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7 Signs It’s Time to Refresh Your Website

For a lot of business owners and executives, making the decision to replace or refresh a website can be a tough one. After all, a web presence isn’t like a truck or another piece of company equipment. You can’t expect it to break down at a certain mileage level, and there won’t always be obvious signs it’s time to make a change.

That doesn’t mean the signals won’t be there, though. If you know what to look for, it can be very easy to figure out when you need to make some improvements (or even wholesale changes) to your website. Let’s look at seven that often jump out to us when we evaluate client sites…

#1 Your Website Looks Tired or Outdated

Some websites just look like they haven’t been updated in a long time. While “vintage” marketing might work in some settings, it’s not going to help you on the web. That’s because your competitors are just a click away, and if their sites are more sleek and functional, your business will seem outdated by comparison.

Additionally, a website that looks tired is usually going to have some issues with the underlying HTML. In other words, a bad layout is often covering up programming that isn’t up to par. That means you could have technical problems with your website that prevent it from displaying correctly or appearing in search engine listings.

#2 Your Website Doesn’t Convey What Your Business Does

From time to time we come across situations where a company has been growing, expanding, and evolving even though the website hasn’t. When that happens, pages might offer products that are no longer sold, or display prices that aren’t relevant to new customers.

This is obviously an issue of information and accuracy, but it also points to the same bigger issue that a bad layout does. If your pages haven’t been kept up to date, then your coding probably hasn’t, either. That means slow and unreliable web performance, along with possible online security concerns.

#3 Your Website Loads Slowly or Incorrectly

Surveys conducted by business publications and web usability experts suggest that you have around three seconds to impress a first-time visitor to your website. In that brief window of time, you’ll either gain a potential customer’s interest or lose them to the infinite reach of the internet.

One way to ensure you’ll lose a customer immediately, is by having pages that load very slowly or won’t show correctly on the browser or device they happen to be using. You don’t have to invest much in responsive web design and reliable hosting to get great results, so why put your business at a disadvantage?

#4 There are Missing Pages or Apps on Your Website

Staying with the theme of technical problems, missing pages or plug-ins on your website can cause big headaches. They make it so users can’t access the information they’re looking for, and signal to Google’s search spiders that your content isn’t relevant or trustworthy.

It’s easier than you might imagine to leave dead ends on your website, particularly through successive updates and minor changes over the years. However, if there are important elements missing from your pages, the problems won’t fix themselves. You have to work with the creative team who can identify what’s wrong and then make the appropriate repairs.

#5 Your Website Doesn’t Do What Customers Want

Many of the older websites we see effectively serve as online brochures. That is, they give some basic information about a business and its products or services, but don’t have any modern features like online purchases, order tracking, product maintenance videos, etc.

If there are features your customers want – either for the sake of efficiency, or because they have seen them on competitor websites – then it only makes sense to add them. Adding new features (in the form of plug-ins or fresh content) could be an easy way to keep buyers coming back, or to save time and money.

#6 You’ve Stopped Getting Online Leads or Sales

It’s a little bit ironic, but most business owners will look to update their websites when they notice the pages don’t look that great when compared to the competition. However, the best way to actually judge the effectiveness of the website is in its sales and marketing potential.

In other words, if you aren’t getting leads or online purchases at a rate you’ve gotten used to, that’s a pretty clear signal you need to make some improvements to your site. In order to discern that, though, you’ll have to have a sense for what’s happening with your web analytics.

#7 You Feel Like a New Website Could Help Your Business Grow

Sometimes you don’t really need a clear reason to refresh your business website, or a particular statistic that tells you upgrades are needed. Instead, it can simply be the sense that you should be able to do more (in terms of making sales, automating mundane tasks, and so on) on the web than you currently are.

This is where a consultation with a trusted web design partner can be very helpful. They’ll be able to evaluate your current site and let you know how it looks and what opportunities for growth might be right in front of you.

Don’t Put Off Website Upgrades for the Wrong Reason

Often, we meet with men and women who admit they know they’ve needed a new website for a while, but put off the needed upgrades because they thought the process would be stressful, time-consuming, or expensive. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t need to break your budget or pull your hair out to get the web presence your company needs.

