Page Load Speed. Why it Matters, and What you Need To Do.

Page Load Speed | HD Marketing and Design Fort Wayne Indiana Tips

More and more users are taking to the web for their everyday needs, and.this trend has several implications that site owners must pay attention to. One of these implications is page load speed. In this world of instant gratification, Google and consumers expect a web page to load quickly, in 2 seconds or less.

A Frustrating Experience

Page load speed can make or break your website. Let me paint you a picture: While browsing the Internet when you see a link that is interesting and you click the link. You wait… and wait… and wait.  Seconds later you frustratingly hit the back button.

You click the link again hoping that it loads faster, but it does not. This time you click the back button and never return. This phenomenon has a term… user bounce.

You will lose visitors to your site

It doesn’t matter how awesome your website is or how relevant your content is to the user. If your website is not optimized to  have a fast page load speed, you will lose users and potential customers

A rule of thumb is that you want your website to load above the fold in less than one second. Above the fold means that the content within the view of your screen without scrolling. This “one second rule” will keep users engaged enough to wait for the other content to load.

Pagerank

PageRank is used by Google as a way of measuring the importance of website pages. Basically, PageRank is what position your website is in on a search engine results page after a word or phrase has been searched. The position, or where you “rank” compared to the other results, is your PageRank.

Google ranks faster pages higher and slower pages lower or not at all. The algorithm Google uses determines PageRank based on relevant content and user experience. Google has publicly come out and announced that “page speed is now a ranking factor.”

There are several techniques to improve your page load speed. Here’s a brief list of what you can be done:

  • minify your css, javascript, and html files
  • optimize image sizes
  • utilize caching

If you are unsure if your website is using these page load speed techniques, we offer a free website audit. We check your page load speed and other important SEO best practices. Submit your site to us for a Free SEO Review to find out how your website is performing!

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How to Craft the Perfect Domain Name

How to Craft the Perfect Domain Name

What’s in a name? Well, a lot, actually. You’re right to be hung up on trying to come up with the perfect domain name for your new website since having a bad domain name can tank your latest gig before it even gets off the ground. With all of the big companies out there buying up the “good” names and selling them at premium prices, coming up with a clever, memorable, and relevant domain name has become one of the most daunting tasks for new website owners.

Don’t be discouraged. There a lot of great tools out there to help you brainstorm and come up with a domain name that works for you. Let’s dive in:

Decide What You’re About & Be Relevant

Unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a branding campaign to explain to the Web what your domain name means, you need to pick a domain name that reflects what you do. Succinct and witty are nice, but not at the detriment to clarity. Visitors should be able to understand exactly what kind of site you are just by looking at your domain name in the search results page. If they’re confused and not sure you’ll meet their needs, why would they click through? If you’re a bakery that specializes in cupcakes, the domain name doodlefrost.com isn’t going to build much confidence. Make it relevant.

Use Keywords When Possible

It’s great if you can find a way to slip a relevant keyword in to your domain name. Don’t lose sleep over it if you can’t, though. If you haven’t come up with a name for your new site but know roughly what you intend to write about (travel, furniture, outdoor power equipment, etc.), you can use a tool like Name Mesh. They will match your keyword(s) or categories against their database of over six million words and kick back a list of results that will help you get some ideas flowing.

Use a Generator

Having a tough time coming up with a naming concept? Try out the Business Name Generator tool by Shopify. It’s free and will automagically combine the word you enter with other words to generate a robust list of available domain names. It’s the perfect tool if you’re looking for a little bit of creative inspiration and an available domain to match.

Keep it Simple

When in doubt, don’t overdo it. If you already have a business name, then stick to that name when possible. If the exact name for your existing business isn’t available, try adding extra words to the end like the city, state, the word “online,” etc. So say your company name is Only Cupcakes but onlycupcakes.com isn’t available. Is OnlyCupcakesFortWayne.com available? Sure it’s not a ‘sexy’ name, but it’s who and where you are. It’s easy to remember, it has local cues (important to search engines!), and is more likely to be available. It’s easy to over think it when tasked with trying to create a domain name, but typically the simplest solution is the best.

