5 Reasons Why A Custom Website Design Beats A Template

Building a website is essential to running any sort of business or brand. We’re living in an age where an internet presence isn’t just recommended but practically required.

Seventy-nine percent of U.S. citizens shop online. People use the internet like we formerly used phone books, which means you need to get your business “listed” on the web.

Though there’s more than one way to “list” your business, and they’re not all created equal. Custom website design far outweighs generic templates.

If you’re serious about building the best website money can buy, you need to choose a custom design over web templates. Here’s why.

Unique

Website templates are just that. Templates. They aren’t unique, meaning your very same website is in use by someone else.

That means your buttons, navigation structure, banners, and general look are all the exact same as anyone else who uses that template. Lack of access to the underlying code means you’re unable to alter anything significant about your design.

Custom web designs, however, allow designers to modify every single thing about your website. This means creating a website that’s truly yours.

A unique design helps you stand out from the crowd. It shows customers you take everything seriously, down to the smallest details.

If you want customers to pay for quality, you need to show them that you’re doing the same thing.

Credible

Proving to customers that you’re willing to pay for quality helps up your credibility. People trust those who invest time, money, and effort into their own business.

And research shows that 75 percent of consumers admit that they judge businesses’ credibility based on web design. The worse the design, the less they trust a website.

This means that it’s crucial to prioritize custom web design over a standard, lower-quality templates. Just like first impressions in real life, your website gets judged by everyone who visits.

Drive Conversions Your Way

The goal of building your website is building your brand and driving conversions. Custom landing pages, an easy to navigate structure, and attractive layouts all help this become a reality.

None of that is possible when you’re using a stock template. Though with custom web design you can easily set up your website for conversion success.

Custom landing pages help you drive customers towards conversions. You’re able to design subscription buttons, information forms, and other elements to fit your specific campaign.

SEO and CMS

As we mentioned above, custom websites offer the ability to alter your code. This helps with your design and also your SEO. Your website’s underlying HTML code directs affects your SEO.

Google looks to HTML code to determine what your website is all about. That HTML is also a part of your content management system. (CMS). Custom design also allows for a custom (and better tailored towards SEO) CMS.

Built to Scale

Every business is different. You’ll grow at a different pace than a nearly identical competitor. This means your website will see unique growth as well.

Custom websites are just that, customizable. You can adjust everything and anything as your business grows. Need to add more landing pages? It’s no problem with a custom design.

Getting Your Own Custom Website Design

Designing and building your custom website is best left to the professionals Outsourcing your web design leaves more time to grow your business. Plus, web design isn’t easy.

It takes an enormous amount of time to learn proper web design. So if you’re in the market for custom web design, get in touch with us.

We’re experts at making sure your website stands out from the pack.

5 Local SEO Strategies to Implement on Your Site

The SEO industry is expected to hit $79 billion by 2020. This means you need to start investing in SEO now.

So, if you’re looking to boost your online reputation or drive traffic to your website? If SEO is the king of all things website-related, local SEO is undoubtedly the queen.

Local SEO tactics allow you to target customers in your area, enhance your traffic, and bring more customers to your door.

Let’s get into five strategies you can implement on your site right now.

Focus on the Best Local Keywords

Keywords play a huge role in effective local SEO strategies. With the majority of consumers using mobile phones for their online searches, you need to make your website easy and accessible.

Local keywords will vary depending on your company’s niche, but targeting the longtail keywords, such as hairstylists in San Diego, will garner significantly more attention than just hairstylist.

Know & Study The Competition

All successful business owners understand the significance of looking and examining the competition. You need to see where their marketing efforts lead and who they are also seeking to target.

If your website pales in comparison to theirs? Well, you have a problem, and your traffic and revenue may definitely be suffering as a result.

Advertise Locally

Of course, you need to be accessible online, but you also cannot afford to overlook taking a local approach to advertising.

Local review sites, like Foursquare and Yelp, implement the power of local consumer bases. Utilize these to improve your local marketing results. If you want to rank as one of the best in your city, these tools will help get you there.

Don’t underestimate using these resources for paid advertising efforts. It’s an easy way to reach the customers searching in your area for certain services or products.

Streamline Your Website

Getting people to land on your website is obviously a huge goal. With that said, it’s just as important to keep people on your website.

After all, nothing is more frustrating than getting to a site only for it to take forever to load. Furthermore, nobody wants to hunt around for a contact form or payment page.

