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Websites We Love: Inspiration
Websites We Love: Painting a Picture
Websites We Love: Showcasing Your Passion
Site Statistics Update
Websites We Love: Four Years Strong

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Adding Facebook and Twitter badges/buttons to your website
Websites We Love: Inspiration
Top Three Reasons to Add a Contact Form to Your Site
Consider These Extras to Boost Your Website Activity
Websites We Love: Showcasing Your Passion

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Websites We Love: Inspiration

This week's Website We Love is all about inspiration. We asked our
Vistaprint Internet Marketing Facebook community how, exactly, they found inspiration for their sites. The answers were, well, inspiring...so needless to say, it was difficult to pick just one site to feature!

The winning site is Handwriting With Katherine. Katherine writes that her work inspires her site: "I find inspiration for my site through the awesome children I work with," she says. One reason we were impressed by her site was the wealth of helpful information she features, such as her handy resource section and the easy-to-use contact section. We were also fans of her welcoming homepage.

Congrats, Katherine, on a site well done! What about YOU? How do you find inspiration for your site?


Websites We Love: Painting a Picture

This week, we asked our Vistaprint Internet Marketing Facebook community why their website was important to them, and we received a number of great comments. It was difficult to pick just one site to feature!

The winning site for this week was submitted by Donan Mendez. Donan writes that his site is an important educational tool, that helps spread the word about his business, Mendez Painting & Remodeling: "[The site] is a way our customers can learn about our services, photos samples and to get new customers," he writes.

We agree...the homepage's image gallery makes a statement, and the services and about us pages are informative, and a helpful resource for current and prospective customers alike. Congrats, Donan! 

Tell us why YOUR site is important!

Websites We Love: Showcasing Your Passion

Another week, another Website We Love! This week, we asked the Vistaprint Internet Marketing Facebook community about the best part of having their own Website. As always, we received a number of insightful comments and wonderful Websites, so choosing just one to feature here was a difficult task.

Today’s winner is Chris Burkstaller, who wrote that the best part of having a Website is expressing his love for teaching golf. We think Chris makes an important point — having a venue to showcase your business, passion or talent can be a vital benefit to having a Website.

We were also impressed with Chris’s flash intro, clever “Ask The Pro” section, and the testimonial videos highlighting
student swings. Congrats, Chris, on a site well done!

What about you? What is the best part about having your own Website?

Websites We Love: Four Years Strong

Every Wednesday, we choose a Website We Love to feature here, on our blog, and on our Facebook page. This week, we asked our Facebook community how long they've had their site, and why they started it. As always, we received a number of great responses, but we had to pick just one!

The winning website comes from Raymond Bush, of Pittwater Mowing!
Raymond says he has had his site for four years, and the response has been positive: "The Website launched on a Sunday night and by Wednesday we had our first client! We now service 100+ homes in Sydney Australia." We thought the site was great overall, but were particularly impressed with the intro video, before and after shots and helpful, relevant educational
information. Congrats, Raymond!

What about you? How long have you had YOUR site...and why did you start it? Tell us in the comments section!

Websites We Love: Dreams Come True

This week, we received a HUGE Website We Love response!

We asked our Facebook community what three words would describe their site...and the comments were amazing! As always, it was difficult to choose just one to feature here, on our blog, and on our Facebook page, but in the end, we went with a site submitted by Amanda Leigh Boykin.

When it comes to describing her site in three words, she says Petal Pusher's Wreaths & Designs is a "dream come true." We loved that answer, and her site... especially the beautiful imagery, easy-to-shop homepage, informative blog, and numerous, detailed seasonal wreath categories (on display in the left-hand navigation). We think it's a site well done! Congrats, Amanda!

What about you? How would you describe your site in just three words?

Websites We Love: Navigation

This week, we asked the Vistaprint Internet Marketing Facebook community about what one word comes to mind first when thinking about their website. As usual, there were some amazing responses and Websites to choose from--which makes choosing just one difficult! In the end, we picked Jessica Peltz and Myst Mobile Spray Tanning as this week's Website We Love.

The word Jessica used to describe her site was "resourceful," and we think it's a word that highlights what we liked about the site well. We were impressed by the amount of information found on the site, and how well the navigation pointed to and explained specific services. Whether looking at Frequently Asked Questions or Scheduling An Appointment, the site is well organized, and easy for visitors to use. Congrats, Jessica!

What about you? What is the first word that comes to mind when you think about YOUR site?

Decoding Site Stats

If you have a website, keeping track of your site’s statistics is important. Why? Learning things like who is looking at your site, how they got there and which pages were viewed the most can help you tailor your content, and monitor how visitors are interacting with your site. Here, we’ll define the top five stats you should be keeping track of.
 
