by Scotty McConnell
Posted on 2017-08-08 22:58:02
Imagine two hardware stores who share a parking lot; one hardware store is bright, welcoming, clean and well-maintained. The other has paint chipping off the building, a flickering ‘open’ sign and barred windows. Which one does the customer choose to enter?
The company website is the modern day store front. Now imagine there are two equally bright and welcoming hardware stores. How does one set itself apart from the other? The one who delivers the best customer experience.
Set your modern day store front apart with these strategies to improve your customer’s experience.
If a customer was in the hardware store checking out and the employee at the register asked them to write down their credit card information and proceeded to carelessly leave that sensitive information on the counter, how would the customer feel? Distrustful, not cared about. When a company website doesn’t have a SSL Certificate, it sends the same message to the customer; the company doesn’t care about securing the customer’s privacy and financial well-being.
In addition to assuring that the customer’s credit card data is secure, SSL certificates create a positive customer experience by preventing extra cookies and ads being injected onto the website.
Read more about SSL Certificates here: https://www.feynmangroup.com/blog/http-ssl-https.
Mobile is king. As of July 2017, 54% of users access the internet from their smartphones. It is absolutely necessary for a customer to be able to navigate a website effortlessly from their phone.
Let’s go back to our aesthetically equal hardware stores. Both of them are chains. One of them has the same layout in every single location. The customer walks in and knows exactly which aisle to find ceiling tiles without having to think about it. They are in the same aisle they were in at the location across town.
The same principle applies to mobile responsive design. A customer should intuitively know where to find what they are looking for across a website displayed on desktop, smartphone and tablet. This consistency builds familiarity and loyalty with the customer and allows them to focus on their purchase rather than everything the company is doing poorly. Consider asking your web designer to re-design your website using Mobile First Design.
Intuitive User Interface Design
Humans are hardwired to choose the path of least resistance. A customer should not have to work to find out what a company does, learn about their service or products, or how to purchase them. This is where user interface design is critical in creating a positive customer experience. Creating a website that is intuitive for the customer to acquire what they came to the website for is key. Here are a few principles to focus on to keep your potential customers from bouncing back to Google’s search results and retaining them on your website:
- The three-click rule: Every destination on the website should be less than three clicks of a mouse away from the customer accessing it.
- Simplicity: The #3 most visited websites in the world have one major thing in common, the simplicity of their website’s interface and purpose. See Google, YouTube and Facebook.
- Usability: A customer should never have to pinch, zoom or slide. For mobile resolution, buttons should be big enough that they can be effortlessly activated with the tap of the thumb. Text should have high readability by using appropriately large font size and by selecting colors that have high contrast.
- Information architecture: Scanning is how people read content on the web and 55% of all page views get less than 15 seconds of attention. Use hierarchy to help your customers quickly locate the information they are seeking. This is achieved by breaking up information into readable chunks, organizing it using subheadings, and optimizing for skimming with bullet points.
The shortest distance between a brand and a customer is a conversation. Chatbots are poised to become the standard that websites are for businesses in the near future. Using Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots can be programmed to suit the customer needs of any industry. They allow website visitors to ask questions as they would if they were talking to a knowledgeable customer service representative at the hardware store. The customer is provided on demand support and the automated service gives the company more efficiency to be productive and grow.
Creating a great customer experience in a store or on a website is subtle. The customer shouldn’t even realize why it is a great experience, it just is because everything works seamlessly.
by Mark Tschetter
Posted on 2017-03-02 19:16:12
HTTP + SSL = HTTPS
What It Is and Why Should You Care?
You may have heard the buzzwords HTTPS and SSL flying around more lately. That is likely because beginning January 2017, Google began flagging sites as “not secure” if they collect passwords and credit card numbers over HTTP.
What is HTTP?
