Why a DIY Website Is Not The Best Idea For Your Business

If you’re planning to build a business website there’s a good chance you’re considering a DIY solution such as Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. These companies advertise extensively online and their offers are very tempting. The idea of quickly putting up a professional-looking…

If you’re planning to build a business website there’s a good chance you’re considering a DIY solution such as Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. These companies advertise extensively online and their offers are very tempting. The idea of quickly putting up a professional-looking website in minutes is especially attractive to people who aren’t tech-savvy or who don’t have a dedicated design or IT department to create their website. Before you sign up for an “instant website,” however, you should consider the drawbacks as well as the benefits. As with anything, there are both pros and cons. The following are some of the factors that you should take into account when considering a DIY solution for your business:

Generic Templates

When you look at the websites for DIY websites, you’ll probably be impressed with the attractive templates they offer. The downside is that these are very large companies with lots of customers, all of whom are using the same templates. They may wow you with their hundreds of templates, often specific to certain industries (e.g. restaurants, salons, dentists, etc.). When you consider how many customers they have, however, you’ll realize that many, many websites are sharing the exact same template.

An effective business website needs to be unique. You need to separate yourself from the competition. When people see a generic website, they may not consciously realize it but they’ll notice that they’re not looking at anything new. Even if you customize the templates, you’ll be sharing the basic look with lots of other businesses in your industry. If you want to stand apart from your competition, it’s worth considering a more customized solution.

Not SEO-Friendly

Your website won’t do you much good if your potential customers can’t find it. You need your site to be optimized for the search engines. SEO is a complex field that requires all kinds of fine-tuning and a customized approach. A DIY site may advertise itself as Google or SEO-friendly but these types of services are actually very limited in this all-important area. When you are serving the needs of thousands of customers all over the country (or world), you can’t pinpoint the needs of every individual website owner.

SEO gets more competitive all the time. Furthermore, Google frequently changes its algorithms. Large DIY website builders are not able to keep up with these rapidly changing rules. Nor can they attend to the specific needs of your website. Of course, if you’re an SEO expert yourself, you can provide the right kind of content, keywords, on-page optimization, and attend to the many other factors you need to rank well with Google. In that case, however, it isn’t DIY as you’re doing much of the heavy lifting yourself. Speaking of changing algorithms, you never know when Google will specifically target a certain type of generic website, such as when Wix websites dropped in the rankings due to issues with their web sites being indexed in Google.

Lack of Support

DIY website services promise you great support. They might indeed offer support by email, phone, and chat. What you need to realize, however, is that you won’t be getting personalized help. The staff at such companies are well trained but in a very limited manner. They are dealing with many thousands of clients every day. Their support is very good at answering generic questions about how the features work. For example, if you need help in learning how to embed a video or change a font, they’ll be able to help you.

However, if you want to build a successful business website you have unique needs. You may find that not all of the features work for you. Unfortunately, these sites run on the “one size fits all” philosophy. In exchange for convenience and a relatively low price, you won’t get much in the way of customized help. This will tend to make your website fairly generic, as you’ll be using the same features as everyone else and getting the same type of support.

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Requires Know-how and Maintenance

The main selling point for a DIY website builder is that it’s easy to use. All such services have a tagline that says “No tech skills or coding required” or something similar. You may be surprised to learn that using such a service isn’t quite as easy at it looks. While it may be true that you don’t need to code such websites, you do need to learn how to use a long list of features. You’ll also have to revisit these features and possibly learn new ones if you ever want to make changes to your website (which you inevitably will).

Although one of the drawbacks of a DIY website is that you’re stuck with generic templates, you do have limited options for customizing features. You can, for example, change fonts, colors, and layouts. There’s a learning curve, however, to learn how to use each feature. The more customized you want your site to be, the more time you’ll have to invest in learning how to use the features. This leaves you in a conundrum. On the one hand, the whole reason you signed up for a DIY website is that it was supposed to be easy. Yet to really get the maximum benefits, you need to invest the time to become an expert.

Less Flexibility

Before you sign a contract to build your site using a DIY service, be sure to read the fine print. In many cases, you don’t own the website yourself. This means that if you decide the service isn’t right for you, you’ll have to start over from scratch. If you build your own website, on the other hand (or hire an agency to do it for you), at least it’s your own property. You have much more flexibility to make changes whenever you want.

Not as Cheap as it Seems

Many businesses are drawn to the DIY website solution because of the low cost. Why pay a designer when you can get a website for a low monthly fee? When you consider all of the variables, however, these sites aren’t quite as economical as they first appear.

