There are many website platforms that you can use to build your website. At Mountaintop, we have studied and built websites with most of these popular platforms. Our knowledge and experience have led us to one conclusion.

When it comes to designing, building, and managing websites, WordPress is the best platform to use. We are not alone in this assessment. 30% of the top 10 million websites use WordPress.

Here is a shortlist of statistical evidence that shows why WordPress websites rule the Internet:

  • 48% of Top 100 Blogs under the Technorati advertising platform run using WordPress.
  • 22% of all newly-registered business website domains in the United States use WordPress.
  • More than 74 Million websites use WordPress.

For these reasons and more, we strongly recommend WordPress as the website platform for our clients.

9 Benefits Of Using WordPress For Your Website

Over the years, clients have come to us complaining about their current website platform. Among the common complaints were as follows:

  • The website was hacked; in some cases, the website was infiltrated by cyber-criminals multiple times.
  • The website frequently broke down or did not function properly.
  • The website was difficult to update and manage.

Our first recommendation is to transfer the website to the WordPress platform. As expected, despite the long list of problems with his website, the response from the client is always:

“Why should we transfer to WordPress?”

1. WordPress Is Free

Let us start with an easy one – WordPress is for free! You can download WordPress, install it, and customize it according to your needs without spending a dime.

However, you still have to pay for your domain name and web hosting which are needed to install WordPress.

The domain name is what Internet searchers will type on their browser’s address bar in order to visit your website.

An example of a domain name is www.mountaintopwebdesign.com.

The web host is the platform which houses the servers where all of the assets and files of your website are located.

2. Easily Customizable

Are you thinking of starting a blog site? How about a business website or an e-commerce website? WordPress has thousands of website themes or templates to choose from.

These templates are highly customizable. A standard WordPress template comes with its own panel which showcases different options that allow us to change the look of your website.

We can play around with the various color selections and match them with the ideal background. Likewise, we can design eye-catching website sliders for your homepage. A slider is also known as a slide show.

This is a great tool for highlighting the key selling points of your business. We can display your signature products or perhaps a few powerful testimonies from your regular customers.  

We can also adjust the “feel” of your website. WordPress comes will plugins which function like apps. Each plugin has a specific function that can introduce a new feature to your website.

3. Google LOVES WordPress

When he was still a software engineer for Google, Matt Cutts referred to WordPress as one of the best software for the search engine giant. WordPress will help your website move up the search rankings because it is designed to accommodate SEO principles.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using various techniques and strategies in order to rank high in the organic or natural search results of the search engine.

By using WordPress for your website, you are already several steps ahead of the competition. This is because WordPress websites are constantly upgraded with plugins that help optimize content, functionality, and overall user experience.

What are the key ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm?

  • Website Speed
  • Navigability
  • Image Optimization
  • Text Optimization
  • Mobile- Responsiveness

These are all made possible with WordPress.

4. Easy to Manage

WordPress knows that not all of its users are tech-savvy. That is why they built-in a management system that functions to update the platform whenever a new version, plugin or program is available.

Of course, as small business owners, the majority of your waking hours should be dedicated to running the day-to-day activities of your business.

Even if WordPress can send you automatic notifications of software updates, because of your busy schedule, you might overlook it.

This is the reason we recommend that our clients avail of our Extreme WordPress Care Plans.

These are programs which we developed to help clients focus on the demands of their business by leaving their WordPress website to the care of our highly-experienced and capable, professional website designers.

Put simply, we will manage your WordPress website for you. From updating plugins to improve functionality, mobile-responsiveness, site speed, and security, you can sleep soundly every night knowing your business is in good hands.

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

5. WordPress Is One of the Safest and Most Secure Website Platforms

A lot of responsibility comes with being the most popular website platform on the Internet. With more than 23% of websites running on WordPress, that means hackers are working overtime to break through your defenses.

Hackers will constantly try to find vulnerable areas on your website which they can use as entry points to steal your valuable data.

WordPress is not oblivious to this and regularly issues updates on security plugins and website system upgrades. Unused and outdated plugins can easily be overridden by hackers and before you know it, your data is all gone.

Even though WordPress makes it easy to update plugins, fortifying your website is a more sensitive and technical matter. This is another reason why you should seriously consider our Extreme WordPress Care Plans.

Sign up for one of our Extreme WordPress Care Plans and we will protect your website’s assets from the consistent, almost daily attacks from these malicious hackers.

6. WordPress Can Accommodate Various Types of Media

Gone are the days when a website was primarily used as an online marketing brochure. Today’s websites are more dynamic and interactive. It is no longer enough to pack your web pages with optimized text content. The Internet community is more demanding. They want high-quality images and videos.

WordPress has an answer for all of your multimedia concerns. It has a built-in media up-loader which can accommodate different types of media.

Do you want an interactive and compelling homepage that will help you generate leads and increase conversion rates?

We can embed your explainer YouTube video on the home page so you can get more views and opportunities for sales. We can do the same for your Instagram photos and SoundCloud audio files.

7. WordPress Is Mobile-Responsive

As we mentioned earlier, mobile-responsiveness is a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.

What does it mean to be mobile-responsive?

It means that when someone clicks on your URL from a mobile device, your website should set up nicely on his screen. If a mobile user has to zoom-in to read your content, chances are he will leave and go to your competitor.

If your website is not responsive to mobile devices, not only will you lose potential business opportunities but Google will penalize you down the search rankings.

WordPress has designed templates that are fully mobile-responsive. These templates are not only beautiful to look at but also highly-functional. We can set and improve these designs so that they can set up faster and more efficiently on mobile devices.

8. Do You Want to Blog? WordPress Has a CMS

CMS stands for Content Management System. This means you can publish blogs on your WordPress website.

Why should you blog anyway?

People who go on the Internet are always searching for content. And the cornerstone of any content marketing strategy is blogging. Studies have reported the following benefits of regular blogging for businesses:

  • 23% of Internet time is spent reading blogs.
  • Companies that blog have 97% more indexed pages.
  • Websites that have a blog page have 434% more indexed pages.
  • 61% of consumers have made their buying decision after reading a blog.
  • 81% of consumers from the US trust advice from a blog.

For your blogging strategy to be effective, you should be publishing content at least 16 times a month.

If this schedule is too much for your busy schedule, outsource it to us. Many of our blogs have been cited by renowned websites such as UpCity as among the best in the U.S!  

9. Integrate Your Social Media Accounts with WordPress

Before social media, a restaurant that was opening for business had to spend thousands of dollars to prepare and publish marketing collaterals such as press releases, full-page ads, advertorials, product shots, radio air-time, and hire an expensive publicist to put everything together.

With social media, traditional marketing channels have become obsolete. That restaurant would only have to open a Facebook page to build followers, a Twitter account to mass market special promotions, and an Instagram page to highlight the main products.

At very little cost!

Add to that the ability of your WordPress website to integrate your social media accounts. It would be easier to distribute content from your website to your various social media accounts so you can have more visits.

Your website has become a central online hub for your business. Your digital marketing strategies can create inbound traffic that is necessary to drive more traffic to your website. It is an effective way to open up your sales funnel and potentially convert followers to paying customers.

Conclusion

The Internet is home to billions of consumers searching for content every single day. In order to capitalize on its available opportunities, your business should have a website.

And you should only settle for the best website platform on the Internet – and that is WordPress.

If you are thinking of setting up a WordPress website, give us a call and avail of our free 30-minute consultation. We will let you know how we plan to design and manage your website so it can deliver the best results for your business.

If you are not happy with your current website platform, transfer to WordPress! We will help you get started!

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The technical definition of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) describes it as a global network of servers that have been set up for the purpose of delivering Internet content at the fastest time possible.

Internet content is made up of assets – components that are needed for the content to be uploaded properly. These assets include Javascript files, HTML pages, images, videos, and stylesheets.

Using a CDN makes it possible to transfer these assets quickly so that the Internet searcher can receive Internet content right away. The biggest companies in the world use a CDN – Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix.

If these giants use a CDN does that mean small and medium scale business owners need them too?

The Importance Of Website Speed

The best way to understand how a CDN works and why it is important is to look at how your web hosting service provider does its job.

In order to make your website accessible to the public, you have to set up its assets on the server of your web host. However, the traffic going to your website is not the only traffic the server is dealing with.

There are other websites that are hosted on the server. The amount of traffic that goes to these websites on a daily basis will affect the amount of time it takes for your visitors to access your website.

You can read more about how a web host platform works in our article, “How To Choose Your Web Host”.

Does your business website need a CDN?

Put yourself in the shoes of the Internet searcher who decided to click on your content. It has been 10 seconds and your page has not loaded yet on his smartphone. On the Internet, 10 seconds is an eternity.

People are willing to wait 10 minutes for their cup of coffee, fall in line for 2 hours to get a movie ticket, and even camp overnight to get first dibs at the latest iPhone.

However, when it comes to the Internet, if they can’t access your content within 3 seconds, 40% will abandon the search.

