COVID-19 Business Trends and 4 Different Ways to Take Your Business Online (Infographic)

Adapt to COVID-19, Not Just React

It is clear now that the economic landscape has probably changed and shifted forever because of the COVID-19 pandemic and correlated business shutdowns. Many businesses have chosen the resiliency to adapt quickly, and we want to support with as much guidance as possible on all the ways we can make it through this difficult time, even thrive with some new opportunities. 

Here are some immediate steps: 

1. Craft appropriate messaging 

Make sure you are clear on how your business is operating and if you are open, during the crisis. Customers want to hear an acknowledgement of the crisis and an awareness of health policies so they are protected. Are you offering curbside delivery? Are you lowering delivery costs? Are your staff instructed to maintain physical distance? Be clear, and get the message across all your channels. 

2. Demonstrate how your business can help

Customers will remember how your business chooses to act or not act, to the extent it can, during the crisis. As a community, we will celebrate those that shut down appropriately, those who retooled operations to support the crisis and those in support of front line workers.  

3. Plan for long term shutdown 

No one has an exact answer how long shut downs will last, and for which industries. Consider worst case scenarios of a year or longer. If your products and services are still needed by customers, plan for a future where it can be offered. Likely these operations will involve some kind of digitalization, so see what tools are options are available for your business.

Current Consumer Trends to Consider

No doubt, consumer behavior predictions are out the door. During these unprecedented times, what people are buying and how they’re conserving limited funds is completely novel. Here are some trends to consider. 

Source: Visual Capitalist

1. Stay at home activities 

From dumbbells to paint sets, people are investing in products that enhance their stay at home living situations. New hobby trends are evolving to reflect what can be done from home. Small businesses like art studios are finding innovative ways of offering DIY kits to provide activities for people to do at home.

2. Cooking accessories 

With time on their hands, many people are turning to DIY cooking. Bread makers are now sold out across Amazon. Appliances, accessories and kits that help these activities have seen a surge of demand.

3. Self development 

As schools and higher education institutions close for the school year, self improvement inclined individuals continue to look for avenues to stay productive. Most bigger software companies offering a marketplace of courses are expensive, meaning there is opportunity in smaller, niche courses especially if the teacher already has an online audience. 

4. Online shopping

Existing online shops and delivery apps have seen surges in usage. Business experts are speculating that this might have been the push a lot of late adopters needed to finally embrace technology as a means for purchasing products, meaning that a wider audience will either have had experience with online shopping or are a frequent online shopper. 

5. Local delivery apps

Instacart saw an 150% increase in recent weeks. Food and other local delivery apps have been relied on now more than ever. Their convenience clear, they set the bar for fast, efficient, contactless delivery for consumers. 

4 Ways to Take Your Business Online

1. Ecommerce websites

DIY Skill Level: 7/10
Cost: $$$

Offer your merchandise, menu items or food products as ecommerce products. Try to offer free shipping options and offer discounts once in a while, a lot of customers visit websites like Raise every day in order to find the best coupon codes. Take payments online with a payment processor like Stripe. Make sure you answer as many questions upfront as possible like size, contents, ingredients and any other questions from customers you usually get. In order to do this you need to consider looking for a good internet provider that will boost your business to the next level. Eatel business announced that with an extensive high-speed fiber network your business will do more in less time,

DIY: Use Shopify or Squarespace to create an online shop. Keep it simple, include good quality photos, pricing and descriptions.

Ecommerce Website Design: $3200-$6800 (depending on number of products)

Tips for Specific Industries: 

  • Restaurants & Food
    • Offer curbside pickup and fast delivery options
    • Try to keep costs of delivery low
    • Consider frozen or reheat-able meal options
    • Get photos with good lighting
    • Clarify ingredients and menu item contents
    • Avoid high delivery app fees 
  • Retail 
    • Offer curbside pickup and fast delivery options
    • Offer free delivery with minimum purchase requirements
    • Offer financing options for more expensive productions with financial partners
    • Make sure photos are high quality, show multiple angels if relevant

2. Booking/Order Form Websites

DIY Skill Level: 4/10
Cost: $

Have a simple order form on your website with custom fields for customers to choose from. Offer pickup or delivery options. Try to take payments online if possible to streamline the process. If you’re creating something from scratch, keep it a simple landing page to link people to.   

DIY: Use WIX or Squarespace to create a simple landing form with a menu and photos. Have the form at the bottom of the page.

Landing Page Cost: $2200-$4000 (depending on number of pages)

Tips for Specific Industries:

  • Caterers
    • Great for bulk order dinner options 
    • Allow input of specific options (type of meat, etc)
  • Retail
    • Fast, flexible alternative to shop
    • Great for custom products, add fields for customization aspects
  • Services
    • Book free online consultations 
    • Use forms to collect deposits

3. Video Conference Sales

DIY Skill Level: 4/10
Cost: $

Most classes such as tutoring, workouts, coaching, etc. can be offered online through video conferencing. Create custom links through Zoom, Go-To Meeting, Google Hangouts and make them available on payments through a website. Many existing instructors already have existing customers that  know and love them. Simply offer an easy way to pay online and a virtual delivery. To optimize profits, offer an ongoing subscription for continuous clientele.  

DIY: Use Shopify or Squarespace to make a landing page where you use Stripe or Authorize.net to accept one-time and ongoing payments.

Payment Website: $2800-$4000 

Tips for Specific Industries: 

  • Education
    • Emphasize value adds for students no longer in school
    • Enforce turning on video for a in-classroom like experience
    • Create community through engagement encouragement
  • Fitness Instruction
    • Offer no equipment and apartment friendly exercise options 
    • Create scheduled live class for optimal participation
    • Charge a similar amount to in class exercises 

4. Digital Downloads/Membership Portal

DIY Skill Level: 9/10
Cost: $$$

Have videos, ebooks and worksheets that could be available for download? Create an online portal where students can login and access it after making a one time or ongoing subscription payment. You can create different tiers of memberships, support chats and even discussion boards for your special niche. 

DIY: WordPress membership plugins are available but require some knowledge to implement and customize.

Calgary Website Development: $6000+

Tips for Specific Industries: 

  • Professional training
    • Offer certification in area of expertise
    • Create timed digital assessments
  • Community forum
    • Allow social profiles and forum discussion to share resources
    • Build free platform, then offer premium memberships
  • Tutoring
    • Premium worksheets, materials 
    • Cater to parents looking to fill up free student time

COVID-19 Small Business Financial Aid Options Experiences

*Updated April 9, 2020*

With so much news coming out about ways both the government, banks and other organizations can help, we’ve tried to consolidate some information so you can navigate the best options for your small business. As the information is changing quickly, we will try to update as it becomes available. We are including personal accounts from us as we receive them of how these processes were. If you have questions, please leave a comment on this blog and we will get back to you.

