If you have a website, you should definitely have Google Analytics.
If you have a website, and you have no idea what Google Analytics is, read on!
As stated in previous blog posts, your website is an extension of your business. It represents you within the world wide web, and it should educate your visitors about who you are and what you do. We can tell you all about what your website should be doing, but what are your visitors doing? Who are they? How long do they stay on your site, and what pages are they looking at? What kind of browsers do they use?
All of these questions are answered quickly if you have a free Google Analytics account. “But I don’t have time to look at tons of statistics and data!” you might say. Don’t worry, Google Analytics puts everything into lovely, easy to understand graphs and tables so you can get all of the important information at a glance.
You can learn:
• How many people come to your website daily/weekly/monthly
• How long people spend on your site
• What pages people are looking at on your site
• Where your website traffic comes from
• What keywords people are using to find your site
• What web browsers are used by your visitors
• So much more!
Why is this important?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you improve your website so you can get even MORE traffic! There’s no point in paying for a website if no one visits, so make sure you are actually bringing people in.
If most of your visitors use Internet Explorer, but your site doesn’t load correctly in that browser, you should probably get that fixed.
If people are only spending five seconds on your site and then leaving, you should figure out why they are leaving and correct the issue. Is your content boring? Is your site unpleasant to look at? Is your navigation broken?
If twice as many people visited after you posted something to Facebook asking them to visit your site, you should continue using Facebook to send people to your site.
There are so many ways using this simple data will help you improve your website, and the best part is, it’s FREE! It’s also very easy to use, and Google will spell everything out for you with their many help articles. If you haven’t already, you should go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ now and create an account. Plug the handy dandy little code snippet into your website (or have your web designer do it for you), and voila! You are ready to start collecting data and improving your website.
When someone lands on your website, what is the first thing they think of? Hopefully, it’s “Wow! These guys look great! I’m going to use their services for sure!” But is that what they’re really thinking? Is your website representing you the way it should, or is it chasing potential customers away?
Your website is an important asset to your business, and you need to make sure it is doing what you want it to: showing you at your best angle and garnering positive interest from visitors. So how do you know what your website is saying about you? Here are some examples of what it MIGHT be saying… and how to fix it.
Ever wonder what the world’s worst website looks like? Wonder no more: www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com
“I have no sense of organization.”
If you’ve ever visited a website, and upon arriving, had NO idea what you were supposed to be looking at or clicking on, you know what we’re talking about when we say “no sense of organization”. Just as you organize files, invoices, or piles of clean laundry, you need to organize your website. When a visitor arrives, they should immediately know what your business does and where to click next depending on their needs.
Having too much information crammed into the homepage makes it hard to understand or navigate. If you have a website for your pet supply business, you don’t need to list every single type of pet and pet product that you sell on your homepage… Let visitors know you are a pet product supplier with variety, then let them click the appropriate menu item to narrow down the information.
“I wanted a website, but I didn’t care enough to get a nice one.” Also, “I’m cheap.”
Of course we are all on a budget and don’t want to spend unnecessary amounts of money on anything. However, your website is important, and having a GOOD LOOKING website doesn’t have to bankrupt you. If you had the choice between the nice new store on the corner, or the store down the road that is falling down around itself because no one cared to pay for repairs, you would most likely choose the nice store. Why? Because you know the owner cares enough about their own business, which means they care about their customers as well.
Ok, we know this one’s not in English, but it’s bad for other reasons, too.
“I haven’t touched this thing in years.”
We all get busy, and sometimes we just don’t have time to update our website. However, you shouldn’t let it get TOO far behind. When you come across a website with information that is obviously several years old, you may wonder if the business is even open anymore, or if they are so technologically behind that they can’t update their site.
If you happen to be stuck in the situation where you have a website, but can’t update it unless you hire someone with a degree in web programming, you should seriously consider switching to a CMS (Content Management System). With a CMS, you can take control of your site and update it easily without knowing HTML or any other specialized skills. (Time for a shameless plug! We here at Bergey Creative Group have several great CMS options… give us a call: 215.256.4512)
“I don’t really know what I’m doing.”
Ah, yes… the website that screams, “Look I have a website but WHAT DO I DO WITH IT NOW?” Not everyone is super web savvy, but that’s what professionals are for. Make sure your website is created and setup by someone with good knowledge and skills to not only make it look pretty, but allow you to actually get good content in the site. If your website is sitting half finished, or looks like someone’s nephew took crack at it using Microsoft Paint, that looks bad to anyone who finds it.
