Jessica Kircher Joins Maximize as Web Director

jessica-kircher-maximize-digitalFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAXIMIZE DIGITAL MEDIA HIRES JESSICA KIRCHER AS WEB DIRECTOR

Maximize Digital Media is pleased to announce its recent hire of Jessica Kircher, who will join the Maximize team as Web Director. In this role, Kircher will join the design team, providing graphic and website design for new and ongoing client projects.

“I was attracted by the company’s mission to help businesses build a stronger brand presence locally and beyond” Kircher said. “I share their belief that small business is the backbone of every community, and I love the idea of being able to help our clients strengthen their business, and their bottom line with websites that convert into leads and more sales.”

Kircher comes to Maximize with five years of experience working in graphic design, and brings a plethora of additional skills with her as well.

“Jessica’s fresh perspective and passionate approach to the design process is a breath of fresh air in the office,” CEO Chrissanne Long said. “She brings a new kind of energy to the team, and her desire to give back in the community in which she has grown up makes her a perfect fit for Maximize.”

Before working for Maximize, Kircher served as general manager, art director and trainer for California-based fusionZone Automotive. While working as a general manager, she developed skills through her hands-on experience with WordPress, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. She attained her Associate of Arts degree in Design and Multimedia in 2014 from Keiser University.

“The next best decision I needed to make for my career was to join a team that needed my cumulative skillset as much as I needed their support,” Kircher said. “My future with this company makes me smile.”

Kircher combines her recent experience in project management and graphic design with a background in print production, brand identity, and social media, bringing a lot of new opportunities to the Maximize team.

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Maximize Digital Media is a provider of website design, digital marketing, and social media advertising services to a diverse list of businesses and organizations, including retailers, legal services, speakers, national chains and local, independently-owned businesses throughout the country. Their proven track record and commitment to excellence since 2009 has enabled them to serve over a thousand businesses and organizations to maximize their success online.

For more information about the company, please contact Olivia George at 863-606-5994, email info@maximizedigitalmedia, or visit the Maximize website at maximizedigitalmedia.com

7 Signs It’s Time to Redesign Your Website

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Ready to Blast Off?

Have the Perfect Website to Launch
your Digital Marketing Campaigns

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Similar to anything in life, there are cycles – doing your laundry, working out, and even stages in your life. It’s no different with digital marketing. We’ve talked about how to reach your customers online, but there’s more to it than that.

The fact of the matter is, what looked and functioned amazingly in 2012 isn’t going to hold up 5 years later. Design, just like your underwear, should always be changing. There’s new advancements in technology every day, people are interacting differently with their environment, and brands that influence design style are more prominent through social media.  But, having a good-looking website is only one piece of your game plan to blast off into 2017 into unknown territory.

We’ve compiled 7 mission-critical red flags to look for when deciding whether it’s time to upgrade/update your website.
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PERCENT
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of Mobile Search users have found a new company or product through use of their smartphone.
(Google, 2015)

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1. Your Website Doesn’t Look Good on Mobile

There are several website design approaches you can take to make sure your website’s functionality is working for your audience, but the best one is Responsive Website Design. Today, more users are using their phone to find information or shop. This means your website will potentially (if search engines are finding your information relevant for users) be in front of more eyes, more often and more frequently. Here are some things to consider:

  • Does your website layout fit to the screen without scrolling horizontally?
  • Is the text readable?
  • Is information easily found?
  • Are your call-to-actions loud and distinct?
  • Can people navigate from page to page?
  • Can a customer successfully check-out with minimal clicks?

If you answered “no” to one of these questions, chances are it’s time for you to look into getting a mobile responsive website. Just one of those questions can lead to a user leaving your website without the information or product they want and go to a competitor.
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WordPress Login
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2. You Can’t Update Your Site

At Maximize, we believe in empowering our clients. We don’t ask that you become expert designers, but do provide training that will have you feeling comfortable about changing a paragraph, uploading images, managing inventory — if you want that ability, you should have it. HTML websites require people who know developing language to build and edit your site. This, as you may know, is not functional for people on a budget.

