What is Wrong with the PowerBall Website? Everything.

By | NJ Web Design, Web Site Design

By Barbara Zaccone

You would think that with over a Billion dollars in the kitty, PowerBall.com web site would have a modern look and feel along with a few bells and whistles.  But this web site is stuck back in the 2010. You might not think that is not very old, but just think of the cell phone you had five years ago.  The powerball.com web site goes against every best practice rule for web site design.

PowerBall-website

What You Can Learn What Not To Do From the PowerBall Website

The site is not mobile friendly.  It is unimaginable that a site this popular is not optimized for mobile devices and only shows a desktop version.  Quoted from their website “Powerball.com is best viewed by Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox using a screen resolution of 800 x 600 or higher.”  What about Google Chrome?

Remember the days of splash pages?  To get to the web site home page you have to click through a splash page.  That is so very 1999.

What about scrolling text.  Back in 90’s, to get a message across you would use scrolling text.  Well you can find that today on the powerball.com web site. With some many options that grab user attention like video, engaging graphics and transition sliders, there is NO reason to use scrolling text.

Confusing user interface. A good website design provides concise information and guides the visitors through intuitive navigation.  The powerball.com web site is all over the place. The visitor is blinded by so many options, it’s enough to give you a headache.

Lack of hierarchical navigation for ease of access to information.  The powerball.com home page center section contains a series of 12 equal size boxes.  What’s important? What’s priority? In addition to there are 28 home page clickable options.

Overall Poor Design.  What gives this site away is the use of backgrounds and gradients.  Back in early 2000 these were all the rage. We have gradients in the main navigation tabs, gradient site background,  gradient scrolling text background, main header pattern background and finally we have pattern backgrounds behind some of the home page center boxes. It all adds up to _________.  You can fill in the blank. A better option would be to utilized the most popular flat design style which is clean, uncluttered and the gold standard among industry design professionals.

Last and Final Pet Peeve. When was the last time you were on a reputable company website and you saw a banner ad?  Why does powerball.com need advertising revenue of their website. Crazy.

There is so much more I could add to the list.  But I think the major points above should get the point across. Good luck to all that will be in tonight’s drawing.  Feel free to share you thoughts.

Why Your Competitors Don’t Want You to Have a Blog

By | Blogging for Business

fish2Your web site is up and running and you are proud of your accomplishment. You never thought you needed a News or Blog section on your web site because not much changes in your business and the 10 plus pages you have says enough. But your competitors think differently, they are blogging weekly, writing news articles, tips, case studies and more. They also happen to rank higher than you in Google. Let’s uncover why.

Once you understand how blogging can help your business, you can make an informed decision on whether or not to use content marketing as a business growth strategy. Blogging is content marketing. Here are the top four reasons why blogging generates business growth:

Increased Exposure – Do you want a 10 second commercial or a 30 second commercial?

A typical business website (excluding e-commerce) has between 10 and 15 pages. Each page is indexed in Google and has a chance of coming up in a search result. Want to double your chances? Double your content. Develop a content targeted blog or news post with topics and queries that would be of interest to your audience.

Self Promotion

With the right blog posts and articles, you can proudly demonstrate your expertise. You attended a conference, you shared an article, you received an award, you share a customer story, you solved a problem, you got certified, and the list goes on and on. Your blog is the perfect repository for all of the above.

An Easy Way to Get into Social Media

Does the thought of having to do social media shut your creative thoughts down? No worries, one blog post can easily be promoted on multiple social channels. The link to your blog post can be promoted on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin with a simple copy and paste. Make sure your WordPress blog is configured with a social sharing widget so visitors can share your post. Do this and you just hit the EASY button.

Email Marketing Content

You asked me to do social media and now you want me to send out an email campaign? More work? Fear not. Your one blog post that is on the website, and has been promoted on social media, is now going to be sent out to your in-house email list. Teaser copy in your email campaign links to the full article/blog post on your web site. Your productivity just skyrocketed.

