Bear Web Design Blog

Discussing all the aspects involved in having a successful website!

You Now Have 2 Primary Digital Assets!

Google My Business - Driving Traffic to your website Google My Business - Driving Traffic to your website!

Just about every company and organization today has a website. Pending how long you have been in business you may have had a company website for 10 plus years. That website has probably been thru several redesigns and upgrades while remaining a constant primary marketing tool and/or e-commerce vehicle for your company.

Today’s websites are vibrant & colorful, content rich and action driven as well as mobile responsive. Just about every client’s website we manage and host (around 125 websites today) has seen a minimum of 10% traffic growth each year. If the company invests resources in the website such as blogs and social media marketing those traffic increases can be a lot higher. And the best part about your website is that you own it and you have full control and it is a tremendous asset to your business.

Over the last 12-24 months a new digital asset for your company has been quietly falling into place and it is already having a tremendous impact on most of our clients. The product is called Google My Business (GMB) and it is basically part of your primary digital profile that you see when you google your company name (on the left is website and social media links and google my business is to the right).  By modest estimates the traffic that goes to your Google My Business (GMB) page is approximately 5-10 times the amount of traffic your website received. And the numbers for some of our clients are in the thousands.  So if your website receives 1,000 visitors then it is possible that your Google My Business page could receive 10,000 visitors (that’s right – lots and lots of potential customer traffic).

The way this works is when a person searches google for a company, product or service your GMB page may come up as one the options a searcher can choose to visit.  Your GBM page has the following features to help entice a searching prospect to your business when they land on your GMB page:

  • Photos & Videos of your business (Including Business Location)
  • Map Location including directions to your office
  • Hours of operation including a clarification that “You Business is Open or Closed”
  • Google Reviews of your business
  • Business Address including phone number (used often with mobile devices)
  • Link to Website
  • Introduction to your business
  • Google Posts (stories or events you can post about your business)

When you consider the amount of traffic that is landing on your GMB page it is now imperative that your Google My Business Page looks great and is absolute accurate with information. Between 2017-2018 Bear Web Design commenced managing our Clients Google My Business Pages. This ranged from claiming the GMB pages and basic level management (setup, updates and monitoring) to full blown execution of marketing plans that included periodical google posts and photo and content updates as well as traffic reporting.  

In 2019 we will continue to provide these management services for Google My Business that are now having such a big impact on our clients. Google continually improves this product and we have no doubt that trend will continue for many years to come and we are committed to being experts in managing this area for our clients!

Be sure to contact Bear Web Design if you have any questions about your Google My Business and of course if you need some help!

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Need Help with Wordpress?

do you need help with Wordpress? do you need help with Wordpress?

Have you heard about wordpress? You may be considering it for your new website. You may need a website; you know how important it is, you just “don’t have the time”.

What is Wordpress and how can it help you?

Wordpress is a dynamic, world-class Content Management System (CMS) versatile enough to handle personal blogs, complex e-commerce shops, mobile applications, beautiful portfolios and more with outstanding ease of use and learnability.

Wordpress powers about 30% of the top 10 Million websites - think TheWaltDisneyCompany.com and KatyPerry.com.

What does this mean for you? Because of its popularity, wordpress works hard to continuously improve its product. It’s responsive. It has built-in GDPR compliance tools. It is constantly making content management more intuitive even while improving web accessibility by focusing on removing accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.

WP helps you manage your media library by automatically resizing images and preparing them for use in different applications. This means that with minimal preparation on your part your images will always look good and your customers won't have to wait on the site to load an oversized image.The results? Improved SEO and user experience. And who doesn’t need to improve their Search Engine Results?

The range of options available via thousands of plugins, themes, widgets and various media applications for different functionalities and looks for your website is unlimited.

Here are a few examples of some of the recent work we have done in Wordpress:

So, do you need help with your Wordpress site? Do you need a new Wordpress site? The Bear Team is easy to work with and we have creative ideas and knowledge to help your ideas reach fruition. We also offer custom training to help you understand and use your new website. Contact us today!

