Website Redesign and Instant Gratification Gone Amok

Bruce Aristeo Website Redesign

Bruce Aristeo Website Redesign

For some, the decision to redesign a current website is based on functional limitations and/or failure to perform. For others, it could simply be a spontaneous decision; the colors are boring, or the lack of that “special something” extra …bells, whistles, cool gadgets! Yeah! That’s what I need… a redesign!

And so it goes; we jump head over heals (and budget) into a redesign without evaluating first, what’s really working: what could use a simple facelift, and what could be tossed altogether. In doing so, we also lose track of how deleting pages could produce a negative outcome in the form of search engine errors.

First things first:

  • Take inventory of every webpage Google has indexed for your website. Go to Google.com and enter the following into the search box: “site: www.YourWebsite.com”.
  • List them all in an Excel spreadsheet with documented traffic (or lack thereof) found in your analytics program to help you determine what stays and what goes.
  • In a third column, construct redirects (new URLs) for those that will no longer exist on your new website. Without redirects, visitors who have bookmarked pages to your old website, or tripped over old links (articles?) will land on an error page (Not Found). You can list your homepage for now and come back later and change them if a more suitable new one is created.
  • Then gather up all the content files that you want to repurpose on your new site for ease of linking and uploading, and create a new file to hold them, including:
    • Your logo formed in a vector format (i.e., .eps, .ai, or .cdr).
    • Guidelines, such as Privacy and Return policy documents
    • Images, graphics and downloadable files (whitepapers, eBooks, etc)

Now you’re ready to dig in. Your next step should be defining the purpose of your website redesign; what do you hope to gain or make better? More traffic and leads? Ease of conversions from prospect to customer? And more importantly, what new features and elements will you include in your website to help you accomplish your goals.

Got a favorite website redesign tip to share? Share your comments with us.

Creating Your New Website or Redesign On Paper First

Bruce Aristeo Website Design

Bruce Aristeo Website Design

Creating your website on paper first will help reduce design time, wasted resources, ensure necessary items can easily be found and uploaded, and provide you the opportunity to define, redefine and structure your website elements.

CREATING YOUR NEW WEBSITE ON PAPER FIRST

Here’s how it’s done: Create a Word document for each page you plan to include containing the following:

  • Page name, title (less than 60 characters), and location within the site, such as a sub-menu item
  • Meta Description (use no more than 7 keywords, preferably within long-tail keyword phrases; less than 150 characters total)
  • URL
  • Alt text to accompany each image or graphic to be included on the page
  • Main headline
  • Sub-headline
  • Body content (including text and associated images and/or media file names)
  • Links for content to referenced/related pages

Designing for a company consisting of multiple departments each with needs to consider. Bring all stakeholders into the process early and ask each the following questions:

  • Who are the buyers each department encounters most frequently?
  • What specific keywords or long-tail keyword phrases are commonly used or searched for?
  • What are their needs and objectives? Ex: Product specs and descriptions, lead generation, thought leadership, closing tools.
  • Which department requires more dedicated space for copy (text), forms or graphics?
  • What is the company/department perception: business development, high tech, entertainment?
  • What call to action (CTA) will support each stakeholder’s needs (subscriptions, trial offers, buy now campaigns)?
  • What features would best serve their customers (i.e., blogs, user forum, live chat), and who will be responsible for oversight of those features, if implemented?
  • What navigation elements would better serve their customers, including sub-menus, breadcrumbs and search bar?

If you’re redesigning a current site, ask each stakeholder to also answer the following:

  • What has worked in the past and what changes are necessary?
  • What existing content should be updated and repurposed within the new design?
  • What new content would add to their lead funnel and who will create those assets? Is outsourced talent required, and if so, are resources available (access to both known talent and financial requirements)?

Website Redesign: Define Success By Defining Your Purpose

Bruce Aristeo Website Purpose

Bruce Aristeo Website Purpose

When it comes to website design or redesign, the rules of engagement and best practices for your virtual storefront are always changing. But hey, nobody ever said ranking #1 was easy! It takes effort and time, all of which are better served by a little planning.

