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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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If you Google “Slider Image”, most of the URLs listed on the SERP will tell you why you shouldn’t have it on your website. We are here to tell you otherwise. Setting up a slider image on your website can be your game changer. Contrary to its naysayers, the slider image can improve User Experience (UX). It can help you achieve your digital marketing goals. Done correctly, it can give your website a boost up the website rankings. In many ways, the slider is the most important image on your website. It is more important than your logo.

What Is A Slider?

A slider is a series of images that appear in sequence. It is sometimes referred to as a “Slideshow” or a “Carousel”. The slider is usually located on the Homepage of a website. There are sliders whereby the images are automatically rotated by a timer.

No doubt you’ve come across sliders on some of the websites you have visited. For example, a website for a hotel can have a slider that features images taken from different locations.

You could start out viewing an image of the hotel’s entrance or reception area. After a few seconds, the image will change, and you may find yourself admiring the hotel’s main dining restaurant or one of its luxury suites.

There are also slideshows that can be controlled manually. The advantage of a manually-controlled slideshow is that you can take your time in viewing the image. You can skip the images that don’t interest you and spend more time on those which have greater importance.

What Are The Criticisms Vs The Slider Image?

There is a wide range of opinion among professional web designers on whether your website should have a slider image or not.

Here are four reasons why some website designers believe your website should not have a slider image:

  1. Sliders Muddle Your Marketing Message – According to a study conducted by Jakob Nielsen for the Nielsen group, the use of a slider can muddle your marketing message because most people view them as advertising.
  2. Sliders Do Not Enhance User Experience – In the same study, Nielsen revealed that a slider can result in a condition known as “banner blindness”. This means users do not see or understand the information detailed in the slides. As a consequence, the added confusion may just push the visitor to leave your website.
  3. Sliders Can Affect Your Page Loading Speed – For the reason that sliders use high-resolution images, some web designers point out that this could seriously impact your site’s loading speed.
  4. Sliders Will Affect Mobile Responsiveness – Another criticism is that some slider configurations will not set up well on mobile devices and compromise your site’s level of responsiveness.

The web designers who are against the slider conclude that it will have a negative impact on SEO performance. The use of a slider will affect UX, slow down page loading speed, and mobile responsiveness and therefore may push you down further in Google’s search rankings.

The Benefits Of Having A Slider Image On Your Website

While we do respect the opinions of our fellow professional web designers, at Mountaintop, we have an opposing viewpoint. We believe your website should have a slider image on the Homepage.

Here are 4 good reasons why your website should have a slider image:

  1. A Slider Can Organize And Fine-Tune Your Marketing Message – As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. You can convey messages more clearly through images than text. According to studies, only 10% of people who read and hear information can remember it 3 days later. In contrast, more than 65% of people who see images that are relevant to the information will retain it even 3 days later.
  2. A Slider Can Enhance The Overall Visual Appeal Of Your Homepage – A study conducted by Stanford University which involved 2,500 respondents showed that 46.1% found website design is a serious indicator of credibility. A slider that is composed of beautiful, high-resolution images will certainly catch the eye of its visitor, compel him/her to stay longer, and potentially explore the other pages of the website.
  3. A Slider Can Improve Site Functionality – What do you want the slider to achieve for your website? Do you want the slider to provide information about your business? Is the slider intended to be a moving portfolio of your products and services? Will the slider be used to enhance your credibility by rotating the various testimonies from your clients? Regardless of what you want the slider to do, it will get the job done because everything will be in one place. The visitor will not go anywhere else.
  4. A Slider Will Improve User Experience – As we mentioned in our previous point, a visitor who clicks on your slider will be kept in one place. Everything that he/she needs to know can be found on the slider. It will make the search process much easier for your site visitor. The slider will keep them engaged on your website. Its contents will help them decide whether they should explore your website further or not. We also mentioned earlier in this article that you can have a manual slider instead of an automatic slider on your Homepage. This will help improve UX because the user can take his/her time on the image with the highest perceived value.

There is a fifth benefit for having a slider on your website. We saved the best for last!

By having a slider image set up on your Homepage, you will significantly increase your conversion rates!

Is not increasing conversion rates the ultimate objective of all the lead generation work you do?

Businesses invest in digital marketing campaigns so they can drive more traffic to their website. Once you have encouraged more website visits, the challenge now is to convert interest into sales. A well-designed, well-thought-out slide image can get this done for you.

A study conducted by Brian Massey of Conversion Specialists revealed that having a slider with optimized images on your Homepage will increase your website’s conversion rates.

Anti-slider proponents recommend using static images instead of slider images. However, in Massey’s tests, sales conversions using slider images increased by 61%!

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The View From The Mountaintop: How To Have A Slider Image That Delivers Results

Like we mentioned at the start of this article, done correctly, a slider can help you achieve your marketing objectives. We have done exactly this for our clients at Mountaintop.

The use of images has been proven to be an effective vehicle for delivering your marketing message. Visual or image-based content grabs attention faster than text-based content.

Here’s a simple test: Which would compel you to take action? An image of the amenities and features that can be found in a hotel’s regular room or a text description of the same room?

Not even the best wordsmith on the planet can beat a high-resolution image of the hotel room.

Now, that we have the visitor’s attention, let us keep him/her interested by rotating the image. From the bedroom, let us show him/her an image of the bathroom then segue to the balcony with a view overlooking the ocean.

Words enough will not do justice on how beautiful the resort is. However, pictures will come closer. Perhaps close enough that the visitor will take the next step and make an inquiry.

We have done our own studies on the pros and cons of having a slider image on the Homepage of a website. The points that have been raised by those who are against the use of a slider do have some merit and were considered.

Our studies have led us to come up with the best and most effective ways to design a slider image without the negative effects cited by other web designers.

Here is a rundown of how we can help you have a slider image that will enhance the visibility, functionality, and potentially give your website a boost up the search rankings:

1. Define the Purpose of the Slider Image –

We discussed this in the section discussing the benefits of having a slider image on your Homepage. Without purpose, your marketing message will be lost.

Digital marketers always begin the messaging process by identifying its purpose. What message do you want to convey to your audience? You can only have one message. If you focus on multiple messaging, this will only serve to confuse your audience.

In order to avoid confusion and “banner blindness”, start out by defining the purpose of your slider image.