At Marcy Web Design in Columbus, Ohio we work with businesses to find affordable and reliable solutions to the challenges they are facing. If you want a website that works – and need a team of experts who can take the stress out of the design and development process – contact us today for a free consultation.

Why Businesses Need Web Designers With Industry Experience

If you’re a business, do you need a web design company with business experience? Does it matter if your creative team has worked with other companies like yours?

Conventional wisdom within our industry would dictate that having done work with the business industry isn’t all that important. After all, a website is a website, and a business firm doesn’t use different HTML from a restaurant or a car dealership.

However, many years of experience – including dozens of successful projects with businesses throughout the Midwest – have taught us that experience does matter, particularly in this industry. That’s because there are nuances specific to businesses that make products, and those are best learned through successive web design assignments.

To give you a sense of just why it’s so important for businesses to work with web designers who get what they do, let’s take a close-up look at what makes these kinds of projects unique…

Business Are Not All the Same

In most businesses, the challenge for a web designer is putting together a layout that’s consistent with an entrepreneur’s vision or existing brand elements. For companies, though, there are many other considerations, including content and document management, inventory control, real-time pricing, supply chain logistics, and so much more.

The fact that products have to be described, priced, and delivered in a highly accurate way changes the game. It means a website can’t just serve as an online brochure, but has to be a real-world business tool that can be relied upon by customers, vendors, and sales reps at all times.

You already know all the different details involved in running a business. Make sure you choose a web designer who understands the complexity of your business.

Business Websites Need to Grow and be Maintained

What your company sells today might not be the same as what you’re offering tomorrow. Product specs and prices change, as do rebates, entire product lines, and shipping terms. If your business website can’t be updated quickly to reflect all of this, then it isn’t very useful to the people who rely on it.

For that reason, content management system (CMS) installation and training can be critical. There simply isn’t room in the market for a static collection of pages that isn’t being updated and maintained. An experienced web design team will recognize this and ensure you have the tools you need to keep everything current.

You want a web designer who will plan for the growth of your website, and your company as a whole. If they don’t, you could find yourself spending a lot more than you’d hoped on new pages and content every month.

Some Business Websites Need Custom Programming

Depending on how you want customers, employees, and vendors to be able to use your website, some tools and plug-ins might be required. For example, you may want a sales representative to be able to access real-time inventory from a smart phone. Or, you may want buyers to be able to automatically calculate things like shipping times and currency conversions, or to track pending deliveries.

In each case, you’ll want your web design team to choose, install, and possibly even program the proper plug-ins. You won’t simply want software that does the job, but apps that are stable, compatible with one another, and secure, so you don’t have to worry about hackers getting into your website. Web development and custom programming can be important for any business, but they are especially pertinent to business clients.

A web design partner with business experience will help you plan out features at the beginning of the process, rather than adding in new apps and plug-ins at the end. The result is a website that does what you need it to, but without affecting performance or security.

Your Business Website Needs Lots of Content

Businesses generate a lot of content. Some companies can have hundreds or thousands of spec sheets, including the details for items that have been discontinued. You could add to that catalogs and brochures, along with the normal web pages and marketing documents any business would produce.

Managing all of that data, and disseminating it to salespeople and customers through a variety of different platforms and file types, can be an overwhelming challenge. If your web designer hasn’t helped you to plan for content and document management, you’ll constantly find yourself struggling with duplicated and outdated resources.

This is another area where a good web design partner, with lots of business experience, can be a huge help.

Businesses Should Approach Online Marketing Differently

Your average B2C or B2B has a very definable customer base, and specific ways of reaching out to them. Online retailers use pay-per- click advertising, for instance, while hotels tend to focus on TripAdvisor reviews and bundling sites. For a lot of companies, though, things have to be handled a little differently.

For one thing, a company might sell to individual customers, wholesalers, and retailers directly. Those campaigns have to be consistent, while at the same time directing buyers towards the appropriate resources (and pricing) for their needs. Additionally, there might be specialized review outlets and industry resources to be utilized.

