How to Tell If Your Website Needs a Redesign


How to Tell If Your Website Needs a Redesign

Your website is more than the face of your business online – it is your 24/7 salesperson. So imagine if your salesperson was poorly groomed, lacked the tools and technology to properly represent your company to prospects, and couldn’t answer relevant questions or easily conduct transactions. You’d be looking for a new salesperson, right? Should your website fit this dismal description, consider redesigning it using today’s best practices to generate leads, improve conversion rates and nurture customer relationships.

7 Signs It’s Time for a Website Redesign

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1- Your website delivers a poor user experience – User experience (UX) is a critical factor in website design. A site that’s difficult to navigate, has slow load times or is too complex will lose visitors – most likely to your competitors. In fact, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience.

Other contributing factors to poor UX include broken links, outdated offers and a layout that isn’t optimized for the latest browsers. Links to pages that no longer exist and weren’t properly redirected is an all-too common offense. Poor shopping cart performance – as well as an overly-complex checkout protocol – on ecommerce sites is a common cause of user discontent.

Because it is sometimes hard to look at your own website objectively, put yourself in the place of your target audience. Identify their buyer personas – which will give you insight into their goals and behaviors – and think of what actions you want them to complete when visiting your site. Also, visit your competitors’ websites to see what features and functionalities they incorporate. If you see your site is lagging, your visitors will likely be fewer and farther between.

2- Your website appears outdated – In extreme cases, the web design in-joke, “1998 called – it wants its website back,” applies. But if you think you’re saving money by holding back on an update, consider the findings of Stanford University’s The Web Credibility Project, which reported that approximately 75% of people judge the credibility of your business based solely on the design of your website. That’s right – refusing to change with the times can actually cost your business in terms of lost customers, reduced sales/market share and an overall poor brand image.

3- Your website is not meeting the objectives of your business – Even if your website appears to be well-designed, it still may not result in the desired conversion rates (the sales funnel/customer journey from website visitor-to-lead-to customer). Review your site quarterly to see if it’s working toward your specific goals (for example, increased traffic, leads, etc.) It may be a matter of improving your landing pages and calls-to-action (CTA), or other conversion paths.

Considering that high conversion rates are desirable, a website that has high bounce rates (the number of visitors who leave your website after viewing just one page) and low conversion rates strongly indicates that a redesign is needed. Also, be sure that your website aligns with your current branding, value proposition and marketing and business strategies, as well as your product/service offerings.  

4- Your website is not ranking well in search engines – But let’s make this clear – we mean Google. The reasons may be numerous, yet interrelated. Perhaps your website wasn’t originally developed with search engine optimization (SEO) as a consideration, which is typical among amateur web designers (your brother-in-law, for example, who 'did it on the side' for you). However, the same often applies to advertising or marketing agencies that offer web design, but don’t specialize in it. Or the SEO that had been built into your website is outdated, as Google constantly changes its algorithms.

If your website was built with Flash, it definitely needs to be redesigned – immediately. Once very popular, Flash is unreadable by Google and other search engines – which means your site’s pages are, for all practical SEO purposes, invisible. Flash also is not supported on such devices as iPhones and iPads.

5-  Your website is not mobile-responsive – Consumers expect a seamless UX on all mobile devices. Period. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on leads and customers. According to Google, 61% of users are highly unlikely to return to a website that doesn’t work well on mobile, with 40% moving on to visit a competitor’s site.

WEB DESIGN

6- Your website’s content is poor quality – The content marketing adage, “Content is King” holds true. Visitors respond favorably to well-written copy and attractive photos and graphics. Landing pages should have a specific focus and CTA.

7- Are you blogging? If your website doesn’t include a blog, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to improve SEO, as Google rewards fresh content on websites with higher rankings! A blog also helps your business connect with readers and customers by giving them worthwhile information about your business and industry – and, in turn, builds customer relationships while helping to establish you as an expert or thought-leader.

Should any of the above situations apply to your website, leave your brother-in-law to his day job. Virtual Stacks Systems provides comprehensive website services that include redesign, website audit, company rebranding, content writing and digital marketing. With more than two decades of experience in the software industry, we know how to develop a successful online strategy. Contact us today to learn more.

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The State of B2B Content Marketing in 2018 – Long Live the King!


