Posts related to website projects we are working on or have launched.

Responsive Design: 4 Key Reasons Your Business Site Needs It

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Earlier this year, mobile web usage in the United States overtook traditional desktop browsers for the first time in history. With millions of connected devices scattered around the nation, consumers have more access to the Internet than ever before. Long gone are the days when users had to peruse subpar mobile sites that lacked the functionality and visual appeal of desktop platforms. Today, companies can create dynamic, responsive sites that bring the full desktop experience to the small screen. If you’re contemplating whether or not you need a responsive site, consider the following four benefits.

Responsive Sites Reach More People

Google estimates that more than one in five searches are now performed via a mobile device. Furthermore, 25% of all Internet users in the U.S. connect solely via a smartphone or tablet. If numbers like those don’t sway you, consider this: more than half of all local searches conducted last year came via mobile platforms. The figures don’t lie; if you neglect mobile web users, you’re missing out on a huge segment of your target audience.

Search Engines Play Nicer with Responsive Sites

If you’ve spent any time familiarizing yourself with search engine optimization, you understand the importance of your site ranking. Google and its competitors rely on bots that canvas the web every day, indexing websites and using a series of complex algorithms to determine a site’s rank. Responsive sites give search engines one destination to index, as opposed to businesses that opt for separate mobile and desktop sites. This single indexed site is often better received by the search engine algorithms, in turn ensuring a high rank for the online destination.

Responsive Sites Produce Better Results

As a business owner, your primary concern is ensuring that your website provides a positive user experience and generates real results. Not only are responsive sites tailored to the smaller screens of mobile users, but these websites also produce better conversion rates. Furthermore, the majority of social media activity now occurs on mobile devices, and web users are eager to interact with businesses on the move. With a responsive site, you make it possible for visitors to reach out to you immediately, no matter where users happen to find themselves.

Responsive Sites are Easy to Maintain

Attracting new business and retaining your current customers is likely one of your largest priorities as a business owner. Do you really have spare time to waste updating a mobile site frequently and ensuring it plays nicely across a myriad of different devices? A professional, responsive site shouldn’t be difficult to maintain—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. These simple platforms make it easy for you to communicate your business’ message to the masses, regardless of how they choose to access your online destination.

Harnessing the digital tools available to you is the best possible way to build a brighter future and work to stabilize your monthly revenue. Utilizing responsive web design is merely one of the diverse options available to you, but the results these sites create speak for themselves. If you’re not already using responsive design and are ready to take the plunge, get in touch with us today and learn how OpenPotion can breathe new life into your business’ approach to online marketing.

Adam Zetterlund

– Adam, Content Wizard

3 Reasons to Get an Open-Source CMS Website Instead of Something Proprietary


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Launching a new website is an intensive process that encompasses a myriad of diverse tasks. From choosing a design scheme and layout to crafting the content that fills the site’s pages, it’s important to pay careful attention to the many components of a new website’s identity. For amateur webmasters with little experience in creating and maintaining an online destination, ideas like content management systems often appear overwhelming and complex, but these innovative resources are actually one of the most valuable tools available to would-be site managers.

Best of all, many of these platforms, commonly referred to as CMS, are also open-source, which represents a unique advantage for content creators and designers alike. An open-source CMS provides a seamless fit for most webmasters, thanks to the three following benefits:

1) Cost-Efficiency

Much like the name suggests, an open-source product is created and maintained by an independent group of developers. Unlike platforms from big-name software companies, an open-source CMS like WordPress or Joomla doesn’t carry an exorbitant price tag. Instead, these systems can be deployed and customized for a fraction of the cost of a proprietary system. Furthermore, the passionate grassroots development teams behind these open-source products continually release new updates to the bones of the CMS infrastructure, ensuring the platform remains secure and compatible with various web browsers.

2) Flexibility and Compatibility

Continual advances within the realm of digital content creation have served as an undeniable boon for web developers, but the various competing technologies don’t always play well together in practical applications. From coding languages to dynamic plug-ins, web designers have a vast arsenal of solutions available to them, but many proprietary management platforms only support a limited number of these resources. This results in a massive headache for designers and developers tasked with building a powerful, modern website.