You need to make it as simple and cohesive as possible for consumers to book services and consultations online. If you’re not sure how to do this, consider the virtues of outsourcing to SEO professionals.

Streamline Your Mobile Presence

Nowadays, your mobile presence needs to be just as optimized and responsive as your desktop website presence.

With consumers spending more time swiping on smartphones and tablets, you want to keep this in mind as you develop your responsive web design.

Essentially, you want your website to look dynamic and efficient on any screen, regardless of the size.

Final Thoughts on Mastering Local SEO

Local SEO represents a critical piece of your online reputation’s puzzle. Don’t overlook its presence in creating a dynamic online experience for your consumers!

At Studio 98, we’re passionate about creating dynamic content following SEO best practices. Want to take your website to the next level? Schedule a call with us today!

How Your Business Can Benefit from a Custom Dynamic Website

Thinking of making a website for your business?

Over 1.3 billion people have already done it. This means that, while there’s certainly evidence that consumers are turning to the Internet to help them find the products and services they need, the competition is fiercer than ever.

So, how are you going to make your site stand out?

By creating a custom dynamic website that helps you to build your brand and provides a seamless, intuitive experience for your visitors.

What other benefits does dynamic website design offer?

Read on to find out.

1. It Encourages Customer Interaction

You don’t want your visitors to mindlessly scroll through your website.

Instead, you want them to engage with and respond to your content!

Dynamic design makes it happen by creating a more personalized browsing experience. Your site can make product recommendations based on browser history, user demographics, and even the location of the visitor.

Your site layout and the pages that get pushed to the front can even change based on the time of day it’s being accessed.

All of these features help you to increase your conversions and keep your customers coming back to your site for more.

2. Creating New Content Doesn’t Take All Day

If you’re currently working with a static website, then you already know what a pain it can be to update and add new content.

Something that should only take a few minutes can easily eat up half of your workday.

But when you work with dynamic design, you won’t need to readjust the format of your posts every time. This means that if you want to switch up your layout or add features to highlight a holiday, event, or special sale, you can get the code written in half the time.

Whenever you make a change to your site, that change is automatically applied site-wide. No more wasting time changing your individual pages to ensure continuity.

Plus, whenever you write a new page or blog post, it will usually be automatically featured on your site, saving you tons of time and energy.

3. You’ll Build Stronger Customer Connections Faster

Usually, it takes a long time to gain a site visitor’s trust — and even longer to get them to actually convert.

But when you embrace dynamic website design, your website will be easy to navigate, tailor-made to user preferences, and ensure that the same visitor sees something different each time they log onto your site.

This means that the bond between you and your customer will be formed faster than ever.

Plus, dynamic design is constantly taking customer feedback and user data into consideration. This means you’ll always be improving.

Need Professional Dynamic Website Design Services?

Thanks to this post, you now know just a few of the many benefits of dynamic website design.

However, keep in mind that you and your business won’t be able to see any of these benefits if you don’t work with a team of professionals that can make your site as dynamic — and as unique and engaging — as you want it to be.

That’s where we come in.

Spend some time on our website and get in touch with us to learn more about how we can take your website to the next level.

Why SEO Outsourcing Can Be Just What Your Business Needs

It’s 5:00 PM, and it’s been another crazy Monday morning.

You wanted to spend a few hours in the afternoon writing a blog post for your brand’s website, but an unexpected client call ate up that time instead.

Or maybe a customer called to let you know they couldn’t find what they needed on your website, but you don’t have the technical skills needed to improve its navigation.

Maybe you created your website a couple of years ago, and haven’t checked it since.

If any of these situations sound familiar, it sounds like you’re in the market for professional SEO outsourcing services.

Why?

Read on to find out.

1. Because You Don’t Really Know What You’re Doing

So, you’ve read a couple of articles online about the importance of SEO. Maybe you’ve even gotten a few more hits than usual on a blog post that you wrote with SEO in mind.

But ask yourself:

Does this really make you an expert?

How much do you actually know about the Google Algorithm? If it changed tomorrow, would you have the technical ability, let alone the time, to update your entire website accordingly?

Do you know how to improve your site’s speed, make the necessary changes for mobile optimization, and create a dynamic web design scheme for your site?

Do you have time to make small tweaks and updates every week — and not just once?

You know the answer.

SEO outsourcing is the way to ensure you don’t get left behind because you don’t know what you’re doing in the first place.

2. Because It’s Cost-Effective

Maybe what’s holding you back from SEO outsourcing is the perceived high cost of hiring professional services.

