Common Types of Websites
Common Types of Websites

Gone are the days when small businesses could get by without an online presence. Given the extent to which we live our lives online, today’s consumers expect every company, no matter it’s size, to have some sort of website. It’s important to put some thought into the type of website you want to build before pulling the trigger on actually building it.

All Websites are Not Created Equal

Wait, what do we mean “types” of websites? Aren’t all websites essentially the same?

Not at all.

Which means that choosing the correct type of website is a key to ensuring its success. Different types of websites come with different user expectations, and nothing tanks faster than a site which fails to meet them. Whether it’s the look of the site, the way it functions, or how it’s navigated, we expect one thing if we’re searching for an acquaintance on social media and another when making a purchase from our favorite online retailer.

What is the Purpose of a Website?

The purpose of a website will ultimately determine which type you should build. So, before you hire a website design company to create your new site or mobile web app, take some time to consider why you are building it in the first place. This will help your developer by giving him or her some initial direction, and it will help you by giving you a framework within which to work.

6 Common Types of Websites

How many different types of websites are there? More than we can list here, that’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some pretty common uses of websites in general. Chances are your site will wind up being one of the six main types of websites we’ve listed below. Read on to learn about each and how they function.

1. Business and Non-Profit Websites

Perhaps the most common type of website is one that communicates information about a business or a non-profit. At the very least these sites provide information about the organization represented as well as products and services offered. Business and non-profit sites also function as marketing tools since potential customers or donors will almost always do a little bit of research before choosing to fork over their hard-earned money. It’s safe to say that every organization should have at least a basic website in today’s world.

2. E-Commerce Websites

An e-commerce site is a website that allows users to make purchases over the internet. Think of it as an online shopping destination where customers can browse product and service offerings before making a purchase. A well-executed e-commerce site makes it easy for shoppers to learn about products, compare options, make a choice, and then check out – just like they would at a brick-and-mortar location.

E-commerce sites can be businesses in and of themselves. Or, they can complement retail locations by offering a larger variety of products than a physical storefront. WooCommerce and Shopify are two well-known platforms for today’s e-commerce sites, and they are both geared towards the needs of online retailers.

3. Blogs

Originally called WebLogs, blogs essentially started out as online diaries written by individuals or small groups to document daily happenings and experiences. Blogs quickly gained popularity as a tool for expressing opinions and conducting outreach.

Today, blogs are used in many different capacities. They can be used as personal diaries, to share one’s expertise, showcase hobbies, build a community, improve SEO rankings, and so much more. Regardless of their purpose, blogs feature regularly updated content and are the types of web pages users find engaging, entertaining, helpful, or (ideally) all of the above.

4. Educational Websites

When we think educational websites, we might initially picture the website of a school system or university; however, these types of websites tend to function more like a business site with the goal of communicating information about the system or institution. An educational website is one that actually provides educational content to its users. This can be in the form of video or written content, and usually includes a combination of both.

5. Entertainment Websites

Like an e-commerce site, an entertainment website can be an extension of an established entertainment company or the site can be all the company offers. For instance, NBC’s website mainly consists of content which is already shared across its television stations. Netflix, on the other hand, is an end in itself.

Other than these, what are the different types of websites used for entertainment? They include online magazines, news sources, and video platforms to name a few. Regardless of the type of site, one thing remains consistent among entertainment pages – the content is dynamic (i.e. consistently refreshed) and relevant to its users.

6. Social Networking Websites

It’s safe to say that most of us are familiar with social networking websites. While we might think of the world in terms of “staple” sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there are new social sites launched all the time. The goal of a social networking site is to connect individuals based on their commonalities – whether that be friends, interests, hobbies, career type, political views or anything else one can imagine.

Combining Different Types of Websites

In reality, most websites are some combination of two or more of the types of websites listed above. A business site might include some e-commerce options for customers to make purchases (or a non-profit site could include the same for donations). E-commerce sites may include a blog page to boost SEO while building a reputation for being an accessible expert. A blog might function as an entertainment site.

The possibilities and combinations are endless. But before you start to develop your website, it’s important to home in on its main focus. Is your goal to sell product, foster a community, market your business? Design your site around your main goal and build in ancillary functions from there.

Determine Which Type of Website is Right for You

Want to take your business to the next level but feel unsure about which type of website you need? Not only will Hungry Media’s unique approach and years of experience help you make that determination, but our professional developers and designers can make your website vision a reality. Contact us today for more information!

App Development Questions
App Development Questions

There may be an app for just about everything, but close to fifteen years after the creation of mobile apps as we know them, there are still plenty of untapped markets. What’s more, even if apps in a given niche meet the needs of today’s users, tech changes rapidly. This means that today’s apps can become obsolete in the blink of an eye, and you could be there to fill the void. So, what do you do if you have a great idea for a new app? You move on it. Quickly! Below you’ll find a list of app development questions to ask yourself as you get started.

First and Foremost

What is the Goal of Your App?

Whether the app is your business or it’s a part of an already established business, treat it like a startup. One of the first tasks to tackle as you begin a new venture is to establish your mission and vision statements. Carefully crafted mission and vision statements will naturally help you answer these questions about mobile apps as you move through the development process. Additionally, clear mission and vision will inform every decision you make regarding your new app, from its name to launch logistics. Start by writing your mission statement. Why does this app exist? What value will it provide? Your vision statement is an extension of your mission; it describes where you see your company (or your app) years down the road.

Who Will Use Your App?

While your target audience may seem obvious, don’t overlook the benefit of very precisely defining your end user. Get specific. What does their life look like? How old are they? What is their financial situation? When do they have free time? How do they spend it? The list goes on and on. A clearly defined target audience leads to more effective market research, development plans, and marketing efforts.

What Sets You Apart?

