Your Old Website: Rebuild, or Redesign?

What to do with your out of date website

Remember that car you thought looked really cool twenty years ago? Chances are, if that car is still on the road today, it might not be ascool. Remember the hip colors you decorated your home with in the 90s? No wonder you’ve had it on the market for three years already.

We live in a style-conscious world. In many cases, style changes with technology. Our smart phones don’t look anything like those big old clunky desk phones that we all had in the sixties because that was the only style the phone company offered. Sometimes, style is just an emotion – something that makes us feel happy and trendy at the moment. Whatever the case may be, trends in technology move more quickly than any other type of trend. Because of this, it is important that your website reflects a more modern aesthetic.

Bring your Website Up to Date

If your website was created back in the early 21st Century, it’s probably making your company look hopelessly clueless to prospective customers who visit your site today. This may seem trivial to you, after all, it’s the quality of your product and service, not the style of your website that should make a difference. First impressions are important, so your website has to make you look inviting, or “click,” they’re gone. Technology has changed a lot too on the internet. Because of faster connections, and better computers, there’s so much more you can do today with your website that you couldn’t do five to ten years ago.

Today’s web users click through hundreds of websites every day. Chances are, most of these websites will be high quality, modern, and stylish. If your website design isn’t on a similar level, they will certainly notice a difference, and it could even drive them to a competitor’s site. Along with necessary information about your business, they’ll expect a certain level of professionalism and style from your website. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will most likely move right onto the next website.

What should I Do with my old website?

But, you say, all the information a user needs is currently on my old website. Good! Because all you have to do then is redesign your old site. Bring it up to date with the latest look, and latest navigation protocols.

Or, you say, our website doesn’t really say very much about our business. Too bad, because there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. It doesn’t cost you more each month to host a big website than it does to host a small one, and users today expect to find necessary information quickly.

Redesign your site if:

  • all of the necessary information about your business is already there
  • the site was developed over five years ago
  • your site appears outdated and unprofessional (there’s nothing wrong with looking at a competitor’s site to see how you stack up.)
  • you haven’t changed anything in a while (Another benefit is that search engine’s algorithm’s give preference to companies that update their websites frequently.)

Build a brand new site if:

  • Your current site is lacking important information about you
  • modern technology such as videos is nowhere to be seen
  • your current website doesn’t work well on mobile phones
  • your site is old and outdated in appearance

Professional Web Design at HD Marketing & Design

Get an expert opinion and find out just what your website can do. At HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne, we can help you review your site without any cost or obligation. If necessary, we can offer assistance in bringing your current site up to date, or even launching a brand new website! We specialize in web design, Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Video Production and more. Call us today at (260) 432-8437 and let us help you bring your website into the 21st century.

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What is content marketing?

what is content marketing

Utilizing Quality Content to Grow your Business

If you’ve been in business for a while, you might have heard people say “content is King.” But what exactly does that mean? What can great content do for your business? What makes great content and why does it matter for your website? Here are a few reasons why content truly is king, and what it can do to help your business.

Great Content means Great Authority

In the world of Internet Marketing, your website’s authority has a direct impact on how well you rank. Think of it in terms of Facebook. Let’s say you post a picture of the delightful quesadilla you had for lunch, and nobody “likes” it. On the other hand, your friend just posted a picture of her newborn baby, and her post is blowing up with “likes” and “congratulations.” Which post do you think Facebook will give preference to?

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, authority is everything. The more outside links your website has, linking back to your site, the more search engines view you as a “respectable source,” which will boost your rankings. The only truly effective way to gain links is to create great content that is actually worth sharing. When it comes to creating content, keep in mind that it is “quality over quantity” every time.

Content Marketing means Keywords

In order for people to find your site, you must consider what people are typing in the search box when looking for your product or service. Words and phrases that people are searching for contain keywords. In order for your website to rank well for a particular search, and for a prospective customer to find you when they search, these keywords must be on your web site.

Search Engines use algorithms and web crawlers to look at your website, and determine if it is relevant or not. Relevancy has a lot to do with which keywords you use and how many keywords your content contains. That being said, if you stuff your site with keywords for the sole purpose of ranking better, your search engine ranking will reflect poorly, and your site can even be penalized. Therefore, it is important to first and foremost create great content. Once you have great content, then you can begin to make sure you include keywords relevant to your web site to help your content be found.

