Category: Social Media

New Year New You, but What About Your Website? What Kind of Shape is it in?

It’s the beginning of a new year. Many have resolutions that consist of: get in shape, read more, learn more, explore more, etc. All are good things. It’s always a good thing to get yourself in a better place. How about your website’s health and well-being? How about your social strategy? Are you selling the amount you had hoped on your site? Are you getting the traffic you had hoped for? Is your website back-end (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) up-to-date? Is your site blacklisted? Much like you, can your website be in better shape? Unlike you, should it be replaced?

If your website is like many, people assume everything will simply keep going with little to no interaction. If that were the case, we’d still all be on flip phones with no Internet access! THE HORROR! I’ve personally been working on the Internet since 1999. It’s unreal when I think back about how much things have changed since then, let alone even the last year. Remember AOL disks? Remember MySpace? Remember Netscape? Remember what the Fox said?

How can your website be in better shape? There are many things depending on what type of site you have. I’ll hit on some of them.

Is your site mobile? I don’t mean does it work on a phone or tablet (mobile device). What I mean is it optimized and easily seen on a mobile device? NO pinching in and out. No swiping to the left and/or right to see it. If not, you might as well not have a website. That’s not me stating that, the big search engines, including Google, stated that nearly 2 years ago. I wrote about it here.

Are you on the different social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc) that are relevant to your product or service? Yes relevant. Not every product or service should be everywhere. Some products, lets use toilet paper as an example, shouldn’t necessarily be on some social networks. With regard to toilet paper, maybe they shouldn’t be on Instagram, but then again they convinced us that cute bears make toilet paper worth talking about. Who would have thunk it?!

If you sell products, is your checkout process easy to navigate? Don’t know, check your cart abandonment numbers. If they’re high, something isn’t working properly. Can they get your product or service somewhere else cheaper? What about shipping, is that priced competitively? I remember attempting to purchase something once where the shipping was 2x as much as what I was purchasing and it was normal delivery. Guess what? I found the item and shipping cheaper elsewhere.

Website traffic is an interesting thing. Some want/need a ton of traffic. Others don’t need so much. Of course that depends on the product or service you have. We’ve had a few of our clients through the years tell us they don’t want to increase sales through their website. It blew me away, but when I found out what has to happen to allow a customer to purchase their products online I understood. There are different things, too many to go into, that can be done to increase or hold steady your traffic. We’ve even seen on a few websites (not the ones we’ve built!) that they had configured the site to not be seen by search engines, in essence they blocked the search engines. As you can imagine that’s a REALLY bad thing!

Website maintenance goes a long way. If you’re using WordPress, Joomla or Drupal for your website, making sure updates are done is important, but also making sure you know what to update and what not to update is important as well. So much so that I’ve already written about it. Click here for more for that blog post. The short of it is, if you use WordPress, Joomla or Drupal it has to be updated or things will start to break or even take down the entire site. Which leads me to my next point.

Is your site blacklisted or compromised? The easiest way to find out is to do a google search for your company name. For example, look up Bull & Company. Go ahead I’ll wait. If our site was blacklisted or compromised you’d see the search results show that we were selling pharmaceuticals (you know the kind) or even worse if it was hacked/blacklisted the search results would show a warning with the results. There are things that can be done to correct that, but it won’t just go away! So take action if you see bad results.

The above is a short list of the things that you should take a look at to make sure your website is working as efficiently as it should. If you’re not sure what to do there’s a company called Bull & Company MediaWorks, www.bullcm.com, that can help! Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Social Media? Where should my business be?

Bull & CompanySocial media. There’s a topic that a lot of folks rolls their eyes or check-out mentally when they here it and how it relates to business. Where should your business be in the social media landscape? What should your business post? Does your business really need to be on every social media site/app? SO many questions and even fewer answers. Why? Not every business is the same nor is every social media site/app the same.

Let’s start with a list of some of the players in social media (this is by no means a complete list!): Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Reddit, Snapchat, Vine, beme, Skype, periscope, Foursquare, Kik, Yik Yak, WhatsApp, etc. Consider this; those are some of the sites/apps in the United States. This list doesn’t take into account all of the other social media sites/apps around the world.

Now that we’ve identified some of the social sites/apps let’s go back to one of my original questions: which one should you invest your time and money in? I submit, however, rather than where should you invest your business’ time and money, two other questions should be asked. These are the two basic marketing question every business should ask and know!

  • What does your business do or sell? In other works, your business’ goal?
  • Who is your business’ target audience?

I suspect you might be thinking: great more questions. Well it’s important to know the answers to these to then be able to answer the social media question. How social media applies to a business is, well let’s go with an example. If you’re selling toilet plungers being on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr might not be the place for you. Why? People need plungers, but they generally don’t want to talk about them, let alone show them. Furthermore, when a social site/app is picture/video focused such as Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, etc  you probably won’t be posting pictures of a plunger, let alone showing them in action in a real-life situation. As such, you have to make sure what you’re posting is relevant to your audience.

Another example, our offices are in southern Virginia, close to the border of North Carolina. In the summer it is HOT, HUMID & HAZY (HHH)! Being outside for an extended amount of time in August can test anyone’s patience. We have a client that sells, installs and maintains pools: Signature Pools. They are very easily a “visual” company. If you’re hot and sticky and want to cool off, if you see a picture of a pool wouldn’t you want to find a pool and jump in?! Their website, facebook presense, and other social posts show the clear water, the landscaping and frankly even if has very simple landscaping, it still appears to be an oasis on a HHH day. On the reverse side of this is yours truly: Bull & Company. What we do is very visual. However, we can’t show what we’re designing or working on while we’re working on it out of respect of each of our respective clients. That being the case, posting on social media isn’t going to happen.

Let’s think about your audience for a minute. If your audience is millennials who are all over social media. Being where there are is obviously very important. If your audience is our greatest generation, the WWII vets, then being on the social app snapchat might not be the place to market. Each site/app is relevant to their respective audience.

Let’s get back to the original question: what social media sites/apps should I be on? If you haven’t figured it out by now, it really depends. If your company sells a visual product like the aforementioned client Signature Pools, then your business should be on social media. Come on you can easily see a picture in your head of you swimming in a pool during the HHH days of summer! However, if your company makes plungers, maybe you shouldn’t be on social media, but have a website and non-visual social marketing. Lastly, you still have to take into account your audience. If you’re selling skateboards, places like snapchat, facebook, twitter, etc are places you should be. If you’re selling toilet paper, maybe not so much!