WebSubstance projects - WebSubstance - Web Design and Search Engine Marketing

Three Useful Types of Audience Targeting

Is your business doing a good job of reaching out to specific customers, or just putting out a generic message on the web, hoping that people show up?

The idea of tailoring a message to a customer is extremely important today, as businesses do a lot more with valuable business intelligence that they get through cloud services with other vendor options. Businesses of all sizes will want to be profiling and targeting their customers, because it can save a lot of time and effort, and generally improve conversion and profit.

Here are some ways to take advantage of your valuable data to get better results on the web.

Target by Customer Status

One of the most fundamental kinds of audience targeting is targeting a customer according to their relationship with the business. Bigger companies have big, fancy customer relationship management (CRM) platforms that help them to do this -- but that's not specifically necessary. Even a very simple database can easily keep track of whether a particular customer has bought from the business before -- and that makes a big difference. You're going to want to send a different message to a returning customer than you would to a new one, making this one of the most common ways to define customer audience.

Target by Role

Both B2B and B2C companies also tend to target by role. If it's a retailer, they may target customers by their age and demographics, or whether they are the head of the household or not. Just this simple key factor can make a lot of difference in efficient messaging in how you reach your customers.

For a B2B company, businesses will often target customers by their job roles. There is a lot of talk about gatekeepers, and how to get to the right decision makers involved with business messaging. Again, a CRM platform can help with this, but you can also ‘go DIY’ and keep track of people's job roles by hand, or with other electronic tools. In fact, LinkedIn provides options for such role targeting for B2B marketing.

Target by Positive Interest

Another type of audience targeting is as old as business itself -- companies want to identify customers according to their hobbies and what they like, to try to sell them the right products. What’s brand-new, though, is the flood of data that businesses now have about customers, due to the big data revolution and the digital age. Your in-house business data can be a treasure trove of information that can help you to sell better and sell more -- but somebody has to do the research and make that happen.

At WebSubstance, we understand the importance of audience targeting. We know that the research that goes on behind the scenes helps to make web sites and marketing campaigns even better. Let us work with your company to perfect the art of audience targeting, bringing in higher ROI for your marketing.

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Content Marketing for Local Business

At WebSubstance, we've often talked about how valuable good content marketing can be. We know that we want to inject excellent content into the structure of a corporate website. But how does this work?
Here are some of the aspects of creating great content that local businesses can use to compete in today's digital world.

Brainstorm Before Jumping In

Too many content projects start with a hastily written list of topics and a green light for a race to the finish line. We're not suggesting that writers need handholding -- but there should be some creative process serving the creation of valuable content. It shouldn't just be a keyword and a knee-jerk reaction. Planning is important, and that's why writers need to do a bit of research and understand what's needed for a particular client.

Go Companywide

It's also important to have content writers and creators connected to your local business as a whole. This might look different in any given company -- writers may be interviewing suppliers. They may be talking to internal department managers. They may even be talking to customers. All of this collaboration is useful when it comes to creating a vibrant content platform.

Get Sharing

It's also important to have a sharing program for content. For example, many companies now link content to Facebook either with short-form social media blurbs, or with an actual link to a blog post. This is just one model, and companies can feel free to innovate and brainstorm their way to sharing success. One rule of thumb is that it's not a good idea to try to ask content writers to post business  items on their personal Facebook pages. Instead, a dedicated business Facebook page can be a central way to get this social data out to customers. Having a sharing plan that’s equitable and well-supported can make a huge difference in readership and return on investment.
Test Content

When content is out in the world, local businesses can go further by quickly looking at the metrics, and figuring out what works. Did a certain post net an extremely high volume of traffic and spike your page views for the month? That's valuable data that so many companies overlook. Just a few minutes of analysis can make a huge difference in managing an editorial calendar to reach more customers on an ongoing basis.

Talk to WebSubstance about setting up a great content marketing programs for your business that works. We’re specialized in content marketing for local businesses in Northern Virginia and can take care of everything from the initial ideas to the quality finished content. Make your website more competitive in the age of organic search and thought leadership.


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Break It Up: Page Loads Versus Interactive Content


Building a business website isn't always as easy as you might imagine. There are serious decisions that business leaders have to make -- and many of them really have an impact on web viewership, readership and other factors.

Having a meaningful website can really improve profit margins for a business. So many customer decisions now go on online that it makes sense to really put some investment into fixing up your web footprint and reaching out to your target audience through the web.

Rich Content Versus Fast Access: The Trade-Off

Here is an interesting question that many of our clients try to solve when they improve or expand a website.