For some context, our marketing agency supports a small team salaried employees, full time contractors, practicum students and some freelancers. On the week of March 16, we lost about half of our regular marketing clients overnight as their businesses closed. Other projects have been put on hold. Since then, old clients have come back to us wanting to adapt to the new normal and get their businesses online. As of April 9, we have been approved for a loan from the BDC as well as the work sharing. We are monitoring the other aid options as they become available. Below in quotes are our experiences with each financial measure.

Support for your employees

While businesses are cut off from business cashflow or shut down, employee wages become most at risk at a difficult time when additional resources are needed by individuals and families. There are lots of measures in place that can help support.

Temporary wage subsidy – Details TBA

Timeline: Parliament is in discussion, with expectations of applications opening sometime in April.
Criteria:

  • Eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March 2020 and 30 per cent for the following months (see Eligible Periods). In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue.
  • Any number of employees is allowed

Duration: For a 12 week period from March 15 to June 6, 2020

First announced on March 18, 2020, this temporary wage subsidy is meant to help employers avoid temporary lay offs by offsetting wages. It will be 10% of remuneration in a period of three months, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. This is remitted through many payroll softwares automatically. 

*Update – April 9, 2020*

The subsidy amount for a given employee on eligible remuneration paid for the period between March 15 and June 6, 2020 would be the greater of:

  • 75 per cent of the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week; and
  • the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75 per cent of the employee’s pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is less.

No application links available yet.

Service Canada Work Sharing – Available now

Timeline: 30 Days after Application
Criteria:

  • In business 2 years
  • Recent decrease in business activity of approximately 10% (or more)
  • Eligible employees must be permanent full-time or part-time employees, willing to take a reduction in working hours and have paid into Employment Insurance (EI)

Duration: Min 6 weeks – Max 76 weeks with possible extension

*Update – March 27, 2020* Work sharing allowance has been extended to 76 weeks to combat economic downturn. 

This program seems to have existed before any crisis efforts were made available, but all the criteria that it suggests are applicable to the current situation most disrupted businesses have found themselves in. There seem to have been extensions made in response. It is as described: “Work-Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.”

The process requests the following documents:

  1. Application for a Work-Sharing Agreement
  2. Employee list with signatures (available in PDF (8 KB) and Excel (36 KB) format)
  3. Recovery plan template
  4. Two of the following financial documents:
    1. Demonstrates a decrease of the employees’ normal working hours: There has been a decrease in employees’ normal weekly hours from ## hours a week to ## hours a week.
    2. Demonstrate a decrease in demand/orders: There has been a ##% decrease in demand/orders during the last # months in comparison to the same period last year.
    3. Projected sales and/or production figures demonstrating a decrease: The projected sales is forecasted to decrease ##% for the next # months in comparison to the same period last year.

Apply Here

Contact email: [email protected]

What to expect:

This application process was a big different, and required faxing. I used an online fax program to send it through (as I’m not sure who just has a fax machine around anymore). 3 days later, I got an email confirmation that it had gone through and to expect a reply in 15 days. If you have questions, just get an application in through fax, then you will get an account manager who will answer your questions through email or phone. For the 2 financial documents, we submitted a reduced timesheet and an excel sheet with projected sales over the next few months, with declined percentages compared to last year. We have been approved as of March 29th, the process was expedited. We have not yet received a reply on how to create an employer account, but our employees have begun creating their EI accounts. We are expected to submit a weekly hours utilization report through a portal. 

Loans & Credit

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) – Available Now

Timeline: ~1 week
Criteria: Eligible credit, in business 2 years, sound financial history
Duration: Term to be determined with BDC

Through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), “Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to 6 months for qualifying businesses”. Combined with the Export Development Canada (EDC), the government has injected 10 billion worth of loans through the programs to be made available to businesses ASAP.

*Update* March 27, 2020

“The new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.”

The process requests the following documents:

  1. BDC Online application by hand
  2. Valid and current government photo identification (passport, driver’s license)
  3. GST number and the business name
  4. Void cheque
  5. Business financial statements (past 2 years), prepared by an external accredited accountant (CA, CGA, CMA, CPA or RPA); OR Income tax returns with the Notice of Assessment, (T1 including the statement of business activities, or T2 including schedules 100 & 125) for the past 2 years for the business.

Apply here

What to expect:

I have applied for this through the BDC portal and got a receipt of submission from an account manager, who apologized for the delay as they usually respond in a few days but are getting an influx as of late. I received an offer letter within 7 days. Please note most forms require a real signature, so a home printer is needed.

Canada Emergency Business Account

*Updated April 9, 2020*

Timeline: Applications available as of April 9, 2020
Criteria:

  • You have an existing business deposit account, with an eligible financial institution (so far, CIBC and RBC have been announced), and your account was opened prior to March 1, 2020.
  • Your business has been a registered and operational business on or before March 1, 2020.
  • The person enrolling for the Canada Emergency Business Account must have the ability and authority to bind the organization.
  • Your payroll expense is between $50,000 and $1 million. To confirm this, you will be required to provide the following information:
    • Your employer account number, as reported at the top of your 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid.
    • Your employment income reported in Box 14 of your 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid.
    • A copy of your 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid, if requested.
  • As per the requirements set out by the Government of Canada, you will agree to use funds from this loan to pay for operating costs that cannot be deferred, such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, debt payments and property tax.

Duration:5 year loan, no interest until December 31, 2020

This will include “$25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.” 

In his announcement, Trudeau mentioned a loan of $40k would be offered to small business, interest free for 1 year and 10k would be forgivable. Details on this have not been made otherwise available. 

Information from RBC: 

  • A $40,000 government‑guaranteed loan to help eligible businesses pay for operating expenses, payroll and other non-deferrable expenses which are critical to sustain business continuity.
  • Until December 31, 20‍20, the Canada Emergency Business Account will be funded as a revolving line of credit for $40,000.
  • After December 31, 2020, any outstanding balance on the revolving $40,000 line of credit will be converted into a non-revolving 5‑year term loan maturing on December 31, 2025, at which time the balance must be paid in full.
  • No interest applies until January 1, 2023.
  • Commencing on January 1, 2023, interest accrues on the balance of the term loan at the rate of 5% per annum, payable monthly on the last day of each month.
  • If you pay 75% of the balance of the term loan (as at January 1, 2021), on or before December 31, 2022, the remaining balance of your term loan will be forgiven. For example, if your balance is $40,000 on January 1, 2021 and you repay $30,000 on or before December 31, 2022, the remaining $10,000 will be forgiven.
  • If you do not repay 75% of the balance of the term loan (as at January 1, 2021) on or before December 31, 2022, the full loan balance and all accrued and unpaid interest will be due and payable on December 31, 2025.

