25 Reasons Your Business Should Switch to WordPress

25 Reasons Your Business Should Switch to WordPress

Originally launched in 2003, WordPress has become perhaps the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. Today, WordPress is used by more than 74 million sites that publish new posts every second. No matter the size of the blog that is using WordPress. This widely used CMS has become a favorite among businesses because of how powerful of a tool it is. Just how powerful is WordPress exactly? Check out the following 25 reasons why your business should switch to WordPress and you’ll see why.

1. It’s free.

Whether you’re a blogger or just launching a new online business, the fact that WordPress is 100 percent free is extremely beneficial. Best of all, you never have to worry about hidden charges if your site becomes more popular than expected. WordPress will always be free for you to use.

On top of that, WordPress is also open source. This means that you can improve or alter the source code to create the right site for your needs.

2. Powerful right out of the box.

Unlike other content management systems, WordPress is ready to use immediately after installation. This means that you don’t have to “hunt down, install, and configure a long-list of add-ons just to get many of the features WordPress considers core (comments, RSS feeds, revisions, etc.).”

3. Flexible.

The flexibility of WordPress is another feature that can’t be topped. No matter what you’re using WordPress for – whether as a personal blog or to a popular ecommerce site, WordPress is versatile enough to meet any and all of your needs through its extensive features and extensions.

4. Search engine friendly.

The most popular search engines actually prefer sites that are powered by WordPress because its framework is easy to crawl. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts actually endorsed WordPress during WordCamp San Francisco 2009. His personal blog is on WordPress.

5. Safe and secure.

Since WordPress is such a popular CMS, it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s a target for hackers. However, WordPress takes the security of its users very seriously. While you can practice some basic security measures, such as not downloading a theme or plugin from an untrusted site, WordPress constantly updates its software to prevent attacks. In fact, WordPress has an automatic update feature ever since the release of version 3.7.

Related: The 7 WordPress Plugins Your Site Needs to Succeed

6. Customizable.

Because of the thousands of plugins and themes that WordPress has offer, with just one click of a button you can customize your site to appear and function as you would like. Furthermore, because of the seemingly endless number of features that WordPress has to offer, you can create the website or blog that you’ve always wanted.

7. Easy to use.

Another great perk of using WordPress is how easy it is to use. The platform is user-friendly, intuitive and easy to learn. In fact, you can learn how to use WordPress in a matter of minutes. No wonder WordPress is known for its famous “5-Minute Install.”

8. Lots of support.

WordPress also comes with unprecedented support. This is in part to the extensive WordPress community where you can troubleshoot any question or concern through the WordPress Forums.

9. Hosts multimedia.

The addition of images, video or audio files is a great way to enhance the experience of your users. Thankfully, WordPress makes it easy for you to insert multimedia files into a page or post. Not only is it easy for you to upload multimedia files, you can also edit files, like images, while in the Media Library Screen.

10. Mobile friendly.

It’s more important than ever for a website to be mobile friendly to accommodate smartphones and tablets. With WordPress, however, you don’t have to be concerned over that. It’s already mobile friendly, thanks to many of the themes being responsive.

11. Integration.

WordPress integrates with some of the most powerful platforms available to give your business that additional boost. Need to launch an email campaign? You can use a service like Aweber or MailChimp. Want to get paid for a product or service? WordPress can work with some of the most popular payment gateways in the world.

12. Easy to manage.

As mentioned earlier, WordPress is equipped with a built-in updater for security purposes. However, WordPress also notifies you whenever there are updates for your themes and plugins. This makes managing your WordPress site a breeze, since you’ll always be current on the latest updates. That will keep your site safe and fresh.

13. More than just a blog.

While WordPress earned its reputation as a great blogging platform that can be inserted into an existing website, WordPress itself can be used as a website. Because WordPress contains a post and page structure, you can have daily blog posts, as well as static pages – such as your Contact or About pages.

14. Establishes a community.

Whether it’s by sharing your blog posts on social media networks or by communicating with visitors in the comments section, WordPress has the features and plugins to make the establishment of a community convenient and easy.

15. Saves you money.

Remember, WordPress is a free software. However, that’s not the only area where you’ll save money. Because WordPress is open source and user-friendly, you won’t have to hire web designers or technicians to launch or maintain your WordPress site.

16. Numerous ecommerce solutions.

Since you’re using WordPress for your business, then you will be happy to know that there are a number of ecommerce solutions that will convert your site into an all-out digital store. By using plugins like WooCommerceWP eCommerce or Shopp you can easily begin to make money online.

Related: More Than 100,000 WordPress Websites Reportedly Infected by Russian Malware

17. You’re not committed to one hosting provider.

If you need to switch a provider or host, either because they can’t handle traffic or you’re just frustrated with them, you can do it without experiencing much downtown. This is because WordPress works with pretty much every server. If you need to make the switch, I recommend that you review the following article from WPBeginner. There are several free WordPress hosting options as well.

18. Keeps your site looking fresh.

Whether you need to update your theme because you’ve had it for too long or you’re looking to take advantage of something like the holiday season, there are thousands of free themes to choose from. By doing this you’re keeping the appearance of your WordPress site fresh for your customers.