Consumers are less patient on the Internet because they know there are other websites they can go to if they have a hard time accessing a particular website. In the real world, they can’t just cut in line so they can get their cup of coffee.

They do have the option to leave and visit another coffee shop. Chances are, they would rather wait “patiently” rather than take another drive or walk a block and go through the entire process of queuing for their orders.

In the age of digital technology, consumers have control in the palm of their hands. If they can’t get what they want in a few seconds, it will be “goodbye” to you and “hello” to your competitor. Therefore, website speed is very, VERY IMPORTANT!

If you still need more convincing on the importance of site speed, we have listed below other data and information that should leave no doubt in your mind:

  • A 1-second delay in website loading time can affect your sales conversion rate by 7%.

A CDN can help Internet searchers access your website faster. With a CDN, any issues you have with website speed will be a thing of the past. And it does not matter where your visitors come from.

How A CDN Improves Website Speed

Let us assume your web host’s server is located in Denver, Colorado and you do not have a CDN.

If an interested customer from London wants to access your content, he would have to load all of your assets from Colorado which in the reality of the Internet, would take a good amount of time.

Based on statistical evidence, there is a 40% chance the customer from London would have abandoned the search.

Now, let us assume you have a CDN – how would that change the experience of the visitor from London?

Keep in mind the technical definition of a CDN:

A GLOBAL network of servers that have been set up for the purpose of delivering Internet content at the fastest time possible.

With a CDN, the customer from London would be able to access your website from the server that is closest to him. Depending on the CDN service provider, the server might even be in London.

According to a study by KeyCDN, the use of a CDN has improved the loading times of websites by 50.31%.

A good analogy would be to think of a CDN as additional lanes in the information highway for your users to get to your website.

If there was only one lane open, as more users try to visit your website, that single lane would get jam-packed. The traffic will make your website more inaccessible to potential users.

However, if more lanes were opened up, other visitors will use those lanes to get to your website. With less traffic, your visitors will be able to access your website content much faster.

The end result would be better User Experience and consequently, happier customers.

Thus, having a CDN will allow your customers to load your content faster. In a highly-competitive industry, a CDN may be the difference-maker between you and your competitor.

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The Other Benefits Of A CDN

In addition to improving your website speed, there are other benefits to using a CDN:

1. Website Security

It is not just your followers and customers who will visit your website. Just like the neighborhood convenience store, your website will attract unsavory characters who want to steal valuable goods such as user data and other forms of confidential information.

Hackers will find ways to intercept transmitted data or infiltrate your website by setting up shop – illegally – on your server.

A CDN can defend your website from these attacks. The network can prevent hackers from compromising the web host’s server where your assets are located and stored.

Assuming that a hacker was able to find a way to bring down one server, there are other servers within the CDN that will continue to attend to the needs of your website visitors.

2. May Lower Cost of Web Hosting

When your website is generating a lot of traffic, it will use up a lot of your available bandwidth.

By using a CDN, you can offload some tasks to the other servers and reduce the strain on your bandwidth. It may lower the cost of your web hosting services.

However, there is a cost to subscribing to CDN service. You will have to factor in the cost when deciding to avail of CDN for your business website.

To clarify, getting a CDN does not mean you do not need to subscribe to a web host service provider.

Your CDN will give your website visitor access to limited assets – images, text, CSS stylesheets, and JavaScript files- essentially, static content. You still need to have these assets hosted which mean “renting a space” from a web host service provider.

Think of a CDN as complementary to your web hosting platform. It will enhance the service and give your followers a better User Experience (UX).

Conclusion – Do You Need A CDN?

As you have just read, a CDN provides the following key benefits for your business website:

  • Enhances Site Speed
  • Tightens Up Site Security
  • Improves User Experience

Should these benefits automatically clinch your decision to get a CDN?

Before making a decision, here are a few factors that you need to consider:

1. Does Your Website Experience Heavy Traffic?

Websites that currently experience heavy traffic will be under constant threat of downtime. Definitely, if your website is generating a lot of visits, reward your users with better User Experience by getting a CDN.

2. Are You Anticipating Business Growth or Expansion In the Near Future?

If your studies show that your business is maintaining its growth trajectory, it would be a good idea to invest in a CDN now. Also, if you are planning to launch a new product or service, a CDN will guarantee its accessibility to interested customers.

3. Does Your Website Use a Lot of Media?

High-resolution images and top quality videos are popular forms of content for website visitors. They are particularly effective in delivering your message to the audience.

However, they will consume a big chunk of your bandwidth. Using a CDN will certainly contribute to better user experience as your website visitors have to load all of your images, videos, and content.

4. Where Are Most Of Your Visitors Coming From?

If your website attracts a vast international audience, then, by all means, subscribe to a CDN service provider. The global distribution of its servers will allow them to access your content faster.

However, if your website caters more to a local audience, a CDN would not be that beneficial to them.

If you are seriously considering a CDN service, give us a call and we will give you a free 30-minute consultation. Tell us about your business and we will advise you if a CDN service is needed for your website.

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A website is a valuable asset to have whether you are a large corporation or a small business. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, a website makes your products and services accessible 24/7.

It gives you a platform to share your expertise and enhance your reputation as an expert in the industry. The website is your storefront window. If it is mobile-responsive, people can access your website wherever they are.

And perhaps that is the problem with most websites – it only talks about the brand, the owners, the products and services, and the company.

Of course, the website is also a way of connecting with your customers through marketing. It can build your followers, generate leads, and convert interest into paying customers.

You have to promote the business and give your visitors important information on what you can do for them.

At Mountaintop, we view the website as more than just a business asset or a marketing tool.

For us, we think of the client’s website as a medium of communication – an avenue which the client should use to connect with the most important participant in the business cycle:

The Customer.

Why You Need A Website That Speaks To Customers

Have you ever had a conversation with a person you just met and all he ever wanted to talk about was himself?

His pronouns were limited to “I”, “Me”, and “Myself”.

We bet the “Exit” sign never looked more inviting!

A conversation involves 2 or more people interacting with each other. Essentially, a conversation has 2 participants – a talker and a listener.

You cannot have a conversation if only one person is talking. There must be an exchange of ideas or opinions. A feedback mechanism must exist for the communication cycle to continue.

In business, communication is a very important quality for the following reasons:

  • Fosters strong, long-lasting relationships
  • Addresses problems, issues, and concerns in a prompt and professional manner
  • Encourages everyone in the value chain to be more involved
  • Minimizes the incidence of misunderstandings
  • Builds loyalty and trust

If you only talk about yourself, how can you establish a relationship with the person you are having a conversation with if you won’t allow him/her to be heard?

The same analogy can be applied to a business website.

If all the business website talks about is its products and services, its history, and its founders, how would it know what the customers need if it doesn’t give them the opportunity to be heard?

Yes, brand-building is important for a business. In fact, we have written an article about it  “Importance Of Having A Strong Brand”.

We recommend giving the article a quick read. It will give you a good idea of why it is important to communicate or “speak” with your customers if you want to successfully build your brand.

Essentially, your brand is a promise. When your customers see it, they know what they are going to get. It encapsulates everything about you; the attributes that best define who you are and your business.

Thus, your brand is you. If you want your brand to resonate with your customer, it should allow feedback or a response.

The customer needs to see their story on your website. It should clearly articulate the following:

  • What your business offers to customers
  • How the business can make the customer’s life better
  • What the customer needs to do in order to purchase your products or service

In short, the customer should be able to see in their story everything that your business does.

The “About Us” page? It does not have to be about you.

The Home Page? The value proposition should not just speak of the brand. It should speak to the customer.

There are other ways to open up the communication channels of your website to your customers. By doing so, you will have a website that sells to customers.

1. Turn the “About Us” Page Into the “About You” Page

The About Us page is used to share information about the founders of the company; its main decision-makers and top managers. It reads like a Bio.

You will find information such as where they graduated from, their work experience, achievements, top skills, and maybe a few details about their personal lives.

An example of an About Us page content would read as follows:

“Albert D. Johnson – Founder, Johnson Manufacturing

I graduated from Princeton University in 1988 and had my first job as Operations Manager at Cartwright and Sons Manufacturing Company. After 25 years as a paid employee, I decided to start Johnson Manufacturing. In my spare time, I enjoy walking my dogs, reading poetry, and wine tasting.”

While the bio is short and concise, how would the information help the customer?

What is the value of the shared information – Albert’s Princeton degree, his first job, the decision to start his own company, and wine tasting – to the customer?

Instead of making the About Us page about you, make it about the customer.

Show the customer why they have come to the right place – that your business understands their concerns and has the products, services, skills, and expertise to help them address their problems.

Here is how we would rewrite Albert Johnson’s About Us bio:

“Hi! I’m Albert Johnson. After 25 years in the manufacturing industry, I decided to put up Johnson Manufacturing. It was my way of addressing all the problems I saw in the companies I worked for.

At Johnson, our products go through a strict 5-tier Quality Control system so that our customers will get what they paid for – and more! We signed up partnerships with logistics and delivery companies such as Argo Transportation and Levingston Logistics to ensure prompt service for you.

