Online Marketing Blog

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

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 Your website looks old and outdated.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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Generate Selling Power with Testimonials

Generate Selling Power with Testimonials

Testimonials are a powerful way to bring in new business. They help generate sales in your printed marketing materials, and adding a testimonials page is one of the easiest way to improve your website. Testimonials from happy customers builds trust, offers unbiased opinions, and has the power to persuade a customer who is on the fence about a sale.

Testimonial Formats

What are some of the common formats for testimonials? Written testimonials are excellent. They are full of rich keywords (both long and short) which will improve your website's SEO. Written testimonials are also a great addition to all of your printed materials.

Video testimonials are great too. They are more personal and people connect with them. They can also be embedded or linked from a You Tube channel, which helps build your company's social media presence. Even better, the video could even showcase your product or service in use.

What Makes an Effective Testimonial?

There are many great testimonials, but some are much better than others. How can you tell the difference between a good one and a great one? A great testimonial has actual facts and figures, and is very specific about what your product or service can do for others. It would be even better if the testimonial were written by a happy customer who is in your target market (or buyer's persona) that your potential customers could relate to. A great testimonial also endorses the exact selling points that you highlight in your marketing, driving home the benefits and impact of using your service or product.

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Web Redesign Strategies

Web Redesign Strategies

Remember that your website is not for you. It’s really for your customers and prospects. If you don’t speak to them in their language and address their needs, then chances are you’re never going to achieve good lead conversion rates.

You only have seconds to engage new visitors on your website. When visitors arrive, they want to know what you do, why you do it better and (most importantly), what’s in it for them. You need to have a compelling and clear “unique value proposition” (UVP) that is reinforced and consistent through­out your website.

More often than not, companies create value propositions that use corporate-speak – thinking that bigger words and more intricate the sentences will impress the potential customer. This is just not the case. You need to identify with your customers and relate to their needs.

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How to Set Up a Lead Generation Campaign

How to Set Up a Lead Generation Campaign

Lets face it, all businesses need a website. A website is the perfect place to generate a continuous stream of leads for a business. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t see their website as a lead generation tool. Let’s explore ways to improve and automate your website lead generation.

Three Percent of Visitors are Ready to Contact

Three percent of website traffic is ready and interested in contacting businesses about helping them with questions or purchasing. So three out of 100 visitors are ready to talk to someone. Simple math says to double three contacts to six contacts, the site would need 200 visitors, etc. So, to increase the contacts we need to increase website traffic.

A few ways to increase site traffic are:

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What is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO?

What is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short), is a process of doing the necessary tasks to make your site known and easily crawled by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. There are many companies that offer SEO, including DeCarlo Studios. We use special software and systems to help our clients. We would like to share the main tools we use so you can review them.

We use the enterprise version of SEO Power Suite by Link Assistant daily for our SEO clients. You can visit their website, go through a tutorial on SEO and download a free version. Link Assistant updates the software frequently and it provides excellent automation and in-depth reports that we generate weekly for our SEO clients. The reports give you exact, step-by-step instructions about what is needed to optimize your website.
SEO Power Suite is made up of four separate programs:

  1. Rank Tracker. We use Rank Tracker to run reports and closely monitor the keywords for which we are helping our clients rank. Rank Tracker checks our client's page rank on hundreds of search engines and reports the exact page rank for the keywords we are targeting.
  2. Website Auditor. We use Website Auditor to tell us what needs to be adjusted in the website's structure and content. Website Auditor gives us an in-depth report about what needs to be optimized for the web crawlers. It also generates XML sitemaps.
  3. SEO Spy Glass. We use SEO Spy Glass to find out what SEO our client's competitors are using. SEO Spy Glass provides an evaluation report which helps us create SEO strategies to the beat the competition.
  4. Link Assistant. This program works for all link management tasks from building link directories to establishing link partnerships. It includes exporting and reporting facilities.
  5. Check out SEO Power Suite by Link Assistant. http://www.link-assistant.com/

The First Five Steps to Begin SEO

Here are the first five steps DeCarlo Studios completes to begin SEO. In addition to the five steps below, we also run reports with Link Assistant’s WebSite Auditor and Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker. These five steps will help get the SEO ball rolling:

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How to Get Your Business Listed Online for Free

How to Get Your Business Listed Online for Free

There’s a simple to use, free tool to help you get your business listed free on different search sites. This free tool also assists you with claiming your existing business listings on search engines and review sites that already have your business listed but are missing your details.

