls every day or pay a service to do it for you.
  3.  Patients are more likely to book appointments and do so more often due to the convenience of being able to book an appointment on their PC, tablet, or smartphone.
  4.  We can even allow new patients to fill out your patient information sheet and provide insurance info securely and easily on your website – saving everyone the time and inconvenience of writing it out by hand at the time of appointment!

So let us here at Company 50 work our magic with your website. Get in touch today!

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The Difference Between Good Website Design and Bad is Not What You Think https://co50.com/difference-good-website-design/ Tue, 29 Mar 2016 13:59:52 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=5384 It’s not 1998 anymore. Even in our little state of Rhode Island, today’s businesses need a website that does more than just look nice. It must to be usable, functional, and appealing. It should have a clear goal in mind, meet the audience’s expectations, and providing the proper information – to potential customers and to the search engines. But many designers ... Read More

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It’s not 1998 anymore. Even in our little state of Rhode Island, today’s businesses need a website that does more than just look nice. It must to be usable, functional, and appealing. It should have a clear goal in mind, meet the audience’s expectations, and providing the proper information – to potential customers and to the search engines. But many designers do not get it quite right. Surprisingly, even some of the most high-profile designers out there are not able to fulfill these basic principles. If you are searching for a quality website designer in RI, as you review portfolios, understanding the difference between good and bad design will help ensure you choose a firm that will deliver results. Here is a quick overview of what constitutes good and bad web design so you know what to look out for:

Good Website Design

The key purpose of any website is to provide information, and that means a good one should provide it in an efficient and easy-to-find manner. Visitors should have everything they need at their fingertips without needing to hunt around. Effective, simple navigation is vital, and a key part of the website design process should be determining what users expect and delivering it in a clean, organized way.

A good website needs to be engaging with just the right balance of visual appeal and operational efficiency, and it should always be a reflection of your brand and message. The design must take into account your industry, your company’s identity, and the styling of your offline locations (if applicable). This ensures everything works together for a consistent experience. When customers are given everything they expect, friction is removed and the sales process goes so much smoother.

Bad Website Design

Bad websites tend to prioritize style over substance with high-flying animations and other fanfare. While you might like these vivacious visuals, your users will experience slow loading speeds and find it difficult to access information. Designers that create websites like these have not thought about navigation and are not thinking about the end user either. Most of your users are not using high-speed, top-of-the-line desktop PCs, and designs like this won’t work well on older machines or smartphones. Which means, you lose business.

It’s surprising how many sites fall prey to bad web design, and we’ve all been there—trawling through page after page of information yet still finding our questions unanswered, and with so much competition out there, even just here in Rhode Island, you need to make sure you don’t fall into that trap. Poor web design can be inconvenient and infuriating at best but at worst it can be downright damaging with visitors deciding to look elsewhere. Make sure you know the difference between good and bad design and you’ll be able to offer the experience users want. When you give users what they want, you delight them and make a great impression for your business.

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The 2 Most Common Website Design Gimmicks https://co50.com/most-common-website-design-gimmicks/ Fri, 26 Feb 2016 18:59:20 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=4288 Make no mistake, website design is a very competitive industry. Designers have come up with some creative and sometimes crazy ways to sell small business owners on their services. I don’t say this lightly: Most of these gimmicks are…well, gimmicks. I want to slice and dice them so when you are ready to have your website designed, you can separate ... Read More

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Make no mistake, website design is a very competitive industry. Designers have come up with some creative and sometimes crazy ways to sell small business owners on their services. I don’t say this lightly: Most of these gimmicks are…well, gimmicks. I want to slice and dice them so when you are ready to have your website designed, you can separate a quality designer from the “gotcha” designer.

