Check Your Contact Forms!

Have you checked your website contact forms lately?

Most people don’t realize the contact forms on their website need to be checked regularly to verify they are functioning properly. Most website owners think after the site is built the form will always work, and if some day it breaks, and they stop receiving contact submissions that it is the fault of the web designer. This is not necessarily true. In most cases a form will stop working due to an update to the website’s theme files, security updates, WordPress version updates, and server PHP version updates. We all know that a missed opportunity could cost you a sale worth $5,000 or more, and potential future referrals. My advice to you is check your contact forms every two weeks (every week would be nice, but most people won’t take the time).

It only takes one minute every couple of weeks to make sure your forms work and you are receiving requests from your website.

Need your contact forms fixed? Give us a call. We can help! 248-507-4420 (Michigan)

Increase your “PageSpeed” in your WordPress Website

With over 60% of the websites in the world running on the WordPress platform, you’d think Google would build their PageSpeed tool to accommodate the WordPress platform. Unfortunately, they haven’t. However, there are many tools that can help you speed up your WP website. Here’s a very short list:

  • W3 Total Cache Plugin
  • Auto Optimize Plugin
  • Aysync JS Plugin
  • Add deflate and expire code to your .htaccess file
  • TinyPNG image compression
  • And there are many more.

What you need to know is the PageSpeed tool, and the actual speed of your site loading are two separate things. If your site loads in 1 to 3 seconds, your site is loading fast for any “human” that views it. On the other hand, 1-3 seconds can be way too slow for Googles PageSpeed tool. Honestly, if your site loads fast (at least in human terms), and you can get a score of 70 and up in Google’s PageSpeed tool, then you’re doing just fine. You’re not going to be able to get to 100% with a WordPress website, so it’s time to move on and just be happy with a 70 or 80. I’ll post more on this subject in the future.

No Keywords in Adwords?

Some local marketing mangers logged into their Adwords accounts back in late February to find a new campaign named “Local Search Ads Experiment Campaign”.
Google has confirmed that these experimental campaigns are currently running for “select advertisers” only and promote verified business locations in local the search results in both Google Search and Google maps without using keywords.
Instead of keywords, Google uses Google My Business (GMB) location information such as location address and location category to trigger relevant results. Advertisers cannot request to take part in the experiment at this time. We will post more information as it comes available from Google.

Quick Tips To Increase Your Christmas Sales

1. Create a Christmas “Hot Deals” page

Specials and discounted items fly off the shelves every Christmas. Create something similar to Amazon’s lightning deals. Not everyone can afford to have custom programming on their website like Amazon’s timed deals, but there are simple ways to get it done. Just have a handful of products on a page which deals stop at 3pm or midnight, or whatever time you choose. Make sure you cycle the products because people like to have a lot to choose from.

2. Set up your marketing

Make sure your email marketing campaigns are running at full speed. This is the time you market your Christmas specials, and set the seeds for the following years products or services. Don’t overdo it. A blast to the same person everyday may get you an “unsubscribed”. Also, make a huge push on social media including Facebook advertising. It costs less than Google Adwords, and in many cases Facebook is more effective.

4. Make sure your website loads fast

If you are one of those people that think all web hosting companies are the same, and the $3.95 a month web hosting plan is all you need, well, I sorry to say that you are incorrect. A good web hosting solution is a necessity for any online store and database driven website. First, Google ranks website load times in milliseconds, and your e-shoppers will not wait for 1 second longer than they need to for your site to load. They’ll just say, “what a crappy website” and go to Amazon. I’m right, aren’t I? Check with your developer for tips on how to increase your load speed, especially during high traffic moments.

5. Get shoppers to browse your internal pages

Create entry products and coupons on you home page to get your shoppers to go to your internal pages. This is where they can find all the products you want them to buy. If they stay on the home page they get a limited viewing, and may not see what they want. Get them to browse internal pages by a “CLICK HERE FOR A 40% DISCOUNT” link. It’s a quick and easy thing to do.

