Better Photos for Your Website Using A Smartphone

Ever wonder how people take these wonderful and bright photos on their phones? How could they get a perfect angle, with the right amount of light without a fancy camera? You look through their Instagram and Flickr for inspiration and next thing you know, you’re trying to take pictures like them. With practice and patience, taking top notch pictures on your phone will become a habit for you. Here are some tips to try to get a better photo without the use of a professional camera!

  • Use Grid to Balance – The grid is your bestfriend. Using the grid is great to help improve the balance and focus point of your photo. With a series of lines on the screen of your smartphone’s camera, based on the rule of thirds – a photographic composition principle that says an image should be broken down into thirds, vertically and horizontally, giving you nine parts in total to use. By  points onto your focus, your photo will become more balanced, leveled, and focused.
  • Edit, Don’t Filter – Why use the same filter many, many people are using as well? Branch out and be creative. By editing your photos, you can get creative with lighting and choosing what colors are going to bring your photo to life. There are several helpful apps that are perfect for editing to help you get perfect exposure, filtering, convert to black and white and help get rid of blemishes and unwanted spots. A few apps that are free and great for editing are VSCO and even Snapseed, which is great to use for tools like removing any unwanted object or to enhance the mood of your image.
  • Focus on One Subject – The best photos always include that one subject, whether it be a plate of food or one specific person. In which case, spending extra time on the shot is an important key. By tapping on the screen, it allows the camera to instantly focus on your subject, helping you ensure the right focus and lighting.  Always remember not to let your focus take up too much of the frame, but instead allow two-thirds of the photo to be negative space – letting the focused subject stand out even further.

With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to get the right focus, with the perfect lighting and edits to get your picture perfect!

Importance of SSL Certificate

Have you ever noticed the http:// and https:// in front of a URL before and wondered what they mean, or why the variation exists? Well, that is because the S in front of the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (http) determines whether or not the website has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate. Do you have an SSL Certificate in your website? Let’s look at some of the reasons for why you should consider it.

The ultimate purpose for an SSL Certificate is to secure all communication between your browser and the website, which secures the connection between clients and the server as information is being loaded. It encrypts all the data so it’s only understood and seen by those who are intended to have the information. This encrypts information by using two different keys. One key is the private, which is only known to the recipient of the data, and the second key is public.

This is important because information that is submitted to the Internet could get lost, or end up in the wrong destination since these data pass through multiple computers before reaching its target. SSL Certificates holds all types of important information, like the domain name, the owner’s name, the location of the owner, and more! Could you imagine if this type of information ended up in the wrong hands? That is why SSL is important.

If your business is a retail business or requires the exchange of money, having an SSL Certificate is a requirement. In other words, you need to have an SSL Certificate in order to accept online credit card payments. Aside from this, though, online users who know of SSL will NOT risk shopping on a non-secure site, so not having one can inhibit your business’ sales. Having this certificate can not only help you keep all important data secured but also help create a trusting relationship with your customers, which is needed in order to ensure that they will return to your site.

Plugins We Like: WooCommerce

E Commerce is the transaction of money made through the Internet. Having a reliable way to make such transactions is crucial especially when your entire business depends on it. This is why WooCommerce is our go-to ecommerce plugin.

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin created to allow you to sell absolutely anything, from physical object to digital tools. It is also one of the most used for online stores on WordPress, which could be because of the full control WooCommerce provides to both store owners and web developers. With this plug in you get control of the following:

-Discounts

-Bookings (for restaurants, hotels, etc.)

– Memberships and subscriptions

-Shipping Rate

-Shipping locations

-Transaction type

-Shipping company

…. AND MORE!

We asked our designers and developers Stacey, Clair and Azizul what their opinions are on WooCommerce and why it is our most favorable ecommerce plugin. According to their experiences, they have found WooCommerce to be highly customizable and easy to manage items. They also agreed it is very user friendly for clients with multiple built-in payment options and easy checkout process. They did point out, however, that there are many premium plugins that require payment so, not all the customization options are free. Another important fact to note is that this interface is most useful for small to medium ecommerce businesses. If you are a small, startup retail business owner, WooCommerce would be the best option for you.

Developing Apps for Small Businesses

Mobile apps have become a great way for businesses to stay in the loop with their customers. For small businesses, it’s an even better way to branch out and receive more customers and even more traffic with the use of push-up notifications.

The mobile app industry is a huge competition, but inventing a brand new idea that helps your business will only keep your customers loyal to you. Whether it’s an app never developed before or an already existing app with a twist that makes yours stand out, apps will boost your success. From simplifying online purchases to gaining easy access to your information, the benefits they have is why small businesses are now developing apps to stay competitive in their market field. So, how do you start an app for a small business? Here are some tips to get you started.

 

What’s your goal?

The idea for the app is your first step, however, what is the ultimate goal? After thinking about what idea you want for your app, think about what its main purpose in your business is, and use that as your main focus. For example, if your business is all about catering services, your app will be promoting your catering services. Creating a clear view of your business to your customers need will be very important in motivating them to download it.  

