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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Invest in Your Content Strategy

Content Strategy

“Smart people invest in digital real estate, and the only way to establish it is with a content strategy.”

Content is everywhere. It’s ads and blogs, images, videos and more. But what’s the point of it all? This all depends on your content strategy. A good content strategy plans for valuable, findable and meaningful content for your customers online.

Your digital content must be unique and valuable to your target audience. Before writing a single word on a page, outline your brand’s message and your organization’s goals. Your ultimate goal is to have valuable, flexible content on your website that appears to the right people, in the right places, at the right time.

What makes for a good content strategy?

It’s all business-driven and user-focused that meets a specific goal. Content is built from a number of things. Today, content strategy is the process that ensures your content is published, edited, republished, repurposed and archived. This also means planning ahead for content that needs to appear in other places, sometimes at specific times, so that information can be personalized, such as a holiday campaign for Christmas.

Content strategy should identify content issues, recommendations, priorities and a future timeline to update the content’s structure and substance to improve the user’s experience. You want to make something your audience wants to see and will want more of.

Focus on your message!

Focus on creating a message or evoking a specific feeling in conjunction with your brand. We’ve discussed how bringing emotion can ensure brand integrity and transparency,  but dive a bit deeper. A good brand has meaning, yet is simple enough to stick in people’s minds. Brands are visual, shown in logos and color palettes and verbal, coming across in language and style of speech; furthermore, all of your content should tie-in or identify your brand to remind customers of who you are.

The key to good content is forming a clear call-to-action. Calls-to-action encourage customers to act on something right away. This is the best use for content as it draws audiences in and interests them in your business’s and website. Posting meaningless information will not benefit you or your audience. By creating strong and useful content, you will build a better audience who identifies your website as a valuable resource.

By investing in your content and focusing your marketing around it, you’re telling your story and standing out from competitors.

Think of content specifically for your channel.

One of the main components of getting your content strategy in order is to develop around the needs of the social media channels you have. Content great for Facebook might preform poorly on Instagram. Think about what these social media channels are designed for.

I want to share with you a GREAT example. For food services, putting your content on Pinterest is a great strategy. There’s so much readily available to re-pin and package into albums and stories that fit with your brand. See what Panera Bread has done on Pinterest, curating both their own content (like this Break Bread album with several links to their blog) and content from outside sources (like this album with tips to take better care of yourself). Panera thinks past the scope of promoting their products and reinforces content that reflects onto their brand. It all fits in with Panera Bread’s cozy, familiar, healthy (but not at the expense of comfort) image

Don’t worry about making a huge strategy for your digital media. Do a little at a time to build up what you have, but with an end goal in mind. It’s okay to repurpose content you already have online for social media or later use. Content is key for gaining traffic to your website, so get writing!

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!