Newport Interactive Marketing

Simple Tests to Improve Your Website

Which Test Won logoWhichTestWon publisher Anne Holland’s quiz-show-style presentation at February’s Newport Interactive Marketers focused on how to use simple tests to improve website sales, signups, and conversion rates.

Holland provided copious examples of how small – often nontechnical – tweaks can result in huge improvements. Here are the highlights of the presentation.

Why Synchronous Testing?

  • Create two versions simultaneously
  • Traffic engine splits it into two different versions to see which does better
  • Super cheap and easy to do
  • You can go to Google Experimental Engine or Visual Website Optimizer
  • Great for an agency: You’ll impress your clients

Why You Shouldn’t Go With Your Gut

WhichTestWon’s founder Anne Holland says: If you’re just using your gut you are probably wrong.  “I’m still surprised by the results,” she said. “I follow my gut, knowing what I know, and it’s the opposite. If my gut is wrong, yours can be wrong.”

Knowing the product or the client too well can actually be a drawback. You’re not the visitors, so you don’t look at the product the way they do. For this reason, you’ve got to test. Amazon tests, LinkedIn test, Dell tests, and you should, too!

Where to Start Testing

Do not start testing on pages with high abandon or bounce rate because you won’t see a much change.

Pages to Test & Track

  • Thank you & receipt pages
  • Follow up
  • Emails
  • Digital Marketing Campaigns
  • Landing Pages
  • Search Results
  • Category Pages
  • Product offer description pages
  • Abandons

How to Decide What to Test

  • Use the same size screen that your traffic will be viewing: a 15” monitor, 1-24x 786 resolution (Hint: 980 pixels across, 520 down)
  • Quickly glance at page to see what you notice that needs to be changed
  • Remove clutter
  • Vary headlines
  • Big images, change images
  • Buttons: sizes, colors, wording

Make One Change at a Time

  • If you test two changes on the same page, your results won’t be useful
  • Don’t change the headline and the image because you won’t know which worked better
  • Example: If you change the size of the button, don’t change the wording on the button

Or Test a Radical Redesign

  • Radical redesign means you make the dramatic changes.
  • Then you compare your old page to the redesigned pages and see which does better
  • Then tweak the winning page to see which elements made the difference

What You Want to Achieve by Testing

You don’t want just more clicks. If extra clicks don’t increase sales, no one cares.

Instead of simply more clicks you want

  • More sales
  • More qualified leads
  • Lower cost per lead
  • Higher revenues per cart

How Long Should You Test?

Typically you should run a test for 21 days

Testing Examples:

1) Dell Mega Image Test

  • Mega Image Won (Mega Image is an image that fills the majority of the homepage screen)
  • Increased leads generated by 36%
  • Lowered the page bounce rate by 27%

2) Dell Search Box Test

  • Test between a button that says search or a magnifying-glass icon
  • Search button won
  • Resulted in a 6.3% Lift in RPV (revenue) avg.
  • A winning test is usually results in a 3% lift

3) Local or Toll Free Number Test

  • Toll free number or local phone number
  • Which would generate more sales?
  • The local number increased sales (checkout page visits) by 18.3%

4) Email Test

  • Should it say: “Click here for more info” or “Find out more”?
  • “Click here” won
  • 97% lift in unique clicks
  • 16% increase in page views

5) Overlay Test

  • Overlays are like pop-ups on your website
  • They are much more responsive than saying: Please join our email list
  • Often come free with email service provider or free WordPress plugin
  • Test was how wide should the overlay be
  • Smaller overlay won
  • Results 8.8% More Opt-Ins

Don’t miss  Newport Interactive Marketers’ FREE monthly networking-learning gatherings.

Boost Your SEO: How to Create & Organize Content

On Tuesday September 24th, Dan Shure spoke to the Newport Interactive Marketing audience at Salvation Cafe about how to create content and engage in effective search engine optimization (SEO). Here are the highlights of his talk:

Seven Challenges to Content

  • I don’t know what to write about
  • I keep talking about the same thing
  • There’s no time/resources
  • The content is overly SEO’d
  • The content doesn’t connect with people
  • No obvious purposes/goals
  • Using wrong metrics of “success”

Inbound Marketing– It’s the new and improved way to approach content that’s not sales-based. The foundation of inbound marketing relies on creating great content that draws potential customers to your brand.