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It allows for your web browser and a web server to relay information between each other.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer. Unlike HTTP, the S in HTTPS indicates that the information from your web browser is encrypted before it is sent to the web server.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL is an acronym for Secure Socket Layer. An SSL certificate encrypts the data that is sent to the website you are interacting with from your computer, proving the identity of the website. Here’s how it works: your web browser requests a web server to verify the identity of the website you’re on. If verified, the web server will respond by sending an SSL certificate. When the website is deemed trustworthy, the HTTPS symbol will appear in the URL bar as a digitally signed acknowledgement that the site’s identity has been verified by a trusted authority.
How can I tell if a site is verified?
In the URL bar of your browser, a lock symbol will be displayed and the URL will begin with https://www…
Why do I want to interact with sites that use HTTPS?
Imagine you are the web browser and your bank is the web server. If you were in a public place and had to shout out your credit card numbers to your bank across the room, would you rather shout those numbers in plain English, or in a coded language that only you and your bank could understand? HTTP is plain English to snoops and hackers, whereas HTTPS is the coded language that makes your information much harder to crack.
Why should I Care?
Not only does Google label non-HTTPS websites as non-secure, they penalize these sites by dropping their ranking in search results. This directly affects your customers’ ability find you. In addition, beyond search ranking concerns, HTTPS is the security standard, and adopting it on your website helps keep you and your website’s visitors protected.
Are you ready to set up SSL on your website? Contact Feynman Group for more information.
by Mike Wilson
Posted on 2016-05-16 21:22:47
Google plans to hammer another nail into Adobe Flash Player’s coffin, according to a recent publicly available proposal. The multimedia platform, which has faced a swathe of criticisms over it’s 20+ year lifespan, will presently face stifled support in Google’s popular Chrome browser.
According to the proposal, Google will continue to bundle Flash with Chrome, however when users visit webpages containing Flash content, they will now be prompted to allow the content before it is loaded, shifting closer to an “opt-in” type of model.
If the user chooses to load Flash content on a webpage, Chrome will remember the user’s settings for the domain, meaning Flash must only be allowed once on a webpage to continue serving content in the future. In addition, Chrome will initially default to allow Flash content on the top 10 sites (based on aggregate usage) for one year.
When these changes go into effect, users will still have the ability to set their own preferences, including an option to always run Flash content.
The shift comes alongside Google’s continued efforts to phase out Adobe Flash content in favor of HTML5. In the Fall, Chrome began blocking Flash based ads by default and Google plans to fully ban them by the start of next year.
The updates will likely impact Flash significantly, as Chrome reportedly holds a staggering 70% of web browser usage as of April 2016.
by Mark Tschetter
Posted on 2015-06-17 21:32:33
SEO Cannibalization is when websites compete with their own keywords and content for traffic across search engines. This can be highly detrimental to them for two reasons:
- Search Engine crawlers will be confused on how to effectively index and rank websites in results
- Users themselves will be confused on which search result link to choose, or simply not find anything
Generally, SEO Cannibalization occurs within a single website containing duplicate keywords and content across the site’s internal pages. However, this applies across separate websites as well. For example, a company could have a franchise with two separate locations, Location1 and Location2. They want to have a strong brand, so naturally, they create a website for both locations; www.brandname-location1.com and www.brandname-location2.com. To add to this scenario, the company wants consistency within the franchises so all content across both websites are the same, the only differentiating factor consisting of their location-specific information.
Although these sites are optimized to perform well in search, the unfortunate mix of duplicate content, keywords, and URLs are causing the company to compete against itself across multiple facets. Considering search engines take the issue of Duplicate Content very seriously, it’s important to keep everything unique, even across separate websites. If one site is fully optimized, it seems intuitive to simply port all of this information over into Location2’s website to focus targeting efforts on geo-specific information. However, it’s important to fight this urge. Through simply porting all content over to a new website, it will inadvertently cause the company’s two websites to begin competing and “cannibalizing” each other in search, ultimately hurting both sites’ rankings.
How to fix it
The best approach to optimizing each location is to first decide on a single domain that will effectively and intuitively contain all content and locations. Ideally, this means having the url www.brandname.com, then creating a unique page for each individual location. In doing so, a company can promote the brand customers are familiar, while keeping their website fully optimized.
