• 0 Can You Still Grow Your Business During COVID-19 Shutdown?

    Yes, you can! There are several actions you can take to manage, improve, and grow your business from home during the COVID-19 business shut down. During the current COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses are closed and/or not able to perform their daily operations as normal. This obviously makes it quite difficult for small businesses to continue doing business as usual. However, this could be a good opportunity for businesses to focus on important areas of their business that may be neglected when operations are in full swing. Generally, small businesses have too much work and not enough time or personnel to accomplish everything. Taking advantage of this time to make improvements to your business online will surly benefit your business and your customers. Customer Engagement on Social Media Just about everyone is spending more time at home during the current crisis, so what are they doing? They’re getting on the internet. This presents the perfect opportunity for your business to engage your customers on social media. There are various ways to engage your customers through social media. If you are offering online orders or curb-side service, you can offer a sales promo.  You can run a contest asking for your customers to post a picture or video of themselves engaged with your product and offer an incentive for doing so. Posting consistent updates to social media and replying to each comment establishes your brand personality and makes it easier for customers to make a connection with your brand. In the fast-food industry, Wendy’s does an excellent job of creating a fun and playful personality by making witty comments and jabs at other fast-food restaurants. If you have a service based business and unable to operate at this time, such as interior designing, hair salon, photography, etc., social media can still prove to be a valuable tool during this time to engage with your customers.  You can post instructional, or how-to, videos on quick room decorating ideas, maintaining your hair coloring, utilizing natural lighting for photos, etc.  These types of videos can be very beneficial for potential customers and could make them more inclined to choose your brand in the future.  Eventually, you will be able to continue your business as usual. Interacting with customers during this down time will build a relationship with them and keep your business at top-of-mind for when your services are available once again. Update your Website Small businesses often create their website and don’t make regular changes or updates because they simply don’t have the time. Now is the perfect opportunity to update your website and improve your users’ experience. This is especially important since most purchases and interactions with your business are done online. You should ensure that the navigation of your website is user-friendly and it’s easy for customers to find what they are looking for. It’s also a good idea to consider new design features. Website design trends are constantly changing, and outdated designs are unappealing to customers. Update your website design to appeal to the current trends and your customers will have a better experience on your site. Take a gander at our Above the Fold blog to learn more about current web design trends. Improve your SEO While you’re updating your website, you should keep search engine optimization in mind. Optimizing your website for search engines will improve your website’s visibility and make it easier for potential customers to find your products and services. To optimize your site there are several things to consider. Popular keywords can change frequently based on what people are searching for on search engines. Updating the keywords in your page titles and in the content of your pages will allow your website to appear more frequently in search engine results. Updating the meta descriptions on your website pages is also a good idea. This is the description that will appear on a search engine results page (SERP) and gives the viewer an idea of what your page is about. Google only allows a certain amount of space, based on pixels, to show a description. Since the amount of space is measured in pixels, it is difficult to determine exactly how many characters Google will show (some characters take up more pixels than others). This means that to ensure your most important information and keywords are visible to your viewers, they should be written in the beginning of your descriptions. Learn more about optimizing your SEO with Instagram and Google My Business. BONUS:  Free SEO Report Learn from your Customers Learning from your customers is another great way to improve your business and customer service. Customer reviews are the best means of learning from your customers. If you haven’t had the time to look at your business’s customer reviews, now is the time to do so. From reviews, you can learn what your business has been doing well and where you could make improvements. Customer service is very important for small businesses, because generally they see a much smaller customer base than large corporations and depend on returning customers. Looking at your reviews, you may notice a common problem that many of your customers are experiencing. If the problem can be fixed, your customers will be more satisfied with your business and more likely to make a purchase. Even if the problem isn’t fixed immediately or can’t be fixed it’s best to respond to all reviews to show other potential customers reading the reviews that you are making an attempt to improve and satisfy your customers. Learn more about increasing your website’s visibility with customer reviews. Explore New Tools There are numerous free tools available that can help improve your business. The problem with many of these tools, however, is that there is a bit of a learning curve to use them effectively. Many of these tools are ignored because business owners don’t have the time to learn them. Social media is one tool that all businesses should know and understand. There are various channels of social media to choose from, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Your business may already have a Facebook page but nothing else. You now have the opportunity to explore and expand to new social media channels and increase your reach to a new audience. Many social media channels also offer paid advertising for businesses. This feature is also often overlooked by small businesses that are short on time but could be worthwhile to explore the possibilities and opportunities of social media marketing. There are also various free analytics tools that can help you improve your website SEO and digital marketing strategy. Google Analytics is a free tool for businesses and provides helpful data about your website traffic, target audiences and can even be used to monitor ad campaigns. Getting to know and understand these analytics will help you make improvements to your website for usability, target specific audiences more effectively, and get the most out of your ad campaigns. Visit our Free Tools blog for more free tools that can help you improve your website. Conclusion Although this time of business closures and social distancing is challenging, it can be a great opportunity for small businesses to improve and update their operations. Eventually, everything will return to normal, but for now, it is best to make as many improvements to your business as possible and connect with your customers.