The State of B2B Content Marketing in 2018 – Long Live the King!

The adage “Content is King” has just been proven more true than ever. A newly released survey report, B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, reveals the effectiveness of content marketing in building audiences and businesses. The results are worth noting if your business is on the fence about launching a content marketing strategy, or committing more resources to your existing program.

The eighth annual survey was produced by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, and sponsored by online video platform Brightcove.

  

It was mailed to a sample of marketers using lists from CMI, MarketingProfs, Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA), WTWH Media, and Technology for Marketing (TFM).

Content Marketing By The Numbers

First significant finding: Content marketing is no longer a nice-to-have extra. The survey revealed an 18% year-over-year increase in respondents who said they’re focused on using content marketing to build their audience. Why? Because content marketing is a proven strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. In addition, nearly 65% of respondents said their overall content marketing success has increased compared with one year ago.

First eye-opening finding: 91% of B2B survey respondents said they use content marketing. Of the nonusers, 54% said they plan to launch a content marketing effort within 12 months.

Behind the numbers: Unlike the early days of content marketing, high-quality content that adds value to your business or brand makes a big difference. According to the survey, the major factor contributing to B2B marketers’ increased content marketing success over the last year was content creation (higher quality, more efficient) at 78%. Coming in second at 72% was strategy (development or adjustment).

Following the emphasis on quality, 74% of respondents agreed with the statement, “Our organization values creativity and craft in content creation and production.” The most agreed-with statement at 80% was, “Our organization is focused on building audiences (building one or more subscriber bases).” Also revealing were responses to how often B2B marketers consider various concepts while creating content. Ensuring that content is fact-based and/or credible was cited by 94% of respondents. Following in second and third place, respectively, was “Consider how our content impacts the overall experience a person has with our organization” at 72%, and “Prioritize delivering content quality over content quantity” at 70%.

Most Popular Content Marketing Types

What types of content did the survey respondents use for content marketing purposes? Social media posts – excluding videos – topped the list at 94%. However, long-form content, such as e-books and white papers (50%) and case studies (47%) placed ahead of social media posts (41%) when it came to the top three most effective types of content for helping their organization achieve specific objectives.

So how do organizations measure success? Analytics tools were identified by 87% of respondents for managing the effectiveness of content marketing efforts. Email marketing technology (email-focused) followed at 70%.

As further testimony to the power of content marketing, 38% of survey respondents expect their content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months.

On the other side of B2B enthusiasm for content marketing was the group of respondents that did not plan to develop a content marketing strategy within 12 months. The major reasons? A small team (67%) and lack of time (44%).

Although the survey did not explore this aspect, organizations that feel shut out of the great potential content marketing offers can work with a full-service digital marketing company to provide a complete content marketing strategy, and handle all aspects of content creation, posting, management and analytics. Even B2B organizations that are considering expanding their content marketing reach or want to free up internal resources can benefit from outsourcing.

Add Content To Your Marketing Strategy

Our experienced content marketing team at Virtual Stacks Systems knows the importance of producing high-quality content that’s relevant to your target audience and adds value to your business or brand at every step. Contact us today if you want to be among next year’s top performers!

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Proven SEO Techniques to Increase Website Traffic In 2018


SEO Techniques to Increase Traffic In 2018

When it comes to your business’s online presence, understanding the nuances of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the starting point of creating brand awareness and increasing your traffic.

Why is SEO Important?

• There are 3.5 billion searches on Google every day, and you can watch them climb at InternetLiveStats.com.

• According to Hubspot, 80% of website traffic starts with a search query

• 78% of Americans use the internet to research products and services before they make a purchase - Pew Research

• Two thirds of users never bother to go beyond the first page of results when using a search engine

• Local SEO is HUGE! 50% of consumers who perform a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day?  - Hubspot

Getting SEO right requires research, experimentation, and a devotion to staying up-to-date on constantly changing Google algorithms that require the help of a full time SEO professional. But for those interested in some tips and tricks from the pros, here are 8 important SEO techniques that will increase your rankings in the major search engines.

