Easy SEO Tips for Your Small Businesses Website

Easy SEO Tips for Your Small Businesses Website

If you have a website for your small business, then you’ve likely heard about the importance of good Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is simply a series of strategies that help your website rank higher on search engine listings when a web user conducts a search with keywords related to your industry. It is one of the best ways to get organic traffic to your website and can help boost brand recognition, leads and sales. 

Search engines have become more sophisticated over the years and their algorithms continue to make it easier for users to find the information they’re searching for. As a result, it has become more challenging to determine just how to achieve and maintain a high ranking. While there are some strategies that seem to work well, search engines like Google have been notoriously ambiguous about the exact tactics that will boost your rankings as well as how much weight certain SEO strategies hold. 

Because of this, it is nearly impossible to guarantee that any single SEO practice will improve the chance of your company being found online. However, by following SEO best practices and current trends, we have been able to help our clients improve their rankings and get more exposure for their company or brand. 

But you don’t need to be a digital marketing expert to boost your website’s visibility. We’ve compiled some simple steps that any small business owner can take to improve their website’s SEO.

  1. Use free online tools to understand how you rank now. There are a number of platforms with free services and trials that will tell you how your website is ranking in search engines now and what kind of organic site traffic you are getting. Without knowing where you currently stand, it will be difficult to know what to change. These platforms can even compare your website to competitors and tell you what keywords they are using, which can be extremely useful. 
  2. Expand your content. Generally, web pages with more content have better SEO scores. Current recommendations estimate that pages with 300-1,000+ words rank higher. If this seems like a lot of content for one web page, it is. Many businesses who want a minimal design on their homepage balk at the idea of adding 300+ words. However, there are ways to increase the content on your website, such as creating a blog or a Q+A section. When writing this content, make sure to include your main keywords in the headings and first paragraph of each page.
  3. Focus on content quality. Having a lot of keywords on your website isn’t enough to improve your SEO. In fact, having too many keywords is known as “keyword stuffing” and may even penalize your site. When writing content, make sure it is high quality and relevant to your audience. This will also engage your website visitors and prevent them from quickly “bouncing” away, which may hurt your rankings. Your content should include as many keywords as possible while still feeling natural, readable and relevant.
  4. Increase the number of backlinks to your website. When other websites link to yours, it shows the search engines that your site contains credible information. You can start generating backlinks to your website through strategies such as writing guest blog posts or collaborating with other businesses in your industry or related fields. 
  5. Tags and titles. This one might be a little trickier to implement depending on what website platform you are using and how familiar you are with it. In addition to the main content on your website, there is also hidden and supplemental content that will affect your SEO score. The title tags, meta tags, image titles and descriptions all affect how search engines read and index your site. If you are unsure about how to update these and which keywords to use, reach out to us at ATX The Brand. 

There are a number of other factors that can affect your search engine rankings. Even something as seemingly trivial as your page load time can have an impact. For more information about SEO strategies that can help boost your business website’s rankings, contact our team and we would be happy to share more about our SEO services.

How to Build a Recession Proof Small Business

How to Build a Recession Proof Small Business

More than one third of small businesses in the United States shut their doors because of the pandemic, and about 2.5 million people are still out of work because of company closures. These statistics are particularly troubling considering small businesses make up about 99 percent of the U.S. workforce, and many economists believe we are headed toward a global recession.

It is difficult enough to start and run a small business under normal economic conditions. So how are entrepreneurs and small companies supposed to survive in the face of extreme market volatility and rapidly changing consumer habits?

While there is no foolproof way to ride out a recession unscathed, there are certain strategies that can help small businesses retain and gain new customers despite a difficult economic climate. Here are five examples

Evaluate Cash Flow

The worst time to evaluate cash flow and cut expenses is when you are short on funds and need to make difficult sacrifices. Don’t wait until times are tough to take a hard look at where you could be optimizing your investments and reducing costs.  Building out your business savings or diversifying your investments ahead of a recession will give you more margin when it’s time to tighten the belt.

