You have an excellent range of products and services but it seems that nobody knows about it. This is an all-too-known situation for businesses that just started and you’re not in this alone. Everybody has gone through it and like everybody that did, you too can get out of it. There are a number of tips that can help out local businesses be more present in their market.
Build Your Social Media Presence
Seldom do you see people not glued to their gadgets’ screens everywhere, for all ages, at that matter. Kids start it young by playing apps to pass the time, teens are addicted to it for their friends on social media and adults are glued to it to be updated with their project progress and job updates. You can penetrate every market you can think of with social media, you see.
There are different platforms you can start with but the easiest would be Facebook. A huge number of the population is on Facebook making it the wisest option within the bunch. With its targeted ads, you can make yourself visible to people that matter — your intended niche. Gone are the days of spending on reach that are not for people you actually intend to reach. With the right mindset, you can also execute excellently planned campaigns that can drive engagement and visibility for your brand which potentially could boost sales.
Not only is Facebook easy, you can also choose Instagram for your marketing needs. This social media platform is a jackpot when it comes to audience reach. It aims to please your current and potential market through showcasing your products and idea of your products visually. Carefully and creatively created Instagram feeds are to die for.
Generate Views Through Irresistible Online Deals
There are a number of ways to drive engagements and one of the tried and tested, fool-proof solution is to hold out online contests. This not only aims to generate user-generated content, one thing this also can hold true is its reach to your market and potential customers. Though these user-generated content, it lessens the load to your social media manager to gather content for your social media profiles. One detrimental tip though: do not forget to ask permission when posting these things.
You can start off by giving away something your users would want and of course, will benefit your brand. What else should it be than give away your services and products for free? This will cut off costs because you would have to provide the prizes instead of purchasing them from other merchants. Next step is to determine how you would like to execute the giveaway. Would you like your users to tell you how they can potentially benefit from your product (given that they haven’t tried it yet) or would you like to reward your current users by generating feedback from them? There are a number of creative ways to pull this off given the right team to help you through it.
You can also consider making themed giveaways — would you like to run it over the holidays or is your product a perfect fit for a Mother’s Day celebration? Also important when planning such a giveaway: make sure your timeline is at the sweet spot. Don’t make it too short or too long. Lastly, publicly announce your winner so people would know that your brand sticks to its word. Other brands make such a big fuss about a giveaway they won’t give away in the first place. Others go the extra mile by even coming up with decoy winners.
Perihelion Web Design can help you with your social media marketing needs. We have a team of friendly experts ready to pull off and guide you through your crazy ideas. We make sure we take in your ideas — or not, however you want it, actually. We service areas in the Pacific Northwest but the Columbia River Gorge is our home. We love growing local brands and you should, too.
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2018-02-12 14:01:582018-02-12 14:01:58Social Media Marketing Tips for Businesses on a Budget
In the our everyday life, it’s very apparent that we live in the age of technology and the Internet. We’re glued to our phones, and barely know how to connect with people. Even though we “like, comment, and share” people’s posts. Or those corny cat videos.
Whether you work in business, the medical field, education, law, or one of many other career fields, chances are you use technology and the internet in your daily life quite a bit. And one that’s exploded in growth and is a part of everyday life is social media. Whether we’re talking about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or one of the many other social media sites, these networks are impacting the way business as a whole works. It’s clear by now that these sites aren’t “just a fad”- they’re here to stay, and can be a great resource for businesses to reach more clients and expand their market. So why are many local businesses failing at using social media?
Many businesses- especially smaller, local businesses- don’t plan out a marketing campaign when incorporating social media, which is a big mistake. A marketing campaign will be the thing that makes people notice- or not notice- your business, so it takes some thought! Digital marketing companies will help you plan out a marketing campaign that uses web development and search engine optimization to professionally and positively represent your company on social media!
What People Want
Marketing your business through social media is a great way to stay on top of trends and reach more customers, but it’s important to go about it the right way. Flooding people with annoying pop-up ads and commercials is not the way to do it; if anything, that strategy will make people block you, permanently removing your posts from their feed. It only takes one ad to make people notice and remember your business, if it’s memorable enough. This is why marketing campaigns are so important they will make creative, entertaining ads that will make social media users notice and remember your company!
Respond and Interact
Social media is all about interaction- both between individuals and companies! Often, businesses will make the mistake of creating a social media presence, but then not regularly updating it. While flooding people with too many ads can get you blocked, never posting anything will make people either never notice you at all, or get bored and unfollow you. If people want to follow your business on social media, it means they want to communicate and stay up to date with your company! Don’t take the first steps of creating accounts on social media, but then not follow through!
Social media is more popular now than ever before, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Many smaller, local companies aren’t taking advantage of this and using social media as a marketing strategy. If you want your business to keep up with the trend and not fall behind, Perihelion Web Design can help. Successful marketing is crucial to keeping a business up and running. If you want to grab ahold of the very valuable tool that is social media, my company and I would love to help you out. Shoot me a message and we’ll give you a free marketing plan and what can be done for your company.
https://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/peepso-logo.png350705Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2018-02-11 17:10:102018-02-11 17:10:10Local Businesses are Failing at Using Social Media to Drive New Business
If you’ve been using Facebook for a while you have probably noticed that many people “Like” their own posts just as soon as they post them.
While this could be viewed as a form of vanity (I mean, really, is it cool to “Like” your own posts?), in most cases it isn’t vanity at work at all.
Facebook has made numerous changes to their user interface of late, and one of the most reviled changes of them all were changes to the news feed and the introduction of the Ticker.
Now, instead of seeing all of your friends’ posts, you only see a selected few (selected by Facebook of course) showing up in your news feed. Under Facebook’s “Edge Rank” system, friends that don’t “Like” and comment on your posts usually stop seeing them altogether before too long.