 

Design for your audience

Sure this is the hard part, but knowing your target market is the main goal in any business. Knowing what they need and who they are, whether they are iOS or Android users, helps develop your app to work better by knowing what your customers issues are and giving them a platform that they can use as a solution. The best way to find out your target market is through the use of surveys. With these, you can find out which types of apps they will resonate with, and what they dislike or like about mobile apps?

 

Branding information

If you already have a branding set, such as logos, colors, fonts, etc., share the information with your developers. This gives developers the opportunity to provide you with the necessary solutions to your unique business needs, like your app loading faster, working on several platforms, keeping the aesthetic clean, and making it simple and effective.

 

Keeping WordPress Secure

A new year gives you a great start to take the best measures to boost up your security. Even WordPress pros can often forget that staying on top of the simple things can lead you to a successful and safe site. Here are a few tips to keep you and your WordPress in the right direction, secured and away from being vulnerable from any sort of attack.

 

Change your password (often) and don’t use common usernames.

It is highly important to always make sure your password is being changed often and that it is fitted for security. Random strings of numbers and letters are the best way to keep your password safe from hackers. You can even use password generators such as Norton Password Generator to give you a top-notch one.

Shy away from using ‘admin’ or anything simple when creating your username for WordPress. If that’s the case, you may change it by adding /wp-login.php or /wp-admin/ at the end of your domain name.

Another great way to keep your security measure boosted is through two-step authentication. Two-step authentication (2FA) means a password is required along with an authorization code that is sent to either your phone or email, in order to get through the site. Owners decide what those two can be, whether a regular password followed with a secret question, a code or set of specific characters.

 

SSL to encrypt data

SSL, Secure Socket Layer, ensures security to data transfer between user browsers and the server, which makes it difficult for hackers to breach the connection or access your information.

For WordPress, you are able to purchase one from dedicated companies or ask your hosting firm to provide you one, often found in their hosting packages.

A bonus to using SSL, is Google ranks sites with SSL higher than those who don’t have it. In other words, more traffic for your website.

 

Securing themes and plugins

WordPress is updated frequently. Updates that are made for the purpose of fixing bugs, as well as updating vital security patches. In doing so, can cause some serious harm that you want to avoid at all cost.

In other words, update plugins, themes, everything. Regularly.

However, if you do want to use the built-in plugin and theme editor in the dashboard, you’re better off disabling it. Authorized users are given access to this editor, and, if by any chance the account is hacked, the same editor can be used to take down the entire site just by modifying the code.

5 Ways to Improve Your Website this New Year

A new year brings new resolutions, new improvements and new opportunities for growth. We’re sure you have a list of your own personal resolutions lined up and today, we are here to help you achieve your website resolutions and improvements for your companies sites. Follow along to learn about 5 different ways to improve your website and gain more viewers.

 

  1. Be obvious about website navigation.

Website navigations helps visitors find what they are looking for first, and increase search engine ranking second. Therefore, use keywords that would be obvious for your visitors; this may mean no internal lingo. Remember that the less clicks visitors have to go through to find what they are looking for, the better.  

 

  1. Add a CTA throughout your website.

After providing your visitors with all the information they are looking for, give them a sense of direction so they know what they can do next with the information provided. Remember that each call to action (CTA) should begin with a verb and should be set apart from the rest of information. For example, a yellow button that says “Add to Cart.”

 

  1. Add internal links throughout your website.

Internal links are not only great for SEO but they are also great for keeping your visitors browsing through your website for a longer time. Internal links can be used to direct visitors to pages with further, more detailed, information about a particular service or product mentioned in a different page.

 

  1. Avoid using carousels.

Statistics show that internet users don’t even get to the fifth slide in a carousel. If you insist on having one in your website, minimize the amount of slides to three. Otherwise, use alternative to carousels such as changing your layout to a Hero layout, highlighting your major services or products on the homepage and direct them to its page, or providing a video that highlights top services or products.

 

  1. Lose the testimonial page.

The truth is that visitors don’t go to your website looking for such page. The best way to highlight positive reviews about your company is by incorporating quotes or highlights throughout your website in different pages, such as the product page, about page, contact page, etc.

 

How to Promote Content

What would be the point of creating content if it is not going to be shared or viewed by others? Getting your content viewed by others is more important than creating content in general. Because of this, we have composed a list of tips to help promote your content in the best ways possible.

Share on social platforms:

This is one of the more obvious tips. Whenever you create content, you should always start by self promoting it on your social media, as well as on your website. Remember that each social platform requires a different form of content sharing, so make sure you are adjusting the way you promote it according to the social media.

Share snippets on social media:

Take several “snippets” of information from your content to share online in order to catch the audience’s attention and promote your content several times throughout the month. These snippets can be quotes, statistics, short statements, etc.