Low Priced Quotes – A very important factor, as it should be. We do not all have unlimited budgets so the cost of a website is a factor, for sure. But a website is an investment – for many businesses, the most important investment you will make. A very large portion of your customers will look you up on the web. Your website is their first impression of your business. Shouldn’t it make a lasting, positive impression? Website designers are not all the same. Some are skilled artists but poor at understanding the needs of your business. Others understand the business side but lack the design skills and largely work off of pre-made templates. In both cases, you will likely be quoted a low price, because a key ingredient is missing and the designer knows this. While you may be inclined to settle for a designer who isn’t quite the best fit but is very affordable, this will cost you many times the price of the website very quickly.

When your website doesn’t convey trust, communicate professionalism, and make it easy to do business with you, people stop and go elsewhere. And it is as easy as hitting the back button and clicking on the next result in Google. That easy. Think of that happening multiple times every day. If a customer is worth $100 to you over a year’s time, a cheap design could cost you 10, perhaps 20 customers a week. That’s $1,000-2,000 every week. Out the door. That $1000 website doesn’t seem like a very good deal anymore.

Don’t let price be the deciding factor for the web designer you choose.

Instant Quote = Fast Service – Some designers promise instant or very quick quotes, without really knowing what the design will consist of. They believe that if they provide a fast, low-cost quote to you, you’ll sign on even though you don’t know what you’re getting. “Get your completely custom website for $499!” the ads say. Go ahead, Google “$499 website” and see how many there are. All preying on the hope that you cannot tell the difference between a website that will win you customers and a website that will cost you customers. But you know better. How can a designer possibly make money building a website for $499? By using the exact same generic design and features for every client that takes the offer. They download a template, change the pictures and text for your business, and voila! Sure, it’s customized. Because giving you a website that had their last client’s name and pictures on it would be a bit awkward.

quote_button_yellow_instant

Like buying insurance or having work done on your home, the details matter. If your insurance policy is only $200/yr but waives coverage for nearly everything, that is a bad value, right? If your home contractor promises a beautiful new kitchen for half the going rate, but doesn’t follow code and uses substandard materials, putting your safety at risk, that is not a good deal.

Be sure you know exactly what you are getting for the price quoted, and if a website designer gives you a price before they know all of the details of your project, walk away.

 

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Is Your Website Designer Out of Touch? https://co50.com/website-designer-touch/ Wed, 02 Dec 2015 05:43:08 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=3617 Website designers, like general contractors, are plentiful. There are thousands of us out there. And like a general contractor, quite a bit of skill separates the skilled craftsman from the pretenders. I’ve written before about hiring a professional rather than your friend/relative or the lowest possible bidder you can find. That’s a road that always ends in disaster. In this ... Read More

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Website designers, like general contractors, are plentiful. There are thousands of us out there. And like a general contractor, quite a bit of skill separates the skilled craftsman from the pretenders.

I’ve written before about hiring a professional rather than your friend/relative or the lowest possible bidder you can find. That’s a road that always ends in disaster. In this post, I want to take it up a notch and showcase the difference between your average professional website designer and one that’s got a pulse on the latest trends and technology. Here’s how to tell the difference:

Responsive Design

For the last couple of years, responsive design has been the rage – and rightly so. It allows a designer to create a single website that works well on almost any device. There’s no need to create a separate mobile website for users on tablets and smartphones. It’s cuts costs without cutting quality. If your designer is not using responsive designs by now, he’s out of touch, leaving you with either a more costly dual design architecture or one that does not display well on mobile devices.

How can you tell if you have a responsive design? Just load up your website, grab the side border of your browser window with the mouse, and slowly make the window narrower. A responsive design will adjust as you do this so everything still shows well on the screen, formatted as best as possible for the size of the window. If your website just goes off the screen, it is not responsive…and you should have a chat with your designer.

[one_half centered_text=”true”]Responsive Website Designer
Responsive[/one_half][one_half_last centered_text=”true”]Non-Responsive Website
Non-Responsive [/one_half_last]

Retina and 4K Image Support

Retina (i.e. high-dpi) image support has been fairly widespread since the iPhone 4 was introduced several years ago. In a nutshell, images on retina-optimized websites look razor sharp on today’s mobile devices that feature insanely clear screens – you’ll notice the difference right away. Yet many small business websites today still do not display these high-dpi “retina” images. The result is visitors see blurry, grainy images when they pull up your website on a tablet or smartphone. It leaves a poor impression – like having a badly faded sign on your storefront. If your website is not utilizing retina-ready images, talk to your web designer.

