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7 Reasons Your Business Needs a Website No Matter The Size

These days, expecting to get customers without having a website is like being on a deserted island and waiting for your neighbors to pay you a visit. If your small business website isn’t easy for people to find (like on the first page of search engines), then they just won’t find it.
 
More people (91.6%) reported using the internet to find new stores rather than finding a brick and mortar store the old-fashioned way (walking, 8.4%). This is according to Market Research.
 
Having a professional website is a must for presenting your business to new potential customers. Still, need convincing? Here are seven reasons why you should have a website.
 

      1. 1. 24/7 Engagement
      2. 2. Compete With the Big Brands
      3. 3. Spread Your Reach Far and Wide
      4. 4. Take Control of the Narrative Online
      5. 5. Become an Industry Expert
      6. 6. It Makes Your Other Online Tasks Even Easier
      7. 7. Get More Local Sales

 
Let’s take a closer look! 

1. 24/7 Engagement

If you don’t have a site for your business, you won’t have any influence beyond your storefront. Thus, you won’t be able to engage as often with your target audience.
 
On the other hand, if you’re operating an amazing website, your loyal customers can reach your business 24/7/365. This is true regardless of what you’re selling, whether it be a product, maintaining a blog, or just promoting your own personal brand.
 
And think about it. Those who haven’t heard of your business can still discover you via search engines if you take advantage of SEO tips and tricks when creating your website. Having a steady stream of customers is what every business dreams of!

 

2. Compete With the Big Brands

A common misconception is that a website is only useful for multinational corporations or national companies with customers all around the world. However, websites can actually be even more useful for small businesses.
 
They are an excellent way for a local business to reach out to nearby potential customers.
 
The way that search engines prioritize the search results works in your favor. They usually rank local searches based largely on location, which will benefit you as a local business.
 
For instance, if you search “web design agency near me,” Google won’t put web design agencies in other countries. Instead, it will show you the agencies that are closest to your location at the top of the search results.

 

3. Spread Your Reach Far and Wide

93% of people are only willing to travel a maximum of twenty miles to make routine purchases. Furthermore, 87% claimed that they wouldn’t travel longer than 15 minutes. So if you just have a traditional brick and mortar shop, your potential customers are heavily limited only to people who are located within a 15-20 minute radius.
 
The lesson is that you want to reach as many people as possible, a website is a must.
 
Baker on laptop in shop smiling
 

4. Take Control of the Narrative Online

The majority of people check online to look for businesses. However, another thing that strongly influences purchase choice is word of mouth. This could refer to recommendations from friends and family. However, it also refers to those who write reviews about their experiences with the services or products. This is more important than you think: 90% of consumers report that their purchasing decisions are influenced by online sentiment, comments, and reviews.
 
So this begs the question: how can you stay on top of social feedback and harness this potential? Easy: just put them on your website! Those good reviews and testimonials you’ve collected can be published on your site to impress site visitors.
 
When it comes to promoting your website, it’s fine to brag.

 

5. Become an Industry Expert

A local store can only do so much for you when you are trying to build your brand. But making your own custom-made website with the help of a web design agency will give you access to the billions of people who surf the internet each day.
 
Besides getting exposure, your presence on the web will get your business established as an authority in your industry. By creating and providing valuable blog content, informative videos, professional tips and advice, and those 5-star reviews you’ve piled up, your brand will become trustworthy in the eyes of your customer base. Some of them will even want to become your followers. But, of course, social media is a whole other topic with plenty of tips and tricks to use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to their full potential.
 
When thinking about your business, don’t limit yourself to only a logo and storefront. Rather, think about the possible avenues you have for growth and scaling your business up on the web.

 

6. It Makes Your Other Online Tasks Even Easier

When spending money on your website, especially with the help of a web design agency, your other tasks such as sales and marketing become much easier. For instance, instead of requesting your team members to cold call, you could set up an online marketing campaign. This campaign could just capture leads from those who are looking for services and products similar to yours. In effect, your team members could pitch and sell to the people interested in what you have.
 
Plus, online marketing, whether it’s SEO, paid search, social media marketing, content marketing, etc., allows you to connect to those trying to search for you.
 
You could also think of it like this: 81% of people research online before buying something. If you focus on making excellent content for your site, you’re helping that 81% make a better decision. They’ll surely make a better decision if you’re able to get your message across to them.

 

7. Get More Local Sales

Previously we discussed how you can have access to a much larger array of potential customers. Still, what if your business wants to remain small and local? Is it still necessary to have a presence online?
 
The answer is yes. It’s still necessary.
 
Just consider the fact that 72% of customers who search locally end up at a shop that’s within 5 miles of their location. So even if you’re just trying to connect with your local audience, having your own site can greatly benefit your business. In this case, your website doesn’t have to be too fancy. Just having directions to your business and your store hours on your About page will be hugely beneficial.
 
As you can see, having your own website is vitally important for small businesses in 2021 and beyond.

 

 

What Makes A Great Landing Page?

A converting landing page is the cornerstone of any online business. No matter how good the content is and how well optimized the ads are, the bounce rate is bound to increase without a good landing page. 
 

The layout needs to be flawless and easy to navigate. The landing page needs to grab the attention of visitors and convert them into leads.
 

So, let us discuss a few tips to make a great landing page.

8 Tips To Make A Great Landing Page

Tip #1: Clean and Organized Design

The main aim of a landing page is to increase the conversion rate, and to do that, it must be well organized. The overall design of the landing page has a massive impact on visitors. A cleanly designed landing page makes it easier for customers to navigate across the website. They should be able to go from one portion of the page to another in a hassle-free manner.
 