19. Can be used as a membership service.

If you want to continue to grow a loyal fan base, and maybe even make some additional income, then you can convert WordPress into a full-fledged membership site. When you create an exclusive membership site you’re providing members exclusive content they will find useful. If you want to create a membership site, you should look over this article by Nina Cross on DIYthemes.

20. Schedule posts.

Running a business is an extremely time-consuming task. However, WordPress can free up some additional time by giving you the ability to schedule posts in advance. This means that whenever you complete a post, you can schedule it during whatever time best suits you and your customers. For example, if you have discovered that the most traffic comes to your site between 12pm to 1pm on weekdays, then you could schedule posts around that time.

21. Multi-user capability.

There’s a very good possibility that you’ll have to rely on multiple people to keep your site up and running. WordPress is aware of this and has made it easy for you to assign different roles for different individuals. Here is a summary of these roles from WordPress Codex:

  • Super Admin – somebody with access to the site network administration features and all other features. See the Create a Network article.
  • Administrator – somebody who has access to all the administration features within a single site.
  • Editor – somebody who can publish and manage posts including the posts of other users.
  • Author – somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
  • Contributor – somebody who can write and manage their own posts but cannot publish them.
  • Subscriber – somebody who can only manage their profile.

22. Add testimonials.

Assure potential customers that your products or services are worth the investment by including testimonials on your site. You can add this effective technique by installing a plugin like Easy Testimonials or the Testimonials Widget.

23. Publish content with one-click.

Have you just written an article or blog post that you need to publish immediately? No problem. After creating your amazing content, you can publish it with just the click of one-button. Furthermore, there are even a number of mobile apps that allow you to publish your WordPress content no matter where you are.

24. Universal platform.

WordPress features a universal platform. The WordPress dashboard always looks the same – no matter what you’re using WordPress for. You don’t need to hire experts or spend an excessive amount of time trying to figure out how to use WordPress. In fact, anyone with some sort of general PHP and MySQL experience can use WordPress immediately.

25. WordPress keeps getting better.

Because WordPress hires top-notch developers, you can be certain that WordPress is only going to get better as time goes on. Also, because WordPress is open source, any developer can enhance the user experience so that it can become the best CMS available.

WordPress can be one of the best platforms for your business.  Ever since I switch my personal and business sites to WordPress a couple years ago I have found out how powerful it can be. You can do literally everything with WordPress. I highly recommend that you switch today!

7 WordPress Plugins That Will Quickly Help Your Site Get More Traffic

7 WordPress Plugins That Will Quickly Help Your Site Get More Traffic

When it comes to your website, you want to take advantage of any technology that helps maximize your efforts and get more traffic to your site. Other than creating epic content that you post consistently, what else can you do that will really leverage traffic flow?

There are some incredible WordPress plugins that can help you optimize, audit and promote your site to help you increase your traffic. Here are seven great ones:

1.  Sharebar

Sharebar is an easy-to-install WordPress plugin that syncs with the big social media outlets so that visitors can easily share your content. The Sharebar links your article or site page to the person’s social media and creates a connection between their accounts and your site. That means increased exposure through organic sharing, which is great not just for your traffic but also for your SEO ranking.

You can choose which social media outlets you want to make available that best suit your content and then Sharebar displays those outlets next to your posts. If you don’t have the Sharebar plugin already, don’t delay in installing it.

2. WP to Twitter

Twitter is a great outlet for content going viral. The WP to Twitter plugin is similar to the idea of Sharebar, however this plugin creates an automatic post of your content to your Twitter account. No more copying links and trying to paste them into an effective tweet, the post to Twitter plugin does it automatically for you every time you publish new content.

You create the customizable Tweet template ahead of time and then the plugin will repeat your template for each new post. This plugin also offers a sidebar widget for your site to display all your recent tweets, and will automatically shorten post URLs. Get your content auto-published on Twitter through this handy and easy to install plugin, then watch your traffic grow through tweet shares.

3. SumoMe Popups and Headers

The SumoMe site offers a plethora of both free and paid plugin options that can really help your site go far. The SumoMe suite of options is extensive. It offers features such as HeatMap, which shows you where the majority of traffic is focused on your site, offering you insights into where people are clicking and exploring the most within your website. Then there are tools such as the Opt-in bar, which pops up with a subscribe message based on criteria you program. SumoMe also offers share tools for social media, Scroll Box for on-site opt-ins and even a content analytics tool.

All of its robust offerings are very well developed, incredibly simple to use and while they work great on WordPress, the SumoMe plugin works on a variety of other platfroms, too. Check out the options at SumoMe and sign up for as much, or as little, as your site needs.

4. All in One SEO Pack

Increasing your SEO will help your site rank better in search engines and a higher ranking means your site show up in more search results, which further helps increase traffic. The easier you are to find, the more traffic will steadily continue come your way.