Invest in Digital Marketing

Creating an online presence for your small business is one of the best uses of your marketing and advertising dollars. Internet usage went up during the pandemic, and trends show that consumers are actually more likely to be on their phones or computers during difficult social or economic times. Because digital marketing has such a low barrier to entry, it is easy to find affordable and effective ways to get eyes on your products or services—whether through a website, social media, blog, ads, or other. 

Focus on Customer Service

Engaging with and listening to your customers is a powerful way to recession proof your business. Your audience’s needs will change over time, especially in the midst of an economic downturn. It is critical to be asking the right questions of your audience and understand how their needs and wants fluctuate. Establishing strong relationships with current customers will also help ensure customer loyalty and prevent them from switching to another company that promises better prices.

Automate Processes

Many small businesses waste time, energy, and money on manual processes that could easily be automated. There are likely many regular business processes you encounter on a daily or weekly basis that could be streamlined, outsourced or automated. While this may require an upfront investment, such as purchasing software or learning a new tool, it will ultimately save your bottom line in the long run.

Be Flexible

Flexibility is key when it comes to weathering an economic downturn or recession. If your small business is stuck in certain ways of doing things, and unable to evolve with the times,  this opportunity may be your downfall. Companies that succeed and grow during a recession are those that can pivot when needed and be flexible in their approach, whether from a product, marketing, or customer service standpoint.

Why Your Business Needs a Smart Website

Why Your Business Needs a Smart Website

You may have heard that a business website is your company’s best salesperson or most powerful marketing tool. While having a modern, engaging website is essential in today’s digital world, your company website is so much more than a digital business card or online storefront. 

If structured properly, your website can automate business processes, improve internal efficiencies, and elevate the customer experience. To put it simply, your business website is less like an interactive marketing brochure, and more like an employee. One that is working for you 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Many small businesses fail to leverage the opportunities and competitive advantages that their website can provide. They waste time, money and energy on services or processes that could be easily run and managed through a website or mobile app. That’s why companies across every industry should be investing in developing Smart Websites. 

A Smart Website is one that not only explains your business and the products and services you offer, but also helps you accomplish business tasks and goals. For example, a Smart Website for a restaurant or food service business might accommodate online ordering, answer common customer questions, and allow site visitors to make reservations. To draw a comparison in another industry, a Smart Website for an insurance company might collect information for a quote and send automated emails to guide potential clients toward booking a call and enrolling in a particular insurance plan. 

With the advancement of artificial intelligence and web capabilities, this type of functionality will only become more popular. Companies that do not use their websites to automate business processes and create a responsive user experience will fall behind. Alternatively, businesses that integrate Smart Website design will reap the benefits, including: 

  • Reduced operational costs
  • New lead generation
  • More sales
  • Improved efficiencies 
  • More customer data 
  • Increased business scalability  
  • Improved brand reputation

Smart Websites are not the future. They are the present, and it’s time to get your company on board. 

Questions about how content marketing and web design strategies could elevate your brand and improve your bottom line? Schedule a consultation with one of the digital strategists at ATX Web Designs by clicking here.

5 Red Flags To Watch For When Hiring an Austin Web Development Company

5 Red Flags To Watch For When Hiring an Austin Web Development Company

If you are looking to hire a web development company for your business or personal website, chances are you are reviewing web design agencies in Austin, Texas. As the fastest growing tech hub in the country, rivaling Silicon Valley, Austin is home to a number of web design and web development firms. 

For the less technologically savvy, it can be confusing to know what to look for in a web development company. However, just as important as knowing what credentials and capabilities to look for is knowing which red flags to avoid. 

