You’re launching your new business and you need a website. With so many “low cost” website builders to choose from, a DIY solution seems like the perfect place to save money, right? It’s easy to get dazzled by $19.99/month plans and drag-and-drop website creation, but what you don’t see are the myriad of hidden costs lurking behind the so-called easy solutions. In the long run, a professional website designer can actually you save you time and money, and set your business up for success. There are many reasons why a DIY website costs more than you think. Here are a few:
1. Search Engine Rankings
There’s no point in having a great looking website if no one can find it when searching for your product or service in major search engines like Google or Bing. That’s why having a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is critical to your success. And the more control you have over your content and the structure of your site, the better. Sure, the low cost website creators have gotten better about incorporating some behind-the-scenes SEO best practices, but what they can’t offer you is the one-on-one attention you will need to formulate that strategy from day one from keyword research to competitive analysis. A professional will give you sound advice, like not including text on your images because search engines can’t read them, and other valuable tips based on years of experience.
2. Growing Your Site
It’s hard to see five years into the future when you’re just getting started, but like birthdays and holidays, they come fast! What happens when you’re ready to add that online store, or integrate your website with another platform? When your needs become larger than a drag-and-drop builder can provide, you might just discover that you don’t actually own your site. Those low-cost monthly rates are actually more akin to rental fees. You can’t port your site over to a designer in order to incorporate more complex features because the site isn’t actually yours. It can come as quite a surprise to learn that your site will need to be re-built from the ground up.
3. Credibility is Priceless
When you have aches and pains, you see a doctor. When you need legal advice, you consult a lawyer. When you need a website that conveys trustworthiness and credibility you go to a… DIY website creator? Sure, drag-and-drop design is easy. But what is the end result? An experienced, savvy professional website designer can craft a website into one-of-a-kind user experience that can make a small company look larger, more established and unique. A professional can help you convey what your business stands for. In a well-designed site it only takes one click for potential customers to “get you.” And if they don’t? There’s always your competitors…
Any good website design firm is well versed in internet security. And should anything malicious occur, you can be assured that they are prepared to handle it. From backing up your site to keeping on top of the latest security protocols, they are pros at responding to issues before you even know they exist. Unfortunately, many of the drag and drop website providers are vulnerable to attacks, as a quick Google search will reveal. It pays to know up front how security issues are dealt with and if there are any hidden costs to data backups and site restores.
5. Design Pays
Think you don’t care about fonts or color combinations? Spend a half hour with a professional website designer and your head will be spinning from the endless possibilities. Yes, serif fonts convey a different feel than non-serif fonts. Color does matter. And what about custom logos that convey your brand personality? There is a level of personalization and expertise that you just can’t get from a DIY solution. And it shows.
6. Add Ons Add Up
Drag-and-drop services can reel you in with low monthly fees but what happens when you want access to your website analytics? You’ll have to upgrade to a premium account. Need more storage? That will be extra. The bottom line is that as your business grows, your needs will grow. You’ll want to be sure that whatever platform your website is built on can handle your future. But what if you don’t know what you’ll need in five years? A professional website designer can offer experience-based guidance. It’s basically the next best thing to a crystal ball.
7. Keeping up with Technology
Let’s face it. Technology is fast moving and ever changing. Making sure your website is optimized for mobile devices and tablets is just the tip of the iceberg. Professional web designer will make sure your website is up to par – even behind the scenes. They will make sure any plug-ins you use are updated and functioning properly and will provide ongoing advise about new developments that will keep your website running smoothly and efficiently. And what about analytics? A pro will be able to run an analytics installation and start capturing your data on day one – valuable data that will help you with future marketing decisions. In short, professional website designers offer so much more than design.
Using an out-of-the-box, drag-and-drop website builder might seem like a cost savings initially, but using a professional website designer from the beginning can save you time and money in the long run. And that doesn’t even count the opportunity cost of lost revenue from a website that doesn’t look unique and professional. Before you build a website, do yourself a favor. Talk to a professional. The alternative will probably cost you more than you think.
Looking to launch a new website or overhaul a current one? With nearly 20 years experience working with clients of all sizes across many industries, Infinite Web Designs (IWD) can help. Founder Amy Delardi also offers consultation services to help you get your business pointed in the right direction right from the start. See what IWD can do for your business. Call today. 203.307.5107
You might find it doesn’t pay to go at it alone.
Infinite Web Designs is a full-service web design and development agency also offering digital services that drive traffic to your website, increase sales and generate leads and build brand awareness.
Welcome back to Infinite Web Chat! Last week we talked SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
On Episode 2 we are talking all things PPC (Pay Per Click). Click to listen above or you can read the transcript below. You can also subscribe on iTunes »
Here are Some of the Highlights:
- Pay per click marketing should be viewed is a long-term investment.
- PPC can be useful for several different goals, whether you’re launching a new service and need awareness or you’re launching a new website and want to drive traffic quickly and raise awareness quickly to get people to your website to learn about your new products or services.
- You must have clearly defined goals, content and a funnel for your PPC campaign.
- Define your target audience, keywords and budget.
- Ad campaigns must have a clear call to action.
- Tracking and analytics is key to determining your ROI and adjustments that need to be made.
- Following Google’s best practices will ensure you receive more [quality] traffic.
