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The Six-Stage Distinctions of Developing a Website

Process Blog post for Jan 2019

The Six Stage Distinctions of developing websites!

A lot has changed in 2018 in the web development world, and here at PCFWebsolutions, we’re excited to share with you our distinctions to what it takes to create and develop a beautiful, powerful, well-designed and functioning website.  This process is to show you a great understanding of the steps of what it takes to engineer and maintain websites for a smoother experience for both you, your customers and us as your service provider. Most people don’t realize what happens behind the scenes of the processes and have assumed expectations that may not be fitting their budget and timelines.  

If you’re looking to build a new website or simply update your existing website, reviewing these steps will help with the planning, expectations, and smoothing out the transition, all the while keeping the cost down!

The Six-Stage Distinctions

All Content Copyright Print & Copy Factory © 2019

Discovery  Phase

What is it that you want your site to accomplish? What is the functionality of your ideal site: is it an E-Commerce site, or is it mainly Information-based? Who is your target audience? What is your Call-To-Action? PCFWebsolutions has put together a packet called “Website Homework” to help you brainstorm ideas while you are discovering all of the possibilities. It’s also good to explore existing websites you personally as examples!

The very next thing we want to do is get all of us together for a meeting, whether that may be over the internet or locally here at Print & Copy Factory. We will discuss what your business wants and needs in a new website, in regards to branding, flow through, and functionality. Based on this information, we will research what’s possible and put it to a concept by engineering a plan and present a proposal.

Decision  Phase
With an agreed plan being accepted, we will establish goals, timelines, and expectations for you as well as Print & Copy Factory to work with. You will then be tasked to provide content, images and other materials that we will need to help put the site together.

This is the time where you will need to start writing content for your page outline. If you’re not sure what to say, you might want to take a step back and see what your competition is saying on their websites. Conducting a survey to gather information from your audience is also a great method to bring clarity what the content for your site should speak to your audience.

And while you are writing content, we will be laying the technical groundwork to prepare for a new website and create a navigation flow-through presentation how the site pages are organized in an easy, straight forward manner.

Design

This is where ideas now take formation. With each page’s content, we will then begin creating wireframes to give you an idea of the site flow through. This is like moving the furniture around, by changing things enough for the whole design and content will flow together. We will discuss any minor changes that need to be finalized and will plan to start developing the site.

Development

This is where our magic of integrating your site on the world wide web and all of the parts will come together. You have great content ready and we’ve established the navigation flow-through, the site page layouts and how it will look overall. Now it’s time to take this and put it into action, this is why you can count on us to expertly create a beautiful website experience through your vision!

Deployment

After we have gone over everything that is necessary for launch, it’s time to hand over the keys for you to start driving your new website. This is where we provide training for your staff to manage your website at the level you choose.

Deliberation

After the site has been live for around a month, we will be tracking the behavior on the website and offer suggestions and make appropriate adjustments.  In reality, a great site is never complete, as Google loves fresh content and updating things as your business grows too. This is how we can help you develop a great SEO reputation, and it doesn’t have to be restricted to the online marketplace. Print & Copy Factory can help you market your website through advertising, direct mail, and printing services.

Give us a call or email us and schedule a time to discuss a new or updated website today!

Easily Resize Pictures with Image Resizers

Easily Resize Pictures with Image Resizers

If you need a hand editing images for professional use, we’re here to help.

Our team of printing experts is here to lend a helping hand anytime you need us, but we know you like to have control as well, so we thought we would share this list of image resizers out there that you can research.

Just as the popularity of emailing and uploading images to websites has increased, so have image file sizes. Many photos are difficult to email or upload because of their large size. In addition, they take a long time to download and often get caught up in email filters due to size limits. Here are a few examples of handy image resizers that can help you conveniently resize photos:

  • Photo Magician – Provides several options on how and where to resize photos, including the option to overwrite existing files.
  • Resizr – A free online image resizer and picture crop website with lots of extras to convert, crop, rotate, or edit images quickly and easily.
  • Free Sizer – An easy to use tool to quickly create resized copies of your pictures that can be sent by email or uploaded to the web – comes pre-configured for most popular uses.
  • Batch Photo Resizer – Is a is full-featured software for converting and resizing the graphic files of well known formats.
  • ShrinkPic – Automatically reduce the size of photos for email, IM, blogging and web galleries without changing the original image.
  • Shrink Pictures – This site was created out of frustration of users asking questions like How do I resize images? How do I make images smaller? Etc.
  • Easy Photo Uploader – allows you to resize and upload your photos to Facebook, and log into your Facebook account directly from the program’s interface.
  • QuickResizer – Allows you to resize your pictures in a few seconds. Also supports batch resizing, so you can resize multiple files at once.
  • Picture Resize Genius – Resize pictures, add watermarks, rename picture files, and change their extensions.
  • Fotosizer – An online tool that crops images “intelligently,” preserving the visually interesting parts of the image during the crop.
  • Cropp – An easy way to crop images in your browser without requiring any software.

