Exquisite Pixel Designs Blog

Doing Small Business Together

3 Ways to keep visitors on your website longer.


3 Ways to keep your site visitors on your website longer.



Why is this even important? Well aside from having a better chance of converting a visitor into a customer, it's important because Google will actually rank your website higher in search results if you have longer visitor times. 

Similar to all of the other "importance" factors Google takes into account, this is one more reason Google will have to move your site up in search rankings. Google thinks: if people are hanging out on your website for a while, then it must be good. On the other hand, if your bounce rate is high, and people are spending very little time on your site, Google will start to drop your site in ranking. And this...would be bad. :(

So first things first, you need to know where you're starting. Log into your website and click on the stats tab. (Isn't it great how easy this is to do with our software!)

Take inventory of how long people are spending on your website so you can measure results. 


Keep in mind that the average time spent on a website across the board is under 2 minutes. So if this is you, then you're normal. 

Now that you know your starting point, you can use these 3 ideas to boost this number.

1. VIDEO

People would rather watch a quick video then read a lot of text.

Adding video to your website will encourage your visitors to stop and check it out before proceeding. It can be on the home page, but it doesn't have to be. It can alternatively be put on the "services page" or whichever page your visitor usually visits after landing on the home page. 

You can see this information on your stats tab. 






Under Most viewed pages, the first page visitors land on is the one that looks like this / . This is the home page. The one underneath, is the one circled above. This is the page your average visitor will visit next. Typically this will be your services or products/pricing page. But check it out to make sure. (Obviously this doesn't apply if you only have a 1 page website)


Placing a "how to" video explaining your services, or how you can help your potential customer, or featuring your shop is a great way to keep visitors entertained, engaged and they'll be glad they don't have to read everything to get the information they are seeking. 

For an explanatory video, you can hire someone from fiverr.com to make you a quick cartoon-like video simplifying your product or service and overemphasizing why your visitor "needs" to utilize your products/services. Simply put, cartoons usually are visually stimulating (yes, even for adults) and can quickly capture your audiences attention. 

You can also make a video that shows off your shop/salon/boutique. Maybe interviewing past customers and their experience with your products/services. Dont make it too long, just enough to give a snapshop of how great your business is, and why people need to do business with you! 

Now post it on your website, and keep visitors engaged and wanting to learn more!!

2. TRIM THE HOME PAGE

Keep it simple

In another of my blogs I talk about the problem with "spilling it all on the first date" so-to-speak. Pouring everything out onto your home page could leave site visitors overwhelmed and wanting to get out of there. Think of it like walking into a small space that is cluttered floor to ceiling with stuff. You don't really know where to begin, your brain goes into overload, and as a result, the brain actually shuts down in order to conserve calories.

What you want to do is place strategic "teasers". It's like a really good book. A book that is done well will have a captivating picture on the front and an enticing title. It should make you think: "I just have to read it to find out what happens!" 

This should be your website's homepage.

And remember, if the site visitor can't identify what you do within seconds, they wont stick around long.

Here are some examples of websites doing it right. You will notice some common themes.

Airbnb

4 Rivers Smokehouse

Kind Snacks

You'll notice that these sites have a nice big photo or what we call "hero" image at the top that will have a great big catchy phrase, and then a very simple summary of how they can help the visitor, and then some type of call to action. Along with this, you'll notice that their logo is very small, almost unnoticeable. The reason for this is explained in my other blog about how your website shouldn't be all about you. It should be focused on helping the site visitor to "solve their problem."

This method is used over and over again, because it works. It's called putting the best "above the fold". Your visitor should know, even before they scroll what you do/sell and how you can help them, or you've lost them.

You'll also notice what follows is typically a quick snapshot, usually broken down into sections of 3 or more of services or categories of products and just a bit about that. Again, this should be something that encourages visitors to want to click and learn more. 


Also on the home page towards the bottom they will usually feature a few of their customer's reviews. 

So when we design your website, we do keep all of this in mind. But since you as the client, also have control over what you insert into your website, make sure you keep your home page "trim". And always put yourself in your visitor's shoes. Visit some of your favorite websites, and take a conscious inventory of why it works for you.


If there's something you see that could be an improvement to your website, make sure to try it out, or contact us and we'll implement it into your site for you! Then keep an eye on your site stats to see if it's working!