The All in One SEO Pack is a great WordPress plugin template that automatically adds the important fields and tags you will need on each page and with each content post to help you get the most out of your site. This plugin optimizes your titles for Google and other search engines and generates meta-tags automatically for each post. It also helps by sifting through your content and will avoid duplicate content posts, which can hurt your SEO ranking.

For a truly automated experience you won’t have to think about, the All in One SEO plugin is the way to go for SEO.

5. Scribe

Content marketing is a great tool in the quest for a higher SEO ranking. That’s where a standalone plugin such as Scribe can come in handy. This plugin helps with the research part of your content strategy. It has search functionality that you can use to write the best content that matches up with terms and trends happening that are right for your site.

By aligning your content with the right search terms across the Internet, the Scribe plugin helps you create not just valuable content but the most relevant content for search ranking. This plugin also features a site connector tool that helps you find bloggers and key influencers with similar topics, titles and sites to yours, so you can potentially share your content or see what’s working well for others to emulate.

It’s a helpful tool to get the most out of creating relevant content that’s also optimized to get you more traffic.

6. Facebook Comments

Posts that have lots of comments are great for your site’s community and also for SEO. Make it easy for people to comment on your posts and content by allowing them to comment via Facebook, with the Facebook Comments plugin. Not only can readers log in to comment on your site through their Facebook accounts, but once they’re logged in, they can easily share and post your content in a seamless experience.

7. Websitez Mobile Optimization

Did you know that, according to CNN, mobile browsing officially surpassed laptop and desktop browsing in 2014? Despite this fact many businesses still don’t have a mobile-optimized version of their site. A site not optimized for mobile will cause users to drop off due to the clunky and sometimes totally unmanageable navigation experience. Don’t get left behind.

With the Websitez Mobile Optimization plugin, you can easily and instantly format a mobile-friendly version of your site, all for just $50. That’s an investment any entrepreneur can afford to make to ensure their site is usable for mobile visitors.

4 tips para aumentar la confianza en ti mismo

4 tips para aumentar la confianza en ti mismo

Te aseguro que si le preguntas a cualquier emprendedor sobre la clave de su éxito te dirá que la confianza en sí mismo ha sido un factor importante.

Los nuevos empresarios tienen que ser independientes al momento de socializar con las personas, equilibrados a la hora de arriesgarse y grandes soñadores mientras son realistas. Y todo esto parte de esa seguridad.

Muchos dicen que se nace con esa confianza, pero en realidad es que ésta se puede lograr a través de esfuerzo y determinación.

Estas son cuatro maneras de aumentar la fe en ti mismo y por ende las posibilidades de alcanzar el éxito en tu negocio:

1. Aparta la negatividad
Si buscas vivir una vida “positiva” no puedes rodearte de gente que no lo sea. Es un hecho que siempre habrá personas negativas que intentarán alejarte de tu objetivo así que deja ir a esas “amistades” tóxicas. El hecho de que tú busques lo mejor para los demás no quiere decir que ellos también lo hagan por ti.

2. Organiza tu negocio
Hacer una guía de a dónde quieres ir y cómo llegar a tu meta hará que te sientas más seguro. Enlista tus metas diario y ve anotando los progresos que has tenido. Verás cómo al año se te facilitará crear un nuevo plan con todas las experiencias escritas.

Saber tu historia te hará sentir más confiado sobre el presente y tu futuro, ya que tendrás pruebas de todos tus avances y una visión real de qué tan lejos puedes llegar.

3. Mantente sano
Alcanzar el éxito requiere de trabajo duro y energía. No dejes atrás  la dieta el ejercicio y el descanso. Come bien y ejercítate ya sea caminado, en bici, o en el gimnasio. Los equipos de deportes también podrían aportar a la construcción de tu confianza pues es importante saber trabajar en conjunto hacia un objetivo común.

4. Practica tus posturas
La investigación de Amy Cuddy demostró que nos podemos sentir mejor con nosotros mismo simplemente cambiando nuestra posición corporal.

En su famosa TED Talk, Cuddy habla sobre el poder de la postura y de cómo haciendo una pose “positiva” como la de un superhéroe, cambia nuestra fisiología por el aumento de cortisol en nuestros cerebros.

Practícalo en privado y notarás una mejora instantánea. Inténtalo en público y verás cómo la gente responderá de manera positiva a tu lenguaje corporal.

Procura poner en marcha estos tips y percibirás cómo la confianza en ti mismo ira creciendo y cómo la seguridad en cuanto a los negocios y a tu vida personal aumentará.

Source: www.soyentrepreneur.com

It’s 2016, But Nearly Half of U.S. Small Businesses Still Don’t Have a Website

It’s 2016, But Nearly Half of U.S. Small Businesses Still Don’t Have a Website

It’s hard to imagine the world without the Internet.

For some of us, that is: It may be 2016, but 46 percent of  U.S. small businesses still don’t have a website for their company, according to a report released by business-to-business research firm Clutch.

Of the more than 350 small businesses surveyed — the majority of which have less than 10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue — cost was listed as the second-most popular reason for not having an online presence. Lack of technical know-how and the need for upkeep were other popular reasons, while 12 percent said that they use social media in place of a static site.

