When Building a Website is Like Building a House

Not wanting to be guilty of speaking “techie jargon” that the client doesn’t understand, I often use analogies to explain website options and services. While none of my analogies are perfect, I hope they make clearer some of the matters related to websites for most people.

Tract Home or Custom Home?

When selecting a platform for your website, what is more critical for you? Cost vs. Flexibility

If you were having a new home built, there are many approaches you can choose.

A tract home is typically faster to build and less expensive than designing and building a custom-built home. But you will also have less options and flexibility. For example, you can select from perhaps several available floor plans, and choose your paint color and carpeting from the options offered.

In both cases, you can bring whatever furniture (i.e., your website content) you want into each room, but perhaps that gorgeous hardwood table you inherited from your grandparents won’t fit into the tract home’s dining area. In a custom home, you can have the architect design a formal dining room around the dimensions of the table AND that antique rosewood buffet you found that complemented it so nicely. You can even install an elevator to accommodate your aging parent in your custom-designed home.

It is likely you will need to pay substantially more for a custom home, but you can specify pretty much anything you want, as long as it is possible and you have the budget for it.

Of course, just as there are many different tract home developments, there are different website platforms to select from. Each have their own pros and cons, features and functionalities, limitations, and pricing structure.

After learning about your business and website needs, UmeWorks can discuss with you the options that make sense for your specific website and budget, and the options pros and cons for each.

Teeth Cleaning vs. Root Canals

Why It is Important to Maintain Your Website’s Software

Most people don’t enjoy paying for and going for teeth cleanings and oral check-ups. However, keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy can prevent, or at least reduce the risk of, needing often painful and expensive major dental work such as root canals or gum surgery.

For those who have a WordPress-based website, or any other site that has software version updates, I strongly recommend you invest in regular software maintenance service.

Why? Because just like regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning, most software updates are preventive health measures for your website.  Most updates are for security protection, bug fixes, and compatibility resolution. Yes, some also include new functionality as well.

Having these updates done regularly prevents potential display and functionality issues, and expensive and lengthy clean up to track down and apply a backlog of software updates from WordPress core files, patches, plugins and theme files.

UmeWorks can provide monthly software maintenance of your WordPress site and Machform script.

Are you a Wallflower at Cocktail Parties?

The Importance of Social Media Engagement

So, you’ve been proudly posting regularly to your Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. But no one is commenting or Liking your posts.

Why that may be can be a plethora of reasons (too many to cover here), but one of the reasons can be is because you are a wallflower at the cocktail party. Or worst you’re acting like BMOC*-in-your-own-mind and talking about yourself and how great you and your company are every chance you have.

Think of the other party goers’ reaction. Instead, if you introduce them to others you know and talk them up, perhaps they’ll do the same for you. Some of their friends may even come over and ask you to tell them about you.

*Big Man On Campus

I Want Red Marbles

Why You Should Choose Keyword Phrases Per Web Page

If you want some red marbles, which glass would you choose to get them?  The one on the right that contain the most red marbles, of course.

which glass would you choose to get red marbles?

Imagine that a web page is a glass full of marbles. The marbles are the words (and metadata) on that page.

If you are a local auto repair shop in Torrance and you have expertise in hybrid auto repair. You want hybrid car owners in Torrance to find you. Be sure you have a web page (glass) dedicated to hybrid auto repair so those hybrid car owners in Torrance can find you. Be sure to fill the page with the keywords hybrid auto service Torrance (red marbles).

UmeWorks can help you integrate red marbles into each page of your website.

Learn more about on-page SEO, keyword phrases and red marbles.

What to Consider Before Buying a Low-cost Website Design Package

Let’s face it; your website is arguably a must-have marketing tool. It forms the hub of all your inbound marketing strategy, and it is likely the number one thing that prospects want to see before making a purchase decision.

As businesses understand and appreciate the value of inbound marketing and SEO strategy, business websites are getting better overall. They are now faster, mobile-friendly, sleeker, and more useful. As consumers demand a better user experience, websites need to provide functionality, performance, and ease-of-use.

These are some of the factors that businesses must consider before accepting a website price, whether they are building a new site or renovating an existing one.

Website Development and Design Pricing are Not Always Straightforward

Setting a website price is not always so simple or straightforward. Although it may feel easy to shop for a website designer by comparing published online prices, you may not end up with what you expected or a site that is optimized for your business. Website designers and developers must consider many factors and nuances before quoting price estimates. Hence, many website agencies do not have a pricing listing because of the nature of their service.

