2022 is just behind the corner and one thing’s clear: more entrepreneurs will set up websites for their businesses. How do we know? Just watch the news. The economy reopened to a new era of business where commerce finally realized the Internet isn’t such a bad place to be. 

The events of 2020 showed that if your business doesn’t have an online presence, it will become vulnerable to unforeseen, unprecedented events that seem unlikely to happen but still did. 

The pandemic also shook the employment landscape. 

While the unemployment rate in the U.S has improved, fewer Americans don’t want to return to work citing preferences for job security, more time with family, and their own work schedule as factors driving “The Great Resignation”. 

More Americans discovered the possibility and viability of running an online business. Whether they are operating an eCommerce business or working as freelancers, having a website greatly improves their chances of success. 

At Mountaintop, we’ve been getting more inquiries about personal websites, business websites, and eCommerce sites. Likewise, several of our clients have expressed interest in a redesign to accommodate changes in consumer behavior heading into 2022. 

It was our interactions with clients and prospects that led us to write this article on web designs in 2022 that will help your business succeed. 

Before the year ends, have a quick read-through of the 15 trends that we believe will influence website performance in 2022. Take note that the first 2 items on the list have to do with site functionality.

1. Speed, Speed, and More Speed

Web design isn’t just about its aesthetic appeal. Site functionality is an important component of web design because it influences User Experience. If your website looks good but doesn’t “feel good” to its user, he will click out. 

40% of website visitors will abandon their search if it takes more than 4 seconds for the web page to load. In fact, nearly 50% of marketers would gladly remove videos, animation features, and high-resolution images if it would improve page loading time. 

One of the most important rules of web design is to design for its user. People will have different perceptions of beauty and aesthetics but everyone wants a fast-loading website.

2. Better Website Security

As more people go online, the risk of being a victim of cyber-crime increases because there are more opportunities for these criminals to make money. Trust us when we say that consumers are wary of exploring websites that don’t have SSL certificates. 

In fact, when it comes to ensuring the security of your website, the first place to look into is your web hosting provider

The web host manages the servers that connect your website to the Internet. All of your assets will be stored on these servers. You have to be 100% confident that the web host provider you choose takes security seriously. Inadequate security protocols could open up your assets to the risk of being hacked and stolen by cybercriminals. 

A study by Cybercrime Ventures revealed that cybercrime will grow by an average of 15% annually and will cost global businesses US$10.5 trillion in 2025. It doesn’t cost much to install and/or upgrade your website’s security protocols. To make life easier for you, have the experts manage site security for you while you sleep. 

Many of our clients have signed up for our Extreme WordPress Care Plans. Our packages include regular backup of your site’s assets; 24/7 monitoring, auditing, and updating of installed programs and plugins, and conducting repairs and maintenance whenever the need arises.

Signing up for an Extreme WordPress Care plan is a small investment that pays out huge dividends for your business. Losing valuable assets to cyber-criminals including your customers’ personal information can shut down your business for good. 

3. Greater Use of Elements That Express Fun, Positive Vibes, and Optimism

After the challenges and difficulties imposed by the pandemic, more people want to experience more positivity and optimism in the world – and that includes the Internet.

In business, you don’t have to wear a suit, tie, pressed slacks, and wingtips all the time. There are occasions when customers and clients actively engage more when you’re wearing a simple dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, casual pants, and loafers. 

The same can be said about a website. A homepage that looks too formal or serious can be perceived as “unwelcome”, “dark”, and “boring”. Given the uncertainty of the times, it would be a good idea to perk up your website with the use of elements that express fun, positive vibes, and optimism. 

And it’s not hard to do!

  • Greet your site visitors with an image of a smiling face.
  • Add funky-looking, offbeat shapes or accent the design with sassy, unconventional colors. 
  • Embed animation that can be seen as charming, winsome, and adorable. 

Loosen up a bit and use design elements that make your website visitors feel good and happy.

4. Black and White Themes

The use of Black and White themes is almost the default on every annual article about website design trends. Black and white themes are simple, yet convey elegance and a sense of sophistication.

As web designers, our creative sensibilities are challenged and pushed to the boundaries because we cannot rely on color as an aesthetic element. We have to create designs that greatly contrast light and darkness – and the end result is always awesome!

Black and white themes also effectively define space, boundaries, and add substance to the design. There’s a lot of beauty in simplicity. You can’t go wrong with black and white themes.

5. Interactive Features

An interactive design keeps visitors more engaged on your website. The better the level of engagement the lower the bounce rate. In line with the preference for designs that express more fun and positivity, web designers have added features intended to charm and delight the audience. 

A good example would be the use of interactive fonts. For sure, many of our readers have come across interactive fonts where the letters move whenever they hover the mouse over them. 

The great thing about interactive fonts is that this feature can be created with a no-code platform. This means that the application software can be developed without the need for traditional programming. A simple graphical user interface and configuration will do.

6. Offset Elements

An offset element is a technique in web design where one component partially goes to the next section and overlaps. For web designers, incorporating offset elements allows us to expand the boundaries of creativity and explore the possibilities. 

Parallax drawing which will be discussed later is a variation of using offset elements. Another offset element technique is called Variable Shadow Depths. 

With the use of Variable Shadow Depths, the web designer manipulates certain components of light in order to add more substance and intensity to the image. Offset elements is another approach to giving web design a 3D feel.

7. Writing Inclusive Copy For An Inclusive Website

Publishing optimized content is great but this isn’t enough for your audience. Using programs that find the best keywords and test the quality of links is a smart idea but adding an intuitive element will take your content to the next level.

Writing inclusive copy means creating content that doesn’t leave anyone out. To do this requires the content writers to go beyond the usual practice of identifying demographics for the Audience Profile. 

They have to study and develop a keen understanding of culture, identity, educational attainment, and most importantly, the needs of people with disabilities. 

Making your website accessible to people with disabilities is important for 2022 in view of the provisions of the American Disabilities Act of 2010. If your website isn’t accessible to disabled people, you could face lawsuits and penalties. 

You can read up more on how to make your website ADA compliant in our article “4 Ways To Check Website Accessibility”. 

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

8. Simplified, One-Page Websites

One-page websites are becoming more popular because it makes exploration simpler, easier, and faster. 

Visitors who land on one-page websites don’t have to worry about finding the menu bar. All they have to do is to scroll down and they’ll find all of the information they need. 

Keep in mind that one-page websites work best when the purpose of the site isn’t complex. For example, a one-page website would be ideal for a personal blog but not for a business website with an e-commerce portal. 

9. The Return of Art Deco

Art Deco is a form of art that was popular in the 1920s. The style is defined as an approach that combines the elements of the natural world with the innovations of the industrial age. 

Think of the fashion, sense of style, and the prevailing decorations featured in “ The Great Gatsby” – the use of grey, black, white colors; emphasis on symmetry and balance, and simplicity. 

You can see a good number of home page designs that showcase an image seemingly embossed with repetitive patterns that are symmetrical with each other. 

Art Deco has become vogue once again because it presents a design that’s simple yet, elegant and sophisticated at the same time. 

10. The Use of Larger and More Daring Font Styles

The use of larger and more daring font styles will be one of the most popular trends in web design in 2022 and beyond. Why? 

First, they grab attention. While the font style will matter, the web designer can be more creative and step out of his comfort zone by experimenting with unconventional and daring font styles such as serifs.

