If you’re a retailer, shifting to or integrating an online business model such as setting up an e-commerce website is a smart move. Consumers are increasingly becoming more dependent on mobile technology to fulfill their everyday needs. 

From US $2.3 Trillion to US $3.5 Trillion global sales, e-commerce is projected to hit US $6.5 Trillion in 2023. In the United States, e-commerce accounts for 10% of total sales in retail. 

What this means is that e-commerce is still a growing industry!  

It must seem that an entrepreneur can just close his eyes, open an e-commerce site, and wait for the cash to start rolling in. Unfortunately, that is not the case. For all the hits your website is getting, many visitors end up abandoning their carts at the checkout counter. 

According to data compiled by Baymard Institute from 41 cases on e-commerce websites, 69.5% of consumers abandon their purchase at the checkout counter. 

Therefore, if 100 people visit your e-commerce site, close to 70 people do not complete their purchase. That’s a lot of dollars left at the checkout counter! Instead of the cash register ringing, your alarm bells are sounding off.

We’re here to tell you that it’s not a lost cause. You can still turn things around and convert interest into income. First, let’s find out why consumers are abandoning the items at the checkout counter.

6 Reasons Why Shoppers Are Abandoning Carts At The Checkout Counter

If you’re at the local grocery store, you would probably abandon your shopping cart if the queue was too long, an emergency came up, or if you realize that you don’t really need the items.

The situation is not as simple when it comes to e-commerce websites. 

Shoppers have different personalities. When they’re online, their behavior changes somewhat because they are not seen. In a grocery store, psychological factors can come into play that prevents a shopper from foregoing a purchase. 

For example, abandoning the sale means moving the cart out of the queue which may become an inconvenience for other shoppers within the vicinity. It’s easier to click out of an e-commerce store. 

So what are the common reasons shoppers abandon their purchase? Here is a list of 6 reasons that were compiled by Statista:

  1. Unexpected costs in buying the item such as shipping and delivery – 56% of respondents.
  2. Site visitor had no intention to actually buy as he was merely “browsing” – 37% of respondents.
  3. The shopper found another e-commerce site that offered him a better deal – 36% of respondents.
  4. The shopper found the navigation process of the e-commerce site “difficult” – 25% of respondents.
  5. The process from selection to purchase took too long – 21% of respondents.
  6. The shopper was concerned about the security and protection of his personal information – 17% of respondents.

Now, there could be other reasons that made a shopper change his mind. But having knowledge about the major factors that resulted in the abandonment of the cart will help you come up with the necessary improvements to address the problem.

8 Ways To Fix Cart Abandonment Problems

You might be surprised to learn that the solutions to address the cart abandonment problem are not complicated. Yes, these 8 simple solutions can turn foregone sales into actual cash if done correctly.

1. Be Transparent with Your Shopping Costs

Have you ever gotten excited about finding the product you’ve been looking for in an e-commerce store only to have shipping costs – to borrow the title of a popular TV show – curb your enthusiasm? 

Market analysts refer to the condition as “Pricing Shock” and the same thing will happen to your customers if you aren’t transparent about your hidden charges. Pricing Shock is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment but can be easily fixed with these 2 adjustments at your checkout counter.

  • Include a shipping calculator so the shopper can have an idea of the total cost of purchase before adding the item on his cart.
  • Provide attractive discounts based on the volume of purchases.

2. Make Site Security a Priority

According to a 2016 study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 45% of Americans cut back on online shopping because of fears their personal information would be stolen by cybercriminals.

Even though the U.S. government has stepped up its drive versus online theft, the truth is that you cannot stop cybercriminals. You can only hope to slow them down by constantly improving your site’s defenses. 

As evidenced by the continued growth of e-commerce, consumers will continue to shop online. However, consumers will be more cautious about the sites they visit. 

  • Secure your e-commerce site with SSL or Secure Socket Layer certificates. Google has included SSL certificates as a ranking factor in its search algorithm. 

If your website does not have SSL, you will see the words “Not Secure” before your URL. 

You can learn more about SSL certificates in our blog “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.  

  • Include a Guest Checkout Option so that the visitor won’t be required to open an account. Likewise, a Guest Checkout Option will shorten the buying process.

3. Send an Email to the Shopper

When a visitor is serious about buying products from your e-commerce store, chances are he will provide his email address as part of the purchase process. 

You can set up an autoresponder that sends out an email to the shopper notifying him that he has items left in the cart. 

The email must have the following details:

  • Description of items left in the cart including quantity and price.
  • Date when the items in the cart will be completely removed. 
  • Instructions on how to resume the purchase.

If the shopper does not act on your email in 24 hours, send out another one.

computer graphic - curious about the website services we offer

4. Take the Personal Approach

Having an autoresponder system in place will help you keep track of the incidents of cart abandonment. However, by itself, an auto-generated email may not succeed in completing the sale.

An effective way of complimenting your autoresponder system is to incorporate a personal approach to your customers. 

Once you receive a notification that a shopper has abandoned the purchase, reach out, and send a personal email. Find out how you can help. 

The reason may not be any of the 6 described earlier. For example, there may have been a problem with the shopper’s credit or debit card. 

If you can find another way for the shopper to complete the purchase, he may just go back to your e-commerce site and finish the transaction.

5. Review Your Site Analytics

To get a more accurate picture of why shoppers are abandoning their purchase, review your site analytics. It will give you a data-based description of your shopper’s online behavior. 

Google Analytics has a Users Flow report that tells you the path your visitors took when exploring your website. The Users Flow report will give you information on where the bulk of your site visitors are coming from and data on the amount of traffic experienced by each page.

You will see if there are potential bottlenecks in site traffic and where volume is falling off before the visitor starts to click on items for his shopping cart. 

The information provided by your site analytics will help you and your webmaster find ways to improve the lagging pages so that the shopper will feel more encouraged to complete the purchase. 

6. Improve Site Navigation

Too many clicks spoil the experience.

If the process of completing the purchase takes longer than expected, you will find more items abandoned in the carts of shoppers. When it comes to online activity, consumers are not very patient. 

Improve user experience by implementing the following improvements:

  • Organize the products in a manner that makes it easier for the shopper to find them. 
  • Add a “Quick Preview” feature that allows the shopper to view the product in greater detail. Incorporate a “Zoom In” feature and give complete product descriptions.
  • Limit the number of clicks it takes to complete a purchase down to three: Choose Item – Add to Cart – Checkout

7. Use Better Product Images

As the old saying goes, “Customers shop with their eyes”.

A good product image can mean more than a thousand words. The shopper might base his decision to buy your product on the image that’s posted on your site. If the image is not of good quality, it will not entice the shopper to complete the purchase.

  • Use high-resolution images for your product shots. 
  • The images should show the shopper the best way to enjoy the product.
  • Take photos of the product from different angles.

Lastly, make sure the shopper gets what he sees on your website. 

8. Highlight Social Proof

Social proof includes positive product reviews, testimonials, and other forms of quantifiable evidence that prove the value of your product. 

Before making a purchase, many shoppers undertake research by browsing through product reviews and testimonials. 

For example, when you are looking for a specific product to buy at Amazon, most likely you will choose the brand that has the highest number of stars and the best reviews. 

  • Invite your customers to post product reviews.
  • Ask your loyal customers to give testimonials.
  • Highlight positive reviews that your products may have received from other sites such as Google Reviews or Yelp. 

Social proof will make the decision-making process easier for the consumer.

Conclusion

As you have read, a few simple adjustments can protect your e-commerce business from losing potential sales. 

Remember that consumers’ online behavioral patterns will always be in a constant state of change. The adjustments that you made today may have to undergo tweaking in the next few months or years. 

The bottom line is to keep your e-commerce website updated in design and function. Similar to the consumer’s tastes and preferences, your website design must remain current, relevant, and dynamic. 

If your site is experiencing cart abandonment problems, give us a call or an email and we will take a look at it right away. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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In the world of Software as a Service (SaaS), first impressions often matter more than you would think. With so many other companies out there working on solving the same problems, you usually have a limited window to impress your visitors. This is where the importance of clever and converting landing page design in SaaS comes in.

Here are our 7 tips to help you craft a page that works:

Include explainer videos

Understanding exactly what a tool does is often the challenge potential leads face when first coming across a product – and not many of them will take the time to read your copy to learn more.

However, if you manage to include a short but to-the-point explainer video on your landing pages, your chances of getting your value across will increase.

Here is an example from Forms on Fire – they provide mobile data collection software – where a minute and a half is all it takes to get to know the product and determine whether you are interested or not.

Invest a lot of creativity in your header

You are often told how important headers are in content writing – the same is true for landing page copy, as the impact your header will have on a visitor is crucial.

You want to represent your brand, you want to get your main point across, you want to showcase your value, explain what you are really about and get people to convert: in no more than a sentence or two.

Which is where the challenge lies.

Take the example of Crazyegg, who provide an unspecified website improvement service – and have a very attractive header to show for it.

