online marketing

Start Fresh: Constant Reinvention for Best Online Marketing

The way people react to and digest information they find online is now a factor in how a website is received by an audience and ranks according to their preferences. Websites that remain constantly relevant to its target audience rank well, and those that don’t are pushed down in search result pages. Older websites are then challenged to reinvent themselves and discover new ways they can adapt to trends to come back on top. A great way to adapt to new online marketing trends is by relaunching your old website with new features that appeal to your target audience.

Here, we’ll learn about a few useful tips to keep in mind when preparing for a website relaunch, as well as what we can continuously do to make a new and improved website a success in the market.

Prepare for your website relaunch with a top online marketing firm. Contact 360 Business Local at (416) 619-7935 today!

Pre-launch Audit

While some website managers opt to wait for real-time information about how well their relaunched websites are performing, it helps to conduct an audit on your website in its testing stage. This aims to catch and correct errors on the new website before it goes live.

A pre-launch audit allows owners to compare the changes made between their old and new site and ensure that the point for the relaunch is satisfied. This also helps owners see the difference in their past and current online marketing efforts, tracking their growth and recognizing the potential a relaunched website has in attracting visitors and converting these visits to profit.

A typical pre-launch audit looks at five different factors: current analytics, technical issues, site content, internal links and benchmarking against high-traffic keywords.

  • Integrating Analytics

Since a website relaunch is not the same as building a completely new website from scratch, it’s important to make sure that your site’s analytics continue to show data from the old site and its relaunched version. To make the best decisions based on your site’s performance and track the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts, you need to be looking at data that integrates both versions of your website. This allows you to determine whether your relaunch efforts succeed in bringing new traffic to your business. Failing to integrate data from your old site will result in a skewed measurement of performance and may cause you to make misinformed decisions regarding your online marketing efforts and targets.

  • Catching Technical Issues

As with anything that’s new and may be untested by a large audience, a relaunched website can also be susceptible to technical issues.

Business owners or their web design firms should catch potential errors before the new site goes live. Watch for factors such as the time it takes a relaunched page to load successfully, the functionality of newly integrated commands and the appearance of its new layout and ability to display newly added elements such as design and images.

Needless to say, a relaunched website that proves to be far from fully functional defeats its own purpose and negatively impacts a business’ online marketing efforts. If your relaunched website experiences technical issues, it’s more likely to drive site visitors away, instead of being able to use your new site as an effective marketing tool for conversion.

Whether as the owner you opt to redesign the website yourself, or you choose to work with a web design firm, it’s important to turn your test site inside out and repeatedly test for any of these technical components to make sure your online marketing efforts truly succeed with a relaunched website.

  • Checking the Market

The goal of re-launching a website is to improve online marketing efforts and generate more leads and sales. To successfully determine an online marketing strategy, it helps to check how your market moves and what appeals to your audience.

You can check for trends by looking at high-volume keywords and top sites that are able to effectively direct search engine users to their business. You can also check how your old site ranks for these high-traffic keywords and track your improvement with a relaunched website in the long run.

  • Reviewing Your Content

Perhaps the single most important reason that drives business owners to relaunch their website- content – which makes every site what it is. Content determines how websites are found and how a business’ online presence ultimately leads to the success of its online marketing efforts.

Business owners with poorly updated websites are driven to relaunch their websites, repackage their content and introduce their business to potential clients through a fresh version of their site.

When updating your site’s content, it’s important to review what was already published before and create continuity by organizing upcoming content according to what your business’ market is abuzz with. Updated, relevant and trending content guarantees the success of your online marketing efforts, as it helps potential clients find you better and assures them of your standing in the market.

Successfully keeping content fresh requires reviewing your SEO efforts and making sure that your site has content for what it’s supposed to be found by search engines for. This means updating your list of keywords and making sure that your site’s articles, images, descriptions and titles reflect the keywords you want to be found and bring in business for.