Second, a larger and more daring font style can complement or augment web design. Your web copy becomes more than just information. It contributes to the aesthetic appeal of the website.

Third, the right font style and size can get your message across immediately. Your copy will be set up nicely even on small screen sizes such as for smartphones. The visitor will not have a hard time reading your content and will have a better experience on your website. 

11. Parallax Drawing  

Parallax drawing is a web design technique whereby the background moves slower than the foreground and produces a 3D-like impression. Some have described Parallax as a web design approach that creates an optical illusion. 

The idea behind Parallax is based on the observation that the naked eye views objects closer to us as larger while those in the background appear to be active or moving. 

Web designers use Parallax in order to add depth and dynamism to the website. The result is a more enthralling browsing experience that greatly increases audience engagement. 

11. Gender-neutral Design

Web designers who are women and create websites for products catered to women such as beauty products tend to use elements that are associated with femininity. 

Similarly, web designers who are men and create websites for products catered to men such as power tools tend to use elements that are associated with masculinity.

The reality is men spend money on skincare and hair products. Women buy power tools and don’t mind doing home repair work. The times haven’t really changed. It’s just that we’ve been brainwashed to think that preferences are limited by gender. 

Pink is no longer associated by consumers with feminine products as images of fire and wolves are not just for products that are targeted at men. It comes down to which colors and images can deliver the message or the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) accurately.

While marketers still refer to the Color Wheel, notions about which color or image appeals more to which gender is no longer practiced. In 2022, design won’t be limited to gender-associated elements. The approach would be to design the website as gender-neutral. 

13. Imageless Homepages

It used to be the norm that the homepage must contain an image. This is because the homepage is the primary landing page. If someone clicks on your URL, he will be redirected to the homepage. 

Given that images elicit a reaction faster than text, it was almost a default decision to have an image embedded in the homepage. 

Not anymore. 

Creativity doesn’t want to be contained. There aren’t any hard rules on how a homepage should look to be effective. 

As we mentioned in #5, interactive features can greatly enhance User Experience. Likewise in #10, the use of larger and more daring font styles can be equally effective. Instead of the usual high-resolution images, we can use colorful graphics, especially artwork that’s been customized for your website.

14. Split-Screen Design

Websites are incorporating split-screen designs to create more contrast between the elements. It’s a great way to break up design patterns and make them look more exciting and dynamic. 

If you want the visitor to focus on a specific element of the design – such as an image, a color, or text – using the split-screen technique will do the trick. It’s an effective way of isolating a component of the design to create more interest. 

 15. Incorporating Large Footers

A footer is a design element that functions as a navigation tool for website visitors. They’ll show you where to fill out contact forms, find new products and services, or special offers. 

Web designers also view a footer as a safety net – a last-second attempt to get the visitor interested in case he wasn’t enticed by the contents of the previous sections. 

Thus, incorporating large footers in design can improve optimization and User Experience by making it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for. Also, it can give your search rankings a boost by encouraging visitors to stay longer on your website. 

Conclusion

The last few years have been hard on everyone including business owners. It’s no surprise that trends in website design for 2022 have shifted toward embracing elements that highlight fun, optimism, and excitement. 

The shift in design preferences reflects the mindset of consumers who desire brighter and better days ahead after a tumultuous 2020 and an unpredictable 2021. 

Don’t get complacent about your current website design. It may not resonate with the generation of consumers who are getting ready for 2022. Give us a call and we’ll give you a free audit on your site. 

And if you found this article helpful, feel free to share it with someone who’s planning to put up his/her own website.

89% of marketing professionals can’t be wrong. According to a survey conducted by Ascend2, 89% of professional marketers said SEO is an effective strategy for driving traffic to their website, moving up the search rankings, and ultimately, growing the business. 

In a world where anyone can become an expert by watching YouTube videos, SEO is a skill that requires experience. 

If your attempt at making Steak Charlemagne ends with you ordering pizza delivery, only your ego is affected. But when your SEO strategy doesn’t deliver the expected results, you lose opportunities to place your business, its products and services, in front of prospective customers. 

Here are 5 reasons why you need to consult an SEO expert for your business.

1. Get the Desired Results From Your SEO Efforts

To be clear, hiring an SEO expert will not guarantee results. At least not right away. SEO is a strategy that involves different processes and it takes time for these processes to click together and produce the intended outcomes. 

Think of SEO as a machine that has many moving parts. These parts include:

  • Website mobile responsiveness
  • Proper meta, image, and title tag descriptions
  • Webpage speed
  • Keyword research
  • High-quality content
  • Keyword integration
  • Link building
  • Pay-per-click advertising

You simply cannot handle all of these key areas of responsibility yourself!

An SEO expert is a professional who has enough experience under his belt to organize these moving parts and get them running efficiently. 

Whether you hire an individual or an agency, an SEO expert has a team made up of experts in each key area of responsibility. 

The SEO professional functions like a project manager. He’s focused on achieving your goal, staying within the budget, and providing high-quality work. For these reasons, he assembles a team of talent he can trust. 

The team SEO would usually include the following skills: a website developer,  a few content writers, a keyword researcher, a graphic designer, and a social media marketer.

2. Because Mistakes Can Be Costly

As mentioned above, SEO will not guarantee results right away. It will take time. Even the most well-thought-out SEO strategy will have its share of kinks and flaws. 

An SEO expert will track and monitor the performance of the current SEO strategy. He will identify the processes that are not delivering results and use data to find out if these processes can still be improved or if they should be replaced. 

By staying on top of the strategy, the SEO pro can put it on the straight and narrow while assuring that you get a good ROI on your investment. He will recommend allocating more resources to the processes that are delivering results and set aside funding for new platforms for content distribution. 

You can say that an SEO expert doesn’t only optimize your content, but also your marketing budget! 

Why? Because mistakes can be costly in terms of foregone opportunities and reputation. 

Here are 3 examples of how some of our clients lost money on ill-planned SEO strategies:

  • Client A hired writers who didn’t know how to optimize content and delivered articles that averaged over 2,000 words. The client spent hundreds of dollars for content that couldn’t be found and indexed by the search engine bots. 
  • Client B built his website from a free WordPress template. He ended up with a website that wasn’t functioning properly, had poorly written content, and images and tags that weren’t optimized for search engines. 
  • Client C added links to his content but didn’t conduct the audit necessary to find out if the web pages he linked to were still active or existing. Likewise, he didn’t keep track of webpage downloading speed that had significantly slowed down. 

In each case, the client lost opportunities to drive traffic to his website. The more visitors go to your website, the higher the probability of generating leads that can potentially be converted into sales.

The clients also risked the reputation of their brand. 

If visitors can’t download your webpage in under 3 seconds, they’ll click out and go to your competitors. If someone lands on your website and can’t find what he’s looking for, he’ll leave the page right away. 

If your content isn’t engaging, informative, useful, and is poorly-written with meandering paragraphs, errors in spelling, and grammar, your brand, and reputation will get tarnished. 

The scoreboard will read Your Competition: 1, Your Business: 0.

SEO for Your Business

3. Allocate Productive Time on Your Business

Let’s assume YOU’RE the SEO expert. You’ve taken courses and have been certified as a professional who’s qualified to do SEO. You know how to optimize your website and content – but you run a business consultancy company that provides services to a wide range of industries. 

Should you do SEO yourself or hire an expert?