Episode Links and Resources:
Amy DeLardi: Welcome to episode two. This is Amy and LeeAnn. Last week, episode one, we talked about organic SEO. This week we are going to talk about Google advertising and pay-per-click campaigns. LeeAnn, you with me?
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yes, I’m with you. Hi, everybody.
Amy DeLardi: Before we get into the best practices and the budget and the quality score and some of the different things that we’re prepared to talk about today, let’s just talk about when to use Google pay-per-click advertising. LeeAnn, do you want to answer that first and then I’ll give my perspective on it?
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. It’s important, if you’re going to use PPC, pay-per-click marketing, that you are in it for the long game. I think it is something, when we are working with clients, we recommend a minimum of six months and we would love to see them commit to at least a year before we can have a fully optimized campaign and seeing them reach the goals that we define in the very beginning.
Amy DeLardi: Yeah. Often time people think it’s a quick fix and so they really don’t have the budget for it, if they’re a smaller business. They don’t understand that some keywords can be very competitive, which translates to very pricey, so they don’t have a budget to compete over a long period of time. We could get more into that in a little bit. Last week, again, we talked about organic SEO. I prefer that method of attracting leads and traffic to your website, but sometimes you need a more immediate gratification, whether you’re launching a new service and you need awareness to it or you’re launching a new website and you really want to drive traffic quickly and raise awareness quickly and get people to your website to learn about your new products or services.
That’s when I find that Google pay-per-click or PPC is a good alternative solution to driving more of that quick traffic and leads, especially if you have a certain conversion or a certain goal that you’re trying to hit. Often times I like to consult people to run that in tandem with organic SEO strategies. Again, talked about that in episode one. Have a listen if haven’t to that. Again, I think that Google pay-per-click has a use definitely.
It’s more of that immediate gratification or a tougher arena to play in or to get organic ranking in, but it also is competitive and it can get costly. Let’s get into best practices. You’ve decided that you really need to pay to play and you really need to get awareness to a product or service quickly and you’ve decided that you’re going to use Google pay-per-click as a strategy to do so. Where do you start?
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. I would suggest the very first thing is something you’ve already touched on, and that’s having a very clearly defined goal. If you’re going to run a campaign, it really needs to be focused on one specific goal. If you have more than one, then we would suggest, obviously, more than one campaign. It’s so important because we want the end user to have one experience and we need to keep them on track to do what we want them to do. We don’t want to muddy the water.
Your goal, it can be to drive traffic. Like Amy said, if you need that immediate, get people to your page, if we are looking for them to make a purchase, if it is to make a phone call or if it’s lead generation: we want their name and their email, but we have to pick one. If you give them too many options, then they’re going to be all over the place and they’re not going to stay on track. They’re going to go down a rabbit hole and you’ll lose them. That’s lost money for you and that’s not helpful.
We need that clear, defined goal. Then next, who do we want to be looking at these ads? We need to define who that target audience is. Part of that is working with our clients and listening to who their audience is. Then part of it is doing some research based on that so that we can help guide and direct them. One of the reasons that we suggest running these ads for a long time is we also get data back once the ads have been running.
Once that information starts to roll in, we may think that your audience is this group of people, but really we can narrow that focus down based on some of the data that we start to get back after your ads have been running for a good period of time. When we are starting out, it’s the same as the organic SEO that we were talking about last week; we want to have very clearly defined keywords. We’ll help you with that.
We’ll take the keywords that, again, you think and then we’ll run them through some tools so we can get some numbers based on searches, tweak that, and then really come up with a clear list of what those are to help design a landing page. That landing page will be based on what your goal is. We know that you probably have a website and it’s beautiful and there’s probably lots of amazing things that you’re offering, but in order to reach this clearly defined goal, we want a clearly defined landing page.
It almost puts blinders on the user. It keeps them flowing and looking at exactly what we want them to look at. If our goal is lead generation, we need them to fill out a form that will get them a free downloadable and then stick them into a long-term email campaign to sell them, then that’s what we want them to do. We don’t want to say, “Do that or call us.” We want to keep them flowing and moving to our one defined goal.
Amy DeLardi: And something that is trackable, too, so that you know that your investment is working.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Absolutely.
Amy DeLardi: You definitely want that goal to be trackable.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yeah. There are several ways that we do that. We can do that behind the scenes with the tools that we’re using, and we can do it with the type of form that we’re using on your website. Also, going to what we were saying, keeping them right there on that page and not letting them wander around. If they go to your website, if we just send them to the contact form on your website, for example, then they might see who we are, about us or what we do or what other clients are saying, and then they start to wander off, and then we lose them doing that.
If we include all of that information in a clearly defined landing page and we keep them right there and we don’t give them opportunities to wander, then we keep them where we ant them and we don’t lose them in our website. Now, of course once we have them reaching that first goal, then we can introduce them to the website and show them all of the other pieces that go along.
Amy DeLardi: Right.
LeeAnn Holmberg: We want to be able to track from A to Z exactly how these ads are doing, and that’s one important way to do that. One of the things that we specialize in is writing campaign ads. When we’re writing those ads that’s going to lead the traffic to those landing pages to reach our goal, we want to be sure that we’re using the keyword that we’ve targeted, want a very clear call to action, so not only do we want them to take a clear action on that landing page; we’ve got to give them a clear reason to go to the landing page.
