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Google’s Mobile Search Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know

Friday, April 17th, 2015

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Move over Penguin and Panda, here comes – you heard it here first – Manatee!

Well, maybe not. But your mobile web presence should be prepared for something big.

Last November, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time, according to IBM.  And nearly 28% of all online sales came from mobile devices.

Is your website optimized for mobile and ready for Google’s next update?  While there’s no appropriate animal moniker for the update yet, this one will likely have more of an impact than Panda or Penguin. And it’s only impacting the mobile results.

Google’s official announcement:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

What you need to know:

  • The algorithmic change will take effect on April 21st.
  • This affects organic searches that are performed from a mobile device.
  • The algorithm changes will focus on a number of key areas, including rewarding sites with text that can be read without the need to zoom and appropriately sized content that eliminates the need to scroll.
  • This is at the page level, so pages will get promoted for being “mobile-friendly”.
  • Google has created a Mobile-Friendliness tool that will give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on a per-url basis.
  • If a mobile search query is highly correlated with mobile app listings (in the Google Play and iOS App Stores), your app could see significantly more visibility within mobile search results pages.
  • Google has expanded the types of information that they scrape and pull from a site, especially in mobile. Whenever you see a little grey ‘i’ in the upper right hand corner of a mobile search result, it means that Google is probably getting a small portion of any related transaction.

How much traffic do you get from mobile?

The image below shows us how much organic traffic is coming from a mobile device. Then go to Audience > Mobile > Overview > Secondary Dimension drop down > choose Source / Medium.

MobileGoogleArticle-AnalyticsMoz believes that Google will launch a new mobile crawler (probably with an Android user-agent) that can do a better job of crawling single-page web apps, Android apps, and perhaps even Deep Links in iOS apps.

How much will it affect your traffic?

Here’s what Google has to say about it (full story here):

“The mobile-friendly algorithm is an on or off algorithm, on a page-by-page basis, but it is not about how mobile-friendly your pages are, it is simply are you mobile-friendly or not.

But as we mentioned earlier, there are over 200 different factors that determine ranking so we can’t just give you a yes or no answer with this. It depends on all the other attributes of your site, whether it is providing a great user experience or not. That is the same with desktop search, not isolated with mobile search.”

Here are some helpful steps to test your site’s mobile capacity:

  1. View your site on various mobile devices including Apple & Samsung.
  2. Review if the links and buttons on your mobile device are large and easy to find, and spaced properly from other elements of the site.
  3. Evaluate page load time. Limit the number of images.
  4. Test your eCommerce, mobile checkout.  It will convert more if you keep your number of clicks down.  If you have a small e-commerce site that processes payments with PayPal, also consider using Amazon Payments (or an API w/ PayPal) which allows customers to login with Amazon and pay with Amazon while never navigating away from your website.
  5. Show the most important & relevant content.  Content is not necessarily king, when it comes to mobile. Pair it down to the most important information. Make sure to insert a button on the bottom right that allows mobile users to go back to the top of the page instantly.
  6. Make sure there is a visible click-to-call button.  These buttons are designed to call the number, when clicked on a mobile device.
  7. Make the content, products and/or services on mobile sharable: Optimizing for social sharing standards is key.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) are changing all the time. Knowledge graph has jumped from 17% to 27% of Google’s queries, according to Moz’s Dr. Pete Meyers.

“Google is essentially competing against us with our own information, and I think that’s a turning point in the relationship between Google and webmasters.” -Dr. Pete Meyers, Moz

Don’t risk a continued drop in rankings, make sure your site is engaging, creative, optimized and mobile friendly.

Make sure your mobile site is nimble and a hell of a lot faster than a manatee.

Google is taking a mobile first mentality. Get on the same page.

We can help.

Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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Sixty years ago, Peter Drucker said, “Marketing is the unique, distinguishing function of the business.”

We’re moving into a new era of marketing, one that is distinguishing the successful and memorable businesses from the rest. An era where customer service is part of marketing, a time where we want to live life to the fullest and share our knowledge. We’re living in an era of experiences.

This was Robert Rose’s message (& latest book) at the latest Desert AdFed luncheon at the Classic Club.

According to experts, we recently moved out of the “Relationship Era”, having started with one to one marketing in the mid-90s and moving into engagement and becoming “friends” with potential customers, online.  But let’s face it. It’s been complicated.

So, how does a company go from merely creating content to creating value and stellar customer experiences?