3. EASY READING

Create stimulating content

This one tends to be a catch 22. You don't want too much text on the home page, however having a lot of content on your website is important for SEO. So basically, keep the longer paragraphs on other pages. And try to implement key words on the home page within your summaries. 

Most people scan the home page of a website. Rarely do they read every single word. So make sure, on your home page you create "scannable content".  Make your font size and spacing large and break up content with paragraphs. This makes it easier on the eyes. 

Also, you want to craft engaging subheading. Be clever, maybe even witty! This will capture the attention, and encourage them to read the smaller subheading below.

Bullets, or checkmarks are a great way to get your point across and highlight your best features/value!



Alright, so there you have it! I hope this helps. And remember, the longer your visitors stay on your website, the more engaged they'll be, and the higher the chance for them to convert.

-Kate




  

Gaining A Competitive Edge



Today I'm going to share a tip with you that's going to help you gain a competitive edge when it comes to dominating the first page in search results. This post goes along with my last post about 2018 Google search rank changes.

This information is going to be particularly useful for service-based, and more specifically home service based businesses. This will also be particularly helpful if you're still not ranking on the first page of searches.
But regardless of what industry you serve, you can still give this a try!


As stated in my last post, Google has changed the way they display search results.
 After the paid ads, the next section Google will display are the Google My Business listings. If you don't currently have a Google my business, you should set up your account HERE. Sign in with your gmail account tied to your business.

The next results will typically be yelp. So once again, set up your yelp page and make sure you get everything filled out on it.










Now after that is where it gets important. So when you do a search for your industry type in your city, see what comes up. Take notes. For many home-based serviced, what you'll typically see after the Google my business is something like homeadvisor.com, thumbtack.com, angieslist, bbb.com.

For tourist type services like restaurants or hotels, you may see something like tripadvisor.com, and some other local directory service specific to your area. Or hotels.com or booking.com, etc. You may see groupon.com listings.

So what's my point?

It's pretty simple: whatever is coming up before individual businesses' websites for search terms in your area, get on those sites. Some may be free and some may not. But what price will you pay to be right at the top of these searches? It may be worth it to you.

As algorithms change, and the web seems to always be an ever-flowing evolution of change, it's important for us to respond, accept and adapt to the changes. Things that may have worked for you 2 years ago, are probably not going to be working for you today.

Even if websites come up right after the Google My business, and then directories come after that, you still want to be on any and all directories for your industry type. Why? Because of something called external linking. Sometimes Google ranks a site better if they have a lot of good quality external or "back-linking". But besides that, it's just good to have your business on as many different places your customers may be hanging out, whether that's social media, local directories, or review sites. Your name should be right there in front of them when they're ready to be a customer for whatever it is you offer.

So do a search today for your industry type and city where you service. And take notes of everything that comes up. If there are websites that you can get your business listed on that Google will favor in their ranking, then consider taking the time, or spending a bit to do it!


                (local home cleaning services directory, handy.com would be a good site to get your business listed on.)

(Doing a search for local landscaping services- houzz.com, and homeadvisor.com would be good sites to get your business listed on)


For some ideas of directories you can list your business on click HERE.

Kate
www.exquisitepixeldesigns.com

Getting found in a Google search for 2018




Boy have times ever changed...

A long time ago, you could put a website up on the web with fairly good SEO, and get found in searches and get traffic to your website.

But times have changed.

Competition is much more fierce. The web is flooded with websites. Industries are saturated with millions of fish in the sea all wanting the first page of a web search.

And I don't know if you've noticed or not, but Google has been displaying things different in their searches. It used to be, if you were to search for something, first would be the paid ads, and then the websites with the best SEO.

Now when we search, we get 2 kinds of ads first.


 Then comes the Google my business listings. This is important. If you don't have a Google my business listing for your business, you wont come up in this list.


But then what comes up are yelp listings. This is even more important. And where I'd like to pause for a minute. 

Since yelp is what shows up next, you definitely need your business to be in this list. If you don't have a yelp account for you business set up yet, do this now! Visit yelp.com It's free to create a business account. Make sure you go through it carefully filling everything out, including uploading photos, entering your website/contact info, etc. You really want to take your time.

After that, you want to create a system where you are regularly asking your customers for yelp reviews. 

