If you’re a business owner or manager who wants to succeed, you have probably familiarized yourself on SEO and what it means.  Search Engine Optimization is the art of making your site (or sites) pop up when people use various search terms on their search engine of choice (typically Google).   The higher the ranking, the more people that see you.  It’s the modern-day equivalent of having a business named “AAAA Aardvark Company” in the Yellow Pages, it is desirable as a business owner to have your company listed first in a certain category.

SEO Has Changed. Here are a few of our best tips:

What many people don’t know, however, is how exactly SEO works for them, and the logistics that go into it.  An analogy might be the kitchen faucet in your home — we know that it has an on/off mechanism, there’s a spout, perhaps a sprayer, and the water flows out — but we really couldn’t explain to someone else the exact passage of water or what to do if something breaks.  Similarly, we understand that computers help us and we know how to use user-friendly apps, but very few of us know how to take one apart and fix a faulty motherboard, for example.

What makes all of this even more complicated is that SEO, like all things technology, is constantly changing.  What you may have learned in a class or seminar two years ago may not hold true anymore.   Additionally, because more people know what SEO is (and there are more user-friendly apps available for people to master it), the competition is growing fiercer. At Komaya, we are always here to help you master SEO and make your business as successful as possible, so here are a few of our best tips to make your SEO stand out:

  1. Try a plug-in, like Yoast:
    If you use WordPress, there’s a free plugin called Yoast that basically functions like a “spell-checker”, except that it checks for readability and SEO. You can enter in your article, blog, or web content, and let it know what the target keywords are. Yoast will analyze the piece and provide scores on a few specific categories, as well as what you can do to improve the piece. It’s an SEO game changer.
  2. Use apps that analyze your competitors, suggest keywords for you, and give you an action plan:
    Apps like Keyword Finder (https://KWFinder.com) will analyze keywords and find words for you that you can easily rank for, as well as keywords that your competitors are missing.
    That’s just one example. There are a lot of sites out there that will analyze keywords for you, recommend them on a weekly basis, and even remember which keywords worked well for you at certain times of the year so you can go back to them for repeat business. They will even identify where there is a hole in the market based on the keywords your competitors are using, versus what consumers are actually searching for.
  3. Make your website as optimized as possible:
    For starters, if your website hasn’t been updated since 2012, there is little chance that it will rank over a site that was updated yesterday.  Keeping your content fresh and constantly changing is the number one thing that is necessary for website optimization.  You also need keywords that people would actually type into a search bar. There’s a difference between describing your item and optimizing your item’s description for search engines.
    If you sell hand-knitted sweaters that come in three colors and are made in Maine out of organic materials, your keywords should be “red organic sweater”, or “blue handmade sweater”, or “organic hand-made sweaters” and not “hand-knitted sweater Maine three colors”  because no one is searching for that, they just want a sweater.   You’ll also have a great deal of luck by making several pages with different titles and meta descriptions, as opposed to trying to put as many words as possible on one page.

We haven’t even begun to cover the ways your keywords, titles and meta titles, descriptions, SERP, and the way your page is searched and crawled, but that will be information in a forthcoming blog.

With all of that said, this can definitely be a confusing or overwhelming topic, but at Komaya we are here to help. Contact us today to get a consultation on your brand and what we can do for you.

It’s hard to imagine a business today that doesn’t have social media for its customer base. Whether you’re an independent candlemaker working out of your apartment in a suburb or an international corporation with employees numbering in the hundreds of thousands, you need social media. Social media isn’t just how a business gets noticed, it’s how a business thrives in a global market that’s constantly in flux.

Creating trending content that’s fresh and relevant can bring in higher interactions with both returning and potential followers of your brand and is an essential tool for long-term success. However, going a step further by paying close attention to your analytics can be an immeasurable asset to your return on investment (ROI).

Reviewing analytics is the key to gaining a quantifiable understanding of your business’ marketing strengths and needs. Remain a step ahead of your competitors by studying traffic patterns, trending searches, and the daily interactions of your followers. You’ll discover how to influence their purchasing decisions and anticipate trending patterns more effectively. Not only will your analytics help you to create more engaging content, it will lead to more financial freedom for your business to grow!

