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Webmaster For Hire's CyberBulletin Podcast

Website Design, Visitor Experience with Marketing Results – The Balance

This podcast discusses the visitor experience with marketing results. This topic also covers design, versus, what you want for your site, versus, the search engine optimization, also known as SEO in marketing. Then, finding that balance between those three.

Transcript of Podcast:

Welcome to Webmaster For Hire’s CyberBulletin podcast. Get the power to increase your business’s web impact.

Elizabeth Varian: Hey everybody. Welcome to the second podcast, the CyberBulletin podcast that is brought to you by Webmaster For Hire. I am having problems talking today, and then we have Carrie on the phone, who is not feeling well today. Boy, we’re going to be a couple here.

Carrie Currie: Oh, it will be fine. I’ll cough and you can stutter.

Elizabeth Varian: Bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh, yes. I always say, I shoot for perfectly imperfection. We’re going to be discussing the visitor experience with marketing results. Mostly, we’re going to be discussing website design in the realm of the visitor experience. Why don’t we just get started?

The topic that’s balanced that we were thinking of with this topic is design, versus, what you want for your site, versus, the search engine optimization, also known as SEO in marketing. Then, finding that balance between those three because many times we want what we want, but what we want doesn’t necessarily bring us the best results. You can’t necessarily always do market research for every unique step of building your business and building your business online.

Carrie Currie: That would be so cumbersome.

Elizabeth Varian: It would be, and you would never be out of a focus group. I am all for focus groups, I love them, but not everyone you’re going to reach out to is going to give you the right information. Our goal here, today, is to help you get a concept of how to balance those out, because your number one goal is getting the customer to you. Your number two goal is, once you have them, keeping them on your site and getting them lead generation if you’re a service business, product sales, if you’re a e-commerce site. Once they get there, are they able to view the site? Do they even like how it lays out, does it even pertain to them? That’s actually a science, and we can’t cover all of it here in one podcast, but we can at least touch some tips.

Some areas that we’re going to touch is the the website building. Building out the website and the design itself. There are areas where marketing, and the design, and the client experience, or visitor experience can have conflicts. Finding that balance where it’s not always focused on SEO, because if everything was all focused on SEO, then it would be words only. If it was all …

Carrie Currie: Yeah, that would not be …

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah, no. That wouldn’t be fun at all.

Carrie Currie: No.

Elizabeth Varian: If it was all focused on visitor experience, then it would be designed – over-designed.  It would be making it all look pretty, getting certain things on the page that would start cluttering it up. If it was all about what the customers want, then many times it will be too much or too little.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Hiring a professional who can help you and will have no fear in telling you “no”. Not just “no”, but “no, but here’s why”.

Elizabeth Varian: That’s probably money best spent. Call us at Webmaster For Hire. The three areas that we’re going to touch on in site design, is the overall design. Some of the aspects, when you’re getting started to design or redesign a website, your homepage, which can have a unique layout, the overall design is the same but the layout of the page is different. Then, the lower pages, which a lot of people forget about those poor lowly, lower pages, but they’re highly important. That’s where the SEO can, many times, trump the design and the layout. Let’s start talking on the overall site design and having the user experience, the visitor experience. Having a beautiful site, versus, SEO. One of the first things is responsive. If you don’t know that word, you need to learn it. It’s a must in the industry. In the last couple of years, it’s become very imperative.

Early last year, around April, they had Mobilegeddon, Welcome to Geek Speak. Basically, it was saying, if your site isn’t responsive, then you will either drop out or drop down in Google search results.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: What does that mean? Well, in the new modern world, people aren’t just at their desks looking and at your website on their desktop computers. They now have the laptops, the tablets, and the smartphones. Your website has to be fluid in all sizes because if you look at your desktop computer, which the monitors have become huge, and many times, size of your TVs, if not connected to using the TV, even though you shouldn’t, the TV and the monitor are different.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: They have the different capacities. Not the discussion for today. Then, you look at your phones, even though the iPhone has finally caught up with us Android users (I used to hold up my Android phone to my dad’s little iPhone and go, “I bet you’re jealous, you can see my screen better”).

Carrie Currie: It’s bigger.