While your design or redesign is certainly important (two columns, three, or none?), you need to focus initially on how you intend to develop, maintain and build your presence while expanding your lead-generating tool chest.

More than simply an online presence, today’s marketplace demands that websites be a hub for all things that generate education and engagement; where conversations begin and progress. It’s where leads are generated through Inbound Marketing, rather than through traditional means, and with the right tools provided, prospects convert into customers.

The problem for many is that design has all to often taken a front seat to purpose.

Defining your goal is ground zero, including a detailed outline of how you will go about fulfilling your goal. Some of the more obvious include:

  • Retail Sales
  • Marketing of a Product or Service
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Advocacy
  • Networking

While it’s true that any successful website may contain elements of each, not all types of content and features are not created equal, and depending on your foundation of purpose, some may actually work against you by distracting, overwhelming, or worse, irritating your visitors.

By defining your specific aim, you’ll be better able to:

  • Develop value-added content and inbound marketing tools
  • Reduce wasted time, money and energy

Marketing gurus have been touting the essential “elevator pitch” for decades, and for good reason; only when you can define your product or service within a 30-second pitch …what your service or product is about and why you’re the best person (or company) available to solve a problem, can you successfully pitch it to another.

Whether it’s in person or online, the same holds true about first impressions.

Get clear about your goal and drive that commitment home with content that will produce more quality leads and a more profitable outcome.

Has a lack of goal-driven clarity created a nightmare in your website design? Share it with us in “comments” and get some tips on how you can easily regain control.

Inbound Marketing: Website Design and Redesign Must Have’s

bruce aristeo inbound marketing

 

bruce aristeo inbound marketingInbound marketing, simply put, is a method (set of tools and actions taken) designed to lead unknown potential customers to you via your website, rather than you venturing out into the world to contact them directly, either in-person, by phone, or traditional advertising (print, radio & television).

More than online industry hype, studies now show that compared to a decade earlier, inbound marketing is not only a more effective means of attracting new customers, it also costs 62% less per lead compared to outbound, or traditional marketing.

It’s not necessary to implement all the aspects of inbound marketing at once, but you should become familiar with them and add as many as possible, always testing and tracking your success. Here’s a good list to get you started:

  • Search Engine Optimization (on-page SEO), including keywords and long-tail keyword phrases. (Example: keyword, accountant; long-tail,small business accountant servicing construction trades)
  • Titles and Meta Tags that contain your keywords/long-tail keyword phrases
  • Blogging; considered to be #1 by successful marketers
  • Social Networking: Facebook, Twitter, Google+
  • Newsletters; weekly, monthly or quarterly (focusing on quality of content over frequency)
  • Email Marketing Platform
  • Call To Action (CTA) Strategy for Lead Generation (free consultations, free and/or paid downloadable content)
  • Landing pages designed specifically to assist potential customers in fulfilling a CTA, such as complete a form with their contact information. Landing pages are also indexed by search engines and assist with SEO.

Social Media Expert Beginner

bruce aristeo social media expert

bruce aristeo social media expert

If you’re an individual or business owner considering Social Media Networking for the first time, it might seem intimidating. However, becoming more social online is easy, once you learn how. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to becoming a Social Media Expert.