“BUY BUY BUY!!”
Unless you enjoy pushy sales people when you go to the mall or shop for a car, you won’t enjoy a website that tries to shove products in your face either. Your website visitors really won’t like it, and chances are, they won’t come back. People usually want content and information before they will attempt a purchase, so you need to make sure your website offers information about your business and products, as well as easy access to the shopping area. Lead them to it gently, don’t push them!
One more really bad site example for you, just in case you haven’t had enough:
We could go on and on about different types of sites that aren’t particularly good, but we’ll stop here for now (maybe a part two in the future?). The main point we’re trying to make is that your business needs a site that is pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate, and keeps visitors engaged (as opposed to chasing them away).
If you need a website built or updated, we are here to help. We will happily take a look at what you have and what you need, and we can point you in the right direction for your business and budget. To start a conversation to discuss your website needs, call us at 215-256-4512 or use our contact form.
Since our last blog post about QR Codes, we’ve been keeping pretty busy! With the growing popularity of QR Codes for both consumers and businesses, we knew something big to happen soon to bring everything to the next level… and it has! Introducing CodeSquare.
Visit www.codesquare.me to sign up for a FREE account or upgrade to PRO with promo code “BCGPRO” for $10 off!
Easily create, manage, and track your QR codes with a “one click LIKES” solution accompanied by a promo or custom ad you create! Reward consumers for clicking, collect data and statistics, and change the URL as many times as you want – It’s fast and easy!
WHY IS CODESQUARE DIFFERENT?
|Links to any URL
Point to any URL of your choosing
|Change the URL
Modify where the code points, and the message displayed to consumer, at anytime without ever having to reprint marketing materials
|Reusable for any campaign
QR code remains the same while message, campaign and events evolve
|Dashboard – Track Clicks and Monitor ROI
Review metrics on clicks, Likes and other valuable data points related to marketing campaigns. Manage and edit codes via easy dashboard
|Reward Consumer for Click
Build a campaign to reward consumers after LIKE/FOLLOW. Customize content around Social Media Marketing
User Experience optimized for easiest possible clicking of LIKE/FOLLOW via
Consumers trust the “powered by codesquare” badge to deliver a dynamic mobile experience. More likely to click.
|Non-QR Scanner Accessible
Short URL (ex: cdsqr.me/abc123) that users without scanning app can access
Visit www.codesquare.me to sign up for a FREE account or upgrade to PRO with promo code “BCGPRO” for $10 off!
For more information, call us at 215.256.4512
To see the differences between FOREVER FREE, PRO, and ENTERPRISE accounts, click here.
By now, you’ve more than likely seen the black and white checkered barcodes known as QR codes on some product while you were out shopping. They’ve been popping up on packaging, printed ads, and various other places more frequently as smart phone popularity has increased. If you’ve seen one of these little monochrome squares and thought it was just some strange abstract art form, keep reading! QR codes are something that may be of use to you.
Let’s start with a little background on QR codes. The “QR” stands for “Quick Response”, and the image was developed to be read by smartphones. The black modules are arranged on a white background, and the pattern holds encoded information such as text or a URL. The more complex the pattern is, the more information it holds.
Why do you care?
If you’re a consumer, QR codes are an easy way for you to access more information about a product you may see in a store or advertisement. Do you like that widescreen tv, but want to know more details about it? Use your smartphone to take a photo of the QR code and you will be given that information. You may be wondering why you couldn’t just have been given the URL to the page to get to the information, but if you own a smartphone, then you know how time consuming and irritating it can be to type out a long web address on that little keyboard. The QR code gives you direct access to whatever information someone wants to share with you without losing your interest when you realize you have to type something out and battle your phone’s auto correct feature.
The biggest benefit of all this is that almost EVERYONE has a smartphone nowadays (see this blog post)… so QR codes aren’t targeting just a select few people, they’re useable for a majority of the population. So, take lots of lazy people who hate typing on their phone, give them a barcode to take a picture of (they love taking pictures anyway), and BOOM! They’re looking at whatever information you wanted to share with them.