Our commitment is to surpass YOUR expectations every time!”

The bio is more conversational. It speaks directly to the customer. From the founder’s own words, you know what the company is all about and how it can help you address your own needs.

2. Make Your Products and Services Page Relevant to Your Customers

The Products and Services page is one of the most popular sections on your website. Customers click on it to see what merchandise you sell or types of services you offer.

Information on product specifications, pricing, production timetable, and delivery dates are fine.

Here is an example of a write up on a running shoe:

Brand:  Thundra

Model: Trail Runner RX77

Product Specifications:

  • Made of graphene
  • Lightweight
  • Available in sizes 7 to 16

Price: $220

The information provided is standard for a running shoe. Again, the question begs to be asked:

How will the information help the customer find the shoe he needs?

Here is a better, more customer-centric write up:

Brand: Thundra

Model: Trail Runner RX77

Product Specifications:

Trail Runner RX77 was designed for runners who love running over rough trail. The shoe is made of Graphene which is the lightest material ever developed but is 200 times stronger than steel!

The RX77 weighs in at only 280gms, the lightest trail shoe on the market. It has an 8mm heel drop which helps stabilize your heels when running up and down mountains.

The shoe is designed for flat-footed runners. However, if you have an arch, Thundra can install a customized support heel for you.

Price: $220

The new and improved write up on the shoe product clearly resonates more with the customer. It contains more specific details about the shoe; its advantages, key selling points, and whom it is for.

3. Highlight Third-Party Validation

Forget celebrities. The customer is the best endorser for your products and services.

Third-party validation such as testimonies, case studies, awards and other forms of recognition are powerful tools that assure the customer that they have come to the right website.

If your business has forged partnerships with other reputable companies, it would be a good idea to include their logos on your website.

Third-party validation act as “emotional triggers”. They give customers a feeling of safety and protection.

Seeing other popular brands affiliated with your company will further encourage your customers to transact with you instead of your competitors.

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4. Contact Information Must Be Complete

How do you react when you come across a website where the contact information does not include an office address or a phone number?

Some companies don’t see the need for including an office address or a phone number because they do business exclusively online.

Customers may think otherwise. A business that does not include key information such as an office address and a phone number may appear dodgy.

If you want to foster trust with your customer, you must be transparent about your business’ information even if you run everything online. It would be a great idea to publish pictures of your office; your managers and staff.

5. Secure Your Website

We have written extensively about the importance of securing your website in our articles “Why It Is More Important To Secure Your Data In 2019” and “SSL Basics: Why You Need To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

For the reason that hacking and other acts of cyber-criminality have been increasing in frequency, consumers have become more cautious in dealing with websites that are not secure.

In response, Google made a game-changing adjustment in its algorithm. The Internet’s largest search engine gave a search ranking boost to websites that have SSL certificates.

In contrast, websites that don’t have SSL certificates will be marked “Not Secure”. If you own a website, would you risk getting marked “Not Secure” by Google?

Getting SSL certificates for your website will offer your customers more safety and protection. Most importantly, they will feel valued by you.

If you want to get SSL certificates for your website, give us a call or an email. We provide this service to our clients. It will be one of the best decisions you can make for your website.

6. Improve User Experience

If they can’t find it, they won’t buy it.

That is a popular adage in sales. Whether you own a department store like Walmart or run an e-commerce business, navigability plays a big role in customer experience.

Your website must be easy for customers to navigate. Unlike a Walmart where a customer won’t mind perusing through multiple aisles before finding what they need, consumers’ online behavior is much different.

If your customer can’t find what he is looking for, he will click out and go to your competitor. All of this can happen within 8 seconds.

Before we make a recommendation for a redesign to our clients, we take the time to study the site’s analytics.

Specifically, we will focus on traffic and usage patterns. We look for trends and base our redesign recommendations on available data. The idea is to make the client’s website as easy to navigate as possible.

Likewise, if you have procedures, list down the process in a step-by-step format with the instructions as clear cut as possible.

What procedures are these?

  • How to order
  • How to reach customer service
  • How to file complaints

The easier it is for customers to use your website, the greater the probability of them patronizing your business.

7. Encourage Your Customers to Give Feedback

The general rule when conceptualizing a business is to create a product or service for your customer. Identify a need then come up with a product or service that provides the solution.

Therefore, it makes sense to get your customers involved in the product development process. Your product must evolve according to the changing needs of your market.

We can integrate feedback forms and email links on your website. Encourage the customer to provide feedback about your business. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews.

In business, you should not expect to please everyone. Negative reviews can help you pinpoint flaws in your products, services, and processes so you can find ways to improve on them.

8. Be Clear About Your CTAs

A Call-To-Action or CTA is an instruction to your customer: What do you want your customer to do?

Customers prefer CTAs that are clear and very definitive in what the business wants them to do. Passive CTAs such as “Learn More” and “Get Started” won’t work.

The CTA can be a powerful button on your website. However, it should come across as more decisive and definitive.

Good examples of decisive CTAs are “Buy Now” and “Sign Up For Our Newsletter”.

Conclusion

For your brand-building strategy to succeed, it should have a constant cycle of communication with your customers.

Your website gives you the platform to communicate with your customers so you can build strong, long-lasting, and productive relationships.

If you are thinking of building a website or want your current one redesigned, give us a call. We will make you a website that will clearly sell to your customers!

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ICANN is the acronym for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is a non-profit organization that is responsible for ensuring the stability, integrity, and secure operation of the Internet.

The first step to buying a domain name is to look for a registrar that is accredited by ICANN. Once you buy the domain name, the registrar will be required by the laws and provisions governing ICANN to enter your personal information into its WHOIS database.

The WHOIS database is a directory that is highly searchable. It can be accessed free-of-charge by any person who wants to verify the authenticity and availability of a domain name.

What personal information will be uploaded?

  • Your complete name
  • Email address
  • Business address
  • Contact numbers

If you are the type of person who does not want to give out these types of personal information to public listings, you should register your domain as private.

By choosing private domain registration for your domain name, your personal information in the WHOIS database will be replaced by those of the registrar’s own information.

In fact, some domain name registrars can even come up with a unique email address that will be listed as your contact email address on the WHOIS database. This way, your company or personal email address will remain secure from individuals who have malicious intent.

3 Reasons Why You Should Register Your Domain As Private

Despite the potential risks to personal information, there are businesses that opt for business registration.  

To clarify, business registration means having your personal information listed openly in the ICANN WHOIS database. They want to have their business data publicly accessible for the following reasons:

  • Promote their business
  • Create impressions of trust and transparency
  • Enhance the online presence of the business

We understand the importance of promotion and the value of establishing trust and transparency with the market. However, there are other ways – much safer and lower risk ways – of promoting the business.

That is why at Mountaintop, we always recommend that our clients register their domain name as private.

Is private domain registration an add-on service? Yes, which means opting for it will entail a fee that is separate from the usual cost of registering a domain name. Think of the fee as your insurance premium for keeping your personal information safe from hackers, online criminals, and other unsavory groups on the Internet.  

Here are other reasons why you should register your domain as private:

1. Personal Information Should Be Kept “FYEO”

If your personal information is made public, it is not just the hackers you should worry about. Your information can be used by marketers, suppliers, and competitors to serve their own purposes.

You might find yourself inundated with phone calls from telemarketers. Your inbox could be flooded with product or service offerings from vendors and suppliers. With your key information out, you may leave your business vulnerable to cutthroat strategies from your competitors.

For example, an aggressive but unscrupulous competitor may contract the services of a cyber-criminal to run phishing expeditions on your email. A competitor may try to get spies to procure sensitive information from you via phone.

We will discuss the importance of keeping your email secure toward the end of the article. You may be surprised at the extent of damage you can incur by having your email compromised.

In business, it is always a good practice to keep your sensitive or confidential data as FYEO or For Your Eyes Only. Information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and business address should be given judiciously.

You want to give these types of information only to entities that can directly contribute to the growth of your business such as:

  • Stakeholders – or those who are part of your value chain. This shortlist includes qualified suppliers/ vendors, current and prospective clients, management and select personnel, and business partners.
  • Strategic Partners – Strategic Partners are entities – companies or individuals – where formal arrangements are entered into for the benefit of your business. An example would be an outsourcing agreement between you and an outsourcing service provider.

As we mentioned, you can promote your business without having to disclose personal information. A good example would be to run a Digital Marketing campaign.

A Digital Marketing strategy that incorporates processes such as SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and PPC or Pay-Per-Click Advertising can successfully increase awareness and enhance the Internet profile of your business without revealing your personal information.

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2. Number of Cyber-Attacks Will Continue to Increase

In our article, “Why Is It More Important To Secure Your Data In 2019”, we shared our opinion that acts of cyber-criminality will continue to increase over the next few years.

Cyber-crime has become a lucrative industry. Highly sensitive data such as Social Security and bank account numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, email addresses, and phone numbers can fetch a good price on the dark web.