  • Take It Slow – When you venture into the Social Media networks, you might try to tackle all of them at once. If you sign onto every social network and then try to build each of them, you’ll have quantity but not quality. Try joining a few networks first and pay attention to the ones that fit your business. This will set you on your path to becoming a Social Media expert.
  • Widget – Sometimes, the best place to locate followers are within your site or blog. A widget on your website is useful for your Social Media networks. Your friends and readers and are more likely to re-tweet or comment on your content than a stranger. Facebook has a widget generator app. while Twitter offers one called Tweetmeme.
  • Test Buttons Often – Testing which Social Media buttons and widgets have the most “impact” allows you better control over them. If your site is doing great with Facebook, but not with another network, drop the button for that network or pay more attention to it.
  • Don’t Be Pushy – If you are just getting into Social Media, you might think the best way to showcase your brand is by overloading your followers with coupons, news, and offers. Instead, offer your followers a link a business page, which would benefit them. Keep it interesting without being pushy. This will help you achieve you Social Media Network goals.
  • Follower Counts – There are hundreds of eBooks on the Internet selling you the idea of how to attract thousands of followers in just days. Most of these are going to be bots or people hoping you’ll follow them back. They are not followers who are going to network with you. It’s better to have 10 followers who’ll engage with you, then thousands of bots that don’t.
  • Smaller Media Networks – There are hundreds of Social Media Networks, or groups within networks that you can use to promote your brand. What comes to mind first? Probably the most popular, Twitter or Facebook. Try joining smaller groups or less popular groups within these networks. These small targeted social groups often bring more traffic than the larger ones.
  • Find Follower With Twitter – To be successful on Twitter, you need to follow and be followed by people who have similar ideas. Once you find people you want to follow, be sure to engage with them. Post interesting content, participate in discussions, and re-tweet information useful to your group. This will increase your follower count and your new friends can help promote your website.
  • No One Likes A Know-It-All – Don’t act like a know-it-all if you can’t back it up. Take the time to listen and learn. Ask questions, observe, and let others do the advertising for you. Be helpful, patient, and most importantly… humble. Follow these tips to pave the way towards becoming a Social Media Expert.

Santa’s Internet Marketing No No’s!

bruce aristeo santa marketing

bruce aristeo santa marketing

Remember how magical Christmas felt when you were a child? You couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to be over because the next holiday was the “One”. Now began the shopping, baking cookies, seeing Santa at the mall, stores decorated with lights and ornaments. Maybe you counted the days till the classic Christmas shows “Rudolph, Frosty and Charlie Brown’s Christmas would air on T.V. That’s what finalized it; Christmas was almost here. And don’t forget those Sears and J.C. Penny Catalogs. They were the size of telephone books and many hours were spent searching pages and pages of toys. Yes, Christmas was magical…

Well, things have changed! The magic is still there, it’s just… different. It’s not because I’m no longer a child, I just feel some of the spark is gone. Stores are displaying trees and decorations before Halloween. Black Friday is advertised weeks before Thanksgiving. Remember Thanksgiving? People are Christmas shopping in May via the Internet… Why leave home to shop in crowded malls? Stores open at 3 a.m. or earlier the eve of Black Friday. Some brave shoppers venture out waiting in lines the length of a football field. Anxiety is high as they wait for the doors to open. They’ve been dreaming about this moment all week and now it’s finally here.

Once inside, shopper’s rush down aisles in a frenzy hoping to get that 52” T.V. advertised for $250.00. Did they see the fine print? The one saying “Limit” 2 per store! And pity customer number 3. He was so close; if it wasn’t for that “Charlie Horse” he got standing in line so long, he may have made it. And we’ve all heard about scuffles over that one last toy that every child in the world asked for this year! Not very Christmas-like now is it?

I hope that little story made you smile. The good news! Christmas can still be a magical, wonderful holiday for customers and marketers. It isn’t that Christmas isn’t magical anymore, it’s just well… different.

Below are Santa’s Internet Marketing No No’s to avoid to keep your holiday marketing running smooth.

  • Same Old Boring Campaign – Use the holidays to get your products or services noticed again. Be creative and come up with something “out of the ordinary”. Running the same products and specials each year is the best way to be forgotten.
  • Not Reaching Out To Your Network – Holiday marketing is a great way to connect with your network. Give them a glimpse of what new & surprising changes are taking place for the holiday. Keep it exciting!! They’ll love the suspense and anticipation.
  • Not Everyone Celebrates  – Christmas usually overshadows other holidays, such as Chanukah or Kwanzaa. As a marketer, you are marketing to people from different religious beliefs and cultures. When working on your holiday marketing campaign, be thoughtful about this matter.
  • Forgetting Your Campaign Needs To Be… StrategicYes, a strategic holiday campaign takes lots of time and effort. You’ll want to reach your target audience, engage with them, and achieve your goals.
  • Plan Ahead – Planning months in advance is usually the best option to figure out what your objectives are, whom you want to reach. Be sure you set reasonable deadlines to make your campaign a success!