Your business marketing plan is a comprehensive document and road map with the main purpose to promote your business. This plan helps you to make sense of all the parts needed to advertise and market your business to your target market. Following this marketing map with specific benchmarks determines the time that you need to set apart. Whether you DIY or pay a company to help execute these promotional processes takes time and needs adequate planning. Managing the end result of your marketing plan such as answering questions or following up on leads should also be considered as part of daily customer service. Establishing a regular routine is an essential part of allocating time for this new digital responsibility that should be part of starting your new business year.
At Plugin Matter we find that dividing the marketing process in three parts helps us to focus on the most important parts needed.
Often times companies only focus on the website part and when it does not function as expected it is hard to figure out where to improve. Plugging in online sets in place the parts needed to grow an online audience. Your fuel plan then uses your website and other related content to market to your audience using your plugin channels set in place.
Actively driving traffic to your website should be the focus of any successful marketing plan. Understanding what to post is made easy when you are able to focus on the following four benchmark categories.
Creating branded visual elements such as flyers, brochures, postcards etc is easy when you use Google Drawings. Visuals can easily be copied to be reused and recycled in years to come neatly sorted with all of your brand elements. Completed promotional art can be used in blogs, image social posts, and downloaded and printed for outbound distribution listing all your @vanities. Read more about getting leads with Brand Management.
Creating content starts with cornerstone content about your company and services on your website pages to be found in organic searches online. These are then shared through to your social media pages using affirmation sentences using #tag words and keyword sentences to be found in social searches. Read more about getting organic leads with Content Marketing.
Content with hyperlinks to locations, partners, brands and other related sources are all part of creating link-building within your website content. Posts that are shared through to social media can be improved with additional link building by added the mention @tags. Link Building is a complex but very effective way of optimizing your digital content for better online visibility. Read more on driving leads with Link Building.
Branded images with related content and quality link building in cornerstone pages, blogs or social posts are all perfect little promotions that can be pushed through to specific target groups for additional online exposure. When done with integrity social pushes can double your marketing conversion rate, if not triple the results on time spent managing your digital marketing plan. Read more on driving traffic with Social Media Marketing.
The way we understand marketing has evolved into quite a beast many heads to feed Inbound and Outbound, for on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
By dividing your powers into three manageable parts for (1) Plugin, (2) Website and (3) Fuel, it is easier to identify which part needs work. With the constant change of digital environments it is easy to neglect parts that intimidate you. Using our four benchmarks of (a) Branding (b) Content, (c) Links and (d) Social it is easier to identify what needs to be done and to start with the pieces that you understand while figuring out the parts you don’t.
Our Plugin Matter team works with our clients as contracted partners. We are quick and skilled at research, planning and creating the workload for your digital marketing plan. We use detailed implementation calendars to schedule and automate social posting to multiple platforms. Our clients are with us all the steps of the way and in the loop using a custom Trello board for each client. If you are ready to create a fuel plan that work with content that matters, give us a call!
Written by Melien Lavoie
Your website is a digital representation of your company online reaching a digital audience. To create a website we use website building software or a program. When done your site is published on a domain you own similar or with the same name as your company. A website usually has multiple pages that are reached via the navigation menu and has a header and a footer with basic info. A well executed website would be molded based on the client journey mapping out the expected route and page dept a specific visitor might travel to reach its objective. Websites themes and trends are based on the purpose of the owner and the needs of the target. Websites are used for online stores, to represent a business, to feature a portfolio, for personal use such a wedding site, for one time events, and to document stories on a blog.
If you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner ready to look at website options for your new company it can be pretty overwhelming trying to find ‘the best website builder’. The internet has many bloggers with their own opinions and evaluations to choose from most written in an effort to solicit their services. At Plugin Matter we do think quite a bit differently. Our main objective is to empower our clients while giving them the best chance at SEO and the ability to manipulate online search results in their favor.
An attractive and deeply customized site does not mean, that the site is streamlined for operational performance, purpose and needs of the company. In most cases it's the opposite. When choosing a website platform or software to build your website you should consider these two variable first. What search engine optimization parts can be executed using this website builder? What tools does this builder offer to help me manage my marketing efforts while on the go. To be able to effectively achieve those two requirements your new website builder should have the following qualities.
