May 31, 2017
by Lori Shecter

7 Musts for a Better Website

#1:  Make your homepage memorable:

Make ’em stay and make ’em want more. And more.  Here is a few samples of great homepages and calls to action.

Other important homepage/landing page features:

Landing pages are the pages that people first come to when they find your site. Potential clients find you in several ways:

  • they already know your company so just go to your URL,
  • they google a keyword and your site comes up,
  • you are advertising a certain offering and they come to that page.

Pages that are set up specifically for advertising should have the following elements”

  • A way for people to contact you
  • Lead captures- Forms
  • Calls to action
  • Keywords

This was original a 25 page guide from HubSpot.  Content was great, but took too long to read.  Here’s my condensed version:  7 musts for a better website!

#2:  Get found by Search Engines

Search engine marketing is not rocket science but it is a time-consuming process which is why most business owners and companies have a hard time handling this themselves.  But here are the top ways to improve your SEO:

7 musts for a better website

  1. Content is king.  You can’t just have a website, set it and forget it.  You must have frequent updates through your news or blog channels.  The updates need to have the keywords  that you focus on.  For example, this article is about growing business with your website.  The picture below shows you in the code of We Are Immediate this keyword.  Make sure your keyword is in your article.
  2. YouTube:  YouTube when properly named and tagged, is great for SEO.  Why? Because Google owns YouTube.  Make sure you put your KEYWORDS in the Title of your video, and then the URL and telephone number of your company in your post description.
  3. Backlinks:  Sharing your content on all your social media channels, or posting answers to questions on Quora, Manta, or other registries gives links back to your website.  Google loves backlinks.
  4. Technology:  Your website should be built with a content management system like WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco, etc (there are over 200) that have places to add the keyword to the page.  The image above shows you an h1 tag in the back end of WordPress.
  5. Google tools:  You should have a google webmaster account.  Your web development company should generate a sitemap that automatically submits all the urls of your website to google.
  6. Google for Business:  Make sure you have Google for Business set up.  This is often the first search result that appears after paid search.
  7. Last SEO tips:  If you are launching a new website, make sure you have 301 redirects.  This means if a page was named  www.unitedlawyersnyc.com/about-us but your new website name is www.unitedlawyersnyc.com/about, 301 redirect will tell Google  to repoint the old URL to the new one.  This is important because Google keeps old URL’s for up to three months before they disappear.

#3:  Design:

Mobile is starting to be more important than desktop design.  Your Google analytics shows you the amount of traffic coming from mobile devices versus desktop devices.  If you are in the process of having a new website developed, make sure your design team designs both a desktop and mobile version of your website so you can see both the design as well as the navigation function.  In addition to our own mobile experience, we really love Bryan Cave’s law firm mobile experience.

search box

  1. Other design trends include:
    • Full-screen imagery,
    • clean crisp fonts,
    • uncrowded top navigation (no more than 4 or 5). Many companies now use a “hamburger” button on their website.
  2. Visible search box:  Navigation is almost becoming extinct – everyone is used to one-click locating when it comes to finding stuff on a website.  The image above this section shows you perfect clean search.
  3. Social:  Who are you and what do you represent?  Your potential customer wants to know what your company or firm stands for, and who the people are behind it.  Featuring blog posts or personal profiles on your homepage can be the beginning of a wonderful new relationship.
  4. Consistency:  Your site should feel like you are on the same website no matter what page you are on. Don’t change fonts and colors from page to page.
  5. Imagery:  Using clear and powerful imagery, no matter if you offer products or services is critical for users to feel the quality of your company when they come to your website.

#4:  Navigation:

If people can’t find what they are looking for, they will give up and leave. Important factors in a site’s navigation include:

  1. Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple (and near the top of your page).
  2. Use breadcrumbs on every page (except for the homepage) so people are aware of their navigation trail.
  3. Don’t dig too deep – in most cases, it’s best to keep your navigation to no more than three levels deep.

#5:  Content:

Will people know you do within a few seconds?

  1. Information:  Is it what they are looking for?
  2. Your strengths: Why should they choose your company?
  3. Calls to Action:  Do they know where to go next?
  4. Are you a destination site: Will they come back frequently because you have good suggestions?
  5. Show them what you’ve done.  Have success stories and testimonials.
  6. Video:  Pictures are worth a 1000 words, video worth 1 million.