A great way to think about this is through looking at other big brands, such as Home Depot. They have locations all over, but they have a single, primary site under the domain url, www.homedepot.com. Meanwhile, each of their stores has its own location page, even stores within the same town. Take their South Beaverton location for example. They have created a unique page for this store, with location-specific information:
“The Home Depot S Beaverton – #4018 can help with all of your home improvement needs. Our address is 4401 Southwest 110th Ave, Beaverton, OR, 97005 and our phone number is (503)469-4242…”
This location-specific page allows search engines to index the page based on geographic location, centered on keywords specific to the local area without the unnecessary risk of pulling away ranking power from the primary branding domain. On top of this, it prevents them from getting penalized due to duplicate content issues. In other words, all keywords will remain intact on the main site, while separate locations will be ranked and found based on the main site’s primary keywords mixed with searchers’ location-specific keywords. Not only will this create a single powerful site for your business, but it will also mitigate any confusion for potential customers seeking the service.
Some approaches to correcting cannibalization issues include:
- Selecting the most powerful domain across all current company URLs, i.e., observe which domain ranks higher overall in search, as well as which has the highest quality clientele.
- Select a new domain that can effectively contain these two locations, while remaining intuitive to potential customers.
Once a primary domain has been selected, the next step will be to place 301 redirects on the secondary domains, redirecting them to the new primary domain. In doing so, all future SEO efforts will be focused to optimize the brand of one site using relevant keywords while creating and optimizing separate location pages using geo-specific keyword descriptors.
by Mark Tschetter
Posted on 2015-06-01 22:23:02
Feynman Group is proud to introduce our brand new redesigned website! You’ll immediately notice a fresh look, but this isn’t just a facelift. We completely overhauled the site’s structure, went all-out with modern, innovative visuals, and optimized each page from the ground up. Partially inspired by Google’s so-called “mobilegeddon,” we formed a game plan to thoroughly revamp Feynman Group’s presence on the web.
In order to satisfy the ambitious goals we set for ourselves, we approached this undertaking from a completely new angle. We knew without compromise that the final product had to function flawlessly in all common browsers and on all modern devices. Laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones, including those from Microsoft, Apple, and beyond all required equal attention. On top of that, we needed enough control such that we could tweak each element individually without any kinds of restrictions.
We also took this as an opportunity to revitalize our website’s search presence. It’s no secret that, without proper planning, redesigning your website can negatively affect previous search engine optimization efforts, but we wanted to take our preparations further. This meant carefully organizing our URL structure, thoughtfully shaping our written content, addressing all metadata, and countless other techniques which would boost our site’s search-friendliness.
Going forward, we’re eager to hear your thoughts on our new look! All comments, questions, and constructive criticism is welcome as we continue to improve our presence in the digital space. If you’d like to drop us a line or inquire on how we can bolster your web presence, feel free to visit our new contact page or give us a call at 541.342.5531 (Eugene) or 971.254.9922 (Portland).
by Mark Tschetter
Posted on 2015-03-20 20:52:49
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
-Google Webmaster Central Blog, 2/26/15
If you needed any more reason to optimize your website for mobile devices, Google will begin penalizing websites that do not offer tablet and phone users a seamless experience. Since November 2014, Google has already been distinguishing mobile-friendly sites in search results, however the latest changes will specifically rank mobile-friendly sites higher than non-mobile-friendly pages when users search from their phones or tablets.
This so-called “Mobilegeddon” is not the first time Google has significantly changed its algorithms to cater to the mobile web. Back in June 2013, Google posted a similar announcement to their Webmaster Central Blog which included some common errors and how to correct them. The latest announcement is likely another sign of what’s to come as the mobile web market continues to soar and as wearables find their place as an emerging technology.
Many websites are taking advantage of responsive and adaptive web design practices in order to maintain a consistent user experience across devices. Sites that are designed with mobile in mind also eliminate the need for separate desktop and mobile versions, offering the best of both worlds. For a solid demonstration of some common responsive and adaptive design principles, Fast Company’s article brilliantly illustrates the idea with simple visuals. If you’d like to learn more about how Google’s changes will affect you or how you can enhance your website for mobile users, contact a member of Feynman Group’s digital marketing team.