Instead of asking “Should I lower my prices?” or “Should we offer another product?”  ask “how high can I set the bar to deliver an experience that connects with my customers?

Marketing can – nay, must – lead this new era to create powerful customer experiences.

As a long-time beer blogger and marketer, I found myself nodding enthusiastically. Offering interesting content and showing off the latest beers and trends at beer festivals (aka “experiences”) and dinner pairings (more experiences) & in brewer interviews (valuable & relevant content) has been my blog’s main driver for almost a decade.

Today’s consumer is information driven, insightful and eager to find the best service and product experience. They want to buy from businesses that acknowledge their pain points, their needs, desires and hell, just make finding a product or service easy and dare I say, enjoyable.Marketing Experiences: Infographic

Here are a couple great examples:

  1. Kraft: Want more of your message consumed? Offer useful and relevant content to your consumers. Kraft has been delivering delicious recipes online to beef up their content marketing since the early 90s.  Okay, I’m done with the puns. About 1/3 of KraftRecipes.com are created by their culinary team and the rest is curated from their member community. The ROI on the content marketing work is among the highest of all of their marketing efforts. They’ve been so successful (100m annual visitors to its web properties) not just by giving away recipes, but by understanding customers based on their interactions with the content. Kraft has proven that its content marketing yields 4x better ROI than its traditional advertising.
  2. Saks Fifth Avenue: The nearly century old department store has successfully tapped the potential of mobile. Knowing that in-store customers use their devices to shop, the luxury retailer aimed to optimize their marketing, sales and branding. They brought in guest editors to their catalogs, giving a more magazine-like feel, presenting Saks as a fashion authority and making it more of an experience.

Content, after all, is still king.

Starting in 2013, Sakes also started offering a mobile-optimized website and an iPad app. This allows shoppers to enjoy a seamless experience that combines the efficiency of online interactivity with the immediacy of in-store shopping.  And get this, Saks Fifth Avenue even embraced the selfie. Last year, they launched a user-generated section of its site, called #SaksStyle, that aggregates shoppers’ selfies shared on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.

And the images are shoppable. Giving consumers a standard hashtag to use and featuring their images on the site rewards them.

Now, that’s an awesome experience.

Spark interest by making your brand larger than the sum of your products. And coming on the heels of the next big Google algorithm update (Search “Google Mobile algorithm update”) on April 21st, be mobile! Google searches about location are growing rapidly, and so are consumer expectations.

Use Content Creation Management (CCM) to create experiences that delight, inspire and engage your audiences.

In today’s constantly connected world, people crave sensory experiences. Just look at IfOnly.com, the “world’s first emporium for experiences.” They offer exclusive options with semi-finalists of this year’s James Beard Awards and even a private dinner inside the Venetian Gothic Palace for some tantalizing and memorable experiences.

What do you as a brand have to offer that matters to consumers? What are you going to provide to make them want to come back to you again and again?

If we provide value and a great experience to our clients and consumers, marketing still, indeed, can be the unique, distinguishing function of the business.

Jump Start Your Business: 10 Steps to Engaging User Experience

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

“A UX designer is coordinating, orienting, helping all of the other folks [designers] achieve some common goal, a singular intent… UX designers lead organizations to ensure that great experiences get out into the world.” – Peter Merholz, author of Subject to ChangeUser Experience

User experience design (UX design) has become the key to successful websites and businesses alike. 2014 was an amazing year for experience design, embracing minimalism and imagery. (more…)

King Content and the Blogconomy

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Someone recently said, “Content is the reason search began in the first place.” Blogconomy

In today’s business world, everyone is a publisher. For this reason, businesses need to rise above and create their own content that engages, helps and resonates with the brand.

Be the best answer your company can be.

So, what does this mean?

Why should content marketing be a part of your outreach marketing strategy? Integrating your content marketing strategy with your sales funnel will help generate leads and boost conversions.

Blogging, for example, never stops working. Simply, blogging helps your SEO efforts and increases branding. Brands need social influence to help tell their story and influence trust. We purchase based on trust.

Do you want more confidence that your messages will convert into action? Reach out to bloggers.

According to HubSpot, the consumer goes through three stages when getting ready to buy a product or service. It’s in the first two stages, the “Awareness Stage” and “Consideration Stage” that blogs can play a huge role. According to HubSpot, 71% of buyers said that a blog had affected their decision to purchase.

