10 Website Design Tips for Your Business

10 Website Design Tips for Your Business

Your 2015 business plan should include evaluating your website. It is the foundation to all of your online marketing.

Since you only get one chance to make a good first impression, it is critical that some thought is put into the design of your business website.

Today, more and more people will visit your website prior to stepping foot into your storefront or before picking up the phone and calling your business. If your website is poorly designed, chances are that you have lost a few potential customers already, potentially forever.

So what constitutes a “good” design when it comes to a website?

Here are 10 factors that contribute to having a professionally designed website that will convert leads and generate profits:

1. Make Sure Your Site is Easy to Navigate

Always keep the navigation of the site in mind when having your website designed. Your business website should be easy to get around and you should quickly be able to find the information that you are are looking for. It should be clear-cut on what customers need to do – people hate to waste their time trying to “figure out” a website. Your navigation menu should also be highly visible on all pages.

TIP: Avoid using too many main menu and sub-menu items on the navigation bar. This becomes too cumbersome on mobile devices.

2. Use Professional and Clean Color Schemes

The colors that are used to design your website should reflect your business but also be professional. Keep in mind that some colors will look different on various browsers, so choose colors that will look the same across all platforms. It is okay to be creative when it comes to your color schemes as long as they go well together and properly represent your brand.

TIP: Avoid using metallic colors online. They appear flat and discolored on web platforms, causing a disconnect with your branding and color scheme.

Resource: http://paletton.com/

3. Avoid Loud, Hard-to-Read Fonts

Make sure that you choose fonts that are easy to read. Again, some people will be using smaller screens than others and some will be viewing the website from mobile devices. If you use fonts that have bright colors and unique styles, some people may have a hard time reading them. While they may look great to you, they may become challenging for your visitors to comprehend the overall message. Being able to read the content on your site is crucial, so it is best to choose more traditional fonts. Utilize 12 pt or 14 pt size font for the body of your text.

TIP: While handwritten fonts are all the rage in design right now, the legibility of the font is poor. Stick to Serif and Sans Serif font families for the most effective font style for your site.

4. Make Your Site Easy for Visitors to Use

Along with having easy navigation, make sure your website is user-friendly. When someone visits your website they want to find out how your business can help them … and they want to find out now – not five minutes after searching your site for the information. Is your site user-friendly for those with limited computer skills? Is your contact information up-front and center or is it hidden on random pages where no one can see? Keep all of this in mind when designing your website if you want it to convert.

TIP: Minimize your menu bar through drop-downs. Keep the menu bar to one bar across the top of your website and utilize drop-downs under your menu tabs to help users more narrowly target what they are searching for without overwhelming them.

5. Place a Strong Call-to-Action on Every Page

Your call-to-action must be in a highly visible place on your site, preferably above the fold. This is the most highly visible point of the website without users having to scroll down.

Not only that, but your call to action needs to be in several locations on your site. Utilizing graphic image CTA’s is very effective and catches your readers’ attention.

Do you want your visitors to call you? Do you want them to come in to your business? Do you want them to watch an online video? Whatever you want them to do, tell them exactly that and tell them how to do it. Be sure to include your phone number in the header and footer, an email form, your address with a Google map, or whatever addition contact information they may need to get in touch with your company.

TIP: Never display your email on your website…there are robots designed to scrape emails from websites and are usually sold to spammers to email unsolicited junk mail.

6. Integrate Social Media Icons

Today, every business should be using social media.

With that being said, all your social media profiles should be accessible from your website. For each social media platform that you have an active profile on, add the icon to your website with a link to your profile and encourage people who visit your site to follow you on these platforms. This helps to increase your overall web presence, as well as gain new social followers, increasing your potential sales and profits.

TIP: It is one thing to have a social media presence, but another to be active on it. Be sure to frequently update your profiles on all platforms for maximum benefit.

Resource: If you are using WordPress as your website platform, here are two plugins to install Social Media icons on your website:

Social Share Button

Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons (Ultimate Sharing)

7. Make Sure Your Site Doesn’t Have Hang-ups

Having a reliable website that loads quickly is a must for any business these days. So when you are designing your website, make sure that you have a reliable host.

Also avoid an over-abundance of photos and videos as they can cause even the most reliable websites to run slower. It is okay to have videos and photos – just monitor the amount and their impact on your website’s performance.

Resource: If you are using WordPress as your website platform, here are two plugins to help speed up your website:

W3 Total Cache

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

8. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

When designing a website, always make sure that you are keeping mobile devices in mind. Millions of mobile users now surf the web on their mobile phones, accounting for 60 percent of search traffic. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you could be losing a lot of potential customers.

When your site takes forever to load or requires a lot of scrolling around, your visitors become frustrated and leave. It is also important to avoid Flash on your main website. Flash will not work on any Apple products so if you must have Flash on your main website, make sure that you create a stand-alone mobile website without Flash for the best results.

