web development

Everything you need to know about your site’s bounce rate

Don’t let people say “peace” to your web page.

Don’t let people say “peace” to your web page.

Your website traffic isn’t quite where you hoped it would be. You were way off last month’s email sign-up target. Your conversion rates are looking a little lackluster. And your blogroll of posts just isn’t getting read. Sound familiar?

When numbers aren’t being met most people jump straight to loading more money into PPC or churning out an extra email campaign a week. But have you ever tried putting the spotlight on your bounce rate? 

Get this metric right and you’ll set yourself up for the ultimate business journey: more traffic > more conversions > more money. Get it wrong though, and you may as well just point your visitors to your competitor’s site.


What does bounce rate mean?

The term bounce rate refers to the number of people who enter your site - either from Google, a social media ad, email campaign or otherwise, and exit before exploring any of your website’s other content. 

For example, someone types “real estate advice Greensboro” into Google. They land on a blog about house-hunting tips. After they’ve finished reading it, they hit the back button or close out of the browser without clicking through to any others pages. They’ve ‘bounced’ right back out.

Now you know what it is, to help you keep your bounce rate low and conversions high, we’ll be looking at:

  • How it’s calculated

  • How to find it

  • Analyzing your data

  • What a high and low bounce rate means

  • How to improve your numbers

  • Tracking your progress

So, let’s get started.

How is bounce rate calculated? 

The formula’s simple: the number of one-page visits on your site divided by the total number of visitors.

For Example: Yesterday, 2,000 people landed on your website’s homepage. Of those visitors, 700 left without interacting with any other of your site’s pages. Your homepage’s bounce rate would be 35%.

How to find your bounce rate

You can quickly and easily access the bounce rate of any or all of your site’s page on Google Analytics. Here’s how:

  1. Sign-in to your account and select the site you want to look at.

  2. From the homepage, you’ll see your site-wide bounce rate straight away:

3. To delve deeper and see your bounce rate for individual pages, head to the menu down the left of the screen and go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages / Content Drilldown / Landing Pages. Once you’ve done that, you should see a screen a bit like this: 

Google-Analytics-site-pages.png

Within here you can start to get specific and fiddle with things like the date range, acquisition type, URLs, device, browser, location, gender, age, and more.

For a really detailed look at all the ways you can slice up your data, check out this in-depth guide.

bounce_t20_x6KY7l.jpg

Diving into the stats

Numbers are only the start of what you need to know — once you’ve located your bounce rate data, you need to root around to discover some trends and see what is and isn’t working for you. When you’re investigating your page numbers, ask yourself things like:

  • Does the time of day impact bounce rates?

  • Do certain sections of the site receive higher bounce rates than others?

  • Does social media traffic receive higher bounce rates than organic?

  • Are there any on-page patterns across low-performing pages?

After you’ve armed yourself with this type of intel you’ll be ready to start putting plans in place to boost your numbers - but we’ll talk about that in more detail a little later on.

What does a high or low bounce rate mean?

What constitutes a ‘good’ bounce rate varies from industry-to-industry and site-to-site. Here’s a rough guideline of what’s accepted as the norm though:

Type of website: Benchmark average bounce rate %

  • Content websites: 40 - 60%

  • Lead Generation: 30 - 50%

  • Blogs: 70 - 98%

  • Retail Sites: 20 - 40%

  • Service Sites: 10 - 30%

  • Landing Pages: 70 - 90%

 

And here are some figures by industry:

Bounce-rate-by-industry.png
 

High bounce rates

Generally speaking, high bounce rates aren’t great. Think about it, if you were consumed by something you’d seen or read on someone’s site, you’d probably poke your nose around a few more pages, right? Well, that should be the aim of every single page of your site, and a high bounce rate could be a sign you’re not delivering. 

If you’re not sure where to start looking, here are a few things that could be contributing to your numbers:

  1. Slow page load times - according to research, a two-second delay can equate to a 100%+ increase in bounce rate.

  2. You’ve provided the visitor with everything they could possibly want and need on that one page alone. To see if this is likely to be true, check out the ‘Average time on page’ stats.

    If visitors have spent a decent amount of time on the page (say a couple of minutes) then they probably did spend the time needed to digest everything and get what they need. If it’s low though, say 10 - 15 seconds, they probably didn’t get past the first paragraph.

  3. Luring people in with misleading title tags and/or meta descriptions and not giving them what they’re actually looking for.

  4. Technical errors. If a visitor lands on a 404 page, for example, there’s not much encouraging them to stick around.

  5. If the content on your page(s) is weak people will bounce straight back out and look for a stronger alternative - which is why quality is so important.

  6. Poor user experiences (UX) can also be a deterrent. Whether you’re bombarding visitors with adverts, pop-up surveys, and/or subscription options, or your navigation set-up isn’t intuitive, both will make it harder to keep people on your site.

Low bounce rates

While low bounce rates on the whole are a good indicator your page(s) are performing well, if it’s suspiciously low (say 10%) it could be a sign there’s a technical error - usually, duplicate analytic codes are the cause.