Image Credit: Clutch

Related: 5 Essentials for Building a Lucrative Ecommerce Site

The most popular justification for not having a website, however?

Nearly a third of surveyed respondents said that they didn’t have one because it wasn’t relevant to their business or their industry. That could be a problem. As Max Elman, the founder of Razorfrog Web Design, said in a statement released with the report:

“No matter what type of business you run, if you have customers, it’s necessary to have some sort of information online, at least a page describing who you are and offering contact information. It’s essential to have this information indexed and shown to those looking for you.”

Image Credit: Clutch

The founder of a company that builds websites, Elman is perhaps not the most objective source. But he has a point: More than 80 percent of Americans say they do online research before making a purchase.

Related: How to Market Brick and Mortar to the Web

For the 64 percent of small businesses that do have a website, many could use a technological upgrade: Nearly a quarter of these businesses said their websites weren’t compatible with mobile platforms. Of the online improvements business owners planned to make, search-engine and social engagement topped the list with 40 percent each, followed closely by improvements in content and design.

Image Credit: Clutch

Image Credit: Clutch

The report concludes, as expected, that all small businesses in every industry can benefit from a website, be it a single page or more elaborate setup.

In other words, if your business doesn’t have a website, it’s probably time to change that. And if your business already has a website, particularly one that works on mobile, you’re further ahead of the game than you likely thought.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com

3 Surefire Ways to Fail as an Entrepreneur

3 Surefire Ways to Fail as an Entrepreneur

No one likes to fail. That’s why it’s beneficial to constantly review your goals and business plan and see where you can improve. It’s also important to look at some of the ways you may be hurting your own business, without even recognizing it.

Here are three major ways entrepreneurs can almost guarantee failure.

1. No self-discipline
As an entrepreneur, you need to plan your work and work your plan. You have to have a vision for your business, execute a plan and find your ideal clients. If you have no internal need, drive or desire backing your drive, you most likely lack the motivation to persevere. You won’t reach your goals by simply wishing for them, waiting for a windfall or banking on luck. Rather, you have to put steps in place, then repeat those steps every single working day.
The best tactic is to create your own system for success; or better yet, find one that already works and emulate it. Organize schedules, establish accountability, install goals and set up rewards for yourself. It’s all up to you, so look at your activities as your “job.” Discipline yourself to do the actions that will bring you prosperity.

2. Fragility
Entrepreneurs need backbone and a lot of moxie to take on the challenge of running a business. If you’re frozen in fear and too afraid to knock on doors, ask for the sale or demand what you’re worth, you won’t succeed.

Remember why you started the business. Wasn’t it to use your expertise to help others? Believe in yourself, and others will believe in you as well. Step up to the plate with confidence and show potential clients how they will benefit from your product or service. Dress and act professionally in your presentation and at the office to establish yourself as a bona fide business.

3. Inability to change
Face it, times and technology change, sometimes at the drop of a hat. But if you’re unable to change with them, you will have trouble keeping up with the pack. Don’t be one of those intractable people who repeat, “But we’ve always done it this way” — to their own demise.

Make it part of your daily routine to keep abreast of any changes in your industry, and plan to update your technological skills on a regular basis. Read an industry article on your lunch break, attend seminars on how to use social media to market or take an online course, in search-engine optimization, for example. The more you learn, the more you earn. In other words, the more you know, the more value you can offer your clients.

Even the way you do business will probably need to change as you interact with clients. For example, you may need to create a customer-service policy, institute a warranty program or create a new sales presentation based on client feedback. Be flexible and open-minded and allow these changes to benefit your business.

Many entrepreneurs have innovative ideas, and potentially prosperous businesses, but they fall short in recognizing their own roadblocks. If everything on the surface seems to be in place, try taking a look under the hood to see if you recognize any of these surefire failure traits in yourself or in your employees.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com

Qué debe tener tu página principal

Qué debe tener tu página principal

En los negocios, sólo tienes una oportunidad de lograr una buena primera impresión, y lo mismo ocurre con tu sitio Web. Cuando los clientes acceden a tu site deben tener, instantáneamente, un entendimiento claro de quién eres y qué es lo que haces. Sin embargo, las estadísticas muestran que gran parte de las páginas de los pequeños negocios carecen de los elementos básicos, lo que conlleva a la pérdida de prospectos de clientes desde el primer clic.

La relación entre un cliente y un negocio se basa en la confianza. ¿Tu sitio Web es amigable con los clientes y les transmite confiabilidad? Para que así lo sea, te compartimos los cinco elementos que debes incluir en la página home (principal) del sitio Web de tu empresa:

1. Información de contacto
La mayoría de las páginas Web de pequeñas empresas no incluyen liga al correo electrónico en la página principal, y muchas de ellas tampoco cuentan con el número telefónico. Mínimo, tu página home debe tener tu email y tu teléfono.

Si tienes una ubicación física, considera también incluir la dirección completa, así como un mapa con instrucciones para llegar.

