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The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide for Small Businesses

A computer displaying online marketing metrics.

A computer displaying online marketing metrics.

This comprehensive list of resources is designed to help small businesses navigate the ever-changing world of online marketing. This online marketing guide will answer your questions about ranking on search engines, increasing conversion rates, and growing your presence on social media. See how much easier your marketing process can be with the help of these articles.

Mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Website Maintenance and Optimization

Image Source: Benjamin Child/Unsplash.com
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Writing Persuasive Web Copy (No Jedi Mind Tricks Required)

Writing Persuasive Web CopyStar Wars. Responsible for inspiring the most popular Halloween costumes, inciting heated debates over who shot first, and turning chubby, lightsaber-wielding kids into overnight YouTube sensations. Among the Ewoks, droids, stormtroopers, and starships, one iconic image sums up the Star Wars empire (pun intended): Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s clashing green and red lightsabers, locked in a timeless struggle between good and evil.

Imagine what would have happened, then, if, instead of throwing himself down Cloud City’s air shaft in a final act of defiant heroics, Luke had accepted Vader’s offer to “rule the galaxy as father and son.” For all his mind tricks, persuasive powers, and paternal bullying, our dear asthmatic Sith Lord made a fatal error: he failed to read his audience, and thus didn’t speak to him effectively.

The same goes for writing persuasive web copy. A beautiful website design and a perfect SEO system may bring a Star Destroyer full of consumers to your webpage, but if your writing doesn’t resonate with your audience, it will fail to convert those visitors into leads. In short, you’ll be left hanging—just like Vader, hand outstretched—failing to make the sale. (Maybe he should have rethought that one—offering a hand right after chopping off Luke’s. Bit of a costly oversight there, Anakin.)

From Jedi mind tricks to dark side scare tactics, Star Wars can teach us a lot about writing persuasive web copy. Grab some popcorn and blue milk, tell your friends you’ll have to pick up power converters at Tosche Station another time, and settle in to learn a few things from the denizens of a galaxy far, far away.

Use positive language

“Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.”

Like the divide between the light and dark sides of the Force, the message here is about positive over negative language. How did Obi-Wan divert the stormtroopers who were searching for R2-D2 and C-3P0? Some Jedi mind tricks, to be sure, but also positive language. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for; you can go about your business. Move along.” Negative language has a tendency to be memorable in a bad way; the last thing you want is for your readers to develop a negative association with your content. You want them to feel empowered to tackle whatever problem they came to your website to solve. Another technique is to ask a question early on—a question you know the consumer will answer with a “yes.” Unless your readers are Toydarians, they’ll develop a habit of saying “yes” to other questions or offers you pose.

Use the active voice

“Do, or do not—there is no try.”

Write in the active voice. The active voice is direct, simple, and easy to understand. The passive voice removes the power of action from the subject and can quickly muddy your meaning with convoluted turns of phrase. The active voice is particularly important when writing headlines or titles, meta descriptions, image captions, and calls to action (CTAs). You want clear, effective language to draw users to your landing page and compel them to take the desired action. As much as we love Yoda, you should probably avoid his legendary speech patterns.

Be authentic and believable

Luke: “I cant believe it. Yoda: “That is why you fail.

Consider your audience. If your content is not culturally relevant to your target group—or worse yet, not believable—your chances of gathering successful conversions are slim to none. Avoid salesy jargon and claims that sound too good to be true. Don’t hesitate to link to factual supporting evidence, research studies, testimonials, or other verifiable sources to demonstrate your credibility. If your users don’t believe you, they aren’t going to buy.

Choose your titles wisely

“Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease!”

Names are important. Put extra effort into names, titles, and headlines. Imagine if the Death Star had been called the Planet Zapper, or if Obi-Wan Kenobi had described Mos Eisley as a “wretched hive of icky people.” Doesn’t quite have the same zing, does it? Your titles and headlines need to draw users to your page and encourage them to keep reading. For tips and tricks, take a look at this guide for writing headlines more engaging than an Imperial tractor beam.

Tell a story

“I’m not much more than an interpreter, and not very good at telling stories.”

Emotional response can be the deciding factor in changing visitors to conversions. A fantastic way to make a connection with your reader and elicit emotion is through storytelling. While only a small part of the brain is triggered by facts and figures, stories can activate the entire brain, including emotions. This can be a powerful tool for swaying your audience. Need proof? C-3P0 wooed a whole civilization of Ewoks by telling them stories of the Rebel Alliance’s battles with the Galactic Empire, inspiring the Ewoks to fight beside the Rebels against the Imperial troops on Endor.