We recommend hiring an SEO expert because your time is best spent managing tasks that add dollars and cents to your bank account. It’s better to provide consultation services to clients that generate US$400 per hour than spend 2 hours per day writing optimized content. 

More so for entrepreneurs who don’t have the knowledge or experience doing SEO. Not only will you lose productive hours trying to manage your SEO strategy, but as mentioned in the previous section, mistakes can be costly and risky for your business.

4. SEO Constantly Evolves

SEO is both a science and an art. It’s a science because SEO uses digital tools that automate processes, improve efficiency, and provide real-time data to measure results. 

But SEO is also an art. How these tools and processes are used depends on the type of business, goals, and content to be produced. 

For example, blogs such as this one are more conscientious of keyword usage. If you notice, we use synonyms a lot. Instead of using the keyword “SEO Expert”, we would alternatively use “SEO Professional”, “SEO Pro”, or “SEO Professional.” 

Also, we’d add the keyword SEO to “business” and “strategy” because these keywords could originate from different searches.

In contrast, a product review guide might perform much better in the search engine rankings if it’s packed with the same keywords. The reason is that the blog is more informative and the product review guide is intended to sell. 

The product review guide includes:

  • Detailed product descriptions
  • Detailed product specifications
  • Pros and cons
  • Customer reviews
  • Editor’s rating

These sections will require the same high-ranking keywords that customers will use to search for the product. 

It used to be that SEO practitioners were more conscientious about the frequency of keyword usage, but based on our experience, the level of keyword density would depend on the type of content to be created. 

As consumer behavior changes, so will the application of various tools and optimization principles when developing an SEO strategy. 

This is the job of an SEO professional – to keep track of changes in the behavior and preferences of consumers as well as to stay updated on developments in the industry. 

5. Keep Up With the Competition

According to a study by Deloitte, the budget for digital marketing increased by 11.5% in 2021 despite businesses incurring heavy losses. 

73.8% of the investments businesses made in digital marketing were focused on optimizing their website while 65% spent on strategies that improve search rankings. 

When your business is losing money, you want to recover by working on your business, not for your business. 

Businesses hired professional digital marketing agencies to design, develop, implement, and track their campaigns so that they can spend more time getting their respective enterprises moving again. 

Your competitors are doing it – hiring SEO agencies or professionals – to get their businesses found on the Internet and to drive more traffic to their websites. If they’re doing it, so should you. 

Doing what your competitors do isn’t a case of following the leader. It’s about mitigating the risks of making costly mistakes by going DIY with your SEO strategy and maintaining productive work hours. 

Conclusion

Let’s get real. When it comes to SEO, leave it to the experts. 

Yes, hiring an SEO expert means shelling out cash to pay for professional services. Going DIY might save you money but by making your business a testing ground for YouTube acquired skills, you’re essentially gambling on your SEO strategy. 

Done correctly, SEO is an investment that will pay out big dividends for your business. 

Do it once, do it right! Give us a call and we’ll get your SEO strategy back on track. Our team has the best web developers, content writers, and graphic designers. Find out first-hand how we helped our clients get more traffic on their website and climb up the search rankings. 

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

A digital marketing strategy cannot be complete without PPC ads in the toolbox. To be clear, you can run your digital marketing campaign using purely organic, unpaid processes such as optimized content marketing, social media marketing, and video-based marketing techniques. 

Organic digital marketing won’t cost much but the results could take time because your efforts are intended to target potential end-users and drive them to your website where its features can hopefully convert interest into sales. 

How much time are we talking about? The results might vary depending on the effectiveness of your organic digital marketing plan but it won’t be as fast as using paid channels such as PPC ads.

What Is PPC Advertising?

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click advertising. This is a form of paid digital marketing whereby the advertiser pays a fee to the agency or platform whenever someone clicks on his ad. 

The great thing about PPC advertising is that it’s the fastest way to get visitors to your website because when a viewer clicks on your ad, he ends up on your landing page. 

In contrast, if you utilize unpaid or organic forms of digital marketing, you’ll be relying on your content to entice the reader to go to your website. It can be a hit or miss especially if your content isn’t optimized for search engines. 

The first step in PPC advertising is to research the best keywords for your ads. Once you identify these keywords, you pay the agency to use them in your PPC ads. There are 2 PPC models to choose from:

  • Flat or Fixed Rate PPC – The agency has a fixed price per keyword and you pay this fee every time someone clicks on your ad. 
  • Bid Type PPC – In this model, you bid the highest amount of money that you’re willing to pay for the keyword. The agency starts an auction that’s activated whenever a visitor clicks on the ad. 

The biggest benefit of PPC advertising is that the agency places your ad directly in front of consumers who would most likely be interested in buying your product or service. 

How Does PPC Advertising Work?

We refer to the service provider as an agency but these platforms are the search engines like Google and social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. 

Therefore, these agencies have algorithms in place that allow them to gather data about users’ online behavior. The agency will use the data to create a buyer’s profile – the people who are most likely to buy your product. 

Once the agency has targeted your market, your ads will appear on their news feed or home page. Therefore, the chances of people clicking on your ad are greater because based on their search history, these are the ones who have shown interest in products and services that are similar to yours. 

As the largest search engine on the Internet, it was a natural transition for Google to venture into paid advertising. The search engine giant acquired YouTube in 2006. 

YouTube is the second largest search engine and one of the most popular social media platforms on the Internet. The acquisition is widely considered one of the best business moves in the technology market as it increased the reach of Google and YouTube ad placements. 

Although PPC ads use keywords which is the cornerstone of optimized content, this can be a hit-or-miss strategy as well. Choose the wrong keywords and you won’t get the desired results. Choose the right keywords and you could be raking in the sales. 

Put it this way. Let’s assume, your PPC costs have run up to US$20 but these ads delivered 200 visits to your website. If one or a few of those visits were converted into sales worth US$200, then the investment was well worth it.

Of course, that’s an oversimplification of the process. Seeing results from your PPC advertising efforts isn’t cut and dry. There’s no fixed timetable to see when your investment pays out dividends. 

How To Measure Return On Your PPC Ad Investment

PPC is a form of paid digital advertising. There’s a cost to running a PPC ad campaign. Thus, even if you made a sale or a few sales, your PPC campaign can’t be considered a success if the total sales earned are lower than the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

The CPA answers the question, “How much did the sale cost me?”

Let’s go back to our previous example when your PPC ad cost you US$20. If the US$20 generated 2 sales, then your CPA is US$10. So, while you made some money in terms of sales, did the PPC ad campaign generate a win or a loss?

It would depend on the total amount of the sale. If the 2 units sold generated US$40 worth of sales, then clearly, the PPC ad campaign was a win. In terms of Return on Investment, you made an ROI of 100%:

US$40 (Total Sales) – US$20 (Cost of PPC) = US$20 (Net Sales)

US$20/US$20 = 1:1 or 100% ROI

Conversely, if both sales only generated US$10 then, your PPC ad campaign incurred a loss and a negative ROI.

With a clearer idea of how to measure success in PPC, let’s go back to the original question posed by this section of the article.

How Long Before I See Results From PPC Ads?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, you can get quick results with PPC advertising. These results refer to the number of visitors your website receives. PPC ads drive traffic to your website as soon as someone clicks on your ad. 

A PPC ad campaign can also improve brand visibility. If your keyword game is spot on, then your ad will appear at the top of the search results. Your ad will appear before your target audience.