Utilizing an open-source CMS as the infrastructure for a web destination eliminates many of these problems. Because of the wide number of sites taking advantage of these content systems, independent developers and large corporations alike have worked to make their products compatible with the most popular systems. For this reason, an open-source CMS can be customized to fit nearly any website need.

3) Intuitive User Experience

Professional web designers and developers tackle the responsibility of creating an appealing website, but often times, it’s small business owners and their staff who keep a site updated with new information. Without advanced knowledge of web development processes and the various elements that compose them, it frequently proves next to impossible for website owners to make changes to their site. Sites built on an open-source CMS, however, don’t present the same challenge. Open-source powerhouses like WordPress and Joomla are utilized by innumerable groups across the globe.

From multinational brands to mom-and-pop retail establishments, some of the Internet’s most-visited sites utilize an open-source CMS. Much of this popularity can be attributed to the unparalleled UX these systems provide. With a few hours of training, any website owner can master the basics of using an open-source CMS.

Ultimately, most website owners are most concerned with how well their site meets the needs and expectations of its visitors. In order to address this issue, however, it’s essential to use the right approach in the developmental process. We’ve had the privilege to partner with clients of all sizes in a web design capacity, and our open-source CMS solutions continue to prove invaluable for our customers. With the many benefits these platforms provide, it’s simply impossible to deny the appeal of an open-source content management system.

-Adam Z, Content Wizard

Adam Zetterlund

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Your Website Could Use a Refresher

Websites are like gardens – you need to keep watering them or they wilt. Something as simple as updating the call to actions can improve conversions by as much as 90%, and most sites that are a year or more old have elements that could be improved.

If you’re not frequently checking in with your website, it could be going stale. Here’s some typical changes our clients ask for that make a huge difference in the performance of their sites…

Update your software.

1Technology moves quickly, and just like ‘dog years’, a year in internet time is a big deal. If your software is out of date, you could be a prime target for spam attacks and costly site damage. Think you have nothing to steal? You’re still at risk. Hackers are not just looking to take – they’re wanting to use. You’re currently a prime target to those looking to use your site for spam, illegal file serving, and other nasty activities. hurting your reputation and taking months to repair the damage.

A quick software update could be all you need to have a faster, safer site, free from spam attacks and malware. Let us work our magic to keep your site safe and secure.

Freshen your SEO copy.

2Google updates its algorithms more often than I have a cup of tea – in the last few years we’ve seen the birth of Google Updates ‘Panda’, ‘Penguin’, and even a scary sounding ‘Payday Loan’, to name a few. These Google changes will have affected how your site shows up when people search. If your site has not been prepped for these changes, it’s a good bet that you’ve sunk down the rankings and slipped out of sight.

If your copy is earmarked as ‘spammy’ or ‘impersonal’, you could be losing your place in the Search Engine Results Pages. Let our Content Goddess Starr spring clean your content and boost your online reputation.

Make your site responsive.

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You aren’t using the same technology that you were when your site originally launched. Internet Explorer has released 5 new versions in the last 5 years, and since 2009, mobile web browsing has grown from 1% to a third of all internet traffic. Is your site responsive and compatible with current browsers? If not, say goodbye to a large chunk of your potential leads. With a growing portion of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s important to be ready.

If your site is not yet responsive, speak to us – we can do this for you.

Simplify your menu structure.

7bLong, confusing menus are so 2012. Web users are quick, and far too fickle to sift through complex menus to find what they want. We recommend 5 items or less on your main menu.

If your menu leaves visitors in a muddle, lets work together and streamline things.

Is it time for a total redesign?

3Does your website work as hard as your best employee? Could you pay someone to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to adequately and consistently sell your product? Would you rather just have more leads, more income, and less to worry about? A redesign helps you to spend less and earn more.

We work with different budgets to achieve exactly what you’re looking for. Get in touch to find out how we can help you make more sales.

Refresh and update for less.

Websites should grow with your business. Our monthly support plans allow them to do just that, at a price that works for you.

