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Successful E-Commerce

18 May 2021

Giving your custom designed website an e-commerce function can be a great way to extend your brand and increase revenue. There's no reason your online image can't double as a storefront as well.

However, as with anything else in business, there is no magic formula for a successful e-commerce site. There are only techniques and tips that have been cultivated through years of trial and error. Here are some things to keep in mind when you're working toward success with e-commerce.

Customer Service

Shopping has always been a multifaceted experience that involves more than just the merchandise. Although many are excited to no longer have to leave the house, most shoppers still want to participate in finding the perfect product, learning everything there is to know about it, and comparing it to other items. Going to a brick-and-mortar means having an expert on hand to field questions, give tours, and ultimately help guide this process.

Keep this in mind as you try to replicate the experience digitally. No matter your product or service, it always helps to have expert information immediately on hand for potential customers to consider. Whether it's an FAQ or an instant message to a readily-available employee, the entire novelty of shopping and customer service needs to be adequately condensed.

The bottom line is to simply be available to your potential customers.

Blogs & Newsletters

An e-commerce site should almost always be paired with a good blog. It opens up an infinite amount of ways to discuss your products and services. You can spotlight new items, offer specials and discounts, provide testimonials from other satisfied customers, etc. They are your products, and if you have a lot of great things to say about them, you should.

Furthermore, when you're discussing specific products or time-sensitive deals, you can then merge these with an email newsletter effort. Last year, approximately 66% of online customers who made a purchase, did so as a result of opening a specific email.

Finally, a consistent blog is just plain great for SEO. If you're churning out high-quality, relevant content, it will work in the end to drive more traffic your way.

Responsive E-Commerce

Responsive website design allows you to have a website that looks good on any device. The pages will transform and resize themselves to look appropriate, whether you're on a laptop or a phone. Although we have a lot to say about responsive design, today we will simply (though emphatically) suggest that your e-commerce site be responsive.

Though it is a recent phenomenon, most online shopping these days is done through a hand-held device. And when it comes to parting with their hard-earned cash, most online shoppers want clarity and navigability as they prepare to do so. Having to zoom in, scroll around, and repeat, is simply too fatiguing to inspire a call-to-action.

Having a sleek, responsive website design makes your products pristine, and it makes the shopping process painless.

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Here at Hazel Digital Media, we give you all of these tools and more to help you get the ball rolling on your custom e-commerce website. In addition to these tools, we also make it incredibly easy to crunch the numbers and measure the analytics on the backend.

If e-commerce is something that you're interested in, Hazel Digital Media can help. Feel free to Contact Us today.

Making Your Custom Website More User-Friendly

10 May 2021

Over the years here at Hazel Digital Media, we've refined our design process, infusing cutting edge technology, allowing every custom design website to have its own unique aesthetic, but each with the same easy accessibility and readability. If you are considering building or improving your website, here are some fundamental ideas to keep in mind, which you'll find at work throughout our portfolio.

Navigability

This principle is first and foremost for a user-friendly website design. You want to have big buttons at the top of each page that make it easy for anyone to know where they are, and where they need to go.

Each page should have a simple, direct title, so that potential customers can find the information they need immediately. If you lose their attention span, most surfers are just going to look somewhere else.

Furthermore, you should always have your logo in the top left corner, which takes you back to the home page upon clicking. Nothing is more frustrating than getting lost or stuck in someone's website, and having to backtrack.

User-Friendly Call-To-Action

In a lot of ways, your website is like a living brochure for your business, but it can also be your store front as well. The website that is most user-friendly is one that engages viewers, and takes them on a journey through the site.

You want to structure your content so that people will eventually browse their way to that magical call-to-action at the end.

Contact Information

You'll have to decide exactly what your call-to-action looks like, whether it's a download, a link to a document, or most likely: the contact page. Whatever your goal, it's a good idea to have some form of contact on every page. We typically recommend including it in the footer at the bottom of each page, providing phone numbers, emails, everything. This ensures that you are always easily-reachable.

Accessible From Every Device

It goes without saying that a user-friendly website needs to be mobile-friendly as well. In another post, we discussed the difference between a mobile site and a responsive site.

When you create a custom designed website with responsive technology, you are guaranteeing easy navigability, no matter the device. In terms of user-friendliness, responsive website technology is practically essential.