  • 0 Above the Fold is Important to Your Website

    “Above the fold” is a term that often refers to the top of a newspaper and is generally the most interesting or exciting topic in the entire paper. This is designed to attract the reader’s attention and get them to purchase the newspaper. Due to the advancement of technology, this term has evolved and now applies to website design. The above the fold section of your website is the section that a viewer will see immediately upon viewing your site before they begin to scroll down. Just like the front-page article of a newspaper, the above the fold section of your website should be interesting enough to attract the attention of your viewers. Importance of the Fold The above the fold section of your website is one of the most important sections on your website. This will be the first thing anyone who visits your site will see, so it should be attractive and provide a positive first impression for your viewers. For B2B businesses, this section is a great place for a call to action. Businesses with a call to action above the fold generally generate more leads and tend to have higher conversion rates than businesses that do not. Where is the Fold? The section above the fold is impossible to measure exactly. The size of this section varies depending on the size of the screen and the device the viewer is using to view the site. In a best-case scenario with an average desktop screen size, the section is approximately 1,000 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall. This would mean that the window is maximized and there are no toolbars installed that would push the content downward. Using certain analytics, such as Google Analytics, you will be able to see which devices many of your viewers are using to access your site and adjust your design accordingly. Mobile Considerations The majority of today’s online traffic comes from mobile devices. This must be taken into consideration when designing any aspect of a website but is especially important for the above the fold section. Since this is what your viewers will see immediately upon loading your site, it is a major deciding factor for the viewer to continue viewing or to leave your site. Most mobile viewers use their mobile device in portrait mode rather than landscape mode to search the internet. This means that your webpage will be turned sideways in order to fit to the screen. This could cause many different problems in your website content if it is not properly designed. This could contribute to a high bounce rate if many of your viewers are attempting to view your site on mobile and the content of your page above the fold does not appear properly. Designing Above the Fold Content When designing your above the fold content there are several considerations that you should account for. Many viewers make the decision to continue or leave a site within seconds, so they should be able to get a general idea of what your business is and what products/services you have to offer almost immediately. First, you should be sure to include a company logo so your viewers immediately see a recognizable logo and can easily determine that they have reached the correct site. This will also reinforce your brand image. Along with your company logo, there should also be a navigation menu that makes it easy for your viewers to find what they are looking for on your website. Another very important consideration is an image. The image above the fold will be one of the first things that catches a viewer’s eye, so it should be attractive enough to keep the viewer’s attention. You should also include an effective headline and some content that encourages the viewer to continue to view your website. A call to action could also be included above the fold and could potentially increase your lead generation. Lastly, your above the fold design should be unique. It is a good practice to look at competitors’ web design to differentiate yourself and make your website stand out. Testing Your Design Testing of your design can be done through A/B testing. A/B testing is a comparison between two different versions of the same page. In this case, you would be comparing two different versions of your above the fold content. The changes you make could be as simple as rewording a header or changing your main image, or they could be a complete redesign of the page. Once both designs are completed it is time to test them. Design A will serve as the control and Design B is the variance. Using a tool such as Google Analytics, monitor data such as bounce rate and session duration for a set period and then switch to Design B for the same period. Then, compare the results from the analytics to determine which design had more success. Conclusion Your above the fold content can be make-or-break for your website. If your content above the fold does not attract enough attention within the first few seconds of viewing, it is likely that the rest of your site won’t be viewed at all. Always be sure to keep mobile devices in mind while designing your above the fold content (as well as the rest of your website). Once you have a design for your above the fold content, be sure to refine it with A/B testing for the best possible results.

