Website redesign! How do you do it right?

These are lines of code on a computer screen.

As marketers we run across people all the time that need a website redesign. Either it is not mobile, it isn’t optimized or it just looks old. Everytime we talk about redesigning the website, they have a large fear instantly. “What will happen to what I have?” “What will happen with the SEO I have already done?” “How do I do it without losing my competitive edge?” Well, we are here to tell you that those are fears you don’t need to have. If done right, all of these fears are not needed. So how do you do it right?

  1. Keep the old site live—When redesigning the site you do not immediately take down the old site. You will need it for content that needs to be rewritten, for pictures that you may still want and for traffic to your location during the rebuild.
  2. Run reports prior to website redesign—You need to know where you are coming from to know where you are going. Run an analytics report. Run listing reports. Run a website grader report. Hold on to that information so when you launch your new, modern site you know how far you have come and where you need to go.
  3. Run a Screaming Frog report—Recently, while doing research for this blog, we ran across a program called Screaming Frog. What a difference it is making for us. We know exactly what is happening on every page of our site, including link data. We highly recommend you run one on your site prior to redesigning.
  4. 301 redirects—You must redirect all of your old URLs to new ones. This should be the first thing you do with a new site. When the new site is live you will want to go through your list of old URLs from you crawl report. This way you know that everything 301 redirects properly.
  5. Content is king—When you have content that performs well currently, you will want to minimize changes. You will have a lot of opportunity in the future to do tweaks to the site so for now, minimize the amount of changes to content and work on tweaks after your site is indexed and ranking.
  6. Backlinks—Make sure you look at sites in your analytics report that currently send traffic to your site. Once you have the list, please reach out to webmasters and ask them to update their backlinks as quickly as possible.
  7. Internal links—Your crawl date should help you ensure that your internal links are properly set up. If you have pages that have had thousands of internal links, you need to make sure they are correct or it will have major impacts on your indexing and ranking.
  8. Sitemap—Make sure you update your sitemap across the web. Sitemaps are still and will most likely always be an important factor for ranking. By not having the proper sitemap indexing, the web will not see changes when crawling your site and therefore your rankings will be affected.
  9. Rankings—Do not expect to be ranked higher instantaneously. Fluctuations will be commonplace, however, make sure you have a comparable baseline. Keep in mind that, especially with bigger sites, it may take some time for pages to be recrawled. If you do discover issues, fix, adjust and reindex ASAP.
  10. Organic—There is no way to know at all times what is tracking and when, so make sure you are consistently looking at the analytics to compare the keywords for organic traffic. Adjust as needed and reindex.
  11. Google Search Console—Google Search Console is a free tool that gives you great information. Everything from tracking your 301s and 404s to search analytics all in one place. If you are having issues then Google Search Console will provide you with great insight to your page you can create actionable data from.

If you pay attention and you follow the items above, you will make your relaunch as successful and more successful than your site before redesign. However, keep using these tools. The tools and information are not just for redesign. These tools and steps will also give you great information for you to act on and fix. Remember, no matter how much you work on all of this, it won’t mean anything if you have an unattractive, bulky and non friendly page. So in conjunction with these steps, you need to make sure you follow the other rules like the 3 click rule, proper branding rules, and make your site look like the way you want to represent your business. Your site is a direct reflection of you and your company, so if it is unattractive, it shows your business as unattractive to the user. If it is hard to navigate, it shows your company as hard to navigate. If your branding is not correct, it shows as indecisive and confusing.

It all starts with you and what you want people to know about you! Happy redesign!

What colors mean and why you should care?

These are umbrellas that resemble the Color Wheel.

We have all heard many reasons of what keywords mean and why you need to have certain tags or even why you need to have certain descriptions in your page titles for your website. Do you know why you need to have certain colors? Which colors mean what and why do we as marketers use certain colors in our web design or advertising? The days of just having black and white pages describing things are over. Think of a newspaper (if you still read one), what do you see first? Do you see the black and white articles or do you read the vibrant advertisements? When you look at the the advertisements, do you see the ones with color first or the ones that are black and white? Well, websites are no different and there is a psychology behind it all.

First of all,  to understand you need to understand color psychology. For simplicity’s sake below are the 5 most common colors which we will explain the psychology of. It is important to note that there is different psychology in different countries, so below is the psychology for the U.S.