When selecting keywords, make sure that you put yourself in the shoes of potential customers. Ask yourself what they would possibly be searching for if they were in need of your product or service. Be sure to choose keywords that are natural and common.

Content Marketing means Viral Content

Along with creating authority and the opportunity for keywords, great content can mean viral content. When you are writing for your site, it is important that you create content that people want to read. Rather than writing your content for web crawlers, if you write your content for people, your rankings will go up.

Never underestimate the power of viral content. If you write a truly great article that offers helpful advice or even just a few laughs, people are much more willing to share it on Facebook, or link to it in their blogs.

Content Marketing at HD Marketing & Design

By now, you should know that quality content and a solid web presence can help your business explode! If you need help creating content including website copy and blog posts, contact HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne today. With years of experience in online marketing, advertising, and web design, we can help you create quality content to help you get found and grow your business.

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Introducing your Business to Potential Customers

let your customers know who you areLet your customers know who you are before they ever walk in the door

 

Most of us would agree that the vast amount of information quickly available at our fingertips is a great part of modern life. But when you are searching for a particular product or service, sometimes the bounty of information can quickly get overwhelming.

Savvy marketing companies and business owners have learned that the simpler the message, the better. Tell them what you do or provide and make it easy to find you. Before your customers walk in your door, they expect to have a pretty good understanding of what you can do for them.

Of course, different consumers prefer to get their information in many different ways, including the internet, print ads, social media, and more. So while it’s important to clearly state who you are and what you do, you need to make sure that message is conveyed well across a variety of formats. There are many ways to introduce your business or services to potential customers:

Your Website

  • customers (existing or potential) simply expect you to have one
  • customers expect it to be easy to navigate
  • it’s the obvious place to “show and tell” what you do
  • it’s also a way to build relationships with customers through online ordering, comment options, links to Facebook and other social media

Social Media

  • keeps you connected with existing customers
  • increases your customer base
  • creates buzz for your business
  • improves Google search rankings for your business

Search Engine Rankings

  • the higher you rank in search engine results, the easier it is for customers to find you.
  • optimize your website to help it rank higher
  • use the right keywords in the right places to ensure your site will be easily found
  • use the right keywords and coding to make sure your business appears near the top in local results and on local maps

Special Promotions or Events

  • promote a new service, product or special event to generate further communication about your business
  • use social media to make it easy for others to share your news
  • provide sneak peeks of what’s coming to keep customers interested
  • make a personal connection — interact with existing customers and entice new customers to find out more about you
  • create a buzz

Traditional Media (Print, TV, Radio Ads)

  • tell people who you are and what you do – visually
  • use outdoor signs or changing electronic display boards
  • keep ads consistent and simple – potential customers have only a moment to take in what your sign has to say
  • tailor your message to different formats (visual, audio, website, smartphone etc.)

HD Marketing & Design is Here for You

At HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne, we understand how all of these formats function and we stay on top of the new trends in communication, internet marketing, technology, and web design.  We work with you to develop a clear introduction for your potential customers and make sure that message stays consistent across all marketing platforms. Contact us today about how we can help you provide an introduction to your business that will effortlessly and effectively draw new customers your way.

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What Emotions do Colors Convey?

Color Meanings in Marketing & Branding

color meanings

In the world of sales and marketing, even the subtlest nuances can have an impact on the consumer. The smallest things can sway the consumer’s decision to buy a product, even on a subconscious level. Because of this, it helps to consider these nuances in your marketing campaign. For example, did you know that colors could directly impact how a person feels? Here are some examples of how colors can directly effect your marketing campaign and sales.

Green

Depending on the shade, green can mean a few different things. One of the more popular messages that green conveys is “environmental.” Factors such as the “recycle” logo, and even the saying “Going Green” have turned the color green into a message that says “earth friendly.” When someone sees green, they are subconsciously reminded of freshness, nature, and harmony.  Deeper shades of green are associated with money and wealth.

Blue

The color blue communicates the feeling of professionalism, reliability, and trust.  In this article, men’s fashion expert, Hendrik Pohl explains what a presidential candidate’s tie color says about him. Pohl noticed that 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, often chose to wear a blue tie.

