9 Ways To Improve Your Website


Categories: Web Design

1. Establish Value

The website visitor should be able to figure out at a glance what you do. Ideally a catchy headline, backed up by images will let your web traffic know what you’re about and why they should care. Everyone is busy, and there needs to be a clear reason for your visitors to stick around. A well thought-out and designed homepage will answer the biggest questions up front and draw them in with clear offers and benefits.

Think about these key questions as you develop content for your website: What problem are you solving? What’s in it for them? What will they get when they hire you? Why should they subscribe to your newsletter or read your blog?

Oracast Example Image

2. Stay Action Focused

Make sure there is one main call to action (CTA) on every page. Having more than one call to action can sometimes work, but it’s best to limit the CTA’s to one per page. This makes it more obvious to the visitors what to click on next and brings them more directly through your sales funnel.

Here’s an example of a website we did for Easy Buy Canada.

As you will see, the CTA is on the right hand side which links to a form, and there is a clear headline at the top of the page next to the logo.

easybuy

3. Color Does Matter

Finding a contrasting color for your call to action buttons can increase conversion rates. If your website is mostly purple, your call to action button will stand out best if it’s green, for example. Red, blue or yellow can work well for “Buy Now’ buttons as long as they contrast with the page. Amazon uses a yellow CTA button, so most shopping carts use yellow.

color_wheeloracast

4. List The Benefits

Be clear about what is in it for your clients. A great way to do this is by creating a bullet point list of the benefits. This is very different than a list of features. Features is a more technical (and potentially boring) list of the why and how. What your clients are looking for are the benefits to them. How will your solution solve their problem/improve their lives/save them time/money/make them feel better? This can also be done in a video format.

After reading this list of The Benefits of Oranges, you may want to eat one next time you get a chance!

orangebenefits

5. The Five Second Rule

Open up the website you are working on after several days of not viewing it, and stand back. What catches your eye first? Where does your eye go next on the page? What stands out? Is it conveying the clear message you would like it to? Get other people to look at your website as well, and offer you their first impressions. Ask yourself, “If I was a prospect, would I act on this page?”

Take a look at vwo.com as an example. You can bet this landing page is highly optimized. There is a clear call to action that immediately catches the eye. You will notice in the example below, the bright orange CTA button stands out against the dark purplish/gray background. There is a clear headline at the top of the page, an image, and a list of benefits “5 reasons you should…”

optimizedwebsiteexample

6. Responsive Web Design

Wikipedia: “is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones.”

Having a responsive website has just become critical with Google’s April 2015 algorithm update, as Google will now be rewarding a higher Google ranking to sites that comply with their mobile-friendly rules.

Mobile phone searches have now tipped the scales on regular desktop “Googling”, so it’s more important than ever to have a site that is easy to use on smartphones.

7. Testimonials

Nothing sells your story better than smiling faces, and raving reviews. Getting testimonials on video from your clients can be very motivating. The videos can play automatically on specific pages (such as a register for an event page) or they can be scattered through the site. It’s a great idea to include a few testimonials on the homepage for social proof and just another reason to keep those website visitors clicking through your site.

Here’s a few examples of testimonials from a site we designed for www.execsintheknow.com:

EITK Homepage
A lot of visitors don’t take the time to visit the testimonials page specifically, yet they are a very important selling feature, so it can be a great idea to have a testimonials page, plus scatter testimonials through-out the site.
EITK Testimonials

8. Social Media

There are many awesome benefits for including social media in your marketing plan, and I will list a few here.

A. It improves your SEO. Having Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+ accounts (and more), will improve your SEO rating and increase traffic to your website.

B. Social media is a great way to learn about your target audience and target them more effectively and directly.

C. It’s very cost effective. For little to no budget, you can build relationships, reach new clients, increase brand awareness, and get your message heard and shared.

Google+

9. Traffic and Getting Your Website Found

Increasing website traffic is key to any business and competition is sometimes fierce. There are many things you can do to help your SEO ranking such as having a blog, social media, knowing your target audience and keywords. One of the more effective ways to get to the top however, is simply through PPC ad campaigns. PPC advertising is often overlooked as being ineffective or too expensive, but it is an excellent way to grab traffic and get you a top spot on the page and, if done right, is usually profitable.

