Author Archives: websolutions

Why You Should Invest In a Blog Designer

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Let’s get serious about your blog!

Why You Should Invest In a Blog Designer
If your content is good, can a blog’s design really impact your traffic?

 

The answer is, YES.

You’ve heard that content is king. But if you’re serious about blogging for your business, you should also be serious about its design. A customized design for a blog will create unique visual content that attracts the eye and can make the difference for your reader between actually reading the blog and moving off your page.

  • IT SHOWCASES A CLEAR MESSAGE:
          1. Design is meant to

        visually guide your viewer to the key points of your content you’d like them to specifically retain. Adding strategic line breaks, customizing title displays, and knowing how to use white space will help highlight the areas of most interest to your reader so that they can access what they’re looking for fast.

  • IT SAVES YOU TIME:
          1. There is no need to get frustrated by trying to teach yourself HTML or CSS because your designer can do all of that for you in one shot. They can even make it easy for you to give your blog customization yourself and will create options for different styles to implement. This

        saves you time and money, two biggies that alone should convince you to hire a designer.

  • IT INCREASES YOUR CONVERSIONS:
          1. As mentioned previously, the design of your blog could be keeping visitors from even having the chance to read your blog. This means your design is likely affecting your conversion rate. A professionally-designed blog can increase your email subscribers, maintain loyal readers, and

        increase your sales overall.

          1. SOURCE : Informatics (2017)

        VIEW LINK

In need of a good blog designer? Our graphic experts create customized design that fits the feel of your company. SQT web solutions promotes adding customized graphics, colors, fonts, and customized functionality to your blog. We continuously stress that your company’s branding should be professionally developed throughout every digital outlet.

Contact SQT Web Solutions today to get started on increasing your blog traffic!

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

What is a Security Certificate?

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Are you gathering credit card information via your website? You will definitely need a Security Certificate for that. Are you just asking for email addresses via a contact form? Then you may not need a Security Certificate for that. In this blog we explain what a Security Certificate is, the benefits of having one, and how to decide if it’s right for you.

DEFINING AN SSL CERTIFICATE

A security certificate, better known as an SSL Certificate, is a small data file that allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. An SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins and other sensitive data (GlobalSign). The signifier for a website with an SSL Certificate is an HTTPS application protocol in your web address (rather than the standard HTTP).

SSL CERTIFICATE BENEFITS

Obtaining an SSL Certificate for your website is not free; it is available to purchase for a small fee. However, despite the additional cost, there are profound benefits to having an SSL Certificate.

1. Protect Sensitive Data

A Security Certificate will allow you to transfer confidential information without putting you or your customers at risk. It is a necessity for any e-commerce website.

2. Improve Search Engine Rankings

In August of 2014, Google announced that adding an SSL Certificate to your website would earn it a slight ranking benefit. While it is a small factor, it can still benefit your SEO.

3. Communicate to Users Your Site is Secure

Having that HTTPS application protocol at the beginning of your web address communicates to users that your website is secure. With cybercrime so prevalent in today’s society, users like added reassurance that their activity on your website is protected.

DECIDING WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

While switching your website to HTTPS can have its benefits, we do not recommend it for everyone. If you are not storing or transferring any sensitive information on your website, then a Security Certificate is probably not a necessity. Remember that there is a cost to purchasing the SSL Certificate. Additionally, having an SSL on your website may slow down overall load time because it adds an extra step of secure verification to the loading process. Still can’t decide what is best for you? Read our blog to learn more about the pros and cons of switching from HTTP to HTTPS.

SOURCE: Informatics (2017), VIEW LINK.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

DIGITAL MARKETING: 10 Reasons you need it.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

1. You’re directionless

I find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have clear strategic goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.

2.  You won’t know your online market share

Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven”t researched this.  Perhaps, more importantly, you won’t understand your online marketplace: the dynamics will be different to traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behavior, competitors, propositions and options for marketing communications. See online marketplace methodology post.

3. Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share

If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!

4. You don’t have a powerful online value proposition

A clearly defined online customer value proposition will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal.

