Month: June 2016

Why Your Site Needs Monthly Maintenance

You already know that having a website is one of the most powerful tools for your company’s success. You understand the importance of user-experience, and providing viewers with an easy way to navigate through the website. You know that the site’s visual aesthetics are basically useless if the site cannot be found through search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

What you may not be aware of is that all websites require ongoing maintenance to preserve its operational integrity online. To prolong the life expectancy of your car, home, garden, or Keurig coffee machine, you have to work to keep it in good condition. The same goes for the upkeep on your company website.

Purpose of a Maintenance PLAN:

The purpose of each maintenance plan is to keep your site secure, updated, and performing properly. There isn’t a business out there that is immune to time or change, and neither is your website.

To make sure that the site remains up to speed with your industry and in line with search engine guidelines, a maintenance plan is designed to give your company the most effective online presence possible by keeping your audience updated, informed, and satisfied with their browsing experience.

Monthly Website Maintenance INCLUDES:

Performing regular maintenance on your website is something you do not want to avoid. Our team has the expertise to sustain the life of your website at an affordable cost. Each package includes priority support, software and plugin updates, site backups, performance management, content tweaks, and graphic design. Continue reading to learn more about our monthly web maintenance procedures.

    • Site Backups | Software & Plugin UpdatesTo keep a site running smoothly, we track its analytics, and keep software and plugins up-to-date. To prevent your data from being compromised, we perform the latest security patches, filter out spam, and remove any malware issues. Backing your site up monthly eliminates the possibility of losing changes to the site, and protects it from potential computer catastrophes or unpredictable mistakes. It is easy for hackers to take advantage of websites that do not actively update and back up their content-management systems.
    • Content Updates & Reputation Management

Your website is your company’s face to the world. Taking the time to keep your site and blog updated with your company’s latest information – new employees, pricing revisions, industry insight, etc. – reflects the current state of your business and helps it rank better in search. Don’t be caught with outdated information on your website, as it could cause more harm than good for your brand. Make sure that when a visitor returns to your site, they find and learn new information. Generating fresh content improves domain authority, engages with your audience, increases conversion rates, and strengthens your brand’s reputation.

    • Performance Management

In addition to analyzing a site’s performance, user-engagement is another aspect that is regularly monitored. Using Google Analytics, we examine which pages are receiving the most traffic and identify areas that need improvements. Our maintenance team proactively checks your site for content errors and broken links that need fixing. We test each form, evaluate its mobile experience, and make sure that plugins are functioning properly. As content is updated, we track how your audience is engaging with the website. We continuously revise our strategies to optimize your site for search engines, and make it easy for viewers to navigate through.

Every site needs maintenance, and some require more attention than others. Our plans were created to fit the needs and budget of any business. We handle technical support, perform security protection, provide backup support and site restoration, and meet current web standards.

If being found in search engines is a priority for your business, but you lack the monetary means for our SEO packages, your site could benefit from our 12-hour maintenance plan that dedicates time specifically for SEO-related efforts.

Talk to us today about helping your company website thrive!

5 SEO Tips for Beginners

Despite what you may have heard, search engine optimization (SEO) is more than just adding keywords into your site’s content. SEO delivers the most relevant information to a user’s search query online, and works to enhance your company’s digital marketing efforts. While word-of-mouth is an excellent way to gain new business, it is also important not to forget about that consumers who are using Google to find services you may provide. Since there are over 200+ factors that go into how a site will rank, it is best to hire an SEO specialist to optimize your site accordingly.

In the meantime, we have come up with quick SEO techniques your company can implement on its own to yield better results in organic search.

SEO Tip #1: Optimize for Local Search

Create a “Google My Business” page (for free) with your address, phone number, hours of operation, and company information listed on it. If you previously had a Google Places business account, it has already been automatically upgraded to Google My Business. This allows your company to control what Google shows users in search results, and makes finding the location of your company in Google Maps easier. You are also able to respond to customer reviews, post photos, and gain insight into how people searched for your business through Google.

SEO Tip #2: Create Keyword-Rich Blog Posts

Search algorithms are designed to imitate how humans interact with search engines in order to find what they are looking for online. By regularly posting new content to the company website, Google bots will crawl and index it more often.

