Internet Marketing Blog
We get it — when it comes to getting listed online, the
process can be overwhelming. The first
step is understanding what terms such as “local search” and “organic search”
mean, and how they relate to your site.
: The basic definition
revolves around geography. Results are displayed when a potential customer
searches online for a product or service within a specific geographic location.
For example, if you type “landscaping, Boston” into Google
it will return Local Search results for landscaping businesses in Boston.
: According to Merriam-Webster
Social Media includes “forms of electronic communication (as
Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create
online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other
content (as videos).” Whether or not you use Social Media in your
personal life, utilizing it as a marketing tool for your business can have big
benefits. Popular sites such as Facebook
make it easy to engage with
existing customers and connect with new ones.
Organic Search: The original type of results in a search engine that include a list of
websites. Major search engines such as Google evaluate websites based on
credibility and relevancy so that searchers find the best matches for their
Search Engine Optimization: Otherwise
known as SEO, it is the process of optimizing your website so it shows up in
organic search. One specific way to do this is to think about various keywords that you use within your
Keywords: Think for a moment about what words you type in to your
preferred search engine when you’re looking for something specific. For
instance, if you were searching online for a restaurant that served a
particular dish, but you couldn’t recall the name of the restaurant, you would
likely type in keywords such as your location, the dish’s name, or perhaps even
the main elements of the dish.
Paid Search: Results are
advertisements or "sponsored links" in search engines that businesses
can purchase from sites such as Google. Paid Search is a useful form of online
marketing for some businesses because one can see results immediately, however,
unlike other more gradual types of online marketing, it does cost money.
Over the next few months, we’ll be posting specific content
about how you can utilize these key digital marketing terms. Can’t wait for the
post? Keep in mind that we have an extensive Online Guide that can be found on
, Search Engine Optimization
, Building Websites
, Building Links
, social media
, Website Traffic
, digital trends
Over the past few months you have given our team great feedback on our suite of Internet Marketing products and how we can improve them. We truly appreciate this feedback and it allows us to our products updated and fresh. We have recently rolled out two improvements to the photo functionality from this feedback and wanted to give you an overview of the changes.
Updating the light-boxes for single images was the first improvement we made. When a visitor to your site clicks on any of your images to “view larger,” they’ll see a light-box that highlights your picture. Below is a screenshot of the new light-boxes in action:
The other new addition that has been made is to our “filmstrip” image gallery extra. The new features include: updated thumbnails, enlarge your “filmstrip”, and the ability to browse through existing albums. Below is a screenshot of the updated filmstrip functionality:
These new features are available for you to use now. Be sure to take a look at them and let us know what you think.
I wanted to look at Vistaprint’s website users’ favorite features to keep visitors engaged. In addition to the text and general info that you share on your site, here are tools I’d suggest using based on what’s succeeded for other businesses like yours:
Get the word out with Social Media
Make it easy for visitors to spread the word about your business to their friends by adding social media links to your website. We have lots of options to get you connected.
A “Like” button allows visitors to interact with your site, or a “Share” button enables users to share your website on their Facebook Wall and Newsfeed.
If you make updates through Facebook or Twitter for your business, I’d suggest adding the Facebook or Twitter Feed. This option automatically adds your posts to your website, keeping your content fresh and updated which search engines like Google® tend to reward with higher rankings.
Don’t Just Say It, Show It with an Image
We’ve all heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s something all website owners should consider. Businesses can showcase their entire product lines, special events and staff. Add just one photo or entire photo galleries with captions.
Add a Little Action with Videos
Videos can really spice up your site and intrigue your site visitors to learn more about you or your business. You may consider a product demonstration or customer testimonials to personalize online visits. If you have a personal website, post clips of your wedding, baby milestones, celebrations or just funny videos you want to share with friends and family.
Pin-Point Yourself with a Map
Visualizing where customers can find you reminds clientele that you are local and easy to reach. The maps feature also offers a link for Driving Directions to your location so customers can get to you quickly.
Gather Visitor Information with a Form
Forms provide a convenient way for customers to contact you 24/7. I’ve also seen many Vistaprint customers customize forms for things like quote requests and job postings with their own titles and dropdown or radio buttons. See the Connect with Customers with Forms
article for more on how to maximize your forms.
Sell Your Products with PayPal®
Set the Tone with Music
Music can help to convey the tone of your website. You may want to play your company jingle to reinforce your marketing message, a non-profit organization or social awareness campaign may choose a poignant song to evoke emotion, or you may want to simply play all of your favorites on your different web pages. There’s only one rule when it comes to song selection – make sure it complements the content of your website.