Brainstorming Content

  • Conduct a basic mental exercise: think of other interests that parallel what your target audience wants. Push yourself to think of what parallel interests your target audience has!
  • Site to Help Brainstorm Content Keywords: ubersuggest
  • Three Things to Keep in Mind: Passion/Purpose; Target and Audience; Exceptional Execution
  • Expand Repertoire of Content Types (watch the classic video by @jasonfried for an example)

Creating Content

  • Tell a story-Not only tell a story, but tell stories that relate to your brand and make it memorable
  • Show transparency- If you’re in a business that works in technology, use internal data (There are free tools available to compile data: MailChimp, Upworthy)
  • Why not curate content? Gather all links/resources from an event, share w/ social network
  • Start an Industry Study or Report
  • Find Topic Ideas on Social Media-What are trending topics on social media? Are there any tweets/posts/links relevant to your brand?
  • Turn a Blog Comment Into a Post
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Dan giving great tips on content and SEO

Keyword Search and Data

  • Analytics- Use internal search data tracking and find internal search words users are exiting from & create that content
  • Use Webmaster Tools Query Data to Connect to Analytics
  • Impressions are another element to check on analytics and then you can project data easily
  • Important Metrics for 2013-2014: Propriety Words and Brand Mentions
  • Branded Search Volume: don’t forget to search that of competitors as well
  • FYI: Keyword data from Google is no longer available. You can still check rankings, but you can’t see what keywords drove rankings. In other words, Google is keeping the data from the public…

Tools for Keywords: HARO-use for links as well as topic inspiration; Quora- fill in keyword you want to use, and look for questions you would like to answer

Networking Group to Watch: Search Engine Marketing New England

Planning and Organizing Content

  • Improving the creation process requires planning and organization
  • Use a content calendar to organize posts and content
  • Excessive tags aren’t good–they are for internal navigation process of your site
  • READ/SEARCH “Setting Up WordPress” article by @dan_shure on @SEOmoz

Blogging and Marketing Content

  • Master the Art of Blog Commenting- Blogging is About Conversation—get in front of new audiences by actively engaging in the blogosphere by reading other blogs and making genuine, thoughtful comments. Comments are the best way to measure engagement with social community!
  • Make a Guest Appearance- Try to do a guest post on other blogs for links and traffic a new audience to your blog. Another alternative is get interviewed (search youtube.com [keyword] interview; inurl [keyword] podcast)
  • Speak! Check out meetups or other gatherings to discuss your industry or interest.
  • Increase Share-ability- Use short URLs like bitly
  • Optimize Your Content’s Appearance Across the Web- Use Schema, Rich Snippets, Authorship & Publisher
  • Use Social Buttons- Include social buttons on posts, as well as on your email signature, and track shares on LikeExplorer. Choose a select number of platforms you want to highlight: don’t overwhelm your audience!

Tools to Improve Efficiency: Speechpad transcribes; Citation Labs – link prospector

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Thanks to Dan, Salvation Cafe, and everyone who attended Dan’s talk!

Must-Have WordPress Plugins

On Tuesday, August 13th, WordPress expert Matt Medeiros highlighted “Must-Have WordPress Plugins” to the Newport Interactive Marketers audience at the International Yacht Restoration School.

To better understand the difference, Matt explained the relationship between a website, WordPress, and plugins in this analogy:

318px-IPhone4SWhite_no_shadow

Website : iPhone

WordPress : iOs software

Plugins : Apps

Before installing, make sure that your web host can support a lot of bandwidth in the long run. Once your web host is set up, do thorough research on any plugins you are considering for your site: read reviews, check the number of installations and the dates of the most recent updates.  Staying up to date for safety’s sake avoids malware, site lag, and loss of data.

Free and Premium versions are available. Although free ones are great because they’re “accessible, fast and free,” Matt pointed out that there is a difference between Free and Premium—Premium is better.

Premium plugins have more features, better quality, great support, longer product cycle and higher compatibility. If you get what you pay for, it’s worth paying for premium plugins for contact forms and e-commerce.

