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    If your company’s website isn’t getting the traffic you expected – and need – we’ve got a seven-point plan
    for shaping up the website in 2021. If you don’t have a good website designer on-staff, X-Factor stands ready to help you with the following cyber resolutions.

    Simplify Content

    When’s the last time you read every word on a website? We’re guessing the answer is “Never”.  So, instead of making visitors to your site sort through the mire to get to the message – simplify. Remove anything that is not absolutely necessary. Remember that visitors accustomed to abbreviated text messages and 280 character tweets have short attention spans. They don’t read websites. They scan them. So, if you want to catch visitors on the fly, stick to short bursts of content. Use bullets. Summarize. By reducing the noise level of your site, you’ll make the remaining content stand out.

    Add Updated News

    Are you regularly producing press releases for your business? Press releases are the most direct, economical way to gain credibility and capture the loyalty of customers, employees, investors and suppliers. To reap the maximum benefit from your releases, they should be optimized for search engines. That way, when you post a release on your site, search engine crawlers will find the content, index it and rank it based on keywords found in the release. Remember, old news is not good news. Site visitors finding nothing but months-old news will think one of two things -either the company has gone out of business or the company doesn’t care enough to bother keeping the site current.

    Be Mobile-friendly

    According to Google, more than 60% of online searches are done through a mobile device. The quickest way to antagonize these searchers is to expect them to cope with a big-screen site on a small-screen device. Is your site readable and functional on a tablet or smartphone? Is it as easy to navigate with a finger as with a mouse? The mobile-device trend is not going away, so it’s up to you to make your website mobile-friendly. With RWD (responsive web design), every page will be fully adjustable and adaptable. Make sure visitors find your site to be a pleasure instead of a project.

    Get a Makeover

    Many customers and potential customers get their first impression of your business from your website. Outdated websites perform poorly when it comes to converting site visitors into paying customers. Web design trends are constantly changing, and websites need new imagery, new pages and new messaging if it is to keep up with competitors. That’s why your website should be redesigned every three or four years. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    Website Maintenance

    Don’t wait for spring to clean up your website. Keep a constant lookout for broken links, outdated copy and anything else that makes your site look like yesterday’s news. A visitor who clicks on a link only to land somewhere else is not going to keep trying. Copy and content that did the job last year (or last month) may not do the job now. Update and edit if it’s still relevant. Delete if it isn’t. You can keep your site fresh with new content, such as press releases, industry resources, staff changes or profiles. The more content you have, the more content there will be for searchers to find. But it needs to be relevant and it needs to be current. Investing in a website maintenance program for 2021 is a great way to stay on top of needed changes.

    Get Analytical

    Is anybody out there? Is so, what are they doing out there? You can find out with Google analytics. If you don’t already have this valuable free tool in place, get it now. It will answer the questions about who’s viewing your website and what they’re most interested in. Review the supplied data at least once every quarter. When you know which pages your audience is spending time on and which pages are being ignored, you’ll have a road map for future website changes.

    Make Every Word Count

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way to give your website the best chance to be located in an online search. But optimizing your site with keywords most likely to be targeted in a search is only half the process. To find out what’s working and what isn’t, you need to check your Google rankings. Not ranking on page one for important product-related keywords? It may be time to refresh your on-site SEO including keywords, meta tags, URLs and alt tags.

    For more information in getting your website in shape in 2021, contact the marketing experts at X-Factor Web Marketing.

    Watch this brief but informative webinar and see if your website is fine-tuned to deliver abundant sales volume. Today, it is vital that your company communicate with a strong digital presence, informative content and convenient user experience.

    You'll learn how to:

    • Make a great first (digital) impression
    • Assess the quality of web content
    • Build trust through your site
    • Improve organic search results
    • Enhance browser experience
    • Convert more leads through the site
    • Measure for success!

    SEO (search engine optimization) is just as important as website design and development in building a highly functional website. Web design and SEO are not necessarily interchangeable. A top-notch designer who builds killer webpages aesthetically doesn’t necessarily understand SEO. Are the meta tags optimized on every page of your site? Do your images contain alt tags with keywords and phrases? Do you have professionally written, keyword-optimized content that captivates your audience and compels them to action? These are just a couple of examples that fall under SEO and can be a detriment to your website’s performance and search engine rankings if ignored.