2. Imágenes que representan lo que haces
Si vendes, por ejemplo, pasteles para bodas, tu página home debe tener una fotografía de uno de tus mejores pasteles. Aunque esto suene básico, muchos sitios Web de pequeños negocios usan gráficos irrelevantes como fotos familiares o de mariposas, o peor aún, no incluyen ningún tipo de imagen. Define cómo se desplegarán tus imágenes.

Piensa dos veces antes de decidir si éstas girarán o si se agitarán o si hacen cualquier movimiento que pudiera resultar molesto.

3. Navegación clara con ligas que funcionen
Tu página principal debe tener un sistema de navegación claro, ya sea en la parte superior o inferior, o a un costado de la página. Los botones deben estar bien marcados y corresponder con el contenido de tu sitio para ayudar a los clientes a que encuentren rápidamente lo que están buscando. También considera incluir botones de Envío, Preguntas y de Historia de la compañía.

Es muy importante que regularmente hagas clic en todas tus ligas y botones para asegurarte de que todos funcionan, o usa las Herramientas para webmasters de Google para identificar errores de 404 (no encontrado). Las ligas rotas no sólo pueden evitar que los consumidores completen una compra sino también pueden dar la impresión de que no te interesa tu negocio.


4. Una caja de registro
Una forma efectiva de motivar la lealtad del cliente es a través del envío regular de newsletters (boletines electrónicos). En tu página home incluye una caja de registro para tu sitio Web y ofrece recompensas, como descuentos en compras a todo aquel que ingrese su dirección de correo. Servicios como Mailchimp ofrecen formas sencillas de hacerlo.

5. Ligas a tus redes sociales
Ayúdales a los clientes a estar en contacto contigo al proveerles links a tus cuentas de redes sociales desde tu página de inicio. Usa los íconos reconocibles de Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ o Pinterest. También puedes incluir los widgets de las redes sociales que facilitan que los usuarios te sigan inmediatamente y que compartan tu contenido.

Source: Soyentrepreneur.com

3 Reasons Why Web Design Is the Domain of Your Entire Company

3 Reasons Why Web Design Is the Domain of Your Entire Company

Your website is the central hub of the digital presence of your company, yet many companies delegate web design to the marketing department, expecting a small, highly specialized group to present the collective capital of the company in a compelling and actionable way.

Without involving other groups, your website will likely be a beautiful interface that doesn’t work for your sales department, fails to deliver the right message or makes it harder for your audience to pass through your sales funnel and offers.

Here’s three reasons why it’s worth the effort of getting all the departments within your company (and even some people on the outside) involved in your web design.

1. Define content your audience needs. One of the main reasons to create a website is to share what your organization is about, who you want to serve and how you’re going to serve them. A clear message and tone in written and visual information related to your organization creates a stronger relationship with our audience and avoids confusion.

Gather information from your stakeholders in sales, the customer service group and those interacting with the users. Understand what  users are asking for, their feedback on each offering you release and, most importantly, identify the language customers are accustomed to using when they come to you to solve a specific problem.

There are many buzz words and trends used in marketing but they might not be the best ones to communicate with your audience. These words might be commonly used in your organization’s industry but, often, they will not connect with the audience’s state of awareness, pains and desires.

Listening closely to any communication received by customers will give you a better idea of how to craft messages that will join the conversation that’s already in progress in their minds.

2. Organize and plan the information in a way that makes sense to your audience. A compelling website user experience allows different groups of users to find what they’re looking for without getting lost in a world of endless clicks. Start by identifying the three main groups of users your website will serve, then define one goal they want to achieve on your site and how you’ll take them there.

Interview your audience and gather information from your sales and/or customer service group to identify where your users are clicking  and what are they looking for. You can also find out from which sites customers are clicking over.

Once you’ve identified the objectives of these users and how they’re finding you, you’ll be able to organize the information in a way that makes sense to them. Help them find what they’re looking for without endless clicks!

3. Design for your users, and watch their reactions. At this point, you have a better idea of the information your audience is looking for, the different places where they’re finding you (social media, Google search) and what message is compelling and talks directly to them.

Now we need to organize and visually amplify these goals and messaging with design. Visual design will make your brand familiar to visitors, distinguish you from your competition and create an intimate language with your audience.

Different users require different types of information. Different levels of awareness require different wording and visual impact to get your message delivered. Create and test different ways to present information to your audience. Get feedback as soon as possible, then move on to the next stage with the information gathered and test again.

This cycle of iteration will allow you to actively listen and watch your audience, and your team that works along with your audience, to offer them the best experience possible. The great characteristic of the web is we can always test, measure and make decisions based performance with our audience and the feedback our team gets from the users.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com

Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos

Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos

You’ve heard the saying about how we get only one chance to make a good first impression. For a small business, branding is that opportunity. And more often than not, it’s a missed opportunity.

In my opinion, roughly 95 percent of small businesses have a poor logo — meaning it delivers a neutral or negative brand promise. If your business is in the minority and embraces the power of its brand, this is great news, because you’re already standing out.

A strong brand, after all, inspires consumers who have no prior knowledge or experience with your company to believe that you deliver an amazing product or service.

