Should You Meet With Your Toronto Website Developer Often?

Before you sign a contract or agreement with a Toronto website developer, it is always a good idea to inquire about their onsite meeting policy. Many Toronto web design firms have a minimum and maximum number of meetings per client that they find appropriate and knowing this information can be critical to the success of your website development project. The length of these meetings, location, and content require a time commitment from both parties and will have impacts on deadlines and deliverables.

If a Toronto website development firm is unwilling to have any onsite meetings, then this could signal a ‘red flag’ on their business practices and you should proceed with caution. If a web design company is going to build your online presence, then they should visit your business to gain a greater understanding of your products, services, and the overall business environment. After all, a good Toronto website design firm will become your internet partner for years to come – shouldn’t they at least visit you from time to time?

There can also be the other extreme – where there are too many onsite meetings. This can put unnecessary time demands on you and your staff as well as inefficiencies in regards to project management. Professional website design companies in Toronto will know how to effectively manage a project while respecting your valuable time. They can provide superior communication in the most time efficient manner possible.

Toronto web design companies that are experienced in client relationships will leverage today’s online collaborative technology when it comes to meetings. These firms will often hold online meetings, where you can audio or video conference with the client, while a demonstration of the project status is displayed on your PC. Toronto web design firms often prefer this type of meeting as it provides a number of benefits to both the client and developer.

With online meetings, you can schedule them at a moment’s notice, and not have to wait for days or weeks for an acceptable time for all parties. There’s also no travel time involved, or booking of boardrooms or other resources, which is far more time efficient. Problems or issues can be resolved instantly, rather than being postponed until the next physical meeting.

In addition, online meetings will allow your Toronto web development firm to have all of its resources available to you throughout the meeting – something that may not be possible with an onsite meeting. This allows the meeting to be far more productive with all of the tools readily available.

In the end, the frequency of meeting with your Toronto web developer all comes down to your own comfort level. A solid web site project plan will identify the milestones within the development of your website, these milestones could be focused on design, databases, development work, project deliverables, etc. Meeting, whether onsite or online, at the start or completion of these milestones is a good guideline to follow and will ensure that your project is both on time and on budget.

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How To Find The Best Website Development Company

If you want to enhance your web presence then you will need to hire a professional website developer. There are so many “web designers” present on the internet and online which makes it difficult to choose the best, or at least one that is right for your business. Searching for the qualified and good company  is a daunting process and will be extremely important for your web presence. There are many good web development companies but how you are going to find them? It is important that the company you choose has experience, skills and the most importantly understand your business. Here are a few things that will help you in finding a good company.

Look online

To start your search, the best place you can look are the search engines. Look for companies that are experts in the field and most importantly, that they have a strong clientele base. The value of a good company can only be judged by the satisfaction of their clients.

Experience in the field

A reliable company will always have significant experience in the field. Experience is the most important thing to consider and this should never be neglected.  The company should provide examples of their experience on their own website. Take your time and do not hurry in making decisions – this can lead to poor choices and a company that has not been properly vetted.

Portfolio

The portfolio is the other element by which you can judge the reliability of the company. If the company is professional and has handled many projects then they will have a portfolio. You can review it and look for the similar projects to yours that they have developed. Reviewing the portfolio will also help you in judging the quality of the service they provide. There are many other factors which you will come to know about the company while going through the portfolio.

These are the few things that are important to explore on the website of the company. Apart from this you will have to look at the service they provide, their professional team, their customer support, etc…  Only true professionals are going to provide you with a unique website that can stand out in the crowd.

There re so many web developers in the market so make sure that you are choosing the best one for you with extreme care.

Why Choose Toronto Web Development Companies

Is your business starting the process of designing or redesigning a website? After you purchase your business domain name and hire a web hosting company what you need is a web developer (although some firms like Rebel Trail provide both).

The web developer or web designer is the party who would create your website i.e. add content to it and design it to make it useful and attractive. There are basically three methods you can get your website developed.

Firstly, you can use free software to build it from the scratch. This is a DIY solution but it is never recommended for business websites. Web development software is okay if it is your personal website, but for a business website this software will often fall short of accomplishing all of your goals.

The other two methods include hiring web development companies or freelancers. Both of them are hired for business websites but below is a comparative study between the two that would help you to take a sound decision.

