Marketing Moxie Blog

Tips to Create an Effective Website

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 @ 09:07 AM

halifax web design 

Regardless of the type of business, a website is an invaluable asset. It is often the first point of contact that potential customers have. It is how that potential customer determines whether or not a business, product or service can meet their needs, answer their questions or solve their problems.

Effective websites should provide information about the business, and should be informative and engaging. When a visitor lands on a site, he or she should get an immediate feel for what the business has to offer, and should feel compelled to stay on the site because it provides value.

What Are The Elements Of Effective Websites?

There are numerous elements that make a successful site, some more obvious than others. The following is a basic list of qualities that a business site should have:

Ease Of Navigation

A good-looking site with catchy graphics is great, but how easy is it to navigate? Visitors to a site should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily, without having to hit the back button every couple of minutes. Pertinent information should be clear and easy to find. To find out if a site has this quality, it is important to view the site as though it is your first time visiting it, or hire someone to evaluate the site for you.

Accurate, Up-To-Date Contact Information

It is surprising how many sites fail to do this. There should be contact information on every page of a site. It should be easy to find and current.

A Solid, Compelling Call-To-Action

A good call-to-action (CTA) makes site visitors want to take action. That action may include signing up to an email list, downloading content or clicking a link to get more information. Different types of CTA work better for some pages than others. This is an area where split-testing can be helpful. Test out a couple of CTA's to find out which one works best.

Fast Loading Time

A flashy page may capture attention, but that attention is quickly lost if the page takes too long to load.  Effective websites don't lose visitors because of slow site speed. There are numerous ways to speed loading times. There are tools that can help determine if a page has a good loading time. If it doesn't, some work on the site needs to be done.

Informative Content Using A Variety Of Media

The saying "content is king" has become popular for a reason. Websites that provide a steady flow of good content get more visitors, capture more leads and generate more sales. The best sites incorporate a variety of content on their site. Good graphic images, video, slideshows, infographics and articles appeal to a wide audience and add value to a site.

Social Media Integration

Effective websites harness the power of social media to help boost traffic and engagement. There are a number of ways to do this, but one must is social sharing buttons. This makes it easy for visitors to share content with their networks.

Continuous Evaluation

Businesses should constantly monitor the progress of their site, and should periodically "clean house" to ensure that the site is staying current, relevant and that there are no problems. The marketing world changes rapidly, and that means that websites should be consistently evolving as well.

Following these guidelines will help businesses get the most out of their site, and ultimately increase leads and sales, as well as brand trust and recognition. It takes some work, but the return on investment makes it worthwhile.

Looking for more inspiration, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to a Killer Website.

Download Now!

Tags: Marketing planning, website marketing, content optimization system

Recent LinkedIn changes and how to leveraging your presence

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 @ 11:04 AM

Are you leveraging the online networking opportunities with LinkedIn?  In 2012, I blogged about, How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Business Two years on and I still love LinkedIn. Hands down THE social media platform that generates the most leads and business for More in Store. 

Just like the other social media platforms, LinkedIn continues to adapt and evolve their presentation and features.  Most recently, LinkedIn announced that effective on April 14th they will retire the “Products and Services” tab from “Company Pages” and removed from LinkedIn all together.

linked in company pages 

As of April 14th the product and services tab has be deleted, effectively the tab is being replaced by the Showcase Pages.   Showcase pages can be tested out now. 

According to LinkedIn, here are three reasons to use a Showcase Page for your product and/or service content:

  1. ‘Showcase Pages’ were built to enable you to highlight a particular brand or product line.
  2. ‘Showcase pages’ make it easy to build a dedicated community on LinkedIn and start an ongoing conversation about a particular product or brand.
  3. ‘Showcase page’ followers know to expect news about your ‘product or service’ – in fact, they’re looking forward to it! And since Showcase Page updates work just like company updates, they offer all of the benefits detailed above.