A good landing page needs to have eye-catching colors. For example, a contrast between the color of buttons and the background of a landing page provides an attractive look.
 

Short-form landing pages work best for minor purchases. A recent study shows that a gym chain could boost sales by a wide margin because they used a shorter landing page.

 

Tip #2: Implement Minimalism

Too many elements present on the landing page confuses visitors. Display only minimal information that is needed to increase the conversion rates.
 

 It is good to use bullet points to arrange all the essential points in an orderly manner. Important headings can be highlighted. Visitors also prefer to see numbers. So, using numbers to mention relevant discounts and promotions will boost sales. 
 

Only when the visitors are interested in knowing more about the product will they scroll down for it. So, make sure to display the extra information only in the lower portion of the landing page.
 

Only the critical points need to be placed in the upper part of the landing page – that will help to boost the landing page. 

 

Tip #3: Use Trust Signals 

An effective landing page makes use of trust signals. Trust signals will reassure visitors that the website is trustworthy and branded. Often, a trust signal is little more than some well-designed logo. Testimonials also act as trust signals. Some websites even display the “Like” button that shows the number of likes the brand has on social media platforms. Even trust badges such as “Fortune 500 Company”, “DELL certified,” and “Verisign secured” are useful and powerful tools that act as trust signals.
 

The purpose of trust signals is to assure a customer that they have made the right choice when buying the product. They can also help show that the retailer belongs to a particular trade union.
 

Person on smartphone looking at hotel landing page

Tip #4: Mobile-optimized Landing Page

A significant population across the world browses through eCommerce platforms on their mobile phones. Thus, a vital requirement of a good landing page is that it must be mobile optimized.
 

The bounce rate of a site whose landing page is not mobile optimized is bound to suffer. Mobile optimized sites need to be compelling enough to entice visitors to take action.
 

 As per recent research, even after using a responsive theme, the landing page elements were designed for its desktop version. Flashy graphics and designer fonts occupy excessive space in mobiles, which may slow down the loading time. To avoid motion at a snail’s pace, use streamlined navigation for your mobile-optimized site. Otherwise, a slow load time will decrease your conversion rates. Also, pop-ups, forms, etc., may be used to attract the attention of the visitors.

 

Tip #5: Use An Attractive Headline

The headline of a page has to grab the attention of the visitors immediately. It needs to be concise but compelling. A maximum of ten words should be enough for a headline.
 

A short, to-the-point, and catchy headline will help the visitors get to the point immediately. The purpose of these headlines is to tell exactly what services the brand intends to provide.

 

Tip #6: Use Persuasive Subheadings

If a heading draws people to a landing page, a subheading should be what makes them stay. An appropriate subheading is strategically placed below the heading. It needs to be a bit more detailed and persuasive than the heading. If the visitors find that subheading does not enforce what the heading talks about, they will not hesitate to bounce back.

 

Tip #7: Use Images Wisely

Visual content is an essential requirement for designing impressive landing pages. Psychology states that the human brain processes images much faster than text. A landing page without pictures will not leave much impact on the human mind.
 

However, make sure not to use too many images. A blend of content and relevant pictures should do the trick. 
 

Check for the following characteristics before displaying the pictures on your landing page:

  •     The images should be optimized
  •     The primary purpose of an image should be to grab the attention
  •     The image needs to be relevant to the website or product
  •     Premium quality images should be used

 

Tip #8: Be Honest

The search engines crawl through landing pages regularly to understand the services the brand offers. They promote only those websites that are genuine and reliable. Make sure not to make any false claims.
 

Do not promote camping products and land the visitors on a page about cycling. Both the visitors and the search engines will disavow the website leading to a fall in its rankings.

 

Final Words

The main aim of any landing page is to convert visitors. Displaying too much of anything will increase your bounce rate and decrease your conversions. So, make sure that the landing page contains a blend of everything essential. Follow the tips mentioned above to make sure that your landing page is worth the visitor’s click.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Prepare Your Digital Marketing for the New Year

Digital marketing has drastically changed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we approach another year, you need to note these changes and consider them when charting your new digital marketing game plan. By looking at the critical facts and anticipating another wave of possible changes, you will be closer to implementing the best marketing strategies.
 
Planning takes a lot of work, and implementing is even more difficult. But with your wise decisions supported by carefully considered factors, you are for sure on the right digital marketing path. In this post, you’ll get to see how marketing evolves on a strategic level and what specific trends you need to look out for next year.
 
To develop an effective plan, contemplate how your short-term goals can influence your business in the long run. Focus on the importance of statistics, research, trends, and data to grab opportunities when strengthening your digital marketing strategy.
 
Here are a few tips on how to prepare your digital marketing for the new year:
 
 
 1. Determine Your Goals and Objectives

Knowing what you want to accomplish ensures that you won’t get lost while achieving your objectives. Marketers are more likely to get stuck at a certain point when there isn’t a clear set of goals and objectives.
 
Evaluate the results of your annual performance and use them to create a more effective plan and strategy. Since digital marketing is evolving quickly, what may be good and useful today can quickly become outdated and not work at a future time.

 

 2. Provide a World-Class Customer Experience

Customers keep on coming back when they have a seamless experience with your service. This helps you build a positive business culture, making people feel important and satisfied. But the question is, how can it be possible to gain customers even without convincing them?
 
The answer to that question is the quality of service you will provide. With that being said, you have to make sure you keep an eye on website optimization first.

 

  • Make access convenient and friendly – More and more people are using mobile devices. When it comes to searches, you have to make sure that your website allows mobile viewing.

 

  • Add a chatbot to your website – Chatbots are available anytime to answer queries from customers. It has been proven to be very efficient and cost-effective.