  • 0 Free Tools to Improve SEO

      Search engine optimization can seem like a daunting task.  There are many components of SEO that factor into your ranking on search engines.  The challenge is to figure out how to find your website SEO and ranking information.  Thankfully there are many free tools available that provide analytics, reports, charts, and information about your website.  There are many free tools available, but these are our personal picks to help you better understand your SEO and track your rankings. Google Analytics Google Analytics is a great tool to provide you with valuable information about your website. From the homepage of Google Analytics, you will be able to monitor the number of users on your site, your website’s bounce rate and the average session duration on your site. Under the Audience tab, Google Analytics shows a more in-depth view of who is viewing your site. Here you will see what pages of your website your viewers are looking at. You can also find what devices your viewers are using to access your website (desktop, tablet, or mobile). If you have a high bounce rate and many of your viewers are attempting to access your website via mobile devices, it could mean that your website is not mobile-friendly, and it is difficult for mobile users to navigate your site. Google Analytics also shows the location of all your viewers, so you will be able to see where all of your potential customers are. This is valuable information for a local and expanding businesses to ensure that they their target audience is responding to any marketing efforts. In the Acquisitions tab of Google Analytics, you will be able to find information about where your website traffic is coming from. Website traffic comes from one of four sources: direct (from URL), organic (from search engines), referral (from external link), or social (from social media). With Google Analytics you can see how your viewers are finding your website. Google Trends Google Trends is another free Google tool that helps you choose the best keywords to use on your website. Google Trends allows you to compare up to five different terms to see which terms are the most popular. For example, if your business sells t-shirts you could use Google Trends to compare the terms “t-shirt”, “tshirt”, “shirt”. You will find that the term “shirts” receives many more searches than “tshirt” or “t-shirt”. This is helpful when selecting which keywords to use on your website to attract more traffic. Search Console Search Console is yet another free tool from Google. This tool will provide you with more information about your website traffic. This tool will provide you with the total clicks and total impressions that your website has had over a given time. The Queries tab on Search Console shows what searchers have typed into search engines to find your business, how many times your business has appeared in the results and how many times your link has been clicked. Search Console also shows this data by country, by device, by date, and for individual pages on your website. SEM Rush SEM Rush offers a free site audit that can be used to determine the health of your website. The site audit will provide you with errors, warnings and notices about your site. These reports will show you any errors on your page and help you to fix them. For each error, SEM Rush provides a “why and how to fix” button. This will explain why the error is occurring and what you should do to solve the problem. Screaming Frog Screaming Frog is a website spider that crawls websites and pulls information such as title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, and much more. The free version of Screaming Frog allows you to crawl up to 500 pages on a website. This tool works well when used along with the SEM Rush site audit. You will be able to find errors on your page from the SEM Rush site audit and verify these errors with Screaming Frog to better understand the issues. Screaming Frog also gives the option to display a search engine snippet. This is what your link will look like when it appears on a Google search. It is useful to see how much of your title and description will be visible on Google. If your description is too long and your important information does not appear until the end of your description, a viewer may not be able to see it when they search for your business. Moz Moz is a useful tool that provides information on your website’s SEO ranking. With a free account, Moz provides your domain authority and page authority. Domain authority ranked on a 0-100 scale with 100 being the best. The higher your domain authority, the higher your website ranks on search engines. Page authority works the same way, except it is for a specific page on your website. Keep in mind, however, that your domain authority on Moz could differ from your actual Google score. Moz domain authority only considers 40 different factors when calculating your websites domain authority, but Google factors in much more. Moz also displays your top-ranking keywords. These are the keywords that are attracting the most traffic to your site. Conclusion SEO needs to be monitored consistently to be effective.  Keyword rankings and SEO requirements change frequently based on various factors such as trends, your competitor’s SEO initiatives, and search engine algorithm changes.  While these free tools will provide valuable insight and information, some are still limited in the information they provide.  Some businesses may decide to work with an outside company to provide SEO consultation and services due to the lack of resources or personnel.  SEO companies have the resources and knowledge to assist you in reviewing your current SEO and can assist you in developing a plan to achieve your SEO goals for better rankings on search engines. Many businesses find working with an SEO company is worth the investment as better rankings provide more business and more customers.