In order to compensate for not showing your posts in some of your friends’ news feeds, Facebook added the ticker — a box in the right-hand column that lists the activities of your friends as they happen. This is where “Liking” your own posts comes into play.
When you “Like” a post, that action is noted in your friends’ ticker boxes, giving them a chance to at least be made aware that you have posted something even if it doesn’t show up in their news feeds.
So the next time you see one of your friends “Like” their own post, they probably aren’t giving themselves a pat on the back. Instead, they’re giving you an opportunity to check out a post that might never make it into your news feed. I recommend that you “Like” your own posts as well!
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2017-12-28 10:05:592017-12-28 10:05:59Why you should ‘Like’ your own Facebook posts
Web data has long existed in a virtual world, accessed by a virtual portal. Users log on, type into Google, and sift through the results that arise. Or, at least, that’s how the majority of web searches used to happen. Today, with the increase in voice assistants, like Apple’s Siri, and voice-first devices, like the Amazon Echo, search is spinning off in a brand new direction.
The Rise of Voice Assistants
If you’ve ever asked your phone how to get to the closest gas station or when your favorite musician is hosting a concert in your area, you’re already familiar with the growing popularity of voice assistants. While not necessarily a new concept – Apple’s Siri debuted in beta on the iPhone 4S in October 2011 and has been included in every version of the phone since then – the presence of voice assistants in the technology industry is only on the upswing. Today, the market has spread far beyond smartphones, with stand-alone search devices existing as part of a smart home setup. With Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and other such options, voice search is now becoming a part of daily life.
The bottom line? Sooner rather than later, voice will dominate the search world – and the way content must be created.
Tailoring Content to Voice Technology
Search is changing, and that means content marketing needs to change, too. Historically, content has been created with traditional screen-based keywords in mind but now, as more and more web users are speaking rather than typing, SEO is in rapid need of an upgrade.
In a voice search, human speech patterns start to matter. Over the last few decades, searching online has been dominated by chains of related words – “Target store near me,” for example – but this isn’t how most people talk. Instead of spitting keywords into a microphone, people ask real, normal questions: “where is the closest Target store to me?” Instead of ranking for keyword strings, content needs to start targeting speech, diction, and regional colloquialisms that may be said but not typed.
Furthermore, organic search will soon play an even larger role than it already does. Unlike a traditional search engine results page in which web users can browse hundreds of results in search of the right answer, AI voice responses are limited to top-ranking data with no real option to scroll through other hits. Thus, the best, most relevant results are what Alexa or Home or Siri will read – not the articles on page 5.
The SEO landscape is ever-changing, but the rise in voice searches may be one of the biggest yet. Without a strategy that keeps voice assistants in mind, it’s going to be easy to fall behind. A few tweaks now, however, can put you at the forefront, ensuring you stay relevant as voice search continues to evolve.
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2017-12-07 15:54:432017-12-07 15:54:43The Rise of Voice Assistants
Making the decision to choose a web designer is an especially important one. It should take careful thought into who you want to choose because they are holding a piece of your business into their hands. You want to work with someone that can help you with your vision for your website and take you into the future of the Internet – and your business. When making your checklist to find a design firm, ensuring they are local should be on it. There are advantages that are more apparent than it would appear.
Choosing a local company is preferable and can net you several benefits now and in the future.
Being local, your web designer knows your area. A web design firm in southern California is not going to know the nuances of your city like someone who lives in or near your community. It’s a cultural difference, and understanding what makes your city unique goes a long way in designing a website that fits your local niche. That understanding will help your website come to fruition much faster and with better results.
Meeting becomes much easier and less of a hassle. Meeting to go over details of your website is far easier going this route than with someone out of state where there are often tie ups with phone calls and other logistical issues. As with any business, effective and timely communication helps move projects forward.
You support your local community and the benefits are great. Supporting locally-owned businesses mean you are putting money back into the local economy and by extension, the state. Supporting such a greater cause improves your local communities and it puts your name out there in the realm of your community.
When potential customers see you have partnered with a local business, you have a greater chance to earn their business. Drawing traffic to your website is important, but when your website is done locally, your clientele base drastically improves. It goes off the idea that when you support local businesses, you are supporting your state and have your best interests in mind.
Certainly a good local web designer has your best interests in mind. The benefits are more far reaching than one would think because ultimately no one knows more about your community than someone who lives in it. When looking for a web designer, consider a local designer and reap the benefits.
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2017-10-15 10:21:522017-10-15 10:21:52Keep IT Local
In addition to all facets of website design, many web design companies offer web development, hosting, copywriting, e-commerce solutions, and digital marketing services such as social media, SEO, or PPC management. While it’s very common to assume all of these services are related, they are, in fact, very different services requiring very different skill sets.
Do not assume that a company is good at one thing just because they offer another. Almost every web design company on Earth now offers digital marketing services as well; it doesn’t mean they really know their stuff so don’t make that assumption. It’s great to have one company handle most or all of your digital work, but it’s more important to get a solid result.
For example, our expertise is heavily weighted toward digital marketing. While we offer web design services, we strictly limit what we’ll work on. We won’t build e-commerce or social media sites and we don’t build custom web apps anymore. We are, however, quite good at building lead generation sites for B2C and B2B service businesses. We’re a small company; if we tried to tackle everything we wouldn’t be really good at any of it.
2. Do you custom design websites or use pre-made templates?
Often times, web design companies offer both options to meet the needs of their clients. Some businesses want to establish a strong brand, so they want the unique look and functionality a website designed from scratch provides. Other businesses are not that reliant on an online presence and opt to save money with a template that can be customized. Discuss your website needs and ask for a price comparison of the two before making your decision.
