Recent blog posts - WebSubstance - Web Design and Search Engine Marketing - Page 2

Thought Leadership is Real

What do companies do nowadays to make their web sites stand out from others? What's the real “secret sauce” in web design?

Many business leaders are convinced that new forms of data visualization are the way forward. They believe in the power of flash animation and infographics.

It's true that the visuals and classy themes and overall graphic design layout make a difference -- but it's also a mistake to ignore the quality of content.

Those who read more deeply into what's happening in today's marketing world understand that there is a trend towards meaningful, investigative long-form content. With that in mind, companies that follow yesterday's playbook -- simply setting up a five-point website with landing page, about us, contact, products and services and a blog, may not be doing themselves any favors.

Adding Long-Form Thought Leadership Content to a Site

In addition to the above generic site layout, having long-form pieces and articles does a number of things.

First, it gives the core audience that real industry data that they crave. People want to read about real things on the Internet, not just surf through endless pages of fluff. Companies that reveal some industry secrets or explain confusing ideas to consumers can see their online and off-line traffic increase.

The long-form comment is also a key indicator that the site has something to offer. Even people who don't read resources like white papers, e-books or digital guides can note the inclusion of these items on the site, and make their judgments about the company's standing in its markets. In fact, some companies put news pieces behind pay or registration walls -- which may or may not be a great strategy for showing customers what they're about. Do you want your customers to read the long-form pieces – or are they just decorations?

Using Thought Leadership Content

In fact, the “wall” question is a good example of key decisions business leaders will have to make about this investment in thought leadership. In general, long-form content doesn't belong on the landing page -- so where does it go?

You can choose to sit your thought leadership pieces behind a pay wall or registration wall, or you could house them somewhere in a menu directly off of the landing page. You can also surround them with compelling photos and other visuals that keep web users engaged as they navigate your site.

All of this is part of what you might call a “Web 3.0” approach that moves a business from the 1990s and early 2000’s into the evolving virtual dynamism of today's digital marketing world. Ask WebSubstance about how to really upgrade your site for today’s audiences and position you as a thought leader in your target market.

WebSubstance can help. We excel at offering companies the ability to create better and more interactive websites with pro photography, content management and other key services. Ask us about setting up one of these thought leadership websites, connecting it to social media, and ranking high on search engines.

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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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Is Bounce Rate Bothering You?

What is a bounce rate, and why should you worry about it?

The bounce rate is one of those very important metrics for your website performance. A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Google Analytics, a bounce is calculated when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without clicking to or visiting any other page. Bounce rate calculated as the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page.

So it is no-brainer, if you see a high bounce rate in your Analytics, you have reasons to be worried. It simply means visitors coming to your site are not taking any interest in your website, your business or your value prop. Usually a bounce rate higher than 30% is not good.

So you what can do? Let’s try to understand the possible reasons for a bounce. It can be one or combination of many in the following list

  • Website content is not well written or not clear enough to convey the business service or product, making it difficult for a new visitor to figure it out in a reasonable time.
  • Website design and navigation are not good enough for a visitor to stay interested in browsing the site.
  • You might have the best design and copy, but your site downloads quite slow; your visitor is impatient, and she or he will bounce.

Serious businesses always pay attention to lower the bounce rates. They want eyes on the page, not just page views. In fact, in many cases, time spent on the page has become more important than the raw number of page views that you get.

Let’s talk about the copy and content factor for the bounce rate.

Create Clean Text for Visitors, and Make It Make Sense!

Investing in quality text is one of the best ways to make sure people stay on your site to see what your business has to offer.

Breaking Down Text

Another key rule is to avoid the temptation to hammer web readers with long, dense paragraphs of text. Even if you have something technical or detailed to say, it's imperative to keep sentences and paragraphs short. It helps both ways, for human and search engines. You’ll get less bounce from human, and search engines will look at your site more favorably as they also prefer structured content.

Hide the Hook

Of course, it's also important to really have something to say to people. At the end of the day, you need to be reinforcing real ideas and concepts that appeal to your customers.

How can you take care of all these?