TIP: Most sites that require Flash have a landing page that appears on mobile devices that notify you of a redirect or provide you with an option of desktop- or mobile-friendly sites.

Resource: If you are using WordPress as your website platform and your theme is not a “Mobile Responsive” theme, there is a plugin to help make your site mobile friendly:


9. Provide Valuable, Quality Content

Simply having a visually appealing website will not cut it. The information that lies within in the website needs to be valuable, helpful, and entertaining to your visitors. Most importantly, focus on providing content that shows how your business can help your target audience.

TIP: Use Google Alerts to find relevant topics and have them delivered to your inbox. Use these topics as content generators and put your own spin on topics of interest to you and your consumer base. By generating content about topics in your own voice, your business becomes and aggregator of relevant and timely information. Your customers will consider your website a valuable resource.

10. Perform On-going SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is necessary for every website. When designing the website keep SEO in mind at all times. SEO covers a wide range of methods and strategies, but when it comes to “on-site” SEO, be sure to include page titles, meta tags, and H1 and H2 tags. SEO helps Google and the other search engines rank your webpages.

Resource: If you are using WordPress as your website platform, use these plugins to help you in optimizing your website for the search engines:

Yoast SEO

Google XML Sitemaps

There are a lot of important factors to consider when designing a website. Having a professionally designed website that is working towards generating new business is the first step in grabbing the attention of your consumers.

Do you want a website that will generate profits instead of costing you money every month with nothing to show for it?

We specialize in helping businesses connect with consumers by having a strong, profitable website. Schedule for a free, 30 minute no obligation consultation!


Don’t Be “Spooked” by Digital Marketing: Responding to Comments

This is the second part of our social media “spooked” series. To catch up on the first part of the series, click here.

In the spirit of Halloween, the Max team loves to gather around and share scary stories about how digital marketing went wrong for them at one time or another. Whether it’s a post on Facebook that went haywire or retargeting audiences for marketing (creepy by its very nature), we all have had that one “spooky” online experience that we still get the chills from. Learn from our ghostly tales and how you can improve your game so these monsters no longer so bump in the interwebs.


“My Business Wasn’t Sure How to Respond to Comments.”

Talking to people can be awkward, especially when you are answering as a business and not yourself. You as the commenter have to take on the personality of the business and represent the company in how you respond. It’s not as easy as it looks!

When responding to customer comments, it’s important to keep in mind a few things:

  • Keep it professional.
  • Add some personality to it. It makes you more approachable and easier to converse with.
  • Keep it short and sweet and to the point.
  • Offer assistance if needed.
  • Offer additional options of contact such as email or letters.

One thing your company will need to face is addressing negative comments. Yea, it can suck hearing you’re not doing so hot. But, here’s one of those lemon-to-lemonade situations.

Don’t let the negative drive you down. Look at it as a growing opportunity. Learn where your business is dropping the ball and how you can correct this interally before it happens again and potentially lose more business.

Address concerns and questions. Don’t let the negativity just float out there. Hit it head on by letting customers know you are out there and paying attention. Address them and their concerns kindly.

Offer solutions. How can you gain their business back? Offering solutions to a problem, refunds, or compensation may be all you need to help a dissatisfied customer go from gloomy to sunny.

Follow up. Nike does a good job at checking back with those who had problems with purchases and making sure the solutions they offered worked for customers. FitBit does the same. It never hurts to check up on customers and let them know you care about their satisfaction.

Luckily for you, you have an arsenal of ways to attack tough comments and even increase engagement through posts with these suggestions! If you’re still stuck with how to address a problem, feel free to ask us by contacting us at Maximize.com.

WordPress Tips and Tricks for Any Type of User

WordPress Tips and Tricks for Any Type of User

Whether you are a sound WordPress user or a novice just jumping onto the online media train, WordPress is a great solution for business websites. Offering free and paid themes with easy customization methods, you can make your website unique to your audience all with a few simple clicks and a couple of short codes.

However, we might think we know everything there is to know about WordPress or may want to know more. Here are just a few tips and tricks we can offer about how you can maximize your experience through WordPress for your business.

Understand HTML vs. WordPress shortcodes

Depending on your level of experience in web design, you may be someone whose mind can operate in HTML, CSS, and JQuery. If you are not one of these people, this is where WordPress has figured it out for you. Through introducing shortcodes, designers with limited knowledge of coding can turn any webpage into a custom work of digital art.

Since most themes come with their own set of shortcodes (and often a link in the toolbar to use these), we won’t spend a ton of time talking about individual shortcodes. Just know that to access these, you will often find a button in your toolbar on your Add New Post page to insert a shortcode wherever your cursor resides.