There’s lots of ads out there, so it’s really important to be creative and stand out. If you are a regular user of Google or Bing, which I think most people are, sometimes it can get really easy to glaze over those ads that are at the top or on the right hand side. We need a reason to not do that. We work really hard with our clients to make sure that we stand out in those ad spots so that it will jump out and really show expertise, creativity, and a reason to click on us, on that ad there rather than scrolling on down into the organic.
Amy DeLardi: Oh, go ahead.
LeeAnn Holmberg: I was just going to say, all the stuff we just discussed, all of that factors into something that Google really values when it comes to Google ads, and that’s a quality score. I know we’re going to dive into that more in just a little bit, but all of those best practices play a part of that, so I think that’s really important: that they’re all on target so that Google sees that we’re playing by their rules.
Amy DeLardi: Yeah. The landing page a lot of people dismiss. I have found that clients dismiss the value of a landing page and they don’t understand how seriously Google takes that. Sometimes Google will shut your ad down as a result of that. I think we’re going to get into that a little bit more with talking about the quality score. You know what I get asked all the time? I’m sure you do as well.
Is “Well, how much money do I have to spend?” That’s such a hard question to answer because it’s nice that Google has allowed anyone to pay to play, but sometimes … That’s a hard question to ask, most often, because each keyword that you’re looking to play and get ranking for is different, so there’s no one size fits all or one budget fits all. Do you want to talk a little bit more about how to determine your budget?
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the things you’ll find consistent through most of the things we discuss is that it is a long-term game. We have seen the best results out of long-term consistency. I think we mentioned even last week that there are people out there that will guarantee, “If you spend X with us, we’ll get you Y.” We’re just not the people for that. We will work very diligently and we’ll use your money like it’s our own, so we’re very, very ware of that, but if we haven’t run ads at all before, with you before, then we’ve got to get a little bit of data.
The places where I typically tend to start when we’re talking about the factors of your budget: “Let’s look at your overall marketing budget. What is your marketing budget for the year? How much of that are you willing to set aside just for this?” If we’re suggesting at least six months to 12 months, obviously we want that to continue on. It’s not something that you just get to the end of the 12 months and we just shut it off. How much of your budget are we willing to commit to that?
Then “What industry are you in?” and “What keywords are we targeting?” Because the higher your competition is in your industry and for the keywords that we’re choosing, then the higher your budget is going to be. Health and wellness is a highly competitive industry. If you have a very low spend per day, for example if you have 25 or $50 a day, which is a lot of money … I’m not saying in any way that it’s not. That’s a lot. That could be two or three clicks a day, depending on the keyword you choose. Is that worth it?
Those are things that we look at and evaluate together. If we’re targeting one keyword, just a very small group of keywords and we can only get a couple clicks per day, we don’t want to just take your money and spend it. We’ll tell you Google will do that. That’s how Google has opened it up and allowed for everybody to play because there’s so many people that are in there that play and aren’t necessarily doing it in the most optimized fashion. We want to make sure that we’re using your money wisely and you are too.
Amy DeLardi: Right.
LeeAnn Holmberg: There’s keyword tools that can help guide you to determine each. Like I mentioned, if your keyword is highly competitive, then we can back into what the estimated spend would be so we can plug that in. Of course, those tools give us what it would look like if your account, entire campaign is fully optimized. That will give us kind of a benchmark to work with. I know that that’s not necessarily what our clients want to hear.
A lot of them want us to say, “We suggest you spend $500 or $1,000.” If we do that, then we try to give those numbers and say, “If you use these keywords and you spend $500, this is what we’re estimating.” However, that includes doing all the things we just talked about, all those best practices above. If we don’t follow those, then we end up with leaks and then the marketing dollars kind of fall away, and we definitely don’t want to see that.
Amy DeLardi: Right. I know that Google has settings where you can run a daily budget or a monthly budget or you can also let Google decide how to spend that budget and when to display and all of that. It sort of has a little bit of a wizard, built-in brain aspect to this. Can you talk a little bit … I don’t want to take up too much time. … a little bit about that and what you feel is the best use of that, of those settings?
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. As far as the spend, the daily spend or the campaign-wide spend, it’s really important that you pay attention because if you have the wrong information there and you set your campaign budget as the daily budget, then you’re in big trouble. We’re going to talk about managing and monitoring your campaign too. Yeah, that’s important to set that, double-check it. It really is kind of setting that cap on your account. Like you mentioned, Google, they do have an option to run ads and optimize based on their algorithms.
That’s what I use. Even as a professional that runs these ads, typically I don’t stray from that. I feel like they have so many eyes and people working on this and algorithms that are running that they really know what they’re doing and are going to spend it in the best way possible. Now, I may see that at 4:00 A.M. it’s not a good use of time based on some results that we see, so we may adjust over time, but typically I will use that and I would suggest using that because this is their game, they know what they’re doing.
I don’t think that going in and trying to set all that up upfront is really a smart use of your time. Also, if you do that, then you don’t really let Google tell you the information. If you narrow the scope up front, we don’t get to see that big picture. I like to let Google run it. Then we can evaluate overtime and decide if we need to make some tweaks. There is an option to run ads advanced, so if you want to blow through your budget as quickly as you can, you can do that. That may mean in the first three hours of the day, then your ads are done.
It works off of your timezone, so it starts where you start. If you’re in the Eastern Timezone, it will start at your time there. There are use and reason for that, but typically what we want the ads to do is run over time and see how they perform. Then, like I said, we can narrow down a focus. If they’re performing the best over lunch or just after lunch, then we can really hone in on that. Especially if you have a smaller budget that you’re working with, then we can start to target that. I wouldn’t narrow that focus without data first.