Are You Using Keywords Correctly?

printcopyfactory-blog

When it comes to search engine optimization, few topics are as popular as the use of keywords. To hear some people describe it, keywords are the secret to success; if you just use specific keywords in your text enough, people will flock to your website. But think about the last time you read something that was clearly “keyword stuffed.” It probably sounded awkward, unnatural, and a bit forced, didn’t it? You probably didn’t take the information or the website too seriously. Fortunately, it is possible to use keywords effectively to entice visitors, give them confidence they’ve found a good source of information, and still sound completely natural.

Selecting the keywords

When choosing keywords, think about the words customers are commonly searching for online. Monitor the number of searches that are done for different keywords, and then choose a few you’d like to target. These should be keywords directly related to your business, so you can use them naturally throughout your website and blog.

When selecting keywords, make the subtle distinction between keywords you and other professionals in your industry are likely to use and those your customers are likely to use. Your keywords won’t do you any good if your site ends up just attracting competitors. They’re not looking to buy from you! You want to use language and keywords that reflect your customers’ priorities and their language. This will ensure you bring the right people to your site. This is also helpful for selecting vocabulary words to use on all your marketing materials, including your outbound direct mail and newspaper advertisements.

Using the keywords appropriately

Make sure you use the keywords a few times in content. This will let your visitor know they’ve found a page with the information they were looking for. If done naturally, using the keywords in the opening paragraph can be a good practice for this reason.

Don’t use your keywords excessively, though. Generally, aim to keep the keywords in mind when you write, and use them whenever the opportunity naturally arises rather than assigning yourself the task of fitting them in as often as possible. Using this system will help you improve the flow of your writing and make it sound much more compelling and natural, rather than a trap designed to bring visitors to your website.

The reason blogging and keeping your website up-to-date are so fantastic for marketing is that both of these practices allow you to naturally incorporate keywords into your content. Keywords should be thought of as subjects that you want to write about. They’re terms your potential customers are searching for because they’re interested in learning more. Be the source of information for them, so they will turn to you as a source of authority.

Keywords can be very helpful in developing websites to attract and retain visitors. Capitalizing on their value, however, requires understanding what customers and search engines are and aren’t looking for. Keeping these guidelines in mind should help you use your keywords to your advantage. If you’re ready to take your marketing campaign to the next level, let us know. We’d be happy to help get you started!

Are You Attracting Quality Leads or Meaningless Site Chatter?

social media chatter

social media chatter

When it comes to marketing, the million-dollar question is: “Have we been successful in our campaigns?”
No company wants to pour money into a marketing effort and get nothing in return. It’s common for marketing professionals to track numerous metrics in an effort to gauge the success of their campaigns. Unfortunately, many are monitoring the wrong thing, and that can be dangerous.

What metrics don’t matter?
It doesn’t matter how many people visit your website. Some people might argue with that and try to talk about brand exposure or sales funnels, but think about something. Say you do a massive overhaul of your website. You really focus on optimizing content, creating a clean and attractive layout, and improving your search engine ranking. Your site traffic jumps by a shocking 200 percent! Wow! Congratulations! What does that mean? Nothing.

The jump in traffic is only significant if the number of conversions jumps with it. If you received 10 quality leads per week on your old site and you receive 10 quality leads per week on the new site, your jump in traffic actually means your site is now performing worse. If you were only monitoring your site traffic, however, you might be tempted to say that the overhaul was a huge success. This can be detrimental to your business in the long run.

The same thinking applies to social media followers or even physical bodies in the store. What matters is quality leads and potential conversions. These are the metrics you should be tracking. Site traffic is only important for comparison purposes to see the percentage of visitors who convert.

Finding quality leads
The most important aspect of finding quality leads is developing content that offers value to your ideal customer. You should have a good idea of the type of customer you’re looking to attract. This includes their interests, what matters professionally to them, and what they’re looking for.

Build quality content, which will naturally incorporate keywords and help to answer your visitors’ questions and concerns. More importantly, when visitors find your site, they’ll become interested in what your company has to offer. This will lead to a higher percentage converting. Visitors will come to trust your company as an industry leader who can help them find what they’re looking for.