To prepare:

  • Be enrolled in online banking
  • Your organization’s 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid
  • Your organization’s employment income, reported in Box 14, and your organization’s employer account number, as reported at the top of the form

Information from other banks: 

  1. CIBC
  2. TD
  3. NBC
  4. Scotiabank
  5. BMO

What to expect:

We have applied for this on April 9, 2020. The process was super simple on RBC’s online banking system. It’s about a 4 page form of acknowledgements and T4 Employer Summary information. Waiting now for a response.

Pay Bills by Credit Card – Available Now

A few recent startups have proposed the idea of paying rent using credit cards to take advantage of valuable point systems offered by many major banks. In these circumstances, this concept might come in handy if your landlord is not able to be lenient in liquidity low situations. Here are two options:

  • Get digs – Free for RBC clients, 1% for other banks, sends your landlord an E-transfer
  • Plastiq – 2.5% fee, available for ANY bill, snail mail cheque

This idea is so smart you might want to even use it crisis-free, you collect points for purchases you can pay off right away!

Grants

Facebook Small Business Grant – TBA

Timeline: TBA
Criteria: TBA
Duration: TBA

How to Cope with the Stress of COVID-19 as a Business Owner

The Reality of a Global Pandemic 

It is in our nature as business owners like Mr. Andrew Defrancesco to be prepared with the resilience to overcome roadblocks that affect the positive trajectory of our business. However, our adaptable mindset does not make us invincible. In September, we would have never imagined that today our international community would be grappling with a pandemic that forced society to isolate and our economy would largely close down. Business owners or not, we find comfort in routine – a way of life that has been upturned in recent weeks. COVID-19 is here, and whether your business is deemed essential or non-essential it is okay to be stressed about your company’s financial situation, anxious about the welfare of your employees and worried about the future. We must accept that COVID-19 will present challenges, but as with challenges, we can rise to the occasion and create new courses of action. It all starts with finding ways to alleviate our stress. 

The Psychology of Uncertainty 

Perhaps most of all, society was not prepared for the uncertainty brought with COVID-19. Problems demand answers, but those tend to get muddled when the problem is invisible and mutating. To our mind, uncertainty equals danger, inducing a level of panic and stress that cripples our desire to stay level-headed. Uncertainty kicks our stress response into overdrive as we overanalyze even the most miniscule changes in our lives and underestimate our control over both COVID-19 and the broad response to it. Jack Nitschke, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, states that “uncertainty lays the groundwork for anxiety because anxiety is always future-oriented.”  Additionally, a 2009 study in BMC Public Health discovered that people cannot process an information overload as it only adds to an increased feeling of uncertainty. Once we understand uncertainty and how to cope with the stress of it, our survival instincts can shift to focus on adapting. The uncertainty of COVID-19 will shape our decisions as business owners, yet we should not focus entirely on it. To achieve this balance, we can:

Create a New Normal

Create a New NormalNow that we’ve experienced all of the uncertainty that COVID-19 can bring to business, we can build a new plan around it. Building a plan of action for your business allows you to prepare rather than panic. If we have courses of action-oriented towards COVID-19, we are more in control of the financial outcomes. When creating a new plan for your business, do not reconstruct your aspirations for your company; rather, think about this plan as if you are creating an emergency backlink within your company’s functionality. Create a list of obstacles you believe your business will face due to COVID-19, revisit your financial input and output, think about the unique doubts you have for your current customers and employees. Inquiries to keep your business safe that your planning should cover should include asking yourself: 

  • Is my business considered to be an essential service?
  • How can I remotely keep my business open?
  • What do I do for the decreased work my employees have?
  • My business is struggling to meet financial obligations (production, rent, etc.), can I postpone these payments?
  • How can I continue to pay my employees? 
  • How can I maintain customer relationships if my service is not needed?
  • How can I reach out to new clients in the wake of COVID-19? 

Additionally, the City of Calgary created a business continuity checklist, handbook, template, and reference guide to help you maintain your business during an infectious disease outbreak.

Asking and then executing solutions to these planning questions serve to create a new normal for your business. Planning reduces the stress of uncertainty as steps are measurable and stimulate us with normalcy. Support can be found in federal and provincial relief measures, accessing financial support, staying up to date on employee travel and health, and keeping vigilant on fraud and your company’s security. Hiring a service provider that specializes in dealing with cyberattacks is one way to deal with these issues efficiently. Here are a few reasons why you should hire sapphire.net provider for your company.

Commence a News Diet

Reading the news is required to stay up to date as measures towards COVID-19 evolve alongside the virus. That being said, moderate your news intake. Look to credible sources for essential news on the outbreak to support measures you take with your business like the World Health Organization, an updated map of COVID-19 cases by John Hopkins University, provincial information, news outlets such as the Edmonton Journal or the Calgary Herald, and federal updates. 

Besides essential sources of information, follow the news in moderation. With all of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we look to find answers in any and all news sources, inevitably only increasing our stress with an over-consumption of information that is not always accurate. Choose a time in the morning or evening to sit down and read the news. Set a timer to stay up to date while also limiting the time you spend browsing articles and over-indulging. Being responsible with your news intake ensures you look after your business, but you are also coping with your stress. 

Work From Home but Don’t Forget to Communicate 

Although attempting to create a new normal can be done with planning, we should still keep some of our normal business day in our at-home lives. We may have worked from home before when we’ve been sick, but we’re used to dressing up and going to work. When we stress about COVID-19, we are probably stressing about how our businesses’ productivity has been affected. Try and find one new positive in each aspect of your business and personal life that has had to adjust. For one, a 2012 study found that telecommuting environments have positive impacts on the productivity of creative tasks. How can your business thrive with this new dynamic? On the other hand, this same study found that productivity dwindled on more dull tasks, and this is where communication and collaboration amongst your employees is key. When work shifts to telecommuting, communicating the work-day to your employees will give you a sense of relief in knowing that things are still functioning as they should. Discuss how often the team should check in face-to-face, not just about work-related topics, but also for general discussion and well-being. Having face-to-face conversations through video calls decreases feelings of isolation and makes everyone feel that they aren’t alone.