All a cyber-criminal needs is a small opening. Once he gets access, your confidential data becomes at risk. Unlike a brick-and-mortar business where access points are doors and windows, the Internet provides multiple points of entry:

  • Outdated plugins
  • Outdated or unused software
  • Obsolete antivirus programs and firewalls
  • Weak passwords
  • Lax administrative processes
  • Opening suspicious emails
  • Accessing suspicious websites

Driven by profit, these cyber-criminals are motivated to stay ahead of the cyber-security experts. In fact, agencies such as the CIA and the FBI are fighting fire-with-fire by hiring hackers to come up with more powerful anti-malware tools and programs.

It is a good idea to err on the side of caution and invest in programs that will protect your personal data.

Last year, we launched our Extreme WordPress Care Plans. These programs are designed to help our clients manage their websites, make sure they are running in perfect condition, and protected from malicious attacks.

As an entrepreneur, your time is best dedicated to the core functions of your business. Leave domain security to us! You can sleep well knowing that your website is under close guard and watch 24/7.

3. Secure Your Email

If there is a singular way or process that best represents our online activity, it would be the email.

Think about it.

We check our emails more than we check our social media accounts. We use our email to sign up for newsletters or gain access to some websites. Whenever you run online banking transactions, chances are your email address is needed to verify your identity.

Online shopping, social media… the list goes on. Your email is the key that allows you to gain entry into these platforms. If someone grabs ahold of your email address, these platforms can be compromised.

Can you imagine what would happen if someone gained access to your webmail? He could easily search and find every website you frequent including your online banking platform. All the hacker needs to do is to request the website for a password reset.

The hacker can also view your Inbox and sent messages. With that information, the hacker can establish your weekly calendar of activities and determine your whereabouts.

The hacker can find out your schedule of online conference calls with clients and eavesdrop on the discussion. If you save work on Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, your documents can be stolen by the hacker.

We bring these scenarios up with clients whenever we discuss the importance of registering their domain as private.

Conclusion

As we mentioned earlier in this article, be judicious when it comes to giving out personal information such as email. On the Internet, you do not know who is searching and watching. Whenever you are venturing into the Internet, always think “safety first”.

As popular and as accessible as the Internet is, it remains The Great Unknown. Keep your assets secure and protected by adding layers of security at every opportunity. Start by registering your domain as private.

Have you experienced any breach in security? Please feel free to share in the comments section. Let our readers know how you dealt with the situation and what you learned from the experience.

If you want to know more about our web design services and our Extreme WordPress Care Plans, please feel free to give us a call or an email.

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While many employees spend their free time daydreaming of becoming financially independent, the entrepreneur is working to make the dream a reality. That is why entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take that all-important first step of breaking free from the chains of the 9-to-5 grind and take command of their of their own destiny. Instead of driving someone else’s business, they go behind the wheel and follow the course they have charted for their own business success.

Yet, sometimes these very same attributes – ambition, drive, and dedication – can become an entrepreneur’s own worst enemies.

They end up taking on too many tasks most of which are administrative in nature. As a result, a big chunk of their waking hours are spent – rather, wasted – attending to functions that have no direct contribution to their bottom line.

The workday becomes unproductive. The essential tasks or the core functions of the business are left unattended. Goals are not met. Business targets become farther away today compared to yesterday.

By taking on non-essential tasks, the entrepreneur ends up working for his/her business instead of on his/her business. Ironically, the entrepreneur has become an employee of his/her own business.

Is there a way or a process the entrepreneur can use so he/she can focus on the main functions of the business without overlooking the administrative tasks?

The Solution: Outsource Tasks And/Or Services!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you rather spend 2 hours filtering your Inbox or working on a client’s project?
  • Would you like it if your phone keeps ringing every 30 minutes while you are working on your client’s project?
  • Would it be okay with you if the Internet provider cut its service because you unwittingly forgot to pay the latest invoice?

If you answered “No” to these questions, it is time for you to consider outsourcing tasks of your business.

Outsourcing is the process of delegating or transferring predetermined tasks or functions to a third-party service provider.

You can read more about the benefits of outsourcing in our article “How Outsourcing Tasks Can Save You Tons Of Money – And Build Your Business”. In the article, we presented an accounting of how much money you can save through outsourcing.

Essentially, outsourcing is the ideal strategy for entrepreneurs, especially those in the start-up stage, because it is a low-cost, high-value solution. From the article, you will come to understand that with outsourcing, costs are easily managed.

Outsourcing will present you with options that you can use to stretch your finances without compromising the quality of goods and services.

FTE Vs. Outsourced Talent: Which Is The Better Option?

Cost savings are possible because you are taking advantage of comparative advantages that are generated by outsourcing foremost of which is labor.

With outsourcing, you are not hiring full-time employees or FTEs. Instead, you are contracting the services of qualified people or agencies. This distinction between FTE and contracted services is very important!

Let’s compare the FTE and the outsourced talent:

Particulars:FTE:Outsourced Talent:
Rate/Hour (Minimum)$18$8
Work Hours/Day8Flexible
Work Days/Week5 to 6Flexible
Paid Benefits:YesNo
Total Cost:$27/hour$8

As you can see, flexibility is the key differentiator between an outsourced talent and an FTE. When you contract services, you are not obligated by law to pay a minimum wage or designate the mandated work hours per week.

This makes it possible to be more financially flexible with the outsourced talent compared to hiring an FTE.

Here are some real-world examples:

  • Contract the services of a virtual assistant who can manage your administrative tasks 10 hours a week.
  • Outsource content writing services and pay the outsourced talent on a per word or per productive hour basis.
  • Outsource web development/management services to Mountaintop Web Design and pay fixed charges on a monthly basis.

By agreeing on the conditions for payment, you are assured of higher productivity and better quality of work.

According to a study that was presented by productivity coach Steve Pavlina, the average American office worker only puts in 90 minutes of productive work every day.

That is 90 minutes out of 480 total work minutes every day or a productivity rating of only 19%! Yet, America remains the strongest economy in the world.

What happened to the remaining 390 minutes? According to Pavlina, those hours are spent surfing the Internet, taking extended water cooler/coffee breaks,  napping, checking their cell phones, and reading the news.

Guess what? Those hours are paid. This means every time an FTE chit-chats with a another FTE about the latest Netflix movie, you are paying for those minutes.

By outsourcing, you are also increasing your level of productivity because now you can place greater focus on the main enterprise of your business.

A study presented by the Harvard Business Review showed that at most, people can only maintain 100% focus on a given task for 90 minutes. After completing the task, you have to rest the mind for at least 10 minutes.

Assuming an 8-hour work schedule, this means that by outsourcing tasks, you can target 4 to 5 tasks to accomplish every day. That is 360 minutes out of 480 minutes per day or a productivity rating of 75%!

In contrast, a fully-paid FTE who can tender only 90 minutes of productive time per day will possibly only accomplish 1 task per day.

Which Tasks Should You Outsource?

Hopefully, at this point, we have convinced you of how outsourcing can build your business. The question we will answer in this section is which tasks you should outsource.

In the future, we will present a more detailed and comprehensive article on how to take a strategic approach to outsourcing that can scale up your business. For now, we will show you how to identify the tasks that you should outsource in order to streamline costs and increase productivity.

You will need to answer these questions:

  • Which tasks are non-essential or not directly related to my business’ main enterprise?
  • Which tasks will require a higher level of expertise and greater experience?
  • Which tasks are repetitive in nature?
  • Which tasks do I have the tendency to overlook or forget?
  • Which tasks do I greatly dislike doing?

From there, you will probably come up with the same or similar tasks that we have outlined below:

1. Administrative Tasks

For many entrepreneurs, administrative tasks are the necessary evils of running a business. These tasks are categorized as non-essentials, meaning they are not directly related to your business’ main enterprise. However, they play an essential role because administrative tasks keep your business organized and running.

Examples of administrative tasks that you should outsource:

  • E-mail Filtering
  • Calendar Management
  • Appointment Setting
  • Phone Handling
  • Preparing Reports
  • Limited Research
  • Database or CRM Management
  • Bookings and Reservations
  • Preparation of Limited Communication

2. Technical/Specialized Skills

Your business may need to introduce new products and services that require greater skill, a higher level of expertise, and longer tenure. These are skills that you cannot become proficient at simply by watching YouTube videos or reading a “For Dummies” instructional. Otherwise, the quality of work will suffer.

Examples of technical/specialized skills that you should outsource:

  • Website Design/Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Software App Development
  • Transcription Services
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3. Customer Support Services

Many businesses stunt their growth because they are only focused on new market development. In so doing, they neglect their current market base or end users of their products or services.

Don’t forget your current end users. They are already your customers. The cost of maintaining them is lower than creating new markets for your products and services. And the returns are much higher because your current end users already made the decision to choose you over the competition.

Having great customer service assures your existing end users that their needs and concerns are always met and addressed right away.

Examples of Customer Support Services that you should outsource:

  • Inbound Phone Support
  • Technical Support Services
  • Email Support
  • After-Sales Surveys or Outbound Call Support
  • Chat Support
  • Content Moderation Services

4. Back-Office Functions

It’s called the back-office because the people who work here are not seen but otherwise play a valuable role in running your business. You can outsource these tasks to qualified third-party service providers and still get great results.