Collect Extensions

Now that you’ve spent all this time crafting a domain name that works, you want to safe guard it! This isn’t an essential step, but it is important if you’re trying to keep your newly-minted brand protected. Most domain registrar companies offer discounts on bulk domain registering, and you should use that opportunity to go ahead and register for .com, .net, .org, and .biz. That will keep any cyber poachers out and make for a happier website without brand confusion.

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The Perks of Being a Small Business

The Perks of Being a Small Business

Are you a small business? Embrace it! Don’t try to pretend that you are bigger than you are. Small businesses have lots of advantages over a large corporation. Showing your customers and potential customers the value of your size can actually help you beat the competition. And remember, good things come in small packages!

Here are some of the things we enjoy most about working with our small business customers:

1. You can be CREATIVE and FUN

idea lightbulb

Small businesses can often have a lot more fun with their marketing. Your businesses unique personality — whether it’s you as owner, or the team your employ, or the services or products themselves — can really be played up in your marketing message. You can explore entertaining and creative ways to show how you are different from the “big guys”.

2. You can give PERSONAL ATTENTION to each customer

customerservice

A small business has the time and ability to really get to know each of its customers. It’s easier for customers to connect with a real person instead of a never-ending automated phone system. And, it’s more likely that their contact person is the same one they deal with every time. You can get to know your customers by name and personalize your services in ways to keep them coming back. Personal connections with customers also allows you to quickly get valuable feedback from them. If something happens to go wrong, you can typically respond to and fix their complaint much faster than a large competition. These are all important factors in building long-term relationships and in making sure that existing customers are happy to refer new people your way.

3. You can be NIMBLE, SWIFT and INNOVATIVE

Change can be difficult and slow in large companies because of their size. With fewer employees and fewer layers of management, a small business can react much more quickly in any situation. You can be innovative, faster to provide new products, quicker to change policies, and react to customer concerns immediately. If selling products is part of your business you can play up “quality over quantity”. Customers will appreciate that you really know your products and stand behind them.

4. You can be a FAMILY

family

Whether employees are actually part of the family or not, a small business offers that family feeling to all employees. Time and time again, employees of small businesses reference the “feeling a part of the family” as one of their favorite things about their jobs. Each employee can be much closer to the business and the customers. This leads to both a better understanding of how the company works and increased customer satisfaction. This feeling of family creates a strong sense of loyalty during tough times and an enhanced level of energy during busy times. Employees’ personal connections to the business will lead you to ever greater successes.

At HD Marketing and Design in Fort Wayne, we enjoy building relationships with all of our customers, large or small. But we particularly enjoy encouraging our small business customers to be proud of what makes them unique. Your size gives you an incredible advantage in today’s overcrowded marketplace — the ability to be creative, customer focused, and fast on your feet. Let us get to know you and your business, your story and the things that make what you do special. We know how to get the message about your uniqueness into the hands of those who are looking for a business just like yours.

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How Can Analytics Help My Business?

HD Marketing Analytics Help Grow Business

Developing an Internet Marketing Plan to Grow your Business

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, climbing up Google’s search result pages can seem like an overwhelming task. You might come to the conclusion that your site isn’t receiving as much traffic or success as you might like, which leads to the question of the hour: “What can I do to improve the success of my site?” The answer: Google Analytics.

Using Google Analytics to Improve your Website

That’s where Google Analytics comes in. Fortunately for internet marketers, Google offers many tools to help us improve our websites. One of these FREE tools is called Analytics. With Analytics, we are given detailed reports of important web site statistics such as amount of web traffic, traffic patterns, conversion tracking, amount of time spent on each page, and so much more. Our Google Analytics Certified team knows exactly how to make sense of all of the data to make sure it’s being leveraged properly.