On the other hand, you can do some editing through HTML in the text editor option on the Add New Post page. Just select the text editor tab on the top right of the edit box and have all your visual edits rewritten into type. This may be confusing at first. A few quick coding hints:

<br> or <p> act as breaks or paragraph inserts.

<a href=””> is a link for an image or a website.

<em>,<strong> are types of font styles (italicized and bold).

Most things like videos you will insert through Youtube can be done through the text editor option by selecting the share button on Youtube and clicking the code option, copying the code, and pasting it where you want the video link in your coded text. There are several other advantages to working in the text editor, but if you work better with the visual tab, use it first for laying out your page and the text editor for tweaks in page layout.

Schedule posts so you don’t neglect your site

In the hustle and bustle of business, it’s easy to forget your website posts. Spend one or two days a week creating your content for your site and schedule it to post periodically throughout the week. Then you do not have to think about creating content every day.

When a post posts to your website, you can also link your website to your social media to push out posts as they publish. You can do this through settings.

Optimize search through URLs and Page titles

Search engines are only computers, which means they are programmed to only look for certain things when asked to perform a search for content. What you need to take away from this is to be mindful of word use in your page titles and URLs to increase your search optimization.

For instance, keep your titles short. Search engines are notorious for overlooking long titles, so try to keep things short and to the point. In addition, nix words like and/or/a/the and other short words from your URL to help shorten it and make it more easily searchable. Try to do all of your permalink and title editing before your page goes live to help with disabling broken links, a publisher’s worst nightmare. An easy fix: using the WordPress Permalinks built-in field at the top of your editing page to tidy up links before you publish.

Utilize WordPress Editor

More than likely you will be spending the majority of your time here. So here are some of the best practices for using the editor to its greatest potential for your site:

Use Spellcheck

This is already a part of the editor if you choose to use it. You can manually select it before you publish or turn it on full time while editing.

 Remove Formatting

This is essential when copying text from one location to the other since it can ruin your entire page layout. Simply highlight the copied text and click the Remove Formatting button in your Kitchen Sink (or toolbar).

Shift +Return

This creates a line break as opposed to a paragraph break, especially helpful for keeping header and body content close together.

Back to shortcodes

This is where you will find all the shortcodes you could possibly imagine. Look in your Kitchen Sink for help, or know these to give you a quick upper hand in editing:

Control + b= bold

Control + i= italics

Control + u= underline

Control + 1= heading 1

Control + 2= heading 2

Control + 3= heading 3

Control + 4= heading 4

For more keys, click the help button in the text editor (denoted with a question mark) and select the “Hotkeys” option.

Warrant Authorship within a post

Be sure to effectively attribute authorship to posts when publishing them on your site. Who actually wrote the article? This can be easily done through the bottom post plugin titled author. Select the drop down menu to indicate who should be labeled as writing the post. We also recommend assigning writers for your company attributes that Google will recognize and attribute your content to your blog/website. You can get instructions on this from Google: ——> link to https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2539557?hl=en

Search your library more effectively

Can’t remember if you wrote about SEO or the benefits of blogging last month? By searching your library, you can just enter in a key word to see if you did. How can you more effectively search your library? Go into Settings > Media > uncheck “Organize my posts into month- and year-based folders.”

Clean up the overall look

Keep your homepage clean and tailored by introducing a landing page to your site. This page should be engaging and appealing to customers and offer a call to action to help draw them in to lock them into purchasing your product or service.

In addition, do not clutter your homepage with a bunch of recent posts, videos, photos, links, or sidebar. This clutter can be distracting to customers, even overwhelming. Keeping it neat and tidy to your absolute minimal needs and adding call-to-action buttons to redirect them on your site will be all you need to help direct them around the site.

Tag your photos, too

Photos can support your SEO strategy if you name them according to your keyword strategy when you upload them to your site. Don’t forget to add a title to them when you upload them to your WordPress site. Don’t make it too generic though. If the post is about Facebook Analytics, title your photo accordingly, such as “ten-things-you-did-not-know-about-facebook-anayltics.” Also add that alternate text to your image as well. This is what they will see when they scroll over an image, in case the image is not present.

Don’t forget about the footer

You may think no one ever scrolls down to the bottom of your site, but this is just as important an element as the rest of what you are offering. Include copyright information here or information about who owns the site. You can also include links to important pages here.


Using all the tools WordPress has available for you is what will get you off on the right foot with your customers. Need help figuring out the inner workings of your WordPress site?
Contact Maximize today and let us help you take your WordPress site to the next level of success.

15 Things Your Business Website May Be Lacking

As business professionals, you want your brand to stand out online. You want to communicate effectively what your business is, means, and stands for in a clear-cut, professional, and functioning website. You focus on all the details, but somehow things still slip through the cracks. What can you do to make your website better for your business and better for your customers?

