Tips for Integrating Online Marketing with Your Website

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Tips for Integrating Your Online Marketing with Your WebsiteIf you are doing any kind of online marketing (social media, email marketing, search engine optimization, advertising, etc.), your website needs to consistently reflect the messages you’re promoting and meet the needs and requests of the visitors who find you as a result. Your online marketing ads, emails, posts and copy will likely lead people back to your website (or at least, they should). And when they get there, your website’s job is to provide an answer to whatever question, concern or problem that brought them there. For example, if you’re promoting weight loss through fitness, do you have a page talking about that on your website? And does that page make it easy for people to book a session with you, contact you to find out more or download an ebook you wrote to learn more?

While we all know you can’t control Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Google, you can control what is on your website. As a website design, development & hosting company supporting businesses in having effective websites for 25 years, we’ve identified the following website tips for getting the most out of your online marketing efforts:

1) Make your website user-friendly
Once people click from your social media post or online ad to your website, make sure what they find is clear and compelling, meets their expectations and fulfills their need.

2) Don’t overlook what’s “under the hood” of your website
Proper site speed is when your site loads in 3 seconds or less on both mobile and desktop. This is a key factor in not only good user experience, but good SEO. What affects speed is a combination of the code, images, plugins and other backend elements of your site.

3) Maximize your efforts
Since you’re spending time, money and brain cells on what you’re posting on social media, leverage those efforts by integrating social media (feeds, reviews, etc.) into your website, where appropriate.

4) Get specific
Use well-designed, action-oriented landing pages to drive business and conversion rates on your site. Social media is about lead conversion and driving people to your site. Once they’re on your site, make sure that the pages on which your prospects land have well-written content and calls to action that make it easy for them to contact you.

5) Properly Add Video to Your Site
Having an excellent video on your website is not enough (trust me, we know that it’s no small feat, which is why we work with wonderful partners for this). There is a right way and a wrong way to place video on your website. We recommend adding your video to your YouTube channel or Vimeo page, following all best practices, of course. Then, per tip #3 about maximizing your efforts, embed the video on your site for all to see and enjoy.

For assistance with implementing any of the above, contact us any time!

The Importance of Making Your Site Secure with HTTPS

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https is secure, http is not secureSite security is important and making sure your site is secure through installing a SSL Certificate is now more important than ever. SSL is a technology that creates an encrypted connection between your web server and your website visitor’s browser that allows information to be transmitted securely and privately. Sites using a SSL certificate display a padlock icon and/or a green address bar and the URL always contains HTTPS (vs. HTTP) in the URL bar. Here’s an example of what a secure URL site looks like in the Google Chrome browser:

example of https

Why Is This Important?

Google’s Chrome browser has been flagging certain sites that do not use the HTTPS protocol by displaying a “Not Secure” message in the URL bar. If your site is not secure, here is what visitors may see in Chrome:

Not a great first impression. Starting in 2017, the sites being flagged as “not secure” were HTTP sites with password or credit card form fields, however Google eventually plans to “label all HTTP pages as non-secure.”

Making your site secure builds trust with your visitors, shows your commitment to complying with security best practices and protects your site from possibly displaying a “Not Secure” message. There are also benefits regarding search engines – Search Engine Journal considers it part of the 4 Most Important Ranking Factors.

But don’t just take our word for it, see this article from Forbes about the importance of adding security on your site or read about Google’s plans for how they will treat HTTP sites that are not secure.

We encourage you to set up a SSL Certificate on your site, if you’re not already using one and currently have a special offer for setting up your site to be secure. Contact us to find out more and get started.

5 Tips for Improving Your Website

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1) Engage & Invite

Free Website Consultation with TAG OnlinePeople come to your site for a reason. Maybe they need to solve a problem or address a challenge, perhaps they are looking to grow or find a reliable vendor. Your site should address how you can help them, very clearly show them how to reach you and also give them a reason to stay. How can you engage your visitors so that they stay on your site and even come back later? Here are some ideas:

  • Ask questions and use calls to action
  • Offer valuable information – through success stories, blog posts, case studies 
  • Provide tools that support visitors: online forms, informative videos, charts or calculators, discussion forums

2) Talk to Them not at Them

We all love having a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves, right? Wrong! Make sure your website isn’t all about you. How do you know if it is? How many times do you use “I,” “We,” “Us”? If we go back to #1 and look at why people visit your site and how you can offer solutions, you’ll be on the right path.

3) Leverage Your Social Media Efforts

If you’re using social media – whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or an industry-specific platform, include it on your site. There are ways to integrate social media feeds on your site that bring what you’re doing off of your site right onto your site, allowing visitors to easily like, share and interact with you.

