WordPress Websites: What to Look for in a Web Design Company

WordPress Websites: What to Look for in a Web Design Company

WordPress Websites: What to Look for in a Web Design Company

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Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Find the Right Partner to Build Your WordPress Website 

Having a strong website is important because it’s often the first impression you will make on potential customers. Whether they found you through a search engine or through a link shared by a connection, your website is typically the first point of contact.  A strong website is well-organized, easy to navigate, modern (in terms of style and layout), functional, branded, and motivates the visitor to do business with you.

A company specializing in website design and development will help you achieve a website that looks great and is suited to your style or brand. A website developer will use the designer’s specifications in order to bring the concept to life. Here’s what to look for when choosing a WordPress web design company:

Are They The Total Package?

It takes a surprising number of specialists to launch a successful website. A content specialist will ensure you nail the marketing messages. A graphic designer can make those words pop. And a developer has the technical expertise to ensure everything functions properly. Make sure the company you partner with is able to handle the content, design and any custom coding needed for your website to function the way you want it to.

Review Their Portfolio

What has the web designer or developer done for other companies? Do you like their past work? While it’s true that the definition of what makes a great website varies slightly from company to company, you should observe a level of design and function that is indicative of a professional. Looking at the projects that your web design and development firm have already completed will give you the best idea of what they can do for you.

How Big is This Company – And How Big is Their Average Client?

Designing a website for a small business is much different than designing a website for a large corporation. The scope of work and resources required are drastically different. If a firm doesn’t understand your needs and how to fill them (one-on-one meetings, the ability to change things on your own in the content management system, follow up help after the project is complete), you might need to consider a firm better suited to work with small and mid-size businesses.

Pro Tip: It’s advantageous to work with a company that you can form a long-term business relationship with. Not all freelancers are interested in long-term relationships because they may not have the resources to support your future goals.

Consider Your Timeline

Do you need this project done quickly? Is there a specific date you have in mind to launch? Making sure that a company can plan a reasonable timeline, or that they can follow the timeline you have in mind, will help the project go smoothly. And don’t forget to ask how the relationship between your company and theirs will continue once the project is complete.

Upfront and Ongoing Investment

Depending on the status of your business, price can be a major factor in deciding who designs, builds, and maintains your website. Websites are a lot like cars, ranging from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the functionality, appearance and security required. That’s why it’s important to clearly define your goals and requirements and educate yourself on the resources required to make it happen. And remember, even after design, development, and implementation, websites require maintenance. They are a tool that can help your business grow and thrive when properly maintained.

We believe the best way to achieve your dream website is by hiring a single company dedicated to the design, development, and implementation of your site.  Contact us today for more information.

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7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.

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7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

Outsourcing your marketing is one of the best decisions you can make for your small business. Traditional in-house marketing teams are a great solution for larger organizations that have the resources available to employee experts in the 10+ roles that it takes to run an effective department.

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5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic
Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Small Business Websites Lack a Strong User Experience  

Your website is still a critical touch point in your sales process, giving you the opportunity to connect with potential customers and demonstrate your ability to deliver an amazing service. Maintaining a website that connects with and converts leads is crucial to growing your business.

After building and maintaining hundreds of small business websites, we’ve seen several patterns emerge. These five common problems that can negatively affect your website’s performance. The good news is that these challenges are easy to solve with a little time and the right resources.

Poor Mobile Experience

83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important and yet only 17% of websites are considered mobile friendly by Google.

When building your website, take into consideration all screen sizes and build it according to the latest responsive design standards. Now more than ever, people are accessing websites from their mobile devices. Today’s tech tools make it easy to build beautiful looking mobile websites that result in positive interactions with your brand. 

How to Fix It: Invest in mobile responsive design so your customers have the best experience on your website on their devices.

Missing a Clear Call to Action

Conversions require a relevant call to action (CTA) that’s easily visible. A call to action moves a customer closer to working with you. Potential customers won’t be inclined to take the next step if it’s unclear what they should do next.

Is the first step in your buyer’s journey educational? Perhaps they should download a free guide or review product specs.