Get to your landing page

“Stay on target!”

Everything you write needs to maintain focus. Your ultimate goal is to get consumers to your landing page by convincing them that your product will solve their problems. There are many ways of doing this—showing empathy by acknowledging your own experience with their problem, providing testimonials for emotional relatability and positive assurance, or simply describing the benefits your product will bring to the user, as opposed to merely listing its features. Whatever approach you take, make absolutely sure your content relates directly to your audience and points toward a solution. If it doesn’t, cut it out.

Create scarcity

“Control, control, you must learn control!”

Take control of a user’s impulse to click away from an offer by creating the feeling of product scarcity. This is a tried-and-true aspect of writing persuasive web copy: you want your readers to feel as though they’ll miss out if they don’t act on your offer now. Marketing a product as available for a limited time only, or to a limited number of consumers—an ebook available free for just three days, for example, or a special discount for the first 100 buyers—can move someone who might otherwise wander off to “think about it” to jump on the limited opportunity instead.

Target Millennials

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”

It’s time to acknowledge the new greatest power in the universe. It isn’t the Death Star anymore—it’s Millennials. These tech-savvy, Internet-dominating, information-processing machines are what drive online marketing success. They are your future consumers. So it’s time you learned to speak (and write) their language. Millennials value engaging, relatable content that can be skimmed quickly for key points. Break up your copy with visual aids (bolded headings, photos, embedded videos, graphical content) and divide large sections of text into manageable chunks with concise headings so that readers can find the information they need via a quick scan.

Target Millennials

Never stop adapting

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”

Internet technologies change, and they change fast. Effective online marketers extend their brand presence across a variety of web spaces, from product websites to social media networks. Your web copy should reflect the attitudes and behaviors of each platform. A Facebook post that directs users to your landing page, for example, requires language that is considerably more attention-grabbing and concise than the copy for your website’s homepage or a blog post.

To market in each space effectively, it’s important to stay on top of the trends. Relying on your knowledge of past Internet trends or writing styles is a mistake, as these become obsolete faster than the Millennium Falcon can complete the Kessel Run. You’ll also want to keep in mind changing social attitudes and needs when you consider the tone of your writing. In the wise words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” The buying cycles that marketers used in the past aren’t effective anymore, especially with Millennials. Writing to satisfy the conventions and buying patterns only of older groups won’t resonate with this now-dominant Internet generation and will result in lost conversions.

So you’ve soaked it all up? Great, kid. Don’t get cocky!

When writing persuasive web copy, it’s important to continuously remind yourself of the personas of your target consumers and their stages in the buyer’s journey. Creating a personalized experience that applies the right emotional triggers will enhance the likelihood of your users’ completing the action you’ve laid out for them. If Luke could feel comfortable flying the Death Star’s exhaust port corridor because it reminded him of shooting womp rats from his T-16 back home, you can certainly give your users the confidence to follow your CTAs by creating a positive, action-oriented, culturally relevant experience.

In the words of Jedi Master Yoda: mind what you have learned, and may the Force be with you.

Image sources: Josh Felise/Stocksnap.io, DasWortgewand/Pixabay.com

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What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Website Optimization

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Website Optimization

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Website OptimizationIn 2010, Simon Sinek’s TED talk about the Golden Circle of marketing took intellectuals and business-minded Internet audiences by storm. Labeled like something out of Greek mythology and sounding at first like holistic cutesy talk, the Golden Circle is actually grounded in specific behavioral science, and it quickly transfixed audiences.

Sinek’s theory illustrates an approach to marketing that stems from the why as opposed to the what; in short, companies that appeal to our gut reactions are more successful than those that attempt to influence our decision making by telling us about their products. Consumers are more swayed by why a company / activist / organization does what it does than by what it actually does. The “gut reaction” function of the brain affects decision making far more effectively than rationalization does.

Now apply this to online marketing. Think about what gut reaction your company’s website may trigger. Researchers at the content marketing super-site HubSpot found that users judge the appearance of a website in 1/50th to 1/20th of a second. The concept of website optimization is nothing new, but it is still largely underestimated or underemployed by myriads of businesses and not-for-profit organizations alike.

Simple website analysis reveals that the most effectively optimized websites are those that follow the Golden Circle. They convince by relaying why the company does what it does. Their aesthetics trigger an instant positive reaction from visitors, and easy navigation and well-designed landing pages enable the swift conversion of why-inspired visitors.

Don’t be afraid to learn from your competitors. Here are a few examples of companies and organizations that have got this website optimization thing down.

