Designing a Website to Make Conversions

By | Web Design | No Comments

The majority of people are relatively impatient when it comes to the internet. If a website does not load in a timely manner (2-3 seconds), the viewer usually leaves and looks for another similar website that does. This is important to keep in mind when designing a website. Another important thing to keep in mind is making sure that you do not lose sight of your objective.

If you have a website and you are trying to sell something, you want all emphasis on the site put on buying your product(s). A “Buy Now” or “Shop/Store” button should be immediately visible and it should grab the viewer’s attention. It might also be a good idea to make your product(s) the first thing people see upon loading your website.

There are three rules you should follow strictly that will help ensure that visitors on your site will do what you want them to do:

  1. Have fast page load times
  2. Minimize the number of clicks as much as possible
  3. Make important buttons and links immediately available

If you can’t get your website’s pages to load in less than 2 seconds, then the great majority of your site’s visitors will leave and find a site that will. For this reason, you should keep your website’s pages as small as you reasonably can. All of your images should fit in a 1080×1080 pixel square unless you have a very specific reason for having an extremely large image. If you are using WordPress or another content management system (CMS) and your pages are loading slowly, consider getting a caching plugin or app that will help minimize load times.

All of your important pages should be one click away from the homepage. If you have a store, a ‘Buy Now’ button should be immediately visible. It is okay, in fact it is even encouraged to have a link to your store page in multiple places. If it is on your navigation menu (it really should be), it should be a different color that separates it from the other links on the menu to make it stand out. Your store site’s most important products should also be displayed on the homepage. The store page itself should be extremely simple. The thing(s) that your site’s visitors will want to buy should be immediately visible. A potential customer should be able to get to a product’s information in no more than two clicks after loading the homepage; One to get to the store page, and one to get to the product. The checkout page should be especially kept as simple as possible (to prevent cart abandonment). On store sites that I design, I set it up so the customer creates an account on the same page he/she puts his/her card information. I set it up so that the email is the username and he/she only has to create a password. Upon purchasing an item on the site, the customer is automatically logged in. This isn’t uncommon or revolutionary and many store sites do this, but this is an example of how your checkout should be fast and seamless in order to minimize cart abandonment. If you have a blog site, your individual blog posts should likewise be no more than two clicks away. Just remember that website viewers are most often impatient.

I touched on this above, but I really want to emphasize my point. Too often to I see websites that feel like a maze of information that I don’t care about that I have to search through to find what I need, or the button I want to click to get to what I need. Most people don’t read the large paragraphs shown to them on websites they visit. Keep the most important stuff at the top or towards the top of the page. In fact, if something doesn’t really need to be there, don’t put it there at all because it will just make the page take longer to load. This is especially important on mobile devices. As time goes on, more and more website visits are coming from mobile devices. You should disable many sections that you would normally have on computer screens for mobile devices. These include large bodies of text, animated displays and pretty much anything made for a large screen that won’t fit or just won’t look good on a phone. If you do not disable these things on mobile devices (using CSS media queries by the way), they will just be annoying things that visitors will have to scroll through that will increase your page’s load time. You may want to also disable certain images. You should be able to determine if something doesn’t look good on a phone and whether or not you should disable it for mobile. Overall, important buttons and links should be relatively big and obvious without being obnoxious. They should also be at the top of your page. The first section of the homepage that people see immediately after loading your site is the most valuable section of your entire website. It is the perfect place to put important things that people can immediately click on without scrolling. This being said, you still want to make sure this section (most commonly called the ‘hero’ section) looks nice because you still want to leave a good first impression of your website.

These are important tips that will minimize site abandonment and should help guide your site’s visitors to the pages you want them to see. Most importantly, they will get your visitors to click what you want them to click, and read what you want them to read.

7 Helpful Web Design Tips that will make your Website Pop

By | Web Design | 13 Comments

It is 2017 and the need to have a modern looking website has never been higher. As time progresses and internet speeds get faster, the patience of the average viewer decreases drastically. Websites that don’t grab the viewer’s attention in 2 seconds will leave a negative first impression. Too many websites have overly complicated (and expensive) features and confusing elements that sacrifice load time and end up less appealing to viewers. Included in this article are some useful (and very simple) tips that will help make your website stand out.

