Why Your Business Needs A Website

The Importance of a Good Website for your Business

94% of first impressions relate to your site's web design. In a digital age where the importance of your social media presence is so significantly talked about, it can be easy to forget about your website or dismiss it as less important than what you’re posting to Facebook and Instagram. However, there are many reasons why your business needs a website.


5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website

The importance of a quality website cannot be overlooked or overstated, so here are 5 reasons we believe your business needs a website:

1. Cost Effective

Putting time and effort into your website is a guaranteed return on investment (ROI), because your website is a sales tool. You’re putting more money into it upfront with the design and development which means you won’t have to spend as much on the upkeep and maintenance of your website.

2. Established Brand, Voice, and Credibility

Your website is oftentimes the first thing potential customers see when learning about your business. That’s why it’s important to put your time and care into the design of your website. From text font and size to color palette and content layout, your website can tell customers a lot about your business’ beliefs and principles. By continuously updating your website’s content, it will let customers know that you’re quick with communication and you’re in the know about the world surrounding your products and services.

3. Strong SEO

Think about how you go about researching a new restaurant or trying to find a local service. You typically search using a specific phrase or keywords to get you to the best choice. Apply this to your website content and creation! By adding certain keywords and graphics to your website, you can directly affect and improve your business’ SEO.

4. Build Trust

People don’t trust poorly designed websites. If someone sees a poorly constructed website with outdated information, they automatically lose trust in the company by raising confusion and questions. By consistently updating the content and design of your website, current and new customers will feel comfortable using your products and services.

5. Your Competitors Are Doing it

That’s right; your competitors are doing it, too. They’re utilizing their website to establish trust and credibility with potential customers. If you want to remain in competition with them, you must update your website. By using web design to boost your business’ brand and reputation, you can stand out from your competitors.


We mention quite a bit about website design and content. If you’re not sure how to get started on designing a website, Paragon Marketing Group is here to help! We have all the tools and skills to bring your website to life and set you apart from your competition! Call or message us today (262) 443-9092

Websites—The Face Of Your Business

Websites—The face of your business.

Websites. They’re the face of your business, your first impression on consumers, and a way to communicate with customers. Check out what you can do to update your website and what customers are looking for!

Personalization

In our previous blog, which you can find here, we talked about what it means to brand yourself – this includes your website! If your logo has certain colors in it, make sure you’re using that across your entire website. Keeping fonts, pictures, and color consist not only shows people that you have a clear brand, but they get to know you on a more personal level.

Ease of Navigation

Have you ever clicked on a restaurant’s website to try and order food and can’t find their phone number? How about frustrations with trying to schedule an appointment online? You may not realize it, but all of these small difficulties add up to a person’s impression of not only your website, but your entire business. If people can’t find it, how are they supposed to buy it? Use tabs to clearly label where things can be found. If you know of something that takes more than a couple of clicks to access, try adding a search bar to your website. You can also study the patterns of the use of your website and see where certain things can be fixed.

Call-to-Action

This one may seem obvious, but is often overlooked. You can have all the testimonials, photos, videos, and customer reviews that you want to validate the quality of your business, but if there’s nowhere to lead your customer to buy a product or an email to reach out to, how do they move forward with your services? Make sure there’s a, “contact us today,” or, “click here for more information,” etc. to point your customers in the right direction.

Updated Content

If you haven’t uploaded recent customer reviews, photos, or blog posts in a while, how do prospective customers know how you’re growing and developing? Having reviews from 8 years ago is great to show that your business has been about quality since day one, but how are consumers going to know how your business is doing now? Also, constant stream of uploading shows loyalty to your business and customers.

Social Media

People want to stay in touch and see what’s going on! Maybe you’re a heating and AC service company; chances are, customers don’t need your services on the daily or weekly. If you provide links to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., your customers can stay in the know with your business and get to know you on a more personal level! That way, when it does come time for an HVAC tune up, they’ll know exactly who to call.

Personalized About Page

When it comes to making a business transaction with a new company, people want to know not only what your business offers, but how you got started, what your business’ morals are, and how you like to work. Including these things lets your customers get to know you on a more personal level. Would you rather do work with a company that provides their title and a bare minimum description of their services, or do you want to work with someone who is transparent and honest?

Validation and Testimonials

We touched on this one earlier, but this can really make or break providing services to a prospective customer. Showing before and after pictures of your services, video testimonials, or even written reviews from current and past customers lets consumers know how you run as a business, and of course, other people’s experience working with you. If your business takes pride in quality service for low prices, or treating your customers like family, make sure your customers are there to back you up! It only takes a couple of minutes to reach out to your customers and ask them to leave a review for you.

You have a lot of competitors. Make sure your competition has nothing on you! Be honest with prospective customers, stand out with your own personalized touch, and be open and consistent with communication.