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What is GDPR?

What Is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU). ... GDPR came into effect across the EU on May 25, 2018.

So as a result companies from Europe regardless of where they are doing business have been updating their Privacy Policies and Data Collection policies in order to meet these guidelines.  We have received lots of updates from Joomla and Wordpress Extensions in the last few weeks clarifying their changes and compliancy which is a good thing because it means your website is now using software that complies with GDPR…

So how does this affect us here in the USA?

Well you may be in the USA but your website is accessible world wide. That means folks from the European Union can visit your website, send you inquiries or purchase products off your website. And the new GDPR guidelines states that if the person visiting your website is in the European Union when they are visiting your website then they are covered by this regulation for general inquiry and data collection.  There must be some form of solicitation by the company to European Citizens (in other words enticing EU visitors to provide their information for a specific marketing purpose).

The GDPR guideline also states that ANY collection of financial transaction information is covered and protected by the GDPR regulation so any company selling product worldwide is most likely affected by these new laws.

A good outcome identified to me by wife Vicki who just returned from Europe recently was the speed of websites loading  are actually improved by these new laws. When you visit a website and they are bombarding you with visitor tracking software the websites load much slower. Now with the GDPR guidelines websites have less visitor tracking software and thus load quicker!

So what you know? – The GDPR provides better privacy for website visitors and faster websites – that sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

US companies that will be most affected by these new regulations are U.S.-based hospitality, travel, software services and e-commerce companies will certainly have to take a closer look at their online marketing practices. However, any U.S. company that has identified a market in an EU country and has localized web content should consider reviewing their web operations and what they do with visitor data.

For any company that would like to review your current privacy statements and privacy guidelines be sure to contact me and we can review your specific setup to make sure you are compliant and in good shape with GDPR.

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Managing Your Website

Managing Your Website - Bear Web Design

A company can spend a lot of money, time and resources developing a new website. It is an exciting time filled with great expectations as the internet provides a constant supply of users searching for products and services and a great looking website can really help attract customers. It is easy to think that if you get everything right during this design and development phase you are going to be all set in upcoming years.

Unfortunately, that is not the case today as websites are far more complex than just an electronic marketing brochure that tells a company story or a marketing campaign at a specific point in time.  Most websites today are Content Management Systems which are a class of website that allows the content to be updated by both the owner and or their respective webmaster.  This means your website really needs to be built in mind of telling many stories and having many marketing campaigns that may come along during the websites existence… quite often 3-5 years.

The management of your website has become more complex simply by the nature of the internet and these intelligent content management systems. What are the best practices?

Maintenance & Hosting Support

The first and foremost form of website management is the boring stuff… upgrading your website when new editions that are released including core updates as well as extensions and components that make up your website. These upgrades are usually related to security, functionality and occasionally enhancement. Keep in mind that a host provider such as GoDaddy does NOT provide these services and the biggest issues you will encounter when you don’t upgrade your website is the potential of being hacked or something stops working.

Web Content Management

After overseeing around 350 website developments we have learnt that establishing a client’s ability to manage their website is critical.  So here are 3 great questions for an owner of a website?

  • Do you have writing skills and or photography skills that can contribute to the website?
  • Can you use Social Media and if so what is your favorite Social Media App?
  • Can you or your staff dedicate time to learn how to use your website and update it?

The last question is not as important as the first two in my opinion. Mechanically updating the website is about learning how to use a CMS system… e.g. Joomla or Wordpress. That takes time and is very dependent on usage. If you update your website once a year then you most likely will never master the CMS and most likely should have the help of a Website Management Company… (NOTE –  again this is not a web hosting company that simply provides a physical space for your website)

Blogging Is Still King Of Content

If you can tell a story and if you write well and can take great photos then you most likely possess a critical ingredient that your website will always need… FRESH CONTENT!  

The absolute best content you can provide your website is Blog…. pure and simple. Google loves fresh & frequent content and it will reward you with new prospects and repeat client visits.