Not quite sure where to begin? Here at Komaya, we’ve discussed best SEO practices, why social media matters for today’s businesses, and making your social media extra engaging. We take pride in customizing strategies to improve the web presence and marketing reach for our clientele because making the most of a business’ online presence is what we do best. Here are 3 tips for finding out if your social media account is performing like it should be:

1. Learn Which Analytics Program Fits Your Needs

Google Analytics is the most popular resource for studying website and social media traffic and trending patterns, but some social media platforms already have Analytics built-in. Do your homework and find out which social media platforms and corresponding Analytics are best for collecting data towards your marketing goals. For example, if you have a WordPress blog for your independent clothing brand that’s less than a month old and an Instagram account that’s six months old, use your Instagram account and Instagram Insights as an Analytics springboard. For further reading, you can check out this comprehensive list of “Instagram Analytics Tools” by Fergus Baird (Hootsuite). The list begins at the halfway mark and summarizes each Analytics program’s pros and cons.

2. Create Your Analytics Priority List

It’s easy (and totally expected) to be initially overwhelmed by the concept of analytics. The terminology and principles of such extensive data collection can be intimidating. However, to echo point 4 of our blog post, 4 Time-saving Tips for Marketing Your Business, “Measure Only What Matters.” Is your priority to focus on bringing more traffic to your new website? Would you like to compare still photography versus Boomerang interactions on Instagram? Maybe you’re trying to decipher the best time to post on your public figure page on Facebook. The more specific and organized you are about the data you wish to collect, the better you’ll be at prioritizing your time to do so.

3. Let It Go

Last but not least, use analytics to compare different social media platforms and determine which ones rank highest in engagement with your followers. This is an excellent way to not only prioritize data collection but to also achieve your marketing goals more efficiently. You can always reintroduce social media platforms that didn’t make the cut in the future—or not! Once you’ve taken a proper inventory of which social media promotion strategies best serve your business, you can move forward with the knowledge and confidence you need to be exemplary of the adage, “Quality over Quantity.”

Analytics will increase your business’ ability to more effectively anticipate trending patterns and interactions, as well as influence the purchasing decisions of your followers, all while inspiring trust and loyalty to your brand. Should you have any questions about how Komaya can help you achieve your business marketing goals, read more on what we do or just contact us today!

If you think you don’t need to focus on your website because you have a small business, then you’re making a mistake

Today, technology is king when it comes to business marketing. People across the globe spend over 6 hours a day online, and businesses have taken notice. In order to be successful, effective marketing strategies need to include a big web presence. This means that even a small business needs to have a website, a social media following and a person that knows how to make both of these things effective.

Building a Website that Works

Nowadays, it’s pretty much impossible to build a business without a website, but even those businesses with websites don’t automatically succeed. Your website needs to be designed to not only look good but to reach your target audience and do so in a way that matches your brand.

Keep it simple and view your website from a user’s perspective. Your website’s main goals should be to tell people what you do, what products or services you offer and why they should choose you over your competitors. Your website should make people trust you and want to learn more.

Here are the things you should focus on when it comes to your website: 

  • SEO is Key — First thing’s first, everything about your website needs to be designed based on SEO (search engine optimization). Through analytics, determine what keywords people are plugging into their search engines and then design your website in a way that makes it pop up near the top of the results. You can see more about how to make sure your website is designed for SEO by checking out our blog.
  • Keep It Simple — Step into your client’s shoes and see what they see when they look at your website. If it is a muddled mess, then it can quickly become overwhelming and confusing, which just makes people click the close button. Stay focused on the basics: who, what and why. Who are you, what do you do and why should your clients pick you? Don’t cram your webpage full of copy. Leave some white space, use graphics and make it pleasant to look at and easy to read and navigate.
  • Content is Crucial — Using original and consistent content allows people to learn more about your business and industry, while also providing useful information and a reason for them to keep coming back to your site. One way to do this is to incorporate a blog into your site. Your blog can consist of articles that involve your business directly, affiliate businesses and other partnerships, how-to’s that relate to your industry, and other connected topics.
  • Update Before It’s Too Late — Have you ever walked into a business and wanted to walk out right away because the decor took you back in time — and not in a good way? Well, your website can have the same effect if you let it stay in the past. It is important to regularly review your site and update any information that has changed. It is also a good idea to routinely give your site a facelift and keep the design fresh. When people click onto your site and see a clean, updated webpage they are more likely to stay and explore.
  • Connect to Social Media — If your goal is to have a big web presence, then you need to make sure your various online components are connected. Make sure to provide links on your site that lead people to your social media and vice versa. This can be done through a variety of ways, such as a call to action for clients to check out your different social media pages, or through icons that directly lead people to those pages.