But let’s take a closer look.

The cost of television commercials can range anywhere from $200-$324,000, depending on the length and outlet.

However, when you pay for those broader types of marketing efforts, there are no guarantees that the people watching your commercial will even be interested in what you have to offer.

SEO helps you to connect with the potential clients that are already looking to buy what you’re selling.

This means SEO is a much more cost-effective way to advertise your business than traditional marketing methods.

3. Because Your Competitor Is Already Doing It

70% of businesses say that they plan to increase their overall digital marketing efforts within the coming year.

This means that, if you don’t make SEO a part of your strategy, your website is going to fall in the search engine rankings — and you’ll lose a massive amount of business to your competitors.

Need Professional SEO Outsourcing?

We hope this post has convinced you that there’s no time like the present to get into SEO outsourcing.

No matter the size of your business or the industry you’re working within, getting someone else to handle your SEO strategy will save you time, money, and ensure that you’re always a few steps ahead of the latest digital marketing trends.

Need an SEO agency you can trust?

Check out our portfolio to learn more about how we can grow your traffic, increase your conversions, and boost customer loyalty.

6 Expert SEO Tips That Everyone Should Know

If you spend any time on marketing websites, you’re being hit with a ton of information. You’re probably also being told you need an expert SEO to do this work for you.

SEO services are a lot of things, but cheap isn’t one of them.

Have no fear. Here are 6 expert SEO tips you should know and do completely on your own.

1. Create the Best Content

Being good, well, isn’t really good enough. You need to strive to create the greatest content, better than anyone else in your industry.

If should be a mix of short form, long form, as well as video content. Find the content that is doing the best with your readers and then head to our next step.

Post quality and quantity. Not posting often enough will make your readers forget you exist.

2. You Want Links Within Posts

Internal links are a great way for your best content to provide a path for viable, yet less-read posts. Being too “salesy” can turn off a lot of prospects. Insert internal links not to products and services, but other posts that link to them.

External links to authoritative sites with relevant content will help your readers to know you’re providing fact-based content with the reader’s interest in mind.

This also sends a message to search engines that you care about citing sources and providing other helpful content. In time, you will be rewarded with an increase in domain authority.

3. Backlinks are the Expert SEO Answer

Most often, and Expert SEO is going to talk about backlinks.

A lot.

And they’re right. The more backlinks you have, the better. To do some of this on your own, create profiles at social bookmarking sites and blog aggregation sites.

Next, set up a Google My Business account along with all of the relevant directories, like Yelp, white/yellow pages, and anything related to your own industry or niche.

You’ll eventually build up a quality link profile as you create stellar content and it is shared by your readers and other industry professionals.

4. Make It Quick

Page speed is one of Google’s newest ranking factors. The faster your site, the more the search engine will favor your business.

And why is this? Because people want faster websites. They don’t want to wait and with modern technology, they really shouldn’t have to.

5. Be Social

Social media is the easiest way to draw traffic to any website. If it’s a new site, these bookmarks are even more important.

Secondly, you can use them for reputation management and customer service. Reach out and talk to your customers, find out what they want, show that you care.

6. Patience is a Virtue

No matter how good you are or how much traffic, SEO takes a while.

Google wants you to prove that you and your business aren’t some sort of scam. This is why the largest factor in domain authority is the age of the domain.

If you want the best results, take your time and be thorough.

Not everyone has the time to take care of this on their own. At Studio 98, we have the time and the expertise to help next-level your SEO campaign. Contact us today to get the ball rolling.

8 Ways an Unresponsive Website Will Kill Your Online Leads

Nothing dampens the spirit more than when a potential customer responds to your Pay-Per-Click advert only to not convert into a real customer upon reaching your website. The purpose of driving traffic to your website is not just to increase the number of visitors. As a salesperson, your aim is to make the visitor a paying customer. In addition to the pain of not being able to convert the visitor, you also have to pay Google for the Pay-Per-Click conversion.

Most online leads are lost due to unresponsive websites. A website is said to be unresponsive if it cannot adapt to the device used to access it. In other words, the layout of a website will appear differently depending on the device. Responsive web design services are what you need to create a responsive website.

Unresponsive websites kill the online leads you generate in the following ways:

1. User Experience

The reason your visitor clicked on your Pay-Per-Click advert in the first place is quite simple. He or she wanted to know more about how your product or service would be of use to him or her. In other words, the visitor came to have a good experience. If your website does not impress a visitor between 3 to 15 seconds, the visitor will leave. Most visitors will not put in the extra effort to navigate a website which they find to be unresponsive.