  • You get what you pay for. All of the limitations already discussed, should make you question how reasonable these sites really are.
  • They offer multiple plans. DIY website builders usually advertise free or cheap plans. However, these often don’t include basics such as your own domain (essential for branding and SEO). You may also need to upgrade to get even basic SEO capabilities or to remove the company’s logo from your website (also crucial for branding). When you start looking at the cost for upgraded plans, it’s no longer as cheap.
  • Poor ROI. Ultimately, what counts isn’t the dollar amount of the money you invest in your business but the ROI. It will be hard to impress your audience with a generic website that doesn’t convey the unique characteristics of your business.

These are some of the points to consider before signing up for a DIY website builder. This is an important decision for your business, one that reflects on your brand, reputation, and income. While these services sound convenient and reasonable, make sure you consider all of the consequences before you commit yourself. Make sure you choose a solution that lets you show the world what makes your business special. A DIY website builder doesn’t always let you do this.

7 Best Practices for Designing the Perfect Contact Page (with examples)

For many companies, the contact page becomes an afterthought. It is one of the most important pages on your website and it is where you begin the conversation with potential customers. As is often is the case with contact pages, if it fails to…

For many companies, the contact page becomes an afterthought. It is one of the most important pages on your website and it is where you begin the conversation with potential customers. As is often the case with contact pages, if it fails to produce that final action by the user, a potential customer is lost.

Your contact page doesn’t have to be overly designed or stuffed full of information, but it does have to have all the right details. These seven best practices will ensure your contact page is perfection.

1. Include All of Your Contact Details

It may seem obvious, but the most critical element to include on your contact page is your contact details. All of them. Think about it from a user experience perspective. You don’t know how your customers prefer to contact you. Older ones may want to use the phone or mail, while younger customers may prefer using social media. Most people will want to email you, but unless it’s your company’s policy to conduct business only through a limited number of methods, it’s best to include every contact method your company uses.

Include:
• Email Address(es) or contact form
• Physical/Mailing Address
• Embedded Google Map and link
• Operating Hours
• Phone number
• Social Media
• Other contact methods

Hubspot does a good job of providing users with different ways of contacting them. Whether a customer wants support, needs to talk to a salesperson, or has a question, Hubspot’s contact page does a great job of guiding the user to their desired information (and ensuring they are directing their message to the correct person). Another great add-on is the use of live chat if the user just imply want to do a quick chat to get their questions answered in a timely fashion.

2. Choose the Best Email Methods

You may be wondering whether to include a generic contact email address, several more specific generic email addresses, staff addresses, or a contact form. This depends on how your company prefers to conduct business. Most pages don’t choose just one method. They give users multiple options.

A generic email only works if you have a staff member or several who can sort through the inbox and forward emails to the appropriate contact points.

A contact form with a drop-down menu of general topics is a great option if you don’t have a staff person who can constantly manage a generic inbox. The drop-down menu can direct the emails to the contact points attached to those topics. Zendesk uses a contact form with a drop-down menu on their beautifully simple contact page, with options to direct a message to various departments such as billing or employment.

Having several generic email addresses for various topics is a great way to avoid using the contact form, but still get emails directed to the contact points for those topics.

Including staff email addresses on the contact page can result in staff members getting spam and many mistaken emails that they have to forward. However, including staff emails can be helpful for businesses in which staff have strong personal relationships with clients. If a client is out-of-town or somehow loses the contact details of their contact, they can easily find it on the contact page.

SEM Rush does a great job guiding their users into contacting the correct person by providing several Call-To-Action’s such as “Ask Question”, “Request a Demo”, or “Contact Sales Team”. By offering clear and concise contact methods, both you and your clients will find the process streamlined and efficient.

3. Use the Appropriate CTA

Not everyone on your contact page is ready to buy. Some enter your contact page in the exploratory/research phases, some may have a question they couldn’t find an answer to on your site, some may be having technical issues with your site, and yes, some are ready to buy your services. Your contact page should acknowledge these differences.

In the copy on your page, you should make it aware that you welcome contact from anyone requesting a consultation, seeking more information, or any other popular requests you get from potential customers (you would know best what they are). For those who may have spotted a mistake on your website, you can either have a drop-down topic for them to choose or include a link to your webmaster’s email somewhere on the page.

Scribd takes this a step further by creating separate contact pages for different inquiries. Visitors have to choose one of the reasons to contact the company, and after selecting one, the visitor is either linked to an email address or taken to a separate page with the relevant contact information.

4. Show Some Personality

Contacting a company can sometimes be intimidating. Are my questions too basic? Are they even interested in a small account like mine? Are they too busy to answer my questions?