Images

The joy of the internet is that it's an interactive, multimedia experience. Images can go a long way toward maintaining attention and involvement, as well as providing instant information. A good website always has just the right amount of images and icons, which should be both beautiful and professional.

You'll also want to think about this in terms of your overall aesthetic. A website is much more fun to peruse when it's pretty.

Whether you're considering a brand new custom design website, or maybe just upgrades to your old one, Hazel Digital Media is here to help. All of our websites combine aesthetic with functionality.

Take a look at our portfolio to see some of the user-friendly websites we've already created.

Or, feel free to Contact Us today with questions or comments. We'd love to hear from you.

5 Things To Know About Email Marketing

8 March 2021

The electronic newsletter is the tried and true method for staying in touch with old clients and stirring up business with new ones. Today there is an estimated 2.5 billion active email users, with 91% checking their inbox every day! Ooh la la...

Here are a few basic principles and good practices to keep in mind.

A Subject That's From The Heart

Conjuring the perfect combination of words for your subject can be tricky. This practice is equal parts art and science, and there has been an enormous amount of trial and error on the topic.

We took a look at some basic do's and don'ts in a previous post, and fleshed out certain practices in another post. When it comes to the subject line, there's really no limit to the amount of homework you could do – but in the end, the only research that counts is the trial and error of your own efforts.

For our two cents, all of these statistics and figures boil down to a single philosophy: Speak Genuinely.

Whether they're new leads or lifelong clients, people respond to sincerity – and even on the internet, folks can almost always tell when you're being fake with them. You don't have to be a poet or a marketing genius to get your emails opened by readers. Our best advice is to stick to 50 characters max, and whatever you do, keep it candid.

Call-To-Action

The subject line may be an important aspect, but it is by no means the most important. Sadly, in all the hubbub about open rates, many folks often overlook what is at the real core of their efforts.

Before beginning any newsletter, you should have a clear goal in mind for what you hope to accomplish with it. Your writing should be clear and concise, and always guiding the reader toward some type of action. This is important, because it's ultimately how you'll measure your email's effectiveness.

Speaking of measuring...

Track Your Results

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

The only way to become a successful email campaigner is to see what works and what doesn't, and take good notes. Fortunately, every custom website we create comes with a sophisticated analytics platform that will help you keep track of open rates and click-through rates, among other things.

Frequency

How much is too much, and when is that not enough?

The amount of emails you send per day, week, or month should also be a significant part of your trial and error research. Depending on your niche, there is a different answer for everybody. One email per week is the rule of thumb, but it might be worthwhile to experiment a little.

Keep an eye on your analytics, and try to find that sweet spot where your readers aren't getting annoyed, but where they haven't forgotten about you either. Once you settle into something that works for you, we then recommend practicing consistency.

Make It Mobile

Last year, 48% of all emails were opened on a mobile device, while only 11% of marketing emails were responsive.

Email newsletters have remained a relevant and effective marketing tool in the face of social media and SEO, and going mobile is the next evolutionary leap that must take place.

When it comes to custom designed web sites, we've talked about the differences between responsive vs.mobile. When it comes to email marketing, you ideally want your emails to be responsive (meaning they'll change shape and look great, regardless of the viewing device).

However, even if you don't go that far, always keep in mind the 50/50 chance that your email will indeed be read on a smaller screen. Consider this when determining your font size and page breaks.

Conclusion

All in all, email marketing is a vast field of research. Over the years, we've written quite a lot about it, and we encourage you to go back through our comprehensive series.

Part 1: The Subject Line

Part 2: Subject Line Research

Part 3: 10 Good Practices

Part 4: Popular Platforms

Part 5: Open Rates & Click-Through Rates

Part 6: Automated Newsletters

However, nothing works quite like rolling up your sleeves and getting your digital hands dirty. In the end, you simply have to know your audience, and get a feel for what they like. Whether you're thinking about beginning, or have been at it for a while, Hazel Digital Media is here to help.

Feel free to Contact Us today!

3 Things To Know About SEO Before Designing Your Website

9 February 2021

Your website may be a perfect 10, but if nobody can find it, there's a chance it's not reaching its full potential. These days, one of the most important rules of having a website is: make sure it gets along nicely with the search engines.

