5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain for Your Website

 

When first setting up any website, one of the hardest — but most important — things to decide is what to call it. Your website’s domain will play a big role in defining your brand’s image, search optimization, “buzz-worthiness,” and more. Unique domains are becoming increasingly scarce commodities as thousands of new sites come online each year. With millions of websites already vying for real estate on the web, and each with a distinct domain name, finding the perfect thing to call your site is now more important than ever. Continue reading “5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain for Your Website”

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Optimizing a Drupal Site for SEO and Google PageSpeed

A great content management system (CMS), over 1 million users globally have used Drupal to build powerful websites on the Internet. However, to maximize the search engine optimization (SEO) of a website built with a CMS like Drupal, you must configure the site with the proper settings. Let’s look at the basic steps you should take to optimize a fresh install of Drupal. Continue reading “Optimizing a Drupal Site for SEO and Google PageSpeed”

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Online Essentials Your Business Needs to Thrive

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For your business to thrive, you need to constantly bring in new customers and clients. While cold-calling and traditional advertising both have their benefits, we now live in an online world – when people want something done, their first stop isn’t the Yellow Pages, it’s Google. If your small business marketing plan is going to succeed, you need to have a strong online marketing presence.

Naturally, you’re worried about both the expense and the time commitment. While online marketing can be expensive if you’re not careful, meeting the minimum requirements is an absolute must if you hope to grow your business – and it can be done in a cost-efficient way. In fact, you can take a lot of the following steps for free! Here are the online essentials your business needs to thrive in the 21st century: Continue reading “Online Essentials Your Business Needs to Thrive”

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How to make sure your site is mobile friendly in a ‘mobile-first’ world

mobile marketingThe world is dynamic, and people are moving from using desktops to using the Smartphone in finding information and communicating via the Internet. In lots of countries, the number of Smartphones in use is more than personal computers. All the more reason to make your site mobile friendly. A mobile friendly site is the one that has the correct display for handheld gadgets like tablets, Smartphones, iPhones, and iPads. The site also has minimized scrolling, easy to navigate, loads faster and avoids using flash. Making you site mobile friendly makes you visible to a wider pull of mobile users since your website will be visible in the search results depending on how well you have configured it. There are three things you should know when making a website accessible by a mobile phone user. Among them is: Continue reading “How to make sure your site is mobile friendly in a ‘mobile-first’ world”

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How to Build a Content Plan for Your Website

I’ve got some good news and some bad news…

The bad news is that getting your website live was the easy part. InMotion Hosting makes sure of that! The hard part is still to come…now you need to develop content for your site that will attract, engage and convert visitors into prospects and ultimately customers.

The good news is that there is a tried and true framework for developing a content plan to ensure that your site can attract qualified visitors and will engage those most likely to become customers.

In this post I’ll share this framework to help you evaluate your business and customers, and develop a strategic content plan to help you meet the needs of your target market, and in turn your own business objectives.

4 Steps to Building a Successful Content Plan

The following steps walk you through a research oriented planning process designed to build a content plan based on the needs of your target market. Rather than the usual brochureware and marketing speak we are aiming here to develop content that answers questions and helps potential customers reach a decision to buy from you. By the time you’re through with this process, you will have created a content plan designed to attract and convert the most qualified visitors to your website.

Step 1: Define the Buying Cycle in Your Business

Your business’ buying cycle in the simplest sense is the journey your customers follow in order to buy a product or service. The customer journey will be different for different industries, longer or shorter depending on the nature of the product. Generally speaking however, a buying cycle follows this basic process…

buying-cycle

The breakdown itself is simple enough to understand, the question here is what does the buying cycle in your business mean for content? Let’s take a look at the buying cycle from both a customer’s and content strategist’s perspective to tackle each stage head on.

Continue reading “How to Build a Content Plan for Your Website”

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11 Ways SEO is Changing in 2015 and Beyond

seo-in-2016

As the year 2015 winds down to a close, it’s time to start looking forward to 2016 and beyond. Digital marketers and SEO professionals are always looking to the future so they can be ready for the changes that are no doubt coming. Google is constantly pursuing a better search experience. This results in changes to how they index and rank pages, resulting in changes to SEO tactics.

It’s a cycle that has been going on for years, and 2016 will be no different. New WordPress tips and SEO best practices will start emerging, but I’m here to give you the inside scoop now instead of later.

11 Emerging SEO Trends for 2016

 Google is a business like any other, they just happen to be one of the largest businesses in the world. Everyone that uses their service is a customer to them, so it’s only natural for them to constantly pursue a better experience for their users.

As you read these eleven upcoming SEO changes, keep the words user experience at the forefront of your mind. You’ll find that all of these changes make sense when viewed through that lens.

Continue reading “11 Ways SEO is Changing in 2015 and Beyond”

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15 Steps to Grow Your Business Online

featuredarticleimage2You started your very own business; congratulations! Now that you’re a business owner, have you ever wondered about the possibilities for advancing your business online? This article will walk you through the essentials necessary to growing your business online.

3 Major Components of a Website

First thing’s first: Does your business have an online presence? Having a website allows your customers to easily find you by putting information about your business online. If you have merchandise, creating an online store will allow you to sell to them online as well!