Is your product highly customizable for the unique needs of each client? Perhaps you want to highlight case studies that demonstrate your ability to partner with customers and solve complex problems.

The customer journey is different for every business. It’s your job to test and understand what moves them closer to becoming a customer with the right CTAs placed strategically around your website. 

How to Fix It: Make it clear and obvious what you want the website visitor to do. Include several different types of CTAs throughout your site. Measure and track your progress to see what performs the best.

Zero On-Page Optimization

Optimizing for Google strengthens consumer trust and value. When a business ranks high in organic search results, it generates a certain level of trust, respect and credibility which are necessary for brands relying on digital channels for leads.

Visibility on the internet involves technical and creative and strategies to encourage traffic, leads and sales – but optimization isn’t one and done. It’s an ongoing task. While the frequency of these updates will be determined by the competitiveness of your specific niche/keywords, you must make this a priority.

How to Fix It: Make sure you periodically update on-page elements like title tags and meta descriptions. Keep the content (blogs and case studies) and imagery updated as well.

Completely Ignoring Your Small Business Website

As many small and mid-size businesses discover, managing and maintaining a website can be especially challenging if you don’t partner the right professional. Front-end content updates are essential to demonstrate your expertise. And technical support ensures your site remains up and running.

Without the proper support, many websites are left for dead. Your website should do more than simply exist! It’s a tool that can communicate valuable information about your business and your services. It’s easy to spot a website that hasn’t been touched: the graphics begin to look dated, blog content is old and the mobile experience is less than ideal.

How to Fix It: If you’re unable to hire an in-house professional, it’s best to outsource this work to a trusted partner, freeing up your internal team to focus on what they do best.

Not Giving Visitors a Reason to Stay on Your Site

Do the visitors of your website leave after just checking out a few articles or pages?

Do they spend significant amounts of time surfing your website?

A little more than half of all website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on any given website, and we obviously want these visitors to hang around longer than that.

Publishing original content such as blog articles, case studies, podcasts, videos or white papers gives visitors a reason to explore your website. As you build trust and credibility, your website becomes a more powerful sales tool for you. Search engines continue to reward new content, so keep this in mind if your goal is to attract more organic traffic.

How to Fix It: Develop a content strategy to position your SMB as a thought-leader. Commit to something manageable, even if it’s one new piece of content per month.

Next Steps for Your SMB

Remember that a website is always in development. The time and energy you spent on your current website was not wasted – it’s a great place to start. Now is the time to update your site so it converts leads and grows your business.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve website conversions. Have more questions about improving your website?  Reach out to us directly.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated in April 2021.

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How to create your law firm marketing plan from scratch

How to create your law firm marketing plan from scratch

The most successful law firms consistently place strategy and planning as a high priority task because they know it’s fundamental to long-term success. Surprisingly, 64% of businesses don’t do any planning. Thoughtful planning can truly make or break your company, but...

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The pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency

The pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency

Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways for companies to market their services, generate leads and grow sales.  But it can also present challenges to entrepreneurs and businesses due to the ever-changing nature of search engines and other websites. Staying...

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10 must-haves for law firm internet marketing success

10 must-haves for law firm internet marketing success

Internet marketing helps law firms attract new leads and clients.  It’s an effective option because you’re able to reach a large audience. Many firms rely on the partners to bring in new business, but a group of partners doesn’t have the same reach as the internet. ...

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Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Content Provides Value and Supports Your Digital Strategy 

A well-rounded digital marketing strategy includes many elements. From paid ads to organic search engine marketing, your brand needs to be present and visible on numerous channels. However, there is an underlying component that fuels it all: content.

Content is arguably the most important component of your digital marketing and your website. It can set you apart from the masses by demonstrating your knowledge, expertise and capabilities. Other elements such as design, photography and video are important, but it’s the content that will speak directly to the customer’s needs and wants.

Content is also present in every step of the sales funnel. When your audience is looking for a solution to their problem, they seek professional insight in the form of blog articles, checklists or white papers. When your audience is closer to making a purchase, they will further explore your services, case studies or testimonials.

