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A Business Owner’s Guide to Advanced Web Design

There are thousands upon thousands of articles all over the web telling you that, as a business owner, you need a spectacular website for your company or practice. What most of them don’t tell you, though, is what it takes to actually get a web presence that makes your business stand out online and attracting sales or revenue.

Maybe that’s because most web designers want you to contact them before they give up the goods, or might be because a lot of the firms vying for your web design business don’t have spectacular track records to show off. Whatever the reason might be, we find that a lot of new clients come to us with a clear idea of the results they are looking for, but few definite notions about how to achieve them.

To help you get your web design project started off on the right foot, we’re going to share our advanced guide to web design. In just eight questions, it will lead you to the answers you need to build the online marketing powerhouse you’ve been envisioning for your company…


Question #1: What Will Your Website Be For?

Surprising numbers of business owners want a website “because they need one.” That’s true, in the sense that even food trucks have to be online these days. However, it really only scratches at the surface when it comes to the reasons to build a new site in the first place.

The purpose of your website could be to generate online sales, to help you attract leads, or to simply promote your company to local buyers. You may just want to impress referrals, or to automate customer service tasks (like frequently asked questions). The purpose of your website might be to support email and social media campaigns. It could be all of these things.

Whatever you're setting out to do, make sure you and your creative team know what the goal is before you begin.


Question #2: What Do You Like or Dislike About Your Current Website?

If you have an existing website, ask yourself what you like about it. Also, figure out what definitely needs to be changed.

The answers could involve different creative elements, pieces of functionality, or even bottom-line results. Maybe you like the look of your website, but you feel like it isn't doing enough to further the sales potential of your business. Or, you may think you have good images, but your written content isn’t strong enough. Finding these preferences will help you zero in on what you need for your next website, and keep you from duplicating mistakes.

If you don’t already have a website, think in these terms about other sites you’ve seen in your industry. You can learn a lot from your own past mistakes, and the missteps of others.


Question #3: Who Will Design Your Next Website?

There are more web design companies, and online template-based services, than ever before. That’s great for convenience, but not necessarily for business owners who need to get a good deal on web design.

That’s because even though web design prices might be coming down, quality and customization standards are decreasing, too. Because you don’t want your website to simply exist, you can’t settle for pages that don’t do anything. In other words, if you want to generate leads and sales, you have to have streamlined coding, a unique look, and a marketing plan that brings customers to you online or to your physical location.

It’s unfortunate, but getting a great website sometimes means paying a little more in time and money. However, those investments will come back to you again and again if you make a good decision.


Question #4: Do You Have the Ingredients for a Great Website?

Having a strong web presence is about so much more than the right design. Aesthetics are important, but what goes beneath them matters a lot, too.

In particular, we are talking about the need for a domain name that’s easy to understand and remember. You could add to that fast and secure hosting that speeds your pages up and keeps customer data safe from hackers and thieves. Additionally, you can’t build a great website with sloppy content, old or blurry photos, and outdated logo images.

If you aren’t sure you have all the ingredients for a great website in place, either start gathering them or talk to your web design team about what you might need. Everything that comes later in the process is going to be easier when you begin with a solid foundation for your company’s web presence.


Question #5: How Do You Want Your Website to Look?

Most business owners have a certain look they want for their new website. You should think about the colors, fonts, and layouts you prefer.

These days, you can do almost anything online. That’s great from the standpoint of creativity, but it can also present an overwhelming number of choices. You’ll notice that most established and successful businesses have a somewhat standard look to their websites. Paragraphs are short, links are easy to find, and menus are presented in a certain way. This all helps make a site more usable for visitors. Even people who haven’t been on your pages before should understand how they work and be able to find the information they need quickly.

Think carefully about the aesthetics you want on your website, and consider ways you might be able to emphasize usability. That will make your web presence more valuable (both to you and your customers) in the long run.


Question #6: What Functionality do You Need on Your New Website?

We have noticed over the years that business owners tend to pay a lot of attention to the way their new websites should look, but not as much to what features and functions need to be integrated. That’s unfortunate, because websites can help you save a lot of time and money through automation, not to mention boost profits with e-commerce and targeted marketing.

When you know what you want your website to actually do for your business, it gets easier to create a profitable platform that can help with every aspect of your bottom line. Also, you can translate those wishes to your creative team, who can plan ahead and give you more accurate quotes and timelines.