We offer a variety of solutions for traffic generation, from SEO packages to PPC advertising and social media campaigns.

compete.com

Are more web pages better for search engine rankings?


It’s a valid question. Some people think that by simply adding more pages to their website, for the sake of making their website appear bigger, will make them more of an authority and increase their search engine rankings. While it’s true that adding more web pages that are written for a specific relevant topic with quality content and associated keywords will help increase your authority and rank, it is not true that if you simply add pages you’ll automatically get some kind of authority or rank boost. Clear like mud?

 

Matt Cutts provides a great explanation that will help dispel this myth:

Once again it all boils down to quality content and relevant keyword placement (to name a few factors) no matter how many pages you have. Always write pages for your target audience and not search engines.

Domain Registry Of Canada SCAM


Categories: Web Design

What is the “Domain Registry of Canada Scam?”

A company called Domain Registry of Canada sends out old school snail mail letters designed to appear as an official government organization. The letter will appear as an invoice urging the domain to renew their domain immediately with the warning “failure to comply will mean losing your domain”.

THIS IS NOT A REAL INVOICE! IT IS A SCAM!

As you can see by this image below they strive to make this document look as real as possible.

domain-registry-canada-scam

If you receive a notice for domain renewal through the mail always be safe and contact the company you purchased your domain from directly.

Domain Registry of Canada has used many company names such as “Internet Registry of Canada”, “Domain Renewal Group” and “DROC”. They always use the same technique to try to fool you into transferring your domain away.

When you purchase a domain your information is put into a domain name registration and can be viewed publicly though a whois database. They are able to view the owner name and address associated with the domain registration. Once they have this information they simply send a fake invoice and wait for people who do not fully understand how domain registration works; falling pray to their scam. These fake invoices look very real and without the proper knowledge it is easy to fall for this trick.

Using a the threat of losing your domain in there invoice is just a ploy. You do not want to do anything other than throw this fake invoice into the garbage. These fake invoices say that they are to renew your domain when in fact they are trying to get you to transfer your domain to them.

They are actually a legitimate domain registrar using unethical business practices to trick people. Once the domain is transferred you will no longer be doing business with your original registrar whether it was GoDaddy, Network Solutions, OpenSRS or any other registrar company.

Once you have transferred your domain over to Domain Registry of Canada you will then be privy to their renewal costs which are substantially more than most other companies.

If you have any negative experience with the DROC scam, pleas report the Domain Registry of Canada Scam to the BBB.

Benefits of having a blog on your website


Why should you have a blog on your website? A blog is a very powerful tool that allows you to easily publish articles to your website. Article topics can range from the latest news, upcoming events, job postings, industry trends,  or any other article that your audience will find useful. However, integrating a blog into your website is only one part of the equation; you want to establish a blogging strategy that can extend into social media platforms and improve your organic rank with search engines.

Here are a few more benefits of having a blog on your website:

  • With the use of a blog, you create a personal communication channel to your clients and visitors; building relationships and an open forum for discussion.  The ability to discuss upcoming and/or current industry trends will keep your clients informed about changes in the industry and how it could affect them; building customer loyalty and trust.
  • Build credibility and a good reputation with your visitors by offering them information on how your products and services can improve their life; without the pressure of sales.
  • Having a blog provides you with the opportunity to provide education-based marketing that will help establish your online brand as an authority in your industry.
  • Every blog article adds another internal link to your website that will help with your Search Engine Optimization efforts.  In addition to the increase of internal links, blog posts give search engines a steady stream of new keyword-rich content. This in turn will help increase your search engine ranking; bringing more traffic to your website.
  • Creating articles will provide you with the opportunity for other websites to link to your blog article as a source of information; creating more external links to your website which will increase web traffic and once again increasing your search engine ranking.
  • Studies show that websites that create at least 20 blog posts a month see up to 4x more leads than companies that do not use a blog.
  • With the increased popularity of Facebook and twitter, social media has become a very useful tool for businesses to build relationships with their current and prospective customers.  Blogs allow you to integrate into these social media websites and eliminate the need to post on each individual site. By configuring your blog this way it allows you to post an article in one central location and automatically distribute that article to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

The benefits of having a blog are huge and can give you a significant competitive advantage. The good news is that you don’t need a brand new website in order to have a blog. It’s quite easy to add a blog to your existing website without compromising the “look and feel”  of your design. If you’re in the market for a new website or are considering a re-design of your existing website, and you are unsure about adding a blog, be sure to consider these benefits when making your decision.