2. Poor Readability

When a website is unresponsive, it appears on a tablet, for instance, the way it is viewed when you use a desktop. Each device used is designed differently. The layout might be great for reading on a desktop, but it will be difficult to read on a mobile device. So, if a mobile device user visits a website and finds it difficult to properly read the words due to its poor layout, the visitor will simply leave the website.

3. No Call to Action

The main aim of driving traffic to your website is to eventually convert the visitor into a paying customer. The website is supposed to entice the visitor enough to increase the rate of conversion. However, unresponsive websites fail to convert visitors into paying customers because they do not have an effective call to action on their pages. A call to action can be a sign-up form, a highlighted button, or a lead magnet.

4. It’s Not Mobile Friendly

Unlike responsive websites, which are designed by responsive web design services, unresponsive websites are not mobile user-friendly. Since they are difficult to navigate on a mobile device, Google does not rank them well. By penalizing it, the online lead that might have been generated by doing a search on Google is lost.

5. A Lack of Connection

Your website is bound to lose online leads that could convert to paying customers if it lacks any sense of connection with the visitor. What responsive web design services will tell you is that unresponsive websites do not make it easy for visitors to connect with them. Their contact forms are not properly located. They do not offer web chat services. Visitors cannot readily find a contact phone number or e-mail address. You only turn visitors into converts by reaching out to them.

6. Poor Quality Images

In this digital age, the quality of an image plays a huge role in attracting a potential customer and keeping existing ones. Google directs visitors more to websites that engage them for a long time. One of the ways to improve the online leads from Google is to use high quality images to engage visitors. This is one thing unresponsive websites lack. Besides Google, visitors are more likely to share a website’s page with good quality images among their friends.

7. Poor Navigation

Unresponsive websites do not retain a visitor for long because they are difficult to navigate. Once the visitor reads what brought him or her to the website, the unresponsive website does not encourage navigation by a visitor who has no time to spare. A visitor will easily convert if navigation is easy. This is because, while navigating around the website, the visitor finds the website pages are interesting to read.

8. Poor Content

One bit of advice responsive web design services will give is to provide quality content on your website. Due to the poor content of an unresponsive website, all the leads in the world may bring visitors to it, but they will all leave quickly. To rank well in Google and to enjoy online leads, your website should have quality content that will keep visitors engaged for a long time.

Is This The Death of The American Dream?

There are a number of statistics which track the births and deaths of small businesses in America.

We have even used some of these for earlier blog posts on our own website as you can see here.

In doing research for our latest blog post I came across some research results being referred to by Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup. Yes that’s the same Gallup that does surveys and polls on hugely important subjects and trends.

The data is this:

Since the numbers of new businesses and business closures have been being measured (1977) new businesses have always outnumbered business closures by at least 100,000 or more every year.

Since 2008 the number of businesses that are opening in the U.S. per year plummeted and the number of business closures in the U.S. continued to rise. The most recent numbers coming in put us at a deficit of 70,000. Meaning that for the first time since we have been measuring these numbers, more businesses are closing than are opening. 70,000 more closures than business openings is a very unhealthy trend to say the least.

Gallup

Source: http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/180431/american-entrepreneurship-dead-alive.aspx

While there are many opinions and theories about what happened in 2008 that cause the so-called “Great Recession”, one thing is abundantly clear, not enough people are successfully starting and running businesses.

As most businesses failures have to do with a lack of knowledge or application of knowledge on how to market, sell and deliver their product, training new and existing business owners is now an urgent nation-wide priority.

Let’s also now look at the fact that since 2008 some very major things have happened

In 2008 Facebook passed MySpace in the number of active users (approx 100 million) and hasn’t looked back since (last count was 1.23 billion active users).

2009 was when Facebook introduced the “like” button.

Since 2008 Twitter has grown from 6 million users to 320 million.

Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist in 2008 and now have 300 million and 47 million users respectively.

This is not even taking into account all of the new and changed advertising opportunities with online platforms such as Google AdWords, sponsored posts on Instagram and Facebook and many more.

If it isn’t clear yet, the conclusion you should be drawing here is that there are now more channels to reach customers than ever before. But that means you can also fail on more channels than ever before.