Cost involved

Since cost is the first criterion about which most people enquire, let it be on the top! Any web design company has to bear a huge amount of costs due to salary of staffs, maintenance and administration cost, marketing cost, etc. A freelancer on the other hand has minimum expenses as he or she has almost no overhead cost. Therefore, freelancers would charge much less than a web design company.

Quality of work

Since, you are having your business in Toronto you would be able to hire a good Toronto website development firm without much hassle. The quality to be offered by them would be quite high because of their experience and professional attitude towards the work. Freelancers on the other hand are likely to be less experienced and have a less professional attitude as they are involved with web designing as part timers.

Reliability

When it comes to the question of reliability a Toronto web design company would be a more reliable option than any freelancer. The reason is that the company has a registered office in Toronto and they remain liable for any kind of damage caused by not delivering the work, partially delivering or not doing the work properly. Moreover, a web design company has to maintain their reputation so they will not do anything that would hamper their goodwill. On the other hand, a freelancer is generally contacted online and you do not have any scope for asking for any compensation from them.

After sales service

After they deliver you the website, a good web development firm will always keep in touch with you. You would be able to get their help in case of any problem faced later on. A freelancer, on the other hand, delivers you a website and later on becomes untraceable and you will have to hire some other web developer who might not even know the codes with which the website was built.

Conclusion

Having considered all the above points it is better to hire a web development Toronto firm even if they charge a little more than freelancers because of their better quality, higher reliability and continued services.

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Things to Consider When Designing and Developing a Website

The successful online presence of your business is only possible by having solid website design. This is where the assistance of a professional web development company is a must. This article will list out many things that a web development company in Toronto should include in your website. All the elements mentioned here are consistently used among successful sites.

The development of your Toronto web site should include three important factors such as interface design, content creation and actual web development. The elements that should be included in any website design are listed below.

Visual appearance

The visual appearance of the website is very important for any business owner. Whether your website is a ecommerce portal or a service oriented website, good visual appearance is must.

Thoughtful user interface

Good interface is next to good website design. The user interface is nothing but the foundation of good website design. The user interface of the website should be designed keeping the type of customers in consideration.  The Toronto web developer should make sure that the customer gets everything that is needed in order to achieve maximum results.

Primary navigation

Toronto web development styles dictate that the navigation should be easy to comprehend by the audience. All primary means of navigation should be kept on the top of the website and the secondary links should be placed on side bars.

Meaningful content

A good website design should be accompanied by good content as well. Knowledgeable and informative content on your website adds good support

About page

Most of the customer will be curious to know about the company as your brand gets popular in the market. ‘About us’ pages on the website should contain some solid information about your back ground which details about your expertise in the field.

Contact information

The contact information that the Toronto web development company presents on the website should give multiple options for the customer to reach you.

Hiring a Website Development Company in Toronto

A good and effective website is always the key to attraction for the customers of any business. If you are running a business and need to create an attractive website to build your online customers, you should always look to hire a web designing or web development service provider by web development companies.

Ask Around

Before hiring a service of web development in Toronto, you should always ask your colleagues or associates for the list of top service providers. If they have used this type of service previous, you can get a quick review from them. Many web development companies create attractive marketing campaigns which can help your business significantly

Choose the Best

After your research for the list of Toronto web development companies is complete, you need to keep some points in mind for choosing the best. You will need to compare the prices, the list of services they are providing in that pricing package, the technical team skills which are generally required, their past records, their reviews, and websites they have already worked on etc.

Your Budget

You should determine your budget first of all. It is very common that it is going to charge you around $5000 or more, which will depend upon your website topic or pages which it contains. Never choose the cheapest option as ‘you get what you pay for’.

What services will you get?

You are paying for the service of a Toronto web development company, so it is entirely their duty to handle your entire project. They will plan for your website, design the best, and do the all required development from promotional activities to online marketing including SEO. Many companies include mobile application builder for your company and website too in their service list. Their team workers should have good technical skills to work upon a new website development project. Hosting services are also included in their service list.

Things to keep in mind

The main thing which you should keep in mind while finalizing a Toronto web design company for your project, is that you should always look for the portfolio or the design which you have chosen for your company from their display list. Sometimes there are errors like portfolios get changed. The web designing company should use their best time saving technology and complete your project in time.

Killer Content Marketing: 5 Main Content Types that Drive Business

Content marketing is a way of subtly selling your product or service. It’s a method of positioning your company as a thought leader and to show prospects you don’t expect anything in return for the valuable information you’re providing.

Of course, by giving prospects important information at no cost, they will be more likely to buy from you when the time comes for a purchase decision. Content marketing isn’t like traditional advertising; you aren’t making a clear pitch for business in the material you’re sending to the public. You won’t have any calls-to-action or specific promotions but you will call attention to yourself or your company as an expert in the field in which you operate.

This article will discuss five content marketing vehicles you can use to drive some serious business.

#1: E-Books

These take some time and effort, but when done well can really boost your reputation in the marketplace. I use these to position myself as an expert copywriter and some of my e-book topics include:

  • How to create killer web copy
  • How to develop a great brochure
  • How to build and deploy effective email marketing.

My goal is always to provide real value and actionable content to prospects. The idea is simple, while some of my readers will develop their own web copy, brochures or emails, the majority will see me as the go-to expert and choose to hire me when their company needs this type of marketing material.

The trick is to discover what sort of information your prospect base is interested in and then to create content around those topics. E-Books are often used as list-bait, a way of getting prospects to provide you with an email address you can then use to stay in touch. This leads directly into the next content marketing approach.

#2: Email Newsletters

Nurturing prospects with regular email communications is a powerful long-term sales tool. It is also a fantastic approach to content marketing.

Leveraging topics your consumer base is interested in and sending out messages your list expects can lead to increased and steady business over time.

My target market tends to be marketing managers or business owners responsible for their company’s advertising and marketing. So, my email series sends specific messages about various aspects of marketing.

Some of my topics include:

  • How to Track Marketing Results
  • Why Most Marketing Fails… and How Yours Can Succeed, Writing to Communicate
  • and 48 other email messages I developed.

If you send out actionable information that adds value to your prospective customers’ business or professional lives, you’ll see great results.

#3: Blogging

Nowadays, almost every organization has a blog – from private businesses to newspapers through government departments. They all have some form of a weblog providing information to the public.

It’s up to the blog writer to provide content that will cause people to visit the site more than once and eventually buy a product or service from their organization. Blogs offer the added benefit of providing a forum where people can interact with your company.

They can ask questions, offer opinions and get feedback on ideas. It’s a great way to make personal connections with prospective clients.

One of the issues I see quite often in this medium is content that focuses on topics that hold little interest to the target audience. It’s important to use your blog like you would with email marketing. You’ve got to provide concrete value to readers or there’s little point in putting in all the effort or spending money on content creation.

Blogging is more valuable when it’s done regularly so it’s a good idea to post consistently. This encourages people to return and check for new content.

Creating an editorial calendar with all of your blog ideas is a good way to stay on track. Simply make a note every time you think of an idea or come across an interesting topic for posts – then set a specific schedule for each post and stick to it!

#4: Webinars and Video

A great way to personalize your messages is to appear in video or offer educational webinars on a specific topic. For example, I might offer a webinar on improving email marketing conversion rates.

Webinars can be recorded and offered for free or as an exchange for contact information – providing you with ongoing ROI over time. It also offers information your consumer base will appreciate having access to.

You can also provide live webinars that include Q&A sessions to really increase the interactive nature of your lesson.

Videos also offer a great way to position yourself as a thought leader. The truth is, people like doing business with people they know or at least recognize. If you offer solid information and present yourself professionally, you’ll have a great chance to increase contacts, leads and sales.

#5: Case Studies

They’re a creative way to show how you helped a company overcome a specific issue or challenge. Case studies should focus on common challenges faced by companies operating in your target demographic so prospects can relate to the material. In detail, a case study will outline the initial issue faced by a company and then focus on how you analyzed it, figured out a solution, implemented the solution and the end results.

Case studies show precisely how you can help prospects solve their own problems. They are a fantastic way of highlighting your skill set as well as the products or services you provide. It takes imagination out of the equation for prospective clients and helps them understand exactly why you’ll be an asset to their organization.

When developing your content marketing, it’s vital to remember you aren’t going for the hard-sell. You want to show how you’re an expert in your field and let the prospect conclude you’re the right choice for them. This isn’t your average marketing approach but can lead to superior business results.

The articles is prepared by Brian Birnbaum

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Boost Your Web Copywriting Response Rate

Developing reader-friendly web copywriting isn’t easy. People have little patience when it comes to reading content online. They want answers and they want them now. The problem for us folks creating online content is it’s impossible to convince a prospect to choose our product or service in the time it takes for them to lose interest.

So what can we web copywriters do to keep people reading until we’ve shown them our offering is the one they should choose?

I’ve put together a few tricks of the trade learned over many years and many successful websites. By following the techniques in this article, you’ll have a chance to grab and hold your prospect’s attention and improve your response rate dramatically.

  1. Write Conversationally To Connect with Readers – The biggest mistake I see novice copywriters make (and experienced ones too!) is using long sentences, complicated words and jargon. No matter who your target audience is, you should use simple, short sentences. By writing simply, you make it easy for the reader to understand you. You want people to focus on WHAT you’re saying, not HOW you’re saying it. A rule of thumb I use is – if you have to read a sentence more than once to understand it, rewrite it. This technique alone will boost your response rate.
  2. Use Headlines to Grab Attention – Advertising great David Ogilvy said five times more people read a headline than body copy. So you better be sure your headline works hard to capture interest and get people to continue reading. Many web pages waste a golden opportunity by using a weak, lazy headline that offers nothing to the visitor. Give people a reason to stay on your site. Give yourself the chance to turn them into a customer.
    Some techniques to improve your headline writing technique include:

    • Promise a benefit: “Get White Teeth in 15 Minutes or less”
    • Ask a question: Want to Double Your Income in 6 months?
    • Include words such as: new, announcing, introducing
    • Promise useful information: Avoid Making This Major Real Estate Mistake
  3. Write Directly to Your Reader – One of the best techniques for helping a reader focus is by writing directly to them. Write as if you’re speaking to them, the same way as I’m doing in this article. Use words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ instead of ‘they’ and ‘their’. Famous copywriter Robert W. Bly describes a great technique. He says to imagine you’re across the desk from a friend and you’re describing the product or service to them, how it will help, why they should use it etc. I personally believe this to be a fantastic approach that will help you connect with readers and avoid sounding like a corporate robot.
  4. Ignore Yourself – Don’t talk about yourself, nobody cares. Sorry. Improve your web copywriting by focusing completely on the needs, wants or problems of the reader and ONLY THEN explain exactly why your product or service is the perfect solution. Show that you understand why they’ve come to your site in the first place. They are looking for something specific. If you can figure out what that is and address it in your copy, your response rate will blow up.
  5. Write About What’s Important to the Prospect – This is not necessarily a copywriting tip. But it is a way of ensuring you’ll maximize your response. You might love a certain feature or benefit of your offering. You think it’s amazing and sets you apart from your competitors. But what if the prospect doesn’t care? You better be sure that whatever it is you’re focusing on is what the prospect is interested in. This is standard in sales. And really, copywriters are just salespeople behind a keyboard. Discover exactly what drives interest in your product or service and I promise your copywriting will benefit.

As I’ve already mentioned, web copywriting is really about connecting with the reader as quickly as possible. Try to remember that a site visitor has come to you for a reason, it’s up to you to figure out why, and then explain why they’ve made the right choice. Review your copy and make sure it’s reader-focused and you’ll have a much better chance of creating a genuine relationship with your prospects.

This article is prepared for Rebel Trail by Brian Birnbaum.

 

Calls to Action and the Results-Driven Website

Gone are the days of the website merely acting as an online brochure for your company. There is no debating that fact. That being said, a results-driven website is more than just an additional tool for reaching your prospects and delivering engaging content. It is a living, breathing, business generating machine that takes visitors and turns them into customers.

A results-driven website is always built with S.M.A.R.T. goals in mind. If that term is unfamiliar to you, a S.M.A.R.T. goal is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely (link to Andrew’s Blog). And when building your site, every component of the site should be geared toward achieving the goals of the website.

One component of a website that is geared toward achieving its goals is effective calls to action.

