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Is your website dated?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As we discussed in our last post, a stand alone website is a must. So, if you already have one then you are on your way to keeping your business online and ahead of your competitors. With all the other things you have to do in running your business on a daily basis, your website and social media marketing may end up being neglected. Websites can get costly, so how can you determine when it needs an update? Here are three helpful hints:

1. Your website relies on Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash

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In the 2000s, Macromedia Flash dominated the web landscape, and was the tool of choice for delivering video, audio, and in browser games. It allowed for some great menu animations, effects, and just all around eye candy that HTML could not deliver at the time. Fast forward to 2014, and Flash (now an Adobe product) is on its last legs. HTML5, CSS and Javascript have been extended so far that they can now provide much of what Flash was able to. HTML5 is leaner, runs on multiple devices, and all around performs better. Just remember, if you rely too much on Flash, you will be cutting out iPhone and iPad users, as Apple does not support Flash on its products – and we all now that is a huge part of the market.

2. Your content is getting difficult to manage (WordPress anyone?)

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Many great sites are built only in HTML, or frameworks like codeIgnitor. If you have an older site that is just a collection of a bunch of HTML files, managing it is probably a nightmare. One of the best trends that the 2010s gave website owners are Content Management Systems (CMSs). Do you have a website with tons of pages, blog posts, images, product listings or other items that have just become too many and too difficult to manage? Great solutions like WordPress (which powers this very site) make it easy to add or update pages, blog posts, and other types of content. Not only that, but if you want to give your site a new look, just find the right theme and you are good to go. Need to add more functions like contact forms, newsletter, or social media integration? WordPress has tons of plugins that can add new features instantly. For any small business without complex technology needs, a solution like WordPress is a must.

3. Your website just doesn’t work on a smartphone or tablet

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Every day, more and more web searches happen via mobile devices. If your site cannot accommodate smartphone and tablet users, you have just lost a significant part of the market. If a user cannot view your website on a mobile device, their next search is likely going to take them to a competitor.
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Think that you might be in trouble? Don’t sweat, a website upgrade can be painless. Google always has a collection of great insights, and if you are stuck, get in touch and let us put together a solution for you.[/vc_column_text]

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Do I need a responsive website?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On April 21st, 2015, Google updated its dreaded search rank algorithms. This means that it’s criteria for determining which websites are shown at the top of rankings was drastically altered. What does this mobilegeddon mean for small business owners? It means that if your website is not responsive – i.e. does not display well and clearly on smartphones and tablets, then you are in big, big trouble for three key reasons.
[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][qodef_blockquote text=”If your web presence is not responsive, then you are already on Google’s naughty list.”][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text]1. The web is going has gone mobile.

Each day there are more mobile users. The web is no longer a tool limited to computers, and it won’t take long until mobile devices are the predominant way to access information online. Smartphones are easier to use than PCs, cheaper, and growing at astonishing rates in emerging markets. In short, mobile is not just some fad that will go away.

2. We love our phones.

Sure, some of you reading this may decide that you hate being perma-connected, but for the most part we love carrying around Google Maps, checking facebook on the go, sending the occassional E-Mail (even though to the younger generation it seems archaic), sending texts if we need to, and some of us even use smartphones to make phonecalls (yes, I was born before the 1980s). With all of this convenience and functionality, it’s no wonder that smartphones are not going away.

3. Google will punish has started to punish you if you are not mobile friendly.

Like it or not, and whether your visitors use mobile devices or not (which they most than likely all do), this has already happened. If your web presence is not responsive, then you are on Google’s naughty list, just waiting for one of your competitors to overtake you. This is not a good place to be, but can be overcome.

Not sure how responsive your site is? Still have questions or need help? Contact us for a free consultation.

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Do I need a Social Media plan?