If you are in online retail, you can use the slider image to show your top-selling or most popular products. If you are in the consultancy business, use the slider image to highlight the testimonies of your clients. A restaurant can have a slideshow to give viewers information on their daily specials or promos.

2. Use Relevant Images –

Once you determined the purpose of the slide image, find images that are relevant to your marketing message.

Don’t try to be “fancy” or “artsy” by using images that are very beautiful and aesthetic but are largely symbolic of your message. Website visitors don’t want to be subjected to tests or guesswork.

Remember, the attention span of a person is less than that of a goldfish! When it comes to content, get to the point right away. You also have the option of combining image and text to drive home your message clearer and faster.

3. Use High-Resolution Images But… –

Web designers will recommend using high-resolution images for aesthetic purposes. However, it will slow down page loading speed because the file will be larger and harder to download.

Our solution is to still use high-resolution images for the slideshow. However, use smaller-sized images so that the page will still load fast.

4. Switch from Slide to Motion-Fade –

One of the criticisms of the web designers against the use of slider images is that it affects UX by distracting viewer’s attention.

Based on our studies, the culprit is the transition that occurs from slide-to-slide. For some viewers, the transition comes across as too “sudden” or “sharp”.

Our solution is to use a motion fade instead of a slide-to-slide transition. This will lead to a smoother viewing experience. The slow fadeout will give the viewer notice that the slide is in the middle of a transition.

He/she will be able to adjust the thought process and prepare for the next slide much more effectively.

5. Consider a Manual Slide Image –

We have mentioned the benefit of a manual slide throughout this article. It is worth mentioning yet again that using a manual slider image will improve UX by giving the user more control.

If your purpose is to promote your products and services, a manual slider will give the viewer more time to go through your content.

6. Beta Test Your Images –

Not surprisingly, the slide image that garners the highest number of clicks is the first slide.

Therefore, it is important to run a beta test to find out which one of your images generates the most favorable feedback or best achieves the desired result. Using the right image will help set the tone for the rest of your slider image.

Conclusion – Why Your Slider Image Is More Important Than Your Logo

A logo is largely a symbol that best encapsulates what your brand is all about. However, in some cases, the meaning of the logo may take some time for consumers to decipher.

For example, Starbuck’s logo. The meaning behind the smiling mermaid has been a compelling discussion point for several years. It’s relevance to brewed coffee cannot be immediately determined.

A slider image gets your message across effectively. Again, done properly, it will help support the purpose and objectives of your business. Unlike a logo, a slider image is more flexible.

While you can change a logo, the process will not be as easy because you have to be sure it will not detract from your branding value proposition.

However, with a slider image, you can change the purpose from time-to-time. For example, if you are in the restaurant business, you can start out by having the slider image feature your core menu items.

Once you have made a name for yourself, the slide image can switch to testimonies from happy customers or special daily promotions.

If you don’t have a slider image on your website, give us a call or drop us an email right away. You need to get a slider image on your website right away if you want to increase sales conversions, improve UX, or move up the search rankings.

We have the experience and expertise to get this done for you properly. Give us a call and we’ll give you a free 30-minute consultation on how we can help your website have an effective slider image.

It will be the difference maker between you and your competition who chose to believe the naysayers.

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Maybe clothes do not make the man, but mobile will certainly make your website. If your website does not set up well or look good in mobile devices, you might be leaving money on the table.

Mobile devices account for 57% of online traffic compared to 43% for desktop. Globally, smartphones alone account for 52.2% of online traffic.

Consumers will depend on their mobile devices, particularly the smartphone, to account for their daily needs. Whether they are searching for products or services, they will use their mobile device to find the information they need.

Why Your Website Should Look Good For Mobile Users

How would you feel if you clicked on a website from your mobile phone and realized you had to zoom in so you can read the content? Not only will you have to zoom in, but you will also have to move the screen around in order to navigate the page.

It is certainly an inconvenience and will not contribute to a great user experience. What will be your course of action? Chances are you will click out of the website and search for another one that will set up better on your mobile phone.

Now, imagine that was your website. What would your site visitors do? Probably follow the same course of action as you did: Click out and look for another website.

Your competitor’s website.

First impressions last. If discomfort and inconvenience were the impressions created by the site visitor’s first experience with your website, it is possible you will never see him/her again.

It is not enough for your website to look good on a desktop, a laptop or a tablet. Likewise, or rather, more importantly, your website should look good while viewed on a smartphone.

Investing in a website is a step in the right direction. It will help market and promote your business; its products and services. However, unless it is mobile responsive, you will not be able to stay ahead, much less, keep up with competitors that have mobile responsive websites.

A mobile responsive website is one that sets up clearly and seamlessly on the screen of various mobile devices. Keep in mind that not all screen sizes of mobile devices have the same dimensions. The screen size will have an effect on how your web page appears on the mobile device.

A good example is your Facebook home page. On a PC desktop, the layout covers a wider area. Your contacts list in Messenger sets up on the right side of the screen, the news feed is in the middle, while on the far left of the home page, you will find the different icons to access your settings, groups, and features.

Facebook will appear differently on your smartphone. The home page sets up vertically. Your Messenger contacts are located on top of your news feed. The icons do not appear and can only be accessed by clicking on the button with the 3 horizontal lines located on the top right corner,

If you open Facebook on a tablet or a laptop, it will set up differently depending on the size of your screen.

Mobile responsiveness is no longer an option. It is a must. Google has made mobile responsiveness a prerequisite in the quest for higher search rankings. The search engine giant has included it as a ranking factor in its algorithm as far back as 2014.

The reason, of course, is User Experience (UX). Google is big on UX. Its ranking algorithm has periodically undergone changes in order to drive home the point to website owners that they should prioritize UX.

We discussed the benefits of having a mobile responsive website in our article, “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design”. However, it is worth emphasizing the value of having a mobile responsive website from the perspective of consumers.

First, mobile consumers behave differently. They are more impatient and compared to PC desktop users, tend to react on impulse. The following key statistics support our observation:

Second, mobile consumers respond more favorably to brands that have a mobile responsive website. Mobile consumers tend to multi-task. If they can do everything from the palm of their hand they would.

Mobile responsive websites make multitasking easier. Thus, it creates trust and fosters a stronger relationship with the consumer.