1. Make good use of fonts

The great majority of content on most websites is the text. This makes your font choice very important. Generally speaking, it should not be fancy. Avoid using fonts that look overly fancy or may be hard to read. It is important to know the difference between “serif” and “non-serif” fonts:

Non-Serif Font                Serif-Font

2. Avoid large paragraphs

As I stated at the beginning of this article, website viewers are impatient. As a web developer and designer, I am even impatient. I can’t even begin to tell how many clients have given me text-heavy content that I have never even read. I just copy and paste it, try to make it look as appealing as possible and break it up where I can. That being said, it is important to make sure that the text on your website is broken up properly. Some exceptions to this rule include legal documents and blog articles. Legal documents HAVE to be somewhat wordy and it is implied that when a viewer views an article that not only is it going to be content heavy, that also he/she intends to read it anyway.

3. Remember the 2 second rule

The 2 second rule is a good rule of thumb. It starts the instant that a viewer begins loading your webpage. If your website is not loaded in less than 2 seconds, there is a problem. When your page is loaded and it does not immediately leave a good impression, there is a problem. You know the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Well unfortunately most people do, so it is important that your “cover” is very visually appealing. A very popular approach is to have a landing image that covers the whole page with a short caption. Basically, this means the first thing the viewer sees upon viewing a website is an image covering the whole page with about three words in the middle of the screen. Another approach is having a rotating slider. This uses the same concept of covering the whole page, but has rotating images and captions (slightly more complicated). A good example of this is on the homepage of this website, which I designed (innervoicegroup.com). The landing section (what the viewer sees when they first view your website) should be like the cover of a book. It doesn’t necessarily need to have a background image, but it should be very simple. It should also explain what the person is viewing in less than 2 seconds (AKA the title and a subtitle). Just remember that the first impression your website makes will impact how all of your viewers feel about the rest of your website, and also may decide whether they even look at the rest of your site. If you are using WordPress, keep in mind that WordPress sites do tend to take longer to load than non-WordPress sites.

4. Don’t use black or white

Nothing is more boring than black text on a white background. When I think of black text on a white background, I think of boring legal documents and homework assignments. These are not associations you want made with your website. This doesn’t mean you have to make your website overly colorful either, in fact that is also discouraged. Instead of using white, use a very light gray. Instead of using black, use a dark gray. If you look closely, you will notice that you will not see the colors white or black anywhere on this page (not even the footer, it’s off-white).

5. Make good use of padding

It is very important to make sure that content on your page is spaced out correctly. Content that is too crammed is hard to follow and is not visually appealing. Paragraphs with lines that are too long appear larger and viewers are less likely to read them. On the other hand, you don’t want too much padding. You typically want about 2 inches between elements on a page, but keep in mind that this number is flexible.

6. Keep your site interactive

You can better control what viewers do on your website when you give them something to do. For example, when content fades in on the page when a viewer scrolls is not only more visually appealing, but gives the viewer the impression that they made the website move. This makes the viewer more likely to continue scrolling down the page. Having elements that change when hovered over, even if it is as simple as the background color slightly changing color, make the viewer more likely to read the content or click button links. When you give a viewer the impression that they have control of the page, you have control of what the viewer will do. Make buttons larger and use fading transitions when hovered over. Make good use of parallax backgrounds. Also remember not to go overboard with this kind of thing. It is better to have a simple webpage with no interactive features than an overly complicated webpage. If you are not making interactive elements yourself, they will be expensive to have someone else do them. Keep in mind that WordPress themes in the $60 range usually have these features built in to them.

7. Keep it simple

Ultimately, you want people to view your website and accomplish one thing. If you have a store site, you want people to buy something. If you have an informational site, you want people to read/learn something. If you have a blog, you want people to read your posts and give feedback. Whatever your objective is, make sure that viewers know what to do as soon as they visit your website. Having too many variables will distract viewers from doing what you want. For example, on store sites the “Buy Now” page wherever it may be, is the most important page on the site. Make sure that everything on your website directs viewers into accomplishing your objective. Try to minimize the size of your navigation menu. Don’t put content on a page unless it will somehow help you get viewers to accomplish your objective.