It doesn’t matter if the person clicks on your ad or not. Many in the audience will see your products for the first time. At the very least, your brand will be recognizable to your target audience. If they come across your content in social media, they will recognize your logo and might decide to click on your website URL. 

While driving traffic to your website is certainly important, results are ultimately measured in terms of sales. You can have thousands of people visiting your website every day but if you’re not converting interest into sales, then your investment in PPC ads isn’t paying off. 

Unlike website visits and brand awareness, the goal of converting interest into sales is more complicated because 2 factors could affect the desired outcome.

The first factor is the CPA. You have to manage your CPA and keep its cost as low as possible. The second factor to consider is your landing page. A well-designed landing page that effortlessly gets the value proposition across, navigable, user-friendly, and optimized for search engines will improve your conversion rate.

From our experience, you should expect to see positive results from your PPC ad campaign beginning Month #3.  

Why? To manage these factors, you have to constantly monitor the performance of your PPC ad campaign and make the necessary changes. And to evaluate the performance accurately, you need data. 

What To Expect When Running PPC Ads

When you launch your PPC ad campaign, you won’t get much data at all. The wheels have just started to turn and they don’t have the traction to gain a foothold in the market. 

Don’t get discouraged if the numbers aren’t rolling in yet. This is good because it gives you enough time to get ready when the numbers start to come in hard and fast. 

To help you out, we’ve created a timeline of what to expect during the first 3 months of your PPC ad campaign. Use our timeline to help you and your team prepare the correct game plan for a winning PPC strategy.

Month #1 – Data Gathering

It may come in trickles but start gathering data on the number of likes and clicks. There’s a way to speed up the process and that is by broadening your search for targeted keywords. 

The more keywords you put out there, the more data you’ll receive. It’s as simple as that. For example, you can target keywords based on demographics such as age, gender, and the preferred type of device used for search. 

Identify the keywords that generate the highest numbers of likes and clicks. Streamline the list of keywords and focus your campaign on the high-performing ones. 

Month #2: Start Refining Your PPC Ad Strategy

Armed with enough data from the first month, now you can start refining your PPC ad strategy in the second month. 

  • Review the list of keywords that you streamlined a month ago. Which ones aren’t generating clicks? Are there keywords that are driving traffic from sources that don’t fit the profile of your target audience? Remove these keywords from your list.
  • Analyze the profile of your audience. Which demographic is responding favorably to your ads? What device is commonly used by people who click on your ad? 

Keep in mind that because the information is immediately available to anyone with a smartphone and an Internet connection, buyer tastes and preferences can change right away. 

Always stay on top of who comprises your target audience.

  • Review your PPC budget. Go over your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) data and cross-reference these with the top-performing keywords to optimize your budget for PPC advertising.

Month #3 – Implement Improvements in Your PPC Ad Strategy

By the third month, there will be less guesswork in your PPC ad strategy. You had the data necessary to identify the potential pain points of your campaign and to come up with the proposed set of solutions. Now, it’s time to implement these improvements in your PPC ad strategy. 

Remember, the improvements aren’t just ideas you plucked out from the air. These improvements are based on hard data that summarized the performance of your PPC ad campaign for the past 2 months. 

Running an improved PPC ad campaign that’s been relieved of factors impeding its success should deliver the desired results. 

“Should” is the keyword here but again, you’ll have to go through similar rounds to testing and data gathering as you did the previous 2 months. You might get better results in the fourth or fifth month. The important thing is to stay focused, committed, and unwavering in your strategy.

Conclusion

Should you include PPC advertising in your digital marketing strategy? If done correctly and expectations are properly managed, PPC advertising can support your organic digital marketing strategy because it can immediately drive traffic to your website and enhance brand visibility. 

The important thing to keep in mind is that like other marketing strategies, PPC advertising takes time to deliver the desired results – converting interest into sales. 

You have to consistently monitor its performance, identify the pain points, and come up with the necessary improvements to make your PPC campaign more effective.

If you’re interested in getting a PPC ad campaign off the ground for your business, give us a call. We’ll get you started and plan out a strategy that can payout for your business. 

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

Since 2014, the main players in the Information Technology industry from search engines to software developers and web designers have actively promoted the need to make websites mobile responsive. This was in response to the growing influence and presence of mobile technology in the lives of consumers and the conduct of business. 

Fast-forward to the present as the world enters the third decade of the new millennium, and the industry has taken on a different advocacy: to make websites more accessible.

What Does Website Accessibility Mean And Why Is It Important?

A website is deemed accessible when it features technology that makes its features useful and pages navigable to persons with disabilities. The drive for website accessibility is a call for the Internet to be accessible to everyone and create an inclusive community that doesn’t discriminate against disabled persons. 

To not include the needs of the disabled when designing a website further adds to their disabilities. It’s not just the able-bodied who want to find and access information about business, employment, healthcare, and more. 

Website accessibility gives persons with disabilities a better chance of finding opportunities and becoming more productive members of society. 

Likewise, disabled persons can provide YOU with business opportunities as well. Many disabled persons have found successful careers in the corporate world as employees or entrepreneurs. 

They might be looking for third parties that offer products and services the company needs. Your business might just be the one they’re looking for! But they can’t find you if your website isn’t accessible. 

That said, prioritizing website accessibility is in line with the principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – having your website found by your target audience with or without disabilities. 

The American Disabilities Act Of 2010 And What It Means For Your Website

If Google’s warning in 2015 that websites that aren’t mobile responsive would be penalized in the search rankings got you moving, this time if your website isn’t accessible, you’ll be dealing with the U.S. government. 

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2010 was promulgated by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010. According to the ADA, companies that invest in electronic and digital technology including websites will be required to undertake the necessary steps to make these technologies accessible and useful for people with disabilities. 

Which organizations are required to follow the ADA?

  • Government agencies of the United States, both state and federal.
  • Private companies that have 15 or more employees on their payroll.
  • Businesses that cater to the needs of the public.

What happens if your website doesn’t comply with the ADA?

For one thing, your company can be exposed to lawsuits filed by persons with disabilities. Even if it wasn’t your intention to make your website inaccessible to those with disabilities, you might be accused of discrimination and end up paying thousands of dollars in damages. 

The U.S. government might penalize you with a US$150,000 fine for not adhering to the ADA. You might argue that you built your website on a WordPress platform and WordPress has stated that its websites are accessible. 

But if you customized certain features of your WordPress website, you might have compromised its accessibility.

Guidelines For ADA Compliant Websites

To comply with the ADA, let’s refer to the guidelines established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG 2.0. 

Essentially, your website should have features that adhere to the 4 principles of WCAG.2.0:

  1. Perceivable – All site visitors must be able to perceive the types of content available on your website – Images, videos, and text to name a few. You must provide options for site visitors who cannot read or listen to your content. 
  1. Operable – All visitors to your website must be able to navigate around pages and operate its features. 
  1. Understandable – The instructions on your website must be understandable by all visitors. These instructions might include how to fill out contact forms or how to access the built-in calculator.
  1. Robust – This principle requires that all users of your website must get the same level of experience regardless of how the content is delivered. If you applied certain processes to improve delivery, the quality of the content must not be compromised. 

