Why It’s Important to Update Your WordPress Plugins

By | NJ Web Design, Uncategorized, Web Site Design, WordPress | No Comments

Plugins are not a “set it and forget it”.  A typical WordPress web site has six to ten plugins installed.  In order to keep your site running with minimal downtime, your plugins should be updated as the plugin developers release new versions.

WordPress UpdatesWhy You Need to Keep Your Plugins Updated

  • Updates typically include security fixes that reduce a site’s vulnerability to hacks.
  • Out of date plugins can become incompatible with WordPress themes and WordPress updates. This can cause errors in your site.
  • Plugin version updates not only include new features, but also fix known bugs.

If you plan to go out on your own and perform the updates, here is what you need to know:

  • Back-up your site first.  Just in case an error occurs you can always restore the previous version
  • View the New Version Detail from your dashboard so you know exactly what’s included in the update.
  • Update one plugin at a time.  Test the site to insure everything is working before updating the next plugin.
  • Perform updates during non-prime time.
  • Security related updates should be performed first.

If a plugin is old and has not been updated by the developer in a very long time, then you can assume the plugin might have issues as WordPress is updated.  It’s best to search out a newer plugin with the same functionality. If you want to protect your site and insure it runs at optimal performance, WordPress plugins, themes and WordPress should be fully updated at all times.

For those that don’t want the hassle of performing updates and/or don’t have the time, BZA’s low cost WordPress Support Plan can be the answer.  Our plans start at $150 per month.  Learn More>

How to Get More Google Business Reviews

By | NJ Web Design, Online Marketing, Website Design | No Comments

Encouraging customers and clients to write reviews for your business can result in attracting more customer. With Google being the most powerful search engine, it makes sense to focus your review solicitation efforts on your Google My Business page.  As the verified owner of the business page you have the ability to manage your own information and control control what appears in maps and search results.
The shortest path to getting a review is making it simple and easy for customer to leave a review. This is accomplished by providing the customer with a link to your Google My Business page review form.

Here is how to get started:

Search for your company in Google and click the button that says “Write a Review”

Cut and paste the URL in the address bar of your browser. You’ll get a URL that looks like this https://www.google.com/search?q=bza+llc&oq=bza+llc&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60j69i61j69i60j69i65l2.2631j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x89c301d99c1495a5:0x3d03ac5abdd195d5,3

The last digit which is a 3 controls the style of the review pop-up box. If you change the 3 to a 1 then the pop-up box will contain your current reviews.  But if you add a 5 to end of the URL (…3,5,) this will pop-up the review box and already fill in the 5 stars.  Now, all the customer has to do is fill in the comment field.

https://www.google.com/search?q=bza+llc&oq=bza+llc&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60j69i61j69i60j69i65l2.2631j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x89c301d99c1495a5:0x3d03ac5abdd195d5,3,5,

You can use a URL shortener like Tiny URL or Google’s tool https://goo.gl/  which makes embedding the link a lot easier. After using this tool the long URL is now shorten to  https://goo.gl/qmFakp

How to Promote Your Clickable Google Review Form

Now that you have your powerful URL, it’s time to put it to work.  What you can do:

  • Cut and paste it into your email and send it to clients
  • Send it to a client once the project/sale is complete
  • You can add it to your email signature file as Review Us
  • You can link it in emailed invoices

I invited you to click on any of the BZA review links above to write about your experience in working with BZA.  Wishing you many happy reviews.

New Jersey Web Design Firm BZA Launches WordPress Website for The Hearing Group

By | NJ Web Design, Website Design, WordPress | No Comments

The Hearing Group in West Orange New Jersey, provides audiological evaluations, aural rehabilitation including hearing aid dispensing and repairs.

The Hearing Group, a long time client of BZA, had an early WordPress website.  At the time mobile websites did not exist.  As a short term solution the client had a separate mobile website built.  This was problematic as now they had two websites to update.

BZA built the new site utilizing a premium WordPress medical related theme.  We customized the theme to the client’s branding and added several new features that both educates and engages patients.
WordPress Website Features Include:

  • Appointment Request Form
  • Downloadable Patient Forms
  • Integrated Google Map Directions
  • Product Gallery
  • News Blog
  • Social Media Integration

WordPress Appointment Form

BZA provided personalized training utilizing the client’s own WordPress Admin Dashboard so updates can be easily performed by in-house staff.

How to Transform Your Contact Page Into One of the Most Valuable Pages on Your Website

By | NJ Web Design, Web Site Design, WordPress | No Comments

online-formWhen done correctly, a simple contact form that captures your visitors interests can turn into one of the most valuable pages of your website.

Why You Need a Contact Form

The contact form, also known as an inquiry form, is designed to capture the interest of your visitor and will allow you to prioritize and research the lead once you get the form information.

Most out-of-the-box contact forms have just a few fields and lack compelling information to encourage the visitor to complete the form.

