Website Development

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Are you in need of a content audit?

Content-AuditIn the age of information overload, there is no shortage of online content.  Be it good or bad, weak or strong, it’s everywhere.  You can easily see this on your own site, where you probably showcase a blog with regular posts, pages devoted to your products or services and copy supporting your brand or company identity.  This sheer amount of content can be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, Google could reward you with higher search rankings for the sheer amount of content.  On the other hand, you could be killing the user experience and seeing low conversions. With changing search algorithms and an increasing shift toward focus on user experience and content relevance over sheer quantity, the importance of providing content that is helpful, informative and appealing to the target audience will only grow more important as time passes.

A routine evaluation of your site’s content might be helpful to make sure your content meets this criteria, is current and of high quality.  In these cases, a content quality audit is necessary.

When performing a content audit, there are a few characteristics to look for to routinely evaluate its quality, and ultimately produce that of higher quality.

Audience

It is imperative to ensure universal application of an appealing tone that caters to the wants or needs of your audience.  If you shift back and forth between a whimsical and monotone presentation from one piece of copy to the next, this generally doesn’t sit well with the reader.  People want (and expect) consistency, and you need to be sure to deliver consistent messaging.  If you realize that what you’ve been pushing out lacks consistency, figure out exactly how you want to portray yourself to the targeted audience, and eliminate or revisit anything that strays from this.

Graphics

Photos or graphics of some kind are vital, as they not only enhance the overall user experience, but they also help with SEO when tagged accordingly. Graphics that you use should be interesting, add to the showcased copy and be appealing to the intended audience.  Sometimes a photo does the trick; other times it’s an infographic; other times it’s a diagram.  Whatever it is, be sure that it supports your copy and adds an extra little element of interest. If it doesn’t, you can swap it out for something better. If the content is weak based on other criteria, then you can (and should) just eliminate it.

Format

This is often one of the most overlooked aspects of content, but it is one of the most vital—especially in terms of user experience.  When reviewing your content, you want to ensure that it is visually appealing, while also being easy to follow. Content today is meant to be able to be scanned, not necessarily always digested.  Be sure that your content has regular headlines and subheads to guide the reader’s eyes.  If your current content doesn’t have these, the solution is easy – add them.  If the content misses the mark on the other criteria, then consider eliminating it altogether.

Once you get in the routine of maintaining a focus on these characteristics and consistently seek to push out interesting content, you will quickly find that the occasional content audit will becomes much less of an undertaking and can grow to be enjoyable.

Ready to take some steps toward better content?  If so, we encourage you to chat with the Holland team.  We can help generate compelling content that not only drives people to your site, but keeps them coming back.  From blogs to general site copy, let us be your content generation experts! For more information, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001, or email him at bholland@hollandadvertising.com.

Five Ways to Enhance Your Site’s User Experience

One of the most common focuses of design in the digital space has revolved around two words: user experience.  This seems quite fitting, as a website with which a viewer has a terrible or overexerting experience can prevent them from visiting in the future, add to high bounce rates and decrease page views.  No one wants that for themselves – or for potential clients.

But how do you combat user experience issues on your site? Start with these five tips.

Think clean.

Many fear white space.  The desire to get creative and fill what appears to be a void on the screen is normal, but that desire should be left largely unfulfilled. White space is the least assaulting to the senses, universally appealing and looks good on screens of any size. Additionally, white space makes the content on your site far more visible, and effectively modernizes your site, enhancing the overall user experience.

Make copy digestible.

Have you ever been to a site that consisted of paragraph upon paragraph of overbearing copy?  We all have.  And guess what – it’s not appealing to anyone.  A user gets online (and hopefully on your site) because they’re searching for something, and they want the answer to what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. To enhance user experience, present copy in digestible forms such as bullets, with headlines that appropriately guide them to where they want (and need) to be.

Maintain consistency.

Maintaining a consistent color palette should be a given, but what is often overlooked is the consistency of what many would consider the minutia of the site –the tone of the copy, the typeface, the style of photos (stock or originals), etc.  Though it is often difficult to implement this universally, keeping consistency at the forefront of the design and copy approach will make for an enhanced user experience.

Optimize for mobile.