As of today, there are nearly 2 million apps available in the Apple App Store, and over 2.5 million in the Google Play store. Users aren’t short on options. So, why should someone choose your app over another? After you have established what your app will accomplish and who will be using it, it’s time to identify what will make it stand out from the rest. What does your app do that others do not? How can the experience of current apps be improved upon? What set’s you apart?

What is Your Elevator Pitch?

Okay, you have thirty seconds to describe your app, what it does, and how it benefits your users. Annnd, go! Not sure what to say? Time to come up with your elevator pitch. Take a few moments to pare down the explanation of your new app and it’s benefits before moving forward. The clearer you are, the easier it will be for others to understand what you’re aiming for as well as the value behind it. This will save you time, effort, and energy as you move through the next steps of the app development process.

How Can You Protect Your App Idea?

This is one of the most common questions for app developers, and it’s a valid one. First and foremost, don’t go shouting your idea from the rooftops until you have the project well-established and underway. Of course, you’ll have to give some people lots of information early on. For these people, we recommend executing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you divulge all the details. Here’s the thing though. No amount of tight-lipped secrecy will protect your app if someone else has the same idea and moves on it first. So, the best way to ensure this app is yours is to move on it, pronto.

Logistically Speaking

What Type of App Will You Develop?

Should you be creating a native or hybrid app? Should you just go with a straight-up mobile web app? There are several factors to consider when making this decision, including the purpose of your app, your budget, and development time just to name a few. Determine the answer to this question before moving forward, even if that means consulting with a professional to shed some light on which is right for you.

What Category of Mobile App Does It Fall Within?

This may sound like a minute detail or a no-brainer, but you want to make sure your app fits into a clear category such as game, health and fitness, productivity, etc. You can have the best home organization app around, but if you users are looking for “productivity” apps and you list it as a “lifestyle” app, they’ll be much less likely to find it. Determine the correct category to ensure your awesome new app is reaching your target audience when they fire up their app store.

Which Platform(s) Will Your App Run On?

Will you be developing your app for iOS, Android operating system, or both? This is yet another reason you need to be very clear about your target audience. Different groups of users have different tendencies, and the tendency to choose an iPhone over an Android, or vice versa, is one of them. If your app will run on only one platform you have to know which to choose.

How Will You Release Your App?

Will you launch across all platforms at once? Do you want to launch on one platform first (or only)? Will you start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and go from there? These are all valid options, and it’s best to make your decisions before you get too far into planning and development, as this will also impact your next steps.

Design and Development

What Should the Design Look Like?

It should look like whatever will make your audience happiest. There’s a fine line between creatively stepping outside the box and providing something so unexpected that it’s challenging to use or displeasing to look view. In short, user experience should be top of mind when it comes time to designing your app. Just remember it’s not about how you define functionality and aesthetics. It’s all about that target audience!

How Much Will It Cost?

Of course, this is one of the first questions to ask your app development company, but we can give you an idea of what to expect. Business of Apps reports the average cost of developing an app ranges from about $18,000-$28,000. Honestly, cost will depend on several factors including the way you want the app to function, if/how it will integrate with other services, which platform you develop for, and so much more.

How Long Will It Take?

As with cost, this will depend on your specific application. Questions of this nature are tough to answer, but as a general rule, the more intricate and detailed the app, the longer it will take to develop. In general, expect 6-8 months from inception to completion. You can shorten your timeline by being very diligent in your research and taking the time to answer the app development questions included here. You’ll always come up against roadblocks that require you to shift course, but effective research and thoughtful planning can reduce the number of these roadblocks as well as the amount of time it takes to maneuver around them.

Wahoo! Its Live. Now What?

How Often Should I Update?

In the beginning, probably a lot. Bugs and their required fixes are truly a part of the process, as it’s nearly impossible to catch every potential snag prior to launch. So, plan on updating often in the first few months after you hit the app store. This way, when ratings, reviews, or problem reports come in, you’ll be prepared to adjust quickly. Over time you’ll find that you only need to update along with major changes in technology or to meet new security requirements. Other than that, you’ll update when the market (or your creative side) says it’s time for a refresh.

How Will You Define Success?

What matters most to you? Downloads, session time, ratings, revenue? If your goal is to put your app on the phone of every American, then judge your success by the number of times it has been downloaded. If your goal is to be the most amazing resource in your niche, maybe session time is your key performance indicator. Whatever your priority, structure your definition of success around it, and focus on ways to achieve that particular goal. (Hint: a mission and vision statement make answering this important mobile application question a lot easier.)

Hungry Media Can Answer All of Your App Development Questions

Bringing that niggle of an idea to fruition as a full-fledged app might sound a little daunting. But don’t worry. Hungry Media’s unique approach to app development will help you clarify the answers to all of these questions and more. We can’t wait to hear about your great idea and help you get it off the ground! Contact us today to learn more about making your idea a reality.

How to Choose a Domain Name

Your domain name is your online identity. Sure, you could use the WordPress or Squarespace domain that comes with your free website. But your domain name is the first impression visitors have of you and your business. In this sense, it’s not just an extension of your brand, but also provides helpful information to anyone searching you out. Oh, and speaking of searches, your domain name has the ability to positively impact SEO. So, if you’re concerned about how to choose a domain name for your website, you’re not alone. After all, it is a pretty important decision.

Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

Coming up with a kick-butt domain isn’t an exact science, but there are certainly a few best practices for choosing a domain name that will make a big difference. The best way to choose a domain name is to go slowly and consider the following before settling on your new web address.

Pronunciation

You can have the most thoughtfully designed site that’s perfectly optimized for conversions and search engines alike. It might even contain the world’s most engaging content. But the likelihood of a new user visiting your site drops dramatically if the site is difficult for them to find.

Confirm that your domain name is easy to pronounce by sharing it, in writing, with at least ten different people. Ensure each of them can pronounce it out loud, correctly, on the first try. If there are any sticking points, go back to the drawing board.