3. Can you provide examples of websites that your company designed?
Looking at the design style of these sites will help you evaluate the design diversity of the firm. Also note the performance of the sites, whether the navigation is easy to use, if the websites are well-crafted, if the designs are current and modern, and how well the design matches the business style. Ask questions. Find out why things were done the way they were. You may think an example site looks too simple only to find out that was exactly what the client needed.
4. Do you have case studies that show the results your web designs provided for businesses?
A website is not just about having an online presence with a site that looks good. It’s about getting a return on investment and having that website deliver business results. Ask for case studies. These case studies should provide specific results, such as increased online sales by a certain percentage, increased leads by a certain amount, or boosted the conversion rate by a certain percentage in a specific time period.
5. What strategies will you use to generate revenue for my site?
The company you select to design your website should be just as concerned about generating revenue for your website as you are. As such, they should be able to list proven strategies that they typically incorporate into a site design. These results-oriented strategies should be in line with your goals, such as prominent placement of your business phone number, an appealing slideshow on the home page that reinforces your business, featured products or sales prominently appearing on every page of the site, and calls to action that are prominently positioned to grab the visitors’ attention.
6. Will you review my current website and analyze its performance before making your design decisions?
If you have an existing website, not all pages may need a redesign, especially if they are hitting high performance marks. Find out if the web design firm plans to analyze your current site’s metrics to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses before implemented any design changes.
7. What is your policy regarding building websites for my competitors?
This can be a good or bad thing. For example, if a company has designed websites in the past similar to yours, they may have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. That said, you don’t want a clear conflict of interest. This is a good question to ask and to use in your evaluation process, but I wouldn’t rule someone out entirely if they built a website last year in the same industry but don’t have an ongoing relationship with that client.
8. How will my project be managed?
Typically, a website design process includes four stages: strategy/research, design, site development, and launch and evaluate. When learning about the project management process of a web design firm, ask whether there will be a specific manager or contact person for your project, a timeline for the different stages, the manner in which you will receive progress reports and whether a project management system is used to manage tasks.
9. How much time is devoted to analyzing my business, market and competitors?
Planning out your website is key to ensuring its success. This requires researching your industry and performing a basic market analysis before planning the website’s overall functionality, content structure, elements, delivery and other components.
10. Who will be working on my website?
Some web design companies may devote one person or a team of individuals to your project, depending on the scope of the work you want performed. For example, you could have a graphic designer, programmer and copywriter working on your website. Knowing who will be working on which components of your project is important for understanding how your project will be managed.
11. What are the qualifications of those working on my project?
It’s important to know the scope of experience of the person or team working on your project. Feel free to ask for samples of other websites they have done, discuss the expertise they have in web design and development tools, and request client references. The portfolio and references should be updated with the most current work.
12. How long will it take to complete my website?
Typically, the turnaround time for a website design is based on the scope of the work required and how quickly you provide them with needed information, such as text. But you should ask how much time the firm will be devoting to your project and its average turnaround time if they have all the content. It’s also worth discussing what happens if they don’t meet their target date.
13. How many pages will my website be?
This is something that you will work out with the site design firm once content has been agreed upon. Search engines like websites with several pages of quality text and typically websites have standard pages, such as About Us, FAQs, Contact Us, and Privacy and Terms of Conditions. Together, you and the firm you select will determine other pages based on your business, such as Products or Services, Resource Center, a Blog, Case Studies or Testimonials, Photo Gallery, etc.
14. How much input will I have with my website design?
During your initial consultation, a web design firm should ask you questions to get a feel for your business, the tone and style you want to portray, and the types of web design styles you like. This will give the designer an idea of the type of aesthetics you’re looking for in terms of site components and provide strategic information as to the purpose of your new site, your target audience and the content it should contain. Most firms work hand-in-hand with its clients to be certain they are providing them with the type of website they desire.
15. What happens if I don’t like the initial design?
Generally, initial project agreements call for either unlimited changes or a certain number of revisions. Others have multiple sign-offs on proposed colors, design layout, images and type fonts so you have an idea what the end design will look like. It’s important to review the process and the policy for changes with the design firm.
16. What do you need from me to get started?
Typically, you need to provide any images, text, or other content you want on your site. If you choose to have the text done by the firm’s copywriters, you’ll need to provide basic information. If you provide your own copy, it may need a few tweaks for better search engine optimization or design presentation. Whatever the case may be, you should be notified in advance of any revisions needed to your copy and why they are needed.
17. Will my website be built to expand as my business grows?
It’s critical that your website is built with room to grow, especially if your company may add new products or services in the future. Inquire about the scalability of the design and whether new navigation buttons can be added without having to pay for an entire site redesign.
18. Can you create a logo for my site?
Most website designers can create a logo for your business as part of your initial project quote or for an additional fee. Ask about experience in this area and look at other logos the firm has created, paying particular attention to graphic appeal, how well the style matches the focus of the business and how well the logo establishes brand identity.
19. Can you help me get images for my website?
Having actual photos pertaining to your business is always best for that unique factor, but oftentimes stock images are necessary. So there are no concerns over copyright infringement, ask designers whether they have access to a large selection of public domain images, or if you need to pay royalty fees based on usage.
20. I already have an established brand, will my website provide a consistent look?
For companies with an established brand, you want to be certain the website development firm creating your new website has experience in maintaining brand consistency. Ask how they approach such projects and what steps they will take to ensure the web design is in line with your current marketing strategies.
21. Will you be outsourcing any of the work?
Some design companies use independent contractors for certain components of a project. This allows them to offer a wider range of services in a cost-effective manner. If outsourcing is done, ask for the credentials of all independent contractors who will be working on your website and how project coordination is handled in-house.
22. How do you price your services?
The pricing structure of web design varies among companies, so ask whether a flat project price or hourly rate is used. Keep in mind that price is based on experience, expertise and the scope of the project. The pricing should be in line with the quality of the firm’s work, which will reflect in how they value your brand and the importance of its online presence.