Focus on building a conversion friendly website. Whether a customer arrives on the web page from a QR code or web address on a direct mail postcard or through a Google search, the site should have a clear sitemap, show obvious value for the customer, and make it easy for them to convert into customers.

Customers don’t like having to hunt around for phone numbers, addresses, or the chance to sign up for products and services, so don’t make them. Prominent, easy-to-use buttons are great additions. Neuromarketing also tells us little tips, such as offering customers choices (even if the choices are meaningless) will improve conversion rates. For example, customers are more likely to sign up for a newsletter that comes with a ‘sign me up now’ button next to a ‘no thanks, I like wasting money’ button, rather than a newsletter with just a sign up button.

There’s no doubt getting chatter on your site is addicting and exciting. Everyone who’s ever built a website knows how enticing it is to watch the number of visitors increase. When it comes to a successful marketing campaign, however, it’s important to remember to measure the right things. Visitor counts don’t matter unless conversion rates also rise. Spend your time attracting quality leads, and watch the important metrics increase for genuine success.

Building the Main Street of the Past Into Your Modern Business

houses

For many of us, the idea of the small town is iconic. For some, it embodies the place where they grew up or currently live. For others, it represents more of an ideal than anything based on personal experience. In any case, quintessential small town life presents a business model we all can learn from.Main StreetEvery small town, it seems, has a Main Street — a place dotted with mom-and-pop shops, each with its own inviting display, encouraging people to stop in and check out their wares. The bakery or candy shop often has samples out front for people to stop by and taste as they walk down the street. The neighborhood grocer knows the patrons by name and has a variety of appealing fruits and vegetables right out front. The local cafe offers places for people to sit outside and engage with others as they pass by.

The ‘Main Street’ of the Internet

For many people, this real life type of Main Street is just a figment of their imagination or a distant memory of days gone by. Their reality is comprised more of national brands and busy shopping malls. What marketers have increasingly found, however, is that customers find it more appealing to shop on websites that contain many of the popular features of these once commonplace Main Streets than websites that don’t. Even though the world has become more interconnected and people are increasingly more accustomed to the hustle of city life, the desire to feel welcomed into a place of business and valued as a customer never goes away. 

What businesses can learn from the mom-and-pop shops of the past

The secrets to success for the shops of Main Street continue to work today. The stores of Main Street made every customer feel welcome to stop and check out their place of business right from the street. These welcoming shops would also offer a variety of samples customers could try in order to see if a particular product would work for them.

As you think about your own company, take a close look at your website, physical place of business, and advertising materials. Are each of these designed to encourage customers to see what you have to offer? Do you offer customers incentives such as discounts, free samples, or rewards for using your business?

One of biggest lessons that modern companies can learn from the past, however, is personalization. Main Street business owners took the time to learn the names of their customers and greet them personally when they entered the shop. You should strive to accomplish a similar effect online and off.

Start by keeping careful records of how customers use your website. Responsive sites that can remember what a customer looked at the last time they visited or what they bought in the past tend to encourage more repeat business than those that don’t.

Train your in-store representatives to remember what customers say when they enter the shop to provide them with an individualized experience.

Such personalization can even extend to your marketing materials. For example, consider using variable data to personalize your direct mail campaigns and targeted mailings to reach niche buyers who may be interested in the products or services you sell.

While the ultimate Main Street might no longer exist for many people, the desire for finding welcoming shops that remember our names has not gone away. Incorporating as many of these values as possible into your marketing efforts can impress customers and help build relationships around trust and loyalty.

We can help you find ways to express these values in your marketing materials, so reach out to us today!

copywriting

About Your Copy

Before we start, let’s get one thing clear. This post is not about the copies we make for you on our copy machines. It’s about the copy (text) that appears on your website and in your promotional materials. No matter what type of business you run, copy affects every part of your business. It’s the cornerstone of your marketing, and it affects the executive team, the HR department, and every aspect of the organization.

How?Computers86489256

To answer that question, let’s first take a look at what copy is and what it is not. Copywriting is the act of producing written text (copy). It’s not the same as “copyright,” which refers to one’s legal right to produce and publish content. Wikipedia explains copywriting as “writing copy (text) for the purpose of advertising or marketing. The copy is meant to persuade someone to buy a product or influence their beliefs.”

That second part is especially important because it’s the key differentiator between success and failure in copywriting. Weak copy will be thrown in the trash, while good copy will move the recipient to the desired action you want them to take. This applies not only to advertising and marketing but to any type of business and even personal communication.