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3 Reasons Why Your Website Does Not Look Good On Mobile Devices

Even if you have a mobile responsive website, you still have to check if it sets up or looks good on various mobile devices.

It is possible that the resolution of your website’s text and images will not come out clear. Some of the content that is available on the desktop or laptop versions may not appear on smartphones or tablets.

How did this happen?

Your website designer assured you that your website was mobile responsive. In fact, you were present when the website designer ran some tests before turning over the website to you.

The first thing that you need to do is to breathe and relax! There are perfectly good explanations on why a supposedly mobile responsive website does not set up properly on a mobile device.

1. New Technology Demands New Information

Every few months a technology company will bring out its latest version of its smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Each company will try to outdo each other by developing mobile devices that have the best cameras, most-advanced features, and most compact designs.

Cases in point are the latest versions of the iPhone from Apple and the Galaxy from Android. The built-in cameras of both smartphones capture images in amazing quality. You would think the pictures were taken by a professional photographer’s digital SLR camera.

As these smartphones continue to press forward with higher and more intricate resolution, consequently, these mobile devices will demand more information from your website. Your website designer can fix this by rewriting your site’s programming code.

2. Content is Not Optimized

Even if your website structure and its text look good on your smartphone, your logo and the images used may appear hazy or blurry. It is possible that these images were not optimized to accommodate screens of mobile devices.

If you are familiar with iPhone version 8 and the iPhone X, these models use a retina display. The screens on these phones look gloriously sharp. To do this, Apple jam packs at least 4 pixels in an area that would only accommodate 1 pixel in a normal desktop.

Then Apple would proceed to double the resolution for text and graphics so that it would not look small onscreen. If your graphic is smaller compared to how it is shown on the screen, it will look “stretched out” and blurry.

A quick-fix solution would be to use images that were designed to accommodate mobile phones with retina displays.

3. Type of Media is Not Supported by Mobile Browser

Assuming your website loads successfully on a mobile device but some of your content is missing, it could be that the type of media you are using is not supported by the mobile browser.

A good example is Flash which is often used for animations and video-based content. Flash is not supported by a number of smartphones.

If your website designer incorporated Javascript and JQuery components for the desktop version of your website so that it would become more interactive, these elements would not display on mobile devices.

Conclusion

If you want to find out how your website looks like for mobile users, run a series of tests yourself.

Visit your website using your smartphone. Give an honest assessment of your experience. Go to the different pages of your website and evaluate how fast the images and text loads.

Ask yourself if the quality of the images; its overall resolution is good enough to impress the site visitors. Check if all the features and content that are available in the desktop version can be found in your smartphone.

From your smartphone, run the same tests on a tablet. Don’t stop there! Borrow a friend’s smartphone. Make sure it is different from your smartphone. Apply the same tests and evaluate your website’s performance.

If you are not satisfied with how your mobile responsive website sets up or looks on mobile devices, give us a call or drop us an email.

We will give you a free 30-minute consultation. We will take a look at your website and see what can be done to improve its performance on mobile devices.

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Digital Marketing is an effective way to promote your business. It is definitely a smart move to outsource your digital marketing to an agency. Even if you have the experience and expertise, your time is best allocated to managing key business functions. Digital marketing agencies not only have the experience and the expertise. They also have the right people to get the job done right. However, the industry is not insured against scammers. How do you know if you are getting ripped off by your Digital Marketing agency?

If you keep buying new hardware from the computer technician and your PC still does not run well, chances you are getting scammed. If your car continues to break down one week after getting it back from the shop, the car repairman could be milking you of your month’s salary. Other than the cost, getting ripped off by supposed “professional” service providers can be a very infuriating experience.

All you want to do is earn an honest living. You put in the time at work so you can generate enough money to pay off your bills, support your family, and live a comfortable life. Sadly, there are people whose business it is to live off your hard work.

They pass themselves off as honest, working-class people; proprietors of an honest business just like you. However, what we don’t see behind the beautiful website home page, the office signages, and the welcome, “sunshine smile” is the ulterior motive.

These are scammers; people who want to make as much money off you through deceptive business practices.

Scammers lurk in every industry, including digital marketing. The people who do this are not beginners. Most of them have been doing this all their lives. How else could they pull it off without remorse or guilt?

They know how to scope out their victims. Just like a shark that nudges its prey before devouring it, these scammers have ways to find out if you are ready for the taking.

If you are not careful, you could end up becoming a statistic. You may become the new notch on their belt and several thousand dollars poorer.

5 Signs Your Digital Marketing Agency Is Ripping You Off

Marketing is an essential component of a business development strategy. This is particularly true for startups. You cannot expect your business to gain traction if you do not promote it through multiple channels.

The process of marketing does not end once the cash registers start ringing. On the contrary, you will have to step it up. Now, you are part of the industry-wide race for customers.

However, you must be smart about your approach to Digital Marketing. Success isn’t contingent on the size of your marketing budget. It comes down to designing strategy, implementing it, and making sure there are contingencies in place to keep the campaign on the right track.

The fact of the matter is, you are at the mercy of your Digital Marketing agency. They are the experts. They have the experience, the knowledge, and the manpower to manage an effective Digital Marketing campaign.

The harsh reality is not every Digital Marketing agency can be trusted. This is a burgeoning industry that creates opportunities for growth for both the client and the service provider. If you are not careful, the success of the Digital Marketing agency will come at your expense.

Here are 5 signs that you are getting ripped off by your digital marketing agency:

1. No Numbers To Support Digital Marketing Campaign’s Performance

In view of all of its advantages over traditional marketing, there is one benefit of Digital Marketing that stands out above the rest. This is Digital Marketing’s ability to track the campaign’s performance and provide you with accurate numbers in real time.

Having numbers allows you to monitor which strategies are working; which ones are contributing to your targeted goal and generating ROI. Real-time data also gives you a better idea of your audience demographics and their online behavioral patterns.

Who are reading the blogs? Where do they come from? How do they access your content? Which time of day and night are they most active? How many of my targeted audience has pushed through with my Call-to-Action?

The Digital Marketing agency should provide you with numbers as the basis for assessing the performance of the campaign. A reputable agency is one that is willing to take you through the entire process. And part of the process is realizing that results take time to achieve.

An honest Digital Marketing agency is not afraid to show you that every campaign goes through growth stages. That even the best agencies in the business make mistakes.