Don’t worry if you’re unsure how to apply these principles to make your website accessible. The WCAG made it easier for businesses to follow by providing different levels of accessibility:

  • Level A – The website is accessible to some users.
  • Level AA – The website is accessible to almost all users.
  • Level AAA – the website is accessible to all users.

Many compliance experts recommend having your website meet the requirements for Level AA accessibility. 

WebsiteSecurity.Protection.Monitoring

4 Ways To Check Website Accessibility

Now that you know about the importance of website accessibility, how do you check if your site is compliant with the ADA? 

Here are 4 tools that you can use to check if your website is accessible to persons with disabilities.

1. WAVE

WAVE is the acronym for Website Accessibility Evaluation tool. It’s not a WordPress plugin and instead, was developed by WebAIM, a company that’s focused on developing technology that makes content more accessible to disabled persons. 

To know if your website is accessible, simply go to the WAVE home page and type in the URL that you want the program to check. After the program runs its check on the web page, a sidebar will appear that summarizes its findings. 

WAVE will list down the errors, flaws, and shortcomings that make the particular web page inaccessible.

Unfortunately, you can’t download the results in report form. It’s safe to assume that the results on the web page you ran a check on will apply to the rest of the pages on your website.

2. Accessibility Suite

Have you heard of Section 508? It is an accessibility law that applies to federal or government agencies instead of private corporations. Section 508 mandates that federal agencies use and maintain technologies that can be accessed by people with disabilities.

Accessibility Suite is a WordPress plugin that can scan your site for Section 508 compliance. In addition, installing Accessibility Suite has other benefits for your website.

Unlike WAVE, with Accessibility Suite, you can download and share the results of the scan. The program will also offer suggestions on how to rectify the problems found on your website and make it ADA compliant. Lastly, the results can be stored and used as references to monitor the website’s performance. 

3. WP Accessibility Helper

WP Accessibility Helper is a WordPress plugin that can scan your website for compliance issues and offer analysis on what you can do to improve its level of accessibility. 

Likewise, WP Accessibility Helper has built-in tools to help you implement improvements that can make your website more readable and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities. 

However, the program doesn’t guarantee that following its recommendations and using its tools will make your website ADA compliant. For that, WP Accessibility Helper recommends that you hire the services of a compliance professional. 

4. WP ADA Compliance Check Basic

WP ADA Compliance Check Basic is a program that does exactly as it’s described. It can conduct a check on your website and evaluate its level of accessibility. This plugin has a feature that can be enabled to automatically perform improvements based on its findings. 

Similar to Accessibility Suite, you can download a copy of the program’s website audit. The paid version of the program can be expensive and entail a one-time fee that can range from US$150 to US$4,950.  If you opt for the free version, the scan will be good for up to 25 pages. 

Conclusion

If you’ve decided to make your website accessible to persons with disabilities, installing any one of these plugins will put you on the right track. The plugin will scan your website for design features and functions that hinder accessibility and provide suggestions for the necessary improvements. 

However, as we mentioned, these suggestions won’t make your website fully compliant with the ADA. Also, there are a few things to consider before installing a plugin.

First, you have to be sure that the version of the plugin that you plan to install is updated. Second, some plugins are designed with features that could affect the functionality of your website. And third, if the plugin does have features that affect website performance, you have to be 100% certain that the developer can help resolve these issues. 

A better option for you would be to hire a professional web developer to redesign your website and make it 100% ADA compliant. The agency can run a thorough analysis of your website and implement the necessary changes to improve its accessibility according to ADA guidelines. 

The good news is that we can do this for you! At Mountaintop Web Design, we have experience working with clients who need to be sure their websites are ADA-compliant. 

We’ll run a scan and let you know exactly what must be done to confirm with the ADA’s compliance guidelines. Give us a call or drop an email and let’s set a schedule to audit your website.  

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends and associates who also need to know if their website is fully accessible. 

WebsiteStandOut

Our readers who were around when newsstands and bookstores were commonplace know what it was like looking for the best publication among a sea of titles. 

Books and magazines would fight for your attention by coming up with compelling and thought-provoking tags or catchphrases. Chances are you’ll choose the one that resonates with you the most. 

In this age of the Internet, title tags serve the same purpose. But first, your content has to be found by the search bots. Optimizing your title tags will help your content get noticed by the bots and indexed as relevant for Internet searches. 

What Is A Title Tag And Why Is It Important?

A title tag is an element of HTML that establishes the title of your web page. Title tags appear on the search results page as the headline that users click on after running a search inquiry. 

Title tags are important for the following reasons:

  • Help search engines understand what your webpage is about.
  • Create an immediate impression on the user about your webpage. 
  • Encourage the user to click on your URL.
  • Enhance the manner in which your URL is displayed when shared in social media and the web browser.

Optimizing your title tags is important because users want to find answers to their search queries as fast as possible. 

9 Best Practices To Optimize Your Title Tags 

If your title tags aren’t properly optimized to be found right away, the user won’t click on your URL even if it ranks high on the SERP. 

Here are 9 best practices that will help you optimize your title tags to get the desired results. 

1. Use the Right Title Tag Format

Consider using the following formats:

  • Primary Keyword|Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword & Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword – Brand Name
  • Primary Keyword- Click-through Optimization Phrase|Brand Name

These formats allow you to present short and descriptive title tags that match the average length of search queries. Use hyphens (-), colons (:), or straight pipes (|) to separate phrases and words.  

You can also use characters like ampersand (&), comma (,), period (.), plus sign (+), exclamation point (!), and question mark (?).  Using separators, characters, and punctuation will improve the readability of your title tags.

2. Be Mindful of the Length of your Title Tags

Search engines cut off long title tags by inserting ellipsis (…). Your Titles will lose their impact if they get cut midway.  To avoid title tag truncation, limit the length to 50-60 characters. 

Google also takes into consideration the pixel width of your title tags. The maximum width allowed is 600 pixels. Take note that some characters occupy more space such as wide letters and all Caps.

If your title tag is too short, search engines such as Google will use one of your headings instead.  Your title tag should have at least 30 characters or 285 pixels.

Make sure to use online pixel width checking tools to test your title tag length. Remember, keep your title tags brief, descriptive, and in sync with your page content.

3. Place The Most Important Keywords at the Beginning of Your Title Tags

Users tend to scan only the first three words of title tags so your primary keywords should be placed in their first line of sight. 

This will generate better traffic and increase click-through rates (CTR) because your title tag will immediately gain users’ interest.

Also, the right placement of the most important keywords will prevent them from getting cut off in SERPs when your title tag exceeds the length limit.  

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

4. Come Up With Unique Titles for Each Page 

Create a unique title tag for every page on your site. Your titles should give readers a clear idea of what the page content is all about. It can be a taxing process but it leaves a positive impact on search engines.

Unique title tags for each page help search engines identify your content as fresh and valuable. Duplicating title tags will only confuse users and search engines.

Do not use auto-generated or generic title tags because search engines will assume that you have duplicate content on your website.  It will also decrease the number of clicks because this kind of title tag does not elicit interest.  

Avoid repeating targeted keywords across multiple pages on your site because your pages will go up against each other for rankings. As a result, the CTR and conversion rates of the pages with similar or the same targeted keywords will drop.

5. Go Easy on The Keywords

One of the most common SEO missteps is keyword stuffing – placing multiple keywords and variations of keywords in the title tag.  People often think that this practice will result in higher search engine rankings.