Taking it a step further, desktop displays are now catching up to mobile displays in perceived sharpness with the advent of 4K monitors. These monitors, while not quite as sharp as the best smartphones, are noticeably clearer than the flat panels you are used to. However, even fewer small business websites show 4K-ready images. What is the difference from retina-ready images? As far as image quality goes, nothing. But websites coded only for retina-specific devices like the iPhone are designed to look for a visitor’s browser type. If it sees “Chrome for Android” or “Safari for iOS”, it will display the correct retina image. But since desktops with 4K monitors cannot be differentiated from normal monitors just by looking at the browser being used, websites coded to look for the browser type miss this…and display the standard low-resolution image. When this happens, visitors with 4K displays see blurry images and your business looks behind the times.

Not Falling for the Parallax Trap

Over the last couple of years, a fancy effect known as parallax has become popular. But what started as a cool way for appropriate websites to show their cool side has become an overused technique commonly included as a means for a web designer to show off how “cool” they are. Unfortunately, many implementations of it cause the offending website to load slowly, display incorrectly on certain devices, and frustrate the user. If you have ever visited a website that animated parts of the screen when you scrolled your mouse instead of just scrolling the page down, you’ve experienced the worst of the parallax effect – known as scrolljacking. While the designer’s intentions are good in most cases, the user experience almost always suffers when this technique is used and is a trend that is slowly dying. If your designer is using this technique, ask if truly adds to the user experience.

Dropping WWW in Your URL

Since the web came into existence, the www prefix (eg. www.google.com) was used for most websites as it was proper to name an Internet resource after the service it provided. These days, it serves no purpose and progressive websites such as Twitter have dropped it from both their marketing and their default URL itself. While typing the www will still in most cases take you to the right place, it’s extra work for your visitors and makes your URL longer than it has to be. If your website designer is still setting up websites with the www prefix, ask them why.

HTTPS by Default

This is one of the most recent trends and benefits your website in many ways with little, if any, downside. In fact, I wrote an entire post about upgrading your website to HTTPS. For a very small annual cost (SSL certificates cost less than $100/yr), you can completely secure your website against prying eyes – be it the NSA or hackers, and boost your rankings in Google. That’s right, Google has committed to rewarding websites that use HTTPS site-wide with better rankings. While their official announcement touted a “slight” boost, we’ve noticed boosts as high as 25% for some of our clients, and a boost of some kind for every one of them. While few SEOs can guarantee a surefire way to increase your ranking on Google, this is as close as you’ll get. If you website designer hasn’t done this for you, or at least provided it as an option – ask why.

Greg Brailsford is the owner of Company 50 and dressed up as a 95 year old man for Halloween. Company 50 provides web design, logo design, and digital marketing services to small businesses.

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Using Google Ads to Dominate Your Local Area https://co50.com/using-google-ads-dominate-local-area/ Wed, 18 Nov 2015 19:57:35 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=3449 Quick, do a Google search for your type of business (eg. hair dresser, landscaper, accountant). Now look at the ads you see (at the top and side). Are you there? Chances are, your competitors are. Google Ads are an outstanding way to reach customers looking for the service you offer. While expensive, time-consuming SEO can eventually push you to the ... Read More

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Quick, do a Google search for your type of business (eg. hair dresser, landscaper, accountant). Now look at the ads you see (at the top and side). Are you there? Chances are, your competitors are. Google Ads are an outstanding way to reach customers looking for the service you offer. While expensive, time-consuming SEO can eventually push you to the first page of Google, a Google ad campaign (also know as Adwords or Pay Per Click) can accomplish the task much faster.