1. Page Views
Page views are the number of times your web pages have been looked at. Page views are important because they can help identify what content your customers care about most.

2. Visitors
Keeping track of the number of visitors your site has, as well as when these people are checking out your pages, is a great way to figure out when to run particular content. For instance, if you know that Tuesday is a high-traffic day, that might be when you want to run a specific sale.

3. Location
Visitors to your site can come from anywhere — from your hometown to somewhere across the globe – that’s the power of the Internet. Use the location information to see your site’s popularity in specific areas, as this insight can help you focus your advertising budget on these regions.

4. Search Engine
Identifying these search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) indicates where your website is being indexed and it can also help you see the search engines your visitors prefer.

5. Referring Traffic
Any website that links to your website is called referring traffic. Knowing what sites drive traffic to your website can allow you to find out more about your customers’ online activity, which can help you customize your site to fit their interests and needs. It’s a good idea to post your website on other sites such as your area’s chamber of commerce, blogs that apply to your business or review sites to create more referring traffic. You can also spot users that click to your site from your email marketing campaigns or local search profile with our click source feature.
 
It’s amazing how easy it is to get to know your site visitors. Check your stats on a regular basis and make sure you use the information to better your website and strengthen your connection with customers.

Websites We Love: Picture This

Since each week we pick the sites we love, this week’s Websites We Love question focused on what, exactly, our Vistaprint Internet Marketing Facebook community loves about their website. As it turns out, a lot of you love your sites — and with good reason, since the submissions we received were all great, and the decision to pick just one to feature was difficult.

This week’s winner comes from Jamie Benedict, who wrote that there are quite a few reasons she loves her site. “I love the business that my site brings in,” she says. “The style and design of the Vistaprint design center, and how beautiful all my pictures look…I love that I can change it around and it’s so easy.” We’re big fans of the pictures, too, especially the My Brides and More section, where there are short blurbs about each of the women featured. The images are a creative way to showcase her services, portfolio, and her clients. We’re also impressed by her non-traditional Contact Us page, which features a number of engaging questions. Congrats, Jamie!

What about you? Tell us why you love your site in the comments section!

Websites We Love: Confidence

what one word summed up how their sites made them feel. After more than a month of featuring Websites We Love, it comes as no surprise that we received a number of amazing comments--and links to sites! But we had to pick just one...

The winning site this week comes from Diesel Overhead Doors Inc., who say that their site makes them feel confident. And we can see why! The welcome page grabbed our attention, and we were also impressed with the extensive picture gallery, informative maintenance section and easy-to-use
e-mail marketing sign-up box. Congrats on a site well-done!

What about you? How does your site make YOU feel? Tell us in the comments section!

Five Tips for Using the Vistaprint Support Community

The Vistaprint Support Community is a great place to pick up advice from Vistaprint Internet Marketing specialists, read up-to-date content about all the products you love, share your ideas, questions, expertise, feedback and much more. Here are few pointers on how to best use the forum.

1. Ask the Right Question
If you have a specific question in mind when you visit the forum, but you don’t see an exact answer match after hitting the “ask” button, your very first instinct might be to simply repost the topic. Wait! Before you do that, click through a few of the generated responses. There are a number of ways to pose questions, and sometimes, different often-asked questions can have the same answers.
Hint: Still not seeing your answer? You have a few options: You can try entering a keyword instead, or you can check out the product listings on the lower part of the screen there, you can search, even if you're not sure what to ask.

2. Read Up
The support forum is FULL of up-to-date, Vistaprint-approved articles. So even if you don’t have a question, the forum is a perfect place to explore new tricks of the trade, or just read up on favorite products.
Hint: If you don’t know where to begin, look on the homepage. There, you’ll find the most popular ideas, frequently asked questions and common problems. It’s a good spot to start exploring.

3. Share Your Ideas
You don’t have to just submit your questions — you can also share your ideas! If you have an idea for a brand-new product, or an innovative way to improve one we already offer, we’d love to hear from you.
Hint: No idea is a bad one — even the tiniest thought can lead to a big outcome, so don’t hesitate to share.

4. Talk to the Community
The forum is a quick way to reach Vistaprint employees, of course, but it’s also a great way to connect with other Internet Marketing enthusiasts. Answer other people’s questions, ask for advice, and more!
Hint: Other members of the forum are probably experiencing many of the same things you are — it’s a great place to reach out and connect with others.

5. Be an Expert
If you know an answer, pass it on! You don’t have to be a Vistaprint employee to share expert tips and quick fixes.
Hint: If you’re an expert, don’t be shy — you might get to a question before we do!
 