  • 0 Create a First Impression with Web Design

    Website design is a feature often overlooked by businesses. It is, however, very important in forming a first impression on your customers. Your website will most likely the first interaction a new customer has with your business and will be how they form their first impression of your business. Your web design is what determines if a viewer engages with your site and becomes a potential lead or leaves your site and takes their business elsewhere.   Importance of Web Design Studies show that it takes a viewer just 50 milliseconds to generate a first impression of a web page. Many viewers of your site will use your site’s design as a way to judge your business’s credibility. If your website is poorly designed, difficult to navigate, or out of date a viewer might think twice about the credibility of your business. An effective web design will build trust for your viewers. With a well-designed website that is easy to navigate a viewer will feel confident in the quality of your business and feel more inclined to purchase your product or service. In addition, your web design will influence how your customers perceive your business’s customer service. If a potential customer sees that you haven’t put effort into your website design, they may feel that you won’t put effort into your customer service.   A Good First Impression To create a positive first impression on your viewers it’s important to focus on the “above the fold” section of your webpage. This is the section of your homepage that a viewer will see immediately upon arriving at your website before they start scrolling. This section should contain your company logo so that the viewer knows immediately that they’ve arrived at the right site. This is also a good place for a captivating image to catch your viewers’ attention. The viewer should also be able to get a general idea of what your business offers within the first few seconds of viewing your page. Differentiation is another great way to create a positive first impression. If your website looks very similar to all of your competitors, it may seem dull and boring. Your site should stand out from the competition and be its own unique design.   Build A Solid Web Design There are many components that go in to creating a great web design. The colors of your website are one of the first components of your website that a viewer will notice. Too much white space is boring and unattractive, but too much color is busy and distracting. It’s best to choose a color scheme of 2 or 3 colors that aligns with your brand to use on your website. Your navigation menu will probably be the next component a viewer will notice. Your viewers will be using your navigation menu to find what they are looking for on your site, so it should be straight-forward and easy for them to use. The written content of your page will also be noticed very quickly. Although the content itself is important for search engine optimization and to educate your viewers, the design of your content is important to attract their interest. Try to avoid writing a novel on your webpage. On the other hand, you don’t want to have too little text on your page. It’s important to find a balance in the amount of content you write. Also, be sure that the color of your text is easy to read against the background and that the size of the text is appropriate and isn’t too small for your viewers to read.   Take a gander at these two website designs. Does one look more visually appealing than the other?                     Conclusion Website design is crucial for creating a first impression on your viewers. Viewers will make judgements about your business very quickly based upon the design of your website. Differentiating your website from your competition is a good way to separate yourself from the common rabble. Designing an attractive and functioning website is a must to build trust and credibility for your business.

  • 0 Increase Visibility with Customer Reviews

    You most likely purchase products or services from a favorite brand you trust on a regular basis.  It may be your favorite brand of potato chips, a certain brand of shoes, or maybe even a brand of coffee that you just can’t get enough of. But what if you decide to purchase a new product or a brand that you’re not familiar with? You will most likely do some research and look at some customer reviews online before you make your decision. Other customers’ opinions and experiences will affect your decision to make a purchase, just as they affect other customers in the process of making the same decision.Importance of ReviewsGoogle support states: “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.” *Customer reviews are critically important for online visibility, customer engagement and building a reputation for your brand online. In 2019, 97% of consumers used online reviews to choose which local businesses they bought their products and services from, and trends over the previous year’s indicate this percentage may grow even larger in 2020. What customers are saying about your products or services online is important to capture new sales and grow your business. Frequent positive reviews will reinforce your brand’s image and encourage customers to make a purchase.  Replying to Customer ReviewsResponding to your customer reviews is a must. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business, product, or service. Regardless if the review is positive or negative, a timely response will vastly boost your customer engagement. Responding to your negative reviews shows customers that you are invested in their interests and are willing to address their concerns. A ReveiwTrackers study from 2018 shows that 53% of customers expect a reply within 7 days of their post, so be sure to keep up with your replies.Negative Reviews Unfortunately, customers are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience with your business than with a positive one. However, the fear of negative reviews should not keep you from building your online reputation. Negative reviews are not necessarily a sign of bad business practices.  A customer could have a misunderstanding regarding your product or service.  You can mitigate the negative impact on your business from negative reviews by responding to them. Showing concern in the customer’s complaints and finding a solution to their problem will improve your business’s reputation and draw in more customers. You may remember the reinvention of Dominos’ Pizza in 2010. This was a campaign sparked by numerous negative customer reviews claiming that their pizza “tastes like cardboard” and was largely successful for the brand’s image due to Dominos’ response to the reviews.ConclusionCustomer reviews are one of the most important factors in building your visibility and reputation online and is growing in importance. A business or brand with no, or very little, reputation will see a loss of customers and sales.  Be sure to pay close attention to your customer reviews and respond to each review including positive ones, and mitigate the negative ones.* https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en

