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.

Native vs Hybrid App
Native vs Hybrid App

“There’s an app for that!”

It’s a phrase we’ve heard time and time again. And it’s true! In today’s world, there is very little that can’t be achieved with a mobile app. Whether you’ve decided to build an app so it’s easier for users to interact with your business, or the app is your business, you’ll have some serious decisions to make when it comes time to develop.

Native vs. Hybrid App: What’s the Difference?

Once your idea has been solidified, it’s time to decide which type of app best meets your needs. To make this decision you’ll want a basic understanding of your options, which are: native, hybrid and web apps. While there is definitely plenty to discuss surrounding the web vs. hybrid vs. native debate, web apps function similarly to mobile first or responsive websites. For that reason, we are going to focus on the native vs. hybrid app decision, here. (Don’t worry! We will discuss mobile web app development and responsive vs. mobile apps another time.)

Let’s start by saying it’s important not to choose an approach based on technology or trends, but rather on what you want your app to do. Native and hybrid apps offer entirely different experiences, both on the development end and in terms of user experience.

Native Mobile Design

Native apps are the most common type of app. They are built for mobile operating systems the coding language used is dependent upon which the platform accepts. For example, native iOS apps are developed with Swift or Objective-C. Native Android apps are written in Java or Kotlin.

Both Apple and Google provide app developers with development tools and interface elements specific to their platform.

Advantages of Native Mobile Design

  • Native apps provide easy access to all functionality of the device and operating system.
  • If developed properly, native apps run with fewer errors.  
  • Native apps receive complete support from app stores and the overall app marketplace.
  • The user experience of native apps tends to be superior to hybrid apps.
  • A native app must be approved by its respective operating system, which assures quality, security, and device compatibility.

Disadvantages of Native Mobile Design

  • Native apps use difficult programming languages which require experienced developers.
  • Expenses are more costly upfront for native apps, compared to web or hybrid apps.
  • Several versions of the same app must be developed in order to run on all available mobile devices and operating systems.

Hybrid Mobile Design

Hybrid apps work across multiple platforms but generally behave similarly to a native user interface. A hybrid app is essentially a combination of a native app and a web app. Although this type of app can be installed on a device like a native app, it technically runs in a browser.

A hybrid app consists of two parts:

  • The backend code – hybrid code is written in languages like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.
  • A native shell – this shell is downloadable and loads the code using a webview.

Advantages of Hybrid Mobile Design

  • Hybrid apps have access to a device’s internal APIs and device hardware.
  • Only one codebase is needed for hybrid apps.
  • Hybrid apps can be run on multiple operating systems, which reduces the cost compared to native apps.
  • Assuming great development, users won’t be able to distinguish whether an app is native or hybrid.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Mobile Design 

  • Hybrid apps can be much slower than native or web apps.
  • These apps are dependent on a third-party platform to deploy the app’s wrapper.
  • Challenges can arise if the app requires complex interaction from the user’s device.
  • Bug fixes are more difficult.
  • Hybrid apps are not easily customized.

Native vs. Hybrid App: Which Should You Choose?

Most companies will invest in native mobile design because of its many benefits. To minimize cost up front, it is common to develop for a single operating system at first. Once the kinks are worked out and the app proves successful, you can go back and recreate it for other operating systems. Currently, iOS apps tend to be more profitable than apps released for other platforms. If you have to choose only one, iOS is the place to start.

While the initial cost is higher for native vs. hybrid mobile development, this approach can save money over time. When working with the latest features released for a particular operating system, bugs become a huge concern for hybrid apps and hybrid websites. This carries cost implications and can even extend the timeline for design and development.

By offering a great user experience, better performance, and increased accessibility, native apps generally produce a more personalized, reliable product. This has the potential to result in higher conversion rates and long-term customer loyalty.

Of course, there are several factors to consider before simply making the call to go native. Before jumping into development, consider the following factors:

  • How fast the app needs to run – if speed isn’t a huge concern, a hybrid app could work.
  • What you want the user experience to look like – a simple interface will work well with a hybrid app.
  • The complexity of features you need for your app to work – again, simplicity is key when going hybrid.

Regardless of which type of app you choose or which developer you go with, you want to make sure your app is quick, responsive, and reliable. Users expect more and more from mobile experiences, and your app is an extension of your brand. Mobile experience can make or break your reputation.

Native vs. Hybrid App? Let Hungry Media Help!

Our approach allows us to develop the app of your dreams. Doesn’t matter where you are in the hybrid vs. mobile web vs. native app debate. We’ll take the time to discuss your concept, must-haves, and pipe dreams before we design and develop an app that meets your needs. During the deployment phase we’ll provide rigorous testing and detailed Q&A to get your app launched. We also stay on through your launch to support your vision and our work.

If you’ve got an idea and are ready to get started, we are, too! Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

Website Update
Website Update

Understand the Importance of Updating Your Website

Website updates might not seem like a big deal on the surface. After all, your website looks nice and it works just fine. Why fix what isn’t broken, right?