5. You don’t know your online customers well enough

It’s often said that digital is the “most measurable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes of visits, not the sentiment of visitors, what they think. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and then address them.

6. You’re not integrated (“disintegrated”)

It’s all too common for digital marketing activities to be completed in silos whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT or a separate digital agency. It’s easier that way to package digital marketing into a convenient chunk. But of course, it’s less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.

7. Digital doesn’t have enough people/budget given its importance

Insufficient resource will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing and there is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.

8. You’re wasting money and time through duplication

Even if you do have sufficient resource it may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organization purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.

9. You’re not agile enough to catch up or stay ahead

If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Dell, Google, Tesco, Zappos, they’re all dynamic  – trialling new approaches to gain or keep their online audiences.

10 You’re not optimizing

Every company with a website will have analytics, but many senior managers don’t ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email and social media marketing. So that’s our top 10 problems that can be avoided with a well thought through strategy. What have you found can go right or wrong?

SOURCE: Dave C. (2017). View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

QUESTIONS WE ASK, BEFORE CREATING YOUR WEBSITE.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

 

You’ve been thrown multiple pitches and finally, you decide on the ideal company to redesign your website. Now the tables turn. It is time for a company like us to interview you in order to get started on the process. You can now prep yourself in advance after getting the inside questions our web agency asks all new clients:

1. WHAT IS YOUR INDUSTRY?

Throw us all kinds of words to describe what your industry is like and what it includes. We’ve done research on our end but nothing beats getting the inside perspective of the people who are actually involved in the industry. This is also a chance for us to hone in on repetitive words that could later be used as buzzwords for content writing and potential Google AdWord options.

2. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?

We want to know who your current audience members are as well as other potential candidates you would like to reach out and market to. The purpose of a website is to engage the right people. When you can tell us clearly who that audience is then we can create the ideal website that demonstrates the right captivation for that audience.

3. WHAT IS YOUR GOAL.

Are you trying to market better by increasing traffic and engaging prospects? Is it all about customer satisfaction by providing better service? Do you need to boost HR by attracting and recruiting new employees? Tell us what you are trying to achieve with this new website that you couldn’t with the old.

4. WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS?

First tell us who your biggest competitors are and then describe to us why your clients choose you over them. Once we know those details we can create a clear advantage by setting you apart from the rest.

5. WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?

Now it’s time to discuss the elephant in the room. The sooner we have an idea of what your budget is the sooner we can set a clear list of priorities to get the most out of your new website’s design and content.

6. YOUR TASTE IN DESIGN.

We have our ideas but we want to know what your aesthetic tastes are first. Keep in mind some key colors, themes, or even images you would like to incorporate in your website. If you have an idea in mind we are open to run with it!

7. WHAT CONTENT DO YOU ALREADY HAVE?

By providing us with the content on your current website we can spice it up and get an even better understanding for creating brand new content. Personal photographs of your office, portfolio content, any high-quality media are all features we would love to take advantage of and add to your new site.

If you have answers to these questions and would like to get started on a new website projectcontact us today!

SOURCE: Informaticsinc (2016), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

6 MUST-HAVE EMAIL FEATURES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Small businesses are often faced with limited time and resources for digital marketing. However, overlooking digital marketing altogether can have negative effects on a company’s growth. If you find that your time is limited, we recommend utilizing email marketing as your primary digital marketing channel. Incorporate these 6 must-have features into your monthly e-newsletter and you should see a return on investment in no time.

1. STRONG SUBJECT LINE

According to an infographic from Mainstreethost, ‘secrets’ is the most clicked lead nurturing subject line word. Start your email off on a strong note with a powerful and enticing subject line. Remember that the subject line is the first line of defense and without a good one your users won’t even make it to the real content. Ensure that your subject line is 3 things:

  • Informative
  • Attention-Grabbing
  • Persuasive

2. LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE

Linking back to your website is one of the smartest things you can do with your emails. This ensures that your website receives traffic and your users have the chance to dig deeper. Plus, you can set up Google Analytics and really track how your subscribers are moving through your website and whether or not they converted.

3. SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS

If you are active on any social media sites, ensure that you have ‘follow’ or ‘share’ icons in your email template. This is a subtle way to advertise your social sites and to encourage your subscribers to share with their friends.

4. MOBILE-FRIENDLY

One of the most important features of a modern email design is mobile-friendliness. Mainstreethost’s infographic reveals that 80.9% of users report reading email on mobile devices. What’s more, ReturnPath’s “Email in Motion” infographic found that 63 percent of Americans would either close or delete an email that’s not optimized for mobile. Not having a mobile-friendly design puts you at risk for having your e-blast deleted before it has even been opened! Make sure that you emails are mobile-friendly before you begin sending out large campaigns.

5. CUSTOM, BRANDED TEMPLATE

If you really want to stand out from the competition, customize your email template to meet your branding and content needs. From large images to multiple columns, design a layout that will work with your content. Also, be sure to brand your template so that users will know immediately who they are receiving the email from. Include your company colors, logo, font styles and more so it really meshes with your other digital and print marketing materials.

6. EASY TO SCAN

From images to bullet points, make sure that your emails are easy to scan. 65% of respondents prefer emails that contain mostly images (Mainstreethost). By adding in several images, videos, and finding other ways to break up the text, you can keep subscribers’ attention longer.

SOURCE: Informatics (2015), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

JPEG, GIF OR PNG: WHICH TO CHOOSE?

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

In the modern design world, it is highly suggested to use images in place of words or concepts when the option is available. The fast-paced environment we live in today has people needing information quickly which means icons and graphics to symbolize messages are the key solution. However, these digital images can take up a large amount of memory space on your computer, fill up your inbox, and even take a longer time to load through the web. Who has time for that? Knowing which formats to use when editing these images in graphic software can be your secret weapon to providing both quality and efficient design.

There are three main types of file formats used for web design:

  1. JPEG – stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. The best use for this format is when the need for a smaller size overrides the importance of quality in an image. Having a smaller file size means a quicker upload and less storage space. The best uses for a JPEG file include photog​raphs and images with detailed coloring or shading.
  2. GIF – is Graphics Interchange Format. GIF files can be even smaller than JPEG files because they use fewer colors within an image. Using fewer colors allows for data to not be lost while the image is compressed. Simple images such as small icons and animations are ideal when choosing to use a GIF format.
  3. PNG – means Portable Network Graphic. PNG-8 files are very similar to GIF. PNG-24 files are similar to JPEG and contain lossless compression which means not a single bit of data in the original file will not be lost after the file is compressed. PNG also allows for transparency which is a key benefit in a graphic designer’s eye. Images in the process of being edited, complex photographs with no file size limit and logos involving transparency or fading are the best candidates for using a PNG format.

 

Out of all the content on your web page, images take up the most download time. As a general rule of thumb, optimizing your web images will allow your website speed to run at its maximum. Keeping each image to a limit of 12KB will help contribute to keeping your entire web page to the suggested size of 100KB. Following these image formatting guidelines can set you apart from most by producing quality images where it counts, allowing memory space when it’s needed, and having a faster load time than competitors.

SOURCE: Informatics (2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

HTTP OR HTTPS, MEANING, DIFFERENCE, PROS AND CONS.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

I recently found out the meaning of HTTP and HTTPS, and how it affects our Online presence. It’s a must have information or knowledge for all internet users and website owners.

The main difference between http:// and https:// is all about keeping you secure

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol The S (big surprise) stands for “Secure”.. If you visit a Website or web page, and look at the address in the web browser, it is likely to begin with the following: http://.

This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular unsecured language. In other words, it is possible for someone to “eavesdrop” on your computer’s conversation with the Website. If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send to that site.

This is why you never ever enter your credit card number in an Http website! But if the web address begins with https://, that means your computer is talking to the website in a Secure code that no one can eavesdrop on. You understand why this is so important, right?

If a website ever asks you to enter your Credit/Debit card Information, you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with https://.

If it doesn’t, You should NEVER enter sensitive Information such as a credit/debit card number.

