Tag Archives: website tips

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!

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Small Business Owners Make Mistakes On Their Website Too

It’s important for small business to start investing in a high quality yet professional website design that will catch there users attentions!

When catching the attention of your targeted audience, holding it long enough is the way to go! Do you know how to hold their attention? It’s simple, by ensuring that your website speaks to your targeted market and resonates with them. It’s important to avoid making mistakes on your website, following these helpful tips below to get started!

  1. When you don’t fully understand how your website is contributing to your strategy and your bottom line.
  2. Thinking that Web Development & Web Design has to be rocket science, when it’s not. Leave it to the professionals to fix the issues you are having with your site! Don’t do it yourself, so you don’t cause any more issues.
  3. Don’t use a private proprietary platform that you created yourself, do it in WordPress. That way if you’re going to a professional Web Design Company, they can have FULL access of your platform.
  4. The number one thing you should NOT do is wait for your design to come before you start writing your content. You want to be writing your content while your website is being worked on. So once your site is ready for the content, you can either gives that content to your web designers, or you can add it in yourself. Don’t wait until the last minute, or else you can risk the chance at pushing back your site being launched.
  5. Don’t pay for services and features that you are really not going to need or use. It’s a waste of money and an investment. Spend wisely on tools like that!
  6. Your main goal is to focus on the traffic that comes to your site, not the conversions.
  7. You must develop a plan to promote your website, BEFORE it’s even done, so when it is time you are ready to go!

For more information about what small business owners should NOT do when working with their website, contact Windy City Strategies for more details.

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Which Trend Is Better For Your Website, Responsive or Adaptive?

There has been an on going battle between having a responsive and adaptive web design. Trying to figure out which design will work best for you! This isn’t just an opinion, this requires the understanding of what makes these two types of styles different and then figuring out the pros and cons on why the mobile traffic is so important.

Having A Responsive Design 

The goal to having an responsive web design is to make sure your website is fully functional at any display size. This does require a fair amount of coding, and understanding the different sizes while having a clear image of how the scaling process will work. This is why you should leave it in the hands of a professional designer. 

Responsive design creates fluid layouts that can automatically scale in size to make all elements fit in any type of resolution. This may cause some of the photos that were originally floating to the left of the text to drop the space in between the two paragraphs, scales up the text while it’s scaling down the side of the column in which it’s being placed.

With having a responsive design, it’s the number one most standard favorite with all designers and the majority of businesses. Not just because it often takes less technical work than having an adaptive layout but it makes the website fully compatible with any resolution. With all the new smartphone and other mobile devices that come out every year the resolution only gets higher! Responsive design assures you that you do not have to update your site every time a new iPhone comes out. Having an Adaptive layout is a different story.

Having A Adaptive Design

Some entrepreneurs that have a decent amount of experience with web design may not fully be familiar with the terms and concepts of an adaptive web design, but it does have its share of benefits.

Adaptive layouts are designed for specific resolutions and display sizes depending on the browsing window you are looking at. With an adaptive layout it checks what the resolution of your browsing screen is and loads the code for that webpage in a different way in order to display properly for that resolution. It sounds like a lot of extra work right? Actually adaptive design offers a level of fine-tuning and control that responsive layouts can’t do. Also by having full control over the design at multiple resolutions you are able to ensure that your website is always going to display exactly how you want it too look.

A responsive layout generally performs better than adaptive. The experts do admit that in case of some complex web applications and fields that need to be fine-turned, adaptive is the better choice then responsive. When you are able to fine-tune and customize your site layout at any resolution you can be completely sure that your embedded app or complicated order form displays perfect for both mobile and desktop.

Why Mobile Does Matter

When it all comes down to choosing responsive or adaptive for your business, it really doesn’t matter, just as long as your website has a mobile friendly page. With roughly 3 out of 5 visitors who access your site through any mobile device, your company can’t afford to miss out on the mobile traffic any longer!

For more information on which type of layout you want to go with contact Windy City Strategies for more details!

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Hiring A PPC Expert For Your Business

In the daily marketing world SEO and PPC are always in a constant competition with each other. Google changes out there algorithms, and companies start to find they competing against moving goal posts.

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): These guys can be a slow process and businesses in competitive industries may not be able to hold the number one rankings like we all desire. This is why we spend more money on PPC advertising.
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): With PPC advertising it does have a lot of potential that can deliver targeted traffic flows.

Now if you are planning to open up your own Google AdWords account, do not do that! There is a reason why PPC professionals are charging a fee for management. If your fairly new to PPC, you could be unaware that it will cost you less to hire an expert then doing it yourself.