I tried out this new feature and created a ‘showcase page’ for my Inbound Marketing Services.  A couple of cool features that I liked about the new ‘Showcase pages’ are…

  1. ‘Showcase pages’ are Indexed and appear when using LinkedIn Search

linkedin showcase pages

This is a wonderful feature that we didn’t see with the ‘Company Page’s Service and Products’ tab.  With the page being index you have the opportunity to gain exposure with non-followers – name your page wisely using highly searched terms to attract prospects. 

 

2. Once your showcase page is set up, you can choose to post to your Company Page, to the Showcase page or to both.  This will ensure the most targeted reach of your updates on LinkedIn.

    showcase page screen shot

    The showcase pages are also more visual than original Company Pages’ Service and Products tab.  The full width image allows you 973 x 330 pixel area to showcase your offering.  Much like other social platforms you’ll need to layout your text around the logo that LinkedIn adds to the bottom left and the follow button they also insert over the full width image. 

    I can see the value of the Showcase pages and will likely create a few more.  Are you putting a LinkedIn Company page to work for you?  Not sure where to get started?  Make tackling this important tactic easy with my free ebook, LinkedIn Company Pages.

    Download Now! 

    And if your personal profile could use a little TLC, I have a free ebook for that too!  Download a copy of Creating an Effective LinkedIn Profile.

    Download Now!

     

     

    Tags: linkedin, social media marketing, social media tips, inbound marketing, content optimization system, online marketing

    What is a COS and why do you need one?

    Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, Sep 02, 2013 @ 18:09 PM

    COS… another acronym, not what you need, or maybe it is. A COS is a cousin (but not too close a cousin) to the website CMS (content management system). COS stands for Content Optimization System, it was launched by the clever folks at Hubspot last week at the Inbound Marketing Conference and it has a great deal to offer any marketing and, it also benefits the consumer.

    Let’s start with the basics and ramp up quickly from there.  A CMS is a content management system – a tool that let’s the lay person (Or even a brilliant marketer who doesn’t know web code, update their website.  It’s the solution for those who hate waiting on web developers for changes.  There are countless content management systems that let you do a varying degree of web editing.  Sounds good hey?  Well they have their limits too. 

    Hubspot developed and launched the COS system – not to add more bells and whistles or a few new features, but rather they did it to create a better user experience. 

    Most websites today display the same content every time a user visits the website.  But as a web visitor moves through the buying cycle from a visitor or prospect to a customer to a repeat customer, the visitors’ needs change.   A content optimization system allows marketers to create custom content for different audiences (based on any criteria—perhaps where the customer is in the purchase process or where they are located geographically). 

    Content optimization system

    Isn’t that cool?  It’s all about context!   Think how you would change up your home page for a prospect versus an existing customer.   

    Hubspot launched several new features to their suite of tools at Inbound 2013—many of them centering around marketing ‘context’.  What about how your customers visit website (on what device – lap top, desktop, ipad), wouldn’t it be nice to meet their needs technologically every time.  Delivering a website that adapts to the device is called responsive design and it is going to be essential to keep customers engaged and happy on your website.    And yes, responsive design is a feature in the new Hubspot COS. 

    Whether or not your current website runs a CMS, the COS tool is the answer for anyone in the organization who wants to easily update their website with content that is unique and relevant to many target groups. 

    With traditional CMS, many savvy web developers often complain that once the site is set up to serve the needs of the marketer (or person who doesn’t know web code) the design is compromised.  I have had a very positive experience with the Hubspot CMS (for my site and for several clients).  Putting a well designed site on the Hubspot CMS has given me the best of both worlds and even after extensive site editing the design hasn’t been compromised.  Perhaps the key is to start with a well designed website and clear brand standards.  A CMS is not a design platform and shouldn’t be treated as one.

    But, I am told that even web developers at Hubspot have given the new COS the nod.  I am sure web developers and marketers may still have words over the merits of the COS system, but let’ s remember who’s at the heart of our marketing – the customer, and I think this tool has a great deal to offer the end user. 

    Ready to turn your website into a lead generating machine?

    Connect with Me!

    Tags: inbound marketing, website marketing, hubspot halifax, content optimization system