Functional - A website that is functional is able to fulfill a certain task and purpose. An example of a functional site is one that has most or all the parts needed within current online trends and needs when creating a website. These include an online store, free version, blogging tools, downloads, image editor, on the go portability and adding members. Creating a functional website that actually works you also need easy access to back-end parts that needs editing to stay within algorithm requirements. A functional site has the ability to outperform a competitor website of lesser quality.
Affordable - Working with businesses with small budgets a reasonably prices builder is one that is affordable with free and upgradable options. A builder that is expensive is also hard to manage and sustain when paired with your marketing budget and other digital expenses. A website builder with multiple tiers of pricing has the ability to grow with your business over time.
Sustainable - A website builder that is sustainable is one where the company understands search, and what is needed to get search engine optimization. Such a company would be constantly making changes and doing updates to their software to stay up to date with requirements. A sustainable website builder would also have knowledgeable staff and developers who understanding the digital needs of their clients eager to meet their needs.
Maintainable - If your website builder is maintainable then you are able to easily update your template, look and feel in a matter of minutes. Changes such as replacing and moving parts and navigating basic pages updates should be easy enough to implement quick without the need of specialized developer. Time is money and when your builder requires specialized skills it can cause unexpected financial strain and waiting.
Doable - A website builder that is doable is also easy to understand able to effortlessly manage. Taking control of your company’s presence online means understanding all the moving parts needed to successfully execute your marketing goals in a timely manner. To make business sense it has to be practical, convenient and within the mental ability of the average unskilled user to figure out with little assistance.
Accessible - A website builder that is accessible is one that also filled the needs of digitized users and business professionals filling many roles while on the go. It needs to be approachable, intuitive and fulfill their need in a comprehensive way. With clients filling many roles it is absolutely crucial for your website, blog, store, contact forms and comments to be accessible via mobile or tablet for easy management and customer service.
Sources and Research:
PC Mag has this nice visual comparison chart of the best website builders of 2017. For functionality please note that Weebly is the only builder who has all the boxes checked off in green even though it is only rated forth.
According to popular trends visible on Google Trends, the most favored website builder list would be:
You can see that Wordpress is the most searched builder followed by Wix, Shopify, Weebly and Squarespace. I think that this graph is a classic example of peer pressure going after what is popular, and attractive instead of choosing a platform that is functional within your small business needs. So knowing your needs and understanding what they are will help you to determine which website builder is best for you.
A recent blog published by Digital Trends mentions the following website builders as the best website builders in the world that range from free to premium - Published October 1, 2017.
This older article from Small Biz Trends compares well and is a quicker overview of free website builders. - Published June 10, 2016.
Lastly an article from Beautiful Life discussing the 15 best free website builders with a very thorough and detailed evaluation. - Published October 7, 2017.
A sustainable website has to be easy to find with easy adding of SEO and keyword parts. Performance wise it needs to load fast with AMP technology there or development in process. For best user experience the design has to be responsive adapting to devices. Read more about the building blocks of sustainable web design.
KNOWS WHAT GOOGLE WANTS
Personally I feel that a sustainable website platform should be up-to-date with google requirements starting with the visibility of their own company in a basic Google search. This is easily established with the presence of a google graph knowledge box on the right.
Website builder expert has a nice website builders comparison chart for 2017 with the number of websites powered in millions by each of the website builders mentioned. This is an important indicator of whether the company will still be around with your website for the next 10 years or not.
Website builder experts also mentions that Weebly and Squarespace has themes with responsive technology and that Weebly and Wix has mobile editors. Mobile functionality with responsive viewpoints is a requirement set by Google and shows who is taking the time to stay current.
BEST FOR SEO:
SME Pals has a blog on which website builder is best for SEO? The implementation of SEO parts is a clear indication of which builder is maintaining and updating their platform software according to algorithm requirements. Note Weebly ranking above Wix in both page-speed and underlying implementation of SEO features.