Wrong. Well-executed website updates will ensure you’re ahead of the game as inevitable changes in technology, trends, and user expectations occur. Here are a few reasons to update your website, pronto.

8 Reasons to Update Your Website

You’re So Yesterday

Retro isn’t a good thing when it comes to your website. What was “on trend” two years ago is probably out of date today. Whether in terms of navigation, aesthetic, logo, or menu options you’ll want to keep current. Almost all consumers research their purchases online prior to buying, so be sure you are staying as relevant as possible. You may not get the chance to win them back if they leave.

You’re Unrecognizable

Your brand will evolve over time. Showcase that evolution! Even minimal changes to your brand aesthetic or business strategy warrant a website update. This will help maintain a cohesive look and feel, which is super-important for brand awareness and recognition.

You’re Behind the Times

Tech evolves faster than you can say “refresh website!” Regular website updates will help you keep up with new apps, plugins, and integrations. Additionally, updates will maintain your site’s compatibility with the most popular web browsers and mobile technology. It won’t matter what an amazing product you’re selling or how beautiful your website is if it doesn’t function properly. Honestly, the benefits of updating website tech can’t be understated.

You’re Unresponsive

There’s no way around it. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you’ve got to get one, stat. And honestly, even if your site was designed with a mobile-first strategy, you still want to make sure it’s up to date in terms of hardware (i.e. the newest mobile devices) and current customer expectations.

You’re Slow

This could be due to the file size of your images, running an old theme, or just coding used on the backend. Regardless of the reason, users will bounce if load time is slow. This should be all the reason you need to make updates for the sake of speed!

You’re Insecure

It’s not like a new website can’t be hacked. But sites that rely on older technology are easier to hack; therefore, the chances of a security breach increase as tech ages. Plus, as a website owner, you want to keep your users’ information safe. Make sure to update your Content Management System (CMS) regularly and confirm your security is compliant with the latest standards.

You’re Not Optimized

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to digital marketing strategies everywhere. SEO includes (but isn’t limited to) maintaining relevant original content, managing and targeting the right keywords, using alt tags and meta descriptions, and including backlinks. The thing is, search engine algorithms change regularly. If you want to rank higher than your competitors, you’ll need to keep up with SEO trends and changes.

You Don’t Share Well

While your website is likely the home base for most of your business, we all know that social media plays a huge role in customers’ lives. Make sure that your content is easily sharable. Including social media “share” buttons will make it simple for your customers or consumers to help spread the word about your business.

How Often Should You Update Your Website Content?

How often should a website be updated? It’s a great question with a terribly non-specific answer (sorry!).

If you implement a plan for continuously updating your SEO, CMS, and hosting solutions, your site is much less likely to require a full refresh. Website aesthetics, however, will probably need to be revised every three to five years to keep up with current trends.

In terms of the little changes – revising and adding content, small branding updates, adding or changing alt tags, etc. – we suggest as often as possible. Monthly is the bare minimum. If you can pull it off, weekly is ideal.

Basically, the more effort you put into small, frequent website updates, the better. Think of it as preventive maintenance to increase the longevity of a valuable asset. Put in the work now, and it will pay off down the road!

Let Hungry Media Help with Your Website Update

Your website is a tool for business success. Hungry Media can help you make the most of it! Our collaborative approach will leave you feeling confident, and your website current. Contact us today to discuss your website being updated or event to simply start from scratch. We can’t wait to hear from you! info@hungrymedia.com

Website Design Company
Website Design Company

Everyone has a website these days. Even the most basic of mom-and-pop shops need some sort of online presence to remain competitive. Now, with some luck, finding a good designer could be as easy as Googling “website design companies near me,” but it’s not usually that simple.

While searching for a custom website design company you’ll find that there have never been more options than there are today. This is good news, as it means you have the luxury of shopping around. But…it also means must shop around to find the best website design company for your business.

Identify Your Needs

Choosing a web designer can be difficult if you aren’t clear about your needs. So, we suggest you start by identifying what, exactly, you are looking for.  

Purpose of your site. Just like your business has a mission, so must your website. What is the main goal of your site? Generate leads? Build sales? Inform? Entertain? Prioritize the ways in which you want your website to function and go from there.

Growth. Maybe it’s a blog now, but do you have hopes of selling apparel down the road? Are you a small business that needs a basic site at the moment, but plan on sharing how-to videos within a few years? All of this must be considered as a part of today’s design. Think at least five years into the future.

Aesthetic. Your website could be the very first contact a consumer has with your brand. How do you want them to feel? How do you want your site to look? Take the time to develop a general idea of the aesthetic you prefer. This will point your designer in the right direction.

Software Integration. Is there a specific software that your website needs to work with, either today or in the down the road? This is a biggie and should always be communicated with your website design company in advance.

How To Select a Website Designer

Once you’ve established your needs you can start shopping. Ask potential designers about the following as a part of your decision-making process:

Portfolio

With your list of needs in mind, take a look at their previous work. How do those sites look and feel? Do they avoid the most common website design mistakes? What’s the overall style? Are they mobile-friendly? Functional? Easy to use?