Selling Socially

Successful companies don’t get that way by guessing when it comes to their social media. On the contrary, they most likely have someone to carefully plan out a strategy that serves a multi-purpose function of finding leads, generating sales and keeping a business visible.  This practice is known as social selling, and 78% of salespeople that use social media, perform better than their peers.

Why is social media such a big deal, though? What are the things that make it such a powerful tool, when it is wielded by the right person?

Here are the highlights of what makes social media such a must if you want your small business to have a big web presence:

  • Social Media Lets You Grow Your Business Through Current Contacts — You probably already have a network of contacts online, but perhaps you have not taken the time to really look at who is a part of that network. There are probably quite a few people that have businesses of their own that can provide a mutually beneficial relationship with you and your organization.
  • Social listening is when you monitor certain keywords on social media in order to find people that might have a potential interest in your business.

  • Social listening allows you to filter potential clients down to those that would be most interested in your product or service. Then it is up to you to reach out and establish a relationship. Remember to take the time to build a strong connection because this is what will truly win your clients’ loyalty. Even in this digital age, the human component of a business is still essential to its success.

The digital world is a vast place with an almost endless reach. If you aren’t careful with your marketing plan, then it can mean major setbacks for your business. You have a lot of things on your plate when it comes to running your company, so sometimes, the best thing to do is delegate certain tasks to the pros. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to building a powerful website and creating a strong social media following, then your best bet is to hire a team that can make these crucial elements their main focus.

Are you ready to create a big web presence for your business? Then contact us today to see how we can help make your company more visible and effective online. Make sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to market your business and build your digital presence.

Four Need-to-Know Ways to Avoid a Cluttered Website

When it comes to getting your business organized, virtual clutter should be at the top of your list, starting with your website

Is your business suffering from a cluttered website? You probably have already heard the term “virtual clutter” at some point since a good portion of our lives these days is kept on a computer or other device in the form of emails, text messages, documents, PDF files, images, videos and so much more. Once upon a time, for a business to run smoothly, you just needed a way to keep files organized and your desk cleared of any unnecessary papers. Nowadays, an organized physical space is not enough because the majority of companies operate a good portion of their businesses online.

Today, an organized physical workspace is not enough for a business to operate smoothly. If your website is cluttered you might as well be trying to run a company from under a mountain of paper and junk.

Virtual clutter mainly focuses on ways to keep your devices organized and your online presence clutter-free. For example, organizing emails into folders that are easier to find versus collecting virtual dust in your inbox. You can organize your desktop as well by using folders to sort like items together, and of course, it’s always helpful to regularly delete any emails or documents that are no longer relevant. Platforms like Google Photos and Dropbox make it easy to store photos, videos, and documents in a safe place that doesn’t take up precious space on your hard drive.

These may seem like pretty simple ideas, but you would be surprised how many people don’t think about organizing their virtual lives. If and when they finally do, there’s so much data it can be overwhelming, to say the least. One thing that any savvy business owner should not overlook is a cluttered website because it’s the equivalent of having a sign for your business that is covered in graffiti. It makes it hard to read and turns people away. You have less than one second before a visitor forms an opinion about your website. If you can’t hold their attention, then odds are that they will leave your site and move on to the competition. 