Since fresh content ranks higher in search engines and higher ranking pages get more views, it is a smart idea to start utilizing your website’s blog by publishing relevant industry information your consumers expect to find.

SEO Tip #3: Interlinking Pages & Authoritative Backlinks

Internal linking is used to provide viewers with easy navigation and encourage them to explore further into your website.

As you can see in this blog post, I have linked the term “SEO” to our Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing page. If this were a blog post about Web Development, I would link to that page. (See what I did there?)

Backlinks are also powerful in terms of SEO as it improves the credibility of your site. In a previous blog post, I linked to our partner company, Sivils-IT Consulting, and the next day they were ranking first in search results. Not to say that ranking first in Google will always be the result, but getting other valuable sources to link to your company’s website will be beneficial to its rankings.

SEO Tip #4: Social Media Ranking Factors

Social media profiles are among some of the top results when searching for a specific brand or company name. Each account matters to Google, and people searching for your products or services want the option to get to know more about your brand. Be sure that the contact information is up-to-date and that you are consistently distributing fresh content to each social outlet. Also be sure to include hashtags in posts because they can be used to find content related to specific topics. This strategy ultimately increases the amount of times your business pages are returned in various search results.

SEO Tip #5: Image Optimization

An alt tag is used so those who are visually impaired know what the image is for. Including alt tags on images is another easy way for you to potentially boost your site’s ranking position. Photos with alt tags are more likely to show up in image-based search engines, like Google Images, and a good source for receiving more organic traffic to your website.

We hope these 5 tips will help you grasp a better understanding of search engine optimization, and increase the likelihood that your site ranks organically!

8 Ways to Stay Motivated

With the excitement of a new year comes the notion of starting over fresh. Just because you are excited for 2016, doesn’t mean you are always inspired to take on all of your latest endeavors.

When you have a case of the Monday blues, refer to these 8 motivational tips to keep you moving forward with positive energy.

    • “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” – Ayn Rand
      Compete with yourself, not others. Being competitive can be a positive trait if it pushes you to do your best work. However, competing to gain more recognition reflects a negative attitude. Don’t drain your energy trying to be better than someone else – concentrate on mastering your own strengths and allowing them to open up new opportunities for you to flourish.

 

    • “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
      Never fail to appreciate all you have accomplished thus far in life. Acknowledge your success and believe in yourself. Hard work and determination always pays off. Should circumstances turn against you, take satisfaction in knowing you did your very best, and try again.

 

    • “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito
      View challenges, personally and professionally, as an opportunity for growth. Every accomplishment in life starts with the decision to try and results in gaining a new perspective.

 

    • “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
      Wandering through your life without a purpose is a huge waste of time. Have the courage to follow your heart and create your destiny. Refuse to feel selfish for chasing what you value most in life. Know what you want and never stop aiming in that direction.

 

    • “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” – J.M. Barrie
      Don’t wait until you are older to start appreciating life. Live in the moment. Wake up every day with the goal to be better than you were yesterday. Life without joy is empty and hollow. Radiate sunshine, share smiles, love unconditionally, and adopt an optimistic mindset to keep you motivated.

 

    • “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” – Edmund Lee
      It is important to choose your mentors wisely, as they can be part of life’s most cherished gifts. Find a person you respect and look up to; someone who inspires you to succeed and is willing to stand by you in the process.

 

    • “I have no special talents; I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein
      Perhaps the most valuable trait of all is curiosity. It builds hope, promotes optimism, inspires new inventions, nurtures intelligence, and drives progress. Embrace the power of curiosity and dwell in the rewards it brings.

 

    • “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
      Above all, be genuine. Dare to be different and ignore labels that society tries to place on us. Don’t mold yourself in accordance to someone else’s beliefs. Be yourself and follow your own set of rules. Dance to the beat of your own drum. The world is already full of deceit and artificial people. Those who are honest and unique are the ones who leave their mark on this world.

 

HOPE YOU ARE MOTIVATED TO TAKE ON THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY!
For more #MotivationMonday, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

10 Workplace Habits to Avoid

The new year brings many opportunities to end bad habits during work. Most companies set goals at the beginning of every year, shooting for better numbers, higher quality products, and so on… It takes a good work ethic and a lot of work to meet those goals but there are some little things you can do to help productivity, and enhance the work environment. Here’s a list of 10 workplace habits that need to end in 2016:

1. PRETENDING TO WORK IS LYING

Lying to your boss, lying to your team, and lying to yourself… Don’t lie to yourself.