Effective copywriting is sometimes referred to as “a salesman in print.” It can be seen in brochures, billboards, websites, emails, TV and radio ads, catalogs, and many other places where the goal is to move someone to a desired action. That action might be purchasing your product, engaging with your company, or picking up the phone to request more information. In short, copywriting is all about making the recipient move and act.

Copywriting dates all the way back to the nineteenth century, when the newspaper industry was beginning to boom. At that time, copywriting referred to the words written by journalist being copied from their desk into the newspaper. Times may have changed, but copywriting is as crucial now in helping to sell your products as it was then in helping to sell newspapers.

Good copywriting answers the problem of how to get more sales.

Two big buzzwords today are content marketing and inbound marketing. Both essentially refer to copywriting. While effective copywriting is part science and part art, the fact is that anyone can create copy that moves people to act. Well-crafted copywriting doesn’t need to be full of hype or written with bold typefaces and capitalization that beats people over the head.

There are three basic steps you can take to create compelling copy.

1. Know your audience. It should be a given that you know exactly who you’re creating the copy for. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to create powerful copy. A demographic profile can help you not only create your copy but also know who you will be sending that content to. The following are some examples of data you’ll find in a demographic profile:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Family Status
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Interests

2. Focus on them, not you. Everyone wants to be the center of attention. This applies in copywriting as well. The focus should be on the recipient, not how great you are. Your copy should answer the question: How will the products and services you offer benefit your customers and make their lives easier? Your copy must be able to answer the #1 question in every recipient’s head: “What’s in it for me?” In terms of copywriting, your product or service is far less important than its ability to fulfill your customers’ needs.

3. Always include a call to action. Always. No matter what marketing medium you use to send and communicate the copy, there should always be a call to action. Never assume that the recipient will know what you want them to do next. Tell them exactly what the next step should be. Should they call, fill out a form, or visit your showroom? Make it crystal clear.

It takes time, skill, practice, and patience to become a master copywriter. For businesses that want to produce effective copy that moves people to act, following these three simple steps can go a long way toward achieving that goal. Communication tools may be expanding and evolving, but one thing will never change: the need for good, effective copywriting. Bad content produced across multiple marketing channels will work just as poorly as it did across one.

Change the words used to communicate your uniqueness and to tell your story, and you will change your business.

About Your About Us Page

about us on the website...

About Your About Us Page
One of the primary reasons a prospect comes to a website is to learn more about a business. The prospect wants to learn not only what you do and how you do it but — more importantly — why you do it. There are many competing businesses in your industry and community. Statistics have shown that one of the most visited pages on any company website is the About Us page.

Why is that? Whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, your prospects are people first. So it’s natural for them to want to know more about the people behind the company they’re considering working with. Prospects hire the people in the business, not just a faceless company.

Unfortunate Reality
The sad truth is that most company About Us pages are filled with industry jargon. Or they’re carbon copies of all the other websites in their space. This makes them boring to read and easy to bypass quickly.

Clues

You know you’ve landed on one of these About Us pages when the page is filled with boastful claim after boastful claim. You see words like “industry leading,” “unique solutions,” “award winning,” and “innovative brand.” With eyes glazed over, most visitors can’t exit these pages fast enough.

People want to learn about people. They already know about what you do from the other pages on your website. The About Us page should focus instead on why you do what you do.

How to Fix It

If your About Us page has these issues, the good news is it’s not difficult to fix. You need to get a pen and pad of paper. As you sit to think about re-writing the page, don’t be afraid to let some personality shine through.

Your About Us page is a selling tool. To sell more of what you do, you have to get the visitor to establish a bond with your company and trust you. To establish this bond, you must let the visitor know the people behind the company. A big part of your brand is your company culture. Your About Us page is an opportunity to tell visitors your story and what your culture is about.

Here are eight ideas to think about as you create the content for your About Us page. Weave them into your brand story.

  1. How did the company start?
  2. Why are you in this business?
  3. Avoid all hype and jargon.
  4. Say what you want to say in as few words as possible.
  5. Include a few testimonials from happy clients. It won’t seem boastful if others do the advocating on your behalf.
  6. Make it personable and interesting. Don’t be afraid to show the human and vulnerable side of your company. Your visitors aren’t perfect people either. So showing this side of your business allows your brand to connect and build a bond.
  7. Invite visitors to connect with you in other online places where you’re active (LinkedIn, Facebook, blog).
  8. Tell them where to go and what to do next. This is the “call to action” part of the page.