This is a great benefit for businesses. QR codes shouldn’t replace putting your website address on everything, but it gives you a new way to give information to people without worrying about them forgetting the web address or not wanting to be bothered with the extra step of typing.
What do I do with a QR code?
With any product or service, you probably have a lot of information you want to give people, but there’s never enough room in that ad space or on the product packaging. You can use a QR code to send people to a web page that contains more information about your product or service.
Remember, QR codes are for printed pieces… using them on the web is redundant.
Also, remember that people are using a smartphone when they capture a QR code, so make sure whatever information you send them to is formatted nicely for what is most likely a small touch screen, not a desktop computer (make it mobile friendly please!). If the page takes too long to load or doesn’t load correctly, people will not try again.
If you have created your own mobile app, a QR code is a great way to send people to the download page for your application since they’re already on their mobile device. Another good example is linking to directions to a business location, especially since many mobile phones contain GPS features. Perhaps you are trying to boost your fans on Facebook… link to your Facebook page with the QR code and ask for “Likes”!
You can even get creative with QR codes… they don’t have to be black and white, square and boring (although that does make it more likely to work correctly, so be careful with how creative you get). Here are some examples of creative QR codes.
To wrap this up: QR codes are a growing phenomenon that every business should consider checking out. They’re easy, they’re cheap, and they can add something new and interactive to any campaign!
There is always something new popping up in the land of social media, and this time there are some really promising developments. Two of the biggest happenings include Facebook adding a new video chat feature and the launch of a possible rival, Google+.
The New Facebook Chat Feature
Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, teamed up with Skype to bring us a video calling feature. To use it, you click on the little camera icon within the chat window while logged into Facebook. This is a one-on-one feature, with no group calling capabilities, and you can’t make calls outside of your Facebook friends. These limitations aren’t necessarily a deal killer, unless you’re a hermit, and then you probably don’t have any friends and it doesn’t matter.
This new feature will be fun for the younger generations who seem to prefer chatting through a device over having a conversation in person, but it is also beneficial to business professionals. Considering how Facebook has 750 million members (making it the biggest social media network out there), you can assume most people that you know or want to talk to will be on there. If you find yourself needing to connect to a client, distant co-worker, etc. and email just isn’t cutting it, you can now have a quick video chat. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s free. Facebook video chat makes for a fun way to connect to someone in a more personal capacity than an email or even a phone call.
There’s a new kid on the block, and he seems a little more serious about getting a piece of the social media pie than his predecessors (Buzz, Wave, etc.). Google+ is a promising new social media platform with some familiar and exciting features. It has a similar setup to Facebook and Twitter with it’s stream of updates from the people you have chosen as friends. You get to organize your friends into different circles, which gives you some nice control over what you share with whom. Like other sites, you can post articles and videos, you have a profile and photos, and you can “+1″ a status you enjoy. There is also a nifty video chat feature called “Hangouts” which allows you have a video chat with a bunch of your friends at once.
Google+ started as an invitation only beta, but has now moved into a more open status. Google has released mobile applications for Android and iPhone to make it even easier to access. After about three weeks, Google+ gained 20 million users… it’s not quite the new Facebook yet, but it’s growing by about 750,000 people a day.
A social media platform with this much growth is something to pay attention to, especially if you enjoy marketing your business through social media. Google+ presents a new way of connecting with people and opens up some fun new ways to communicate and share information. Hermits might just come out of the mountains for this one!
Considering recent events involving a certain Representative and an inappropriate photo accidentally released via Twitter, many people are asking themselves… “Really? He sent THAT photo to a college girl?”
…Or maybe you’re asking, “Is ANYTHING private on social media?”
The answer is No.
I hope all of you business owners, government big wigs, and national leaders heard that. NOTHING is private when you put it on social media. It doesn’t matter if you checked the little box next to “Super Ultra Mega Private”, or if you hand selected each and every friend and follower… Consider anything that you put on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site to be public.
It doesn’t take much time or effort to just copy and paste someone’s private Twitter status and retweet it to the world. You can’t guarantee that every friend and follower you have isn’t going to start gossiping about your private posts. There’s always the possibility that your account could be hacked into. Then, there is Mr. Weiner’s downfall… you could accidentally send that private photo by Twitter mention (which is public) instead of Direct Message (which is “private”). Oops.