What are duplicate analytic codes? 

Basically, this just means you have two sets of the same code on your site which results in two page view requests. The effect is Google Analytics then thinks two separate actions took place, disqualifying it from being called a bounce. 

Of course, you should celebrate successes and take credit where credit’s due, but just remember, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.


How to improve your bounce rate

If you’ve identified a site-wide or specific-page problem with your bounce rate, here are 10 tips to give it a nudge in the right direction.

  1.  Make your content more readable by looking at things like your font, paragraphs, and quantity of text.

  2. Don’t bombard people with interstitials. They’re irritating.

  3. Make your next desired action glaringly obvious. If visitors can’t see your call-to-action, they’re unlikely to click it.

  4. Take a look at your design and branding. If your site looks naff, people might assume your brand’s naff.

  5. Target the right keywords and write compelling - and accurate - meta descriptions. If you’re enticing the wrong type of organic traffic to your site, it’ll instantly impact your bounce rate.

  6. Revisit your email, social, referral etc. databases, and make sure you’re attracting the right visitors. You can have the best website in the world, but if you’re not reaching your target market it won’t work.

  7. Take whatever steps are required to reduce your page load speed; people don’t have time to sit around and wait.

  8. Make sure every single element of your website oozes quality. If it’s not adding value, get rid of it.

  9. Set any external links to open in new windows to minimize the risk of visitors not returning to your content.

  10. Invest in a mobile-friendly site. Desktop versions can be a pain in the ass to navigate around on mobile, and that’s a one-way ticket to losing visitors. 

  11. Introduce relevant landing pages that target high volume keywords. According to a study by HubSpot, companies with 40+ landing pages earn 12x more leads than those with five or less.

Track your progress 

Last but by no means least, don’t forget to track and analyze any changes you make. This will help you further hone in on what does and doesn’t work – then you can harness what you learn to improve other pages of your site.

 To keep your analysis orderly, it might be worth setting up a spreadsheet and recording things like:

  • The URL of the page(s) you’re working on

  • Bounce rates before any on or off-page modifications

  • The date any changes were made

  • What changes were made

  • The bounce rate after your tweaks - just make sure you leave yourself a meaningful amount of time to get a true picture of whether or not it’s helped

 Try not to get too caught up on industry averages either. When determining what success means for you, keep on top of peaks and troughs and focus on your trends over time.


Hue & Tone Creative: Marketing for Greensboro and Beyond

Need some support with your site’s bounce rate? We’ve got you covered from every angle. Get in touch with the team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com to see how our design, content, and campaign services could help. 

4 common web design mistakes - and how to fix them

You can have the best product on your shelves, the best customer service around, the best words on your webpages, and the best advice on your blogs, but, if your website’s design isn’t up to par it can all fall flat. 

Getting your website’s aesthetics just right can be a tough nut to crack - especially if it’s not your area of expertise. Small mistakes here and there can wreak havoc with your conversion rate. Many of these web design blunders are easily avoidable – or can be quickly corrected. 

4 Common Web Design Mistakes -- and how to fix them  |  Hue & Tone Creative

All you need is the knowledge about how to correct them, and then you can get your design quickly back on track. If you’re not sure where you might be going wrong, here are four common mistakes we come across and how to overcome them:

1. Hidden contact details

Getting people to land on your website is one half of the battle, getting people to take action is the other. So, make it as easy as possible for visitors to find your form, email, or number.

All too often, organizations leave their contact details buried in their footer or three links deep into their navigation, making it hard to get in touch. 

The fix: Task someone who doesn’t know your site inside and out with tracking down your contact details. If they report back it took them more than a second or two, it’s time to look at your placement. A couple of easy-to-see suggestions include: 

  • At the top right of your main navigation bar, so it’s instantly visible on every page

  • Within your main navigation bar, clearly labelled - something like ‘Contact us’ or ‘Get in touch’

2. Cluttered pages

4 Common Web Design Mistakes -- and how to fix them  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The phrase “less is more” couldn’t be more true when it comes to designing a clean and easy to navigate web page. Lots of sites out there are guilty of cramming each and every page with images, buttons, text, and widget – but all these elements are competing for your visitor’s attention and can quickly become overwhelming. 

People don’t know where to look, what to read, or what’s most important, and they certainly can’t skim your content - all of which can be a big turn-off.

The fix: Go through your website page-by-page and really question what the value of each element is. If there isn’t a motivation behind a certain element, go ahead and remove it. Once you’ve whittled your on-page items down to the essentials, start strategizing about each page’s hierarchy. Make sure you’re incorporating clear call to actions and plenty of whitespace.

Shameless plug: hiring a designer might help with this.

3. Fatal contact forms

Complicated contact forms can be fatal to your conversion rates. If you’ve got lines and lines of fields to fill in, there’s a good chance your visitors will take one look, race to the back button, and exit your site altogether. After all, time is of the essence for everyone on your website or social media. 


The fix: Similar to your site’s pages, go through all your forms field-by-field to see what info is and isn’t needed. For example, you probably don’t need a prospect’s address until they’re further down the funnel – so don’t ask for it, because it could deter people from filling out your form.