Elizabeth Varian: It’s bigger. Still small in your hand and you still have to get all the content that you want to deliver to the visitors, that you can deliver on a larger screen. Responsive means it’s fluid where it folds underneath. If you have three columns, one column folds underneath the other, folds underneath that one, so they just keep scrolling down to see everything.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: It’s not a mobile app though. Mobile apps are a completely different garanimal.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: This is your actual website and it should be fluid because search engines say it has to be as of April of last year. Prior to that, you wanted it to be responsive because you wanted that user experience. Well, when it comes to design, your design to … You can’t make it stay at a 900 pixel width, even though that probably means nothing to you fixed width.

Carrie Currie: No.

Elizabeth Varian: If you go to the website then the visitor will have to pinch in and pinch out. It hurts the user experience and it hurts the search engine rankings. Making sure that design can fold is highly important. Everybody wants the “wow” factor when they’re building their websites. They want to make it look cool, they want to look better than everybody else’s. Prior to cell phones, they used Flash, which was like making a movie. We were all little Steven Spielberg’s in creating your website, so that when it clicked it, it had a nice, cool transition. You could add effects to it, like sound effects. You could add, when they click this, it shifts and moves in various ways. If that’s what you’re wanting the problem is, the user experience isn’t going to happen. Now, we used to be able to rank Flash websites in the search engines. It was a little tougher, but it was still possible.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: The problem is the iPad doesn’t read them. Most of your browsers, nowadays, need an extra plug in to read it. Anyone wanting Flash, or has a site in Flash, they need to get out of it.

Having that layout, this is where your overall site, do you want a modern layout or a column layout? Modern layout is now horizontal sections, where columns are vertical sections. You’re going to see … Our site is now in the modern layout. You’re going to see a lot more larger companies, corporations, shifting to the more modern layout. Is there a right, versus, wrong? In this case, no, it’s pretty much what you like as the business. Where you think, if you’re hitting towards a younger audience, then you want the modern because they like that.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: If you have a site that is for Gen-X and Baby Boomers, then either will work. Gen Xer’s are a little more flexible, they can get used to it and people like scrolling. It’s also more fluid to go to the responsive in the modern layout.

Carrie Currie: Oh, okay.

Elizabeth Varian: Load time, load time means …

Carrie Currie: That’s important.

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah. You put in the website address, you click enter or you click a link, and it goes to a site. How fast does it go down? This is where we think …

Carrie Currie: I can tell you, I’ll click out …

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah.

Carrie Currie: Of a website if it takes too long to load. I’m like, “Forget this, my time’s precious.”

Elizabeth Varian: Yep. Everybody does that. “Oh, I don’t have time for this.” We’re the microwave society. In fact, a microwave takes too long for us these days. They want to have the popcorn make it faster. “What do we do? Oh, I got two minutes. I can go do something else while I wait.” Really?

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: I do it here all the time. We have a kitchen here in the office. Two minutes, I can go open an e-mail or something. Load time is important for that very reason, the user experience it needs to download. Search engines want faster downloads. The problem is, if what you want comes into play, what page are they downloading? You want that crisp image? Well, that’s going to be a heavy image that’s going to slow your download time down. You want to load it with images and all these scripts that have to keep hitting the server to download – too many plug-ins in WordPress — you’re going to lose the user experience and it’s going to slow your site download. That’s going to be a problem with the search engines, because they don’t like it.

That, in the overall design, trying to keep it so it’s not heavy in images, heavy colors, where you can’t lighten them. Having Photoshop, you can usually save to web-friendly, to try and reduce the image size. You can try and pre-load, which is what we did years ago, but that still slows the load time down for the first-time visitor. You really want to balance your design to “A”, be responsive to “B” make sure the load time is easy and fast and “C” make sure that it does appeal to your target audience and the search engines, so don’t get rid of all your words and put them on an image, you’re going to lose that. You can have a pretty design, but the search engines won’t pick up words on an image, it’s too binary, they can’t read it. Does that make sense, overall, for design?

Carrie Currie: Yeah.

Elizabeth Varian: Remember I’m still tongue tied, so I’m trying not to …

Carrie Currie: Right. Something else that I would point out is with the user experience, you need to have it laid out in a logical fashion. You have this really neat trick in the menu … This might apply to the lower pages section, as well. You place certain key pages in certain places on the menu to make it super, super easy for people to go, “Oh, this is an important page. I can click on it.”