  • Building Links

As with encountering technical issues on your site’s elements, internal links are also susceptible to issues in relaunched websites. When sites are redesigned and their code is updated, some links may be broken in the process, failing to redirect from one page to another. A website is as strong as its internal links, much like building blocks.

Each section of your website should be connected to form a whole to make sure that all parts of it are found on search engines, especially that searches these days are becoming more specific to better match users with exactly what they need. It’s important to test your redesigned site’s links, making sure that its pages are connected to effectively market your business online as a whole. An example is checking for links between blog articles and product or service pages, and these product pages to contact forms for closing deals. The more links your site has, the more likely potential clients find everything you offer and encourage them to do business with you.

Maintaining Your Efforts

The real test of your online marketing strategy and efforts begins when your website is relaunched. From this point forward, you will need to continuously audit your site, update content and track your rank and performance against high-traffic keywords and see how much your business is improving. You will also want to track how well your relaunched site converts leads generated online to actual sales you make. Maintaining a functional, high-traffic website is a constant challenge and it will always take innovation to stay on top of the game.

Take your business to the top with online marketing. Relaunch your website with 360 Business Local! Call us at (416) 619-7935 today!

Responsive Web Design Detailed on Blackboard

4 Reasons Responsive Web Page Design Matters for Your Business

In this post, the 360 team shares 4 reasons why your company would go better business with responsive web page design.

  • Accommodating all of your customer’s different devices. The modern consumer is equipped with many different devices, and they could use any one of them to bring up your company’s website. The days of desktop and laptop-exclusive browsing are over: smartphones, tablets, and even console gaming systems are increasingly being used to search product and service information online. If you want to maximize conversions, you need to make the user’s experience easy and enjoyable on any device. This is especially true when you consider that some users will pull up your website on their laptop and then want to revisit it on their smartphone later on. If a user returns to your site on a different device and is unable to access the same product or service information because of a disrupted format, you could lose a sale. Investing in responsive web page design ensures that the customer’s experience stays consistent across all devices, and fits perfectly to any screen size or shape.
  • One page to rule them all! It’s tricky enough to keep a single website updated with relevant product, promotion, and contact information. Unfortunately, many business owners end up managing two duplicate-but-different sites for mobile and desktop users, unaware that they could consolidate the two with responsive web page design.  This approach is flawed for a number of reasons. First of all, it effectively doubles your workload, forcing you to do twice the work any time you want to add or change a feature of your website. Having two sites also effectively halves the site performance and traffic metrics that Google factors into site ranking. Furthermore, many “mobile only” sites offer only a fraction of the features that are available on the normal “desktop version.”
  • Google rewards responsive web page design. Google has recommended responsive web page design for years but now algorithms are being implemented that specifically reward these sites. As of April 21st, 2015, responsive web page design has officially become a Google ranking signal. This means that along with improving the user experience, optimizing your site for any device will also boost your Google visibility!
  • Setting up for scalability. Responsive web page design sets your business website up for success in the future. As technology continues to evolve and become a cornerstone of our culture, new devices will be released. Rather than having to build new websites to suit every new piece of hardware that comes out, why not just invest in responsive web design and set yourself up for simple scalability?

Want to learn more about responsive web page design? Give us a call at (416)-619-7935 and receive a free consultation with our team.

Progress bar, web preloader

5 Ways to Improve Your Site Load Speed

How long does your website take to load? We live in an era where attention spans are going extinct, and if your site load time is a little slow, you’re probably costing yourself a lot of business. Today, users looking to purchase products or book services online do so with 10+ browser tabs open at once. If your site is sluggish, your tab gets closed; there are simply too many options out there for somebody to justify wasting their time navigating a laggy website.

According to Amazon, every 100ms of load delay costs 1% of sales. That’s a huge blow to any business’s bottom line, and it’s why our SEO company’s site performance test and optimization service is so popular.

With this in mind, our SEO company’s web design team put together a list of ways to increase your site’s page load speed.