However, the advantage of Digital Marketing is that the availability of analytics; these numbers being presented to you, makes it possible for the agency to implement changes in the campaign.

Remember the old saying in business development, “Strategy follows numbers; not the other way around.”

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2. The Digital Marketing Agency Does Not Discuss Worst-Case Scenarios

Who wouldn’t want to have a Digital Marketing campaign that generates thousands of dollars from the get-go? However, the harsh reality is that like all ventures, Digital Marketing is a process and all processes take time to bear fruit.

Spurious Digital Marketing agencies will prey on your natural tendency to view only the rosy picture. As a matter of fact, you should be able to spot them as early as the initial presentation.

They probably used a lot of flash and fluff in their PowerPoint; presented big, extravagant keywords and industry buzzwords to convince you that success is guaranteed.

Agencies that focus only on the upsides of the campaign during their project presentation without mentioning the downsides are probably out to scam you.

There is no such thing as the “Perfect Plan”. Especially not in this age of the Internet where every consumer has immediate access to information. People’s tastes and preferences can change without warning. The demographics that were used to create your Buyer’s Persona could change during the campaign.

A trustworthy Digital Marketing agency will discuss the risks in the campaign. They will not paint a rosy picture but instead, they will present a real picture of what you should expect or anticipate. Instead of hyping up results, they want to moderate expectations.

3. Contingency Plans Are Not Discussed

In line with discussing with you the downsides or risks of the campaign are the contingency plans. These are the alternative courses of action that you can take should the initial plan’s performance turn contrary to expectations.

The best way to counter unpredictable markets is to adopt flexible business strategies. This applies to marketing as well. Rigid or highly-structured, tightly-organized strategies will not give you the mobility needed to change course.

Honest Digital Marketing agencies know the importance of having flexible marketing strategies in place. They have prepared contingency plans that can be implemented at any time during the campaign.

If worst-case scenarios were discussed beforehand, the contingency plans are there to assure you the Digital Marketing team will know what to do should any of the undesirable scenarios take place.

4. Digital Marketing Agency Pushes You To “Go Big” Right Off The Bat

If a Digital Marketing agency tells you to “Go big or go home”, or passes this line by you, “Digital marketing is an investment; the larger the investment, the higher the return”, terminate the meeting right away and tell the ad agency to go home.

Another great thing about Digital Marketing is that it is scalable. You can easily add new processes to its framework once analytics validate that results are becoming more consistent. Likewise, you can remove processes that are not generating significant ROI.

A Digital Marketing agency that pushes you to do a massive, ambitious campaign right away with all the bells and whistles, is only thinking about their company’s interests.

There is a direct relationship between the size of your campaign and the needed investment. Put simply, you will need a larger budget to pull off an ambitious campaign.

Every process that is added unto the initial Digital Marketing framework only guarantees one party in the agreement of sure-fire earnings: The agency. You will be footing their bill while the fate of your campaign remains shrouded in uncertainty.

The truth is you don’t have to go big with Digital Marketing right away.

Social media marketing is one of the cornerstones of a sound Digital Marketing strategy. At Mountaintop, we advise our Digital Marketing to choose only 2 to 3 social media marketing platforms to start out with.

Having only 2 to 3 social media platforms to monitor makes it easier to track performance. We also lessen the client’s exposure to risk. With regular analytics and campaign benchmarking, we can determine with greater certainty if we should add or remove processes to the campaign.

5. Your Approval Is Sought On Every Decision

As the client, it is within reason for the agency to discuss any change in plans with you. That is, after all, professional courtesy. However, be wary if your Digital Marketing agency always seeks your stamp of approval in every decision.

Isn’t the Digital Marketing agency the expert in this arrangement? Even if the client funds the campaign, he/she will not be in the best position to give the right call every time.

When the agency seeks your go-signal before implementing a plan or course of action, it may only be doing so to pass accountability to you. If something goes wrong, the agency can just tell you, “Well, you approved it.” On the other hand, if the plan is a success, the agency will bask in the glory and take credit for it.

The keyword in Digital Marketing is collaboration. The agency is the architect of the campaign. The client trusts that his/her best interests will be served by the agency.

The agency should exhibit transparency even before the campaign gets rolling. While no one can predict the outcomes of a Digital Marketing strategy, the agency is responsible for setting expectations. This includes discussing scenarios that run adverse to the campaign and the alternative courses of action.

Conclusion

Because of the popularity of the Internet, mobile technology, and the influence of social media, digital marketing has assumed a more prominent role in the advertising budget. Companies spend millions; even billions, to run the best digital marketing campaigns through the Internet.

A successful digital marketing campaign will give you significant returns on your investment. In contrast, a poorly managed one will result in huge monetary losses.

It can happen to anyone. Even major companies like Procter & Gamble which in 2017 terminated more than $100 Million in ad agreements with agencies that needlessly wasted the company’s money.

For a company like Procter and Gamble which makes $16 Billion in a quarter, $100 Million must feel like a drop in the bucket. The same cannot be said for small to medium- sized businesses that go through unpredictable streams of income and have limited access to capital.

Digital marketing provides small and medium- sized businesses the most cost-efficient marketing option to promote their products and services.

Content such as blogs and videos can be distributed through social media and other Internet-based channels which can reach a wider audience at minimal cost. Pay-per-click (PPC) digital ads target a specific audience. You will only pay for the ad whenever someone clicks on them.

Likewise, content is reusable and therefore, sustainable. The content that you post today can be published 6 months later and still elicit positive results.

For the reason that small and medium scale businesses have limited capital, they should be more careful when dealing with digital marketing agencies. Not only will they fail to achieve their marketing goals, but they will be ripped off and lose hard-earned money.

Have you ever experienced being ripped off by your Digital Marketing agency? Please feel free to share your thoughts on the comments section provided below.

If you want to know more about our Digital Marketing services, please give us a call or drop us an email.

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Hello! What brings you here?

Search is the number one activity on the Internet. It all starts with a need to find information. The keywords you used to launch a query will open a results page with a list of URLs. Every URL you click onto will have content that could provide the answers to your query.

Content can be anything. It can be a tweet. A blog. An article. An email. An image or video. In short, it is a message that communicates directly with the targeted audience.

It’s how you got here.