  • 0 Optimize Instagram for SEO

    Instagram accounts are notoriously difficult to index and display in the search results because they block search engines from indexing your Instagram images.  However, there are other ways to optimize your Instagram account for search engines and drive more traffic to your business website. We discovered a great article by Search Engine Watch that outlines the steps you need to take to get the most out of your Instagram account.  The following is the short version.  You can find the complete article with step-by-step instructions at https://searchenginewatch.com/optimize-instagram-account-search-enginesPublic ProfileThe first step in optimizing your Instagram account for your business is to make sure that the profile is set to public. This is to ensure that people can easily access your posts on your Instagram account.Profile SchemaSecondly, you want to set up your social profile schema.  Google allows you to use schema.org markup to tell them which social media accounts belong to you and will display them on the Google Knowledge panel.  You will need the assistance of your web developer to ensure this is set up properly. Keyword(s) In Your Instagram NameThe title tag for your Instagram account is automatically generated using your profile information.  “Including your primary target keyword under your profile name is the only way to get your most important keyword into your Instagram title tags”, says Manish Dudharejia of searchenginewatch.com. Specific and Keyword-Rich BioYour bio is meant to describe who you are right ? That’s the same thing you should do when developing your bio for your business Instagram account. Make sure to place those keyword(s) associated with the product or service that you offer so that your business Instagram page has a better chance of displaying in the search engine results (SERPs) page.  Your bio information is one of the few areas that is crawlable by search engines, so this is where a massive chunk of the optimization takes place.Your Image Caption Is Your Title TagYour image captions should be treated at title tags. Title tags have limitations on the amount of characters will be displayed in the SERPs.  Therefore, make sure your image captions contain keyword(s) in the beginning as the title tag will be cut off if it is too lengthy.Link to Your Instagram PostsYou cannot promote your individual Instagram posts by promoting only our Instagram page.  Whenever you cross promote on other social media platforms, be sure to provide a link directly to your Instagram post(s). This can lead to a higher conversion rate for any of the promotions you post on Instagram. Contact us if you have any questions about this article. 

  • 0 Enhance Local SEO with Google My Business

    Looking for a free, easy way to enhance your local SEO ranking?  Google My Business. Google My Business (GMB) is an SEO tool that is beneficial when utilized to its fullest potential. SEO is important because it is the implementation of your keyword(s) or what product or service that you offer so when a person searches for a product or service that you offer, you’re ranked highest.  GMB has many features you can incorporate as part of  your Local SEO marketing plan. Description What good is having an existing business and people don’t know what products or service that you offer? On your GMB account you can write an up to 750-character description of your business. This is a handy tool for utilizing keywords for ranking.   Messaging Gogle My Business offers a neat customer service tool using messaging system so you can speak directly with potential customers. When a potential customer has a question, they can message you from their phone utilizing a messaging app you use or through the Google Allo app.  You can set up automated responses in case you are out of the office. Google Posts GMB has a posts tool which allows you to write posts with images, text, event titles, and call to action buttons. You can post about the daily or weekly specials deals you may have going on or promote things deemed necessary to your business. On mobile this is an efficient way to maximize your SEO and conversion rates because people can sign up or make a purchase from their devices.  Book Appointments You can now take bookings on Google My Business.  If you have a booking service provider GMB allows you to integrate it with your GMB account or you can use a URL or landing page.  A person can schedule an appointment right from their device. If you are using a partner service, GMB can give you financial insight to your booking statistics as well.   Q&A The GMB Q&A tool allows you to post Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to give a better understanding of your products or service. This can be beneficial as it possibly limits the number of messages that you receive that ask the same question. Small Thanks Reviews are very important when people search for a product or service. How many of us look up reviews prior to making that purchase? A neat feature that GMB has is the Small Thanks tool. Which allows you to use the highlighted reviews as posters to display on your brick and mortar store. The posters are free and are not limited to how many you can have. You can also export them for design campaigns or share them on social media. Be careful not to oversaturate your online social media accounts with only information about your company.  Check out these free tools at https://smallthanks.withgoogle.com/ Complete & Updated GMB Accounts are Vital to Local SEO It is reported that only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My business listing.  This number is shocking considering It is a free service to use.  An updated GMB account is an important part of your local search strategy as more and more people are turning to the Internet to make purchasing decisions.  Implementing and updating your GMB content will assist you in ranking higher in searches.  The GMB tool saves you time (easy to do), money (it’s free) and helps find new potential leads (local rankings) Have you claimed your Google My Business account?  If you need assistance or have questions, call or email us.