Mention those included in your content:

If you have important companies or personas mentioned in your content, like in a blog post, make sure to tag or mention their social media accounts when promoting. This will help get your content viewed by outsiders who may not have heard of your business before, especially if those who are being mentioned repost or share the content as well.

Get connected:

Connect with other who post similar content as you through email or on their social media. Share what you have created with them and ask them for their thoughts and if they wouldn’t mind sharing your content on their platform.

Share in different forms:

Try making your content more appealing by converting it into a different media form. Short videos and infographics are a great way to share content while keeping it interesting and entertaining. Switching up your content is always a great way to keep your audience engaged.

 

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (Pt. 2)

This blog post is a continuation of the marketing mistakes 2 part series where we review the many popular marketing mistakes we are all guilty of doing at some point in our business. Here are some mistakes to watch out for and avoid:

Using the Wrong Platforms:

It can be difficult, at first, to decide on the appropriate platforms for promotions or simply to share important content. The best way to decide on a platform is to find out where your target audience spends most of their time and find out what are the best ways to contact them. Try sharing content on every platform available and keeping an eye on the analytics of each one to see which results in a high response rate. This will help you weed out the channels that are of no use to you.

Spending a lot Too Fast:

Chances are that, if you are spending too much too fast, you are not giving you and your company enough time to test out different platforms and strategies and are, instead, doing a lot at a time. It’s important to test out different strategies to see what works best and what doesn’t before spending all of your money.

Not Measuring Results:

Measuring your results is a crucial part of developing a successful marketing strategy. This is the only way to track whether your strategy is giving you the best results and tells you whether you should keep spending money on it or move on to something different.

Not Expanding your Network:

Networking is one of the many important components of marketing successfully. A large network means more promotions for your work. Word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire and are a trusted way of getting your business “out there” and gaining more clients.

Following in Competitors Footsteps:

Think about it; when you see competitors sharing similar marketing efforts it can be boring and eventually confusing as to which brand did what. Avoid replicating your competitor’s marketing strategies. What may work for them, may not work for your business. In addition, many times their marketing efforts may only look like they are working when, in reality, it could be a failing technique.

For help in avoiding such marketing mistakes, contact Sperling Interactive!

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (Pt. 1)

 

We have all been there before, where we come up with a great new marketing plan but end up having a hard time getting a strong response rate. Chances are that we are committing one, or multiple, of the following common marketing mistakes:

Weak Written Material:

Having strong writing skills is a crucial part in communicating with your target audience. In order to fully get through to your customers and motivate them to take action, you must first move them with your words. This can only be done through strong written content. The content should interest your readers.

Forgetting about SEO:

SEO is important in marketing for company visibility. When creating any marketing materials, do not forget to incorporate important industry keywords, tags and Meta descriptions to help your business rank high on search.

Repeating others Content:

Every now and then we all get stuck or seem to run out of new ideas and look to others for inspiration. However, while doing this, we end up repeating content every now and then. Doing this can make it difficult for your target audience to remember you. Write in your own point of view and incorporate your own experiences and inspirations into your work.

Not Self-Promoting:

Whenever you think about self-promotion, you probably think about something along arrogance, but it does not have to be this way. The truth of the matter is that if you’re not promoting your content, how will your audience know what your company has been up to? Promote your business’ greatest achievements and invite others to the celebration!

No Call to Action:

Not having a call to action is a big mistake. All your messages and marketing materials should end with a call to action. Connect your marketing materials to your brand and finish off with an instruction on what to do next and how to do it.

Learning from our mistakes is important. If you need help developing a marketing plan that works, contact Sperling Interactive for help!

Tagline vs. Positioning Statement

When you think “tagline” what comes to mind? What about when you hear “positioning statement”? Do you know the difference between the two? If you don’t quite know what the difference between a tagline and positioning statement is, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many people tend to get the two confused all the time. Today, we will clear up some of the difference between the two and their soul purpose. Follow along to get a better understanding.

Taglines:

Chances are that when you think “positioning statement” you may actually be thinking about the tagline. A tagline is made to express the value of a product or service to help improve the appearance and position of a brand. Its duty is to help portray what the company does and who they are.

When creating a tagline, you want to make sure that you can answer the following questions:

  • What do we do for our customers?
  • How do we better our customers’ lives?
  • What is our unique selling proposition?

Once you are able to answer these questions, it’s time to put it all together into a clever statement. A tagline should be clever and witty, so don’t be afraid to use a play on words. It should definitely convey your company’s personality, as well. How else will you make your business memorable?

Positioning Statement:

A positioning statement is much more complicated than a tagline. It requires more information in just as a memorable way as a tagline. The components of such statement are:

  • Target audience
  • The solutions it offers
  • Comparison to competitors
  • Unique selling proposition (USP)

Here is a template to help get you started:

“[Brand’s name] is for [target audience] looking to [explain the services] unlike others [related industry]. [Explain why your business is unique in, at least, 3 points].”

Are you having trouble coming figuring out how to position your brand? Contact Sperling Interactive for a consultation.