1. Coin

The brilliance of Coin’s website happens as you scroll down. Granted, some visitors won’t bother to do so, but the overall spectacular design and eye-catching (without being distracting or obnoxious) animations encourage users to continue down the page. From there, this website truly embraces the Golden Circle method for website optimization. The best part? The call to action (CTA) of “Get Yours First” that allows newly convinced consumers to believe they’re jumping on board ahead of the crowd.

  • Changing custom background to target different user personalities
  • Visually interesting, interactive experience
  • Explains benefits and relates the product to real-life situations
  • CTAs at both the top and bottom of the page
  • Stellar CTA statement

2. ZURB

Simple, beautiful, and to the point, ZURB’s homepage lets you know who they are as a company and utilizes a truly brilliant CTA. In addition to its perfect use of color and design, “ZURB in 30 Seconds” is hard to pass up; who wouldn’t want all their questions answered in half a minute?

ZURB's Homepage.

  • Phenomenal CTA
  • Direct message about who they are and what users have to gain
  • Easy navigation (as you scroll down) that provides clear answers to user questions

3. Panera Bread (mobile)

Most online consumers have experienced trying to access a website from a mobile device, only to discover awkward layouts, teeny-tiny fonts, and agonizingly slow load times. The reaction? An immediate backward swipe, especially when expensive data usage is at stake. Websites like Panera Bread, which employs unique optimization for both desktop and mobile devices, are very much ahead of the game. Panera Bread’s mobile site is attractive, functional, and—most importantly—user-friendly on a small screen.

  • Large, clear, easy-to-use navigation
  • Simple, attractive aesthetics
  • Designed to immediately meet user needs
  • Shareable on social media

4. You Need a Budget

Think about what a user probably asked Google: “How can I balance my budget?” comes to mind. You Need a Budget presents immediate answers to that and similar questions, minimizing user effort (crucial in today’s online culture of instant gratification).

The You Need A Budget Homepage.

  • Several clear, relevant CTAs
  • Talks about user benefits rather than products
  • Demonstrates the company’s driving beliefs to encourage trust
  • Visible free-product offer

Conclusion

When optimizing your website, remember the Golden Circle—demonstrate that your company is genuine, believes in what it does, and offers a great product. Trigger positive gut reactions from visitors by making your website a delight to look at and easy to navigate, and transform those same visitors into customers or donors with easy-to-find, direct, and inviting CTAs. Remember that first reactions to your website and user friendliness will do a huge chunk of your sales pitch for you. Once that gut instinct happens, visitors can use the additional pages of your informative, well-laid-out website to rationalize the affirmative decision they’ve already made.

Image sources: Vladimir Galkin2012/BigStockPhoto.com, Gumption Inc. (used with permission), Zurb.com (used with permission), You Need a Budget (used with permission)

Inklyo's free ebook, 25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales.
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The 12 Biggest Website Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

The 12 Biggest Website Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

The 12 Biggest Website Mistakes You Can Easily AvoidWebsites. These days, it seems like almost every business has one. From your favorite local sushi place to your tried-and-true bookstore, every business, big or small, can be found online. Businesses today need to have an online presence if they want to reach potential buyers. This presence includes having a variety of social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—whatever will help leverage their website and reach the most people.

Your company’s website is its virtual storefront, and it often gives potential buyers their first impression of what your company has to offer. Websites aren’t just nice to have—they’re an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy and will help you turn visitors into customers. With a great website, you’ll be able to attract, educate, and convince visitors to buy your products or services.

So, you have a website and people know you exist—great. But simply having a website won’t cut it. You need to stand out, be easily accessible, and know how to optimize your pages. Your website is the key to your inbound marketing strategy, so you need to know what to do—and what not to do—to avoid making website mistakes that will cost you time, energy, and, ultimately, business. You get out what you put in, so to help you put the most in, this article will outline the 12 biggest website mistakes and how you can avoid making them. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make mistakes; but if you do your research and follow these tips, you’ll be getting to the top of search engine rankings in no time.

So, what are the 12 biggest website mistakes?

Website Mistake #1: Not optimizing your website pages for searching.

Optimization is the act, process, or methodology of making something as perfect or functional as possible. In terms of the “inbound world,” website optimization mainly refers to SEO. What is SEO? It’s the process of making your website as functional as possible to get the most traffic on search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Just as described above, when your website is optimized, you’ll show up higher in search results, which will make people more likely to click on your website link. When optimizing your website, you’ll have to focus on using the right keywords, gaining quality inbound links, and employing other SEO tactics to get the top spot.

Website Mistake #2: Not optimizing your title tag and meta tags.