“Blue is one of the safest and most common tie colors for politicians because most people associate well with blue. Blue is the color that people most commonly name as their favorite color and it has a very calming effect on people,” Pohl says.

Red

Of all the colors, red is known to be the most passionate. Red conveys a message of desire, love, and warmth.  We tend to view red as symbolic for passion and love. It is a very trusting color that consumers relate with.  Red is also a very attention-grabbing color.

Yellow

Traffic signs, highway lines, school buses, etc – from a young age, we are conditioned to pay attention to yellow. This might be the reason many companies choose to use it in their campaigns, and even their logos! (McDonald’s and Burger King to name a few.) Yellow creates a sense of energy and urgency.

There are many things that can subconsciously drive someone to buy a product. Color is just one of the many factors. That being said, you don’t want to be left on your own when it comes to your marketing campaign. At HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne, we successfully help businesses grow, nationwide. Specializing in website design, Internet and digital marketing, we can help you implement a campaign that works on all levels!

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How Did You Find Us?

Making sure your Business is being Found

One of the primary goals of any business is exposure — to get the information about who you are and what you do into the hands of the people who need it. There are many different avenues to get this information out:

  • website
  • Social Media, including Facebook
  • street front sign
  • newspaper ads
  • radio or TV ads
  • direct mail

Because of the many options available, you need to know which avenue is most effective. Luckily, there’s a simple way to find out which of these is really having an impact: ask your customers!

A casual “How did you find us?” can improve your interaction with customers and give you some valuable information at the same time. If you don’t know how your customers are finding you, how will you know where to focus your efforts? Without knowing how and where your business is getting noticed, you might be wasting money and effort advertising in the wrong places. Their responses can help you determine which marketing channels are worth the investment and which ones your customers are responding to.

This question can also enrich your relationship with customers — showing your interest in them and why they chose your business. Certainly if a new customer comes to you because of a referral, you want to be able to thank the person who referred them to you. Also, the customer’s response may give you fodder for further connections and conversation:

  • Heard it on the country music station? “Hey, did you hear that Lady Antebellum is coming to Indy?”
  • Saw it at Parkview Field? “Are the Tincaps going to beat Dayton tomorrow?”
  • Just googled it? “Why did you pick us over the other companies that came up?”

A bit of a personal connection can go a long way. And, of course, make sure you or your employees follow up with the obvious: “We hope to see you again soon!”

At HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne, we can help you create a highly effective, custom marketing campaign to help you grow your business. We look at what avenue works best for your business. Whether that is print design, Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, or commercial production, HD Marketing & Design can help you make sure your business is being found.

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SEM? SEO? What’s the Difference?

difference SEO SEMBoth SEO and SEM are marketing strategies with the goal of achieving high-ranking results on internet search engines (such as Google or Bing) for your website. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but in reality, they are two different services.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Websites designed with SEO in mind strive is to obtain a high placement on the web search results page. A high ranking makes is easier for people to find your site and easily connect with your company, products and services.

Marketing agencies such as HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne,  follow a set of SEO “best practices”  that help their clients’ websites get high rankings every time. Some of these tactics include:

  • keyword research and development
  • creating keyword-rich content
  • link building from other sites
  • using social media (like Facebook and Twitter)
  • improving the site’s navigability

A quality SEO strategy is one that is constantly evolving. HD Marketing & Design works continually to stay on top of changing search engine algorithms and technology AND to monitor your site’s effectiveness versus your competitors.

What is SEM?

SEM means Search Engine Marketing. SEM is a broader term than SEO. It encompasses the various ways to use a search engine’s technology, including paid ads and banners. It is often a costlier approach. SEM uses the search engines to advertise your website to Internet customers with the goal of sending more targeted traffic to your site. Ad rates vary between the different search engines — they each use different formulas to estimate “pay per click” charges.

At HD Marketing & Design, we can explain the potential costs to you and help you determine the best approach to help you grow your business. Our goal is always to maximize the relevance of accessibility of our clients’ sites, while keeping your marketing budget in mind. If you would like to launch a powerful SEO or SEM campaign to help your business get found online, call the team at HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne, today at (260) 432-8437.

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Copyright Laws

When is it OK to use someone else’s work?