Since they offer a 30-day free trial and promise to instantly improve your website, there isn’t much a visitor could lose. So their header works like a charm.

Your calls-to-action are also key

However, you don’t need to be as creative with them as with your headers: a simple “get started”, “start your trial”, or a “sign up now” will work – but what’s important here is how you preempt the CTA.

Most international, huge, famous companies have simple CTAs – Netflix, Hulu, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. – they don’t have a catchphrase or a funny saying slapped onto their pages.

What they do have is a clear list of benefits (what it is you are getting from the service) and a straightforward way of signing up for the service.

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Make it easy to access

Which leads right to our next tip: don’t make signing up very complicated.

You may want to make credit card data compulsory, but even if you do, make it as easy as possible to fill in your form and move on to the next step.

Whether or not you are offering a free trial, or have something like the Ahrefs 7 days for $7 trial period, you still want your leads to be able to accomplish their goal (sign up), in as little time as digitally and humanly possible.

If you are seeing a lot of uncompleted sign-up forms, try making the form simpler, and eliminate some of your required fields: we understand you want to gather as much data as possible about your leads, but maybe spread data collecting out over a longer period of time.

Show the process

If you don’t feel the use of your tool requires an entire video, still try to explain how to make it work, especially if the tool in question does something essentially simple, but very useful.

TimeTackle, a software designed to pull your calendar off of the cloud, has a great four-step explanation of the process users will need to run through once they have the tool, making it very easy for users to decide whether they want to give it a go or not.

Always remember that while some of your users will be very tech-savvy, others might have more of a hard time understanding even the more basic concepts. That’s why you need to try to figure out a language that will speak to your target audience, as well as all its variations and levels of understanding.

Offer social proof where it makes sense

A lot of landing pages incorporate social proof – which is essentially a great move, but does not always make sense.

You don’t have to repeat the same testimonials on every page, nor do you have to showcase different satisfied customers on every corner.

When talking about the benefits of your product, or when showcasing use cases and success stories, social proof is more than welcome.

Here is the example of Gusto, who make payroll, insurance, and a whole host of other tasks easier– who have added in plenty of social proof, yet have not made it sound like they are bragging, or like they have solicited recommendations from their users.

The basics: webpage design

Of course, there is another important element you should never forget: webpage design.

And we are not just talking about the colors and font you choose (although it is in itself very important). You should also think about the emotions you want to elicit, the value you want to portray, and the target audience you are aiming for.

Naturally, navigation, user experience and user-friendliness, responsiveness, and a whole host of other webpage optimization tactics should also all play their part. If you have elements that don’t load properly, don’t work on certain screen sizes, or if your pages are cluttered and crowded, all the other good work you may have done won’t be worth a dime.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, these tips will help you design better SaaS landing pages in the future – but remember, there is no bulletproof design formula that will work for every website. You need to keep your own target market and product in mind when designing sales pages, rather than just considering what has worked for others in the past.

In fact, a lot of these tips were once novelties that have since been proven to work by countless websites. So why not come up with the next one?

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As a Consulting company, businesses come to you for advice. You are recognized as an expert in your field. Over the years, you have built a reputation for building businesses – navigating them through periods of difficulty before finding success. 

The Consulting company represents the years invested in the industry; a venture that gives you the opportunity to share your experience and knowledge with other businesses hoping to find success in their respective fields.

It must be exciting to see your first calling card as a Consultant! 

When you distribute your calling card to friends, associates, and potential clients, you are confidently telling them that if they need help with their business, all they have to do is to call the number on the card.

A better calling card would be a website. Not only can a potential client find your contact information on your website, but he can find all the information he needs to make a decision about hiring your services as a Consultant.

Why Does A Consulting Company Need A Website?

For the same reason that every other company in any industry needs a website – to grow their business by capitalizing on opportunities available on the Internet.  If your company does not have a website, you are undermining its potential for success. 

Businesses look for consultants who can help them get over periods of economic difficulties. A company can have MBAs and Ph.D.’s on their payroll or hire the best CEO money can buy and still – it may not find solutions to pressing concerns.

Consultants have the advantages of experience and viewing the situation from an unfiltered lens. There are no biases to overcome and consultants can draw upon years of experience to come up with the best possible solutions as well as alternative courses of action.

How will a company find a consultant for its business?

Its key officers can ask for recommendations from friends and associates who have hired business consultants. Perhaps one of the company’s directors knows someone who runs a consulting firm.

Or a designated officer can run a simple online search.

Internet searches using the keywords “top consulting companies in my area”, “consulting company in my area”, “best consulting company in my area” or “Consulting company in (the type of industry)” will yield the top URLs for those searches in the SERP or Search Engine Results Page.

How many searches can there be? 

Depending on your state, the search for the keywords “Consulting Company” or “Consulting Business” could amount to hundreds of millions of searches per month. 

If you don’t have a website for your Consulting Company, how can your business be found when it can’t participate in the searches that happen for your services on a daily basis?

Thus, it’s important for your Consulting company to have a website in order for your business to be found on the Internet. Otherwise, you will be missing out on the opportunities that take place every single day.

However, it’s not enough just to have a website.

You must have an amazing website!

3 Reasons Why Your Consulting Business Should Have An Amazing Website

According to a survey by Devrix, 60% of small businesses don’t have a website. 35% of small business owners surveyed said they feel their business is “too small” to merit a website. 

Thus, 6 out of 10 small businesses cannot take advantage of the opportunities available on the Internet:

As a business, you don’t want to miss out on these opportunities that can help grow your enterprise. 

As a company offering business consulting services, you know how important it is for businesses to have a website. 

One reason why your client’s sales are lagging is because he does not have a website for his business or if he does, there’s a good chance the website is not performing well.

To send out a strong message to your client, you must show that you practice what you preach.  If you believe that having a website is important for business, then for a Consulting company, you must have a website for your business!

Here are 3 good reasons why your Consulting company should have a website:

1. Build Your Business Brand

Let’s face it. Digital is the current reality. It is not a passing fad. Life and work are heavily influenced by the Internet and the latest innovations in digital technology. 

If you are not involved in the digital world, you will be left behind by your competitors.

Out of the 7.75 billion people in the world, 5.17 billion own a mobile device and 3.5 billion are smartphones. 

More than 4.5 billion people are on the Internet daily – searching and sharing information. 

Review our stat from the previous section:

80% of consumers – 8 out of 10 – feel more confident dealing with a business that has a website.

Think of your website as your online office or business establishment. Potential customers who want to learn more about your business will click on your URL. 

Having a website builds credibility, trust, and confidence. It shows consumers that you are heavily invested in your business. You’re not going to “go cheap” on your business by settling for a Facebook business page. 

If you don’t have a website, you don’t have an online presence. 

Having a business website also shows potential customers that you are actively engaged and updated with technology. You’re current; in with the times and recognize the importance of being accessible to customers 24/7. 

As a Consulting company you have to be in with the times because the business environment is in a constant flow of change. 

In consulting, a proposal summarizing the changes that need to be in place to initiate the rehabilitation plan is usually submitted after a business audit is conducted and evaluated.

Why will a business trust your company if you’re resistant to change?

Before anything else, sit down with a web designer such as Mountaintop and start planning the website for your Consulting company!

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2. Achieve Your Business Goals

To be clear, you need a solid digital marketing campaign to achieve your business goals. 

Digital marketing is the process of using Internet-based tools, platforms, and strategies to market and promote your business.

Social media marketing is an example of a platform that can be used to distribute information about your business, its products and services. 

The website is the center of your digital marketing universe. It is the destination point for the interest generated by your posts. 

A good analogy would be a flyer that you receive inside the mall. If the content of the flyer interests you, chances are you would visit the establishment featured in the flyer. 

If not, the flyer will end up in the trash receptacle.

In digital marketing, your post will only be read by those who are interested in your content. Those who are not, will merely skip through it. Nothing gets thrown in the trash can. 

The interested reader will ask “Where can I find out more about the company?” if your post has a link to your website, all the reader has to do is click on it. Within a few seconds, he will land on your home page.

From there, you can work on the reader and apply techniques that will help you achieve your goals.

  • Is your goal to build your business reputation? Include a link to your Blog page.
  • Is your goal to create trust? Add client testimonials on your home page.
  • Is your goal to trigger interest? Create a Call to Action (CTA) on the home page that directs the visitor to your Services page.
  • Is your goal to generate leads? Have a Sign Up Button on the home page and inform the visitor that if he signs up for the newsletter, he gets a free whitepaper. 
  • Is your goal to get the visitor to start the consulting process? Include a button on the home page that takes the visitor to the Contact Us page where he can fill out a questionnaire or a Request for Information (RFI) form.

With a website, everything that you want done can be done. The design of the website should make it easy for visitors to navigate through the website and complete the required processes.

The site visitor who is serious about getting your services will greatly appreciate the convenience provided by the website. 

