It’s a rapidly changing world in marketing. Learning what is a fade or what’s a trend can be tough if you want to be on the leading edge and not the bleeding edge. This last year we have seen lots of changes for websites on the security front. If you have been reading my blogs, then you know the year started off with websites needing better hosting. They required faster loading times to keep viewers engaged. Websites also needed daily backup ups for safety and then malware scanning and removal for security.
So why is SSL security necessary now?
Recently SSL security certificates or https have been highly recommended to be added to your website. Why? Because it may seriously affect your business and your revenue. This change I’m referring to is about messages in the URL (www.yourdomain.com) ) showing up in browsers like Google as non secure which potentially will scare away your viewers and reduce your website traffic.
As of October 17th, 2017, Google recently updated its’ Chrome browser to warn visitors when a site they visit isn’t secure. Research surveys discovered that 82% of visitors abandon websites that aren’t secure or that provided these new warnings. On top of these warnings, Google’s search algorithms now lower your search rankings and results for websites without security certificates.
So what is recommended for your business?
If you have an ecommerce website, then it MUST have SSL security (https) for transactions to take place. Your ecommerce website needs to keep customers purchasing and keep you customers information and credit card numbers safe. However, a majority of websites are non secure (http) so I strongly recommend adding a SSL security certificate (https) to ensure no loss of visitors or lowering of website SEO ranking.
What are the associated costs with SSL security?
The SSL certificate requires an additional annual recurring fee and the time for you or your website designer to secure every page and media file if you have an existing website. If you are starting a new website, make sure you purchase hosting with SSL security. It’s not a matter of adding more expenses to your online marketing or to your small business budget. But one must ask themselves, “What’s the cost for my business of losing viewers, customers or lowering my existing search rankings?
So this coming year, keep your website secure, your customer’s information safe and website traffic increasing with your SEO efforts by adding SSL security.
I know most of us know what is SEO is these days or have at least heard about it. For those not in the know and who haven’t clicked on the link, in layman’s terms it simply refers to settings made so search engines like Google can find your website or blog. Having said that, creating good SEO and getting the results you want is quite another undertaking. In fact the more SEO I do and the more I learn about it, the more I realize all the things I don’t know. Even the best SEO experts have a challenge keeping up with the latest Google algorithms these days.
But having said that, I wanted you to be aware of the latest changes in SEO which I know about since I continue to stay current. And for the benefit of those reading this, I want to focus on the change not what you’ve needed over the last five years to make your SEO work better. So what did Google change with their algorithm and what do you need to do to respond?
What changed for SEO this summer?
This August the Google update focused yet again on quality content. Google is trying to help searchers. not penalize you. However. that means your website needs to have quality content. Google’s aim is to rid the internet of poor quality websites. Google’s refreshed its quality algorithms during the summer month explicitly in August this year. Of course Google didn’t tell us how or what to change, but here are few suggestions I would recommend: Websites, pages or blogs that just had outbound links (tags) or thin content with little text. If these are not changed, your website will be negatively affected.
So what do I need for better SEO?
To have good content on your pages you will need more than main titles and photos. Yes you still need to tag your photos with attributes for better search results and page ranking. Your home page with which Google weighs about 80% by-the-way, will require relevant content to your keywords with subtitles breaking up your page in a logical manner for flow. On top of all that, the hardest part is qualifying sentence structure and avoiding passive voice and long sentence structure. Your readability should also pass the Flesch–Kincaid readability tests to assure the public can read and understand without a lot of industry jargon. Some of the better SEO software out there will aid in your process, but it really does take some current training, experience and ongoing changes to get good results.
Summary and conclusion
I’m just scratching the surface and the few things I’ve listed is not meant to complete the requirements for good SEO in any manner. It is really to make you more aware that SEO is just not something the average DIYer can do quickly. You might be able to learn how to design a website, but areas like development, page flow and SEO requires ongoing education, experience and skill. Finally, I want to leave you with the thought that SEO is now not a “one time set it and leave it process.” It must be tweaked and maintained to keep up with our ever changing world of SEO if you want to get found on the web.
Summer is the time to relax and enjoy the nice weather and take some well deserved vacation time. But you’re not the only one that needs the break. Your clients and customers are doing the same thing which makes the summers quieter for business, unless you’re in the tourism or entertainment business.
Many businesses and owners use the summer time to catch up on tasks that never seem to get done such as doing some face to face meetings with clients, rearrange your office space or catch up with some accounting processes. If you are in sales, this is a good time to visit your competitor’s accounts while the competitors are on vacation. Watch your back, because your competitors likely have the same idea.
So what can a small business get done during this quieter times and prepare for the busier autumn times? Here are few ideas I’ve learned over the past few decades of business in the summer.
