Online Marketing Blog

Our DeCarlo Studios online marketing blog – learn about SEO, Website Design, Graphic Design, and Inbound Marketing here!

What is a Responsive Website and How Can It Help Your Business?

What is a Responsive Website and How Can It Help Your Business?

 

First Things First: What is a Media Query?

Media queries look at the capability of the device, and can be used to check many things, such as the width and height of a browser window. Media queries are a cornerstone technology of responsive web design.

Fixed, Fluid, Adaptive and Mobile Websites

In the past, people viewed websites mainly on desktop computers where websites had a fixed (or permanent) width to fit the size of the screen. With tablet and smartphone advancements, websites evolved into a variety of options:

 

Fixed Websites

When viewed on a mobile device, the fixed website either gets cut off or presents scroll bars to view the entire site. A fixed website has set widths, and no media queries.

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5 Signs That Your Website is Not Working For Your Business

5 Signs That Your Website is Not Working For Your Business

Websites are the New Yellow Pages

If you are reading this, chances are pretty good that your web site may need some updating or redesigning. Remember when you used to turn to the Yellow Pages to find a business when you needed one? When was the last time you used a phone book?  Years ago, you were in good shape if you simply had a website. Now web sites are the main source of marketing and there's a lot of competition out there.

5 Signs That Your Website is Not Working For Your Business

If you are wondering if your web site is not working for your business, here are 5 clues that you need to make some updates:

  1. You have poor Google Analytics reports. If you have low search engine rankings, a high bounce rate, low time spent on your site, and low average page views, then there is huge room for improvement on your website.
  2. You have recently changed the branding of your company. If you have a new company logo and/or color scheme, you definitely need to update your website to your new look. Consistent branding across all of your marketing materials encourages brand loyalty and sets you apart from your competitors. Your customers will see your professionalism and have a higher trust and value in your business.
  3. It's hard for you to make simple updates on your website. You do not need to be an expert web developer or run and call your web person every time you need to make a small change. It can even be as simple as changing a price or a phone number. DeCarlo Studios uses the Joomla CMS (content management system) and we make sure our customers are in control of their own websites and can make minor changes and updates if they choose to do so.
  4. Your website looks old and outdated. Your website should be continually updated with new and relevant information for your customers. It should have new photos and information about your products and services. It should be clean, well organized and visually pleasing. Not only does a current website look great, a continually updated website also increases Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  5. Your website visitors aren't converting. Maybe people are visiting your website, but your phone isn't ringing with new business. It isn't enough these days to simply have a website with basic information about your business and a way to contact you. It has to be a marketing funnel, full of detailed information that your customers are seeking. You need to be helping them solve their problems, earning their trust, and proving that you are the best in your field. It needs to be active, engaging and have a variety of social media, blogs and e-newsletters.

Yes, I Do Need a Website Update … Now What?

So you have determined that you do need some updates made to your website, or maybe you need a website redesign. You want to have full control of your site and the ability to handle minor updates on your own. Or maybe you know that you need to improve your site, but aren't sure just where to start. DeCarlo Studios is here to help!  Call us for a free, no obligation consultation and we can help you turn your website into a marketing machine!

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Why Adding Badges and Awards to Your Website is Important

Why Adding Badges and Awards to Your Website is Important

Many of our website customers subscribe to sites to get reviews in order to help attract customers and establish a reputation. They offer rewards in the form of "badges" that can be placed on their website. Other times clients receive awards based on being "voted" the best at something in their field of expertise. It's important to place these badges and awards on your website.

 

Benefits of Adding Badges and Awards to Your Website

  • The badges are a link to a reputable site which many times also links back to you – this raises awareness and social sharing possibilities, thus improving your SEO opportunities.
  • Badges mark your achievements as a business. Winning awards over the years helps to build your reputation.
  • When customers see your badges on your website, this establishes a trust and credibility for your business. They are more likely to do business with you when they see that someone else has given you a good review or award.

Examples of Review Sites

There are many review sites where reviews can be posted about people, businesses, products, or services. You can even set up an area on your own website where clients can submit testimonials and reviews. Here are a few popular services that many of our clients use:

  • Angie's List
  • Yelp
  • Wedding Wire
  • YOUZZ
  • Google Reviews
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  • Your own website (clients submit reviews and testimonials)

Where to Place your Badges or Awards

A common question that we are asked is, "Where do I place my badge/award on my website?" The header (the topmost section of your website, usually where your company logo and phone number are located) is a great place to add your badge. The footer is also a great place to add badges, alongside your social media links. Some clients even opt to create a separate page dedicated to the award. And by the way, don't forget to add your badges and awards to your printed marketing materials too!

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How to Create an Effective Business Website

How to Create an Effective Business Website

Here are the elements a business website should have to be most effective. An effective business website should be a win for the visitor and a win for the owner. The visitor wants a solution and the owner wants more business.

When someone visits a website they are looking for information, a solution, or a product or service. They are at a site to satisfy their needs. We call this being tuned into “WII-FM” What’s In It For Me?”   The site must immediately begin to provide a “WII-FM” value to the visitor or they will go away.