3. Challenge Other Consulting Companies in the Search Rankings

As we mentioned earlier, if your Consulting company does not have a website, you will be left behind by the competition. There is a greater probability of getting discovered by your potential clients if you have a website because you will have an online presence.

With a website, you can present a challenge to your competitors in the search rankings. 

Again, this is the domain of your digital marketing campaign. A smart and purposeful digital marketing campaign that strategically uses processes such as SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising can help your website rocket up the search rankings. 

The higher up the search rankings, the greater becomes the traffic heading to your website.

A study by Chitika revealed that the number one position in the search rankings got 32.5% of all search traffic and the top 3 websites garnered 61.5% of total search traffic. 

Therefore, a website gives you the means to challenge your competitors for the consultancy market. 

The battle will shift to which company delivers well-written, highly-optimized, and engaging content on a consistent basis. Which Consultancy company can maintain a regular schedule for social media marketing? 

Which website is mobile responsive, faster, more accessible, navigable, more beautiful, and  offers more informative content?

Conclusion

Starting a Consulting company is a great idea. With the failure rate among small businesses at 20% for the first year, 30% for the third year, and 50% by the fifth year, there will always be a steady demand for your type of services. 

Business owners will rely upon your experience and expertise to help them navigate through rough economic times, survive, then thrive beyond year 5. 

To get discovered by these businesses, you should have a strong online presence and that all begins with having an amazing website. 

If your business does not have a website or if it does but you’re not happy with it, give us a call or drop an email. We will build you a website that delivers results.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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Before we dive into ecommerce landing pages in more detail, I would like us to do a brief experiment.

I’d like you to try and think about all the websites you’ve seen today. Or in the past seven days. How many newsletters did you receive? How many did you open, and how many did you click on?

Can’t remember them all?

Given the sheer volume of pages we are all exposed to every day, it’s no wonder we can only remember a tiny percent of them. This fact should drive my point home nicely – if you want your landing page to stand out and be memorable, you need to make it, well – what is it that you need to do?

Let’s explore!

Divulge the benefits

As ecommerce pages are clearly meant to convince a visitor to make a purchase, finding the right balance between sales and value can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare.

Let’s look at this page by Herbal Dynamics Beauty:

Source: herbaldynamicsbeauty.com

The hero part of the page clearly lists the most important feature: that the product is free of all sorts of harmful materials. Then, when you scroll just a bit down, you are greeted with a whole lot of information about the benefits of each ingredient, and the page ends by going into even more detail, explaining what you, as a consumer might get by choosing this product.

Customers don’t want to feel like they are being sold a product – they want to be offered a solution. By explaining the benefits and actual value of a product, you will be doing a great job at just that.

The power of design

Your pages need to be easy on the eyes and structured in a way that not only attracts attention, but is also very clear about what is what.

Here is an example by Ultimate Meal Plans:

Souce: ultimatemealplans.com

While their landing pages stick to the minimalistic use of plenty of white space, they have also integrated plenty of imagery, along with all kinds of informational boxes that detail things like pricing and benefits. 

And while they were at it, they’ve managed to stick to a clever color story, too. The fact that they have also made green their main pop of color is evocative of the actual product, providing a clear association between it and the page.

No matter how good your product or message is, if your page is cluttered and hard to navigate, you won’t be making all that many conversions. 

The power of a story

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool you should be reaching for when writing copy for your landing pages.

Let’s take a look at the landing page of an actual story, Danielle, a novel by Ray Kurzweil.

Source: danielleworld.com

The hero is catchy, gives you plenty of information without actually giving anything away, and the rest of the page provides all you need to know: enough to get you interested. This kind of hook is not reserved for literary ecommerce pages alone – you can tell a story about your product regardless of what it is.

Make sure you take your target audience and their preferences into account when writing out your story. And write for them, not for yourself.

Provide plenty of detail

Home pages can be hard to design. Not only are they often the first thing people see, but they also need to provide plenty of information, yet not overlap too much with other pages.

Pergola Kits USA have done a good job here:

Source: pergolakitsusa.com

Their hero showcases the product they sell and will instantly draw the attention of those looking to buy a pergola. Scrolling further down, a visitor can find all the information they need in one place, without having to navigate between several different pages.

This is an all-in-one page that is easy to read, provides enough imagery to keep you interested, and provides real value. You won’t need to read another one to understand what kind of product you need for yourself.

Sometimes it’s best to give your visitors what they are looking for in one place – and make sure they have clearly got the message you’re trying to convey.

Social and other proof and why it matters

People like to be a part of a group, and they like to explore products others have tested and approved. That’s why you’ll want to display all the proof you can find: social proof in the form of testimonials, big companies you have worked with, as well as award buttons, and any other achievements you may have under your belt.

Real Thread does that right in the middle of their homepage:

Source: realthread.com

They have incorporated a section that includes some of the major companies they have worked with. This instantly gives their product a boost and makes them stand out. Even though you may not have heard of the brand, you might be more tempted to give their shirts a try, now that you know which other companies they have worked with.

Be careful what kinds of awards and badges you list, though. Too many of them can cause an adverse effect, leading people to perceive you as bragging or to wonder what you’re trying to hide by listing all of these positive reviews so prominently.

The power of the hero

Your hero image is incredibly important. It should explain in one glance what the product is about, yet do it in a way that’s not boring or too showy.

The Farmer’s Dog does a good job with this image:

Source: thefarmersdog.com

It shows the product, as well as a satisfied customer enjoying it, and you’ll understand right away what the food they’re selling looks like and whether it might be something that your pet would enjoy.

The image is of a high quality, but more importantly, it is also optimized well, so as not to slow the page down and take up unnecessary space – a very important feature to bear in mind when thinking about the imagery you want to use.

When choosing your hero, make sure it is not only an accurate representation of your product, but also catchy and unique.

Final thoughts

When designing a landing page, make sure you have your target audience in mind, and stay in line with the product the page is trying to sell. Add to that a bit of creativity, and you should have a standout page on your hands. 

Digital technology and the Internet have given consumers the advantage of learning everything they can about a product or service before making a purchase. 

Looking for the best Wi-Fi router in 2020? All you have to do is run a search for “best Wi-Fi router 2020”. Within a few seconds, a list of the websites with the information you need will appear on the search results page. 

If your content marketing strategy is on point, your start-up technology retail business might just be on the list. 

Why Your Start-Up Needs Content Marketing

The objective of a content marketing strategy is to compel the reader to answer your call to action. 

What do you want your readers to do? 

  • Do you want them to follow your brand? 
  • Do you want them to acknowledge you as an expert or a valuable resource? 
  • Do you want them to buy your product or patronize your service?

According to a study conducted by Quoracreative, 75% of Internet users read blogs on a regular basis. Meanwhile, 64% of consumers who watch an advertising video will buy the product. 

And if you’ve read a social media post about the amazing Cappucino served at the new coffee shop that opened – chances are you would follow the 81% who were convinced by the review and try out the product yourself. 

Blogs, videos, and social media posts are all examples of content. They are created to trigger a response from the reader. The same can be said about other forms of content such as web copy, product reviews, e-books, and podcasts.

As a start-up, content marketing can help your business gain traction. In a competitive industry, you need maximum visibility to get the attention of potential customers. 

If people love your content, they will follow you willingly and become followers of your business. In time – and with consistency – some of your followers may become customers.

7 Steps To Create The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy For Your Start-Up

To be clear, content is anything you post or publish. It does not mean that you should just post anything on the Internet and expect results. 

If you were compelled to act by the content you read, then you know what effective content looks like. 

For your content marketing campaign to deliver results, you need to have a strategy. 

1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal

The direction of your content marketing strategy will depend on what you want to accomplish. 

What is the goal of your content marketing campaign?

  • Are you looking to gain immediate traction?
  • Do you want to give more information about the products you carry?
  • Do you want people to learn more about you and the people behind the company?
  • Are you using content marketing to share your knowledge with your target audience so they can have immediate solutions to questions?
  • Are you hoping to generate more leads for your sales funnel?

Regardless of your goal, a well-planned and properly implemented content marketing campaign will deliver results for your business. You just need to stay focused on that goal. 

If you layout multiple goals for your content marketing campaign, your efforts will have no direction. Your resources will be spread out too thinly and the message of your campaign will be lost. 

2. Create an Audience Profile

An Audience Profile is similar to a Buyer’s Profile which many realtors create to fine-tune their marketing strategy. 

To make an Audience Profile, you list down the characteristics of the person who would be interested in your content:

  • What is the age group?
  • Are they mostly men or women?
  • Are they working or still studying?
  • If employed, do the majority of the audience hold managerial positions in the company?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where do they reside?
  • How will they access my content?
  • What are their interests?
  • What issues concern them?
  • What are their present needs? 
  • What types of content do they like to read?
  • Do they prefer text or video content?

The questions can cover more areas – as many as you want to get a better idea of the kind of audience that would appreciate the content. 

Having a solid Audience Profile will set the process of creating content much easier. You will have an idea of the content your target audience wants to read and how to reach them.