It's important to have fast loading pages – otherwise, people will get frustrated and leave the site. This is especially important since a lot of people may be using old infrastructure and slow Internet service, which means pages with even moderate content can take a long time to load. Additionally, Google does not favor a website which is heavy and slow to download.

However, it can also help to put a lot of rich interactive features on your site. Your customers who have blazing fast Internet and a new computer will often become more engaged and participate better if you offer them things like multimedia, web forms and video graphics. So you are really marketing to a diverse crowd of people.

The Solution – Deliberate Web Delegation

Here is how we approach this problem -- by segmenting your web content, you can serve both kinds of customers at the same time.

One principle is to keep the rich content off of landing pages. People will be happy when they get to the site quickly, and are able to orient themselves with a menu that shows those tabs like “about” and “contact.”

In the indexed pages in the menu, you can put specific tools online that appeal to your higher-tech audience. One particular bonus is that you can easily label these tools so that people know what they're getting into, instead of just happening upon a page that has some kind of interactive tool embedded in it (and maybe cursing their slow browser.)

The Importance of Mobile Design

Along with these kinds of sophisticated web builds, any business also has to consider responsive design for mobile devices as people are fast shifting to mobile browsing. More of what we do and what we buy is happening through smartphones. Businesses have to design a website to fit a smaller screen and be accessible through the smartphone’s touchscreen. Otherwise, they're losing out on massive amounts of business.

WebSubstance can help with all of these important concerns. Our professionals know how to create that balance and drive higher volumes of traffic to your website over time. That translates into dollars, and solid customer relationships. Talk to WebSubstance about a long-term game plan for your Internet outreach, to stay competitive in a quickly evolving digital world.

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Well, what do you know? Google went and changed things up once again.

There's a big change coming to Google SERP results. Along with the messing around with its ranking algorithms, the search engine giant is now changing the ways that ads will show up on Google results pages. So what does this mean for a business online ad campaign? Here are some of the ways that the sudden change is likely to affect company efforts.

The Change-up

Instead of running text ads on the right, Google will put more text ads above the organic listings area, and three more text ads at the bottom of the SERP page. That means a maximum of seven ads. The right rail area will be filled with product listing ad blocks and knowledge panels.

Here’s part of what’s likely to be in store for marketers.

Higher Click Through Rates for Some Ads

One of the likely outcomes is that ads will enjoy a lot more attention than they would have had on the right hand side of the site. Analysts have seen the click through rate for ads on top exceeds right rail ads by about 1400%. The fact that there won't be as many ads can also improve the average position of ads – because, as some put it, although there are “more ads on top” there are overall fewer ads on the page.

Interest in PPC Auctions

Now that there will be fewer ads on a page, there's likely to be more bidding for PPC, because brands have to share the same positions. By shrinking the footprint of the page, Google is putting pressure on some types of pay per click campaigns and that will be one change we’ll see coming out of this new strategy.

Stress on SEO

Experts also point out that the new change can be devastating to organic search.

That means the “simple SEO” is going to come under more pressure, and be augmented with things like image and video formats, knowledge graphs, rich media and other implementations that will get brands and pages more prominence.

Big Attention for High-Position Ads

Ads in some of the top positions will get a bigger share of the attention. For example, experts showed how positions 3 and 4 on the SERP page will see big click through rates and lots of value in the new Google environment.

These are some of the ways that Google's changes are going to craft a marketing atmosphere around best practices for SEO, PPC and other kinds of search engine marketing.

Reacting to these kinds of changes requires a sophisticated and subtle approach., companies have to know how to “roll with the punches” and change their advertisements and web pages in ways that work to their advantage.

At WebSubstance, we’re familiar with how to work with changing Google practices. We will help your site stay optimized in a world where optimization is changing. Ask WebSubstance for professional development advice and consulting to keep your web properties and your brands competitive in a dynamic online business world.

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2016 Trends in Local SEO

These days, quite a number of companies are getting serious about developing a local web footprint.

The idea is that businesses exist in communities, and that they should market directly to their communities, online as well as in a bricks and mortar space. Here are some of the trends we've seen in 2015, and more that we can expect to continue with local SEO in 2016 and beyond.

Using Local Identifiers: Putting Yourself on the Map

One of the major trends in local SEO and web design is the addition of local branding and contact information to not just the contact page, but to as many pages as possible. To understand how this works, think about a big corporate website where you can't find any local phone numbers, addresses or leadership names. You may have just a simple contact form, or a global phone number located in some other country. It makes you feel like no one can reach the company, that it only exists in a vague Internet nether-world.