In Summary

If you do it right and publish articles on a regular basis, content marketing can drive more traffic to your web site and turn visitors into customers. If you are too busy to take advantage of content marketing, let BZA help you.  Contact us today.

Zaccone to Speak to Non-profits on Creating a Great Web Site Experience

By | BZA News, NJ Web Design

JFImagery_BZaccone 002Barbara Zaccone, President and Founder of BZA LLC will be speaking at the Community Works Princeton Annual Conference on Monday, January 25th at Princeton University. Zaccone’s topic will discuss how non-profits can increase the performance and functionality of their website. Participants will learn how to create compelling content that drives web traffic, set goals and measure results, increase donations, turn emotion into action and much more.

Each year Community Works Princeton Conference is attended by more than 400 people representing 200+ organizations. The organization serves a large diverse non-profit and volunteer community in Central New Jersey. Princeton Community Works enables non-profit boards, staff and volunteers to work together more effectively by networking, developing skills, and raising community awareness.

For event registration and more information visit the Community Works Princeton website.

White Space – an Essential Element of Website Design

By | NJ Web Design, Web Site Design

Benjamin Moore recently unveiled its 2016 color of the year: Simply White. An Architectural Digest article on the subject described Simply White as “the shade that captures today’s spirit of polished minimalism”.

White Space is Never a Wasteof Space

As I read the article I began to think about the effects of white and white space on a website.  In the world of media and clutter, one welcomes a calm place in which to rest our eyes and focus. Remember sites with bold patterned backgrounds, white text on black, blinking icons and beveled and embossed fonts?  Today’s most professional and elegant sites embrace “the spirit of polished minimalism” and let their message and product images take center stage.

White space is an essential active element of website design and is responsible for readability and content hierarchy. White space is not wasted space.

How Does White Make You Feel

White is clean, polished and professional. There is nothing like a crisp white shirt or a fluffy white spa towel.  White is not trendy, it goes with everything and when used as the dominant color makes you feel relaxed and fresh.

White space creates a feeling of sophistication and elegance. The correct amount of white space on a website can contribute to your brand positioning.

White Space as an Essential Element of Web Design

Similar to the way white walls frame a piece of artwork, white space and a white backgrounds on a website can frame your message.  Your slider images, your bold deep blue headlines and purposeful colorful icons will help your visitors stay focused, relaxed and feel organized while on your site.

Give your website visitors a break from visual overload and go Simply White.

Why WordPress is the Best Content Management System (CMS)

By | WordPress

If you are looking to choose a reliable and easy to maintain platform look no further than WordPress.  Here are the reasons why:Why WordPress_sm

  • Proven Solution – WordPress powers 1 in 4 sites on the web
  • WordPress is built with proven programming languages PHP and SQL that can just about handle any web based application
  • WordPress offers a growing library of plugin that extent the function of your website at a very low cost compared to developing the function from scratch. Forty thousand plugins and growing
  • WordPress is free and the WordPress software package is licensed under the GNU General Public License(GPL)
  • WordPress is the CMS of choice for CNN, CBS New York, Harvard Business Review, Boise State University, New York Times, Dole, Glad, Mercedes-Benz and Vogue. If it is robust enough for them it should be able to meet your needs.
  • WordPress remains the fastest-growing CMS for five straight years.
  • WordPress is coded to be SEO friendly right out of the box.
  • Responsive WordPress themes provide an optimized mobile experience across all devices used to access the Web
  • Google’s latest ranking methodology gives ranking advantage to WordPress responsive sites.

Keep in mind that WordPress is installed on a hosting service. You own everything that’s created there. When BZA builds your site with WordPress we have unlimited creative freedom. What could be better?

Can You Still Generate New Business with a Poorly Designed Website?