23. What is included in the price?
It’s important to know exactly what you’re paying for when given a project quote. Ask for an itemized list of deliverables that are included in the price and ask what isn’t included. For example, some firms offer hosting or maintenance that is not included in the initial project’s price.
24. What is the billing procedure for work outside the project’s initial quote or agreed upon deliverables?
As your project progresses, you might want additional services outside the original scope of the project. Find out how billing works if you decide to add other features or elements after work on your website has begun.
25. Will my website be compatible with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices?
Mobile websites are a must for businesses with an online presence. Find out how the web design firm approaches the mobile component of web design. For instance, a responsive design may be used to accommodate all visitors, whether accessing it from a desktop computer or a mobile device. Or, a separate mobile site may be included as part of the initial website design. The important factor to determine is the breadth of experience the web design company has in developing mobile applications and the reasoning behind the approach it takes.
26. Do you build search engine optimization into websites?
Nowadays, almost all websites should be coded with SEO in mind. There are all kinds of technical issues that a new website can introduce. If you’re having a new site designed, it’s a good idea to have a third party SEO firm conduct an SEO audit prior to launch to make sure there aren’t any major issues.
27. How do you determine keywords for my site?
Having the right keywords on each page of your site is an essential SEO marketing component. That said, a full keyword study is completely outside the scope of most website designs. It’s important to consider how keywords will be used. If you are relying on organic search traffic to meet your goals it would be a good idea to have a third-party SEO company not only conduct a site audit, but also a keyword study.
28. Do you perform other SEO services?
If so, ask about the experience of those who will be providing these SEO and SEM services and the strategies used. Request examples of past projects that show results of their efforts. Also determine whether these services can be included in the scope of your project or if they must be billed separately.
29. Do you do A/B testing?
Conversion and usability testing will allow you to see whether your Web pages are optimized to give the best results. A/B or multivariate testing involves creating two different Web pages and testing their performance against each other to determine which is garnering the most conversion rates. Ask if the website design company offers split A/B testing as a follow-up service and what the cost will be.
30. What type of content management system do you use?
The content management system allows you to manage your website’s content without the need for coding. The most advantageous content management system offers the option of updating your website yourself or having the website firm integrate the content and do the updates for you. Ask whether the type of system used is a third-party system or a custom built one of their own. You also want to find out if it’s a web-based interface, if it supports WordPress and e-commerce platforms, whether it works in all types of browsers, including new and previous versions, if it looks professional and unique, and whether you have access to all its functionalities. If you’re not familiar with using a live content management system, ask if training is offered.
31. Do you offer e-commerce services?
In addition to web design and development, a comprehensive website design company offers e-commerce services for businesses conducting online sales. Ask for specifics when inquiring about e-commerce solutions because they vary among web design firms. Some commonly offered e-commerce services are shopping carts; the ability to add discounts; support for multi-currencies; a customer database that interacts with your online store; cross and up sell features; inventory control; customization; reporting; and SEO integration.
32. What web standards and practices do you follow?
A web design and development company should be current on all design trends and follow current web development standards so your website works on all operating platforms and in all browsers. Inquire as to whether the web design firm is current on CSS and HTML standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Be sure to ask if its conduct code validation to ensure site coding complies with W3C standards.
33. What type of IP address will my website have?
If the web design company is handling this for you, ask if you will receive a unique IP address rather than a static IP address. A unique IP address ranks higher on search engines and is not considered spam by most e-mail providers.
34. Do you offer domain name registration?
Before a website can go live, it needs a name. Most full-service web design firms will handle domain name registration. Ask the firm if it will check whether the name you want for your site is available, if they will register it for you, how many years the domain name registration is for and the cost for performing this service.
35. Will I be able to see the website as you’re creating it?
Reputable web design firms will make your in-progress website available for viewing during each phase so you can make suggestions, changes, or content edits. Inquire about the review and input process that you can expect.
36. Will the functionality of my website be tested before it goes live?
Web design companies typically test new web design functionality prior to launching it live. As part of this testing phase, you should determine if it includes testing for syntax errors, cross-browser compatibility, correctly uploaded files, and functionality of forms, links, scripts and other elements on the website.
37. Will my current site experience downtime as you update it?
Once the redesigned site is ready to go live, it’s important to know how it may impact your current website. Ask what will be involved in the transfer process, if there are any risks and how any downtime can be minimized.
38. Will I own my website once it’s completed?
It’s important to find out whether you will own the domain name (registered in your name, not the web design company’s), website design and hosting account (registered in your name, not the design firm’s), or if the website design company requires your site to be hosted on their servers. Also find out if you will receive all source files for your site and access to your hosting account, backend administration platform and server. Also be sure to ask if you will be required to lock into an ongoing contract to keep your site live and functioning, or if the completed site will be delivered to you upon completion. You also need to know the name of the company where your website’s domain name is registered, all user names and passwords and the name of the hosting company.
39. Who owns the site’s artwork?
Some designers may copyright their original artwork. You need to know the firm’s policy and negotiate terms in advance so you own all original artwork and content on your site. Also ask whether you will be given the original graphic files.
40. Do you offer web hosting services?
As part of their website services, web design companies offer web hosting. This means your website will reside on its hosting server. Even if you already have a web hosting provider, it’s a good idea to ask what the web design firm offers in terms of hosting plans, whether the fee includes a unique IP address, how much bandwidth, processing power and disk space are included, its guaranteed uptime and speed of access, the type of control panel or user interface, methods of access to tech support, and if there are fees for sponsored links, pay-per-click, search engine submission or optimization, or any other additional fees. You might find a better deal than your current one.