Websites We Love: Home Page Importance

Take a look at your site. What do you think is the most important page, to you and to your users? That is the question we asked this week on our Internet Marketing Facebook page, and we received (as always!) a number of great responses--and great websites, too! This week's Website We Love winner, Celine Jacobs, of Rockhampton Happy Hounds Dog Training, thinks her home page is the most important spot on her site. We think it's a great place to welcome visitors--human and canine alike! We also think the About Us page does a great job explaining not only the company's services, but also the history behind the business; it also provides helpful information such as location, hours and more. (Plus there is even a Dog Blog!) Congrats, Celine!

Now it's your turn--tell us what page YOU think is most valuable when it comes to your site, and why.

How to Share Your Small Business’s Story Online


Storytelling is an important part of who we are as humans. Since the first hieroglyphics were smeared on the walls of ancient caves, stories have captured our attention and our imaginations. Here are a few tips to help you connect with customers by sharing your business’s story in the About Us section of your website.

Think Back
A great story has tremendous value. It catches your attention, it’s interesting and it’s memorable. Think about how your business came to be. Perhaps you began in a converted garage. Maybe it was your 3-year-old daughter who sparked a prolific idea.  Or maybe you lost a job but discovered your calling. Whatever the case, if you’re passionate about your business, then you have a story to tell!
 
Be Specific and Use Details
Details bring a story to life and they’re what stick in people’s minds. If a potential customer is interested in your product or services, they’re going to be interested in the details of your business. Share the details that make your business unique and website visitors will feel more connected to you. By opening up, you’ll allow visitors to become invested in your business.

Show Off

Take the opportunity to show visitors what you do better than anyone else. Explain what really sets you apart and why you can be trusted to provide better products or services than the competition. Are you the fastest? Newest? Friendliest? Maybe you pride yourself in offering free, half-hour consultations to prospective clients, or maybe you’re the only company in town offering a specific product. Your story should set an expectation of what it’s like to do business with you and it should also help to establish brand identity. Even if you don’t actively managing your brand at all times, your story will.

But I’m Not a Writer!

Don’t worry — no one is expecting your story to rival Charles Dickens. The most important thing to remember is to provide clear and simple content.  Don’t try to sound like something you’re not and don’t use business-speak. Just tell the truth, in a good way. But, if the thought of putting pen to paper proves too terrifying, it’s worth hiring a freelance copywriter. With a little research, you’ll be able to get something great, at an affordable price.
 
Think about what makes your business unique and try putting it on paper. Your story might not win a Pulitzer Prize, but it’s got to be better than those cave paintings…

Image: Victor1558

Websites We Love: Standing Out

Another Wednesday, another Website We Love! This week, we asked our Internet Marketing Facebook Community about competition. Specifically, what about their site sets them apart from everyone else?

We, as usual, received a number of great responses, but had to choose just one to highlight here on our blog. The winner this week is Tamara Canzater, from Creative Cooking, who writes that her site stands out from the rest because it's "bright,colorful, inviting, and kid friendly." We tend to agree; the vibrant colors tie in the overall theme of the site--fun! We also liked the prominent display of the site's creative tag line ("Where we're cooking up fun, one class at a time.") Congrats, Tamara! 

What about you? What sets YOUR site apart from the competition?

Websites We Love: Showcasing Your Business

This week, we asked our Internet Marketing Facebook community what made their website special. As usual, the response was great — and so were the websites!

It was very difficult for our team to pick just one Website We Love, but our winner this week is Prime Example Events & Wedding Planning, from Durham, North Carolina, submitted by Elaine Cole Primus! According to Elaine, her site is special because it helps her highlight her business. “My website is special because Vistaprint made it easy and affordable for me to showcase and grow my business,” she says. We think this website is special because of its educational value. With a detailed blog, services list, examples of real weddings and more, it's a great resource for anyone who is planning an event or wedding!

What about you — what makes your website special? Tell us in the comments section!

Top Three Reasons to Add a Contact Form to Your Site

When it comes to your Website, adding simple features that translate to big benefits is always smart…and contact forms are pretty high on the list of valuable add-ons. These handy tools gather pertinent info from your visitors, are super-versatile, and can vary based on your specific needs. Typical fields can include “name,” “address,” “phone number” and “comments,” but again, they can vary depending on the form’s functionality. Although there are a number of reasons these forms are useful, keep reading to see our top three.

1. Feedback

If you’re a business owner, it’s no secret that customer opinion is essential; contact forms are a perfect means for gathering this vital feedback in a non-obtrusive manner. For instance, if you were interested in soliciting specific comments about a new service or product, you could use the contact form to ask pertinent questions, and receive reactions directly via email.