Spelling

In general, creativity is viewed as a huge plus, especially when learning how to pick a catchy domain name. But choosing a domain name for your business might not be the time for thinking outside the box. You want people to recall your domain name quickly and type it accurately. Here are a few faux pas that can stand in the way:

Funny Spellings – Sorry, but a domain name isn’t the place for cre8tive spellings. Using an uncommon (or made-up) spelling makes it incredibly difficult for users to find your website.

Homophones – Words with a single pronunciation but more than one spelling should be avoided in domain names. How will a user know whether you mean “new” or “knew” when they hear your domain name spoken aloud?

Numbers and Hyphens – In the same vein, avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name, as they are confusing when it comes time to type it into a web browser.

Commonly Misspelled Words – Words that are difficult to spell can cause just as much trouble as made-up spellings or homophones. For the sake of ease, avoid using the most commonly misspelled words in your domain name.

To ensure it’s easy to spell, do another experiment. Say your domain name out loud to at least ten different people and ask them to jot down what you said. Did they spell it right? If not, you still have work to do.

Keywords

Want to know how to choose a good domain name for your business? Keyword research! Including words in your domain that relate to your business makes it easier for users to understand what your website is about. It also makes it easier for customers to find you.

Consider using keywords that describe the services you offer or products you sell. Bonus: this can also boost SEO. If you choose to use keywords, they’ll be most beneficial at the beginning of your domain name as opposed to the middle or end.

The Future

Before you settle on a domain name, think about your long-term goals. Do you dream of turning your small dog-walking business into a well-known doggy daycare and boarding facility? Then a domain name focused on dog walking might not be the way to go. Sure, the keyword is relevant now, but it could hurt you way more down the road than it will benefit you today.

Extension

Of course .com is by far the most well-known domain extension. However, since it’s been around for so long, the availability of affordable .com domain names shrinks every day.

In good news, there are several new domain extensions available. Think: .shop, .club, .photos, and .pet. If you decide to go this route, don’t just choose the first extension that pops up. Consider how to choose a domain name extension that will add clarity and context to your website. Dig into your options. You may find that there is an extension that works perfectly for your niche.

Research

Okay, now that you know how to choose great a domain name, it’s time for some due diligence. There are several factors unrelated to the name itself that will impact the viability of any given domain.

Trademarks and Copyrights –Be sure no part of your domain name is trademarked, copyrighted, or in use by another company.

For instance: even if the domain OldNavy.net is available, you probably shouldn’t use it to blog about your grandfather’s experience as a Naval Officer during the Korean War. Not only could this confuse those shopping for cargo pants and puffer vests, but you don’t want the headache of a legal battle arising from copyright or trademark infringement.

Cost– This is an important factor when picking a domain and choosing a domain name extension.  Your ideal domain name could cost a pretty penny. If you’re on a budget, brainstorm additional variations of your domain name and compare costs before making your final decision.

Social Media – Social is where it’s at when it comes to today’s digital marketing. It’s a good idea to make sure your domain name – or something very close to it – can be used as a social media handle.

Online Tools

If you need help choosing a domain name, there are several online tools to get you started. While they won’t do all of the work for you, they’ll make choosing a business domain name a little bit easier.

Keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help you come up with a list of keywords related to your business.

Online “brainstorming” tools use keywords you provide to generate relevant domain name ideas. Tools like Lean Domain Search help you learn how to pick a domain name that sets you apart from the rest.

A Hosting Service will be your last stop after choosing a business domain name. Enter your desired domain with a service like GoDaddy or Bluehost to start the process of actually purchasing your domain.

How to Choose A Domain Name with Confidence

One thing’s for sure, a great website starts with a great domain. If you’re overwhelmed by what must be considered when choosing a domain name, you’ll benefit from our years of experience as we help you find one that accurately expresses what your brand is all about. At Hungry Media we specialize in developing websites that help businesses grow. From eye-catching design, to captivating copy, to a top-notch user experience – we can create it from domain down, or simply update your current site. Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

CRO
CRO

Websites serve a variety of purposes, but one thing’s almost always true about a website. It exists as a means to improve the bottom line of the company it represents. In this sense, websites are a key component in the sales funnel.

Regardless of whether the focus of your site is to make sales, collect contact details, or disseminate information to your users, you want it to be effective, right? Otherwise, what’s the point of paying for it? Enter: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). What is CRO, you ask? Read on for a crash course.

Website Conversion Defined

In terms of internet marketing, there are two main ways you can improve the performance of your website. You can drive more traffic to it, and you can better leverage the traffic you already have. The former is the focus of SEO. The latter is what we mean by Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

What is a Website Conversion?

A website conversion is when a user takes a predetermined, desired action on your website. Each step that moves a user through the sales funnel is considered a conversion, meaning they are that much closer to becoming a customer. Examples of these actions include filling out a form, sharing a blog post, or making a purchase.

What is a Conversion Rate?

Your conversion rate is the percentage of users who take one of the pre-determined, desired actions.

What is a Good Conversion Rate?

One of the best responses we’ve read says a good conversion rate is one that’s better than it is now. It’s a fair answer, as it essentially states that the goal is to constantly improve conversion rates. And honestly this might be the best answer, as there are several factors that impact CRO metrics including your industry, traffic source, price point, and type of conversion, just to name a few.

For a point of reference, according to Invespcro.com, an average conversion rate is 2.35% and websites that rank in the top 25% have conversion rates of 5.31%.  

What is CRO, Exactly?

It can be a bit challenging to specifically define CRO, as it encompasses a variety of marketing methods and tactics. But, generally speaking, conversion rate optimization increases the number of users who take a desired action. Typically, CRO marketing will focus on ways to capture more users at each stage of the sales process. This is often achieved by conducting A/B testing to determine what actually works and what doesn’t.

The cool thing is that there is usually a pretty decent ROI when it comes to CRO, meaning simple changes often have a big impact!

Why Does Conversion Rate Matter?