Following these simple rules will help you to keep your website in the loop with the rest of the internet. However, you should keep in mind that all rules are meant to be broken (as far as web design goes). As you become more experienced you will be able to gauge when you should break them. If for whatever reason you feel like you need black text on white background, do so at your own risk. Hopefully this article will prove helpful to those learning the ropes of web design.

The Importance of having an Online Presence in 2017

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The year is now 2017. As businesses, corporations and other organizations continue to evolve to the ever changing environment they inhabit, it is important to keep in mind that marketing strategies also continue to evolve.

Twenty years ago, a business could rely more on ‘word of mouth’ to get his or her business the attention required. In today’s climate with the presence of the internet, the included social media and other online information outlets, if you only rely on word of mouth you are going to get stuck in the mud. Today, you have to assume that your competitors will be utilizing the latest marketing methods and strategies and they will steal your potential clients without matching them.

Social media used to be a place for people to connect and share thoughts, feelings and pieces of their life with friends and family. For a business, it is a tool. Used and managed correctly, one could get his or her business the attention that would never have been possible with word of mouth or traditional marketing methods.

It is also important to keep in mind that people often search a business online to find out more about what they do. Having a website is also a useful tool that allows you to showcase your business where it can be seen from anywhere in the world. That is the power of the internet.

Businesses that do not implement online marketing strategies into their business models will find it more and more of a struggle to keep up with competitors as time goes on and people transition more and more to the web. It is important to take advantage of these new tools that are available to every business across the globe.

marketing, seo, email, tablet

Why Your Company Needed an Inbound Marketing Strategy, Yesterday

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Back before things like social media and websites existed, the approach to business promotion was far different than the tactics used today. Cold-calling, billboards, radio and television ads, and spammy snail mail were all the rage, and all involved reaching out to possible consumers. This strategy may have worked decades ago, but research has found it both costly and ineffective for today’s industry. NewsCred research states that 86% of people now skip television commercials and 44% of direct mail is thrown away and never opened. It all comes down to this – people want to be in control of the content that they receive.

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So where does inbound marketing fit into the strategy that works for today’s consumers? Inbound marketing switches focus from the marketer to the customer, giving the customer full control of the content they interact with. Rather than going out to retrieve these interactions, you create trust and engagement to your customer base through attention-grabbing and customized content. You aren’t fishing for customers anymore; they’re finding you on their own terms and interacting with your company. Research from Digital Marketing Pro states that businesses can generate leads through inbound marketing with just 1/3 of the cost of traditional outbound marketing. 78% of consumers believe that companies that provide custom content are interested in building a good relationship with them. [1] Instead of frustrating customers with ads, offer valued content and education of your product.

 

So where does your strategy for inbound marketing start? There are quite a few avenues, but the 4 main options include social media, blogging, SEO, and emails/newsletters. Your strategy will depend on the company or product you promote, but let’s dive into each strategy and how they can improve your business approach.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

There are a variety of social media outlets – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat to name a few. With a smaller business, it’s unlikely that you’ll have time to manage multiple accounts unless you have a social marketing team. Outsourcing is a cost-effective option, but if you can’t fit this into your budget pick one or two that work with the kind of content you promote and go from there. According to a 2015 study from Digital Marketing Magazine, a jaw-dropping 74% of consumers look to social media before they make a purchase decision. So a little engagement can go a long way!

 

BLOGGING

Did you know companies with an active blog produce 97% more leads? [2] You can use blog posts to educate users and ‘shape’ their opinion of your company. The more custom content you create, the more your readers will view your company as an authority in that subject, leading to more trust and in the long run, more sales.