In most cases, we recommend keeping forms to just a name and email address. Often, even just an email address field will suffice. 

By the end of this process you should be left with concise, tidy forms, and a clear plan for your data collection strategy.

After some extra advice? Here’s more on how to design a user-friendly form.

4. Absent search boxes

Quick tip: Another quick and easy workaround could be Google Custom Search.

If your site’s relatively big (more than 10 - 20 pages including regular pages, products, blogs, etc.) it’s probably a good idea to add a search box. It makes your site easier to navigate and ensures people will be able to find the content they’re looking for. No more worrying about people leaving the site because the blog post they were looking for was buried in your archives! 


The fix: The solution will depend on your CMS. Some will have a search box feature built-in for you to download, but for other platforms you might have to source a developer to help create a custom one. 


Hue & Tone Creative: Your Website Design Expert

If you’ve not got the time or experience to give your website’s design the attention it needs, then we’re here to give it the TLC it deserves. To see what we can do for you, get in touch today at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO (Part 2)

Just a note: Because of the length of this post, we decided to publish it in two parts. You can find Part 1 of the series here.


Lead the way for your customers.

Lead the way for your customers.

In Part 1 of our SEO Improvement Guide, we reviewed how to run a technical audit, conduct keyword research, and verify that your site is mobile-friendly. Now that you’ve gotten those three things under your belt, it’s time to start curating high quality content and improving your links.

Continue your SEO improvement journey below — you can pace these steps out, or you can do them all at once if you’re looking to super charge your SEO strategy as soon as possible.

July: Curate a content calendar

Regularly producing SEO-optimized content is critical to your organic strategy. In Google’s own words, your content needs to be:

  • Useful and informative

  • More valuable and useful than other sites

  • Credible

  • High-quality

  • Engaging

When searchers type in their query, Google scours the web to find the most useful and relevant results. If you don’t have anything on your site that fits the bill, quite simply, you won’t rank. That means less visibility, missed traffic, and lost visitors. 

When we say content we don’t just mean the regular old blog post, either. Be creative. Test to see what works best with your audience. And don’t be afraid to experiment. Here are a few suggestions to get you going:

  • Articles

  • Guides

  • Videos

  • Webinars

  • Whitepapers

  • E-books

  • Case studies

  • Calculators

  • Infographics

  • Tutorials

  • News

How to create optimized content 

1. Keywords

Using the keywords you collected in April, brainstorm content topics that’ll be picked up in search engines. When putting this list together, try to focus on long-tail keywords, avoid highly competitive terms, and remember to match your topic to your keyword. 

It’s also important to take an audience-centric approach when spitballing your content titles. By this, we mean identifying your audience andthencreating the kind of content you know they wantto see. 

 

2. Put it in a calendar 

content calendar itself won’t aid your rankings, however, we’d recommend creating one to save you time and to help you get in a groove of posting regularly. It doesn’t needn’t be anything fancy, dumping it in a Word or Excel document will do.

 

3. Friendly formatting 

Make sure you lay your content out in a way that’s easy on the eye to ensure its readability and engagement. For example…

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The good: This page is clearly divided with subheadings, the content is broken up with bullet points, and the paragraphs are short and digestible. It also has easy to see links. 

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The bad: These paragraphs, on the other hand, are overwhelming long and the lines are very close together. Combined, it’s quite a strain on the reader’s eye.

4. The technical stuff

A few best practices for the technical side of content creation include:

  • Don’t go overboard on keyword insertion - it’ll look spammy

  • Remember to include meta titles and descriptions - they’ll help to improve the number of people who click through from search results

  • Make sure your URL’s reflective of the content’s title

  • Link to other useful and relevant internal pages to improve your site’s architecture and encourage visitors to keep exploring 


The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

August: Implement a link-building plan

Link-building is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of SEO. But it can also be one of the most beneficial. It requires creativity, time, persistence and, more often than not, money.

There are several benefits that come hand-in-hand with link-building, like: 

  • Improve your domain and page authority

  • Earn extra referral traffic

  • Give your brand’s visibility and authority a boost

  • Increase your exposure to other industry leaders

  • Raise your trust and credibility profile

  • And, of course, aid your rankings

 

Link-building tactics 

If you’re new to the world of link-building and don’t know how to get your foot in the door, here are a few sample strategies to get you started: 

1. Ask your network: If you’ve got a pool of customers, partners or suppliers who have an online presence, start close to home and ask them to promote you on their site. Something as simple as a partnership badge linking back to your website would do.

2. Build your blog: Your content strategy is a gold mine for links. Once you’ve established yourself as a reliable, industry authority, it’ll become a link-bait hub, and naturally earn you evergreen links by itself.

3. Go viral: Easier said than done, we know, but creating a piece of shareable content (like a meme or funny video, for example) is a sure fire way to bank yourself a bunch of backlinks.

4. Be newsworthy: Whether it’s commenting on something in the headlines or creating your own news - like commissioning a study or sharing a company announcement, jumping on something time sensitive will point the press and bloggers in your direction, and boost your odds of coverage in their publication.