What type of experience do they have? The needs of a blog site can vary significantly from the needs of an e-commerce site. You’ll either want a website design company with lots of experience in your niche or a company with a wide variety of experience in many niches.  

References

You’re not just looking for a company that can design a website, but a company with top notch communication and project management skills, too. Request references and contact a few. Ask about their experience with this particular designer. Would they hire them again? What, if any, drawbacks did they encounter?

Cost

The ever-important bottom line. Of course, cost will factor in to choosing the right website designer, especially if you’re a small business on a tight budget. After all is said and done, remember that your website isn’t a purchase. It’s an investment. And just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for.

Does the price include graphic design, copywriting, follow up consultations, revisions, etc.? Ideally, you’ll get a breakdown of the individual costs within your project so that you can make an apples-to-apples price comparison when decision-making time rolls around.

Oh, and don’t forget to ask about payment terms. Will you receive a monthly invoice? Milestone-based invoices? Is there deposit? This is all important information to have before choosing which company to hire.

Completion Time

There’s no right or wrong here. However, it is important that you have a timeline in mind. It’s also important that your designer can adhere to it. After all, finding the best website design company doesn’t matter if they can’t deliver when you need, right?

Maintenance

Your website will change over time. That’s just a fact. One of the most fundamental differences among web design companies is how they choose to handle ongoing maintenance and changes.

Ideally, you’ll be set up to make small changes on your own – like revising copy, swapping images, or adding blog posts. But will your website design company help when it comes to the bigger ticket items? If so, what does that look like? Can you put them on retainer? Do they charge an hourly rate? Is any maintenance included in the initial cost of your website?

A Website Design Company Designed for You

Your website is crucial to the success of your business. You want to work with a website design company that is willing to really listen to you, can create a site that reflects you and your business needs, keeps within your budget, and hits deadlines.

Hungry Media’s approach is one of collaboration and communication. We design and develop user-friendly websites to meet the needs of your growing business. We can’t wait to hear your big idea! Get in touch and let’s start making plans.

Net 30
Tips to get paid faster

Payment delays can be disastrous, especially for small businesses and crowdfunded startups with limited cashflow. Customer payments may lag for any number of reasons, from a lack of funds to internal bureaucracy that slows paperwork. Regardless, many businesses need to get paid faster than their current practices or net 30 payment terms permit. 

What Does Net 30 Mean?

If you sell B2B, your customers could require up to net 90 payment terms; although most common is probably net 30, meaning payment is due no more than 30 days from the invoice date. This time helps them sync your invoice with their accounting cycles as well as push your paperwork through the proper channels.

Should You Use a Net 30 Invoice

Well, it certainly provides some leverage, especially if you’re going after large clients. Bigger corporations aren’t always able to make immediate payments. So, if you’re unable to offer net 30 payment terms, they may be unable to work with you. 

In short, if you can, you should. Net 30 terms will provide you with a competitive advantage over those who aren’t as flexible. 

Tips for Getting Paid as a Small Business, Net 30 or Not

In an ideal world, simply sending an invoice would be enough to get a client to pay. Alas, things aren’t always that simple. So, what can you do if you want to offer net 30 terms but still need to get paid faster?

Go Cloud-based.

Cloud-based accounting software lets you work smarter instead of harder. Check out options such as FreshBooks or Quickbooks. Not only can you work anywhere at any time, but you’ll be able to automate many regular accounting functions such as sending invoices and payment reminders. It’s the ideal combination of convenience and efficiency, which totally helps you get paid faster!

Accept Electronic and Mobile Payments.

Just like mobile-first sites are becoming the norm, so are mobile payment options. Don’t be left behind! Electronic invoices often come with a “pay now” button. One click, and your customer is directed to your website’s payment screen. This significantly decreases processing time on both ends, getting you paid faster!

If you aren’t offering net 30 terms, you can still collect electronic payments via apps like PayPal or Venmo. Alternately, mobile payment solutions such as Square or GoPayment by Quickbooks work just was well. 

Set explicit expectations. 

Clearly lay out your pay on time policy, in writing. Client contracts and individual invoices should contain information such as payment terms, deadlines, and late penalties. Be specific and concise. For instance – provide a definite due date, rather than generic terms like “due upon receipt.” 

Incentivize early payments. 

Consider an incentive for those who pay sooner than their net 30 deadline. A small percentage discount such as 2/10 net 30 (2% discount for paying by day 10 of a 30-day window) encourages timely payments from businesses and individuals alike. 

Be prepared. 

Bigger companies get backlogged, which means it can take longer for the right person to receive your invoice, let alone pay it. To get paid faster, gather information about your contact person up front: name, job title, department, address (mailing or email), preferred invoice method, etc. This way you’re a step ahead when the invoice is received.

Invoice Immediately. 

This can be tough for small business owners. But the fact remains that clients can’t pay you if you don’t invoice them. If prompt payment is non-negotiable for your business, make quick invoicing a priority.  