  • Secure a domain name: Your domain name is a reflection of your business. Branding is important so create one as relevant to your business as possible.
  • Find a hosting company: A good hosting company is integral to operating your business online. Find a host that can meet your business’ needs and is capable of scaling with the growth of your online presence.
  • Build your website: The look and feel of your website is also important. There are several options available if you are inexperienced with creating a website from scratch. WordPress is a good starter platform to use and also includes free templates that you can customize yourself. If you don’t want to build it yourself, there are numerous options available to you online.
    • One is to have a web-design professional custom craft a website exactly as you want it. Feel free to check out our web design options here.
    • Another would be learning how to create a blog from scratch using the easy step-by-step tutorial from one of our partners How To Start A Blog 101.

5 Important Considerations:

You will need to increase visibility in order to use your new website as an asset to drive traffic to your business.

  • Responsive: Is your website optimized to be viewed on any screen? With the rise of mobile search traffic, Google has included mobile-friendliness as a criteria for ranking websites viewed on mobile browsers, making it very important to have a version of your website be responsive on a mobile device.
  • SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO)  is making the content on your website refined so that search engines like Google can find you easily to show a potential customer’s search query. SEO is important to ensure that when people use keywords relevant to the services you offer, that you become one of the top search results.
    • Check out this article for more information about boosting your SEO here.
  • Updates: Once you have your website up, you need to maintain it by providing fresh content for your customers. Keeping things new will have them coming back for more. Find a comfortable cadence that you can maintain and update it to showcase new products, deals, or incentives.
  • User Experience: Have your friends and family go through your website and try to purchase or request services. Are there any hiccups or roadblocks in the process? Have them QA the content for flow and if any questions are going unanswered.Analyzing and making changes to this can help reduce bounce rates and shopping cart abandonments.
  • Competition:  Look to your competitors and check out what their process is like. Pay attention to where their services lack so that you can make improvements onto your page accordingly.

4 Marketing Techniques to Start Today

Now that you have a fully functioning website that has online visibility to your customers, the next step is marketing your business.

  • Target Customers: Make sure that you don’t wait for visitors to just come to you. Actively look for an audience that may be interested in your products and services. Develop an audience and demographic you want to target.  All social media platforms have statistics, as well as Google keyword planner. Do some research on what your customers are looking for using their tools.
  • Network: Make connections with people relevant to your business and industry. A large network can help you expand both your business and your potential customer reach. This will also bolster your company’s brand identity. LinkedIN is a good resource to meet industry professionals.
  • Email Campaigns: Capturing an email is just as important as capturing a sale. Emails can build a refined and targeted list of people that are genuinely interested in your product or service. Emails can be used to send your customers updates on new items they might be interested in, upcoming sales, or even just a thank you coupon code for their next visit. Give your customers an incentive to keep coming back! Use tools like Constant Contact or MailChimp integrations.
  • Advertise: Want more people to know who your business is and what it offers? Find advertising opportunities where people with relevant interest can learn more about your business. Google AdWords is a great place to start.

3 Crucial Customer Support Responsibilities

Finally, you want to ensure your company upholds a high-quality of service to keep your customers satisfied and coming back. This may seem “obvious” but don’t let the obvious fool you. Countless businesses lose sight of customer service as their business grows. Here are the best ways to stay engaged with your customers:

  • “Oh, the Humanity!”: Let your customers know that your business is run by real people that care about them. When your customers love your business, not only will they be returning customers, but they will also recommend you to people they know, enhancing both your brand and customer base.
  • Customer Feedback: Give your customers an opportunity to review your business. Ask for and welcome consumer feedback. This information can be very valuable in figuring out pain points of your customers as well as ways to improve your business and stay competitive. When you make changes to improve their experience, your customers will love you for it!
  • Customer Support: When your business doesn’t offer customer support, your consumers are left in the dark to figure out everything themselves. If they can’t figure it out they may never want to return to your business. Support is essential to the post-consumer journey and can give your customers the confidence to buy your product, knowing that help  is available.

Following this guide will have you well on your way towards a healthy and successful online business!

 

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Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’: What You Need to Know for April 2015

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Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’: What You Need to Know for April 2015 

Google’s primary purpose is to help you find what you’re looking for. It’s a simple enough business model, and they’ve done a great job sticking to their bread and butter throughout their ascent to the goliath of the internet as well as the highest-trafficked website in the world. And now, with the proliferation of mobile devices as an everyday necessity for the average consumer comes the truth that most of the internet and all its applications are being accessed increasingly by mobile devices and tablets.

 Smart phones are quickly becoming the most used devices in the world to access the web. Multitasking activities like listening to your favorite podcast or radio station on the go while reading emails and downloading a recipe for dinner simultaneously are capabilities that are afforded to us by our mobile devices. In North America alone, “mobile data traffic by 2019 will be equivalent to 210x the volume of North American mobile traffic ten years earlier (in 2009),” according to Cisco Communications. That’s why Google has announced that it will be unleashing its “mobile-friendly” update on April 21st, 2015, a.k.a – Mobilegeddon.