However, search engines can quickly identify different versions of keywords so it is pointless to stuff them all in your title tag. If your title tags are too crammed, search engines will cut them off or rewrite them.

6. Feature Your Brand in Your Title Tags

Including your brand in your title tag can do wonders to your CTR especially if it is already well-known. Users will click if they see a familiar brand attached to the title tag.  

Whenever you can, fit your brand in your title tag whether it’s popular or not.  Featuring your brand in your title tags is a good opportunity to establish brand recognition.  

Besides, Google recommends the inclusion of the brand name in your website’s home page title.   

We suggest that you add your brand to the end of your title tag. Remember to keep your title within the 60 characters length limit so that your brand name will not get cut off.

7. Use Action Verbs

Using action verbs is an effective method of prompting searchers to take a desired action. If you go over the SERPs, the title tags that entice clicks are the ones with action verbs.

Choose action verbs that are relevant to your page content.  For example, use “Learn” if your content aims to inform or instruct.  Use “Buy” if a new product or service awaits users.

Here are some good examples of call-to-action words you can use in your titles:

  • Access
  • Buy
  • Download
  • Discover
  • Get
  • Learn
  • Listen
  • Read
  • Search
  • Take

Keep in mind that users will be turned off if they do not find what they expect to see on your page.  

For example, if you write “free download” in your title tag, make sure that the users will be able to get it when they read your page.  If they do not see what they clicked for, they will immediately leave your site.  

8. Keep Your Target Customers in Mind 

Write for your target consumers. Think of keywords and action verbs that will draw them in. Do not discount the importance of a well-written title tag. 

If you just jumbled words without thinking of how the searchers will react to it, your click-through rate will suffer.

Use your title tag to stir interest and to send a clear description of your content.  Take time to research keywords that can woo users to go to your site.

Keep in mind that the SERP is a very competitive platform. For your site to rank well you need to align your SEO strategies with the searcher’s intent. Give them click-worthy title tags, valuable page content, and a good user experience.  

9. Use Numbers

Title tags with numbers get higher click rates because they stand out more.  Numbers naturally trigger our brains to understand better because they are precise and quantifiable.  

Users are impatient and they want fast search results. When they see numbers they get the impression that they will find what they are looking for.

Marketers claim that title tags with odd numbers get clicked on more than even-numbered titles.  While this is just a claim, marketers have the experience to see the options that work best. Test the theory by using odd numbers on your title tags. 

Conclusion

With close to 2 billion websites on the Internet, you need every advantage to get found by your target audience. Your SEO strategy must be on point and tick off all the boxes. 

Title tags play an important role in getting your content noticed right away. Internet users are not patient and you only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention. 

Follow the 9 best practices to optimize your title tags and you could be on your way to a higher search ranking.

Better still, give us a call or send an email and we’ll do it for you. We’re more than just professional web designers. Optimization is a service we’ve successfully provided to our clients for the past few years. 

Let’s schedule a quick call and get you started!

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

SEO for Your Business

Site speed is a very important search ranking factor. Internet users aren’t a patient lot. A well-referenced study by Akamai revealed that 40% of people will abandon the search if the website takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Caching is a form of technology that will help your website load really fast and encourage visitors to explore your content.

What Is Caching?

Caching is a process that stores frequently accessed content into a facility called a cache. Why is caching important for your WordPress website?

First, let’s examine the activities that take place when someone clicks on your URL.

When an Internet user lands on your page, his browser will establish contact with your server to request information. Your server will retrieve the information – essentially, your content – from the database. 

Then, the server will compile all of the retrieved information into an HTML page and send it back to the Internet searcher.

This dynamic process of retrieving information that’s requested by the Internet user ensures visitors of reading updated content on the website. However, it can slow down the page load time especially if there are other users requesting information from the server. 

Keep in mind that the components of a webpage today are much different than what it was 10 years ago.

In 2010, the average webpage required 702KB of data to download. Fast-forward to 2019, and the average webpage required 2.2MB of data to download. 

Over the past decade, webpages increased in size by 317% because of the increased use of videos, high-resolution images, and complex scripts. The contents of your webpage only change when you publish new content or update old ones

A caching plug-in makes the process of delivering information faster to the Internet user by creating a static version of your webpage. Thus, when an Internet user’s browser requests for information from your website’s server, what he will see is the cached version of the webpage.

There’s no need for the server to retrieve the information requested by the browser from the database. Fewer data are needed to transmit the cached page to the site visitor and therefore, site speed improves. 

Here’s an analogy that will help you understand the concept of a cache plug-in.

Let’s say you have a workshop where you keep all of your handyman tools and other equipment for conducting repairs around the house or for building crafts. For sure, you have repair and maintenance procedures that you do on a monthly basis. 

Instead of running out to the workshop to look for the right tools every time repair and maintenance works have to be done, the fastest way would be to keep these tools inside a portable toolbox. 

Basically, when repairs are needed, you just grab the toolbox and go. Another option would be to keep the toolbox inside your home.

The workshop is the server and the toolbox is the cache. No time wasted browsing for tools inside the workshop. 

So if a cache plug-in retrieves frequently requested content, what happens if you update your content? Will it still work for visitors returning to your website a second time?

Yes!

A caching plug-in has a feature that automatically “empties” the cache and generates the updated version of your content every time you publish a new post or introduce changes to existing information. 

What Are The Different Types Of Caching?

There are 2 types of caching: Client-Side and Server Side caching.

Client-Side caching is also called Browser Caching because it enables your browser to store your static content such as images, scripts, and stylesheets. The information is stored inside a hard drive on your computer.

In contrast, Server-Side caching could be different types that can be managed with a caching plug-in. 

Here are the different types of Server-Side caching:

  1. Page Caching – The web page is stored in the hard disk of the server.
  1. User Caching – Two types of caching are created; one for your visitors and a second one for members or those who log-in.
  1. Object-based Caching – Caching plug-ins are used to manage the internal caching systems of WordPress websites.
  1. Mobile Caching – A cache is created to store information requested by visitors who use mobile devices.
  1. Database Query Caching – Enables you to cache a single query to your database and store it in the server until such time that changes or updates on the cached information are made.
  1. Opcode Caching – PHP pages are compiled in a code that can be executed by any device accessing the webpage. Opcode caching reduces the amount of compilation and therefore, speed up the loading time by caching the compiled code.

What Are The Best Caching Plug-ins For Your WordPress Website?

Since you made it this far in our article, we’ve hopefully convinced you to put a caching plug-in into your WordPress website. 

We can’t stress it enough; speed is a very important factor in the search rankings. You could stand to lose sales if your website is not fast enough to meet the satisfaction of the site visitor. 

Searching for the best caching plug-in can be tricky because there are many caching plug-ins that are available for your WordPress website. 

To find out the best caching plug-in, we selected the ones which are the easiest to install and delivers the fastest results when it comes to improving site speed. 

Here are 5 of the best caching plug-ins you can consider for your WordPress website:

1. WP Rocket 

WP Rocket is one of the most popularly used caching plug-ins. It is reportedly installed on more than 100,000 websites. WP Rocket has been measured by GTMetrix to reduce loading time by an amazing 0.98 seconds. 

How impressive is a reduction of 0.98 seconds in loading time? It improved website speed by an average of 34.12%!

2. Hyper Cache

If you have a webpage that generates active engagement or frequent interactions with commenters, Hyper Cache is the ideal caching plug-in for you. This is a PHPO caching plug-in that is easy to install and works very well with WordPress blogs. 