    SEO contains numerous components that must be researched, created, and managed. It’s not about just adding special codes to a website and calling it a day. Researching competition, link building, keywords and keyphrases, and crafting compelling content are just a few of the processes an SEO specialist will deploy to enhance search engine rankings. In fact, approximately 80% of the websites we audit are not properly optimized for search engines. Many designers view SEO as an additional revenue stream and sell the service without a fundamental understanding of how it should work, and the unsuspecting client doesn’t know the difference.

    SEO is constantly changing, and learning best practices is not easy because it is a moving target. Search engine algorithms for ranking frequently update and change. Your SEO expert has to be current on these updates to make sure your SEO strategy remains compatible. If your web designer proclaims expertise in SEO, it’s worth the money to have a third party audit your website for SEO best practices.  If your website architecture, content, keyword density, and overall backlinks are not up to Google’s algorithm standards, your site could be penalized.

    An SEO specialist is responsible for maintaining, changing, and updating your site for consistently better performance. Building top-performing SEO is a long-term process.

    The ideal solution is to hire an inbound marketing firm that has both website developers and SEO specialists on staff. X-Factor Web Marketing can affordably review and audit your website for SEO best practices. Since 2008, we have been bringing our clients’ messages, missions, and value propositions online and helping them achieve trackable and measurable sales growth. Wouldn’t you like to know if you are leaving dollars on the table because of a poorly optimized, low-ranking website?

    The way the Internet is accessed has changed significantly over the last few years. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it will dramatically affect not only the user experience, but also the potential for high rankings on search engines. Smartphone and tablet users experiencing difficulty loading or viewing your content will be less likely to spend time on the site, convert to an inquiry/purchase/transaction and most detrimentally, will be more likely to visit your competitor’s website.

    Mobile responsiveness simply means that a website’s content will automatically adapt to whatever screen size it is viewed on. In other words, the appearance of your homepage should be close to the same on a desktop monitor as it displays on a smartphone screen. Links have to be spaced appropriately and call-to-action (CTAs) buttons have to be larger so users will not have issues clicking on a small screen that has less precision for “clicking”. It is most desirable for the audience to have a similar experience (or as similar as possible) with your website regardless of what device they are viewing it on.

    Mobile Marketing Statistics:

    • 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website. (socPub)
    • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
    • 68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy. 
    • Over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone. (Google, 2018)

    If a company website is not mobile-friendly, it will not rank well on search engines. In 2018, Google rolled out an algorithm change that indexes websites based on their mobile version, placing priority over the desktop version. In addition to the new indexing model, a large factor in website rankings is now based on mobile loading speed. Slower loading sites may be penalized with up to a 50% lower ranking! The net effect is if your site loads slower for mobile or is not mobile friendly, your competitors will surge ahead on search results.

    Google Analytics, a web analytics tool, provides detailed data on how many users are accessing your site and the device they are using. Google also provides a service to test your website for mobile responsiveness here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. These are free tools that can help you better understand user dynamics, behavior and characteristics.

    Focusing on mobile responsiveness with mobile optimization as the end goal not only adds validity and relevance to your website, but it generates higher customer satisfaction through ease of use. X-Factor Web Marketing specializes in helping businesses stay up-to-date with best practices of mobile-responsive website design and ongoing website maintenance. Contact X-Factor if you need a website audit, a new mobile-friendly website design, or simply need help maintaining your digital presence.

    Lean Marketing is to sales and marketing what continuous improvement is to manufacturing. Agility and responsiveness separate effective marketing from the status quo. Startup mode is the mindset. Using digital marketing channels for customer and prospect engagement is becoming the new norm. Consistent measurement using web analytics tools like Google Analytics is key. The goal is efficiency and efficacy. Let’s unpack some common aspects of Lean Marketing and how it can help your sales growth and why it’s important to understand the power of these marketing and advertising channels.

    Social Media Marketing (SMM), more specifically paid advertising through social media channels, is one component of Lean Marketing. Leveraging common social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are not only cost-effective advertising channels (sometimes free) but they also possess uncontested target market reach. Once a company unlocks the paid services of these social media channels, a whole new world of analytics including buyer behavior trends, campaign efficacy (what works and what doesn’t) and prospect and customer engagement are only a few tools to use to your advantage. Social networks understand that providing key data to paid advertisers is not only good for their customers’ business but also helps them to monetize advertising channels.

