Want to spruce up your website without a full redesign?
Here are a few ways you can do just that!
Update Your Header.
Improving your header can make a huge impact on the overall look and feel of your site. The header is located in the top third of your site which is what most people see in their browser without scrolling. Engaging content and graphics are a must, or why would the user bother to continue scrolling or exploring deeper into your site? Use catchy imagery and content that your users can relate to.
Add a Call To Action.
A great way to make an impact with your header is with a conversion message. The content, graphic, and call to action should all push towards one conversion. What should your conversion be? It’s easy to figure out- what is the point of your website? What do you want people to do when they are there? A great example of this is ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Buy Now.’ You want to guide people to make a certain action, and a great way to do this is through your messaging and imagery used. You want to connect with the targeted user persona with both familiar imagery and messaging. If the user can relate, then the chances of them converting are greater.
Improve Your Navigation.
Your navigation is crucial to the success of your website- it is the primary tool for navigating throughout your entire site. It needs to be easy to use, properly named, and functional. A best practice is to have a horizontal navigation above your header. We read left to right; so why not make your navigation do the same by stretching horizontally across your screen? It is also important to have your navigation items named correctly, this will make it easier for the user to find what they are looking for. Having drop down menus off your primary nav is another great way to let the user navigate quickly and efficiently to where they want to go. There is nothing more frustrating than a nav that doesn’t function in all browsers- so make sure to cross-browser check your drop down menus and navigation functions.
Add Direct Contact Info to Your Header.
This simple addition to your site can increase sales significantly, especially if you operate a service-based business. Giving your users a direct phone number or email address will give them the ability to reach you with ease as well as increasing the trust factor. Placing your number in the top third of your site allows users to find your contact information without navigating from your homepage. You want to make contacting you as easy and painless as possible.
Update Your Layout.
The layout of your site is the backbone of its success. Bring it into this century by center-aligning your site on the page and widening it to between 980-1000px. A visually pleasing layout can be easy to achieve with the correct balance, consistency, and colors. Balancing your columns makes your content easy to read and navigate through, 3-4 column layouts are ideal. A good example of this is Apple’s site. It has a standard layout of a horizontal navigation, a header with a call to action, 3-4 column layout for content, consistent colors and treatments, and is visually pleasing.
Simple updates to your sites layout can be a great way to improve the overall look and feel- in turn improving the overall usability of your website.
There are lots of reasons to not do a full site redesign but with just some of these simple adjustments you can easily spruce up your company website!
As we drafts our blog posts, many of us envision our captivated and loyal audience who hangs on each word we type like it is their lifeblood. I hate to break it to you but that is usually not the case. Most of your blog traffic, no matter the industry or purpose, is coming from search engines and/or they are first time visitors.
Three quarters of B2Cs surveyed said over 80% of their traffic are first time visitors and
64% of B2Bs said that between 61 and 100 percent of visitors were first time visitors
Having this information is empowering and should actually help you put your content together so that you are marketing to these readers effectively.
The first thing I would recommend is seeing exactly what is happening with your site. Go into your website’s Analytics and if you haven’t already, set up a Blog Only filter so you can see your blog stats without the rest of your site. Once you have that filtered out, you can look to see exactly where your blog’s traffic is coming from. Take note of how many visitors are new versus returning. Then look at how many are coming from Search. From there you can see what terms people searched for to get to your blog.
Now that you have an idea of how many of your blog visitors are new and how they are getting to your site, you can start to optimize your blog for these new visitors.
Tell them who you are quickly – Since this reader hasn’t been there before, let them know right off the bat who you are and what you do. The most obvious place to do this is in the header but another great place for a little bit more of an explanation is in a sidebar.
Convert them – When a new visitor comes to your blog, know what you want them to do next and make it very clear to them. Whether you want them to subscribe to your blog, contact you, connect with you on a social network or download more information – make that piece very clear on every blog page. New visitors aren’t mind readers. Let them know the next steps they should take if they enjoyed your content.