A relevant topic that is written by you or your staff that contanis knowledge, information and you or your company’s personality wrapped up in 3-4 great paragraphs is all you need. We have several clients that do a great job but there is none better than Russell Berry of The Travel Factory in Abilene Texas. Russell has been blogging on his website since its inception in 2012.  We are now at 256 blogs with a new blog coming each week… check out some of Russell’s great work below!

https://www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com/about/travel-blog-magazine

This work has basically established a website that increases it traffic by around 1000 visitors a year (every year) and when you combine Google My Business which has more than doubled the website traffic and throw in Facebook as the social media and you have a tremendously sustainable website with a great internet marketing game plan!  Using the blog as your primary post in Google Posts and Facebook creates great opportunity for prospect and customer conversation!

Updating the Website Is Easy – Producing Great Content is Hard!

We work with Russell each week to publish the blog which includes adding a Royalty Free Photo, Adding Tags to the Blog, sharing the blog with Google Posts and Facebook. All up our time is 15-30 minutes each week pending on the actual Blog that we are polishing up and publishing – basically a mechanical process.

But let’s be honest Russell’s ability to produce the content for his business is PRICELESS!

I often hear website owners say I can’t update my website as it is to hard to do but that should NEVER stop you having great content on your website. (producing content is hard to do!). Answering those three key questions above should help ensure successful website management with a sustainable plan.

SO keep in mind that working with a company that can provide Website Management Services for those that need it as well as Content Management Training Classes for those who can allocate the time to update their website is certainly worthwhile establishing!

Be sure to contact me if you would like to review or discuss your website management!

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Social Media Stream Gives Your Website The Power!

Social Media Stream Gives Your Website The Power

Social Media has become a dominant force in our world ranging from personal socialization to business marketing.  Over the past 5 years or so businesses have been putting more and more effort and resources into using social media in the aim of building their brands and marketing their products and services.  It has clearly been a revolution to be able to add a great photo and a small paragraph or two and be able to share with your friends and fans reaching 100’s or sometime 1000’s of people in real time.

With all the work companies spend on social media the one the area that does not generally benefit from social media posts is the owner’s own website. Quite often the website will link their visitors to their active social media pages or you share a widget with a latest post and links. Generally, the traffic from your website to social media is one way. The problem is once a client or prospects gets to social media you no longer have control of that session. Social Media can bombard visitors with advertising and other non-related information distracting them from your mission while social media policies can also be changed at any time greatly effecting the users experience. 

So what If we could maximize the content you are producing in all your social media accounts and then share each post back to your website in a permanent stream?

Introducing Social Media Stream!

https://www.bearwebdesign.com/bear-social-media-stream

We have just commenced implement Social Media Streams to our client’s website (works in both Joomla and Wordpress).  There are many benefits to the social media stream on your website but here are key ones:

  • All your website visitors get to see all your posts not just what social media allows or boosts.
  • The social post opens a new page for readership but does not end your website session.
  • The social media stream looks amazing on desktop as well as your mobile device.
  • Supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Pintrest, Vimeo and more
  • The showcasing of all social media’s makes you company look like a marketing machine!

Social Media Stream On Mobile Device

Also you can check out our first two clients to have the social media stream setup - https://www.VisitWilCO.com and https://www.RestorationandWellness.com – in both cases that stream is at the bottom of the home page.

Setting up social media stream on your website takes around 4 hours and a small annual licensing fee. 

So if you are ready for Social Media Stream to give your website the power contact Bear Web Design today 615 504-6845 or send us an Inquiry!

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Girls That Code Visit Bear Web Design!

Girls-That-Code-from-Wilson-County-in--Nashville

Girls that Code from Wilson County visited Bear Web Design in Nashville today to learn about the opportunities for programmers & developers in the 21st century! The girls are taught programming by web designer/developer Jennifer Folsom and were treated to pizza after their visit.

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How Does Your Digital Profile Look?

My-Digital-Profile-Bear-Web-Design

Have you recently heard the term “Digital Profile”? it is becoming a key focus area for companies as well as individuals that provide services that are searched for on the internet. That means just about any company that operates today should be paying attention to their Digital Profile.