In many ways, the biggest difference between websites that simply exist and those that actually help the companies they were built for has to do with programming and functionality. So, think carefully about what it is you want your site to actually add to your business so those features can be the focus instead of an afterthought.


Question #7: How Will You Promote Your Website?

No website, no matter how beautiful or functional, has much value if customers aren’t regularly finding it and visiting its pages. That’s why web design and internet marketing now go hand-in-hand; one doesn’t have much purpose without the other.

When it comes to actually promoting your new website and drawing in customers, there are a handful of tactics you will almost certainly want to pay attention to. These include search engine optimization, social media marketing, email promotion, and pay-per- click advertising. It’s crucial that you not only plan to make these a big part of your approach from the beginning, but also choose a creative partner who can help you to develop profitable and sustainable campaigns.

It’s difficult for most business owners to plan and follow through with online marketing on their own, so choose a team with a history of success in this area to help you.


Question #8: How Will Your Website Be Maintained?

Even the best website is going to need updates, additional plugins, and fresh content from time to time. Additionally, regular website audits are important for locating technical issues like out-of-date links or slow page performance.

Expect to maintain your website periodically in the same way you would a car or truck. It’s a lot easier to make small updates and additions here and there than it is to replace your website altogether sooner than you would otherwise have to – or worse yet, ignore your site and fail to win the leads and sales you were expecting.

Work with your creative team to develop a reasonable schedule that allows you to maintain your site over time, thereby preserving its useful life, accelerating your online marketing results, and giving you a much better return on your investment.


The Real Question: Do You Want a Website, or Sales and Marketing Results?

Getting a website is easy – there are literally thousands of companies out there who can offer to build you one. However, if you want a real web presence, complete with ongoing sales and marketing results, you need to work with an experienced team who will take the time to understand your business and the challenges you are facing.

Why set yourself up for frustration by selecting a partner that doesn’t have a track record of success? At Kinetik IT, we have earned our reputation as Arizona’s top web design and online marketing team. We’ve helped dozens of companies like yours to establish themselves online and turn their websites into bottom-line results that hold up year after year.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation and see what our team of experts can do for your business!

The Advanced Guide to SEO for Internet Marketing

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), and internet marketing as a whole, we often discover that new clients come to us with a handful of experiences, ideas, and impressions. Some of them are useful, while others might be outdated or outright incorrect.

That’s understandable – it’s hard enough for us to keep up with SEO and online marketing from within the industry. For someone trying to make the most of their campaigns while also having to keep their attention on a full-time job or dozens of responsibilities, it can be overwhelming.

Luckily, you don’t have to keep up with every technical detail or algorithm change to make the most of search engine optimization. To help you understand why, and focus on what’s actually important, we present to you our advanced guide to SEO and internet marketing. Let’s look at what you need to know, step-by-step, beginning with the basics…


Know Your Market and Your Strengths

The solid base of any strong SEO and online marketing campaign isn’t a set of technical tools or complicated ideas; it’s a thorough understanding of your strengths as a business and the needs of your most important customers.

Simple as it might seem, everything that comes later in the search engine optimization and online marketing process flows from these two pieces of information. So, it’s imperative that you begin with a little bit of research or brainstorming if that’s what it takes to arrive at the right conclusions. Otherwise, you could rush into an SEO campaign that isn’t ever going to produce the results are hoping for.


Build a Solid Website

Believe it or not, a website can be “flimsy” from a coding perspective. When that happens, your pages are virtually invisible to Google’s search engine spiders.

A sturdy website is fast, lives on a reliable hosting server, and doesn’t have any extraneous HTML code or outdated plugins. A flimsy website, on the other hand, is created from a bloated template and has images, links, and other elements that haven’t been optimized for search.

You can’t expect to stand out in search rankings if you’re working with a website that is never going to seem credible to customers or search platforms, so start with the right foundation.


Get an SEO Audit From an Experienced Web Design Team

Even on a well-built website, small errors can indicate to Google that pages aren’t being maintained carefully enough. Issues like broken links, duplicated content, or a lack of mobile compatibility can all harm your search visibility.

An experienced web design team can audit your site, looking for problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. In addition to scouring your HTML for hidden technical issues, we can evaluate your pages and content the way a search engine would, finding lots of areas for immediate improvement and growth.


Begin SEO With Intensive Keyword Research

Ultimately, success in search engine optimization means achieving a high ranking on Google and drawing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of good prospects to your pages every week. None of that is going to work, though, if you don’t know what your best customers are actually searching for when they go online.