Does your website work?


Sure your website is online and running, but does it work?

In our opinion, a website should be doing one of two things (if not both): make you money by generating leads, or save you money by making your operations more efficient. When looking at your website with these two components in mind, is your website working? Our philosophy is to make your website an investment; not an expense.

 

Making you money: Lead generation is the name of the game. Whether you are using Organic SEO to move your website to the first page of search results or whether you are implementing a Pay-Per-Click advertising campaign, the key objective is to attract qualified leads. Once you have the lead, your website needs to be structured in such a way that will help convert the lead into a sale or, at the very least, qualify them further into a hot lead.

In addition, if you have considered implementing a “drip marketing” campaign, it’s important to have a strategy that will build-up your “prospects” database that will enable you to provide education-based marketing techniques such as frequent newsletters, whitepapers, and auto-responders.

 

Saving you money: If you were able to save time by becoming more efficient in your operations, resulting in higher profits and greater savings, would you do it? Many people would, some wouldn’t, but a lot of them don’t know how. If you manage the operations of your business using spreadsheets or off-the-shelf commercial software, we can help you become more efficient by create a web application that is tailor-made for your business. Imagine how nice life would be if you could manage your entire operations online, in a centralized location, and have the ability to instantly track and report on various projects/jobs/tasks.

If you would like to learn more about any of the topics discussed, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We want to make sure that you are well-informed of all of the capabilities a website can bring to your business. Most importantly, we want to make sure that you have a website that works.

Do you have an online strategy?


If searchers can’t find you online they will find your competitors.

Tell me, what is the purpose of your website? Is it purely informational or do you want people to find you on search engines? What keywords are you targeting? Is your website optimized around those keywords? Is your website designed with “calls to action” to convert leads into customers? The list goes on.

The point here is that having a website just isn’t enough. If you want to be on the first page of Google and outsell your competitors, having an online strategy is critical to the success of your overall business plan and marketing efforts.

Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a phone call or face-to-face meeting and we can discuss some strategies that will take your website to the next level.

Why coding standards are important


Categories: Web Design

A perfect axiom of coding standards is summed up by “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sure the website may look great on the outside to the average visitor, but under the hood can tell a very different story. The underlying code, when following “best practice” coding standards, is quite easy to work with especially when a customer would like to expand the features of their website. Unfortunately, in our experience, many web designers don’t follow any coding standards and it is a nightmare to maintain, which ends up costing the customer more time and money.

As a business owner or manager who is looking for a website, make sure to ask the company if they follow any specific coding standards such as W3C. Making sure that your website follows best practice coding standards will help make your website more accessible to many different web browsers and devices, but more importantly, it will help insure that your future maintenance costs are minimal. In addition, if you ever fire your existing web provider and hire someone new to take over, the new company has to understand and work with the code, so if it’s terrible code it will take them longer to update your site and cost you more money, however, if your website is written with coding standards that are easy to read and understand, the new company will be off to the races in no time.

Here at Oracast we employ best practice coding standards to ensure that your website will look great and function properly in all major web browsers, and help minimize your maintenance cost by providing quicker and easier maintenance implementations. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

Defining Your Web Strategy


Have you actually thought about incorporating your website with your marketing strategies? If you have then you are one of the few business owners that actually does. Most companies realize that they need a website, but even today, a large majority of business owners don’t really understand the true power of the web, and very few have a solid web strategy defined for their company.

Your web strategy must blend with your overall business strategy, and it must define how your business is going to leverage the Internet to improve your bottom line. This could be a web application that performs a specific business function, like a document repository or a centralized customer database, or simply an informational website that you use to market your business to the world. The key to defining your web strategy is to look at each of your business processes and examine how web technology will be used to service your customers and business. Ask yourself these questions before talking to your web company:

  • Who are my ONLINE competitors?
  • What do they do well online, and what are they missing that I can capitalize on?
  • Who is my target market?
  • What is my message to my customers?
  • How can I leverage my offline marketing efforts to drive traffic to my website?
  • Do I need traffic from Search Engines?

A website should compliment your business sales and marketing efforts, improve efficiency and effectiveness of business processes, provide customer support, and much more. It all starts with defining your web strategy and working with a web company that will help you through the process.