Buzzhive Web Design http://www.buzzhive.net Full Service Website Design & Management Tue, 09 Jan 2018 13:55:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 http://www.buzzhive.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/buzz_circle_100.png Buzzhive Web Design http://www.buzzhive.net 32 32 Simple or Complex: What Makes a Good Website Design? http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/09/15/simple-or-complex-what-makes-a-good-website-design/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/09/15/simple-or-complex-what-makes-a-good-website-design/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:20:20 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=3579 Are you designing a website for your business? It can be easy to get caught up in the latest trends, the flashiest plugins, and the newest themes. But when it comes to what makes a good website design, you may be surprised by what your customers actually want.

Your website is like a welcome mat for your customers. And you have 10 seconds to convince your website visitors to stick around.

Read on to learn what makes a good website design and whether you should choose a simple or complex website.

What Makes a Good Website Design?

One of the keys to strong design is simplicity.

It’s easy to make a complex website. But it’s surprisingly difficult to make a simple website.

When you’re designing your website, it can get stressful. Often, many different people are giving you their ideas and input, asking for changes, making requests, and insisting that this one feature must be included.

By the time that website is finished, it’s often a confusing, hopeless mess.

Before you design your website, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the design aspects you need in order for it to be successful.

It’s still possible to have an attractive yet simple website. Just because you’re focusing on avoiding a complicated design doesn’t mean that it needs to look bare-boned.

KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)

Research by Google found that simple websites (the types of websites with high prototypicality and low visual complexity) were much more appealing to visitors than complex websites.

Interestingly, the study found that visitors can tell whether a website is complicated or simple in half of a second.

If you’re aiming to attract new customers, increase conversions, and grow your business, a simple website is a must.

Depending on your business, you may find that your website needs a slightly more complicated design than the business next door.

But there are still some key things to include (and avoid). Here’s what makes a good website design:

Ads

There shouldn’t be any ads on your homepage unless your website is designed primarily for ad revenue.

Ads make your website look complex, draw attention away from your message, and can make your business look less trustworthy.

Sidebar

You may assume that a sidebar is a must, but you may want to reconsider adding a sidebar to your website.

If you’ve ensured your website is easy-to-navigate, intuitive, and well-designed, a sidebar may just be a distraction for businesses.

One Thing

When a visitor lands on your homepage, what’s the one thing you want them to do?

If you were to ask your team, you may get a few different responses:

  • Read the blog
  • Start a free trial
  • Find out about the team
  • Sign up for the newsletter
  • Download the ebook
  • Click on the “Products” page

Start from the beginning. Choose one thing. What do you want your visitor to do?

Now’s the time to think about what that action will lead to. If you want someone to sign up for your newsletter, do you have an email marketing campaign in place?

If you want them to find out about your team, are you hoping that they’ll email you straight after?

Your one thing should be the action likely to increase conversions and make you money. And the design of your website should be centered around that one thing.

White Space

Negative space, or white space, is the part of your website without any images, text, or menus. Of course, this space doesn’t necessarily need to be white, but it shouldn’t be competing for your visitors’ attention.

It can be tempting to overdo your website design and pack as many points of interest in as you can. But using white space wisely will help you create an elegant, simple website.

White space will also help you draw your visitors’ eyes to your call-to-actions.

Site Structure

Site structure is another consideration when it comes to what makes a good website design. Your navigation should be intuitive and easy to understand for a visitor who knows nothing about your company.

Don’t make your visitors’ click menu after menu. Make it easy for them to get all of the necessary information within a couple of clicks.

Choice

Giving your visitors lots of choices is a good thing right?

Within reason.

The more options a person has to choose from, the longer they’ll take to make a decision. 

Reduce the number of decisions your visitors need to make. This will make your website less overwhelming for new visitors, and help you increase your conversion rate.

Our short term memories are only able to hold seven items at a time. When creating your menu, limit it to seven items or fewer to avoid confusion.

Brand

Before you begin designing your website, it’s important to consider your brand. When deciding what makes a good website design for your business, you need to keep your brand message clear.