 

  • Optimize voice search – This is another convenient way to help customers with their concerns. It is practical and helpful, especially for busy people who have no time to do text-searching. It would be best to have an updated Google My Business profile to ensure that your business is optimized for voice-based search. An updated GMB profile means your business will be included in Google results.

 

 3. Widen Your Social Media Presence

Get a feel for what resonates most with social media audiences by publishing a compelling set of topics. It is challenging to boost your social media presence when you don’t have many followers yet. This limitation can be remedied because there are tools for different platforms to help you spread the word about your business. These include tools such as Facebook Insights and Instagram Stories. In Facebook Insights, you get to know the statistics about your posts’ interactions. You can then determine where your audience comes from. Meanwhile, Instagram Stories are perfect for showing customers why you have a relatable brand.
 
Another way to reach your target audience is to hire influencers. Look for influencers who have followings that are likely to be interested in your products and services. These influencers don’t need to have millions of followers, as it won’t be cost-effective. Micro-influencers are best for this arrangement since they have a hold on a specific market niche.
 
Digital marketing team looking at computer and one person pointing at laptop screen

 4. Increase Traffic Using Quality Inbound Links

Inbound links are backlinks or hyperlinks that connect one web page to another. Link building is a great way to improve search engine ranking. Never overlook the importance of an inbound link if you want to rank on search engines and be at the top spot. Just always remember that what counts here is the quality of inbound links and not quantity alone. An authoritative or recognizable website can help you meet this goal since most people trust a reputable website that produces high-quality content. High-quality content is considered such when it’s relevant, unique, and creative.
 
 

 5. Consider Video Advertising

Videos are compelling when they have creativity. It can influence and persuade many people about their buying decisions. Having a video advertisement gives you a chance to tell your story and build a connection with prospective clients. The cost can be high when producing videos but rest assured that the benefits will exceed the expenses when it fulfills its purpose.
 
 

 6. Consider the Effects of Adblockers

Ad blockers filter out advertisements, whether it’s paid or organic. Many internet users rely on these blockers to avoid being bombarded by multiple ads. Given that, if you are running a pay per click campaign, users surely won’t see your ads. Regardless of how well designed and intelligent your marketing strategies are, it’s of no use when people won’t see them. To resolve this, you need to think of another way to reach your target audience by exploring other marketing channels. For instance, email marketing will bring you closer to your prospective customers. In this highly personalized method, you obtain a higher return on investment and reach a wider channel.
 
Marketing tactics are changing, and the best way to keep up is to be incredibly flexible. In order to become successful, there’s a need to adapt to change and be open to continuous improvement. The methods you have created during a calendar period might not suit the new trends in the next calendar year. So, don’t settle too much in your existing strategies. Try to assess and, if necessary, reinvent. The progress that results from well-planned digital marketing drives the whole industry forward.
 
Need help managing your digital marketing efforts? Reach out to us today and learn more about how Salt Rank can help your business grow online!

10 Obvious Signs That Your Website Needs to Be Redesigned

In this era of internet marketing, your website is the face of your brand. However, long gone are those days when just having a website was enough. Now, you need to stay up to date with the latest trends and user habits.

 

But, how can you know that your website needs a redesign? Click here to find a few common reasons behind redesigning your website.

 

The online market is filled with brands competing in a cut-throat competition. In such a scenario, having an outdated website can negatively affect your sales. Hence, it is vital to catch the obvious signs that your website needs redesigning.

 

Ten obvious signs that your website needs redesigning are as follows:

 

Sign #1: Slow Page Loading Time

In this fast-paced life, nobody has the time or even patience to wait for a slow page to load. According to a recent study, if a page needs more than three seconds to load, visitors bounce back from it. If your load speed is slow, then your website needs to be redesigned.

 

Sign #2: Higher Bounce Rate

A certain percentage of people leave the website after viewing the first page. They do not even view the subsequent pages. This percentage is known as the bounce rate. This happens mainly because they do not find the design to be appealing and face problems while navigating across the website.

 

Several tools are available online to check the bounce rate of a website. If your website’s bounce rate is found to be higher than usual, it needs to be redesigned.

 

A high bounce rate affects the visibility and ranking of any website. Reputed search engines, such as Google, do not show any website with a high bounce rate on their SERPs.

 

Sign #3: Poor Conversion Rates

The primary purpose of a website is to convert visitors into leads. A low conversion rate is a sign that the website needs to be redesigned. Redesign it in such a way that it drives conversions. Be sure to include call-to-actions (CTA’s) to direct the visitor where you want them to go.

 

Sign #4: Lack Of A Customized Home Page

Businessmen follow the motto, “The first impression is the last impression.” A customized home page attracts a lot of customers. It creates an excellent first impression. 

 

Nowadays, the world of business is dynamic. If visitors find that your website lacks a customized and vibrant home page, they will step back from it.

 

A dull and monotonous home page is not good for business. So, businesses need to redesign their website if their home page is not tailored to their audience.

 

Website design across multiple devices, desktop monitor, laptop, tablet and smartphone

Sign #5: Not Mobile-Optimized

Statistics reveal that three out of every five users use their smartphone to browse through websites.

 

If a website is not mobile-friendly, its SEO rankings will fall. To make a website optimized for mobile, people need to pay attention to its fonts. All the news feeds and other information needs to be legible across devices. Also, the content needs to be visible on the mobile screen and must be concise.

 

Animations and videos need to be kept to a minimum since they slow down the page load time. In turn, the images need to be optimized to increase mobile optimization. All these factors will contribute to better conversion. So, mobile-optimization is one of the most vital elements of a website.

 

If any website is not mobile-optimized, it needs to be redesigned immediately. The website needs to have a dynamic layout that adapts to the design of mobile devices.