4) Make Security a Priority

If you have a WordPress website, as many of you likely do, it’s important to keep it up to date. The software that runs your site gets updated every few months or so and these updates often address security issues and make your site function better.

5) Make it Mobile

Usage of the internet on mobile devices surpassed usage of the internet on desktop computers at the end of 2014. If your site is not yet mobile-friendly, not only are you missing opportunities with potential clients, but search engines are not also not ranking you as highly on search results on mobile devices as sites who are mobile-friendly.

Need help with any or all of these pieces?

Schedule a Free Website Consultation Today

Why Go Mobile?

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cellphone-laptopOne of the hot topics in web design and development this year was and is “going mobile.”  How could it not be, really? With the already huge influx of smartphone use both in America and internationally (36% of global consumers use smartphones; source) and the lofty projections for future smartphone usage increase, it’s no wonder that the web design world is a-buzz with discussions on how to meet the demand for mobile-friendly sites (check out TAG Online Vice President and CTO Andy Gideon’s article on defining “mobile-friendly” here).

Some people, however, choose to opt out of creating a version of their website specifically designed for mobile use. Websites can function on mobile devices–the problem is not that the sites are mobile “un-friendly”.  Sites that are mobile friendly, however, are specifically designed to achieve the goal of the website on a mobile device, which is the way a huge portion of your audience is viewing your site.  And remember, the goal of any website is, of course, to cause the visitor to take action.

Why you should create a mobile-friendly website:

  • Sites lose functionality when they are not specifically created for mobile devices.  And loss of functionality means loss of sales (if the site is too difficult to use, the viewer will give up, as pointed out by Andy in his previous post).  By fitting the screen, having buttons large enough to click accurately with a finger, and having the most important information immediately accessible (store location, hours, “call us”/”get directions” button) mobile sites maintain the functionality of the original site, guiding people to take the same action that they would on a computer.
  • Mobile commerce (mCommerce for short), is on the rise in a big way.  In 2012, US mCommerce sales rose 81% to nearly $25 billion, and in 2013, total mCommerce is expected to reach $37.44 billion (eMarketer report “Retail Mobile Commerce Forecast: Shoppers Turn to Smartphones First”).  Your business cannot afford to miss out on its piece of these mobile sales.
  • Mobile/tablet sales are surpassing desktop computer/laptop sales.  According to current statistics, tablet sales surpassed laptop sales for the first time in 2013 and will continue to surpass laptop sales into 2019.  Tablet sales will surpass not only laptop sales, but also all PC sales, by 2015 (source).  As mCommerce and the ubiquity of mobile devices increase globally, “going mobile” becomes less and less an option, and more and more a necessity.
  • Mobile friendliness is a ranking factor in search engines On April 21, 2015, Google Search expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, meaning that mobile-friendly sites rank higher than non-mobile friendly sites on mobile devices.

As scores of new mobile-friendly sites are launched each day, don’t let your website get lost in the shuffle of sites that have not yet caught up with the trend.  An effective mobile-friendly site shows newness and an interest in keeping your business ahead of the curve.  As the ubiquity of mobile devices and mCommerce grows, your website cannot afford to lose its functionality when being viewed on a mobile device.  Keep your product moving–go mobile! Contact us to get started.

 

Networking Made Easy! Teleseminar

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Do you find it challenging to articulate things about which you are passionate? Are you ever a wallflower at networking events or unsure about how to include yourself in a group of people, whether in a social or professional situations? Find out how to be yourself while networking so you can easily and effortlessly let people know what you do, who you are, and what you have to offer. You’ll discover how easy and fun it can be!

Join Amy Gideon and Valerie Paik for a fun 3-session teleseminar where you can learn how to be an effective networker in any environment – work, social, family – wherever you are.

Dates – Thursdays:
July 24th
July 31st
August 14th

Time: 7pm-8:30pm EST.

Place: The comfort of your home, via a toll-free number.

If you can’t make the live call, you can listen to the recordings.  We’ll also have a Facebook group page where you can send in questions and connect with fellow participants.

Who: Anyone Anywhere in the World! Feel free to invite friends, family, colleagues, etc.

Fee: $75

To Register: Click Here to Register Online
Or call TAG Online at 973-783-5583 or email sales@tagonline.com with any questions.

Expand your horizons and join us for this fun, energizing event!

About Amy Gideon
Amy Gideon is President and Co-Founder of TAG Online, Inc., a NJ based web design, development and hosting company since 1993. In addition to running a successful business with her husband Andy, Amy is Co-President of her son’s PTA, holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has two sons.

About Valerie Paik
Valerie Paik is Vice President of Business Development at TAG Online. She is also PR/Marketing Coordinator for ASK Productions, Inc. She holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, plays the clarinet in various homes and venues around NJ and NYC, is a professional performer and teacher of belly dance and enjoys running & triathlons.