2. DON’T EXPECT A COOKIE FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO RIGHT.

You finished everything you were supposed to finish? That’s not raise-worthy. That’s doing your job.

3. AVOID GOSSIPING

About the party you went, about your personal life, and about one another.

4. DON’T LET SMALL TALK TURN INTO A 20-MINUTE CONVERSATION.

Making small is actually great for improving relationships among employees, but do it moderately.

5. FLIRTING WITH CLIENTS

Just, no.

6. FIGHT THE 2:30 FEELING.

There should be no sleeping/napping, or “eye-resting”.

7. IF YOU WANT A DOUGHNUT, TAKE A DOUGHNUT.

This means taking the entire doughnut, don’t leave us a half-doughnut…

8. IF YOU DON’T REMEMBER BUYING THAT PACKET DORITOS, IT’S NOT YOUR PACKET OF DORITOS.


Either refrain yourself, or have the courtesy to ask for permission to consume others’ food.

9. AT NO POINT SHOULD YOU RESPOND RUDELY TO ANY CLIENT.

Not ever. You’re better than that.

10. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT SHOW UP TO WORK HUNGOVER.

If you do, there is a high chance of you committing any of the errors above, or worse.

*BONUS*

11. AVOID PICKING FAVORITES. ALWAYS HAVE EACH OTHERS’ BACK.

You are part of a team – learn from one another, help one another, encourage one another, and celebrate with one another. Also, Is it beer-thirty yet???

4 Components to Marketing Any Business

For a business to grow and acquire revenue, it must attract new customers. Every start-up company and established corporation needs a solid marketing plan that generates leads and results in higher conversion rates. The first step to marketing your business requires a brand that effectively communicates its purpose to the world.

1. Develop a Brand Identity

One of the most valuable assets to any business is its corporate brand. Branding originated so manufacturers could differentiate themselves from competitors, and is a strategic way to gain the trust of consumers.

Crafting a brand that expresses the personality and values of your business sets the tone for how people will interpret, think, and feel about your organization. A well-built brand is critical to marketing your business successfully.

2. Establish a Presence on Social Media

Social media plays a huge role in humanizing brands and exposing companies to a wider audience range. I highly recommend that if your company does not already have a business page on Facebook to create an account today. Social media is a powerful resource used to enhance your current marketing strategy and helps boost your ranking in search engines for free.

Though not every interaction will result in a sale, social media is available to strengthen the position of your brand and improve interactions with customers. Speaking for the Internet generation, having a Facebook page for your business is something we look for. We want to know why your company is different. We want to see how you respond to your customers. We want to know what incentives come with doing business with you. Social media encourages people to learn more about a company and capture the attention of new fans.

3. Professional & Optimized Company Website

A strong presence online is needed for your marketing strategy to ensure that your business thrives in an Internet-driven society. It is imperative for every company to have a website that is conveniently accessible to customers, and helps sell your brand around the clock.

By not having a company website, you risk losing business from potential clients who are searching for your products or services online. For this purpose, it is also important to have a professionally designed and optimized website that shows up in search results. An outdated website gives people the impression that your company does not care to stay up-to-date with advancements in technology while a professional website showcasing your portfolio adds value to your work. A uniquely branded website for your company is another important component to marketing your business.

4. Build Relations in your Business Community

All your hard work creating an online presence for your brand  is useless if its fail to build relationships in the process. This is the most important aspect of marketing and growing your business.

Actively participating in community affairs helps your company become recognized as a leader in its industry. iD Web’s involvement in multiple organizations has made us a reliable source for providing web design, SEO, and marketing services in the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads area. We are present at a number of different socials and host our own networking event every few months. Networking helps us get connected with other business-minded individuals in the area who then pass referrals on to us.

Marketing your brand should never be overlooked, as it is beneficial to the growth of any company. Combining the four resources mentioned are used to increase awareness, generate interest, secure an online presence, and convert traffic into revenue for your business.

Learn about how we can help you create a memorable brand and improve your presence online!