 

  • Compress your images. Nothing bogs down a web page load time quite like overly rich images. High-resolution images may seem worthwhile if you’re really trying to wow your audience, but they’re of no use if your audience bounces off the page before it even has a chance to load! Compress all of your images. There are a number of free tools for image compression, many of which do not reduce image quality. Our SEO company can point you in the right direction.
  • Minify your CSS and JavaScript. “Minifying” reduces file size by deleting excess characters, comments, and white space from your CSS and JavaScript files. Developers can leave unnecessary spaces as they work through code, and these can increase the size of your main CSS file. Removing these excesses will save a lot of load time. If you’re using a WordPress template, consider the Autoptimize plugin.
  • Leverage your browser caching. To do this, you want a CDN, or “content delivery network,” to manage most of your caching. This gives your website an easy load time anywhere in the world, whereas keeping statical files on your website forces users in India to wait longer for your Canadian or US servers to load. A CDN puts your site’s cache nearer to users around the world, reducing load time substantially.
  • Obliterate render-blocking resources. According to our SEO company’s tech team, thsi is one of the most difficult aspects of site speed optimization. It requires a lot of technical knowledge. If you’re using Autoptimize, you should have your bases covered; otherwise, give our team a call at (416)-619-7935.
  • Optimize the mobile version of your site. You can see how your site looks on mobile platforms easily using a Google Chrome browser. Simply select the menu button where you’d open a new tab on the top right of the screen, then select “More Tools > Developer Tools.” On the left side of the screen, you’ll be able to see how your site performs on mobile devices. If you see any problems, contact our web design team at (416)-619-7935.

We hope these 5 site speed optimization tips will be of use to you! Check back here for more next month, or give our team a call at (416)-619-7935 for help putting this advice to work.

6 Virtual Security Tips from Our Internet Marketing Experts

There has been a notable uptick in hacked content in search results that has given even the most internet-savvy of Millennials pause. Take some advice from our internet marketing company to protect yourself from any unwarranted security breaches.

2016 has brought with it a rising wave of hacks, viruses, and malware, all of which threaten the online reputation of your business, along with the security of your client’s information. Recent reports have surfaced about hacked and spam content appearing even in Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages). This is unthinkable to those who thought of the Google monster as an impregnable entity. It’s a valuable reminder to stay vigilant in the virtual world, and a perfect lead in to the following six tips from our internet marketing agency.

6 Virtual Security Tips to Keep Your Business Safe

Our internet marketing company is very in tune with the workings of the internet security world; one of our partners has been involved with various licensed, ethical hacking operations ordered by enterprise-level companies, and many of our clients come from the web design and app security industries. We collaborated on some of the most cost-efficient strategies business owners can use to elevate their virtual security:

  • Stay vigilant! One of the most fundamental security strategies in any field is vigilance. Whether you’re protecting your residential property, trying to deter vandalism on a public building, or guarding against malware, you should keep your eyes out for trouble. Watch your website every day and assess its health, SEO, and usability status. Try to run a daily security scan as well. This may require the help of a dedicated asset in-house, or the hiring of a separate security agency. We recommend scheduling a site performance test when possible.

  • Make use of Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Both of these platforms offer some excellent diagnostics that can help you stay apprised of the security status and overall “health” of your website, as well as expediting any site recovery issues. Consider these two more tools to add to your arsenal in the fight against malware.

  • Stay on top of software updates. This tip is shared so often that it’s easy to overlook. Update minders always seem to pop up at the worst of times, but we urge you not to procrastinate when they do! Hackers consider any sites with outdated software to be juicy targets. Make sure your platform, plugins, add-ons, and the like are all updated frequently.
  • Beef up your passwords. The days of “password” passwords are long gone. If your password isn’t strong, long, and unique, you’re in trouble. Be sure to mix in letters, numbers, and symbols to throw malicious internet interlopers off your trail.
  • Be discerning about your hosting provider. When it comes to internet hosting, you get what you pay for. Choose a well-known provider who offers quality security, and won’t shun you when you need support.
  • Back it up. Hackers are a highly competitive bunch. If they really want to take your site down, there’s often little you can do outside of hiring a special security team. And why would you bother paying these premiums when you can just backup your data instead? Back it up and store it elsewhere so you can revert back to previous versions in the case of a catastrophic security breach.