Developing web content with relative units is one technique associated with responsive design. Courtesy of Fast Company
by Mark Tschetter
Posted on 2015-03-02 21:32:27
WVO and Feynman Group at the Sportsmens Expo 2015
Willamette Valley Outfitters specializes in salmon and steelhead fishing on Oregon’s coastal rivers and the southern Willamette Valley.
Founded in 2002 by Kyle Buschelman, Willamette Valley Outfitters has earned a name that evokes visions of beautiful Oregon scenery, day-long drifts down the Valley’s best waters, and of course, more salmon and steelhead than you can shake a stick at, if you’ll pardon the pun. Kyle is a master fishing guide who strives simply to provide his clients with an incredibly enjoyable yet completely professional experience.
When Kyle initially met with Feynman Group, his website, like many others’ in his industry, was basic, if not sparse, offering only the essential Willamette Valley Outfitters information. The site served its core purpose; to inform customers what WVO does and how to book a trip. With that in mind, Feynman Group and Willamette Valley Outfitters partnered up to develop a brand new site that would reflect Kyle’s distinct professionalism, while highlighting the entertainment and sport of his line of work. Alongside development, Feynman Group sought to incorporate best SEO practices in the new site and concurrently roll out a complete strategic social media campaign.
Feynman Group designed the new WVO site to be responsive, meaning the site provides an optimal user experience on any device. The site actually adapts to the different screen sizes of devices such as computer monitors, tablets, and phones, and necessary navigational changes are made accordingly, all without interfering with the primary front-end user experience.
Willamette Valley Outfitters’ site incorporates a lot of eye candy to bring the site to life. Vibrant photos and images catch the eye, a seamless, content-saturated homepage adds an interactive experience, and features like rolling video and detailed maps give the site added character. Getting it all to look right was half the battle, the other being to verify everything functioned correctly in all browsers and devices. While this posed a serious challenge, Feynman Group’s developers exhaustively tested each feature for quality assurance.
Another unique feature Feynman Group incorporated in WVO’s new site was extensive copy-writing. Coming from a point where there was previously very little written content, Feynman Group worked closely alongside Kyle to produce natural and authentic copy, incorporating extensive research on the subject matter. The result is an informative resource on WVO and fishing in Oregon that’s also easy to read and digest.
Feynman Group launched the new Willamette Valley Outfitters website in late February, and the response has been fantastic. In all, the site is an exercise not only in fun and rich design, but exceptional function and usability. If you like what you see, contact Kyle Buschelman to book your guided fishing trip. I hear the King and Coho will be wild this August!
Willamette Valley Outfitters Guide Kyle Buschelman
by Mike Wilson
Posted on 2014-12-29 21:19:57
While Macintosh computers are generally regarded for their low risk of security threats, Apple pushed its first automated security patch to machines last Tuesday, December 23rd. This update came in response to a critical vulnerability posed by the network time protocol (NTP), a common software component used to synchronize clocks across the internet. While hackers have exploited the NTP in the past, this particular bug was identified in a Department of Homeland Security bulletin on Friday, December 19th.
It’s important to note that the bug, which could allow hackers to gain remote control of machines, affects a number of devices including PCs. The Verge notes that, while Microsoft has been automatically updating Windows security vulnerabilities for years, Apple had previously preferred to prompt users to authenticate updates.
Mac users should be notified of the update and after installing, a restart is not required. At this time, no cases are known of Mac computers that have been exploited through this bug.
by Patrick Sequeira
Posted on 2014-10-23 12:31:36
Just like many Brick and Mortar retail stores, Online retailers bank on big performance in Q4 to bolster their overall sales performance. According to Internet Retailer, in both 2011 and 2012 online retailers earned on average 35% of their yearly sales in Q4 (http://www.internetretailer.com/2013/04/01/several-major-retailers-grow-online-sales-faster-amazon). With so much riding on a short period of time, it’s important to make sure you avoid the common mistakes that commonly prevent online retailers from maximizing their Q4 sales.