There are many more steps involved in converting online shoppers than in-person customers. CRO allows you to optimize each step of this process. Think of conversion optimization as the sales associate who helps direct you to what you need and answer your questions along the way.

And let’s be honest, existing customers are where it’s at! You’ve already got them. You probably worked hard for them. They’re captive. And they’re at least a little bit interested in what you have to offer. It would be silly not to make the most of their presence!

That’s not to say that implementing some SEO basics isn’t important, too. Seriously, what is CRO without SEO? Or vice versa? It doesn’t matter how many people visit your website if it’s not effective, and it doesn’t matter how effective your site is if nobody sees it.

That said, you’re definitely going to get significant bang for your buck when you optimize for conversions. Plus once you begin improving conversion rates, you’ll wind up with a bigger return on your SEO investment. It’s the one-two punch of digital marketing!

How to Calculate Conversion Rates

Luckily, determining your conversion rate is pretty simple. In fact, it probably takes longer to determine what a “conversion” looks like than it does to actually calculate your conversion rate.

And that brings us to an important point – what does a conversion look like on your site? Some examples include filling out a form, signing up for an email newsletter, sharing content on social media, or making a purchase.

Once you determine the key points of your sales funnel, the conversion rate formula is simple:

(Users that converted ÷ Total number of users) X 100

That’s it. See? Simple.

How to Improve Conversion Rates

Here’s where things get more complicated. Sorry!

Improving conversion rates is part science, part trial and error. There’s a ton of nuance involved in implementing an effective CRO plan. That said, there are still a few basic steps that every business should take when embarking on a CRO journey.

Analyze – Think about your audience. How do they interact with your site? Do they spend more time on one page than another? Do they click the “share” button for Facebook more often than for Instagram? Really delve into the details here and you’ll easily find the areas that could benefit from a little CRO.

Plan – Take time to come up with a written plan for website conversion optimization. What actions are most important for your users to take? What are the current conversion rates for those actions? And what changes have the potential to improve them?

Test – Once you’ve determined your hypothesis – i.e. “making this change will increase the number of users who convert in this spot” – you’ve got to test it.

When we discuss testing for CRO purposes, we use the term A/B testing. This is simply the process of testing your hypothesis. Essentially, you’ll create two versions of your webpage. An equal number of users are directed to each version and you get to see how well they each convert.

You can have all sorts of fancy CRO tools and develop a kick-butt plan to make improvements, but executing the plan isn’t a one-and-done type of task. Consumer behaviors and preferences evolve, so you’ll need to develop and test different hypotheses on a regular basis.

CRO Made Easy with Hungry Media

Conversion optimization is part gut instinct and part science. If you’d like a partner that can help you dig deeper into the nuance of Conversion Rate Optimization, Hungry Media is ready to help!

Whether you’re looking to build an optimized site from scratch or simply need guidance as you consider a website update, we’ve got you. We have years of experience working with startups and small businesses in a variety of sectors. Contact us today to learn how we can help you make the most of your website, too!

Mobile Web App
Mobile Web App

According to a recent Broadband Search Study, the number of users accessing the internet on their mobile devices has more than doubled in recent years, as has the number of users accessing mobile apps. We are a society attached to our phones and use them for nearly everything. Needless to say, the market for effective, efficient, user friendly mobile apps is only going to grow in the coming years. 

Web vs. Hybrid vs. Native Apps

There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all solution to mobile app development. In general, you’ll find that you’ve got three choices when it comes to creating an app for your business: native apps, mobile web apps, and hybrid apps. 

What is a Native App?

Native apps are built specifically for mobile operating systems and are downloaded from an app store on mobile devices. Native app development is specific to the platform on which the app will be running. This means that your app will have to be created at least twice – once for the Android platform and once for iOS.

What is a Mobile Web App?

Mobile web apps are essentially websites designed to look and act like apps. Instead of downloading from an app store, mobile web applications are accessed via web browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, etc. The difference between a mobile web app and a website is that mobile web apps provide more functionality and easier interactions. Since the codebase used is the same across all web browsers, mobile web app development is simpler. Web apps run on whichever browser the user chooses. Done and done.

What is a Hybrid App?

Hybrid apps look like native apps and are downloaded like native apps. But they actually function as mobile web apps. Essentially, you’ll download a native-looking “shell,” but once opened the app runs on the web browser. This means that hybrid apps, too, work across multiple platforms. 

Why Choose Mobile Web App Development?

In general, the functionality and performance of a web app is considered inferior to that of a native app; but that’s not to say that web apps don’t have their place. There are several benefits to developing a web app over a native or hybrid app

Benefits of Web Apps

The difference between web development and mobile app development is significant. There are several benefits to opting for a web app vs. a mobile app. 

Easier to develop and maintain – Since all web apps use a single codebase, both developing and maintaining them is much more streamlined than a native app. While there is no software development kit to use when developing web app for mobile devices, there are templates available which make mobile web application development pretty straightforward and relatively quick. 

Additionally, standard browser-based tools are available for debugging apps when issues arise, thus simplifying the troubleshooting and problem resolution processes. Bonus: the fact that mobile web apps are simpler to develop and maintain can make choosing the right developer a little bit less stressful.

Less Expensive – You’ll be charged by the hour for both web and mobile app development. Since web apps are easier to develop and maintain, you’ll end up with significant savings when going the web app route.

Updates are easy – Because they run in a web browser, mobile web apps do not require approval from an app store before release, making updates a non-issue. The newest version of a web app is always available to the user as soon as it’s made live on the website.

No space requirements – Since web apps run in browsers and aren’t downloaded, they don’t take up space on your device. 

Drawback of Web Apps

User experience – Compared to a native app with the same features, a mobile web app will usually provide the less positive experience. This is due, in part, to the fact that web apps are unable to leverage device features such as push notification, vibration, etc. 