7 Deadly Sins on Social Media

Social Media Mistakes Your Business Can Prevent

Social media seems like a simple task, but the reality is that it is difficult to stay on top of the most strategic practices for social media. You don’t need to be an expert to understand the basics, yet I continue to see businesses make preventable mistakes on social media.

The good news is that you don’t need to be social media savvy to execute a solid marketing plan because you can hire iD Web to help you out! 🙂

If you don’t have the expense to cover paying a company to maintain your accounts, however, being aware of these “7 deadly sins” will make you a better social media marketer for your business.

1. Inactive Accounts:

More and more brands are creating accounts on social media. While this is a step in the right direction, it isn’t enough to make a difference in your organization’s social media marketing plan. Being active on channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. improves your SEO rankings and allows consumers to find you more consistently when searching in Google. An inactive Facebook account says your company does not care about being up to speed with today’s technology.

2. Incomplete Profiles:

Another common mistake is not filling in your profile with information about your company. To make a positive and memorable impression on potential customers you need to give them a reason to connect with your brand. Most people search online for companies before doing business with them. Don’t give them a reason to go to your competitors because you didn’t take the time to add a profile picture, company description, and contact information.

3. Too Sales Focused:

Do you enjoy being sold to or do you want to make the decision on your own? Constantly promoting the latest products and services your business has to offer is a quick and easy way to lose followers. Social media should enhance your brand’s credibility and attract leads in gradually. Being too sales focused is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make on social media. Work on building a good reputation and loyal fan base by sharing information without expecting a sale in return.

4. Over posting:

Overwhelming your followers by posting too much is just as annoying as being sold to. Posting numerous times a day on Twitter is acceptable, but highly frowned upon on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t bombard people with a ton of meaningless posts from your business account.

5. Grammatical Errors:

Another way you are driving consumers away from your company is by making silly spelling and grammatical errors in your posts. Not paying close attention to the material you are sharing gives the impression that your company is lazy. Don’t compromise the professionalism of your brand by using verbal shortcuts and not proof reading your work. Prepare your material in advance and make sure that it clearly communicates the message you want to send.

6. Social Media Automation

Because each social media outlet has a unique way of engaging with fans, using automation tools to update your business accounts is a terrible mistake for your social media marketing strategy. Content that performs well on Facebook may not deliver the same results on a different platform. When it comes to sharing quality content, one size does not fit all. Take the time to modify posts for the network it is being shared on.

7. Ignoring Negative Feedback:

Failing to engage with your customers when they have a complaint is one of the worst mistakes your company can make. Social media makes it easy to respond to feedback promptly, and by doing so you create a trusted brand. Work to resolve the issue when clients have a negative experience. In doing so, you show the public that you care about your customers and the integrity of your company. Embrace negative feedback from your clients!

Creating a positive first impression begins with an effective social media marketing strategy that encourage people to take an interest in your company. People want to do business with people they like, and avoiding these “7 deadly social media sins” will help earn your brand the credibility it deserves.

To discuss how we can improve your business on social media, fill out our contact form, give us a call, or stop by our office!

Websites from the Past

Whether you were into chocker necklaces, platform shoes, or wearing scrunchies in your hair, we all had one thing in common: the golden age of dial-up Internet! Surfing the web in the ‘90s and 2000s was totally rad. Do you remember what websites looked like back then? Looking at the earliest versions of websites for major brands is hilarious. What better time to reminisce on the poor use of screen space, neon border effects and scrolling marquees than on #FlashbackFriday!

The websites I found using the Wayback Machine, an Internet archive, have elements that inspired new design trends today. Take a walk with me down memory lane!

1. Google’s Simplistic Interface Design (1997)

1998google

When Google first launched in 1997, they lacked a webmaster. No one knew HTML. The first thing users saw when visiting the site was the huge, colorful logo and a search bar. Although it may have been considered boring in the ‘90s for its absence of creative design and flying text, Google’s purpose was clear. People came to the site to search the World Wide Web for whatever their heart desired. Today, Google sets the standard for its sleekness and other than improving functionality, the website really hasn’t changed much over the last two decades.