Calls to action are the online version of a salesperson’s closing techniques. Like closing techniques, there are many different types of calls to action. The difference being, a close is an active attempt to bring out buying actions, while calls to action are based on visitor actions. Like a sale person and closing attempts, a website must include multiple calls to action, but not so many as to annoy or take away from the rest of the website.

Calls to action must be placed on more than just the home page. If your site does not provide the ability for visitors to engage and connect with your company across the breadth of the site, the calls to action lose their effectiveness. You should place your calls to action in spots that are most intuitive in terms of where the visitor will look. On the home page, this is frequently in the center of the page. For secondary pages, it is common for visitors to look to the left along the length of the site, the upper right corner, or both. (It is also common to see a Contact Us option at the bottom of the page, but that should not be the only location.)

Responding to a call to action will indicate either active or passive interest in your product or service. Active interest means the visitor actively looking to buy. They have done their research and are prepared to make a purchase or engage in your services. Passive interest means that the visitor is still in the research phase and are primarily looking to gather information.

Active Interest Calls to Action

Chat Feature

There are multiple options available for offering a live chat feature on your website. While it is true that both active and passive interest visitors will use a chat feature, it is most commonly used by a visitor looking to ask a quick question or two before making an online purchase. Providing this call to action is a great way to prevent shopping cart abandonment and increase the feeling in your customer’s mind that you are there to support them.

Shop Now

If you are going to give customers the ability to buy online, it must be very easy to begin this process. Your “Shop Now” buttons should stand out from the rest of the site. On a related topic, the check-out process should also be very easy. Too many steps, shipping/tax surprises at the end of the process, etc. will likely result in shopping cart abandonment. Read this awesome post from Usetest.com about shopping cart abandonment.

Free Trial

Technically, this call to action could fall under both active and passive. While the customers who opt for a trial might not be ready to completely commit, they are engaged enough to try it out. The close ratio for such prospects should be very high (unless your product/service is really bad, but that is a bigger issue than we are discussing here) because the transition from “test” to “use” is pretty easy.

Passive Interest Calls to Action

Perhaps passive interest is a bit of a misnomer, but the thought is that the visitor is interested in your product or service, but as still in the research phase of the buying process. For these visitors, there are multiple calls to action you can use to increase engagement and thus, conversion.

Contact Us/Lean More

Many visitors to your website are going to want options for learning more about your product or service. As a result, this is a critically important call to action for your website. It is important that you place the Contact Us or Learn More links in locations where the visitor’s eyes are typically drawn.

Watch a Video/Demonstration

Videos and demonstrations are dynamic, engaging ways to teach prospects more about your product or service while they are still on your site.

Testimonials

Having relevant, thoughtful testimonials can have a huge impact on your prospect’s decision as to whether or not to buy your product or engage your services. If you can get clients to provide a video testimonial, it is even more impactful.

Portfolio/Catalogue Viewing

Although it does not initiate an immediate interaction with one of your representatives, viewing your catalogue or portfolio is call to action that is easily tracked and will increase the visitor’s interest level. You can turn this call to action into a visitor engagement tool by allowing the visitor to place product literature in a “shopping cart” feature, allowing them to request information while they are viewing your catalogue. As with an actual ordering shopping cart, the “check out” process should be smooth and in as few steps as possible. And of course, you should use the information “shopping cart” as a way to gather contact information (full name, address, email address, phone, etc).

Social Media

As with a live chat feature, following or sharing through social media can be both an active and passive response to a call to action. The advantage of social media calls to action is that there is they provide with additional exposure to new prospects. Every time a visitor shares your content, you get increased exposure. And when they choose to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., that gives you even more opportunities for providing interesting, relevant contact that can be shared. However, it is important to remember, when using social media to increase engagement, you must make sure your contact actually provides value. Few things can hurt the effectiveness of your social media marketing, and the effectiveness of your website, than meaningless content that is posting for the sake of posting.

Implementing calls to action in your website is certainly not an overnight game changer and will require testing. Unless you are building a whole new website, it is better to start small and add components over time, allowing you to make sure each call to action is as effective as possible. If you are building a new website, develop a clear understanding of your goals for the website and how each call to action is going to be a part of achieving those goals.