You wanted to know more about content marketing. And we have the content to show you how to get started.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of using information that is usable and relevant to the needs, concerns, or interests of the target audience. It is a form of communication whereby the message resonates with the recipient and compels him/her to take action.

Communication is very important in marketing. The message must be focused and clearly articulated so that content will resonate and be accepted openly by the recipient.

Content marketing is targeted marketing. You create content that appeals to a specific audience. It is optimized; you don’t have to find them because they will find you.

Compare that to a marketing approach that distributes flyers inside a mall or inserts them between the pages of the Sunday paper.

If you distribute 1,000 flyers, how many will be compelled to take your desired action? Some will just ignore the flyer. A good number will find their way into a garbage can.

Thus, for marketers, content marketing offers an effective and efficient way of communicating with their audience.

How Will Content Marketing Help Your Business?

If you can find a way to increase your visibility or enhance your online presence on the Internet, you will be able to achieve your online marketing goals.

With content marketing, people follow you willingly. You build an audience composed of people who enjoy your content. They see value in it and consider you a valuable resource. Over time and with consistency, great content will develop your credibility and reputation.

A successful content marketing campaign can reap the following benefits for your business:

  • Drives higher inbound traffic to your website.
  • Builds strong brand awareness.
  • Encourages brand loyalty.
  • Improves your search ranking.
  • Improves your sales conversion rate.
  • Enhances your reputation as an expert.
  • Establishes stronger relationships with your audience.

Content marketing is also a sustainable business development strategy. Great content is evergreen; it will stand the test of time. A blog that you published today can be re-published in six months.

You can even re-publish it three years later. All you have to do is update information such as statistics, new developments, outcomes, and other key data. It will cater to a whole new audience; perhaps bring in people who have not heard of your business.

Finally, content marketing will not sink your bank account. Yes, there is a cost to producing great content. However, the cost of publication is much more affordable compared to traditional marketing.

There is no cost to posting content on your social media pages or those in your network. Paid ads have a cost but you only pay every time someone clicks on your content. Now compare that with the cost of publishing content in a newspaper or glossy.

Not only will content marketing save you money, but your content will be visible to more people. Most importantly, it will be seen by the people who matter the most: Your audience.

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How To Start Content Marketing

If you’re still here, that means we’ve convinced you to push through with content marketing.

Before you sit down and start creating content, please understand that content marketing is a process. There are steps that you need to follow to ensure the success of your campaign.

1. Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

Think of the different types of content – blogs, articles, web copy, product reviews, videos, images, and tweets –  as tools of the trade. Every business that decides on running a content marketing campaign has access to the same tools as you.

However, not everyone will succeed. Some will fail. Others will fall short of their goals.

Therefore, content marketing will only be as effective as the strategy behind it.

Content strategy also identifies the “why”; the purpose of each piece of content you create as well as the “when” which refers to the distribution and publication schedule.

Without strategy, your content marketing plan will be treading blindly into unchartered waters. There will be no rhyme or reason to the types of content you put out. Your message will get lost. Your audience will have no idea of what you are trying to communicate.

A content strategy establishes structure to your content marketing plan. It lays out the path of the journey you want to put your audience on.

2. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team

Can you create and publish your own content? Sure! The more important question is, “Should you?”

Creating content takes time. A 1,500- word blog post can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete.

Thus, even if you have the talent to create content – don’t! Instead, you should assemble a content marketing team. A rundown of the skills you need for your team would include the following:

  • Content Writer
  • Editor
  • Keyword Researcher
  • SEO Specialist

Collaborate on the content strategy with your content marketing team. Make sure all topics, titles, and posting schedules are presented to you for approval before implementation.  

3. Build On Ideas For Content

For a few days, you could find yourself knocking out one amazing content piece after another. Then without warning, you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen. The creativity well has run dry. What will you do next?

First of all, don’t panic. It happens even to the best content writers. Creativity comes from ideas. And ideas are initiated by inspiration. Sometimes you just need to find good sources of inspiration to pour in new ideas into the creativity well.

Here are five good sources of ideas for content creation:

  • Customers – Reach out to your audience. Find out what issues and concerns are of interest to them. Conduct surveys in your social media pages or through email marketing.
  • Competitors – Visit your competitors’ websites and social media pages. What are they writing about? Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement?
  • Influencers – Influencers are movers and shakers in the industry. They know the pulse of the market. Subscribe to their content so you can get daily updates.
  • Sales People – If you’re in retail, your sales people directly engage with your customers. Invite them to a brainstorming session and find out which topics would be of interest to your audience. You might even want to consider asking a few of them to contribute content for your website.
  • Social Media – With more than 3 Billion sharing content every day, you’ll never run out of ideas in social media. Join interest groups and take note of topics that trigger active discussion among members.

4. Create Your Content

What processes are involved in creating content?

  • Topic research
  • Title research
  • Keyword research
  • Fact checking on sources
  • Hyperlinks/ citing of references
  • Submission and review of drafts
  • Draft finalization
  • Spelling and grammar check
  • Plagiarism check
  • Optimization of content

All told, there are at least 10 steps required in content creation. The process can be longer if multiple drafts were needed before the finalizing the draft.

As we mentioned in step #2, content creation takes time. If you are planning to publish multiple content pieces every week, you could have a log jam in your schedule.

This is the value of having content strategy in place. Before creating content, establish a content writing calendar.

For example, a blogging calendar for a real estate company can include the following types of content:

  • How-To articles
  • List-Type articles
  • Informative articles
  • Opinion pieces
  • Management practices
  • Leadership and entrepreneurship
  • Inspirational

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the calendar, it should have a publication schedule in place.

Let’s say you planned to publish 16 blogs every month. A good strategy would be to create informative content for the first four topics. This could be How-To and List-Type articles. The purpose is to highlight the expertise of the real estate agency and how its services can be of value to potential clients.

The fifth article could be an Opinion piece on a topic related to the most recent List-Type article. For example, if you published an article entitled, “How To Get Approved For A Home Loan”, you could write an Opinion piece on why lending rates should be lowered.

The purpose is to provide the readers a break from assimilating highly-informative  content to one that encourages greater engagement and discussion.

By having a content creation calendar in place, you can manage your time better. You will be able to produce high-quality, unique blogs that are well-written, thoroughly-researched, informative, engaging, and optimized.