Cybercrime affects Small Business

This is a blue circuit board with a blue lock in front.

We have all heard the word Cybercrime and we know that we need to protect ourselves. What most small businesses do not understand is how much it affects them. We have heard all the stories from the news about the big companies getting hacked and information being leaked. What we never hear about is the small businesses that get hacked on a daily basis. According to a survey done by CNBC less than 2% of American small businesses say that they are concerned about getting hacked.The big reason why is, “We are the little guy, they don’t want to hack us.” This thought process is incorrect and is exactly why you should care more than the big companies.

Hackers know that you do not have the time, money, or knowledge to protect your site like the big companies do. Therefore, your website is targeted more than any other. Just because you only have 100 clients or 1,000 clients does not make you immune. It makes you a perfect candidate for hackers. They can go in, get what they want, and get out without anybody knowing. What’s better is that because you are a small business, the word that you got hacked won’t go out to everyone in the world because it won’t be considered a big story.

So, what can a small business owner do to protect themselves? More importantly, what can a small business owner do to protect their customers? Well, here you go!

1. Make sure your website is on a secure server. You have a lot of options when it comes to hosting your website. We highly suggest that you find out what equipment or software your host has to combat hacker attempts.

2. Redundancy is very important. Make sure your host has more than one copy of your site. Having multiple servers in different locations would be ideal. This way, if one location gets hacked then they can quickly change over to a backup copy.

3. Consistent security scans. Security scans should be happening weekly on your site or at the minimum monthly. If you keep up on your security scans you will remove any trackers that may have attached to your site in-between scans.

4. You must be updating your site monthly at the minimum. By staying up to date you are also keeping away any new hacks created by having an old version of the theme or integrations your site requires.

5. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts any conversation that you have with the customer, the website and your office computer. This item is so important that Google is now requiring this if you want your page to be found on Google. It is required as of June 1st to have it. You’ll know you have one by seeing HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// in your URL.

By following these steps we cannot guarantee that you will never get hacked or that your information will never get out. Hackers are getting smarter and smarter every day and nobody can ever guarantee that. What we can tell you is that by following these 5 things you are giving your clients and yourself the best protection you can.

6 steps to retail marketing

This is a view of a mall from the top floor.

Marketing in the retail world can be a lot of fun. It also can be very time consuming and monotonous. However, without marketing in the retail world, you will not maintain or grow. Retail has an attrition rate and it doesn’t matter how long you have been in business or how great of a reputation you have, there still has to be marketing. You have to replace the people you lose yearly or you might as well shut your doors right now. How do you do this, is the question and how do you do it well?

1. It all starts with building a brand. You have to have a brand recognition or you will not grow. When people think of the typical products you sell, you want your name to come to mind first. In marketing, there is a rule called the rule of seven. Now, some marketers will say it is the rule of 10 or a rule of 5, regardless, it is still important that you follow it. A person must see your brand 7 times before they start thinking about you for a certain product. How those 7 times is achieved can be hard, however, the rest of this blog explains a few tricks.

2. How you are found is important and that is where listings come into the equation. There are literally hundreds of sites that your business should be listed on depending on exactly what your product is. Personally, I believe that if you are listed properly on the top sites then the rest will follow over time. What people do not realize is that everything HAS to be exactly the same across all of your online listings, right down to the dot in the same place.

3. Social media marketing is going to give you the most bang for your buck. Depending on your demographic you will utilize Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Anyone of these 4 are going to be important, however, the two most important are going to be Facebook and Twitter. The most important thing with these platforms is to not post just 1 time per week about your store and expect people to flock in. You have to post regularly and you have to not only educate the consumer about you but also about your products.

4. You have to create a personalized experience. Just as we talked about social being important well, so is mobile marketing. It is said that 58% of people will look on cell phones before they look for your store on a desktop or laptop. With the world of artificial intelligence growing it is very important to learn new ways to use personalized mobile marketing in order to attract new clients.

5. Reward programs are becoming very popular. Create an awards program through email marketing and offer a free product for being a member of your newsletter program. Once you start getting emails from consumers, do not miss a single month of sending newsletters out. I would suggest that you send out an email at a minimum of bi-weekly. One can be a newsletter talking about anything new that you have done and the other can be an offer of the month for members of the group.

6. People will come in and spend more if they know you are supporting the community. Your local chamber of commerce or business group will have a list of events that are community-based in order to help you find a great charity or event to support. Once you find one, offer your support or sponsorship then market about your contribution. Millennials today want to know that you support a charity or local event. They will remember that and come back to you because of it.

Having a retail establishment is a very exciting and fun thing. In today’s world, you have a great opportunity to provide a great location for people to get what you need. The more people that know who you are, the better. With the digital world, you have a great opportunity to tell the world about you! Have fun with it but remember to be respectful and responsible. You will be successful with these suggestions.

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.

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?

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!