Obviously, a professional Twitter account shouldn’t be used for any personal matters to begin with. Most of us probably didn’t think this needed to be said, but any social networking profile that is set-up to represent your business should be used for ONLY that purpose. When you start intermixing personal conversations with your professional networking, trouble is sure to arise. Apparently, Anthony Weiner didn’t get that memo.
So let’s all come away from this ridiculous “scandal” having learned something: Don’t put anything on the internet unless you are prepared for the whole world to know about it.
Regardless of whether you are a graphic designer or business executive, paying attention to what you are doing is imperative to success. The smallest mistake, even an innocent typo, can cost a lot of money and be cause for quite a bit of embarrassment. With the tools we have at hand, there are some mistakes that just shouldn’t ever happen.
1. THAT DOESN’T LOOK RIGHT
One way to avoid embarrassing mistakes that could follow you around and make you look more ridiculous than professional is to have someone else look at what you are doing. The more eyes, the better. This is especially important to graphic designers who may no longer be able to “see” things that aren’t right after staring at a project for too many days in a row.
For example, check out the accidentally conjoined father and daughter (click to view larger). There’s a whole slew of visual disasters here at PSD: PhotoShop Disasters.
2. SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK!
Considering how every program on a computer nowadays has some form of spell check built in, you should really take advantage of it. The “I’m not good with spelling/grammar” excuse no longer cuts it when all you have to do is run what you’ve typed through the spellchecker and voila! Something intelligible comes out on the other end.
Granted, the spell check function can only take you so far. It’s probably best to have someone decent at spelling and grammar take a look at any important documents… or body art…
See more body art fails here: http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org
3. TRIPLE CHECK IT. NO, REALLY.
So you’ve run spell check, looked over everything, and had a friend look at it. Think you’re finished? You really might want to consider looking over everything one more time. Read your sentences backwards to catch spelling errors, look at photos extra carefully, go over the math using a calculator.
I mean, NASA is full of really smart people, but look what happened to the Mars orbiter when someone forgot to convert the feet over to meters (what happened was a $125 million piece of equipment missing its mark and presumably traveling into Mars’ atmosphere, where it burned up).
Moral of the story? Pay attention! You may be trying to impress a client, land a new job, or simply not screw up… attention to detail will help you avoid mistakes, impress the people who matter, and make clients grateful to have your eyes catching mistakes.
Here’s some food for thought: If someone asks you to check out a website while you’re out and about, what do you do? Do you find the nearest computer to take a look… or do you bust out your phone and navigate to the site?
Consider the fact that 11% of of Web Traffic Worldwide is via mobile devices (source). Here’s another neat little factoid: The iPhone makes up 50% of Smartphone web traffic in the U.S. (source). Oh, and did you know that the iPad sold over 3.3 million in it’s first three months? (source)
What’s Your Point?
Our point is that browsing the web via a mobile device isn’t exactly a rare thing these days, and Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) are among the most popular mobile devices. Here’s the BIG point: The iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch don’t support Flash content.
It doesn’t seem like this is something that is going to change anytime soon. Apple CEO Steve Jobs says he has no plans on bringing Flash to the iOS family because it performs poorly on mobile devices and kills your battery rather quickly. That’s OK, though, right? Well… here’s one more statistic for you: According to Adobe, nearly 75% of online video is encoded in Flash (source).
Why is this important to me?
If you have a website for your business (or are in the business of making websites for businesses), this is VERY important to you. With so many people surfing the net on mobile devices, you want to make sure they can actually navigate your site and see your content. You may want to consider going through your site and taking note of what is Flash. Checking your website for compatibility on mobile devices is becoming just as important as cross-checking your site in various browsers and browser versions.
If you have videos, those are relatively easy to convert without having to redesign your whole site. If you have Flash banners and navigation, however… now you’re talking a decent amount of time and work to convert everything.
So now what?
Depending on how much Flash content you have on your site, and how much you care about your mobile visitors, your options will vary. There are services available to completely convert your website to a mobile version that will only come up when someone visits using a mobile device. You could also hire a web designer to go in and convert everything for you. Here’s one more option: XChange CMS.
XChange is a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to easily manage your website without any programming knowledge. You can add and edit pages, sections, text, images and more in minutes, plus XChange has web statistics, user management, access management, and a lot more robust features. (Read more about XChange and it’s features here)
Interested in seeing a demonstration of XChange so you can see how easy it is to use? Give us a call at 215.256.4512 and we’ll give you a personal demonstration.