Communicating does not just include conversing, but communicating work and home boundaries to fuel productivity. For one, you don’t need to dress up in formal attire, but changing into an outfit you would go out in public with boosts productive energy to make you feel less cut off from the real world. Encourage yourself and employees to designate a workspace, where one can keep their work and living time separate. Maintain clear working hours to provide yourself the opportunity to communicate with your employees and customers efficiently and collaboratively. Lines between working hours and at-home hours blur when we work in the same place, creating a timeline for you and your team ensures that everyone is putting work away to recharge and relax. Decreasing stress means creating environments that are natural, normal and allow us to recharge. 

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle 

It is important that we carve out time in our day to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically. Keeping ourselves healthy gives us the energy needed to deal with pressure and anxiety. Incorporating healthy habits during these turbulent times allows us to resist the negative effects of stress and prevents it from becoming a problem. Important aspects to be mindful of in your changing lifestyle include: 

  • Buying the same food: Food fuels our mind. When we eat good we feel good about ourselves. Stress pushes us to eat unhealthy food, decreasing our productivity. Everyone loves pizza and chips, but when stocking up– or hoarding– comfort food should not be our priority. Purchase a few more things that you commonly use and know that you will use within two weeks. Go out on a whim and try a few new things, but purchasing items that you use consistently alleviates the financial stress of buying more things and provides stability when making your meals.

Write

During COVID-19 we may feel trapped in our house. We’re all in this together, and as entrepreneurs, everything starts with an idea. Taking the time to journal and write down our thoughts gives us a path to explore how we need to cope, keep our thoughts organized, and self-reflect. Not only are we facing the present challenge of COVID-19, but life and society afterward will be different. Writing down the obstacles of our current situation, alongside stresses, worries, things that have changed and your plans for the future allows you to “brain-dump” your anxieties. Leaving your tensions behind in a journal frees up your resolve to work and face the day. 

Invest in Learning and Set a Goal

Stress knocks on the door the moment we see COVID-19 as a limiting influence on our business goals for the year. We become anxious because COVID-19 disrupts our way of life. Taking a different perspective and seeing all of the new opportunities that have arisen because we must stay at home can relieve frustrations. With this, more opportunities have surfaced to take the time to learn. Was there a book you wanted to read? A topic you wanted to research? An idea you wanted to develop? Set a goal that you want your business to achieve as society handles COVID-19. Focus on an internal skill to be developed, a new target demographic of clients to reach out to, a new product idea, or even fine-tuning your website. Set a goal that you want your company to achieve that normally would not have been a priority. 

YYC Business Support 

Calgary entrepreneurs aren’t new to changing plans within the local business ecosystem. Calgary small businesses and entrepreneurs are here to support one another. COVID-19 has presented many new marketing dynamics, on top of JYZ Design offering discounts on websites and marketing services, there are plenty of other local Calgary businesses doing the same. Some supportive free services, listed by Startup Calgary include:

  • Goodlawyer Inc is offering free 15-minute advice sessions with a lawyer. 
  • Virtual Gurus is offering free virtual assistance services to Calgary startups in need of back-office support. (Enter code Startup100 at checkout)
  • Brightsquid has made secure-mail free for all medical clinics in Canada. 
  • Inspired Go has launched their #feedthefrontlines campaign. For each time a Calgarian orders a meal box, they provide a nutritious meal to a local healthcare worker. 

Information about federal resources to support Canadian businesses can be found here. 

“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” 

– Randy Armstrong

Stay Optimistic 

The stress that COVID-19 brings to our personal and business lives will stay with us a while, but the stress of running a business is continuous. The goal is to mitigate it as much as possible so that while we live in an age of uncertainty, we are best equipped to mentally handle these new challenges. As with any challenge, we will look back in the future and can either remember COVID-19 as a moment that defined our business growth or hindered our spirits. None of us can predict when COVID-19 will end, but what we do know is that it is temporary and it will end. Stay home, spend time with family – call friends and employees, remain updated and flexible, and stay optimistic.

FREE COVID-19 Social Media Communcations

We are not heroes, doctors or anyone else at the front line. But we want to help how we can. We’ve created some communication support assets that can be shared online. Most of these were created by other artists, repurposed by us for socials.

Continue reading

How is the Cost of a Website Calculated

When businesses ask us for quotes to build a website they are often not sure how the price is calculated. It may seem like an arbitrary number pulled out of thin air without looking at the works behind the numbers. At JYZ Design, we strongly consider the cost of designing a website through the time required by our team to offer the fairest prices for small and medium-sized businesses. There is quite a lot of work that goes into a website –  to make sure it functions to modern standards, that it looks professional and to ensure it brings an optimal return on investment for our clients. It is important to understand the most common factors you should take into account when deciding whether or not the price you’re being quoted by a website design company is reasonable. 

Number of Pages

Deciding the scope of a website design proposal begins with knowing your company’s mission, future vision, and customer needs. The number of pages to a website is generally reflective of the amount of business your company does or can conduct online or how much of your information can or should be relayed online. For example, a company that aspires to provide an array of products/services may prefer to have increased niche pages. Should the company’s mission revolve around diverse options, describing each specific service through multiple niche pages promotes goals surrounding the company’s function and markets. Should a company be focused on a main service, such as a restaurant, not as many niche pages will be needed like websites for car dealerships. Mission pages reference a company’s function, markets, advantages, goals and beliefs, including pages such as:

  • Niche products
  • Niche Services 
  • Homepage
  • About Page
  • Investors
  • Programs
  • Packages

A larger, more service driven company might also opt for a more lengthy project portfolio or staff page. The visions of a company include its soft skills, where the company exhibits its values, support, achievements and staff. Website pages can be:

  • Contact Page
  • Staff List/Executive Team
  • Blogs 
  • Charitable Organizations Supported
  • Awards 
  • Partnerships
  • Promises
  • Rewards Club

Having the most beneficial website to customers requires thinking about needs that go above and beyond the homepage and the about page. Customers are both internal and external. Whether it be corporate companies, schools or local businesses, internal customers play an important part in the success of the company. Depending on how closely linked your company is to current news, it may be crucial to update customers on how the latest news events coordinate with your company. As such, the following pages highlighting specific customer needs are:

  • FAQ 
  • Testimonials/Reviews 
  • Latest News 
  • Contact Page   
  • Privacy Policy 
  • Careers Page/Benefits 
  • Terms and Conditions 
  • Events Page
  • Advertising Information 
  • Accommodations 

The more pages involved in a company’s website increases the diversity of the design layout, the dynamics of structuring SEO, and the work behind providing the best content.