3. Set Up Your Content Marketing Toolbox

Blogging is one of the most popular forms of content. Many marketers consider blogging as the cornerstone of content marketing. It is just one of many tools that you can include in your content marketing toolbox. 

You can use videos, podcasts, live streaming, forums, newsletters, e-books, infographics, listicles, case studies, how-to articles,  white papers, checklists, interviews, product reviews, GIFs and memes as your content marketing process. 

Your choice of process would depend on your:

  • Marketing Goal
  • Type of Business
  • Target Audience
  • Budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. 

For example, if you are in the business of selling dress watches, you will find greater success using video content that is distributed through social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram than blogging via LinkedIn. 

Review your Audience Profile and draw up a budget for your marketing campaign. A big-budget will give you more flexibility but unless your strategy is on point, the investment will not yield a significant return. 

You can have a successful content marketing strategy without breaking your bank account.

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4. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team

Are you a gifted writer? Do you know how to do keyword research? Do you have experience in content optimization? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then bravo! You are capable of creating engaging content with the potential of driving traffic to your website. 

But you shouldn’t.

Content writing takes time. A 1,600 to 2,000-word blog will take 3 hours to write. That does not include keyword research, topic research, and quality control. 

Rather than writing content, you should outsource the work to a remote team of content experts. 

What skills should comprise your content writing team?

  • Content Writers
  • Keyword Researchers
  • Graphic Designer
  • Videographers
  • Content Editors

To be clear, you don’t have to hire these skills for your content writing team. Again, it would depend on your goals and budget. Add to that, your business experience. 

As a start-up, start out small. 

Get 1 content writer preferably a person who can also do keyword research and quality control. Hire a graphic designer only when your content calls for it. 

You may not need a videographer right away. Some of the best videos were shot using an iPhone. 

The takeaway in this section is: Don’t create your content. Outsource content writing to an experienced person so you will have more time to attend to the main activities of your business. 

5. Create the Content Marketing Process

If you pass by a newsstand, your eyes will search for the publications that you are used to reading. You love the content; style of writing, tone, and the topics are of great interest to you. 

Writing for the Internet goes through a different process. Think of the Internet as a gigantic virtual newsstand that has billions of publications to choose from. 

Once posted, your content will be added to the sea of publications that are already flooding the Internet. 

Thus, when writing online content, your primary objective is to get found by your target audience. To get found, your content has to be optimized for the search engines. 

An effective optimization technique is to embed your content with keywords that are popularly searched by your target audience. There are various tools that you can use to conduct your keyword research:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest
  • Answer the Public
  • Keyword Surfer
  • Keywordit
  • Google Trends

These are free keyword tools that can get the job done for your content optimization plan. 

When you have the keyword spreadsheet ready, here are a few basic rules on how to use them effectively on your content:

  • For a blog post that ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 words, choose 5 to 6 high search volume keywords. 
  • Identify the main keyword which is usually the keyword that best describes your topic. 
  • The main keyword should appear once in the title, the first paragraph, the body of the content, and the conclusion.
  • The ratio of keywords to total word count should not exceed 2%. 

With keywords ready for use, let’s come up with a simple but effective content marketing process for your start-up:

  • Review your Audience Profile and make a spreadsheet of topics your followers would like you to write about. Use your keyword list to come up with titles.
  • When you have zeroed in on the topic and title, it’s time to conduct topic research. Choose 3 to 4 reliable references for your topic.
  • Create an outline for your blog. We recommend dividing the body of your blog into smaller sections under different headings. These sub-headers should include minor or secondary keywords – a keyword that is relevant to the main topic.
  • Begin writing! For list-type articles, you may want to start with the body first to get a better grasp of the content. We find this approach makes it easier to write the introduction and conclusion to the blog.
  • After completing the blog, run it through a spelling and grammar-checking software such as Grammarly. Then, read the article and look for other errors. The software can make a mistake because it may not understand the context of a sentence.
  • Review the structure of the blog. If it looks cramped, open it up. Our blogs are a good example. Keep the paragraphs and sentences short. Space the paragraphs properly. Readers don’t like to read blogs that look cramped up.

6. Identify Your Content Distribution Channels

Where will you publish your optimized content?

The first distribution channel on your list should be your website. If possible, use original images. Stock images are always an option but Google prefers images that are unique to your website.

For a start-up, it would be best to keep your distribution channel strategy simple. Thus, social media would be the next logical choice. After all, people spend on average two hours and 22 minutes of their Internet time on social media. 

As mentioned earlier, not all social media networks function in the same way. Choose a social media network that caters to a community interested in your type of content. 

For example, business-related content would gain more traction in LinkedIn than Facebook. Visual-heavy content would generate more interest in networks such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.  

Finally, create a distribution schedule.

There are several recommendations on how often you should post content. Some say you should post a minimum of 5 times on Facebook to get results. Others say twice-a-day is enough. 

Our recommendation is to keep your strategy simple. The objective is to stay top-of-mind. Posting content once-a-day should be fine. 

If you don’t have original blogs to post, share curated content, post inspirational messages or simply post status updates. 

Another strategy would be to call on friends or associates who have websites that cater to your target audience. Propose a guest blogging arrangement whereby you can post original blogs on each other’s websites. 

7. Measure the Performance of Your Content Marketing Strategy

The great thing about digital marketing is that you can measure the performance of your campaign. Find out how your content marketing strategy is performing. 

  • Which blogs or articles account for the longest time spent on your website?
  • Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement and sharing?
  • Which types of content have the highest number of “likes”?
  • Where do your followers come from?
  • How do they access your content?

Website analytics will give you all the data you need to assess the performance of your content marketing strategy. Social media networks have analytics that you can use to get data on the types of content you have shared. 

By reviewing the numbers on your content marketing campaign, you can pinpoint the flaws, correct them, and strengthen your strategy to get the desired results.

Conclusion

If we got you excited about starting a content marketing campaign, it’s time to slow down a bit and understand one thing:

Content marketing takes time to get results. 

A person who reads your blog may enjoy what he has read but it doesn’t mean he will automatically follow you or sign up for your newsletter. 

Consistency is the key. 

Content is king – but you have to produce consistently great blogs, articles, videos, and other forms of content to get people to become your regular audience. 

As an entrepreneur, your time is best spent on your business. Leave your content marketing needs to us! Give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started on a content marketing strategy that will get you the results you want.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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If the Home Page of your website answers the “why” of your business, then the About Us page tells customers the “who” of your business. 

The Home Page is where your customers will find the company’s BVP or Brand Value Proposition – a short statement that tells them within 6 seconds why they should choose your business over the competition. 

For this reason, businesses tend to focus more on the Home Page than the other pages of their website. After all, it is the landing page of your website. Once you click on a URL, you will end up on the Home Page. 

The About Us page is often designed as an after-thought. 

Check out a few websites at random and visit the About Us pages. Most entrepreneurs and top-level executives view the About Us page as a resume on a website. 

All you read are their academic achievements, positions they’ve held in previous companies, the number of businesses they own, and awards won in the industry. 

Sure that looks good on paper – but how will a resume of your accomplishments convince your website visitor that your business has the solutions to his problems? 

At Mountaintop, we have a unique approach to designing the About Us page of our clients. 

Instead of creating a design that shows “who” the business is, our approach is to highlight the “why”:

Why you are the best person to handle the customer’s problems, concerns, and needs.

Thus, instead of designing an About Us page about you, we create one for the most important people in your business.

Your customers. 

Why Is The About Us Page Important?

According to a 2015 study, 52% of website visitors click on the About Us page. 

Why is this so? Shouldn’t prospective clients click on the Services page to find out your pricing?

Put it this way, if you were at a networking event, would you sign up for the services of a business owner after exchanging “Hellos”?

Chances are, you would use the event as an opportunity to learn more about the business owner:

  • Why did he get into this type of business?
  • What experiences in life motivated him to start the company?
  • What is his approach to managing clients?
  • Do we share common values? 
  • What is his vision for the company?

In short, what is his story? 

A purposeful About Us page can create an immediate strong connection with the site visitor if he sees that the story of the company is actually the story of the customer achieving their goals – The company needs to invite them into their story. You share a similar story. 

He reads your About Us page and he thinks to himself, “This guy – gets it!” 

It gives assurances and confidence that yours is the right business for the job!

How To Write An About Us Page That Gets Customers

Finding the right client or customer isn’t just about your skills, educational attainment, and years of experience.

Customers want to know if you are someone they can relate to. This means sharing experiences – stories – that resonate with the site visitor. 

But it comes down to your story – why your experiences, knowledge, and history make you the best, right-fit choice for the customer.

You have to establish that connection – and the About Us page is an effective way to get it done!

Here are 5 tips on how to write an About Us page that gets customers excited about your business.

1. Tell Your Story 

Everybody loves a good story. Especially those that trigger emotional cues with the reader. 

If you’re a business consultant for small and medium scale enterprises, share your stories of struggle. 

