5 Steps to a Faster Website

Today, the average adult has an attention span comparable to a goldfish. So, when it comes to your website, you’d better be sure you have everything in order. The first key to making your website faster:  page load speed.

page loading

Faster Page Load = Better

The amount of time it takes a web user to load your website is critical. This is especially true if you operate a retail or e-commerce business. Each second lost in page load time may be dollars lost in revenue. Take the following for example:

For e-commerce sites, web loading times are even more crucial than other sites. It has been found that a delay of microseconds can potentially cause a significant loss of revenue. Tests at Amazon revealed similar results: every 100 ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1% (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007). Google discovered that a change in a 10-result page loading in 0.4 seconds to a 30-result page loading in 0.9 seconds decreased traffic and ad revenues by 20% (Linden 2006). [source]

One percent may not sound like a lot; however, when you consider how much business Amazon does every hour, every day, a one percent revenue loss is significant. The same can be said for smaller businesses or ‘mom n’ pop’ shops.

Building Customer Loyalty & Trust

According to Kissmetrics, nearly 50% of consumers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less. Putting this into perspective, if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. [source]

In the time it takes your website to load (slowly), your would-be customer has already clicked off and found another online retailer to do business with. The impact of slow page load times that fail to meet customer expectations is far reaching. Not only can it create a lack of trust and loyalty; it can actually sully your brand and brandish your business as being unreliable.

Anatomy of a Webpage

website loading spinnerFiguring out why your webpage/website isn’t loading as fast as you’d like is a matter of thinking through the different components that make up your website. Each webpage is made up of the following:

  • 63% images
  • 16% javascripts
  • 3% HTML
  • 3% CSS
  • 16% other

If your website is loading slowly, it’s likely due to the fact that there is a large amount of content on the site, and that content isn’t structured properly. This is an important point to note as there are countless websites made up of thousands of webpages that function smoothly and load without issues.

How do you make a website faster? 5 Steps

So, how do you go about making your website faster? Consider the following tips [source]:

Make Your Website Faster By:

#1 – Optimizing Images

At 63 percent, images take up a huge chunk of room on most websites. Make sure you reduce the image file size before saving it or uploading it to your website. Photoshop, for example, has a “save for web” option to help you automatically reduce the file size. Otherwise, if you upload an image at its regular full size, the browser has to work hard to resize that image (hence the delays in page load time). There are also other online programs out there to help you reduce image file sizes.

#2 – Minifying Your Assets

Minifying your assets refers to the act of condensing the CSS code, which makes it quicker for web browsers to read the data on your website. This is a great thing as browsers will read the code with less gaps, which will help speed up the page load time. There are also plugins available to help you do this.

#3 – Combining Assets

Combining assets refers to the act of combining multiple files with a single file for CSS & JavaScript. Doing this will reduce the amount of times your computer needs to request and send data to from your a server to other devices.

#4 – Updating Your Web Browser

Technology moves fast, and it is important to keep up! One of the simplest things you can do is make sure that your web browser is up to date. There are various plugin available to help you out with this, and it is recommended that you let an experienced web developer handle this sort of update. On the plus side, an updated web browser can significantly improve site performance, and more.

#5 – Caching Your Website

When an individual web user visits your website, “caching” is what allows the visitor’s web browser to remember what files were used, and it will pull these files locally onto the user’s screen (versus having to make individual trips to the web server).

10 Tips for Social Media Success

by USDAgov on flickr ccToday, it makes sense to be involved on social media. The key to being successful with social media, however, is determining which social media channel makes the most sense for your brand/business, and coming up with a plan of action to better engage your target audience.

Marketing Your Brand via Social Media

Getting started in social media can seem overwhelming for some businesses because there are so many different social media sites available, and each one takes a considerable amount of time to set up, and manage on an ongoing basis. One of the rookie mistakes that many businesses make is setting up a profile on every single social media channel. Take a look at the following list of social media tips to help you better engage your audience.

10 Tips for Better Social Media Engagement

#1 – Listen.