That’s why every strong search engine optimization campaign has to begin with intensive keyword research. It helps to not only identify the perfect terms and phrases for you and your creative team to target, but also the level of competition and buying intent that come with each one. Beginning SEO work without good keyword research is like taking a road trip without a map or directions. It’s just not an efficient way to reach your bottom line destination.


Optimize Your Website for Search Visibility

Once you know what buyers are looking for on Google and the other search engines, you can begin to optimize your site for those terms and phrases. That means ensuring they show up in the right areas, particularly page titles, main headings, internal links, and meta descriptions.

With the help of a good web design team you can easily find the right spots for each keyword or search term, and be sure they feature prominently without being overused. This part of the search engine optimization process is both art and science, and it needs to be handled correctly if you want buyers to find you.


Create an Online Conversion Plan

You should always remember that success in search engine optimization isn’t just about achieving a high ranking on Google, but turning that visibility into new revenue in the form of leads, sales, phone calls, or walk-in visits. It doesn’t do your business any good to just have more people visit your site and leave.

That’s why, as part of your SEO campaign, you need to develop an online conversion plan. You have to have a sense of who will be coming to your website, what you want them to find, and why they will be compelled to take the next step. If any of those answers are missing, you’ll struggle to make an impact on your bottom line the matter how optimized your site is.


Generate Search Friendly Content Regularly

Making your website highly visible to search engine spiders is a good thing, but if you truly want to claim a top spot on Google, you’ll have to become a regular producer of fresh content. That’s partly because each new article or blog post you add to your site counts as another page to Google, and partly because searchers love content that has recently been posted.

Our most successful clients use editorial calendars to keep their content marketing plans on track. The more you can write and fill the web, the easier it’s going to be to bring in customers through Google.


Promote Your Website Away From Google

While this this guide is aimed at business owners who want to make the most of Google and search engine optimization, there are other places to promote your company on the internet. You can draw in as many customers (or more) using Facebook, Twitter, PPC ads, email, and other means.

Many business owners prefer to focus all of their fire on Google because the payoff is so large. However, the beauty of diversifying your campaigns is twofold. On the one hand, it keeps you from being completely dependent on search engines for traffic. And on the other, it gives you more ways to stay in touch with the prospects who initially find you through the search listings, making it more likely they’ll do business with you down the road.


Check Your Web Analytics and Refine Your Approach

Search trends change over time, new competitors come out of nowhere, and Google makes adjustments to its algorithms. For all of these reasons, you should be reviewing your web analytics on a regular basis to understand where your traffic is coming from, how users are interacting with your website, and what sort of improvements you can make going forward.

If you stay committed to producing content and refining your approach, you’ll get more and more visitors over time while turning a greater percentage of them into leads or buyers each month. In other words, your SEO campaigns will just keep getting more efficient and profitable. That should be the goal you’re working towards on a continual basis.


Are You Making the Most of SEO and Internet Marketing?

If you have been making halfhearted attempts at search engine optimization, or ignored it all together, now is the time to start being more visible on Google. Or, if you’ve invested time or money into SEO in the past but haven’t gotten results, this is your chance to make a fresh start.

The Kinetik IT team in Phoenix has the skills, tools, and experience to give you the website you need and help you stand out on Google. No matter where you’re starting from, we can create a workable and affordable plan that will help you bring in new customers month after month.

To get our creative team working for you, contact us today and schedule a complementary website review. We’ll take a look through your pages and, in just a few days, let you know exactly what it will take to take your company to the next level.

Why wait to start getting more leads and sales? Contact us now so we can put our experience to work for you!

12 Surprising Stats About Web Design… and What They Mean for Your Business

“Numbers don’t lie.” 

We’ve all heard various versions of this saying at a different point in our lives. And it’s true – statistics can help us to recognize long-term trends, uncover hidden truths, and better understand the challenges and issues that are most relevant in our businesses.

This is particularly true in the web design and online marketing industry, where a few revealing stats can change the way business owners and executives think about their companies and campaigns. Of course, it can be difficult to keep up with all the different numbers and studies floating around out there. So today, we want to share a dozen figures that we consider to be particularly surprising and/or poignant. 