41. Will you integrate social media into my web design?
Linking social networking sites to your website is now part of the norm in website design. Find out if the web designer will do this and at what cost. Some web design companies go a step further and offer social media integration services to help you generate more leads and turn them into sales. Ask about social media marketing plans, like setup and management, blogger outreach, and monitoring and measuring.
42. Do you offer on-going maintenance after my site goes live?
As technology and trends change, you may want to have additional web design and development work done on your website. This could include updating content or updating compatibility with browser changes. Ask the web design firm if they offer maintenance services and if they are provided on an as-needed, on-going, or retainer arrangement. Find out what the prices are to update content, and make minor and major edits.
43. How do you measure results after the site goes live?
Your relationship with the web design company should not end once your site goes live. The firm should measure the results of its web design. You might hear terms like page views, unique visits, time on site, bounce rate, conversion rate, inbound links, search engine ranking, etc. Ask how this is done in terms of analytic tools and what numbers or benchmarks you should expect your website to produce. Find out how often you are provided with these statistics and the procedure for improving any that don’t meet performance marks.
44. Will I be able to access my website statistics without contacting you?
Web design businesses use various analytics to monitor the performance of websites. They should be willing to provide you with access to this interface. Ask about obtaining a password so you can view your website statistics online at any time.
Your new website design should be a reflection of your strategic business goals. It’s important that the web design and development company you select is on board to help you achieve them. Taking the time to ask far-reaching questions before hiring a web design firm will ensure you retain a results-oriented partner that will help you achieve tangible results that translate into a measurable return on your website investment.
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2017-10-15 09:36:182017-10-15 09:36:1844 Questions You Should Ask Your Potential Web Developer
If you’ve landed on this post because you’re deciding whether to go with WordPress or Squarespace, let me make your decision easier for you: choose WordPress every time. There are some “designers” out there who will build your site while touting how Squarespace is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it’s really not. We’ve done the research for you and broken down why WordPress is the way to go for your Business Presence online.
While both provide a platform for you to build a website, they are vastly different. WordPress is used by more than 27% of all websites on the internet while Squarespace, on the other hand, powers 1.2 million websites or roughly 0.01% to 0.55% . WordPress is available both as hosted and self-hosted options (we’ll dig into that further down), while Squarespace is available only as a hosted version.
In this post, I’ll go through the 27 reasons why self-hosted WordPress is the clear winner over Squarespace every time.
Reason #1: Free to Download
The WordPress software is open source and free to download for use on the web host or server of your choosing.
On the other hand, Squarespace isn’t flexible – you’re stuck with their hosting, which is strictly on Squarespace’s servers.
Reason #2: Build Upon the Software
WordPress has a GPL 2.0 license, which means you’re free to poke around the code and make changes that suit your needs, so long as you’re willing to share your changes with others as open source.
As previously mentioned, you can edit WordPress core to create your own offshoot content management system (CMS) thanks to the GPL, but you can also edit WordPress plugins and themes to extend the capabilities of your website. You aren’t limited to how many changes you can make.
In short, you can edit whatever you want when it comes to WordPress. You can also create your own themes and plugins.
Squarespace isn’t as flexible. Not even close.
In sections 5.1 of the Terms of Service, Squarespace forbids you from editing the themes’ code or any other major element including any part of the offered services. If you want to dig into some code to change one of their themes or create one of your own, you can’t.
Reason #4: Extensive Features with Plugins
WordPress has a vast repository of over 49,000 plugins to extend the capabilities of the core software. You can find practically any feature you could possibly need or want for your site with plugins, including anything from contact forms and SEO to security and eCommerce.
Like their visual editor, what you see is what you get with Squarespace. If a certain feature you need isn’t available, you’re out of luck.
Reason #5: Unlimited Sites and Networks
The WordPress platform itself doesn’t have any limit to how many times it can be installed, which means you can create as many sites or networks of sites as the resources your hosting plan allows – for free.
When you sign up for a Squarespace plan, you’re limited to only one site. If you want to create another site, you need to sign up for another premium subscription.
Reason #6: Multisite
One word: Multisite. ‘Nough said, but in case you want more detail: WordPress lets you create a network of websites called a Multisite. This means you can run as many sites as you want using one installation of WordPress and access them all in one place.
This makes it the perfect solution for a wide variety of sites and purposes. For example, you could offer your own blog or site hosting, like the popular education website Edublogs, or you could host all your clients’ sites under one roof for easy management.
Squarespace has no such feature.
Reason #7: Your Copyrighted Content Can’t Be Used for Free
WordPress has no claim to publish any part of your site for free.
Squarespace, on the other hand, according to its Terms of Service, statements 2.2 and 2.3, can use any part of your site for uses such as advertising, even if the content they take is copyrighted.
By creating a site with Squarespace, you not only consent to this, but you also agree to let them use what they want for free. They don’t even have to contact you first.
No royalty cheques. Nothing.
While you can opt out, it’s not an easy, one-click option.
Reason #8: Features Aren’t Pulled without Notice
The WordPress core gets updated regularly with new features and security updates and there’s a system in place to ensure transparency with what goes in, gets fixed and what’s omitted.
Changes are suggested, reviewed and approved before they’re worked on, then later released. Any amendments or omissions are well documented and announced beforehand. In the event that a feature you need is discontinued, you have time to search for or create a plugin to cover the capabilities you want.
Reason #9: If You Have Grounds to Sue, You Aren’t Limited
In the unlikely event that you need to sue Automattic, the non-profit company behind WordPress.com, you can and you’re not limited unless as required by law.
In sections 16.1 to 16.3 and 16.9 of Squarespace’s Terms of Service, you’re limited to the amount to which you can sue. Spoiler alert: you can only sue for small sums of money.
You’re also limited to where you’re required to attend court hearings and by creating a site, you agree to mediate a lawsuit before the case goes to court. You also agree to not file any class action lawsuits.