  1. Red—Signifies power, importance, and youth.  Red enhances metabolism, causes increases in respiration rate and also raises your blood pressure. Think of your local food place. They often use red as their main color. By increasing the metabolism and importance, your brain thinks that you need to buy—and most likely over buy—what is needed. It ultimately makes you hungry!
  2. Orange—Shows friendliness, energy, and uniqueness. It gets you excited to do business with a company that uses this color. Think of Harley Davidson as an example. When you look at their website you want to do business with them because it exudes the thought of buying from a friend. Nobody likes being pressured from a normal dealership. Furthermore, it increases your energy level so now you have to go see them no matter how tired or worn out you are.
  3. Yellow—Gives you thoughts of happiness and enthusiasm while darker yellow shows antiquity. Yellowpages is a great example of this color use.  Not only back in the day of Yellowpages, but on their site now, they make sure they get you excited to search for a company and visit their website.
  4. Green—Green means growth, harmony, and renewal. There are a couple of great examples. Think of your local landscaper or your local restoration company. They both want you to renew your home or landscape. They both want to promote harmony and give you a sense of peace because you have one less thing to worry about. Landscapers in particular want to remind you that grass grows so you will need them over and over again.
  5. Blue—Blue was chosen as the final color because it is the most popular color in the United States. It promotes calm, reliability, and openness. Think of most technology companies you have run across in the United States. They use blue as a main color. They want your brain to think  remain calm, and think, “I need someone reliable and honest to take care of my issue.” Most social media sites use blue because they want you to share information with your friends or family and be open to talking to others.

So now that you know what colors should be used based off of the psychology, how do you use them? Have you heard of a color scheme? A color scheme is defined as “an arrangement or combination of colors.” How do you know what is best? Well, there are three color schemes that are most commonly used in web design.

Color wheelTriadic—on a 12 step color wheel use three colors that are 120 degrees from each other.

Triadic Color Scheme

Compound—use 4 colors total. Two contrasting colors and two complementary colors.

Compund Color Scheme

Analogous—use 3 complimentary colors.

Analogous Color Scheme

No matter which scheme you use you need to make sure your website and branding promotes what you want it to show. It is very important and possibly most important to pay attention to the “why,” just as much as the “how,” “what,” and “who.”

This is a great quote from Satyendra Singh from Management Decision*. Satyendra said, “People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.”

 

*Source: Satyendra Singh, (2006) “Impact of color on marketing”, Management Decision, Vol. 44 Issue: 6, pp.783-789, https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740610673332.

What’s Up with video ads!

In case you haven’t heard, Google is getting stricter with the videos that go on Youtube. They are doing this because of an inappropriate video posted by a Youtube celebrity showing something that we will not even give mention to here. They have announced that they will now have a manual video review while they are reteaching the new algorithm they have. The new system that will be implemented is an Artificial Intelligence system or as we call it an AI system. This blog is not really about that, however. Although this is big news, it really does not have much to do with marketing. So, what are they changing in the marketing world?

  1. There will be new limits to showing ads on your channel. Last year, Google made the requirement of having a 10,000 view minimum in order to receive ads on your page. Now the new requirement is going to be 1,000 followers and 4,000 hours of viewing in the trailing 12 months. This new rule will take affect on February 20th.
  2. The manual vetting of Google preferred channels. As mentioned above, the reviews will get stricter. Google will be either hiring or reassigning 10,000 humans to review content. The goal is to have the video reviewed or denied within 8 hours after it’s uploaded. The same rule of 3 strikes and you are out will apply. If you violate the rules three times then your channel will be removed, period! This rule is expected to take effect by mid-February.
  3. New brand safety controls with 3rd party reporting. Advertisers will have more control of where ads are running and Google will be more transparent and tell the advertiser where. A new 3 tier “Suitability system” will be available to help make the decisions on where an advertiser’s video will appear. Google will be adding more partners in these endeavors. Currently, they are working with Ad Science and starting a beta with another company along with talking to many others. Currently, the only thing they are saying as far as a date, is sometime in the upcoming months. We would expect it by the summer for sure.

At this point you are probably thinking, so what? Why are you telling me about this, I am a small business. Well, even a small business does pre-rolls and video advertising and if you’re not, you should. These are good changes for small businesses because you will know more about where your money is going. If you do not agree morally or emotionally with a video you will be able to limit your videos away from those sites. Remember, your video is a representation of your product or service. By that same thought, your video will be attached psychologically to the video you are introducing.

https://paragonmarketinggroup.com/video-marketing/

How does the new Facebook update affect the Small Business owner?