Presentation: Is Your Website Host an Asset or a Liability?

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This Tuesday, February 18, 2014, our very own Valerie Paik, Business Development & Project Manager, will speak at the Technology Committee of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce about the importance of selecting the right website hosting company for your business.

Everyone knows that having a website is essential in today’s marketplace. However, most people don’t realize the importance of selecting a good website hosting company or what that even means. A website is worth nothing if it cannot be seen by your target audience and your hosting company can be the difference between your website being seen or not.  Join us and discover:

– What you need to know about website hosting.
– How to select the right hosting company for you.
– What you can expect from a great hosting company.

Date:  Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Time: 8am – 9am
Location: Morris County Chamber of Commerce
325 Columbia Turnpike, Suite 101, Florham Park, NJ 07932
RSVP ONLINE

What Makes Web Hosting with TAG Online Different

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People often ask us about the advantages of hosting with us as opposed to a larger hosting company, perhaps one whose commercials you’ve seen on TV.  Below are some of the reasons why hosting with TAG Online, over another web hosting company, is different:

TAG Online’s success lies in our team.  We work efficiently, driven by knowledge and experience, and cohesively, both internally and in partnerships with our clients.  Because we are a team-oriented, client-focused company, we can build personal relationships with our clients.  This makes each project a collaborative effort between TAG and our client — we work both with you and for you.

Our website hosting service includes not only the hosting of your website on our servers, but also email (optional), statistical reports, nightly backups of all of your data, and responsive customer support. With satisfaction and support as our main goals, we service a large number of clients: We have over 500 hosting clients and sites.  Your website “going down” is never an issue (on the rare and temporary instances when that does occur, it is because of maintenance we are doing). We have an on-site generator in case of power loss, and our entire support staff is on a pinger system that notifies them at any sign of potential vulnerability. You can read more about our data center, redundant networks and other hosting features here.  Here are some other distinguishing factors of our website hosting service:

  • Responsive and reliable customer support: We are available via phone & email during business hours and email & cell phone off business hours.  We’re here for you!
  • Restores: Mistakes can happen when updating your own site and if/when you happen to accidentally delete or overwrite a page on your site, we will restore it for you immediately at no additional charge (other hosting companies will either charge for this or take days to do it).
  • Knowledge & experience: Not only are we a web hosting company, but we are also a team of expert website designers and developers.  That means that we can handle your requests efficiently and suggest improvements and options for how to best serve your website needs.
  • Consistency & familiarity: We know you, your organization, and how you work. You will not be speaking with strangers each time you call, but rather, a familiar team member that knows your story and has your best interest in mind.

So now you know a little bit more about TAG Online…and what makes us a good choice for your business.  We look forward to getting to know you, too.

Defining Mobile

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Something unique about our company is that we all like each other. In fact, many of us are close friends and participate in many activities together (running, Tae Kwon Do and workshops on practical enlightenment, for example). On the car ride into a workshop one evening, a conversation arose about making websites mobile-friendly where I walked the others through an exploration of the question What does it mean for a web site to be “mobile”? I liked the Socratic Dialog nature of the discussion, and it evolved into this article, which is likely to be the first in a series continuing the discussion on this very relevant and important topic for anyone considering their website.

Starting with the Answer

As mobile devices have proliferated, we as web developers have been asked with increasing frequency to develop mobile sites or to assure that more generic sites are mobile friendly. This request often originates with someone who is aware that mobile devices are increasingly ubiquitous in our culture, especially in more affluent and/or younger subcultures. The request comes from the perspective that this audience exists, and must therefore be served.

As far as that goes, the perspective is quite accurate. However, we often find very quickly that the definition of mobile friendly in these requests is vague or incomplete. While there’s an awareness that something must be done, there’s less consensus regarding what that something should be. The answer of having a mobile ready site is clear, but the question being solved by this answer is often given little consideration.

This article is derived from a conversation among some people in our company where we helped explore the question being answered. Our aim in publishing it is to offer a framework for how to best approach the conversation about, and eventually the implementation of, building a mobile-friendly website.

What Should It Do?

When we hear “we need a mobile site,” the first question we ask is “what must it do?” That is, what is expected of a mobile site that is different from a more generic web site? This question is often the beginning of an exploration of what mobile means to the client.

The Easy Answers

The immediate answer is almost always some form of “it needs to work on a small screen”. Another display-based aspect of a mobile site is that it must work well in either landscape or portrait modes.

Another very common quick response is “it needs to be easy to use on a phone”. I tend to express this in the short, if not entirely accurate, form: usable w/o keyboard or mouse. Nested menus may work very well with a precise pointing device like a mouse, and might even work well on a phone that is very stable. However, phones are often used as people walk. A user interface that requires too precise a touch on a phone is one where a lot of errors will occur, especially if the user is walking or otherwise performing some other activity while using the web site. If it is sufficiently difficult, the user will give up.