To truly optimize your website in terms of SEO, your title tag and meta tags must also be optimized. The title tag is an HTML element of a webpage that describes the content of the page. It’s one of the primary elements that search engine crawlers look at when evaluating that page’s relevance to a particular search term and when indexing pages. A meta tag is a line of code contained in the background of a webpage. Search engines look at meta tags to learn what a page is about. Both title tags and meta tags should contain keywords that will help increase your page ranking in search results.

Website Mistake #3: Not having any quality inbound links.

Website mistake #3: Not having any quality inbound links.According to HubSpot, an authority on inbound marketing and sales, “An inbound link is a link coming from another site to your own website. ‘Inbound’ is generally used by the person receiving the link.” Inbound links are necessary for search engine optimization (SEO) and referral traffic. The more inbound links you have, the higher your website will rank in search engine result pages. Think about it. When you search for something on Google, are you more likely to click the links at the top of the first page or the links on, say, page 5 or 15? I’m guessing it’s the links on the first page. This is why it’s so important to have quality inbound links; they will help get you the top spot in search results, making people much more likely to click on your page.

Website Mistake #4: Not having a professional, trustworthy design.

Now you have a website and traffic—yay! Your next order of business is to make sure these visitors stay long enough to consider buying your products or services. This means having a modern, professional, trustworthy website. As we mentioned earlier, your website gives potential buyers the first impression of your business, so it’s important to make it look good and reflect the quality of whatever you’re offering. Your website must look nice and be easy to navigate, so it’s important to be consistent with colors, images, layout, and navigation messaging. You want your website to have a certain flow to it, and going from one page to another or searching for things on your website should be seamless.

Website Mistake #5: Being more flashy than helpful.

On the same note as having a professional, trustworthy website with consistent design elements, you should also avoid being too flashy and over-the-top. The key is to strike a balance between form and function. While your website must look appealing and professional while being user friendly, it’s important not to make the mistake of going overboard with colors, images, fonts, and graphics. You don’t want to overwhelm your customers and scare them away; you want to invite them to explore (and stay on) your website. To avoid making this website mistake, focus on content first (that is, being helpful) and design second. While a pretty website might attract potential buyers, they won’t stay if there’s nothing of substance for them to take away.

Website Mistake #6: Not having a blog.

A blog is a great way to communicate with potential buyers and those browsing your website. Your blog should reflect the real, personable side of your business, and it should offer original, value-added content that can’t be found anywhere else. A blog is an additional way for you to complement your website and connect with your target audience. Having a blog allows you to:

  • create fresh content (and more pages of content), which is great for SEO;
  • become established as an industry authority and thought leader;
  • drive more traffic and leads back to your website;
  • converse and engage with your audience and customers; and
  • receive valuable inbound links.

The takeaway? Blog often (and not always about yourself), be transparent, and offer value-added content with each post. Be interesting, and show the real side of your business.

Website Mistake #7: Not answering the big questions: who, what, and why (and where, if needed).

You have a website to help answer your potential customers’ questions: who, what, and why (and where, if needed). You can’t just stick information on your pages with the hope that your message will make itself clear. You need to know your target audience and write for them. Furthermore, you need to know what you can help them with and why they need your products or services. They’ve come to your page for a reason, and your job is to offer a solution to whatever problem they’re having. But you can’t just answer one of these questions; you need to answer them all, and these answers need to work together to focus your potential buyers upon what you have to offer. Otherwise, potential buyers will leave your page once they realize they can’t find exactly what they’re looking for.

Website Mistake #8: Only selling instead of selling and educating.

Ah, here’s a big one. Today’s buyers want to be educated, not sold to. They don’t want products or services shoved in their faces. They want to know about what you’re selling and why your product or service is best suited to fill their needs. When they’re considering your product, they’re thinking, “What’s in it for me?” To tell them, you need to offer more than just product content on your website. While product content must be product-specific, you should also offer educational (and valuable) forms of content such as ebooks, videos, infographics, and other types of content that will nurture prospects through your marketing and sales funnel until they are ready to buy. These days, it’s about more than just a sales pitch; it’s about offering unique and valuable information as well.

Website Mistake #9: Using jargon and corporate gobbledygook.

You’ve heard the phrases: “think outside the box,” “ducks in a row,” “core competency,” “window of opportunity” . . . the list goes on. Gobbledygook is eye roll-inducing jargon language—terms and phrases—that has been overused and abused, thus rendering it meaningless. You know how annoying such terms and phrases are, so avoid using them on your website.

Website Mistake #10: Only using one form of content.