While it’s not likely that you would need to sue Squarespace, you never know and it’s nice to not be so limited in how you can resolve a legal situation.
Reason #10: No eCommerce Transaction Fees
You can turn your WordPress site into an eCommerce store with a plugin. Fortunately, there are options out there like MarketPress that don’t have any transaction fees. WordPress also doesn’t take a cut of your sales.
On the other hand, Squarespace charges a transaction fee for each sale you make, unless you decide to upgrade your plan. You can check out the Squarespace pricing page for details.
Reason #11: Your Server Resources Aren’t Limited
As mentioned earlier, you can choose where to host your WordPress site, unlike Squarespace, which requires you to host your site on their servers. This means you can’t scale your site later if it becomes popular.
This means your site can get shut down if Squarespace decides you’re getting more than average amounts of traffic – whatever that means – since there isn’t a clear definition (or any at all) for “normal usage.”
Conversely, WordPress gives you the freedom to choose your own hosting so you can find one that’s scalable and works for you.
Reason #12: Online Stores Aren’t Limited to Certain Currencies
When you use an eCommerce plugin such as MarketPress, for example, you aren’t limited to the currencies you can accept for your sales. The only limitations you could have are with the payment processors you choose to use.
With Squarespace, you’re limited to USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, MXN, NOK, NZD, SEK, or SGD. It’s also published on the pricing page. This can be limiting, especially for an online store that wants to accept sales from all around the world.
This number doesn’t even include all the premium themes that are also available. There’s certainly no shortage of theme and design options when it comes to WordPress.
Squarespace has a grand total of 59 themes to choose from. If you need an eCommerce theme, then your choices are further limited to just eight.
Reason #14: No High-Resolution Images? No problem!
Speaking of all those WordPress themes, it’s easier to find a layout that suits your needs and content. You also have the option to adjust the theme to better fit your images, videos, posts and other content.
You’re by no means bound to use a limited number of themes that call for huge, high-resolution images. Unfortunately, this is exactly the case with Squarespace.
Most of the 59 themes available require these kinds of images and if you don’t have them, your site won’t look great.
Reason #15: Top Companies Trust WordPress
There are many popular, high-profile companies that trust WordPress to power their sites including The New York Times, CNN, PlayStation, LinkedIn, Flickr, Walt Disney, NGINX, Time Inc, cPanel and hundreds more.
Many celebrities also have their sites built on WordPress including Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry, Jane Fonda, Kim Kardashian, The Rolling Stones, Sylvester Stallone, and William Shatner.
When you visit the main page for Squarespace and scroll down, logos are displayed of the companies that use Squarespace. Most of them are small businesses that aren’t nearly as high-profile as those that are built on WordPress.
Reason #16: Full Control Over SSL and HTTPS
Installing an SSL certificate places the https prefix for your domain in a browser’s address bar. They also help secure your site by encrypting the connection between your site and your visitor’s browser. The encryption prevents hackers from being able to do kinds of hacking like hijacking a visitor’s connection to bypass the login form.
When you install a WordPress site or network, you can choose a Certificate Authority and the type of SSL certificate you want to use. You can pick one that offers a warranty in case you get hacked and experience data loss as well as choose a certificate that’s trusted by more people.
You also have options for forcing the use of an SSL certificate for your site. For example, if you install a certificate for your domain, then use Softaculous to install WordPress, you can choose to automatically setup your domain with HTTPS automatically.
Squarespace automatically issues an SSL certificate for your domain and site, but you don’t get a choice on the type of certificate and the Certificate Authority that issues it. The SSL certificate also can’t be forced automatically. You need to turn on this option in the settings.
If you want your SSL certificate to come with certain features and a warranty, it’s not possible if you create your site with Squarespace. For details, you can check out Squarespace and SSL.
Reason #17: Choose Your Domain Registrar and Price
Both WordPress and Squarespace let you choose which Registrar you use to get your domain for your site, but WordPress doesn’t force you to choose a specific Registrar at any point.
If you create a site with Squarespace and sign up for annual billing for any one of their plans to get a discount, you get a free domain, but you’re forced to get that domain from Squarespace.
While the first year is free, every year thereafter is priced higher than most other Registrars and starts at $20 for a .com domain. Most other Registrars offer a .com domain for about $10-$15 and sometimes less.
Reason #18: You Can Own Your Domain
Some Domain Registrars state in their Terms of Service that the main contact listed in the WHOIS database for a domain is the owner, which means if you opt-in for domain privacy, your Registrar is listed as the main contact and, therefore, owns the domain you purchased.
You have the option to choose the Registrar where you get your domain for your WordPress site. This means you can shop around for one that offers WHOIS privacy and also lets you own your domain simultaneously.
While it’s possible to buy your domain elsewhere, the free domain you get from Squarespace, as mentioned above, automatically includes WHOIS privacy. In the Terms of Service, it’s started in section 11.1 that Squarespace domains are registered using Tucows Inc. and their Terms of Service applies for all domains registered there.
In Tucows Inc.’s Terms of Service, section 21 states that the main contact for a registered domain is the owner of it. Since Squarespace automatically applies WHOIS privacy to all domains registered there and they become the main contact, they legally own your domain.
While you’re technically able to change ownership of a registered domain, it’s not a typical or easy undertaking. Tucows Inc. must be notified by the owner in writing, which is defined in section 26 as a direct email or regular mail sent to Tucows Inc.
This means you would need to contact Squarespace and convince them to email Tucows Inc. to transfer ownership of the domain you purchased. Otherwise, it remains the legal property of Squarespace.
Reason #19: Accessibility Is an Option
As mentioned earlier, with the many themes available for WordPress sites, you can create a site that’s accessible to your visitors who are partially sighted and use screen readers to consume the content on your site.