A good website design or development company will first discuss with you to find out what you want, expect, and need on your website. Is it a marketing, business, or informational site? Web designers should take their time, effort, and resources to understand the various aspects of your business and brand before giving you an estimate.

For instance, if you want to generate higher walk-in sales for your business, a web designer will have to factor in such issues when creating and designing the website to enable it to attract customers to your store and buy your brand.

Therefore, it’s critical for a web designer first to understand your needs and your desired level of post-publication involvement in maintaining the site and keeping it updated with relevant SEO content for ranking and visibility.

Understanding these facts enables designers to quote an estimate for a solution that is appropriate to your particular situation. Thus, be wary of off-the-shelf prices lest you end up looking for another designer to finish the project.

Examples of Aspects that Affect Website Pricing

  • Copywriting: will you need help writing your website copy? Edits to optimize for Search Engines? For marketing?
  • Images: Will you be providing professional photographs, or will the designer look for stock images, or need to provide extensive editing of non-professional photographs you supply?
  • Functionality: Will your website need any functionality included such as online booking of appointments, ecommerce with PCI compliance, event calendar with registration, uploading of resumes, newsletter opt-in integration or the ability for affiliates to register? Content Updating: Do you need the ability to update your website content yourself (without coding knowledge)?
  • Data import: Are you redesigning an existing website from which a large volume of content must be migrated? Revisions: How many rounds of revisions are included?
  • Website Tools: Will you need website analytics tracking, security monitoring, SSL installation, cookie consent banner, content management system, or other tools, and are they included in the price?

There are many things that affect website pricing. You are not expected to know whether your site needs all of these. But again, a good website designer will know the questions to ask you and determine what makes sense for you, your business and your website.

Over to You

Pricing for web design and development services is not cut and dry. You must factor in numerous variables such as the examples listed above, as well as the experience of potential agencies and the services they provide. It is vital to understand what you need before you accept any website price. Choose a website designer that can help you determine those needs.

The Importance of your Website’s About Page

You spend countless hours learning about the customers you are trying to reach with your website. The odds are pretty good that potential customers are going to make an effort to get to know about you as well before making any buying decisions. This is why the importance of your website about page cannot be understated.

Here are three reasons why you need the proper emphasis on this critical part of your web presence.

1. Build Understanding

Online consumers are just as interested in “who” you are as they are in “what” you are selling. Your “About” page is the key set of information that must tie this altogether in a clear and concise way. Attention spans are short, less than 8 seconds, so you need a clever combination of images and information to capture their minds and win over their hearts. Peel back the layer of corporate speak and let them see who you really are as a company. They need to feel that your company truly understands their needs. Once they understand what your company is all about, it will raise their level of comfort with your products and services.

2. Build Credibility

The Internet is littered with scammers and “fly-by-night” websites that promise greatness and all too often fail to deliver. This has created a new generation of online customer that is both more demanding and more scrutinizing than their predecessors. Your “About” page must build a foundation of trust between you and your customers. Clearly lay out the products and services you provide and tell your story of why you are passionate to deliver them. Most consumers will base their final buying decisions based on their comfort level with your credibility.

3. Build Connections

Once you capture their attention and build trust, you need to build the connection with a call to action. Many “About” pages provide excellent information but offer no way to take the next step in building a lasting relationship. Provide contact information and links to your online store. Give your new online acquaintance easy ways to make a long lasting relationship with you and your brand.

Telling Your Story Builds Trust

The “About” page is all about telling your story. It should be succinct and compelling like your elevator pitch, but your story should also convey your values and commitment.  Teddy Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Let us help you tell your story and what you care about. Using our digital marketing experience, we can guide you along the path to build understanding, credibility and connections with your digital customers.

Contact UmeWorks now at (323) 638-9328 to set up an initial telephone consultation.

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a Website?

The Cost of Website Maintenance

Congratulations! You’re glad your beautiful website is built. You’re done, right? Well, not quite…. Website owners need to be aware that building their website is only the first part of the process – regular maintenance and updates are as important in keeping your site healthy and effective.

There are two main types of website maintenance:

  1. The first type is updating your website content.
  2. The second type is maintaining the integrity of the website software and programming code. These are what allow your website to display and function.

Just as with most equipment and appliances we use, and especially those that run with software, regular maintenance is required to keep websites running optimally. Software updates to plugins, extensions, and your website framework are needed to reduce bugs and hacking.