That means choosing fonts, colors, logos, and copy that represents your brand. A visitor should be able to move from one page to the next and experience the same feelings on each page.

Images

Humans are much better at processing images than they are at reading text. That’s why it’s a good idea to add a number of images to your website- making it more enjoyable for visitors to look at.

It’ll also make your website feel simpler, and you can easily change your images along the way without making massive changes to the site itself.

Ready to Design a Simple Website?

As you can see, “simple” doesn’t mean boring, and a complex website doesn’t give you more credibility.

Every business owner wants a website that looks great. And by embracing simplicity, you’ll have a great website that works better, feels better, looks better, and functions better for your visitors.

Choose a simple design, and you’ll make your company’s website a place where your customers want to hang out.

If you’re ready to design a website that represents your business, get in touch today to learn how we can help.

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Why Your Business Needs A Custom Website http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/08/16/why-your-business-needs-a-custom-website/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/08/16/why-your-business-needs-a-custom-website/#respond Thu, 17 Aug 2017 00:44:24 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=3564 If you are running a business, then one thing you have to be aware of is branding.

You need to find a way to make your business stand out. When people see something related to your brand, you want your company to be the first thing they think of.

One way you can establish your brand is through a website. However, not any old website will do. What you need, if you really want to have your business thrive, is a custom website.

What is a Custom Website?

There are many different website hosting platforms out there for you to choose. With companies like WordPress, you can build amazing websites for a relatively small monthly fee.

You generally have two options when it comes to the basics of your website. You can take a pre-made template and beautify it with some of the widgets and gadgets that the site offers. It’s a simple drag and drop process, but if you really want your business to stand out, then this option won’t cut the mustard.

You want your website to reflect your company, and not be a template that thousands of others are already using.

What you really need to do, is hire a professional website designer who can create a website for you that is tailored to your business. One that hits the right themes and sets the right mood for your company, and can turn visitors into followers, and followers into customers.

What is the Benefit of a Custom Website?

There are many benefits to getting a custom website built for you. One of the core perks being that you get to have the design tailored to your needs. Every element is set to promote you, and to promote your business.

No other website can claim to have the same design so that when people think of your brand. There is no chance of confusing your site with anything else they have seen with a similar theme.

It is unique to you and your business.

Sure, you can customize some of the details on a standard website template, but at the end of the day, it is just not flexible enough. There is a level of standardization to the offered default WordPress themes which just cannot be overwritten. Items such as margins and page sizes.

In cases like that, no matter how well you arrange the widgets, the restrictions of the template design shows through. Users will notice this.

It is one of those subtle things that will stick in their mind, and ultimately, your branding will suffer as a result.

You Have Complete Control to Keep Up With Market Trends

When you have your own template built for you, that also comes with a certain level of freedom, which allows you to make any changes that are necessary.

This means that you can make changes to react on feedback or to keep up with the ever fast-paced market trends. 

This is something you don’t get with a packaged deal because sites need to consider the big picture and everybody that is using their templates. Even if changes are made to the standard packages, it will be too late. Large changes will most likely be reactionary rather than proactive. If you are relying on these to roll through, you will most likely miss the boat with regards the boost your business would have gained.

If you are relying on these to roll through, you will most likely miss the boat with regards the boost your business would have gained.

Take Charge of Your Business’s Visibility

Something unimaginable happens and WordPress is taken down by a virus or a crash of some sort. Your business is at the mercy of the those hired to fix it. A nameless company that does not know you, or your business.

If you have a custom website, then you are in control. If something goes wrong, you have an IM, a number or an email to contact in order to talk to. A contact person that knows you and will work to get everything fixed for you.

A Custom Website Gives You Room to Grow

When you pay for a custom template, you are not just buying a single thing, but what is essentially a living entity.

Your website will undoubtedly need to grow and evolve as your business does. With pre-made templates, there is only so much you can do to make the website more complex or more detailed than it is when you first create it.