Most WordPress sites pass the most basic requirements for accessibility since links and the main site content can be consumed by screen readers. While there are sites out there that differ and range between fully accessible and not at all, full accessibility is a goal that can be reached.
Squarespace’s site and most sites that are created on the platform can’t be considered fully accessible. Most Squarespace sites including the main site can barely pass as accessible since screen readers can typically read links only and not always all of them to boot.
Since you cannot modify or build upon the Squarespace platform, as aforementioned, you aren’t able to work on the accessibility of a Squarespace site.
Reason #20: Unlimited Pages and Contributors
With WordPress, you can set up as many pages and contributors as you want. WordPress doesn’t limit how many you can have in either case. Your only limitation is what you can manage to fit into your current hosting plan.
Squarespace offers up to 20 pages and two contributors on their Personal plan and you need to upgrade to add more.
Reason #21: More User Role Flexibility
When you use WordPress and plugins like Membership 2 Pro or User Role Editor, you can customize the default user roles to create what you need for your users.
For example, with Membership 2 Pro, you can enable the Member Capabilities add-on and its Advanced Capability Protection option to turn user roles and capabilities on its head.
You could create free or paid memberships to your site and assign user roles to memberships manually or automatically when a user signs up. You could also customize your memberships further by mixing and matching capabilities, and choose specific capabilities a membership can have assigned to it with the Advanced Capability Protection option.
WordPress itself gives you ultimate flexibility because you can create your own plugin to adjust the user roles as you see fit.
Squarespace has set types of user roles they call Contributors and you can’t customize them. You’re stuck with the user roles already available.
Reason #22: Choose How to Edit Your Site
There are so many themes to choose from for WordPress that you can edit with code and adding content to your site is pretty easy, but you have other options when it comes to editing your theme, design, layout and content such as starter themes, page builders and theme frameworks like Upfront.
With Upfront, you can easily and intuitively drag and drop page parts and content to create an unlimited number of completely different layouts and designs. You can also use Builder in tandem to drag and drop your way to creating an unlimited number of new themes. While it’s only optional, you can also add your own custom code.
Whether you want to code or drag and drop your way to a new theme, it’s up to you if you have a WordPress site.
Squarespace has its own platform and interface for creating sites. You can click through sections of the menu or page to add page parts and you can arrange them where you want. While you can drag and drop some elements of the page, not everything is that flexible.
While you can drag and drop some elements of the page, not everything is that flexible. There’s a labyrinth of options in the menu that can be difficult and time-consuming to find.
Reason #23: A Choice in Page Builders
While we’re on the subject, it’s worth mentioning that you have multiple choices in page builders, starter themes and theme frameworks with WordPress, unlike Squarespace, which only has one editor and no alternative.
Reason #24: The Theme Customizer is Better
If you decide to use a free WordPress theme for your site, many support the Customizer, which you can use to make quick design changes. It’s a lot easier and more intuitive to use than Squarespace’s site editor.
Reason #25: A Vast Community
WordPress has a unique community that’s also humongous. There are volunteers that help contribute to the WordPress core and also many that answer questions posted by other users in the WordPress Support Forum.
While Squarespace has a community, it’s not nearly as vast as with WordPress. There also aren’t Squarespace conferences like there is with WordPress. WordCamps happen all over the world every year and are attended by hundreds and thousands of people.
Reason #26: WordPress Can Be Used by Anyone
Anyone can create a WordPress site as long as they have access to hosting. Squarespace is limited to people aged 13 or older and more specifically, Squarespace’s target audience is people wanting to publish media and photographers.
Reason #27: Better Analytics
There are many WordPress plugins out there that can add analytics straight into your site’s back end. Often times, you can get incredibly comprehensive analytics.
For example, you could sign up for Google Analytics and use the Google Analytics + plugin to add all the stats to your WordPress dashboard.
Squarespace includes an analytics feature, but it only has basic information that isn’t nearly as detailed as Google Analytics and you aren’t able to connect the two together in the admin area.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to comparing WordPress and Squarespace, there’s no contest. Yes, they are different – WordPress.org is a self-hosted option while Squarespace is not, and both options have different target audiences. The purpose of this post is simply to point out the obvious (and maybe not-so-obvious) reasons why WordPress is a clear winner if you want greater control of your website.
Yes, you can create a great-looking site using Squarespace, but the platform is severely limited when compared to WordPress, which you can use to do practically anything you want.
I hope you’ve found this post convincing and enlightening! And don’t forget, if you need help getting set up, our support team is available to help you with any WordPress question.
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2017-09-01 12:14:122017-09-01 12:14:12Why WordPress Crushes Squarespace Every Time
One of the most over-hyped metrics in the digital marketing world is the “impression”. The idea is simple – if an ad is shown on a webpage or search engine result, it’s an impression. However, this can give advertisers a false sense of exactly how much their ad has made an impact.
A comScore study in 2013 found that 54% of display ads are never seen. Maybe they were displayed on the page, but they were below the fold, or the person left the page before the ad was fully loaded, or a million of other issues.
This feels like the in-joke of the internet, a wink-wink between traditional agencies and publishers – those that sell display ads to unsuspecting clients and the sites that accept ad revenue. Both of these parties know that display ad metrics aren’t just inaccurate, they’re a hollow and not but ash.
Impressions have ended up being the “look how great we are!” measure that agencies that are more focused on trying to obfuscate what’s really going on so that they look good, rather than report on real results. It’s a big number and it looks amazing to say that your ad had 1 million impressions instead of the sad trombone of 10 clicks. This kind of reporting is particularly rife within so-called “traditional” advertising agencies, who are used to reporting on offline campaigns and are still struggling to understand all this internet stuff.
Impressions are also sacrificed to the altar of vague reporting metrics such as “brand awareness”.