First, let’s talk about why we are asking this question. Mark Zuckerberg sent out a Facebook post saying “One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” Further down the post he states, “Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful interactions.”

After research and reading the blog on the subject, it comes down to this! News feed is limited in size, therefore, Facebook will be showing more posts from friends, family members and updates that spark some kind of conversation. What does this mean for business pages? It means that you will NOT be seen in the news feed unless you spark conversation. The fact of the matter is posts that generate conversation will show higher.

What does this mean for you as a small business owner or marketer? It is more important now than ever to get people to talk to you. You have to make the posts more attractive, give them a “wow” or a reason to comment on your post. Without creating the “wow” or the conversation then you WILL see your traffic decline.

Can you guess what the number one type of post to get comments is? Ok, here are some choices, A. pictures, B. video, C. reviews, D. text. If you answered B then you are correct and congratulations, as you have been paying attention to our previous blogs and videos. Video is once again being pointed out as a huge growth possibility in 2018. Now, can you do a good video on your phone? Well sure you can, however, as we have said before, remember that what you show on video is a representation of your company. Therefore, if you want to represent your company in that way, then feel free.

So, the long and short answer—think about what you are posting. Is it relevant to not only you but to your audience? Will it create a conversation? Always think “Will I want to see this?”

Why do I need an SSL for my Website?

Before I explain why you need one I should probably explain what it is. A SSL is a Secured Socket Layer. It is a level of security that is put on your website to keep all information encrypted between the clients computer and the main server that it is talking to.

Imagine going to a store and you paying by credit card. They write down your credit card number, your address, phone number and all other important information and they put it in a drawer. How many people will see that throughout the day? How many people will have as much information as they need to steal from you? I would say that is pretty unsafe, correct? So why would it be okay to give information on a website that does the same thing and makes it easy for hackers to take your information? It wouldn’t!

By installing a SSL certificate it takes your information and encrypts the information prior to sending it to the main server, you are sending it to the site you are purchasing from.

  1. There are a few reasons why you need to have a SSL.
    It affects your rankings. Google and other sites give priority to sites that have https:// instead of http:// in the url. As a matter of fact it is expected that in the future it will be required to have a SSL on all sites.
  2. Your clients want to know that they are safe, whether you accept credit cards or not. We are in a world of knowledge and people are educated more than ever because of the internet so they look for the little lock icon or the https:// on a site.
  3. Hackers are getting smarter everyday and it is now quite possible for them to get information through back channels within the URL to your clients desktop, laptop or mobile device.

So why doesn’t everybody have them? It is an expense is the simple answer. We have seen SSL’s range from about $65 to $85 per year. Small businesses do not like the additional expense and have not found a reason to spend it. For 23 cents a day I feel it is worth keeping your clients information safe, don’t you?

Why Do I Need Video?

In today’s day and age people are very visual in nature. I know that at my house my kids are watching videos all the time. What amazes me even more is that I talk to people who say they are too busy to talk or to decide or even to go to the bathroom. However, those same people message me and say “Did you see the video on youtube? Wow, it was amazing”. Then I look at the video and it was the latest fails of the week. This is the world we live in now! People do not have the time to do as much as the world moves quickly but they can always watch the latest video.

Here is where reality crosses with marketing. We get calls everyday about video because that is what we do. Everybody wants to make a video that goes viral to promote their company. Did you know that less than 1% of videos go viral? To say that anybody has the secret sauce to make a video viral would be a lie. Not to mention, is the best representation of your company really a viral video? Viral videos are silly or show what not to do a lot of times. However, if you can get a 6 second video ad during the pre-roll of a viral video, it makes a lot of sense. The key to it is making the most out of 6 seconds. That we can do!

Having a video on the homepage of you website increases conversions by 80%. This statistic varies based on who you look up the statistic with; however, there is one common theme. Video gives you more conversions than words. Think about how many conversions you currently have from your site. Now think of how much your website costs you per lead. Who wouldn’t want the cost per lead to go down and the amount of leads to go up?