Stop Working.  

When all else fails, you may have to stop taking orders or jobs from clients with delinquent accounts.

Get Paid Faster with Hungry Media

Hungry Media offers a wide range of experience in the world of web development, including the best payment integration options for your website. Contact us at info@hungrymedia.com to discuss this and all of your digital experience needs. We can’t wait to meet you!

Fundraising for Business
Fundraising for Business

Raising capital for a startup. Crowdfunding to kickstart a new product line. Asking family for a loan. There are many types of fundraising for business purposes.

Regardless of the method, launching a fruitful fundraising campaign takes some work. Avoid the most common fundraising mistakes by following our tips for success below.

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

You know what they say: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

When it comes to fundraising for business, perhaps the most common and overarching mistake is a lack of planning. Not only must the fundraiser itself be well thought out, but there needs to be a deliberate plan for everything that goes into making it a win.

  • Timeline – Determine your deadline and work backward from there. Don’t rush it. In fact, according to Martin Zwilling, the best time to start considering how to fundraise for a business is now. Regardless of when you will be executing your fundraiser, start planning as early as possible.
  • Research – Get to know your target audience. What are their expectations and restrictions? How do their priorities align with yours? A little research can go a long way, regardless of whether you’re launching a Kickstarter campaign or scheduling face-to-face meetings with investors.
  • Goal – How much do you need, really? Of course, you probably know how much you need to get your business or product off the ground. But that’s not the only thing that will cost money. Fundraising for business can include a few other expenses that might not be top of mind. Do you need to hire a PR person, pay a web developer, cover rent, etc.? Make sure you include all of those potential costs in your fundraising goal, too.

If we could give one word of fundraising advice, it would be DO. NOT. RUSH. Well, that’s three words, but you get the point! Bottom line: A well-executed fundraiser tomorrow will yield significantly better results than a rush job, today.

Think Outside of the Box

Repetition is boring! Implementing the same old fundraising ideas for small businesses is safe and comfortable. But that doesn’t mean they are the most effective (or efficient) way to raise funds.

The status quo won’t capture the attention of your backers, nor will it energize your team. Over time, a lack of creativity can result in flat or declining contributions, as well as missed opportunities. Who wants that??

Don’t underestimate the value of creativity as you consider how to fundraise for a small business. (Or a large business, for that matter!) Before deciding on a plan, really take the time to brainstorm some out-of-the-box ideas. The easiest way to formulate an innovative concept is to learn as much as you can about your niche and those in it. Once you really understand your consumers and investors, you’ll be surprised by the solutions you can come up with.

Remove Potential Barriers

It’s been said that customers make buying decisions in less than a minute. The same can go for investors. This means that they are making judgements about you, your business, or your product with nothing more than a single interaction. Even the best business fundraising ideas can flop if investors believe that you’re worth their money!

Focus on web design. Don’t let your website hold you back. You can have one of the best business fundraising ideas, but If your site is difficult to navigate, isn’t mobile friendly, includes distracting elements, contains poorly written copy, etc., potential investors are likely to take one look…and bounce.

Make contributing easy. A beautiful home page, a perfect fundraising plan, the ideal product. None of them matter if your method of processing payments isn’t functional. Honestly, how much effort would you spend trying to back a business if the process were a pain in the butt? Probably not much. You’d likely find another investment that provides the same value with less hassle.

In short, take the time to ensure that your investors and customers have a pleasant experience. Yes, this may mean extra time developing your site or extra money spent on payment processing software. Trust us! It will be well worth it in the end.

Put It Out There 

Marketing works! Get the word out about the opportunity your business provides potential investors.

Utilize Press Releases. This often-overlooked step is simple and relatively quick. Write up and share a quick press release to let the world know what you have to offer!

Network. Networking isn’t about finding investors in the moment. It’s about what happens afterward, and it’s one of the best ways to gain word-of-mouth exposure. Why? Because even if your opportunity isn’t right for Joe, it could be perfect for his sister Debbie, his buddy Patrick, or his neighbor Leon. Always share information about your company, what you’re trying to do, and how fundraising will help. You just never know who Joe knows.

Don’t Stop. Once you feel like you’re “there,” don’t back off. Keep talking, keep sharing, keep marketing. Extra publicity is beneficial, both today and down the road.

Put Relationships First

While a kick-butt pitch and awesome product are necessary pieces to the fundraising puzzle, trust and rapport are critical components as well. Always cultivate and nurture relationships with your investors, regardless of how much they contribute.

Build relationships first. Take time to build relationships before asking for money. This gives your potential donors time to get to know you. It also gives them time to reflect and ask questions. This investment in relationship-building will naturally create value in the eyes of those you plan on asking for cash.

Say thank you. There are a number of inexpensive, creative ways to thank your supporters. Whichever method(s) you choose, say “thank you” early and often. Never let a kind word, a social media share, or a financial contribution get past you without expressing gratitude.

