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Less is more graphic using math symbols.

Why Less is best for website page design

When a retail member asks me to put up a new slider, I like to follow up with the question, “Which current slider would you like me to take down?” I know, you’re trying to make things happen, and it seems like I’m going the wrong way. So I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know why. We like to set a limit of 4-5 sliders per website. Changing them often is great, but any more sliders and we just don’t think your customers will have the patience to look at more. I read this article that does a great job of explaining why less is more: Choice Paralysis: 3 Ways the Number of Choices Impacts Conversions It’s called “Choice Paralysis” and as a consumer, I can totally relate.  It’s a situation where a customer can’t make a decision on a purchase because they are faced with so many choices that they end up paralyzed. I’m sure you’ve seen this; a customer who spends more than an hour in your store may be suffering. When a customer is…

Graphic for Wordcamp Kansas City 2017 event.

Website DIY

I attended a conference last weekend called WordCamp KC. I learned about plugins used to help keep track of your site’s SEO, tips to increase your sites speed, and do’s and don’ts for easy to understand navigation. New tools were presented to help organize new sites, tips for giving presentations website related, how to debug for problems that arise, ways to optimize images, I even learned a little bit about plug in development. While looking over my notes I’m asking myself, “How is this info I learned going to help an AWG retail member?” So I want to step back from the details and look at a bigger picture. Maybe not as bad as a doctor, but when people I talk to find out I’m a Web Designer, I get lots of questions. Mostly, “How much does a website cost?” Where is the best place to buy a domain name? Most of these questions are backed by a personal story. Some people are thinking about starting a business, others already own a business and others work for someone who owns a business. Then there are those going to school who plan…

Google My Business logo.

Claiming Your Google Places Listing

How often do you Google a local business in your area? Your customers are doing the same thing with your grocery store on a regular basis, so it’s important for you to be able to control what they see when they Google your store. But how do you do that? How do you manage the information that comes up on the most popular online search engine? The answer is: Google Places. Google Places allows you to list the exact location and address of your store on a map in Google, with all relevant store information to help your customers find you when they are not only looking specifically for your store but also when they are looking for specific services your business provides. According to Google, “simply being listed gives you a boost in rankings for your main website and therefore leads to more traffic.” Google gives you the option to include as much or as little about your business as you want on your Google Places listing. This includes coupons, special offers, videos, images, opening hours and preferred payment…

Package wrapped in brown paper with bundle on tag.

We need more “food bundles”.

I get overwhelmed when grocery shopping. There are so many options and choices I get overloaded with details like flavor choices, quantities, is it healthy? Will it go to waste? The list of decisions is endless. I recently had a stomach bug and stayed home a few days. We didn’t have any of the basics, Seven Up, Saltines, chicken broth to fight this illness. I sent a family member to the store then realized after the trip was made how much I had forgotten to put on the list. It wasn’t detailed enough, because I didn’t feel good when I made the list and they were in a hurry. I would have given my right arm for a grocery store who offered a “Care Package” delivered to my home. I’m talking about an order online “Care Package” that shows a list of popular items and remedies when you’re sick. It would have been nice if the package were a type of “Pick 5 for $19.99” deal where you can choose five items out of 20 for example. However, the customer should…

Sharlyn’s 2016 Web Content Awards

The holidays are over and it’s January. Not much to look forward to until the awards shows… but hey! I’m currently working on converting two websites from nine years ago to our new website platforms. Nine years ago we didn’t have fancy shopping lists that truly integrated with weekly ads, recipes, locations, social media and email marketing that tracks which links go where. We had to create CUSTOM CONTENT that related to each store. Just because you can throw up a website with little to no custom pages doesn’t mean you should. Creative content is what gets Google’s attention. If Google thinks your content is unique enough then more traffic will be sent to your website. Having the same recipe on 150 different websites doesn’t impress Google’s algorithms much. I have found looking at examples of custom content on other sites gets my brain fired up to write something new. So I looked at page view stats and measured how many times each page got viewed. I only measured pages on websites that I currently work on for AWG retailers. I only selected custom pages, so no ad pages,…