We aren’t just going to give you ratios and percentages, either; we’re going to give you some quick insights into what they mean for your company. Let’s dive into 12 surprising stats about web design, along with what they mean for your business…

#1 55% of Visitors Will Spend Less Than 15 Seconds on Your Website (HubSpot)

You already knew you only have a small window to impress someone who arrives at your website for the first time. What you might not have realized is just how small the margin for error is. 

In truth, what’s most surprising about this figure is that it’s as high as it is to begin with. Searchers and customers just don’t have the attention spans we used to, especially with your closest competitors just a click away online. Your site needs to quickly convey credibility and value while explaining exactly what you do. Otherwise, visitors will take their attention elsewhere.

#2 More Than One-Third of Website Visitors Will Leave an Ugly Page (Adobe)

It’s no secret that humans prefer attractive things to unattractive ones. However, what’s surprising is how quickly they’ll abandon a web page – even if it might have useful information – simply based on aesthetics.

Really, there are couple of factors at play here. The first is that web searchers may often feel as if they can find what they’re looking for elsewhere, without the trouble of digging through an ugly page. Additionally, an unattractive layout signals to them that the business isn’t credible or trustworthy.

#3 64% of Your Customers Want to Find Contact Information on Your Home Page (KO Marketing)

It’s easy to forget in the digital age, but some of your customers really aren’t looking for all of their answers to be given to them online. Instead, they might want to find a resource that will lead them in the right direction and then ask a specific question through email, or over the phone.

The interesting inverse to this statistic is that large numbers of would-be customers will actually leave your website if they don’t find the contact information they need. Make it easy for buyers to work with you by providing them with phone numbers, contact forms, or online chats.

#4 15% of Google’s Daily Searches are Unique (Google)

It’s no secret that business owners are constantly jostling with each other to gain the top search engine positions on Google for popular phrases. What a lot of marketers forget, though, is that the long tail of search is very long indeed. In fact, more than one out of every 10 Google searches, on average, is for a completely original string.

This just goes to show that buyers are getting very specific when it comes to finding what they want on the internet. They aren’t willing to dig through page after page of results, so the content on your site should make it easy for them to differentiate you from your competitors.

#5 Websites With 50-100 Pages of Content Get 48% More Traffic

This statistic is indirectly related to the last one we shared. As searches get more and more specific, Google and the other search engines have to rely increasingly on long-tail matching and contextual relationships between pages and content blocks. That means “bigger” websites with lots of relevant and unique ideas are going to attract more traffic.

Every blog post, product page, and other item you add to your website counts as a unique page in Google’s eyes. Put a lot of them together and you don’t just increase your search position, but also make your site more valuable to real-life visitors.

#6 78% of Users Say Social Media Affects Their Purchasing Decisions (Forbes)

Although some online marketing gurus claim that social media is replacing search engines, we think it’s closer to the truth to say they are supplementing them. That is, people tend to look for information on Google, but turn to sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for referrals and recommendations.

That means marketers can no longer afford to simply concentrate on optimizing their sites for keywords. A good long-term strategy has to include a strong social media presence, as well.

#7 72% of Buyers are Influenced by Personal Content (Marketing Charts)

Who you think buyers tend to trust more, companies that want to sell them something, or other customers (like themselves) who leave third-party reviews? It’s not hard to understand why verifiable testimonials and feedback are such an important part of building a durable online reputation.

You should do everything you can to encourage fans and customers to say good things about you on social media and throughout the web. Other customers who haven’t bought from you yet are highly influenced by personal feedback, particularly if they know it comes from someone outside your company.

#8 Content Marketing Boosts Lead Generation by Over 300% While Cutting Costs by Half (HubSpot)

Content marketing can take a lot of forms, from blogging and online videos to infographics, press releases, and more. What each of these channels does, though, is bring buyers in your direction through inbound lead generation. That’s both cheaper and more effective than traditional advertising has been for a long time.

If you don’t already have inbound sales funnels in place, now is the time to get busy creating them. It takes time, effort, and resources to get your content marketing plan up-and-running, but the long-term payoff is worth it.

#9 There are Currently 235+ Million Mobile Users in the US (Statista)

Some business owners are living in denial about mobile internet usage, but once again the numbers don’t lie. People accessing the web through phones and tablets became the majority a few years ago, and they now represent an overwhelming one.

Granted, some of your mobile customers also use traditional desktop and laptop computers, but they are increasingly preferring smaller screens. If your website isn’t built for them, it’s going to cost you money.