So, take some time right now to focus on the following four ways to make sure your website doesn’t cause people to scramble for the “X” button: 

  • Make It User-Friendly – One of the main things that make dealing with clutter so frustrating is how finding even the most basic item can become an extreme exercise in perseverance. If you are looking for a rubber band, you want to open a drawer, reach in and pull out a rubber band in a matter of seconds. You don’t want to waste time or energy, and you definitely don’t want to stress out over such a small thing.
  • When people visit your website, it is crucial that they are able to find out exactly what they need to know in a matter of seconds and without any stress. The last thing you want your website to do is frustrate potential customers. So when you are designing your website, make sure that amid all of the choices for layouts, elements, and fancy images, you don’t neglect the basics.
  • Your website should make it obvious from the very beginning WHAT your company does, WHY consumers need your product and/or service and HOW they can get more information. If your site is so cluttered that these basics are hard to find, then it’s like having a closet crammed full of blankets when you really just want a pillow. It’s frustrating, unhelpful and a big waste of time. No-one is going to dig through the blankets, instead, the door is going to get slammed right away.
  • Keep Text to a Minimum – If your home page and other landing pages are covered in lines and lines of text, then you will most likely lose any traffic that comes your way. An overwhelming amount of text is like having an unruly pile of laundry scattered across your floor – it’s not pleasant to look at and makes you want to leave the room. Since you don’t want people to leave your site as soon as they arrive, think minimalistically when it comes to text and opt for effective images instead.
  • Position text in a way that it isn’t punching your potential clients in the face as soon as they click on your page. This can be done by utilizing drop-down menus, having an appropriate amount of white space surrounding the text and simply keeping the amount of text low. Of course, you want your site to have content, but don’t put it all on one page, instead, for example, your site can feature a blog that can serve as an excellent place for your content to live. You can have a separate FAQ page that can provide a lot of information about your company, how it works and products/services without having it all jammed on the first page that people see.
  • Limit Choices and Information – Your website does not have to contain every single bit of information about your company, nor does it need to all be in one place. Remember, you want to feature the basics and provide information on how your customers can engage with you if they want to know more. In fact, you might be thinking that providing a large amount of information is helpful and what your customers want. However, a recent study shows that the opposite is true and “too many options create anxiety and leave us less satisfied.”
  • Think about it like this – imagine that you decide you want to cook a meal and open up your pantry to see what you have available to prepare. The shelves are filled with dozens of cans of all different kinds of spices, soups, sauces, vegetables, canned meats, and some things you aren’t even sure what they are. You immediately shut down and order take-out. This is like a customer coming to your website and being confronted with so many options that they become overwhelmed, sign-off and decide to binge-watch their favorite TV shows instead.
  • Update It Before It’s Outdated – In organizing, systems are put in place to keep clutter at bay and make things work efficiently. These systems need to be regularly assessed to make sure they are still working as well as they were at the outset. Often, they need to be adapted and tweaked as times change in order for them to continue to work effectively.
  • This same concept needs to be applied to your website. What works one week may not work the next, and if it stays the same, then customers are likely going to look for a more updated site because they will assume that company is more “in-the-know.” Make it a priority to regularly check your website for any areas where it might be outdated and fix it as needed. This way potential customers will associate your website with a driven company that keeps up with the latest trends.

Your website should make it obvious from the very beginning in a clear and understandable way, WHAT your company does, WHY consumers need your product and/or service and HOW they can get more information.

Basically, a successful business has many components that make it operate at an optimum level. One of the main factors to determine how smoothly a company runs is how well it is organized. When you declutter your workspace, including your files, schedule and other physical aspects of your business, don’t forget to carry it over to the virtual side of the coin. If you take the time to keep your website clean and well-organized, you will attract more web traffic and retain more of the customers that find their way to your site. If you need a fresh set of eyes to get your website in tip-top shape and would like some feedback on how you can gain more customers, contact us today to see how we can help!

“A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words” – So Make Sure It’s a Good One

How the graphics in your web design can make or break your business

When you look around society today, you can’t help but see images, colors, logos, badges and other similar advertisements all over the place. There is a very good reason for this. It’s because visual appeal is what first catches customers’ eyes, and businesses of all types are catching on to this fact. Graphic design is undoubtedly a huge component of a company’s brand and marketing strategy. Designhill.com  describes graphic design as a “crucial tool that makes sure that you communicate with your people in an efficient manner. It serves to deliver your message to the target audience in an aesthetic way.”