  • It increased traffic to your website, by attracting and engaging visitors.
  • At least 81% of the digital population trusts advice they get from bloggers. This is more than Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. (Source: 2012 Women and Social Media Study)
  • Blogs rank high with consumers for trust, popularity and influence.

If you want to be more effective at content marketing, document your strategy and be consistent.

“Content marketers who have a documented strategy are eight times more likely (60% vs. 7%) to rate themselves as being effective content marketers vs. those who have no strategy, writtenContent Marketing Blog Infographic or otherwise.” MarketingProfs

According to the (2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America) from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs: infographics was the tactic that had the greatest increase in usage (from 51% last year to 62% this year).

Content Marketing Strategy:

  1. Understand your audience: Know your buyer persona. Deep dive into needs, lifestyle, and motivations of your buyers. What do your customers and audience actually want? What does a typical customer look like for you in terms of demographics like gender, marital status, age and income? If the content on your blog doesn’t appeal to your target audience, you’re never going to convert all of that traffic into leads and customers for your business.
  2. Strategy: Define your goals. Will the blog be for lead generation? Or, to display your business as thought leaders in your industry? Understand which digital properties are performing best for you. Set timelines and adjust accordingly.
  3. Consistency: Blogging is like jogging. You’re going to see better results if you jog a little every other day than if you run like crazy once a month. If you blogged three days in a row, two months ago and gave up, don’t be shocked that your website traffic didn’t jump up. Business blogging requires consistent, long-term effort, not short sprints of intense activity.
  4. Track your activity. By knowing what resonates with your audience, you can be more strategic in your approach. Utilize Google Analytics to track your website visits and tools like Sprout Social or Jugnoo for social tracking.
  5. Blogger Vetting: Do your research. Grade their site and look at their social reach. Do they have influence?
  6. Guest Posting: Posting on other blogs is a hugely powerful tool in increasing your reach and your persona or brand.

Today, news blogs rival mainstream media. Don’t be afraid to be personal and convey your opinions, as long as they align with your branding and strategy.

Someone else once said, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

That someone was Bill Gates.

Unbounce CTA conference – September 2014

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Unbounce put together their first kick-ass Call-to-Action (CTA) conference (cussing really got the point across in a ‘no-bullshit’ kinda’ way) in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was in Vancouver that we learned how to create a successful landing page and post-click experience for our clients.

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 Behold 25 Tweet Takeaways ~

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Graphtek Supports the Coachella Valley Community

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Here at Graphtek, we not only want to help businesses grow, we like to see our community grow and prosper by supporting non-profits like Desert Best Friend’s Closet.

Desert Best Friend’s Closet empowers low-come Coachella Valley residents to attain employment through education and wardrobe services. Desert Best Friend’s Closet partners and collaborates with other agencies in the Coachella Valley to provide interview-appropriate attire at no cost to individuals seeking employment who do not have the means to buy such attire themselves.

Graphtek made a donation to the cause by building the site in approximately two weeks, for free.  We launched it on November 13th 2013.

Graphtek President, Kate Spates said, “I was so excited to hear Desert Best Friends Closet was chosen for the Extreme Non-Profit makeover and I couldn’t wait to dig in to redesign her website. I felt like her website could do a better job to simplify what Connie’s organization does, what they need from the community and who they help. By using images with text in the photo slider at the top, along with simple calls to action, we achieved that.”

“This site shows Desert Best Friend’s Closet as a more polished and professional agency that we are striving to become,” said Connie Golds, President and Co-Founder of Desert Best Friend’s Closet.
We want to wish Desert Best Friend’s Closet and those seeking employment big successes in 2014 and beyond!

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What makes a great website?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Good web design is a careful balance between technology and aesthetics.  When you visit an eye catching website, what is it that makes it stand out?  Is it the visuals?  Is it the content? Or, the easy navigation?

The following are some important factors to take into consideration when designing or purchasing a website.

Your online image should reflect your offline identity. Ultimately, you want your website to connect the user with the information they are searching for. You want to do this by peaking and keeping their interest.  This is where your company should craft a mission statement and business goals and objectives.  A pretty site does nothing without strategy.  A well designed website should fulfill the business objective, whether it’s to inform or sell.

Your target audience’s interests should be the overarching consideration in determining the style of your site.  Consider Orbitz.com or Expedia.com websites. Their layout and styling focus on the search tool rather than adding flashy elements.Web-Design-Infographic_200x765

Understanding the human thought process is important in designing an idyllic experience on the web.