By | Marketing, Web Site Design

If you are reading this you might be one of those companies whose website is five or more years old. So much has changed in five years. Just think of the cell phone you were using five years ago. Many B2B companies have neglected their website through the years, due to budget constraints, lack of focus and lack of a website content management system. Once everyone in the company agrees how bad the site is they don’t even want to touch it and often don’t even promote it. They just pretend it’s not there.

Fast Forward to Today

Thanks to a strong mobile marketplace, websites are now getting the attention they deserve. Especially since Google announced in April of 2015 that search results on mobile devices would favor mobile friendly websites.

Responsive-website2

What your Website Says About your Business

The goals of any website is to convert visitors into customers. The factors below play an important role in getting your phone to ring or NOT.

Does Your Website Have? What Visitors Think
Old Photos – typically small and of poor quality Website is dated; perhaps the company is not doing well financially
Home Page Very Wordy – too much clutter and content Confusion about what the company provides. The impatient visitor quickly goes to a competitive website
Old News – Most recent news article is dated 2013 Company is not progressive and dynamic. Nothing new, no innovation, no new ideas and just plain stale.
No Social Media links (not even Linkedin) Unapproachable, not friendly, not connected, nothing new and nothing to share

The Good News

Imagine what a professional, clean and mobile friendly site can do to add credibility to your organization and showcase your capabilities. How different the user experience will be and perhaps how your phone might starting ringing. Perhaps it’s time to get started.

WordPress 4.2.4 Security and Maintenance Update

By | WordPress

Yesterday WordPress announced that WordPress 4.2.4 is now available. This is a very important  security release for all versions of WordPress.  And we strongly recommend site owners keep their WordPress software up to date. Cafe WordPress

The release addresses six vulnerabilities that can compromise a site. Without the update attackers can  lock blog posts and prevent site owners from editing them.

Site owners should make sure their sites are running 4.2.4 and if not perform a full back up and manual update.

Running the latest version of WordPress, your theme along with any plugins, will ensure that your site remains intact and performs at its best.  If you need any assist with the update, please contact us.

2015 WordPress Web Design Trends

By | NJ Web Design, WordPress

recommendedWith 2015 half over, it’s a good time to reflect upon changes in the industry and how you can capitalize on the power of WordPress for you business.

What Can an Impactful Web Design Do for YOU?

When a visitor lands on your website they determine if your business is credible within seconds. According to an article published by IronPaper “10 Web Design Statistics”, 94% of users leave a site that is poorly designed.

Today’s Web Design Trends

Full Width Pages

With full width pages you can take advantage of the power of large impactful and eye catching images. Photo and project galleries can take advantage the expanded spaced. Take a look at our client http://losurdofoods.com. So images are so beautiful they make you hungry.

Home Page Slider or Featured Image

Sliders have been around for a few years, but now with full width capability they truly sing when combined with a message that resonates with the viewer. Take a look at http://www.bza.com home page.

Sticky Navigation

A sticky navigation bar is one that remains at the top of the screen while the user is scrolling down the page. This feature is one that is surely here to stay. http://accuratebox.com takes advantage of large home page images and sticky navigation.

Grid or Masonry Style Blog Posts

There are now more options to display blog posts. The list style heavy text blog post is now being replaced with posts in a grid or masonry style. Viewers encourage to click with larger images and text headlines. Check out http://theme-fusion.com/avada/blog-grid-full-width/

Bright Colors

Bright colors are the perfect combination with full page width and large featured images. A single action color used consistently for buttons and call-out guide the visitor on what to click. http://atlanticinfrared.com is not shy about being bold with their corporate branding.

You might be thinking can I have all these features on my website? The answer is simply YES.

Turn More Website Visitors into Customers with our TOP 10 List

By | Marketing, Mobile Web Design, NJ Web Design, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Site Design

Website Conversions into CustomersMaking your website more engaging and effective can increase viewer engagement and turn website visitors into leads, prospects and customers.

When looking to increase business from a website we often think in terms of increasing traffic.  But increasing traffic may not be the answer. It is easier to increase your website conversions than to increase traffic.