Do you have any more questions about how to market your business without compromising its online security? Call (416)-619-7935 – let’s talk!

Businessman alarmed at his laptop

These are 4 Reasons Users Hate Your Site

We live in a world of short attention spans and multiple tab-browsing. The average use gives a webpage about 3 seconds of attention – if you don’t deliver the goods by then, they’re bouncing elsewhere. There’s just too much to see online to bother wasting time on subpar sites or content.

As a business owner, this is a startling reality. If your website isn’t engaging, you’ll quickly fall behind in the internet arms race. Low traffic and high bounce rates means less business for you.

Website struggles are one of the most common problems we help people with. If we’ve held your attention this long, then read on a little further – 360 shares 4 reasons why visitors hate your website, and how to fix them!

  • Mobile design. The tipping point has been reached – more users are show searching for products and services on their mobile device than their desktop. As a result, poor mobile design is a big problem that can potentially turn away over 50% of your audience. A poor mobile design is also a very strong predictor of high bounce rates.

    Consider the needs of your audience, and decide between adaptive and responsive mobile design. Next, take an objective, first-person look at your font size and page navigation through your mobile device. Also keep the hyperlinking style in mind – does it open a new tab, or clutter my phone up with another Chrome window?

    360 can help your business stay afloat in a mobile world – learn all about our responsive site design service.

  • Click-bait. As an online marketer at 360, I find this personally offensive. There is certainly a degree of “artistic liberty” that you can take with your titles, but that doesn’t mean you should deceive your audience. Titles are meant to quickly inform users about the contents of a page or article, not lure them onto your site to resolve a cheap cliffhanger.

    Click bait translates to high bounce rates and low social media shares, and I’m glad! They’re the worst.

    Give your users high-quality, keyword-friendly articles. It’s the only way to engage your audience in a meaningful way. Since you provided something valuable, there’s also a much higher chance of social media sharing.

  • Confusing content. Traffic is your end-game goal, but providing clear and relevant content should be your priority. Content that is poorly structured, loaded with spelling mistakes, or overly verbose will confuse and annoy readers. Much like a good title, a good piece of content delivers valuable information in a clear and concise way.

    Some companies stretch out articles and run sentences in circles, trying to trap users on-site with lengthy reading times. It’s a bad idea: while the average time-on-site metric will improve, leads will not. 

  • Slow load times. As we mentioned earlier, you are dealing with a 3-second window to engage your users before they start looking elsewhere. Many users will end up leaving your site before it even loads! 40% of people will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load . Slow load times translate to low conversions and Google penalties. 

Responsive web design on mobile devices laptop and tablet pc

Factors That Could Make Or Break A Mobile Website in Google Rankings

Everyone talks about ranking for mobile search on Google, but we sometimes forget to check the basics. Is your SEO campaign working for you or against you?

Certain Google algorithm updates (ahem, Mobilegeddon) have made mobile friendly websites a crucial component to any successful SEO program. The factor that mobile friendliness play in ranking is more than substantial; it is now required to even be considered on the first page of most Google search results pages.

Mobile Friendliness

You can’t take the easy way out, either. Too often will web developers use a one-size-fits-all solution for optimizing a website for mobile and desktop usage. Even worse, they then continue to only track their desktop search engine rankings. In a world so obviously powered by the mobile market, this is a risky plan of action. More than half of all Google searches are done on mobile devices, so why track less than 50% off your rankings?

How Is Your Website’s Mobile Friendliness Calculated?

One would assume that ranking a site based on its mobile friendliness would be impossible, since it is “subjective”. However, technical issues and solutions are carefully calculated to let Google know whether or not your site is optimized for mobile usage.

  • Site Loading Speed

The highest ranking mobile websites on Google all have great loading times, which infer  to Google a sense of mobile friendliness. If you want to see where your site can improve in terms of speed, test your site here.