  • 0 The Push for Secure Sites

    Starting in July 2018, Google Chrome will start warning users if a site is not secure. Up to this point Chrome would display a neutral icon.  It will now have a very clear statement that an http site is not secure.  This will coincide with the rollout of Chrome 68, the latest version of the Chrome browser. What does this mean for your site? Google has been making the push to secure websites for quite some time.  They have even given incentives to https sites in rankings over http sites.  It isn’t a significant push, but one none-the-less.  Google hasn’t come out and stated they will ‘punish’ http websites but, they are giving preference to https sites, so one can argue they are ‘punishing’ http websites.In my opinion, the biggest concern is user perception. If a user is surfing with Chrome, lands on your site, sees “Not secure”, panic is likely to set in and the user will debate if he/she wishes to stay on your site.  Data security is the hottest issue right now as new stories break about data breaches and data mining of our personal data.   In my opinion (I do have a lot of them) it is worth the effort and money to ensure your users your website is secure.  The amount of effort and the cost is dependent upon the size and complexity of your website, and whether you can do this in-house or depend upon an outside company or firm to perform your IT functions.  Either way, it is a good investment to protect your site traffic and your users.How do you make your site HTTPS compliant?The process to make your site secure is through the use or purchase of an SSL.  SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication.  HTTPS encryption protects the channel between the browser and the website, ensuring no one in the middle can tamper with the traffic or spy on what the user is doing. Without that encryption, someone with access to your router or ISP could intercept information sent to websites or inject malware into otherwise legitimate pages.An SSL can be purchased through your host provider and installed by your IT department or provider.  There are some sites that offer free SSLs, however, not all host providers can accommodate them.  Others cost as little as $25 annually.  ResourcesThe best way to navigate through these changes is to understand the process.  The following articles provide in-depth reviews and information on the process of securing your website:A Comprehensive Guide to SSL Certificates HTTP to HTTPS: An SEO's Guide to Securing a WebsiteUsing the Mixed Content Audit Tool in Lighthouse Do NOT PanicIf this article has created panic, please allow me to assure you the process is not as daunting as it may seem.  When my neighbor explains how to repair my lawn mower by replacing the spark plug, I get that frozen-deer-in-headlights look.  While I may understand the words, I have no clue how to do what is required.  That doesn’t mean the task is impossible, expensive, or requires the planet to stop rotating … it only means I need to acquire the assistance of those who have the knowledge and understanding to

  • 0 Is WordPress the Right Solution?