You need to get yourself educated on the current marketing and sales tools available to you. We have seen the number of potential avenues to reach customers double, triple and keep on expanding by the day. This doesn’t mean you have to use all of them, but it does mean that your customers are now potentially receiving ads and marketing communications from many more sources than ever before in history. You need to know which ones are going to be effective for you and how best to use them in your business.

This doesn’t mean you go find a “guru” and dump tons of money into having them handle it for you. It means you need to get educated on what your options are, what the pros and cons are to all of these new platforms and make sure that your business strategy takes into account which ones you are going to be using to ensure your success.

This country was built on the idea that everyone has a fair and equal chance for success and that if you work hard, the sky’s the limit. Don’t waste that chance through unintentional ignorance.

Get educated and get successful, (or more successful). You’ll find advice and tips all throughout this blog and there are many other sources. If you have a question, you can always write us and ask, we’d be happy to help, even if it’s just to steer you in the right direction.

Do you have a specific question or topic about marketing and sales you would like to see explained simply? Write it in the comment section below.

Website Flow

All websites have goals. You want your viewer to notice the most most important information first. You want people to be presented with the right information at the right time. One way to achieve that is to control the flow and rhythm of your composition.

Compositional flow (which can also be described as visual hierarchy) determines how a viewer’s eye flows through the design. First it goes over where the eye looks, and second where the eye rests. It also determines how long the viewer’s eye stays on a certain section.

You can create flow by utilizing a combination of visual weight and visual direction.

-Visual weight (which can also be called a focal point) pulls in the eye and acts as a good resting point.

-Visual direction gives the viewer a path to follow when viewing a web page, helping with the flow of the page.

Website flow will start with your dominant element. You should always make your dominant element the entry point to you website.

The main point is to use the flow of the site to guide the visitor to the contact form, sign-up form or button you want them to land on.

Proper use of Website Flow will transform your website from an attractive place holder into a lead and sales generation tool.

Why Your Website is My Baby Too

Often times when a project is very dear to someone you will hear them refer to it as “their baby”. As a project manager I do this quite often when discussing my projects with my peers and even with my clients. It sounds silly but there are many reasons why I think your website is my baby too and why you want your design company to think like this!

First of all I care about your website as much as you do every day. Managing a web project is what I do day in and day out and each of my projects I care about seeing from beginning to end. In the end this website is going to represent your company as a whole but it will also represent my design company too. So I care about the design, the functionality, and the ease of use for your future growth and expansion. When picking a design company you want them to care about your website as if it was their only project because that’s how you know it’s getting done right.

Second of all, like a baby, building websites involves planning for the future. This just means that I care about your project and am going to let you know if something isn’t working right, doesn’t look right, or may not be the best or easiest thing for you to manage in the future. Ideally you want your design company to be focused on making sure your website will last you several years down the road. Your website will grow and change over time so what you want to focus on is not only how your site can accomplish what you need for today but what can it do for down the road.

Finally because I care so much about your site and project I may seem like I am demand a lot when working on a project. Things like getting approval on designs, getting your content finished and getting a site launched. I’m doing this because your website is being built to reflect YOU and the only way to do that is get it out there in the public. Your design team will push you to complete your site not so that you are rushed but because having a finished product that represents you in the best way possible is our ultimate goal.

All in all when picking a design team you want to know that they care about your project as much as you do. You want to know they will stay in communication with you, will help you build a site that you can grow with, and help you stay on track to show that baby…I mean website off to the world.

Is Your Website Structure Consistent?

Is Your Website Structure Consistent?

“Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don’t have to worry about what will happen. Instead, they know what will happen based on earlier experience. The more users’ expectations prove right, the more they will feel in control of the system and the more they will like it. And the more the system breaks users’ expectations, the more they will feel insecure.” – Jakob Nielsen

Consistency in a website is important for the user. A good example of this is navigation.  If the navigation is on the top on the homepage, but then only on the side in the inner pages, it causes frustration, inconsistency, and a lack of trust for the user.

By following the same pattern throughout the site, you create a consistent flow of information.

An important goal for any company is building trust, don’t let inconsistency in the site break down the trust you are trying to build. Other ways to have consistency throughout your site can include using the same font, colors, links, titles, navigation, and layout. If you choose to break this consistency with a well-thought-out plan, you can deliberately attract attention to some part of the site that stands out from the rest. This lets you highlight a special event, sale, or new service while maintaining trust. If you are unpredictable all the time, you will confuse the user.

Check out your website from the user’s point of view. If you get lost or confused, it might be time to consider a new website design.