 

Sign #6: Obsolete Content

The content of any business is likely to change over time. Evolving is the key to any business. A company may deal with more products; it may diversify or expand, its contact details or venue may change. All this information needs to be updated on the website.

 

The obsolete content needs to be replaced with up-to-date information. So, If there is no way to rectify the outdated information, the website needs to be redesigned.

 

Several content management tools are available in the market. Even people who do not have any coding knowledge may use these tools to edit the obsolete images. Updated content improves the quality of the overall website and generates a lot of traffic. It also contributes significantly to improving SEO rankings.

Sign #7: Outshining Your Rivals

The prime motive of a business is to beat their rivals. So, it is crucial to keep tabs on competitors’ websites. If your rival business parties have a more functional and better-designed website, they will have more visitors.

 

Web designers aim to build a website that functions better than competitor brands. All the businesses try to focus on doing better business than their rivals. A well-designed, content-rich, and functional website is the key to any business.

 

So, if your business rivals have a better website, you need to determine why their website is better. Then, web designers need to redesign your website accordingly.

 

Sign #8: Ineffective CTA

Every website needs to have a compelling CTA to drive sales. CTA stands for call-to-action. It tells the visitors about the next steps they should take to do business transactions with you.

 

The business owners need to pay attention to the CTA of their website. Changing the text, shape, and color of the CTA may affect its performance. If only a handful of visitors are following the CTA, it is time to experiment with a new CTA. The website needs to be designed accordingly with a new CTA.

 

Sign #9: Confusing Navigation

When visitors browse through any website, they expect navigation to be easy. Navigation affects all the aspects of the website’s performance. If the website is difficult to navigate, they will not do any business transactions with the organization.

 

Instead, they would go to your competitor’s website, which may have lesser content, but is easier to navigate. The visitors expect to find their content within a few clicks of the mouse or taps of the mobile screen.

 

The moment navigation becomes too difficult or confusing, the rate of conversion dips, and your bounce rate increases. Nobody has enough time to figure out how to navigate it. So, if the website is confusing to navigate, it needs to be redesigned. 

 

Sign #10: Broken Links

Every website contains a few important links. The moment the visitors click on the links, they get redirected to a relevant page. On the other hand, if they click on a broken link, they will be relocated to a page showing a 404 error.

 

Broken links affect the rate of conversion. If any website receives complaints about a broken link, it needs to be redesigned immediately.

 

Conclusion

 There are numerous factors and signs that can indicate a website redesign is in order. With an outdated website, the possibility of the integrity of your business being compromised are high. Thus, look out for these signs and redesign your website as soon as possible.

 

In need of a website redesign or need a second opinion? Contact Salt Rank today for a free consultation! Our professional team of web designers is here to help your company look it’s best and thrive online.

 

What you Need to Start a Business Blog

A lot of businesses are at risk of being obsolete. One cause of this is their lack of presence online.
 
Now, this may seem a threat at first. But if we were to view this statement in a whole different light, we may notice that it is actually a call for us to make sure our businesses stay relevant in times where the internet is widely used.
 
One thing we notice in most successful businesses is that they make sure they dominate online content. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Alibaba have marked their footprints in the roster of successful companies. The secret behind that may lie in how they were able to develop their presence and their brand name online.
 
By doing so, they have managed to have people talk about them online, keeping their names relevantly fresh even in the simplest of conversations.
 
What we have to understand about the internet is that it is now a major game-changer in terms of regulating fora, discussions, and other means for communicating – this is where you want to be.
 
Therefore, developing a Business Blog will be one of the best decisions you will ever make to bolster your business. Eventually, it will help you to get people talking about your business more. This will also help you widen your reach even further to other potential customers.
 
But first things first. What will you need to start a business blog?

 

The Gift of WordPress

WordPress is a good starter platform for setting up your Business Blog (at least, in its beginning parts). It has two options: the free domain and the paid domain.
 
A Free WordPress domain would look like this: www.yourwebsitename.wordpress.com
 
WordPress.com is best used if you are currently at the point where you have just begun introducing your company online. It helps to have a quick start-up for your business blog to get your business descriptions online as early as possible: what your business is about, what services you provide and offer, and other details. However, using WordPress’ free domain will have limits. For one thing, you will not be able to sell directly from the website.
 
Other platforms include Weebly, Drupal, and Joomla. Just like WordPress, they also provide free services for establishing your very own website to host your business blog.
 
In order to make an upgrade and enable monetization for your blog (aka, enabling your website for online sales), you will have to invest in a paid domain via an annual subscription.
 
A paid domain will look like this: www.yourwebsitename.org
 
WordPress.org is the best upgrade you will make for your business blog because, for one thing, you are now hosting your very own website compared to when you were using WordPress.com. Self-hosting your website also enables you to engage in online sales and open up your website for affiliate marketers and advertising companies.
 
Other paid web hosting platforms include NameCheap, 1&1, and GoDaddy. Explore their paid hosting programs to suit whatever needs you may have in terms of maintaining your website 24/7.
 
Now, let’s go to designing your website.

 

Choosing a Website Theme

WordPress provides its own set of themes for free, although some of them will require paid domain subscriptions before availing. WordPress Theme Directory and Theme Forest will aid you in choosing the right design that best represents your business blog.
 
However, you will need to pay attention to the following:

  • Does it fit well with my chosen audience?
  • Does the design represent the nature of my business?
  • Is the theme accessible to various devices (e.g., mobile phones, personal computers, laptops, tablets)?
  • Does the theme come with a public forum or any form of customer support to address various issues I might encounter?
  • Does the theme provide me with a comprehensive roster of options for customization purposes?