     PPC (pay-per-click) is another element of Lean Marketing. Companies can pay search engines such as Google (66% of the search market) and Bing/Yahoo (32% of the search market) for each click-through to their website. With proper monthly maintenance, paid search advertising lands a company website in an area at the top of search engine results, gaining visibility to potential customers who are searching for that particular product or service. PPC analytics reveal keyphrases searched where Google Analytics keeps that information encrypted and will not provide it to users. Considering this, maintaining a PPC campaign will provide very useful data about target demographics, prospects and their habits. Using a Lean Marketing strategy, any effort to market your brand digitally should be measurable. SMM and PPC analytics are trackable channels and so are banner ads, online directories and email campaigns. All of these host services provide detailed information about the audience behavior using referring links, open rates, click-throughs and so on. These are also very cost-effective marketing channels.

    Taking all the points above into consideration, if you don’t have a marketing manager or digital marketing partner that can interpret all the data from analytics reports and track whether the spend and efforts are effective, you could be creating a black hole of wasted resources. Knowing whether or not paid advertising creates conversions with certainty is of utmost importance. In many cases, companies are spending on the wrong keywords/keyphrases and inadvertently attracting the wrong clientele. The website is receiving clicks and the company is paying for those clicks but aren’t converting those clicks to sales dollars.

    Consider how Lean Marketing could make your marketing spend more efficient while growing the company. Remember, if you aren’t measuring, you are guessing.

    Consider X-Factor Web Marketing as your Lean Marketing partner to help you navigate the world of digital marketing. We specialize in helping industrial suppliers, machinery sales and service companies, tooling manufactures and more capitalize on sales with a lean marketing strategy using the tactics mentioned above.

    One Size CAN Fit All!

    With more online searches being made on smartphones than on personal computers, it’s important to make sure that everybody who’s in the market for your product or service can comfortably view your website.

    Your site may look great on a desktop or laptop monitor, but how does it appear on a tablet, a mini-tablet or – the real litmus test – on a smartphone? Does the site work as well in portrait mode as in landscape? It’s probably easy to navigate when a mouse is at the wheel, but how does it react on a tablet or mobile phone?

    According to a Pew study, 64% of the U.S. population now owns a smartphone, and Americans are spending an average of two hours per day on their mobile devices.

    The fact that 57% of mobile users will not recommend a company that has a poor mobile site, and with Google’s lastest algorithm change favoring mobile-friendly websites over non-responsive sites, clearly, it’s time to make sure that your website looks good on all mobile devices and in all formats.

    Not too long ago, the only way to do that was to go to the time, trouble and expense of creating separate websites for each use. Now, there is the magic of responsive web design, or RWD. Responsive web design requires that every page layout be adjustable and adaptable to any screen. Besides the financial advantage of having a single, one-size-fits-all website design, there is the even greater advantage of offering viewers a website that looks good regardless of size or format, and that is always easy to read and to navigate.

    Click here to see if your website will pass Google’s new test and check whether your website is ready to face Google’s “Mobilegedden”!

    Learn more about responsive website design at www.X-FactorMarketing.com.

    HICKORY, N.C. – Keeping a website fresh is challenging in today’s “lean” environment. Hickory-based X-Factor Web Marketing has announced a new Website Maintenance Service designed for companies without the staff or expertise needed to manage and update their website.

    “Many businesses simply cannot justify the expense of a full-time webmaster capable of changing and updating their websites,” said Woody Stoudemire, who heads X-Factor and its sister companies, Gotham, LLC and MarketingGhost. “X-Factor’s new website maintenance program provides the benefits of a full-time webmaster without the expense of a full-time employee. Our website maintenance program is simple and hassle-free.”

    X-Factor’s Website Maintenance Service will update company websites with new products, content, photos, newsletters, pdf’s, security updates, on-site SEO and more. “Regular website updates will strengthen a company’s ability to generate strong leads and acquire more customers,” said Stoudemire. “Regular updates will increase visitor loyalty and improve search engine rankings.”

    For an affordable monthly rate, X-Factor will assign an account manager to provide regular contact along with personal, customized service. Each client will be prompted monthly for changes. Pricing for the website maintenance is flexible, depending on client needs, with plans starting at $190 per month with no long term contracts.