The online utility is called "Get Listed" and here is the link. https://getlisted.org/ It’s a free online tool and part of the SEOmoz tool set. SEOmoz is now just called MOZ. Here is a link to MOZ’s tools. http://moz.com/tools

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SEO Writing Tips

Understanding Meta Keywords, Meta Descriptions, and Title Tags

Here are some tips for using Meta Tags, Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords on your web pages for better SEO.

The Meta Tags are a very important part of the HTML code of your web page. They are read by the search engines but are not displayed as a part of your web page design. Usually they include a concise summary of the web page content and you should include your relevant keywords in them. The most important tags are the description, keywords and title.

Meta Title

The Meta Title is one of the most important factors for a successful search engine optimi­zation of your web site. The title provides summarized information about your website and appears in the browser title bar. The title is what appears on the search engines result page (SERP). The title tags should be up to 75 characters but try not to exceed that amount.

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Top 3 SEO Questions and Answers

Top 3 SEO Questions and Answers

These are the answers to the top 3 SEO questions we’re asked about getting found online.

1. “How Do I Get Found on Search Engines Like Google Bing and Yahoo?”

Everyone wants to be found on the top of search lists for their keywords. An immediate way to get found at the top of search engines is to sign up for a Google pay-per-click Adwords account choose your keywords and you will be at the top of searches because you are paying to be there. Here’s how to get started with Google Adwords. ‎If you are interested in getting found organically on search engines, please see the 8 steps below. 

2. “Why Doesn’t My Web Site Get the Phone Ringing With New Business?"

This may not be the fault of poor search rank. A website can rank well but not help visitors find the answers they’re looking for, and the visitors will bounce on to the next site in their search for their answer. Remember that only 3% of visitors are ready to make contact with you from your site.

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Why Website SEO Does Not Work!

Why Website SEO Does Not Work!

I admit that I've spent a lot of time and money researching, learning and employing search engine optimization for my business. I've also optimized many webpages for other businesses. For a lot of businesses, SEO does not work.

I Want To Be On the First Page of Search Engines!

Some businesses have the impression that being on the first page of search engines is like being on the first page of the Yellow Pages. Their phone will start to ring because they are top of the list. The problem is that the phone book is used with a telephone to make a call and the Internet is not.

Today buyers only talk to a real salesperson as a last resort, not as a first step. Buyers have the knowledge of the world at their fingertips and use the Internet to search for information online instead of calling a salesperson. The Internet has empowered buyers with the ability to bypass sales people and find what they’re looking for themselves. They expect to find any answer they need online. Don't know the answer, Google it! This gives businesses that know this fact a great opportunity to be a truly helpful resource to potential buyers.

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Business Blogging Tips

Business Blogging Tips

What is a Business Blog?

A business blog is a collection of written articles to help educate with helpful, valuable content for a specific target audience. Business blogs are designed specifically to draw prospects and customers to your website. Successful business blogs use buyer’s personas to focus their writing on  their target audience. For more info, check out our free buyer’s persona guide and template file.

Why Does Your Business Need a Blog?

Well, do you want more web traffic, leads and customers? Here are some numbers:

  • Companies that blog get 55% more website traffic than those that don’t blog.
  • Companies that blog get 70% more leads than those that don’t blog.
  • 57% of companies have acquired a customer through their blog.

How Does Blogging Work for Me?

Blogging influences SEO. Every blog page is indexed and counted as a webpage on your site by search engines. So each and every post you write gets published as its own, individual indexed page on your website.

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Website Optimizing Tips that Work

Website Optimizing Tips that Work

Optimizing your website is about setting up your website for success — but how do you get people to your site and what do you do with them once they are on your website?

The dictionary meaning of Optimization is: OPTIMIZATION -Noun: An act, process, or methodology of making something as fully perfect, functional or effective as possible. Derivative of the verb optimize |ˈäptəˌmīz | verb [with obj.] make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource): Computing rearrange or rewrite (data, software, etc.) to improve efficiency of retrieval or processing.

What Should I Optimize My Website for, Specifically?

You should optimize your site to get;
    1.    Website Visitors, to visit your site.
    2.    Search Engines, to take note of your site in the search.
An un-optimized site does not attract, convert, close or delight customers. A well optimized site should attract your “ideal customer” to your website.

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Getting Top Search Engine Rank on Your Website

Getting Top Search Engine Rank on Your Website

Clients always want to be on the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo in local search keywords for products and services they sell. Who wouldn’t want to be ranked on the first page?