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Matt Medeiros explains the effectiveness of WordPress plugins

In addition to explaining the basics, Matt also shared his favorite WordPress plugins:

  • Ultimate Coming Soon Page
  • Redirection– great for transitioning domain change to WordPress
  • Yoast– WordPress SEO and Video SEO
  • BackWPup-Wordpress backup plugin
  • BackUp Buddy– premium version of BackWPup
  • Gravity Forms– premium, very powerful; creates contact forms and can create users
  • W3 Total Cache-“cache-ing” helps server, which ultimately helps drive the bottom line for business
  • Paid Membership Pro– available in free version and premium version
  • Responsive WordPress Slider by Soliloquy
  • WooCommerce– E-commerce plugin, also provides extensions for shipping
  • bbPress– “be all, end all” discussion platform for WordPress
  • JetPack-“a single plugin that does a thousand things”; it has its own analytics and has the capability to cache images and speed up load time
  • WPtouch– premium mobile version of WordPress site
  • Powerpress– the only one for podcasts

**Can’t find a plugin you want? Matt advises to have a developer create it

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Thanks to the International Yacht Restoration School and Bridge Liquors for hosting!

Newport Interactive Marketing

Networking, Drinks, and Views Over Newport

On Tuesday, July 24th, #NIMRI hosted its annual networking event on the rooftop of Hotel Viking. Professionals from Rhode Island & across New England enjoyed a summer evening in Newport & connected with new faces.

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A big thanks to the staff at Hotel Viking for making the event possible!

Better Businesses With Better Internet

On Tuesday, June 25th, a panel of four local professionals spoke at the launch party for AIBPconnect at The Firehouse Theater. Each panelist explained how the project has the potential to grow the Newport economy and improve the quality of life for residents and business owners—NIM is recognized as a great center of leadership to get the people involved.

The Aquidneck Island Broadband Project (AIBP) aims to provide public access to the fiber optic network that is already on Aquidneck Island, bringing better, faster Internet to homes and businesses. It’s no secret that the Internet speed on the Island can be very slow, and it’s becoming more of an issue as the use of Cloud-based services rise and the number of stay-at-home businesses and work-from-home professionals increases.

To move AIBPconnect forward, the nonprofit needs to gather internet speed data from Aquidneck Island residents. Ron Corriveau of COS Systems explained that gathering a baseline of data can provide tangible proof that there is a need for access to the fiber optics network, OSHEAN or a comparable network. The more residents who take the speed test, the more evidence can be recovered, and the faster fiber-based broadband internet will boost the island’s economy.

The panelists Corriveau,  the City of Newport’s Paul Carroll, CEO of OpenWide Networks Andrew Cohill,Town of Middletown IT Director Matthew Wainright, and Stuart Freiman of Broadband RI —supportAIBPconnect’s goals and expressed hope that the people and the City of Newport will support the project as well.

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From Left: Corriveau, the City of Newport’s Paul Carroll, CEO of OpenWide Networks Andrew Cohill,Town of Middletown IT Director Matthew Wainright, Stuart Freiman of Broadband RI, and Ron Corriveau of COS Systems

AIBPconnect’s success would address several business growth limitations on Aquidneck Island:

Lack of attention from business located over the bridges — Aquidneck Island needs to attract businesses to the area. An increased amount of businesses would result in a stronger local economy and would require stronger political will. “If you can get the political will to move forward, it’s not particularly difficult” to have officials support a cause, Freiman said.  To “position [Newport] ahead of the century,” Carroll says, “the Island must provide a competitive advantage and vital tools for businesses to flourish.”

Lack of support for Cloud-based services — As technology relies more and more on Cloud-based services, a better broadband system needs to be in place. One fact the panel reiterated was a percentage of businesses on Aquidneck Island are run from home and/or are international companies. According to Cohill, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of Newport residents work from home full-time and 15 to 20 percent work from home part-time. Cohill stressed “neighborhoods and businesses have to deliver “business-class services to individual homes.”