Check-in. Relationships are a two-way street. A happy birthday note or congratulations email will set you apart. Want to take it up a notch? Send a bottle of wine as a housewarming gift. Deliver a box of candy at the holidays. There are thousands of ways you can stay top of mind and give back to investors.

Utilize social media. Social media allows you to easily build authentic connections with your supporters. You’ll make them fall in love with you, your story, and your business, all by sharing frequently on social platforms.

Keep everyone current. Don’t undervalue the power of information. Let your investors know what’s happening. Show them how their investment is helping. By sharing your process, you will keep your stakeholders excited about what you’re doing!

Fundraising for Business Success with Hungry Media

The “ask” is just one ingredient in the recipe for fundraising success. Don’t forget to do the small things well, and consistently.

Plan ahead. Be gracious and genuine. Make investors’ impact understandable. Interact. Put your whole heart into your fundraising efforts for amazing results. Hungry Media can help with all of this!

We’re a leading digital marketing company with experience in a wide range of industries. If you’re getting fundraising campaign off the ground, want to kick around fundraising ideas for new business, or just want to avoid the most common fundraising mistakes, reach out! We’d love to help you plan for success. info@hungrymedia.com

Mobile First Strategy
Mobile First Strategy

We Live in A Mobile World

Mobile is here, people, and it’s here to stay! So, it’s no wonder the term “Mobile First Strategy” has become a bit of a buzzword these days. 

The phone you keep in your pocket, and are very likely using to read this article, is exponentially more powerful than the computer NASA used to manage Apollo 11’s moon landing or Nixon used to run the country during his presidency. Another interesting statistic: more Americans own smart phones than desktop and laptop computers combined. 

Why are we sharing this with you? Because historically, most web developers have chosen to take a desktop-first approach, with a mobile design as a secondary consideration. In short, they begin with full-sized sites and work their way smaller. It makes sense, or at least it did fifteen years ago – before smartphones became the way of the world and mobile first development strategy became a must. 

But times, they are a-changing. 

What is a Mobile First Approach?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A mobile first strategy takes the typical “desktop down” paradigm of web design and flips it on its head. Mobile first strategy makes mobile considerations the primary concern, with laptop and desktop versions developed from there.  

This is not to be confused with a “responsive design,” in which a desktop-first design changes based on screen size. Navigation options and download speeds of responsive sites remain geared towards desktop users instead of mobile. This isn’t the case with mobile first.

Mobile first design is similar to developing a mobile app which is adapted for viewing on a desktop or laptop. In this case you start small – you can only fit so much on a mobile screen, after all. You’ll decide what is most important to include on that screen and go from there. Compared to typical desktop design, a mobile first design strategy usually includes fast download speeds, simple navigation, shorter forms, and interactive, media-rich content.

Why Mobile First Strategy?

“Why not?” might be a better question. There’s no two ways about it – we’re addicted to our mobile devices. 

Seriously, when was the last time you went a day, an afternoon, or even an hour without looking at your phone? As of 2019, 53% of total internet traffic came from mobile devices. It’s estimated today that 25% of mobile web users are “mobile only” (i.e. they rarely use a desktop or laptop to access the internet). 

Plus, Google’s algorithm favors mobile friendly sites. Currently, when a search is conducted from a mobile device, Google returns responsive sites closer to the top of the list. It stands to reason that as mobile first content strategy becomes the norm, the algorithm will begin to favor sites designed not just responsively, but with the mobile user experience as the top priority. 

The internet has broken out of its computer-shaped box, and it is now carried around in our pockets. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

What is a Mobile First Marketing Strategy?

Users make buying decisions based on their ability to access information on products or services immediately; therefore, it’s not enough just to have a mobile friendly website. A mobile first marketing strategy is a must, as well.

According to a bizreport study, while less than half of users actually make their purchase on a mobile device, most use it to research a product before purchasing. As consumers we’re using our smartphones to find inspiration, compare prices, learn about various companies, read reviews etc. If this process isn’t smooth and comfortable, the probability that we’ll move forward with a purchase takes a nosedive.

Even if most of your business transactions occur in person, you’re not immune to the mobile shopping trend. It’s been reported that 82% of smartphone users have consulted their device to research potential purchases while standing inside the store.

A mobile first strategy includes unique content for mobile users, social media integration, and of course web design optimized for mobile usage and viewing. 

So yes, everyone needs a mobile (probably even a mobile first) business strategy. Think about it this way: the content your consumers see on their mobile device establishes brand awareness, develops brand loyalty, and drives purchasing decisions.

Mobilize Your Mobile First Strategy With Hungry Media

To make it in today’s market, mobile is a must. We’re here to help design and implement your mobile first strategy. Contact us at info@hungrymedia.com to get started. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Writing a Mission Statement

Writing a mission statement is a must for business builders, app developers, content creators and any other entrepreneur. However, slowing down to brainstorm about one simple sentence doesn’t always seem like a great use of time, does it?  But while a mission statement is a single sentence – it’s certainly far from simple.

