Tag: Bear Web Design

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What is GDPR?

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

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Managing Your Website

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

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

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

Maintenance & Hosting Support

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

Web Content Management

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

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

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

Blogging Is Still King Of Content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Social Media Stream Gives Your Website The Power!

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

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

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

Introducing Social Media Stream!

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

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

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

Social Media Stream On Mobile Device

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

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

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

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Girls That Code Visit Bear Web Design!

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

Peter Beare presents to Girls that Code Opportunities for Programmers Developers in the 21st Century

The girls learnt about the history and types of programming languages (dating back to the 1960’s) and then looked at examples of how each language type is used today. They also had an overview of my programming background including my Degree in Computer Science from M.T.S.U. and the languages that I studied as an example of what type of degree they might seek to become a programmer including the amount of languages they may have to study. We also discussed work environments that have changed drastically in recent times. The girls seem to enjoy the idea that you can do your work from anywhere so long as you can get to the interent!

To finish our presentatioon we reviewed Web Design & Development and the languages used in that arena including Mobile Apps which finished off a lively presentation and discussion. Vicki Beare who was our founding designer and developer was on hand to provide some valuable input to the girls as was our current designer and developer Jennifer Folsom. To finish off the visit Bear Web Design treated all the girls to Pizza at PizzeReal Restaurant in East Nashville.

Girls that Code celebrate with Pizza after visiting with Bear Web Design

It was a great experience visiting with the Girls that Code from Wilson County today and we wish the girls all the best in their upcoming endevours as they aspire to become programmers and developers in this exciting and dynamic industry!

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How Does Your Digital Profile Look?

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

A Digital Profile as it sounds is a profile that has been establish online through your internet resources and usage.  Google is the best place I know of to check out your digital profile to get a feel for what people will see when they type your companies name.

Thanks to Google My Business (formerly Google+) we have really seen the development of the Digital Profile over the last 12-24 months. Google My Business includes Google Reviews, Google Maps & Directions, Google Search Results, hours of business, photos as well as links to your website. On mobile it is as powerful as it appears on a desktop and it can heavily influence whether a customer communicates with your company directly from google (e.g. calls you) or links to your website for further information.

So using Bear Web Design’s Digital Profile as a starting example lets look at some of the basic elements… (see our Digital Profile above)…

  1. Google Ad Words and Organic Information sit on the left hand side of the search page result. Adwords are an online advertising services by Googler where advertisters pay to display ads that are tied to key search terms and phrases. Organic search results are website listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms.
  2. Google My Business sits on the right hand side and consists of photos, address & location, directions, website link, reviews, business hours (absolutely critical to being correct) and links for action – phone number to call, driving directions to come visit and website link to learn more about your business.
  3. Notice the Google Post that is under Google My Business (this is a new featured offered by Google allowing business owners to feed their content directly into their search results page! Google Posts will stay active for 7 days and I have seen some posts that receive 1000’s of views.
  1. Google Insights which shows you how many searches that your Google Digital Profile appears in including (Discovery) – those searching for your services or products but don’t know you directly and (Direct) – those that do search for you directly.

So if you haven’t checked out your Digital Profile it is definitely time to do so. It will be a critical part of your online success! And if you need some help managing and updating your digital profile please be sure to contact Bear Web Design!

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Joomla World Conference opens a World of Opportunity

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

Joomla is a content management system (CMS) and clearly one of the best in the world. Bear Web Design has been using this CMS for around 10 years now and we have attended 3 world conferences so far. And we do work with WordPress as well so we know there are other great CMS’s out there but there is no doubt that Joomla is evolving to become more than just a CMS that produces websites with plans such as connecting to apps in the future that will allow portions of your websites content to be shared with your your users thru these apps. It is truly a worldwide driven product (driven by the world community of Joomla).  And I am proud to say that the CMS that was the precursor to Joomla was called Mambo (and yes it was built in Melbourne Australia) so I thought it appropriate to give it a mention since I am flying there tonight!

People from Europe and North America are driving the product in my opinion but there are contributors from all over the world. It makes sense that great products on the worldwide web are a collaboration of people from all over the world.  Even when so much of the actual desired outcome of your websites demographic is usually local.