With Google Ads, you bid on the dollar amount you are willing to pay for a visitor to come to your website and check you out. You only pay when this happens. If a customer sees your ad on Google but never clicks on it, you pay nothing.If you are a local business offering a service of value, advertising on Google is a no-brainer. When done right, it is far more effective than nearly any other form of advertising. It is the only form of advertising where you pay only for qualified leads – TV, radio, and print cannot offer that. With those mediums, you pay even if not a single person responds.

But Leave the Google Ads to the Pros.

Where many small businesses make a mistake is in trying to run their Google Ad campaign themselves. This is a catastrophic mistake, right up there with trying to design your own logo or being your own web designer. Simply put, the professionals have been doing it for years and know the secrets and tricks that result in a successful ad campaign. Google is guilty of trying to make Adwords look easy. Sure, setting up an account is easy, but setting up a successful account requires skill and experience. The are countless ways to screw up the execution of an Adwords campaign, and here they are:

Top 5 Ways Small Business Owners Get Google Ads Wrong

1) Bad Ad Copy

The very first thing the visitor sees is your ad. If it’s poorly written or doesn’t sell them on your service – why they should click on your ad – you’ve just missed a lead. Ad copy is incredibly important on convincing the user to check you out. But there’s more to it than that. Google ranks ads not based on your bid amount alone, but by ad relevance (they call this “Quality Score”). The more relevant your ad, based on how it is written, the less you have to bid to rank higher. A professional marketer knows how to write good ad copy. Here’s a few examples of good and bad ad copy:

Google Ads RI

Let’s look at the first ad. There are a few fundamental mistakes here:

a) The title of the ad is the name of the company. Honest truth: On Google, nobody cares what the name of your company is. They want a good landscaper and unless the name of your company is “Expert Landscaping, Fair Rates”, leave it out. In fact, that should be your headline. That draw interest and communicates key points about your service.

b) The remaining ad copy was not written specifically for Adwords so it’s missing the period in between the two sentences.

c) The ad copy itself fails to provide any selling points. The area you serve should be dictated by your ad geography settings (more on that in a moment), you shouldn’t need to specify it in the ad. And the fact that you are accepting new accounts – DUH! You’re advertising, aren’t you? Would you advertise if you weren’t accepting new accounts? So we’ve just wasted the entire line of ad copy when we could have put something such as “Personal service. Let us make your yard looking amazing today!”

d) Obviously this ad is not geo-targeted correctly. Google allows you to specifically choose where your ad shows – if someone is in Northern RI and you only serve Southern RI, you can choose to have your ad only show there. But I’m in the northern-most part of RI and I’m seeing this ad, which means it’s likely targeting the entire state. This leads to worthless clicks, lower quality scores, and more money out of your pocket.

e) No call-outs. Google recently allowed advertisers to include up to 4 short phrases called “call-outs” that appear under ads when they are in the 1-3rd position on the page, as these are. Neither of the top 2 ads are using them. And they’re free! This is where these advertisers might put “Free Estimates”, “Full Service”, “Lawn Maintenance”, etc. rather than wasting space in the ad copy.

I won’t go into too much detail on the 2nd ad, but notice they only include the first half of their allotted space. They left the second half blank, as if Full Service and Free Estimates, which I’m guessing most landscapers offer, is enough. This is the equivalent to buying 30 seconds of TV time but creating a commercial that is only 15 seconds long.

The third ad, which you can tell was created by a professional, gets it all right. Great ad copy, linked to their Google+ page (your business has one, right?), linked to a 3rd party rating website, and includes the 4 free site links (which are substituted in place of call-outs at Google’s discretion). I guarantee you this ad outperforms the other two every day.

2) Poor Keyword Selection

If you are a beauty salon, for example, and you advertise under the keyword “skin care”, you’re going to get a load of clicks from people not interested in a beauty salon. Even if your ad copy explains what you do, many folks will assume your ad is relevant to their needs because it showed up on Google, and they’ll click it – and cost you money. Carefully choosing specific keywords that only cater to those looking for your specific service is the key to drastically reducing “worthless clicks” and improving the success of your campaign. Instead of “skin care”, we would use “skin care professional” or “skin care specialist”.