Only have a website with one type of content? Yikes! That’s simply not enough to reach your target audience and expand beyond them. Since you’re probably an avid consumer of various forms of media yourself, you know how interesting and engaging it can make content. You should be using multiple forms of content, including videos, images, and podcasts. Your goal is to reach a wide audience, and the best way to do so is to appeal to an array of different people. This means you need to include various forms of media on your website since simple webpages don’t appeal to everyone.

Website mistake #10: Only using one form of content.

Website Mistake #11: Making your website and its content static instead of dynamic.

Static websites are boring; they’re just not relevant to today’s Internet culture. They represent the bare minimum of what a website should be. They’re very basic and plain, maybe with a few Flash graphics and a campaign—not much to get excited about. On top of that, their content isn’t shareable, so it doesn’t go very far. These days, websites should integrate search, social media, content, and blogging. They should be multifaceted and create a positive and interactive user experience. The user should be able to do more, not less, than they were expecting to on your website. And since users want to be educated, you need to add variety and interest to the information you present to them. Traffic from blogs, social media, and organic and paid search results end up being converted into leads or sales on your main website, which is why having a dynamic website is so crucial.

Website Mistake #12: Being clever instead of clear.

When being dynamic, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting your point across clearly and not focusing simply on being clever. While being clever can help attract potential customers to your page, it won’t keep them there. They need clear information that will, again, help solve their problem and tell them why your product or service is the best for them. Being clear also helps you appear more trustworthy and professional, which will only improve your image in the minds of potential customers. While you can be both clever and clear, first and foremost, make sure your content is flawless, specific, and transparent—then add a touch of wittiness.

Image sources: Daria Nepriakhina/Stocksnap.io, Sylwia Bartyzel/Stocksnap.io, ADE2013/Shutterstock.com

Inklyo's free ebook, 25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales.

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8 Awesome Things Kids Can Teach Us About Conversion Rate Optimization

8 Awesome Things Kids Can Teach Us About Conversion Rate Optimization

8 Awesome Things Kids Can Teach Us About Conversion Rate Optimization Wait, did she just say kids can teach us about conversion rate optimization (CRO)? Does she actually think that children can fathom the mysterious world of A/B testing and landing pages? That they have the capacity to navigate the jumble of red buttons versus blue ones, the seemingly arbitrary changes that result in a 30% higher conversion rate, or any other attempts to increase revenue? In other words, does this crazy writer really think that a child could possibly understand something that challenges the comprehension ability of most educated adults?

Yes and no. Yes, you can learn something from kids about how to improve your CRO. No, it’s not because they understand conversion rate, the Internet, business, or any other factors that play into it. (Well, I suppose some of them might, but most such exceptional children tend to focus their talents elsewhere.) What I’m really trying to say here is that you can learn a lot from kids about how to improve your conversion rate. Don’t believe me? Just have a look at the following list.

1. Be a copycat.

Remember when everyone told you it was rude to mimic other people? Or that being original, being creative, was the most important thing? Well, forget about that. When it comes to conversion rate and website optimization, it pays to stick with what works. Do you have some pages that are converting at far better rates than others? If so, try to break down what makes those pages so much more successful. What’s different about those pages? What do the calls to action (CTAs), the design, or the writing style look like on your more successful pages? Take these differences and apply them to your less successful pages. The benefit of being a copycat in the context of website optimization? No one is going to tell on you.

2. Be sticky.

Someone once said that kids insist on being sticky at least 76% of the time, a statistic that, though technically not grounded in any kind of scientific reality, is true nonetheless. (Yes, that someone may have been my mother.) Whether they’re covered in paint, glue, juice, or other leftover food substances, it seems almost impossible to get children clean and keep them that way. When it comes to CRO, you want to be as sticky as a toddler covered in peanut butter. Making your visitors stick to your site—also known as reducing bounce rates—can be difficult. This infographic from HubSpot gets into bounce rate in greater detail, but here’s the bottom line: if your site hasn’t been designed and your content hasn’t been written for your specific users, they aren’t going to stick around.

You need to know who it is you are trying to attract to your site so you can create content for those viewers. This content includes the landing pages you will use to (hopefully) convert your visitors into leads. This means that if you have more than one kind of target consumer, you should have more than one type of landing page. Children may cover themselves in goo because they enjoy testing their parents’ sanity, but visitors stick to websites when they cater to their personal needs.