You’re walking down the street, and some guy in front of some store hands you a flier that is barely readable because it’s been xeroxed half a million times. That’s nice… You throw it in the trash.
You get home, open your mailbox, and jump out of the way as the avalanche of junk mail comes flying out. The envelopes with “IMPORTANT MESSAGE INSIDE!” printed on the front no longer fool you, the colorful ads don’t interest you, and if you get one more of those “YOU COULD BE A WINNER!” things, you’re going to inflict pain on someone. You throw them all in the trash.
You avoid the sales calls by looking at the caller ID before picking up, you skip the commercials by fast forwarding your DVR, and you’ve gotten really good at pretending to be in a conversation when you walk by those people at the kiosks in the mall.
Does promotional marketing even WORK anymore?
If you do it right, it does. The trick is to think outside the box and come up with something people will like, or even get excited about. Don’t bother trying to trick them, you’ll only make them angry (and you won’t like them when they’re angry). Of course, if you’re just a business owner looking for a way to promote yourself, you may not feel comfortable playing the part of a rock star promotional marketer…and that’s OK. There are people out there who have already come up with the fantastic ideas, you just have to find them. Let us give you your first lead:
You’ve seen logos put on t-shirts, mugs, pens, and all sorts of other items… but have you ever seen branding on SUNGLASSES? This is something people will walk around with on their faces… talk about prime real estate! BrandRims™ custom designed sunglasses are useful (and even good for your health, unless you enjoy sun blindness), cool looking, and they’re customizable! You can have your logo and design across the entire sunglass frame.
BrandRims™ custom designed sunglasses are durable, lightweight, and high quality. Your customers will find them to be fun and unique pieces that they will WANT to wear. The best part: you are literally creating walking advertisements for your brand.
For more information on BrandRims™ custom designed sunglasses, check out their website: http://www.brandrims.com
Click here to download the BrandRims™ Catalog.
To request the BrandRims™ Artwork Template, please click here.
If you’ve ever tried to get a group of people together for a presentation, you know that it can often be as frustrating as herding cats. Sometimes, you just can’t meet your clients face to face, and sometimes, what you’re trying to show them isn’t very effective when you have a bunch of people crowded around one computer. In the case that you can’t get everyone in the same place at the same time, or you don’t have the equipment to make viewing your presentation comfortable for everyone, you will find that a webinar is a lifesaver.
However, having a webinar is much different than holding an in-person meeting. You’ll need to know how to use the webinar software, create an organized and well-designed webinar presentation, and engage your audience often… you won’t be able to look at your audience to see the confused look on their faces when you’ve lost them.
So how do you prepare an effective webinar? Well, first you need to get all your ducks in a row. What webinar software will you be using? Will your presentation be recorded and distributed? If your webinar needs to be designed, can you design it or do you need some outside help? Do you fully understand the topic you will be presenting so you can answer questions?
Once you have those details worked out, you can start putting together your webinar. Create an outline of what you will talk about, especially if you’re a rambler. You may want to mark down specific places within your outline where you can ask if your audience has any questions. Be sure to leave some time at the end for a designated question and answer session. If your presentation involves more than your audience watching your mouse moving around the screen in a software demonstration, make your design easy on the eyes, but visually interesting so your audience doesn’t get bored. Your best bet is to have a design agency put something together for your webinar, as that will ensure your webinar is as successful and professional as possible. You may want to consider avoiding adding animations (like those in slide programs) and videos, as they may cause issues. If your webinar is for a very large audience, bring in some extra people as moderators to handle chat comments and technical issues.
Most importantly: TEST your webinar! Do a trial run (or three) with someone who can act as a test audience to make sure the software is working as intended, the sound and video are working correctly, and you feel comfortable with what you are doing. Work out all the bugs as you get to know your webinar software and rehearse your presentation. Prepare yourself for technical problems DURING the webinar, as that is always a possibility.
As a design agency, we primarily use webinars for group meetings, software training, and the occasional client proposal. Others may hold webinars to sell a product, lecture on a subject, or a variety of other things. Regardless, the point of any meeting or webinar is to COMMUNICATE with clarity and purpose. Keep that in mind as you set-up your webinar, and it will be sure to be a success.