1. Increase your site speed – According to surveys, around 50% of web users want a website to load in two seconds or less, and because of this Google has made it clear that site speed is a primary factor in determining website rank. Google has launched several tools like Page Speed Tool and AMP, the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, that help improve the speed of your site.
Better site speed also improves your conversion rates, because 79% of individuals who shop on the internet won’t return to a site if they face website performance issues.Test Website Speed, Website Sped Checker, Best Web Design Company, Lake Mary Web Design Company, Orlando Web Design Agency, Local Web Design, Orlando Web Design Company, Lake Mary Web Design Company

To increase the speed of your site, use "internet friendly" images that are not oversized and need to size down to fit your template. Don’t overload your website with unnecessary information. Use a CDN (content delivery network), understand the intricacies of http requests, integrate Google AMP, try optimizing JS and CSS files and use caching to your advantage. A tool like GT Metrix can help you find errors that are slowing your website down, and provide tips in how to fix them.

2. Audit your siteDo you need a new website design? When you perform an SEO audit of your website, you look at the overall performance of your website to find insight into why your  SEO strategy isn’t working as well as it could, and how to fix it.

When completing your audit, look for the following things: all website pages are optimized with local and industry related keywords, all pages have meta titles and descriptions specific to that page, your URL structure is search engine friendly (keep it simple), and that you format all pages and blogs properly, use keywords for all images, and use a blend of internal and external links to form the foundation of a linking strategy. User experience is a big part of SEO, visit your website as a regular visitor would and navigate the pages. is everything easy to understand, are there broken links, does your cart load properly, does your facebook icon lead to twitter, or just Facebook.com and not your company page? Any issue that slows you down will slow down the average visitor even more, because they're not as familiar with your website as you are.

3. Build a more engaging website – The more people start engaging with your website, the better are your chances of performing well on the search engine ladder.
In a study conducted by Backlinko, which analyzed 1 million search results, it was found that there is a robust link between bounce rates and search rankings. The reason is simple, a site that ranks high on the user engagement metrics is bound to have some useful information that a search engine would want to push out as the best results.
To create a more engaging site, format your posts carefully so that people find it easy to read (short sentences and paragraphs with sub headings and bullet points), use a lot of related images, use inverted pyramid style for content, lower bounce rates as much as possible.

4.Utilize YouTubeAdd videos to your digital marketing plan! With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube is second only to Google in terms of search engine popularity.
Of all the keyword searches on Google, 55% of them have a minimum of one video, and more than 80% of all those videos come from YouTube.
For Google to pick up on your video content, you need to provide written description of the video, and summarize your videos through small blog posts so that Google finds it easy to comprehend and ranks your website higher. Also, longer videos with clear and strong video thumbnails fare best in search rankings.

5. Mobile friendly sites are best – Having a mobile friendly website means not only that your website can be viewed on mobile devices, but also that it looks good and is easy to use. mobile responsive website design, business spring cleaning, web design, Orlando website design, Lake Mary website design, Orlando WordPress design
In May of last year, Google updated their search algorithm to considerably increase organic search rankings for websites that are mobile friendly. Additionally, mobile devices now account for more than 60% of day-to-day searches and in the US almost half (45%) of all the ecommerce sales will occur using mobile devices by the year 2020.
The best way to test if your site is mobile friendly is by utilizing Google’s Mobile Testing Tool.

6. Create unique, quality content –Your content should be relevant, robust, unique, and high quality.

In a study conducted by Backlinko, the average site that made it to the first page of the Google search results contained 1, 890 words! So not only does the quality of your content matter, but the longer the content, the more keywords would be available within the content. And more keywords mean a higher search engine ranking.

7. Update old content – One way of increasing organic traffic to your site is to repurpose your old content. All those posts that have generated organic traffic for you in the past can be reused with some improvements.
Use Google Analytics to find out how your posts have been performing on the internet. Pick up the posts that have been performing well and repurpose them for future use by making the headline catchier, updating old information and statistics, and changing images.

8. Build high quality backlinks – Building quality backlinks is crucial for landing on the first page of the search engine ranking. According to Moz, a backlink is a vote of confidence from one website to another. If you don’t build high quality backlinks, it makes ranking a challenge.
However, low quality links can do more harm to your website than good. Paid links or blog comments are low quality backlinks that don’t work in your favor. But when you earn these links through influencer marketing, top class content, and outreach it will improve your search ranking organically.