When I sit in front of a prospect and talk to them about how Bear Web Design can help them build a new website or redesign their current one I have such a level of confidence in the products we produce that I basically feel powerful. (not something you would think of with me if you know me). But the Joomla product is so solid and has such a proven track record that I am simply so confident in our ability to produce a great website at a fair market price that will greatly serve the client.  Combined that with great team that we have at Bear Web Design (that has custom designed more than 350 websites in the last 10 years) it is a pretty hard combination to beat.

At today’s keynote event the topic was the future of Joomla. That to me translates to the future of Bear Web Design and most importantly the future of our customers. Do they have a product that will serve them now and for years to come? Will it get better and will it continue to meet a very fast changing device market place? Well in today’s session I got a big YES! Most clients would know that we had a big security update around 4 or 5 weeks ago that was required to be updated to each client’s website asap to prevent a security flaw. We tell our clients when we update their website (geeky as it is it keeps them aware and knowing that we are watching out for them). But the bottom line is we (and Joomla) are on the ball when new updates coming out all the time! The version we upgraded to was Joomla 3.6.2. I know I know – doesn’t mean a whole lot to you but in the today’s keynote we got the future path of Joomla 3X to Joomla 4X (due for release in 2017) and then ultimately a Joomla X version is at the end of the tunnel possibly around 2018.  So why does this matter? The answer is clear!

Your website will need to be state of the art this year, next year and the year after to compete in your market place. And it is a competition (and the judge is Google and then the next judge is a visitor.) The reality with websites today is they are not built and then put in a hosting location and then 3 years later the process is repeated. (That era of web development is basically over). It is much more about a continuously updating the product and the website’s content while striving to offer more and more features to the user. Just like in the sales cycle I don’t spend that much time telling a prospect about Joomla and how well it serves us but the reality I know is that if our clients are happy with their website then are happy with Bear Web Design and ultimately they must be happy with Joomla! And you can rest assured that although so much of our business is focused locally the products that are driving those opportunities are from some of the best developers in the world collaborating all around the world to make sure that your website communicates effectively with your users.

It is that simple and in many ways, it is the human experience when it comes down to it and the neat thing is the user experience is Stockholm Sweden seems to have the same need as the user experience in Vancouver Canada and Melbourne Australia and you guessed it in Nashville, TN.  It is indeed a very cool time to be working with websites and I am eternally grateful to be able to serve my clients in such a dynamic and exciting industry. I look forward to continuing to help our clients improve their websites and users experience and ultimately improve their own success.!

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

Google Reviews Are Already A Tremendous Influence on Consumer Decisions

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

Enticing hey?

Well what I have just done is shared a great experience I had with you. If you were in my family or a friend or associate you might have heard me raving about this place for weeks on end. What a great place… you must check it out… the coffee was great… and you know most of the time if someone tells you about something they like you really do consider it in future decision making.  In actual fact word of mouth information sharing is the most trusted source of consumer information we know of!

So how do we share our experience digitally?

There are many ways to share a great experience digitally thru many popular social medias. You can tell your facebook friends or tweet your followers but the reality is this form of sharing is real time. A day from now know one will go back looking at your old facebook posts or tweets regardless of how wonderful your experience was. So if you want to really clarify a great experience digitally that is going to be read by future potential consumers as well as family, friends and associates then you really have to consider Google Reviews!

I have read recently that online reviews may contribute to 10% of search engine rankings. (where Google Places you in a search result).

So you are looking for a hotel to stay at. You search for Hotels in Mt. Juliet and google returns 3 hotels (listed in Google Review Results order). Our customer and good friend Justin Patel’s Hi Express Mt. Juliet receives many great reviews (all the time). So you can see Hi Express Mt. Juliet is featured prominently in the search results with a link to immediately see the reviews… (HINT HINT – that is most likely what the searcher is going to check on before making a decision to book a room)…

Mt Juliet Hotel Results - Google Reviews

I have also read recently that it will take consumers 2-4 reviews to form an opinion – If I read 3-4 bad reviews generally I am gone BABY! So that stat certainly supports how I feel – and yes I look at reviews when making decisions online!

This Is Great! – Nothing But Great Google Reviews Right?