Let them know your humble beginnings – how you overcame failure and the lessons you learned that motivated you to become a business consultant. 

Small and medium-scale business owners will relate because they are probably in that situation right now. Your story will give them hope and the assurance that it’s possible to overcome failure and find success. 

How?

If inspired, they might click on your call-to-action and connect with you right away!

2. Write With the Customer In Mind

Core values… mission vision… our purpose…

These are all great. It’s nice to let the customers know you place high regard on your core values and that the business has direction and pre-defined objectives. 

But they will not convince the customer to patronize your business. 

The customer wants to know how you can help them by understanding why you are the most qualified person to handle the job.

When writing the About Us page, keep the customer in mind:

  • What are his persistent problems and pain points?
  • Which of my products or services are best suited to resolve these problems?
  • What issues are my customers interested in?
  • What types of solutions are my customers looking for?
  • Where do my customers come from?
  • How is the customer dealing with the problem right now?
  • Which of my experiences can my customers strongly relate to?

Let’s go back to our example of a Business Consultant who is creating an About Us page on his business.

A good example that would resonate with the readers would read like this:

“As a lifelong entrepreneur, I understand the challenges you face.

My first business venture failed – I lost $10,000. I thought I had learned my lesson, but my second business venture lost $100,000. 

Failure is part of life as an entrepreneur. But instead of being fearful of failure, embrace it – and learn from it.

My third business venture? We’re in our 10th year and going strong!

Let me show you how to overcome failure and succeed!”

This type of About Us content combines #1 – Tell Your Story –  with #2, Write For Your Customer.

Don’t you think the About Us copy will get the customer excited about doing business with you?

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3. Compel the Reader to Act

Now that you’ve gotten the reader interested, what do you want him to do? 

  • “Go to our services page – right now?”
  • “Give us a call or an email and we’ll get on it right away!”
  • “Click the ‘Get Started’ button – and let’s get started!”

Your website presents a great opportunity to get clients for your business. If your About Us page is spot on, the customer may not want to waste a single second and sign up with you immediately. 

Make the process easier by adding a CTA button on the About Us page. If you noticed, we ended the CTA with a strong sense of urgency. Don’t be shy about your intentions. Let the customer know what you want him to do – right now!

4. Converse – Don’t Lecture

What would you think if the person you are talking to at the networking event kept framing his sentences as:

  • “You should have done this…”
  • “You should have done that…”
  • “If I was in your position, I would have…”
  • “You shouldn’t have done that…”
  • “I wouldn’t have done that. Instead, I would have…”

You should also avoid using technical jargon or terms that may not be understood by the reader.

For example, if you provide online forex trading services, don’t try to impress the reader by writing in this manner:

“In 2005, I was able to capture the failed fifth of the move from 38 to 43 and retraced the 61.8% Fibonacci ratio which covered the move from 43 to 41. This allowed me to enter a buying position at 39.22 which terminated at the conclusion of the truncated fifth wave.”

“What? You lost me at ‘2005’!”

Write in your own voice. Don’t try to impress by getting technical. Instead, write in simplified terms.

How would you converse with your customer if you met him for the first time? 

Even if the reader hasn’t met you, being authentic allows them to hear your voice through your content.

5. Add Great Images

So you’ve written a great About Us copy that shows customers who you are. It doesn’t end there. To know you is to see you. Customers want to see who you are. 

Having a nice picture of you on the About Us page adds a face to your business. If you believe that you are your business and your business is you, then it only makes sense to add a nice picture of you on the About Us page. 

Conclusion

The About Us page can add plenty of muscle to your website. Don’t ignore it. A well-conceptualized, well thought out, and purposeful About Us page can effectively entice the visitor to strongly consider your business. 

If our article made you re-think your current About Us page, give us a call or an email. Let’s work on it right away!

And if you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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Would you trust your Mercedes Benz or BMW to any roadside mechanic or would you rather bring it to a repair shop that specializes in those brands of automobiles? Your website is like a car – used properly it will help drive your business forward. Unlike a car that depreciates over time, your website will continually add value to your business. Thus, if you want your website to perform optimally, you should have it hosted by a platform that specializes in its system.

When it comes to websites, WordPress is the brand that is synonymous with performance. Businesses trust WordPress more than any other platform for enhancing their presence on the Internet.

According to a survey conducted by W3Techs, WordPress is used by 34.5% of all websites and is the consensus number 1 Content Management System (CMS) in the world. 

If you have a website that is powered by WordPress, your business is in good hands – the best in the business! It only makes good business sense to have your WordPress website under the care and maintenance of a company that specializes in this amazing CMS platform.

Enter managed WordPress hosting services.

Managed WordPress Hosting – What Is It?

A web host service provider is a company that provides the technology and services that allow the website to be accessed on the Internet. These services use powerful computers called servers to host your website.

The assets of your website – content, graphics, audio files, databases, and images – are stored in these servers. If someone wants to access your website, all he has to do is type your URL or website address in his browser.

Once the Internet user launches his search query, his computer will connect to the server and your webpage will be delivered via his browser. 

You can read more about web hosting services in our article “How To Choose Your Web Host”.

A managed WordPress hosting service is web hosting that is designed specifically to support the needs of a WordPress website.

From the servers to the customer support staff that the company hires, everything is tailor-made to ensure the WordPress websites are functioning at optimal levels and easily accessible to Internet users.

In addition, managed WordPress hosting includes services intended to relieve the owner from the tasks involved in managing his website so he can focus on the core activities of the business.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Managed WordPress Hosting For Your Business?

If you are building an online presence for your business with WordPress, signing up for a WordPress hosting service is the best thing you can do to ensure the performance, safety, and security of your website. 

1. Have Your Site Managed by WordPress Experts

You can’t have the word “managed” beside WordPress hosting services unless you have people who are trained, experienced, and have the requisite skills to manage your WordPress website.

Put simply, when you sign up for managed WordPress hosting services, you are leaving your WordPress website in the very capable and highly-qualified hands of the experts.

Other web hosting platforms will offer you support for your WordPress website but their competencies and expertise are limited. They may not have the level of WordPress proficiency to distinguish a conflict between plugins and a full-blown problem with the servers.

Managed WordPress hosting services will also open up their toolbox and utilize all the tools of the trade to prioritize the needs of a WordPress website. For example, you’ll be given access to 24/7 customer support and have an IT expert at your fingertips whenever your website runs into trouble. 

2. Optimal Site Performance and Fast Download Speed

For the reason that the entire technology of a managed WordPress hosting services provider is tailor-made for a WordPress website, you can be assured that your website will be running optimally with faster download speed and improved uptime.

You can avail of features that can further enhance the performance of your website such as a CDN or Content Delivery Network which ensures the fast delivery of your content anywhere in the world.

Slow download time will contribute to poor user experience and lead to foregone revenues and a tarnished reputation. With managed WordPress hosting services, you no longer have to worry about users abandoning your website because it took more than 3 seconds to download. 

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3. Worry-Free Site Management Experience

Think of a managed WordPress hosting service as a one-stop-shop for all your WordPress website needs. It is the only hub for your website; there is no need to go from one provider to another or to change configurations and setups. The hosting service is dedicated to everything WordPress.

If your business is in “growth mode” and you are working with several new clients, having hosted services specific to your WordPress website will take the burden of managing the site for you.

In our case, we primarily use the services of GoDaddy for these features. 

As the web host, GoDaddy provides the routine backups and the automatic WordPress core file updates but the company does not touch the plugins. 

We offer our clients a separate service that takes care of managing and updating the plugins as well as protecting the other features of the website. 

4. Incorporate WordPress-Specific Security Measures

The threat of cyber-attacks is an everyday reality. Just because you have never been hacked does not mean you never will. Don’t wait to be a statistic. You should always prioritize the security and integrity of your website.

Cyber-criminals are trying to stay one step ahead of cyber-security measures. As a business owner, it is very hard to keep up with the latest security updates.

With Managed WordPress hosting services, you can be assured that they take the security of the server very seriously. They work hard to protect the server from intruders. 

However, server level security is not enough to keep you secure. There must be security features on your website as well. We take website security very seriously. 

For our clients on our Extreme WordPress Care Plans, we have taken it upon ourselves to regularly update the security features and to update the required plugins to make sure the client’s website is protected to the server level. 

You can have peace of mind knowing these security measures will be installed as soon as they are available.

5. Add SSL Certificates With Only a Few Clicks

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer Certificates are no longer just the concern of e-commerce websites. Effective last July 2018, Google declared SSL Certificates as mandatory for websites. 

If your website does not have SSL Certificates, visitors will be greeted by the dreaded 2 words “Not Secure”. 

Consequently, your drive to move up the search rankings will be derailed because the search engine giant included SSL Certificates as a ranking factor in its search algorithm.

A managed WordPress hosting service will make it easier for you to have SSL Certificates for your website. With most hosting platforms, acquiring the SSL Certificates will take time.