Overwhelmed by the work it takes to develop a successful SEO strategy? Contact Virtual Stacks Systems to do the job for you and take your SEO to a whole new level!

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Yelp Updates Are Coming: Get Your Business Pages Ready!




Yelp Changes: Get Your Business Ready

A robust presence on Yelp is essential for your business for a number of reasons. Good reviews from Yelp users can help your SEO strategy by driving more local traffic to your website and business. Yelp users like to see a business that is quick to respond to costumer concerns and broadcasts that they care about fixing any aspect of a negative experience. Yelp will soon be rolling out more changes to their platform, and businesses will need to be ready to have even more of a social presence on the site.

No more review requests

Yelp will be strictly enforcing its policies against soliciting positive reviews from customers in exchange for goods or compensation. The Yelp terms and services prohibit getting reviews in a way that is not organic (similar to Youtube’s rules against telling visitors directly to click on ads). Instead of trying to bribe costumers for good reviews, businesses need to curate positive responses on Yelp through a standard of high-quality customer service.

Yelp Followers will be available for all to see...

Currently on Yelp “followers” of a particular brand are invisible and anonymous. Users can see updates on businesses they follow, but no one can see what businesses they are following. Yelp has recently announced this will be changing. On November 28th Yelp follower lists will be visible to all. This is the perfect opportunities for businesses use their follows as a way to grow their brand.

Updates to Facebook Local Will Rival Yelp

Facebook already always had a review presence, but they have recently moved to compete directly with Yelp. The newest Facebook product launch is actually a relaunch of Facebook Local. The original Facebook Local app acted as a curator of events in your area. The relaunch still curates events, but it will instead give a greater focus on Yelp-style reviews and recommendations. If the app takes off Yelp will have a healthy competitor, and businesses will need to strategize for yet another platform. Just like with Yelp and with the current system of Facebook page reviews on their main website, be responsive and attentive to review responses.

Having a landing page ready to go

Yelp traffic will likely bring people to your website. You will need a landing page that clearly expresses your product or service’s mission statement, with a call to action that drives people to purchase products, sign up for a newsletter, download files, and so on. This will be the first thing customers see when they click your website from Yelp so make it pop! Yelp Changes: Get Your Business Ready, Local SEO, Yelp marketing, Digital marketing, SEO Company

Virtual Stacks Systems can build you a winning landing page. Virtual Stacks Systems can also assist you with gaining organic web traffic through SEO services, and assist you in all of your digital marketing needs.

While we're on the subject, if we helped you launch a new website or digital marketing campaign... head on over to our Yelp page and leave a review 🙂

 

 

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How to Make Money on Youtube!

How to Make Money on YouTube!

YouTube content is a strong way to drive viewers to your business and to make money off of original content. YouTube and other video advertising avenues can be an effective strategy to growing your business revenue.

YouTube ad revenue

Create a high quality video that is short and memorable, upload it to YouTube, and then link it to Google AdWords. Google AdWords will allow you to target your audience based on the demographic of customers you are looking for, including your target audience’s age bracket, location, and gender. If you need help attracting your desired demographic, you can reach out to a SEO and digital marketing service such as Virtual Stacks Systems.

Another avenue to gain income from YouTube is to monetize your original video content uploads, and get money from others advertising on your page.

How can I monetize YouTube videos?

You can monetize your YouTube videos after 10,000 lifetime views on your channel, according to YouTube’s “Creator Academy” page. In order to pass the 10,000 view threshold you can build an audience through frequent, consistent, and high quality video posts. It is important that you have the commercial rights for the content you are sharing, as well as proper documentation that these rights belong to you, before going forward with monetization. According to YouTube, failure to comply with copy right law can result in your right to monetize being frozen or taken away.

Once you reach the 10,000 video threshold, YouTube will allow you to apply to join the YouTube Partner Program, and if you are accepted, you can begin monetizing. YouTube’s monetization process is through a service called AdSense. When using AdSense, it is important to comply with their terms of service, particularly in regards to not telling consumers to click on ads. It is against AdSense’s policy to tell viewers to click ads directly. Instead, continue to encourage viewers to like your page and subscribe to your channel so that they click on ads organically.

How can I make money on YouTube without monetizing as an individual content creator?