How to Write a Mission Statement

What is a Mission Statement?

In short, the purpose of a mission statement is to define your company and set it apart from the rest. It describes why you exist, your goals, what you will provide your stakeholders, and how you plan on achieving it all. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one little sentence, huh?

Why Should You Be Writing a Mission Statement?

That is a lot of pressure to put on one little sentence. Which is exactly why the importance of a mission statement can’t be understated. Creating a mission statement is a process. It isn’t something you throw together in a few hours and slap up on your beautifully designed website.

Good mission statements will serve as your compass. A well thought out mission statement guides your decision making. It helps you focus your resources. It serves as a starting point for your branding. It provides a framework for your employees to work within.

So, yes. A mission statement is a big darn deal! And, yes. You should definitely be writing one. But how, exactly, do you do this?

Questions to Consider Before Writing a Mission Statement

Learning how to write a mission statement for a business takes time and perseverance. To get started, sit with the questions below and document your answers. It’s important that your mission truly encompasses the spirit of your business, so don’t rush this part.

What are your beliefs? 

To what do you hold true? What colors your view of the world? The best mission statements are built upon this foundation. A sentence to describe each of your top 3-5 beliefs will do.

What do you value?

Think about what makes you choose to spend your money on one product over another? What makes you gravitate towards certain people? This is a great way to identify the attributes you value most. Try to pare your values down to 1-2 two words, each.

Why does your business exist? 

What is your goal? Take a holistic view of your beliefs and values to answer this one. Of course, most businesses aim to make money. But what’s the reason you chose to make money in this particular way? That is your why.

What action word best suits your company? 

Dedicate, inspire, awaken, nurture, champion, refresh. Your options are endless. If you don’t identify with one word right away, try starting with a broader statement and whittle it down to a single word from there.

Who is your ideal customer? 

Envision them actually deciding to use your product or service. Why do they want it? How do they find you? What benefit will you provide? Keep this person in mind as you draft each version of your mission statement.

What makes you special? 

Why should a customer choose your business, specifically? Do you provide incredible value, the best customer service in the world, the most relatable content? What sets you apart from the rest?

How do you serve your other stakeholders? 

Describe exactly how you want those involved in your business to feel about you (and their work). According to a 2017 study, mission statements are more effective when stakeholders other than customers are considered, too.

How will others perceive your mission statement? 

This will inform the words and tone you use to craft your business mission statement. It also provides a great starting point for the revision step, below.

How to Write a Good Mission Statement

Once you’ve spent time considering the questions above, you can begin creating your mission statement. While there’s no “official” checklist, there are a few logical steps you can follow to guide you through the process.

  • Get it out. Write down, in paragraph form, exactly what you want your mission statement to convey. Include the answers to the questions above as clearly as possible. Don’t worry about word count yet. Just get it out there.  
  • Collect feedback. Have others read your draft. Ask them questions. How does it make them feel? What meaning does it convey? What could make it better? This isn’t the time for you to talk. Just ask the questions, listen to the answers, and take it all in.
  • Revise. You may need to revise and collect feedback a few more times before this first statement feels like a true expression of your mission. Don’t move on until it does.
  • Use a formula. Rewrite what you’ve got to fit this formula: Goal + who + how = mission statement. 
  • Collect more feedback. Ask the questions again. You want to ensure sure the change in structure hasn’t changed the overall perception of the statement.
  • Revise, again. Same as above.
  • Pare it down. Get out your red pen and start editing! Aim for a maximum of 20 words. Yep, 20! Get creative. Use a thesaurus. Research other mission statement examples for inspiration.
  • Walk away. Give your brain a break. Take a day or two to clear your mind. This will give a fresh perspective before you dig in again.  
  • Rinse and repeat. Continue to revise and seek feedback until you’ve got it right.
  • Use it! Take advantage of all that hard work. Allow your mission statement to guide you from here on out.  

Need Help Writing a Mission Statement for Your Business?

A good mission statement lays the foundation for business success. If you find yourself stuck, want to make the most of your existing mission statement, or simply need help working a mission statement into your marketing plan, reach out! We’re here to help and would love to be a part of your journey. Contact us at info@hungrymedia.com to get started!

Importance of Branding
Importance of Branding

What is Branding?

The term “brand” refers to a name, design, symbol, or other feature that sets a product or service apart from the rest. “Branding your business” refers to the process of fostering an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand.

Regardless of whether you own an established brick and mortar, are in the development phase of a cool new app, or just getting your startup off the ground via a crowdfunding campaign – your brand is your reputation. The importance of branding cannot be underestimated.

The Importance of Branding

In today’s marketplace, brand building isn’t simply a task that you complete in order to move on. Working through the steps of branding is a necessity. Branding promotes recognition, sets you apart from competitors, and tells customers what to expect from you. According to a 2013 Neilson survey, 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them.

Customer aside, a strong brand provides an internal compass. Brand can guide business decisions and help you stay on track when faced with uncertainty.

What is Brand Identity?