 
Person working on laptop with pieces of paper with wireframe and smartphone with wireframe

 

Developing Your Content

Now that you have a well-designed website for your business blog, it is now time for you to plan and develop content.
 
As the saying goes, the best way to make a sale is to love your product. Building on that premise, you need to be able to translate your own interests into something that will pique the interest of your potential customers. Providing a narrative for all the applications of the product you are trying to sell is basically what a business blog is all about: talking about your products and services.
 
Therefore it is essential to find your voice: you do not necessarily have to be a good writer to make good content. What is important is how you manage to stay genuine while writing.
 
Brainstorming your topics is a good approach for planning your content as well as scheduling their releases. You can write about the benefits of your product, or have someone review them and publish it directly onto your business blog. In that way, you will be able to widen your influence online and establish new connections along the way. The more people who buy from your online store, the more people would want to write about your products. The more people who wish to write about your products,  the more people would get attracted to buying it.
 
In the long run, you would eventually develop a community of loyal customers continuously talking about your product and encouraging other people to buy from you. At that point, you are already having your customers help you promote your business online.

 

Discoverability and Networks

Now comes the technical part.
 
To ensure that your content can be seen by more people online, you will have to pay attention to optimizing your website to make it more searchable online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pays close attention to words you are using in your content. For example, if you are selling coffee beans, what other words can be tied up to that? And what would people most probably have to type in on their Google search bars to find you? Researching keywords is part of optimizing your website to rise in the ranks of Google search results.
 
Doing keyword research and integrating them in your title, some parts of the body, and the conclusion will prove essential (and by far the most laborious task you might do). You have the option to hire SEO experts and content writers to work on your content, or you could enroll yourself in SEO courses.
 
A good SEO strategy will increase the likeliness of your business blog to appear more often in Google searches. By doing so, you can meet people you would want to do partnerships with to grow and expand your business.

 

Top 4 Website Design Trends to Boost Your Website Traffic

Everyone wants to make a good and lasting first impression. Your website, in most cases, is your company’s first impression on potential clients. If your website is poorly designed or loads slowly, you could lose the interest of your viewers. 

 

A well-designed website is going to keep a customer on the page, while a poorly designed site will lead to high bounce rates. In this blog, you will learn about some of the latest design trends in website design that you could then potentially include in your website redesign to help boost traffic.

 

White Space

White space on a website can be done in many different ways. It helps to give the eyes “room to breathe” if you will and helps to make a page look less cluttered. While it is good to have this white space, you also don’t want to overuse it with too much open and unused space. 

 

An area many companies use white space in on their site is at the top of the homepage, the first thing a client will see. This gives off a clean look and makes the company look professional. 

alt="web design agency"
Via Mike Barnes
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Via AIDAD

Minimalist Design

Minimalist design goes hand-in-hand with white space. Typically, minimalistic design is just that – minimal design elements on the page to create a very simple and professional look. This design style tends to not be too flashy and displays the content of the page in a very professional manner. 

alt="minimalist design"
Via Mike Barnes

Mix of Graphics and Photography

Another popular design trend is mixing graphic design with photography. This is typically done to bring the viewer’s attention to a particular spot on the page. It can be as simple as a different colored box being an offset frame around an image or text, or it can be as whimsical as a stroke of paint across the lower section of an image to bridge the gap between white space and the photo.

 

alt="graphics web design"
Via Mithum
alt="graphics photography web design"
Via Anton Siribaddana

   

Overlapping Layers

This design trend is similar to the mixing of graphics and photos and can be used together in many cases. Overlapping layers is most commonly used with text over images. But it can also be used to draw attention to an area on the page or to give depth to elements that would otherwise look flat. Giving depth helps to break up the page and add dimension.

 

alt="overlapping layers"
Via Slaviana

Many of the design trends we mentioned could potentially be used together. Having some overlapping imagery when people arrive at your homepage while also allowing for good white space around it. Perhaps you have an image with an offset block which would also include overlapping layers. The possibilities are endless!

 

Have a website built that gets the job done, but want more? Have you thought about hiring a company to do a redesign? Your website may be “getting the job done” but what if it could bring in more traffic and possibly more leads?

 

Contact the professionals at Salt Rank today to help you with your website redesign and get back in style with the latest design trends.

 

Top Spring Marketing Campaign Ideas

Spring is here, and with that comes the demand for creating marketing plans and strategies for the new season.

But this is no ordinary spring, especially for small businesses and web design companies. But Salt Rank is here to help.

We’re all in this together as the coronavirus ravages the global economy. Now more than ever is the time to start planning long term for your business. We have to begin working smarter to survive the challenges ahead.

 

 

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How Your Business Can Survive the Coronavirus Outbreak

Businesses are now examining their marketing budgets more carefully, trying to figure out if they’re getting the most out of every dollar that they spend, as well as looking at cost-effective strategies for delivering products and services.

Cutting the marketing budget may seem like an obvious choice at this point, but it’s just a short term solution that will have negative after-effects. After all, without having a visible presence in your target market, your long term profitability will sink.

And while everyone will be watching their money more closely, they have no choice but to spend it. While people do have the option to spend less, our job is to determine what they’re still purchasing. They don’t want to be wasteful in a time like this; people want to purchase what they need from businesses that they are able to trust.

 

1) Make Yourself Prominent and Visible During This Crisis

Remember that old saying “out of sight and out of mind?” Well, we need to remember that now more than ever before. If you can’t maintain the line of communication with your customers, then you risk losing them. Also, it’s always less expensive to keep your current customers than it is to find new ones.

And as other businesses make the wrong decision and begin to pull the plug on creating visibility, that creates a vacuum for your business to fill.