#10 8 Out of Every 10 Visitors Will Leave a Website if it Doesn’t Load Properly on Their Device (Adobe)

This builds on the last point, and it shouldn’t be surprising. If a customer arrives at your website and finds they can’t access your content because it hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices, they’re going to take their money elsewhere.

What’s slightly shocking is that roughly 20% of visitors will hang around on a non-mobile friendly website. We are willing to bet that if this survey is duplicated in another year or two, that percentage will have shrunk to almost nothing.

#11 One Second is Worth a 25% Improvement in Mobile Engagement (Soasta)

Website loading speed is becoming a bigger factor in all areas of engagement, but the numbers are particularly striking when it comes to mobile users. The difference between having your pages come up in three seconds, for instance, to four can mean losing a quarter of your visitors.

Having your website load quickly is a function of programming, optimized content, and premium web hosting. If all of these factors aren’t working in your favor, you’re missing out on opportunities because your pages are too slow.

#12 Having a Responsive Website Can Boost Email Newsletter Open Rates by 300% (Mailchimp)

Even email – an ancient technology by online marketing standards – is being affected by mobile compatibility. That’s because users eventually have to click through to your website if they want to view your products, make a purchase, or otherwise interact with your company.

Once again, it’s worth pointing out that most of your customers and prospects are going to be opening emails and visiting your pages through a phone or tablet. Being ready for that traffic is a key to boosting response rates on email, not to mention pay-per-click advertising, social media, etc.

What Does it All Mean? 

While we love the dozen statistics we pulled out for this article, the truth is we could have easily included a dozen more. And, you can bet that even more data on web design and internet marketing is being produced right now.

You don’t need more numbers to see the writing on the wall, though. As we move into 2018 and beyond, it’s clear that having a functional website with lots of content is crucial to the success of your company. You need a strong social media presence, and customers leaving good reviews for your products and services online. It’s critical that your site be mobile-friendly, and set up for fast loading and delivery.

If you aren’t ready for these trends, or your website isn’t set up to take advantage, now is the perfect time to schedule a consultation with a member of our team. Call or email us today to see how we can help!

‘Bad Rabbit’ Ransomware Epidemic Starting To Infect Computers

Reports have started to surface that a new strain of ransomware is spreading through Russia and Europe. This ransomware is called Bad Rabbit, and first surface up in Russia and the Ukraine, however is starting to spread through Turkey and Germany, but it’s not fully known how far this virus has spread.

Some targets that have been attacked and infected by Bad Rabbit so far include Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Kiev’s public transportation system, along with the Russian news groups and Interfax.

Bad Rabbit appears to be attacking news and media outlets, along with corporate networks – a method similar to the ExPetr attack. Yet, it cannot be confirmed if the ExPetr and Bad Rabbit attacks are related.

The way in which Bad Rabbit infects a computer, the virus first requires the potential victim to download and run a fake Adobe Flash Player installer file, that way infecting themselves. The fake Adobe Flash Player installer file is prompted to the user when they visit a compromised website, most of these websites that have been compromised with the Bad Rabbit virus are Russian news agencies.

The hackers that created the Bad Rabbit ransomware must have been fans of the television show Game of Thrones, as throughout the malware there are references to Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons and Grey Worm.

Computers that have been infected with the Bad Rabbit ransomware are then directed to a .onion Tor web domain where the user is then asked to submit a .05 Bitcoin payment which is roughly $280, this will then release all of their encrypted files and data. On the .onion Tor web domain that the user is directed to, there is a countdown timer shown before the requested ransom amount goes up.

At this point, it is not certain if the Bad Rabbit malware will decrypt all of the users encrypted files once the ransom has been received, although researchers have performed tests and believe that Bad Rabbit is unlike the WannaCry malware that will wipe all of the users data and files.

It is always recommended that anyone infected with a ransomware malware to not pay the ransom, as there are zero guarantees that once you have paid the ransom that your data and files will be decrypted and released back to you.

One way to be proactive and prevent yourself falling victim to the Bad Rabbit ransomware attack is to create a c:\windows\infpub.dat file and remove all of the write permissions. This will disallow the Bad Rabbit malware from encrypting your files if ever attacked.

The Bad Rabbit malware is bares similar resemblance to the WannaCry and Petya attacks that spread around the world earlier this year.

At this time not all anti-virus and anti-malware tools are able to detect the Bad Rabbit malware, allowing it to go undetected and continue to infect users’ computers. With this level of severity, it’s important to take proactive measures and do not download files from any untrusted sources on the internet.