A Primer on Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is widely recognized as the hottest marketing concept of 2017, but this trend isn’t really new. The idea of getting influential people to recommend your products dates back to the earliest days of television and radio advertising in the form of celebrity endorsements. However, modern social media trends have refined the practice into something almost unrecognizable, and the data that allows brands to assess the influence of each endorsement are highly refined. Influencer marketing has come into its own as a social and analytical science.

A well-crafted influencer campaign on social media can bring measurable sales growth and brand awareness for a very reasonable price. Unfortunately, many marketers aren’t sure how to choose the right influencer or build a social media campaign of this kind. Choosing the right type of influencers is the first step. There are many individuals in the social media world who consider themselves influencers and would like to work with your brand. You want to find the ones who can reach your potential customer base and whose opinion will matter to them. You also want to be sure that your brand will be showcased in the best possible light and to a well-targeted audience.

This white paper from CopyPress and Intellifluence demystifies the process of choosing the right influencer for your campaign. It spells out how to tell if an influencer has a strong, active social media audience and how to evaluate potential influencers and choose the perfect one(s) for your business.

Cheap Websites vs Affordable Websites

At Design Web, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide the most affordable websites in Louisville. That doesn’t however mean the same thing as the cheapest websites in Louisville. What is the difference between a cheap website and an affordable one?

A cheap website is just that – cheap – made from cheap materials with only the most basic functions. You might ask what do you mean by cheap materials? Aren’t websites just a little bit of information online? Well, the short answer is that they are and they aren’t. While your site may be just a few files, it depends on a variety of support items to exist. Hosting for example; hosting is where your website lives. Think of hosting like a storefront you lease for your website, just like a business storefront. Different hosts have different service options. Some hosts offer shared space, which can reduce your cost, but comes at a price. Shared hosting is fine if you have a few good neighbors, but cheap webdesign services tend to overcrowd their hosting with any site that comes along. What does that mean for you? Unfortunately, that means your visitors will get turned away more often.

Another aspect of cheap web development is speed. All it takes to lose sales and valuable clients is 3 seconds. Studies show that if your site doesn’t come up in 3 seconds, you can lose up to 70% of your visitors. Even the most loyal customer will move on to another site or service if they think your site takes forever to load. Why is overcrowded hosting bad? Much like an overcrowded apartment building, an overcrowded hosting provider means you will always be competing for resources, resources like bandwidth. Bandwidth is a lot like parking spaces and road frontage for your business. You only have so much bandwidth to serve your customers before service starts slowing down and space is filled up and people start getting turned away. With overcrowded hosting, you also run the risk of being taken down by any negative site that shares your network/IP neighborhood. Like having a fire in an apartment, the entire building has to be evacuated until the issue is solved. If one site on your shared host gets taken down or attacked, all sites on that server could potentially be taken down. It could be down for a few minutes, or it could be down for days. Once your site goes down there is nothing to do but wait.

Another aspect of cheap websites is what type of underlying CMS or coding that is used. Most businesses do very well working on a Drupal or WordPress website, which are fairly easy to maintain and set up. Cheap websites are typically set up on a Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix platform, which is not beneficial to the client. These websites are poor for SEO, or search engine optimization. This means that you will rank much lower than a similar site built on a professional CMS platform if you go with a drag-and-drop website generator. These sites also charge monthly for their services, sometimes meaning that you pay more over time than you would if you went with a one-time payment for a professional, affordable website. Lastly, these websites never give you ownership of the site. If your third-party site generator suddenly goes bankrupt, you will lose your website. If you decide to move over to another hosting company, you also lose your website as it is non-transferable.

There is a lot to be risked in going with cheap over affordable. At Design Web, we pride ourselves as having the most affordable websites in Louisville. We never cheap out, and the websites that we create are just as good as the big name agencies. We have professional web developers who can match, function-for-function or design-for-design, any website created by the big name agencies, at half the cost. The difference is our low overhead. We don’t have huge art pieces in our lobby, or top-shelf liquor bars in our office. Sorry, that also means no pool tables. What we do offer are the best websites in town at a fraction of the cost. Come find out more about our amazing websites and get a quote today!

Join us at the LEO Readers Choice Awards!

Come support us at the LEO Readers Choice awards! Awards to be held at Tim Faulkner Gallery on October 5th from 6-9pm. Drinks, tastings and live entertainment as well as all the awesome art at Tim Faulkner. Join us. Cheer us on as well as all the other awesome attendees. Tickets are just $15 dollars to attend and include 2 drink tickets.

Design Web Loves the Arts – Big Four Arts Festival

The Big Four Arts Festival is this weekend and Design Web is the presenting sponsor. We are really looking forward to this inaugural event that features over 130 artists, including 20+ emerging artists. We were recently on the LEO Weekly podcast to promote the event. You can listen to it here:

SSL Certificates

Have you had a pop up saying “Insecure Connection” or received an email warning saying that Chrome will show security warnings on your website? You need an SSL certificate! You can usually contact your hosting company, and, for a fee, they will install a new SSL certificate for you.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

The main reason SSL is used is to keep sensitive financial and personal information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient or viewer can understand it. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer across the web to get to the final destination server. Any computer between you and the final server can see your credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, and other personal information if it is not encrypted with an SSL certificate. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to. This protects it from hackers and identity thieves.

Installing your SSL is just the start. There may be elements on your website that are insecure and need to be converted over to https. This is a fairly simple process of finding the offending file and changing the location. How can I tell if my site is SSL secured? A simple test can show you. Type in your domain name, but instead of the normal http:// change it to https://
If you receive an error message, then your SSL is not set up properly or you do not have an SSL certificate on your site.