As we mentioned in our previous blog about the importance of designing with mobile in mind, the majority of users are relying on some sort of mobile device to retrieve information online.  This presents both an opportunity and a potential obstacle.  If someone is constantly required to stretch the screen to make sense of the site’s contents, it makes for a fairly poor user experience, and one that could negatively impact the likelihood that they will return.  Designing a responsive site with mobile in mind fixes this problem.

Seek help.

Need some additional guidance on how to gently guide your site into one with optimized user experience in mind?  We can help.  Holland Advertising : Interactive is a functionally-integrated marketing agency, meaning that we have all of the resources at our fingertips to help with any of your marketing pain points.  From the generation of a strategic ROI-based marketing strategy to complete web design, we can help ease your woes.

For more information, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001, or email him at bholland@hollandadvertising.com.

Mobile: It’s No Longer a Luxury

It’s no secret that people are growing increasingly reliant on their mobile devices. Ok, let’s be honest- they aren’t just growing reliant. They are reliant. To illustrate this point, consider your own habits. How often do you visit a company’s website before doing business with them? Does the company’s site play into your decision-making process? By asking yourself these questions, you’ll quickly realize that mobile is more important to your day-to-day activities than you probably even realized.

Now apply that on a much more broad scale. The average consumer has habits similar to yours. Thus, it is imperative that your site be responsive, transitioning seamlessly from desktop to mobile to cater to these consumer trends.

So, exactly how can a responsive site and an overall more pleasant mobile experience influence how your company is perceived in the marketplace?

Brand Loyalty

Site design plays a tremendous part in the way consumers see your brand, and the way consumers see your brand directly impacts whether or not they’ll do business with you. Consumers want it to at least appear as though the design and the overall experience you provide them via the site aren’t merely an afterthought. And this needs to be reflected in the way your site transitions from desktop to mobile.

People also tend to like your company a bit more if your website is responsive, and optimized for the mobile experience. If a potential customer is viewing a non-responsive site on a mobile phone, chances are very good that it will be difficult to read and digest. Their view of your brand or company could potentially be skewed based purely on the required effort, which results in missed opportunities.

Engagement/ Metrics

Think about the last time you were trying to visit a site on your mobile device that wasn’t mobile friendly. How long did you stay on the site, trying to adjust the screen size, zooming in to read the text and click on the appropriate links? If you’re like the majority of consumers, then chances are very good that you didn’t stay on the site for too long.

This is often the case with sites that are not responsive, and meant to be viewed purely on desktop. People stay on the sites for a shorter period of time, negatively influencing bounce rate and other powerful metrics. Even beyond the scope of metrics, this limited activity negatively impacts your company’s bottom-line results, conversions included.

More Conversions

When a purely desktop site is viewed on a smaller screen, the call-to-action (CTA) can get easily overlooked. Making your mobile-friendly includes simplifying your CTA. This means breaking down content into digestible chunks, and frequently involves eliminating a substantial amount of copy that distracts from the call to action or overall user experience.

Non-responsive sites assume that the person is viewing from a larger screen, so the design of the site and the CTA relative to this design will reflect that preference. By “mobilizing” your site and making it responsive, you will make your CTA far more visible and increase the likelihood of a conversion (or 100) taking place.

If you have questions about or are ready to take the next steps toward mobile-friendly design, we can help! At Holland, we not only design responsive websites, but we have an deep resume highlighting years of experience handling marketing initiatives from media planning to strategy. So let’s talk! Contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001, or email him at bholland@hollandadvertising.com.

SEO and the Implications of Duplicate Content

A few weeks ago, we wrote about reasons sites fall in search rankings with the intention of addressing the most common culprits. Upon discovering recently that we overlooked one, we decided to take the time to expand upon another common reason a website could see its rankings taking a downward turn.

The issue at hand: duplicate content.

Duplicate content is largely an issue because of individuals or sites that use the copy-and-paste method for building content, in hopes of doing nothing more than generating more site traffic. While this is typically the exception and not the norm, it happens, and the brains behind the search engine algorithms are acutely aware.