The name of the game here is mobile efficiency – and Google wants to reward the websites and apps that make the life of a mobile user easier by rewarding more mobile-friendly sites in search results. With this update, Google is tackling two inefficiencies they see with the current mobile user model. we’ll be covering there here so you can better prepare for Mobilegeddon.

Be Friendly, not Freaky

Google wants users who are accessing the web via their smart phones to be able to do so without worrying about load times or compatibility with their hand-held hardware. A lot of times, a website’s features, such as an embedded video, has to adjust to the phone’s smaller format. Or perhaps the website’s content requires Adobe Flash, but the phone isn’t equipped with it. This causes longer load time, and graphics to get ‘freaky’ via improperly loaded content.

With the new mobile-friendly search result update, Google is essentially telling websites that they need to make their websites less burdensome to the mobile user or else there will be a penalty in mobile-user access and search placement.  As most users know, the higher a website ranks on Google the better traffic they will get because users usually don’t click beyond the first page of search results. In terms of Mobilegeddon, the quality of your website and how compatible it is to mobile users will affect your placement on Google’s search results. The first page is obviously the best placement, and beyond the third you’re really looking at low traffic results. So help yourself out and be friendly to those who want access to your content.

Is your website a ‘mobile freak’ or a ‘mobile friend?’ Check with Google’s Mobile-Friendly meter here: 

Mobile Test

*NOTE* This ‘mobile friendly’ checker works on a page to page basis. So if your website has multiple pages, make sure they are all checked. it’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it. Mobilegeddon is upon us – so get preparations in order.

“WHERE IS THE DA-oh. There it is…”

An index works like a hyper table of contents. When you need to know something quickly, you look up one or two reference words, search the index, find the page number, and continue with your reading. Google understands this and has taken steps to apply this to websites and the mobile landscape.

According to the Google announcement:

        “We will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.” – Google Web Master

In essence, the number of users who have your app installed and use it actively will be an influence in where you are ranked on the search engine. That’s just an influence though. If you website or service does not have an app, then make sure to make it mobile friendly!

The update takes place April 21st, 2015

Make sure you’ve checked your website’s mobile friendliness by then so that you don’t get flagged as “unfriendly” when the update takes place.

Don’t end up where you don’t belong because of an easy fix. Make sure you check your website HERE.

All won’t be lost if your webmaster or development team can’t make a page on your website mobile-friendly. There are just some pages that can’t “please all.” Google understands this, but in order to benefit the most from mobile search results, get your design teams working on optimizing your pages that aren’t converting to mobile very well. This time next year, you’ll see the value in starting now.

Whether you own a small to medium business or you desire a robust e-Commerce storefront, InMotion Hosting can get your business online in no time. We provide high-quality web design services in a wide range of customizable packages. Take a look at make sure to chat with us if you’d like us to design you a mobile friendly website. Check us out here.

 

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SSL for SEO?

DOES A SECURITY CERTIFICATE EQUAL A RANKINGS BOOST?

Back in March 2014, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Webspam, said he personally wanted SSL to be a ranking factor. Well that time has come, and probably quicker than most people may have expected.  Well, somewhat.  As of now, adding an SSL 2048-bit key certificate will only provide a minor boost to your site.  In fact, Google says it affects “fewer than 1% of global queries” and does not carry as much weight as “other signals such as high-quality content” which only goes to show you, as always, content is king.

Google has said it wants all “website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web,” so there’s a good chance we could see that ranking signal strengthen over time.

According to Google, more information on this will be released in the future, but in the meantime, Google has provided the following tips:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Do not block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN TERMS OF SEO?

Installing an SSL is not going to miraculously boost your website to the top of the search results, but as Google continues its “HTTPS everywhere” push, it is definitely something you want to be aware of. Especially if it is something Google is encouraging all website owners to do.

HOW TO MAKE THE SWITCH

In order to make the switch to HTTPS your website will need a Secure Sockets Locket (SSL) Certificate.  SSLs are protocols that establish a secure link between a web server and a browser.  It is a way for social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information to be securely transmitted without being intercepted by a third party.

PURCHASE AN SSL THROUGH INMOTION HOSTING

Purchasing an SSL Certificate through InMotion Hosting can be accomplished in just 5 simple steps:

Step 1. Login to AMP (Account Management Panel)

Step 2. Click the Purchase SSL Certificate button.

How to Purchase an SSL Certificate
How to Purchase an SSL Certificate

Step 3. Select the SSL Certificate’s subscription length (ie. 1 or 2 years) and the Desired Certificate Name.

Step 4. Enter the contact information for the owner of the SSL Certificate.

Step 5. Choose how you want the SSL billed, then click Submit. You will then see the following message, “Your order has been submitted for processing. Please look for a follow up from our staff shortly.” 

The typical turn-around time is up to 48 hours.  However, there are many reasons why an SSL may take longer to be issued.  Once your SSL certificate has been installed successfully, you will receive an email notification to your primary email address on file.  After you get the SSL installed, you can show the Secure Comodo Seal on your website.  Check out our guide on how to show the secure seal for your site.

We also have a guide with more in depth instructions on how to purchase an SSL through InMotion Hosting.

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