3. Sharing is caring.

Sharing is caring.If you have children, you’ve probably told them time and time again that nobody likes to play with someone who doesn’t share. Sharing is also a great way to make new friends. Just as sharing helped you out on the playground when you were young, social media sharing will kick-start your CRO now that you’re all grown up. Make sure that all your pages, including landing pages and thank you pages, have icons that allow users to share their content on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This is also great for your site’s search engine optimization (SEO)! Sharing is nice. So is improving your CRO.

4. Show off.

Kids know how awesome they are, and they want the whole world to know too. And while I don’t encourage you to tell your visitors just how amazing you and your business are, I do think you should show them. If your website has any certifications or awards, make sure the badges are displayed in relevant areas of your site. If your blog content is doing really well on social media sites, make sure your shares are included with your social media icons. How will everyone know how cool you are if you don’t show them?

5. Go, go, go.

Go, go, go!Ever watch an energetic child try to sit still? Or, better yet, ever see a kid have to wait for an activity that’s really exciting? Kids are all about action. They want to be in on everything, and they want to be in on it now. Your website copy can reflect this action-driven motivation by employing as many action words as possible while still maintaining a natural flow in the text. Using lots of verbs in your copy can significantly increase your lead conversion, as it encourages your visitors to follow through with your CTAs. This is a simple but effective way to improve your conversion rate.

6. Listen to your parents—tidy up!

The presence of a child in a room is often accompanied by a tornado of stuff. Toys, clothes, books, bananas, you name it—kids are messy. Moms and dads are constantly telling their kids to tidy up their bedrooms and play areas. Why? Because friends and family members shouldn’t have to navigate a war zone when they come over for a visit. And neither should your website visitors. While parents have desperately tried to explain this concept to their children for centuries to almost no avail, it seems much easier to grasp in the adult context of CRO. This article gets into greater depth about how improving your website’s navigation can improve your conversion rate, but the bottom line is simple: the easier it is to get around your website, the higher your conversion rate will be. (Translation: If you keep your room clean, your parents will be happy and your friends will be allowed to come over. Everyone wins!)

7. Learn your ABCs.

Do you remember learning the alphabet? At first, you didn’t really get the point. Sure, you learned the song. You could sing all the letters, and your parents were very proud. But it wasn’t until you actually started learning to read that you began to understand the real importance of your ABCs. Similarly, people new to A/B testing may become frustrated with what sometimes seems like the futility of these tedious tests. But once you learn the real purpose of testing, it doesn’t seem so bad. That purpose, of course, is to improve conversion rates. The thing is, no matter how many great changes you make to your website, you won’t know which of those changes have been effective unless you do some testing. If you’re trying to make your site stickier by changing your landing page copy, it’s important to know that the changes you have made are actually helping to achieve your initial goal. That’s why A/B tests lead to more conversions. You might even say that A + B = C. Now I know my ABCs, next time won’t you convert with me?

8. If at first you don’t succeed…

Try, try, try something different. If you can be as perseverant with increasing your CRO as a child who is determined to shove his entire first into his mouth, you will be successful. (Regrettably, probably much more successful than the boy, unless that boy happens to have the snake-like ability to unhinge his jaw.) If you try something new on your website only to discover that it does not, in fact, increase your conversion rate, do not despair! Instead, learn from your mistake, and try something new. If you had given up every time you attempted to learn how to ride a bike—or how to walk, for that matter—you would have had a far less adventurous childhood, indeed.

Image sources: Ryan Tauss/Stocksnap.io, ChasingMoments/BigStockPhoto.com, mcconnmama/Pixabay.com

25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales.

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Landing Page Optimization for Your Website

Inklyo.com's seven steps for landing page optimization.

Seven steps for creating an effective landing page

Inklyo's seven steps for landing page optimization. A landing page is the page that customers are directed to when they click on your advertisement or search engine result. It is the first page they will see, and it can have a major impact on whether they choose to explore your website or go back to the previous page. For successful landing page optimization, it is therefore essential that your business’s landing page makes a good impression to get the highest possible return.

To effectively use landing page optimization on your site, follow these seven easy tips when designing a page:

1. Target a market

Before you create your landing page, you need to figure out what demographic your business is directing its marketing toward. This affects the types of visuals you use, the language, and your keywords. Be sure to research landing pages that are popular among a similar demographic to figure out which techniques you should use for your landing page optimization.

2. Make a recognizable landing page

When your customers first see your website, you want them to know they’re on the right page before it fully loads. If your customers question for even a second that your ad has led them astray, you’ve lost a bit of their trust. Therefore you need to match your webpage to your ad and build a recognizable branding strategy. To better improve your landing page optimization, include relevant keywords in the page’s content for search engine spiders to find.