Amy DeLardi: Okay. A little while ago we talked a little bit about quality score. Let’s describe or explain what quality score is and then talk about some factors that play into that score.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. Quality score, it’s something that you’ll find. It’s a measure of how your campaign is doing, how your ads are set up, how your landing page is set up, how the overall campaign and your entire account is. There are lots of factors that go into that. It’s kind of Google is grading you. They’re saying, “Hey, you’re doing well. Hey, you’re not.” It’s really important because the better your quality score is, the higher on the page you are. When it comes to ads, that’s extremely important.
We want to be in the top ads or in the top two to three places. If you are below the fold or below where people have to scroll, your chances of being seen get significant diminished, so we want to make sure that our quality score is good, Google sees that we’re following their rules and we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. There’s three main factors, really, that determine it. There’s lots of factors, but three of the big ones that we see are the ad relevance to your target keywords.
Before, I mentioned that the ad copy needs to include those target keywords, your expected click-through rate, which is a part of what Google thinks you’re going to get based on all of the factors that go into the campaign, and then the landing page experience. Amy touched on this earlier. She said clients will want to overlook this and they’ll just say, “We’ll just send them to my webpage,” or “Just send them to this specific page on my website.”
That right there will automatically cause an issue with Google because they want to see that narrow focus. They want to see the content on the page matches what the ads are, what the keywords are and that it’s a good experience, that you’re not making false claims, that you’re not making outrageous claims, that it’s relevant information, that there are good images and it’s clear where you want them to take action, whatever that action or that goal is.
Amy DeLardi: I think also, too, we’ve recently seen this with some clients who came to us that were running ads unbeknownst to us and they weren’t working. They didn’t have a landing page, so they were pointing them to the website. Google gave them a bad grade or quality score because the site speed wasn’t loading. That’s another factor that they look at. When you have a landing page, it’s reduced images, faster loading time, again putting the blinders on. You don’t have a navigation, really, to all the other parts of your website. It’s just a faster avenue to the call to action that you want them to do. I know that I’ve recently seen that site speed is one of the factors that goes into your quality score as well.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Absolutely.
Amy DeLardi: So keep that in mind.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yeah.
Amy DeLardi: Okay. We wanted to keep these chats to a digestible timeframe. I’d love to wrap up and talk about monitoring and measuring as the last topic. I think we’ve given our listeners some quite valuable information. Let’s talk about that before we close.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. AdWords provides some really great tools to monitor and measure your campaign performance. This, in conjunction with Google Analytics, will really give you a good overview of how your campaigns are doing. Again, after you have a good amount of data, you can make some tweaks and edits. Now, when you make those tweaks and edits, again, we suggest you give that some time so we can see that performance and then continue on.
Some really important factors to look at are cost per conversion, click-through rates, the cost per click, and your conversion rates. As we talk about all this stuff, AdWords is really a time-sensitive or, I’m sorry, time-intensive endeavor. It’s also time sensitive. When you’re in there, you need to be making good adjustments and smart adjustments because we’re spending your money every day, so we suggest that you monitor as much as possible and set a schedule.
On our team, we set a schedule to go in and monitor … For smaller accounts with less than five campaigns, we suggest that you’re in there three to four times a week and then scale from there. Of course, all of that’s dependent on how competitive your campaigns or your industry is. Then you’ll scale up from there. It takes a lot of time and there are a lot of good tools, but it can be really overwhelming if you’re trying to run this and run your business, so we’re here to help.
Amy DeLardi: A lot of people will come to me and they’ll have tried it on their own, they’ll call Google. Google is a great resource to help you, but they only help you to a certain point and then they expect that you either manage it yourself or hire a professional. I think that hiring a professional actually will save you time and save you money because they know the ins and outs of how to set up a campaign, use the best practices, and read the data so that we can make adjustments and we know how to measure the return on investment and understanding how to read that quality score and whatnot.
I think we’ve shared enough information. We can keep going and talking about this topic. If we haven’t hit on a specific area that you, as a listener, is interested in learning more about, you know where to find us: infinitewebdesigns.com. Our number is 203-307-5107. We are on social media. Hopefully, we gave you enough information to either help you along or know that we can be a resource to you. With that said, next week’s topic or chat is going to be on social media advertising. LeeAnn, are we going to talk about organic and paid or just paid social media advertising?
LeeAnn Holmberg: We can talk about a little bit of the differences between the two. Then I think we can probably spend a good amount of time covering the paid and then circle back around in another episode and discuss organic and all that goes into all of that.
Amy DeLardi: So stay tuned for our next week’s episode. Thanks for listening today.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Absolutely. Thanks, guys.
Welcome to Infinite Web Chat! On Episode 1 we are talking all things SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Click above to listen or you can read the transcript below. You can also subscribe on iTunes »
Here are Some of the Highlights:
- SEO is search engine optimization, and it’s the practice of increasing quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search engine.
- Keyword research is KEY!
- Search engines are expecting blog content to be fresh, relevant and longer – 1000 keywords is standard and 2000 or more is expected in highly competitive markets.