Measuring “asymmetrical speed” is one component of AIBPconnect’s speed test. Asymmetrical speed occurs when the download speed and the upload speed are different. It’s not a good thing, because it disrupts the efficiency of Cloud speed. If you use popular services like Skype, Google+ Hangouts, or web conferencing, this is the source of your lag and poor quality.

Lack of education among the community about Internet options like fiber optics — The main challenge of bringing fiber optics to Aquidneck Island is raising awareness about it. The problem exists, it is just a matter of letting people know that there is a solution.

Freiman pointed out that “expanding the quality of infrastructure and making sure everyone has access to the internet” is one of Rhode Island’s state goals. Some of the poorest communities in the United States have improved because they invested in better broadband systems. Across the United Statescommunities are seeing smart growth from high-speed broadband.

Although a fiber optics system would benefit Aquidneck Island, it doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘if you build it, they will come, ’you have to show them’ ” concrete evidence that it will improve the quality of life at home and increase efficiency for business.  “We need to start doing it all together,” by working with closely residents and officials, Middletown IT director Wainright said.“It’s a step in the right direction.”

Social Media Agency Secrets

anaAna Raynes of Inceptor was spreading secrets this May about ways to hook your followers through social media. Because of Ana’s agency background, she was able to enlighten audiences on many ways to obtain ROI through simple strategies of social media.

A native of Colombia, educated in fashion design at the London College of Fashion, @StylinAna has a honed her talent for following trends and introducing new concepts.

Previously Ana was responsible for social media and information technology at the internet fashion startup “Smart Is Cool” and was featured in Glamour Magazine, appeared on FOX Strategy Room, and toured the East Coast as a motivational speaker for young girls alongside the nonprofit Girls Take Charge.

Since Smart Is Cool, she has worked in social media at New York and Boston agencies. As Inceptor’s social media manager, Ana focuses on clients’ strategic social media planning, blogger relations, and identifying news, trends, and best practices. Based in Boston, Inceptor is a Didit company.

With Raynes’ tips, the audience learned how to

  • Deliver beyond Facebook with Influencer Campaigns
  • Utilize Google Plus and its applications (Google Hangouts, Google Circles)
  • Track social media outreach using free tools
  • Understand social engagement has ROI

Aside from providing “techy” information, Raynes’ talk gave small business owners insight into social branding and customer relationship management.

Missed it? That’s okay – check out this recap

What Works for Agencies That We Can Do Too

Ana Raynes’ social media team at Inceptor handles new media for major national brands. Rather than experiment on your own, find out what works that you can implement – even with limited time and budgets.

Quick tips & ideas from Ana:

How to deliver beyond Facebook with Influencer Campaigns
Google Hangouts LIVE (her secret to agency success)
ROI: The bigger the brand the less you can BS
And, yes, social definitely has ROI

#NIMRI attendees Tweeted these highlights

@Sasimmons15: “Never be afraid to grow your business through influencer campaigns.”

@MiaLupo: Should probably get on this–> “Social Media Calendar helps keep track of content”

@bargainbabe: “Never be afraid of the size of your business.” Wise advice from @stylinana at #nimri

@ Sasimmons15: “Twitter is definitely the biggest driver for revenue.”

@Sue_DesigEditor: Campaigns don’t work on #social because brands are overly focused in selling rather than connecting, telling a story

@MiaLupo: Identifying local influencers: “Look to your local ‘celebrities’ and who people look up to”- @StylinAna #NIMRI

@Sue_DesigEditor: Networking key to building connections with influencers who have large #social media followings #NIMRI

@Sasimmons15: @StylinAna recommends to network with influencers to grow brand.

@Sue_DesigEditor: @StylinAna Don’t use Hootsuite for Facebook. Can schedule your posts within Facebook b/c it kills your Edgerank

@MiaLupo: “Charging clients: Every client is different, prices should be tailored to a business’s needs”- @StylinAna #NIMRI

@franciscosamuel: #NIMRI Instagram is growing … Pinterest is stagnant … Social media

@MiaLupo: Vine works for artistic, creative industries – think fashion & arts #NIMRI

@Sue_DesigEditor: Real relationships beget followers – that’s really how you grow @StylinAna #NIMRI

@tgruber: “Twitter drives the most revenue across all our brands” via @StylinAna #NIMRI

@MiaLupo: “Twitter drives double the revenue than Facebook” – @StylinAna #NIMRI

@Sue_DesigEditor: One post written by an influencer gathered 8,000 clicks @StylinAna #NIMRI

Don’t miss monthly #NIMRI gatherings.