Malicious or not, if your site reuses information or makes the same information available in multiple places, search engines get a little concerned. The algorithms employed by these search engines can’t decipher which page or information source should be displayed, so they either avoid displaying them or knock them down a bit due to competition.

It all seems pretty easy to comprehend and avoid, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than it appears if taken only at face value, as the presence and source of this duplicate content often goes overlooked.  Luckily, there are some measures you can take to ensure your site is not unintentionally reusing content. The most common are:

  • Consolidating multiple pages that are similar or contain a lot of the same information into a single page.
  • Avoiding recycled boilerplate copy by making small tweaks in the wording or structure so that it isn’t always identical.
  • Including links back to the original article or content if used on other pages to keep Google from having to figure out which is the original source of the information.
  • Eliminating “printer-friendly” versions of pages that contain the same content.

There are times when there is no way to avoid site content being displayed across multiple URLs.  When this occurs, edits can be made on the backend to make sure that traffic is being directed accordingly and your site is not penalized. The easiest methods for addressing these issues are:

  • Rel=”canonical” – this tag allows search engines to crawl the URLs, but indicates that the pages or contents are duplicate.
  • 301 Redirect – this allows you to reroute the page with the duplicate copy to the original page.

Those concerned about the ramifications of duplicate content rarely make the mistakes knowingly or with malicious intent, but mistakes are made. Armed with the knowledge to successfully combat these issues, you can now deftly maneuver around these obstacles without feeling the sting.

If you have questions about your website, or simply would like to consider a more proactive SEO approach, we can help! Holland Advertising: Interactive consistently brings their creative expertise to the realm of marketing, with strategic planning and experienced execution. For more information, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

6 Easy Ways to Increase Your Email Click-Through Rate

Email marketing is often one of the most efficient ways for companies of every size to connect with both existing and prospective clients. Through email campaigns, companies can reach a large number of people with minimal investment, while properly monitoring results and modifying future content accordingly.

Marketers frequently rely on the click-through rate (CTR) as an indicator of the success of these emails. Click-through rate measures the engagement of those who open the email, specifically the number of clicks on the links when compared to the number of people who received the email. The lower the click-through rate, the less effective the email is perceived to be; and similarly, with an increase in CTR, an email is considered more successful.

If you would like to see an increase in email engagement, here are six surefire ways to increase click-through rate.

1. Focus on creating an attention-grabbing subject line.

While the subject line of an email does not directly impact your click-through rate, it does influence the likelihood of people actually opening the email. Without the intended audience opening the emails, click-through rate becomes irrelevant. Goal number one should be to grab a reader’s attention with a catchy subject line so that they will want to open the email. Focus on getting them to open the email, and then worry about the email content.

2. Keep copy to a minimum.

Various studies have been conducted on the correlation between the number of words in an email and the click-through rate. The unanimous conclusion was that with an increase in words and copy, there was a decrease in clicks on embedded links or content. Often, companies choose to include too much information in the body of the email, distracting from the ultimate call-to-action. Cut down to the copy essentials, all of which should be centered around or support your call to action.

3. Make the layout visually compelling.

Just as it is vital to make the email content interesting, it is also vital to make the email graphically interesting. If someone opens an email only to be greeted by an overwhelming amount of blank space or boring copy presentation, it is likely that they will hit the “delete” button before doing so much as skimming the content. Breaking up content and making it visually appealing is great way to initially engage, and maintain the reader’s attention throughout.

4. Include links throughout.

Many opt to include the link to a given landing page only once, twice at maximum. What is increasingly useful is cleverly weaving the link throughout the body of the email multiple times. People are easily distracted, so doing this serves as a gentle reminder to the reader what he or she is “supposed to do” based on the email contents.

5. Include media to engage.

It is important to break up the copy with other interesting, visually stimulating content, such as photos, video, etc. At times, this content can stand alone, and can even include the majority of information that would otherwise be designated for the email body. Incorporating this kind of media can often be a great way to engage readers and display information in a more stimulating fashion, while eliminating the need for extra copy.

6. Make your call to action clear.

The call to action should be the focus of the email, as well as the idea around which the copy and contents are formed. The goal of the email should revolve around what you want the reader to ultimately do—visit a landing page, request more information, etc. By keeping this as the focus of your email, you will be more likely to elicit a response and increase your email click-through rate.