- Being listed in online business directories is an becoming increasingly important factor in your SEO. Our IWDS tool can help you get listed in 50+ directories and your data submitted to the search engines correctly PLUS 200+ data aggregators. Contact us for a baseline report to see where you currently rank PLUS $150 off for our podcast listeners.
Episode Links & Resources:
Next week we will be talking about PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing.
Amy DeLardi: Hi, I’m Amy DeLardi with Infinite Web Designs, and I have LeeAnn my SEO and social media specialist here with me today. Today’s topic is SEO, and we’re going to share a little bit about our knowledge of search engine optimization, and some of the tips and tricks that we use, or we know that are important to use. LeeAnn why don’t you say hi, and we’ll get started.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Hey there, nice to visit with you today, and I’m excited to talk about SEO, and see what all we can share.
Amy DeLardi: Great. You want to explain what SEO stands for, and a little bit about that before we start.
LeeAnn Holmberg: You bet. SEO is search engine optimization, and it’s the practice of increasing quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search engine. We start by targeting keywords that, and then researching those keywords. Which is really the foundation, the most important part is not necessarily what keywords you think that your audience is looking for. But taking that list and then really refining it and seeing what people are actually searching. Then going about optimizing your website, so that search engine pull your information when users are out there looking.
Amy DeLardi: That’s a great point, LeeAnn, and we get that all the time, right? When we’re working with clients, and they’ll send us a list of keywords, which we encourage, and we ask them to do so, because they know their business better than we do. But often times the keywords that they send us, and the keywords that we do a little bit of research on have low search volume. You want to talk a little bit about that research, and what the low search volume means, and explain the difference between low search volume and high search volume.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. We use tools online, and some of them are free, some of them are pay. But we go out and once a client gives us a list of what they think their keywords are we take that, we have an internal discussion, kind of like what we’re doing right now, what we think we should add to that list. Then use those tools to see numbers, how many people are actually searching for a keyword, or a keyword phrase. We start to hone in on the list of keywords that are getting the higher search results. Because if your website is optimized and optimized well for a keyword, or keyword phrase that doesn’t have high search volume, then it doesn’t do you a lot of good. A lot of times we run into clients you want this extensive list of keywords, or they want to really focus on this one thing, and don’t understand that that’s not really what the end user is out there searching. We try to educate them, and try to get them to focus on using keywords and keyword strings that are highly searched, and then we can optimize your website for that, so that it matches what people, end users are actually going out and typing in their search engines. Whether it’s on their computer, their phone, or their tablet.
Amy DeLardi: Great. Let’s talk a little bit about once we have that list, and we run that by our clients, and they sign off on it we may have to go back and forth a few times, which is a normal process. But once we have that list we use it as a roadmap for ourselves internally, as a team. When we’re applying the strategies to the website, but also for tracking measures, which we can talk a little bit about later. But let’s start talking about some of the different strategies that we can highlight. Because the search engines, mostly we target for Google, the most popular ones Google, and Bing, and Yahoo. But they have probably hundreds, wouldn’t you say LeeAnn different what’s the word I’m looking for? Not validations, but they have different things that they rank you on. Whether it’s the how long you’ve owned your domain name, how many hits you get to your website, so there’s a lot of different factors. That’s the word I’m looking for, a lot of different factors that they look for when they rank you. But content is the king factor, and if you don’t have the right content, or the right amount of keyword rich content on your website that can really hurt you, and that’s one of the biggest factors. Putting that aside, let’s talk about a few other different factors that help with the ranking of your website for your keywords.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. I guess my SEO and marketing age will show a little bit, but there used to be like tips and tricks around making Google work for you. You used to be able to stuff all these keywords, or jam a keyword into, like Amy mentioned your domain, your URL, and that would automatically work. Google has definitely grown, it’s smarter, and their goal is to make the user experience the best experience possible. As they’ve grown with that they look at what you’re saying. Are you redundant? If you get too repetitive, then you’ll get dinged on that, so we want to make sure that we’re giving good high value content. Also, make sure that your images match what we’re saying. That includes adding an ALT tag, adding … We go through we had heading tags, which Google reads first. They go through this checklist, and that’s one of the things they look for, is do you have keyword rich headings, that’s a large bold areas on their website. Like titles, and things like that. Do you have a good meta description?
There are plugins if you’re using a WordPress platform, or a lot of the done for you websites will allow you to type in your own meta description. Does it match the content of your website, the quality of your website? It gives Google a good snippet of here’s the information, sometimes you’ll look when you’re doing a Google search, and you’ll see people will leave it as just the first few lines of that page, and that’s not an optimized website, or not an optimized page the way that we would suggest. We would suggest really honing in and saying this is the overall view, picking those keywords, and focusing on that. In that meta description adding content, adding a blog, connecting social media networks, making sure that your name, address, and phone number is consistent on your website as it is when you’re listed in Google on the business pages.
Amy DeLardi: Let me stop you right there, LeeAnn, because that is an exciting piece of something that we’re working on with the name, address, and phone number. Which is the Infinite Web Directory Solutions, which we’re having a lot of fun with. Let’s talk a little bit about that because that ties into the back linking, and the consistency that you were just speaking of. Let’s introduce Infinite Web Directory Solutions, or IWDS for short, and take a couple minutes to explain that. Then we’ll get back in to some of the other things. I heard you mention blog, and I want to talk a little bit about blogging, and how that helps with SEO.
LeeAnn Holmberg: You bet.
Amy DeLardi: Do you want to explain IWDS, or do you want me to? How do you want to do that?