That said, progressive web apps – which do allow the browser to utilize these functions – are becoming more popular for use on Google and Android platforms. IOS isn’t yet compatible with progressive web apps.

Additionally, users have to take a few extra steps to access web apps. With a native app you simply select the app on your device’s home screen and that’s that. Web application require that you open a web browser and type in a URL. With consumers placing so much value on ease of use and efficiency, this can be perceived as a negative. 

Lower Visibility – Since mobile web apps don’t require download, they have no visibility in the app store. This means that you’ll have to work extra hard when it comes to branding and marketing if you want to get your product in front of potential users.

Is a Mobile Web App Right for You?

Could be. Here are a few things to consider as a part of your decision-making process: 

Price – Mobile web app development will almost always be more expensive than native app development. It’s safe to say that development of a native app from the ground up will cost somewhere in the $100K range (for a first version!), and you can expect around 20% of that in annual maintenance costs as well. If you’re on a tight budget or want to save your cash until you’re sure your app is ready to hit the ground running, a mobile web app could be the solution you’re looking for.

Timeline – What kind of deadline are you working with? Due to increased complexity and the need to develop for multiple platforms, it will take longer to get a native app up and running. If you’re on a tight deadline, developing a web app for mobile devices might be the way to go.

User Experience – To be honest, this should be the main concern. It doesn’t matter how quickly or cheaply you can build your app. If users don’t like it, they won’t come back to it. It’s imperative that you provide the best user experience possible.

That said, if your app is something that users will only need to access every once in a while, then a web app could definitely work. The other factor to consider here is the complexity of the features users will be accessing. Simplicity is key when it comes to creating a positive experience on mobile web apps.

A web app may be great option if:

  • Your app focuses on collecting data from new users – i.e. filling out forms. 
  • Your app is used occasionally, such as for browsing or checking out of an online storefront. 
  • Your app is intended to curate content, which users then consume. Think recipes, articles, etc. In this case interaction is possible, but not the main purpose of the site.

In the end, it’s best to sit down and really evaluate the needs of your end user. How and when will they be interacting with your app? What do they intend to accomplish with this interaction? How will your app make their lives easier? Once you’re clear on this, the best option between a mobile web application and native application will probably be pretty clear.

Conclusion

We know that the decision to develop a mobile web app over a native app, or vice versa, can be challenging. The good news is that Hungry Media has your back. Our unique approach and methodology will help uncover the best way to leverage your app as a means of connecting with customers and growing your business. Ready to start discussing your great idea? Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

What is a Vision Statement

Running a business is no joke! Effectively meeting the needs of your team and your customers, while managing your bottom line, can be a tough balance to strike.

The good news is that a clearly defined purpose goes a long way to structuring your company for success. Many new companies have mission statements, but fewer seem to have vision statements. How do you differentiate your mission vs. vision statement, and why the heck do you need both?

What is the Difference Between Vision and Mission Statements?

Mission and vision statements serve similar, yet distinct, purposes. Both set the stage for business success, especially when used in conjunction with one another.

What is a Vision Statement?

Vision Statement Definition (per Wikipedia): An inspirational statement of an idealistic emotional future of a company or group.

In other words, your vision statement is the place for you to dream. It defines where you’re headed and what you want to become.

Among many other “big picture” ideas, your vision statement can include:

  • Overarching goals
  • Dreams for your company
  • The broadscale problem your company addresses
  • Who you want to inspire

What is a Mission Statement?

Mission Statement Definition (per Merriam-Webster): a statement of the purpose or goal of a business or organization.

In essence, your mission statement clearly defines and describes the way in which you execute daily operations. A mission answers the following questions:

  • What do we do?
  • Who do we serve?
  • How do we do it?

Benefits of a Vision Statement

There are many benefits of a vision statement, from the overarching and theoretical all the way down to the nitty gritty, nuts and bolts stuff you do every day. If you’re just starting your business, we hope you are beginning to see how a vision statement will be helpful.

But what if your business is already successful and you’re happy with where things are? You may be thinking, “Why do I need a vision statement at this point? We’re all good!”

Regardless of where you fall, here’s where a vision statement can help:  

  • Guidance Over Time: Keeping your eye on the prize isn’t always easy, and it’s not uncommon for a business or business owner to lose their way every once in a while. A vision statement provides a stable framework to both work within and guide you back if you find you’ve veered off course.
  • Inspiration and Growth: Building a successful, sustainable business requires that you (and your team) remain inspired to innovate and grow. Vision statements are perfect for this purpose! Because they include broad, lofty goals, there is usually no limit to the ways in which those goals can be achieved.
  • Brand Building: Let’s not forget the importance of branding, here! Your company’s unique brand identity speaks to your mission and vision as well as how you execute upon each.

How to Write a Vision Statement

First Thing’s First

Before trying to flesh out a meaningful vision statement, take some time to list your core values and beliefs. Start by considering the following:

  • What characteristics – in yourself, in those around you, or in a business – are important to you?
  • Where do you draw the line, ethically?
  • What makes you happiest?

Write down anything that comes to mind right away. Then take a peek at a comprehensive list of values and beliefs to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

You’ll have a much easier time developing your vision statement if you have a good grasp on what, exactly, is important to you.

Crafting a Vision Statement

Since your vision statement is a big picture view of your overall goals, this isn’t the place to get specific. This is where you capture your hopes and dreams into one or two sentences. NBD, right? Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be daunting. Start with the questions below.

  • In an ideal world, what would your company be known for? This one is pretty theoretical, and it will probably tap into those values we discussed above. That’s great, especially if your company exists because it’s your passion.
  • What are your ultimate goals for your company? Here’s where you’ll get more objective. Do you have a financial goal, a goal related to your customers, a goal related to the size of your company? While you probably won’t use the goals themselves in your vision statement, keeping them in mind will help you craft it.
  • Who are your stakeholders? These are the people for whom and with whom your company exists. Stakeholders can include team members, customers, investors, or even the community at large.

Our suggestion is to write out your answers without thinking too hard or censoring yourself. Tip – if writing isn’t your strong suit, record yourself answering the questions, and then transcribe the recording afterward.

Once you’re confident you’ve captured it all, read through and pare down from there. Combine sentences, remove redundancies, and consolidate similar ideas until you’ve got yourself a few sentences you believe truly capture where your company is headed.

A Note on Mission Statements

Once you’ve crafted a kick-butt vision statement, it’s time to work on your mission statement! Aim for a single sentence that incorporates the “who, what, and how” of your business. If you’re stuck, here are 8 Questions to Consider When Writing a Mission Statement.

Mission and Vision Statement Examples 

Sometimes starting from the end and working your way backward can help. If after reading this you’re still a little unsure, check out these examples from well-known companies.

Notice that they each capture the company’s distinguishing culture and values. Additionally, you’ll see the distinctive ways in which these companies position their mission vs. vision statements. Simply put, there’s no right or wrong, here. Each statement is as unique as the business it represents.

Envision Yourself with Hungry Media

Regardless of any operational changes that may (and will!) occur, a solid mission and vision statement will help keep your business on track and headed towards the future you have envisioned. It’s worth the time and effort to develop both.

Need help crafting a vision statement? Have a clear vision and ready to execute? We’ve got you covered either way, and we can’t wait to meet you! Contact us today to get started.

What is MVP
What is MVP?

Technology places the world at our fingertips! New, creative tools that add convenience to our everyday lives hit the market each day. However, it’s not always easy to bring the niggle of a brilliant idea to fruition in a full-fledged business model. That’s where creation of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) comes into play. What is MVP, you ask? And what does MVP mean for your business?

What is MVP?

An MVP approach includes the most basic version of a product – usually a software product – required to meet the needs of target users. It focuses only on the features that make the product functional. In this sense, an MVP is the structure upon which everything else is built.

Why is an MVP important?

An MVP project is a stepping stone. A viable idea doesn’t necessarily equate to a viable product. The idea can be solid, but there are often several ways to execute it. An MVP allows you to be a bit more methodical about development and launch.

– An Easy Way to Collect Data

It’s easy to make decisions – such as choosing a native vs. hybrid app or which audience to target – without testing. But nothing provides data about the product itself quite like testing on your ideal user with an MVP. Meaning, MVP is the test. By collecting significant data about customer behavior, you’ll be able to validate your hypothesis regarding the viability of your product. Plus, you’ll learn which direction to head when it comes to creating and modifying additional features.

– Helps Gain Understanding of Users’ Needs

You only need to open your app store to see the plethora of products promising to make our lives easier. This is why today’s customers have the ability to be super picky. New products only have a few seconds to capture our attention, lest we move on.

Before going all-in, it’s important to learn what your customers need and how they expect your product to enhance their lives. The feedback users provide about MVP software will help you learn both what resonates with them as well as what is needed to capture their attention.

– Saves Time and Money

Because MVP programming isn’t as intricate as developing a full product, there are fewer barriers to adding new features or even going back to the drawing board, if need be. This results in shorter development cycles and lower cost than launching a full-fledged product.

Developing a final product takes an average of seven months and can cost up to $250K. Imagine spending all of that time and money to fully develop your product only to learn it doesn’t hit the mark with your target audience. At that point you’d begin brainstorming ways to make improvements and paying someone to develop them for you. With MVP development, you can speed up the launch to about six weeks because the developed features are minimal. And as an added bonus, the cost of an MVP startup product is significantly lower – about $15K.

– Provides Information for Investors

Whether you’re going the traditional route, utilizing crowdfunding investment, or anything in between, an investor is more likely to back your product if they know it’s received some positive feedback. Plus, having an MVP gives investors something tangible to experience themselves, before making the decision to support your idea. In short, positive results at the MVP level can help make fundraising for your business a success.

Design an MVP Business Model with Hungry Media

So, what is a minimal viable product for your business, specifically?  MVP software development can be challenging, which is why Hungry Media is here to help! Our unique approach allows us to home in on exactly what you’re looking to accomplish, determine your MVP approach, and flesh out the steps required to achieve your ultimate goal.  

Have an idea for a new app or product? We can’t wait to hear about it. Contact us today to get started!

Shopify vs Woocommerce
WooCommerce vs Shopify

WooCommerce vs. Shopify

They are two of the most popular and easy-to-use eCommerce platforms available. Both allow you to build an online storefront without hiring a professional designer or developer.

What is Shopify? Shopify is a user-friendly, all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to set up shop without having to manage the technical aspects of website design and development.

What is WooCommerce? Easy to use and fully customizable, WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. 

Here’s the thing about trying to compare WooCommerce and Shopify: while they are intended to accomplish the same goal, they function very differently. In fact, this comparison is reminiscent of our Squarespace vs. WordPress debate.

Honestly, the comparison isn’t “Is WooCommerce better than Shopify (or vice versa)?” But rather, “Which is better for you?” 

That said, let’s get to it!

Build Time

While both platforms are relatively simple to use, there is a significant difference in the amount of time and effort required to actually create your online store. 

Shopify’s build is geared towards the everyday user. One of the greatest benefits of Shopify is that even their most basic plan includes everything you need to get your eCommerce site up across multiple channels. The setup wizard makes Shopify an easily accessible option for beginners, and the drag and drop interface makes design simple and intuitive.

WooCommerce requires a bit more effort up front. Before you set up your online store, you’ll need to select and pay for a domain name, sign up for hosting, install WordPress and download the WooCommerce plugin. Honestly, these steps can be executed in a matter of minutes, but they do add an additional layer of semi-technical work to get through. Once you install the plugin you’ll find an online setup wizard that walks you through the customization process. 