To blog or not to blog

So you’re thinking about starting a blog for your store. Good! It’s a great way to informally share your expertise about a variety of relevant topics with your audience.  A blog allows you to reach customers and potential customers with educational, informative, and even fun content. It’s a great central location for you to tell a story, and then share it via your multiple social media channels. Before starting, the first question you need to ask yourself is “Why do you want to start a blog?” Review your overall marketing goals, and your goals for the blog. A blog isn’t a great place to actively sell services or products. Rather, you’re looking to share information with your audience. While you’re not directly selling product, your blog posts will help build trust with your customers as you show your expertise. While you’re answering this question, you can brainstorm what kind of posts you’ll want to write. What do your customers and potential customers want to know? You can brag about an award your team recently won, tell a story about a…

The 5th Annual WordCamp Kansas City 2016

WordCamp KC 2016

While attending WordCamp KC 2016, I picked up a few tips, mainly about security and SEO fundamentals. When creating a password, use at least 12 characters. A simple but long password is more secure than a complex but short password. Use a password manager such as KeePass or 1Password. When sending logins to clients or customers, use onetimesecret.com Use captcha on WordPress login screens. Ubersuggest.org gives you what people are searching for and meta keyword suggestions. Meta tags and alt tags are still important. Cachedpages.com shows you the cache Google has on your website. Use dnsqueries.com to check domain name health, IP address information and reverse DNS lookup. Screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider allows you to crawl websites’ URLs and fetch key onsite elements to analyze from an SEO perspective. Use inspyder.com/products/InSite to check any website for spelling mistakes, broken links and SEO problems. Ahrefs.com tracks your website’s backlinks, keywords, brand mentions and helps you to know what your competitors are doing. Use webpagetest.org to test your website performance and speed.

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

Star Trek gadgets could work today with an open mind

“3D printed food you can eat,” makes me think of the “replicator” in Star Trek. The Replicator seemed like a magical device with the ability to make something out of nothing. I had forgotten the Replicator used technology from the transporter. This means the replicator actually found whatever you ordered and sent it to you. Quickly.   At the end of a long day, I read the article mentioned in a recent Coffee with CART about the 3D edible food printer “Foodini”. Reading the article helped me shed my Star Trek Replicator assumptions and first off, I wasn’t impressed. I left work thinking “Big deal, somebody figured out how to fit a cookie factory into a box the size of a microwave, and it doesn’t even cook! Why would any of our retailers be interested?” It takes me 20-30 minutes to drive home from work, so I tend to relax some during this time. I started to think of factories that produce food. Basically, food goes in, it gets rearranged, and then packaged food comes out. Why do we have factories? To mass-produce. Now lets…

Photo close-up of pencil with a question mark written on paper under pencil.

What should you put in a new or redesigned website?

As a Web Designer, I would say my most difficult task is getting content from our stores. I get it. I don’t like to write either. It’s a challenge finding time to collect your thoughts and put them on paper. I struggle writing these blogs. For some inspiration I went to a meetup in downtown Kansas City. This was a WordPress meetup, which turned out to be a workshop presented by Mike Farag – “Crafting your key message to grow advocates”. What I’m attempting to do in this blog is use some of his core ideas about “Crafting your key message”, but reconfigure them into a tool retailers might use to write content for their websites. Advocates is something that deserves it’s own blog post, so I’m going to skip that for now. This is a short exercise for your next store meeting that will help jump-start this daunting task of creating content. Website content has very tall orders to fill. Try to think of this quote before starting to write. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

We’re in the “Betamax” of online shopping

There was a time, in the early 1980’s, when families had to make some hard decisions on how to best spend their home entertainment dollars. They wanted the freedom to watch movies at home on their own schedule. The question was should we get a “Betamax” or “VHS” player? For a while you could rent a movie in either format. But slowly Betamax cassettes began to fade away. Today, in 2016 we find ourselves in a similar predicament only in the grocery industry. Which online shopping method is going to be the future VHS? Instead of two choices we now have several. Here are a few that were discussed in last weeks Coffee with CART with Sterling and Schuyler Hawkins. Let’s see what other retailers are doing… Instacart: Several retailers in southern California are partnering with Instacart to combat the Aldi invasion. For a grocery customer to use Instacart, they first need to know which stores are partners. They go to the website using any mobile device, find their store, pick their items, schedule the delivery and groceries should show up in a…