Examples of back-office functions that you should outsource:

  • General Accounting
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Employee Benefits Administration
  • Human Resources Management – Recruitment, interviews, testing, evaluation, and selection

Conclusion

To better understand the value of outsourcing, let’s delve into the mind of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs or to be more specific, small to medium scale business owners, are limited by their resources. Even the most successful ones do not have the benefit of liquidity compared to large scale businesses. This is, of course, part of the growth process.

As a small business owner, the immediate challenge is to maintain liquidity before achieving profitability. Effective cash flow management is very important. Thus, an entrepreneur strives to keep operations as lean as possible.

Instead of hiring employees to help him/her run the show, they take on most, if not all of the tasks of the business.

Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell there is nothing they can’t do. Like a superhero, an entrepreneur will take on any challenge and believe they can win it. The reality is, victories are only short-term.

Over the long-run, the number of unproductive workdays has accumulated to a point that the business starts to suffer.

Your best option is to outsource specific tasks or functions. Not only will outsourcing services greatly reduce the costs of running a business but the strategy will help you increase productivity without compromising the quality of work.

If you enjoyed this article and know people who would greatly benefit from it, please feel free to share!

And if you would like to know how Mountaintop can help you get started on your own outsourcing solution, please do not hesitate to give us a call. You can consult with us for 30 minutes free of charge.

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Competitors can make running a business difficult to run smoothly. With competition, even a small mistake could send consumers to another business that offers a similar product. Making sure you are unique and have fantastic customer service is a must in order to compete today. But is that all? What strategies are your competitors using that you are not? More importantly, how can you monitor your competitor’s analytics so you can know how to steer your company? One of the most effective ways a business can grow is by monitoring and imitating the tactics used by their rivals. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to do this effectively.

Go Beyond a Google Search

As you begin your research to monitor your competitor’s actions, it’s always good to start your research with a google search, but be sure not to stop there. It is a good idea to turn on Google Alerts, which will help notify you when there is an announcement or important news being announced by a rival or competitor. These notifications alert you to changes that you would otherwise spend a lot of valuable time trying to find. Another great resource to use to keep up with your competitors is Spyfu, which will let you know about the keywords and Adwords that your competitors are using and how successfully they are working for them. 

Spend Some Time on Their Website

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find out information about your competition is to familiarize yourself with their website. You should pay attention to the content that is popular and shared the most often. For example, if a keyword is working for your competitor over and over again, maybe it’s time you implemented similar keywords or targets to your own campaign. You can use Buzzsumo to find out more regarding shared content, what influences their customers most, and how your domain and keywords match up with your competition.

Talk to Your Customers

There is a reason why your customers chose you over your competitors. Usually the best research you can do is speaking directly to the people who chose your brand over another. Ask your customers why they used a previous business and what attracted them to yours. What other companies were they considering, if any? You may learn about new strategies and even incorporate similar ideas into your own business.

Another great way to access customer information is through reviews online. This allows you to see honest discussion about what consumers are looking for and what they would like improved. Online reviews allow the contributors to remain anonymous, which gives them the freedom to honestly discuss an organization without backlash of any kind. While someone may be cautious how they talk about a company they work for or buy from regularly, anonymous reviews allow for honest discussion and can be the most trustworthy platform on which to gain information.

Pay Attention to SEO

Search engine optimization is important because it is what increases visibility on the web and allows people to find you easier. You should pay attention to the SEO techniques your competitors are using. Are they using a company to help boost their website, or are they using google to help promote their website? In today’s world, being easy to find and access online is one of the most important tools you can use to help boost business. If your competitors are doing it right, you should learn how to effectively utilize SEO as well.

Call Them

After you have done research on your competitors, it never hurts to just pick up the phone and give them a call. In many cases, companies will not mind answering questions that you ask, and you may be pleasantly pleased with how much they are willing to tell you for free.

Attend a Conference

Attending conferences held by your competitors can help you better understand your competitor’s points of view, as well as more information regarding their products and services. Make sure that you visit the competitor’s booths and interact with them.

As important as your own strategy is, it is just as vital in today’s business world to know your competitor’s strategies just as well.

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So, you decided to take your business to the next level and invest in a nice website?

Awesome!

But, what you should know is that despite the beautiful design and good overall usability, your sleek new website needs tweaking and fine-tuning if you want it to live up to your expectations in terms of conversions and bottom line.

Many people make a mistake by thinking that once the website is finished and live, their only task is to update content and fix potential bugs.

The truth is that the real work begins only after your audience gets a chance to visit your website thus allowing you to monitor its performance in the real world and optimize it for conversions.

This means that you need a solid, easy-to-follow CRO plan, so let’s see how to craft it.

Why Do You Need a Plan?

That’s a good question.

The main reason for having a conversion optimization plan in place is to establish the right goals, methods, and tasks which will help you make the most of your website and turn it into a conversion machine. Without a plan, it’s easy to lose focus and waste your time on things that don’t particularly matter.

It’s about setting your priorities and identifying what the problem is and how to solve it in the most effective and efficient manner.

Although the approach “Let’s see if it’s possible to convert more people if I change this or that element” is a good starting point, it needs to evolve and cover different areas of your sales process, and your business in general.

1. Collect Data

You’ve probably heard that popular phrase “People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves,” and it perfectly sums up why you need to have a deep understanding of your customers, their needs, interests, and issues, as well as how they perceive your business and website, if you want to optimize your conversions.

Having the right data is essential for gaining valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, that is, what areas, pages, and elements of your website should be optimized.

This step is crucial for helping you see where you stand and what assets you have.

As this is a pretty comprehensive process, it’s a good idea to break it down into three main categories.

In other words, you need to gather data on the following areas:

  • The company itself. Dig deeper and identify the “why” of the company – why it exists and why customers like it. It’s not always about superb products and services. There’s that special X factor, which makes a particular company and its messaging appealing, and it’s up to you to pinpoint what it is and implement your findings into your CRO plan. Identifying the unique sales proposition is essential because it’s what distinguishes your company from competitors who sell similar products or services. The USP is integrated into your marketing messages and its role is to capture your customers’ attention and give them a reason to explore your website further. Finally, learn what your customers’ common objections and complaints are. Talk to your customer support reps and they will provide you with customers’ feedback. If we bear in mind that 67% of customers name bad experiences with a brand as their main reason for churn, but only 1 out of 26 will actually complain, it’s self-explanatory why this step is a must. So, knowing what your customers feel about your company is a make-it-break-it factor when it comes to improving your CRO.
  • The website. Your website analytics should be accurate and detailed. Be in the know about all the relevant metrics such as the amount of traffic, dwell time, bounce rates, conversion rates, as well as the demographic information. The data about the browsers and devices they use to access your website is extremely important, especially after Google officially rolled out mobile-first indexing in July 2018. The fact that most people visit your website from their computers might indicate that there’s something that they don’t like about the mobile version.
  • The customers. This is, perhaps, the most important area and you should use different methods and tools in order to feel the pulse of your audience. Use heatmaps to find out what pages they visit and engage with most and use surveys to hear their first-hand opinions and experiences.

2. Create a Hypothesis

After this lengthy and demanding first step, it’s time to put these findings to good use.

You’ve probably identified a couple of issues on your website that need to be solved. There are two options when it comes to testing a page that returned poor results – you can either build it from scratch and test that new version, or you can change a couple of elements and A/B split test them.

For example, if the data shows that your CTA button doesn’t generate clicks, you can introduce a number of changes, such as the copy, different colors, and fonts, and test them.

But before you start experimenting, you should be able to clearly state why you believe that a particular change will improve your conversion rates and what problem it solves.

Again, you need to know:

  • What you’re testing. Let’s say that you’ve found out that a lot of your customers abandon their shopping cart and that your customer support reps frequently answer questions about how secure the checkout process on your website is. This clearly shows that you need to introduce some trust signals which will convince your customers that it’s safe for them to trust you with their personal information. For example, using an SSL certificate and switching to the HTTPS protocol, offering multiple payment methods, and showing payment assurance certifications are some of them.
  • Who you’re testing. There are different ways to split your audience, not just based on demographic data. You can, for example, test your repeat customers, one-time customers, or those who abandoned their shopping cart. Segmenting customers based on the browser they use is also helpful because you won’t test Opera users if the element you want to test doesn’t load properly in this browser.

3. Test Your Hypothesis

It’s showtime.

Although implementing new design and testing it might seem like a complicated task, there are useful tools that can significantly simplify the process.

Some of them include Optimizely and Visual Web Optimizer.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind:

  • Make sure that your new design displays properly across different browsers before it goes live.
  • Choose how much traffic you will direct to your test pages. If you have a lot of visitors, then this step can help you control possible risks in case that your design fails and your conversions on the test pages drop.
  • Don’t neglect the average order value, because although your conversion rates might be low for the pages you test, the average order value might go up.