–    Clean Visual Design: Keep is simple. You’ve heard it over and over. The visual effects play an important role in the communication of content, but only as long as it serves the website’s primary purpose. The aesthetics should support the navigation and interaction functions.  CSS transitions can help us to make website interactions more human.

–    Ease of Use: Start out with a structure that appeals to and works with your audience first. The last thing you want is for visitors to become flummoxed by a confusing website. Simply, make sure people can effortlessly find the information they’re looking for. This is where text structure, search placement and other site elements come into play. If your viewers have to go searching, then your navigation is too complex. Knowing how users move around a web site is useful in keeping their interest and helping them easily find what they’re looking for. Increasing the usage of the successful callouts and eliminating the ineffective ones will increase conversions.

–    Functionality: Whether it’s to inform, entertain or serve as an e-commerce platform, a good website has to serve its purpose. It can be the most strikingly beautiful site you’ve seen in years, but if you can’t find the information quickly, you’re going to leave. Your site on a mobile device should anticipate their need and address it with design and navigation that allows them to easily find whatever it is they need. Make the site intuitive.

–    Speed: About 30% of consumers will start to abandon a website after 5 seconds of loading time.  There are many factors to consider in making a site load faster. Simplify design elements can not only increase the speed, but can be popular aesthetically. It won’t matter how pretty your site is if nobody waits around long enough to read it.

–    SEO:  A gorgeous website doesn’t do much good if no one can find it!  Content is king! This can be augmented through blog posts, static pages, eBooks, YouTube videos and more. Keywords, frequency and relevance are crucial in your SEO efforts. Establish an ongoing content marketing campaign where relevant and timely content is placed on your website, regularly. Google will reward websites with fresh, relevant content.

With the massive increase in mobile usage, responsive web design provides an optimal viewing experience across all devices.  Creating a website version for each resolution and new device would be impractical, given the endless number of resolutions and devices. New devices with new screen sizes are being developed every day, so web design should automatically adjust.  Responsive design is just that, responsive. It’s the concept that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.

Believe it or not, there is a science to how we view the web. Companies like Google, Barnes & Noble and eBay are all integrating neuroscience discoveries into their web design.  Our eyes will be drawn to certain common elements of web design.

EyeQuant uses algorithms based on eyetracking studies and research to evaluate web sites, claiming they can predict where a viewer’s attention will go when they load a web site. Realeyes uses computer vision to read people’s faces and to measure how they feel.

The significance of a good web design in the modern day is monumental. Be sure you have an expert/s working with your business’ best interest in mind.

Recent Work: RandyWillardInc.com Gets a Website Redesign

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Randy Willard WebsiteIs there any fashion designer faux pas worse than having outdated collections on the brand’s website?

For men’s custom clothing designer and desert resident Randy Willard, who frequently styles and designs custom clothing for high profile athletes, releasing a new clothing collection meant his website would become outdated.

Willard, who designs custom suits for clients including Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Joe Buck, NBA player Grant Hill and former NFL player Kevin Carter, was frustrated with his website when he turned to Graphtek for help. He needed an easy-to-update website design that could keep up with his fashion forward collections.

He also wanted his website to be a strong tool to help sell the look that Randy Willard’s collections offer. We knew nothing could sell the Randy Willard look better than high quality fashion photography, but the existing website design wasn’t very photo-friendly.

“Randy has always had amazing photography but it had to be cropped to fit his old site,” Graphtek President Kate Spates said. “When we started the redesign, we wanted to make it so that the photography would be the center of the design.”

Keeping this in mind, Graphtek recently redesigned the Randy Willard website to focus on dramatic, full-screen fashion photography, allowing his products to speak for themselves.

And with Willard’s fashions constantly moving forward, we needed to ensure that his website could keep up with his new collections. To achieve this, Graphtek incorporated a user-friendly content management system into the redesign that will allow Randy and his team to easily change the website’s photos, headlines and content as needed. Collections can easily be changed out as soon as they become dated, and the CMS also allows Willard to update the “Events” page with information on the various charitable events and social functions he donates to.

Since Randy Willard is not only a designer but also a renowned stylist, we added a “Stylist” page that features his handpicked style pairings. As Willard says, a beautiful suit means nothing if not styled correctly, so his redesigned website provides plenty of visual inspiration on the art of styling.