If your company is struggling with a low CTR, Holland Advertising: Interactive is here to help. Together, we can work to tailor your messaging to more effectively reach your target audience, and ultimately see higher conversions. For more information, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Why Should Your Business Invest in SEO?

Search-Engine-OptimizationWith the rise of search engine capabilities and almost universal access to the Internet, it comes as no surprise that people are relying on these tools to seek out specific products and services.  Specifically, they tend to place the majority of weight on the results yielded by search engines after a simple search consisting of only a few words.  And where your company ranks within these results matters.

The higher your company’s site ranks on the results page after a search, the more likely the searcher is to visit your site and ultimately, the more likely they are to convert.  Link clicks and site visits yield conversions.  It makes sense, right?

Yet clients continue to question how they could benefit from Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Here, we’ll address the three most common arguments that arise when having the conversation about SEO.

Argument 1: It’s not a worthy investment of my company’s time or money.

Rebuttal: Organic searches are the cheapest way to attract visitors to your site and see the greatest ROI over time than other forms of traditional marketing.

Argument 2: Our site is already ranking without SEO. 

Rebuttal: SEO will help your company maintain and even improve your position as new businesses enter your company’s niche.  This is vital to maintaining your competitive edge within your given industry.

Argument 3: I’ll think about it later.

Rebuttal: Other businesses—competitors—are thinking about it and implementing it now.  They will soon use SEO to their advantage and more than likely surpass you in certain areas, including sales and conversions due to SEO’s overall impact.

The moral of the story is simple – don’t get left behind.  Don’t let your competition outmaneuver you with their enhanced marketing tactics.  Let us help!

If you would like to learn more about what SEO has to offer your business, as well as gain more industry insight, we’d love to help. Holland’s experienced team takes a focused approach to marketing, injecting smart strategy and fresh ideas into each of its clients’ marketing plans.  For more information about how Holland can help your business see greater marketing ROI, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Tips to Successfully Increase Website Conversion

Some businesses don’t have the issue of insufficient website traffic, but the Achilles heel of the site and the company’s subpar performance is the lack of successful conversions from that traffic.  If people are coming to your site, but doing nothing beyond being merely a spectator or glorified window shopper, then what’s the point – unless the goal of your website is purely superficial education.

So how do you determine if there truly is an issue with your website’s conversion – or lack thereof?

First, you need to define what “conversion” looks like for your business. This could be as simple as someone submitting an email address to receive quarterly newsletters or updates, or it could be securing a purchase or sale on your e-commerce site.  This would ultimately be the metric that you use to set measurable goals – typically somewhere between 2 and 3 percent conversions – and monitor regularly. If you aren’t hitting the 2-3 percent goal, you may have an issue.  The good news is that in most cases lack of conversion is the result of a few key elements, and can be remedied.

Make the Opportunity Clear.

Oftentimes, the specific call to action that leads to measurable conversion is hidden behind clunky, outdated, labyrinth-like navigation or an overwhelming amount of words.  Simplify your call to action so that the viewer doesn’t have to think about next steps.  Making your call to action transparent from first glance will help eliminate any overthinking and make it less likely that the visitor leave before successfully converting.

Evaluate the Design or Presentation.

Oftentimes the opportunity for conversion gets hidden because of a lack of user friendly or intuitive design.  Such flaws in design can lead to difficulty finding your site’s specific call to action.  You can simplify by adding a button on each page giving the visitor the option and consistently reminding them to take action.

Make Yourself, Your Company or Your Offer More Valuable.

One of the most common reasons sites don’t see the conversion rates they desire is because, quite frankly, the offer just isn’t appealing.  You have to think of a conversion as a trade.  The individual is providing information in return something that your company is providing, and if what you’re providing isn’t appealing, then the trade won’t happen because it will be deemed “unworthy.”  Reevaluate your offer.  Send out a survey or ask for input about what is appealing or not about the offer. Increase the appeal, and see higher conversions. It’s that easy.

Realign With Your Audience.