These are the reasons why you should hire a professional PPC Management Expert.

Keyword Research: This task isn’t easy; this research is very crucial to your success. It’s something PPC experts spend a lot of their time on initially. Choosing the WRONG keywords can quickly exhaust your budget and with your campaign you could have poor returns.

There are some free keyword tools out there, like Google’s Keyword and its open for anyone to use but the better tools are the ones you have to pay for now. Paying for a keyword tool would give you a competitive advantage but it’s going to cost you. These paid tools can cost upward of $100 monthly in addition to other expenses. Now for an expert in Pay Per Click they don’t just use one of these tools, they use multiple data points to form a more complete sales landscape for you.

Low Conversion With Wrong Ad Copy: One of the many strengths of a PPC expert is they have the ability to perform a competitive research. They understand how to find a good copy and they study your competition, which helps them form ads based upon what they know will work. Having that kind of copy isn’t something anyone can do overnight, because every single word that is used, means something.

Tracking: Having a good PPC program they can track your sales and also figure out where those sales are coming from. Good analysis can show you which placements and what keywords are likely to bring you these conversions. Also if you are tagging your campaigns it can allow you to see which tags are most effective. This involves a tracking code that is installed for you. This does require some basic HTML knowledge, so if you don’t have those sorts of knowledge leave it up to your web developer.

Understand PPC Terminology: We should all know what PPC stands for, but now do you know what CPM, CPC or CPA means? How about the difference between impressions, views, hits and what retargeting is? Understanding these terms is really important in our day-to-day management of campaigns.

Staying Up To Date: Every online marketer out there has to stay up to date with the latest trends. By either reading the online news articles, journals, or forums. They can also attend industry trade shows for several times annually or by attending networking events. If you are feeling you can’t handle doing that, hire an expert to do it for you! They will keep you up to date on everything, so you aren’t missing out.

Having The Time: Being a business owner, your already busy with hundreds of other tasks daily. Are you going to be able to manage time for your own PPC account and give it the attention?

Hiring an expert or an agency to handle things for you will be best. For more information about why you should hire someone to do your PPC contact Windy City Strategies.

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How To Improve Your Communication Skills With Your Clients

When you walk into TJ Maxx, what is the first thing you want to know? Do you care that T.J. Max was founded in 1976? What about how they are the largest off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S.? Or how over 1700 of their stores receives about 10,000 items a week!

Some clients may not care to know the history behind these retail stores, or bakery’s. Your clients are just as busy as you are and they have goals for their businesses. They simply won’t care about details that aren’t important to them, even if you think they should be. 

Talking About Your Services: It’s very important as the designer to be specific about what you have to offer. Yes it is smart to reach out to a lot of potential customers, but in actuality this is one the thing that can really hinder your career progress.

If a potential customer asks about what design services you offer, do you tell them “a little bit of everything?” If that’s the case, stop doing that immediately. Do you really know every kind of design? Do you design teakettles, buses, air plains, or even baby carriages? No you do not, so you don’t need to tell your customers that. Don’t assume they already know what you are all about; they won’t unless you spell it out for them.

What they want is someone who is perfect for their specific needs. Be specific about what kind of value you are offering, and quality clients will be more interested in your services.

Out Of The Box: Many designers make broad assumptions in their marketing strategies. Many of them assume that their potential clients are looking for someone who is able to give them a website, logo, or a brand. That’s not the case here. What they are really looking for is a designer who can think for them and come up with solutions to problems they don’t even know they have. Who can take his/ her business to the next level.

Clients are eager to work with a designer who understands their need for prime market positioning. Take yourself out of the box of marketing, and don’t be generic. You want to be known as the unique designer, so make sure your clients and potential clients can see what you have to offer.

Remember to not make assumptions about what response you are going to get or what you think people want, need or should know. People who feel as though you understand them will be genuinely excited about working with you. They will also be eager to recommend you to other potential clients. For more information about how to improve your communication skills contact Windy City Strategies for more details.

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What Designers Need To Know, Before Moving Forward With Your Site

First tip to designing a website would be to communicate with your designer. We know more about what it is you want before we can start creating the site, but we aren’t mind readers.