“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Do I need a social media plan?
Social Media has created a marketing revolution. As little as 10 years ago, digital marketing depended on early viral content, E-Mail marketing and advertising that bridged print and the web. It was a completely different world, and fortunately, we now have great tools like twitter, facebook, Google+, instagram, and more. These tools allow even the smallest of businesses, and NGO/non-profit organizations with limited resources to reach a global audience. So, just open your accounts, tweet when you have time, and the dollars will roll in, right?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Like any marketing or business activity, Social Media requires a well thought out, strategic, and consistent approach. If you’ve asked yourself do I need a Social Media plan? then at least you are on the right path. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when formulating your plan:

1. Not all social media are created equal.

What do you really want to achieve with your social media campaign? Of course we all want to sell something – it could be Comic books, the feel-good that donating to a good cause provides, or the latest gadget. But remember, each social media does something a little bit different, so try and think of your goals (which should lead to increased sales when done properly) as the following:

i) Engage and create more local followers: try facebook. facebook is an excellent way to engage local customers through targeted content and ads. You won’t be restricted to 140 characters, so you can tell your story in greater detail. Just remember to view your post on a smartphone. If it doesn’t fit on one screen, it’s probably too long.

ii) Reach a wider audience within a narrow window: try twitter. twitter is very much in the now. One day you get retweeted by Hulk Hogan, and the next you are in obscurity. Make everyone of your 140 characters count, always add a picture, and don’t overdo hashtags.

iii) Keep the sleeping giant happy: have a presence on Google+. Google is the undisputed global search leader and is always creating exciting new things. Google fundamentally understands the Internet, and will not allow itself to fall behind in the social media game. Google+ helps with your SEO, and in many ways blends the best of facebook and twitter together. Sure, everyone’s top of mind social media is facebook, but consider the potentially higher engagement of Google+. If I have 700 facebook friends and 100 Google+ friends, there is a far better chance that I will read your Google+ content.

iv) Tell your story in pictures: instagram or Pinterest. instagram and Pinterest are amazing visual mediums for storytelling. Some of us simply think in pictures instead of words, and when teaching or presenting information, it is are more likely that your audience will retain images over words. While I think that I may be a bit shallow, my designer friends remind me that we simply appreciate good, attractive imagery.

v) Reach another business or groups of professionals: LinkedIn. Hands down, LinkedIn is your B2B social media of choice, and is a great way to engage other professionals given that 81% of LinkedIn user belong to 1 or more groups. If your target audience is another business, or a group of professionals (say, accountants), then you must take time to post to LinkedIn. As a rule of thumb, if you want to reach 60% of your LinkedIn network, you need at least 20 quality posts per month.

2. Set aside time each day for social media, including blogging – and know what you will write about.

Social Media needs to become a habit. You wouldn’t stop selling, just because you are too busy, so don’t stop marketing! Social Media has become a must for any company; if you don’t have some kind of facebook presence, people will ask questions. You need to have a consistent presence to see any kind of payoff. Even if you can start with 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you will start to see results. This is one of the key components of your plan, the other is knowing what you will write about. Are you running a special? Looking for newsletter signups? Have a free trial going on? Whatever it is, you need to have some kind of focus for your social media plan. Use monthly or quarterly themes to stay on track, and try and write at least 2, 300 word plus blog posts a month. Remember, your content should always be unique (no copy and pasting!) and be sincere.

Social Media Management - You are too busy, let us help!

3. Set aside the proper resources.

It takes time and/or money to make money. At some point, you will need to buy Google AdWords or social media ads to really expand. Google AdWords can get pricey – for example ios app development – could clear $20 per click. This means that even if you don’t get a sale, someone clicking your add could be very costly. facebook can be a bit cheaper, and LinkedIn can represent a tremendous value. Just be sure to set a reasonable budget and measure your results! You need to know your ROI, and if it is worth investing more or looking at other opportunities.

Does this sound daunting? Don’t think you can make the time to grow your social media presence? Then hire someone. If you are not setting aside the proper time then you are really losing out. If you can’t find someone in your office to help out (or if you are an overburdened solopreneuer) then let us help.
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