Elizabeth Varian: Correct. This hierarchy of your menu is very important, but you’ve got to understand the right side of the page, the upper right side, is where eyes lay first.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: We read left to right in America and in Europe and most countries except for Arab, which reads right to left. The eyes don’t go left to right, they just hit right first. That upper right is high-end real estate. I always want phone numbers, if it’s a service, professional and I want contact pages there. Contact pages right on the menu give people the comfort. How frustrated are we today when we can’t send an e-mail, call someone, or fill out a form, or if we can only fill out a form with no phone number… but that’s a conversation for another day.

Carrie Currie: Yeah, that …

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah, that’s an irritant. You actually bring a comfort level if they see that contact page right at the very end of your menu. Home is no longer necessary. I have it on mine, but for many people, most people know you can click the logo to go back to the homepage.

Carrie Currie: It will take you home.

Elizabeth Varian: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now, if you’re targeting an older audience they don’t always [know to click the logo] … Older audience, they’re used to the home link. Breaking down your lower page or the navigation to those lower pages, it’s very important what goes where. Right after the end being the number one spot for eyes and giving that comfort, trust, feeling, the center. Again, when we’re reading left to right –  our eyes gloss over it. The center one, if you’re selling products, having that shop button right there in the middle, perfect. Having the number one category that you want to sell right in the middle, perfect. Then, hugging around it are the next level of importance. Your about page, your service listings. For services, having that portfolio, because then your testimonial’s right on top.

You want to project trust in the service industry. Trust when most people get to a website knowing that the business could actually be someone working out of their garage, back in the day nobody caught on to that.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Now, visitors realize anybody can have a website. If you don’t have a website, they don’t think you’re in business, so it’s a whole new world. Yeah, having that menu layout is very important. Making sure not to over stuff it, because then the eyes can’t break it up.

Carrie Currie: Right. It needs to be simple.

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah, easy for them …

Carrie Currie: I guess.

Elizabeth Varian: … To get where they want. Plus the search engines will use those, so you want key words there. Don’t want to stuff key words. If you’re a construction company you don’t want to have construction services, about construction, construction, construction, construction. It will be too bad for the experience for the visitor, and the search engines will think you’re spamming them. That will be bad, don’t try and do that.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Let’s talk about the homepage. The homepage layout can be very different than your lower pages. Your lower pages will be the same and consistent, typically, for all lower pages. Images can change out, but sidebars and things like that would be consistent.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: The homepage, that’s your commercial. That’s your five seconds of, “I’ve sent you there. You’ve gotten to my site from a print item, marketing item like a brochure, a business card, whatever. I’ve met you in person, someone’s referred you to me, so they sent you to the main homepage.” This is an area where you want to have design, so have your graphics, have your marketing five second elevator speech, (everyone who does networking knows they have to do the elevator speech), but break it down into bite size pieces. The slider area, now I prefer a short slider for most businesses, because I want to get you to the content faster. You have to remember you have …

Carrie Currie: What do you mean by short?

Elizabeth Varian: Say it again.

Carrie Currie: What do you mean by short slider?

Elizabeth Varian: Okay. Short in height.

Carrie Currie: Ah, okay.

Elizabeth Varian: There’s a lot of websites that have these massive sliders and it’s a great designer appeal …

Carrie Currie: They take up the entire page, yeah.

Elizabeth Varian: … But you’re losing a lot of opportunities for the user experience, to get them to do what you really want them to do. Call you, fill out a form, buy a product, learn more about whether they want to do business with you, et cetera. Whatever your goals are for your website. I like a short slider. If it’s something where I want a form filled out, I prefer to have a short width and height, and then to the right of it put a form whenever I possibly can.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: That form being right there, if that’s your number one thing, upper right side, again, is the most important area. We, also, make sure phone numbers are clickable, so that if they’re on their phone, they can click the link and all of a sudden, they’re calling you.

Carrie Currie: Super, super easy.