  • Color Palette: Many clients seem to like the basic colors of blue, white, or green. Not every business has the luxury of accessing a branding specialist, so that’s why they normally chose those colors. Many new customers could possibly need a logo design, so typically when you create their logo, you can figure out what colors to use of their site.
  • Ideas From Other Websites: Our eyes are trained to see the same design all over the Internet, and when you come across different sites that you like, that’s when you need to write them down. For example. Many websites have a large image towards the top of the site or in the middle. It stretches across the screen so you can see the whole picture. They are also very responsive, clean design, and east to follow. Give your designer at least 5 to 6 different sites that you love, and sites that you don’t like. So they can determine what mockup to design and show you. You can even tell your designer that you liked a previous work from a client they had recently.
  • What’s Your Marketing Goal:  It’s important to know who your targeted audience is going to be. Your content, design, and pages are going to depend on who your audience is going to be. For example, teachers, doctors, photographers, graphic/web designers, or even catering for food. Once you figure out who your audience is, you can start to find out what your wanting in a website. If your business is working with professionals, you can choose a formal tone, and as for retailers can choose an informal design.
  • How People Will Find Your Site: Once your website is complete, your goal is to direct traffic towards your site. Let your designer know if you are want to advance and invest in social media integration. If you do not have traffic coming to your website, something is going wrong, and you don’t want to lose potential customers.

For more information about what designers need to know before designing your site, contact Windy City Web Strategies. They can talk with you more, and figure out what all needs to be done first, before moving forward with the design process.

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Quick Facts About CSS Layout

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, this is a language that defines how the HTML elements are going to be displayed. External style sheets are stored in the CSS layout and this also saves a lot work. When you start to add font colors to your layout, HTML is intended to define the content, CSS layout is the place you add all your font choices in certain sections of the layout, font colors, paddings, margins and etc.

CSS saves the web designers a lot of work, the style definitions are save in the external files, and with having that external file, and you can change the look of your site at any given time. When creating a website, you want your readers to be able to read right to left with no issues, to make it clear for the readers to follow.

When working in the CSS, the rule set consists of a declaration and selector. With the declaration block it contains one or more declarations that are separated by semicolons. Now with the selector it points to the HTML elements that you want to have in your style sheet. For example; the selector is h1 and the declaration is {color: pink; font-size: 14px;}

When creating the layout of declaration you can put each code on there own line so it’s more readable. For example;

P {

       Color: pink; 

       Text-align: left;

}

Now, when creating a CSS layout comments are used to explain your code and it may help you when you go back to edit the source code at a later time. The browsers ignore them, so that doesn’t show up when someone looks at your site from the front end. A CSS comment starts with a forward slash /* and then ends with a */. Example of adding a comment to the code would be;

P {

       Color: pink; 

         /* This is a single-line text comment*/

       Text-align: left;

}

Comments can also go on multiple lines and it doesn’t affect your code at all. When using comments they become very helpful, when you start to have issues with adding images or a graph you can make a note and come back to it later.

Creating a CSS is really easy once you get the hang of where things go and how to place it in the style sheet. Lynda.com and W3Schools are both very great places to look up tutorials on how you can create a great CSS layout, where it’s easy to read, easy to follow and your able to make comments.

For more information about CSS layout contact Windy City Strategies!

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SEO Techniques You Should Think About

SEO techniques may sound a little funny for the New Year. But content and search engine optimization is still hand in hand. You wonder what’s the point of high quality writing that will probably just end up on page 25 of Google’s search results, and nobody is going to go that far into those pages. If your material isn’t worth the read, and doesn’t serve that purpose, your page rankings will not do you much good.

Being the online writer, the key to create quality content that people are going to want to read and for search engines to want to index it. If you do this right you are bound to feel successful on the web. Follow these next couple techniques to work into your digital marketing plan.

Using A Calendar — Planning is very important especially when you are the online marketer! This is why you need a content calendar, when creating this it enables you to plan and visualize the writing activity for the year. It will let you be able to plan around important dates, and maintain publishing consistency, which is very important for readers and SEO.

When creating this calendar it also forces you to research topics and your keywords. Since you’re the one writing all your headlines in advance, you have the view on your content, and it’s unlikely you will repeat yourself. If you do this correctly your pages and site will start to attract and retain more visitors then you had before.

Creating Outlines — Creating your detailed outlines for your blogs and articles in advanced it does save you time, effort and enables you to structure your content for better readability. Makes you think about the message that you are trying to convey in your SEO writing, and can help avoid you from fluffing.  Your outline will contain the three elements: a SEO headline that will pack a punch, a hierarchy keyword subheading, and the main message.

