Doing business during COVID-19

With COVID-19, the way we conduct business has changed drastically. Seemingly overnight, we have had to change how we interact with clients and earn revenue. Experts tell us that this is the new norm for a while. Because of social distancing, businesses are increasingly using the internet to do business with and communicate with their clients.

Here are a few steps that you can take to keep your business humming:

  1. Get a website today
  2. If you don’t have a website yet, it is time to get one. Your website is the nexus of all your online activities. It is one place where you have total control over your message. You can describe your offerings (products and services), keep your customers informed, and convert a visitor into a client.

    Note: We have a new website plan called 1-2-3 Go specifically designed for small business owners who need to go online fast and without breaking the bank.

  3. Add an informative banner.
  4. Create a message banner on the home page to let your clients know how your business is operating during this time. Remember to update your hours of operation. If needed, create a new page with details of your safety precautions.
    Describe delivery of goods. If you sell a product, then describe how your product will be delivered to the buyers. It could be anywhere from curbside pickup to mailing.

  5. Safety precautions for service.
  6. Social distancing is the phrase of this time. If you are a service company, then clients may like to know the safety precautions you are taking to keep yourself, your employees, and clients safe during this time. Add as many details as you can. There will be people with compromised health who will want to know such details.

  7. Take orders online.
  8. Now that many customers are reducing their trips to physical stores, it is important that people can order from you online. Add a form to your website so people can order from the comfort of their homes.
    Use your website to make appointments. You can put an appointment calendar on your website to allow people to shop by appointment, schedule pickups, or schedule services.

  9. Get personal.
  10. Create a video to describe how your business has changed doing business. During these times, we are hungry for a personal touch. A video from the owner describing how they are conducting business during this time is a great way to stay in touch with your clients and to give this interaction a personal touch.

  11. Maintain community.
  12. For businesses with strong customer communities, your customers want to feel connected — with you, your business and each other. You might create a space on your website to showcase the projects customers are working on, or create an informative blog on your website to keep people learning. Social media and email can also help keep your customer base engaged.

    Do you need help getting started? Would you like some help updating your website with COVID-19 information? Call us at (650) 539-4212 or email us at info@purelynx.com.

Business owner’s guide to evaluating your website

It is hard for anyone to evaluate their own website. It is harder still if you don’t know what to look for. Here are few questions to ask yourself while appraising your existing website.

Marketing

  1. Four-second test

  2. If you didn’t know anything about the business, can you know make out the nature of the business within 4 seconds of looking at the home page?

  3. Calls to action

  4. Does the website lead the visitor to the next step?

    Buttons/links that say “Read more”, “Get in touch”, etc. lead visitors to take the next step on the website. Without any such help, the visitor may leave the website and you would have lost a potential lead.

  5. Above-the-fold content

  6. Does the top half of your home page contain the most important information that you want to convey to your visitor?

    “Above the fold” is to newspapers as “top half of your home page” is to a website. It is the place of highest visibility where the most important information should lie. This increases the likelihood that a visitor will interact with those features.

Design & Aesthetics

Aesthetics and design are, of course, very subjective. What one person likes may not match another person’s taste. There are aspects though that you can look for and judge to see if they will be effective.

  • Do the colors used on the website match or complement the colors on the logo?
  • Do the images or the website embellishments get in the way of the business’ message?
  • Is there enough contrast between the background and the font colors? If not, then the text will be hard to read.
  • Is the style consistent throughout the website?
  • Are the buttons and links obvious?
  • Is the design appropriate for the audience?
  • Is the textual content placed in one long and boring block or are they broken out into easy-to-read logical chunks?

Contact information

This is very obvious; it is also very easy to forget to include information about how to get in touch with you. The following information should be included in your website

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Contact form

Technical

  • Is the website mobile-friendly?
  • Go to Google’s page for mobile-friendly testing that will analyze a URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design.

  • Are all the links (internal & external) active and valid?
  • If you intended a part of text to be a link, but forgot to make it a link, that is an inactive link. You make it active by including the URL of the link destination. A valid link is one which actually leads you to an intended (This is where you want the link to go.) and legitimate (Clicking the link doesn’t give you errors.) URL.

  • Does the website work well on different browsers?
  • It is essential these days for your website to be mobile-friendly.