Many companies are simply targeting the incorrect demographic, with unrealistic expectations.  The fact that Millennials are a growing percentage of the universal consumer base does not mean you will see adequate interest or conversions from them on websites that typically have an older following.  Attempting to reach different demographics can be a good thing, but don’t focus all of your marketing efforts on an exhaustingly unreachable demographic for your specific company.  Honing in on those likely to convert will help you see higher rates.

Get Help.

If your company is struggling with seeing adequate conversions from website traffic, or simply just isn’t seeing the website traffic it should be, we can help.  At Holland Advertising: Interactive, we take a holistic approach to marketing, seeking to uncover the issues at hand and provide solid plans to produce measurable results.  For more information about how Holland can help your business better align with its audience, meet sales goals and increase conversions, contact Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Do YOU Speak SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just a buzz phrase, it’s an absolute necessity. A few of our smaller to mid-size clients are still a bit resistant to optimizing their site and we know why.

They don’t speak SEO.

It’s that simple. Just when they prepare to optimize their site they talk to a vendor, customer, competitor, or somebody who purports to be the expert and bam – they want to wait. They get confused by the jargon and may think one or more of the following erroneous thoughts:

  1. I’m a small local business. I don’t need to optimize because prospects will find me and solicit my business based on geography.
  2. I’m doing a great job with word of mouth, and my clients are mostly referrals.
  3. My company doesn’t do any e-commerce, so why should I drive business to my site?
  4. My company name is my web address, and my product is my company name. Won’t that drive business to my site?
  5. My website was built in a CMS that automatically optimizes my content.
  6. I’m on Facebook – doesn’t that help my rankings?
  7. We’ve already spent money on our website, we shouldn’t need spend MORE on SEO!

SEO is a process, and if you have a website, you need to optimize. We’ve seen it happen over and over – we build a great website loaded with shareable content, that is user-friendly, welcoming to visitors AND it’s optimized for internet search and the rankings increase. When this happens overall interest in the company’s services and products increases, too. It’s a good thing for everyone – our clients, their customers, their bottom line AND us!

YET, all too often our customers want to continue to invest in traditional media and delay updating and optimizing their site. Here are some of the basic terms and functions of SEO. When you speak SEO, you can better understand the need for an optimized site and better content.

Keyword – this is more or less the holy grail of searches. It’s the word or words a prospect (or client) would use when trying to find your good or service. Your keyword should be reflected in the copy on the page with a density of about 5%. For example, if you are a dentist that specializes in cosmetic dentistry in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, your keywords would like likely be dentist Columbus Ohio or cosmetic dentistry Columbus Ohio. If you are an online wholesaler for the specialty baking industry, your keywords would likely be bulk flour, bread flour, or gluten free flour. If you want to attract even more surfers for some of your more popular items, you may want to add bulk almond flour, bulk pastry flour, etc.

You want your keyword reflected in the following places on your website:

URL – your web address.
Title tag – what a viewer sees at the top of the page that describes the content of the page.
Heading tags – the boldest, most prevalent line of copy on the page. They are coded with the abbreviation H1 & H2. Generally this is the headline and subhead on the page, and both should include the keywords for that page.
Alt image tags – like H1 & H2’s your alt image tags are coded with the keywords for the page.

The rules for the keywords and where and how to use them hasn’t changed much over the last few years. They are still important elements to improving search, but the importance of fresh long-form content on both your webpages and a frequently-updated blog has been growing. Information-heavy content that is well written and includes your keywords has been growing steadily in importance as it affects your rankings. The obvious advantage of having all this content on your site is that it encourages visitors to stay and look around, read information and get excited about your brand. The more clear, relevant content you have, the more likely your visitors will stay and look around your website.

The benefit of having a great blog with relevant content is it encourages sharing, and having another company in your business segment link your blog can greatly increase your rankings. In some cases, this is easy to achieve – you share another company’s blog, it will increase the chances that they will share your blog. Updating this content regularly increases your Google rankings because Google is constantly looking for fresh content.

Your site also has to be responsive to mobile surfers. It’s a fact that more websites are accessed via mobile devices that via laptops. To you this means your site needs to address the needs of surfers on the go. This may mean having a dedicated mobile site that only hits the important features of your product or service as it relates to a mobile user. Using the click to call feature is a MUST, as is having actionable information easily accessible such as coupons, offers, hours of operation, etc., AND a site that loads quickly – in just a second or two. This also helps your local rankings, as people that access your site via a mobile device are also using location services that will reinforce your local presence.