Successful companies have a lot of different online marketing channels to take advantage of. They can’t just rely on search engine optimization, email marketing, eCommerce, or inbound lead generation. Very often they’ll have to be successful with all of them at once to maximize profits.

We are the Midwest’s Best Business Website Design Company

If you’re ready to work with the best in the business when it comes to business website development, then it’s time you meet the team at Marcy Design in Columbus, Ohio. We have helped dozens of companies like yours to not only get beautiful websites, but integrate things like online catalogs, information automation, and other digital age advantages into their businesses.

When you work with us, you get all the cost savings that come with hiring a small, committed team of creative professionals. At the same time, you get the benefits of working with experienced professionals who can handle any sized job.

It costs you nothing to get a free consultation and website review, so don’t delay – reach out to our team today and let us put our experience to work for you!

How Should Businesses Set Marketing Budgets?

Many of the businesses who come to us admit they have a common problem: they aren’t sure how to set marketing budgets that work. They want to set aside enough money to keep sales coming in, but don’t want to go so far that it cuts into their profits.

Finding the right balance can be difficult. That’s true for any business, but especially in the world of manufacturing, where margins can be so tight. You have to have effective campaigns in place to create interest and sell out inventory. At the same time, it’s possible to overspend, get declining results from a bigger budget, and hurt your bottom line performance as a result.

So, how can manufacturers set good marketing budgets under those conditions?

We’ll begin our answer by admitting that there isn’t any single formula or solution that’s going to work for every business and situation. To get an answer that’s customized for your company, it’s best to meet with our team and let us evaluate the challenges you’re facing.

With that being said, though, there are some basic guidelines manufacturers can follow to get the marketing expenditure answers they need. Let’s take a look at what you have to know to put your manufacturing marketing budget at the perfect level…

Cover the Basics of Marketing First

Depending on what your current marketing materials look like, you may want to revamp your existing materials first and then plan on smaller monthly or annual marketing budgets later. That’s because it’s virtually impossible to compete in today’s world if your website, product photos, spec sheets, and other materials are lacking.

In other words, it’s going to be hard to see a positive ROI from your marketing budget if you don’t have the basics and fundamentals covered. In that situation, launching new promotions without taking care of the essentials is only going to lead to sunk costs, not increase sales.

Spend According to Real-World Results

Assuming you have the basics you need to attract customers and sell to wholesalers or the public, a good way to think about your regular marketing budget is to work backward from results. In other words, if the money you’re spending on campaigns seems to be coming back in the form of more or bigger sales, then you should increase your spending a little to see if it remains profitable.

It’s ironic, but we sometimes come across business owners and executives who are leery of increasing their marketing budget even though they are getting outsized returns from their current spending. If you think you can double your sales by adding 10% more to your campaigns, why not give it a try?

Is Your Website Working For You?

 

This is one of the most basic questions we ask potential web design clients. Surprisingly, it can be one of the toughest to answer.

A lot of business owners and executives know what they want their websites to look like, and the majority will have some definite opinions on what kinds of real-world business results they would like to see generated once a new design goes live. However, when it comes to the question of whether their sites are actually working for them – or working as well as they could be – it can be difficult to come to a firm conclusion.

I suspect part of the issue lies in the fact that some business people don’t really know what a website can or should do beyond looking great and giving out some basic information about a company. So, in order to help you to figure out whether you’re getting the mileage you should be from your current web presence, or to build an even stronger website in the future, I invite you to work with a creative partner with the experience and perspective needed to put your business goals first.

If you’re interested in working with the very best, contact the expert marketing minds at Marcy Design in Columbus, Ohio today. In one short consultation we’ll show you exactly how we can help!

Marcy Design Releases New TV Commercial – Wake Up Your Website

Wake Up Your Website!