Newport Interactive Marketing

Analyzing Google Analytics With BU Instructor Jay Murphy

 

Missed March’s NIM Analyzing Google Analytics?

Jay Murphy dug into Google Analytics, showing NIM attendees how they can see who is coming to their websites and engaging with them. With this valuable information, brands can provide more specific information that attracts a greater number of followers.

Why it’s important to know who is following you

Knowing who is following your business online offers unprecedented advantages. With this information, you can clearly identify your target market as well as the customer base  you are trying to reach. You can then implement new strategies to find and attract  potential customers you have yet to reach.

Need to know more about Google Analytics? Sign up for Jay’s workshop at the Chamber of Commerce in Middletown, R.I. [Date Change: JUNE 6]

Google Analytics is a free tool that will enhance your marketing strategy. Jay covers all the basics as well as how to interpret the results and how to make solid business decisions from the data. We we’re able to explore advanced topics like how to setup features such as:

  • Dashboards
  • Integrating with Google AdWords
  • Goals and Segments and more.

This program is free, and it gives you great insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.

Navigating Google’s powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features lets you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites.

If you have a website and you don’t leverage Google Analytics, you’re throwing money away!

Build Your Brand With Award-Winning Book Coach

Book coach lisa tenerThese days, whether it’s Google+ or SEO, the concept of authorship is abuzz. Award-winning book coach Lisa Tener shares her strategies, tips, and insights to a packed room.

Writing a book isn’t for everyone — but many people who think they’re not writers find out that they have a book in them after all.

This month’s Newport Interactive Marketers inspired audiences to figure out whether a book is for them and, if so, how to write one that’s worthy and worthwhile — without a lot of stress or pain. In fact, we found out how it can even be an exciting and fun process.

Should I write a book?

  • How to know if writing a book is for you
  • 5 compelling reasons to get started now
  • 3 keys to get past overwhelm and make it easy
  • Your critical first 3 steps

Ways & Reasons to Write a Book

  • To reinvent yourself, establish your credibility by writing a book
  • Helps focus your brand and vision
  • To get known as an expert in your field
  • When you research something, write something on it, you then become the expert

How to brand it

  • Using a catchy, to the point title, that offers a solution to the problem of your market: example: The Creativity CURE by Drs. Carrie and Alton Barron.
  • “Complimentology”: think about your publicity for the future: what are you and what is your brand?
  • Include tip lists: 5 things to ____________ OR 5 reasons why ________________

Ways to write your book: Tips From Lisa’s Course

  • 8-12 weeks to have a  draft or a proposal.
  • Fill in the holes later (research, interviews, etc) … get the concrete down first.
  • Write what you know, or interview experts if you are new to the field.
  • Passion — write what you’re passionate about.

Ways to Publish

A traditional publisher will take care of final edits, layout, cover, and distribution. However, you’ll still need to market and sell your book. In fact, it’s generally a good idea to hire a publicist as well, because publishers rarely get their authors much publicity. However, do get references as you can waste a good deal of money on a publicist if you are not careful.

Self-Publishing can be a cost-effective way of writing and selling your book, especially using websites like Amazon to market and sell your content.  When self-publishing, make sure to use professional resources to design, edit, and market.

Questions Answered!

What channel do I use to publish?

People are reading paper! If you’re going to be speaking anywhere, it’s ideal to have a physical version to sell. It almost always makes sense to have both e-book and a physical copy.

What’s the important thing to remember about blogs? And what’s their appeal?

They’re up there forever and sometimes the conversation continues years beyond the date of posting. Blogs can be interactive, which helps you understand what your audience wants (helpful in book writing) and also connects you to your audience and develops a relationship.

What’s the “Bestseller formula?”

  • A strong title and topic, of course
  • One that resonates with a large audience that wants and needs what you have to offer.
  • Marketing: everything from great design and cover to executing a strategic plan for reaching your audience (which means understanding where they “hang out”—online and off line.