  • Flash And It’s Effect On Mobile

Flash is, typically, not very mobile friendly, and Google knows this. Instead, you can make use of HTML5 in place of Flash, as it typically displays content on mobile quite well.

User Friendliness On Mobile Sites

How is user friendliness ranked on mobile websites? Mobile screens are much smaller than desktop screens, of course, so you will need to factor details such as font sizes in to your mobile design. There are other elements that also play crucial roles, which we will expand on here.

  • Unordered Lists

If you look at the top ranking mobile websites on Google, you will see they typically make use of unordered lists. Moreover, they are also made shorter and readable. Bullets are fine, as long your content is compact, yet still dense with information.

  • Internal Links

Internal links play a crucial role in any SEO program, but you will notice a stiff decline in internal links on mobile websites. Internal links should still be utilized on mobile sites, but make them meaningful and clickable. A page riddled with too many internal links might decline the user friendliness of your mobile website.

  • Pictures and Images

A trend that is apparent on the top ranking mobile websites is a decline in images. On average, mobile websites should have four or less images per page. You website needs to load quickly, and a barrage of images will increase your loading time.

Final Notes

While the previously mentioned factors all play roles in your mobile and user friendliness rank, there is always more that can be done. Word counts on your mobile site should be lower than your desktop site. In the simplest of terms, reducing content while keeping your website information rich is the key to a successful mobile website. As always, your off site social media platforms will also help cement a higher search engine ranking.

There is no -one-size-fit-all strategy to creating a truly user and mobile friendly website. Instead, it is best to tackle each sub-division of mobile friendliness one at a time to really create a website that Google will rank highly.

Responsive Web Design on Blackboard

Why is Responsive Design Crucial to Your Website?

Mobile browsing is taking the internet by storm, and that means you need to ensure that your website is optimized for more than just desktop viewing. Having a responsive web page design is a great option for those who wish to create one website that will respond positively to any environment.

What is responsive design?

A page that is designed to be responsive will have all the same content on any device, but will change aesthetically based on what type of platform it is being viewed on. For example, the size will adjust to fit your mobile screen without having to scroll left to right.

Why do I want a responsive web design?

Simply put: mobile usage is on the rise. We need to abandon the old school mentality that websites are just for desktop use. Don’t believe it? Google has said themselves that mobile searches now make up the majority; over half of all Google searches are done on mobile devices. You know the importance of Google in your business, so catering to the trends of users of Google is crucial to your business.

This extends to more than just usability; Google now actually flavors and bumps up search results based on their “mobile-friendliness”. Having a responsive web page will not only give your site visitors a pleasant searching experience, but it can also help your ranking in Google searches.

Convert to responsive design, get more conversions.

Your website will have an end goal for its visitors. For example, if you are selling products, your goal is to have a visitor complete a transaction. If your goal is to have users sign up for a newsletter, then having a visitor fill out the signup sheet for the newsletter would be a conversion.

No matter what your goal is, having a site that is easy to navigate will always be beneficial to your goal. Ensuring that your mobile site is designed so that actions and navigation are simple to understand means more conversions for you and your business.

Responsive web design on mobile tablet pc device

Mobile Web Design Strategy: 3 Key Points to Consider

Mobile web design is at an awkward impasse for many small business owners. The truth is, your website needs to be mobile friendly, and for that to happen, you need to incorporate mobile web design. Failing to do so will negatively impact not only your website but, by proxy, your business. This can be intimidating for some; not only do you have to employ mobile strategies into every project, but you also have to think and come up with strategies that are specifically right for you. Mobile web design is not a cookie cutter project, so tailoring unique and creative ideas for mobile design can become frustrating. We are here to make the job easier; we will highlight some crucial elements to consider when constructing a successful mobile webpage.

What are your objectives?

Once you have defined what your company’s objectives are with your website, you can now aim to design your website to meet these goals. This is easier to do on desktop websites, as there is more room for more objectives in your design. However, with mobile design, you are going to need to really pinpoint what you want to gain. Your objectives will be low in numbers but they will be more effective.