So, set all these things up before you launch your tests if you want to get accurate readings. If you want to run your tests efficiently and effectively, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of experts from respectable web design agencies who will offer you their take on your ideas and implement everything properly.

4. Review Your Results

In this stage, you’ll review your results and see whether your hypothesis has been correct.

However, before you get down to work, it’s important to establish whether statistical significance has been reached. This is a complex concept, so check out this article which will tell you more about it.

Luckily, even if you’re not familiar with statistical significance, most optimization tools will give you this information.

If your hypothesis is correct, then implement these design changes properly and send all your traffic there. However, it’s important to keep track of your metrics closely to see whether everything works as expected.

If your hypothesis isn’t correct, make sure to save all your data from these unsuccessful tests, and go back to square one – create another hypothesis and do it all over again.

It’s crucial not to give up because failed tests are gold mines of data that you can use later.

These 4 steps can help you get to the bottom of a CRO plan that everybody can understand and implement.

Harris Norman is a 35-year-old web developer, born and raised in San Francisco Bay Area. Harris is also very passionate about spending time in nature, which is why he spends all of his free time hiking, sailing and mountain climbing. His design skills are admirable, which is why he’s got a special place among the writers of designrush.com. When he’s not running around chasing adventure, he likes to play the trombone, though not very well.

If you have a website, you are ahead of the 64% of small businesses that still don’t have a website. And if your website is mobile responsive, even better. You’re now ahead of the 70% who still ignore Google’s directive for all sites to be mobile responsive.

Clearly, you are serious about growing your business. You recognize the opportunities available on the Internet and want to keep on pace with the competition.

However, putting up a mobile-responsive website is just the first step in maximizing the reach and scope of the Internet. 36% of 2 billion active websites amount to 720,000,000 websites which is still a prodigious number.

You should take the necessary steps to make sure your website is discovered by potential followers and customers. This means you should invest in developing and implementing digital marketing strategies for your website.

Why You Should Market And Promote Your Website

If you had a brick-and-mortar business, would you market it? Of course! That is how your business is found by potential customers. This is the same reason why you should market and promote your website: It represents your business on the Internet.

Marketing is not just advertising about your business. You are providing valuable information about your business and the products or services that it offers. A marketing campaign can have different objectives. However, the underlying goal is to make your business to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Every day more than 4 billion people are surfing on the Internet. They are looking for information that answers their questions, meets their needs, and fulfills their curiosities.

Your website could be a valuable resource but it is just one out of thousands in your industry. Marketing can help your website be found by potential customers. More than that, a well-designed and conceptualized marketing campaign can help drive more followers to your website and increase your sales.

2 Reasons Why Small Businesses Do Not Invest In Marketing

Unfortunately, for many small businesses, marketing is just an after-thought. They do not allocate enough resources; if any at all, to support any kind of marketing program.

Here are 2 reasons why small businesses do not invest in marketing:

1. They Have Limited Understanding About Marketing

Many small business owners still have the opinion that you need a lot of money to run a successful marketing campaign. After all, marketing is more of an investment than an expense because you expect to get a return out of it. Thus, the higher the investment the higher the return.

However, if you have read our article, “How To Launch A $100 Digital Marketing Campaign”, you know it is possible to do marketing on a tight budget and still realize high returns.

For the most part, their ideas on marketing and its benefits are outdated. You will still come across people who think marketing and sales are one and the same thing.

2. They Had Previous Bad Experience

In our dealings with clients, we have come to realize that many small business owners have lost their confidence and belief in marketing because of a bad experience.

Some of our clients have dealt with spurious digital marketing agencies that over-promised and under-delivered. They shelled out a lot of money and had very little results to show for the investment.

This does not have to be the case. In our article, “How To Tell If You Are Getting Ripped Off By Your Digital Marketing Agency”, we shared valuable tips on how to avoid getting scammed.

The bottom-line is: Marketing is a key function in every type of business. If you want your business to prosper, it must be found. Marketing will increase your website’s visibility, enhance your online presence, and improve your rate of sales conversions.

7 Proven Ways To Market And Promote Your Website

Marketing your website is not as complicated – or expensive – as you may have first thought. Most of the tips we’ve listed here should be part of the web design process. If these suggestions were not incorporated into your website design, ask your web designer to include them right away.

1. Adapt Mobile-Responsive Design

We have discussed the importance of having a mobile responsive design in our articles, “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design” and “12 Signs That Tell You It’s Time For A Website Redesign”.

We still believe the importance of having a mobile-responsive design is worth mentioning. As we disclosed in the introduction of this article, only 30% of website owners have adapted mobile-responsive design.

We are living in a mobile world. That is not a fad or a short-term trend. That is the current and future reality of life and commerce. Man will continue to look for innovations that will make mobile technology more efficient and effective.

Unless your website is mobile-responsive, it cannot be accessed by the mobile population. Viewing a website that is not mobile-responsive will not be a pleasant experience. No one wants to zoom in on a web page just to read its contents.

Statistically, your website will just be ignored. On top of that, Google will slap your website further down the search rankings.

If you want your website to be found – and who doesn’t – make sure it is mobile-responsive.

2. Increase Your Website Download Speed

Website speed is a major ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. Put simply, a website that loads pretty fast – 3 seconds or less – contributes to a great User Experience. If your website is mobile-responsive, make sure it has fast download speed.

Here are a few statistics that should convince you of the importance of having a fast loading website:

  • 40% of users will abandon the search if the website takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • Every additional second delay past the expected 3-second loading time increases the customer dissatisfaction rate by 16%.
  • 52% of Internet users say website speed is a crucial factor in establishing customer loyalty.
  • 70% of Internet users will never go back to a website that offered poor user experience.

Getting your website’s speed to warp drive is an easy thing to do. If your current web designer is giving you the runaround, let us know. We can get this done for you in no time at all.

3. Consider PWA – Progressive Web Applications

Do you want to give your mobile-responsive website a big boost? Consider integrating it with PWA features.

PWA stands for Progressive Web Applications. Basically, having PWA features will make your website function like an app. What’s so good about this?

  • The PWA can function off-line. If your user has no connection to the Internet, he/she can still access your website.
  • With the PWA, your marketing programs can continue without interruption. You can still alert your followers of any sale, discounting plans, and other promos.
  • Your follower’s smartphone will have the PWA icon on his/her interface for easier and faster access.
  • From our experience, a PWA runs faster than an app.

If you want to learn more about the PWA and how it can help your website generate more sales for your business, we’ll give you a free 30-minute consultation. Just give us a call!

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4. Integrate a Live Chat Feature

Live Chat is a wonderful way to make your business more accessible to your customers. This feature is particularly effective for e-commerce retailers. Customers will be able to relay issues and concerns with the products they bought from your website.

Look no further than the biggest e-commerce retailer in the world – Amazon. Billionaire owner and founder, Jeff Bezos, understands how important it is to keep your customers happy and more than satisfied with your service.

You can also use your Live Chat feature to promote your products and services. For example, if you own a landscaping business, a customer who wants to know the difference between Bermuda and Kentucky Bluegrass can talk to one of your chat agents.

If he/she is impressed with your chat agent, the customer may book you right away for a landscaping project!

5. Optimize Your Website

Optimizing your website means implementing processes, techniques, and strategies that will make it easier to get found on the Internet.

Here are a few examples of optimizing strategies:

  • Run a site search to test for response accuracy. The purpose is to find out if the search engine is providing the best results for every query that is launched. If you are an e-commerce retailer, find out if your product descriptions are sufficient for potential consumers.
  • Conduct A/B testing for the images used on your website. Again, this is particularly helpful for e-commerce retailers. Find out how potential customers will respond to images that will be posted on your site. If the survey yields unfavorable results, use the data to take better-performing images.
  • Come up with good, accurate, and engaging page titles for your website. It should be enticing enough to encourage the site visitor to click on it. Think of your page title as an advertising copy.
  • Meta descriptions are not dead! They may no longer be ranking factors, but a good meta description can entice an Internet user to visit your website. Remember, Google includes the meta description below your website link.
  • Use appropriate headers. Google prefers content that is well-organized. A header functions to inform readers what the next section is all about. Make sure your header includes the main keyword and that it is an accurate description of the section’s content.

Speaking of content, consistently provide your readers with great content. This means content that is usable, relevant, informative, unique, and engaging.

Integrate the right keywords in your content. Keywords help the search bots track and index your content for search queries. Without keywords, your content will not be found.

6. Include Link Building Strategies

Link building is one the best strategies for expanding the scope and reach of your website. However, it is often abused by unscrupulous digital marketing practitioners.

They will link to websites that are not relevant to their business just to take advantage of the site’s audience base. For example, a health and fitness website that links to a website that sells cigarettes.

Done effectively, link building is excellent in creating awareness for your business, increasing your online visibility, and driving traffic to your website. Link building is hard work! You might have to contact the website owners to work out a link building arrangement.

7. Give Affiliate Marketing A Try

Affiliate marketers are essentially freelance or independent marketers who are willing to help you promote your business products and services. If an affiliate marketer’s efforts successfully result in a sale, you will have to pay him/her a commission.