You should be putting more effort into marketing now because as the recession worsens, many people who get laid off will try and start a business. These new businesses will be competing with yours for visibility, and do you want to risk losing that battle? 

So, to build up your brand awareness, you must increase visibility. To enhance visibility, you must drive more people to your site where you can make more sales. And the easiest way to get discovered by potential customers or clients is during the buying process when they’re searching for what you sell.

There are a few essential principles to understand when it comes to visibility:

  • What others say about you has more of an impact than what you say about yourself. An inexpensive way of getting your name out is by leveraging the influence and authority of other experts in your niche.

 

  • Evergreen content needs to be updated. Just because it’s evergreen doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t water (update) it every now and again. Your main objective is for this eternally useful content to rank high in the search engines. So when you give it an update, that should be your goal.

 

  • You’ve no doubt heard of the mere exposure effect. This effect happens when a person is so frequently exposed to something (such as an advertisement) that they begin to form a preference for it merely because it’s familiar. So if you can find an inexpensive way to keep your brand in front of potential customers as much as possible, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Setting aside a dedicated budget for this principle alone is worth it.

 

 

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2) Optimize for Conversions ASAP

One high impact low-cost digital marketing method that you should get familiar with quickly is conversion rate optimization. This means making small adjustments to the buyer’s journey to convert as many website visitors into clients or customers as possible. Here are a few examples of conversion rate optimization strategies:

  • Understand the basics of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The latest developments in these two fields will give you the competitive edge you need to find the right customers at the right times. By utilizing this, you’ll be able to lower your cost per lead and get the right message out to the right prospect at the right time.

 

  • Providing a good experience for customers is crucial. Spend the money needed to make your website fast and personalized for visitors. And when it comes to keeping costs done, keep in mind that small adjustments to your site will have a disproportionately large impact on the end results.

 

  • Utilize social proofing techniques for your business. Use your case studies, reviews, and recommendations at every touchpoint of your marketing. Also, make sure that this content is included in different places on your website. And finally, remember to share it all on social media.

 

3) KPIs are Critical

If you don’t measure your results, then you won’t be able to manage your marketing effectively, and you may just be throwing your money away.

You want to hold yourself accountable for your marketing expenses. You can do this by measuring your results vs. the criteria you have for success. These criteria might be upselling, referrals, or the number of leads you generate. Now more than ever is when KPIs (key performance indicators) matter.

Here’s how you can configure your KPIs if you haven’t already:

  • Determine your ROI from social media. When budgets are tight, social media can appear to be a sensible option for cutting. After all, it can be a time-consuming activity. However, before you cut the cord, make sure that you understand how social media is producing results for your business. How much profitability, engagement, and visibility does it bring to your company?

 

  • Use Google Analytics to its full potential. Make sure that you’re using all of the available data to improve your marketing efficiency. Some questions you should ask are: Did we set up goals properly? Is the Search Console connected? Did we define what we’re measuring? And finally, are we utilizing all of the free data available from Google Analytics in our marketing strategy?

When marketing budgets are tight, you can fall back on your KPIs to help guide you through the storm. By knowing your KPIs, you’ll be able to answer the question, “what kind of spending really matters for my business?”

 

 

 

 

Top 6 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

The number of mistakes that can be made in marketing (especially online marketing) is endless. This blog post will focus on some of the biggest marketing mistakes that you’ll want to avoid at all costs. Some of these mistakes can be applied to any kind of online marketing; others relate to common and specific methods (like email marketing), and so they deserve mention on this list.

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Just knowing about all of these mistakes should put you in a great position as an online marketer. Here are the top 6 online marketing mistakes recommended by Salt Rank that you can’t afford to make.

1. Not Having a USP

A USP is a unique selling proposition. This is what sets you apart from your competition. Ideally, it should be just one statement, and in that statement, you explain the benefits of your product for your target audience.

The key is that these benefits should be unique to your product only, thus giving you the edge over your competition. Here are some questions to ask to help create your USP:

  • Can your product solve a problem that no other competitor has solved yet?

  • Does your product offer superior quality at an unbeatable price?

  • Does your product or service offer customers a specific lifestyle?

  • Does your product incorporate materials and resources in a better way? For example, is your product more eco-friendly than the competition?

The competition is fierce online. Your target audience is being bombarded with several different marketing messages, and without a USP, your message is likely to be lost.

USP is critical in every aspect of your marketing. Before implementing any kind of new online marketing strategy, you should think about how your USP can fit into it. That way, prospects will know why they need your product so that they will become customers.

2. Using Black Hat Tactics

This kind of clickbait is all too common: “Rank in the top 10 of Google, guaranteed!” Even though this is an obvious scam to anyone who has a clue about SEO, marketers, and business owners who desperately want to get traffic to their website might be willing to take them up on this offer. And after all, who doesn’t love a quick fix?

However, be wary. While our web design services company is reputable, many other companies aren’t, and will promise instant results.

The companies that aren’t outright lying about achieving instant results (and many of them do) might be able to do it for you using “black hat” techniques. Black hat strategies are implemented to “trick” a search engine into giving your website a rank that it doesn’t deserve for specific keywords.

By taking them up on this offer, you might experience a short burst of new traffic, but you’ll be playing a dangerous game. Google invests a ton of money for catching cheaters, and the penalties for cheating are not small either. If you get penalized by Google (or worse – outright banned), you’ll find that this is extremely hard to fix and will also permanently damage your website’s reputation and marketing efforts.

Have we convinced you yet? Avoid black hat SEO at all costs and stick to “white hat” SEO strategies to help your website rank higher. Doing it the right way will take more time and cost more money, but it’s a safe bet for long term success.