Conversions and Conversion Rates

A conversion is the act of a website visitor performing a measured goal on your website.  A conversion can be a sale, inquiry form completion, quote request completion, newsletter sign-up, white paper down load, etc.  The conversion rate is the number of people who have completed a measurable action divided by the total number of website visitors.  For example, if 1,000 people visited your web site and 15 people completed your inquiry form, then the conversion rate would be 1.5%. You can set up Google Conversion Tracking in your Google Analytics. Conversion rates are the ideal way to measure how your website is performing.

10 Tips and Strategies to Get You Started

  1. Your site must be mobile friendly.  30% will be viewing your website on a mobile device.  Test your site at http://google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly.  If it does not pass the test you need to take action.
  2. Create a Compelling Value Proposition
    • Don’t waste your home page value space on “Welcome” or irrelevant images.
    • Answer the question “Why buy” and “What’s in it for me”.
    • This takes a lot of thought – think in terms of Newspaper headlines
  3. Obvious, but worth mentioning, your phone number should be prominent in both header and footer.
  4. Increase Trust 
    • Third party citations, testimonials, articles published.
    • Member organizations
    • Photos that convey trust and expertise, team pictures, location photos, awards, etc.
    • Current content – no old news
    • Credibility symbols, licenses, certifications, reseller, authorized dealer, etc.
  5. Remove Clutter and Remove Distractions
    • You want to keep website visitors focused on a single action (conversion).
    • You might want to eliminate some pages.
    • Review Google Analytics Behavior – Site Content reports and remove pages that are not engaging and viewed.
    • Be clear and concise and remove images without meaning.
  6. Focus on Fast Readability
    • Everyone is so busy – display page content in easy to read format with headings, sub-heads and bulleted lists.
    • Use headlines, sub-heads and bulleted lists
  7. Craft a Well Written About Us Page
    • About Us is one of the most important and most read pages.
    • Share client challenges, trends, market expertise, process
    • Awards and accolades
    • Testimonials, pictures add a personal touch
  8. If You Serve a Local Geography
    • According to Google 73% of all searches have local intent
    • Make sure on your home page the geography that you service is clearly displayed.
  9. Social media integration
    • Engage your network in social media- but bring them back to your website.
    • Building your brand and your content on your own domain increases exposure and search engine ranking.
    • Put the tease copy on Facebook – “Learn the 5 secrets to”,  “Get 10% OFF”, “Get the Code”, etc and then let them click to get the info on your website.
  10. Purposeful Design 
    • Use of negative or white space around objects or buttons focus attention
    • Big buttons for action items or goals
    • Limit choices
    • Placing the most important content above the fold (no scrolling)

Now it’s time to take action. First, make sure you have Google Conversion Tracking set up on your website. Select two or three items from the list and start making changes that will have long lasting impact. Too busy? Let BZA assist you.

Writing Super Easy Headlines to Drive More Website Traffic

By | WordPress

Writing a great headline for a blog post or a news article will determine if your post will be read or skipped over for one that is more intriguing. A quote from advertising guru David Olilvy, proves the point:

On the average, five times as many people
read the headline as read the body copy.

A sticky headline can increase your click-through rate and have your readers wanting more.  Whether you are introducing a new product, promoting a case study or service or sharing company news, readers engaging in your content is a win win for all.
Here a few tips to get your creative juices flowing:

  • A simple “How to …” can do the trick. “How to Write a Headline to Generate Traffic”
  • Lists with short tid-bits tell the reader the info is short concise and readable. After all we are all so busy. “Seven Quick Tips for Generating Web Site Traffic”
  • Headlines that promise a secret or hidden gem, arouse curiosity. “What Google Does Not What You to Know About Writing Headlines”
  • Solve a problem. “Writer’s Block? Learn About our New Headline Generator”
  • Use numbers. “Give Me 5 Minutes and I’ll Give You Better Headlines”

People don’t want to be tricked.  Make sure your headline will deliver on its promise.