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. I’ll jump in and just say that I think Infinite Web Directory Solutions is one of the bigger trends that we’re seeing SEO move towards. Google and Bing don’t just want to see your website be fully optimized, now they are holding you to a higher standard, and they want to see you be consistent across all of the internet. That means like I mentioned before social media, that your name, address, and phone number, and the information that you supply on your social media platform match and are linked to your website. But also we have all of these smaller online business directories. While we talk about Google, and that’s kind of an all encompassing thing, when we talk about search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo, like Amy mentioned.
There’s a ton of other ones. There are all these local directories, like Yelp, Foursquare, there are industry specific, if it’s restaurants, or medical, legal. Google is now holding you to the standard that they want to see your information not only listed on those places, but listed and optimized with consistent information, so we have a tool for those of you that have tried to do any of this, you might know. You can spend hours, and hour, and hours, it’s a rabbit hole, on one directory trying to get everything consistent, images, pictures, everything verified. And then not have their marketing team call you, and beat you down trying to get you to run ads specifically on their platform.
Amy DeLardi: Which we had. I didn’t even tell you about this. Sorry to interrupt, LeeAnn, but we had this yesterday, and Yoana did a call with somebody from Yelp, and they were, and what they were selling us sounded great, right. But they wanted us to increase from our organic Yelp directory listing, which is free to a paid version. Although all the bells and whistles sounded wonderful, and they probably worked exactly the way that they were selling it to us, it really wasn’t affordable for Infinite Web Designs to invest in that. That was the minimum investment of 400 dollars a month, up to 700 and something dollars a month.
Our directory solution in comparison you’re getting into 50 plus, maybe sometimes up to 150 different directories, some of which I’ve never even heard of. But at least you’re getting your information out there, but I did a comparison, and I’m thinking okay for 300 dollars a month you can get into all of these different directories through IWDS, and that pricing may change, so get in now if you’re listening. But the Yelp it was even more expensive than our monthly service, and that’s just one directory. I can’t agree more with what you were just talking about with the pricing, and how just one service with one of these directories can be more expensive than what we’re charging to get into multiple directories. And doing it for you, so it’s saving you time and money, right. That’s the best thing.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Absolutely. We will gather all that data for you, and then we submit that out to, like Amy said there’s 50 plus standard local directories, and then we have over 200 data aggregators that then cycle that out to the internet. To then say hey, not only do we have our information out there, like we’re putting all of our ducks in a row, we’re getting it all consistent on your behalf. Then Google and Bing will perk up and go hey, they’re listening, they’re paying attention, we’re seeing this data that’s consistent. Now not only will you have the work that’s done on your website, you have it across the internet, and they will start to reward you for that, which will bring … The goal is to have your listings be high. Ideally get up in that first few spots before you have to hit scroll, and people clearly will look away.
Kudos to Yelp and the other teams for their marketing efforts, that as soon as you start to optimize on their platform that triggers their marketing team. There’s not a ding in that. However if your ultimate goal is to increase your visibility online putting your dollars across the board, and getting you consistent is going to get you further than doing it on one platform. We have this tool, we can do this on your behalf. Amy, actually visited with a group last week and was highlighting this tool to them, and I don’t know Amy if we still have any kind of specials, or anything going on. But we would be happy to run a baseline to tell you where you are now. Give you a look at where your website ranks not only on the search engines, but across all of those directories.
Amy DeLardi: Yeah, so the special …
LeeAnn Holmberg: And then …
Amy DeLardi: Oh, I’m sorry. Did I cut you off? I was so excited to share the special.
LeeAnn Holmberg: No, please go right ahead.
Amy DeLardi: The specials that we are running is to waive the setup fee. The setup fee is 150 dollars, so you’re saving 150 dollars just in the first month by us waiving the setup fee, which I’m excited to be able to do. The best way to get your free report, and to open the discussion would be to call us at 203-307-5107, again that’s 203-307-5107. The service that you’re going to reference is IWDS, and you can just mention that you listened to the podcast, or you met with us, and you were talking with us, and you want to learn a little bit more, and get your free report. The last thing that we’ll talk about is the reporting piece of this, because every month our clients that retain us they will get a monthly report, and in that report they will see how we are tracking the increased visibility, and the percentage of visibility. If you start out at, what do we see most people start out at? Anywhere from a very low 12 percent, sometimes people start out at 30 percent, some people I’ve seen start out a little bit higher 50s, 60 percent visibility across the internet, but the ultimate goal to get to 100.
That’s just by saturating the internet with your name, your address, your phone number, your web address. Again the best way to do that is to get into a bunch of different directories. I like to say if you can’t beat them, join them. The directories typically if they get a lot of traffic they will show higher in the search engines than your organic listing. There’s that if you can’t beat them, join them, so now you have multiple marketing factors working in your favor, and multiple listings. Whether it is a directory, or your organic listing you have those multiple listings working in your favor, and really trying to reach your target audience, and drive traffic to your phones, or your website. That in summary is IWDS, and I love how it pairs nicely with SEO, and our monthly SEO services.