 3) Failure to use Negative Keywords

Another major mistake nearly all do-it-yourselfers make with Google Ads is not taking advantage of negative keywords. These are keywords you specify, that if included in a person’s search, will stop your ad from showing. For example, if you’re a landscaper, you might specify negative keywords like “jobs”, “techniques”, “becoming”. So if someone searched for landscaper job ri, your ad won’t show. You are advertising your services, not open positons, so you avoid worthless clicks from job seekers. Again, the pros have substantial pre-researched lists they can provide for most business types that filters out searches like that, so your ads only show for truly relevant searches. Failing to use negative keywords accounts for most of a small businesses wasted Adwords budget.

4) Failure to Create Landing Pages

Landing pages are specific pages not part of your website designed for your pay per click Google Ads campaign. When someone clicks your ad, they go to this specific page, designed to compliment the ad and convert them to a customer. This should absolutely positively not be your homepage. But guess what? Those first two ads above? Based on the other factors, I was fearful that I would get exactly that. And I did. Your homepage is too general to serve as a landing page. A good landing page like the one we use for web design is designed specifically to capture that lead’s attention and turn them into a client. We don’t talk about any other products or services on the landing page other than what we advertised. Most small businesses doing it themselves with Google Ads fail to create landing pages, and their conversion rates suffer significantly as a result. A Google Ad pro will create landing pages specific to your ads, which will provide you a far better ROI for your budget.

 5) Not Optimizing for Mobile Users

Did you know Google lets you include your phone number in your Google Ads? There is no extra cost for this and you benefit in two ways: One mobile devices, a “Call” button appears next to your ads (see below), allowing any mobile user to dial you up with one-click. No needing to copy/paste or try to remember your number from the ad. This is one of the major reasons mobile users to tend to provide better conversions than desktop users.

Advertise on Google

Additionally, on desktops your phone number displays in plain text, and when someone dials it manually, you get a lead without paying anything! Why not take advantage of this free perk? Because this involves back-end setup, those small business owners doing Adwords themselves typically miss it. A pro will not only setup your phone numbers but also all the other special extensions that increase click rates and your end results.

Pay per click advertising was created by a non-defunct search engine called Goto.com in the late 90s. One of the reasons we’ve been so successful with not only our own PPC campaigns but with our client’s ads, is because we’ve been involved in since its inception. With 15+ years of working in PPC under our belt, we know exactly what works and what does not. And, we practice what we preach – 95% of our non-referred clients find us through our Google Ads campaign! Before you go it alone, talk to us. It won’t cost you a dime and we’ll give you an honest assessment of what we can do for you.

Greg Brailsford is the owner of Company 50 and once owned Tesla at $18. Company 50 provides web design, logo design, and digital marketing services to small businesses.

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Why You Need to Switch Your Website to Site-Wide HTTPS (SSL) https://co50.com/why-switch-website-to-site-wide-https-ssl/ Sat, 14 Nov 2015 18:49:18 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=3374 Ever since the Edward Snowden disclosures, many security-minded websites and those that could be a target for NSA snooping have moved to adopt site-wide HTTPS. That means every page on their website is encrypted with SSL. You’re probably used to seeing SSL-encrypted pages when you buy online. This protects your billing details including your credit card number from prying eyes. ... Read More

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Ever since the Edward Snowden disclosures, many security-minded websites and those that could be a target for NSA snooping have moved to adopt site-wide HTTPS. That means every page on their website is encrypted with SSL. You’re probably used to seeing SSL-encrypted pages when you buy online. This protects your billing details including your credit card number from prying eyes. You can tell when this is in effect by the familiar padlock icon in your browser bar and the URL showing HTTPS instead of http.