If you are considering hiring a web design or web development company in Austin, here are five warning signs to look out for:

  1. Overpromising
    Often when web development companies make specific, performance-based promises it is an indicator that they are trying to sell you a false image. The fact is that no web development company, no matter how skilled their team, can tell you the exact number of leads they will be able to help you generate or what dollar amount in sales you will be afforded by the end of the quarter. Flashy projections about where your company will be six months from now are often presented by companies that won’t live up to the hype when the rubber meets the road. A reliable Austin web development company is one that can tell you what services they can offer you and what goals they will help you work toward—not specific numbers that they guarantee.
  2. Difficulty obtaining data
    Generally speaking, if a web development company performs well and offers competitive pricing for that performance, it will show. Proof of quality can only be ensured by hard evidence, and if the web development company you are interested in is good at what they do, then they should have plenty of case studies and client reviews to back up their claims. Any difficulty accessing data relating to work done for previous clients, analytics, or performance metrics is typically a signal that the company is hiding something. A trustworthy web developer will have a track record that is easily reviewable to anyone interested in their services.
  3. A bad company website
    The aesthetics and performance of a web development company’s own website will provide you with insight as to what type of product they really provide. If a company you are vetting for hire doesn’t have a website that is user friendly, runs smoothly, and is easily accessible from any device anywhere, then what assurance do you have that they will provide you one that does? While the landing site for a web development company does not tell you everything you need to know, it is still the face of their operation. Any glitches in functionality or inadequacies that appear during use of their site are tell-tale signs that you may want to take your business elsewhere.
  4. Poor reviews
    Probably the most direct way of assessing the legitimacy and value of any Austin web development company you may be interested in hiring is to look up their customer reviews. You want to watch out for both extremes: If all the reviews are terrible then the company is probably terrible. However, if the reviews are all five-star exaltations of a business that can do no wrong, that is also a red flag. The fact is, even some of the best web development companies in Austin miss some things every now and then. They may run into coding issues or miss the occasional deadline, and chances are some clients will end up writing a review mentioning these little hiccups. A company that produces quality work and has integrity will stand behind their product and take ownership when things go awry.
  5. Bad communication/ lack of integrity
    Poor communication is also a major red flag. You should be able to assess a web development company’s communication from the moment you submit an inquiry. If a developer is not responding to you promptly, making themselves available for questions, or providing a clear quote and summary of services, you should be wary. If you are not receiving clear communication from the company during the inquiry stage of the process, things will likely not improve if you hire them to build your website. Conversely, you will know what to expect from an Austin web development company that shows integrity through their transparency with performance-related data and presentation of real time updates on their operations
5 Tips for Developing a Company Marketing Plan

5 Tips for Developing a Company Marketing Plan

The thought of developing a company marketing plan can seem daunting, especially for small and medium sized businesses without a dedicated marketing or communications department.
However, marketing is a crucial part of sustaining and growing a business and should never be an afterthought or a reactionary measure.

Having a strong marketing plan with measurable goals, clear strategies, and a built-in evaluation process will take dedication up front but can save your company time and money in the long run. Here are five tips for developing a marketing plan for your company.