The bottom line is that along with having a great design for your website, it’s also vital that the information you’re providing is high-quality, relevant, and can convert visitors into qualified leads.

Quality Content on Your Website

What is quality content and how can it be incorporated into your website? It can take many forms but there are several elements that all high-quality content contains.

It Provides ValueYour audience wants a solution to their problem. To craft high-quality content, it’s necessary to understand exactly what your audience needs and wants. When you understand their pain points and goals, you can write content that directly addresses them.

It Has a Long LifespanThe term “evergreen content” refers to content that remains useful for many months or even years after its initial publish date. It can be shared many times over or repurposed into different formats like video and podcasts.

It Fuels Your Digital StrategyAs mentioned, content is the foundation for most digital marketing strategies. From email marketing to social media to PPC ads, you can attract and engage your ideal audience with the right content.

It Moves Your Audience Through the Sales FunnelGreat content can help you build relationships with an audience and inspire them to take action. Think about and craft content that is not only informational, but also inspiring, motivational and directs the reader to next steps.

Keep the Content on Your Website Updated

Actively maintaining the content on your website can be a significant undertaking. Everything ranging from blog articles to service pages need periodic updates. Unfortunately, many SMBs have an outdated website. A website should never be stagnant. An untouched site creates a disconnect for your audience and potentially harms the brand you’ve spent time building.

Publishing new content or updating existing content is well worth the investment. If it’s done correctly, you’ll see an improvement in your search rankings and improved engagement on your site. Here are several suggestions to ensure your content conveys the right message:

Update Older Pages and Articles

Posts and pages published years ago need periodic updates to ensure they remain evergreen. Updating statistics, timelines and major milestones ensures that you maintain your authority and trustworthiness as a source. Updating your pages/posts will also signal to search engines that a page is still relevant to searchers.

Revamp Your Keyword Strategy

Search intent and keyword trends are always changing. You should continually reassess your keyword strategy when updating your content. You might have pages ranking for keywords that no longer generate the search volume they once did. This could be an opportunity to refresh the content and target new keywords.

Create a Website Content Calendar

A documented content schedule will help you stay consistent with your updates. It can keep you focused on the content that’s relevant to your audience. You can also keep track of when pages and articles were last updated, or make note of new content ideas.

Final Thoughts

As search engines get smarter and buyers get more selective, your written message is more important than ever. As time consuming as it is, the dedication you give to updating your content contributes to short and long-term success. Your audience will appreciate the value you provide, and you’ll enjoy strong growth and conversion rates.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your website content. Have more questions about running successful marketing campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated in June 2021.

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7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.

read more
7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

Outsourcing your marketing is one of the best decisions you can make for your small business. Traditional in-house marketing teams are a great solution for larger organizations that have the resources available to employee experts in the 10+ roles that it takes to run an effective department.

read more

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What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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Request a Consultation.

Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
goals with a 20-minute introductory call.

SEO Basics: 5 Things You Need for a Well-Optimized Website

SEO Basics: 5 Things You Need for a Well-Optimized Website

SEO Basics: 5 Things You Need for a Well-Optimized Website

Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Using SEO to Improve Site Ranking and Generate Leads 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex, ever-changing subset of digital marketing that continues to grow in importance. The methods for improving a website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) range from technical to creative, and they work in tandem to create a positive site experience and encourage repeat visits.

While successful SEO requires extensive knowledge of how search engines work, there are several basic concepts that every CMO or VP of Marketing should understand to quickly evaluate their current situation and understand where there’s room for improvement.

Why Do You Need SEO?

Optimizing for Google strengthens consumer trust and value. When a business ranks high in organic search results, it generates a certain level of trust, respect and credibility which are necessary for brands relying on digital channels for leads.

What Are Search Engines Looking For?

Search engines are smart. They scour the internet for the best and most relevant information. They look at content and code to determine how to rank a page. There are an estimated 200 ranking factors that Google looks at when analyzing a website. But in our experience, the basics outlined here create the biggest impact and ensure a website is ranking. 1. Code 2. Content 3. Keywords 4. User Experience 5. Links

Website Code

This is the technical side of SEO and much of what we’re talking about in this category occurs “behind the scenes” on a website. But make no mistake, coding for SEO is vital. This is by no means an all-encompassing list, but these are definitely items you want to pay attention to.