September: Enhance your appearance in SERPS

There are a number of ways you can improve how you display in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but here are just a handful:

 

Optimize your meta data

Make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are a) relevant, b) include keywords, and c) written in a way that entice searchers to click through. Remember to stick to the recommended character counts too, so that your text doesn’t get chopped off sooner than it should:

  • Page titles should be within 50 to 60 characters, and

  • Meta descriptions should sit between 150 and 170 characters

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Add schema markup

In its simplest form, schema markup is micro data that can be added to your site’s HTML to enhance how search engines read and subsequently display your page in their results.

Correctly applying schema data can give you a competitive edge in SERPS by giving searchers more, useful information about your company, which can result in a greater number of click throughs. Some popular types of schema markup include:

Ratings and Reviews:

Image via    moz.com

Image via moz.com

Organization markup:

Site navigation:

Video and media:

Adding schema markup might sound complicated, but you don’t actually need any coding skills to do it yourself. For step-by-step instructions on how to get started using Google Tag Manager, head over to this guide

Alternatively, if you’re not entirely comfortable dabbling in schema markup yourself, employing the services of an SEO specialist or web developer is another option.


Hue & Tone Creative: Your Greensboro Marketing Solution  

To see how we can fit into your SEO strategy and support your organic efforts, get in touch with our team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com today. 

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO (Part 1)

Just a note: Because of the length of this post, we decided to publish it in two parts, and Part 2 will be published next Wednesday, April 3.


Get your content in front of the right eyes.

Get your content in front of the right eyes.

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your site featured in one of Google’s hotspots. It’s a coveted place to be. It’s a financially fruitful place to be. But it’s also a very difficult place to get.

Stiff competition and Google’s constantly evolving algorithms make mastering your SEO strategy an ongoing uphill battle. There’s no denying that making the investment in high quality SEO is worth it though. Here’s a few stats to back that up: 

  • Three in four people never scroll past the first page of search results?

  • 93% of visitors begin their online experience with a search engine?

  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound leads (like cold calling, email campaigns and radio ads)?

If you’re an SEO novice, we would suggest starting with a few of our articles geared to beginners (here and here).

But, if you have some experience with SEO and are familiar with basic terms, then this six-month guide is for you. From technical audits and content calendars to schema markup and link-building, this six-month plan will give you one simple objective to focus on each month. In no time at all, you’ll be armed with the information you need to give your organic rankings, traffic, and revenue a healthy boost.


The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

April: Run a technical audit

Poor technical SEO practices can harm your rankings. It’s as simple as that. It can make your site uncrawlable, unindexable, and inaccessible, all of which affect how search engines view and place your website.

While there’s no such thing as a perfect website, there isa whole host of errors you can look to correct, all of which will help give your SEO metrics a boost. 

Crawl reports: Carrying out a crawl report will help to identify things like: 

  • Broken links 

  • Faulty redirects

  • Meta descriptions and page titles that are either too long or short

  • Meta descriptions and page titles that are missing or duplicate

  • Matching URLs and on-page content

Hint: if you’re new to the world of crawl reports, Screaming Frog is a reputable tool and offers a comprehensive free version.

HTTPS status codes: Studies have shown that HTTPS is now a very strong ranking factor which, suffice to say, makes it a must. So, if you haven’t already made the switch, there’s no time like the present - here’s a checklist to help you through the stages.

Page speed: The time it takes for your pages to load is another important SEO metric. As well as harming your rankings, slow load times can lead to a poor user experience and increase your site’s overall bounce rate, too.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can be used to analyze your URLs. Within this, you’ll get a score (fast, average or slow), along with a list of issues that are dragging your page speed down. It’s worth noting some of these problems might be quite technical (like deferring unused CSS and eliminating render-blocking resources, for example) and may require input from a web developer or SEO specialist. 

XML sitemap: A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. Your XML sitemap is how Google and other search engines get around your website, discover your pages and subsequently rank them - if you don’t have one, you need one. 

Your XML sitemap must be properly formatted in an XML document, follow XML sitemap protocol, include all your website’s pages, and be submitted to your Google Search Console (GSC). 

To help you visualize the end product, here’s a snippet from one. And don’t be put off if you think it looks scary, in reality, it’s just a list of your page’s URLs along with the date they were last modified. Like this:

Image via    wordpress.org

Image via wordpress.org

Most popular CMS’ have plugins that’ll create your XML sitemap for you. If yours doesn't, you may have to build it manually - check out this guide to find out how, and this one for a step-by-step look at uploading your sitemap to GSC.

For example, you know we’re always recommending Squarespace – and your sitemap is something else they help with. “Your Squarespace site comes with a site map using the .xml format, so you don't need to create one manually. It includes the URLs for all pages on your site and image metadata for SEO-friendly indexing. We automatically update it with any pages you add or remove.” (via Squarespace) 


May: Conduct keyword research

Find the right keywords… they’re out there!

Find the right keywords… they’re out there!

