Using video on websites

Nov. 18, 2014 Article by

Using video on websites can be an effective tactic to achieve your goals. Video will add an element of interactivity and enhanced visual appeal to your website design, as long as it is done correctly. Whether your goal is to promote your brand, products, services, or personnel, the correct use of video can produce desired outcomes. Of course, if basic usability guidelines are overlooked or violated, then you will very likely annoy users, which never is good for business!

We learn about website usability by reading reports and following suggestions published by acknowledged experts such as Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of the Nielsen/Norman Group, the source of a just-posted report summarized by this statement:

Video content is helpful only if users have control over it, understand what’s contained within it, and have an alternate way to access it. – Video Usability, by AMY SCHADE on November 16, 2014

Popularity of video in web design

Proof of the value in the use of video on your website is the fact that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL combined. That means that by effectively using video on your website, you not only improve overall user saticfaction, but also you can expand your user base, increasing traffic to your website if you host your video on YouTube.

Created by Mushroom Networks

Can I update my own website?

Yes you can. This website is built on the WordPress publishing platform. That puts it in good company, along with a cohort of businesses as diverse as eBay, The New York Times, and Snoop Dog! We have been creating websites with WordPress for 10+ years, and we can help you learn how to add and edit content (text, images, video, forms) for your personal or business website.

If you would like to see that it can be as easy as sending an email, use this form and we’ll set up a demonstration for you.

[contact-form-7 id=”895″ title=”WordPress demo request”]

Who needs to be mobile-friendly?

Even if you aren’t selling online or taking online reservations, a “responsive” mobile-friendly website is important to the success of your business. When your only reason for having a website is so that customers can find you on the Internet, it is important that your website be mobile-friendly because “61% of people said that they’d quickly move onto another site if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site. The bottom line: Without a mobile-friendly site you’ll be driving users to your competition. In fact, 67% of users are more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site, so if that site’s not yours, you’ll be missing out in a big way.”

Read more: Smartphone research leads to in-store purchases.

Source: Google | Think Insights.

How does Google advertising work?

Google advertising works by running an auction every time someone does a search on Google that includes a keyword that for which someone has established a Google Adwords campaign. In this video, Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, explains how the ad auction works.

Adwords for small business – Setup Tips:

Why Adwords?
First, ads appear on search results, meaning people are already searching for your products and services. Second, AdWords gives you complete control over your budget — there’s no minimum spend, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and you decide how much you want to spend each month. AdWords also offers a multitude of tools to help you keep track of and improve campaigns.

AdWords doesn’t require any long-term commitments, so you can run ads as needed, such as when business is slow or when you have a special event or promotion. You can also pause and resume campaigns as necessary

1. Think like your customer.

Apply same principles as for SEO by choosing keywords; what search words would customers type when looking for your products and services? Build a list, from general to specific. Use Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner, which lets you add negative keywords, which prevents irrelevant keywords from being associated with your ad when customers do a search.

2. Keep it Local and Seasonal.

Add location information to your keyword list to attract people searching products and services in your area only, saving money by ensuring that your ad doesn’t display to searchers outside your business area.

Keywords can also be expanded to include the season. Set your ads to target specific geographic locations. AdWords offers several tools that make this possible, such as radius targeting, places of interest targeting and bulk location targeting. Radius targeting allows your ad to be visible to those located within a specific geographic area, such as 30 miles around Asheville; this feature also reveals how much reach a specific distance your ad will have. You can also target places of interest, such as airports, universities and specific commercial areas. To target multiple geographic areas, the bulk targeting tool lets you set up to 1,000 locations at a time. All of these tools are available in the Campaign tab of your AdWords account, under the Settings menu.

3. Optimize your website.

Create relevant landing pages. For instance, if you are advertising a new product, make sure that customers who click on the ad are taken directly to the product page, not to the Home page. “Don’t make me think!” Deliver a better customer experience by thinking like a customer and organizing the content of your website intuitively, such as by keywords or product category.

Maximize ROI (and eliminate wasted spend) via GA. Link your Google AdWords account to your Google Analytics account and gather customer data, get detailed insights about customer behavior and generate traffic reports to help improve both your AdWords campaign and your website.

How much does a website cost?

It all depends! We will provide a general overview of what needs to be considered in the pricing of a website.

If you cannot spend more than $750, we can provide the following for you:

  • a domain name registered for one year;
  • a cPanel web hosting account for one year;
  • installation of WordPress – web publishing platform;
  • design of custom WordPress theme;
  • build and publish a basic website, including:
    • 3-5 pages of content; plus routine updates for one year;
    • contact form;
    • up to ten images (and/or embeded video);
    • SEO consultation;
    • install Google analytics and Webmaster tools, submit sitemap to Google;

How can I rank higher in search results?