Now, Content Management Systems (CMS) are on the rise for their easy-to-use interface. WordPress  is by far the most popular of the bunch. Building your website on an CMS platform allows you to manage your website with minimal coding knowledge. The only downside is setting up WordPress onto a domain will most likely require you to start fresh.

If you do not have the ability to edit your website, whether it is due to restrictions set by your website designer or because your site is designed through HTML, you may need to start thinking of empowering yourself as a business owner with a site you can manage.
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3. No Social Media Outbound Links

Your social media and website should work hand in hand. With the role that social media plays in our life now, it is crucial to have activity that is engaging and valuable to your potential customers.

By having social media links visibly on your website, you’re encouraging visitors to follow further for updates and special offers. Your website often offers static information (pricing, product information, history of your company), but social media is dynamic and ever-changing. Ideally, you should have both header and footer links promoting your social media pages.

If your website has no links to your Facebook, Twitter, etc… you’re missing out on providing a valuable connection to your customers that can increase your brand loyalty.
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4. Search Engines Can’t Find Your Website

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to making sure you’re found online. Ranking on page 1 on Google is a hard task, but sometimes… maybe your website isn’t ranking at all? Graphics and design refreshers are great, but ultimately you’ll need to understand that SEO is an ongoing process.

Website design with keyword infused into the elements help organically boost rankings. For example, if all of your images are saved as the filename from a digital camera (ex: IMG495883.PNG), that’s not offering anything relevant. You want to name images using keywords related to the image contents & your keyword strategy. SearchEngineWatch has a good guide on how to optimize images for web use.
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Is the text on the page written well? That’s a question people tend to have. By focusing on creating keyword relevant headlines and mentioning locations in your post, you’re able to boost into local searches for the keyword + location. Having a website that is not optimized for SEO can hinder you greatly and there are tools (on WordPress, especially) that allow easier management than hand-coding.

The most important thing to remember is SEO is an ongoing process. It can take 30 to 90 days to see a result. For further questions about SEO and getting to page one, please view our FREE guide on Thinking Like Your Customers.
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Evans-before-and-after
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5. Your Site Looks Outdated

A good general rule of thumb is to have your website evolve every year or so. Whether that’s a full redesign or not is up to you, but elements should change to reflect your business’s growth. Unfortunately, you have around 5 seconds (if you’re lucky) to make a good first impression on your site visitor. Modernizing buttons, call-to-action areas, and streamlining content can make a big change in how your website is presented.

Right now, minimalist styles are huge! For example, if you’re a Pool Cleaning company, you don’t need to slap water images, dancing water drop .gifs or the sound of rushing water on your website. A simple white background instead of a rippling pool of water texture allows your audience to digest information clearer.

Drop the Comic Sans and leave the clip art alone — the early 2000s are long and gone. Your website is a reflection of you and thus, should look its best.
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6. Your Site IS Outdated

Okay, so we talked about graphics, but what about the content on your website? Google is definitely in favor of having fresh content written for users. By creating new valuable content on a semi-regular basis, you’re showing the search engines that you’re relevant.

A great strategy is keeping your “About” page up to date and adding new services to your website when they are available. We’ve seen websites with team members that have been gone for years! It is important to not only appease to the search engine gods, but to also keep important information visible.

Your website should also have the capabilities to have blog posts. Blog posts are crucial for giving important content to people browsing on certain topics. Is someone looking for a way to fix a leaky sink? If you’ve written a blog post about fixing a leaky sink with relevant advice, there are chances your blog post will appear and provide you a chance to make a great first impression, and perhaps gain that user’s business if they are within your service area.

Bottom line: if you can’t update the site (as we mentioned) or have out-of-date content… Houston, we may have a problem.
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Outside of Maximize Digital
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7. Phone’s aren’t ringing

Web traffic is what everyone wants. It’s casting a wide net, but if you don’t have the right strategy… there may not be any fish there. You can have an awesome website, but ultimately, is your phone ringing? Are you getting purchases? We highly suggest you have Google Analytics installed on your account so you can monitor web traffic at the source. You want to be able to find where visitors drop off in their visit to your website.

