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Controlling Your Online Presence: Why Your Business Needs a Website

Before I begin, let me answer the question I know some of you already have. No, having a Facebook page for your business is not the same thing as having a website. This is the mistake some of our members make when deciding on a digital marketing strategy. They assume a Facebook page will work just the same as a website and, even better, Facebook is free! I’m here to tell you, it’s not the same. While some might argue that they can’t afford to pay for a website, my response to that is you can’t afford to NOT have a business website in 2018. And yes, you may recognize me from previous blog posts highlighting the importance of social media, especially Facebook. So you know that I’m by no means against Facebook business pages. However, I think it should be one of many instruments in your digital toolbox. I worked with our web design team and reviewed customer feedback on Facebook from some of our stores’ pages to develop a case study comparing websites versus Facebook business pages. I…

Finding Success on Facebook for Your Small Business with a Team of One (Recap)

All AWG retailers are independently owned and many are smaller, one-store operations. They often don’t have the resources to manage large-scale social media strategies with expensive agencies so they come to us for help. Or they hire a marketing professional to work for them in-house. Either way, many of our stores work on small budget with small teams, sometimes even a team of one. I recently attended a Social Media Club of Kansas City professional development breakfast with guest speaker Travis Pflanz, owner of WebWorks of KC. His presentation, titled “Finding Success on Facebook with a Team of One,” highlighted strategies and tools small businesses can use to maximize their Facebook marketing with small teams and small budgets. Travis drove home one point throughout the presentation. All businesses should focus on their website and any other non-social digital properties they own before even considering Facebook or social media in general. He reminded the audience that your business doesn’t own Facebook, but you do own your website. Make sure you have a strong content strategy on your website first. You can…

Before you even think about blogging.

What is Your Website Missing?

Travis Pflanz, co-organizer of WordPress KC meetup group and part of the WordCamp Kansas City organizing team, presented at WordCamp 2018 in a session titled, “Before You Blog: Everything Your WordPress Business Website is Missing”. Because the target audience for WordCamp is users of WordPress, a common platform for blogging, Travis uses the term, “blog”, but these tips apply to any website. It is important to keep the content on a website fresh and up to date. This will keep people coming back to visit your site. Update often, write new text, post new articles. Use calls to action. I thought about what calls of action we could use on grocery store websites. How about a link to listen to a related podcast or video? If appropriate, provide a link to “get more information” or “buy now”. Put the store’s location and phone number in the footer in addition to the Contact page. This way it is visible on every page of the website. State the purpose of your business. As much as people don’t like to read, an in-depth…

No sliders using graphic symbol

Reconsidering Sliders

I’m reading this article, “Keeping Your Credibility While Changing Your Mind” article because I have changed my mind about sliders. I feel a little bad since I do believe a small group of people may consider my opinion when it comes to web design, which I am grateful for. Even though I am not a politician, I hope you might consider these five points on why I’m reconsidering the value of sliders on a website home page, especially if you are thinking about switching platforms, or starting a new site. “My thinking has evolved.” My last blog post signing the praises of sliders dates back to the fall season of 2015, three years ago. I don’t need to remind you how fast tech changes on the web. Back then; we finally had these new responsive templates to work with after talking about how important responsive layouts are going to be until we were blue in the face. These new templates had one ginormous image taking up 70% of the layout. In order to not scare retailers into deciding on one…

Hallmark Logo

How Words Get You Found (IABC Summit Breakout Session Recap)

In my first recap of the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC, I covered the keynote address about demystifying content marketing. So let’s look at this recap of a presentation that demystifies search engine optimization, or SEO. And I’ll be honest, I still find the concept mystifying in a lot of ways, but this breakout session helped me get a better idea of what it means and how to use it. In her presentation, “How Words Get You Found,” Kelly Stanze, search strategist (and self-proclaimed SEO nerd) for Hallmark shared the basics of SEO and how both the content side and the technical side need to work together to provide the best SEO bang for your buck. Kelly describes search engine optimization as the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website. She also made sure to point out that SEO has become more than “just marketing.” It’s about content strategy and technical skills for website development/maintenance. The elements of content strategy involve not only what is on the pages of your website,…