3. Make your landing page appealing

The first thing your customers will notice about your page is whether it looks good. To make a good first impression, be sure your site’s design is attractive to your customers. It also helps landing page optimization to use visuals and to keep your pages well organized.

4. Show your customers how your product will benefit them

A great way to sell your product or service to customers is to show them how it will benefit their lives. This is the ultimate message you want them to take away from your webpage, and hopefully it will result in a sale. The best place to do this is on the landing page. Also, consider using a video to convey your message in a quick and compelling way.

5. Include a call to action

As with any content used for search engine optimization, you should include a call to action to direct your customers to engage with your site. The same principle goes for landing page optimization. In creating an effective call to action, you direct your customers to engage with your website the way you want. This can give you the best possible results.

6. A/B testing

A/B testing is a technique that uses analytics from two versions of a landing page. Each version is posted, and then data are collected based on how many hits the website receives and how many of those hits lead to a sale. Once you have this data, you can improve your landing page optimization by choosing the page that yields the best results.

You can also use the data that you obtain from your business’s landing page to improve your website on an ongoing basis. By tracking your results, you can figure out which techniques you should, or should not, use for your webpage in the future.

Image source: PureSolution/BigStockPhoto.com

25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales

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What Web Content Should You Include on Your Website?

Inklyo.com outlines the seven essential elements for your web content.

Inklyo outlines the seven essential elements for your web content.Today, it is crucial that every business has a presence in the online world. Whatever type of business, service, or product you have, there must be information about it online. Otherwise, you could be overlooked in a competitive market. This is why it is essential that your business has web content that is up-to-date, relevant, and reflects what your business is and what it has to offer. Here are seven elements you should include when you are setting up a website.

1. Home page

Like the outside of a store, the home page is the first impression a customer gets when visiting your website. It needs to be aesthetically pleasing while also answering all the essential questions. It is also important that this page’s content contains important keywords, such as your business’s name and the product or service you are offering.

2. About Us page

To ensure your business’s credibility, it is valuable to have a section of your website dedicated to explaining what your service or product is. This web content describes how the business was founded, what its goals are, and its future direction. This allows the reader to learn more about the company and creates a deeper connection with the product or service.

3. Team

It’s also valuable to have a section of the website dedicated to short biographies of the main players in your business. This web content gives your business a face, makes the product or service more personable, and reassures the customer that real people are behind the webpage. This way, the customer can connect with the business even further.

4. Product/services

Obviously, the website needs to provide details about your product or service. Customers will primarily visit your website because they want more information so they can decide whether your product or service meets their needs. The web content must be written in a way that provides all the necessary information while also acting as a sales pitch so the customer will be persuaded to engage with your business and purchase your product or service.

5. Resources

It is also valuable to have a section titled “Resources” that contains constantly updated information. This can include many types of information, such as product reviews, user comments and questions, and a blog. As long as this web content is consistently updated, your business will be a viable competitor in its market. In addition, this page will allow customers to engage with your website by either seeking more information or producing some content of their own for your site. It’s also a great way to keep customers constantly checking your website to see updates.

6. Contact information

To ensure your customers know your business is not a sham, make sure contact information is on the website and is easy to find. By making yourself open to questions, concerns, complaints, and other customer inquiries, you will convince customers that you care about their user experience. This also reassures them that you want them to engage with your product or service and are open to criticism should there be problems.

7. What to do

Customers need to be directed to ways of taking action with your product or service. Simply presenting them with information is fine, but if you do not provide any instructions for using that information, it’s useless. To make sure your users engage with your product or service, tell them clearly how they can access it.

8. A blog

Surprised? Don’t be. A blog can be a critical factor in your long term success. To find out more, check out our free guide to website optimization below.

Image source: kentoh/BigStockPhoto.com

25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales

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8 Reasons Your Website Is Failing to Increase Your Conversion Rate

8 Reasons Your Website is Failing to Increase Your Conversion Rate

8 Reasons Your Website is Failing to Increase Your Conversion RateThe Internet is a huge network of people, businesses, information, and services striving to attract the most visits to their respective websites. When you first launch your business website or service, the process of attracting potential customers can be overwhelming. Your website is probably one of many that offer similar products. Despite this, you can set yourself apart from competitors and increase your sales in two ways: attract more potential customers or increase the conversion rate of the customers already visiting your website.