SSL HTTPS Padlock Browser

However, when you browse any other portions of a typical website, HTTPS is not activated. This means that 3rd parties can snoop on the data being transmitted, including your browsing history and search keywords. Enabling HTTPS site-wide protects your customers and clients from this invasive breach of privacy. But there are many other benefits too:

1. Guaranteeing Authenticity of Information

  • With non-encrypted websites it is possible to have your site’s content altered by third parties using a man-in-the-middle attack. This is especially critical for news websites, as plain ol’ http can permit an adversary to manipulate your news, and Newstweek shows how easily this is done:

2. Protecting Your Customer’s Privacy

  • When your website uses plain http, your users’ search and browsing history are transmitted for anyone to see. But when your website site uses HTTPS, 3rd parties including Internet providers cannot inspect traffic and throttle it based on content so easily. Implementing HTTPS significantly improves privacy protection for your visitors.

3. Security for Your Customers

  • When your website uses http, your visitor’s session cookies can be intercepted and used to replicate their active session by others. In other words, 3rd parties can pretend to be your customers. With HTTPS, this issue is eliminated because session cookies are protected with encryption.

4. Improved Ranking in Search Engines

  • This is a big one and our tests show it does in fact improve ranking on Google. Google announced as much and for the cost and effort involved to upgrade to HTTPS site-wide  if the security reasons haven’t convinced you it’s a good idea, this should. There is just no reason not to, and the sooner you do it the more of a leg up you will have on your competitors who haven’t made the leap.

5. Better Analytics for You

  • Did you know that the referrer that tells you where a visitor came from is dropped when a user goes to an http page from an HTTPS page? This means referrals from secure sites, including Google, are lost for sites using plain http.

6. Better Site-Wide User Experience

  • When your website uses site-wide SSL, they won’t see annoying pop-ups warning them that they are switching [back and forth] from http to HTTPS and vice versa. It also makes buying, logging in, registering, and browsing all seamless and without interruption.

So what does it take to switch your website to site-wide HTTPS? If you’re on WordPress, we offer the upgrade as an affordable service (just contact us!), typically in the range of a couple hundred dollars. If we designed your website after August 2014, it’s likely you’re already using site-wide HTTPS! And if not, get in touch and we’ll make it a reality in as little as 24 hours.

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Why Your Business Needs a Google+ Profile https://co50.com/get-google-local-business-page/ Tue, 25 Nov 2014 23:43:23 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=3537 While Google+ has not grown to rival the size of Facebook, your business is at a much bigger disadvantage if you skip Google+ versus Facebook. Google has integrated much of the data from Google+ Business profiles into it’s search results and Android apps. With that comes additional, free exposure – so take advantage of it! Google+ Posts Rank in Search ... Read More

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While Google+ has not grown to rival the size of Facebook, your business is at a much bigger disadvantage if you skip Google+ versus Facebook. Google has integrated much of the data from Google+ Business profiles into it’s search results and Android apps. With that comes additional, free exposure – so take advantage of it!

Google+ Posts Rank in Search Results

You may not have a business blog or share updates on your Google+ page, but when you do Google includes them in its search results, in some cases even higher than your own website’s pages. Having trouble coming up with interesting posts to share that are related to your business? Hire a professional to do it for you as many businesses have. Building a library of great content generally brings great results and establishes your business as a trusted advisor, not just a provider.

Google+ Business Review Scores are Shown on the Search Results Page

Once you’ve accumulated 5 reviews on your Google+ Business page, Google will display your rating and link to the reviews on its local search results page. In fact, in most instances Google will only list local businesses with at least 5 reviews. Don’t have any? You’re missing out on valuable, free leads. Here is an example results page when I searched for an Italian restaurant in RI:

Get Google+ Business Profile

While not always the case, Google tends to rank those with more reviews higher in the list. What’s a simple way to get more reviews? Ask your existing customers through your email list, or existing social media profile. Just post the link to your Google+ Business profile (the Write a Review link is on the ‘About’ page) and kindly ask for a review if they enjoyed their experience. Before you know it, you’ll have enough to qualify.