Writing To Your Viewers — A lot of business today are still churning out articles for search engines. Yes SEO really does matter, but finding you content and engaging with it are two different things. For example, a prospect runs a search and comes across your page, opens the page up, then reads the first two sentences and scans the rest of the page. SEO doesn’t buy your services, products or ideas the viewers do. If you have highly optimized content that is unpersuasive, incoherent or boring, your SEO writing is going to look like it was written for search bots. You want to write for your prospects, and optimize your content with good keywords when you are done.

Incorporating Keywords — Everyone in the business world should know the value of using keywords. What they don’t know is that how you use them can affect your rankings and user experiences. Looking at it from an SEO perspective, keywords are not as important as they use to be, but relevance, density and prominence do matter. The questions you need to be asking yourself are:

  1. Do you have main keyword(s) in your heading and at least one subheading that are close to the beginning as possible?
  2. Have you been able to maintain a safe keyword density?
  3. Have you incorporated LSI keywords or long tail phrases?

These are important questions to ask, so you can see what you are doing correctly and what you’re missing.

Using Pictures — This wouldn’t be considered a writing technique, but it can bring your SEO writing to life. Using images to complement your text can increase the likelihood that readers will read and engage with your content more. Everyone is naturally drawn to pictures. Picture quality is very important! If you have pour quality images this can potentially turn away readers and potential customers even. Using images can boost your SEO and if you do this correctly you can generate traffic and boost those rankings up.

For more information about SEO techniques contact Windy City Strategies!

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Managing Your Emails Effectively

Email is the number one most used communication tools in business. This allows everyone to connect with one another whenever they want and it gives us the ability to work together as a team on sharing our files or notes. It’s fast and easy to use which is making it very popular.

It’s important to manage your emails properly, or else many people could feel a bit overwhelmed. If your inbox is in a clutter we could possible miss those important emails. Therefore, we need to be organized and keep all unread messages to a minimum. Use these hints on how to manage your emails effectively and it could increase your productivity.

Setting Up A Time To Answer Emails – Setting up a time to answer your emails will make you more productive during the day. Every time you come into work give yourself at least a half hour to read all emails and be able to reply to them. If you keep up with the routine you could do it again for after lunch or in the afternoon. This will help you keep up with the important emails that come your way.

Delete Unwanted Emails – When going through your inbox, go through the unread emails that are from spam or promotional and just delete those. You don’t need to open them, just look at the title of them. You should be able to identify from the subject line if that email does require an action or not. You can even unsubscribe from those emails so you are no longer getting them. Do that on your spare time, in the mean time continue to go through the emails that you don’t really need, to help clear up some space.

Organize Inbox With Folders – When you start getting new projects make a folder for them and label the emails according to specific tasks and deadlines. This will help you keep track of your emails more quickly and effectively. The next step would be prioritizing and sort these emails that are in different folders. You can also set up these emails to directly go to that folder once it arrives. This will help keep your inbox clean and organize.

Sending Fewer Emails – The only way to receive fewer emails is to send fewer emails! You do not need to send the email to everyone who works with you, if you only want to answer from a specific person. If it is necessary you can “CC” the others and don’t need to put their email addresses to the “TO” section.

For more information about how to mange your emails effectively contact Windy City Strategies. 

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How To Get Customers To Notice Your Online Business

It’s estimated that there are more than 468 billion web pages that are spanning the Internet and with more than 570 new websites coming online every minute. It’s crazy how fast websites all over are being made, and every site fits the needs and wants customers are looking for! Look at these tactics and see what you can do to get more interaction.

By content to your pages, quickly and easily start by converting your site to a blog or by adding a blog area to the home page, where you are posting new content. Set up a schedule for when blogs are posted, for example, every Monday, and Friday or every other day if you want. This depends on your website.

Make sure to update all content with images, graphics, or videos to attract more customers to your page. Search is still a primary driver of web traffic daily and most of the search engine algorithms out there will rank sites higher that have fresh new material to show.

The trick here is consistency and this tactic requires commitment, this could take a few months to a year to build up your sites steady traffic stream.

With millions of websites out there they have a singular focus to try and convert visitors into customers. Many sites have that backwards! The truth is those sites have a low conversion rate and it they do somehow make a sale, it’s unlikely for them to generate a repeat business, because their is no relationship that is build up. The key to standing out is by focusing from grabbing quick transactions to building that long-term relationship with those clients.

The number of entrepreneurs who fall back on the old marketing strategy would shock you. When they start selling their products features without understanding their customers needs and wants. With having an online business, it’s very important to build a relationship with potential customers by first giving them what they want.

For more information contact Windy City Strategies.