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.

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!