What do we record? You are not looking to be the next viral video so stop thinking it. You are wanting to show why someone HAS to have you as their vendor of choice for the project they have or why they have to buy the product they want from you. You do not have to reinvent the wheel but you do have to tell them why you! I have said it many times. Know the why of what you do. Why do people come to you? Why do people need you? Why do you exist as a company? If you answer those questions in a 15–30 second video then you can watch your leads roll. Do not try to shove 50 years into 30 seconds. It will not show well at all. Show the why now! I believe that there’s a place for history videos, bio videos and product videos, however, that place is not on your homepage. Furthermore, you should absolutely have those videos as well. Those videos should be throughout your website and they should all link to your Youtube page therefore fulfilling one requirement of content marketing.

So in short, should you have video as part of your overall strategy? YES, for sure and definitely!

To Be Found Or Not To Be Found, That Is The Question

This is a woman searching something on Google on her laptop.

When you go into your phone and you type in air conditioning repair you get a list of people nearby that do that, right? Imagine if you are the business owner and somebody is 20 feet from your location and they type in air conditioning repair but your name doesn’t come up? That would probably upset you, correct? Well that is because you are not listed correctly with the major search engines. The last I checked there are over 700 online directories that you can be listed on. Do all of them make sense to you? NO.

There are many directories that are specific to industries that do not make sense for everybody. If you are a doctors office then it makes sense to be listed on WebMD however if you do AC repair then it does not. How do you know which ones you should be listed on? How much time does it take to go into each one individually and make sure everything is exact. That is where a Marketing company comes in with listing expertise.

Listings are very important to SEO for a website. There are a lot of decisions that have to be made with listing and no matter how little you think they are it is very important that you make decisions prior to starting the project. Decisions like Spelling Avenue or using Ave with or without a period? What phone number do you want to use? What email? What are your hours? If you are a restaurant do you want the menu? What pictures do you want to use? What keywords do you want to use? These all seem like basic things but they are very important because ALL of your listings need to be EXACT across all platforms!

Furthermore if you take this project on yourself you have to go in and fix these on a very regular basis. There are crawlers that will go in and change the information within 6 days of fixing it. At first it is one or maybe 2 sites. After 30 days over half of the sites you fixed are changed. That is why it is much more cost effective to work with a Listing Power user service like we are. We constantly fix listings and once they are fixed the crawlers can not change them. There is a fee of course, however how much would it cost you to have to go in and fix them all the time?

What I hear all the time is that I will hire an employee to do this and make sure I stay up to date. Let’s figure this out mathematically. You pay an employee $10 per hour to go in and fix your listings and keep them up to date. Each listing service will take about 30 minutes to fix. That means you are paying that employee $360 every time they have to go through all 72 sites. Now only about half of them get changes monthly. So you will have to pay an employee $180 every month to keep them fixed. These numbers do not include taxes, insurance and all the extra payments you need to make for every employee you have. For a listing professional to come in and have them constantly fixed it will cost you between $100 – $150 per month. So the math is easy right?

You are found online, now what?

When creating a website there’s many things to think about. You want it to represent you and your company. You want it to represent your core beliefs and how you want the public to perceive those beliefs.

 

We come across one issue all the time. We offer free web reports and listing reports as part of our service. The web report is graded on many levels with 100 be the highest score that your website can get. 90 if you do not have a SSL certificate. We constantly run across sites that are 85-90 without SSL certificate. Pretty good right? Wrong! See the issue is that they are not getting conversions off of the site. The site is Mobile, It is Keyworded, it is maintained, updated, easy to navigate and linked to analytics. It ticks all of the boxes for a good site except one.

 

Can you guess what it is?

This one thing it is missing is more important than anything else.

This one thing they are missing is the largest representation of the company that can be.

This one thing is what makes people want to click to learn more.

Do you give up on what it is yet?

 

ATTRACTION! Yes I said attraction! You can have the best site in the world. It can get people to come to your site by the hundreds or even thousands. However if it does not look good than people will not want to know more about your company, product or service? Why do people want to click the contact form if they do not like what they see online? 81% of consumers research you online before they make a decision so in this case you are found but you do not look good as a company.

 

Imagine a website likes this scenario. You are looking to buy a car. You run across 2 ads for the exact same car and the exact same price and mileage. One is an ad that is just words and the other has pictures and a video. Which ad will you request information from? The same goes for your website. You can have the best wording in the world and you could have a literary genius write it but if people can’t see it then they can’t relate to it. I read this statistic recently “90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual which the brain will process 60,000 times faster than text information. That is an amazing number. I also read another statistic that having a video on your homepage will increase your conversions by 80%. We are in a visual world so your website needs to be as well!