Optimizing your website to increase conversion rates is therefore an important component of any online marketing strategy. A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site that take the action you desire them to take, whether that means filling in their information to become a lead or buying a product or service to become a customer. Many factors contribute to successful conversion rates, and you can make a number of small changes to your website’s design, content, and accessibility to boost your lead conversions or sales. Maybe the number of visitors to your website has stagnated, or maybe it’s growing, but why aren’t those visitors turning into customers? Below are eight potential problems your website is facing and eight solutions that will help you optimize your website and increase the conversion rate of its visitors.

1. Your website design is outdated.

Your website is outdated.On average, it takes less than a second for a visitor to judge your website (and business) based on its design and overall aesthetic appeal. People are more likely to buy from a business that presents itself in a way that appeals to them visually. This is bad news if your design is outdated or unprofessional, with clashing color schemes, mismatched fonts, unprofessional images, or too much information crammed into a small space.

Solution: Simplify your design and choose an attractive and consistent color scheme that compliments your business and the aesthetic of the customers to whom you want to appeal. Create an attractive and obvious header image that showcases the name of your business so your customers know they are in the right place. Understand and use font hierarchy so the most important information you need a new visitor to know stands out from the smaller print. Avoid large blocks of text on your main pages. They can overwhelm visitors who are new to your product or service—leave the more substantial content for the blog posts, ebooks, and other great resources your website has to offer.

2. Your call to action (CTA) isnt the first thing your visitors see.

This step is crucial for increasing conversion rates. Is it clear what you are offering and how potential customers can obtain your product or service? Depending on your business, your call to action could be a free service quote, a subscription, a free trial, or a consultation. All these lead a potential customer to a purchase and should be among the most prominent elements of your website.

Solution: Be bold and make your CTA as obvious as you can. Create an attractive, easy-to-see button to advertise what you have to offer, and be sure to place it prominently.

3. Your website doesnt load quickly.

When more people can find your business’s website, you have more potential customers. Are your products and services easy to find? Customers who run into problems loading pages, face long wait times to see information, and encounter broken links or other errors are customers who will most likely go somewhere else with their business.

Solution: Optimizing your website for all browsers and mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, will naturally increase your conversion rate. Invest in a hosting service that ensures your information loads quickly. Make sure that all pages on your website load properly and that all links work.

4. Your website lacks great content about what you have to offer.

Your website is built and your product or service is available, but you are still having trouble attracting visitors and converting those visitors into leads or customers. People tend to buy from companies that not only have something to sell but also have knowledge to share.

Solution: A great way to attract visitors and convert them into customers is to create great content. Become an authority in your niche to increase your visitors’ confidence in your company and product. Consistently writing helpful articles and engaging content related to your business will help solidify your reputation as an online resource that people will return to again and again.

5. Your navigation is complicated.

Your navigation is complicated. Too many options can be overwhelming. Does your website do a great job of leading customers to the information they want to find? How navigation is addressed in your website design is one of the most important factors in increasing conversion rates. Visitors who can’t find what they need quickly and easily will most likely not turn into customers.

Solution: Check out how your competition handles website navigation. Often, certain types of businesses have a recognizable system that works efficiently to get visitors where they want to be. Keep menus simple and clean, and lead your customer to information by presenting it in a progressive and intuitive way.

6. Options to purchase arent immediately clear.

A website for a product or service should make it easy to purchase that product or service. Navigating to products should be easy and intuitive with clearly defined menus. Once a visitor is viewing a particular product, it should be easy for that visitor to find the Add to Cart button and become a customer.

Solution: Make every effort to create an easy-to-use ecommerce system with visible “Buy” buttons and checkout options. Finding product categories or services on your main page should be quick and easy. Avoid complicated menus.

7. Your content isnt honest and authentic.

If you’re the owner of a small online business, you’re responsible for many different things. You want to add content that attracts visitors and increases your conversion rates, but you’re not sure how to write it.

Solution: The key is to be transparent about who you are and what you do. People are more likely to buy from you if they recognize that real people are behind the online business. Try to convey this through your content in a way that makes your visitors more likely to connect with what you have to offer and become customers. Be open about your products and services and about the availability of both.

8. Your website isnt up front about purchasing or product information.

It can be hard to compete with other online businesses, some of which may have a much larger following than you. Reputation and word-of-mouth testimonials are just as important online as they are in real life. How do you go about building trust to convert more customers?

Solution: Building trust and a great reputation online can take time. Offer customer reviews so that first-time visitors can gain an idea of how previous customers feel about your product or service. Be transparent about your return policies and shipping fees, and make it easy for each customer to track their transactions so that they can see exactly where their purchase is.

Image sources: Splitshire.com, Pexels.com, Jaxon Stevens/Stocksnap.io

Inklyo's free ebook, 25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales.