Yesterday, Google announced the launch of Google My Business. After years of trying to upgrade Places and merge it with Plus, Google has finally released a brand new platform that encompasses all of Google’s business tools, making it easier to manage your local business listings. While this doesn’t change much for our current Google+ pages, the new My Business interface provides clearer instructions on how to fill out, verify, and update a listing. With this rollout, it’s exciting to see that Google is proactively trying to solve the confusion between Places and Plus by creating a unified dashboard that makes life easier for small- to medium-sized businesses.
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It surprises me that there are websites out there that do not consider and incorporate conversion into the fabric of the design. It’s one thing to have a website that is pretty. It’s another thing to have a website that subtly persuades people to read, click, and buy (or submit contact information through a form).
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind if you are thinking about building a website where the intent is to turn visitors into customers.
Unless the visitor is doing research, most people coming to the site actually do not have much time. Walls of text can turn them away. If the visitor knows what they want and is particularly motivated, it is likely that he or she would rather call or email to connect with a human being before making a decision. Thus, a phone number, email form, or some other form of contact must be less than one click away from any landing page. It should be clear and easy to find.
If your product or service has won any awards or accolades, show it off. Even if these awards are not that big of a deal in your industry, you’ve got to remember that your visitor likely does not know this. Accolades show that your company is a leader in the industry, is respected by peers, and is involved in your industry’s community.
In my opinion, the best customers are informed ones; customers who understand the value and complexity of your product or service. An informed customer asks pointed, perceptive, and inquisitive questions because they want to understand the impact that your company will have. If you have answers to these questions, you become an authority on the topic, you build trust with your consumer, and, hopefully, loyalty through his or her purchase. Information on your industry should be delivered in an easy-to-digest manner with headlines that pique the person’s interest and appeal to both novice and more experienced customers.
The best “don’t take my word for it” tool is the testimonial. It’s even better if it is displayed on a third party website like Yelp, Google, Avvo, Angie’s List, CitySearch, etc. This gives you a vote of confidence from a previous customer who went above and beyond to give you a good review. If one hundred people have given you a 5-star rating, what are the chances that this person will have a bad experience?
Remember, even if your website is on the first page of search results, there are other businesses right next to you doing everything they can to get the customer before you do. The last thing you want to get in your way is a website that doesn’t do a good enough job of putting your best foot forward. It may be beautiful, but it’s of no use to the visitor if it is simply a work of art.
To learn more about designing websites for conversion, give us a call (512) 394-7234.
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After 4 months of Beta testing, Google has released Review Extensions to the full population of Adwords advertisers.
Review Extensions will display 3rd party reviews underneath an advertiser’s ad, hopefully lending both security and confidence to the product or service. This should help advertisers a great deal by confirming to users that the product or service in question is reputable and has already been vetted by others. Google has one advertiser who was included in Beta testing who claims they’ve seen a clear 10% increase in click through rates since starting use of review extensions.
One feature that will prove very interesting with this extension is the fact that the review publisher will have a link within the ad itself. If the user clicks the link to the review, the advertiser will not be charged for a click. While this extension will still most likely be a net positive for Adwords customers, it is yet another signal that review sites are gaining more authority in the eyes of Google.
All told, this newest Adwords bell and whistle should have an immediate and real impact on search results, both paid and organic. Keep an eye out for these in the very near future, and take note of the creative ways that advertisers put these to use.
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CloudSixteen, Inc., got its start as The Search Engine Guys (TSEG), a Search Engine Optimization company that our CEO and CTO ran out of their homes before making the company’s first move into a 500 sf office space in Westlake. After outgrowing that space, the company moved to a four-roomed, 1,000 sf office downtown next to the Driscoll Hotel.
In late 2008, TSEG moved from its small downtown office to a much larger space on the third floor of an office complex in South Austin. After expanding into the office adjacent to ours, renting additional offices on the second and first floors of the building, starting Ngage Live and Big Momma Apps, and uniting under the parent company CloudSixteen, Inc., the Cloud has moved once again to accommodate our continued growth.
On June 1, CloudSixteen, Inc. moved into a beautiful 12,492 sf office located at 360 and Wild Basin Rd., just north of Bee Caves. The new space has an incredible view of the hill country and has allowed the entire Cloud family to work together in the same office for the first time in almost 4 years. While our unique decorative stylings have followed us from the old office, we’re all excited about the opportunities for growth that this new office will bring, and are already working on making memories in our new home.
Last Friday, June 1, The Search Engine Guys (TSEG), a division of Cloud  Sixteen, Inc., participated in their quarterly company event at K1 Speed in Austin, TX. K1 Speed is an indoor, electric go kart race track, and TSEG team members competed in over three hours of indoor go kart racing against other team members.
Ten to twelve team members were able to participate at a time, and they competed for 8-10 minutes per race in karts that could reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. The top two performers from each race then competed in a championship race that the company’s COO, Kim Curtis, won. Past company events have included miniature golfing, bowling tournaments, karaoke, and an outdoor field day.