DeCarlo Studios provides on-page search engine optimization for clients. SEO is one of our many services. We help to get local businesses on the first page in hundreds of local searches through on-page SEO. The problem we run into even after clients are ranking in the top 10 for multiple keyword searches is that “being on the first page doesn’t translate into the telephone ringing with more business.” This is upsetting to clients because they equate being on the first page in a search with more business, but it's just not true.  Is there more exposure for your site on the front page? Yes. Does it guarantee more business? No.

You Can Lead a Horse to Water ...

This old saying is also true with website SEO for search engines too. You can do all of the right things to get a top-ten page rank but if the visitor doesn’t find what they're looking for on your site, they bounce away to the next site. So how do you keep the visitor’s interest on your website and get them to call you about your product or service? The answer is simple. INTERESTING CONTENT written specifically for your buyer's persona to answer their questions.

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Why Do I Need Keywords? What are Keywords?

Why Do I Need Keywords? What are Keywords?

While technically you don’t need keywords on your website, they are a must-have for any website search engine optimization plan if you want to be found for specific organic searches. An organic search is the search that displays under the yellow paid ads in a Google search.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the specific words that someone would key into a search engine like Google, Bing and Yahoo. The search engines then create a list of what it thinks are the best online matches to the keywords that are entered into the search field.

The search engine uses many different criteria to deliver the listed results. A person who would like to rank on the first page of a search engine in the organic search must meet the search engines' many different criteria in order to rank in a search. Having matching keywords would be one of the many criteria search engines use, and it’s an important one. Knowing how to use the keywords correctly on your webpage is also important if you expect to be found online.

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How to Tell Google, Bing and Yahoo that Your Website Exists

You have a website, but Google, Bing and Yahoo don’t seem to be aware that your site exists. What are you going to do about it? After DeCarlo Studios builds and launches a website for our clients, we register the site with Google, Bing and Yahoo. This is a simple process and here is what you should do to register your website.

How to Submit a Website to Google

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Here is a link that you can use to add your website URL to Google. It is a simple data form into which you copy and paste your complete web address. Submission of your website to Google is a free service and offers no guarantee of indexing. It isn't necessary to add subdomains – just the root main website address. The bots will find the subdomains, although an updated sitemap may speed up the process once it is added. A simple way to make sure that you put in the correct address is to open a web browser and go to your website's home page. Copy the entire address. You will then paste that address into the Google site submission window.

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How to Add Google Analytics to My Website

How to Add Google Analytics to My Website

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a must-have, FREE addition to your website. To find out how many visits your site gets, how long people visit, what pages they visit, how they found your site and where in the world your traffic is coming from, installing Google Analytics on your website is definitely something you will want to do.

We think that one of the most interesting pieces of the 8 Suggestions is the Google Analytics suggestion. Google Analytics will give you insight into how many visits your website gets, what pages were viewed on your website, how long visitors visited your website and where the visitors are from. You will also be able to find out which networks, browsers and devices they are using when they look at your site. Google Analytics will also show the keywords that viewers used to find your site. It will give you information on referring websites. All of this information is just the start. You can create custom reports and keyword campaigns. You can view very specific data and use this information to fine-tune your website content to attract more traffic. Another great thing is that the Google Analytics tool is free. DeCarlo Studios installs it on every website we build for our clients. We use the data from Google Analytics when we do SEO for our clients. The analytics provides us the information we need to know to be successful with our client's search engine optimization campaign.

From the day you install Google Analytics, it begins to track the traffic on your web site. It will give you information on the keywords people are using to find your site and who is referring visitors to your site. Once you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you have information to know if your site is actually being looked at.

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How Do I Add My Website's Site Map and Show Google How to Access It?

How Do I Add My Website's Site Map and Show Google How to Access It?

A site map is a file that lists the pages of your website. The site map is a helper that search engines can use to crawl your website more efficiently. Site maps are usually located in the root directory of your website. The root directory can be found on the site server that most people rent from a website hosting provider like GoDaddy, 1and1, Bluehost, or Network Solutions (you get the picture).

What is an "XML sitemap"?

By placing a formatted xml file with site map on your webserver, you enable Search Engine crawlers (like Google) to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly.

How to create an "XML sitemap"

Before you can upload a sitemap, you need to have an XML site map. We use a sitemap generator website to generate sitemaps for our clients. XML-Sitemaps Generator works great and takes less than five minutes to create an XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to help them crawl your website better. Here is the link to XML Sitemaps.com:
http://www.xml-sitemaps.com

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