Show them similar content – If this new visitor got here for this post’s content in particular, maybe they would like other content around the same topic? Think about adding Related Posts to the end of your blog entries. You can do this manually or find a variety of different plugins that could do this automatically for you.
Optimize for mobile browsers – Since we know more and more people are reaching your website from mobile devices, you want to make sure your blog is easy to read when visitors are on the go. Make sure you know how your blog looks on multiple different mobile platforms and if you are receiving a good amount of mobile traffic to your blog, you may want to consider a mobile theme.
Let them know you know who they are – I have some colleagues that have had great success with a greeting box when someone new comes to their site. One example is WP (WordPress) Greet Box plugin. This neat plugin makes a note of how the user got to your blog and has a custom greeting for them depending on how they got there. For example if someone came to your blog after clicking on a link on Twitter, they will see a message encouraging to Tweet your post and to follow you on Twitter.
Now that you know how many of your blog visitors are new, you can really start focusing on making them subscribers, connections and leads! Good luck and let us know any tricks you have for connecting with new visitors too! We love to hear them!
Stunning statistic, right? I thought so and you should too. Here are some additional mobile stats if you need the extra nudge:
95% of smartphone users have searched for local information
61% of users call a business after searching; 59% visit the location
90% of these people act within 24 hours (source: Google “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” 2011)
Ok, now that we all see how important this is – let’s talk about how to make sure that your mobile website is optimized for local search.
Your site should redirect mobile viewers to the mobile version of your site seamlessly.
Make sure you provide your address and make sure it’s easy to find on the site.
Have more than one location? Provide a store locator.
Provide directions or include a map. Or both.
Use GPS features if possible.
Because local is so important make sure you’ve set up your Google Places profile as thoroughly as possible and any other local listings that are available to you. One thing to mention is that you should try to keep your name, address, and phone number the same across all listings if possible. This just makes for consistency across the web and helps to not confuse search engines as to who you are.
Oh, and don’t forget to make sure you have your phone number on your mobile site. Have it set up as “click-to-call” for, you know, that 61% that will call.
Sponsored Stories are posts from your friends or Pages on Facebook that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance you’ll see them. They are regular stories that a friend or Page you’re connected to has shared with you.
They also published this 2 minute video to explain more about Sponsored Stories.
Facebook’s Sponsored Stories were launched early in 2011 on the premise that people are more likely to be influenced by people in their network than by ads alone. The way that Facebook is set up, when someone has an interaction on Facebook, that interaction is shared on that person’s news feed (custom privacy settings can change this). For example, if I “like” a Facebook page, like or comment on a Page’s post, or check in to a “Place” on Facebook, it will show up in my friends’ news feeds. It also shows up in the “ticker” on the right hand side of all my friends’ Facebook “home” page.
With Sponsored Stories, businesses pay for those interactions to be shared multiple times; so that it shows up in the same news feeds, but more than once and at different times of the day. Not only will the variety of ad placements allow more eyeballs on the ads, but the fact that it’s attached to someone in our network is naturally more compelling to the audience than seeing the ads on the right hand side. It’s like word of mouth marketing, but in Facebook format!
The reason I think that Sponsored Stories are a good way to market your brand on Facebook is because they are all started organically by the user; then they are made more widespread by becoming paid ads. The notifications in my news feed look like any other item, but they usually have some indication that they are sponsored; like a note that says “This is a sponsored story” or “You may have seen this in your news feed before.” Like most people, we turn to our friends for opinions when we’re looking for new restaurants to eat at, cities to visit on vacation, and products to try — this is Facebook’s way of turning those “opinions” or “likes” into advertising content.
There are many ways that Sponsored Stories can be used — like testing your message with different audiences, growing your fan base, exposing your brand to a new audience, or to strengthen your brand. Have you tried Sponsored Stories on Facebook? What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.