2. Customer Connections
Beyond asking for feedback, contact forms are a good way for customers to not only reach you, but also establish a relationship with you. Whether it’s a quick question about a specific product, or a more detailed inquiry about a new service or biz feature, a simple form can provide customers with an easy way to reach out.

3. Contacts
It might seem obvious, but one of the most vital reasons to consider adding a contact form is so you can build — what else — your contact list! A form is an easy way to ask visitors for basic information, such as their name and email address. With all the contacts you gather, you’ll be able to send targeted emails to stay in touch, announce new products or sales, and much more.

Do you have a contact form on YOUR site? If so, do you think it’s important? Tell us in the comments section!
 
 

Websites We Love: Making Music

We had a record number of submissions (over 70 and counting at press time!) for Websites We Love on our Facebook page this week, and it was, as usual, very difficult for us to choose just one winner. We asked our Internet Marketing Community on Facebook to sum up their site in just one word. The winner, Wave Acoustic Duo, said that their site could be described with the word "musicians"--and with good reason. Their site is dedicated to featuring the duo's music and performances.

We're big fans of the cool intro video, which showcases the duo performing in front of an audience, and the great demos of new music, also featured on the home page. In addition, the handy contact/bookings form, and prominent social media widgets make it simple for potential customers to get in touch. Congrats, Wave Acoustic Duo!

What about you? What do you highlight on your site to set yourself apart from the competition? Tell us in the comments section.

Websites We Love: Contact Forms

It’s Wednesday, so that means yet another edition of Websites We Love! As usual, we received a number of great Website submissions to choose from on our Facebook page…but we had to pick just one to feature! Our newest Websites We Love winner is Karen Froggatt, who posted a link to her site
www.tigaliliflowers.com.

This week, we asked our Facebook community what the most useful part of their site was, and Froggatt chose the contact form. Although there are a number of great answers to this question, we agree that a well-placed contact form can definitely help secure customers, and is a valuable addition to any site! (On Froggatt's site, the contact form is highly visible, and placed directly on her homepage.) We were also a big fan of her site’s image galleries, which showcase the available product options nicely.


Do you have a contact form on your site? If so, do you find it useful? Tell us in the comments section! And don't forget to keep any eye on our Facebook page for our next Websites We Love Wednesday!

Quick Tips: Above The Fold

You might have read our blog about how, when it comes to your website, 80% of eye traffic is “above the fold.” Here, we’ll provide you with quick tips on the three aspects of your site to focus on for optimal ocular attention:

Star of the Show

Your page’s headline is crucial — and is likely the first thing someone will see when they land on your page. It might sound obvious, but it’s incredibly important to include your business name and logo in this space, so it’s always top of mind for your site’s visitors. And remember: Design choice also factors into your headline space! For one, check that this space isn’t cluttered. Too much information can detract from your name. Also make sure the colors you pick for your logo and website complement each other, are easy to read, and make your headline visible.  

Call to Action
Take a few moments to think about WHY you have a Website. Is there something that you want to make sure people do once they’re on your site? Maybe it’s to order a product. Or read your blog. Or even to get directions to your storefront. Whatever the action is, ensuring that it’s in a prominent location, with easy-to-read text can do wonders for follow-through. You’ll also need to think of what this call to action says. Our hint? Keep it simple! If your goal is for people to contact you for more information, a quick “Contact Us!” is perfect.

Get Social
If you’re hoping to connect with your visitors (and you should be!) one of the best ways to do so is through Social Media. Make sure your buttons to Like, Follow and more are placed prominently enough for anyone who visits your site to see.

These are just a few tips we think will help! Do you have any to add? Tell us in the comments section!

Websites We Love: It's Simple

It's Wednesday, so that means it's time for Websites We Love! This week, we received so many great responses it was very difficult to narrow down our options to just one! Our choice? Andrea Bodenberg Hoffman's photography site Red Barn Gallery.

According to Hoffman, the main reason she loves her site is its ease of use: "I love that I can update it whenever I want to! [It's] easily manageable and updates quickly," she says. She also mentions an important aspect of site maintenance that can often be overlooked--stats. "I also love being able to see who checks out my site through the statistics."

Do you track your stats? Tell us in the comments section! And don't forget to keep any eye on our Facebook page for our next Websites We Love Wednesday!

Websites We Love: Engaging Content

Our latest edition of Websites We Love highlights a site with engaging content...something that is important when it comes to both your visitor's experience and overall interaction with your site.

This week, we were impressed with "world record breaking" DJ Jack Hill's video content in particular. His site features video throughout the pages, including on its Homepage and Contact Us section. Congrats, Jack!

How important is great content to you? Tell us in the comments section!

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