    WordPress has become a popular website building tool for small businesses and the web development community.  While we understand the appeal of WordPress, it is not our ‘go-to’ for web site development within our firm and it is not a solution that we recommend for every business. There are a few factors to consider when deciding to use this platform in building your website. Many in our industry boast of its ease of use in not having to know coding or have technical training to implement a WordPress website.  Those statements are misleading and somewhat untrue. Customization WordPress’s original design was for blogs.  Additional customization will require what is referred to as plug-ins.  These are add-on components for your site to incorporate a certain layout, calendar, online catalogs, e-commerce, event listings, and so forth.  The more you want on your site, the more plugins will be required.  You will then need to configure these plug-ins to flow within your website. Configuring basic functionality is not an issue.  However, not all basic customization will meet your needs.  If you desire more customization such as font styles, colors, sizes, etc, you will need to understand web file structures and coding to customize the plug-ins. If you do not have anyone to assist you with customizing your website, then the only other place to look for answers would be with online tutorials and YouTube because there is no official support team to turn to for help. Chances are that as a beginner you will have to learn yourself. There are thousands of tutorials online made by other users of WordPress; however, those tutorials may be outdated or incorrect due to WordPress changing so frequently. Database Functions As stated previously, WordPress was created for blog sites.  This system was not originally intended to house database functions such as catalogs, e-commerce, listings, etc.  While smaller databases are not an issue, the more your database grows the more you risk how well your site functions when queries are made on your site. Site visitors could experience a slow response or receive errors on your page. In today’s mobile environment the speed in which your site loads and functions is important.  Google has recently released their new speed test tool to rate your site’s loading time.  This was not done completely out of good will.  Google will now be using speed in determining search engine result placement. Frequent Updates Being that it is an open-source project, with lots of developers working on it, WordPress releases updates frequently to ‘plug in’ some of the holes. These updates can include theme or plugin updates. When these updates roll out, all your plugins or themes need to be updated. Otherwise they will break on your site, which is why you must always make a backup and test all the new features before updating the live site. Small business owners may not have the time, money, or knowledge to deal with these situations. Security and Vulnerability to Hacking Because WordPress is the most used CMS platform, it is regularly a target for hackers and spammers. Even downloading the most reliable security plugins will not protect your website from hackers and spammers completely. If your website is a web platform with thousands of users, security is of vital importance, because any vulnerability can affect the users and bring negative credibility to your website.      Conclusion WordPress is a very popular platform due to its simplicity and is a great solution for blogs; however, if you want to develop a powerful, secure and functional website, WordPress is not the optimal solution. Instead of spending extra time and money fixing the WordPress based website, hire a professional team of developers who will make your dream website.      Sources: https://jpwdesignstudio.com/blog/heres-7-reasons-why-you-should-not-use-wordpress-for-your-small-business-website https://www.beunanimous.com/unanimous-blog/you-deserve-better-wordpress https://www.nikpixels.co.uk/blog/why-you-maybe-shouldnt-have-a-wordpress-site-built https://ministrywebsitedesigns.com/no-wordpress-for-church-websites/ https://jpwdesignstudio.com/blog/heres-7-reasons-why-you-should-not-use-wordpress-for-your-small-business-website  

  • 0 Why You Should Diversify Your Digital Marketing

    I’m sure many people have heard of the popular idiom “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. The concept is easy to understand. For stocks as an example, you wouldn’t put all your money into one stock because it would take just one turn of event for all your money to be gone. That’s why you learn to diversify. Digital marketing is the same thing. To be effective with digital marketing, you need to diversify and not put all your eggs in one basket. That way you reduce your risk and extend your reach at the same time. Think about it. If you were dependent on Facebook for 80 percent of your leads, what would happen if Facebook suddenly decided to tweak its platform? You would lose control over your brand and business. If your single platform goes through major changes, it can impact your digital marketing success. This is happening to Facebook right now. Not only is Facebook dealing with the backlash of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and many of its users protesting or leaving, but Facebook is also changing its News Feed. Mark Zuckerberg said “you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people”. This means that Facebook users will expect to see more content from their friends and family instead of businesses, brands, and media. Businesses that heavily relied on Facebook as a tool to market themselves will likely have to double down on buying ads since it will be more difficult to ensure a post gets seen outside of paying for it. Outside from changes to the News Feed, Facebook is also anticipating people spending less time on its site. Zuckerberg said that people are devoting 50 million fewer hours a day to the social network, which comes out to two minutes per person on average out of the 1.4 billion daily users. According to AdAge, Facebook could be suffering from fatigue among users, who have been put off by the daily political conversations. An argument could be made that a handful of companies ruined this powerful digital marketing tool for everyone else; however, you can’t argue that businesses that diversified are less hurt by Facebook’s changes. Many businesses did not anticipate these changes for Facebook; however, this could happen to any platform. Digital marketing platforms such as email marketing, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many more are all susceptible to changes. The best practice for marketers is to utilize multiple platforms to minimize risks to your marketing. With so many other marketing platforms, it would be a missed opportunity to not branch out to other options. Email marketing for example is a great tool to use to market your business. When you post on social media there is no way of knowing if your target customer is even seeing your content; however, sending the target customer an email ensures they will see it the next time they check their email. Using multiple digital marketing channels simultaneously will generate more success than just funneling content through one. Using only one digital marketing platform to market your business is like playing Russian roulette. Diversify your digital marketing and have less risks.      Sources: http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-reveals-plans-change-news-feed/312184/https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/technology/facebook-news-feed-changes.html