Content Development

5 Signs You Need a New Website

· Content Development, Digital Marketing, Website

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to redesign your current brand website, ask yourself these five questions:

1. Was your website built 10 or more years ago?
2. Is it best serving the needs of your audience, brand, and business?
3. Are you missing the boat on mobile without responsive design?
4. Are you launching a new product, service line, or brand positioning?
5. Do you need to revamp your marketing efforts?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it could very well be time to take the leap and plan for redesign. Remember the longer you put off a redesign, the longer you will be missing out on opportunities to increase conversion and revenue.

There are numbers to back this claim up. For instance, conversion jumped up 60.3% after Purl Soho redesigned their website. This premium knitting and craft brand had outgrown their existing website and found that the redesign was well worth the investment.

Are you showing up in Google search?

Another advantage of redesigning your website is that it can improve your search ranking so your audience to find you more easily. A redesign gives you a chance to think through and plan content with search optimization in mind. This includes targeting keyword phrases and offering valuable content that encourages people to link to you, which ups your ranking.

A redesign also allows you to create a more search-friendly platform by implementing best practices. For instance, you can ensure that important content is in text or HTML. This way it can be indexed by search engine crawlers, which won’t find other content types, such as images without alt tags or Flash files.

Making the decision to redesign

Even if you’re sure it’s time the redesign, it can still be difficult to make that final decision. It is a large undertaking that requires time, resources, and money. You’ll also probably need to hire a website design agency. Most companies don’t have an internal team of digital user experience, design, content, and development experts available for this kind of project.

If you hire an outside agency, you will still need to dedicate some internal resources to the project. For instance, you’ll need a point person to manage the project on your end. This involves making sure the agency has access to the information they need about your business, brand, etc., and helping them gather input from stakeholders.

How should you choose an agency?

You should look for an agency with strong experience and a proven website development process. Of course, you’ll also want an agency that can deliver results in a reasonable timeframe at a price within your budget range.

Keep in mind that it is important to be realistic about timing and cost. For instance, you can find agencies that promise fast, cheap website design. However, they might not be able to stick to their promises leading to deadline extensions and unexpected costs. Additionally, you could end up with a subpar website that doesn’t meet your expectations.

Also be careful if you’re considering big name agencies. You might end up paying more simply because of their brand name. In addition, these agencies sometimes have clients meet with their senior staff, but then hand of the actual work to less experienced employees. If you go with a larger agency, make sure you know who will be doing the work.

Ultimately, you should go with an agency that fits your needs and feels right to you. It’s important that you’re able to communicate comfortably with one another, since communication is a big key to a successful website redesign. And don’t be shy about asking questions. A good agency should be open to helping you understand the process so you know exactly what to expect from your partnership.

Is social media good for business?

· Content Development, Social Media

If you’re a small to mid-size company, the answer is: it’s complicated. These days, it’s good to have a social presence. Consumers expect it. But it’s also important not to spend too much energy in ways that may not be working well for your business.

Recently, Facebook in particular has been making it difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to gain any traction unless they pay to play. Even if they have thousands of likes, only a handful may see a given post if it’s not promoted. But even knowing that, it’s hard for some companies to change their current social habits.

A hard habit to break

Social can be a hard habit to break for lots of reasons. It costs nothing to set up and start posting, tweeting or pinning away. It can even be a very kind and gentle place at first offering a nice bump of activity and engagement. And then there’s that addictive rush that comes when a post gets a burst of attention.

But it’s worth taking a step back to evaluate how social is treating your business. The social beast is a hungry one that demands a steady diet of fresh content. It’s all too easy to slip into an unhealthy pattern of spending too much time and energy feeding it with little results to show for it.

Digging for content

The problem of feeding the beast is especially tough for companies that don’t have a large portfolio of products or services. You can run out of relevant things to talk about pretty quickly. It’s no wonder there are so many inspirational quotes and smoothie recipes littering the social space.

Many businesses rely on content they dig up around the web, particularly when they don’t have the resources to write their own articles or blog posts. While this can help align your company with an admirable brand or way of thinking, mostly you’re just spending your own energy to promote someone else.

4 questions to ask

Wherever your company is at with social media, it’s smart to pause and think about how that relationship is treating you and what you can do to make it better. We use these four questions at Truth NYC to help clients start thinking in the right direction:

1. What are your goals for social media? It’s important to understand what you’re trying to get out of your social efforts. Your objectives should be realistic and they should drive your social strategy. For instance, driving sales is more difficult than continuing to engage with current customers. It also probably means relying more on offers and promotions than “feel good” kinds of posts.

2. What kinds of posts are working for you? By understanding what your audience likes, you can hone in on developing the kind of content they want from your company. Just remember to keep some balance. You may lose their interest if you overdo it with one type of content.

3. Are you in the right social spaces to reach your audience? This can help you focus your efforts. For instance, if your audience is mostly professionals, you may do better to target LinkedIn over places like Instagram. You may even want to shed a few social channels that aren’t of much value to your company.

4. How often are you posting? Is it too much? If you’re not getting much benefit out of social media, you may be tempted to double down on your efforts. However, it may be best to gradually pull back instead. There’s no shame in gradually reducing posts and spending your efforts in more fruitful places.

1,000 Can’t Miss Tips on Writing Killer Headlines

· Content Development, Email Marketing

OK, that’s a lie. You won’t find 1,000 tips on writing killer headlines here. What you will find are a few thoughts on the approach to writing marketing headlines that seems to be taking over online.

The trend is to rely on a formula that starts with a number written in digits followed up with an important sounding adjective or phrase:
10 Top Tips…
6 Essential Facts…
8 Need to Know Reasons Why…

The formula works because those digits jump off the page out of the word clutter and catch our eyes. They’re also appealing because we’re all busy people bombarded by information all day long. A numbered list lets us know we can skip through it quickly.

That adjective helps out too. It makes the article seem somehow important. It suggests that we’ll walk away with a bit of extra knowledge. And who doesn’t want that?

Another recent rule of thumb is to focus on the first and last three words of headline, since readers tend to miss the middle part as they scan. It’s interesting that headlines have gotten so long that we need this rule. Then again, it’s easy to go long when you’re trying to insert as many search terms as possible.

No matter how well a headline follows the rules, it’s only the icing on the cake. Articles still need to have substance if they’re going to be effective. There’s also the question of how long this headline formula will work. It’s so pervasive these days that readers may start looking past them.

Plenty of people are probably already yawning when they come across these headlines in Internet searches or on social media. But that doesn’t mean they don’t click on them.