To ensure site speed, Hyper Cache has caches for mobile and PC users. An interesting feature of this caching plug-in is that it will continue to cache effectively even if there is an active discussion going on. 

According to statistics published by WordPress, Hyper Cache has been installed in more than 50,000 websites. 

GTMetrix testing showed that Hyper Cache can reduce the loading speed of a webpage by 0.45 seconds on average. Overall download speed was improved by an average of 13.75%.

3. W3 Total Cache

WordPress statistics reveal that W3 Total Cache is installed in more than a million websites. Among these websites are prestigious publications such as Mashable, Designer Depot, and Smashing Magazine.

GTMetrix tests that were conducted on W3 Total Cache turned in results that showed this caching plug-in reduced page loading time by an average of 0.62 seconds. 

Websites that used W3 Total Cache experienced an overall improvement in page loading time of 20.64%.

4. WP Fastest Cache

We can describe WP Fastest Cache as the no-frills caching plug-in. It doesn’t have as many features or options for customization as the other caching plug-ins which makes WP Fastest Cache the easiest one to use for the average person. 

WordPress reports that more than 100,000 websites use WP Fastest Cache. Is WP Fastest Cache worthy of its name as “fastest cache”?

No, as speed load tests revealed it only reduced page loading times by half-a-second. Still, the page loading time of the webpages that used WP Fastest Cache improved by 15.3% according to studies run by GTMetrix.

5. WP Super Cache

Similar to WP Rocket, WP Super Cache has been estimated by WordPress to be actively installed in more than one million websites. Popular blog sites love WP Super Cache’s ability to maintain download speed even if the server experiences big spikes in traffic.

With WP Super Cache, page loading speed times were reduced by 0.85 seconds and overall page loading speed was improved by 28.07% according to studies conducted by GTMetrix. 

Conclusion

Never overlook the importance of website speed. As the Internet becomes more accessible worldwide and as mobile technology grows more popular, you can expect traffic to create more slowdowns in page loading times. 

Installing a caching plug-in will go a long way in improving page loading speed and subsequently, overall user experience. 

If you want to learn more about what a caching plug-in can do and how to install one, give us a call or drop an email.

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

When you have a WordPress website for your business, it’s easy to fall into complacency. After all, a WordPress website can do everything for your business. WordPress has the best Content Management System (CMS) to help build your brand. You might have chatbots or an outsourced remote team to manage customer service. Your e-commerce portal assures you that the cash registers can ring 24/7 and a database that collects valuable customer information. 

With all of these benefits – and more – you’d think people would be more strict when it comes to backing up their WordPress website. One slip is all it will take to set your business back and cost you several years of hard work. 

Why Do You Need To Backup Your WordPress Website?

It’s human nature for us not to think of the worst-case scenarios. Let’s take, for example, medical insurance. Not many people think they would ever acquire a form of life-threatening disease or debilitating health condition. 

So they set aside the need for any type of medical insurance; viewing it as an expense not an investment to their future health and well-being. 

Only when they get afflicted with a condition that requires hospitalization and a slew of medications do they realize they should have gotten medical insurance. The lack of foresight has led to a situation where they have to deal with serious threats to their physical and financial health. 

Think of backing up your WordPress website as a form of insurance that functions to protect your business from future attacks and other potential risks.

If you don’t have protection now, it will be too late to retrieve your data and other assets if your WordPress website gets hacked. 

How serious should you take the threat of hacking? 

Here are 3 statistics that should raise your level of concern about hacking:

  • 30,000 – The number of websites hacked every day
  • 75 – The number of records stolen by hackers every second.
  • 39 – The number of seconds it takes to launch a hack every day

Some cyber-security experts warn that it’s not a question of “if” but “when” your website will get hacked. Unless you take the threat of hacking seriously, your website could be a statistic waiting to happen.

How Often Should You Backup Your WordPress Website?

Keeping your security protocols updated is a good idea. But backing up your website data is a process that is often overlooked by entrepreneurs. 

So how often should you backup your WordPress website?

Generally, the rule of thumb is that whenever you update or introduce changes to your website, you should immediately run a WordPress backup. 

Updates and changes to a WordPress website may include the following:

  • Update to the version of WordPress
  • Theme updates
  • Plug-in updates
  • Changes in the site’s programming
  • Publishing a new blog
  • Adding an infographic
  • Adding videos
  • Adding audio files

Chances are, updating the version of WordPress, the theme variation, and plug-ins don’t happen daily. The same can be said for changes in your site’s programming. 

These updates – or upgrades – only happen upon notice or after a site audit has been done by your website manager. In these situations, the backup is done after the changes have been implemented. 

However, if your website is active, performing WordPress website backups should be more frequent.

For example, to increase search rankings, you decide to implement a blogging strategy that requires you to post new content 16 times a month. This type of blogging schedule translates into a posting frequency of 4 times a week. 

Given such activity, we recommend performing a WordPress website backup every time you post a new blog – 4 times a week.

The same can be said if your WordPress website experiences a high level of engagement from its visitors. 

For example, if you have an e-commerce site that encourages customers to post product reviews, testimonials, and comments. Or if your WordPress website that regularly has forms filled out – these are interactions that are automatically stored in your site’s database.

At this activity level, backups have to be performed on a daily basis – or more!

If you just let out a groan – think of the alternative. 

If your website gets hacked and you did not perform a backup prior to the hack, then you will have to repost the content that was lost. Worse, you might have to rewrite and then, repost all of your previous content. 

The problem would be much greater for e-commerce sites and other types of websites that collect confidential information from customers. Not only will your website be branded as “untrustworthy” but you face the risk of customers going after you.

A single hack might be the end of your business.

Don’t worry about the tediousness of performing a WordPress website backup. It is not hard or time-consuming at all!

How To Perform A WordPress Website Backup

Since you made it this far in the article, we are assuming that you have committed to running WordPress website backups as often as needed.

You could be asking yourself, “What if I forget?”

The cool thing about running a WordPress website backup is that you don’t have to think about it. There are WordPress website plug-ins that will run the backup automatically whenever it is needed. 

Here are some of the best backup plug-ins you can consider:

1. UpDraft Plus 

More than 2 million WordPress websites are protected by UpDraft Plus. It is easily the most popular backup plug-in. The basic version is for free while the premium subscription will cost you $70.

With UpDraft Plus, you have the option to run scheduled or on-demand backups of your website. The data can be stored in the cloud or in your computer.

2. BackUp Buddy

BackUp Buddy is installed on more than 500,000 websites and makes it easy for you to schedule frequent backups. 

Similar to UpDraft Plus, you can store your data in the cloud but BackUp Buddy has the unique Stash feature that lets you do backups in real-time. 

In terms of cost, BackUp Buddy does not follow a monthly subscription model. You can avail of a specific option such as the Blogger Plan which costs $80 per license.

3. VaultPress

What makes Vault a wonderful backup plug-in is not only its ability to allow you to perform automatic backups but that it’s one of the easiest plug-ins to set up and use. You only need to make a few clicks to have your assets backed up or fully restored.

To avail of VaultPress, you have to get JetPack. This is because Automattic, the company that developed VaultPress also designed JetPack and packaged it as such.

Not a problem as JetPack is one of the best all-in-one plug-ins you can find in the market. In our opinion, JetPack is a must-have plug-in for your WordPress website.