6. Be transparent – Return Policy, Shipping Policy, etc.

You may get one sale from a person this Christmas, but wouldn’t it be nice if they came back and purchased your products throughout the year? You MUST make your return, warranty, shipping, and other policies right out in front so there are no surprises. Furthermore, make sure you stand by them. Nobody likes hidden terms, fine print, and a retailer that doesn’t stand by their products.
Happy selling and Merry Christmas!
M. Van Camp – Web 7
© 2017 Web 7 Marketing Inc

6 Ways to Boost Your Website Security

Keep Your Versions Updated:

  • Make sure your WordPress version, plugin versions, and themes are updated regularly.

Beef Up Your User Names & Passwords

  • Never use the user name or password “Admin”. Surprisingly, people still use it. Make your user name unique, for example “Big Cat 6487”, and your password long, include symbols, uppercase and lower case letters – example: 1%LKJoiJLjlhiugifghfkjgluf6546#4#4&!. Yes, you will need to copy and paste into the password field.

Lock Down Your File Permissions

  • Your hosting company or developer will need to do this for you.

Use Trusted Security plugins

  • When choosing plugins, make sure you read the reviews, see how often they’re updated, and make sure they are compatible with your version of WP. Always buy a paid version if possible.

Use an SSL

  • An SSL (the green lock on the address bar) is necessary to encrypt data sent from the website. Data such as, forms, emails, file uploads, and more. This is a must have in today’s environment.

Use top hosting providers (avoid shared hosting if possible)

  • Make sure your hosting company has the resources to combat modern threats, updates its server software regularly, and has protocols in place to repair a website if it was hacked. Shared hosting is fairly inexpensive ($200 yr), but if you can afford around $800 a year for good VPS hosting, you should do it.

There are many additional items that need to be implemented to get a website to a high security rating, but  the above six are a good start.

Large Background Images and Full Screen Viewing is The Modern Web Design

Big images are important in modern web design, but how many of you have ten or twenty 4000px by 3000px images lying around? In most cases, purchased stock photos fill the gap. Purchased stock photos will always play a big role in website design, from online-stores, service portfolios, or medical blogs, these images save time and money.
Website owners and web designers use stock photos to engage with users and express their message. For some time now, the Web has been littered with tasteless and phony looking stock photography with ridiculously happy people showing perfectly faked smiles and poses. In fact, there are studies that show most people disregard these artificial looking photos. However, things are looking up. Many people are starting to focus on gathering genuine images/photos of their own making. If you’re looking to develop a website, or spruce up your current one, you should take advantage of using real photos to connect with your target audience in a genuine way.
Unfortunately, the need for purchased photos won’t stop anytime soon. Many website owners don’t have the time to gather original photos, and they rather not pay a professional photographer or website designer to produce them. Some sound advice is to try your best to develop a unique image usage plan with your web designer. It will better serve your goal of providing your visitors with a modern viewing experience, and it will help increase customer conversions.

How Much Does It Cost To Optimize A Website for Search?

The below mainly looks at the monthly costs of ongoing SEO assuming a website is already optimized. If the site is not optimized, you will need to consider the costs to have it optimized. A well-optimized website platform that delivers a great mobile-UX is crucial. This can be a big investment ($2,000-$4,000 on average), but a website that is not built for search results and satisfied users in mind is a waste of time and money, and may be one of the weakest revenue-generating links in your business.

Average Pricing For Ongoing SEO

There is a wide range of monthly pricing for SEO. These prices are not specific to just small businesses, but give a general idea of price.

Average Monthly SEO Pricing In The U.S. (Typical contracts of 6 to 24 months)

• $300 – $500 – Small local business
• $500-1,000 – Small business competitive industry
• $1,000-2,500 – Small business highly-competitive industry, regional e-commerce
• $2,500-5,000 – Small, medium, highly-competitive, competitive e-commerce
• $5,000-10,000 – Medium, large business, retail chain, md/lrg competitive industrial
There are many price variations, but the majority of businesses are spending less than $4,000 per month on SEO in America. 40% of these businesses are spending less than $1,100 per month (small businesses and startups). These prices reflect the level of difficulty and scope of the project to be completed. Those paying less than $500 per month are probably local businesses with limited serviceable areas!
Call us to request a free SEO evaluation of your website: 248-507-4420

Are you prepared for the future of Search?