Where to Link the Contact Form

As a best practice the contact form should linked on the main navigation. It should not be buried as a sub-menu item under the About Us page or any other page. Most importantly, it should be linked with an action button from your main services or product pages. The benefit being, while the visitor is on a page of interest, they are visually encouraged to go to the contact page.

Designing Your Contact Page for Results

I hear many clients claim “no one will ever fill out a form”. That is totally untrue. We live in a 24 x 7 world, and prospects, at all hours of the day, what to check that one item off their list. That item might be inquiring about your products or services.

Here are a few tips to consider when designing and creating your contact form:

  1. Provide at least one introductory sentence to the form. Tell your visitor why they should complete the form and what is the benefit to them.
  2. Reassure them the form is quick and easy to complete and information will not be shared.
  3. Ask the most important qualifying questions; Name, title, company, email, phone, website, area of interest, timeframe and budget. These important fields should be required and not optional.
  4. Don’t bother asking how they heard about your company.
  5. Don’t include too many open ended questions, where the user has to type an answer.
  6. Utilize drop-down choices or radio buttons to speed the form completion process.
  7. Keep your form to 10 fields or less.
  8. Generate a friendly Thank You page that will tell the visitor when you will be getting back to them.

Integrate Your Contact Form

You can easily set up Google Conversion Tracking on your contact form within your Google Analytics. This will allow you to measure how many forms have been completed and the source of the visitor.

If you are using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System to track leads and sales activity, the form results can be integrated into the CMS. Web-to-Lead forms efficiently simplify the process of capturing visitor information from your website and getting it directly into your CRM system. This insures accuracy of lead information, speedy follow-up and eliminates having to re-keystroke lead information.

Good design along with careful selection of the form fields can make a big difference both to the user experience and your company’s bottom line.

Four Telltale Signs Your Website is Hurting Your Sales and What You Can Do About It

By | NJ Web Design, Web Site Design, WordPress | No Comments

Original article authored by Barbara Zaccone was published in the Summer 2016 Issue of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) Bottom Line Newsletter.

Website salesPoor First Impressions Lead to Visitors Abandoning Your Website

Visitors abandon websites for any number of reasons, including poor design, outdated content, crazy colors, poor quality images, images that don’t relate to the message, and of course, content (messaging) that has visitors guessing about what your company offers. The list goes on and on—but to keep things simple, let’s focus on the top four telltale signs that your website is hurting your sales.


Website Suffering From Old AGE

Let’s start with the most basic question: How old is your website? If it’s five years or older, you’ve already crossed over into the “my site is hurting my business” zone. So much has changed in five years. Just think of the cell phone you were using five years ago (hint: slide out keyboard or Blackberry). Besides, in April 2015, because of a strong mobile marketplace, Google announced that search results on mobile devices would favor mobile friendly websites. Now mobile friendly websites are getting the attention they deserve. If you are not sure if your site is mobile friendly, give it the ole Google mobile friendly test.

THE FIX: Build a new website and make sure it’s mobile friendly.


Cluttered Home Page

You know what a cluttered home page looks like when you land on one because you want to get out of there—fast. So, if your home page contains 10 or more tabs, call out boxes, small pictures,
lots of text, side bars, sliders with buttons, and way too many choices—this is a sign of an old and cluttered website. Because too many choices confuse visitors, they’ll hit the back button. Today’s style is modern, clean, and uncluttered. Large meaningful images should complement the content. For easier home page navigation, cut down on the number of tabs and choices. Today’s sites are lean and mean, and the eye is always drawn to a clear CALL TO ACTION.

THE FIX: For a cost-effective and professional design, you can choose from hundreds of popular WordPress premium themes. A theme can be customized by a professional developer, giving you a site that is true to your brand.


No Social Media

You can argue until the cows come home that you don’t feel social media applies to your business, or you don’t have the time to do it. But businesses are run by people, and people spend more time on social media then ever before. Social media influences buying decisions, broadens your reach, and is an important part of your overall online presence. If you don’t have any social media sharing icons or feeds on your website, here’s what it says about your business: “Don’t connect with us. We are unapproachable—not friendly. There is nothing new going on in our company. We have nothing to share. Leave us alone.”

THE FIX: At a bare minimum you should have a company LinkedIn profile. Then, depending on your audience, pick one or two other platforms. Top choices include Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and Instagram. Go narrow and go deep.


Imagine what a professional, lean, clean, and mobile friendly website can do to add credibility to your organization and showcase your capabilities. A different user experience could get that phone ringing. There’s no better time then NOW to get started.

What is Wrong with the PowerBall Website? Everything.

By | NJ Web Design, Web Site Design | No Comments

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.

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

By | BZA News, NJ Web Design | No Comments

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

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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.

2015 WordPress Web Design Trends

By | NJ Web Design, WordPress | No Comments

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 | No Comments

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.