Best of all, you will stay on schedule.

5. Promote Your Content

You’ve invested time and effort on your content. As an asset, you want it to reap dividends. Where you promote your content will determine if your content can give you solid returns.

An effective content promotion strategy should involve multiple distribution channels. This way, your content will be assured to reaching a wider audience.

Here are five of the best distribution channels you could use to promote your content:

  • Social Media – Choose no more than 3 networks for easy monitoring. Come up with a posting schedule for each network. If you have a content marketing team, they will probably share your content to their community.
  • Paid Advertising – PPC brings your content directly in front of potential end users. It is highly-effective and cost- efficient as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Email – Once you’ve built a good-sized email list, send them short but informative and useful content pieces every month.
  • Blogging Communities – Guest blogging is another effective distribution strategy. Your content will be discovered by a new audience and it may trigger faster growth.
  • Comment Sections – Don’t just post links to your content in the comments section. Build relationships first through regular engagement. When you’ve built credibility and trust with the site, you can post links that are relevant to the conversation. This means, don’t just post your links but include other sites as well.

There are other channels and techniques that you can use to promote your content. These include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Display Ads, and Content Syndication.

You don’t have to use all of these channels to distribute your content. Determine which ones are more aligned with the types of content you are promoting. Initially, select 3 to 4 channels and assess its performance.

If the numbers fall below your target ROI, then you should consider changing tactics by choosing another distribution channel.

Conclusion

As you’ve just read, writing online content is a whole new ballgame. It’s not enough to be a good writer. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done because you want your content to stand out from the rest. You need to combine creative writing with the precision of optimization techniques.

A properly planned and executed content marketing strategy will bring your company closer to achieving its targeted goals. This is the reason we offer content marketing services to our clients at Mountaintop.

By outsourcing content writing to us, we eliminate the guesswork for you. We develop the ideas, come up with the topics, titles, and make sure these are supported by well-researched and fully- optimized content.

If you’re interested in starting a content marketing campaign, reach out to us. We will take you through the process and show you how our content has helped clients achieve their business objectives.

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WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. More than 500 websites are built daily using WordPress and it has been the most dominant CMS the last eight years. Overall, WordPress runs nearly 30% of all websites operating on the Internet.

There’s a reason for this; and that is because WordPress is easy to use. Business owners can manage content on their own. They have their choice of plugins which they can use to improve design and functionality. Google loves WordPress websites because its code makes site content easy to read and index.

However, technical issues can arise which could affect the performance of your website. For example, you may want to improve certain features such as its download speed, accessibility, and level of security.

It is no different than a physical office or retail outlet that wants to improve efficiency and security. It may improve the office or store layout and introduce stricter and more elaborate security measures.  

Improving site performance while enhancing security are good enough reasons for you to seriously consider getting an Extreme WordPress Care Plan.

What Are Extreme WordPress Care Plans?

Extreme WordPress Care Plans are customized sets of maintenance and repair options that have been put together by our web development professionals to help you manage and protect your website according to individual need and budget.

Continuing our analogy with a brick- and- mortar business, a physical office would hire professionals to cover its needs for security, accounting, legal expertise, cleaning and maintenance services.  

With your website, care and maintenance are best left in the hands of web development professionals who have the experience and expertise managing WordPress platforms.

What could happen if your WordPress website does not undergo regular care and maintenance procedures?

  • Your website will not function properly, which will make it difficult to access, also site speed speed and security could be compromised.
  • Your message queue has grown considerably and you have a backlog of comments to attend to.

None of these incidents can be good for business. Instead of becoming a platform for development, the website has made it difficult for you to build business.

Our Extreme WordPress Care and Maintenance Plans have been proven effective and highly successful in ensuring the performance of our clients’ WordPress websites.

Let’s find out what our clients have to say about our Extreme WordPress Care and Maintenance Plans:

Testimony No. 1

Client – Randy Bowman

Website – www.sqrdup.com

“I was very concerned about SSL security. As an online retailer, I wanted to make sure customers would feel very confident and assured when using our site. We were paying another company a lot of money for untold hours of work that did not meet expectations.

I was about to give up until Josiah and the team at Mountaintop advised us to sign up for their Extreme WordPress Care Plan. Josiah suggested we give the plan a try. We did and it was the best decision we ever made for website security.

It is great! I don’t have to think about this part while going about my busy days! Life and work are so much easier! Mountaintop’s Extreme WordPress Care Plan is fantastic. It takes all the worry off my shoulders.”

Testimony No. 2

Client: Christy Smith

Website: halloweeneventsco.com

“As a first-time owner of a business website, I needed to know my site was well-maintained and secure. Purchasing the Extreme WordPress Care Plan was a no-brainer. Everything is done in a timely manner and what is promised is exactly what you get!

The work Mountaintop does is amazing! I am very satisfied with their excellent customer service and how they have taken care of my website. If you want to secure and protect your website, sign up with Mountaintop’s Extreme WordPress Care Plan.

The prices are very reasonable and Mountaintop goes the extra mile to make sure you get your money’s worth. Mountaintop has the experience and expertise to make sure your website is running and functioning properly.

Most of all, you will have peace of mind knowing your website is safe and sound under experienced and expert hands. I highly recommend their services to anyone who needs a website designed and managed.”

Testimony No. 3

Client – Lynn Ann Huizingh

Website – www.swshelternetwork.com

“Our previous web provider was very frustrating to work with. It was a difficult website to update and frequently I could not figure out how to do what I wanted to do. Customer service took more than 48 hours to hear from and they very rarely answered my question.

I spent hours trying to get done what I wanted to do and it didn’t always work like I thought it should.

After building a website with Mountaintop, we decided to sign up for Mountaintop’s Extreme WordPress Care Plan. It has been a totally different experience! The design process was fun and easy for me because Josiah is so easy to work with.

I never heard, ‘I can’t’. I have often heard, ‘Let me check into how we can make that happen’, although he already knew the answer. Josiah has the ability to point out the rare problem before I noticed it. He would fix it and tell me after what happened and how they approached the problem.

Updating content is so much easier! If I wanted some pages and the format updated, Josiah is just one email away and he would give updates within a 24-hour period.

The plans are also very affordable. We set up an auto-pay system so we don’t have to worry about paying the monthly fees on time. The coverage of our plan included support for web updates and coaching.