Elizabeth Varian: Yes, we want reaching you to be super, super easy. The sliders, we can break down. On our sliders, we want to cover pieces that we think are important to you. We prefer WordPress sites, so we want to show you the power and we have our little mascot girl with her boxing gloves and her workout headband. We give that design appeal to get the attention, but then the verbiage of, “Hey, we’re going to give you the power of WordPress.” We want to talk about what we do for companies, the elevator speech, “we help businesses thrive in this digital world”. We help you to navigate the craziness of the ever changing web. We create a slider, we don’t want them to stay forever. They’ve got to keep moving, so that you can read enough and go thinking, “Okay, that is resonating with why I’m here.” Then, they can click that slider and go and learn more.

Carrie Currie: Then they’ll look for more.

Elizabeth Varian: Correct.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: The content you want to touch as much as you can without having too much. Now, the great thing is, is you don’t need a lot of content. Somebody was using, recently, Dropbox as a case study regarding marketing, versus, content. If you go to Dropbox.com, it has hardly any images and it has a paragraph with bullet points of what they do. Now, the thing ,though, that they do is their marketing has way more words than their homepage. They aren’t actually banking on SEO organic area, the free area. If you go in and look you’ll find they do pay per click. They pay for ads. They have articles written in some very high trust authority sites. They have been featured in high trust authority magazine sites, business sites, websites, and things like that.

You can’t really use them as the basis for all business sites because not everybody is getting into fast company website magazine.  Moz.org isn’t talking about your business.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Everywhere that is anyone who would use Dropbox … I got to be honest, I first heard about Dropbox from word-of-mouth, I didn’t even find it on the web.

Carrie Currie: Me, too.

Elizabeth Varian: Most people are getting it through referrals. To use them as a basis for your business site, I would say “no”. You want content, if nothing but a little blurb of what you do and put those service listings there. If you’re a product sales site, you’d better have your featured products there with some verbiage about what they are, with either click to buy or more information. If you’re a service, you want to have lead capture form. Even if you’re product sales, you still want to build up an e-newsletter because you need to let your customers, the people who are already purchasing from you, know more about new product offerings. This one isn’t even splitting the service, versus, the product sales, e-commerce, because everybody should have an e-mail capture form of some sort.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: If you’re lead gen, you’re request a proposal, request consultation, set up your service appointment, should take priority over your newsletter because that’s money on the table. You want to get to the money fastest have a lead capture right on your homepage, and it doesn’t have to be the very top unless you think they’ll scroll down. Ours is not on the top, ours is somewhere in the middle. We made it with what’s called, Parallax, give you a funky word for the day, where we made it pop, but we didn’t put it in the very, very top because we wanted to make sure, “Hey, are we covering the areas that you’re looking at?”

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: “Let’s show you what we do.” We do have, if you scroll down, that lead capture form. The phone number is definitely right up there because the phone number is very important for service professionals. Even if you go to phone.com, have a CallFire number, or something like that where they have an answering service, it doesn’t matter, you still want that phone number. Once I got Google’s phone number for a local client, that we were having some problems with their Google Maps, I was on it. I don’t want to wait for an e-mail, I want an answer now. Search engines, they don’t care about your lead form.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: They don’t care about your sliders, they care about words. The menu, important, and having specific keywords on your homepage, important. That’s where we want to balance where we place things, so that we keep the verbiage as close to the top as possible for the search engines. Then, we want to look at what do we want? Usually when we think of a website, if you’re not a web designer… but when you’re thinking of a website:  you’re sketching out, you’re looking and searching other people in your industry, and you’re going, “This is what I want.” Then you place it before someone who builds a website and they’re going to go, “you don’t have a lot of content on your site.” Well, that’s okay. We have a client that looks at houzz.com, and that’s a site where all you’re doing is searching different pictures of different construction projects.

They’re like, “You know what? All I want on the homepage is half pictures, where someone clicks it and they go right in and see the different projects,” but you’re a service company. You’re not selling images to other professionals, so you need some words on there. You can’t have just the slider only and expect to rank without giving the search engines some clue as to what you want ranked for or what services you provide, and, again, just having images and making it pretty without some text. In addition, not everybody goes to houzz.com and likes it.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Only those who are addicted to pretty images. Some people, they want help …

Carrie Currie: They prefer …

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah, let’s say, I’m looking at remodeling my kitchen, maybe this year. Yeah, I’m looking at pictures, but I need to learn what kind of measurements am I looking at? I couldn’t even figure out what kind of kitchen mine was. I learned it’s an L shape. I was looking under galley kitchens because I thought it was a galley.