Before you determine where to spend your time on social media, spend some time listening to what others are saying about you and about your industry. Where do you hear or observe the most conversations? This is where you need to be focused.

#2 – Engage.

A common mistake that many marketers make is trying to go for the hard sell immediately. This only turns customers off. Instead, focus on engaging them. Find common interests, tell your story, figure out how to relate to them on their level. Social selling focuses on just this. Eventually, you’ll find the right opportunity to introduce a service or product that your business offers

#3 – Post Quality Content.

Content will always rule the roost. Once you’ve listened to your customers needs, you can use that to build relevant, engaging content. Content should be: useful, informative, and shareable. Things to consider include: length of content, visual stimuli (images), and easy access to share (ex: social buttons).

#4 – Have a Plan.

Fail to plan. Plan to fail. Consider how you plan to produce your content, what mediums you’ll use, how often you’ll post it, and what niches you’ll target. Then, sit down and come up with a social media calendar, and be sure to include any editorial content, such as blog posts, press releases, and new landing pages. Share this with your team, and delegate responsibilities (if need be) so that you know who is posting what to where.

#5 – Don’t rush things.

Like most things done well, it will take time for things to come together. BE PATIENT. Set realistic expectations for your business, and recognize that true success is (and should be) a long term goal.

#6 – Find Influencers.

Determine who the influencers are in your niche. Look at how their social media is set up, listen to what they are saying and who they are saying it to. Take notes. Figure out what they are doing and how you can apply it to your own social media plan(s).

#7 – Create Value.

People love to buy, but they hate being sold to. So, how do you sell others on your brand or business model? Create value that they simply can’t pass up on. This goes back to quality content, listening to what people are saying, determining what the possible needs are, and figuring out how your business/brand can solve their problem(s).

#8 – Acknowledge Others.

Success isn’t built by one person. Rather, it is the result of multiple people coming together to provide a solution. As you craft and implement your social media strategy, don’t be shy about acknowledging others. Building relationships is what social media is about, and part of social media marketing success is reaching back out to those who have reached out to you.

#9 – Be Accessible & Responsive.

It’s easy enough to create content, publish it, and then leave it alone. Instead, you should be on the ball – using your social media content calendar to stay on top of the latest news, posts, and other publications to your website. People have short attention spans nowadays, and it is more important than ever to create content that people care about and that you’re available to help foster discussions about. *Hint* Don’t publish content and then drop off the face of the earth for a month!

#10 – Focus Your Efforts.

By now, you already know who your target audience is, what sorts of questions they have, and where they spend the majority of their time online. Next steps: Focus your efforts by spending your time where your audience spends their time online.

Ex: If you find that most of your customers are on LinkedIn, perhaps you can field answers or offer a professional opinion in response to questions that you’ve seen asked. As an alternative, you can also create content around common questions or problems related to your industry, and then share this content on social media channels that your customers use the most.

Data Security in the Digital Age: Risks vs Rewards

How does your company define risk?

In 2014 alone, breaches at just five companies affected 229 million people.

In 2014, the fifth annual “Cost of Cyber Crime Study” found that, over the year, the average cost of U.S. corporate cyber crime climbed by more than 9 percent, to $12,700,000. In 2015, that number increased 19% to $15.5 million.

by NEC Corporation of America on flickr cc

Data Breaches on the Rise for Businesses

The increasing prevalence of widespread data breaches has many business owners re-thinking their data security and trying to figure out ways to make data breach response plans a priority, whereas they hadn’t in the past.

According to the 2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, published by Experian:

“The risk of experiencing a data breach is higher than ever with almost half of organizations suffering at least one security incident in the last 12 months. To address this, 48 percent of organizations increased investments in security technologies in the same timeframe, and 73 percent acknowledged the likelihood of a breach by developing a data breach response plan.”

The increased risk of data breaches affect businesses, both big and small, and the effects can be devastating – not only for the business involved, but for those whom the business serves.