The redesigned and recently launched randywillardinc.com is now an immersive men’s fashion experience that effectively sells the Randy Willard look by focusing on stunning photography that’s easy to update.

With summer being off-season in the Coachella Valley, it’s the perfect time to redesign your website. Whether you want to make a few functionality changes or completely overhaul your existing website, starting your website redesign during the summer means your perfect website will be ready for business this fall.

At Graphtek, we understand that there’s more to effective website design than templates and text. We specialize in custom-designed websites that work for your business, and we’re ready to help your website reach the next level. Whether you need website design, a site redesign or other digital marketing services, contact Graphtek today to discuss how a digital marketing strategy can benefit your business.

7 Essentials to Turn Your Website On

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

7 Essentials to Turn Your Website On

Congratulations! Your business finally has a website. After months of development, your site is online and ready to bring quality leads and new conversions to your business.

Or is it?

There’s a difference between website development and website marketing. Your site might be online but is it engaging and connecting with your audience? Is it being found by search engines and potential customers? Is your site serving a purpose?

In other words, is your website turned on?

Aside from showing off your corporate logo, your website needs to convert. When your website is turned on, it’s a powerful marketing tool that drives results. These seven essentials can help turn a frigid website into an irresistible marketing machine.

Be Engaging

Create and maintain a presence on the Web that accurately represents your brand and resonates with your target audience. The best way to engage your audience is to find your voice and use it well. Here are a couple of ways to create an engaging experience on your website:

  • Update Your Content: Well-written blog posts and informative articles can educate your audience and position your business as the go-to resource in your industry. Fresh content not only ensures your audience is engaged but can help boost your search engine ranking, too.
  • Analyze the Competition: Have you looked at the competition’s digital marketing approach? Learn from your competitors’ marketing hits and misses. Analyze their efforts to make sure you’re keeping up with the industry and constantly innovating.
  • Analyze, Measure and Strategize: Every marketing strategy needs to be based on analysis and measured for results. Your site’s analytics not only provide a baseline reading of its performance but can also show where there is room for improvement and help you measure a campaign’s results.

Be Found

Develop and implement interactive marketing plans that leverage a combination of analysis, analytics, SEO, PPC and targeted local search. If you give search engines the right data, they’ll find your site and index it properly. Here are a few ways to increase your site’s chances of being found:

  • Implement SEO: Look at your analytics, the marketplace and the competition to develop a set of keywords. While working toward organic SEO, you might consider running a pay-per-click campaign for keywords you aren’t ranking for. At Graphtek, we can also use tools such as a grader to uncover the best keywords for your campaign.
  • Use a Grader: Is your call to action the first thing your readers are drawn to? Are small code errors hurting your search engine ranking? Our graphics analyzer and grader can analyze your site and ensure your site is optimized for both your readers and search engines.

Be Connected

Build ongoing relationships by providing “must read” content that seamlessly integrates with your website blog and social media. Regular communication with your clients is the key to successful online marketing. Here are two ways to connect with your customers through your site:

  • Integrate Social Media: It’s a smart idea to link your social media accounts to your website. The trick, though, is to keep readers on your site, not on Facebook or Twitter. Rather than linking to third-party websites, embed your Facebook stream or Twitter feed directly onto your site so your audience stays with you.
  • Make an offer: What action do you want your potential customers to take and what result do you want to get? Put it on your website with a strong offer. One great strategy is to offer something of value, like a free white paper or report, in exchange for an email address or newsletter opt-in. Your offer should always be something that is given in exchange for customer information.

Is your website turned on yet? If you need some help, Graphtek has the magic touch. Learn how we can help turn your website on by contacting us today!

BIGHORN Golf Club uses new technology with redesign.

Friday, March 16th, 2012
BIGHORN Golf Club

BIGHORN Golf Club, a gorgeous landmark located at the base of the mountains in Palm Desert, came to Graphtek Interactive for a website redesign. Their old site was created using Flash technology, which does not work with any mobile Apple products such as iPhone, iPod & iPad. They needed their site to be visually beautiful, yet functional across all platforms. Utilizing emerging technologies, such as a fully customized Content Management System (G|CMS) providing high level access to a broad range of media including high-definition images, responsive elements, dynamic content windows, custom video, and database connectivity to both members and non-members alike. Designed by Ed and Paul, implemented by Israel.