Carrie Currie: Oh, they were that different.

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah, the verbiage is important because if someone’s going to hire you and then they see, “Oh, you offer … These are galleys, these are L shapes,” and you … “Oh, okay.” Then you explain what the difference is in your industry to the consumer who has no clue. That’s going to help you in the search engine optimization. You can have a link to your portfolio right on your homepage, but you, also, should be writing blog posts for search engine optimization and for online marketing. Well, have recent posts so they can check out what the latest things that you have talked about. Someone looking for an industry expert will go, “Well, I wonder what do they really know? Is it the basic surface conversation or is it quality content where you’re educating me?”

I have a friend who, he’s an engineer, when he built his kitchen out, he learned every spec out there. I don’t want to do all that.

Carrie Currie: No.

Elizabeth Varian: I want a pretty site, but I don’t know what the latest trends are. If your blog post is talking about the latest trends, and you talk about specking your kitchen right, you’ll get both he and I on your site reading your blog post.

Carrie Currie: There you go.

Elizabeth Varian: Yes, and you’re giving key words to the search engine.

Carrie Currie: To the search engine, yep.

Elizabeth Varian: Now, the flip side of this is wanting too much content on your homepage. There are some sites that are called one page sites, where they use a menu at the top and you click it, and it will drop down, it’s called an anchor link. It will drop down to that section of the page. The only time I recommend doing something like that is if you don’t intend to add a lot of content, like a resume page. You’re looking for a job. We have a lady in our area who’s retired from the theater. Her and another lady created a two woman show. We created a one page because it had four sections, but not a lot of content for each section.

Carrie Currie: Right, so it wouldn’t make sense to have separate pages.

Elizabeth Varian: It makes perfect sense to have it all on one page, so someone can either scroll or click the links to get there. They didn’t need more than that one page site. If you’re in any other business, you need to have individual pages because you want to maximize the keyword searches and,people finding you through various keywords will likely come in on a lower page through the search engines. We rarely recommend that one page layout for most businesses.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Your goal is to get them to those lower pages, so if we have, let’s say we have an attorney and want everything there. Well attorneys don’t typically just do one type of practice.

Carrie Currie: No.

Elizabeth Varian: If they do, then they have case studies. Some people will be searching for a specific type of injury attorney. Every type of injury, for personal injury attorneys, you can have a page for each kind.  So you’re hitting those keywords, but you can’t vomit all that verbiage on the homepage. It’s good for search engines, but now your user experience problem is you have too much and their eyes don’t know where to go. Some magazine sites have a problem with this, where they’ll do a four column layout, or they try and …

Carrie Currie: Oh, I’ve noticed that, yeah.

Elizabeth Varian: They try and do that masonry layout where their blog posts are in little squares. The visitor gets there and many times they’re like, “I have no clue where to start.” You have to direct the eye, you have to give them some layout, so that their eyes aren’t freaking out all over the place. Again, that’s great for search engines, and it’s great for marketing and getting people to you.  But now they’re going, “I don’t know where to begin. It’s too much.”  You really want to touch tips. Let’s continue with the personal injury attorney. You can have a list of the areas of practice and then those click to the lower pages. You would definitely want the lead capture form. You got to be careful because every state has their own unique bar when it comes to the attorneys. “Find out if your case can win you cash.”  Right now everybody is hooked here in Florida on, “So-and-so got me five million dollars.” I don’t know how they can do that, I think it would be against the bar. Have your “call to action” with the contact form, so that you can contact them right away.  Another idea: offer them a download on how to prepare for meeting with your personal injury attorney.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Then capture their name and e-mail that way before they get the PDF file. Have your verbiage of, “Why us? How do we stand out?” Don’t compare yourself to other because, again, you have to be careful of the bar association.  But do include “How do we stand out? Why are we the better personal injury attorney?”. Then you can have your brief blog posts, where you’re covering various topics, along with case studies. Case studies, again, you have to be very careful if you’re an attorney.  But they can do case studies, that’s a given, in Florida. Then your homepage – easy, peasy done.