2. Apple’s First Website (1997)

applefirstwebsite

Young Apple users may not remember a time before iPhones and Apple Watches, but in the late ‘90s Steve Jobs redefined the Internet age. When first unveiled in 1997, Apple’s site included stories on Mac products and the company’s expertise. They had the right idea about educating consumers through testimonials added on the webpage. The site had a navigation menu on the left, making it incredibly easy for users to find the information they were looking for. Apple was, and still is, exceptional at differentiating themselves from other competing brands. They always seem to be one step ahead of the rest of the world.

3. Interactive Gilmore Girls Website (2004)

About 13 years ago, Gilmore Girls was a favorite television series for many college females and mothers. The Gilmore Girls’ website featured flashy illustrations, large imagery, creative patterns and vibrant colors that captured your attention. Rory and Lorelai’s story was told through the trendy use of design and a slideshow of photos.

4. McDonalds Landing Page (1996)

McDonald’s website in 1996 was not at all complex. It was simplified using flat design which is a huge trend today for creating a classic website. Flat design uses clean, open space, bright colors and two-dimensional graphics. Though the red was incredibly difficult to read and look at, it was used to create passionate brand loyalists. Before call-to-action buttons were developed, McDonald’s provided a link for viewers to explore further into their website. Despite the harsh color choices, McDonald’s was successful in engaging consumers through its first website.

5. Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign Site (1996)

Political campaigns today have taken a turn in how they interact with voters through social media, online donations, videos and blogging, all of which can now be incorporated onto a website. Having a website is an indispensable part of promoting a campaign for those running for office. In 1996, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore sought to “build a bridge to the 21st century” and their website was one way they accomplished this goal. They also used a split layout that is popular in web design today. The page was split vertically to separate pieces of information and usually involves contrasting light and dark color schemes. This was a great way to engage with voters and assist them in their decision-making.

6. Space Jam’s Promotional Website (1996)

spacejam1996

Space Jam’s 1996 website created rich, user-experience and was successful in promoting the film to consumers. Warner Brother’s developed this cheesy, intergalactic website that can still be accessed today. I love the creative layout and the simple navigation of the site. Each planet leads to another page, and if you click on the Space Jam logo in the top left corner, it directs you back to the homepage like all websites should do today.

The Internet has evolved so much over the last few years and has opened up many new marketing channels for businesses attracting new customers. Having a website for your business adds instant credibility and educates the world about what your brand has to offer. It is wonderful to get inspiration from these websites from the past, but use this list to make sure your site isn’t stuck in the wrong decade. Contact us for help!

5 Tips When Redesigning Your Website

Redesigning your website is the perfect opportunity to convey your expertise and clarify your marketing goals. Review these five design tips before making the big transition.

1. The Right Kind of White Space

When used appropriately, white space guides viewers to the most relevant information on the page and organizes content to make it easier to read. White space is user-oriented and gives your brand a sophisticated look.

2. Consider Color Choice

The color of your website is more important than most would assume. Each color elicits a psychological response in our minds. Advertisers attempt to make us feel hungry by using the color yellow, where using red motivates people to make a quick decision. Red makes a powerful statement, which is why it is used for stop signs. Be sure to choose a color that not only looks aesthetically appealing but achieves the desired response you want from consumers.

3. Web Typography

Selecting the best font type for your website is also often overlooked. The typeface used should draw attention to important content, especially when combined with white space and color. The best fonts to currently use online are modern sans serif typefaces and lightweight serifs that are easy to read. Check out the free typefaces Google offers

4. K-I-S-S

keepitsimplestupid

Step four when redesigning your website is to keep it simple, stupid (kiss). Too much content looks disorganized making it difficult to read. Content should be quick and to the point. Users also need to have a hassle-free experience when navigating through your website. They want to be able to find information quickly, so putting your events calendar on your portfolio page would not make sense. People will leave your site if content is difficult to find or understand. Don’t send traffic to your competitors through poor navigation menus and cluttered content on your site.

5. Responsive Design

responsivefarmersbank

I have said it before, and I will say it again: your website needs to be responsive in 2015 and in the future. It is no longer an option, but viable for being found through search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Think about personal searching habits. When Googling a product or service, how often do you review the results on the second page? Typically, we don’t even scroll past the first five options returned on the results page. Because of Google’s Mobilegeddon algorithm update, sites that are mobile-friendly receive page ranking priority when consumers conduct a search from a smartphone or tablet.

What designs did you incorporate into your website when redesigning? Was it effective in targeting your market audience?

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