If you’re building your site from scratch, Shopify is going to have a faster setup. However, if you’re already using a WordPress site, all you’ll have to do is install the plugin and get to customizing your storefront.

Design and Themes

Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer sleek professional themes that meet the needs of your mobile-first strategy

Shopify has a theme store that comes with over 180 different themes. Some are premium but many are free, and most come with options to customize. In addition to Shopify’s store, sites like Themeforest provide additional paid theme options. 

When it comes to customization of a WooCommerce site, the sky’s the limit. There is a seemingly endless number of themes to choose from when beginning your design journey. The best place to start is Woo’s own online theme store called Storefront

Plugins and Integrations

No matter how robust the platform or plugin, you’ll always need third-party tools and services to grow your eCommerce business. For example, digital gift cards optionsanalytics integrations, and shipping tools can all be purchased from a variety of online extension stores.

Shopify has an app store for this purpose. They have hundreds of options covering several features. WooCommerce has their own marketplace as well, but since they are an open-source platform the options don’t stop there. There’s almost no comparison in terms of extras when it comes to Shopify vs. WooCommerce. WordPress extensions are available for anything and everything you could possibly want, and most of them are WooCommerce compatible.  

In short, your additional options are significantly greater with WooCommerce than Shopify.

Payment Options

You’ve got to collect money in order to turn a profit, right? So, it’s pretty darn important that you accept payments online and that your customers have a variety of payment options to choose from. 

WooCommerce and Shopify both work with over 100 payment gateway options. These are either built in or added through integrations. Some examples are Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Square. Each gateway will charge a transaction fee. Keep an eye on these as you make your choice.

Shopify has its own payment solution called Shopify Payments (Powered by Stripe) plus third party options. Shopify charges a basic transaction fee, and if you use a third-party gateway, there is an additional fee on top of that. 

WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments automatically, and it supports many other popular payment services. But Woo doesn’t charge you an additional transaction fee for using a third-party payment gateway. 

Security

Online stores must be security-conscious. Taking care of your customers (and their personal information) serves to build trust. We can’t underscore the importance of branding, and trust goes a long, long way to create a positive brand image. Plus, let’s be honest, protecting your customers’ personal information is just the right thing to do. 

At the bare minimum you’ll need a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which safeguards your website so that internet bad guys can’t access your customer’s personal information. In order to process online payments, you’ll be required to maintain compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

Because Shopify is fully hosted, security is the platform’s responsibility. Your store will come with a free SSL certificate and is PCI-DSS compliant from day one. They also take care of making sure the site meets industry standards and that any potential security threats are addressed immediately.

The main bummer with Shopify, security-wise, is that backing up your storefront, which you should definitely do, requires a plugin. One of the benefits of WooCommerce is that it’s sites can be easily backed up to any hard drive.

Now, WooCommerce doesn’t technically have any security measures built in, but this doesn’t mean your store can’t be secured. You’ll have to source your SSL certificate first, and then tackle PCI compliance by following a few easy steps.

Customer Support

While both platforms are fairly easy to use, it’s always good to know there’s someone available to back you up if you need. 

Shopify provides 24/7 support – via live chat, phone, email, and Twitter – as they well should, since your online shop is completely dependent upon their platform. This is incredibly convenient when you have questions or need a helping hand. 

WooCommerce, on the other hand, handles support a little bit differently. Because it’s self-hosted, your primary support system will be your hosting provider. The official WooCommerce website also has a ton of documents and tutorials on demand, as well as the ability to submit general support tickets. 

An upside to WooCommerce is that it’s very popular, which means that both DIY and professional problem-solving options are easy to find and inexpensive to source.

Pricing

Obviously, cost is an important consideration anytime you make an investment in your business. Because they function differently, it’s not surprising that WooCommerce and Shopify use different approaches to pricing.

Shopify’s plans include many of the basics you need to get your store off the ground – a domain name, SSL certificate, and web hosting. A basic plan starts at $29/month with two upgrade options available, priced at $79 or $299/month. 

This price does not include third party tools or add-ons that you may need in order to upgrade functionality or help keep up with your growing business.

The WooCommerce plugin is technically free, but there are still costs associated with building and maintaining a WooCommerce site. Your domain name can cost as little as $10 per year and an SSL certificate goes for about $70 annually. Web hosting starts at about $8 per month.

Don’t overlook one important feature when comparing Shopify vs. WooCommerce – transaction fees. Both Shopify and WooCommerce charge a payment processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. But, if you opt to use third party payment gateways, Shopify charges an additional 2% per transaction. WooCommerce sites are subject to standard processing fees, only. 

In short, it’s much cheaper to start with WooCommerce than Shopify. However, there are more places to spend when you’re using WooCommerce. Paid add-ons such as premium themes, plugins for SEO or security, and social integrations will definitely make your shop stand out, but they’ll also impact your bottom line. 

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: What Now?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a place in the online shopping world. Which one is right for you depends on your ultimate goal.  

Our suggestion is to start by writing a mission statement. How do you see your online store growing in the next five years? What are your short-term goals, and what are the next steps once you achieve them? If you know where you’re headed, it’s much easier to figure out how to get there. 

Set-up Shop with Hungry Media

We know, even after reading all about WooCommerce vs. Shopify, the decision can still be overwhelming. Sometimes, simply determining a starting point is all you need, and sometimes you’ll want support throughout the entire process. Regardless of where you stand, Hungry Media can help. Our unique approach to design and development ensures your needs are met and your eCommerce site is set for success. 

Reach out today to get started. We can’t wait to help you make your big idea a reality!

SEO Basics
SEO Basics

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) describes methods used to ensure a website’s visibility in organic search results. If someone searches for a word or phrase associated with your business, where does website fall on the list of sites returned by the search engine? Understanding a few SEO basics will help you learn how to bump your website to the top of that list.

Why SEO?

Ever wonder why SEO is so important? Consumers may search for any number of terms directly related to your business. The higher on the results page your website appears, the more likely they are to click on your link.