The use of graphics not only adds visual interest but when it is done well, it helps communicate your message without needing to overuse words and muddy up your page. Plus, successful graphic design will deliver a message quickly. This way people who are clicking through pages can better understand what your company does at a glance, instead of first having to take the time to read a bunch of words.  Your graphic design is your “hook.” If successful, it should catch people’s attention and reel them in to learn more.

Graphics also help create a cohesive appearance, which can make the navigation of your site a lot easier for users. When your website is pleasant to look at, easy to navigate and information is a breeze to find, you’ll get customers who stick around longer. The graphics are like your front door, and your goal is to make people want to knock and enter.  Forbes.com points to a study that showed 94% of comments regarding why users mistrusted websites were related to the design elements of the site and only 6% to the actual content. This definitely shows that the visual components of a website’s design hold a lot of weight when it comes to making an impression.

So, when it comes to the graphic design of your website, you may want to keep these quick tips in mind to ensure you are using it to your biggest advantage:

  1. Don’t Be a Show Off — As tempting as it is to show off how much you know about graphic design and the neat trick you just learned, if it doesn’t fit or serve a purpose, then it doesn’t belong on your website. Remember, the idea is to help communicate your message to customers in an “efficient” way. If you learn some new techniques, that’s great, but save them for a time when they will make sense and be functional. Otherwise, they’ll just be confusing.
  2. Don’t Supersize It — Nowadays everyone seems to be in a hurry. Doesn’t it feel that way? When people go online they expect quick answers and often want to check out things in a matter of seconds. So, a web page that loads slowly and/or incompletely is going to just cause people to abort their mission and click elsewhere. Overly large images will cause a sluggish pace that people just don’t have the patience for, so pay attention to the size of the images you choose.
  3. Don’t Steal Focus —  When you go to a restaurant, you’ll often find that certain menu items have a box around them.  This is leading you to the products that provide the highest profit margin to the restaurant.  Similarly, you can use your graphic design as a way to help direct people’s focus to where you want them to look. A good design will help lead people to the content you want them to see and point them in the right direction. On the flip side, don’t make elements of your design so over the top that they have the opposite effect and draw focus away from the real content.
  4. Don’t Be Obnoxious — You can definitely go too far when it comes to graphic design. Images and other elements that are overly artistic, cutesy or bright might be fun or eye-catching at first, but if splashed all over your site they can become very overbearing and make people cringe. Keep your choices purposeful, attractive and balanced to make a good impression, and make sure they will appeal to your target audience.  For example, comic book characters probably won’t be the best idea if you’re catering to 65-year-old women.
  5. Keep Colors in Check — In addition to not getting overly obnoxious with your images, make sure to follow the same rule when it comes to color. Glaring colors can be a huge turn off to viewers. Color also has a very big psychological impact. The choice of color alone can make all the difference in a customer’s decision to purchase a product. According to smallbiz.com, 93% of customers say they focus on visual appearance. Use this to your advantage when choosing colors and select the colors that help evoke the feelings you want your customers to have when they are viewing your site. For a list of which emotions different colors are associated with, look here.
  6. Use the Right Tools — If you are tackling your own graphic design, then don’t make things hard on yourself. There are a multitude of options out there to assist you in making strong design elements for your website, including sites like Canva, and online talent pools like Fiverr and Upwork. Take the time to get familiar with what is available to you and to learn how they work. If you are able to use a tool effectively, it makes the job easier. Check out these reviews of some graphic design programs to find one that will be a good fit for you.

The visual appeal of your website is a major, if not the biggest, factor when it comes to the effectiveness of your site to drive people towards your business. Be sure to give your site a review with a critical eye geared towards the graphic design and see if it’s meeting the above tips. If you find it falls short in some areas, make sure to do a revamp. Have others give your site a test run as well to get their honest opinions about their reactions to your site.

Not sure if your website is maximizing its potential? Let us help you evaluate the effectiveness of your web design and make sure that it is working for your business at maximum capacity. Be sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to brand and market your company and build your web presence. We’re here to help you attract customers and grow your business!