Get a Bonus Company Info Box on Google Search Results

When anybody searches for your business by name (provided your company name is unique to your area), in most cases you will be one of the first search results. However, with a Google+ Business profile, even more information is displayed about your business. Check out our company profile below to see how Google enhances businesses with a Google plus profile:

How to Get Google Plus Local Listing

You’ll notice right away the large info box on the right with our company address, phone, hours of operation, links to our reviews, and even recent posts on Google+. Photos from our Google+ page are shown (in this case it’s a sample logo we designed recently). There’s also a map upon which you can get directions too. Below our listing in the search results is our company address and phone. All of this information is culled from our business Google+ profile and Google displays it at no charge when our company is the top search result. If a customer is referred to you and decides to look you up first on Google, this can have a tremendous impact on their decision to proceed.

All New Enhancements in the Google Calendar App

The latest version of the Google Calendar app for Android now enhances appointments and meetings for those coming to your business using your Google+ listing. For example, a restaurant appointment in a user’s calendar will show images from your Google+ page as the background for the appointment, making it stand out much better alongside the user’s other appointments. In addition, clicking on the appointment allows the user to quickly email the owner (you!), verify the address, get directions, and more.

New Google Calendar Android Enhancements Local Business

In Conclusion

How long does it take to set up a Google+ profile the right way? Probably an hour at worst. Ultimately though, it’s best not to set it and forget it. Adding updated images and frequent posts will help your the rankings for both your Google+ page and your website pages. For the amount of time you’ll invest, it’s well worth it.

Greg Brailsford is the owner of Company 50 and recently discovered the miracle of pellet stoves. Company 50 provides web design, logo design, and digital marketing services to small businesses.

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Add Social Share Buttons to Your Website https://co50.com/add-share-buttons-to-your-wordpress-site/ https://co50.com/add-share-buttons-to-your-wordpress-site/#respond Fri, 11 Oct 2013 22:11:14 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=36 I can’t tell you how many times I have read a great article on a website only to find that it provided no simple way to share it with a friend. It is surprising that there are still websites with great content that have have not bothered to add share buttons to their blog posts. When you add share buttons ... Read More

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I can’t tell you how many times I have read a great article on a website only to find that it provided no simple way to share it with a friend. It is surprising that there are still websites with great content that have have not bothered to add share buttons to their blog posts.

When you add share buttons to your website, your visitors can click their favorite social network – bet it Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or even Reddit – and share your page easily. Sure, they could copy the URL and paste it into their social network manually, but we all know that many won’t bother. Removing the friction of sharing is a very simple process and with so many great tools that accomplish this, there are few excuses.

Since WordPress is overwhelmingly the most popular website platform these days, I will provide quick instructions to add share buttons to any WordPress website. Ready? Step 1 – Download Simple Share Buttons Adder. It was created by David Neal. Not only is he a cool dude, but this plugin is one of the nicest looking, but simplest ones out there. Also, it loads fast and is very easy to setup. Step 2 – Upload it to your Plugins folder (which is in your wp-content folder). Step 3 – Activate it in WordPress. Then go to Settings > Share Buttons. Customize it to your liking and you’re done! It should take about 5 minutes to complete these steps and add share buttons to your site.

Add Share Buttons: Done. Now What?

Now when you write a wicked cool blog post and your visitors like it, you won’t have to wonder what it would be like if they could easily share it with others at the click of a button – because now they can. For a live demo of what you can expect, just look below! We’re proud to use the plugin ourselves. Enjoy.

Greg Brailsford is the owner of Company 50 and sometimes uses a camera to take photos. Company 50 provides logo design, web design, and digital marketing services to small businesses.

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How to Promote Your Business on Facebook https://co50.com/promote-your-business-on-facebook/ https://co50.com/promote-your-business-on-facebook/#respond Fri, 04 Oct 2013 20:31:55 +0000 https://new.co50.com/?p=304 UPDATE: Since this article was published, Facebook has significantly curbed the ability for businesses to promote for free via the newsfeed. While the tips in this article can work for any social media post, we no longer recommend Facebook is your primary social media presence. Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter provide a better overall experience and better ROI for most businesses. ... Read More

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UPDATE: Since this article was published, Facebook has significantly curbed the ability for businesses to promote for free via the newsfeed. While the tips in this article can work for any social media post, we no longer recommend Facebook is your primary social media presence. Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter provide a better overall experience and better ROI for most businesses.