You don’t need to. Let WebSubstance take care of your bounce issue and website copy. We have extensive experience helping clients to get their messages heard on the web correctly and in an engaging way. Along with web2 standard design and UX, illustrations and high-quality photos, we provide complete copy services for your main business sites, blogs and social media. And that will have a great impact on your sites bounce rate. Ask WebSubstance about how our teams can make it easy for you to build or revise a web site that’s really inviting, not just a “wall of text.”

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Multi-Format Content Marketing for Local Business

Most local businesses now understand that they need a web site to reach out to customers. But when it comes to what to publish on the website, some companies are still confused.

There is a sort of generic setup that you could refer to as “Web 1.0” -- it's a landing page with a menu that includes a blog and some other critical links for core information about the business. Set up one of these, post pictures, and you're done.

However, increasingly, in the Web 2.0 era, this approach is not enough. Companies compete over the Internet for business -- so they know that customers want to see specific types of resources on the web. Welcome to the era of multi-format content.

Content in Many Forms

First, there are a number of types of information and digital assets that are important to customers.

Businesses can include case studies and testimonials, or other fact sheets or visualized data solutions to show their track record in an industry, how they approach a product or service, and what they can do to help someone who's researching a company online. All of this helps make that very important “elevator pitch” to each web visitor, and in many cases, keeps them on the site, helping out reducing bounce rate.

In leveraging these types of resources, the company has to think about format, as well as the grammar and presentation of the different pieces of text. Copy editing and graphic design are a big part of this process. Quality matters in web presentation, and everything has to be just so to get the best result.

Multimedia Strategy

Businesses are also realizing that their customers appreciate the company going beyond digital text into the realm of visual resources.

You might embed a YouTube video showing a virtual tour of a local business. You might set up infographics that show key information about a field or industry at a glance. Mobile apps and user friendly web forms are other parts of a “Web 2.0” approach -- a more diverse set of resources that lets people do much more through the Internet to interact with the business, rather than just reading long blocks of text.

However you slice it, by leveraging the power of multi-format content to drive traffic to its website, a company can generate interest and leads for its business.

WebSubstance can help. Our battery of digital strategists, designers and creative copy writers work as a team to deliver nothing but the best. Let us help your business with designing infographics, embedded videos, and other items to dress up your web site so that you go to Virginia market with confidence. We can consult on how to do this, and help you figure out what formats of content make the most sense for your company. Contact us now for your next project!

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Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses

Is your business using Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms? If not, you could be missing out. Social media marketing is a huge part of what companies are doing now to develop multi-channel digital campaigns.

Social media started with content sharing and building followers. In the last few years, a lot of e-commerce activity has moved from the search engines to specific social media platforms. That makes it important to reach out to people through these platforms, and have a business presence in order to compete. Much of this has emerged over just the last few years, as the combination of the social media platform and the mobile devices led so many consumers to do everything, from market research to actual check-outs, online. So, if you are in a service industry, or selling a product, or just simply want to engage audience with your web properties and digital assets, social is the new way to go.

Where To Go

When it comes to social media, Facebook possibly beats others. Mark Zuckerberg’s creation continues to outpace all other platforms and deliver massive results to companies in all sorts of industries. Twitter of course its own charms as a micro-blogging platform. And LinkedIn makes more sense for B2B professional services.

Local businesses should develop a Facebook company pages and create posts, links to blogs or otherwise market products and services. They can even launch audience targeted advertising in Facebook. Most of the best digital marketer these days are savvy about things like Facebook Pixel, a tracking technology, and Facebook Open Graph, which can integrate a business web site into the Facebook platform. That’s because Facebook marketing skills are so much in demand, as businesses move into this specific marketing environment.

Needs for Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing on platforms like Facebook isn't extremely complicated. Local businesses need to create the Facebook company pages, blogs and other digital assets. For paid campaigns, they can precisely target their target geographies and audience; Facebook allows multiple ways to target the prospects for a local business, by gender, age group, shopping behavior, income, etc.

WebSubstance helps firms with all aspects of social media marketing. Talk to our Facebook consultants to figure out what strategy you should take to set up ongoing Facebook campaigns. Plan a year-long campaign calendar, with both organic and paid PPC program and more.

As we are posting this article, this new research finding from Emarketer just came in.
https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Advertisers-Investing-More-Facebook-Natch/1015463

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Content Quality Matters - Investing in Original Marketing Materials

Take any market or industry, and go through the web looking at a collection of company web sites.