Another consideration for both screen size and keyboard is use of a virtual keyboard: if one is required for any data entry, that consumes screen space, leaving even less than “normal” for the display of the page. Anything that needs to be visible to the user as the data entry occurs must not be obscured by a virtual keyboard. Again, landscape vs. portrait modes must both be supported.

As Freud would say: Sometimes, a Mobile Phone is a Mobile Phone

A consideration regarding how people use the site that often takes more time for people to realize is what I call using the phone. Many websites have buttons or links for Contact Us. Some even have Live Chat within this.

A mobile site, though is very often being displayed on a telephone. Though it is often forgotten in a world of smart phones, mobile browsers, and SMS messaging, phones are quite capable of a very effective form of voice communication! In addition to the other forms of contact, a mobile site being displayed on a phone should include a Call Us button or link that uses the phone to make a call.

Not Everyone has 4G or Wireless Ethernet

Not everyone thinks of the feature: demands little bandwidth. Many people today, especially in metropolitan markets, are used to a landscape littered with hotspots and 4G performance in between. Much of the US, however, operates with more severe bandwidth limits. More, an increasing number of smartphone contracts are imposing data limits with overage penalties.
Mobile sites, therefore, must keep their bandwidth needs to a minimum.

A Mobile Device is a Device

Rarely does the conversation get to this next point without help. Yet this point is right there in the name of the device. The defining aspect of a mobile device is that it is mobile: It moves from place to place, and is usable in any location. Every point above, excluding Call Us, involves accommodating one or another limitation imposed on mobile devices. That these devices are mobile, however, is a differentiator that can be used to provide great added value to the site’s users.

Google’s search mechanism is an example of a generic service that can be greatly enhanced by taking advantage of location. On any web browser on any device, one can search for coffee shops Montclair NJ to locate coffee shops in or around Montclair, New Jersey. On a location aware browser, however, one can ask merely for coffee shops and be given those that are nearby.

Another example of a web site that takes advantage of location awareness is one that reports on the state of a trip. It can use the current location of the mobile device to present the current state of the trip: the time spent and time remaining, the directions for the remainder of the trip, etc. This can be a straightforward application such as Google Maps, or it can be one that supports an itinerary of shopping at a planned set of stores or exploring a planned set of historic landmarks.
Considering these trip-oriented sites, though, takes us a step beyond a website that takes advantage of location in our understanding of mobile friendly. (That is another post entirely.)

A Mobile Device is used While Mobile

Above was presented a website that provided the state of an ongoing trip. However, a site that presents the state of a trip also requires that the trip be entered into the website. In addition to the portion of the web site reporting on the trip as it is undertaken, there must be some portion of the site where the trip is planned and entered.

This suggests the next level of a mobile friendly web site: one which organizes tasks based upon whether one is using a mobile device or not. The site can use the type of browser as a suggestion: is a trip under way, or is a trip being planned? Of course, this can only be a suggestion. Someone may plan a trip from their phone, and someone can take a trip with an open laptop.

But regardless of the device being used, the site includes both the while planning portion of the site and the while traveling portion of the site.

Finishing With The Question

The features above explore some possible fashions in which a website can be mobile friendly. Different applications, and different clients, will seek to make use of some different subset of these. It is critical for the success of any mobile friendly project that all parties share an understanding of just how mobile friendly is to be implemented for this project.

Tag Online Featured in Morris County Chamber of Commerce The Business Edge

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Read “In the Trenches,” by Christopher Reardon, featured in the July 2012 issue of The Business Edge, the monthly publication of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.

How important is social media today? How can business keep up with innovation of technology while not getting left in the stone ages? In the trenches of the business market, social media has been a phenomenon that swept throughout corporate America. With technology being improved everyday and media happening real time, companies must stay connected to their customers and future clients.

In this article, Valerie Paik, Business Development and Project Manager from TAG Online states, “The purpose of social media is to connect with your current clients and potential clients, and their friends and their clients”. In addition businesses want return on investment but if your communication comes off to pushy, people will turn away. The new era of social media is not only about marketing but a conversation – a way to connect to  people live, play by play, minute by minute. In conclusion, Valerie says: “It’s all about getting to know people and creating relationships…” If you’re not tuned in to social media it’s a good time to get started!  Feel free to call us to see how we can help.

At TAG, You’re It!

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Most people don’t realize how powerful a website can truly be. First impression are important! When you take care of your website the website will take care of you. Our Newsletter to Our Summer 2012 gives you helpful tips on how to enhance your website, discussing topics like social media, mobile visibility, flash, favicons and an example of a recent redesign for one of our clients.

Our Summer 2012 Newsletter