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Is It Time For A New Website?

Is It Time For A New Website?

You have a website that has been up and running for a number of years. In actual fact many organizations have had 2-3 generations of websites now a days. It looked great when the website was launched (they always do) but over the years it has become less and less of a focal point in your companies marketing plans. You don’t really know how much traffic is coming to the website (as the reports you used to get stopped coming) and the big part that bothers you is that you don’t seem to get any inquiries from your website any more…

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Welcome To Code Club for Girls!

Girls Who Code in Watertown TN

Over the last few months I have been working with the Watertown Wilson County Public Library to launch an after school coding club called “Watertown Impact”. Every Wednesday, 7 young women, 6th through 12th grade, spend their afternoons learning to code.

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Joomla World Conference opens a World of Opportunity

Joomla World Conference opens a World of Opportunity

I am just flying back from the 2016 Joomla World Conference (flying from Vancouver to LA and then onto Melbourne Australia) so I figured with 16 hours of flying ahead this would be the perfect time to recap the conference I just attended and share with our clients and friends. It was the best conference I have attended to date with the leadership of Joomla being so much more focused on the end user experience than I have ever seen before. This is very good for our clients (and their web visitors) as the bottom line to any websites success is a great user experience.

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Google Reviews – An Old Time Tradition In A Brave New Digital World!

Google Reviews – An Old Time Tradition In A Brave New Digital World!

So I went to this great coffee house a few weekends ago in Franklin. Set in a historic house It had a gorgeous cottage garden area that surrounded the house that seemed as suitable for a glass of wine as a cup of coffee. When I walked by I could feel it pulling me in. The inside of the house was old but nicely laid out with lots of different and colorful rooms as one would expect in a house built in the 1890’s.  The very nice and modern coffee bar was located near the center of the house and I ordered  my favorite – a Cappuccino Grande and then found an amazing place to write my weekly blog – next to the grand piano on a small single table. I turned on my favorite music thru my head set ear phones and as I sipped on my delicious cappuccino and began to blog I thought to myself “Could it get any better than this – I LOVE THIS PLACE”…

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Google Will Drive Traffic to Secure Websites With New Security Standards

Google Will Drive Traffic to Secure Websites With
New Security Standards

So you are surfing the internet on a bright sunny day. The kids are playing in the back yard with Bucky the Golden Retriever and your wife is in the kitchen baking cookies. All is good with the world – if Norman Rockwell was around this could have been his next American Classic – “Dad On The Internet”…

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“See Inside” with Google Virtual Tour

“See Inside” with Google Virtual Tour

About a year ago “or so” I said to an associate I think I need to really focus on cleaning up the front of my residence as Google was using the front of our house as the street view that you would see when you searched for Bear Web Design. (We have since relocated to an Office on Lebanon Pike but the challenge remains with how we look from the street). Google uses street view (called “See Outside”) to show the front street view of each business as part of the Google My Business / Google Maps listing. It seemed pretty obvious to me - if the view looks old or run down you may just be losing prospects. I must admit I was excited at the idea of the concept “Google Friendly Landscaping” being someone who loves gardening but also realized how many businesses may look “HORRIBLE” from the street view. And even worse – Google can quite often show the wrong building or ajoining structure in street view and totally put off the searcher…

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Google My Business (My Goodness)…

Google My Business (My Goodness)…

If you are reading this blog you must recognize that Google “Rules The Waves” just like Britannia did once.  Unlike when Britannia ruled the waves and everyone got it so many folks simply do not understand or comprehend the control and influence Google has over your business and many of your prospects. Google is all powerful and frankly all confusing. We (Bear Web Design) made a commitment to be Google Centric Company approximately 5 years ago and it has been a good decision for our business and our customers – but man if you don’t like people “Moving Your Cheese” Google probably is not going to be your thing.

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Fall Website, e-News, Blogs & Social Media Marketing Starts NOW!

Fall Website, e-News, Blogs & Social Media Marketing Starts NOW!