11 Cyber Crime Facts & Figures Worth Noting

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of Cyber Crime Study:

  1. Cyber crimes are still on the rise.
  2. by Nick Papakyriazis on flickr ccCyber crime cost varies by organizational size.
  3. All industries fall victim to cybercrime, but to different degrees.
  4. Most cyber crimes are caused by malicious insiders, denial of services, and web-based attacks.
  5. Cyber attacks can be costly if not resolved quickly. (avg. resolution period is 46 days at a rate of $21,155/day)
  6. Business disruption represents the highest external cost, followed by the costs associated with information loss.
  7. Detection is the most costly internal activity, followed by recovery. (accounts for 53 percent of total internal activity costs)
  8. Activities related to IT security receive the highest budget allocation.
  9. Deployment of security intelligence systems makes a difference. (Security intelligence systems are efficient in detecting and containing cyber attacks, saving companies $1.9 million)
  10. Companies deploying security intelligence systems experienced a substantially higher ROI (23%) than others.
  11. Deployment of enterprise security governance practices moderates the cost of cyber crime.

Safeguarding Your Business’ Personal Information

By safeguarding your business’ personal information, you protect your brand, affiliates, and customers. Failing to put some form of data breach prevention in place runs you the risk of losing customers, brand trust, reputation, and revenue. Take the following example of Sony:

Case Study: Sony

Sony is know for producing high quality electronic products. In April 2011, Sony experienced a massive breach of its PlayStation Network, followed by successive breaches to its online entertainment division.

The result? More than 100 million customer records were lost, and several Sony business operations were forced to shut down in a matter of weeks. Adding to the fallout, Sony’s image was sullied, and the company received tons of negative press.

While Sony apologized and accepted responsibility for the data breach, the public’s general perception of Sony was that data security was more of an afterthought; it was something that Sony hadn’t taken seriously.

Failure to ensure that their customers’ information was safe led both a loss of reputation as well as a loss of trust. 

[source]

Shifting Accountability to Reap Rewards

We live in a data-driven society where information is exchanged online in a matter of seconds. This is beneficial for businesses, but as we have seen, you often assume risk with reward.

By shifting accountability and increasing scrutiny, business leaders can work together to prevent data breaches from occurring – or, at a minimum, they can offer faster, more effective solutions/responses if a breach occurs.

Facebook Advertising for Dentists – Choosing the Right Messaging

When you hire an Internet marketing agency to do web marketing for your dental practice, they should be aware of what level of discretion to use and how to present your dental practice in the most favorable light to current customers and prospects.

Facebook advertising, when done correctly, can be an asset to most dental practices, especially when it is part of a more comprehensive online marketing plan. Below, we take a look at an example of what NOT to do when it comes to Facebook advertising for dental practices.

Dental Web Marketing - Advertisement

Facebook Ads for Dentists: Why It Works, Why It Doesn’t Work

It is estimated that 75 percent of US adults experience some degree of dental fear, ranging from mild to severe. This can be caused by a poor experience, hearing about someone else’s poor dental experience, mass media, or a general lack of control and/or helplessness when in the dentist chair. It is no wonder that many people have some apprehension about seeing a dentist!

The above ad only acts to reinforce this notion of odontophobia by using an image of a Dental Implant that is about to be drilled into the gum line. This image is barely acceptable for any type of targeting and/or advertising in which you are trying to present dentists in a favorable light. Instead, the image likely scares away prospective clients who don’t know what a dental implant is, and it may even induce a sense of trepidation among those who are aware about dental implants and who, normally, don’t have an issue with seeing a dentist. We would NOT recommend it.

At Look to the Right, we have helped dental practices create successful Facebook advertising to reach their consumers. We take the time to get to know your dental practice. More importantly, we have experience working with clients in the dental industry and are sensitive to the messaging that needs to go into Facebook advertising to produce the best results.

Dental Practices Can Increase Reach with Facebook Ads

Facebook Boosted Posts are a relatively inexpensive way to create an impact for dental web marketing. You can choose your budget, spending as little or as much as you want. You also have the flexibility to choose how long you want to boost your post. Facebook boosted posts are automatically boosted for one full day. However, you can select up to 7 days.