Local identifying is the opposite of that. Companies work hard to get a local phone number and address on every single page, or on the majority of pages, with specialized object designs. They try to promote visibility of local information across the web site, so that whether people are at the desktop or on a smartphone, they can figure out exactly where the business is and how to reach it.

Local Tagging and SEO Factors

Businesses are also putting much more geo-specific information into titles, headers, URLs, and content. A lot of times, this will consist of a city or region descriptor, but it can also include other labels for nearby towns or parts of a metro area.

In some ways, geo-specific tagging has taken the place of dubious methods like keyword stuffing, where marketers really tried to get a barrage of random keywords into pages based on what they got from Google analytics or some other source. Local SEO factoring is keyword-intensive and labor-intensive, but it's not unethical or intrusive, unless it affects the quality of the content on the page, or it's done excessively throughout the site.

Local Partnering

Companies are also taking a local approach to link building. They're allowing local people to guest post or co-author a post. They're citing local businesses when they include hyperlinks in a page.

All of this takes the local business principle further. In a way, by constructing these tighter relationships, companies are reinventing the age-old “Main Street” business idea in a digital space. In the old days, you had physical stores next to each other in a commercial district, and customers accessed them collectively (they walked from one to another). In a new local SEO environment, you have businesses that are, again, tied to one another directly, and more accessible in those specific ways.

All of these trends are likely for local SEO in 2016. Companies want to build from where they are in the community, and take the local approach first.

At WebSubstance, we've developed a strong reputation as a firm that helps client companies to do local SEO and apply these principles to their sites. Throughout the Northern Virginia community, we've helped to create that Main Street environment with targeted localized SEO programs, content marketing, and ongoing maintenance that, all together, makes a corporate web site shine, and ties it into the communities that it serves.

Here is a fun Local Search Expert Quiz: How Much Do You Know about Local SEO?

View Survey

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Are You In Control Of Your Web Project?


Are You In Control Of Your Web Project?

Before going forward with any kind of web site creation, expansion or renovation, businesses should always understand the details of a web design or web hosting contract. Without this kind of due diligence, planners can get some very unpleasant surprises along the way.

One of the biggest examples of this relates to the use of domains that provide Internet locations for web sites. Domains are the real estate of the Internet, and just like in physical real estate, there's a lot of value floating around individual domains, domain names and addresses.

The Hosting and Domain Name Agreement

In general, a company has a hosting contract for a web site which governs where the web site data is kept, and how it is uploaded for end-users. Then there's a separate contract for the domain name, for the “address” of the web site.

Companies can administrate these details in-house, or farm them out to a third party hosting or design service. But when a company loses control of these vital resources, headaches can happen.

Holding a Domain Name Hostage

One of the biggest problems for client companies comes up if they want to change the domain name or location of the site later in the process, or when they need to review their domain name. Many domain names have to be renewed an ongoing basis, or they will be lost. So when client companies go to check on domain name status, they may find that those domain names have been bought, not by their companies, but by the hosting company. And this is where things get tricky.

Some hosting companies actually have strings attached to their hosting and design agreements. They may not agree to release the domain name to the company, or to give the company access to manage it. This may lead to the loss of the domain name, and the client company may have to go shopping for another.

WebSubstance Policy

At WebSubstance, we feel that this kind of “hostage-taking” is really unprofessional and an improper relationship between the design and hosting firm and its clients. Instead of giving our clients extra work, we help them, by joint-managing the hosting and domain name policies. But we also leave the keys on the table for you -- at any time, our clients can take control of these agreements to switch them to other providers or do anything else that they want.

Here, you'll never have to worry about getting taken advantage of with a bait and switch contract or any other kinds of situations where you don't have full access to the domain name or project. This is a basic and essential part of any good contract between the design and hosting firm and client company, so when you're in the market for Web services, don't forget to check on how you'll have access to your domain name and other aspects of the project moving forward.

Contact us now for your next project!

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New Website for Accounting for Tech



Accounting for Tech provides accounting services and needed a professional and responsive website to replace their existing one.  The design was one of three themes from WS web solutions.  The site is editable by client, and has a contact form.  The layout of the content is clean and easy to read and downloadable documents are easy to find.  This new website will be a helpful tool to Accounting for Tech's clients.

Contact us today for any of the following services you may need:
•    Professional web development
•    Website design for mobile
•    Affordable SEO services
•    Creative graphic design services
•    Professional photography services
•    Web copywriting
•    Online shopping cart solutions

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