So grateful! I highly recommend signing up with Mountaintop’s Extreme WordPress Care Plan.”

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FAQs: Extreme WordPress Care And Maintenance Plans

Q: We’ve come across other companies that offer WordPress care plans. Why should we go with your company?

Testimonies are the most powerful forms of validation. As you have read from 3 of our clients, they are very happy with their decision to sign up for our Extreme WordPress Care Plan. We can assure you of our expertise in website management and excellent customer service as proven by our large number of loyal customers. With Mountaintop, we provide high-value service for only a small monthly cost.

Q: Once I sign up for your WordPress care plan, what are the next steps?

When you are ready to take the next steps, let us know and we can setup a website evaluation. We typically charge $150 for one of these website evaluations as we like to dig into the website to see what is going on.

As part of the evaluation, we will give you a report containing information like a list of pages & posts, users by security level, plugins, themes, speed of your website, possible security issues like malware, broken links, Google’s mobile friendly test, Domain authority, and we make backups of the site.

We will also include our recommendations on how to make the website faster and better overall. We want to make sure we have your website needs covered from start to finish. Once your website goes live, we will work to keep it secure, up to date and functioning properly.

This way, we can keep track of your site’s performance and become more accountable for the work we’ve done for you.

Q: What kinds of security measures do you provide?

We work hard to stay on top of current WordPress website best practices. We use a combination of plugins/code/server changes that make your website stronger against potential attacks.

We also run regular backups of your site as well as malware scans as another line of defense. We want to make sure we can identify potential vulnerabilities and have them addressed as soon as possible. You can be assured that if something goes wrong, we are ready to take care of the situation before it becomes a full-blown problem.

Q: Can you manage e-commerce websites?

Yes, on the top two care plans we work with “WooCommerce”. If your website uses another ecommerce platform, get in touch with us and we can discuss requirements.

Q: I have multiple websites. How would you manage them?

Managing multiple websites will not be a problem. We have the experience, expertise, and professional know-how of using the correct tools and processes to manage and monitor multiple websites for many of our clients.

Q: Are you particular about the web host services provider or can you work with anyone?

We prefer a host that allows us to have the most access to the hosting platform. We work quite a bit with GoDaddy and that is our preference, however we do work with lots of platforms. These Extreme WP Care Plans are not limited to a single platform.

Q: Can you fix a hacked website?

This one is tricky. Yes, we definitely can. However, depending on how bad a website has been hacked there might be extra work to get the website safely operational before the Care Plans can maintain it.

Please note that we will fix hacked websites if they are on our care plan (prior to being hacked) at no additional cost.

However, if a website that is being moved over to us for care has been hacked, we would probably have to charge you to have the site cleaned first. For the purpose of transparency, we will provide an estimate before we cleaning the website.

Q: What are your standard response time and turnaround time?

The standard response and turnaround time is 24 to 72 hours. However, we do our best to respond within 24 hours. This would be contingent on the amount and level of clarity of the information that is given to us.

Q: Are your services available 24/7?

We have hosting support that is available 24/7 for technical issues. With our WordPress Extreme Care Plans, we will not rest until your website is working properly!

We work hard to keep those going. If you have questions, you are free to email us at any time. Mountaintop has a global team working round-the-clock to make sure all of your concerns are addressed right away. However, as we are a smaller organization, we might not be able to get back to you for inquiries or concerns sent at 2:00am.

Conclusion

As a business owner, having a website is a step in the right direction. By going online, you can reach out to a wider market of potential end users of your products and services.

Your marketing and promotional strategies will have a larger ocean to cast its net; an ocean of more than 3.5 billion daily Internet users. A website will help you grow your business by capitalizing on opportunities available on the Internet.

But just like how a brick- and- mortar business goes through maintenance and repair issues, your WordPress website likewise needs regular care. Even if you had the time to monitor your website, time is a valuable asset that is best spent managing the core business of your enterprise.

Sign up for our Extreme WordPress Care Plans and leave your site’s management to us. We will monitor your website so you can successfully go about your obligations to work and family. If there is a problem, we will take care of it and send you a report detailing the issue and how we fixed it.

If you have any questions about our Extreme WordPress Care Plans, please do not hesitate to give us a call or an email. We will get back to you right away!

Contact us today by filling out our form to learn more about our Extreme WordPress Care Plans!

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There are almost two billion websites on the Internet. If you see similarities between certain websites, it is because some use prepared template designs. These are downloadable website templates where the layout and structure have already been established.

Although this is a fast, easy, and convenient way to put up a website, it misses a very important element of effective design: Uniqueness.

The challenge for professional web designers is to conceptualize a design that is unique to its owner. Everything must come-together or align in website design. A business is an organization of people who share core values and a common vision to what the future may hold.

Design should embody; not distinguish the business and its owner. Its elements should represent the owner and support the purpose, objectives, message, and overall vision of the business.

Our Design Process At Mountaintop Web Design

At Mountaintop Web Design, we like to think of ourselves as artists and scientists. We explore the boundaries of creativity through artistic expression. However, at the same time, we respect the rules and precision of web design science. There are theories, guidelines, and principles of web design that we use as the basis for implementing artistic concepts.

We conduct research before initiating the formal design process. Research is categorized into two areas: empirical and intuitive.

Empirical Research

Under empirical research, we gather facts, relevant information, updated data, and other forms of usable and measurable inputs on the type of business and industry. We also implement best practices of web design which likewise, includes its own research. These principles go into each and every website we build.

Once we have a deeper understanding of the nature of the enterprise, we do a comparative analysis of the industry. This includes looking at the websites of the client’s closest competitors. We take note of design elements and similarities in content.

We also look through the competitors’ social media accounts. We want to see if there is alignment or some congruence between its design elements and those of the website.

Intuitive Research

Intuitive research is focused on the person behind the client. This is similar to a bank’s KYC or Know Your Customer approach. We want to know who the client is. What is his/her purpose? How did he/she get into this type of business? What are the motivating factors?

Our objective is to capture the essence of the client. His/ her personality should manifest on every page of the website. Its elements should reflect the client. When a visitor views the design and reads the content, he/she should have an accurate idea on who the business owner is.