These favorites can be added from the “Extras” button on your Site Builder’s toolbar. Please let us know what your favorite Extras are, or other features you’re interested in.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed before sitting down to build your first website? Do you stare at your computer for hours hoping that it will build itself? Do you constantly ask yourself: “Where should I start?”
I know how hard it can be to get your first website off the ground, especially if you’re new to internet marketing. We’ve all wrestled with major decisions from “What’s the purpose of my site?” to “What type of design to use,” to “What kinds of pages should I include?” Don’t we all wish that someone would sit next to us and help get that site published?
Everyone looking for guidance is in luck! We recently introduced an integrated Website Setup Wizard and Checklist that will make it easier than ever for you to make an awesome site so you can announce your business to the world.
So you just signed up for your free trial and you think “wow, what do I do now?” As soon as you get to your dashboard, you will be able to get all the help you need by clicking “Help Me Get Started” on the left of the following screen:
This Setup Wizard will put you through a path that really helps address everything you need to get your site started. We will get your name and message on your site and we will even recommend a website design that matches your other marketing materials or industry, which means everything can stay consistently branded. If you’re having difficulty picking a website package, we have an interactive package selector to help. We’ll ask you some questions that focus in on the website package that really suits your needs. You’ll also be able to set up all the pages you want, your website URL, and the email associated with your site.
If something comes up while you’re going through the Setup Wizard, you can save at any point. Next time you come back to your dashboard, you’ll be able get back in to where you left off from the dashboard message center. Once you’re finished with the Setup Wizard, all you have to do is edit your content in the Website Builder and publish your site!
The Setup Wizard is great for those of you just starting up your site, but why stop there? The Setup Wizard provides the essentials, but our new Website Checklist really helps grow your site. Your personal checklist can be accessed from both your website dashboard and builder:
The checklist will really help you bring your site to the next level. This interactive checklist will help you monitor your site and will give you guidance about what to add to your site - like maps, social media widgets and images. The checklist will also help you easily edit your website keywords and add a guest book to connect with your customers. It’ll even show the date you completed an item so you can reference it going forward! This new feature will really help you get the most out of your site.
We really hope that the new Website Setup Wizard and Checklist help to get your site to the next level. These tools are here to help you continue to grow your business online. Looking forward to hearing your comments and thanks for your continued support.
Thanks for your continued support and following. We really appreciate the engagement from all of you. Your comments have been extremely important in keeping our products updated and fresh. With some feedback we’ve received, we’d like to announce a few changes that you’ll see as you enter the builder to continue to work on your website.
One change you’ll see is an updated feature for PayPal. For those of you that sell online, you can now offer discounted prices.
Use the following steps to start discounting your products:
1. Access PayPal from the Extras dialogue
2. Choose “Add a PayPal Shopping Cart”
3. Enter the price of your product and a discounted amount
Click next and check out the discounted price
If you’re selling something on your site, like a book, and normally charge $10.00 but want to discount it by $2.00, the product would appear like this:
You can update both new and existing products with this new feature. If you don’t have a PayPal account, here’s
some more information on how to set it up. No matter how you update, this is a great way to show your customers that they can receive great products or services at a discounted price from your business!
Another feature we’ve added to our website
extras is a Meta Tag editor. You can access this through the Extras dialogue as well.
Lastly, we’ve created an Email Marketing
survey to gather more feedback. If you want to take the survey, you can access it from your Email Marketing
dashboard. There are some great questions in there and we’re really interested to hear what you think. If you have a few minutes to take the survey, that would be awesome!
We hope that these new features make your website
even better than it already is. Also, we are continuously updating our products, so stay tuned for more articles in the coming weeks. Please feel free to share any feedback you have or thoughts for new features that you would like to see.
Looking forward to your comments and thank you, for helping us make the tools better for you!
A website will almost always be a work in progress, launching one is not easy if you don't have the right tools and support. There are always tweaks to be made and changes that will affect the user experience, traffic and overall theme of the pages. But there are also a few key mistakes that people typically make when it comes to starting from scratch.
This morning Jeremy and I sat down to go through some of these key mistakes and while it was originally a large list we have refined it down to these 10. If you can focus on getting these right, you’ll have greater success in launching your businesses website.
1. Domain Names:
Choosing a domain that is relevant, easy to remember and consistent with your brand. Check out Ryan’s post on “Your perfect domain name”
2. Brand Consistency: Spend the time to make your site look and feel like the rest of your brand. So if you have already designed a business card with certain design elements, make sure that you keep them consistent with your website. Professionalism is what you are looking for and it gives your customers confidence shopping with you online or in your physical store when everything is the same. This includes colors, tone of copy and including your company logo.
