Now that phone books have officially died the internet is the place to get your message to your clients. Social media weighs heavily into your online presence with reviews.
Yelp, in particular, is an entity each business must address. If your Yelp listing has 5 star reviews you are content, but one bad review sticks around for a long time. The complaint businesses have with Yelp is their inconsistency. With fairness in mind Yelp has a filtering system. Unfortunately many of us have watched that filter system hide a legitimate review. Businesses have purchased Yelp’s advertising programs in hopes these filtered reviews would resurface to the front page. For some it worked; then wide spread reports of businesses ending the advertising only to watch their reviews disappear.
To combat Yelp multiple online companies solicit businesses–offering to post fake reviews on Yelp under the guise of helping to clean up their reviews.
No matter how frustrated you are with Yelp buying reviews will come back to haunt you. I continue to recommend just putting Yelp off, be polite when they call. They are here to stay.
The single action you can control is to respond to the reviews (all online reviews) and turn the negative into a positive message about your business.
A negative review isn’t a reason to panic. Visitors to your Yelp listing recognize not everyone is happy. The way you respond tells them volumes about your business practice and customer service. Use this as a forum. Trust visitors read between the lines.
Yelp has been around a long time, and they are trying to capitilize on a platform that showed little return for a long time. They are vested in making this work.
Here’s more reading.
This was such a fun project – my client was so upbeat, enthusiastic and full of energy for developing his website: PubPokerUSA.com
Some photos were taken by DouglasSimon Photography & Video as I knew what I wanted, but couldn’t find stock photos to do the trick. It gives such a polish. Creating the graphics was equally fun. Defined, because cards have the four suits, but how to present these in a fresh colorful way was a fun task.
Beyond design was searching for a leaderboard system to handle the back-end. PlayBarGames was a gem to work with. I am happy to recommend Chuck, great to work with and a great product – it fit my clients needs exactly.
Too many clients come to me after trying a template website, or do-it-yourself company. They are completely frustrated and often have spent too much money either not completing the site, or letting it go month after month and paying a sizable monthly fee.
Template sites from major telecommunication companies (Yellow Book, AT & T, Supermedia) sound simple for a busy business owner, and do-it-yourself/create-your-own-website companies sound promising to ge you up and running in hours.
There are times when these might be ideal for business owners who are aggressive in learning basic code, SEO and photo editing, or needing something up quickly while developing a custom site. Here is a side by side comparison to help you find clarity in what to choose.
There are certain businesses which cannot be without a mobile website. If your services are urgent, or emergency this is a must. There are choices in a mobile website design and structure — the goal is to find what fits your budget and needs. You can redo your existing website to transform to mobile deives with style sheets, but the cost is substantial. A simpler choice if you have limited content on your website (like a 20-30 page website) is to create a standalone sub-domain, mobile website. It’s time efficient which translates into cost savings for business owners and will reflect your full website.
There is a constant stream of advertisements for “create your own website” for free, after 30 days pay only $7.99/month or simple sounding ads like “Design your website in minutes.”
It’s sounds so easy and the price sounds unbeatable. In the early days of the internet this might have been just the tool for many businesses. As a web designer who codes these templates are cumbersome to use. For the novice they require a lot of time and frustration to learn the software. You will still need your content: photos and page copy. Your photos need to be optimized to download quickly, so you need some photo editing skills and learn how to choose what compression is best. You need to spend time learning at least some basic search engine optimization (SEO) and learn about meta data to compete for organic results. All of the above are the nuts and bolts of using a template website.
Websites need “call-to-actions” which are eye appealing and well placed. Navigation needs to be simple – easy to figure out so customers can quickly find what they are looking for. Frustrated visitors won’t become your client.
Beyond all the code and functionality, yes, design matters. A welcoming website sets a tone for your business, the same as a showroom displays your products. The layout and design bring all the elements together. The bottom line is people will judge your business based on the looks of your website. Statistics reveal over 90% of people said they trusted or mistrusted a website based on design alone, less than 10% said it was content.
It’s much like packaging of food. Yes the generic brand is cheaper, but the jar/box isn’t nearly as creative as the name brands, who give great thought and expense to their brand.
While it doesn’t have to be award winning you want your design to send a message of trust, professionalism and quality. You know your business, hiring a professional to create your website is a good investment.
Do I need a mobile website? It started out as a trend. We know retail sites are seeing incredibly high traffic increase. But what about the service industry? If your business garners emergency or urgent services, you risk losing business, already. All service businesses should not ignore mobile because use is on the rise across all industries. As mobile use rises continually a mobile ready website needs to be in your plan.
Statistics tell us mobile phone web users are “task oriented”. Their searching is more likely to convert to action. Mobile use varies on preference and also their bandwidth phone service plan. Mobile websites are highly optimized for download speed, using far less bandwidth than your full website. If a user’s preference is a mobile site, they likely will bounce off your full website in search of a lean mobile site. Having a mobile presence is about improving the customer experience. Don’t give a visitor a reason to leave once they have found you.
I have found the best course of action gives the control to the user. Your mobile website is triggered when a visitor lands on your full website via a mobile device. A link to view your full website is prominently displayed, and also a link to your mobile website is on your full website, should they choose to go back and forth.
While staying on the cutting edge and following every new device can be very expensive (thousands, tens of thousands) to maintain there are several other approaches far less costly, especially for website owners with small websites (20 pages and less). It’s time.
The object of a mobile website is to be very lean. It reminds me of the days of dial up internet connections when web designers squeezed every pixel in an image as small as possible. Mobile means lean — and not only shrinking images, but only using when necessary. Once you have a banner – you’re left with little precious real estate for graphics.
So, what to do with a photographer’s mobile website, when his business is visual? We decided on one image per page, with a main gallery page listing/linking to each photographic category (business photos, portraits, real estate, etc.) gallery page. This gave the visitor a heads-up to know clicking through they would be viewing/downloading images. Being respectful is important in creating a mobile website. This offered the limited-bandwidth user a chance to opt out – or bookmark to view on their desktop.
Each gallery page has a maximum 6 images, and these were highly optimized. It gives the user an idea of the photographer’s style and feel without a big bandwidth use.
Both the desktop site and mobile site easily let the user switch back and forth if bandwidth is not an issue.
Newly launched is the Montague Vounteer Fire Dept. serving Montague Township in New Jersey. I love getting to know my clients’ businesses. This fire department has an enormous amount of equipment and training for their firefighters, and all as volunteers! With a history dating back to the 1950′s they were fortunate to discover images of the original fire truck at the fire department’s beginnings! The dedication from these volunteers is inspiring.
Red and black are “the” colors for fire department websites. It was fun to create and great people to work with!