Brand identity encompasses several factors. It might start with a brand logo, but it also includes what a business actually represents and how customers feel when they think of it.

A strong brand identity will help you stand out in the marketplace by making your product or service more memorable to consumers. Over time it can also solidify your identity as a subject matter expert in your niche.

How to Create a Brand Identity

Keep in mind that brand identity is fluid and ever evolving. Therefore, it’s not something to create and forget about. You’ll want to monitor it closely and work to strengthen it as time goes on. Here are a few brand building strategies to get you started.

  1. Establish a mission statement. The time required to develop a strong, meaningful mission statement is time well spent. Your mission statement becomes the foundation of your brand by defining your purpose and your target audience. Everything from logos, to taglines, to voice should reflect your mission statement.
  • Determine what sets your company apart. You don’t have to be the biggest, fanciest company in your niche to stand out. What do you offer that nobody else can? What do you do well that you competitors do not? Is it the authentic, transparent customer service you provide? Is it the simple, handwritten note you include with each order from your Esty shop? Figure out what sets you apart…and do that!
  • Develop a brand voice. What adjectives will describe the way you communicate with your audience? Casual? Humorous? Professional? Technical? Once you decide how you would like to be perceived, brand your business by ensuring all customer-facing content utilizes your brand voice.
  • Maintain consistency. Once you begin to execute your plan with brand identity in mind, you’ve got to stay consistent. Otherwise you’ll confuse your customer. This means ensuring you’re always guided by your mission statement; moreover, it includes branding design components and web design elements, such as colors, fonts, logos, etc.

After you’ve established a solid brand identity, you can begin to foster brand loyalty. And let us tell you, this is where the magic really happens!

What is Brand Loyalty?

Brand loyalty (or lack thereof) can make or break any business, since it is based on customers’ feeling of support or allegiance to the business. The best brands can (and do!) maintain a loyal customer base despite changes in the environment, increases in cost of products or services, actions of competitors, market fluctuations, etc.

Brand loyalty exists when customers feel truly connected to the brand itself. This connection can be derived from a number of factors including the quality of the product or service, trust in the business, and customer service experiences, to name a few.

An established, loyal customer base will lead to repeat customers and word or mouth referrals, which are the holy grail of business building. As you can imagine, though, brand loyalty doesn’t just develop overnight. I must be built organically, and over time.

How to Build Brand Loyalty

Now that we understand the purpose and importance of brand loyalty, let’s look at a few ways to build it!

  1. Identify your target audience. Who is your ideal consumer? What are their priorities? Where do they shop? How do they dress? How much money do they make? Answering these questions in advance will ensure that your marketing efforts are focused in the on the correct group of consumers.
  • Examine what makes them tick. Learn what drives your target audience to make buying decisions and use this information as you create customer-facing content. Everything from customer service replies to Instagram ads should be developed with the needs of the customer in mind.
  • Stay consistent. Consistency is key here, too. You’ll build the most loyal base when your customer knows what to expect from you. This includes anything from how often you post on social media, to shipping time for your products, to turnaround time for email responses.
  • Provide incentives. For your customers to return, that is. Repeat business is where it’s at! Consider creating a loyalty program or use promo codes to keep customers coming back for more.
  • Use Social Media Influencers. Brand loyalty is dependent upon trust. Generally, consumers already trust the influencers they choose to follow on social media. If one of those influencers believes in your brand, their followers will be much more likely to believe in you as well.
  • Let your personality shine. Connection can drive brand loyalty. And nothing connects people quite a common quirk or two! Don’t be afraid to be yourself! YOU might be the very thing that generates an emotional connection between your customers and your brand.

Build a Brand that Inspires Loyalty

The best brands are built upon a strong foundation, which allows each and every branding decision to be made strategically. Whether you want to learn how to start branding your business, discuss the importance of branding, or simply want to brainstorm business branding ideas, we’re here for you!

We’d love to make your ideas a reality and help you create a brand that inspires lifelong loyalty. Contact us at info@hungrymedia.com. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Squarespace vs Wordpress
Squarespace vs WordPress

Okay, so you’ve decided to build a website. You know what it’ll look like, which web design mistakes to avoid, and what it’s purpose will be. What’s next? Well, when it comes to actually building your website, the first step to pick a web design platform. This decision often comes down to Squarespace vs. WordPress, and which is right for you.

Both web design platforms allow users to create a website with minimal technical skills and experience; however, they aren’t created equal. There are pros and cons to each, when considering which to choose.

The main points of comparison between these two website platforms are a result of their fundamental differences. Web design powered by WordPress (and we are referring to WordPress.org, here) uses an open source content management system, where as Squarespace is a cloud-based website builder.

That said, they’re often used for the exact same purpose – building and maintaining a website for use as a business tool. So, which should you choose, and why? Well let’s take a look!

Squarespace vs. WordPress: Design Flexibility 

Variety and Availability of Themes

It’s pretty safe to say that there’s little comparison here. When it comes to design flexibility, WordPress is going to have Squarespace beat. This is because WordPress is intended to be built upon, while Squarespace is intended to be a one-stop shop.