Now the lower page. We want to, again, balancing the website design, the visitor experience, and the marketing results.  Your lower pages, everyone, when they do designs or they work with a web designer, they only give them a homepage design.  Then they go to build it out and then the designer figures out what the lower page will look like.

That’s just as important as the homepage because search engines, as you already said, through blog posts and other various pages, can be ranked higher than your homepage for keywords that people are searching. We like the more pages because: the more pages the better the chances. You want to make sure things like a sidebar, whether it’s left or right (actually doesn’t really matter as much these days, but the standard is typically on the right side because, again, eyes fall right). We want to have …

Carrie Currie: I would …

Elizabeth Varian: Go ahead.

Carrie Currie: I was just going to point out that we monitor the forms that our clients have filled out and I have noticed the sidebars get many more prospects filling them out than any other contact that we might have somewhere on the website.

Elizabeth Varian: Absolutely.

Carrie Currie: It’s phenomenal.

Elizabeth Varian: Because that side bar follows through on every page. We get a lot of homepage form fills out for Webmaster For Hire, but those are typically people that are just dropping in, filling out a form and going onto the next one. Dropping in, filling out a form, going on to the next one. The people that are actually in reading sidebars are reading your site and then they’re like, “Okay, let’s just fill this form out.” What we’ve found with them, is they’re more serious about their website builds, they’re not just price shopping because they’re diving in more. They’re getting more information from you. That’s why we also mark the difference between sidebars homepage, and a body page form, so we know where it’s mostly coming from and we can track what type of person is completing these forms.

That’s why I don’t mind having it in the middle. This is because the people that are price searching, they have to at least scroll down to get there and they’re at least seeing what we offer, before they put it in there. In fact, I think, we recently added in our costs, our starting costs, for website builds and our base price for online marketing, because we were getting hit with people that couldn’t afford our services and that reduced people that were price searching, going, “Oh, nope, they’re out of our budget.”

In business that then eats up your time, and your time is just as valuable as your customers. We can, at least, prospect efficiently that way. That sidebar, getting, again, that phone number, if you’re a service professional, attorneys, home service providers. Whatever service you’re offering, you fall into this category. Having that phone number there, and having it clickable. Then, what we do is say, “Or complete this form here.” It’s a shortened form from your long one, but I think it’s better to get a form completed one way or the other.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Get that name and phone number so you can contact them. If they come in on the lower page and you only have that form on one lower page, like a request for proposal page, or your homepage then you’ve missed them, you’ve missed that opportunity.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: You also want to, if you want to get the people signing up and subscribing to your e-newsletter, making sure every blog post, either top or bottom of the post, has that contact form for your signup and subscribe to your newsletter. If you complete a payment with Webmaster For Hire, our Thank You page has a subscribe to our newsletter.

Carrie Currie: Cool.

Elizabeth Varian: Try and get people everywhere possible, that’s marketing. Other lower pages that you want to be careful about for search engine optimization, and balancing it with the user experience, and having a nice design, is a portfolio page. This is something where we’ve had a customer where they just wanted a category portfolio. Instead of having a per client portfolio, they just wanted to say, “Okay, this is our service offering “A”, we’ll show a couple of photos from different projects and that’s it.” You’re missing …

Carrie Currie: Yeah, but that’s not personalizing it.

Elizabeth Varian: No, you’re missing major SEO options. People buy the story. You sit late at night in your jammies munching on that not diet friendly chips and dips, and drinking the soda, and on comes the infomercials.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: The weight loss infomercials, we’re in that time of year. The weight loss infomercials, they don’t just show you the products, tell you what the products do, they tell a story, mini-story. “So-and-so was sitting there eating the chips just like you, drinking the soda, just like you, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

Carrie Currie: “Now look at them.”

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah. They tell their story of how they got to the product. The portfolio is your option to tell the story because you’re going to get different keywords for every story you tell.  Especially if you’re a local, let’s say you’re a local air conditioning company. That one’s a little more difficult, but you can do before and after photos of what their old one looked like and what the new one looks like. You can have air conditioning install, which most air conditioning companies do this, but let’s say they did, you can do the before and after. What’s their story? The air conditioning broke down, we fixed it. You think that’s going to be boring. Well, that’s not how it should go.  You listen to the consumer. “You know, I just turned it on. It was working fine, but we’ve been having this drip and I just couldn’t find where it was.” Somebody’s going to read that and going, “Hey, I’ve got a drip that I’ve been ignoring. I probably should get it checked out.”