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3. Ignoring the 80/20 Rule

You’ve almost certainly heard of this rule before. 80% of your success comes from 20% of your efforts. But have you ever thought about how that principle can apply to your marketing efforts?

In the context of marketing, this rule means that 80% of your success will be the result of providing value to your target audience, and 20% of it will be the result of your promotional materials. This balance will ensure that your customers are engaged and ready to buy when the time comes.

If you flip that balance around, though, you’ll repel potential customers instead of attracting them. Remember, forming long term relationships with customers is critical in online marketing.

4. Trying to Market to Everyone

This is perhaps the biggest rookie marketing mistake, but this mistake goes even further.

Too many companies mistakenly focus too much on the total number of visitors instead of analyzing the types of visitors they’re attracting. Consequently, these companies double down on their efforts to attract more visitors and end up wasting money because not enough of these visitors convert into customers.

Instead, you should focus on marketing to a niche. That way, you can attract the right kind of visitors. You’ll know who the right kinds of visitors are once you create your company’s Buyer Personas. These personas should be based on your most high-value customers. 

5. Focusing Your Email Marketing on Promotional Efforts

Once upon a time, email marketing was only used for promotion and advertising. However, any professional email marketer these days realizes that engaging with and building trust with prospects is essential for getting customers, as well as retaining previous customers.

Not following this advice can severely harm your online business. Not only will you turn off your subscribers and potential customers (remember the 80/20 rule), but you can also get spam complaints.

6. Neglecting Repeat Customers

Neglecting existing customers in the pursuit of new ones is a common marketing error. However, it’s not one that you should make. Consider the fact that it’s 5 times more expensive to market to new customers than it is to existing ones, on average.

Why is it easier to market for existing customers? Because your marketing funnel for existing buyers will be smaller than for newer buyers since they’ve already bought from you before.

Try to split your marketing efforts 50/50 into retaining repeat customers as you do for acquiring new ones.

Conclusion

No matter how well you plan things out, marketing mistakes will still happen. If you experience sub-optimal results from your marketing, don’t dismiss them outright – instead, reflect on what could have gone wrong. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. If you’re struggling with marketing, try to understand the needs of your customers better. You might see things start to turn around! 

Best SEO Services and Advice For Online Stores

Ecommerce is a big deal all around the world. The desire to sell things online is a strong one, with the payoff being just as sweet. Of course, since the appeal of eCommerce is so big, so too will be your competition. Amazon will likely be a competitor, as well as smaller stores. Some of the best SEO services are the simplest.

Being good at business helps, and so does having a business consultant, but that won’t be enough on its own. You need to be able to get discovered on the first page of Google, and that’s where SEO comes into play. You need the best SEO advice at your fingertips if you’re going to succeed. Let’s get started!

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“Selling” Keywords

To come up with keyword ideas, think about the product you are selling and the categories it belongs to. There are two requirements that a keyword must fulfill:

  1. Act as a magnet to pull in potential customers
  2. Improve your chances to outrank your competitors

Not every keyword will be suitable, of course. Some of them will be too short and too vague to attract the right buyers to your website. Smart SEO means using keywords that are not too short, are specific enough, and are searched plenty of times in Google, to attract the largest number of possible visitors. A keyword that fulfills all of these criteria is called a long-tail keyword.

Once you have your list of keywords, its time to optimize your website. To make your pages rank high on Google, you should add the keywords to the following places:

  • Product descriptions
  • H1-H4 header tags
  • Title tags
  • URLs
  • Image titles and ALT tags
  • Meta description tags

Your product descriptions should all be unique; otherwise, Google will filter them out. They should include words and terms that someone would use to describe the products that you sell. And finally, write descriptions in a compelling way that will make someone want to purchase it after reading.

Linking And Navigation

Saying that eCommerce sites have a lot of pages is an understatement. Amazon’s product selection is counted in the hundreds of millions! This is why your site needs to be easy to navigate. Does your website at least compare to Amazon in terms of usability? In order to make your visitors’ browsing experience as easy as possible, you need an effective and efficient linking strategy between all of your site pages.

The structure for most eCommerce sites goes like this: homepage – product category – subcategory – product page. Removing subcategories will make your website even more comfortable to navigate. You can also follow the tips below:

  • Link to your main page on every other page. The most accessible place to include this link is in your company logo at the top of the page.
  • Add a navigation bar. The best type of navigation bar for an eCommerce site is one where the user searches for something. The bar will collapse into different menus providing users easy access to your product categories.
  • Add breadcrumbs to your site. They don’t take much space, and they help users avoid getting lost on your website.
  • Don’t use pagination. This often comes with many different online platforms used to create your store. However, they aren’t the most user-friendly option because they increase loading times for users. The solution is to create a “load more items” button instead that, when pressed, will allow users to view more products. That way, they don’t have to deal with paginations or infinite amounts of scrolling.
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Security And Safety

You might question how much you should invest in the security of your website. Well, remember what happened with the Facebook data leaks? Both Facebook and its users were hurt by these leaks. Facebook’s reputation was damaged, and its users’ personal information was at risk. If Facebook weren’t such a big company, its stock and reputation would have been damaged beyond recovery. That is why you should take online security seriously.

Customers should feel safe when browsing your website. You’ll want to make it as safe for them as possible.

Indexing Your Pages

You don’t want to make the embarrassing mistake of forgetting to make sure that your pages are indexed by Google! If your pages aren’t indexed, then they won’t get found by Google. Your customers won’t be able to find you online, and all that work you did on your website will be wasted. To ensure that this doesn’t happen just generate a sitemap of your online store and submit it to Google.