However, managed WordPress hosting services have partnered up with SSL Certificate providers to make the process easier and faster.  It takes only a few clicks to have that much sought-after green padlock added to your URL. 

Conclusion

As we like to say, your website is your business address on the Internet. Setting it up using the WordPress CMS platform is a great idea. You are moving in the right direction!

Therefore, you must make sure that it is managed properly. As a business owner, your time is best dedicated to managing the tasks that contribute to your bottom line. The last thing you would want is to be thrown a curveball in your schedule because your WordPress website ran into server issues. 

Signing up for managed WordPress hosting services will put your website under the guidance of the most qualified people in the industry. Professionals who have the requisite skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise to give your WordPress website the ideal environment to ensure top-level performance. 

One of the biggest advantages of having a website is that you have a version of your business which is open 24/7. People from all over the world can access your website and learn more about your business; its products and services. 

With managed WordPress hosting services, you can sleep soundly knowing that your business is open, customers are perusing through your content, and your assets are secured and protected.

You may also want to learn more about our Extreme WordPress Care plans which offer robust security and protection that work with your hosting environment. Our Extreme WordPress Care plans are the perfect complement to managed WordPress hosting services. 

And if you enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to share it with your community.

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Whenever you read the news, you will come across reports about the economy – how the stock market is performing and data on jobs, unemployment, and currency exchange. You will read terms such as “Gross Domestic Product”, “recession”, and “trade balance”. 

For the past few months, the news has given massive coverage on the trade war launched by the United States against China and how it has impacted the bottom line of many U.S. companies in the manufacturing and agricultural sector.

Certainly, these types of news are disconcerting because when companies are in trouble, jobs and consequently, the livelihood and well-being of many families are on the line. 

Thus, in a world that has become increasingly concerned about profit, the idea of a non-profit organization must leave some people scratching their heads. 

What Is A Non-Profit Organization?

By definition, a non-profit organization is an entity that does not funnel its earnings to stockholders or investors. The majority of non-profit organizations are not connected with the government and are private entities. 

However, instead of paying out dividends to its stockholders, a non-profit organization appropriates its income to help the group achieve its goals which are usually philanthropic in nature. 

A non-profit organization can support a variety of causes. Some of the most popular ones include endangered species, preserving the arts, social reform programs, protecting the environment, education, and literacy. 

What Are The Challenges Facing Non-Profit Organizations?

Spearheading a non-profit organization can be a daunting task. With information flowing freely – thanks to the Internet and the advances in digital technology – decisions are more easily influenced by data that is available on the web.

Similar to profit organizations, non-profit organizations face several challenges that may obstruct their efforts to achieve their goals and objectives.

We have identified 3 challenges that non-profit organizations have to contend with in the coming years:

  1. Government Regulations – Changes in government regulations and tax reform laws may affect the decisions of individuals to contribute as well as hinder the ability of non-profit organizations to invoice for their services and generate more funding.
  2. Hiring Volunteers and Recruiting Staff – An increase in the number of jobs available in the market in combination with an upward adjustment in the wage rate has made it more difficult for non-profit organizations to hire and recruit volunteers needed to attend to its various duties and responsibilities. 
  3. Lack of Technological Support – With the decline in available funding, non-profit organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to avail of and utilize technology needed to further its growth and open new avenues for financial support. 

Mountaintop Web Design is not an interest group and neither are we in the recruitment business.

However, we are in the technology business. We understand how digital innovations and the Internet can be utilized to help non-profit organizations meet their goals. 

How Can Non-Profit Organizations Benefit From Digital Marketing?

If you want to know how digital marketing benefits small businesses, please read our blog, “5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need To Invest In A Digital Marketing Strategy”.

The truth is, a non-profit organization also reaps the same benefits from incorporating a digital marketing strategy as a profit organization. 

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1. Low-Cost Method Of Promoting the Organization’s Objectives

Digital marketing is the process of utilizing digital technology – various online tools and platforms – to market and promote a business, it’s products and services. The process is run via online channels foremost of which is the website. 

For the reason that the world is becoming more technology-dependent, all businesses, whether profit or non-profit, should have a website. Here’s a statistic that you should keep in mind:

Of the 7.7 Billion people on our planet, 4.3 Billion are on the Internet every single day. That number accounts for 55.6% of the world’s total population.

If your business is not on the Internet, how would potential customers – or donors – find you? The website is your business address on the Internet. 

The cost of putting up a website will depend on the type, functionality, and design features. At Mountaintop, we can customize a fully-functional, mobile responsive website that will meet your needs and budget.

And if you wish, you can build your own website by using a free design template from WordPress. We have written about it in our blog, “How To Build Your Own Website In 4 Easy Steps”.

Another effective channel for digital marketing is social media. According to a study by Sprout Social, 74% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media content. 

Of the 4.3 billion people on the Internet on a daily basis, more than 3 billion are on social media. Facebook accounts for 2.2 billion of social media’s daily traffic

Setting up a social media account for your non-profit organization will not cost you a cent. There are many social media platforms to choose from – Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube – are the popular ones and have large communities. 

You can choose 2 to 3 social media platforms to post content on a regular basis. With time and by creating useful, engaging, and compelling content, you should see more traffic driven to your website.

2. The Non-Profit Group Becomes Available 24/7

Unlike a shopping mall or a commercial building, the Internet does not close down or take holiday breaks. It is open 24/7.

When you have a website and social media accounts on the Internet, your non-profit organization becomes available 24/7.

  • Potential donors can read about your charitable cause; its purpose, vision, and organizational goals.
  • The use of compelling content delivered through regular blogs and video links are strong influencers which can immediately convert interest into donations.
  • If the site visitor wants to make a contribution, we can integrate a donation system that will easily facilitate the payment.

3. Measure Performance In Real-Time

One of the great advantages of using digital marketing is that you can track its performance in real-time by accessing data known as analytics.

Analytics will provide you key information on your current digital marketing strategy. You will have empirical evidence that will identify the processes which are delivering good ROI. 

Likewise, Analytics will point out the processes that are not delivering results. By determining the processes which result in ROI and those which are not, you can fine-tune the strategy. 

Thus, you can adjust the budget and allocate more resources to high-return processes. By using analytics as a reference tool to manage your budget, your overall digital marketing strategy should deliver higher ROI. 

4. Adapt to Changes In Consumer Behavior

Blogging and social media marketing are platforms that allow your followers to directly engage with you. Some will post comments related to the content you posted. 

Our advice is to respond to these commenters right away – within 24 hours if possible. The reason is these comments are valuable data. They provide keen insights on how your audience thinks, behaves, and processes information. 

When you respond, you create a feedback system between your non-profit organization and the commenter. 

The feedback system will establish communication which can eventually lead to an important component of business development: Relationship building. 

Building a solid market base of end-users and regular patrons will come down to expert relationship management. 

Digital marketing will provide you with the platform, tools, and channels to build a strong following and an enhanced presence on the Internet. 

In the following section, we will discuss 2 case studies of non-profit organizations which greatly benefited from having a website designed and managed by our company.

Case Study No.1 – Severe Weather Shelter Network

Severe Weather Shelter Network is a non-profit organization which partners up with various groups and agencies to provide immediate shelter to people who are living on the streets during harsh weather conditions.

The non-profit group already had an existing website but it was not delivering the expected results. SWSN approached us to redesign the site with the objectives of increasing awareness and improving the process of making donations.

Old website

For the website redesign, we put more focus on the homepage which is the primary landing page on a website. 

You will see the group’s Brand Value Proposition (BVP) right away – “Help Us Make A Difference. Helping the homeless build a community of supporters and providing a place of refuge on freezing nights.”

The BVP is short, direct, and easy to understand. Below the BVP is the Call-to-Action (CTA) which is asking the site visitor to make a contribution through the donation system that we built into the website.

Severe Weather Shelter Network is happy with the site and have seen a large increase in the number of their donations. They have also subscribed to our Extreme WordPress Care Plans to keep their website safe from potential cyber-attacks.  

Case Study No.2: Love In The Name Of Christ

Love In The Name Of Christ is a non-profit organization that works with local churches to help transform the lives of people who were lost and had no direction or purpose through the teachings of Christ.

Similar to Severe Weather Shelter Network, Love In The Name Of Christ had an existing website. However, it had an outdated design and was not functioning very well. 

We gave it a fresher look that was aesthetically beautiful and fully-functional. The BVP on the homepage was effective; it was easy to remember and direct to the point. 

We also included a donation system to facilitate contributions faster and more convenient for donors. 

Love In The Name Of Christ also signed up with our Extreme WordPress Care Plans.

Conclusion

Digital marketing has been proven to be an effective way of helping non-profits achieve their goals. 

Whether you are a profit or non-profit organization, you need to have a strong presence on the Internet. 

Having a website in combination with the right digital marketing tools and processes will help spread the message of non-profit organizations while effectively addressing the challenges they face.

If you are a non-profit organization that is thinking of putting up a website or having your existing one redesigned, please give us a call or drop us an email. 