Content Marketing Demystified

Content Marketing Demystified (IABC Summit Keynote Address Recap)

If you work with me or any other AWG digital specialist on your digital marketing, you’ve probably heard us discuss content marketing. But what exactly is content marketing? It’s not just about the content we post on your social media profiles, your website or your blog. It’s the strategy behind the content that’s being posted. I recently attended the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC. The keynote speaker was Quinn Tempest, a digital marketing strategist and graphic designer from Phoenix. Her presentation was titled “Content Marketing Demystified” and she covered the myths of content marketing and the lessons she’s learned about content marketing throughout her career working with various companies and individuals. Quinn describes content marketing as “the art of providing relevant, useful content to your prospects without selling or interrupting them.” She asserts that instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your audience more informed before they buy. The goal is to deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information your customers/prospects so that they will ultimately reward you with their business…

compass

Website navigation – did anyone bring a compass?

Test!!!! Being lost on a website is almost as frustrating as being lost in a car. I used to blame the traffic sign companies until Google Maps came around. Now I find myself on the same side with the sign companies as a web designer, trying to show others how to get around in a website. Our grocery store navbars are pretty simple if you don’t have a custom website, and this blog post is not suggesting they will change anytime soon. However, I work on the awginc.com website, and that navigation could use some help when/if it gets redesigned. This article I found, “11 WAYS TO DESIGN THE PERFECT SITE NAVIGATION” by Saijo George on webdesignerdepot.com, has several website navigation examples I like. These examples below are mostly the same as this article, I just replaced the authors descriptions and added my opinions with a grocery perspective. SISTRIX Sistrix, an SEO company based in Germany, uses a nice clean design for their website. They use only 4 drop down menus despite featuring tons of content. When viewing each dropdown…

What am I paying for?

Why Do Websites Cost So Much?

We try our best to minimize the cost of our website services to fit a small independent grocer’s budget, offering very competitive prices, but there are some things we can’t see cutting corners on. The truth is a good website is an expensive investment. The initial price tag covers only the build of the site. After the site is built, it is necessary to maintain the website with ongoing costs. I’m going to briefly explain the components we include in the websites we build and maintain. Domain Name We help select a domain name that is a good fit for your store and something that is easy for customers to type in on the Internet. This includes checking to see if the domain name is available. If it is not available, we check on additional choices until we find one you are happy with. We then register the domain name and renew it each year. Design and Development Building a website requires the expertise of a web designer, web developer and a copywriter. In many cases one person is trained…

Google search

AMA Recap: The Future of Search

American Marketing Association (AMA) held a workshop titled, “The Future of Search”. Scott Schaper from Unravel talked about the trends of Internet browsing over the years and Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Considering Google dominates searches on the Internet with 90% of the market, it is important to try to stay on top of what they are up to. One of the big things they are up to right now is making non-secure connections more apparent to website users. I talked about this a few months ago in SSL Certificate = Secure Connection. Browsers have begun showing discreet warnings. I’ve noticed some people question and show concern over these warnings, while others are either not bothered by them or they don’t even notice them. Google plans to make those warnings more prominent to users in their Chrome browser. I first heard this was going to happen in October of this year but I haven’t seen it yet. Schaper is saying it will happen in January of 2018. Security was only one of the topics covered in the workshop regarding a user’s experience.…

electronic devices
InCara

Writing for Web and Mobile

With the tools of social media and easy-to-use blogging platforms, everyone can be a publisher now. However, capturing your audience’s attention and ensuring they comprehend your content is much harder on the web and especially mobile screens. This is due to several reasons: Mobile screen reading is slower: it takes more time to focus your eye on a 3.5 x 6.5-inch screen. However, people reading on a mobile screen don’t have as much time. They are typically reading to fill short periods of downtime, like when they are waiting in line or multitasking. Or they are searching for information and want an answer quickly. For this reason, mobile readers are usually distracted easily and don’t pay as much attention. This causes lower comprehension (around 48% lower according to a University of Alberta study). Comprehending content is more difficult on a mobile screen, because readers have to scroll more and remember what they are scrolling past. It’s more difficult for readers to look back at what they just read for reference than in a newspaper, magazine, book or even a laptop.…

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