LeeAnn I didn’t even tell you this, but one of our clients is a landscape design and architect, and we turned their directory solutions on, I think in January maybe. Maybe in the Fall of last year knowing that their busy season was coming up, and I just ran into them, and I asked them for a testimonial actually. Because I ran into them and they were like, “Whatever you’re doing our phones are ringing off the hook, it’s crazy busy, we almost think that you should shut it off, because we’re too busy.” I was happy to hear that, I laughed, of course I’m not going to shut that off. Because you can always manage volume of work in a different way, but I just think that’s a great testimonial to how this is working, and how Infinite Web Designs gets our own leads, and stuff. I’ve seen a definite increase in the amount of leads that I’m getting from our website, and across the internet. I think those are two real good testaments to how the Infinite Web Directory Solutions is working for our clients.
With that said we could go back to talking a little bit more about SEO, and I want to talk about blogging. Believe it or not I just has a client say to me the other day, “What is blogging?” A lot of people still, or maybe not a lot, but some people still don’t even know what blogging is. I’m not going to go into the description of it. But it is a strategy really to get more content on your website, and to be able to share authentically through your own voice on your website, and to be able to talk about your products or services in a more authentic not so sales-y, or I don’t want to say professional, but in a way that maybe you wouldn’t just write, copy. Almost in your own voice versus how you would write copy for a web page.
LeeAnn Holmberg: It builds expertise too, so it takes the stand alone content that is on your webpage, and then allows you to wrap more information around that. Or focus or highlight on one particular aspect of your business that you might not necessarily.
Amy DeLardi: Going back a few years ago a great blog post was like 250 keywords, but now that blogging has become a little bit more of a strategy to get keyword rich content on your site, and outdo your competition so to speak. How many words now are they, Google, or the search engines, how many words now is an average blog post that’s good for SEO?
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure. Yeah, it definitely has evolved, and now I would suggest that you regularly aim for about 1,000 words, again you don’t want to get redundant or stuff with a lot of keywords. But if you’re giving good valuable information, that would be the goal, around 1,000 keywords. Now, if you’re just shy of that, or just over that it’s not hard and fast rule, just kind of a guideline. With that said, if you’re in a highly competitive market finance, gosh Amy can you think of …?
Amy DeLardi: The healthcare industry is highly competitive.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Healthcare.
Amy DeLardi: Yeah.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yeah, there are lots of different … If you’re in an area that is highly competitive then I would shoot for more than that. More along the lines of an ideal length of 2,000 keywords. I know that that’s a lot, that’s a stretch. If that’s not something that you are comfortable with you can find a great copywriter. Our team always has suggestions for things like that. There are a million places online where you can find good copywriting skills, people who are familiar with SEO, and can apply that to the work that they’re doing when they’re providing you content. A lot of times when people throw blog posts over the fence to us we take that.
I’m thinking of one client in particular they send me a few blog posts a month, and each time I take those I have the liberty of editing it a little bit, and cleaning it up so that it is SEO friendly, so it has all of the information that it needs because their copywriter isn’t so familiar, so I can look at that, and I can add our twist to it. It is longer, and that can be a little bit daunting, but I think that it is important, because you want that valuable content. Then adding images that are appropriate, and all of the things that we discussed earlier. The adding an ALT tag to your image, so that Google can search it, and inducts it better, adding the meta description, so that you have an overall view of what the blog is rather than just pulling those first few lines of the content.
Amy DeLardi: Also, one other thing if you’re doing a video, or audio like we’re doing.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Sure.
Amy DeLardi: You want to, the search engines don’t know, they can’t listen to the audio piece of it, so even giving a transcription, or something that can give a hint to the search engines as to what that audio or video content is is extremely helpful.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yeah, absolutely. There are transcription services too. It’s there. We have a whole host of tools that we can provide that offer quick and easy turnaround times, so that you’re not waiting, it’s not overly … It shouldn’t be an overly complicated process, it should be you regularly adding content to the website, which leads right into the next thing. Adding those external links, back linking, and linking to other websites to help grow you reach. For me, I will say one of the biggest mistakes I see being made, and one of the things I always look for is when you’re adding those links within your website to external sites, always do it as a pop up. That’s one, if I can offer one tip on your blog, even on your website period if you’re going to send them somewhere else don’t do it within, don’t make them leave your website.
Amy DeLardi: Oh open up a new …
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yes.
Amy DeLardi: Yeah. Open up in a new window, I know. That’s one of my pet peeves.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yeah.
Amy DeLardi: In closing I just want to ask you what do you think is, I know I have what I think is the biggest miSEOnception of SEO, and I want to see if it’s the same as mine. Do you have a …?
LeeAnn Holmberg: I’m going to give two.
Amy DeLardi: Okay. Go ahead. You’ll probably steal mine in the process.
LeeAnn Holmberg: One, would be that it is a one and done. That you can go and just do this one time, and leave your website static, as is. You really need to be adding valuable content, and doing a lot of the other things that we talked about, making sure that you’re consistent, not just on your website, but across the internet.
Amy DeLardi: I know …
LeeAnn Holmberg: And two …
Amy DeLardi: Hold on one sec. I know to that point I always, when I’m talking to clients, I always say to them doing that one and done is kind of like going on a crash diet before you have to go to a wedding, or an event, a special event, and you want to lose whatever, five, 10 pounds, and look fantastic. But then the rest of the 300 and whatever, 65 days out of the year you’re not eating healthy, not fueling your body, not working out. It’s not a crash diet. It’s a more of a consistent healthy fostering relationship that you have with your website, so that’s how I like to explain it.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Right. I couldn’t agree more. Just like getting ready for vacation, and then going on vacation and just let it all go.