3. Consistent and concise information:
Your customers are busy people these days and get bombarded with information all day. Having clear, consistent content which is easy to navigate is so important but too many people try to over communicate everything they do and how they do it to get their message across. Keep the format the same, shorter is better and above the fold is where your most important content should live. “Above the fold”
is the term used for all the content you can see within the top part of the screen and it’s high value real estate. Check out Ryan’s post about content above the fold.
4. Call to action: Micro businesses have a website for a reason, be it informing their customers of where they are and how to contact them, selling products, or putting out content around their industry or demographic.. But no matter what the reason, there should always be a clear call to action for the customer to act and take further steps to do business with you. Giving the customer a clear direction gives you a better chance at a successful outcome. If you want them buy something think about the information they will need to know before buying. Give it to them then provide them with an avenue to purchase. For example, a PayPal purchase button or large phone number call out for estimates. Even a simple “contact us today!” can be effective in spurring action once people have landed on your site.
5. Investing time: Spend some time up front to make your site look professional and well presented. Check over your site design and content before making it live to the world. It doesn’t need to be perfect when you start, but having areas of your site looking sloppy does not make a good first impression. You want it to be as close to perfect as possible before launching it.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Think about search engine optimization while building your site and consistently after it has launched. Too many people think about it after the fact and being aware of good SEO practices from the start will put you in a much better position to maximize your online potential. The Vistaprint Search Engine Optimizer is a great tool to be able to monitor your SEO.
7. Customer contact details: At every opportunity try to capture your customer contact details so that you have an avenue to contact them in the future. Having a “Contact Us” page is a must, which will allows you to take your potential customer’s information in the process. Be open about your contact details; put your contact information on every single page of your website to make it easy to find. This will help you build a database of your customers and allow you to use mediums such as Email Marketing in the future.
8. Announce your site: People are not going to just stumble upon your site; they need to know or hear about it. Create an email marketing campaign to announce the launch of a new site, share it with your friends on Facebook, reach out to your local Chamber of commerce and put a link to the site on your new business cards or other marketing materials.
9. Understanding your data:
Once you have your site set up and customers are coming to your site keep an eye on your website traffic. Make sure you’re taking the right steps to boost that traffic and testing your efforts over time. Again, your site won’t be stumbled upon, you need to be proactive about getting it found by search engines and customers. Check out an article by Francine on “Understanding your website traffic.”
10. Don’t set it and forget it: Your business is growing and changing all the time. Your website should be too. Too often micro businesses think, “Oh I have a website now, I am all set there.” The actual answer is, “it takes time to grow your business online and requires continual improvement.” Consistently spend time each week to monitor and make updates to your website. Listen to customer feedback and make changes to improve.
Hopefully these tips help you whether you are just getting started or are working on improving your site. Look forward to hearing the mistakes you made when starting out.
Have you ever heard of the term “above the fold” when it comes to newspapers? Well it also refers to the area on websites. “Above the fold” refers to the area of a computer screen a person can see without scrolling up, down, left, or right.
Just the other day, a customer asked me where the best spot to put a PayPal button was on their site. My answer was “above the fold.” I began thinking about my answer and felt like this is a very common question. Since “above the fold” is so important here’s a little background about this area of your website.
During the internet’s early years, many believed users would never scroll down a page. Since then, there has been debate over the best use for above the fold space. Usability expert Jakob Nielsen recently tested the notion of “above the fold” through his Eye-tracking Study. Through this, he found users do scroll through web pages, but spend 80% of their time looking at information above the fold. To further that, those users that scroll do so primarily when they feel information is important or valuable to them.
This study can guide what kind of content to include above the fold. Since users only spend 20% of their time on the bottom of web pages, the top area space is more important than ever. Keep this idea in mind when you are selecting content to include and showcase on your own site. The type of content will differ from business to business, but it’s important to be selective in choosing what information to put here.
Try to incorporate important elements that will capture your audience.
Include things like specific calls to action, directions on use, or relevant imagery. All of these can be considered quality pieces that will interest your customer to scroll through your webpage. ProBlogger does this extremely well.
While customers spend 80% of their time above the fold, don’t try to overwhelm them with content in this space. Targeting those important elements of your business will interest customers to scroll and read your website. It’ll be tough for a customer to focus with lots of content squeezed into a small area. With a simple design in mind, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find the information they need. Providing customers with a clearly defined path on you site is important.
Surety Bonds uses a simple design to direct customers to a strong call to action.
Content above the fold is the first encounter between you and your customer. Selecting the right content to show can make all the difference and allow customers to engage with your website. Quality pieces of information will interest visitors and keep them coming back.
Do you notice that you get more activity on information placed “above the fold?”