1. Not getting promotional campaigns prepared ahead of time.
As Brick and Mortar retail stores prepare their Black Friday and pre-Christmas promotions months ahead of time, online retailers must be prepared as well. While there may be time savings from not having to prepare printed materials and TV ads, trying to come up with sales, graphics and taglines at the last minute will have your promotions looking unpolished and falling flat. Start early, know what discounts you plan to offer, plan your promotional calendar and create graphics and taglines enough ahead of time to allow for revisions and polishing.
2. Not being prepared for aggressive price competition.
Be prepared for your competition to offer some great deals. Create a flexible plan that will allow you to be quickly responsive to the market, and put some effort towards past research with an eye towards anticipating what your competitors are likely to offer. You’re not going to be the only merchant offering discounts and promotions, so make sure your promotion is unique and appealing.
3. Not leaving enough room in the budget.
If you’re working with an annual budget, make sure to leave some extra for Q4. Not only are sales likely to be higher, traffic will be higher, and cost per click of paid online advertising will be higher. The last thing you want is to run out of budget just as sales start to heat up. Additionally, if you have budgets set in your campaign settings, make sure they’re high enough to cover the extra demand.
4. Not monitoring data close enough.
Predicting your target market’s buying behavior can be difficult, and adding in the unpredictable actions of your competition means that Q4 plans rarely go off without a hitch, and some campaign outperform or underperform wildly. Make sure you’re set up to gather sales data as granularly as possible, and keep a sharp eye as the data comes through, so you can maximize what’s working and cut your losses on what’s not before it’s too late.
5. Making large scale website changes.
The first four mistakes involve not doing certain things, but there is one big aspect that you want to take it easy on in Q4 – making big changes to your website. Even with careful planning and excellent execution, there is risk involved with any big web project. A day or two of down time or functionality loss can result in a much bigger hit to the profits in early December than it would during your slow season, and during certain days of Q4, a few hours can earn as many sales as are earned in multiple days other times of the year. If you’re planning a big website overhaul, it’s best to wait until after the Holiday rush.
by Patrick Sequeira
Posted on 2014-02-17 17:29:25
Google+ Local vs Google+ Business Pages
Navigating the complicated Google+ landscape can be a confusing ordeal for businesses – particularly local businesses. The Google+ label encompasses a number of different products that are related, but not as connected as one might think.
Google created Google+ to be a social network along the lines of Facebook – for sharing information like posts, images and videos. Initially, Google+ was only available for individuals – not businesses. Just as Facebook had done, Google then created Business Pages, so companies and brands could represent themselves on Google+. To this extent, Google and Facebook business presences are similarly managed – an individual creates an account, and can create or become a manager of a Page that represents a business. The individual can then use that Page in a similar manner that they would use an actual profile – such as creating posts and sharing images, that are shared as if from the business itself, not publicly tied to the individual.
The Google+ confusion comes in with the addition of Local information. Google migrated their Google Places listings into new listings called “Google+ Local” pages. Google+ Local pages are for physical business locations – they have addresses, phone numbers, and display maps of the business location. They also allow the Page manager to post business information, posts, photos and videos – the same things that can be posted on Google+ Business pages. Herein lies the confusion. It’s a very good idea for a business to have a Google+ page as a part of their social media strategy. If the business also has physical locations, it’s also important to have Google+ Local Pages for those locations, to have a good presence in local search results, providing accurate, detailed contact information. However, there’s actually no way to link together a Google+ Business page and a Google+ Local page. This leaves a local business owner in the difficult position of figuring out how to manage their Google+ presence for their business. If you create a Google+ Business page, you will not be able to show in local search results or display contact information. If you create a Google+ Local page, you will have to create a separate page for each individual location and duplicate all information shared if it’s applicable to the company overall and not just one specific location.
The best practices: If you have a business that is nationally focused or online only, create a Google+ Business Page and not a Google+ Local Page. If you have a local business with just one location, create a Google+ Local Page and not a Google+ Business Page. If you have a location-based business with multiple locations, create Google+ Local Pages for each individual location, and consider also creating a Google+ Business Page for overall company social interactions.