Amy DeLardi: Right, right. You could tell we’re fitness, and try to be health nuts too.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yeah. That’s one, and then the other one is that this is something that you can do immediately that we can do this. What’s the time frame? Can you have this done in three months? This is, again going with the health and fitness analogies, it’s a marathon, this is definitely not a sprint. This is something that is long term, it takes time. One thing that we’re pretty key on doing in our practice is running that baseline report, not only for both, if we’re just doing SEO on your website, or if we’re doing the IWDS solutions, or really anything that we do we always like to take a baseline and capture where we started, so we can start to see that. But it really does take time. If you rush it, then you’re not going to see the results, or the return on investment that you’d like to see. Did I steal yours?
Amy DeLardi: You did. But I have another one, so I have two. You already said the other one, but yeah it’s the quick process, yeah I can’t agree with you more that people are often impatient. Or they come in thinking well I have good SEO, I search my name and I come up, and that’s not really how people are searching you, because they don’t know your name. But that’s not my other one. My other one is there’s no guarantees. I will get a lot of people that will say, “Gosh, I don’t know if I can make that investment. If I was guaranteed, and I knew that I was going to get the ranking, and the click throughs, and the leads, and I knew it was going to bring in work, then I would be bale to invest in it.” Unfortunately there are businesses out there that will guarantee ranking, and the only way to really guarantee ranking is through the paid advertising, whether it be Google, AdWords or what not. Where you’re paying to play. But that’s a whole other podcast that I would love to have another discussion with you in the near future.
In close, I want to just thank our listeners and our audience for their time today, and we’re trying to keep these within like 30 minutes, so that it’s digestible information. We’re going to be posting this to our blog, which is located on infinitewebdesigns.com, do you can listen in over and over again to get all of this juicy, helpful information. You can also find us on social media, so on our Facebook, or we’re on Pinterest, and Twitter, so you can find us there. Again, stay tuned for future podcasts, and discussions. I think the next discussion that we should roll right into, LeeAnn, would be the paid versus, you know paying to play advertising and the organic. Because I think that that needs to be a little bit more demystified for some people.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Okay.
Amy DeLardi: Thanks again, and thank you, LeeAnn for your time, and for doing this with us. I don’t know if you want to say any last few words.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Yes, I enjoyed chatting. Hope, we are having these kinds of conversations internally all the time. If there’s a topic or subject that you would like for us to give our thoughts on, then hit us up on any of the social media platforms that Amy mentioned, or she gave our phone number earlier, give us a call. We’d love to talk about whatever is interesting for you too.
Amy DeLardi: Yes. Infinite Web Designs, 203-307-5107. We’re always there. Thank you.
LeeAnn Holmberg: Thanks. Bye.
Did you know that eight out of ten people who search local business information on a mobile device end up making a visit, a call or a sale? So what happens if the information they find is incomplete, inconsistent or even incorrect? At best consumers are annoyed. At worst they lose trust in the brand. In fact, 71 percent of consumers say they lost trust in a business after finding inconsistent location data online. Businesses spend so much effort building their digital brand presence, but they often neglect an important area that has the potential to bring big returns – online directories.
Having a consistent listing in online outlets can make a positive difference. It not only creates consumer trust and improves visibility but also tells search engines that your B2B or B2C business is legitimate, resulting in improved search engine rankings. How’s that for big returns?
At Infinite Web Designs we pride ourselves on helping our clients maximize their online presence. That’s why we’re introducing Infinite Web Directory Solutions (IWDS) – a valuable management tool that brings together all the information about a business, from physical location to service areas, into one cohesive digital footprint.
Imagine the visibility that comes with being listed consistently in 50+ online outlets. Imagine the kind of presence and authority that consistency creates with search engines, which in turn increases visibility even more. And imagine the target customers you could reach with that kind of visibility.
With IWDS you don’t have to worry about which directories you’re listed in, which service data is listed in which directory or how your name, address and phone number are listed. That is all managed for you. We take care of your online presence so you can focus on what you do best.
How specifically can IWDS help my digital presence?
Some of the positive effects of local digital presence management include an increase in visibility across all search engines, an increase in website traffic and quality back links to your website.
So what exactly does IWDS do?
We make sure your business citations are listed in the most important high-traffic directories, social networks and data aggregators. We review, correct and optimize the listings and provide you with real-time progress reports and updates.
What about industry specific directories?
In addition to well-known directories like Google, Bing, Yelp, etc. we also have access to several industry-specific directories for professions including:
– Home services
– Financial services
– Health and wellness
If your industry is not listed please contact us.
What does the IWDS service include?
The Infinite Web Directory Service includes:
– Baseline reporting
– 3 major search engine submissions
– Directory submissions to 50+ online directories
– 300+ data aggregators
– Local presence management
– Listing management
– Reputation management
– Monthly updating
– Directory updates
– Optional vertical directories
What does a baseline report tell me?
A baseline report includes both a visibility score, which displays the average score for your initial local page (determined by your average visibility and optimization in Google+ Local, Yahoo Local and Bing Places) and a directory score (derived by dividing the number of directories in which you were found by the number checked.) These scores serve as the starting point with which to monitor your results.
How long does it take before I see results?
You will typically see positive results within 30 days.
Find out what IWDS can do for your business. Give us a call today or fill out the form below to receive your free baseline report.