Summer Business Ideas
- Visit or contact those customers or clients you never had time to see
- Clean up computer files or start new backups
- Revise your website and social media pages
- Setup email or marketing automation
- Catch up with your accounting
- Renovate or refresh your office space
- Contact your competitor’s accounts while they are on vacation
- See a few businesses face to face to book a fall meeting
- Invite clients out for a patio lunch
- Take your best customers out golfing
Whatever your creative mind can come up with, is likely worth pursuing. It’s time to enjoy the summers months as we all know they’re shorter than we would like. However, it’s also worth your while to use the more casual downtime to your advantage. Move your business forward by catching up, booking appointments and arranging meetings with your competitors’ clients. You may just hit a hole in one with your downtime efforts.
You know you need to be mobile and have a good presence, but should you create a website that is fully responsive to mobile devices or should you create a mobile app? At first glance both seem similar. However, determining which one suites your needs depends of a few factors from your target audience, your reasons for a website or an app, your available budget and required features. If you are trying to decide which one is better, it really depends on the purpose. If it’s a game, then perhaps an app might be better. If the goal is to reach a wide area market, then a mobile website makes more sense. In some cases, having both a mobile website and complementary mobile app is a good solution.
So what’s the difference between a website that’s mobile and a mobile app?
It’s important to know the differences before you can determine which one or both are are required for your type of business and application. A website that is responsive allows viewing and resizing for all kinds of devices whether vertical or horizontal and can be accessed anywhere there is Wifi or mobile internet. In contrast, mobile apps are applications that need to be downloaded and installed on your mobile device from either the Apple’s App Store or Android Play Store. There are others, but these two are the most common. These apps usually pull data from the internet, but can operate just on your device. Regular updates are required to stay current. It’s safe to say, then, that a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence.
What are the advantages of a mobile website?
- Immediate access – mobile websites are instantly available providing you have internet
- Device compatible – responsive websites are available and view-able across devices
- Searchable site – easy to get found with website SEO
- Market reach – mobile websites are accessible across all platforms
- Current version – there is no need to update to the latest version
- Longer life – websites are always there, but mobile apps can be deleted
- Development time – websites are quick and easy to set up
- Design cost – responsive websites are less expensive to design
- Less maintenance – websites need changes, but apps need support and upgrades
- ULR sharing – websites can easily be shared just with a link share
When should a app be used?
There are many many reasons why a responsive website makes sense; apps are still quite popular, and there are a number of times where an app might be the best choice. Here are a few benefits of a mobile app:
- Gaming – for interactive games or offline games, apps will be the best choice
- Regular use – for people using your app on a regular basis and require functionality
- Complex calculations – using data and allowing complex calculations
- Functionality – requiring SMS, GPS or using device camera
- No connection – provide offline access to content or to perform functions
As mobile use increases the question of the mobile website versus a mobile app will be on most business owners’ minds. Mobile websites that are auto responsive are likely your best choice if your marketing goal is to expand your mobile presence. On the other hand, if you are trying to provide a better user experience with mobile functionality, then a mobile app might be a better choice. Many times starting with a mobile website and moving into a mobile app as budget allows, is becoming more common. Once you know what you need, use the best tool that fits your business and your objectives, website, app or both.
It appears that many website designers are pushing for FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) on all of their clients. The question I have is “why?” I suppose most themes have this built in feature now so for that reason website designers want to include FAQ’s. Perhaps they think FAQ’s look impressive to their clients. Maybe FAQ’s are expected from website viewers. In contrast, some even say FAQ’s are too old school. With all of this in mind, I’m suggesting a few ideas from recent training and past experiences.
I’m of the the opinion that it’s not necessary for every website to have FAQ’s because many times, having a customer reach out to you is a better selling process. Perhaps there are other alternative to FAQ’s with more side benefits.
I believe FAQ’s are great if your business products and services need explaining as do some newly released products or complex services that prompt questions. Sometimes companies use them just to differentiate from another similar company. In this case, FAQ’s may help answer those common questions and in turn, stand out from the crowd so to speak. If you have a new product or services that has a complex concept that needs to be explained, then FAQ’s will keep your viewers engaged for a bit longer.
On the other hand, if your customers are reaching out to your business through a phone call or live chat, that can prove to be more useful and immediate. Not only does phone or live chat show interest, but it gives your business the opportunity to close some deals through interaction. FAQ’s do not encourage interaction.
I would suggest that using animated explainer videos are a much more useful marketing tool than FAQ’s. Everyone wants to watch a video, including, I might add, yourself. It’s easy and it gets the point across in a fun and entertaining way. Uploading these kind of informative videos to YouTube not only furthers your branding but can increase your SEO providing proper settings are made for greater exposure, not to mention increased revenue.
So yes,FAQ’s are a great feature to add to your website or clients websites to help further explain services or products. But there should be a good reason why they should be added; they should not just be a nice feature add. That is not a good enough reason. You may want to consider the investment of an animated explainer video to boost comprehension and SEO improvement.
What are you thoughts?