A lot of websites showcase the company, their mission, their knowledge, client list, their staff, the staff’s experience and then offer a contact us button. Most visitors who find the site through search engines are visiting for  “WII-FM”. This disconnect from the audience causes the website to be ineffective. An effective business website connects with its audience because it delivers “WII-FM”.

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13 Key Questions to Ask Before You Build Your Website

13 Key Questions to Ask Before You Build Your Website

Website Design and Development

There are many different directions that you can take to get a website for your business. There are also many variations in prices from free websites to expensive and everything in between.

Which path is right for you and your business? Where and how do you begin? Answer: Ask yourself the right questions and you will develop a clear idea and plan for the website you need.

DeCarlo Studios asks clients specific questions to determine what type of site is needed in order to do what the client expects to achieve. For instance, a business website client would like their site to get found easily online and cause viewers to call them and purchase their products or services. Here are questions we ask our clients and example answers to help you with your website development planning.

13 Key Questions to Guarantee Your Website is a Success:

1. What market “specifically” is this website targeted to?
    •    Business to Business
    •    Business to Consumer
    •    A Subscription Web Site for Members
 
2. Who “specifically” is this website for? Be very specific; your websites effectiveness depends on your answers.
    •    Male or Female?
    •    Young or Old?
    •    Income Level?
    •    Education Level?
    •    Create a “Buyer Persona” this is KEY.
 
3. What is the purpose of your web site?
    •    Informational
    •    eCommerce Online Store
    •    Selling a Service
    •    Marketing your Business
    •    Data Collection
    •    Lead Generation
    •    Just for Fun
    •    Topical
    •    Educational
 
4. How will people find your site?
    •    Print Marketing?
    •    Social Media?
    •    Networking?
    •    Search Engines?
    •    SEO or SEM?
    •    Keywords?
    •    E-mail Marketing?
    •    Blogging?
    •    Other Ideas?
 
5. What are you going to do to make visitors linger at your site?
    •    Relevant Compelling Content
    •    Answer Questions
    •    Educate
    •    Free Offers
    •    Videos
    •    Blogs
    •    Organized Site Layout
    •    Update Content Frequently
 
6. What do you want visitors to do once they are at your site? What action do you want to inspire?
    •    Learn
    •    Order
    •    Try
    •    Watch
    •    Submit Info
    •    Search
    •    Contact
    •    Become a Member
    •    Purchase Something
    •    Tell a Friend
    •    Share
 
7. How are you going to get people to come back to your site?
    •    eNewsletter
    •    Social Marketing
    •    Timely Offers
    •    Direct Mail
    •    Blog
    •    Videos
    •    Change Content Often
    •    Email Marketing
 
8. How are you going to monitor the results of your web site?
    •    Web Site Analytics
    •    Google Analytics
    •    Keyword Analytics
    •    Visitor Tracking Tools
    •    Hubspot
 
9. What are the things needed to get a great web site up and running?
    •    Written Description of Target Personas
    •    Site Layout Plan
    •    Content Written Specifically For Target Personas
    •    Quality Images that Relate to Content and Target Personas
    •    Purchase Domain Name
    •    Purchase Website Hosting
    •    A Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla (our favorite), Wordpress, or Drupal
 
10. What content do I need to build the site?
    •    Content Written for Target Personas
    •    A Writer (If you can’t or won’t write, get a professional writer who can write for web.)
    •    Images
    •    Products
 
11. Do you have a budget?
    •    Yes. What is your budget?
    •    No budget to under $1,000 - check out free website providers.
 
12. How do I attract more traffic to my site?
    •    Print Marketing
    •    Social Media
    •    Networking
    •    Search Engines
    •    Likes
    •    Sharing
    •    SEO or SEM
    •    Keywords
    •    Email Marketing
    •    Blogging
    •    eNewsletters
    •    Backlinks from Other Sites
 
13. How will I know that my site is successful?
    •    When it Generates interest
    •    Awareness
    •    Leads and Revenue
 
In order to have a successful website, you need to have a plan. You can develop the plan by asking and answering “The Right Questions to Guarantee Your Site is a Success.” Download a free PDF checklist of our questions here.

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How Much Does a Business Website Cost?

How Much Does a Business Website Cost?

When we're approached by a small business owner who is looking for help creating a website the first thing we're often asked is: “I need a web site. How much would you charge to make one?”

This question usually comes up before we're told what the website is for. Website prices can vary greatly from free to a lot of money. We've heard of sites priced more than $250,000! We have not had the opportunity to build a 250K website at DeCarlo Studios yet. Our websites are priced towards the other end of the scale. So lets talk prices, and we’ll start with the price everyone creating their first business website wants to hear: Free!

FREE Business Websites

The free sites are the do-it-yourself web sites. Our mothers always tell us that nothing is free and everything costs something. You’ve seen the commercials from Intuit, Wix, 1&1, Homestead and others. Just set up an account, and you can build a website yourself, for free, in less than an hour. These are great for small startups with little to no marketing budget. The sites let you choose from their pre-designed templates and photos. You can upload your photos and copy and paste your content right into the template. Once you are happy with your results, publish your site and you are up and running live online – YES!

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