You can consult with us for free. 

Coffee’s on us!

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Are you thinking of having a website for your business? If so, you are steering your business in the right direction! Take some time to read our blog, “10 Benefits Of A Website For A Small Business” to know why. 

You have 2 options to consider for building your website:

  • Customized Website Design
  • Website Template

As a small business owner, which option should you choose for your website?

Customized Website Design Vs. Website Template

The easiest way to build a website is to give us a call or visit us at https://mountaintopwebdesign.com/ and contract our services to design a customized website for your business.

Mountaintop Web Design is a professional web design company. We have been in the web design business for a long time. Over the years we have designed and built many beautiful, responsive, and highly-functional websites for hundreds of businesses.

A customized website is a website that is built by a professional web designer specifically for your business. 

The word “professional” is used to describe a person who has undergone formal training and has acquired a good level of experience to develop the skill sets needed to design a custom-built website. 

Designing websites is his profession; it is his career and how he makes a living. Therefore, a professional website designer is a person who takes his craft seriously. He invests time and resources to update his knowledge and skills by learning the latest techniques, processes, and methods in designing websites. 

The second option is to build a website on your own by using a website template. WordPress is a platform that offers web design templates. These templates are available for free and come in different designs. 

The free website templates can be customized to a certain extent. WordPress has thousands of free plug-ins that you can use to change the look and functionality of your website. 

If you want to put up your first website, choosing a free website template may be a good idea to get started.

Why would a successful professional web design company encourage its readers to build their own website?

Designing and building your own website will give you a better understanding of what goes into website design. If you are on a tight budget, building your own website might be your best option to have one for your business. 

When the time comes that you want to upgrade your website, you can contact us to build a customized one for your business. Your experience putting up your own website will make our collaboration for a customized website much easier!

Going the Do-It-Yourself route may seem like a daunting task. As professional website designers, we are here to tell you that there is a learning curve to overcome but it is very doable! 

Essentially, there are only 4 steps to building a website:

  • Choose Your Website Design Platform
  • Choose Your Web Hosting Service and Domain Name
  • Set Up Your Website
  • Add Content to Your Website

Are you ready? Let’s take the first step!

Step 1 – Choose Your Website Design Platform

There are many good website design templates to choose from but we have narrowed your choices down to these 3 platforms:

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla

Without a doubt, your best choice is WordPress. There is a reason why more than 30% of all websites choose WordPress. 

To be precise, there are at least 6 reasons why WordPress is the best platform for your business website:

  1. Google prefers WordPress over other platforms because it can accommodate various SEO techniques and processes.
  2. WordPress website templates are highly-customizable; there are thousands of plugins that will change the look and functionality of your website.
  3. WordPress is very user-friendly and schedules regular updates on its system, programs, and applications.
  4. As the most popular website platform on the Internet, WordPress takes site security seriously and makes it a point to upgrade its data protection plugins. 
  5. WordPress can handle various types of media; from text content to video-based content, WordPress can accommodate them all.
  6. WordPress templates are designed to be mobile responsive.

If you want to learn more about the advantages of using WordPress, you can read our blog, “Why Do We Use WordPress?”

As good as Drupal and Joomla are, 74 million websites can’t be wrong. Choose WordPress for your free website design template.

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Step 2 – Choose Your Web Host Service Provider and Domain Name

For your website to be accessible on the Internet, you need to choose a good web host service provider. This is a company that runs powerful servers which enable your website to connect to the Internet. 

The web host company will upload all of your website’s files; sometimes referred to as “assets” onto its server. When your website goes live, the web host company will open the files so it can be accessed by anyone who connects with the server. 

Thus, when you sign up a web host services provider, you are renting a space on the company’s server. 

After you have signed up, the web host company will ask you to come up with a domain name. If the server is the apartment complex where you are renting space, the domain name is its address. 

Think of your domain name as your company name. It must be immediately identifiable with your business or industry because that is what people will see on the Internet. 

Here are 5 tips on how to come up with a good domain name:

  1. Keep it Short and Simple – If your domain name is too long, there is a big chance it would be misspelled or forgotten.
  2. Use Keywords – Adding strong keywords in your domain name is a smart idea because it helps the search bots find and index your URL. In our industry, “web design” is a powerful keyword. That is why we included it in our domain name www.mountaintopwebdesign.com .
  3. Avoid Symbols – We could have opted for www.mountaintop-webdesign.com but the hyphen could cause problems for the client. Verbalizing our website address could also become a tedious exercise, “It’s ‘mountain top dash web design dot com”. Clients could easily forget about the “dash”. 
  4. Make it Easy to Remember – “It’s on the tip of my tongue” is something you don’t want potential clients to say when they are trying to recall your domain name. Do some research and come up with buzz words or terms that are easily identifiable with your business or industry.
  5. Go “Dot Com” – You can find a variety of domain extension names such as “.net”, “.biz”, among others. Without a doubt, “.com” is the best choice. It is the most identifiable extension on the Internet. 

If you want to learn more about the importance of web host services, you can read our article, “How To Choose Your Web Host”.  

You can also give us a call or drop an email. 

Mountaintop Web Design offers web hosting services that can fit your budget without compromising the quality of services. 

Step 3 – Set Up Your Website

Finally, the fun part! Setting up your website!

This may seem like a big step up for those who are not comfortable with technology but we assure you, setting up a WordPress website is easy. WordPress understood the challenges first-time web designers face and made it a point to make the process easier and doable. 

Here is the step-by-step process on how to set up your website on WordPress:

  1. Access https://wordpress.org/download, download and save it on your PC or laptop.
  2. Unzip WordPress on the designated folder.
  3. Look for “wp-config-sample.php” and rewrite it to “wp-config.php”. Just right-click on the file. Select the option “Rename”.
  4. Access “wp-config.php” and fill in the details:
  • Define (“DB_NAME”, “database name_here”) – If you don’t know what your database name is, ask your web host services provider.
  • Define (“DB_USER”, “username_here”) – This refers to your hosting username.
  • Define (“DB_PASSWORD”, “password_here”) – This refers to your hosting password.

Save the file after you have inputted the information.

  1. Log into your host FTP which is usually ftp.yourdomainname.com. The user name and password are the same as when you registered with your web host services provider.
  2. Delete all files with the file name “index”. From there, upload the files from the WordPress folder onto the FTP server. 
  3. After completing step #6, visit “yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/install.php”. 

You should be greeted with the following message:

“Making Your Website Look Awesome! Choosing A Theme To Make The Magic Come Alive.”

It is really an amazing experience seeing your WordPress account transform into a website. However, what you see is a WordPress default theme. With WordPress, you can change the theme of your website so that you can bring it to life!

In technical terms, a theme is a collection of files that help produce the front-end design of your website. In other words, a theme is how you want your website to look.

All you have to do is click on “Appearance” which is found on the left side of your WP dashboard. From “Appearance”, click on “Themes”, then “Add New” to view the thousands of themes available on WordPress.

WordPress gives you the tools to customize the look and feel of its free templates. You can change its color, add stock photos, experiment with various font styles and design backgrounds. 

Installing the theme of your WordPress website will just need 2 more clicks:

  • Install
  • Activate

Now that you’ve brought your website to life, it is time to breathe life into it by adding content!

Step 4 – Add Content To Your Website

Your website looks great! But does it serve the needs or interests of your audience? This is where content comes in.

Content is the stuff that brings substance to the beautiful image of your website. Content gives your website purpose; it is the reason why people will visit your site over your competitors. 

Creating effective content for your website will be the topic of a future blog. For now, we will show you how easy it is to post content on your WordPress website.

The “About Us” page is one of the first pages visitors will see on a website. To create an “About Us” page, follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click the “Pages” link.
  3. Click “Add New”.

You will come across a page that looks similar to a sheet from MS Word. On the “Enter Title Here” box, write “About Us”. 

From there, simply write down the content of your “About Us” page on the space provided. It is just like writing content on MS Word. WordPress offers the same tools to customize the look of your page. 

If you want to create a blog post, click “Post” on the dashboard then click “Add New”. You will come across the same text editor layout as when you created a Page. 

As a reminder, it would be a good idea to organize your blogs into categories. This way, it will be easier to find a specific type of content when you need it. 

Conclusion

If you are still on the fence with the idea of having a website for your business, building your own website is a good first step. You will be more deeply invested and the experience of designing a website will give you a better appreciation and understanding of what it can do for your business. 

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes! That is part of the learning process. Once your website goes live, you will realize the time and effort you invested was worth it. 

And when the time comes to take your website to the next level, give us a call and we’ll gladly do it for you!

Do you know of anyone who is thinking of designing their own website? Please share this article with them. We would be interested to learn about their experience in building their first website!

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Investing in a website is a smart first step to building a profitable business. In fact, you are already several steps ahead of the 45% of businesses that still don’t have a website. 

Now that you have taken the first step, what is the next step?