We are undergoing a time of unparalleled instability in the search industry. But still, there are elements that are still relevant.
Over the years, search has been almost completely about Google and what you type in that simple one line search field. However, over the past few years, there has been a definite shift in this connection, as digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, and voice-search assistants such as “Okay Google” move to the fore-front. This shift has made search results become considerably more varied.

The way the general consumer approaches search has also changed. If you’re a marketing professional, or a small business owner, you need to come-to-grips with the fact that consumers are not always typing in keywords and key-phrases on Google. The modern consumer is speaking full sentences into their voice or digital assistant expecting results. For example, if you own a used car dealership, your typical consumer may not type in “used car dealer”, instead, they may voice search specifics such as, “used 2016 Chevy Camaro SS with manual trans and low miles near me”. This is quite typical, especially for age groups 20-44.
We get calls quite frequently from small business owners that are still under the impression that the SEO tactics from 6 to 10 years ago still work, and they don’t. In their defense, a selected few do, but they are not nearly as effective as they were in the past. If you have a small 5-page website with thin content and poor structure, you may find it impossible to rank high in the new world of voice search and digital assistants. We haven’t even touched on modern conversion techniques. Getting found is only half the battle.

Below are just a few 2017 trends:

• Voice search
• Hyper-local targeting
• Personalized content
• Visual search
• Mobile-first indexing
• Multimedia
• Personalized Search Results
• The Keyword-less search
A bit of advice: Use video, develop your internal pages, write creative articles, get on the proper framework, use social media, write GREAT content, and make sure your website is user friendly. These are just the basics.
Call us for a free SEO evaluation. Web 7 Marketing is a top SEO and web design firm in Oakland County Michigan.

Avoid Automatically Generated Content

Why You Should Avoid Auto-Generated And Scraped Content

Many website owners and SEO companies in Michigan use software or web-based tools to automatically generate content for their websites. This is done to save time and money, but it’s not necessarily the best method to help your site rank higher. Google has become quite smart in detecting auto-generated and scraped content, and your website can suffer greatly by using this tactic. Over the past couple years Google has been cracking down on websites that scrape content, use auto-generators, or have weak SEO based content. The websites that have been caught incur penalties that have reduced their rank greatly. The Google algorithm understands the natural flow of writing, human speak, good punctuation, spelling and much more. Don’t be fooled by an SEO company that tells you it’s okay to scrape content from other sites and reuse it after a few changes, Google is on to this too. These days, it’s hard to fool Google. There are no shortcuts to good rank, and you will need to be prepared to do the work to make your site structure and content better than your competitor. At Web 7 Marketing Inc, we understand the process of Google ranking, so give us a call to discuss your options. 248-507-4420.

WordPress Plugin Compatibility

WordPress Plugin Compatibility

If you’ve had problems with your WordPress website, you’re not alone. WordPress is the best platform for any small business website, but just like every other platform, it requires updating. The days of just building a website and forgetting about it are gone. Regular quarterly updates will make sure your WordPress website runs perfectly for years to come.

The three main reasons to keep your WordPress website up-to-date are:

  1. Security
  2. SEO
  3. Plugin Compatibility

Security: Everyone knows there are many hackers, especially outside of the U.S., that hack into websites for malicious purposes. Keeping your website file security compliant with current security protocols will keep these hackers at bay.
SEO: Google frequently changes it’s ranking factors, and keeping your website ahead of the game is the best way to keep it at the top of the results. If you think simply having a website will get you business, you couldn’t be more wrong. Your not alone in your thinking, many business owners don’t realize continued website SEO is a must to stay high in the rankings.
Plugin Compatibility: If plugins and themes don’t work well together, your website may not function as it should. Many business owners have specific needs with regards to site functionality, look, and marketing. Many of these needs can be addressed through the use of plugins. Plugins save our clients thousands of dollars in development costs, and work seamlessly inside WordPress, if maintained. Keeping your plugins and theme updated regularly, will ensure you don’t have any compatibility issues. We offers quarterly update packages to all of our clients, so if you think your website may have compatibility issues, give us a call. We can help.

Just remember, WordPress is the king of the modern web platforms with a built-in content management system, you just need to keep it up-to-date.

Michigan’s Top WordPress Web Designers