Why a Redesign May be Necessary

Every successful business owner knows that developing a strong website properly selling your products or services plays an intricate role in attracting a new and loyal customer base. From being found through search engines, having easy navigation, to representing your brand and its products, a website is pivotal to your business’s success.

If your website is proving to be a barrier for your business, you should consider these benefits and possibilities of redesigning your website.

Better attract customers: When Google or the various other search engines are ranking websites, they take a lot of things into account, but the important thing to know is that updating your website improves your online presence to gain more customers.

Modernize your website: Everything nowadays should be “modern” – sleek and elegant websites are the best way to attract new customers. Stay with the times and keep your website up to date.

Integrate social media: One of the most powerful aspects of the internet is social media and the ludicrous amount of exposure any company can get. When you properly integrate your social media accounts into your website, you will be able to easily spread your message and products.

Stay competitive: The importance of staying competitive in your business’s field cannot be emphasized enough. If even one part of your business begins to fall behind, your entire business will take the load as well. Be sure to have a competitive website to properly sell your products and brands.

Running a website can be a very difficult task for business owners, but the importance of having a new and updated website cannot be emphasized enough. If you ever have any questions or would like to talk with a professional, contact us at any time and we’ll quickly get back to you.

Why your Website Needs HTTPS

Ever since Google announced a couple years ago that the security of your website will affect its rankings on Google, there has been a huge push to get SSL (secured socket layer) on websites who previously used HTTP. If you are unaware of what HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) does, here’s a brief summary: in essence, HTTP is the format in which all data is sent across the general internet (excluding the deep web, for obvious reasons). This format breaks apart the data being sent into small pieces called packets, which are then sent to many servers and computers until the information reaches the correct IP address.

This method of data transfer has been around for ages, nearly since the beginning of the internet. However, HTTP easily allows for a middle man, an attacker, to gain access to the data being sent. For obvious security reasons, most people don’t want their sensitive information to be looked at by anonymous third parties. This is where HTTPS and SSL come into play. SSL, as mentioned earlier, is the standard for setting up a strongly encrypted link between a web server and a web browser/computer.

In order to ensure the data is truly being sent through an SSL secured website, the website URL will display https://yourwebsite.com rather than http://yourwebsite.com. This additional layer of security creates a peace of mind for most users online.

Not only is Google cracking down on websites that have yet to get an SSL certificate, but so are payment authorization companies. Most websites will not be allowed to take credit card information – or any private information – unless the website is fully encrypted through the use of an SSL certificate.

If the vast majority of the previous information flew right over your head, here’s what you should take away: in order for your website to be ranked higher on Google, and therefore be seen by many more people, it is important to get an SSL certificate which will fully encrypt your website and reduce the risk of your website being hacked and your user’s information stolen. If you have any questions or would like to get a quote for the services you are looking for, feel free to contact us at Windy City Strategies, and we’ll promptly get back to you.

How to find the Right Keywords

Perfecting your client base is crucial to your success and the overall growth of your business. The best way to do so is by consistently updating your keywords used for your advertisement campaigns and SEO titles and descriptions. To properly ensure you are going about the process correctly, there are a couple tips and tricks you should keep in mind.

  • Test Keywords with PPC: In order to properly understand how your keywords are being looked at and processed, you should use some of your pay per click campaign budget towards keyword testing. When you do this, you will spend a little now to gain a lot later.
    • To properly do this, you should begin with broader terms you feel might apply to your business and then slowly work your way into more narrow and specific terms. If your business sells fake flowers, begin with broad flower terms and work your way into more specific names and colors.
  • Compare Keywords: One thing many advertisement campaigns fail to do is compare keywords against one another. Once you have a list of relatively effective words you plan on using, begin to sort your advertisements by playing with the synergy of the words and their context.
  • Know your Audience: Understanding what demographics your advertisements and business is targeting is crucial to determining which keywords will be most effective. If you are selling professional grade laptops, you will likely not want to have children or the elderly viewing your advertisements.
  • Control the Websites: When you are running advertisement campaigns, you will typically have control over which websites you do and do not want your advertisements to show up on. This is known as whitelisting and blacklisting, a technique that proves time and time again to be very effective in more efficiently targeting possible clients.

Having the ability to control who sees your advertisements and when they see it is crucial to building an effective advertisement campaign. If you have any questions or would like to become better versed in developing a powerful advertisement campaign, be sure to contact us at Windy City Strategies.

Why SEO Is Crucial to Your Business’s Success

The online presence of your website essentially determines the level of success for your business. Keeping this in mind, it is important you devote enough time and resources into enhancing your website’s SEO, or search engine optimization, to ensure everyone can see it.

Large search engines such as Google and Bing use very complex algorithms that are always changing to ensure no one company or organization is able to “crack the code” to find exactly what elements play into how the search results are ranked to increase their own ranking. So, without a sure-fire way of knowing what the search engines look for, it is important you diversify your website and its content to make your website better favored by search engines.