On our Silver plan ($89 a month), you not only get government-grade security and fabulous 24/7 support, but you also get an included design hour every month (this alone is worth $120). You can use this to make gradual updates as and when they’re needed.

For more included design hours, or multiple sites, try our Gold or Platinum plans. Our customers love them!

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the words that sell banner

The Call to Action: Why one little tweak might be all you need

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A single change, 90% more clicks.

Getting the call-to-action right is a fine art. Unbounce.com recently ran a test on one of their landing pages that offered a free 30-day trial to new users. All they did was change “You” to “My”, making the new call-to-action read “Start my free 30 day trial”. Within three weeks, they had raised their click-through rate by 90%. In another example of excellent CTA optimization, MatchOffice.com reworded the text of one of their buttons from “Order Information” to “Get Information”, and saw nearly 15% more people click it.

Easily do it on your own website.

All it takes is one simple tweak to a button, and you have a recipe for success. People respond better when they a required to put in minimal effort. Single words carry many connotations, so you need to make sure you are picking the right ones that say the right things about you.

the words that sell

Get us to do it for you.

OpenPotion has been advising companies on conversion optimization techniques like this for years, and we can help you. Changes like this are quick and easy to do, and it will surprise you just how effective they are. Simply click the button below and we’ll be in contact shortly to get started.

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Pssst, a little sneaky discount for our clients.

Cut some corners and get a pretty great deal. Should you subscribe to our Silver Plan, you will benefit from an included hour of website development every month (a value of $120!) to make tweaks and touches to your website. Amazing! Here’s just some of the things you could do with that time…

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Click here to see more of our Plans and Pricing.

How to Make a Rock Star Hero Image

Starr Bryson

What is a Hero Image?

The hero image is a banner that is displayed prominently across the top of a webpage- typically the landing, or home, page- front and center. Its purpose is to present a visual overview of what your website is about and attract visitors to stay awhile. The hero image gives you a chance to show just how awesome you are.

Why is it important to have a Hero Image?

A picture is worth a thousand words. In today’s world of instant gratification and short attention spans, you want to quickly and visually give visitors an idea of what your website is all about- a sort of preview of your content.

A well made Hero Image- such as we do here at OpenPotion- will demonstrate several things in only seconds. A headline, describing your business and what you do, a sub headline telling them what they’ll get, a short video showcasing your business, and finally, a photo of a real person with an actual quote about the business.

Why is it important to use a Real Person?

Stock photos are lame. It doesn’t make your company look very honest if the same person from your hero image shows up all over the internet selling other brands.

You want to be transparent. By using a real person from y our company with the accompanying quote, you’re painting a picture of a company with real people who are approachable and down to earth. Not to mention honest.

Do I have to?

The short answer is yes, you do. The other answer is, no you don’t really have to. We can do it for you. You just provide the photos you wish to use and we’ll do the rest (for a small fee).

If you want to rock out your own hero image, please follow the guidelines below on our handy visual aid.   You’ll be a pro in no time.

 

How to Make a Hero Image Look Awesome

How to Make a Hero Image Look Awesome

Video Announcing Our New Website

Announcing Our New Website

I was outside our home in Pacific Palisades, walking with my almost 2-year-old and my 6 year old nephew and decided to record a quick video. This was a big leap from our old Joomla site and took quite a while to develop… there are still several things on my todo list, but it is up and it is better than our previous site… so… progress!

Some of the things that went into this…

  1. Migrating content
  2. Planning out a simpler, smarter structure for our search engine friendly URLs
  3. Setting up 301,302,307 redirects to redirect old pages and to new locations
  4. Integrating ScheduleOnce
  5. Researching lots of WordPress addons to find the best ones
  6. Setting up site-wide SSL (https)
  7. Enabling and tweaking page caching (W3TC)
  8. CDN integration (CDN77)
  9. Integrating ZOPIM Live Chat
  10. And a LOT more…

 

Why did we switch to WordPress? I’ll write another post on that.Looking to migrate from Joomla to WordPress? Need a new website designed? We can certainly help with that.