Three Awesome Website Analytics Solutions  

By Steve Hoag

website analytics solutions

Having an awesome website is great. But you can’t effectively monitor and track who are visiting it without an analytics package. Website analytics solutions are essential to assessing your online performance over time. There are a lot of options out there, but here are just a few that you should consider:

AWStats

AWStats comes pre-installed by a lot of web hosts. It can be downloaded for personal use, which is useful if you are setting up your own server. This solution burrows a bit deeper than other options, with unique features like monitoring whether people are hot-linking files from your site.

Google Analytics

The go-to option of many websites is Google Analytics. It’s free, powerful, and has a ton of features to take advantage of. Google Analytics makes seeing who is visiting your site a breeze with a ton of graphs and visuals of traffic. One of the most popular and robust options on the face of the planet, you can’t go wrong with this solution.

Compete

Compete is best known for showing the estimated amount of visitors the top websites receive. This package helps provide creative intelligence by showing how your visitors got to your website by tracking clicks before and after viewing your site. Compete has varying prices, but is definitely a tool worth checking out if you are serious about competitive intelligence.

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 Thursday, November 14, 2013 8:26:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SEO SMB website

What is Website Usability? 

By Steve Hoag

website usability

Website usability is all about ensuring site users can find what they're looking for quickly and efficiently. There are a variety of factors that play a role in maximizing site usability. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Easy and intuitive navigation

In order to maximize usability, it is important to make sure that your navigation is intuitive. Common conventions are organizing your navigation tabs at the header and footer of every site, with main sections highlighted in the nav bar. Also, try to keep your navigation system pretty simple. People visiting your site should be able to reach important information and areas quickly, without having to dig through multiple menus.

Ensure there are no broken links or image errors

If your website uses a lot of graphics to explain concepts then you have to make sure that all the images display correctly. Nothing is more bothersome to a user than clicking on a page and finding that none of the information loads properly. The same goes for making sure all hyperlinks and forms are working properly. The point of usability is to minimize user headaches, not increase them.

Pages must download quickly

People get tired of waiting. That’s a fact. Having long page loads will drive traffic away from your site and undermine its usability.

Easy information retrieval

Most people scan web pages these days. They don’t read everything word for word. Your website needs to make the important information pop out. Use headings, link text, bold text, and bulleted lists to make important information easy to see and understand.

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, November 13, 2013 7:33:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB web design website

How To Increase Your Web Design Firm's Efficiency 

By Steve Hoag

three ways to increase your web design firm's efficiency

Web design is a profession that has a lot of moving parts, and requires excellent planning and communication to order to succeed. It’s important to be on the same page as your customer while at the same time being aware of your incremental costs as projects take more time than estimated.  .

Efficiency is increased by streamlining all the different processes within your business. Faster processes means quicker turnaround times and increased revenue. Here are three ways to increase your efficiency:

Outsource Web Development

Outsourcing web development is one of the best ways to increase efficiency. Not only do you avoid the development work, but you’ll be able to take on more projects at once because of the additional help. Also, outsourcing development work can lower costs as there are foreign development firms that have very low prices. Another benefit of partnering with a development company is that you can reduce the amount of time searching for clients. Many development firms have their own leads and are looking for designers to do some work for them. Outsourcing can be a definite win-win for all parties involved. Just be sure to do your research before engaging in a partnership!

Utilize Client Questionnaires and Templates

An important part of design is developing the ability to understand exactly what your client wants and letting them know what deliverables to expect. Using client questionnaires is an easy way to break down the scope of the project and the client’s vision. It’s important to cover all the bases with the questionnaire so that  both you and your client are on the same page. It is also important to have a proposal template where you describe in full detail all the deliverables and timelines the client can expect to receive.  . Confusion on either side will lower overall efficiency by requiring more handholding and communication.

Create price/cost estimating system.

Arguably one of the most important factors in improving efficiency is managing costs and prices. Develop a system where you can quickly estimate projects time. This can be as simple as charging a flat amount per page. It’s also important to make sure that your hard costs are covered. Having a system like this will help to respond quickly and avoid losing any potential sales.

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, November 11, 2013 6:09:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB web design web development website

Five Pillars of Enterprise Website Design 

By Steve Hoag

enterprise website design

An enterprise website is one of the most important pieces of any company’s marketing strategy. It’s important to invest enough time and money into your website to make sure it’s implemented well. There are five areas you should focus on to make sure your website design is executed properly.  Check them out:

Focus on the fundamentals.

What are the fundamentals? There are a lot of answers out there, but for us it’s delivering a clear message throughout the website. Your message needs to be clear and consistent across content, navigation, visuals etc.

Make sure you can appeal to multiple audiences.

As an enterprise you will have a variety of different audiences looking at your site. You need to make sure your website can cater to every potential customer/partner type. Keep your website’s overall feel in line with what your target segment is looking for. Ensure that your approach can appeal to a wider audience. Don't focus on a small niche that doesn’t reflect your entire customer base. One good way of doing this is by using different tabs for your different audiences. For instance, on our Fast Track website we have small business, designers, and enterprise tabs.

Utilize advanced design solutions.

Your website design needs to be able to seamlessly bring together the different components of an enterprise website. You need to ensure your e-commerce storefront, database/content management systems, and other systems synergize with each other.  A clean, unique, and consistent approach that adeptly reflects your brand is important. Also, keep up with the latest advancements and trends in enterprise design approaches. For instance, if your website isn’t responsively designed yet, by all means invest in that!

Focus on maximizing search engine visibility.

Search engines are king on the Internet today. Every enterprise website design needs to be built search engine friendly. Organic search is one of the best ways to get your company in front of your target audience. Invest early in a search engine friendly design to eliminate headaches down the road.

Treat your website like a showcase.

Think of your website as a showcase for all the great things your enterprise provides. Focus on how to bring your value proposition and products to life. Doing this will help to create a website that is vibrant, dynamic, and a sales asset for your company.

 

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 Thursday, November 7, 2013 8:20:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SEO web design web development web trends website

Four Reasons Why Custom Websites Can Mean More Business Success 

By Steve Hoag

custom website promote business success

A custom website is essentially a must-have today. The benefits it provides for businesses are profound when the website is properly designed/developed. So how does a custom website promote business success? Read on!

Unique brand presence

Arguably the most important advantage of a custom website is that it provides a unique brand presence for any company. You don’t have to worry about anyone else’s website looking exactly like yours. Custom websites allow you to leverage unique layouts, color schemes, and branding that can truly transform consumer perception.

Websites are the new brick and mortar storefront

Company websites are steadily becoming the first interaction consumers have with businesses. Long gone are the days that prospective customers had to travel to a shop to take a look at your wares. Nowadays all they need is an internet connection to decide to buy or not. That is why it is important to create a great first impression. Custom websites blow everything else out of the water when it comes to impressing customers online because of the endless design possibilities they offer.

Scalable solutions

Depending on the type of content management system you use, a custom website can offer a long term solution that is hard to match. A scalable solution brings a ton of benefits to businesses. For instance, you won’t need to invest in a new option as your website needs grow. Adding more features and pages is simple as long as the solution you pick has enough flexibility. By investing in a scalable custom website you free up more money in the long term to use in other areas.

Custom functionality

Another awesome benefit of a custom website is that you can add custom features and modules to support core business functions and your online presence. Having options like implementing custom e-commerce store fronts, blogs, forms etc, can catapult your online presence to a whole new level. Your chances of wowing a customer are much higher when you have a custom website that leverages the newest technologies and features.

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 Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:11:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB web design web development website
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