What’s more, without a strong logo, you may never get the chance to prove your quality to consumers. If your branding does not make it look like you do great work, consumers may choose a competitor instead.

Give your brand the attention it deserves.

“Giving attention” means that the logo you choose to represent your business won’t be an afterthought; instead, it will define your whole brand.

Yes, starting or growing a business is an arduous experience that involves many considerations and a careful use of precious resources. But when making decisions about how to invest your time, energy and capital, you should remember that in today’s marketplace, you cannot afford to shortchange your branding. It’s likely the single most important decision you’ll make.

Follow these five tips to create a logo that will build a strong foundation for your brand, and ultimately will empower your business to thrive.

1. Don’t be generic.

First, make sure that your logo is clear and easy to interpret, because you don’t have the years of brand recognition behind you that ensure that people will associate your name with your product or service.

Second, unlike large companies, you don’t have the large advertising budget required to brand icons too generic to help consumers understand the nature of your business.

In short, then, your logo needs to convey what you do and who you are, and leave a positive brand impression. That’s why small business logo design is a different animal from corporate logo design. Corporations can throw enough money into marketing to ensure that people associate any symbol or graphic with their name.

Small businesses don’t have that luxury: Each impression is so important. You need to very quickly connect with your audience members and give them something to latch on to — at the same time that you give them something disruptive in your competitive space.

2. Pick typography that reflects what you stand for.

The vast majority of small business brands are built upon two primary elements: their typographic elements and their graphic or iconic element. Together, these factors form the basic structure for most logo designs.

Next to the graphical element or icon, the typography used in your logo design is the most critical choice that a designer makes in representing your small business brand. Typography communicates much about your brand — whether it’s a brand that’s whimsical or elegant, established or common, fresh or futuristic. Your typography should be in harmony with, and balance with, the graphic or icon in order to optimize the audience’s first impression.

3. Choose colors wisely.

Certain industries have very typical color palettes that are traditional to their industry. For example, heating and air conditioning companies often use red and blue in their branding.

But, try to think outside of the box when devising your brand colors. Look closely at your competitors, then choose a color scheme unlikely to be confused with that of existing brands. Again, think about being disruptive in your space by choosing unique hues.

4. Consider how your logo will be used.

Whenever possible, avoid using a logo that requires a lot of explanation. If your small business relies on outdoor media, such as signs or vehicles, a memorable icon is especially important. It should link the viewer to the message, quickly and efficiently. One simple test is to cover up the lettering and simply look at the graphic. Does it give the viewer an idea as to the nature of the business?

It’s also vitally important to think about the big picture. How is your logo going to look in the various executions of the brand? Will it thrive in one format but suffer in another? Or, are there certain marketing channels you might use in the future, wherein the logo will need to work well? Consider these future projects before finalizing your logo design:

  • Business cards and stationery: Think of how your logo will appear on your card. Think in terms of different features, such as two-sided cards, rounded corners and unique paper stocks.
  • Signage: Resist the urge to modify your logo’s proportions to fit the available space.
  • Vehicles: Make sure your trucks are designed to stand out rather than fit in, with your branding as the primary message.
  • Uniforms: Employees are your brand ambassadors, so make sure they are dressed neatly and professionally — and all brand colors are integrated.
  • Web design: Your website should integrate your branding in its design and architecture, and should clearly and thoroughly relay your brand promise.
  • Social media: Change your logo on your profiles and use your social media channels to announce your new look.

5. Hire a pro.

With so much of your success riding on how well your branding performs, this isn’t the place to cut corners. Yet, so many businesses look for the least expensive option, because they don’t understand the value of a good brand and how it will affect their chances of success.

The most important part of any branding exercise is an open dialogue between the brand strategist and the client. Choose a firm where you will speak directly with the person developing your brand. Make sure all artwork created is original, not derived from clip art. Choose a firm with a thorough understanding of all those applications where your brand eventually will be deployed.

Build a foundation.

With so many small businesses suffering from poor brands, you have the opportunity to be unique and stand out. One look at your logo should provide a reasonable expectation of a good experience. The logo is the hub for your brand and sets the stage for all of your strategic messaging.

If you create a logo that will build a strong foundation for your brand, you will empower your business to thrive.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com

How to Use Live Chat on Your Website to Maximize Conversions

How to Use Live Chat on Your Website to Maximize Conversions

Live chat is the ultimate sales hack. It’s a big call, but I stand by it. The reason is simple. It’s the easiest way to bump your website conversions in real-time without split testing.

This won’t come as a surprise to many of you who have already tried live chat to increase leads (and save on customer service). But, for most of you, it didn’t work right away.

Websites like Kissmetrics and SaneBox (which trialed our service when we founded) have tried live chat, and the data was conclusive. There was no increase in conversions, and in some cases a reduction.

In this post, I’m going to deep dive into the data science and psychology of a successful live chat install, one that increases conversions.

The Theory of Chat as a Conversion Optimizer

In the past, businesses used advertising to drive customers to a phone number. Customers would engage with a sales person. Every phone call had a person on the other end.

Then the internet took off and put something called a website in the middle.