Search Engine-Friendly URLs: URLs should be easily understood by humans and search engines. Keep things clean and nest pages in a manner that makes sense.

Meta Data: Basic meta data includes titles, descriptions and links. These elements should include relevant keywords but be mindful not to go overboard.

Redirects: Search engines don’t like duplicate content. You can use several different types of redirects to tell them which pages to look at.

Page Speed: Page speed is a ranking factor and the faster the better. Website visitors have little patience for a page that takes forever to load. Optimize code by removing unnecessary characters.

Cross-Device Compatibility: This refers to mobile-friendly websites which are now a priority for Google and their “mobile first” mindset.

Properly Tagged Images: Properly tagging images helps when an image fails to load for any reason. The user will see what the image is supposed to be with what’s known as “alt text.”

XML Sitemap: This is different from a user-facing sitemap. The XML sitemap is specifically for Google and helps identify the most essential website pages.

Original Content

Content is still one of the best ways to show search engines that your site is relevant for a given topic.

Do you regularly publish helpful articles? Do you write content that your target market is actively searching for?

Original content typically includes blog articles, case studies, podcasts, videos or white papers. When you create thought-leadership style content for a specific topic, you demonstrate to search engines why your website is relevant. Here are a few tips to consider:

Experiment With Long-Form Content: These articles can be 1,500+ words in length.

Repurpose Old Content: Rather than reinvent the wheel, update an older article to reflect any recent industry changes.

Publish Transcripts: Video and podcasts are very popular, and the transcripts are a great way to add additional content to your site.

Keywords and Keyword Research

While some SEO professionals are placing less emphasis on keywords, we still believe they matter. Optimizing a website inherently involves keywords and keyword research.

Use a Reputable Tool for Research: Moz Pro and SEM Rush are two of our favorite tools.

One Word or Phrase Per Page: Avoid watering down SEO efforts. Remain focused by optimizing each page for one word or phrase.

Don’t go Overboard: Use the keyword a few times, ideally in the meta data and sprinkled throughout the content.

User Experience

If you follow the best practices with website code and content, you’ll be well on your way to providing a positive user experience (UX) for site visitors. But it’s worth calling out UX as a separate objective because this goes beyond the technical components of a site.

UX involves thinking through every touchpoint that makes up the overall experience on a website. Graphic design is part of this, but at its core, UX involves understanding the user’s needs and objectives and creating a site that solves problems. Some initial questions to consider include:

 

  • What is the problem or need we are aiming to solve?
  • What are the users trying to do?
  • Why is this important to them? / Why do they care?
  • What is the business opportunity?

Links

Although links have become less important over the last few years, they still hold value. The easiest links to secure are typically directory listings. The most worthwhile directory listings are ones that relate to your industry niche. We suggest Moz Local as a place to start. Then explore industry specific directories like Avvo for attorneys or HomeAdvisor for contractors.

Have more questions about how to use search engine optimization to improve visibility?  Contact us today for more information.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated in March 2021.

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7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

7 Common Marketing Challenges + How to Solve Them

Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.

read more
7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

7 Things to Look for in an Outsourced Marketing Team

Outsourcing your marketing is one of the best decisions you can make for your small business. Traditional in-house marketing teams are a great solution for larger organizations that have the resources available to employee experts in the 10+ roles that it takes to run an effective department.

read more

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What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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Request a Consultation.

Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
goals with a 20-minute introductory call.

Convert more leads with this law firm internet marketing tip

4 ways your website can be a more effective sales tool

Of all the marketing and sales tools available to you, your company website is the one that enables you to reach the largest audience. If you have built your website correctly, it should also function as an effective sales tool for your business.

Your website should move perspective clients through the buyer’s journey and keep them engaged while they are making a buying decision.

In the digital era we live in today, a website’s importance should not be under estimated. Consider these stats: (more…)