If you think you would like an SSL certificate for your website, and just feel overwhelmed by it, Design Web can usually install your certificate for under $100. Contact us today to get started!

Benefits of Open Source CMS Software

Web design seems like a bizarre art to the uninitiated, but thankfully, there are several kinds of tools that can help make things easier for the first-time designer. Possibly the most useful of these tools is a kind of software known as a content management system, or CMS. CMS software is a sort of operating system for your website, allowing you to design a site using simplified tools, sidestepping the need to know how to develop a website from the ground up. Different kinds of CMSs have different levels of simplification, so you’ll need to pay attention to just how much help you think you’ll need to build the site.

Many of these CMS systems are “open source,” meaning that the source code that makes the programs function is freely available to anyone that wants to use it. This software is especially popular, largely because an open source program is free to use. But there are other reasons to go open source, including the fact that they have a large installed user base who you can be ask questions. Using an open source software puts you in a web of users that can help you to figure out what you are doing.

If you are interested in finding the best CMS for your needs, this infographic by CopyPress will help you sort out your WordPresses from your coffee presses. With the info on the graphic, you’ll get a thorough grounding in how to make a website work. Using that info, you can start work on your site right now.

 

Come Visit Design Web At Fandom Fest!

We love comic conventions and art at Design Web. We’re taking a break from making websites to hang out at Fandom Fest. You can find us at the Fair and Expo Center from July 28th – 30th, 2017. We will be selling some super-cool artwork! Come say hello and check out our selection of custom, professional artwork.

Changes to Google Guide

If you’re not familiar with Google Guides, it is very similar to Yelp, but with Google Maps mixed into the equation. Essentially, it allows you to leave reviews, check facts, and post photos of your favorite business or location. These photos and changes will appear on Google Maps when people search for them, or within the Google Maps GPS system. This is why it is important to make sure you claim your business through Google Maps and Google My Business.

Google incentivizes contributors by gamifying the entire process through Google Guides. It is very satisfying to “level up” your Google Guide by leaving reviews, fact checking businesses, answering questions, and posting photos. The more you contribute, the higher your level. The process used to add points for every contribution, regardless of content. Starting today, Google is now changing the point system so that the more helpful your content, the more points you receive. According to Google, you’ll receive the most points for adding new places on Google Maps. They have also increased the maximum level you can achieve to LEVEL 10!

You don’t just get imaginary internet points and badges, which have been proven to create endorphin, dopamine, and oxytocin rushes in your brain. Google also gives you prizes, such as extra free storage on Google Drive, free months of Google Play music, and free Google Play movie rentals, early access to Google features, along with MANY other prizes. You’ll also be allowed to set up meet-ups with other Google Local Guides, similar to how Meetup.com works.

Overall, you’re contributing to improving Google Maps as a whole and also helping local businesses. By reviewing local businesses, you help them not only improve the way they do business, but you’ll also help others determine which business or location is best for their needs. By leaving a review for your favorite restaurant, you might help bring them more business and improve their search rank which will help them stick around longer and keep serving up that delicious hot chicken you love!

How to Increase Visability and Improve SEO

Design Web – How to Increase Your Visibility and Improve Your SEO

Making a website popular takes a lot of planning and hard work. Even a great site might not attract any visitors unless you put in enough effort to make it stand out. Considering that the total number of websites exceeds 1.18 billion, it makes sense that not many sites have a chance to earn money.

Before you waste a lot of time advertising your site or company, take a few minutes to think of low-cost ways that you can make your website more popular. Search engine optimization should jump out as your first strategy.

SEO professionals improve website rankings by learning how search engines work. Once you understand what search engines want to see, you can follow a few tricks that will boost a site’s rank. Some of the most useful SEO strategies include using keywords, publishing blogs that other sites want to share, and removing dead links from your pages.

These are some of the simplest things that you can do to push your site’s ranking higher. You can get even better results by working with an SEO professional who knows how to use metadata and other techniques. Still, the basics will get you pretty far.

You can learn more about improving your site’s popularity by reading the How to Increase Visibility & Improve Your SEO whitepaper or checking out the infographic below from CopyPress. It can also introduce you to effective strategies that will make your site more visible for search engines and customers.

seo infographic

Maximize ROI with Behavior Analysis

Many small businesses worry that they don’t have the budget for behavioral analysis. They’re either a non-profit that funnels as much as they can to support their cause or a small business trying to keep the lights on. Neither of these organizations has the budget for large-scale analytics investments. Fortunately, many analytics tools are free and there are multiple sources of data from which to choose.

For example, public records and other forms of third-party data (like industry publications or earnings reports) can tell marketers about their industry and audience. This might be as simple as reading about the spending habits of millennials before marketing to them. This research is typically free and easy to access. Meanwhile, a lot of first-party data is free because it’s collected by the company. This might include donation size for nonprofits, average purchase size, and regularity of purchase or donation. This information alone can help companies focus on their calls to action and frequency of marketing to customers, which can be a huge money saver.

Naturally, data collection and analysis is only the first step of the analytical process. Many companies collect and analyze data but then fail to take action on the insights that they learned. Execution is a crucial step in the behavioral analysis, as the whole process is moot without it.

Check out this infographic by CopyPress on the value of Behavioral Analysis and how it can be implemented throughout your campaign. Even small businesses on bootstrapped budgets can find ways to analyze their customers and tailor their marketing strategies to their needs.