CMS – Content Management System

Having your website easy to manage and update is essential. As the internet constantly evolves, so will your website. When you build your site, it is not a fixed cost, but includes having the flexibility to update it with every change or update your company requires. Investing early on in a productive website is a long-term benefit that saves time and money. WordPress is the best and most popular open-system CMS because it contains a high flexibility of functionalities while offering a full suite of plugins and themes that make design time efficient. As a website platform, WordPress has become so ubiquitous that in 2020 it is powering 35% of the websites on the internet. It takes up 60.4% of the market share for Content Management Systems (CMS). WordPress is most effectively utilized with innovative creativity that allows small businesses to compete distinctively on the market. Marketing and design agencies embody the mission of creativity with tools such as these and ensure a low cost to high quality ratio when designing your website. 

Domain/Hosting

Domain/web hosting allows websites and web pages to be posted on the internet. Hosting companies necessitate that your website domain is owned in order to host with them. Most standard websites function flawlessly with a typical domain provider like Godaddy. Starting from $9.99 a year and hosting from a company like Siteground, the cost of a website takes into account selecting, registering, and hosting your website’s domain.

Cursive writing, which actually is a component of Penmanship, is among the chief lessons a child could really ever understand. Everyone understands that each single individual has her or his own hand writing. Additionally, it help educate a kid discipline and endurance that’s much required to be able to be a productive paper writer generator. As an issue of truth each fashion of handwriting may enable a instructor discover the way you can teach each pupil.

The web system aids within the interaction procedure and in posting the composition easily. Professional writers and proofreaders supply a number of editing services to pupils in virtually any subject. Now doc enhancing is exceptionally needed to guarantee effective and mistake -free information. This is the place where professional editors come in, and they’re accessible using a internet – centered article editor platform.

When designing a website, the common notion is that money can be saved while efficiency is not reduced through utilizing online domain providers. However, some web design companies will offer discounted shared hosting. When websites are designed by local marketing and design agencies, individual costs to maintain a website are included within the combined rate. Because of this, website design agencies are cheaper than a dedicated server. Website design agencies ensure your website’s web hosting plan generates consistent traffic, conversions and is reliable for the security of your domain. 

Design Intricacy 

A study on the effect of aesthetics on web credibility discovered that first impressions are 94% design-related. Design spurs a company’s credibility, relatability and memorability. When a website browser clicks a website and is pleased by the design, a strong bond of customer-company trust is created. Experiments show web user’s first impressions of credibility can be judged in as little as 3.42 seconds derived only from its aesthetic appeal. 

As the prevailing evidence shows clients and customers seek out your website for the content, it is how this content is displayed that makes it truly worthy of reading. Websites are successful because of their ability to intertwine data with colours and visuals. 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. The intricacy of a company’s website design relates to outside factors that are internalized and is why website design agencies provide such high returns on a website’s investment. Website design specialists take into account how your specific target audience wants to view your website, retains information, and the layouts that appeal most to them. They are innovative when it comes to design and positive first impressions. 73% of companies invest in design to differentiate their brand from competition. With the increase of mobile usage, it is imperative to have an attractive website. 

Imagery

Every website needs visuals to represent unique products and service offerings from their company. Consider the source of where your picture content will come from. Do you have high quality photos from past projects? Will you need custom photography? Will you need custom graphs or mockups to represent specific product features? Would your brand benefit from custom illustrations? Odds are, like most businesses, your designers will simply work with stock photos, which most companies will include as part of the website build. Original photos grab customer’s attention, build credibility and show the true power of your product or service. When you invest in the design of infographics and custom photography, customers invest back.  

Psychologist Jerome Bruner found that people remember 10% of things they hear, 20% of what they read, and close to 80% of things they see or do. Infographics and photos provide an immersive, alluring experience to your website. When you have your website designed by a marketing and design agency, you receive an artistically driven team that knows where and how to include comprehensive, beautiful imagery, eliminating the financial stress of reaching out to freelance photographers with a narrow vision for your website.  

Written Content 

The cost of a website includes its marketing component. When building a website, you are also tasked with digital and content marketing that includes taking into account:

  • Marketing
  • Copywriting 
  • Search Engine Optimization 
  • Readability
  • Consistency 
  • Brand Building 
  • Information Structure

Websites are the foundation of showing potential clients who you are, what your mission is and the products you offer. Additionally, it is proving to customers why they should stay loyal and continue to grow with you as a company. When done right, the written content of your website promotes your brand as a thought leader, inquires calls to action, and micro-targets demographics. 

Great written website content elevates the design, information and pictures on each of your website’s pages. Written content is relevant, showing industry experience to dynamically promote information that customers are searching for. According to McKinsey & Company, the three C’s of customer satisfaction are consistency, consistency, and consistency. Aligning your brand’s message and target throughout all of your written content is challenging, yet done right shows that you care about your customer’s journey. 

Oftentimes, business owners are specialized in their sector, yet they do not know how to navigate the complicated workings of written content. When we build a website, we want our efforts to be worthwhile. For people new to marketing it can be a headache. Time is as valuable as money, and when taking into account the research written content requires, the ease and guaranteed quality of marketing agencies are worth the price of a website. Outsourcing your website to an agency ensures that the love for your business is shown in the style of your website, maintaining consistency and scaling your efforts. 

Search Engine Optimization 

The purpose of a website is to drive traffic growth by targeting demographics and increasing customer relations. This cannot be achieved without incorporating Search Engine Optimization into your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) increases the number of leads to your website through its visibility on the search engine. You can check it out from this article.

SEO includes inserting long-tail and short-tail keywords into your website’s written content. Used in moderation, Google picks up on these keywords to boost your website’s ranking and allows your site to pop up when customers input these keywords into the search engine. 

With its recent algorithm updates, Google allows only the most quality websites to be visible. SEO requires a balance of understanding how to incorporate keywords and a high caliber of images amongst other components within your website. When done correctly, SEO boosts your website’s ranking and location targets communities with high potential client conversion. Resulting in a high source of leads and increased user engagement, SEO adds to your brand’s reputation as a thought leader. 

SEO is an excellent source of cost management to think about for your website to enhance your ROI. Search Engine Optimization thrives through:

  • Improved page loading speed
  • High quality content
  • Optimized images
  • Blogs
  • Outbound links
  • Infographics/Graphs
  • Readability
  • Keywords
  • Click Worthy Titles
  • Diversifying Content
  • Short and Long Posts

Payments

E-commerce has become a lifeline of retail and will continue to become more popular as the years progress. Absolutenet shows that Amazon has surpassed Walmart as the world’s largest retailer. Globally, online sales account for 16.4% of retail purchases. Should your company wish to sell its products online, this is another cost to take into account when creating a website. Additionally, the risks of error must be remembered when a website is launched and your e-commerce platform is expected to perform and fill orders to a high degree of excellence. Including e-commerce within your website involves challenges and risks, but the rewards are endless when businesses provide the option to locate their product quicker, enable deals, stay open 24/7 and create targeted communication. Including e-commerce in your website allows brands to be the central voice of their sales, thus the leads to their website are more crucial than ever. 