Utilize Responsive Web Design

Mobile web pages are not longer an end all solution to mobile browsing. Every few months, a new mobile phone hits the market and browsing experience is different on that specific device. You need a website that will adapt to its’ surroundings, and responsive web design will do that and more. Your responsive website will be optimal for a variety of platforms, and would ideally eradicate the need for multiple web pages with similar or the same content.

Reduce and Simplify

The most basic rule of thumb when converting a desktop page to mobile is to reduce your content and simplify the design. Mobile use is smaller, more compact, and utilizes visuals. Having a wordy website will do you no good on mobile platforms, so make sure you have a clean and visually appealing mobile website that still produces valuable information and content for your visitors.

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Responsive Website Design 101

Responsive web pages are surging in popularity, and many companies are anxious to have their website responsive and captivating to viewers. Earlier in 2015 Google released an online tool to test if your site is mobile friendly or not, those sites that are fully responsive will pass the test and will be kept on smartphone search results that count to nearly half of all searches.

Test your own site now https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.

What is a responsive web design? This design is an interesting approach to web design that provides an above and beyond viewing experience. Not only is the web page easy to read, but it is responsive to actions such as scrolling or adjusting window size. This entices the visitor to continue reading and exploring the website. This approach translates well to other forms of internet browsing, such as mobile. Responsive web pages adjust and optimize its’ content for the viewer, ensuring they have an easy to read and aesthetically pleasing web page. Here, we will break down some vital responsive web page terminology.

  • Fluid Grids

What is a fluid grid? The concept of a fluid grid is crucial to understand when trying to master the idea of responsive web pages. Liquid layout describes the aforementioned webpage design that resizes text along with the window. Fluid grids include this, but goes beyond just text.  Fluid grids will adjust all the elements to be proportional to the adjusted screen size. There is one downside to fluid grids; if the width becomes too narrow and thin, the design can be distorted to the point of illegibility. This might make way for complications on mobile searches that will not exist on desktop viewing.

  • Media Queries

CSS3 media queries is the next portion of responsive website design. CSS3 media queries will allow your website to gather necessary information about the visitor on the site, and it will use this information to make an optimal viewing experience for that specific visitor in CSS. For example, if you gather that the user is on a mobile device, your website can be optimized for their mobile screen, ensuring that all content is easy to read and find.

There is a plethora of information and tutorials available in online resources that are easily accessible. Learn about the benefits of responsive website design and implement it to your company websites, and reap all the added benefits!

Web design development illustration

Mobile Web Design vs. Desktop Web Design

 

There is no denying the explosive popularity of mobile web searching in the recent years. The rising popularity of mobile searching leaves small business owners with the unquenchable need to ensure that their websites are optimized for mobile viewing. This is especially true after the appearance of “mobilegeddon”- a Google algorithm update that favors mobile friendly websites on mobile searches. Here are some interesting thing to consider when thinking of updating your site to be mobile-friendly.

Know and Cater to your Audience

You know the demographic of your clients and customers better than anyone. How old are they? Where are they from? Most importantly, what platforms do they primarily use? It is vital to target the devices that your primary audience uses, and ensure that your website (or application!) is optimized for that platform.

Understand how mobile usage is performed

There are some misunderstanding that can stem when assessing how mobile users search the web. One rookie mistake is assuming that all mobile users are rushed and need instant gratification. This is true in many cases, however we also have to consider user who use mobile internet as a time-waster or procrastination enabler. These users will be on websites longer and will read more content, and their browsing may prove to be valuable to your and your business.

Desktop vs. Mobile Content

While the overall design and layout of desktop vs. mobile sites should be inherently different, content does not have to be. Unless in very specific situations where different content would be beneficial across platforms, for the most part, content should be reflections of each other. Nothing is more frustrating for a mobile viewer than having to click “go to desktop site” because they cannot find the information available on the mobile site. Of course, it will be near impossible to include every miniscule detail on your mobile version, but make logical decision on what to keep and what to get rid of.