Marcy Design, a Columbus, Ohio web design company, released a new TV commercial that will run this month. First, the commercial highlights the web development services of Marcy Design by showing examples of our award-winning work. Next, Marcy Design used a nationally-known narrator to tell the story. Finally, Marcy Design created the theme Wake Up Your Website, which will be used in future web, marketing and advertising campaigns. See the new spot below and call Marcy Design today!

3 Key Points About Negative SEO

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It’s often said that things on the Internet tend to come “out of nowhere,” even though it’s not always the case for SEO. However, very few people – even those who consider themselves to be experts in search engine optimization – could have predicted that negative search engine optimization would be a topic we’d be discussing in 2015.

If the term is new to you, then let us bring you up to speed: negative SEO is the practice of taking an old-school search marketing tactic that no longer works (pointing lots of low-quality links at a certain website) and using it against someone else. Or, to put it another way, buying lots of spammy links and aiming them at a competitor’s website so that Google will think they are trying to cheat the search rankings and “punish” them by removing them altogether.

It’s as innovative as it is slimy, and lots of business owners and marketing executives are starting to worry about it. Before you get too paranoid, though, let us share with you three key points about negative SEO:

#1: Negative SEO is easy to detect – The telltale sign is a sudden flood of low-quality links pointing to your website. That’s the kind of thing your web design and Internet marketing firm will catch during a regular SEO audit. So, if you’re working with a good design and marketing partner, you’ll probably know pretty quickly if something is wrong.

#2: Negative SEO can be undone – Google gives you the option to “disavow” links that don’t have anything to do with your website. Your web design team can do this on your behalf, and it’s a relatively quick and easy process, provided you take action quickly.

#3: Great websites aren’t that vulnerable to negative SEO – Although websites without much content, or high-quality inbound links, can be affected by negative SEO, websites that are already very visible on Google aren’t as susceptible. That is, if you are already doing the right things, then a negative SEO attack isn’t likely to impact your rankings.

It’s amazing that some companies have stooped so low that their only hope of improving their own search rankings is to try to move a competitor out of the way. Fortunately, though, if you’re doing things the right way you probably don’t have a lot to worry about.

Marcy Design Releases Free eBook About Online Customer Acquisition Planning

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YOUR 3-STEP ONLINE CUSTOMER ACQUISITION PLAN – FREE eBOOK

At Marcy Design, we are a results-driven creative agency located in Columbus, Ohio. We have vast online experience and have won over 220 awards, created over 1,000 websites and developed over 11,000 marketing projects. And now, we are making available a valuable eBook resource titled ‘Your 3-Step Online Customer Acquisition Plan’. The eBook is free and you can download it starting today!

You’re fully aware that your business needs a website that’s beautiful, functional, and supported by a well-thought-out Internet marketing plan. But why? What is its real purpose? The answer to that question is almost always “to generate sales or leads.” As obvious as that might seem, however, it’s a detail many business owners and marketers tend to overlook. They get so wrapped up in the latest trends around SEO, social media, or video marketing that they forget their websites exist mainly to help them bring in new customers.

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If you’re tired of having a website that simply shares basic information about your business and want to dig deeper into the customer acquisition process, download the new eBook from Marcy Design today and see how to reshape your web presence into a conversion machine. Please click here to download the FREE ‘Your 3-Step Online Customer Acquisition’ eBook.

What Do Web Design Awards Really Mean?

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Spend a couple of minutes on our website, and you’re likely to come across some of the various web design awards in recent years. These are great, and they make us feel good, but what do they really mean to you?

Although they don’t necessarily mean that your website will when any awards, they do tell you that our team works hard, and that we take a lot of pride in what we do. They show you that were capable of producing layouts and designs that meet the very highest standards.

When you’re choosing a web design partner to work with, you want the very best. That means a creative team that’s proven they can put their work up against anyone else’s.

By selecting an award-winning web design team, you’re putting yourself in a position to get the best talent available. Isn’t that better than the alternative?

Contact Marcy Design

Need more information about who we are, what we do or maybe even our favorite restaurant? We’re here to chat. Tell us about your company and how business is going. Feel free to call, send an email, Tweet or simply complete the contact form. We love hearing about exciting new ideas!