In Affiliate Marketing, you let the independent marketer do the work for you. Most of them have their own websites or social media channels. No doubt, you have seen them on YouTube. They use the products and services of the client in their videos.

Affiliate Marketing is also a cost-effective way to market and promote your website. You only pay them whenever a sale is made.

Conclusion

Having a website for your business is definitely a step in the right direction. You now have an address where interested parties can learn more about your business and the products or services that you offer. However, it will not run on its own. You have to market and promote your website so that it can be found by potential customers.

It takes time and effort to market a website. But it needs to be done so that your website can produce results for your business. If you do not have the luxury of time, outsource the marketing of your website to us.

We have the experience of running digital marketing campaigns for our clients. We do the work for you so that you won’t have to! Did you like this article? We can create content such as this for your website.

If you are interested, let us talk about it! Consult with us for 30 minutes free of charge!

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Small business owners understand the value of marketing. They know it is important to promote the business’ products and services in order to gain traction for the company. However, given their status as a small-scale enterprise, they are constrained by limited resources and tight capital. A marketing campaign will entail costs but it is an investment, not an expense. You should expect a return on your marketing efforts. For small businesses, investing in a digital marketing strategy is the best option because it will give you the highest ROI.

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing

Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to invest in marketing because they are not convinced of the ROI. The entire experience might just end up being an expense.

A lot of the prevailing fears come from their experiences with traditional marketing methods. Examples of traditional marketing methods include distribution of flyers, installation of posters and streamers, and publication of press releases.

From the outset, traditional marketing seems like a good idea. It has been an accepted practice for decades. The number of marketing collaterals can be managed and therefore, allow you to stay within budget.

However, traditional marketing methods have been proven ineffective and inefficient. Distributing flyers is a random act; there is no thought and purpose on whom to give the material to.

The same can be said for the use of posters, streamers, and press releases. How sure are you that the people who come across your traditional marketing collaterals are potential end-users?

And what happens to all of the collaterals that you printed out? Once the campaign is over, they will end up as recyclable materials inside trash receptacles. That is money that is literally wasted.

Finally, it is hard to measure results with traditional marketing. This leads to higher marketing expenses because the small business owner cannot quantify the results of his/her efforts.

He/she will keep printing and distributing until acceptable returns are generated. It becomes a vicious cycle of printing, posting, and disposing of.

Those shortcomings are not found in Digital Marketing. It has all the strengths – and more – of traditional marketing without its weaknesses.

Why Small Businesses Need To Invest In A Digital Marketing Strategy

It’s a digital world that we live in.

There is more than a 65% chance that you are reading this article from a mobile device, most likely your smartphone.

Digital technology has made life and work easier and more convenient. The evolution of mobile technology has taken the benefits of digital to a whole new different level.

For the consumer, digital technology has made information more accessible. The Internet is home to over 1 billion websites. Although only a small majority are active, these websites nonetheless function as valuable resources of information.

Search is the number one activity on the Internet. Every day people are constantly searching for information that covers a need or interest. Now that mobile technology has grown to a point that it accounts for 65% of online traffic, information can be had in the palm of a consumer’s hand.

Likewise, for business owners, digital technology has made the consumer more accessible.

The Internet has become a two-way street. A consumer who needs your products and services can find you online through a variety of avenues. He/she can perform a search, visit your social media page, or look for your business in an online search directory.

But why wait for the customer to find you when you can reach out and find him/her?

This is why small business owners should invest in digital marketing. It creates avenues for you to be found and to find your own customers.

Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a digital marketing strategy for your small business:

1. The Internet Will Continue to Grow

There is a direct correlation between the growth of the world’s population and the Internet. In 1995, only 16 million people had access to the Internet. This number represented 4% of the world’s population.

Fast- forward to today, and there are 4 billion people online every day. That number accounts for 53% of the world’s population. It is estimated that by 2021, there will be more than 4.6 billion using the Internet on a daily basis.

As the world grows in number, the Internet expands its coverage. More and more countries are opening up their infrastructure to make the Internet accessible to their people.

What do these figures mean?

These figures mean your customers are online. By not having a website, you will not be able to capitalize on the opportunities available on the Internet. If you do not have an online presence, you will be undermining your prospects for growth.

As we mentioned earlier, search is the number one online activity. When a person runs a query, the search engine will present a list of websites on the Search Results Page. How can your business get found if you don’t have a website?

And it’s not enough to have a website. You must have a mobile-responsive website or one that can be viewed on mobile devices.

We discussed the role of the website in our article, “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design”. It is the first step in developing an effective digital marketing strategy.

If you don’t have one for your business, it is not too late. Give us a call or an email and we’ll get you started right away.

2. Allows You to Optimize Your Budget

Digital Marketing is not only more effective than traditional marketing. It is also more efficient. Instead of randomly distributing collaterals for everyone and anyone to see, you are selectively targeting the recipients of your content.

A targeted or focused marketing approach allows you to optimize your budget. You create content with more thought and purpose. Your blogs, articles, and other types of content such as videos and infographics are intended to provide information that is relevant to the needs of your market.

People who like your content; those who find great value in it, will follow you. They will click on your website and find out more about your business; its products and services.

You don’t have to do everything in one go. You have a Digital Marketing schedule that you can use to plan your content distribution strategy. The schedule is designed according to your budget.

For example, you can start out publishing 4 blogs a month. Once you’ve gained 20% more followers, you can increase the production schedule to 6 blogs per month. As your efforts continue to generate better results, you can slowly scale up your content creation schedule.

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3. Consumers’ Behaviors Have Changed

For the reason that the Internet has made information more accessible, consumers are more discerning about the businesses they decide to patronize. A good example is online reviews. People tend to read online reviews before buying a product:

  • 90% of potential buyers read online reviews before visiting a business.
  • Online reviews have the ability to influence 67.7% of buying decisions.
  • 84% of consumers report that they trust online reviews in the same way they trust a personal recommendation.

Today’s consumers take the time to conduct research before buying a product. They will take advantage of the various tools provided by the Internet to learn more about a product before buying it.

Other than online reviews, consumers look to the following sources to do their research:

  • Social Media
  • Online Search Engine Directories
  • Chat Forums

If you don’t have an online presence, your business will never get found by prospective customers. No one will know if your product is good. Having an online review is like word-of-mouth. The difference is that word about your business will go around much faster and travel farther distances.

4. Keeps Your Business Running 24/7

Your website is your storefront window on the Internet. Unlike a brick- and- mortar store, it does not close. Your website is open 24/7.

Potential buyers and clients from all over the world can enter your website, view its contents, and read about your products and services. The content that you have on social media, community blog sites, online reviews, search engine directories can likewise be seen and read by Internet users.

With a website, you will never miss out on opportunities.

For example, you can set up a customer service team composed of remote workers or telecommuters. Whenever you receive inquiries about your products or complaints, your customer service team will be able to attend to them right away.

If you have social media pages, your customer service team can respond right away to comments from your followers. At the same time, they can moderate your social media pages and remove irrelevant content such as affiliate marketing links and inappropriate comments.

Fast and efficient customer service will help you acquire new clients and maintain existing ones. It shows that you care about your end-users.

5. Track Your Performance and Measure Results in Real Time

The availability of online analytics is the game-changer for Digital Marketing. With online analytics, you track the performance of your Digital Marketing campaign. You can measure results in real time.

Analytics will help you pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your current Digital Marketing strategy. It will give you a snapshot of where your audience comes from and the types of content that interest them.

You have empirical evidence that will show you which processes, tools, or techniques are generating acceptable RPI. Therefore, with analytics, you have a solid basis for making calculated decisions on which processes you should allocate more resources to.

Having the ability to evaluate the performance of your campaign is another reason why Digital Marketing allows you to better optimize your budget.

Conclusion:  Why Businesses Hesitate To Invest In Digital Marketing

Like all small business owners, you must have thought about investing in a digital marketing strategy.

You know consumers are always connected to the Internet. You are aware that consumers and businesses, including your competitors, are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile technology to make decisions that pertain to life and work.

However, doubts and fears exist:

  • “How do I start a digital marketing strategy?”
  • “How much will it cost me to maintain a digital marketing strategy? My funds are very tight.”
  • “Who will manage my company’s digital marketing strategy? I don’t have the time, experience, and expertise.”
  • “What are the risks of a digital marketing strategy and how do I mitigate them? I’ve read stories of businesses being duped by the agency.”
  • “What is my expected ROI on my digital marketing strategy if at all?”

As a digital marketing agency, we find these doubts reasonable. We know where the small business owners are coming from because our own clients have posed similar questions to us.

Small business owners have a lot on their plate especially when they are starting out. They have to manage their funds really well. For this reason, marketing gets pushed on the wayside.

By investing in a Digital Marketing strategy, you can put these fears and doubts to rest.

If you want to learn more about Digital Marketing and how you can apply it to your business, give us a call. We are highly rated as a Colorado Digital Marketing Agency. 

We’ll schedule you for a free 30-minute consultation!