An amazing comparison done by Website Tool Tester with a handy table of the best website builders for SEO comparing Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. It is an older blog but a clear indication of who takes SEO seriously. - Published May 26, 2016
Website Tool Tester has a website builder reviews comparison chart for 2017 blog where they mention Weebly as having 'unmatched ease of use'.
Website Builder Expert did a blog about why you should not hire a website designer where she refers to Weebly as 'Stupid Simple'. - Published September 2017
Website Setup has a blog about website builders written by an HTML developer who has never used a website builder. He has a clearly and undeniable bias opinion towards Weebly. I find most developers does have this as Weebly has the ability to replace a huge chunk of their work as technology progresses. A sad but necessary part of digital evolution needed to help empower small business owners.
Another questionable blog is a shopify review by merchant maverick saying that 'ease of use is Shopify's niche'.
So to check on this I did I basic Google trend comparison of the website + developer. This search helps to show which platforms are easy DIY and which created the desire to do a search for help after a business owner ran out of patience and time trying to figure it out themselves. As you can see no one needs help putting their Weebly or Wix website together. Shopify rates in difficulty below Wordpress according to this popular search for 2017.
For something to be doable you need to not have to hire someone to make changes and be able to DIY your marketing plan on-page and off-page search engine optimization elements. I find that most website reviews are done by technically inclined people trying to match it up to their technical expectations. I was unable to find even one website review by a normal technically illiterate person so there really is no controlled experiment available. Weebly tends to score on the lower end but that is absolutely expected with case studies done by programmers.
Searching for a website developer is one thing but looking for tutorials clearly indicates a DIY mindset without the financial ability to do otherwise or possibly the entrepreneurial spirit to learn how to DIY.
Being excited to learn how to manage your business can be exciting but staying within setting logical expectations for yourself will avoid harsh disappointment. What I see today is that building a website is so easy that a child can do, but not any website is a functional website. Often a pretty website has no or limited SEO frustrating owners on why it is not working. The hard reality is that website builders promoted for their customization is much more difficult to manage than a website builder with limitations. I like to think of the limitations being set in place to help an unskilled user to not 'break it'. Looking at which builders has the highest learning curve it is clear that Wordpress is right above the rest with Shopify and Squarespace on it's heels.
ON THE GO ACCESS:
Business owners and entrepreneurs on the go needs to have access to their website quick and easy as they take care of daily tasks. This helps to be able to check on comments, manage your blog, all basic customer service with a digital audience. Website platforms who are helping to make this possible are as follows:
Weebly is the only website builder that has a Weebly Mobile editor that can build a website from the beginning to the end using only your mobile device. Read more on by Addictive Tips on how to easily create and manage your website on the go using Weebly for iPhone. PC World also has more on how to build and manage a website from your iPhone with Weebly.
Weebly has a detailed and intuitive mobile dashboard helping you to manage your website, blog and various parts of your website and marketing.
Wordpress and Wix has only limited access, where you are only able to manage your blog on your phone with Wordpress mobile App and managing your blog with the Wix mobile App. WordPress Beginner suggests going as far as using third party apps with best mobile apps to manage your wordpress site. This unfortunately is not a holistic solution but only a limited one for the small business owners who is wearing many hats while managing their businesses online.
Ten years ago you would see a website as an investment. One that would last you about 5 years so you would choose the best developer using the most trusted software. Today in an age of digitized users your website is literally your company being represented in a digital space. It is a moving and changing thing that needs to be able to evolve as your company evolves. It is a place for interaction such as adding FAQ posts and page content to deal with current queries. Your website is a place for new content such as blog posts documenting research, service developments, happenings such as events, news, deals. It is a place for commerce making changes to products adding new inventory. On your website you should have affirmation, add new team members, awards, publications and partnerships. Just as you manage your business in the real outbound world, so should you be able to manage your digital inbound business, yourself.
Wordpress might be the most popular website builder used by small businesses but taking into consideration the very specific needs of digitized entrepreneurs it is not at all a practical choice.
Shopify might be new and emerging getting a lot of attention but it is not a smart choice if you are looking to manage your website without help.
Web.com is visible with a strong marketing campaign but they fall short unable to satisfy most basic small business needs.