#6:  Content is both King and Queen:

Offer unique content. People love this and so do search engines.

  1. Write for humans, not search engines. People don’t read like robots.
  2. Provide value and educational content that helps others.
  3. If you pay companies to write for you, make sure you do your research. Some write well, others do not.
  4. Keep content fresh. Having news that’s two years old still sitting on your homepage gives your site an old look.Blogging is without a doubt one of the most important assets to any inbound marketing strategy and it’s a perfect complement to your website.

#7:  Here are some reasons why you really need a blog:

  1. It creates fresh content and more pages of content, which is great for SEO.
  2. It helps establish you as an industry authority and thought leader.
  3. It helps drive more traffic and leads back to your website.
  4. It’s a great channel to converse and engage with your audience and customers.
  5. It’s a great way to get valuable inbound links!

Blogging isn’t as difficult as you think. There are plenty of blogging tools you can use to get started. If the ability to create content regularly is your main concern, there are inexpensive blog writing services (called Content Marketplaces) like Zerys and WriterAccess that will help you get started.

And seriously…

If you are looking to redesign your website, we are happy to have a 30-minute consultation. Call us: 212-929-9980.  Or email us: info@immediate.nyc.

February 14, 2016
by Lori Shecter

A costly mistake when redesigning your website

Your company  has finally pulled the trigger. You are getting a new, responsive up to-date website. This website is going to do everything for your marketing goals:  bring in more leads, more customers, more patients, and bring a fresh feeling to your old brand. You can’t wait to get started redesigning your website (or starting a new website.)

Whether you spend $15,000 or $150,000 (or more) on a new website, the most important feature you should understand is, “will this website do what it is supposed to?”  No matter what your goal (and you may have more than one, )for example:

  • Increase sales – E-commerce
  • Surface up content – easy to find articles, team bios, areas of expertise, etc. or
  • Generate leads via form or phone calls – lead generation

the only way to know for sure if your new design accomplishes your task, is to take it out for a test drive.  How else can you possibly know if that very cool design is going to achieve the results you are praying for?  It is true that many design firms use “personas” to figure out the use case scenario for each user type, but seriously, a “persona” might have absolutely nothing to do with reality.

“But, you say, I don’t have that kind of budget.  To that, I say, you do!

Just ask Ben Babcock, design director at Jet.com (If you don’t know what Jet.com is, check it out…the recently launched, better, cheaper, Amazon. )  And seriously, if it’s good enough for the $500 million funded startup, it’s good enough for me.

Affordable user testing:  First your design team must create an interactive prototype—it might not do everything but it can click to pages, simulate contact forms and add to cart features.  If your team doesn’t have these interactive tools, they should! They are easy to find and inexpensive.

Your sample: taking it on the road.

  • Friends and family
  • Feeling really adventurous? Camp out in a coffee shop and purchase $10 gift cards. Ask a customer to spend 15 minutes with you testing your new product
  • Screen Share: Have a few clients you trust? Set up a screen share and have your computer tape their actions and comments.
  • Have a huge database? Offer your customers a discount on your site for answering questions on your prototype.  Use Survey Monkey to auto collect samples.

And finally:

It is amazing to have a best in class website.  But it is better if that best in class website produces the marketing results you envision.

We Are Immediate designs and develops websites and apps and heavily relies on user experience research to ensure products that produce results.

July 10, 2015
by Lori Shecter

Before and After

I am really excited to show you all a preview of an amazing BEFORE and AFTER!  We were asked by the Joint Animal Services Department to redo their pet adaption website and we were all too happy to jump in and help!

before

The New Look

It’s now been live quite a while and the Joint Animal Services team could not be happier!

after

 

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2015
by Lori Shecter

MUSTS for hiring a new web design company

Design SitesWhat do you do you do when a programmer gives you a quote and then comes back 15 months later and says they now need 4 times as the original estimate to finish? I saw this question in one of my Linked In groups and it begged the question of “why did you wait so long to investigate delivery?” While the developer is most likely at fault, would you hand off the construction of your house for a year and a half without getting weekly (if not daily updates) on the construction? But the other question is, did you keep adding to the project without getting estimates from your developer? So, I can’t easily say what to do in this case without having the full details, but I can tell you how Weareimmediate prevents this and what you need to do to prevent it from happening in your projects:

WRITE: a detailed request for your website (or as best you can with the knowledge that you have.
REQUEST: proposals from a variety of web companies (both large and small) and if time allows, evaluate 3-5 proposals.
QUESTION AND ANSWERS: before the developer submits a proposal. If there are no questions, it can indicate that this company may not be as detail oriented as needed for your project.
USE PHONE/SKYPE CALL: nothing like the human voice behind the computer. In person pitches are even better. Going back to the home contractor…would you hire them through email? So much for the digital age.
INTERVIEW: after you’ve received proposals, at least phone interview all potential developers to verify all the functionality and go over any details you feel may have been left out of your initial request, or may have been left out of their proposal.
REVISIONS: may be necessary after the first submission. It can happen that their original estimate might be too low (or too high) after the interview or more details of your project are discovered.
REFERENCES: ask for verifiable references from the companies whose website they’ve built.
SANDBOX: have them show you the actual workings (admin panel, content management system) of a similar website they have built.
DISCOVER: this can be 4 hours or 4 weeks depending on the complexity of your project. Yes, the developer does charge for their time during this phase, but believe me, it will save time and pain later in your project. We don’t usually charge if the discovery is under 4 hours. Hopefully any unexpected changes or additions come up during discovery. We have found that once we start digging into a project some clients think of new things they want to add immediately rather than have a phase II.
PROCESS: How will you make sure you are going to get what they promise you? This should include project scope, project plan with delivery dates, wireframes, design, approvals, and iterations.
COMMUNICATE: Have a minimum of 1-2 meetings per week (SKYPE/PHONE) You should see progress at every meeting. If you don’t, make sure you have documented reasons what the issues are. Document the discussions and make sure issues have a delivery date.
PAYMENT: Do not pay for your site upfront. Depending on the length of the project, we recommend splitting payments up into milestones, for example: deposit, end of design, beginning of development, QA, and Live.
And last and most important…

THE DEVIL IS IN THE CONTRACT

This is not about Force Majeure or Acts of God. Although recently between the earthquakes and hurricanes in NY, it’s probably not a bad idea to include that!

Make sure that ALL details of your project are outlined in your contract including timing, costs, detailed functionality, number of creative changes that are included, costs of any purchased artwork or photos, testing and Quality Assurance (this can add 2 weeks to make sure site is stable) guaranteed functionality (we guarantee our work for 3 months) and project plan. Sometimes a developer will add a 10% clause. With customization, there is a certain amount of uncertainty in the length of a project. Both sides SIGN THE CONTRACT. And keep it in a safe place.

Even if the developer is someone you know, get a contract. Even friends make mistakes and it’s good to have a piece of paper to make sure you are all on the same page.

March 3, 2015
by Sergey

Importance of Website Navigation

Imagine an award-winning website. What do you picture? Graphic design? Bells and whistles? Cutting edge templates? Pages that flow one to the next?

What about usability? It’s not as prominent, is it? But if you were on that award winning website, you would expect everything to be easy to find, right?

Navigation is the real hero of web design. Good navigation has to work with all sections, leave no pages behind, give great directions, and blend in seamlessly with the rest of the website. There are many types of navigation- top navigation, side navigation, double navigation (good for sites with multiple sub sites), drop down menus- but the part that always remains the same is that if you want your user experience to be the best it can be, your navigation must be well thought out and organized.

What can good navigation do for me?

Besides structure and basic functions, navigation can also steer consumers in certain directions. For example, if the goal of the website is to promote a new product s, for example, that message should be placed prominently in search and.the audience should be directed to the new location. Effective navigation should keep your audience on your page and never leave them stranded (no orphan pages, please!) Your navigation should also be seamless and aligned with the web design so they both flow and neither detracts from the other.

Though not glamorous, useful, clean, and simple navigation is something we champion… so we encourage you to look at your analytics, your site data, and your intentions… is your navigation really doing all that you hoped? Quite frankly, it really should be that friendly.