Thanks to the Internet, today, it is not hard to get your hands on anything for which you may have a need.  Wikipedia is now recognized as a legitimate resource and Twitter has almost deemed newspapers unnecessary.  Although it has never been easier to access necessary information, it is important to keep in mind that just because something is on the Internet, doesn’t make it free for you to use.  Because of the ever-changing world of technology, I thought we could all benefit from a refresher course in Copyright laws, and what is OK for us to use.

Copyright Law Basics

The first thing to keep in mind is that copyright laws have been put in place in order to protect your intellectual property and creative works.  The second you write or create something, you own legal rights to that piece of work.  How would you like if you wrote a poem, and posted it on Facebook; then, one day you find out that someone has been making millions off of your poem, passing it off as their own.  This exact situation is why copyright laws are put into place.

Copyright law is a very detailed, complex subject.  Because every situation is different, it must be treated as such.  Copyright laws are not necessarily black and white — there are many gray areas.

At its core, the copyright law states that if something exists on the Internet, it is because someone created it.  As a creator of that item, he or she owns any intellectual property, and rights to that item.  With the exception of very few minor cases, anyone who attempts to infringe upon that right will be held legally responsible.

Of course, I did mention that there are a few minor exceptions to that rule.  Let’s dive into a few of those exceptions.

Fair Use Law

You may have heard someone claim “fair use” as an excuse to use someone else’s work as his or her own.  The truth is that “Fair Use” is in fact a legal term that does make it OK to infringe on someone else’s work.  However, there is hardly ever a situation where “fair use” is actually being used in the right context.  Contrary to popular belief, claiming “fair use” is not like waving a magic wand that makes everything legal.  Fair Use is a very complex doctrine with many loopholes and exceptions.  If you would like to attempt to tame the “Fair Use” beast, more information can be found here.

Acknowledgment Doesn’t Magically Make Everything OK

Another popular myth is that any image is fine to use, as long as you give credit to the creator.  Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, using someone else’s work and then giving them a “shout out” is still very much illegal. Copyright laws imply that the creator has a right to choose where they want their work displayed.

In times of uncertainty, where you are not sure if you can legally use someone else’s work or not, it is always better to err on the conservative side.  If there is any doubt in your mind, simply do not use it.  It is not worth the potential lawsuit that could follow.

As you can see, when it comes to copyright, there is a lot to keep in mind.  The laws of copyright are quite lengthy, extremely detailed, and sometimes even fairly vague in its content.  Because each case is different, it can be difficult to know for sure when you may be infringing upon someone else’s rights.  Because of this, copyright laws can leave you in very dangerous territory!

If you find yourself in need of content for blogs, web sites, articles, ads, social media, or any form of marketing, contact  HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne. We can help you create original content to save you from potential trouble in the future.

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Does My Business Really Need an Online Presence?

Does My Business Really Need an Online Presence? (Yes.)

Even if your business doesn’t conduct it’s day-to-day transactions online, it’s a fact of modern life that people expect to find out about you online. And the more quickly and easily the better! An internet search is almost everyone’s first step in getting details about a product or service they need or a company they have heard about. Whether you are serving the local area or meeting demands worldwide, the internet is almost certainly where potential customers will go first to find out more about your business.

If you can’t be easily found on the web, you are losing an easy and affordable opportunity to let the world know what you do and increase your customer base. Beyond the fact that an internet presence will increase your potential customer base, here are some other reasons to be online:

Show What You Do

It has never been easier to let people know what you have to offer. With a few clicks, consumers can see what you’re all about. You can show that information in whatever format best fits your services, e.g. photos, video, text, or a combination of these and other options. Even better, customers can get this information when they need it — whether it’s during business hours or not.

Build Relationships

Social media is truly about building relationships. It is a great opportunity to connect and communicate with your target audience. These forums can give your business a voice that makes it more “human”, relatable and/or understandable. And, social media makes it easy to keep customers updated about new products or services, awards, important company news, etc. It is a simple yet effective way to keep customers interested in your company.

Market Your Brand

Websites and social media are some of the most cost effective methods of sending out information to a large audience. Using the internet for marketing purposes allows you to easily overcome distance barriers and time constraints. Online marketing gives you the opportunity to market your brand in creative and exciting ways — and in ways that easily adapt as your business or services change.