Squarespace is definitely one of the leading choices but where the builder lacks are also crucial parts for being able to sustain your site in the long run.
Wix is a good alternative to Weebly but you are limited within maintaining your site while falling short on all other variables making it a second best website builder.
Weebly was made with the small guy in mind and it also meets all the needs of a digitized business owners wanting to succeed in a digital world.
Our Plugin Matter team works as contracted partners with business owners and entrepreneurs who would like to get a grip on their digital presence. We do not charge a monthly hosting or management fees as with traditional web design companies. Our clients are active partners managing their own websites after the initial building or updating process. If you are ready to take control and responsibility of your own website while learning skills to help you also take initiative Plugin Matter is here to guide you on the path to website empowerment. Call us for a free TLC evaluation of your current online system.
Written by Melien Lavoie
To create a website you need three parts:
1) A Domain
Most web-developers own client domains meaning that they can hold your site hostage if you decide to change direction. I always suggest that clients manage their own domains. Godaddy is the biggest provider of domains, have impeccable customer service, allows clients to publish on outside builders, and are often way cheaper than the competition.
The traditional way of building websites requires software that is complex, expensive and needs specialized skills to update, manage and maintain. If you go the traditional route when creating your website the most basic update can be time consuming and so also expensive. These days we have many mainstream website builders some easier than others. Most of these builders have a free version with limitations that can be overcome if creative. I have tried and tested most of them. Weebly is by far the easiest, most affordable and most consistent in updating while staying within algorithm requirements.
Hosting is the bread and butter of most domain providers. Because of this they try to force you to use their in-house builder (often a limited 3rd party version of a free builder) while making sure you pay a steep price for hosting. To be able to cut your dependency on hosting to save money, I would suggest looking at social media for social hosting and thinking outside of the box.
Below is an image of how we do business....
So, if you are not ready to drop your webmaster and are still sitting on the fence deciding, then you can use the following questions to help you determine your website status.
Search engine optimization does not have to be a BIG THING too difficult for normal human beings. Using the four questions below your are covering the four main building blocks of the internet to determine how well your site is really doing.
These days we have multiple free tools available to help professionals do a quick DIY website SEO test:
1) Website Grader by Hubspot will give you an overall score for your website. This newer version of the tool can however be misleading as it does not look at the whole picture as it's predecessor Marketing Grader did. I would suggest a website score of at least 65/100 for a site created in the last 6 months. Make sure you note the SEO parts and that all needed pieces are in place.
2) Your Moz ranking can sometimes be tricky to find for free. Depending on updates a tool might not work properly so make sure you try multiple sites. A good score should be at least be 4-6/10. Try Sinium SEO or Check Moz.
3) Content is crucial for your site to be sorted in searches. Without any words there are nothing for search engines to match with queries. As your social feed fills so does search results change daily. Old school web-developers will often try to dodge this requirement with keyword stuffing hacks and hidden pages that gets your site penalized. Check your text to code ratio with Sinium SEO. Google suggests 20%. Very old sites with very little code might also score high so keep that false positive in mind.
4) Lastly if you are not Plugged in and setup correctly online with consistent info over multiple platforms, search engines does not know who you are. This means they are also unable to sort you. The easiest way to check would be to do a basic Google Search of your company name. If Google knows you, there should be a Knowledge Graph Box on the right hand side of the page with your info. If you are not being sorted then Google does not know you.
These four questions and their answers are key to holding your website developer and marketing consultants accountable for work done. Not all developers are knowledgeable in SEO and with technology changing so fast it is really hard for marketing companies to stay on top of things.
If you are however ready to break free from the corporate ball and chain of monthly fees, we can help. There is nothing traditional about our methods as our aim of empowerment is pretty unique. We are however transparent in making sure that our clients understand how to check the quality of our work while learning the basic requirements.
By Melien Lavoie (PluginMuse)
It has been an exhausting year but extremely gratifying getting this business planned, setup and (ALMOST) ready to go!
We are very blessed to be able to work together to start this new chapter in our lives and thank our customers for their continuing support.
If you have worked with either one of us in the past, know us or wants to show some love, please don't hesitate to leave a review on our Facebook or Google Plus page!
Melien & Corlia