That’s why we created this quick list on 15 quick fixes that can take your business website from so-so to tailored and complete.

  1. Make it responsive – make sure your customers can view the website on a laptop, smart phone, or tablet and that all elements are functioning on each device.
  2. Use clear descriptions – using a static page to describe who you are and what you do can quickly lock in an interested client.
  3. Use web-based colors – the web runs on RGB colors, meaning the color schemes are created from red, green, and black. Keep this in mind when designing for your website to correct for color issues.
  4. Keep a simple URL – no need to get too fancy. Try to stick to your businesses name as best as you can and use a .com for easier user access.
  5. Easy-to-navigate site map – make it easy for customers to browse your site by having a site map always in eyesight (even in scrolling designs).
  6. Up-to-date contact information – have a contact page easily accessible for your customers with correct business hours, emails, and phone numbers.
  7. Insert a contact us form – on your contact page, make it easy for customers to shoot you a quick question or response through a comment box.
  8. Add customer testimonials – if you have loyal fans, show them off. Ask repeat customers to write up a little bio about why they love working with you and add it to your website.
  9. Utilize calls to action (CTAs) – tell customers what you want them to do by accessing your site through clear language and the use of bright, highlighted buttons or text.
  10. Know your S.E.O. – optimize your search by including basic on page SEO elements for your website’s content.
  11. Fresh content – Keep things new and active by posting new content frequently through blog posts or social media feeds.
  12. Make it secure – ensure your blog is properly secured with SSL features to ensure customer protection and security.
  13. Keep design in mind – we already talked about color, responsiveness, and navigation. But keep in mind how your layout looks to customers. Keep your homepage and other pages clean of too much clutter. Only include relevant information on each page.
  14. Integrate your social media – make your buttons easy to find and easy to access. Users should be able to click on these and be redirected to like or follow your company on any of your social media platforms.
  15. Have a good web host – web hosting can make or break your website. Make sure to go with a trustworthy web hosting company that knows what they are doing to ensure your website will be up and running and functioning for customers at all times.

Want more information on how your business can improve its online presence through its website? Contact Maximize today for information on how we can help you maximize the benefits of a well designed website for your customers and prospects.

3 Benefits to Having a WordPress Site

Getting a website started can seem overwhelming. You might think it’s complicated or will take a large investment of money. WordPress makes it easy and cost-effective to build a website that does everything you need it to. Here are three reasons why having a WordPress site is good for
your business:

1. WordPress sites can save money

WordPress has a variety of tools that make it easy to maintain your website. Their use of themes, easy updates, plug-ins and widgets, and SEO-friendliness make it easy for even a beginner to maintain a website.

A fully coded, custom-designed HTML website can be costly. When you create a site in WordPress, you are given a seemingly endless amount of themes to choose from for your site, and they cost a lot less than a custom HTML site. There are themes to fit every business and industry, and the themes themselves are customizable.

WordPress makes it easy to update your website. If you find yourself needing to change an image or post an article, you can do it yourself. This means you won’t have to turn to a web designer every time a change is needed.

It’s easy to add plug-ins and widgets to your WordPress site. This is great for things like Google Analytics, web advertising, and social media integration.

Because WordPress is SEO-friendly, it requires less time and money to gain the online exposure you want. Once you have selected the best keywords for your business and your target audience, it’s easy to incorporate them into your content and update them if needed. You’re also able to add titles and descriptions when uploading images, which also supports your
SEO efforts.

2. WordPress sites can increase brand awareness

There are many features WordPress has that can help increase your brand’s online visibility. By utilizing these, you have a greater chance of your brand reaching more people.

You know blogging plays an important role in increasing your brand awareness, but how do you get started? Blogs are built into the WordPress platform, so no need to look any further! This makes it easy to create and share awesome content.

It’s easy to connect your WordPress site with your social media accounts. Even though your WordPress site is strong and search engine-friendly on its own, it’s good to connect your site to your social media platforms to gain more exposure. This allows you to share posts and pages on your site with your social media audience.

WordPress also makes it easy to customize your site to fit in with your branding. Your themes, colors, and fonts can all be customized to represent your brand.

3. WordPress makes capturing leads easy

WordPress allows you to capture the information you want from people visiting your site, turning them into leads. You want to make sure you get certain information like their name and email address so you can follow up with them.

It’s easy to add forms to your website, allowing you to capture their information and provide them with an offer in exchange for their information. This makes it easy to gain leads from your WordPress site, and turn website traffic into prospective buyers. Once you know they are interested in what you have to offer, it’s easy to continue to share your awesome content with them via email.

Are you ready to take your business’s website to a whole new level? Contact our team and let’s discuss how Maximize can help you expand your online reach with a customized WordPress website tailored to your brand!