Elements such as the use of color, spaces, angles, lines, and content will give site visitors clues on the type of person the owner is. Based on the interaction or response to the elements of design and content, the website visitor will rely on his/her intuition to formulate a profile on the business owner.

5 Popular Styles Of Web Design

There are many styles of web design. We would have to write an e-book to give you a complete rundown of every style that can be used for designing websites. Fortunately, we are not writing a textbook.

The purpose of writing this article is to give you an idea of how the design process works. It will give you a better understanding of what a professional web designer does and how to work with him/her when coming up with your own site.

In this section, we will discuss five of the most popular styles of web design. Then we will proceed to our own approach in designing websites for clients.

1. Illustrative Style

The Illustrative style of web design is highly visual in presentation. It uses drawing as the primary tool for design. We have graphic designers and artists who can come up with drawings or renditions based on an exchange of ideas with the business owner.

Renditions are visual expressions or concepts which the team believes best captures the message of the website. Creating design renditions for the Illustrative design is a close collaborative process with the client. We encourage the client to throw ideas on the design table.

As professional web designers, we incorporate principles of design to finalize the concept. Oftentimes, the client may have a different idea. Part of our job is to take the client through the design process so that he/she will get a better understanding of the principles of web design. This is how creative differences are resolved.

The final design is the one which the client feels accurately represents the business and at the same time stays within the parameters of effective web design techniques.

2. Single Page Style

The Single Page approach to web design is often confused with the Illustrative because it uses a rendition or depiction of a concept as the main design element. It can be colorful or simple. It could be vibrant or subdued.

Its overall purpose is to simplify web design. The structure is very simple and easy to navigate. You won’t find much text content on the Homepage as the focus remains on the image.

The Single Page style carries the same risk as the Illustrative in that the message of the design may not resonate with the site visitor right away. An image can look visually appealing but if used for symbolic purposes, its meaning may get lost in translation.

These styles of web design may work from an aesthetic standpoint. However, from a functional or messaging standpoint, the use of symbolic images may not deliver the desired results. That is why we do not actively recommend these styles to our clients.

We caution clients who prefer this style of design to exercise caution when it comes to the use of images as metaphors or symbolism.  As much as possible, the design concept should provide visual signals that make it easier for site visitors to understand what the business is all about; who the owners are, what they do, their purpose and vision. The content should resonate immediately with the viewer.

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3. Minimalist

Have you ever come across a website where the Homepage looks like an abstract painting? How about a website where it seems like you just landed on a maze? Outside of getting a migraine or feeling like a laboratory mouse, these designs have so much going on that its purpose and functionality are lost.

The Minimalist style removes all the clutter so all that remains are the essential elements, features, concepts, and forms. This type of design is very easy on the eyes. Good examples of the Minimalist style are websites that greatly use space. You see only black and white colors. Orientation is very clean and organized.

The Minimalist design is popular because it acts as a counterbalance to the chaos on the Internet. There is information overload; run a search query and you scroll through hundreds and thousands of websites. The Minimalist works because it focuses only on your central message.

4. Flat Web Design

If you’ve come across the Microsoft website, you’ll have a good idea of what Flat Web Design is. This style of web design combines minimalism with usability. It attempts to clear out unnecessary elements and just focus on items that greatly support usability and functionality.

Advocates of Flat Web Design typically use a combination of space with bright or dominant colors as defining areas of references. Overall design remains clean; the addition of colors with sharper hues creates better distinction among the other elements.

When we implement the Flat Web Design approach, we want the design to be prominent but not to the point that it detracts from the purpose of the website. Navigability should never be compromised.

5. Typographical

There is a good reason why recruiters generally reject resumes that are prepared using the Comic Sans font. You just won’t be taken seriously. Recruiters will always recommend Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, and the over-used but still popular Arial.

The type of font you use is a design element that can successfully make or break your message. It triggers an emotional cue and an ensuing response. Used properly with image and text- based content, the typographical style can help you deliver a powerful and compelling story.

The drawback with the Typographic style is that it may slow down loading time. This is especially true when using mobile devices.

Mountaintop Web Design’s Approach To Web Design

Our underlying principle in web design is that best practices must always be implemented. Best practices in web design are those tried and true elements that have been proven to work. In this sense, we approach all of our clients in a similar same way. We can apply any style of web design that the client wants and which we feel strongly supports the purpose and objectives of the website.

However, our approach never veers off from the standard guidelines for effective web design:

  • The website must be mobile-responsive. Design should be able to set up seamlessly and effortlessly on mobile devices regardless of screen size. It should be accessible by large groups of people.
  • The website should have fast download speed. Our years of experience working with different clients and studying various industries have shown us that consumers are impatient. Our target is to make sure the client’s website can be accessed within 3 seconds.
  • Design should be optimized. Even if you have the best images and text content, these would have little value to your website if they cannot be found. We implement the principles of SEO or Search Engine Optimization to make sure all images and text-based content can be easily searched, found, and indexed by web crawlers.
  • Reliable security measures should be in place. We understand the value of a website for your business. Thus, we make sure all of our websites are built with the latest versions of the best security software. We also conduct regular site audits to run updates on plug-ins and address other issues that may present vulnerabilities to its security.

Case Study: Severe Weather Shelter

Severe Weather Shelter Network New website

We designed this website for a non-profit ministry. The objective of our design approach was to strongly highlight the services of the ministry. This was effectively done through the use of relevant images, the organization of the site, and the layout which were proprietary to the ministry.

The overall effect of the design was to deliver a clear message that was powerful and urgent, yet sincere and simplistic in tone and content.

The design gives website visitors an accurate idea on who the ministry is, what they do, how they operate, and helps them gain a deeper understanding of their objective. As we mentioned earlier, website design must represent the purpose and vision of the business.  

In this case, the purpose of the ministry is covered by the question , “Why did the ministry set up this organization?” The images, use of color, space, and layout, emphasize the ministry’s intent to help people in need.

We integrated the use of these provocative images with real statistics in order to compel the visitor into action. It certainly helped increase the number of donations and contributions to the ministry.

With the ideal design elements in place, our biggest challenge became the donation platform. We wanted to make sure it was easy and secure for people to use. Fortunately, we were able to implement the right platform for them and to date, the ministry continues to receive donations through its website.

If you are planning to have a website for your business or if you are thinking of having your current website re-designed, please feel free to give us a call or an email.

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