We had a real-life example of this recently when working with a client who used another agency for their web design and marketing before talking to us. The client claimed that an ad had resulted in “brand awareness” due to the large number of impressions the ad received. But in reality, the creative was boring and blended into the site. There wasn’t even a call to action. Just because your ad had 1,000 impressions, it doesn’t mean that:
a) 1,000 more people know about your company.
b) 1,000 more people feel good about your company.
c) 1,000 people looked at your ad at all.
If you need to measure brand awareness, try measuring it on social media or count people visiting your landing page. Did someone talk about your brand on social? Did they go to your site, maybe sign up for your newsletter? That’s brand awareness! Someone glazing over your display ad on a web page that they viewed for two seconds isn’t brand awareness.
Someone glancing over your display ad on a webpage that they viewed for two seconds isn’t brand awareness.
(Facebook is also guilty of this. The “boost” button on page posts is paying per impressions, although they call it reach. Reach is also a poorly understood metric that’s becoming a stand in for impressions on social media. Buyer beware.)
How did we get here? In the beginning of advertising, we paid per impression. Billboards cost a certain amount depending on how many cars drove by. Nielsen ratings determined how much advertisers should pay for TV shows — sweeps weeks were how television shows inflated their numbers so they could charge more. We didn’t have a better way to measure things.
Then, the internet happened. Instead of thinking “hey, we can measure all kinds of things now!”, pageviews became the default metric of success because it was comfortable and nobody in advertising had to shift too much. You could say “this site gets 10,000 pageviews a day”, put down your client’s money and then tell them that they got 10,000 ad views. Just like buying a radio ad, right?
Pageviews should never have been the default measure of advertising. It’s resulted in awful clickbait headlines (You won’t believe what happens next!) and multi-page slideshows used by these types of sites. But pageviews are a metric that could be easily measured and sold to people who understood the old school of advertising.
What they didn’t understand (or willfully ignored) was banner blindness. Spend 5 minutes on the internet, and you’ll start to zone out the ads. Some pages make it hard by shouting at you, showing popups, and pushing giant page takeovers, but loud isn’t the new good. You can’t make someone want to pay attention to your creative that was recycled from a billboard. The internet is not just a cheaper billboard. If your ad isn’t compelling, if it doesn’t speak to me, then you might as well save your money and take yourself out for a nice dinner instead.
We can target based on behavior, what you’re searching for, your age, your Facebook interests, whether or not you already visited our site – a million different ways to show exactly the ad that you’ll be interested in at the moment you see it. But instead, most advertisers submit web page visitors to the blunt force trauma of multiple ad impressions, hoping for a nice big number they can show on their PowerPoint presentation the next time they’re at a client meeting.
People on the internet aren’t lemmings, just waiting around to be shown something flashy so they can jump off a cliff after it. We all see ads every single day, and we’re smart enough to decide what’s interesting and what’s just more crap to ignore. Recycled creative and scattershot advertising isn’t just lazy, it’s disrespectful to you and to your client. Reporting on impressions reinforces the idea that if you show an ad enough times, we’ll just have to give in to the message. And we all know that isn’t true.
Contact Us for a free website and social media presence evaluation and learn how we can help your business in the age of digital and social media marketing.
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2017-08-09 11:30:092017-08-09 11:30:09BOGUS DIGITAL MARKETING: Impressions Do Not Equal Sales
Amazon is just revolutionizing retail, any other adjective or any other verb would suffice. They are changing the way every retailer on the planet is thinking about retailing, and if they aren’t, they should be thinking about it differently because of Amazon, even Big Box retailers have had to change the way they do business because of Amazon so why should independent retailers be any different?
It’s important to keep in mind that the online consumer is wealthier than average. According to a report by Forrester Research, online buyers with household incomes of $75,000 or more represent the largest group of the online consumer population. In fact, they make up more than 40 percent of all online buyers—almost twice the number of those with household incomes of $50,000 to $75,000. These consumers have considerable spending power, making it important for businesses to invest in the e-commerce space.
Here are a few tips for how retailers can build an e-commerce business to compliment your retail shop fit for today’s demanding consumer:
1. Offer free shipping, or at least pay for returns. Having to pay large shipping fees on a domestic order is a huge turn-off for a customer. Retailers like Amazon have created the expectation that postage is free. Studies have shown that many consumers would rather pay extra for the product than have to shell out for shipping.
2. Create loyalty programs to reward the best customers. Big retailers are basing these off of airlines’ programs, where the more you buy, the more perks you get. A loyalty program gives the consumer a big incentive to shop at the online store. The online format also allows customers to track their “points” or rewards and be involved with the retailer on a personal level.
3. Demonstrate how an item looks or works using video merchandising.Zappos.com (which is owned by Amazon) gives shoppers a video demonstration of most of the shoes, garments and accessories it sells so they can better evaluate them. Rather than trying to read the dimensions in the fine print, a customer looking for a tote bag can just watch a video of a model carrying it on her shoulder to gauge whether it is the right size. If a business can’t do videos of products, photo demonstrations will do.
4. Search online to see what the competition is. A study from Forrester Research shows that more than 30 percent of customers search online for the best deals. There’s little chance they will shell out for an item on one website if it’s cheaper somewhere else even if it is offline in a brick and mortar. Being educated gives e-tailers/retailers more power.
If customers can order easily with free shipping, there is no reason for them to order on Amazon over any other retailer online, we’d also point out specialty retailers have the advantage of offering better products than anyone else.
With a few steps to make the consumer happy, any business’ website can compete with Amazon.
00Stephen Proffitthttps://perihelionwebdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/main_logo_large.pngStephen Proffitt2017-08-03 10:26:042017-08-03 10:26:04The 800 Pound Gorilla: The Internet eTailer