Google’s Mobile-First Index

As you probably know, mobile search gets more search queries than desktop now, and this has had a direct impact on why Google created its mobile-first index. This can affect your online store. If you don’t design your website with mobile users in mind, then you’ll lose out on all of those customers who search Google using mobile phones.

Blog Posts

The role of a good eCommerce site is to close sales quickly. If your page doesn’t convince visitors right away to make a purchase, then you won’t make much money. That is why you should save your long-winded product descriptions for blog posts, which is why you should have a blog for your website. A blog can help gain extra traffic for your site as well as help your site rank higher overall. Remember to enable sharing on your posts to increase these effects even further.

Check Your Site For Errors

Ecommerce is one niche where you can’t afford to have any errors on your website. You can’t let your users down because it might freeze your own business or hurt your customers’ wallets. That’s a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You must fix technical errors on your website as soon as you notice them.

Finally, don’t forget to monitor your rankings and traffic! You’ll want to see how well you did to keep yourself motivated. However, even if your rankings do drop, this isn’t necessarily a sign of doom. Ups and downs are normal and should signal to you that you have to work extra hard on your SEO. A big drop in traffic could mean that you got a penalty from Google though. So you should scan your website at least once a week.

How Can SEO Improve Business?

You’ve likely heard countless times that SEO is an invaluable digital marketing method. However, even if you have a basic understanding of its importance, you might still not have a solid enough grasp to use it to its full potential. Salt Rank is a well-oiled and diverse SEO agency and digital marketing company that aims to educate clients.

SEO is made up of multiple elements, and understanding what they are and how they work is the key to understanding its overall importance. To sum it up, though, SEO is important because it increases the visibility of your website, and thus the traffic and sales.

SECONDARY BENEFITS

-create brand awareness

-position yourself as an expert and authority in your field

-build relationships with potential customers

So, let’s talk about SEO and everything you need to know about it to succeed in today’s digital world.

The Key Aspects Of An SEO Agency

Keywords

The days of keywords being the only thing that mattered in SEO are over. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still hugely important. The way that keywords differ today is that they must be chosen carefully to fit the content on the page. In other words, they must be relevant to the page’s content. But first of all, what is a keyword? It’s simply a phrase that your target audience would use to find your products or services. You can use them to help your potential customers connect with your website and your business.

Content

Good content is essential for SEO because it’s the vehicle that carries the rest of the techniques. Think of it this way: your customer needs a vehicle to reach you online (your content). It needs to be the right kind of vehicle, though, meaning that it has to be content that your target audience would be interested in. 

For example, if your website is about cooking, then you would need to write blog posts about different cooking recipes, cooking techniques, cooking stories, nutritional information posts, etc., you get the drift. 

If you write good content and follow the right SEO techniques, your blog posts would come up first in the search results, thus allowing you to start building a relationship with prospects by presenting them with valuable information. 

If that person wanted to try a new recipe, your blog might be the first one that comes to mind. If you’re going to have any hope of succeeding with content marketing, then your content has to be interesting, shareable, relevant and engaging. 

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Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is exactly as the name implies; it’s SEO practices that happen away from your website as opposed to on-page SEO. The primary way that this happens is through building up backlinks to your website. These are links from other websites (preferably high authority websites) that tell Google that your website is trustworthy and useful enough to garner backlinks from other relevant websites. 

There are several legitimate tactics for getting backlinks for your website. Some of the most popular methods include guest blogging, giving shoutouts to influencers in your content, and creating highly sharable infographics.

Local SEO

The importance of local SEO is increasing, along with the usage of mobile devices. Today at least 57% of searches are done by mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, and at least half of those are done with local intent. 

This means that, for example, a local restaurant can attract customers using local SEO techniques. For instance, if you’re a seafood restaurant, then ranking for “best seafood in [city], [state]” would be highly desirable. 

Other techniques for implementing local SEO for your business include: creating pages for your business on all of the different Google apps and websites (Google Maps, Google+, Google My Business), creating different website pages targeting different local keywords that you want to rank for, and finally, claiming directory listings.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, refers to paid advertising. It includes many different options such as display ads, pay-per-click (PPC), Google AdWords, Google shopping ads, social media ads, native ads, and the list goes on and on… 

While it’s not an essential component of SEO, it does still have its place in directing highly targeted customers to your website. 

The Importance Of SEO 

In case you need more convincing about the importance of SEO, the following points should help hammer it home:

Gain Visibility And Rank Higher

Visibility is a crucial function of SEO, and it’s directly correlated with your ranking in the search engines. It’s an especially critical factor when 1/4 of all web users never click past the first SERP.

Gain Traffic To Your Website

This is one of the main objectives of SEO. Ranking number one or in the top 5 results are the key to this. Nearly 33% of clicks go to the top search result, and the first 5 results receive 75% of the total clicks.

Grow Your Authority

This is a relatively new metric that search engines are now using. In the early days of the internet, authority didn’t matter, but it matters now more than ever before. The simple reason is that there are just too many websites these days, and the authority metric helps to narrow down the list of websites that have a chance of ranking. 

Give A Better User Experience

This is a side effect of creating good SEO, which is another reason why SEO is essential these days. Great content + good on-site SEO = a good UX (user experience). One example of good on-site SEO is having a website that’s responsive to all types of online users, including mobile users, desktop users, and laptop users. 

Grow Your Business

In the end, it all boils down to this. An SEO agency will help you to achieve all of your business goals. When an agency and a client join SEO forces, magic can happen in:

-building stronger relationships with your audience

-creating a better experience on your website for your customers

-increasing your online authority and helping to gain the trust of new visitors

-bringing more people to your website

-giving you an advantage over your competitors

-increasing sales and conversions

All of this results in creating a more loyal customer base as well as producing long term growth for your business.

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Let’s talk about your business

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