Now, all those customers see a website before they talk to a real person. We expect a website to do the heavy lifting. It’s cheaper than humans, right?

Not always. Statistics show that, on average, only 2% of website visitors convert to an enquiry or sale. There’s an argument that lots of money is being left on the table.

20160209072024-1

 

Non-optimized websites convert at 2%

Live chat is well positioned to be the fix. Real humans have a way of talking to the people you drive to your website.

And, with live chat, businesses won’t need to worry if they don’t have the money, time, or resources for A/B tests or a landing page designed by Oli Gardner.

In fact, you can have the world’s worst site, or even a blank website, and still convert.

20160209073424-2

When you or your team sit on live chat, you should notice that between 10 and 50% of all your website visitors engage with you.

If done correctly, typically, a third of those should become a lead or, in the case of E-Commerce / SaaS sites, buy or sign up.

Beware: Live Chat Can Sometimes Reduce Conversions

Most people make the assumption that live chat will work in all conditions. You get to talk to your customers so that’s a good thing, right?

Wrong.

Websites that convert well do not work well with live chat.

The psychology is simple. The visitor has likely come from Google and found their answer in 0.24 seconds. Then they hit your website, and it’s almost always going to take longer than that to find what they want.

When they see a live chat button, it’s an exciting moment. (Maybe for me, at least.)

Live chat is the path of least resistance.

But, this is not a good thing in situations where the website can outperform the live chat agent.

Take E-Commerce. Online stores are designed for buyers, and buyers are comfortable purchasing this way.

Proactive live chat can distract users away from the buying experience by seducing them into a conversation. Our research shows that a significant portion of visitors will choose chat over the prominent CTA.

And because the “add to cart” and “checkout sequence” is easier than trying to complete a transaction through a live chat agent, live chat reduces conversions.

Which Sites Work for Live Chat?

I get asked this all the time. Truth is, they all do.

But each type of site requires a different implementation.

The easiest way to prove the ROI of chat is to capture leads from the conversations. Tracking uplift in signups and sales is a little trickier.

  • If a website has a 5% or greater conversion rate, don’t use chat until you’ve mastered everything mentioned below.
  • If a website has a 2-5% conversion rate, get some data (I’ll explain shortly).
  • If a website has a conversion rate below 2%, launch chat immediately.

Get Me the Data!

On the sites that are converting well, I like to take a data-driven approach.

The homepage might have a great conversion rate, but what about the “About Us,” “Pricing,” or “Contact Us” page.

It’s possible those pages aren’t converting well.

Here’s a live chat data checklist you can use:

  1. Create a list of all the main pages on your site likely to get prospective customers.
  2. Find the conversion rate for each page, split into business hours and after hours.
  3. For each page, find the average time to enquiry or signup. For example, from the time someone hits the page, it takes, on average, 25 seconds for them to start filling out the enquiry form, which they submit by 50 seconds.

You can find this information using Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, or specialized apps like Formisimo.

Who’s Your Customer?

Before we look at how to use the data, we need to understand who the right customer is.

The idea is to move mountains in order to talk to your best prospects but not talk to time wasters at all.

Here’s your customer characteristics checklist:

Question: Which countries do your best customers come from? Which countries do the time-wasters come from?
Answer: We get this data from ChartMogul.

Question: Which pages on your site are your best prospects likely to visit? Which pages are time-wasters likely to visit?
Answer: We look at the leads generated via our platform, and we look at the page chat was initiated on.

Question: Which page on your site has access to a login/support/area where visitors can log in?
Reason for the question: You don’t want to waste resources annoying your existing customers.

Setting Up Live Chat for Conversions

Step 1 – Page Selection

Using the data above, install the live chat platform on the pages that mean the most to you.

Some chat platforms need you to install the platform on all the pages. This is to ensure that a conversation can continue if the visitor is clicking through pages.

Step 2 – Proactive Greetings

“Greetings” is industry lingo for automated chat popups. It’s a critical feature for generating leads.

With most good live chat providers, you can set triggers for proactive greetings, such as:

  • Time on website (popup after a specific time on site)
  • First-time or returning visitor
  • Current page address is “….”
  • Visited the following page(s) “…..”during this session
  • Referring website address is “….” (i.e., facebook.com, google.com, forbes.com)
  • User’s country or city is “….”
  • Searched keyword is “….” (from a Google paid ad, or Bing)
  • Custom variable (via API into your CRM, software, etc.)

20160209074324-3

Good live chat providers let you customize the opening sentence based on the greeting. This creates a more personalized experience for your visitor.

Here’s Your Basic Greeting Setup Checklist:

  1. Have the “time on website” trigger set to “equal to or greater than the average time to completion of CTA/form.” That is, don’t distract people before you’ve given them a chance.
  2. If you don’t have a user login area on your site (i.e., no existing customers), set a greeting to returning visitors starting with “Welcome back.”
  3. If you do have a login section for existing customers, don’t show chat on any page where they can access it (unless you are providing customer support which is a totally different beast).

Step 3 – SaaS vs Leads vs Support

Different applications need different setups. Getting it wrong will cost you.