As you may already know, there are two main ways of arriving at websites on the internet: going directly to their URL (http://www.google.com/) or simply Googling it or using some other search engine to have an algorithm very quickly sort through the billions of websites to deliver sites closest to your initial input. Since there are very few people who know every website’s exact URL and never use a search engine, it is crucial that your website is highly ranked in search engines’ rankings. Through many studies, it has been shown that even if your website is displayed on the second page of Google ahead of thousands of competitors, only one search result away from the first page, there is only a less than 10 percent chance of the searcher seeing your result listed. This is clearly not ideal, and because of this, you should really begin to focus more on your website’s search engine optimization.

Here at Windy City Strategies, not only do we assist with all your advertising and pay per click needs, but we are also highly trained in search engine optimization. Our dynamic team of designers and consultants know which elements are important to increasing your website’s views, so feel free to call or contact us at any time.

How Efficient Is Your Ad-Targeting?

The best way to get your business name out on the internet is through direct ad-targeting; it is imperative that you push your services and products towards the correct audience, however, it is very common for your ads to be targeted toward the wrong people.

To ensure your business is not wasting money trying to attract the wrong clients, you should take several steps to better target your advertisements.

  • Keywords: Nearly all advertisement agencies enter keywords into a complex algorithm to identify which websites your ads should be posted on. The keywords you submit are the MOST important part of your ad-targeting campaign, a detail that cannot be stressed enough. You must evaluate what your business is, what services or products you are trying to sell, and whether or not your pricing is appropriate for the audiences you are targeting.
  • Advertisement Efficiency: If you use a service such as Google’s Adsense, then you have access to a wide array of unique tools to better target your advertisements. One of the most important tools focuses on the efficiency of your campaign: the number of people clicking on your ads versus the number of people not clicking or viewing your ads. This number is the best way to determine whether your ad-targeting is working or not and should be looked at on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Whitelisted Websites: Finally, it is crucial to your business’ advertisements’ success that they are being displayed on the proper websites. If you are a technology company, it is unlikely you would want any of your ads being displayed on a website promoting the Amish way of life, it’s that simple. You must ensure your advertisements are being displayed on appropriate sites for your goals to be met.

If you or your business have any questions, be sure to contact us to begin your business’ successful future.

Get Faster Results With Pay Per Click

A solid Internet marketing campaign plays an essential role in ensuring your business can be found when you are being searched for on the search engines. With there being a variety of options when it comes to search engine optimization, there really is one Internet marketing campaign that will give you the results you need…and as soon as possible.

What Is Pay Per Click?

Pay per click (PPC) advertising is an Internet marketing technique in which businesses place paid ads on the search engines, paying for them when a user clicks on it. When your ad is clicked on, the user will be automatically directed to your website. However, in order for this Internet marketing method to be effective, a pay per click campaign must be effectively managed and performed over a period of time.

Benefits Of Pay Per Click

There are a several reasons why you may want to consider using a pay per click campaign, including the following:

  • Affordability- Since PPC campaigns are not only tailored to your budget, but you essentially pay per click on your ad.
  • Faster Results- Unlike organic search engine methods, PPC campaigns show almost immediate results since your ad will automatically receive top placement.
  • Real-time Tracking- With your PPC campaign, constant monitoring of your campaign will be performed. We will track things like the keywords that are, and are not, working, conversion rates, and which ads are driving the most traffic.
  • Exposure- Since your ad will be placed on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, your ad will be visible on well-known and reliable search engines, which reaches the vast majority of Internet users.
  • Target Your Customers- By placing a specific and eye-catching ad, you can directly target your customers and draw in only qualified and relevant traffic to your site.

It is important to know that building and maintaining a successful pay per click advertising campaign can be a difficult task, especially when you don’t understand how to manage these services.

This is why it is important that you only hire an experienced Internet marketing and pay per click management firm, such as Windy City Strategies. For more information, contact us today.

Does Your Business Need A Website?

Many small business owners make the mistake of not having a website to sell their products and services, often missing out on potential revenue by their ability to broaden their exposure and increasing their audience, giving them a competitive edge.

In today’s technological world, it is especially important that small businesses are using things such as social media and websites in to help their customers and clients find them on the internet. Failure to do so can be detrimental to their business.

If your business does not have a website, then you should get one immediately! There are so many advantages to having one, including the following:

The potential to gain more customers. Your small business can be missing out on a lot of customers, especially if they can’t reach you. In fact, about 80% of Internet users in the United States from the ages of 14 and up will use the Internet to look up products and/or services.

Gives your business much needed online presence. In today’s world, the likeliness that people are going to pick up a phone book to search for your business is not great, instead most will go straight to the Internet to search for it. If they don’t see you listed online, they may think you are no longer in business, or do not even know that your business exists. Having an online presence will show your customers you do care, and you want them to continue coming to you for merchandise. That’s why having a website is very important for your business!

Increase your profits. Simply by being visible online, you can exponentially increase your profits by making your products and services readily available to everyone. Have you thought about the profits that you can potentially be making if you increase your user base?