There’s no denying keyword research can be laborious at times, but the more you invest in this stage at the beginning, the greater return you’ll likely get in the long run - so don’t rush it.

Your keyword research lays the foundation for your future content strategy. It’ll help you optimize existing pages, identify opportunities for new pages, and construct a well thought-out content calendar.

 In addition, having a comprehensive list of long and short tail keywords - along with their monthly search volumes, ideally - will enable you to set-up your ranking reports, which play a pivotal part in monitoring your organic efforts. 

What’s a long-tail keyword? A phrase containing at least three words that’s used to target specific demographics opposed to mass audiences. Long-tail keywords are more niche, have a lower search volume, and are less competitive.

What’s a short-tail keyword? A phrase including one or two words that’s used to capture large volumes of search traffic. For example, “social media” is a short-tail keyword, and “improve social media engagement” is a long-tail one.

How to conduct keyword research

There are lots of different ways you can go about gathering keywords relevant to your business, but the most complete approach is amalgamating several different methods.  

Step #1: Brainstorm a handful or two of key topics related to your product or service. Using ourselves as an example, this might be phrases like ‘digital marketing’, ‘web design’, ‘social media management’, ‘email campaigns’ and ‘personal branding’.

Step #2: Get a few heads around a table and start to fill in some of the blanks based on what you think/know your customers are searching for. Using ‘web design’ as an example, this might be:

  • What is web design?

  • How does web design improve revenue?

  • Web design agencies in Greensboro, NC

  • How to find a quality graphic designer

  • Web design cost

  • How to do web design myself


Step #3
: For more inspiration, drop the phrases you’ve accumulated from steps one and two into Google and see what comes up in their related search terms section:

The 6-month guide to improving your SEO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Step #4: Scour your competitors’ sites and see what terms are trending throughout their pages. If they’re tapping into words you’re not and they’re relevant, you could be missing out and so they might be worth throwing into the mix. 


Step #5:
Make the most of free tools. For starters, you can see which phrases are already leading visitors to your site in Google Analytics, and then there are resources like SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool, Google Trends, Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence or Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand.


June: Make sure you're mobile friendly 

It’s perhaps no surprise that mobile’s now the predominant platform used for searches. In 2018, the split sat at: mobile (49.06%), desktop (47.2%) and tablet (3.74%).

All’s not lost if your site isn’t mobile friendly- your desktop version can and will still be indexed. That said, if you’re providing a less user friendly experience to visitors, it couldnegatively impact your mobile rankings. Equally, organizations with streamlined mobile sites could potentially see an uplift in their rankings - and that includes desktop searches, too.

If you’re not sure whether your site’s mobile friendly, you can easily find out by using this tool. And if the outcome’s that you’re not already on the mobile-friendly bandwagon, here are 10 steps to help you make the move


Hue & Tone Creative: Your Greensboro Marketing Solution  

To see how we can fit into your SEO strategy and support your organic efforts, get in touch with our team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com today. 

12 tips for picking a good URL

Lead your website visitors right where they need to go…

Lead your website visitors right where they need to go…

Picking the perfect URL is a pretty big deal. It’s your online identity, it’s got to fit your business, and it’s got to be easy to find and promote. Not to mention, if you change your mind down the road it’s going to be a pain to go back and undo.

So, to make your future easier, here are 12 tips to help you settle on a good URL the first time around:

 

1. Make it easy to type

You want it to be as easy as possible for people to type your domain name into their browser, hit enter and land on your site. If it isn’t, you run the risk of losing potential visitors. So, try to avoid the use of slang (using ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ for example) or words with various spellings (like express and xpress).

 

2. Keep it short

Tying in with tip number one, keeping your domain name short reduces the chances of people mis-typing or mis-spelling it. Plus, long and complex URLs can be hard to remember, and you want people to remember you, right?

 

3. Watch out for bloopers

Here’s a prime example for you: penisland.net. The company’s called Pen Island, but we don’t need to tell you what the domain name can be interpreted as… 

The moral of the story: always check for embarrassing double meanings before you buy your domain.

 

4. Insert keywords

Try to include keywords relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a door repair company, you might want to register for a domain along the lines of doorrepair.com or doorreplacements.com. Keywords not only aid your organic efforts, but they just make sense to your customers.

 

5. Geographic targeting

If your product or service operates on a local basis, consider tying this into your domain name too. Sticking with the door repair example, this could mean having a domain like: vegasdoorrepair.com or doorrepair.vegas. Again, this makes your domain easier for people to find and remember.

 

6. Avoid numbers

Numbers can be easily misunderstood. For example, a numeral number 5 could be misplaced with a spelled out number five, and vice versa. 

woman-using-smartphone_t20_AeLxr0.jpg

 7. Skip the hyphen

Try to stay away from using hyphens, too. They can be forgotten about which, you guessed it, makes your website more difficult to be found. 

 

8. Do your research

The last thing you want is a legal battle on your hands, so make sure you research your chosen domain name to make sure it isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company.