By adding a dash of personality to your contact page copy, you can soothe those worries. Many successful contact pages solve a common concern by stating that you will be talking to a human and you will hear back from a human, no matter how you contact them.

Another way to create a more personable contact page is to include images of staff members who will be answering the emails. You can even add short, fun quotes about how they enjoy answering contact emails or simply love their job. Campaign Monitor has a great picture of a friendly-looking staff member with a product-related quote next to their form to help humanize the company.

5. Set Expectations

With the popularity of website chat functions and 24/7 customer service hotlines, customers are becoming used to instantaneous responses to their inquiries. It’s important to set expectations for when they can expect an answer, so they don’t get antsy. If you’re using a contact form, this information can be included in the automated response. If your contact page lists email addresses without a form, you should also include response times in the page’s copy.

For certain questions or inquiries that you prefer to deal with via specific methods of contact, you can also highlight those situations on your contact page. This way, you can direct people to the best communication method and avoid wasting their time if something is best handled on the phone versus email, or email versus social media.

At the very top of the page, Basecamp puts their current average response time. While their response time is much faster than an average business, including the time front-and-center is a great way to set expectations. Also, note the fun illustrations of their staff (a great personalization factor).

6. Create Informative Automated Responses

When designing and writing copy for your contact page, don’t forget about the elements you can’t see—your automated responses. It’s important to take time to create friendly copy that thanks them for their email and sets expectations for response times. Just like the copy on your contact page, the tone of voice should be personable.

If you have a drop-down menu, you may be able to send different automated messages depending on what topic the user chose. It’s important to include as much personalization as you can. This shows customers that not only do you know that they sent a message, but you know what topic it was about. It also allows you to list different response times depending on the subject of the inquiry.

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7. Keep It Simple

The design of your contact page is important, but it should remain as simple as possible. There is no need to add animations or other distracting elements. Instead, the information should be allowed to shine. Create contact pages with the most critical information taking precedence. Having all the required information displayed pleasingly is a design feat on its own, so don’t add any unnecessary complications.

All of the examples used in this blog post feature different designs and layouts, but all of them are simple. As one final example, check out our contact page and get in touch with us if you have any questions or want to set up a consultation to find out how Mediaboom can help you reach your goals.

Ventus Networks: Technology Web Design

Our agency recently partnered with Ventus Network Solutions to strategize and design a brand new website for their expanding business. We worked with Ventus on creating a new site map and organizing their content in a way that is easy to navigate and…

A brand new website for Ventus Network Solutions

Our agency recently partnered with Ventus Network Solutions to strategize and design a brand new website for their expanding business. We worked with Ventus on creating a new site map and organizing their content in a way that is easy to navigate and understand. The main purpose of the new website was to educate customers on Managed Network-as-a-Service, which is a unique multi-faceted product that positions Ventus as a one-stop shop for custom designed, engineered, and fully managed networks.

See all the work we have done for Ventus including a custom whitepaper, infographics, environmental design and more. View Full Case Study»

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Luxury Email Marketing: Why Your Email List is so Important

Your email list is one of your most valuable digital assets. No matter what stage you’re at with email marketing, it’s always good to think of ways to build your list. If you don’t yet have a list, it’s never too early or late to start one. In this article, we’ll be exploring…

Your email list is one of your most valuable digital assets.

No matter what stage you’re at with your luxury email marketing strategy, it’s always good to think of ways to build your list.

If you don’t yet have a list, it’s never too early or late to start one.

In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the main advantages of email marketing as well as sharing some tips on how to grow your list.

Good ROI

Despite frequent speculations about email marketing being “dead” or declining, the actual numbers reveal a different story.

The Direct Marketing Association found that email marketing provides a 122% ROI, much higher than other methods (25% for paid search, 28% for social media).

There are several reasons for this, including the highly targeted nature of an email list and the relatively low cost of this type of marketing.

Naturally, ROI depends on many factors and not all email marketers enjoy the same conversion rates.

We’ll be discussing ways to get the most from your list later. However, it’s important to realize that your email list is a powerful resource that’s hard to match.

Your List is Your Own Property

Email marketing gives you a great deal of control over your digital campaign.

The same cannot be said for most other popular marketing strategies such as SEO, paid advertising, and social media.

The fact is, your list is your own property.

You can send messages to your list whenever you want and you’re not subject to the policies or algorithms of giant companies such as Google or Facebook (provided you don’t violate basic TOS such as spam laws, of course).

While a website is also your digital property, you’re highly dependent on Google and other search engines for visibility.