Facebook ads and boosted posts are relatively simple to set up, and the ads offer you the ability to target specific demographic groups based on criteria such as: interest, age, location, income, etc. Because of this, your dental practice is better able to reach those who have interests and behaviors that are consistent with your ideal type of patient.

As a busy owner of a dental practice, there is often little time in the day left to successfully manage the details of an online marketing campaign. At LTTR, we are experts in Social media management and all other aspects of online marketing. We’ll work with you to make sure that your overall marketing goals are aligned with your Facebook Advertising.

by Joe The Goat Farmer on flickr cc

What Makes a Facebook Ad Campaign Successful?

There are different aspects of a Facebook campaign. The following are four key areas to focus on when creating Facebook ads for your dental practice:

#1 – Planning

In the planning phase, you determine what the goal(s) of your Facebook Advertisement(s) will be. Example: You want to create Facebook ads that focus on sedation dentistry to help acquire new sedation dentistry clients.

#2 – Budget

Facebook is flexible when it comes to budgets. You determine how much to spend!

#3 – Testing

If it is your first time running a Facebook ad for your dental practice, we may recommend doing some A/B testing to see which ad does better under a certain set of criteria.

#4 – Optimization

Once you have an idea of your Facebook advertising goals, budget, and messaging, it is time to optimize your ads by creating a unique story that people will not only want to click on; they’ll want to share it.

For additional information about Facebook advertising for dental practices, contact Look to the Right today by calling (919) 926-8733, or fill out our simple form below.

 

6 Signs You May Need a New Website

by eofstr on flickr ccIt’s 2015. You already know that having website is important, but how do you know whether it’s time to get a new website? This question is best answered by looking at several criteria, which we have outlined below.

#1 – Your website looks awful.

You don’t have to have a degree in graphic design to be able to look at a website and know that it doesn’t look good. One of the major factors that contributes to website performance has to do with the actual web design. This is also an area where many people will spend the most money. Why? Because a good website design can do a little, but a great website can do wonders for a business.

In a digital age of short attention spans, your website says a ton about your business. You should want to leave a positive impression on people that will make them want to hang out on your site and, hopefully, convert. Therefore, it is worth the time and effort to invest in a killer web design.

#2 – You aren’t getting any traffic.

Think of your website as a virtual storefront for your business. If you’ve got Google Analytics set up on your site, yet still you aren’t seeing any increase in traffic, it’s a red flag – especially if your site has been around for a bit.  From here, you should ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Am I contributing fresh content to the site on a regular basis?
  • Do I have social media sharing set up correctly?
  • Am I doing any PPC advertising?
  • Is my current content shareable? (ex: well written & informative)

#3 – Your website is slow.

Patience is a virtue. It is also something that most of us lack when surfing the web. If your website is slow to load, there could be several issues happening. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Your website uses Flash.
  • Your code is messy (aka: bulky).
  • You use too much embedded media + You use a host site.
  • You do not host your content on your own server.
  • Your images aren’t optimized.
  • You use too many 3rd party plugins.

*For solutions to slow websites, talk to us today!

#4 – Your website doesn’t work well on mobile devices.

Welcome to the age of mobile devices. If you want to compete, you have to have a mobile friendly website. Look to the Right can help you come up with a mobile website design that works for you and your target audience. Also, check out our writeup about mobile devices.

#5 – Your branding/market/messaging has changed.

As we previously mentioned, your website is your springboard to show and tell the world what your business is about. If you’ve changed your branding or messaging since having your website, it’s probably time for an overhaul. The look and feel of your website should accurately reflect who and what your business is.

#6 – You struggle to make content updates.

Technology has come a long way. That said, content management systems (CMS) have also come a long way in helping business owners and staff members effectively (and easily) manage on-site content without having to have a working knowledge of coding.

Being able to make content updates easily and regularly is crucial when looking at the overall success of your website. If your CMS is outdated, it may be time to look into getting your content onto site that uses an easy CMS, like WordPress or Magento.

For more information about website design or for a FREE estimate on a total website overhaul, contact us by filling out our online, located at the bottom of this page.