As we celebrate Labor Day Weekend (currently on sabbatical camping at Cedars Of Lebanon!) my thoughts as I sit around the camp fire is one of relaxation, refreshment and rejuvenation after a long hot summer but as my mind wanders off into the sounds of crickets and the coolness of the evening I naturally think about work and the upcoming fall.  OK – probably not what you should be thinking about on a camping trip but sometimes your best clarity can come in the most peaceful moments. Not sure why but I feel inspired so time to share!

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Introducing The New Google+

Introducing The New Google+

This week Google is introduced a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler (which should encourage more and more businsess to start using Google+). 

And it’s more mobile-friendly with Google claiming they have rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or small one. You’ll need to opt-in to this new version of Google+ on the web to see the changes.

If you have a Google+ page then next time you go to it you will see a pop up box that sais "Meet The New Google" - Simply select "Lets Go" and your Google+ Page is updated. Occassionally I have seen an error with this process (so you just do it again) - but there is nothing to do at your end besides selecting "Lets Go"...

And you can see the new look here on our page - https://plus.google.com/+BearWebDesignNashville - larger cover picture with communities and collections becoming more prominent. Of course Google+ is tied to your Google My Business Page and it is critical for every business to claim this page, have it upto date and well branded) as Google is placing these pages very high in search results (quite often above organic results which has been so heavily pursuid thru SEO & Internet Marketing). 

Be sure to contact Bear Web Design today if you need help with you Google+ Page (Google My Business)...

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Google Introducing “Mobile-Friendly” Tag Search Results

Google Introducing “Mobile-Friendly” Tag Search Results

While sitting in line last month to get my annual auto emission test I was searching on my mobile when I noticed a tag in results “Mobile-Friendly”.  I had never seen it before and recognized immediately what it meant – “Google is telling mobile users what sites are going to be a good experience to visit on your mobile”.  Google's Search Engine's aim is to lead you to the best search results but it is now drawing a line in the sand and basically saying if your website is not mobile friendly (no matter how much wonderful content you have on that site) – it is not going to get the all important “Mobile-Friendly” tag.  This tag in my opinion will help users decide whether they actually visit your website. And long term I suspect google may even consider listing Mobile-Friendly results first.

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What Makes Great Website Content?

What Makes Great Website Content? What Makes Great Website Content?

This year website content and content marketing are at the forefront of any results focused website. So what is great content? Is it frequency? (how many times you update your website), is it fancy fonts and highlights with every page designed uniquely? Or, is it content copied from a leading competitors website that you know must be good cause they are a great company!
In essence there are three basic forms of content on a website.

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Do You Know What Content Marketing is?

Do You Know What Content-Marketing is? Do You Know What Content-Marketing is?

Our company has traditionally worked closely with our client base to ensure that they fully utilize their content management system (Joomla) in order to maximize their website results and their visitors experience on the website.  We have done this primarily by teaching classes (both formal classes and onsite training) as well as providing a “how to” support role to ensure that the client not only has a great looking and functioning website but the content is easily updated with fresh, up to date and relevant information.  This is not only great for website visitors and but also great for Google.  Your content on your website determines your search engine and keyword positioning and this determines how many prospects you are reaching (Google is all about the prospect!).

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Responsive Design

Responsive Web Design with Bear Web Design Responsive Web Design with Bear Web Design

We do our best to help you  "Go Responsive ... Responsibly." When we design a Responsive Website at Bear Web Design we focus on what a mobile, tablet or desktop visitor is wanting to accomplish.  Working with our clients we try to create a user experience that is optimal in varying device sizes. Check out this article from Website Magazine:

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Just about every company and organization today has a website. Pending how long you have been in business you may have h...

Web Design & Development

Our custom web designs are directed by our clients' business models and marketing concepts, with a primary focus on their targeted demographics and desired outcomes using the latest in responsive CMS technology.

Web Content Management

Directed by your desired results we provide full content marketing & social media plans ranging from expert blogging to branding & posting in facebook, google +, twitter & linked in. We are metric based measuring traffic, behaviour and results.

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