JYZ Design offers e-commerce websites, as our extensive experience greatly contributes to effective e-commerce design and implementation. 

Functionality

Website functionality is the foundation of how well your website will work for customers on the web. On top of creative design, websites need responsive design. Your company’s website should be able to be opened, accessed and optimized from whichever mobile device customers browse upon. Responsive design ensures that the layout of your website is formatted in such a way that it navigates customers to points of purchase through many different avenues. 

Reviewing the Cost of a Website 

To summarize, building a website will always be an investment. It is how you choose to go about creating your company’s website that determines whether this will be an investment of your time and money or a return on your investment. Aspiring to build a cost-efficient, quality website that delivers on written and visual content is a comprehensive task. JYZ Design delivers the consistency that customers look for in the modern age by offering a small team of professionals at a lower cost than a single full-time employee. Writing for your customer, our team provides support and a wide range of services to ensure your website is keeping up with the times. Visit our website calculator to view prices, request a quote, or book a free consultation to start creating your website. 

Top 10 Tried and True Digital Marketing Tips for Attracting Parents to Your Daycare

1. Make Sure Your Website Has All the Information Parents Are Looking For

Creating a website for your daycare centre can seem like a very big and very complicated task. Between promoting SEO, ensuring that it is visually appealing all while being accessible, it is a big project. First impressions hold the same effect when parents open your website as they would if visiting your daycare. Is it organized? Does it portray the quality they are looking for? Make sure your website has all of the information parents are looking for, but don’t get lost in it. Parents don’t want to read walls of text about your values, pages about what your programs include or paragraphs about the kinds of toys you have. Keep your website modern and relevant by providing:

  • Your daycare’s mission
  • The most defining benefits/traits to your daycare
  • Where you’re located
  • Reviews posted
  • A dropdown menu including options to more information about: programs offered, registration, blogs, contact information, booking a tour, pricing, and additional resources. 

Daycare is fun for children and your website should display that. Websites are an investment in lasting ROI, customer interactions, and increased awareness. Utilize colours, bright images and interactive technology to elevate your website and include all information in a summarized manner. A website is the impression of your daycare, therefore it is a good idea to invest in a marketing and design agency to create your daycare’s inviting and competitive website. So you’ve finally opened the doors to your daycare…now what? Gone are the days of a sign and a good location being enough for people to start knocking. Parents are used to researching all their purchasing decisions online; they want the highest quality childcare and they’re putting in the work to find it. You need to stay fresh on their minds from the start of their search process right up to the point of decision making. 

Childcare marketing can be very affordable if done correctly, but maintaining a near-capacity attendance requires consistent effort through content creation, social media, SEO and even paid digital ads. The easy part is parents in your vicinity are always in need of your services; the tricky part is making sure you show up when they’re looking.

2. Take/Gather Plenty of Photos 

Parents want to see and visualize how your daycare center is different from others. They want to be able to visualize their child in your daycare. Getting photos that show it off well is the foundation of all your other marketing materials. These photos will be on your website, social media posts and any other advertisements. They will be the first thing to seize a parent’s attention. Capture all aspects of the children’s day – where they will play, learn and eat. 

Here is a guide of the different areas of your facility to showcase:

  • The location – Is it convenient and accessible? Is it safe?
  • Play area – Do you have a unique outdoor playground? Indoor area? How much space do your outdoor and indoor play areas provide?
  • Learning stations – Do you offer technology to use? Other learning materials? Is your classroom designed for the specific needs of infants, toddlers, etc.?
  • Lunch tables – Do you serve meals? Are they healthy and nutritious? 
  • Diversity – Are you representing the demographics you’re targeting in the photos? What is your mission?

Consider hiring a professional photographer who will excel at capturing these concepts from an outsider’s perspective. These types of photos are universal when it comes to digital marketing. Written content is just as essential to attracting parents to your daycare, yet nothing will allow them to retain necessary information as easily as photos. 

3. Build a Community with Facebook

With 2.41 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the world’s third most visited website. With this, it is easy to say that Facebook is the most used social network. Ripe with the opportunity for daycares to post targeted ads, Facebook advertising caters to parents. 

Make sure your cover photo represents your daycare brand well, and that all your daycare’s contact information is accurate. Facebook’s demographic skews heavily toward adults. The best for this age group by far, statistics show that 71% of adults and 74% of high-income earners use Facebook. 
Organic content creation on Facebook is getting harder and harder to generate traction. But surprisingly, Facebook has become popular for community engagement in other ways. For example, the use of Facebook messenger has increased steadily in the last few years, projected to grow to three billion users in 2022. People are used to being able to connect with businesses and ask questions to get quicker responses than email or phone. With the close customer contact that Facebook marketing provides, parents will stick to Facebook, and if your daycare centre doesn’t have an account, you’re missing out.

4. Increase Brand Awareness with Instagram 

Photo focused Instagram is a great opportunity to tell different stories, show interesting content and provide value to parents. Instagram offers a platform to get ahead of parents’ decision making time and stay top of mind when it comes time to picking a childcare center. Here are some ideas for types of posts: 

  • Daycare photos 
  • Inspirational quotes or parenting tips that resonate with parents and connect with your centre’s values
  • Local seasonal to-do guides
  • Child accomplishments 
  • News 
  • Day-to-day activities 

Instagram marketing allows your daycare to participate in customer conversations and regularly post how happy the children in your daycare are. More crucial than with other businesses, parents will want to ensure that a daycare’s values are in line with theirs. The more posts they see about why your childcare centre is right for their family, the increased opportunity for your daycare to remain top of mind.

5. Actively Engage with Local Community Members

Having various social media platforms and a website is nothing if you don’t stay engaged. Like, follow and comment actively with potential customers and community partners in order to softly push them to check out your page and become aware of your company. 

When a follower emotionally connects to what your social media profile boasts after finding you through comments, ads or follows, they’ll take a look at your profile. Digital word of mouth and being actively engaged increases chances of your page being shared with other parents within the community – the bonus? You didn’t have to put any extra effort to find them. 

When your business is active through social media with potential customers and community partners, the number of leads towards your profile and website clicks increases. According to a study, 71% of consumers having positively experienced a brand’s social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family. Think of how this helps when users happen upon a daycare they know someone in their family needs. Think of online engagement as “social proof.” Parents lean towards accredited daycares as they automatically place more trust in them and their standard of quality. Online, customers trust the opinions of celebrity endorsement or a customer testimonial. Social media engagement offers these forms of social proof for your daycare; you’re in the know, you prove that you want to be an active part of your community, and parents follow you. 