 

9. Don’t gloss over your extension

When we say ‘extension’, we mean the end bit of the url, like .com, .net, .org and .info, for example. Here’s a breakdown of how each is typically used:

  • .co - an abbreviation for company, commerce and community

  • .info - informational sites

  • .net - technical, internet infrastructure sites

  • .org - non-commercial organizations and non-profits

  • .biz - business or commercial sites

  • .me - blogs, resumes or personal spaces

Don’t be afraid of straying from the standard .com. It’s by far the most popular, but because of this, it can be tough to get your hands on a short and memorable URL that isn’t already taken. The key to choosing one that’s right, is making sure it’s relevant.

For example, if you’re a non-profit organization, it wouldn’t make sense to opt for a .biz extension. It might throw visitors off the scent and make them less likely to remember your link.

 

10. Buy back-ups

Everything up until now has been centered around building a URL that’s sheltered from being misspelled. But, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so it could be worth registering misspelled versions of your domain too, so people still make their way to your site anyway.

 

11. Bat off your competitors

Stop your competitors from stepping on your toes by purchasing similar domains to your own and redirecting them to your primary URL. For example, if your domain is doorrepair.com, you might also want to consider owning:

  • doorrepairs.com

  • doorrepair.biz

  • doorrepair.net

  • doorrepair.co.uk

 

12. Check its history

And finally, using sites like who.is and WaybackMachine, check out the domain’s history. After all, you don’t want to be associated with something that has a shady past.


Hue & Tone: Let us help you with your website

Brainstorming, agreeing on, and purchasing your domain name is the first half of the battle... building a website that converts is the other - and that’s where we come in. To see how we can help, contact our team at (336) 365-8559.

8 elements of a great economic development website

8 elements of a great economic development website  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Creating a strong online presence for your development project allows you to widen your reach and share information with interested people and businesses. In addition to capturing the essence of your city or surroundings, your website should also follow a few marketing best practices in order to enhance your effectiveness. 

The things that make an economic development website great are the same things that make any website a dream: intuitive navigation, on-trend branding, and clear messaging. But what else can really help your website stand out from the pack? 

Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to overhaul what you’ve currently got, here are eight useful tips to help you get the most out of your economic development website.

 

1. Make your mission clear 

If you want to stand out, your mission needs to be clear, inspiring and distinguishable from the competition. The overarching goal for any economic development campaign is to connect with prospective companies about why you’re a good fit for their company.  

To lure potential job creators to your area, you’ll need to thoroughly develop your mission statement and make sure it’s clear who you’re targeting, how your site or area will benefit them, how you plan to engage them, and what the next steps will be. 

 

2. Show off your support

No one does economic development alone –chances are you have a handful of partner organizations and public or private financial backing. People should easily be able to determine who is involved with your project, and what portions of the project they are involved with.

However, just adding this information to your website isn’t enough –you’ll want to keep people updated as your project progresses. It can take years for a project to go from the idea stage to groundbreaking, and staying active on social media or sending out a monthly newsletter can help keep people bought in to your project. 

 

3. Use statistics sensibly 

If you are using statistics to support something you’ve said or to support the value of your mission, make sure they’re up-to-date, accurate, and applicable. If you try engineering semi-relevant stats to fit your message, you’ll just end up confusing your audience. 

 Use tailored statistics and use them sparingly to make the most impact on your audience. 

 

4. Disclose individual contacts

Don’t use generic email addresses like info@mywebsite.com or contact@mywebsite.com. Potential site consultants will want to be able to do research on all parties involved and want to know they’re about to build a personal connection with someone. 

We suggest including the name, job title, email address, contact number and photo of each of your employees.

 

5. Stick to the three-click rule

You might have lots of really great content on your website, but if your visitors can’t find it, it’s not going to be doing you any good. The less clicks visitors have to make the better!

As a general rule, you don’t want to make pertinent information further than three clicks away from any given location on your site.

 

6. Don’t cut corners on imagery

The look and feel of your online presence is clearly important –but it’s not just about branding. When you’re choosing your imagery, don’t cut corners on the quality. 

There will be times when you’re selling a vision for a mid-construction project, which means you may have to use stock photography. If that’s the case, look for images that feel authentic. Try to target stock images that all have a similar style so that your site looks cohesive. 

If you’re in the early stages of a project, we suggest incorporating lots of placemaking imagery to give prospects a better sense of your community. Photos of lively town centers will help balance out the sterile feel of elevation drawings and floorplans.

 

7. Boast about your buy-in

If you’re in the early stages of a project or are searching for an anchor tenant, community buy-in matters. Showing off major backers will definitely turn heads -- but if you’re stretched for valuable web content don’t limit yourself to just the big names. 

Consider compiling a semi-exhaustive directory of all the small businesses and civic leaders who are engaged with your project. Pull quotes that highlight public support to convey a feeling of success…before you’ve even broken ground. 

 

8. Keep it fresh

Keeping your stats up-to-date is one thing, keeping the rest of your content fresh is another. When a project is in a construction lull, or you’re waiting for permits to come through, it can be easy to let your content get stale. 