If you are not sure how to use a website to make your business profitable, you are not alone. 

One reason why 45% of small businesses still don’t have a website is that the owners are not sure what it does and how it works to contribute to profitability. 

The truth is, running a small business website is not that difficult or complicated. Yes, there is a learning curve to overcome and it will take some time before you can see the fruits of your labor. 

However, with patience and diligence, your website can become a profit-generating machine for your business. 

So what is the next step? Read the article and find out how to use your website to make your business profitable.

Why Your Website Is The Most Powerful Marketing Tool For Your Business

Unlike a brick-and-mortar business, your website is open 24/7. It can be accessed by millions – even by billions – of people who are on the Internet every day. 

Can you imagine owning a retail store that is open 24/7? You can have sales transactions every hour! People will be buying after close-of-business hours and keep your cash registers ringing. 

This is possible with an online retail or e-commerce store. Your customers will simply click on your URL or website address, land on your homepage, read through your product list, then pay for the transaction at the checkout counter. 

Through it all, you could be playing catch with your son, watching your daughter’s piano recital, having a glass of red wine with the spouse, or in the REM stage of a good night’s sleep. 

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, it’s not! 

There are many online entrepreneurs who are reaping the success of running a profitable Internet-based business.  

These online entrepreneurs are not exceptions to the rule. Anyone can have a dynamic website that helps the business earn considerable income and become highly profitable. 

The key is to learn how to harness the power of your website so you can maximize the opportunities that can be found on the Internet.

1. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Responsive

We have written a good number of articles on the importance of having a mobile responsive website. 

We did not stop there. 

In our other articles on digital marketing and website design, mobile responsive is always mentioned.

Here are 4 statistics-backed reasons why your website should be mobile responsive:

Having a website is a start but complete the project by making sure it is highly mobile responsive. By this, we mean that your website should have no problem setting up on the screen of a mobile device regardless of screen size. 

If your website is not mobile responsive, you will lose business. Worse, not having a mobile responsive website can even prove to be damaging to your business. 

Imagine clicking on a website from your smartphone and having to zoom-in and manually adjust the position of the page on your screen just to be able to read the content. 

You will probably click out of the website.

Coincidentally, that is what your prospective customer will do if your website is not mobile responsive.

2. Optimize Your Website

We have come across websites that are beautiful. They look elegant and the content on the site is very well-written.

Unfortunately, according to the websites’ analytics, very few people have seen them. 

The website cannot be seen because they cannot be found. They cannot be found because the websites are not optimized.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using techniques and processes that will increase the search visibility of your website on the Internet. 

Without SEO, it does not matter if your website homepage looks like it should be on the Louvre Museum in Paris, France or if the content reads like it was written by Leo Tolstoy.

Hardly anyone will find it unless you have it optimized.

Here are 4 areas that you should look into to have your website optimized for easy search.

  • Keyword Research – Keywords are the most-often used words or phrases when someone launches a search query. Having your website content embedded with the right keywords will make it easier for the search engine crawlers to index your page.
  • Site Navigability – The navigability of a page plays an important factor in User Experience of which Google is big on. If you want your website to convert, you must make it easy for the visitor to use. If the visitor feels like he is trapped in a labyrinth, he will just click out.
  • Meta and Title Tags – Meta and Title tags are the responsibility of the web developer. These are descriptions of your website that are included in its code. Title tags describe what your website is all about and can be seen on the results page. Meta tags are hidden within the code but are used to validate the type of website that you have. 
  • Site Speed – Although it takes 8.66 seconds to download the top ranking websites in Google, Internet searchers still expect a website to download in 3 seconds or less. 53% of users will leave a website if it does not download in under 3 seconds. 

3. Focus On Your Website Homepage

An argument can be made that the Homepage is the most important page on your website. This is because is the page where a visitor will land after he clicks on your URL. 

Having an effective website homepage means having one that is efficient – it should get the job done in no more than 6 seconds. 

If the site visitor does not see anything useful, relevant, and compelling on your website within 6 seconds, he will click out.

What then makes an efficient website homepage?

  • Less Is More – Have you come across a website that has so many things happening on the homepage? There is so much text. The homepage copy feels like reading a long-form blog. 

Likewise, there are too many images and it seems that the color choices were made without thought or purpose. 

When designing a homepage, the rule is less is more. Too much activity on the homepage will only serve to distract the site user not help him find what he is looking for.

  • What Is Your Brand Value Proposition (BVP)? – The Brand Value Proposition or BVP is a statement that tells site visitors what your business can do for them. The BVP is the most important statement on your homepage and perhaps on your entire website. As mentioned, you only have fewer than 6 seconds to catch the interest of the site visitor. This is where the BVP comes in. It must be short, direct-to-the-point, and easily understood. 
  • How Compelling Is Your Call-To-Action (CTA)? – The Call-To-Action (CTA) tells the site visitor what you want him to do. To be effective the CTA must be direct-to-the-point. It should state urgency and the importance of acquiring your products and services right now.

You can make your homepage more compelling by adding testimonies or explainer videos. However, from both a design and functional perspective, less is more. 

We recommend prioritizing the BVO and coming up with an effective CTA. From there, you could consider a slide featuring testimonies from actual clients or customers. 

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4. Blog Actively

People spend 23% of their time online reading blogs. 

That statement should be enough to emphasize our point on the importance of blogging actively for your business. 

However, before you blog actively, it would be best to understand what makes a blog effective.

Blogging is not as simple as writing about a topic you like or specialize in. We have clients who are experts in their field. They create blogs that are packed with information acquired from the years invested in the industry.

Yet, hardly anyone reads them. So, they get discouraged from blogging. By doing so, they fail to realize the benefits of blogging. 

There are 2 reasons why their blogs do not gain traction and fail to deliver the desired results:

  • The blogs are not optimized for search.
  • The blogs are not written for the audience.

Blogging is not the same as writing a college term paper or a piece on a broadsheet. It combines the creativity of writing and the precision of digital technology. 

Yes, you need a good writer who can create compelling pieces that are free of spelling and grammatical errors. However, these must be optimized so that the blogs can be searched and found on the Internet. 

Optimizing a blog involves a number of processes, some of which we will discuss here:

  • Keywords – We mentioned the importance of keywords in optimizing a website. The same can be said for your blogs. In order to be found your blog should contain the most-searched keywords in your industry. Therefore, in addition to topic research, your content creation strategy should include keyword research.
  • Structure – Do you find reading a thickly-worded paragraph a pleasant experience? Not many people do. Too many sentences in a paragraph can turn reading into a tedious experience. To improve readability, the paragraphs should only contain 3-4 sentences. Consequently, each sentence should have no more than 40 words. Ideally, 20-25 words per sentence are best for optimization purposes. 
  • Content – An effective blog should have content that is fresh or unique, relevant, useful, informative, and compelling. It doesn’t matter if you have the best keywords in the right density. If your content does not meet the criteria, it will not be read.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of blogging. However, you need to have blogging done right.

We have published several blogs that have been recognized as among the best in the digital marketing industry. If you need help in blogging, we are the agency to go to!

5. Stay Active Online

The best way to stay top-of-mind on the Internet is to stay active online. 

Let us go back to blogging. 

According to research, you should blog at least 11 times per month in order to achieve the best results in sales conversions and website traffic.

What is the ideal length of a blog post for SEO purposes? According to a study by Search Engine Journal, your blogs should average 1,900 words. 

That is a lot of writing per week!

Then, you have to publish the blogs on various online channels such as social media, blogging communities, and of course, your own website. 

That is a lot of work!

However, you have the option of outsourcing these tasks to third-party agencies such as Mountaintop Web Design. This way, you can free up your time to focus on activities that are directly involved with your business. 

The bottom line is that in order to stay relevant, you have to maintain an active presence online through blogging and frequent posting of content.

6. Fortify Site Security

Last July 2018, search engine giant Google started flagging websites without SSL certificates as “Not Secure”. 

Having your website labeled as “Not Secure” by the Internet’s biggest search engine is enough to drive away interest from your business. 

Google decided to impose SSL certificates to all websites because of the growing threat of cyber-security. As you well know, Google is big on User Experience. 

You can learn more about SSL certificates and their importance for maintaining security for your website in our article “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

Encourage site visitors to enter your website by securing it with SSL certificates. It is very easy to get SSL certificates and they will help protect your data from being stolen by cyber-criminals. 

Conclusion

The website is more than just a business address on the Internet. It is your digital hub online where all transactions take place. Because of your website, your products and services can be accessed by a wider audience. It will give you the platform to build your reputation as a reliable resource in the industry.

Once your website goes live, it allows you to capitalize on the opportunities on the Internet that can make your business profitable. 

However, a website will not run on its own.

You have to institute processes and techniques that are designed to drive traffic to your website. If done properly, these processes and techniques – such as the ones discussed in this article – will deliver results and make your business very profitable.

If you like this article, please feel free to share it in your community. And if you want to learn more about our services, let’s discuss it over your favorite brew!

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