Are you looking to launch an e-commerce website and want to secure it for payments? Does your website require the ability to submit confidential information? Or are you just hoping to secure you website for any future needs that may come along? No matter your reasoning, taking your website from HTTP to HTTPS with the purchase of an SSL certificate is a smart move. However, before we recommend this switch across the board, you should familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of going HTTPS.

PROS TO MAKING THE SWITCH

1. Protects Sensitive Information

The most obvious reason for purchasing a digital certificate and securing your website is to protect sensitive and confidential information such as credit card information, social security numbers, medical data, and addresses, just to name a few. If you have an e-commerce website or store files with confidential information on-site, you must purchase a digital certificate. Doing so will protect this information from hackers and let your customers know that their data is safe.

2. Receives a Ranking Boost in Search Results

Having an HTTPS URL gives you a minor ranking boost from Google. In August of 2014, Google announced that adding an SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site will earn it a ranking benefit, albeit a very small one (Search Engine Land). If you want to improve your search engine optimization, going HTTPS is one way to do so. However, since it is such a small ranking factor, you should definitely prioritize improving content, site structure, and links first.

CONS TO MAKING THE SWITCH

1. May Slow Down Load Time

Even though switching to HTTPS will give your website a slight ranking boost, it can negatively affect your site load time. When your website contains a digital certificate, an extra step of secure verification is added to the process. Therefore, your website may take an extra second to load. If you are only switching to HTTPS to improve your search rankings, there may be more productive ways to do so. Instead of purchasing a digital certificate that may slow down your site load time, focus on improving your website content.

2. Costs Money to Purchase an SSL Certificate

While the cost is not anything outrageous, you should be aware that an SSL certificate is not free. If you are at all concerned about money and you do not have a legitimate reason to purchase a secure certificate other than to improve SEO, we recommend that you hold off until it is completely necessary.

SOURCE: Informatics (2016), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

BASIC HTML YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND FOR YOUR BLOG

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Most people get amped up when it comes to writing their blogs. For those who have never done it before they may picture a process involving simply typing up pages of content straight to the web. However, what most come to find out fast is that a little bit of HTML knowledge can go a long way and make the blogging process so much easier. Understanding this basic HTML code will help your blogging skills get taken to the next level by being able to format content in various ways (and you don’t have to worry about bothering your web designer anymore!):

TAGS

When writing code, there should always be an opening and closing tag. The opening tag has a left angle bracket followed by a character and closed with a right angle bracket. A closing tag has the exact same structure except there is an added forward slash just before the character. See below for example:

<p> This is my first sentence in a paragraph. </p>

CHARACTERS

How do you know which characters to add to your tags? Well, in the case of writing blogs, some good formatting characters to memorize include:

<h1> This is a heading tag. Use heading tags to keep your content organized and to create a textual hierarchy. There are usually six heading options total (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6). </h1>

<br> This is a break tag. A break tag is code that will put a space between one line and the next (it’s like pressing your Enter key). </br>

<p> This is your paragraph tag. Create paragraphs within the body of your page using this tag. </p>

<b> Bold is another tag that could come in handy when writing a blog. Simply place this tag around any single word or phrase in order to bold the font. <b>

<i> Italic is a formatting tag that will italicize any word or phrase. </i>

<u> Underline tags can be used to underline any text. </u>

LISTS

People love lists. They are short, brief, and easy to skim. Using them in your blog will help clean up your data and provide a new way to layout your content.

Unordered Lists 

To create a simple bulleted list, use <li> </li> opening and closing tags surrounded by <ul> </ul> opening and closing tags as shown below:

<ul>
<li>Apples</li>
<li>Orange Juice</li>
<li>Milk</li>
</ul>
What you see:

  • Apples
  • Orange Juice
  • Milk

Ordered Lists

Similar to unordered lists, ordered lists use numbers in place of bullet points. To create one use ​<li></li> ​opening and closing tags surrounded by ​<ol></ol>​ opening and closing tags as shown below:

<ol>
<li>Apples</li>
<li>Orange Juice</li>
<li>Milk</li>
</ol>
What you see:

  1. Apples
  2. Orange Juice
  3. Milk

Keep your content engaging for your audience and use these coding tips to create a hierarchy with headers, layout lists of information, and emphasize text in various ways.