Here's how we used to do it at Greg's Carpet Cleaning: After Greg would finish a job, he would leave a card that said: "Thank you for using Greg's Carpet Cleaning. If you have any problems with your services please notify us right away so we can make it right! If you were satisfied with your cleaning, please kindly leave us a yelp review." We also, would offer 10% off their next service.

And this is how we built his yelp reviews from 3 to over 50 5 star reviews!! And let me tell you how much this helped get us found on the web and continue to get business. People would call us from other cities asking us to come clean, but unfortunately, being in Big Bear, that just wasn't going to be a possibility. 

Anyways, the point of the story is: KICK YOUR YELP INTO HIGH GEAR! Use it, it's FREE! And Google weighs it high in searches.

After the yelp searches, you'll find sometimes websites that have good SEO, and sometimes websites similar to yelp such as thumbtack, homeadvisor, etc. So these are other good places to list your business should these apply to your industry type. In other words, find out what these other free directory (or maybe not free) websites are, and get listed on them.

We do our best here to get your website ranked well, but it's no longer enough. As I've mentioned in previous posts, there is still much work to do to get large volumes of traffic to your website and actually get some good leads. 

We build the site and get in on the web, but most of driving the traffic comes from you and your marketing plan for the business, which should include what is listed above as well as social media, etc. 

Make sure that you understand that we live in a different day in age, and just throwing a website up onto the web, is not going to be enough to get the traffic you may be hoping for.

So utilize the tips above, and go back through our other posts for more ideas!

-Kate
www.exquisitepixeldesigns.com

GPS - Part 2






GPS- Part 2 The End Game


 What is your goal in your small business? Why are you doing what you doing? What is your dream? And how in this crazy, busy world do you achieve that?


A lot of people would just wing it, go through life hoping
that the steps we take today will align with that dream at some point.  That would be likened to a family with a day set aside to spend at Disneyland.  They get in the car in San Diego, start out on the freeway and just start driving.  Not knowing what freeways to take or even the correct city to get to, they may never make it there. 
  
            In our small business, how do we get to our dream destination?

      Well that’s what maps are for.  For a business owner, and for any motivated person, goals are our maps.  Goal setting sounds so boring, and for some, may seem like a waste of time because life happens and things change and it seems most of the time, we're just trying to survive.  

         Goals are more than a boring task though, they can be quite exciting, they can be the great motivator, and not only the great equalizer, but the one thing that will set you apart from your closest competitors.  Why is that statement true?  According to the Harvard business school: 

Harvard Business study revealed remarkable statistics relating to goal setting and success. 83% of the population does not have goals
14% have a plan in mind, but are unwritten goals
3% have goals written down.

       This is huge because only 3 of 100 people take time to do this game-changing task.  Think about the ramifications of taking the time to do this.  One day of work, of sitting down with some focus, and you can rise above the rest.  Why don’t we do this?

            And how do we do this?  My take on it is reverse engineering.  What is the dream?  

Let's go back to the example: The dream or goal is to spend a day at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland.  In order to accomplish that goal, there are sub goals. So we arrive at Disneyland, but before that, we took some side streets and before that there were freeways, and knowing the city to get to. Before that we took side streets to get to the freeway and before the side streets, we got up, got dressed and packed and into the car. When we take these little subgoals, and work from the end to the start like this, we'll know WHERE to start, and then the next steps to take to get to the end. Voila! Reverse engineering. Now we have a map and how to get to the destination! You could, likewise work from the beginning to the end, or both ends and into the middle. But either way, get your map together!

Setting the right goals

            Most every development leader will tell you to set smart goals.  Well of course I need smart goals, that’s a given.  Lets break that down deeper.  To them, SMART is better.  S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Achievable, R=Realistic, and T=Time Specific.  Be Specific on your goals, as clear and direct as you possibly can as to not stray too far off course.  Make it a goal that you can measure whether you are winning or not.  Allow it to be something that is achievable to you.  A realistic goal would be one that is not based in fantasy, such as walking through walls or having the ability to time travel.  Finally, make it time specific in order for you to stay focused on it. 

             There are plenty of different thoughts on goal setting, and how to accomplish it, this being just one of them.  My suggestion would be to take an hour or two and  read up and find one that will work for you.  And once you start, stay focused on the mission.  Make it short term, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many of them, and dig in and go at it.  Keep that momentum going and watch the winning come. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to us and ask any questions that may help you out. 