By understanding the conversion funnel, you’re able to speak with a designer to make stronger call-to-actions, bigger buttons, more compelling headlines, and genuinely how to improve problem areas on your website.

Ultimately, we want to ensure your site is nicely designed, but if it’s not functioning… it may be time to look at a strategy. Design and function go hand-in-hand: without function, there can be no good design. Smriti Chawla, marketing specialist, Visual Website Optimizer, which provides A/B and split testing tools says: “Once you know the problems, you can hypothesize design/content solutions to fix them and use A/B testing to validate your hypotheses.
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FREE eBOOK.

Get a FREE copy of our eBook on “Understanding & Defining Your Business’s Digital Foundation”.

Responsive Website Design eBook preview cover

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Schedule a FREE consultation with us to discuss how your business can get started!

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Responsive Website: Your Business Foundation In A Digital World

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Beautiful Responsive Website:

Your Business Foundation In A Digital World

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As a society, we are at a point where a significant number of buying decisions are made based on what the internet has to say about you as a business. When you have a strong digital presence you control the conversation. Your website is the foundation. Your online reviews, mentions, and listings build upon that foundation, but always at the root lies a beautiful responsive website.

As business men and women we walk into a room representing our company in the best light that we can – dressed well, hair is combed, we wear an approachable demeanor, and communicate in a way that instills trust. Normal. Expected. Demanded.

What’s the look of your business online? Does it instill trust? Does it help educate the prospect enough for making the sale with ease? To put it in even more simpler of terms, does your company’s web presence help you or hurt you?
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BILLION
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In 2016, Statista reports 1,667 billion dollars of offline sales were Web-Influenced.

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Consider some of the big department stores: more and more are shifting their distribution channels to more aggressively focus on online sales. Some caught on early and others are just now reacting to the definite shift in consumer buying habits. A prime example of reactive strategy is Macy’s – closing 68 stores in 2017. The Macy’s January 4th press release outlines the shift in distribution strategy. A whopping 250 million dollars will be invested in growing their digital business. Yes, it’s Macy’s. Yes, not all of us have 250 million to invest in digital, but perhaps we can apply the same business practice at a smaller scale.
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Let’s say you have a parts shop. You could expand the customer pool you serve buy taking your inventory online and giving people who aren’t local an opportunity to buy quality parts with the customer service and expertise only you can provide. Customers would be coming to you at their own convenience and not have to worry about leaving work early to go buy a part. Have a sports apparel store? Die hard fans are looking for the gear only your shop can provide!

Don’t want to sell online? Use your website as an educational vehicle to help shorten the sales process, or to simply let people in search of the very solution you provide know you exist. Then, present a clear method for how to purchase your products or services.
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The key to a great responsive website is USER EXPERIENCE (UX).

Great UX can be broken down into many factors, but the most important are laid out just below.

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User experience has to be pleasant. Navigation throughout the website should be of great ease and information should be presented in a way where text and imagery bring balance.
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Make website visitors feel like winners. Give them that piece of information or solution they were looking for or didn’t know they needed. Give them something that allows for continued interaction/communication with your business.
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Allow for speedy loading and for speedy navigation through a website page. Website visitors will be viewing on devices with different screen dimensions, so you want to make sure they don’t have to scroll too far to get the valuable piece of information.
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There’s a strategy for every website, for every business. We’re strategists here at Maximize. Whatever the goal for your business’s website, we help form the strategy for website content (images, videos, text) with which the website will be built from. You can expect to sit down with us and talk about your current digital presence, business goals, and future plans for expansions to services, products, or distribution. We make sure your investment in your digital presence has longevity and can grow with your business.
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FREE eBOOK.

Get a FREE copy of our eBook on “Understanding & Defining Your Business’s Digital Foundation”.

Responsive Website Design eBook preview cover

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Schedule a FREE consultation with us to discuss how your business can get started!