Lisa Tener‘s Book-Writing Classes come in virtual and in-person options.  Click here to learn more.

Don’t forget to attend next month’s NIM event: Social Media Insights, What Works.

Maximize MultiMedia: A Do-It-Yourself Production!

Why should you think and create multimedia? Data and metrics increasingly spotlight multimedia:

January’s Newport Interactive Marketers event left attendees feeling confident and knowledgeable about how to create a more appealing platform through multimedia. It turns out, creating multimedia can easily be done on your own. It’s not always necessary to spend thousands of dollars on something that can easily be put together with a few but important steps that Donna Mac of DMac Voice & Media was able to share with NIM attendees. So grab a pen and paper and turn your ideas into a creative multimedia creation that will quickly catch the eye of your target audience.

Did you know that 1 minute of video can account for thousands of words? Multimedia can package so much information and be displayed in a creative, attention-grabbing way. So why wouldn’t we all use media to benefit our businesses? Donna Mac asked the audience and here is what we found out:

  • Multimedia production is confusing or overwhelming
  • It seems like a daunting task to create multimedia
  • Takes too long and costs too much money

Donna engaged the audience with just how simple it can be to DO IT YOURSELF. So let’s take a look at her simple steps to managing your own multimedia production:

Multimedia pre-production

  • Choose a platform. Audio, Audio/Visual, or just Video.
  • Know the business: What is your goal and what are you “selling?”
  • Who is the audience: What will they be receptive to?
  • Know the BRAND and pick a style, whether it be professional or funny, make sure to add your flavor.
  • What will turn your audience’s attention to the video? Don’t be too lengthy, pushy, or self-centered.
  • BEGIN THE WRITING PROCESS. Who, what, when, and how. It’s your business, tell your story.
  • Keep it short, simple, and sweet. Remember to be authentic: People need to relate, so don’t sound too automated or commercial. You need to build trust, so be real.

Producing your multimedia

  • Gather your equipment: Make sure you have a quality recording device. And for visual media, make sure to have good lighting, good backgrounds, and look presentable.
  • Make sure the production is directed, whether it’s by you or someone else; you must keep it organized. Schedule your recordings in a timely fashion and make sure everything you need is recorded.
  • When recording, you want to always sound authentic, look presentable, and be true to yourself.
  • Keep in mind the background of your footage: Make sure the focus is you and that there are no distractions. Plan on multiple, so you have the best footage you can get.

Multimedia Post-Production

  • Organize and asses your footage, make sure to remove anything with continuity errors and keep the best of all the takes.
  • Piece it together: Make sure your footage makes chronological sense.
  • Add narration, pictures, background sounds, and an opening and closing – depending on the type of media.
  • IMPORTANT! REVISE: Creating media is much like writing a paper, keep in concise and error-free.

Special thanks to Donna Mac of DMac Voice & Media for sharing her years of expertise and knowledge with NIM. Donna is president and founder of DMac Voice & Media.

 

What A Website Should Really Cost: A Look Into NIM’s October Event

From wanting to launch a knitting site, to running a marketing firm, Marketers from all sides of business came hear just what this month’s panel had to say. Newport Interactive Marketers’ wrapped up 2012 focusing on websites. What are the must-haves? How to save money on site development? What type of expert help do you need and can you afford it?

The panelists answered questions from those who’ve never had a website, to those who create websites professionally. Meet the Panel:

 John Picozzi

   Senior Web Developer at Rubic Design + Interactive, John is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and holds a bachelor’s degree in web design and e-commerce as well as an associates degree in web development. John is highly skilled across all areas of website development and design: from server-side coding, to content layout, and site architecture. He comes to Rubic Design + Interactive from the advertising and PR industry where he built and maintained web solutions for national brands like CVSCaremark, Marriott International, and Dunkin Donuts.

Matt Medeiros

  Co-founder of Slocum Studio, WordPress architect, business development, blogger at MattReport.com, and inbound marketer. Helping others on the web.