-Greg

G.P.S. -Part 1







GPS as we know it in modern, technological terms refers to a global positioning satellite, utilized for tracking. We, however, use it to basically get to a given destination that we do not know the directions to.  Our phones have them built in, with location services that make it a simple process use.  We simply type or speak where we want to visit, and in an instant (if you have good service) the directions appear, and for our safety, a pleasant voice to narrate them for us.  If only we had that pleasant voice when we are about to make the wrong turn in our businesses. 


               



What do I mean by this?  Well as in everyday life, we need to stay focused in our business or life’s little distractions can derail us from our mission.  

“A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”- Thomas Carlyle.  


As we set out on our daily tasks, we get overwhelmed by emails, phone calls, pushy clients, and general life issues.  As well, we have a mission we are on in our businesses and all of a sudden an opportunity arises to add services, or grow into another geographical area.  This is very normal to everyday business life.  How do we combat that?  The solution is GPS.


                As my business mentor, Howard Partridgerefers to it, G.P.S. is our Goals, Plans, and Systems that we need to keep our business on track to success.  In order for GPS to work, we need to know a few things. First off we need to know where we want to go, the end game, the reason why we are in business.  After that, we need to understand where we are starting at, what is our current condition of operations and finances.  Once we have these two “addresses”, we can plan a route to get to the goal.  With the goals set, and a plan laid out before you, it is then that you establish systems.    With all three of these set into place, your focus and growth will come a bit easier for you and your team. 

Systems are very important to this process because they establish boundaries for the journey.


                In the next few blogs, I will help break down this process a bit more.  In the meantime though, it would help you to start planning the journey by taking a day off.  That’s right, go and take a day off and relax at the beach.  While you are there though, you do need to take a pad of paper with you and do some dreaming.  Think about the big picture.  What does your perfect business look like?  Are there multiple employees and locations or are you going to do it alone?  How much money do you want to make per year?  As well, what kind of work do you want to limit yourself to, create boundaries in your daily operations, so as not to get distracted from the mission.  You can also find lots of information at Howard Partridges website www.howardpartridge.com.


                

Good luck and enjoy your day off.

-Greg

The E-Commerce Website Myth


The E-Commerce Website Myth


The thought of having a website that generates income while you sleep, is alluring. It's something I think that everybody would love to have. And an e-commerce site seems like a great way to achieve this.
However, this should not a "build it and they will come" plan.

First of all, you need to make sure that you are selling a product on your website that people will feel comfortable purchasing. If it's an item that people generally would need to try on, or try out for themselves, they will be hesitant in purchasing from a name they don't recognize, understandably.

Remember to always put yourself in your customer's place.

Building a name for yourself so people begin to trust your brand is one thing, and a whole other monster all together.

But while you're waiting for people to dive in and start buying, you may need to offer discounts or free samples of what you're selling, if you are able. Whether you are doing that as a vendor at an event, or offer it on your website in exchange for an email, you need to somehow begin to build the trust that allows people to give out their credit card number.

Use pop-up advertisements to exchange a free sample or discount on your product for an email address.




You also, need to work very hard at driving traffic to your website. I have written multiple blog posts about this, but I'll give a quick summary of things to do here:

  • Get listed on all free directories available.

  • Utilize social media, not just on your own page you've created, but post on local and non-local buy and sell pages on Facebook. (For example: San Diego Buy, sell and trade) Join the group and post (make sure to offer a discount, or free sample). Or join groups that relate with your product you are selling, for example: specific groups dedicated to clothing, jewelry, food, etc. Whatever it is you are selling, find the group that matches that interest. Offer specials, coupons and/or free samples for this to be really effective!

  • Pass out printed material (brochures, flyers, etc) offer a discount if they buy online. 

  • Attend events where you can be a vendor and get the word out! Let people know that they can go on your website to order more.
All of these should contain your web address so people can visit if they are interested.

You need to build trust!

Hoping that people will buy your product online requires a level of trust. If they don't know your brand or have tried your product, they will be hesitant. Because they can easily buy a product similar to yours through a site or company that they already trust. Think, Amazon, ebay, Target, etc.

One of the ways that you can build trust to your unknown audience is by offering a guarantee. This makes people feel safe and secure about their purchase, knowing that you will back it up if they are dissatisfied. So keep this in mind.