With social media sites, you rely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other companies to show your content.

When it comes to paid methods, you’re bidding against other advertisers. With AdWords and similar PPC platforms, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to maintain a good quality score and figure out the optimal keywords to bid on at the right prices.

This isn’t to say that you should avoid other marketing methods. In fact, email marketing actually complements other methods.

It’s worth noting, however, that out of all the major strategies, email marketing gives you the greatest degree of control and independence.

Helps You Build Your Brand

Your email list is a powerful tool for building your brand.

You can create your own unique messages based on your subscribers’ interests.

You can display your logo, use custom templates and include graphics and a layout that appeals to your audience.

Email messages are also perfect for sending traffic to your website, Facebook page, videos, and any other online content.

Easy to Track Analytics

It’s important to track all of your marketing campaigns.

Email campaigns are quite simple to track. Google Analytics, as well as email services and autoresponders (MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse, etc.), provide tools that let you measure variables such as open rates, click-throughs, and subscriber retention.

How to Grow Your Email List

Along with its many advantages, email marketing also presents certain challenges.

It’s more competitive than ever.

As people’s attention spans get shorter, you have to be more and more diligent about planning your campaigns.

These guidelines will help you grow your list and keep your subscribers engaged.

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Target the Right Audience

If you want to build a responsive email list, you have to make sure you’re targeting the right audience.

Make sure you’ve done plenty of demographic research.

Are you addressing the questions and problems that concern your customers?

You have to consider your audience when creating attractive offers (i.e. lead magnets) and for keeping people on your list once they’ve subscribed.

Create an Enticing Offer

Almost every business with a website now includes some type of lead magnet to motivate visitors to sign up for their lists.

In order to compete, you have to come up with a compelling reason. You can use one or more of the following ideas.

  • Address a specific issue. Simply offering a free e-book or report isn’t going to excite anyone. However, if you promise to solve a pressing problem, you’ll capture their interest.
  • Offer a financial incentive. Everyone likes to save money. If you offer a discount, coupon, free sample, or free trial, you give people a good reason to provide their email addresses.
  • Gated or upgraded content. The traditional approach is to offer subscribers a report, e-book, or white paper. An alternative is to make people subscribe in order to finish reading your article. A variation on this is to provide a free article but offer a more comprehensive follow-up or accompanying material (such as a checklist or cheat sheet) if they subscribe. You can increase interest in gated offers by promoting them on social media or with paid ads.
  • Have a highly visible and actionable call-to-action. Make sure your CTA button stands out and makes it clear what people have to do.

Provide Great Content

Lead generation is only the first step in email marketing. You also have to satisfy (or exceed) your subscribers’ expectations with engaging content.

  • Create compelling and relevant subject lines. The subject line of an email is comparable to a blog post’s headline. It determines whether or not someone opens your message. Make sure it’s interesting and provides a good summary of what your message is about.
  • Remember the reciprocity principle. Reciprocity simply means you need to give before you can expect to receive. Make sure your emails provide real value and aren’t just sales pitches. One way to do this is to offer quality information. You can also provide free gifts every so often.
  • Keep messages brief and concise. The longer the email, the greater your chances of losing the prospect. It’s fine to start and conclude with a few pleasantries. However, don’t go into great detail or digress from your main topic in the main section of your message.
  • Create a sense of urgency. You always want to suggest some type of scarcity in your offers, whether in terms of time or supply. You don’t have to do this in an overhyped manner. However, if people think they have unlimited time to think about your offer, they’re likely to put it aside and forget about it.
  • Include multiple calls-to-action. Just as you need a clear CTA in your lead magnets, so you need them in your emails. It’s best to include two or three links in each email. You might, for example, have a CTA button and one or two text links.

Test and Improve

As noted, one of the advantages of email marketing is the ability to track your campaigns.

The more you do this, the better your results will be in the long run.

Split testing is the most precise tool for identifying what is and isn’t working in your campaigns.

Whether you use Google Analytics, a paid tool, or outsource the task to an agency, make sure you test variables such as:

  • Subject lines
  • Layouts
  • Click-Throughs
  • Days and Times – Which give you the best open rates?
  • Call-to-action
  • Landing Pages

Luxury Email Marketing is Alive and Thriving

No matter what new trends and platforms come along, email marketing isn’t showing any signs of dying or even slowing down.

On the contrary, it keeps growing. According to the Email Statistics Report published by The Radicati Group, people will send 281 billion emails daily in 2018 and over 333 billion by 2022!

By building your list and providing your subscribers with helpful content, you have an efficient and cost-effective way to grow your business and engage with your customers.