When designing a site from scratch, the options offered by WordPress are nearly endless. To date, there are over 7,000 free WordPress themes. And then there are thousands more premium options available for purchase. Most, if not all, WordPress templates are customizable in terms of colors, fonts, layouts, etc. Additionally, WordPress web design provides more in-depth functions and allows for complete, customizable control.

Squarespace is a “feature rich” web platform known for it’s beautiful, sleek templates. But given the nature of Squarespace itself, there is a relatively limited number of templates available. On the other hand, these templates are ready-made and come with plenty of preset features that are simple to use.

Extensions and Integrations

In a way, this could fall into the category of “design flexibility” above, as it can refer to the options you have when creating your website. But, it also refers to the options you have after your site is up and running.  As your business, following, or customer base grows, you may find yourself in need of additional functionality.

WordPress is much more adaptable in this situation. In addition to the most essential WordPress plugins, you’ll have close to 47,000 options to utilize. Whether you need to connect with third party software, tools, and services, or simply need to add a new feature – there’s a plugin for that. As your business grows, you’ll find endless opportunities to grow your website alongside it.

The list of available extensions for Squarespace, compared to WordPress, is very short. There are a few third-party integrations, but there isn’t a very robust API to build upon. If you want to extend a site using Squarespace, you’ll have to work within its limitations.

Squarespace vs. WordPress: Performance

SEO Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is super-important these days. It’s how you get your website to show up in a Google (or Bing or Wiki) search. But SEO optimization is an ever-changing science, and it can be a bit tedious to learn. Enter: SEO tools.

There are several SEO tools integrated into Squarespace, versus WordPress which requires plugins to achieve the same goals. WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO will guide you through best practices to optimize your site as well as your content.

Security

Website security is a hot topic, and for good reason. Your customers have to trust that you will keep their information safe. There’s one main difference between Squarespace vs. WordPress when it comes to security – who’s responsible for it.

WordPress requires that you keep your site’s security up to date. While this may seem a little scary, you need not fear! There’s a plugin for that. In fact, there are several plugins that automatically take care of security for you.

On the other hand, Squarespace manages security for you. The platform ensures your site stays safe from hackers and that the system functions properly.

Squarespace vs. WordPress: Convenience 

Mobile Editing

You’re probably on the go just as much as your customers are! You’ll want the option to edit, track, or analyze your site without having to sit down at your computer.

The free WordPress app allows you to edit content, review analytics, and update your pages from your smartphone. The official Squarespace app only allows you to edit your pages. There are additional apps available which provide the ability to update Squarespace content and track performance.

In short, you can edit from your mobile device regardless of which web design platform you choose. The only difference is the number of apps you’ll need in order to do so.

Ease of Use

When it comes to getting something new off the ground, the decision often comes down to ease of use. So, let’s talk about that!

WordPress is pretty intuitive. Given everything we’ve discussed here, it stands to reason that WordPress will take some time to learn. The good news is that the learning curve isn’t terribly steep. Most beginners adapt to WordPress after a just few days of working with the web design platform.

On the other hand, Squarespace’s visual, drag and drop operation very beginner friendly. In fact some might argue there’s no learning curve at all. Yes, it offers fewer choices in general, but that can simplify the decision-making process, thus shortening the time from inspiration to complete creation. Plus, you still get everything you need to design, publish, and maintain a full website.

Squarespace vs. WordPress: Cost

And here we are. The bottom line. What is each one going to cost you? Well, just like everything else on this list, there’s no black and white answer.

Technically WordPress is free. You don’t have to pay to use their software. But you do have to pay to host your site, as well as incur the one-time costs for any premium themes, templates, or plugins. There are plenty of hosting options available. For a service like Bluehost, which starts at $7.95/month, it’s a relatively inexpensive investment.

Squarespace is software as a service. Basically, you’re creating your site and paying a monthly fee for Squarespace to maintain it on your behalf. As with any service, there’s a cost. The cost of Squarespace includes hosting and starts at $12/month.

To be honest, the costs of each will probably equal out over time. You might spend less initially on Squarespace vs. WordPress, which could have a higher up-front cost. On a monthly basis, however, you will likely spend less on WordPress site.

Conclusion – Which is the Best Website Platform?

Well, as you might imagine, there’s no straightforward answer, here. Squarespace is certainly easier out of the gate for a beginner. However, it’s limitations can make future expansion of your site challenging, or even impossible. WordPress may take more time to learn, but most believe its flexibility is worth it.

The best platform for web design comes down to your ultimate goal. What do you intend to use your site for? Where do you see yourself and your business in two, five, ten years’ time? Our best piece of advice – start with the end in mind and work backward form there.

We’re Here To Help!

Want to talk it out? Interested in learning more about Squarespace vs. WordPress? Need a second opinion or some assistance? Get in touch! We’d love to help you design and build a website that meets the needs of your business today and well into the future. info@hungrymedia.com