 

SEO

You want your company to be easily found online. If you have great content and imagery but no one’s seeing it, all your hard work will be in vain. Effective SEO can significantly boost traffic and ROI, all-the-while increasing brand awareness and trust. While cold-calling may still be effective for you business, it costs 61% more than generating leads through an inbound strategy like SEO. [3]

 

EMAILS / NEWSLETTERS

Building your email list may take a while when it’s coming from your website or blog, but at least you know they’re dedicated customers who are genuinely interested in your business and success. Easily keep them informed on any updates, and send them coupons to drive in-store and online sales. They feel like they’re a part of the company.

 

When it comes to success through marketing, the internet has leveled the playing field. Even business with a smaller margin of profit or just in the process of starting-up can promote online with very little spending. Inbound marketing is here to stay, and it’s important to adopt this strategy as a key part of your business plan. Not sure where to start on your road to online success? Contact InnerVoice Group today for a custom quote and information on the best avenue for you business to take, whether that’s through social media, content creation, SEO or emails.

 

  1. The Content Council, 2011.
  2. Content+, 2013 report.
  3. TitanSEO, The Top 5 Benefits of SEO.

Hidden Holiday Revenue Generators

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What if you could make the buying season longer?
Most Companies Miss Out On the “E-Gift Card Campaign”
Companies are usually competing for on-line sales from November 27th (Black Friday) until December 19th, the last day customers can typically have their gift shipped and be received in time for the holidays.  As a result, holiday revenues slow after the 19th of December for many companies.
E-Gift Card Campaigns increase the duration of holiday sales because ship dates are no longer an issue.  They also provide higher profit margins. It’s such a simple concept, you’ll probably say… “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Let us help you implement and market the 
“E-Gift Card Campaign”
 
    Gift cards are extremely enticing to last minute shoppers. 62% of consumers said they would like to receive a gift card, making gift cards the most requested gift item eight years in a row.  Holiday shoppers are to spend more than $31 billion on gift cards this year, according to a NRF survey.
Examples of E-Gift Card Campaigns from the
InnerVoice Group Holiday Portfolio
Make it fun. Most procrastinators feel guilty about procrastinating. Make them feel like a hero with your ads.

Incentives Can Set You Apart from Your Competitors

If you want to provide an urgency and make your gift cards more appealing create an incentive, discount or immediate call-to-action.
Highlight your unique E-Gift Card attributes with words such as “Customizable”. Make sure consumers have an easy link to go to.

“IVG has become our “Go To” marketing people. Their work is top notch and I would recommend them to anyone looking for help in marketing their business. They are a valuable strategic partner to our business and experts at what they do.”
T. Vlastelica, Founder of Contemporary Energy Solutions
It’s not too late!

If you’d like to implement an on-line E-Gift Card Campaign before the holidays are over, email us or call us at 208.615.4707.Visit our website today to learn more!

Social Media Tips for Increasing Holiday Sales

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

90% of companies don’t effectively market their promotions on Social Media.

What’s Happening in Your Workshop?

Companies are busy building promotions, giveaways, and holiday messages in hopes of selling more product.  They spend hours on designs, promotions, and collaborative meetings. Massive amounts of marketing dollars are spent during the holiday season.

Are Your Elves Wasting Their Time?

Companies post these promotions on their website and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. The reality… 90% of them are never seen. There are very specific algorithms, design grids and content guidelines that have to be followed to ensure visibility, engagement, and conversion. Unfortunately, each social media platform has its own rules of engagement. If you don’t know how to play, no one will see anything you post, let alone convert to a sale.

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Self Check Your Holiday Social Media Efforts

 

The examples below are from the 2015
InnerVoice Group Holiday Portfolio

 

Are you advertising on social media?

Who are you advertising to? Are your efforts converting to quality followers? This IVG video ad is targeted to attract the right demographic with 2,300 likes, 913 shares and 135 comments alone.

 

Are your posts designed to ensure they can be advertised and promoted?

Are you providing unique promotions that create intrigue?

 

Are your giveaways strategically built to create engagement and encourage sharing?

Are your promotions planned and launched at the appropriate times?

 

We’re here to help…
If you’d like to get a better return on investment from your holiday social media efforts, email info@innervoicegroup.net or call us at 208.615.4707.