  • Are there any Flash videos/applications on the website?
  • Flash is an outdated technology that not all devices support.

  • How long do the pages take to load?
  • Longer a page takes to load, the worse it is for retaining a visitor’s attention.

Conventions

Conventions are very important online. They help visitors intuitively know where to look for information. This reduces the frustration of not knowing around a new website.
Does your website look and feel markedly different from a lot of other websites? If yes, you may be flouting convention. Unless you are in an edgy field or have a good reason to move away from convention, don’t.

Questions? Call us at (650) 539-4212 and we’d be glad to suggest ideas for staying within your budget.

10 signs that your website needs a redesign

Are you tired of looking at your website? Do you feel that your business needs a newer and more effective website?

Redesigning a website is more than just making it pretty. It serves as your primary online marketing tool, and must have intuitive navigation and clear and compelling messaging. It is also a process that deserves your wholehearted time commitment and monetary investment. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then a new website design is in your best interests.

1. Your website isn’t aligned with your current marketing strategy

Your website is first and foremost your a marketing tool. If your marketing has changed recently, then chances are your current website isn’t aligned with your overall marketing strategy. Take time to define how your website can augment your business objectives. This is the perfect time to talk to a web marketing agency about your online requirements.

2. Your audience has changed

If your current website no longer serves the right audience, then website content and its design deserves a review. Before you jump into redesign though make sure that you define the persona(s) of your audience, their motivations to buy from you, and their perception that you are the right business to serve them. Your web marketing agency should be able to develop your buyer’s persona(s) before building the website.

3. Your content has changed

A content architecture that is served by an intuitive navigation is very important for a lower bounce rate. If you have added different kinds of content to the website since your last redesign, then it is time to evaluate your content architecture. This has ripple effects on how the content is organized, navigation elements, images, etc. A redesign may be in your cards.

4. Your website isn’t responsive

Google now penalizes websites that aren’t responsive (mobile friendly). Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and type your URL. If Google deems your website unfriendly to mobile devices, then that means your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will suffer. In other words, it will be harder to find your website on the web and you won’t be able to achieve your business objectives. This is the number one reason why many businesses are opting for a redesign these days.

5. User experience is not good

It is hard for the business owner to know how user experience has degraded over time because he/she is familiar with its navigation structure. If you have added/changed content on the website since you last built it, it is a good idea to ensure that the website, your online marketing tool, is working at its best. Hire a web marketing agency to evaluate the user experience of your website.

6. Your website looks dated

Technologies change, and so do designs. If your website is starting to look like it was built when the dinosaurs roamed the earth (circa 2012), then you should think about redesigning your website. Websites that look outdated make the visitors think that you are either out of business or aren’t successful. Neither case helps your business. Hurry up and get a new website!

7. Your site is slow to load

Web is all about instant gratification. If something takes too long to load, people check out of there. It could be that the technology that is used on your website is too old and hence crawling along on a superhighway. At a minimum, hire a web agency to do an audit of your website.

8. Functions and features are obsolete

Nothing says “obsolete” like outdated features and functions on a website. If your website is advertising old products or you wish to add features such as social media, blogs, etc., then call to your local web marketing agency.

9. Your website is in Flash!

Flash shouldn’t be used anymore. Not only is it mobile-unfriendly, it is also hard to edit, isn’t good for your SEO, and is slow to load. If your website is built on Flash, it is time to develop a new website for your business.

10. Conversion rate is poor

The purpose of your website is to be visited online by as many potential clients as possible and then have them either get in touch with you or buy from you. If your other marketing activities like email marketing, are consistent and generating leads, but there is a drop in sales, then this shows that the website isn’t working well to capture these leads.

It may be that the website needs a few tweaks or it needs an overhaul. In either case, it is time to evaluate the design.

At PureLynx, we not only help clients refresh and maintain their current website, we also help build a great SEO-ready website that delivers results. Call us today at (650) 539-4212 to find out how we can improve your online presence.

7 website misconceptions that can cost you in the long run

When people think of building a website, they mostly think of visual design — images, colors, and fonts.

It is thrilling to get the ball rolling on designing your website.

As the web has matured, other factors that have risen in importance. Not knowing them or having false impressions about them can cost you in the long run. Here are the top 7 misconceptions:

1. Page loading time is not very important.

In this era of instant gratification, waiting more than 4 seconds for a page to load seems like an eternity. If your page doesn’t load within 4 seconds, you can easily lose a visitor or a potential customer.