One avenue is sponsorships. Individual companies can approach you to sponsor their product or service in your video. The terms of the sponsorship will vary between you and the company, and likely vary depending on the number of subscribers and lifetime viewers you have. The larger your audience the more attractive your page will be to companies looking to give out a sponsorship deal.

How can I make money on YouTube for my business?

YouTube videos can be used effectively to draw traffic to your website. YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web, after its parent search engine Google. You can use YouTube to drive traffic to your website, drawing viewer interest in your content by drawing them in with a well-produced video, and directing interested parties to a link to your product.

What kind of content is YouTube friendly? 

YouTube has a policy against putting advertisements on videos which contain references to sensitive events and topics, drug use, “family entertainment characters” partaking in illicit activities, violence, and sexual content. Content containing these items may not have advertisements.

Choose thumbnail images that honestly reflect the content of your video, are visually appealing, and are likely to appeal to the widest possible audience.

Use high-quality equipment and do not overlook production value. A well-edited video with a clear picture, clear sound, and a professional edge is more likely to appeal to viewers than one where they are straining to hear the audio or see the main action. Make your content interesting and varied, and make sure it appeals to your target demographic.

SEO Search terms

A knowledge of SEO best practices and the proper keywords is essential to reaching your demographic and making your video easy to find. Virtual Stacks Systems has experts in SEO that can help build your audience for you, and ensure your video is seen by not only the widest pool of viewers, but viewers in your target audience.

 

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In Case You Missed it, Here Are Some of The Top Facebook Ads of 2017 (So Far)

Remember the days when billboards were king? And you would ask your friends, “Wow, did you see what Nike put up on I-75?”

Now, Facebook and Google PPC advertising beats the billboard game 10 to 1.  But does everyone who slaps an ad on Facebook see ROI? Not by a longshot.

Anything worth doing requires skill, creativity and the right strategy in place. Thankfully, there are some powerful examples you can study to gear up for your next campaign.

So, in case you missed it, here are some of the top performing Facebook ads (so far) from 2017.

1.  Canva

What makes this ad so good?

The ad is fun, simple and, most importantly, a clear representation of what the service offers: clear, crisp graphics. When you sell advertising, sometimes simple is the way to go. Plus, the white background helps the quality of their art stand out more.

2. Soylent

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

Soylent stepped onto the scene earlier this year with a new line of meal replacement drinks. In this case, a simple list of their product benefits and a clear value proposition “Mix Up Your Meals” keeps people from having to figure out what they’re selling.

 

3. Drip

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

Leadpages knows marketers well. Using images of happy people in a workspace sends a message: our product will make your days easier. You will thank us later. And it worked. (Btw, photos of happy smiling people work on most industries – not just advertising).

4.  New Scientist

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

New Scientist plays on the political atmosphere to position their product as the remedy to the problem of “fake news.” It is bold, captivating and has nearly quadrupled their click-through-rate.

 

5.  Square

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

SAAS products like Square know they have one job to do: make their customers’ lives easier. So, they make it clear in their ads how easy their product is to use. You can do the same with kitchen products, camping gear, art supplies, sports equipment, beauty products, and the list goes on.

6.  Adidas

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

Sure, they could have used a picture of Pharrell. But they’re not selling Pharrell – Adidas doubles up on this ad by using it to build both brand awareness and excitement over their New York promotion – making their marketing dollars go further with one ad.

7.  Sleeknote

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

This is a great model to follow if you’re a new brand. Make your benefits measurable and quantifiable. 600% more email subscribers says a lot more than just “more subscribers”. While the name Sleeknote is new to many, this ad makes it clear they’re ready to make an impact.

8.  Blue Bottle Coffee

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

Free trials never go out of style. Enough said.

 

 

 

 

9.  Upwork

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

Upwork is focused on solving their customer’s problems. Their ad headline uses an actionable verb, “End” to nudge people to take a step towards relief.

 

 

10.  Cleanly

facebook adsWhat makes this ad so good?

People love knowing their options. This Facebook ad makes it very simple – you can work hard or you can rest. The choice is yours.

Need a little help using these concepts to build your perfect Facebook ad? Give us a call. Our marketing and ad specialists will help you create an ad that has your business’s (and your customer’s) best interests at heart.

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