6. Try Varying Targeted Digital Ads

With digital ads designed to target parents throughout the web and social media with a plethora of written content, video creation, infographics, and photos, it is important in your daycare centre’s marketing strategy that you vary your types of digital ads. Parents won’t all be in the same places online, searching the same keywords, and following the same social media accounts. If you want to target all potentially interested parents within your community to fill your daycare close to maximum capacity, you’ll want to vary your digital ads. Daycare centres that have waitlists or are filled near-maximum capacity have gained the social proof of their community, built from the connections formed on various platforms. 

7. Work with Local Influencers

Instagram continues to provide the most popular influencer marketing, as their posts are within the top three most effective content formats at 78%. Micro-influencers have turned into a sought after commodity for Instagram marketing, they are your community’s “social proof.” Micro-influencers post content coordinated to a specific theme. Parents you want to reach will be following accounts like mommy influencers.

Mommy influencers have strong, loyal followers who are actively engaged with their content. Parents and customers are looking for quality insights, their followers follow their leads as trust authority has already been established. In 2018, 49% of consumers depended on influencer recommendations on social media, a necessity that has only increased. 

Remember mommy bloggers? Before social media became such a popular platform to a variety of influencers, blogs written by moms were the most trusted and viewed outlet to receive social proof of products and services. The idea of mommy bloggers combined storytelling and advertising. Credible as ever, mommy bloggers began the revolutionary marketing idea of social media influencers. Influencer marketing is expected to grow to a $10 billion industry by 2020, and it is all thanks to mommy bloggers. 

On the large social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, mommy influencers retain strong social proof amongst communities of customers looking for the best daycare centres and innovative products. This credibility is transferred to your daycare when recommended by influencers. With the kind of following your daycare seeks to target, influencers engage new parents, generate high-quality leads, and build trust with your daycare. 

8. Invest in Long Term Search Engine Optimization

Local long-tail niche keywords are the new trend in how Google chooses to prioritize search results. Long-tail keywords are three to four keyword sentences very specific to your daycare centre. These keywords reflect the kinds of searches parents will be inputting into Google, and you’ll want your daycare to pop up at the top of the search list. 

“Daycare centres near me” is a perfect example of a long-tail keyword parents will be inputting into their mobile devices. “Near me” organic searches have witnessed a 900% increase from 2013 to 2017, as keywords such as these continue to become more popular and more necessary to a local daycare’s marketing strategy.  

Search Engine Optimization is at the heart of a daycare successfully being able to attract parents to their childcare centre. Organic search equates to 95% of all web traffic. Including long-tail keywords within your website and written content allows your website to rank higher with the decrease of  keyword competition. Including long-tail keywords with highly competitive short-tail keywords boosts the website’s standing.

Long term SEO inputs keywords that are relevant all the time to your daycare centre as the search volume remains consistent. To be beneficial, Search Engine Optimization takes time curating regular, quality content including short-tail, long-tail, and long term keywords. Google rewards those websites which have more quality, educational content surrounding keywords, with higher ranking positions. Therefore, the more quality content your daycare site uploads, the more Google will reward it in organic search rankings.

Create specific service pages targeting specific keywords. Invest in a digital marketing company that regularly publishes keywords through content that displays your daycare centre as a thought leader with the valuable content parents are searching for.

9. Always Ask for Reviews

Nothing beats the reviews of satisfied parents whose children have been or are enrolled in your daycare centre. Parents know best, and it is definitive that they will be a powerful reason potential customers choose your daycare. Spiegel Research Centre (2017) shows that 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. Daycare is a major stepping stone in a child’s life and if such a high percentage of shoppers so avidly read reviews for products, parents are definitely combing through the reviews of your daycare centre. 

The more reviews, the more informed opinion potential customers can form about your daycare centre. Whenever possible, ask for reviews; it doesn’t require much and the benefits are endless. Easy ways to ask current parents enrolling their children in your daycare revolve around:

  • Directing a parent’s spoken positive feedback toward Google reviews
  • Send an email asking parents to write a review, providing a direct link to Google reviews or your website. 
  • Leave an anonymous paper survey within the daycare that is accessible for parents to walk by and fill out.

Remember to thank those who leave positive feedback in your reviews. Should there be a negative review posted, you cannot delete it, but the speed and professionalism of your responses redeem any wary opinions formed by parents reading through them. Parents will be attracted to daycares that care and replying to reviews will prove that you do.

10. Include a Form That’s Easy to Find for Signups

Whether it be for booking tours or to register, your daycare’s website needs to include a form that is easy to find for signups. Embed a customizable signup form in your website that pops up after your homepage has been loaded. Should parents be thinking about potentially enrolling their child into your daycare, or wanted to look into your daycare centre further, they won’t need to decide whether or not to make this decision when the form is presented to them. Popup forms perform almost three times better than the option to click on a signup form within the website. Provide the pop-up form as a way for parents to sign up to book a tour. Within the dropdown menu of your website, ensure that “register” and “book a tour” is an option.  

For the leads, awareness and reputable reviews that digital marketing can provide your daycare, the return on investment is worth the initial costs. Once you’ve attracted parents, word of mouth will spread and with consistent, effective marketing to reach communities, your daycare centre will definitely maintain near-capacity enrolment. Digital marketing isn’t just for big businesses; take advantage of the web’s opportunities to market your daycare and grow your strategy in 2020. 

 

What Content Marketing Can Do for Your Business in 2020

jyzblog content

Content marketing is the type of business activity that collects dust on the to do list shelves until business owners look back six months later, in regret over lost leads and forgotten potential. We often hear that productivity gets lost with the push and pull of marketers vs those that know the business internally. Whereas a content marketing company is held accountable for the monthly deliverables and knows how to get it done.

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Social Media Marketing Tips for 2020

Digital marketing professionals know the frustration of chasing the latest developments or alterations with the way the major social media companies run their platforms. From pushing organic content, to hyping videos, to the rush for Stories to influencers, the market changes fast and is unrepentant when it leaves you behind. What worked in 2018 won’t work as well now, and it’s up to us marketing professionals to be on top of the ball, to provide our clients with the services and results they expect from us.