    For more information, visit www.Manage-My-Website.com, contact X-Factor Web Marketing at 828.322.2690 or email info@x–factormarketing.com.

     

    Media Contact
    Laurie Evans, Studio Manager
    laurie@gothamstrategic.com
    828-327-8099, ext. 806

    Can you imagine saving up for a brand new Ferrari, then driving it off the lot, parking it in your garage and leaving it there forever?

    Of course not!  What a waste, right?

    Unfortunately, that’s exactly what a lot of people do with one of their most valuable marketing assets: their company website.

    You’ve probably spent significant time and money getting your company’s website up and running. When you “drove it off the lot,” launching it for the first time, it probably looked great!  But what have you done with it since then?

    Is it sitting there collecting dust?  Behind closed doors?  In the dark?

    If so, you need someone to get in and drive that thing for you, run it through the car wash a time or two, change the oil now and then, and make sure she keeps running right for years to come!

    We call that website maintenance, and consider it to be one of the easiest, most affordable and most reliable ways to keep your website in top form.  Plus, it’s sure to make your site more appealing to customers and search engines alike.

    But, to be honest, if you’re planning on doing it in-house, website maintenance can end up being expensive, time-consuming, and easily put off.  That’s why we always recommend outsourcing your web maintenance to experienced webmasters who can help pick up the slack.  

    Here are three solid reasons why outsourcing your website maintenance is a smart call:

    1. It’s cheaper.  If you hire a full-time webmaster, you’re going to be paying around $55,000 per year PLUS benefits, PLUS sick time, PLUS vacation time, PLUS unemployment, disability, taxes…..all told, we’re talking about over $6,000 per month.  And you’re probably not going to require 175 hours worth of website maintenance every month, so either your hired webmaster will be doing things outside his or her area of expertise, or wasting time.  Instead, an outsourced webmaster can be available for every update your site needs at a tiny fraction of the cost.
    2. It’s more consistent.  While you’re busy running your business, maintaining your website can easily fall by the wayside.  Making the little tweaks that keep your website running well, adding fresh content to keep it timely, relevant, and popular with the search engines, checking for broken links, updating product information and pricing… all of these things can get away from you while you’re busy actually doing what you do best.  But an outsourced professional can concentrate on maintaining your website consistently, proactively prompting you for updates as needed, keeping up with links, fixing any pesky errors that arise, and making any content updates at your request.
    3. It’s better for your customers.  When your website is properly maintained and kept up-to-date with timely and fresh content, your current and potential customers have a better experience. Which means they’re more likely to start – or continue – doing business with you.  And since we’ve already established it’s less expensive and more effective to let an outsourced webmaster  handle it for you, this is turning into a no-brainer. 

    Be sure to ask us about X-Factor’s custom website maintenance packages before your site ends up collecting dust!  Need an entirely new website design?  We can help with that too!

    Did your web developer add Google Analytics to your website? Great!  That’s the first step in measuring your website’s success.  Now, do you know how to actually read all of those great reports?

    It can be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few things to look for when reviewing the data:

    Dashboard View:

    • This snapshot report gives you a general overview of all report summaries.  Each summary can be opened to view a more detailed analysis.

    Site Usage

    • Visits – Indicates how many total visits there were to your website in the time period indicated
    • Page Views – Indicates how many different pages of your website were viewed
    • Pages Per Visit – the average number of pages viewed per visit
    • Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. We use this to measure visit quality. A high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert.

    Visitors Overview

    • Indicates how many individual visitors viewed your website, and how they found your site (which browsers, mobile devices, etc.).

    Map Overlay

    • This report shows where your visitors are located geographically.  You can break this report down into specific states to see where most of your traffic is located.

    Traffic Sources Overview

    • This report will show you where your traffic is coming from (i.e. search engines such as Google or Yahoo, referring sites that are linked back to your site, or direct traffic – users typing in your  website directly).  You can open this report to see which specific sites or search engines are referring the most traffic to your website.  It will also show you which keywords users are typing into search engines that are leading them to your site.

    Content Overview

    • This report will give you an analysis of which pages on your sites are getting viewed the most, and which are not being viewed very often.  It will also indicate how visitors navigate through your website, which pages are landed on most often, and which pages are exited most often.

    Need more help? X-Factor can study your Google Analytics reports on a monthly basis, provide pro-active suggestions, and will make changes as necessary to improve your website position and performance based on these results.

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