Tell them not just what you do and how you do it. Instead, tell the visitor why you do what you do. Your About Us page is the perfect place to share that message with the world.

15 Facts You Should Know About Websites


Psychologists study everything and one new topic is how do people view websites. The following are results from studies of Internet site visitors and provide 15 facts you should know about how people view websites.

  1. Text attracts more attention than pictures.
  2. People start viewing your website from the top left corner.
  3. Readers ignore banners. Surprise, surprise.
  4. Fancy fonts are ignored.
  5. People only scan the lower parts of your website.
  6. Short paragraphs work better than long ones.
  7. Ads, that are placed on the top or left part of your website, get the most views.
  8. Ads, that are placed inside or below an awesome piece of content, get more views.
  9. Big pictures attract more attention than small ones.
  10. Also headlines draw attention.
  11. Visitors spend more time looking at menus and buttons than other parts of your website.
  12. Lists are better at keeping your reader focused than large paragraphs.
  13. Some people even completely ignore large chunks of text.
  14. White space is good!
  15. Menu works best when placed on the top part of your website.

You may want to remember these tips when you are designing your next website.

Repurpose Marketing Content

Repurposing your content

How do you become more transparent?

Repurposing content is often one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to create an abundance of creative content, while at the same time extending the shelf life of your current marketing investment. Here are a few tips to help you creatively repurpose marketing content:

Combine related blog posts on specific topics into an e-book. Add content as needed to make it flow smoothly from one post to another.

Convert PowerPoint presentations into videos by adding animations, background music, or a voice-over. Maximize exposure by posting your videos on YouTube and sharing links via social media, your website, email, direct mail, and other marketing tools.

Turn publications or articles into podcasts by simply reading them aloud or having a narrative conversation about a topic of interest.

Create a company history timeline highlighting the stages and evolution of your business. Include news releases, company posts, social media announcements, and articles about your company.

Review unconventional content as well, such as an employee handbook that may include an introduction from the president outlining the company’s vision or a well-written summary of your target audience meant to educate new employees.

Archive your news releases in a “news” section on your company website to increase ongoing exposure.

Reuse parts of press releases, case studies, white papers, and other publications. Pull key quotes, stats, facts, and highlights, then use those materials in brochures, newsletters, blog posts, website pages, and email campaigns.

Create a landing page or microsite using in-depth product pages or articles that you’ve already written.

No matter how you repurpose your content, just remember that the more content you create, the easier it is to generate interest, educate and inform prospects and customers, and increase sales.

 

Take a look at a couple of books to review:  “The Referral Engine by John Jantsch”, andWhat would Google do?”, by Jeff Jarvis.  These two books take a look at how to move into the internet world and generate relationships with many nitches and personalization…. give us a call we can help you create that.

Invite Them and They Will Come

Some companies think that a beautiful new website will instantly attract visitors like a moth to a light bulb. However, unless you turn the light on and direct them where to go, your visitors may wander aimlessly into your competitor’s backyard. Here are a few mixed media marketing tips to draw visitors to your website:

    • Create a “web card” that highlights your site’s benefits and entices readers to visit. Mail them as postcards, hand them out at trade shows, distribute them with purchases, and so on.
    • Create videos and post them on YouTube. Not only does Google index your content, but viewers can embed your videos on their blogs and share them via social media.
    • Offer free original content or blog postings to other publications in your niche market. Be sure to include a link to your website to draw new visitors from these high-traffic sources.
    • Distribute news releases to print and web periodicals in your industry. Your website link will remain in news databases for several months and may improve traffic to your site and increase link popularity.
    • Create a short but sweet email signature that encourages readers to visit your new website.
    • Ask partnering or non-competing businesses to link to your site, and do the same in return.
    • Post your website on trade sites and in specialized directories.
    • Include your URL on everything you can think of, ranging from business cards, stationery, and marketing materials, to pens, shirts, hats, mugs, and more.
    • Promote an exciting contest or giveaway, and direct people to sign up on your website.
    • Encourage customer feedback through a survey on your website.
    • Increase your SEO by editing existing content, removing barriers to the indexing activities of search engines, and increasing the number of links your website receives from other web sources.
    • Create a Facebook or Twitter post announcing your website, and offer prizes for the first XX people who visit your website and sign up for your newsletter.
    • Encourage repeat visitors by offering a bookmark button on your website, such as AddThis, a free content-sharing platform that helps you integrate sharing tools into your website, spread your content, and increase social traffic.

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