There are many reasons to promote your business on Facebook via a fan page. For one, it provides a link to your website. So at the very least, it helps a little bit with your ranking on search engines. More importantly, it is a way to hook customers into seeing your message through their Facebook feed. Once a customer “Likes” your page, your updates appear in their feed. This is useful because when you have a big promotion coming up, a holiday sale, or a new product or service debuting – Facebook can be a great venue to inform your client base.

Promoting the launch of your new business on Facebook is a great idea and when coupled with an enticing deal, can get the phone ringing quickly right from the start. But before you start posting like a maniac, it is important to arm yourself with a few effective marketing techniques so your campaign has the biggest impact. First, don’t actually post like maniac. Keep your posts to one a day, two if you have something really special to share. This increases the value of your posts. Next, you will want to grab attention with a good call to action that is hard to resist to your target client. It could be a deep “Grand Opening” discount, a free first visit to try you out, or a special gift (of real value) when they visit during your opening month.

Below is an actual Facebook page post from my feed. It is a new massage therapy studio being opened by a friend. I am sure she’s going to do very well. But there a few mistakes in how the business is being promoted on Facebook. Here’s the post:

[one_whole centered_text=”true”]Promote Your Business on Facebook[/one_whole]

Let’s talk about a couple of things here. The first thing I noticed is no profile logo. At least the profile image represents what the business does, but a more memorable image that benefits the business would be a professional logo. After all, you want people to associate your posts with your business, not massage businesses in general.

Speaking of images, your Facebook post should always include an image. You will have far more engagement since photos draw people in and catch attention a lot better than just text. Just use a photo that relates to the topic of your post. At the very least, include an image that represents your business.

What’s the Message?

Next I look at the message: “I’ll be open for business….”. This is extremely common on Facebook but here’s the thing. People don’t care what you’re doing (on a personal level they do, of course. But we’re speaking for the business itself here). They want to know “what’s in it for me?” If they can’t figure out what that is from your message, it will fall flat. A better way to word this message would be “Come pamper yourself for an hour with a relaxing, soothing massage beginning October 14th!” In those terms, the customers knows what the benefit is and the descriptive words allow them to picture it in their mind. People buy on emotion, so this works very effectively.

Be Careful Mentioning Prices

Lastly is the prices. I’m not a big fan of posting prices when you promote your business on Facebook because when price becomes the selling point, you are competing on price and not on your quality of service – profit suffers. But there are instances where it makes sense. As we see here, these prices are posted as-is. If you don’t normally get massages, you have no idea if these prices are typical, too low, or too high. Also, are these discounted because of the grand opening? Probably not, but it’s tough to know for sure.

After researching massage prices I found these to be on the low end, about 30% lower than typical rates. Knowing that, a more effective post would have been to increase these prices to what a high-end massage studio charges, and then offer 50% off the first month the studio is open. This accomplishes two things: First, showing a higher “normal” price demonstrates the perceived value of the service. People will naturally believe the service must be pretty great to charge high prices. And second, the half-off discount, while only slightly lower than she was charging to begin with, looks like an incredible deal to would-be customers. Most importantly, it gets people in the door. The more people that you can get to try your service, the more people will be back to try it again, and again.

The Bottom Line

The decision to promote your business on Facebook should be thought out ahead of time. Posting for your business is much different than posting for yourself. When we post as ourselves, it’s not necessary to use emotional hooks and saavy wording. But translating this style to your business page will result in low returns. By using the basic techniques taught here, you will be well on your way to an effective Facebook campaign.

Greg Brailsford is the owner of Company 50 and his preferred search engine is Google. Company 50 provides logo design, web design, and digital marketing services to small businesses.

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