3 Must-Haves for The Ultimate Business Website 

By Steve Hoag

business website must-haves

There are a bunch of things that comprise a great website. Intuitive navigation, a good color scheme, and clean design are staples of design right now. But there are other must-haves that some businesses sometimes ignore like:

Responsive Design

With the growing popularity of using mobile devices to access the web, responsive design is becoming much more of a necessity. Responsive design basically means designing your website in a way that adapts to the screen of the device accessing it. A modern business website should be able to ensure that anyone can access and view it properly from any device. Responsive design will become a staple in the upcoming year, so get on the bandwagon while there’s still room. Otherwise people will view your site as backwards and you may lose out on valuable traffic.

Dynamic Content

Long gone are the days where websites were just images and text. Now every business website needs a variety of content that is consistently updated. Try to include media like videos, showcases, and blogs to keep visitors engaged when they visit your site. The longer a user is on your website, the more likely they are to turn into a sale.

Social Media Integration

Social media is essentially a must for any organization. Place social media badges at the header and footer of every page to ensure that users can connect with you quickly. Also, call to actions are great if you have enough room for them. ‘Like us on Facebook’ generates more engagement than a simple Facebook icon. Many users take to social media to find information on products and ask for purchasing advice. That’s why it’s important to make it easy for them to interact with you on a more personal level on social media.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:33:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media social media marketing web design web trends website

3 Common Web Design Mistakes To Avoid 

By Steve Hoag

There are a ton of great websites out there. There are also some really bad ones. When designing your company website you should take notes from both poles. Learning what NOT to do is just as important as finding out what to do in web design. Read on for techniques you should avoid:

Not enough contrast

You have a serious problem if users can’t read the text on your website because it is barely discernable from the background color. Few things are worse for user experience than not having enough contrast between content and background colors. Never pick a light grey font if your background is white. Similarly, don’t use neon colors for text. Unless burning the retinas of your visitors is your primary objective.

Employing design elements that impede the sale

Another classic mistake is making the sales process more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t impede the sales process with endless registration forms. You need to make it as simple as possible. Also, be sure to include instructions where applicable. Don’t keep your users guessing as to what they need to do next. That will just frustrate and drive them away.

Not using dynamic content

Content is king. You also want your content to be like heroin. In other words, something that brings users back again and again. The easiest way to do this is by using dynamic content like videos, showcases, infographics, and consistently updated blogs. Don’t let your content go stale or your traffic will too. Employing dynamic content is one of the best ways to build a solid base of organic traffic.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, December 13, 2013 7:40:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design website

Red Flags to Look Out For When Choosing a Web Designer 

By Steve Hoag

Hiring the right web designer

Hiring the right web designer for your new business website is a critical decision. If you make the wrong choice you can be set back weeks and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Make the right decision and everything is honky dory. So what are some things that should send your alarm bells ringing?

Lack of design experience in your industry

A designer could have dozens of years in experience, but they also need to have the RIGHT type of experience for your business. Do they have experience designing websites for similar companies? For instance don’t hire a designer that specializes in fashion when you are a government agency. If you see that they haven’t done any work in your industry before don’t hire them! Play it safe! Take a huge risk on your company website is not something you should do.

A bland design firm website

A great designer will have a great website. Their site should be a showcase of all their abilities. If they haven’t built a great website for their own firm you shouldn’t hire them. How can you trust someone that puts minimal effort into their own business with your new design? If you aren’t impressed within 10 seconds of seeing their home page, move on to the next option.

No clear pricing or product details

A common annoyance with designing a new website is that there can be unforeseen difficulties, delays, and costs. A good designer will clearly communicate pricing, timelines, and product deliverables before doing business with you. Make sure you cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s before settling on a designer. Otherwise you could be dealing with annoying delays and hidden costs.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, December 11, 2013 7:38:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design website

3 Common Social Media Mistakes Businesses Make 

By Steve Hoag

common social media mistakes

A social media presence is pretty much mandatory for most businesses at this stage. A lot of businesses still haven’t quite figured out how to use social media just yet though. They stumble into common pitfalls that are easily avoided. So what should you not do on social media? Read on!

Spam their followers

Businesses occasionally fail to realize that spam doesn’t just mean what you get in your junk email or mail. It can occur in other channels like social media. It’s good to consistently post on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. It’s not good to constantly post without giving you followers a little bit of a breather. Try to space out your posts and not barrage users with your content. Otherwise you may find that they will soon begin to ignore you.

Focus on selling themselves and ignoring engagement

No one likes a person who only cares about themselves. Likewise, businesses should not only focus on sharing their content, but also on actively engaging their community. Reach out to individual followers and share their content as long as it’s relevant to your business. People love it when someone shares what they have to say. A happy user is an engaged one. No one likes to feel like they don’t matter. Especially on SOCIAL media.

Forget to acknowledge people who interact with them

If a user interacts with one of your accounts don’t ignore them! Make sure to acknowledge what they have to say. Answer questions people have, and respond to comments. Don’t make followers feel like they are talking to a brick wall. It’s nice to know there’s a person on the other side and not just an automated account.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:02:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media social media marketing

How to Integrate Social Media With Your Business Website 

By Steve Hoag

social media integration

Integrating social media with your business website is critical for increasing online exposure and engagement with your target segment. Check out these tips on how to connect your website with different social media platforms:

Add social media buttons on every page

Including buttons that link to your social media accounts is great for making it easier for users to connect with you. Social media is becoming a very popular way of asking for product advice or reviews. By including links you are streamlining the information search section of the buying process. This will also help to boost traffic and followers of your various accounts.  The best place to include these buttons is in the header and footer of every page. Make sure they are clearly visible or they may never be used by visitors. Including call to actions such as ‘Like us on Facebook’ are also better than simply using a basic badge. Everyone has badges these days, and calls to actions are much more effective.

Allow users to login using social media

Letting users use their social media accounts to log in to your website is great for increasing conversions. Long gone are the days where users had to fill out lengthy registration forms. Now all they need is a Facebook or Twitter account. Using social media logins can also help to share specialized  content and connect with their users on a much more personal level.

Make your website social media friendly

Users are starting to want a website viewing experience more akin to social media platforms these days. They desire to see dynamic content, category focused areas, news feeds, and social media feeds. Some websites are switching to more modular panel home page designs to cater to this. These panels can be used to show any type of feed or content they want. A great example of this is Google Ventures.

Make content shareable

Having great content is worthless if it’s hard for users to share it easily. Making content shareable is a great way to boost online exposure, traffic, and engagement with your customers. Including social sharing buttons next to all content like blog articles, videos, and images is a great way of doing this.

Embed dynamic content like YouTube videos when appropriate

Dynamic content is absolutely mandatory for websites that want to be more engaging. Including videos from YouYube or infographics are great for increasing visit times and conversion rates. The longer a user is on your website, the more likely they are to become a quality lead, and eventually a customer.

Integrating social media with your business website is critical for increasing online exposure and engagement with your target segment. Check out these tips on how to connect your website with different social media platforms:

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Monday, December 9, 2013 6:54:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB social media social media marketing web design web development website
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