With that in mind, here are some social media marketing tips that will work in 2020:

Organic Growth is (Mostly) Dead

During the good ol’ days of Instagram and Facebook, you could put up great content, attract eyeballs, grow your brand and reach them with every new post. Those of us who keep track of these metrics have noticed a decided decline in the ability to reach new people. Even more troubling is the almost complete inability of hashtags to garner new followers. Oh sure, the content is still shown in the feed of #sundayfunday, but with 48 million+ hits on that particular tag at the time of writing, your post will get swallowed up in the deluge. What you can do at this point is, buy some likes and shares from themarketingheaven.com. Doing so has helped many businesses from shutting down.

Instagram, through its parent company Facebook, will say it’s a function of so many users that the sheer amount of content makes it impossible to have the same engagement per post as when the user base was 10% of what it is now. And they’re not wrong, but their other newest change has exacerbated this trend: not displaying likes.

The concept of Instagram has been that the more likes a post gets the higher up the hashtag feed it is, the more eyeballs it attracts, the more engagement you achieve, the more followers you gain, the more likes you get for subsequent posts, lather, rinse, repeat. But with Instagram’s new policy of hiding likes, ostensibly to push for quality content over “like bait”, engagement has plummeted and it becomes rare for posts other than those with massive followings to gain traction.

Why on earth would a social media company purposefully limit the engagement of users on its platform? They say it’s meant to remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive”; however, the real, obvious reason is…

It’s All About Paid Ads

The reality is that Facebook is a publicly traded corporation with a market cap value approaching $600 billion. To keep growing that market cap and profitability, they need to keep finding new revenue streams. If companies or brands get “free” market exposure, Facebook is missing out on revenue streams on their platform. Therefore, you will not get free market exposure any longer.

The good news is that both Facebook and Instagram have developed excellent paid ad platforms. With over a billion people on each site allowing access to their user data, various algorithms have been developed that can precisely target users down to minute characteristics. Therefore, whatever product, service or brand you’re marketing, you will be able to target the exact people who would be most interested in what you’re selling. And the even more encouraging news is that depending on the target geographical area, the cost is quite reasonable

The Zuck taketh and the Zuck giveth.

Influencers

For now, the influencer play is still a bubble that’s growing. They’re being hit with declining engagement too, but they’ve built up enough of a user base previously, that in relative terms, influencers are still as good a bet to reach an authentic audience as paid ads. But, all good things will come to an end, and– to refer back to new revenue streams– Facebook will find a way to tap into the influencer revenues which will either raise the cost for marketers or limit the engagement and reach of influencers.

So, Do I Put Up Organic Social Media Content?

The answer is yes, just not as much as before. The strategy in the way back past of 2017-18 was to post everyday to build followers and gain customers for free. While that’s a relic, the new paradigm is to think of your social media feed as your social media website. We market your website as your 24/7 marketing tool, and your social media feeds should take the same approach. Instead of posting everyday, post the best quality content that is most reflective of the brand, services or products. That way, when your paid ads or influencer campaigns are sending users to your profile, they’re greeted with your best representation of the business.

What Should Social Media Spend Be?

Social media spend should be focused more on quality rather than quantity, with marketers adding value by being able to produce precisely targeted ads, with re-marketing thrown in, and producing content that will light up an influencer’s page. The answer then is that social media spend hasn’t so much declined as it’s shifted. Businesses used to pay for a marketer’s time (posting everyday), now they’re paying for a marketer’s skill in navigating paid ads, as well as the ability to come up with catchy taglines.

Social media marketing is an ever changing landscape, which requires digital marketing professionals who will never rest on their laurels. It’s tempting to put it in autopilot and do what we’ve always done, but the competitive landscape requires effective digital marketers to know what changes have happened, how those changes will affect a business and, more importantly, how to best make those changes work for a business.

Using a Website Builder vs Hiring a Web Design Company

Easy to use website builders have flooded the market with certain low barrier to entry industries with amateur websites. This has left data organization companies like Google in frenzy trying to sort through the clutter and bring the websites you are actually looking for to the forefront. If you’re actually expecting your website to be a source of traffic and conversions and the industry is competitive, Moonfarmer agrees that a Shopify, Squarespace or Wix just won’t cut it.

1. Keyword research: A professional website company will do an in-depth Google keyword analysis, including what your competitors are ranking for, what has a reasonable balance or high search traffic and low competition. This includes niche or specific long tailed keywords that might be capturing untapped traffic — like “Mexican organic restaurant” versus “restaurant”.

2. Heading tags: In the development of the website, a professional web designer will embed header tags in the code to create a hierarchy of importance to tell Google bots. If these aren’t chosen correctly or are not tagged, you may never see your page ranked.

3. Design: UT web designers have lots of tools at their disposal – like stock photos (with proper copyright attributions). Working with existing templates is doable, but unless you are completely comfortable with your artistic vision on how colors are contrasted, photo editing and typography, there is a visible difference between amateur designed websites and professional companies. As users are used to high standards, they will be able to tell the difference as well. If you’re starting a roofing company, you can have your website designed by this company that won the Roofer Website Designer Choice Award.

4. Content: Deciding how to segment and prioritize information is crucial to both ranking for the right keywords as well as organizing information to be easily found by visitors. This can include decisions on what to put on the homepage and what to offer people to “read more”. A common issue that business owners have is writing walls of text about the subject matter they love, without necessarily deciding what is most important to present first.

5. Functionality and integrations: You’d be surprised to learn how many software applications are available to optimize your business operations. Some examples of apps you might need are: Customer Relationship Management (CRM), payment processing, membership portals, event signups, subscriptions, eCommerce, etc. Web designers from web design nashville will be able to integrate these effectively to help your business run like a smooth money making machine. Website builders are super limited in what they can integrate with and lots of companies reach a point where they reach a wall of what can be implemented.

There is of course good reason to use a website builder as well, we actually recommend it for people just trying to get started, with a lower budget. Professional web design companies often come across amateur websites at a growth time when companies are ready to upgrade. The benefit is that you don’t need any technical knowledge to just get started. You can also easily edit if needed, though most web design companies will setup an easy process for editing as well.

Using a Website Builder vs Hiring a Web Design Company

This diagram shows the exact difference between website builders and WordPress, which JYZ Design uses. It’s a steep learning curve, but we’ve done that hard work for you. As Thomas digital suggests, “using a ‘free’ website builder could cost your company many tens of thousands of dollars in wasted man hours and even more money in the opportunity cost of lost potential revenue.”

Comparison

Website Builder Website Company
Price Point $ $$
Traffic Expected
SEO Optimization Potential
Functionality Possibility
Growth Potential
Ease of Edits
Design Expertise
App Integrations

Conclusion

Website builders are a great place to start if your main objective is to have somewhere for customers to find you. But if your business is in growth mode and you need SEO to start becoming a traffic source as well as compete in your industry, you need to work with a website builder that is specialized in how to make your website work for you.