SaaS Setup

Some companies want the website to do the heavy lifting without a sales person. Think E-Commerce sites or certain SaaS sites where you can sign yourself up without requesting a demo.

If the website is converting below 2%, do this:

  1. Answer a visitor’s first question (usually a common FAQ)
  2. Ask for the visitor’s name, phone number, and email, and tell them you’ll get an expert to get in touch
  3. Point the visitor to the sign-up link and suggest they sign up
  4. Send details captured in item #2 to your CRM or marketing system and use nurture sequence to drive them back to the CTA

The idea is that you’ll still have your same conversion rate on site, plus a few more people whose concern you solved.

And you’ll also have a whole bunch of leads who wouldn’t have converted during that visit, people you didn’t know and wouldn’t easily get back.

Then let email/content/automation or a direct response from your sales team do the work.

Lead Generation Setup

Using live chat for lead generation is becoming much more common.

Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Have a FAQ or knowledgebase system that sits side-by-side with your chat console (or use a Google doc on another screen). This helps you answer visitors’ questions faster.
  2. Have an easy way to capture lead information (for example, set up a Wufoo form with fields for name, email, etc.) This ensures that you have a separate place for all your leads.
  3. During a chat conversation, don’t be afraid to control the conversation and ask for details.

20160209075524-4

Expert Tip: I want you to imagine a scale with leads on one end and customer satisfaction (CSAT) on the other.

When a visitor comes to your site, what they’re hoping for is to have alltheir questions answered, instantly.

What your business wants is the largest number of leads you can capture from your traffic and a reduction in your CPL. If you are just robotic and go for the kill, you’ll get leads but tick customers off as well.

To each end, leads and CSAT are mutually exclusive.

The balance is to provide 5-7 FAQs in response to questions, and use an exit statement for anything else.

For example: “I’d love to get your question answered by one of our experts, who I’ll pass your details to ASAP.”

Customer Support Setup

Customer support is a different beast altogether.

The goal is to reduce the amount of email and phone tickets and resolve customers’ issues on the fly.

The reason support works via chat is you can have the backwards and forwards in real-time without chewing tickets and email responses, which can take days or weeks to resolve, ultimately infuriating your visitors.

From my experience, you do need dedicated agents – people who know your product inside and out.

The best way to begin is to have your sales and/or product people handle support requests for one month. Then you can create a knowledgebase of all the questions and answers and provide it to agents you hire to do your support.

How to Choose the Right Chat Software

There are a few key players: LiveChatInc.com, Zopim, Olark, LivePerson, SnapEngage, and I’d throw in Tawk.to (because they’re free).

Here’s my list of things to look for (all of those listed above have these as far as I know):

  • Proactive greetings with customizable triggers
  • A mobile app
  • Mobile responsive chat widget for the end user

At LeadChat, we actually use the LiveChatInc.com platform because it’s by far the most advanced.

LeadChat’s Top 4 Chat Tips

1. Don’t use offline chat (i.e., “Leave a message”)
It’s rude. People see chat, they expect chat. It’s not nice to trick them into an offline form. Either have chat online, or off.

We find offline message capture still distracts people from the core CTA, with the added issue that there are no agents to respond to questions.

2. Answer within 15 seconds
If you have chat, you should answer people when they ask. 15 seconds is our rule of thumb. Anything longer is unfair.

3. Chat needs to be 24/7
Your website doesn’t close, neither should your chat. After hours represents more than 60% of your week because two-thirds of the day is after hours and there are weekends. We see 50-60% of leads come through for our clients after hours. You can find chat agents on Upwork.com, Peopleperhour.com, or specialist companies like ours – LeadChat.com.

4. Use the data
Beyond leads, you will capture amazing insights through the chat transcripts.

Here are some things to look for:

  1. Traffic insights – Are you getting poorly qualified visitors and leads?
  2. Product opportunities – Are people asking for things you don’t do? Consider offering those.
  3. Missed opportunities – Why are people asking about things you clearly offer? Maybe your website is not communicating this well enough.
  4. Top 5 FAQs –What are the most common questions? Could you fix your homepage to address these better?

Summary

Live chat is here to stay and is an amazing tool for communicating with visitors if it’s done right.

Determine why you want live chat: More leads, more conversions, or to offer customer support.

Take a data-driven approach and create a benchmark. Follow the guide above and you’re sure to get some great results.

What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Company (Infographic)

What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Company (Infographic)

If you are building a company that depends on making people feel sexy and sophisticated, it’s probably going to confuse your consumers if you your logo is bright green.

That’s because different colors are associated with different feelings. Green conveys organic growth, the earth, nature, or feelings of caring. Meanwhile, black communicates feelings of sophistication, authority or seduction. Not convinced? Consider the green logo for Starbucks or Greenpeace and the black logos of Chanel or Sony.

Color isn’t the only design element that communicates with your customer about your brand. Font, spacing between letters and shape also tell your brand story in that instant when a first impression is formed.

Have a look at the infographic below, compiled by Canadian plastic-card maker Colourfast, to get a sense of whether your logo is conveying the right message.

Source: www.entrepreneur.com