Showrooming on the Rise: Why Your Business Needs a Strong Online Shopping Presence

Showrooming is a relatively new concept in the world of retail shopping, but it’s one that’s harming many real-world businesses. The term describes when an online shopper visits a retail store in order to view a product that they intend to later buy online.

A recent study by IBM shows that it’s on the rise. In fact, a whopping 50% of online sales are driven by showrooming.

It’s likely that the increase in popularity of mobile decides is a factor, since they make it easier than ever to do an instant price check. Why buy in a store now when you can wait a few days and have the same product delivered to your door for less money?

The practice has become a problem for many retail industries, and even though electronic stores such as Best Buy have received the most attention from the showrooming epidemic, clothing stores, shoe shoes, and even furniture stores have all been affected by the practice.

The loss in revenue due to showrooming has caused many of the large retail stores to shrink their store space, as it no longer becomes economical to spend money on such a large area when customers would rather buy online.

A few retail stores have actually taken to the shocking trend of charging customers a $5 “looking-fee.” Other retail stores have simply adopted a “price match guarantee” against online retail store prices.

Combat Showrooming: Build a Strong Online Shopping Presence

The easiest and most effective way to combat showrooming is to embrace the changing market trends and build an online shopping presence. The process can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those businesses that are new to technology. However, if you set out to build your online presence in a smart and deliberate way, there is no reason why you should not succeed.

Here are three quick ideas to think about when trying to improve your online presence.

  • Add E-commerce to your site—A website can be a great marketing and advertising tool for your products and business in general, but if you are really looking to take advantage of the growing internet retail market, optimizing your website to sell your products is the way to go. It can be a huge, frightening step in expanding your business, but if you do it correctly, the sales will come.
  • An easy to use mobile site—Having a website is simply not enough. Many online shoppers browse the internet on their smartphones or tablets, and making sure that your website is optimized for mobile viewing can be a huge difference in whether or not your products are purchased online.
  • Allow in-store pick-up—Optimizing your website to allow in-store pick-ups is a great way to boost your online sales presence and capture a share of the growing market. Many people continue to shop using a combination of online and in-store purchases, and allowing store pick-up is a great way to get shoppers into your store and viewing more products.

Pinterest’s New Business Accounts: Does Your Company Need One?

Pinterest’s New Business Accounts: Does Your Company Need One?

Well, here’s the short answer: if your business used to have a regular account on Pinterest and you want to stay on the site and use it for commercial purposes, you absolutely need a business account.

Why? Because Pinterest says so. They are making it mandatory for all commercial businesses on the site to get a business account and agree to the business terms of service.

What are the Benefits of the New Pinterest Business Account?

The new business accounts offer several benefits for companies over the old personal ones, such as real business account names (Bed, Bath & Beyond can finally just enter their name http://pinterest.com/bedbathbeyond/ instead of being “First name: Bed, Bath; Last name: & Beyond”) and access to educational materials on how to best use the site for marketing.

Pinterest also promises additional business-exclusive features in the future. The rumor mill thinks these could include ‘Buy Now’ buttons, targeted ads, business analytics, and more. These new bells and whistles would make it an even more powerful social networking tool.

Who & How Can Benefit from Pinterest Business Account?

If your company isn’t on Pinterest yet, here are several reasons why you might want to consider getting a business account:

Your Business Produces Visual Results

Photography, web design, cooking, interior design, clothing, arts and crafts, you name it. Businesses with any kind of visually stimulating products or services can do extremely well on Pinterest because the site is all about catching people’s eyes.

Attract Attention to Your Company Through Visuals Related to Your Niche

Huh? What does that mean? Well, let’s say that you run a pet insurance company or do social media marketing. Not necessarily the most visual professions. But if you’re willing to pin things that aren’t specifically related to your company, you can still raise the profile of your company by getting people to repin and click over to your site. The insurance company might pin pet health tips or even just pics of cute dogs and cats, while the marketing company can pin news in the advertising world and infographics.

It’s Part of the Holy Social Sharing Trinity

Pinterest’s rapid ascension in the social media landscape has put it right up there with Facebook and Twitter – at least in terms of the public consciousness – and the site encourages interaction between those two giants, sharing traffic and funneling visitors to your various profiles and sites. Rather than siphoning traffic from each other, putting pages and accounts on these three social media sites can help grow your entire following and bring more visitors to your site.