Everybody knows that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for your website, whether your users are consumers or businesses, but how to optimize your website site seems to be the question with many confusing answers. In this post, we outline what we have learned from SEO experts such as Joost de Valk and Aaron Wall. Since we use WordPress almost exclusively, one of the first plugins we add to any site is WordPress SEO, authored by de Valk, aka Yoast, who posted also The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites.

As Yoast and others have made clear, the title of your page is one of the single most important factors in determining how the page ranks in search results displayed by Google and other search engines. You have 70 characters to work with, whcih should include some branding…

  • “…write a clear compelling offer that contains your keywords and describes your services.”
  • “Good titles evoke an emotional response, ask a question, or promise something (that the landing page fulfills).”
  • “You also should not use the same keyword at or near the start of every page title.”
  • read more: SEO Book

Do PDFs work on the web?

Yes you can use PDFs on your website, but you will violate one of the longest-lasting web design guidelines if you do. And you will very likely annoy your users. PDFs are created for the medium of print, not for screen presentation on the Internet.

Of course, you don’t take our word for it; read what Jakob Nielsen wrote more than ten years ago:

Users get lost inside PDF files, which are typically big, linear text blobs that are optimized for print and unpleasant to read and navigate online. PDF is good for printing, but that’s it. Don’t use it for online presentation. PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption

Review ReadWebco on Google +

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Google + is the social network that seems to be more suitable for businesses and adults than others that have been around longer. It may require a more concerted effort to get up and running on Google +, but that is an indication of the level of control it affords you, as opposed to other Social networks. Just as I was about to describe how establishing your “authority” by linking your Google + profile with a Google-integrated website/blog could enhance your ranking in Google searches – by displaying your profile image, that feature has been discontinued. Your byline continues to be displayed, though.

Even so, we’re going to continue using it; the next feature we’re going to implement is Google+ Local, where people with Google + accounts can “Discover and choose great local places.” In order to rate and/or review a Google local place or business, which takes only a few minutes, follow these steps:

How to write a review on Google Local

  • Visit plus.google.com/local and search for the location.
  • Click on the name of the business to go to its page.
  • Click the Write a review button (pencil icon) next to the cover photo.
  • Rate different aspects of the place using the 1 to 5 star scale, and write any information that you think will be helpful in the text box.

When you’re done, click Publish. Any reviews that you write will be public and attributed to your Google+ name.
You can share any review that you’ve written with your circles.

  • Visit the page of the business that you have reviewed.
  • Click the share button at the bottom of the review.

A share box will appear that allows you to add comments and choose circles or people to share with. Click +Add more people then select a circle or type the name of individual people you’d like to share your post with. If you’d like to remove a circle or person, click the X next to their name. When you’re ready to post, click Share.

Source: Writing and sharing reviews.

How to post to your website by email

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If you would like to see how you can create a post by email, with or without images, just send your name and email address and we’ll send you the simple instructions. This is a full-featured utility, including the option to automatically update your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts!

Features and how-to details

To read about the features of this utility, please see this WordPress page.

Smartphone research leads to in-store purchase

Nov. 20, 2014 Article by

Consumers spend 15+ hours per week researching on their smartphone and on average visit mobile websites six times.
Google/Nielsen Mobile Path to Purchase study

Consumers research on mobileIf you surveyed the people who come into your store, restaurant, or office, you probably would be surprised to find out how many of them used a Smartphone to research your products or services before coming in. In order to learn more about what role mobile has in the shopping process, Google partnered with Nielsen and the published their findings in November 2013.

Consumers research on Mobile before buying locally

The Mobile Path to Purchase report is based on a 14 day survey 950 participants who are Smartphone users, over eighteen years old, who had made at least one purchase in the previous 30 days in these categories: Restaurants, Food & Cooking, Finance, Travel, Home & Garden, Apparel & Beauty, Automotive, Electronics, Health & Nutrition. Using surveys and metered data, the study uncovered five key findings:

  1. consumers are spending time researching on their smartphones (15+ hours a week),
  2. their research starts with a search engine (vs. a mobile site or app),
  3. proximity is important (69% expect businesses to be within five miles of their location),
  4. immediacy is key (more than half want to purchase within the hour), and
  5. mobile influences their purchase decisions (93% go on to buy).

You can read the report here: Google/Nielsen Mobile Path to Purchase study