Getting a whole lot of great Google Reviews could really influence how much traffic your website gets (and maybe how many orders or bookings or prospects). Of course I have not told you the dark side of Google Reviews… the dissatisfied customer! Nothing will knock you over more than reading a bad review about your business.  In actual fact I will talk more about managing your Google Reviews in a future blog but the bottom line is you should actually respond to all reviews… thanks for the great review OR sorry you had a bad experience how can we help change that?  – it shows great personal touch and really shows you are connected to your online aspects of your business.

So the old time practice of sharing your experience with your friends and family certainly lives on with Google Reviews. The neat thing is if you genuinely have a high regard for a business you can share your experience online for others to read. And the good thing is you are fully in control of that review and can delete the review if you ever decided to. One other catch – you have to have a Google gmail account to leave a review which helps validate that the review is from a bonafide users and not an anonymous source.

So as part of getting you in the game I have provided a link to Bear Web Designs Google Reviews. It is embarrassing to say at this stage that we have never had a Google review but this is your opportunity to leave us a review and help Bear Web Design get on the scoreboard. (Of course only If you feel it is appropriate and please be authentic in your review). It is easy to do and will give you a larger voice in your digital world.  I have no doubt your company will receive reviews online in the future whether you solicit them or not. We have just started adding “Google Review” links to customer website to help to promote this critical aspect of Google’s Search Engine.

If you have any questions or need help in this area please be sure to contact me (615 504-6485).

Hope everyone has a great week!

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Google My Business (My Goodness)…

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

Most likely you don’t know what Google My Business is (My Goodness!) but you might have heard about Google Plus (Google+) and you have most likely seen it and used it before. If you go to Google and search for your company if you are reasonable shape your company will come up on the right hand side of the search (on a desktop) and it shows your physical location – called Outside (a street view of your business) and then business details taken from your Google Maps and your Google My Business Page (formerly Google Plus). If you have added photos to your Google My Business Page then these photos will be showing (if you have paid Google for a virtual tour then that should be available as well  – called Inside (my next blog friends!) – bottom line is that your business is represented on the right hand side of the search by Google My Business (and Google Maps)… Notice the cover photo to the blog – that is what I see when I search for Bear Web Design (in Nashville).

Are you still awake? (Remember your prospects come thru this method to find your website and consider doing business with you so WAKE UP – this is important!). On the left hand side of the search screen is the organic key title pages from your website that Google presents usually picking out your most important pages (most popular). Hopefully this search gives you a really good picture of what a customer or a prospect will see when they search for your company of google.  You can check this out on your mobile so you fully understand what all customers see.

In the event nothing comes up – HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME – you need some real help – if the left hand search organic information is there but your Google My Business and Google Maps is not showing up then Google probably doesn’t know where you are located… (and again you need some help!). Just to add to excitement of all this imagine someone is walking (or driving) and looking for local restaurants to stop in for a bite. If Google knows where you are then it will show them your restaurant as an option – if it doesn’t – TO BAD SO SAD!

So bottom line and cutting to the chase – Google My Business is about listing your business on Google and how it shows up for the local searcher (in particular). Google is location centric and it absolutely cares about what is in reach of it users (the searchers)… It actually wants to deliver the best possible result to the user so they continue to use Google (which ultimately supports the Google Ad-Words Advertisers and associated products).  The key is that YOU PROVIDE the necessary information to Google so it can do that. It is HORRIFYING how much incorrect information is on Google Maps and Google My Business right now. Hours of business is a classic I see wrong all the time. And the reality is it is not Google’s jobs to fix this (it’s yours) and you know who wins if you fix it (you do)…

This applies to mobiles as well – below are the two views (first page and second) on your mobile – just as impressive as the desktop version and still driven by your location, business information and photos… But quite often when they are on their mobile they may be heading your way!

Mobile View - Bear Web Design Google My Business

Mobile View - Bear Web Design Google My Business

 

Supporting this critical area for our clients we setup a Google Business Page for every client we do work for. We have done this as a standard on new client for several years now. We know this will serve them for years to come. Remember Google Rules the Waves and most of your prospects thru the internet will come to your website thru Google My Business. 

If you would like help updating photos or making your Google My Business more appealing to visitors (good photos is the key) please contact us at Bear Web Design and we would be glad to help.

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Contact

Bear Web Design
2622 Bluefield Avenue
Nashville, TN 37214
(615) 504-6845

Bear Web Design - Web Design Agency | 2622 Bluefield Avenue | Nashville, TN 37214 - (615) 504-6845

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