In fact, according to Advanced Web Rankings, websites which appear on the first page of Google’s search results get 75% of the clicks originating from that search. Basically, if you don’t make it to the first page, the likelihood of someone finding your site from their search is pretty darn low.  

What do Search Engines Want?

Search engines function by scouring the internet for high quality, relevant information about the searcher’s query. Relevance is determined by whether a particular page seems like it might be what the searcher is looking for. Quality is evaluated in many ways, but foremost is the number and quality of other websites that refer to the page in question.

We know. It’s a lot to take in. Don’t fret if you feel like you need beginner’s guide to SEO. You’re about to get a crash course!

A Few Notes

Website optimization, even if you’re just implementing these SEO basics, isn’t a “one and done.” The algorithms used to determine search results are ever evolving. It’s important to stay up to date with at least the most basic SEO trends.

When we think SEO, we tend to think “Google.” And for good reason. It’s estimated that 93% of organic search traffic comes from Google. So, for the purpose of discussing SEO basics, we will be using the terms “search engine” and “Google” interchangeably.  

How To SEO

Okay, now what are the basics of SEO and how the heck do you accomplish it? In general, you’ve got two types of website SEO: on and off page. Take a look.

On-page SEO Overview

This is probably what most think of when they hear the terms SEO or optimize. It relates to integrating commonly searched, relevant, keywords into your website. Ideally each page on your site will target one core term and a few ancillary terms. Here are a few SEO basics and elements to consider for on-page optimization.

Title Tags

This is basically your search listing’s headline. It is also the clickable link to your page in a list of search results. Try to keep your title tag to 55 characters or less, as this is the maximum that will show up as the title in your search result. And make sure to include your keyword in that tag somewhere, too.

Meta Descriptions

The meta description is pretty much supplemental ad copy. It may or may not show up in search results, but it’s presence can help search engines actually find and rank your page. Therefore, it’s beneficial to incorporate your main keyword here, too.

Body Content

The actual content of each page is of upmost importance, and it’s where you’ll integrate your list of targeted keywords. Aside from keywords, search engines also consider the following SEO basics when determining the quality and relevance of your page:

  • Unique Content: In general, Google favors unique content. If your site provides the same information as ten other sites out there, what reason does a search engine have to return yours at the top of the list?
  • Engagement: If it seems as though your page is actually engaging visitors, you’ll be more visible. Engagement is typically measured by how long a person stays on your page and how they interact with it. Do they find your site helpful and stick around for a while, or do they bounce back to the search page and choose another link? Of course, engaging content is a must, but you’ll also want to avoid some of the most common web design mistakes to ensure a positive user experience.
  • Shareability: Search engines are also interested in how often your site is shared. The rationale is that if someone shares a page, it’s because they found it useful, which means that others might find it useful as well. Use share buttons to make this as easy as possible!
  • Alt Attributes: Alt attributes are code elements that allows you to provide alternate information for an image if a user can’t view it. Effectively using alt tags on your images can have a huge impact on how your site is perceived by search engines. If you’re able to naturally fit your keyword into your alt tags, great, as this will help search engines determine what your page is actually about.

Off-page SEO Overview

Keywords aren’t the only factor Google considers when determining how useful your webpage will be to searchers. There are several other items considered in the algorithms used.

Information Architecture

The way your site is organized, as well as the ease of navigating it, impacts user experience. Remember, the goal of a search engine is to help the searcher. If Google returns a page that is a pain in the butt for the user, their trust in Google may be jeopardized. Therefore, it’s best to learn which design elements you shouldn’t be using and do your best to stick with industry standards.

Internal Links

Search engines take note when you link to a page on your own site. Lots of effective internal links to a specific page indicates that the page is important, which helps it rank higher in search results.

Comments

A thriving community that includes regular comments indicates that your site is relevant and engaging. Just keep an eye on comments and filter out any spam, as it can dilute the value of your comments section and may lead to less engagement over time.

Content Marketing and External Link Building

Links to your website from other relevant, engaging sites is a clear indicator that your site is relevant and engaging as well. So, how do you get others to link to your site? Simple. Regularly provide meaningful content that meets users’ needs and satisfies their query.

While it might not be rocket science, effective content marketing takes some thought. Before you know what to create, you have to understand your audience, how you can help them, and the best way to provide that help. There is no magic wand or easy answer here. Every niche is going to be different.

Best Practices

Some of the most common website design mistakes can hurt you when it comes to these SEO basics. To maintain an optimized site, keep the following in mind:

Page Speed

Consumers expect everything to be delivered quickly, including the information on your website. Search engines are now placing an increased emphasis on quick load times. Google even has this helpful tool with suggestions for increasing your websites speed.

Mobile Friendliness

Users are on the move more than ever, and search engines account for this. Mobile-friendly sites tend to rank higher in search results. If you’ve wondered why you need a mobile first strategy, this is your answer!

Duplicate Content

Similar or identical copy on multiple pages “dilutes” your content, as the pages will compete with each other for search engine visibility, thus decreasing your SEO. Optimize by combining pages with similar content.

Get Started

What now? First and foremost, you want to prioritize. There’s truly no way to “perfect” your SEO game. There are too many factors to consider. You’ve got to determine what’s most important for your business and start there.

Are you a creator who wants your content in front of new people each week? Are you a large corporation that needs to technically optimize your entire site? Are you a small business looking to rank in local searches?

While SEO is essential, don’t stress. What is basic SEO today might change tomorrow. SEO is an evolving, never-ending project. There will always be something to tweak or improve, so just start with the most important pieces and work your way down your priority list.

Go Beyond SEO Basics with Hungry Media

Need a partner to help you improve your overall SEO? Optimize a specific page? Review your website for issues that impact visibility? Hungry media is ready to help take your SEO game to the next level! Contact us today at info@hungrymedia.com.