Blog to get your product out there

Using the blog world:
You can blog about relevant articles or posts on your website. You can also do guest posts on other blogs that your prospective customers will visit. Get other people to review your products on their website. Focus on getting prospective customers to visit your blog or website. Use your site stats or Google Analytics to see which sources bring the most prospective customers and which convert best to sales.*

If you are a new e-commerce site to the scene (less then a year on the web) then it may just be that you need more time. You need more time to rank higher for the people searching for what it is you are offering. You need to time to build trust, and to educate people on what you sell, and why it's the best!

For more aggressive techniques, you may also want to look into advertising on Google Shopping Campaigns

So, to conclude, just having your e-commerce site on the web in an of itself isn't going to be enough to drive traffic/sales your way. Selling products online is just like starting any other business, it's going to take a lot of work and creativity, and offering incentives to build trust. Make sure to ask for reviews from your existing customers so you can post online to build more trust, or utilize yelp.

You will need to invest a considerable amount of time and energy each week to promote yourself/your website/your products.

Also please let me know if you need to create a coupon for your shop. This will be done through your shopping cart software.

Hope this helps

Kate
www.exquisitepixeldesigns.com


* 5 secrets to selling online successfully

Small Business Owner Struggles

It is the hope and mission of Exquisite Pixel Designs to bring you great looking, user friendly websites that will help you grow your business by getting your message out to a larger audience.  We also care about you as a business owner and know that it isn’t easy.  That is why we will bring you great resources that will help you figure it out.  Please enjoy this quick read and if you know anybody that may need this information, feel free to pass it on. Read More...

3 Reasons Websites are VITAL for businesses via Forbes.com

First Impressions Count 

Let’s face it – we live in a world where people Google before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Read More

Why Do I Need A Website?

Reason #1 – Online brochure
Companies spend millions creating brochures and distributing them. By having a website you can skip that entirely. Read More

Isn't a Facebook page enough?

Facebook recently announced there are currently 40 million active small business pages on its service, which shouldn’t come as that big of a shock to anyone. Creating a Facebook business page is free and provides you with access to a user base roughly the size of the population of China.

Armed with this knowledge, it is reasonable to assume that many small business owners would forgo the effort of building a website and simply rely on what the largest social media network of all time can give them at no cost. But is a Facebook page really enough?

Well, let’s explore that idea. A Facebook business page does have some limitations. Granted, it’s an excellent way to engage with your user base, as long as they want to engage with you. If you can get someone to “like” your page, that’s great. You’ve clearly shown enough value to your customer that they want to hear more about what’s going on with your business – at least in the short term.

However, if someone begins to grow weary of seeing your posts, doesn’t engage with them, and stops visiting your page to learn about the latest goings-on, Facebook will begin to take your posts out of your previously-engaged customer’s News Feed. Once that happens, you need to start paying to promote posts to people who have liked you, or begin advertising (which of course, isn’t free) to engage new users.

Another limitation to a Facebook business page is a lack of brand control. Yes, you can put your background photo on it, and yes, you can have your logo as the profile picture. Your posts have your voice and the photos show off who you are and the services you provide. But it’s still a Facebook page and will never give the complete brand experience that a dedicated website will.

Also, valuable information isn’t always readily available right when a user lands on the page. Your address may be there, along with your phone number and a Yelp page, but that isn’t necessarily enough. Many potential customers want to learn a little more about who you are and what you’re about. In comparison, a dedicated website enables you to completely control your brand and acts as a main hub on the web where interested, potential customers can go for all the information they’re looking for.

A dedicated website also has Google search on its side. It’s true a Facebook page can be found via a search engine, but it doesn’t provide the same comprehensive SEO control of a dedicated website. This point should not be overlooked. A website enables you to tailor your content to the exact kind of phrases and keywords your potential customers are searching for, compared to a Facebook page that is limited in this aspect. Showing up as highly as possible in online searches is a critical component of any business’ acquisition strategy.

In short, should you have a Facebook page for your small business? Yes, absolutely. It’s free and it’s brand exposure. Is it enough? Probably not. To create the kind of digital presence that is required for a small business to succeed in today’s world, a dedicated website isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.

(Reference: Itai Sadan, AdWeek)