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: You’re not going to think on a homepage or a lower page to go, “Hey, you got a drip that you’re ignoring?” Even though that would be a really good blog post. You’re taking the words from the consumer that hired you and you’re telling their story without necessarily using their names. For each one, let’s say a pool company, they bought a house that didn’t have a pool. Does that happen everyday? Well, it happens most days  that’s why they want a pool.  But not everybody who buys a house without a pool goes, “Hey, I need a pool.” Why did they need that pool?

Carrie Currie: For example …

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah.

Carrie Currie: For example, our pool company was telling me about this one lady. She’s an elderly, single lady. She had a dog, she wanted a pool for her dog, that’s quite unique.

Elizabeth Varian: That is very unique and very Palm Beach.

Carrie Currie: Is it?

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah, her use for the pool. Someone else it may be they like it for exercise; someone else, they have kids; someone else, the grand kids. Every story will now then be different stories and will be related to different users that are visiting your site. That’s a user experience and then it’s also a marketing. You can do online press releases off that case study, “Pool Doctor installs pool, dog is happy.” Right?

Carrie Currie: That’s cute.

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah. Then, you write about the new pool install, which isn’t that newsworthy, but you talk about the dog and you talk about it from the dog’s perspective. Online, we’re not necessarily looking for journalist.  We’re looking for the back link more than a news story.  But that’s a press release right there or a blog post. If you start it at the portfolio, you can then showcase the before and after photos and give that unique story. Additionally, you’ll pick up on keywords that you hadn’t thought of or you don’t use as often. Basically, what we’ve been discussing today is that balance. You have to have a beautiful design that fits your targeted audience. You have your wants and desires as the business owner, then the search engines have their algorithm of what they want to rank your site —

Carrie Currie: You have to work with that.

Elizabeth Varian: Oh,yeah. They don’t tell you what it is. You get to play guessing game. Then along with all of that, you’ve got to balance it out. Balancing it before you start the build is highly important. Looking at things, such as a portfolio and breaking it down by client.  And creating case studies will help bring a balance of telling the story so that the person reading it can connect to the story.  It’s an emotional purchase if you think about it for a pool. Air conditioning, everyone needs it, here in Florida. Not everybody needs it up in Iowa, except for when the summers hit. It’s a, “Oh, I got to let go of money.” Any time you’re departing with money for people, it’s an emotional experience.

Carrie Currie: Right.

Elizabeth Varian: Building that trust value, connecting in a relate-able way. Attorneys, they have to build that rapport right away on their website. You can have a video but don’t make the whole homepage your video. Balance it with the verbiage that the search engines need if you want to get ranked in them. Hopefully, covering site design, homepage, and lower pages, that we didn’t bore you, but we actually gave you useful information when you’re getting ready to build your next site.

Carrie Currie: Yeah. Yeah. This is basic stuff but everybody can learn something from it.

Elizabeth Varian: Yeah. I think so. This is our podcast number 2. I hope it was useful for you. If you are looking for a website and you want someone who will say, “Hey, that’s too much, that’s too little. These are our recommendations,” and give you the experience and know-how that is needed.  We have over fifteen years experience … Join us here, call us at 561-822-9931, 561-822-9931, or check us out on the web, our modern design at webmasterforhire.us, not .com, .us. Take care and we’ll see you next week. Bye.

Carrie Currie: Bye everybody.

Elizabeth Varian: Thank you for listening. Webmaster For Hire, helping companies thrive in the digital world. Connect with us today for impact tomorrow. Located online at www.webmasterforhire.us. Or call 561-822-9931.

AUTHOR - Elizabeth Varian

Elizabeth Varian has been working on the internet in some capacity since 1995. Working for such companies as a small chemical lab contractor to digital media sports mogul CBS SportsLine. When starting Webmaster For Hire, she wanted to focus on the personalized experience and customer services for clients. Though the internet has been around for decades now, it is still a mystical place for many business owners.