You can better market your business. With making yourself available online, you are better able to retrieve feedback from emails, online surveys and social media functions, telling you how good your marketing is doing. There is also technologies that you can use to determine the type of people who visit your site, and what products or services they are searching for, using this information to build better business marketing strategies.

If you are need of a website for your business or help with your Internet marketing strategy, contact Windy City Strategies for more information today!

Windy City Strategies Named One Of The Top Digital Marketing Agencies

Windy City Strategies was named one of the top 19 digital marketing agencies in the Chicago area for 2017 by Expertise.com.

In order to be at the top of the list, the digital marketing companies that were reviewed had to meet certain criteria, such as:

  1. Reputation- A history of outstanding customer service and happy customers.
  2. Credibility- Building customer confidence with licensing, accreditations, and awards.
  3. Experience- Based on years of experience and education.
  4. Availability- Approachable and responsive to their customers.
  5. Professionalism- Provides service with honesty, reliability, and respect.

According to Expertise, Windy City Strategies made the list due to the following:

“Windy City Strategies has been one of the city’s premier digital marketing firms for more than a decade, providing targets solutions and innovative tools designed to help businesses succeed and grow. The award-winning company’s range of services includes customized website design, local and national search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising to draw in revenue and reach broader markets. The company also offers a free AdWords audit to first-time customers, giving businesses valuable insights into ways to improve current online tools and strategies.”

If you are interested in learning more about why Windy City Strategies is one of the best digital marketing companies in the Chicagoland area, then contact us for more information today!

Using Social Media For Your Business? The Do’s And Dont’s

Social media outlets are a great way to develop a meaningful connection between your business and your customers and a great way to give you a greater online presence. In fact, most people utilize a source of social media to research your company, what you have to offer, as well as other customers’ experiences.

However, not everyone is using social media appropriately and effectively for their business. This is why it is important to understand how to use social media for your business, doing it correctly, and avoiding making potentially detrimental mistakes.

1. What are you representing? Not only is it important to know your brand and what you have to offer, but you need to identity who you are selling your business to, especially when it comes to speaking on any social media platform. Since you are the one who knows your product, production, company or brand best, be sure to represent it appropriately, or you may lose potential business.

2. Who is your target audience? It’s important to know whom you are targeting. What do they do? When do they get online? Any savvy social media expert will be able to figure these things out and understand their goals, which will allow you to see what is working, and what isn’t.

3. Respond efficiently and appropriately. Let’s face it, you will likely be faced with controversy at some point when using social media. However, the way you handle it will be key to the end result. Since you don’t want to find yourself without a sense of what’s coming next, or responding to a controversy in a way that isn’t professional or consistent, it is important that you remain true to your policies and your brand. Good customer service can play a key role in appealing to customers and clients.

4. Make meaningful connections. Avoid treating your audience as a subject, not as an object. Once you do, your work on social media simply becomes a dialogue. Remember to observe the changes in your audience, ensuring you are learning about them by communicating with them on your social media outlets daily, which will make a positive impact on your audience, developing those meaningful relationships.

5. Understand the difference between social media for business vs. for personal use. Simply because you have a personal Facebook page does not meant that you will k now how to use Facebook for your business needs. Social media for businesses are not the same thing as understanding the scope of what Facebook ads and Twitter-promoted posts can do. Because these platforms are refining and changing all the time, it is important that you have an expert on your team that can help you make your campaign effective.

For more information on how we can help market your business online, or for help with your social media marketing campaign, contact Windy City Strategies today.

 

Looking To Hire An SEO Agency?

Search engine optimization, or often referred to as SEO, is the process of improving and promoting your website within the major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, increasing your visibility online, and bringing traffic to your website.

And with SEO of being of utmost importance to your business, finding a quality SEO agency can be perilous. From things like budget, to timeframe, to your specific needs, there are many things to consider when choosing the right SEO agency.

To make finding the right SEO agency easier for you, the professionals at Windy City Strategies suggests the following steps to ease your business’s search while looking to hire an SEO agency:

Determine your needs. From content marketing, to internal and external links, to the way your website is coded, there are many SEO strategies that can help your business succeed. This is why it is critical to understand your business’s needs before choosing the right SEO agency. And if you do not know what your business needs when it comes to SEO, be sure to consult with the agency, who can help to determine what will be most effective for you.

Determine your budget. Be upfront with your SEO agency, letting them know what your business’s budget is, as well as any basic and essential industry information. It is critical that you know what your business can afford, determining what each agency can do with your budget before making a decision.

Review your choices. From other business owners, to fellow industry people, to other reputable industry leaders online, be sure to use your resources before making a decision. With a plethora of SEO agencies around, it can be helpful to determine what their worth is by reading reviews, understanding their mission and successes, as well as seeing how they interact with the public. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals and references, which can be extremely helpful in making your decision, especially if you are having a hard time narrowing agencies down.

A good SEO agency has all the tools necessary to help your business succeed. For more information on how Windy City Strategies can help you, contact us today!