Sean Walther

  Sean Walther is a freelance web developer and has been doing what he loves for almost 15 years. Recently Sean has been specializing in WordPress deployments, but has a varied history with many types of web technologies.  Prior to his current freelance role, Sean was the CTO of a web development firm in Boston for 3 years. Sean is a graduate of Boston University, with a BA in computer science.

 David Englund

owner of Englund Studio. Founded in 2002 offering graphic design and illustration services, Englund Studio has since been the winner of both the Webmasters Award and the American Design Award for creative website design. Improving customer interaction and attraction through WEO (Web Experience Optimization) is a vital concern. Englund Studio has created custom websites, WordPress sites, mobile sites, blogs, and squeeze pages for customer lead generation. David is preparing to launch a podcast show called Marketing Differently.

 

Key takeaways from October’s Newport Interactive Marketers

  • You get what you pay for. If you’re willing to pay more, you’re going to get more. So what is more: a more custom website, to a more involved developer who can plan for where your business is headed.
  • Those with smaller budgets were able to learn about alternatives, such as website templates, which allow you to develop and update your own website, using a platforms such as WordPress. But be sure to purchase your own domain, such as NewportInteractiveMarketers.com.
  • Another cost effective way of having an online presence without breaking the budget, would be working with a designer who can put together a basic website without any extensive plug-ins or features. Lindsay Logan from WOMA design, a Newport Marketer, talked about ways that she personally helps clients with this and how it is less costly than most options.

 

Website considerations BEFORE meeting with a developer

  • Know your audience. What are they looking for in a website? Know the main draw of your audience and emphasize it in your website. Should that be the focus of your website that is easy to access on the home page.
  • Bring a list of competitor’s websites and examples of the similarities and differences you want.
  • It’s not what you want to see on the site, it’s what your viewers need to see. Do what’s best for your business & let web designers help you, after all you’re paying for their expertise!
  • Come with a theme to start out. Panelists warned against free themes, like Theme Forest due to malicious or sloppy code.

 

Where do you want to be in two years?

  • Don’t be afraid to tell the person your working with, your budget. If you have a smaller budget like $1,500 then maybe craigslist or WordPress is better for you. It’s important let them know these things and you can discuss the best options within your budget range.
  • Designers, Developers, Marketers, SEO, and content strategists are all incorporated into the FULL process of designing a website: Keep in mind that this is what you’re paying for and discuss what each will be able to do for you. Know what you’re paying for and let them know what you want from them.

 What sparked debate?

WordPress & Drupal

  • Is WordPress good? Yes. Small budget? Go for it. Test it out. Use if for a year, higher income – then spend the money. Website = Virtual salesperson.
  • WordPress does not have a great online ecommerce store, where as Drupal does.
  • WordPress plug-in options: fantastic! Includes: Contact for 7, advanced custom fields, designer clients (extra forms on pages), WD Photo Kit, Contact 17.
  • You always have the option to pay for it. Why pay for it when you can get it for free? Support! You get what you pay for.
  • Web developer should have no excuse or at least a good reason not to have a WordPress up and running for you.

Audience’s questions answered:

Is the cost is going up or down?

The prices of websites have gone down because now there are free options to creating websites and many people are able to do it themselves with these options.

Why go local in choosing a developer?

Go Local! Meet with designers face to face and get to know the person that’s helping to develop your business. Also, be able to receive training on how to use and update the website! You want to know the where about of your developer, constant contact is key, especially when you’re paying for it.

What are the price ranges that our panelists are charging their clients?

They currently start looking at projects in the $1,500 as a starter. And average prices range from 5,000 to 10,000.

What is the value that developers add to the price?

The value that developers give to the price is time. They take care of it, maintain it, and spend the most time with the website’s construction and maintenance.

What are some key components a website should have?

  • Blog OR consistently updated with content
  • News Letter
  • Email options but not a barrier to website, always keep your website accessible without effort by your viewers.
  • Search Bar & Social Media Icons
  • Should you have a feed of social media? Depends on whether or not you’re social media is a key part of your business and whether or not it is a good outlet that would be appealing to your customers.
  • Definitely Images and Video – CRITICAL. Less reading and more media.

 

And remember, a website is a virtual sales person, so take your time and make sure it’s saying exactly what you want it to say!