How Much Does It Cost You NOT to Maintain Your Website?

You can choose not to do either type of website maintenance, but this is not recommended in both cases because:

  1. Your Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) can be hurt if you do not update/supplement your content on a consistent basis. Search engines will view your website content as stale, and bias towards websites with fresh, unique content, will serve them up in response to keywords searched.In addition, you need to provide users a reason, i.e., new, valuable content, to return to your website.
  2. Some individuals who opted NOT to keep current with their software updates have come to me for help after their website was no longer displaying properly or was hacked. Most often, more time was spent repairing these websites than regular maintenance would have taken. In some cases, older software updates were no longer available, and the website had to be rebuilt completely with fresh software.

Content Update Maintenance Options

This post-publication choice should be discussed before the website project commences as this can determine the best method/platform on which to build your website.

Option 1: If your website will have frequent content updates and your business has sufficient in-house staff, having a website built on a Content Management System (CMS) is the best option for businesses with non-coders. Your team will be trained on how to make at-will basic website content updates

Option 2: If content updates will be infrequent or your business does not have the bandwidth to make content updates, then outsourcing your content updates to a website firm may be your best option. UmeWorks offers this service and will make content updates to your website per your requests, and bill those at our hourly rate.

Website Software Maintenance Options

Option 1: You can opt to perform the maintenance yourself, depending on your:

  • Technical capability
  • Time available
  • Priorities
  • Budget

Option 2: You can opt to outsource maintenance to a website firm so you can concentrate your efforts on what you do best – building your business and providing service to your clients. UmeWorks offers maintenance service and will check for software update availability, make updates as needed, troubleshoot and resolve compatibility issues at least once per month. You may also opt for updates-as-released maintenance to minimize vulnerability. These services are billed at our hourly rate.

Related Services: Site Security

Recommended services are site monitoring, malware removal and hack response. There are firms that specialize in this such as Sucuri.* You can either manage your account, or hire UmeWorks to respond to alerts for our website on your behalf.

What if you opted not to use this security monitoring service, but your website gets hacked? Sucuri also offers immediate help for hacked site, with various response time price points.

*Disclosure: UmeWorks is an affiliate of Sucuri and may receive compensation for referrals to them from this website.

Eight Questions for Planning a Great Website

Whether you are hiring a website designer or using a DIY tool, it is worthwhile for you to spend some time thinking about what you want from your website. Here are eight questions to ask yourself before embarking on a new website launch. Knowing the answers to these questions are the right steps to planning a great website. It will also allow your website designer to provide you a more accurate estimate and avoid unexpected expenses for mid-stream changes and rework.

  1. Who is your audience? Think of the demographics of who you are trying to attract. Do you have more than one target audience? Is there a specific geography your business caters to?
  2. What “feel” do you want your website to engender to make site visitors want to stay on your site? Should it be professional? Humorous? Fun? Kid-friendly? Goth? Scary? Dope? You may wonder about why someone would select one of those, but, what if you are a thriller writer? Comedian? Lawyer? Pre-school? Skateboard manufacturer?
  3. What do you want your website to do for your business? Get more leads? Provide affirmation of your credibility and expertise? Showcase example of your work? Sell online?
  4. Keeping the answer to the question above in mind, what content do you want to include on your site?
  5. Then, how to you want the content organized so it logical and easy to find? That is, what will your website’s page structure be? For example, a simple website might look like this:
    • Home Page
    • About
    • Services/Products
    • Samples
    • FAQs
    • Newsletter Sign-Up form
    • Contact Us
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms and Conditions
  6. What are the most important messages a visitor should be aware of immediately? What do you want visitors to do when on your website, i.e., what is your call-to-action (CTA)? These items should be included on your website’s Home Page.
  7. Other than images and words, is there any “functionality” your website should include? Perhaps
    • Sell products online
    • Pay for services online
    • Opt-in sign up form for your newsletter
    • Buy Now
    • Register Now
    • Contact You
    • Facebook or Instagram Feed
  8. Once your website is published, how often do you expect to change your content? Do you wish to do this yourself, or hire a professional so you can concentrate on your core competencies?

Answer these questions, and you’re at a great start for a successful new website. A strong website designer will discuss your answers, probe to understand more, and make suggestions that help you build a site that helps to support your business goals.

Ready to get started? Request an estimate from UmeWorks for your new website!

We strive to deliver more than a website. Our goal is to to be a partner in your business success.