If you have spent a lot of time and money on SEO, but the page loading time is high, not only will the visitors not give you the time of the day (literally!), Google will downgrade your website for page speed.

Curious about how your website is doing on page speed? Enter your website’s address here and check for yourself.

2. Once built, I can use my website forever without any more work on it.

In this rapidly changing field, new products, ideas and trends emerge continually. These include browsers, and their new versions, new design directions, software products to build websites, online marketing ideas, social media directions, SEO … the list is seemingly endless.

Since there are so many variables that affect a website, and these are in continual flux, a 2 year old website could start to look dated or its effectiveness degraded over time.

A website that looks outdated or whose software isn’t updated regularly runs the risk of not functioning optimally across platforms, browsers, and operating systems.

Such a website could end up alienating its visitors and possibly losing potential clients or followers.

3. User experience? My website doesn’t need it.

You may or may not have heard the phrase “user experience”, but it is playing an increasingly important role in the building of websites.

The purpose of a website is to attract, engage, inform, and hopefully convert a visitor into a client or a follower.

If the website has not been built with the end user and his needs, experience, demographic, etc. in mind, the user experience would suffer.

This, in turn, will adversely influence how the visitor perceives the organization. At best, the visitor will find it difficult to use the website or be frustrated. Or worse, the visitor may abandon the website in favor of its competitors.

4. Websites built on templates are easy and cheap.

It is easy to be lulled into thinking that if a website is going to be built on a template, then it should be fast and cost less.

There are many templates available for every need. Picking a template because it “looks” pretty nice is akin to buying a book because the cover appealed to you.

There is a lot more to a template than meets the eye. In this ever-changing domain, a template needs to be responsive, standards-compatible supported, customizable, and easily integrated with plugins. The other features of a theme that would make it attractive are support, forums, and documentation.

If the template needs to be changed in any way to fit the needs of your website, then it would require customization work. This along with integration with other plugins and software increases the cost of building a website.

Remember that a website looks beautiful and functions as designed because of the experience and talent of your web developer and not a template.

5. Responsive design and mobile-friendly design are the same.

A mobile design is where a website is developed to be comfortably viewed on a mobile device. The website’s content are reorganized to fit within a mobile device.

A mobile website is generally accomplished by having a separate mobile version of the website.

A mobile version of the website complicates the maintenance as you now have to maintain 2 different versions of the website. Since the mobile version is generally a subset of the full website, a visitor doesn’t get served all the information.

Having a mobile website is good, but it isn’t the same as a responsive website.

A responsive website on the other hand, has one website with all its content and code. Depending on the device size, the web server serves the content.

You can check to see if a website is responsive by how it behaves when you resize a browser window.

A responsive website will change its look as the browser window changes width. A non-responsive website will degrade in its look and its usefulness as the browser changes size.

A non-responsive site generally has a preferred browser size where the website looks right.

6. I can save money by using photos that I took.

Even online, pictures speak a thousand words.

It is very exciting to want to see an image of your organization to be used on its website, but not all images are appropriate.

Images that are chosen for the website should satisfy many criteria depending on the project. For example, if the website has a slideshow of a certain aspect ratio (ratio of width of the image to the height), any image that is used on the slideshow must also have the same aspect ratio.

Not all images can be cropped to the required aspect ratio and still retain the essence of the image.

If any marketing messages are to be written on the image itself, then the image should have the appropriate space for those to be placed on top of the image.

An image could be rejected for a specific purpose for many reasons, including being busy, irrelevant to the message, low resolution, or just doesn’t look within the context.
Let your web designer lead in you in selecting the best images for your website.

7. Once the website is built, the traffic will come.

There are over 1.24 websites in the world and many more go online every day. With such numbers, it is hardly surprising that you may not see organic traffic for a few months.

There are different ways to get traffic to your website. SEO is a process by which you build credibility online and thus start attracting traffic. Online advertising, offline advertising, social media, guest blogging are a few ways to build your reputation online and to draw organic traffic.
Conclusion

Keeping these points in mind will help you have realistic expectations for your web design project.

Have questions? Call us at (650) 346-1442 or fill out our form.