To make sure you don’t fall into a rut, we suggest putting together a content calendar together that highlights key developments for the next year. This will help you brainstorm relevant content for the down times and force you to think outside of the box. Just be sure to keep revisiting your content calendar as construction schedules change! 


Let’s get into business: together.

If you need a partner to help you optimize your website, help you develop a campaign, or maintain your social media efforts, get in touch at 336-365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

Web Basics: What is web hosting?

Web hosting. We hear those words a lot, but how many of us actually know what it is? Well if you don’t, then look no further. We’ve cut out the jargon and waved goodbye to all that techy mumbo jumbo as we take a quick look at the basics of web hosting. 
 

What is web hosting?  |  Hue & Tone Creative


Web hosting vs domains

When it comes to web hosting and domains there can be a bit of confusion between the two. We like to break it down like this: 
 

Web hosting: This would be your house, because it’s the space where everything is stored.

Without web hosting there wouldn’t be any websites. It’s the physical location that your website (and everything it entails) sits, and it ensures that your site maintains a sturdy connection to the internet -- without that connection, people are unable to access any of the files on your site (which, in layman’s terms, means you have no website!).

Some examples of web hosting companies include InMotion, 1&1, HostGator, GoDaddy, Wix and Weebly.

 

Domain: This is the equivalent of your address, because it’s the location your host can be found.

It’s not a physical entity, it’s just the series of characters that make up your site’s unique location. So, the same way you’d enter an address and ZIP code to get to your end destination, you enter your domain name into the search bar to get to your website.

Some of the most popular domain name providers out there are GoDaddy, Hover, Dynadot, Google Domains and Namecheap.

 

Where should you buy web hosting from?

When it comes to choosing the right web host for you, there are a lot of solid contenders out there. To help you along your way, here are the top five as rated by the experts over at Techradar.


Web host

InMotion

Voted

Best overall shared web hosting

Selling points

Wordpress hosting, business hosting, web design services, and 24/7 US-based support

 

Runner-up overall shared web hosting

Baremetal servers, free SSL certificate, secure hacker protection, and email marketing

 

Best ‘cheap’ option on the market

Unmetered bandwidth, unmetered disk space, money back guarantee (45 days) and $150 search credit

 

Good all-round service

SEO services, free domain, database backup/restore, and unmetered bandwidth

 

Wordpress’ #1 preferred partner

Unmetered bandwidth, WooCommerce hosting, Free domain, 24/7 US-based support


What does all that terminology mean?

We just threw a bunch of terminology at you -- but since this is a beginner's guide to web hosting, let's go ahead and break it down: 
 

Bare metal servers: The term ‘bare metal’ refers to a hard disk, and so a bare metal server is when a computer system or network’s virtual machine is installed directly on to hardware.

SSL certificate: In its simplest form, an SSL certificate is a public-facing, digital document that tells people a site is secure. It also lets you know that the company that says they own the website you're accessing legitimately owns it. 

Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the amount of site content and visitor traffic a server can transfer in a certain amount of time.

Unmetered bandwidth: A hosting plan with unmetered traffic. The price you pay each month does not depend on the amount of traffic (data) sent to and from your server during the month

Unmetered disk space: Disk space is the amount of data you can store on a web server. The amount of disk space you need will vary depending on the size of your site. Similar to unmetered bandwidth, unmetered disk space means you are given an unlimited amount of disk space. 

SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the online practice of increasing the amount of traffic you get through to your website via organic search results, like Google. Some hosting companies offer services to help you improve your SEO.

 

Questions about what any of these terms mean? Leave them below in the comments -- we'll be happy to help clear up any questions you have! 


Hue & Tone Creative: Web Design Services

Once you've secured your domain and hosting, let us help you bring your site alive with a great design and intuitive user experience. Get in touch today to see how we can support your website’s set-up.

5 things we need to know before designing your website

5 things designers need to know before designing your website  |  Hue & Tone Creative

You want a brilliant website. We want you have to a brilliant website. But, to make that happen, there’s the small matter of distinguishing between what you think you want and what your business really needs.

Before we get going, here are a few quick facts for you. Did you know:

  • 38% of people say they’d leave a website if its content/layout was unattractive?
  • 94% of people gave poor web design as the reason for mistrusting or rejecting a website?
  • 46% of mobile users face difficulties interacting with a web page?

If anyone who’s reading this post doubts the importance of a good website, hopefully we’ll be able to clear up any confusion!

Whether you’re looking for a brand spanking new website or a revamp of your existing site, here are five things we need to know before helping you embark on your web design or redesign.

 

1.  What's the purpose of your site?

There’s a reason we’ve started with this question: it’s probably the most important one. Why? Because your end goal will heavily determine your website’s look, feel, navigation and layout.

Is your aim to sell a product or a service? Or both? Are you B2B or B2C? Are your offerings low or high value? Or do you exist to ply people with knowledge and information? Are you on the web to raise awareness? Or are you after a personal portfolio? There are endless options. All we need know is which goal is applicable to you – and the more specific the goal the better.