VaultPress can be yours for $3.50 per month or $39 for a one-year subscription.

4. BoldGrip Backup

BoldGrip Backup is an amazing and proven effective backup plug-in with the following features:

  • Customize your website backup schedule
  • Immediately restore your website after it shuts down
  • One-click process to run an automated or manual backup
  • Thinking of switching web hosts? BoldGrip Backup will migrate your site for you

The best feature of BoldGrip is that it has a “Plan B” in case the automatic update does not run – it will initiate the most recent backup. 


Call it the “Backup Plan” for your backup!

5. BackWPup

With BackWPup, you can come up with a complete backup for your WordPress website and have it stored in a cloud-based facility such as DropBox and RackSpace or to your email and computer.

BackWPup is very easy to use and you can have it installed on your website for free. Of course, like the other backup plug-ins featured here, you can get more features by availing of a paid Premium subscription.

How good is BackWPup? More than 600,000 websites have their assets backed up by BackWPup.

Conclusion

All of these backup plug-ins are great but which one is for you? Choose the backup plug-in that fits your business needs.

For small and medium-scale businesses that want to manage cash flow better, getting UpDraft Plus keeps you from paying monthly subscription fees.

For larger businesses, VaultPress could be the perfect plug-in for you intermittent backups can be scheduled. Thus, instead of backing up every hour, VaultPress will only run a backup of your website when you have performed an update or have posted new content.

However, if you want to make things easier for yourself, give us a call! 

At Mountaintop Web Design, we offer clients our Extreme WordPress Care Plans. There are 3 plans to choose from – each one has been designed to fit your business needs and budget. We’ve included a daily cloud backup of your website in all plans!

No worries, no more sleepless nights. We’ll take care of your website for you. 

If you need to learn more about backups, give us a call or drop us an email. We can run a quick audit on your site and give you our professional recommendation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Does A Consulting Company Need A Website?

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

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

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

How will a company find a consultant for its business?

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

Or a designated officer can run a simple online search.

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

How many searches can there be? 

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

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

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

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

You must have an amazing website!

3 Reasons Why Your Consulting Business Should Have An Amazing Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Build Your Business Brand

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

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

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

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

Review our stat from the previous section:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2. Achieve Your Business Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Challenge Other Consulting Companies in the Search Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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If you have made it to 2019 without ever doing a PPC campaign, and have been thriving as well, you can consider yourself very lucky.

PPC is considered one of the best ways to drive all sorts of things: traffic, sales, revenues, engagement, brand awareness, and so on.

The only catch (and there’s always a catch) is that you can’t always afford your own in-house PPC specialist, and need to outsource this task.

Here is what you need to know about the process in order to make it work to your advantage. 

What are your goals?

Before your campaign is launched, you need to define the goals you wish to achieve with it. This will determine the way your campaign will be crafted, the audience it targets, and ultimately the money you spend on it.

These goals can include:

  • Raising brand awareness: great for small or up-and-coming brands that have yet to establish a reputation with their audience
  • Generating more leads: great for established businesses looking for new clients
  • Driving conversions: great when you want to increase sales

Depending on these goals, your campaign will need to be set up, managed, tested, and optimized in a different way. When talking to your prospective PPC expert, make sure you communicate your goals so they can know where to start plotting.

While we are on the subject of goals, all of them need to come with a certain set of KPIs that will measure their success. According to Search Scientists, the four best ones you can choose to track are phone calls, impression share, conversion volume, and CPA. They will depend on your set of goals though.

What will this service cost?

The price of PPC campaign management will depend on a lot of different factors:

  • Length of campaign
  • Business niche
  • Competitors in your niche and what they are bidding 
  • Keywords you are targeting, etc. 

Ultimately, if you are running a small to mid-sized campaign, outsourcing this task will cost you less than hiring, training, and having an in-house PPC manager coming to work every day. Also, outsourced experts often have more experience and expertise than someone you could hire full-time.

You will not have any additional charges either: no tools, no study materials, etc. The expert will already have everything they need to succeed. 

How to choose an expert? 

If you want the best for your campaign, look for a Google Premier Partner, as only about 3-5% of PPC Google Partner companies achieve this status. However, you will most likely pay more for these Partner companies.

You are also advised to hire a specialist rather than a generalist. Just because someone has experience with SEO, email marketing, copywriting, design, and PPC, doesn’t mean they will actually have the expertise to make your campaign a successful one. 

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What is your bid budget?

Determining your bid budget can be tricky, especially if you don’t know who you are bidding against (and you won’t know this until the campaign is running). An outsourced expert who does nothing but PPC for a living can help you come to a figure you are comfortable with, which can also bring in the best ROI.

Then there are also the strategies you may not know how to use to your advantage, like Geo Targeting, Dynamic Search Ads, or Ad Scheduling, which can affect the cost of your bid, but can also bring in a lot more clicks and impressions. Leave this part of the strategy to your expert, rather than trying to force a decision on them. 

What sort of time constraints are you working with? 

This is another point that should be communicated clearly, and something you need to know the answer to before you outsource your PPC management to someone. 

Do you have a specific deadline by which you need to reach a certain goal? Are your ads time-sensitive, i.e. are you promoting a holiday sale? How fast do you need to get things off the ground?

All of these things will determine what sort of specialist you need – someone who can get things done asap, or someone who has a couple of hours a week to monitor your campaign. 

Bear in mind that when working with PPC campaigns that run on a tight schedule, you need to be available to your specialist, and answer any questions they may have about your company or products.

How to manage your own business while someone else is managing PPC 

While we’re on the subject of availability, another very important aspect of outsourcing PPC campaign management is what you do with your own time and business while the campaign is running.

If it goes according to plan, you will need to be ready to handle the increase in calls and sales. Is your customer support team ready for this? Does your sales team have everything they need to close deals? Is your storage ready to handle more orders over a short period of time?

Before you launch the campaign into the world wide web, make sure you, as a business, are ready for it. If you offer next day delivery, don’t go back on this promise due to the unexpected influx of orders. If you offer customization options, don’t allow your customers to wait for ages to get their products, just because you were not ready. 

Once all this is in place, try to stay focused on the work and the business side of things. While it is important to be aware of the analytics of your PPC campaign, don’t micromanage or try to assert yourself with your PPC manager. Give them the space they need to do their job well and be available for answering questions if need be. 

Be aware that there are plenty of PPC companies out there that are not exactly experts – so come prepared to your meetings, ask the right questions, and be ready to make a switch if you need to.

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

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

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

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

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

9 Benefits Of Using WordPress For Your Website

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

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

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

“Why should we transfer to WordPress?”

1. WordPress Is Free

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

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

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

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

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

2. Easily Customizable

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

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

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

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

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

3. Google LOVES WordPress

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

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

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

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

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

These are all made possible with WordPress.

4. Easy to Manage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extreme WordPress care - what types of plans we offer

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. WordPress Can Accommodate Various Types of Media

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

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

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

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

7. WordPress Is Mobile-Responsive

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

What does it mean to be mobile-responsive?

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

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

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

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

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

Why should you blog anyway?

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

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

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

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

9. Integrate Your Social Media Accounts with WordPress

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

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

At very little cost!

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

If you are not happy with your current website platform, transfer to WordPress! We will help you get started! We a ranked as a top WordPress Developer and top WordPress Web Design company.

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