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How to Promote Your Event Beyond Your Friends

Reaching Beyond your Friends – Getting Results for Online Event Promotions

Facebook is a versatile tool for building relationships and raising awareness of your business or non-profit organization’s events. Getting the word out about your upcoming fundraiser is crucial for your event’s success, so it’s important to remember that your personal network might not be enough to get you the results you seek!

One of the most common ways to Facebook for business promotions and events is through your personal networks. This is a great way to start, and hopefully you already use this strategy regularly!

If you are trying to sell tickets to an event, gain sponsorships or silent auction items, you will need more than just your network to get the word out! Sharing with your friends is great, but chances are, your friends are friends with your friends, so your circle might not be big enough to get the word out effectively.

Here are some tips to help you take your event promotion beyond your network and in front of people you don’t know, but who might want to attend if they know about the event in advance and can make plans to attend.

Start early.

As soon as you have the date for your event confirmed, get the details online somewhere. (Preferably your website!) You’ll want to sell tickets, sponsorships and organize your silent auction items and donations online as much as possible. Today’s busy world requires that there is a way for people to take action online, as opposed to going to a specific store or physical location to purchase tickets. If you are not able to use the Internet for these functions of your event, you will likely miss a lot of people who would otherwise buy tickets. We recommend developing a strategy about 150 in advance of the event date.

Advertise Differently

Today, advertising is more than a PSA on the radio, an ad in the newspaper and some posters at the local chamber of commerce. If you want people to attend your event, it’s imperative that you shift your advertising strategy to coincide with the way people consume ads today. Facebook, Display ads, digital ads on highly trafficked websites and cross promotion with other organizations are going to yield greater results than some of the traditional advertising methods – and they are not nearly as costly. A strategic Facebook ad campaign, 120 days before the event can capture a great amount of data that can be used when the event date draws nearer!

The Easier the Better

People want fast and easy. The more complex the purchasing process is, the more difficult it will be to convert social media “likes” to sales! Using tools like EventBrite and Sign-up Genius can help organize the people on your planning committee, but make sure these tools make it easier for the people buying tickets. We recommend an event website whenever possible, especially for annual/recurring events!

Create a Website

There are so many online options for events. Some of them are FREE. If you are creating a signature event that you will continue to use year after year, you will want to consider investing in a professionally designed and developed website. The reasons you should have your own website are plenty. And will be covered extensively in a future blog post.

Set Specific Goals

Trust me, we know how crazy it can be planning your event. Things never go exactly the way you plan them. In the beginning stages of your event planning, set specific goals, based on your data from previous years. If you have no data from other events, or if this is your first event, think about the information you will want to have next year that will make the planning easier.

Some Goals To Consider

A List is Gold.

You can build an email list automatically. If your attendees have a blast at your event, it’s likely they will want to attend again next year. Getting their email address when they purchase tickets, or enter a contest to win a prize is the best way to ensure they don’t miss the event next year! You’ll need an account with an email provider (we love MailChimp) and a way to collect email addresses – preferably online – think about automating the process, to save time.

Increase Engagement with Event Sponsors/Donors

Are you currently using online tools to recruit sponsors? What about those silent auction items? Remember, people want fast and easy. If you aren’t currently making your sponsors and donors lives easier with a simple link to sign up and pledge their commitment to your event, you are likely missing out on some great opportunities. Some of those unanswered emails from extremely busy people might not be rejections. It might mean they simply don’t have time to open the .pdf you sent them, or time to return your call. But if the information is available on your website, and they can commit online, you’ve just made life easier for everyone!

Track Visitors to Your Website

Data is a powerful thing. If you have a website and you are selling tickets on that site, you will learn so much more than if you were sending traffic to a link on a 3rd party’s site. You can learn about the behavior of your website visitor and learn so much about your marketing efforts. Things like where are you getting the most traffic (email, Facebook, online advertisements, Google)? These days, most 3rd party event/ticket sales options include the ability to embed your ticket sales on your site, so you are able to gather meaningful data about your marketing.

Event Promotion – We would love to help you plan a winning marketing strategy for your next event. Please give us a call or send us an email so we can learn more about your organization and how we can help!

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.