 

2. Who's your target audience? 

Your audience and their persona also play a large part in engineering your website, and this is where collecting data comes in handy. Examples of persona information include

 

Need help building your audience personas?

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  • Age bracket
  • Employment status
  • Living arrangements
  • Education
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Salary
  • Online behaviors
  • Pain points
  • Motivators
  • Personality traits
     

All of these elements (and more) will influence how people interact with a website and what makes them tick, which is why it’s essential the behavior of your ideal end user is incorporated into your design.

 

3. What kind of content will you be using?

You can’t have design without words, right? So who’ll be writing those words: you or us? If it’s us, do you have tone of voice guidelines? 

And, do you plan on having a blog? Try and think of the long game for this one. Even if you don’t think you’re in the position to have one in the immediate future, is it in the pipeline? If so, it makes sense to factor it into the design stage from the get go.

 

4.  What kind of branding do you already have established?  

If this isn’t your first stab at a site, it’s likely you’ll already have some form of branding guidelines established – for both your on and offline brand elements. So, the question is, are there elements of that branding you’re adamant on keeping? And if so, why? We need to know the why to help us build a robust picture of how you want your brand to look.

What have you learned about your existing brand since you started using it? How are customers responding – good or bad? Knowing this will help us to make any necessary tweaks to your branding so you can reach your maximum potential. 

Bonus question: If we’re making tweaks to your branding on the website, do you also need help updating things like your emails, social media, brochures, and letterhead?

 

5.  Do you have any no-go's?

Whether it’s from an old website of yours, your competitors’, or the local store you buy your groceries from -- are there any color palettes, page layouts, fonts or image styles you absolutely do not like? If so, let us know! 

This’ll help us to build only the elements you like into our wireframes and reduce unnecessary back and forth. The end result? You get your polished, finished product as soon as possible!


Hue & Tone: Your Greensboro Marketing Team

Know your website needs improvements, but not sure what they are? Need a fresh set of eyes on your content and design? Give us a call. We're here to help you with all your web and graphic design needs -- no matter how big or small. 

What's the difference between a graphic designer and a developer?

What's the difference between a graphic designer and a developer?   |  Hue & Tone Creative

Although graphic design and web development are two totally different jobs, there’s an increasing level of confusion between the two. 

As online tools make it easier for people to learn new skills there’s been more and more overlap between the two roles. Graphic designers want to dabble in the coding side of things, and developers are paying more attention to the visual elements.

Although they are experiencing more and more of each other’s worlds, there are still several clearcut differences between the skillsets of graphic designers and developers — and you should know what they are before hiring someone to take on your next web project. 

 

Graphic designers

Creativity

Graphic designers do what they do because they are creative (well, the good ones are, anyway!). They can see your vision from the get go, come up with concepts, and then mock-up your dream website. 

They’re able to illustrate or design anything you might need and are explicitly tuned in to the aesthetic side of things.

 

Attuned to detail

Unlike developers, graphic designers have a fine eye for things like fonts, sizes, colors and spacing. Because they don't have to focus on making your site work, they're free to hone in on the small details. They’ll perfect and refine every element of your site to meet brand guidelines and will ensure consistency with the rest of your brand.

 

Marketing awareness

In addition to a fine eye for design, a good graphic designer has a better understanding of marketing as a whole. They not only stay up-to-date on design trends, but they also have a solid understanding of what's going on in the industry so they can keep your brand collateral on trend. Whether it’s an online UX experience or offline advert, they’re responsible for ensuring their designs not only look good, but are built to convert.

 

Breadth of input

Last but not least, the role of a graphic designer spans far beyond a business’ website -- they can handle everything from creating a print campaign to simple things like re-sizing images. No matter what you need they'll be able to help you put together the entire package, not just your website. 

 

Developers
 

Make your website work

Where designer's jobs are creative, developer's jobs are technical. Developers can be split into two categories: front end and back end. In their simplest form, front end developers deal with the part of the website you can see. They typically write in languages like HTML, Javascript or CSS. Back end developers deal with servers, applications, and databases.  They work out the details of how and where your data gets stored. 

 

Technically driven

Developers are very analytically driven, they have a technical mindset and work behind the scenes to make graphic designers’ work live on a website. Each coding language has it's own set of rules and regulations, making their job more about memorization and problem solving than aesthetics. 

 

Carry the weight of your website

While developers don’t necessarily need to be creative, it falls on them to make sure the website actually works. Does it load quickly? Can you easily log-in and put things in your shopping cart? Is your billing information stored correctly? 

If pages, apps, or websites falter, it’s on developers to get them back up and running as fast as possible to ensure revenue isn’t lost.

 

So, who should you hire?

In the end, you need both to form a partnership.

Graphic designers and developers come as a package. Although their skills and role vary, they work in harmony to make sure end results are up to scratch.

Think of it like a production line. The graphic designer works on the visual stage, then passes their work onto the developer to encode, and then both work together to quality check the finished product.


Graphic Design for Greensboro, NC and beyond

Let us take the headaches out of creating your new website. Check out our design portfolio to see clients we've helped in the past, and then give us a call -- we can't wait to get the conversation started.