When trying to improve the success of your website, Analytics helps to act as the first step in determining what is wrong in the first place. Making changes to your website without first looking at Analytics is like throwing darts blindfolded – there’s no way you meet your goal if you don’t know where you’re standing. Analytics is a great tool to help you decide what you’re doing well, and what isn’t working.

Some other great information that Analytics can give you is:

  • Where your customers are coming from. (search engines, referring websites, or direct)
  • Bounce Rates (How many visitors leave your website after only viewing one page?)
  • Success Rate (How many visits were considered successful based on your goals – i.e. did they make a purchase? Sign up for a mailing list? Call and make an appointment?)
  • Where your visitors are located.
  • Best and Worst performing pages
  • Keyword research

Fort Wayne Web Site Optimization Company

If you would like to see where your website stands, Google Analytics is an amazing tool to help you get started, but it can be a confusing place if you’ve never gone down that road before. Call HD Marketing & Design in Fort Wayne at (260) 432-8437. We can help you formulate a plan to get your web site found online and outperform your competition!

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If Content is King, then what is Queen?

What is it that makes your Internet Marketing Campaign a Royal Flush?

You might have heard it said that “Content is King.” Well, if that’s true then what would be Queen? Or Jack? Or an Ace? In fact, what is it that makes your internet marketing campaign a Royal Flush?

At HD Marketing & Design, we believe that the cornerstone of every great web site is a solid Internet Marketing Program. Here are the four most important aspects that make your internet marketing campaign a success.

Content is King

Creating quality content can help your business explode! Content not only allows potential customers know who you are and what you do but it gives them plenty of information to make an informed decision and positions you as the expert in your field. Google, and other search engines, love great content as well, especially high-quality, unique content. Content can come in the form of web copy, video, articles, and blog posts. Utilized correctly, it can help your site rank higher on the search engine results page.

SEO is Queen

When it comes to your internet marketing campaign, you must be sure that your website is easily accessible. In order to do this, your Search Engine Ranking must be top notch! Did you know that 75% of Google users never scroll past the first page? That means in order for your business to be found, you need to be in that coveted top ten spot! If you’re not, you’re missing out on a lot of great opportunities.

In order to make sure that your website ranks on page one, you have to put a lot of thought into the accessibility and elements of your site. Making sure that your website is search engine friendly is pretty much a full time job in itself. In order to maintain that top ten position, you must constantly monitor your web traffic, and see what you can improve. And, just because you’ve made it to number one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stay there for very long. There’s always someone out there gunning for your position.

Blogs are Jack

Did you know that blogs are 63% more likely to effect someone’s buying decision than a magazine? With the ease of internet accessibility, blogs have become an essential element in your marketing campaign. Consumers like to be aware of what is going on in their world, which means that if your company doesn’t have a blog, you’re missing out on a lot of great opportunity.

The benefits of blogging are astronomical. Along with keeping your customers up to date on what is new, you are also creating more and more quality content for more people to see; therefore, your chances of being found increase radically!

Not only does blogging create quality content, but research shows that Google’s algorithm gives preference to websites that are frequently updating their information. Websites who blog give your website more indexed pages than those who don’t!

Social Media is an Ace

In today’s technologically/social media driven world, your business absolutely needs a social media page! Facebook sees active monthly use from 1.35 billion people all across the world! Of those people, 864 million people are on Facebook every single day! If your business is not utilizing social media, you’re missing out.

Facebook and other social media sites are a great way to connect and build relationships with customers. Customers like to be updated with what is going on in the business, and the best way to connect and share with other people is through Facebook. Not only is Facebook a great way to establish your web presence, you can also use it to push content. Drive people to your blog by syncing it up with Facebook.

Along with connecting and finding existing customers, Facebook is a great way to find potential customers. 20% of Facebook users that are exposed to ads end up making purchases based on that ad.

HD Marketing & Design Can Help You Make Sure your Internet Marketing Campaign is a Success

At HD Marketing & Design  in Fort Wayne, we have been successfully growing businesses through Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Web Design, Video Production, and many more for years. If your internet marketing campaign could use a little help, give us a call today at (260) 432 – 8230.

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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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