You’ll almost always find a wide spectrum of efforts -- while some companies will put a lot of value into their web footprints, others will not.

This online investment is a big part of what separates the most successful companies from competitors that tend to lose out in terms of market share. It's not just that these other successful companies are spending more money -- it's that they understand the power of online content.

Stocks, Generic and Syndicated Content

At too many companies, management teams just don't want to make the financial investment in original, personalized web content -- or they don't want to make the effort of engaging with contractors. So they have an easy out -- a web-design vendor might offer stock or syndicated content that's previously been written, and sits in a digital hopper. Companies can simply choose the pieces that they want for their blogs and newsletters.

Some of this takes the form of syndicated content -- the idea is kind of like syndication in the newspaper world. The company will have the same column, written by the same professional, that’s highlighted on some other company's website.

The Real Dangers of Generic Content

Although this might seem easy and appealing at first glance, it's a really bad way to go. There are several reasons for this.

First, in an age where we value organic marketing, generic content is one of the best ways to turn people off. Someone who clicks into a website and sees that it has the exact same content as another company's site immediately understands that nobody put time and effort into crafting a message showcasing the company's value. They’ll often assume that it’s because the company really doesn't have much value at all – or has some bad management.

With syndicated content, there's another issue -- where newspaper syndication is made to appear professional, a lot of syndicated web content is written with a personalized narrative approach -- it's written to look like it's original. So when you see it pop up somewhere else, it just looks like it was copied and pasted.

There is one more excellent reason to avoid the generic content track -- it's called Google.

As Google is streamlining and tweaking its algorithms for search ranking, it's putting emphasis on both quality and originality of content. The reason is it duplicate content puts off Google and it has hard time spotting the original source unless such content are coded properly to say the source (e.g. canonical tagging). And in most of the cases, it does not rank any of the sites involved and even can penalize them. It is rather wise to avoid such penalty and rather invest a reasonable amount in creating original content.

WebSubstance knows how to help companies invest in quality and originality. Along with all sorts of other accessories like photography, branding, designs and more, WebSubstance people understand why companies need well-written, original content on their sites. And the ROI from content marketing is huge.

So next time, you come across a generic content solution, think twice.

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Blogging: The Smart Way to Market Your Local Business

Local businesses are always challenged by the fundamental question -- which digital channels should I use to reach out to new customers?

There are a lot of different ways to structure a company's online footprint, but one of them that's become extremely popular is content blogging.

Think about it -- when people go online to look for products and services, they're investing their time, and they like to have content resources they can engage with. Rather than just clicking around on brightly colored buttons, they like to see real value propositions and creative ideas that can help them as they make complex decisions about what they're going to buy.

That's why companies are investing in high-quality content -- not just a little bit of marketing tinsel, but real, in-depth articles that look like what you'd find in a newspaper or magazine.

Where Do I Put My Content?

The problem is where to house all of this neat, creative content.

You don't really want to put it on landing pages or other functional parts of the site, because that's where web users are browsing or trying to buy.

You can't have it on Facebook or Twitter, because these are both short-form social media platforms which need short forms of messaging. But you can put it on a blog – and that blog is really part of a dedicated architecture. You can then use Facebook and Twitter (not to mention other platforms) to point back to the pieces that are on your blog, to give people those easy ways to connect with that great content you've written.

Blogs boost SEO and improve online visibility. Having a well-written blog with posts updated on a regular basis gives people something they can use as they’re shopping.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Institute a content blogging program, and you’ll likely see all of those important web marketing metrics start to crescendo. Click through rates, bounce rates and even PPC or paid search rates will go up as you get more organic interest in your site.

WebSubstance can help. Rather than having to write and post all of this content yourself, just rely on our professional teams, who have extensive content marketing expertise. We can help you come up with a blog plan and do the heavy lifting for you -- with WebSubstance, it's no muss, no fuss, effective content marketing. Get a blog plan in place, and make 2017 year that you dramatically improve your website for more visibility and more customer traffic.

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WebSubstance
21800 Town Center Plaza, #266A-281
Sterling, VA 20164
(703) 470-0808
Jenny Le - President
contact.info@WebSubstance.com