SOURCE: Informatics inc (2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

4 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE CHOOSING A WEB HOSTING PROVIDER

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Your online reputation is vital to your business! Before you sign up to host with a company that seems to have the right price, make sure that you are asking the right questions to find a provider that will keep your site healthy and safe!

HOW WILL USING YOUR SERVICE AFFECT MY WEBSITE SPEEDS?

Page loading speeds aren’t just about user impatience, it is about the vitality of your site. Yes, it is true that customers will not wait for slow sites to load, but it also affects conversion rates, user experience, and Google ranking (Lifewire). Check with your prospective company for key factors like load balancing, private fiber, and real-time data availability to minimize your downtime.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY WEBSITE GOES DOWN?

Noone wants to be in disaster mode, but everyone needs to be prepared for it! Even if the prospective company hasn’t had any experience navigating natural disasters, make sure they are equipped to mitigate and respond to a site disaster. Managed hosting companies should constantly work to protect your site with regular backups, off-site backup storage, 24×7 monitoring, and access to customer support that is not outsourced.

WILL MY SITE BE SECURE?

Whether you are running an e-commerce site that processes payments or a website that doesn’t transmit any personal information, the health of your site still affects your business! If you don’t know if you have or need an SSL Certificate, start here. The hosting company should be able to answer your questions and have a system in place to ensure that you stay up to date.

SSL Certificates are only part of the security your site needs. Make sure that the company is proactive in monitoring intrusions and staying up to date on DDoS attacks. Taking robust security measures to keep your site operating securely should be a high priority on their list.

WHAT TYPE OF EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?

Changing hosting providers is not something that you will want to do every day, so ask questions that will give you an idea about the company’s ability to provide you with the services you need. For example:

 

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Have they hosted a website similar to mine?
  • Do I have the ability to upgrade my plan if my website changes?
  • Do they have any customer reviews or references that I can check?

SOURCE: Informatics Inc.(2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

7 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING YOUR DOMAIN NAME

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Starting a new business? Your website doesn’t have to be a .com domain. Take a look at these 7 things to consider when selecting the right Top Level Domains for your online strategy.

Most people are familiar with the ubiquitous Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions like .com and .org, but when ICANN began opening up more generic TLDs in 2012 and 2013, the landscape changed. Don’t worry; choosing a less common TLD will not negatively affect search engine rankings.

In your search for all the right domains for your online strategy, consider these seven items when selecting your TLD:

  1. Provide Context: Recently the TLD .insurance was made available. When selecting TLDs, consider the customer. If they are navigating to your company at .insurance, they know what to expect when they click on the site.
  2. Establish Geographic Location: It goes beyond just country extensions like Canada (.ca) and the United Kingdom (.uk). Some cities have begun using site extensions as well. For example, the Eiffel tower moved its official page to www.toureiffel.paris.
  3. Selection is More Varied: The use of generic TLDs opens up the market for a wider variety of websites. If your company’s name is not available on .com, you have more options to choose from. Just make sure that it is logical and your customer will remember it!
  4. Improve Brand Recognition: Create shorter and more memorable domain names for your customers. In eConsultancy’s article reviewing branded TLDs, BMW was at the top of the list for next100.bmw as a great example of a simple domain name that conveys their message of showing their vision for the next 100 years.
  5. Enhance Brand Protection: Be strategic about the way you protect your brand. Consider if there are any TLDs that could negatively affect your brand or draw users away from your brand.
  6. Extend Creative Possibilities: Using generic TLDs gives more opportunity to be creative and memorable with the marketing of your website. Though they have recently announced an ownership transition, the social bookmarking web service Delicious was creative and effective with their domain name, del.icio.us.
  7. Incorporate Marketing Campaigns: In your next marketing campaign, instead of directing customers to a URL extension, you can send them to a dedicated domain. If you are promoting a Christmas holiday sale you could promote it on yoursite.blackfriday.

SOURCE: Informatics (2016), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+