An online presence is one of the most important investments a business can make — but also one of the most cost-effective.

The experts at HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne, work with you to get to know you and what makes your business unique. They are excited to show you the big impact that a small investment in an online presence can bring. They have been helping companies nationwide expand their business and online presence for years. Regardless of your business type, size or location, don’t let the opportunities of internet marketing pass you by. Let HD Marketing & Design help you take your business to a whole new level.

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5 Cardinal Sins of Web Design

Some Web Design Trends to Stay Away From

 

Trends in web design come and go as technology advances and developers find innovative ways to spread information or show off designs. Just like in fashion, there are accepted forms of design, and there are some that are looked at with disdain. Although a few of these can be looked at as fun or quirky, they don’t convey a professional message. Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with web “fashion,” so here are some things that you definitely shouldn’t have on your website in 2014.

MIDI or other music that plays when your website loads

When a user visits your website, they usually don’t want to be bombarded with music they didn’t choose to listen to. If the volume is turned up and your interested visitor has forgotten, it can be quite a shock as well. If you have a website that centers around music, let there be a choice to start or stop the audio instead.

Flash introductions or animations

Time is a valuable thing and people don’t like to waste it. Flash introductions do just that. When visitors come to your website, more than likely they are looking for specific information. Showing an intro is delaying that, and can be quite frustrating causing users to leave your site quickly. Having a flash site also does not provide much content for Google or other popular search engines to crawl. This could hurt a website’s search engine rank substantially.

News tickers

These are just plain hard to read and inefficient. Having the information you wish to present laid out in a normal paragraph is perfect.

Different cursor styles

Most everyone who uses the internet is now familiar with the default cursor styles and when they change. The last thing you want to do is confuse someone who visits your website with changes to the common cursor styles that are default.

Neon Colors

You don’t need to get people’s attention if they are already on your website. Subtle colors and patterns will work well enough to be aesthetically pleasing. Neon colors will only serve to distract users from the information you’re trying to convey, and burn retinas in the process. Neon colors can also make text difficult to read. Bright yellow text on a bright lime green background is next to impossible to read.

If you are featuring any of these items on your website, it might be time for a redesign. Contact HD Marketing & Design to learn how we can help you give your web site a more modern and professional look. Based in Fort Wayne, HD Marketing & Design has been helping people in all avenues of marketing, such as Internet/Web Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising, Video Production, Social Media, Print Design, and more.

Until then, check out an example of the aforementioned mistakes in web design. Enjoy!

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Your Marketing Strategy : Trick or Treat?

It’s impossible this time of year not to be reminded of all the creepy, scary characters that populate our Halloween stories, movies and nightmares. As marketing professionals, we at HD Marketing & Design began to wonder: “Is there anything a business can learn from these characters about how to liven-up its marketing strategy?”

Don’t leave that marketing plan for dead. Dig it out from the graveyard of your “things to do someday” drawer, dust it off and let’s talk. These quintessential Halloween creatures may inspire some dos and don’ts to consider:

Frankenstein

Is your website just a cobbled together work of random pieces like this horrifying man-made monster? Make it “lively” and unified instead. Websites need to be easy to navigate. A great website allows users to quickly find the information they need.

 

 

Zombies

Zombies NEED to feed. Are you feeding your audience regularly with updated content, announcements, and news via social media? Keep users up to date on all the latest happenings on their news feed. Connect with clients and potential clients where they hang out online. Feed their feed!

 

 

Werewolves

 

Werewolves transform only when the moon is full. Do you have outdated information in your marketing materials — print, web or social media? Don’t wait for the next full moon to give your audience correct information or to update the look of old materials.

Ghosts

 

Is your website being found? If it’s not on the first couple of pages of Google, it may as well be invisible. 75% of Google users never scroll through to the second page of results. Find out how SEO and content marketing can help your web site be seen!

 

Bring your Marketing Back to Life

Talk to the experts at HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne about how to raise your marketing plan from the dead. We have expertise in all areas of marketing, from print to video to website designSEO, & beyond. We get to know our clients and work with you to customize a marketing strategy to keep your message relevant. Contact HD Marketing and Design today to learn how our team can bring your business’s marketing plan back to life.

“It’s alive! My marketing is alive!”

IFrame

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