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Investing in a website is a step in the right direction. The operative word in our preceding statement is “investing”. It implies that you expect your investment to pay dividends in the future. Indeed, the website has come a long way.

Before broadband, businesses set up websites to function primarily as online marketing brochures. The website has evolved since then.

Today, the website is a facility that can provide amazing user experience with the power to convert simple interest into a stream of revenues for your business. Properly managed, a website can help you achieve your business goals.

You can use the website to generate leads, streamline business costs, acquire followers, expand your market base, improve the efficiency of business operations, provide top-notch customer service, enhance your business reputation, or increase sales.

In contrast, improperly managed, your website can drive away customers, tarnish your business reputation, and affect its ability to generate revenues.

Do you feel that your website has not contributed to the growth of your business? Are you under the impression that your website has not performed according to expectations? Do you think your website has not delivered quantifiable results? Are you starting to think that starting the website was not a good investment?

Is your website costing you business?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, read on! We will discuss the possible reasons why your website could be costing you business and what could be done to fix these issues.

Don’t give up on your website! It remains a good investment and a viable tool to help you take your business to the next level. We will show you how to maximize its strengths so you can turn it into a money-making machine!

8 Reasons Why Your Website is Costing You Business

The factors we listed as possible reasons why your website is under-performing are basic, fundamental requirements for an effective, fully-functioning website.

If you have a webmaster, he/she knows that these factors should not only be in place. They have to be routinely checked, evaluated, and updated.

A website should be dynamic. It must be allowed to evolve and change with the times. If your website remains stagnant, it will be left behind and ignored on the Internet. The beneficiaries will be your competitors.

1. Your Website is Not Mobile Responsive

Mobile responsiveness has been a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm since 2015. If your website is not mobile responsive, get your webmaster on the line this very second. Google could well be punishing you in the search rankings for it.

If you can confirm that your website was mobile responsive when the webmaster turned it over to you, can you confidently say that it remains highly responsive to mobile devices today?

Mobile technology continues to evolve. Screen sizes and resolutions change to give mobile users better experience. There is also a great demand for the latest mobile devices. Consumers will pay top dollar for the latest iPhone or Android smartphone with the most innovative features.

Your webmaster has to constantly test the responsiveness of your website. It should be able to set up effortlessly in different screen sizes. Keep in mind that when mobile devices evolve and become more advanced, they will require more information.

You can read up more on why you should update mobile responsive design in our article “What Does My Website Look Like To Mobile Users?”

2. Web Page Loading Speed is Very Slow

According to a study conducted by Akamai, slow loading web pages are bad for business:

  • 47% of mobile device users expect a web page to load in under 2 seconds.
  • 40% of mobile device users will discontinue the search if a web page does not load in under 2 seconds.
  • For every second that your web page is delayed in loading, you lose 7% in conversions.

Again, your website design and its features have to be updated. It has to conform to the demands of today’s mobile community.

Your webmaster should check which of its features are no longer be supported by mobile devices particularly the images you use. You may also have files that are uncompressed.

3. Customers Perceive Your Website is Not Safe

All you need to do is read today’s news headlines to learn all about the latest hacking attempt. 2017 was a banner year for hackers and it doesn’t seem like these cyber-criminals will be slowing down their nefarious activities any time soon.

Consumers are becoming more cautious about their online activities. A survey done by Blumberg Capital showed that hacking has affected the online shopping behavior of American consumers. It will not keep consumers from shopping at their favorite e-Commerce retailer, but they will be more selective of the sites they visit.

Google has seen this. For the reason that the biggest search engine on the Internet is big on User Experience (UX), Google has required all websites – not just e-Commerce websites – to get SSL Certificates.

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is a program that encrypts data that is transmitted from browser to server. You can read more about SSL in our article, “SSL: What Is It And Why Your Business Needs It”.

If your website does not have SSL certificates, Google will mark it as “Not Secure”. Those two words can have an impact on the decision of a site user to explore your website. Ask yourself, “Would you proceed your search with a website that Google has marked ‘Not Secure’?”

In view of this, consider getting SSL certificates for your website. The cost of having your website covered by SSL certificates is negligible considering the size of the business that you might lose.

4. Design Looks Old; Outdated

Do you have a favorite neighborhood bar? It may have been there before you were born. And yes, age does add character.

However, what would you do if another bar opened right beside it and it had 60” HDTVs mounted in key locations so you can watch the latest sports events wherever you are seated? And what if it had wi-fi, comfortable modern-designed furniture, and 18 barrels of self-serve craft beer?

Goodbye to the old and hello to the new!

Maybe the classics are timeless but when you are engaged in the digital age, your design must conform to the times. Your customers will appreciate a newer and better experience. Often that includes your website’s design and functionality.

Always keep in mind that your audience’s online behavioral patterns can change. They can be influenced by other websites. The changes in the functionality of their mobile devices will likewise have an effect on how they interact with websites.

Make it a point to have your webmaster audit your website. Come up with ways to update its look and functionality. The website may be for your business but its value is to your customers.

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5. Poor Quality Content

Search is the number one online activity. People are constantly looking for content that provides the information they are looking for. In your industry, there could be thousands of businesses publishing content on their websites. The one that publishes great content on a consistent basis will be patronized the most.

If your website offers content that is not relevant, useful, or informative to your audience, they will not find value in it. Worse, your brand can take a hit. Prospective customers may view your website as “incompetent”, “outdated”, “poorly managed”, “unqualified” or “uncaring”.

Content must always be kept current. In order to get the best results from your content marketing strategy, you should blog at least 16 times a month. Studies show that businesses that blog at least 16 times per month generate 3.5 times more leads than businesses that blog fewer times per month.

And it’s not just the quantity that matters. You must assure your audience of high-quality blogs every time. This means blogs that are:

  • Well-researched with links to reputable references.
  • Easy to read; short sentences and short paragraphs.
  • No spelling and grammatical errors.

Here’s a valuable tip: When writing blogs and other forms of content, always keep in mind you are writing for an audience that needs your expertise. You are the expert. They are on your website to learn from you. Do not make the learning experience difficult by using technical terms.

6. Absence of Testimonials or Product Reviews

Do you remember those weight-loss supplement ads that showed users lose weight after using the product for only a few weeks? It created a huge demand for those weight-loss products. Consumers thought they could experience the same results and lose weight by taking the supplement.

In an expose years later, it was shown that instead of “Before” and “After”, those pictures were really taken “After” and “Before”. By this we mean, the supplement companies got models who were already lean and fit, to begin with. The models were described as “actual users”.

Then by having the models eat potato chips and other processed foods, they got their bodies to fill out and look heavy and bloated.

It was a scam but it worked. The “fake ads” were a huge success and made those companies millions of dollars.

Our point in mentioning this is not to encourage you to scam customers. Rather, we want to emphasize the power of testimonials and product reviews. This is called the power of social proof.

Social proof is a type of behavior whereby the decisions or actions of one person are influenced by the decisions or actions of another. You can read more about social proof in our article, “Social Proof: The Natural Way To Build Trust And Reputation For Your Website”.

In our previous example, consumers were influenced by the decisions of supplement users to give the product a try in order to lose weight.

Testimonies and product reviews have that kind of influential power. When you go to Amazon and are faced with hundreds of selections for the latest fitness tracker, how would you arrive at your decision?

Chances are you would check out the product reviews section. You will probably click on a few of the four and five-star reviews. For purposes of establishing a check and balance, you should click on a few one and two-star reviews as well.

If your website does not have social proof from your customers, you will be undermining its opportunities for success.

Invite customers to share their experiences with your products and ask them if you could publish them as testimonies on your website.

Conclusion

The website is your office on the Internet. This is the place where your customers go to find your products and services. The biggest advantage a website has over a traditional brick- and- mortar office is that it is open 24/7. Anyone, anyone on the Internet can visit your website at any time of the day.

Unlike a brick- and- mortar office, you don’t have to place a manager on 24-hour duty. Therefore, you have to be 100% sure and confident that your website can accommodate anyone who visits a page and is interested to learn more about your products and services.

Your webmaster knows this. Rather, your webmaster should know this.

Managing a website is a big responsibility. However, it is doable and with proper planning, it can be done effectively without inconvenience and issue to the website owner.

Failure to manage a website effectively is a sign of irresponsibility that will cost your business customers and potential revenue.

Managing your website is the job of your webmaster. If you don’t have one, find one that can do the job properly.

Or you can sign up with us. Allow us the opportunity to manage your website.

We have managed hundreds of websites and our customers are very happy with the results so far. Do you own a WordPress website? Sign up for our Extreme WordPress Care Plans. Clients who have signed up are glad they did!

We are managing their WordPress websites for them so they can focus on the day-to-day demands of their business.

Our clients no longer spend time checking on their websites. They no longer have sleepless nights thinking if their website is being hacked or infiltrated by cyber-criminals.

We have amazing people on our team. Our content has been cited multiple times by the digital marketing community website UpCity as among the top 25 marketing- based articles on the Internet.

Do you have 30 minutes? Consult with us for free! We will let you know how we can help you get the most out of your website.

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