You'll thank yourself in the long run if you take a little time now to familiarize yourself with some basic concepts. Keeping them in mind as you begin to draft the content will ensure that you and your website live in perfect harmony with Google and co.

Keywords

It goes without saying, these are the basic building blocks of SEO. A perfect keyword is one that is specific to you and your industry – something that has high search volume and low competition. Keep this in mind as the pages of your site begin to materialize.

Titles and headers are important places for strong keywords, so name your pages after them, and then design the content around that. With the hierarchy of your website structured around these keywords, Google will be much more able to slingshot you toward potential customers.

There are plenty of great keyword research tools available out there. You don't have to launch a full-blown SEO campaign just yet, but laying down a solid foundation at the beginning will make it infinitely easier to do so later on. Furthermore, if your website is born with a nice, tidy structure, the spiders of search engines will have no trouble navigating and indexing, and that's always a good thing.

Links Back

Another fundamental SEO tactic is fostering links from other websites to yours. If another website has a link on their page that travels to you, the search engines see that as a vote. The more votes you have, the more popular your site is. Just like prom, right?

The best way to get people linking back to your site is to have useful, insightful content. Also consider any products your business uses, or other companies you work alongside: if you have room to link to them on your website, they will likely return the favor

In the end, the best way to get websites and spiders talking about your website is through a blog. The search engines notice when you're consistently producing fresh content (especially if it's keyword-heavy). Plus it allows more opportunities for reaching out to people, and potentially getting some of those precious links back.

Social Media

There's a lot to be said about social media as an appendage of your marketing efforts. All we'll say today is that you musn't neglect this aspect of your online presence. The idea of keeping up a blog anda social media account sounds exhausting, but a little bit goes a long way.

Whether Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, just make sure that your keywords and content are congruent. This emerging aspect of SEO is likely to become increasingly important over the years. Try to sync your blog and your social media, and get a conversation going. For the most part, any hype you can foster out there in cyberspace will be good for you.

Always remember that your website and your SEO endeavors are all part of a cohesive effort to expand your brand. Your online presence should be a perfect extension of your marketing strategy. Together, we can cultivate the ultimate web persona for you and your company.

Let's design an SEO conscious website today.

How To Make Your Website Readable

4 January 2021

Here at Hazel Digital Media, we strive to create beautiful, functional websites for our clients. This means not only making pages that please the eye, but also making sure you can easily control the content from within.

A little difference goes a long way with increasing readability – clumsy content can be distracting and jarring, which is obviously not good for your average internet surfer. As you begin to create the taglines, titles, and body paragraphs for your website, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

The Six-Second Rule

The average attention span for adults these days clocks in at around six seconds. Sadly, with the amount of information on the internet, that number is probably dwindling. This is to say: less is more.

Particularly on your landing page, you should challenge yourself to say what you need to using as few words as possible. A good tagline or title should be short and sweet, as should your paragraphs. Try to get your main point across in six seconds or less.

Furthermore, when you take this approach, it gives the web designer more freedom to play with the dimensions. The size of your text is a big factor in readability, and if you're able to avoid clunky sentences, all the better.

No Jargon

It can be tempting to flex your industry experience, but the truth is that uncommon words just turn people off. Many readers will actually end up scanning large blocks of text to get straight to the point – but if they're having to sift through words they don't understand, you can bet they won't stick around for long.

Instead, try to use simple, clear language to explain exactly what it is you do. If you're able to make people understand your industry without using jargon, you'll automatically set yourself apart as an expert.

Relatable Web Persona

When we set out to craft an aesthetically-pleasing website, it's about tapping into the core of your marketing strategies. We want to present the ideal image for your business's online presence. Along with this comes the perfect combination of fonts, colors, and pages.

As you begin to craft the content for your website, ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with it. For most companies, it's about getting new clicks, maintaining user attention, and eventually creating a compelling call-to-action.

A website is most readable and comfortable for new users when it jives perfectly with your current brand. With well-developed ideas, we can work together to create a cohesive design that reaches new people and holds their focus.

To see some of the work we've done in the past, feel free to check out our Portfolio.

Or for more about custom web design, click here to Contact Us today!

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