Once you optimize for your prospects, customers and Google, you’ll quickly notice an increase of unique visitors to you site. Be ready! Make sure that you have an appropriate, fast response to requests for additional information, and that your site is true to your brand message.

It’s never too early to optimize, but it can be too late! If you have numerous competitors who are “doing it right” when it comes to SEO, you may find that they have built a following. If that is the case, you need to get busy, yesterday.

Get FREE SEO help? Call Holland today.

We’re offering a FREE website consultation that includes a keyword ranking report that shows how well your keywords are ranked on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. We can help improve your website and your SEO language skills to help take your business to the next level. Ring in the New Year with an updated, optimized website. Email Bholland@HollandAdvertising.com or call Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Go Mobile

Mobile Marketing IS Surpassing Desktop For Engaging Prospects!
Isn’t It Time You Took YOUR Marketing Mobile?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that nearly everyone has a mobile device. In fact, by the end of 2014 there will be more mobile-connected devices on earth than people – making mobile marketing statistics hard to ignore. Since a large percentage of web surfers are using their mobile device to check their email, social media (facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and shop, it’s changing the way marketers are looking at mobile marketing.

Yes, with mobile advertising you can entice shoppers with coupons and offers while they are in (or near) your store, use in-game and app-based marketing, or if they’ve opted in you can send SMS messages directly to their phone – there are many different ways to reach your prospects.

In 2013, Google AdWords expanded to allow you to manage your AdWords across different devices, rather than having multiple campaigns. This was a direct response to the increasing number of mobile users, as well as the concern that mobile marketing was missing out on engaging those users. Google also increased mobile extensions by offering features such as Click-to-Call, Click-to-Download, Local Ad Extensions and Mobile Site Links. All of these are designed to maximize conversions for your target keywords. If you are currently using AdWords, the shift to mobile is seamless, and can immediately increase visits to your site, calls, and (hopefully!) conversions.

Google aside, there are other important factors that you need to consider with mobile marketing. More and more mobile users are reading their email on their mobile device. Open rates on emails on mobile devices were 48% last year, according to MarketingLand.com, so it’s more than safe to assume they have already surpassed desktop opens for the 2014. What that means is your email campaign must have a responsive design so it is easily readable on a tablet or a smartphone. An effective email campaign can greatly increase your mobile marketing efforts.

Mobile marketing also encompasses social media – another major player in an effective marketing campaign. Everything you tweet, post, etc., is also accessible via mobile device, and it is imperative that it follows your brand standards and marketing initiatives. Mobile users are viewing these messages at an increasing rate and connecting and sharing them with others, too.

One of the most compelling arguments for going mobile as quickly and effectively as possible is the effect and influence of mobile on Generation Y, the holy grail of most marketers. Their use, or should we say attachment to, their mobile devices has become second nature. According to Mashable, Generation Y is using their smartphones for nearly everything, and they find it difficult to function without constant checking for updates, emails, etc. Read the article to find out more.

Get busy with your mobile marketing, and you’ll reap the rewards. Get help from Holland. We can plan a mobile marketing strategy that can generate new customers, leads, referrals, and best of all, loyal customers that love your brand. Visit HollandAdvertising.com or call Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001.

Is SEO For YOU?

Are You Happy With Your Website’s Google Rankings?
If Your Answer is No, Then You Need To OPTIMIZE!

With a shiny new website, it’s easy to think, “If we build it, they will come.” Not true. In fact, unless a customer knows your EXACT web address, without optimization chances are they won’t find you at all. Everyone has heard the terms keywords and optimization, but after years of interaction with clients (old and new) we find that many have little idea about the benefits of SEO.

What IS SEO?

SEO is a process in which we take your website and by using keywords within the copy and meta tags, alt tags and page titles, (found in the HTML source codes of the site) help increase your rankings in search engine (such as Google, Yahoo and Bing) results. The higher the ranking, the more likely it is that your potential customers will find you when they search for the terms within your site.

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