  1. Create an executive summary
    It’s hard to know how a marketing plan fits into your overall mix of company activities unless you know what they all are. As a Business News Daily article recommends, “Marketing campaigns should not be considered individual functions. Marketing is the story of your brand as told to customers; like any narrative, its tone and characters should remain consistent. An executive summary details your marketing goals for the next year and helps tie each campaign together.”
    By creating this high-level, overarching summary, you will be better able to ensure your day-to-day marketing efforts align with your company vision and direction.
  2. Set SMART goals
    When you’re talking about SMART goals, you’re not just talking about a synonym for intelligent. SMART, in this case, is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-driven — meaning that you’re not just saying you’d like to be better or greater, but you’re setting a specific window of time in which you accomplish a goal you can measure numerically, that is within your reach, and defined. It’s helpful to make your goals SMART goals, because it allows you to track your progress and have a specific target and window of time for achieving your goal. Whether that’s a target goal concerning customers and leads, or just getting a project like an new, improved website done within a specific time, SMART goals will help get you there.
  3. Identify your target audience
    Not every company can be all things to all people. When you’re looking to create a marketing plan, you want to make sure you have a target audience in mind. As AllBusiness reminds marketers, “A marketing campaign may be good but off target, rendering it ineffective for its intended purpose.” Hitting the target market effectively is the true indicator of how well marketing budgets were spent, so it’s important to evaluate if you’re too broad or too narrow in your marketing so you can adjust accordingly. That means that while the message you go with is essential, the medium is also worth evaluating.
  4. Define your competitors
    Your company won’t be marketing in a vacuum. To create an effective marketing plan, you need to know your competitors and how they’re marketing to the same target customers you might be looking to reach. Business News Daily advises, “Small business personnel seldom take the time to study their competitors in depth or pinpoint companies outside their industry that are just as capable of luring customers away. Knowing who your competitors are, their core competitive advantages, and how they might respond to your offerings – like price cuts or increased communication – helps you devise strategies to combat such losses.”
  5. Don’t be afraid to change it up
    While it’s important to evaluate your marketing plan to gauge its effectiveness, you also want to make sure that you have the flexibility to change what you’re doing and how you’re marketing if you do determine it’s not as effective as you’d like it to be. That means that a marketing plan shouldn’t be a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of exercise. Ingrained in your plan there should be regular check-ins and evaluations so that you can assess progress and identify next steps.
    How much, and how many people that process involves, is totally up to you, but it should be robust enough to allow for whatever change is needed.
What to Look for in an Austin Web Development Company

What to Look for in an Austin Web Development Company

If you own a business, your website is your best salesperson, working for you 24/7, 365 days a year. In today’s digital age, it is becoming almost impossible to run a company without a website. More than 70 percent of small businesses have websites—up from 50 percent in 2018. 

Choosing the right team to create your website is just as important as hiring the right staff and creating the right product. Websites function as the cornerstone of your digital presence, affecting marketing, brand reputation, lead generation, revenue, and growth. That’s why it’s critical to hire the best developer—especially in Austin. As one of the fastest growing tech hubs, Austin is replete with coders, developers, and digital experts. However, not all web developers are created equal. Here are five tips if you are looking to hire an Austin web developer to build your website. 

    1. Make sure you’re getting a combination of web designer and web developer. Web designers specialize in the visuals of a website—how it looks, branding and logos, etc. Web developers are more concerned with how a website works—coding, the ability to click on links, designing that important CMS system. Once, getting a website built meant hiring a separate designer and developer to handle the front and back end. Nowadays, reputable web design companies should offer both. An Austin web design company that only makes websites look good is a waste of money.
    2. Choose a web developer experienced in mobile. About half of all web traffic originates from mobile devices, such as a phone or tablet. That’s why many businesses are opting for mobile-first design, which prioritizes the needs and preferences of the mobile user. When searching for the best Austin web developer, look for an agency that specializes in mobile design and development. 
    3. Ask about user experience design. User experience (UX) design in web development means thinking through what a website visitor’s experience will be like when they land on your page. Is the navigation menu easy to use? Is the flow of the content and design intuitive? Can visitors get the information they need? Do pages load quickly? A good web developer will have a solid UX strategy and be able to tell you how they will make the user experience on your website simple and effective. 
    4. Make sure you will have full ownership. Some out-of-the box, template-based websites are difficult to customize and may give you limited control or ownership over your website. Before you hire a web development company, talk with them about what the process will look like after your site is launched. Will you be able to make updates and edits? Will you fully own the content so that you can transfer it to another hosting provider or website if you choose to rebrand or go a different direction? 
    5. Know What You Want. Before finding someone to develop your company website, you have to know what you want that website to look and feel like. Spend some time looking at websites you like, and figure out why you like them—do you want something highly visual and interactive, or more minimal? Do you expect to edit content, or plan on only the occasional redevelopment?  Knowing what you specifically want will help you screen potential web developers—and streamline the process of getting it. 

Questions about how content marketing and web design strategies could elevate your brand and improve your bottom line? Schedule a consultation with one of the digital strategists at ATX Web Designs by clicking here.