A custom design, however, can be made larger and broader when the time to do so is right for you and your business. This goes for the content as well as it does the traffic of your site. As you grow as a company, your site traffic will also increase, and with a custom designed website, you will be ready to handle this increased volume without experiencing any drop in site performance.

As you grow as a company, your site traffic will also increase. With a custom designed website, you will be ready to handle this increased volume without experiencing any drop in site performance.

Your Site Can Grow into a Customer Portal

If your site is dealing with returning customers, then having a custom website can be worked to your advantage. You could create a portal area for customers, or members, to log in to gain access to extra information. Special tips or features that come as a benefit to their membership or returning custom.

This is a level of control and flexibility that you do not get with pre-made templates but could prove to give your business that invaluable boost that puts you ahead of the rest of the market.

A Custom Website Is Good But Anything is Better than Nothing

The benefits of having a custom site outweigh those of a generic template, but at the end of the day, you know what your budget can accommodate. If you cannot afford to have a fully custom design made, then there are hybrid options that are available to you.

In this modern day, having a website of any sort is always a lot better than not having one at all. After all, the internet is the place most people go when looking to do business.

You are not too late to jazz up or even replace your current website. We are here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch and let’s see what we can do to help make your website and your business rise straight to the top of the pile.

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7 Hot Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/06/01/7-hot-mobile-marketing-trends-to-watch/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/06/01/7-hot-mobile-marketing-trends-to-watch/#respond Fri, 02 Jun 2017 02:09:50 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=3514 In the digital age, everything is constantly evolving. One minute you’re using a Nokia, the next you’re using a smartphone.

It’s not just the changing appearance of technology, but the way technology works, too. You’d think because a smartphone is a mini-computer, marketing would function in the same way for the mobile phone market.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Mobile marketing is its own ballgame with trends you must follow.

Are you keeping up with the latest mobile marketing trends? Let’s take a look at 7 of the hottest mobile marketing trends to get you up to speed.

1. Apps

An app is a core feature of a smartphone. They are the key operators for the user to use the phone.

You can do all sorts of things with apps:

  • Browse the web
  • Play games
  • Chat
  • Shop
  • Write

It’s safe to say that with all these options, apps are certainly here to stay! They won’t be going anywhere — not unless we design an entirely new smartphone system.

197 billion apps are expected to be downloaded by the end of 2017. By 2021, that number changes to 353 billion downloads.

That’s a staggering number.

What should this mobile marketing trend mean for you?

You’ll want to create an app for your brand if you haven’t already. If the numbers alone aren’t enough to get you on board, an app will help increase sales and engagement on a personal level with your customer.

2. Messaging Apps

iMessage, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Facebook Messenger, LINE. Messaging apps stand out of the crowd in terms of popularity.

In fact, many of the most-used apps are messaging apps. Move over, telephone calls – people want to send text messages instead.

While you don’t need to build an app that can only be used for texting, having a chat feature is great for any business. Much like a telephone call, a chat feature will allow your brand to get personal with your customers. Now, you might be asking yourself what the difference is between sending a message and sending an email.

Messenger is different from sending an email. An email can generate an automatic reply or a robotic, generic reply. With a messenger feature, it’s connecting with a real person, on a personal level. Plus, it’s typically faster than email, too.

Like a telephone call, if there’s an issue and a customer reaches out via messenger to get it resolved, a personal touch can help make all the difference.

It’s one of the mobile marketing trends you don’t want to miss out on.

3. Mobile Website Speed

Since smartphones are extremely popular for browsing the web, you’ll want to make sure your brand’s website is up to snuff when it comes to loading time and speed.

How does it make you feel when a website takes an eternity to load?

You might hit refresh and wait a few more moments, but ultimately if nothing is loading quickly, you’re going to give up and try another site that will load faster.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles. You know this from personal experience when you browse the web from your phone. Though you may be the person behind the brand, you’re also a customer for someone else, too.

This is one of the mobile marketing trends you must keep up with or else you may face losing customers.

4. Mobile Video

Video marketing is a hot medium. Every other post you see on social media is a video. Even websites have noticeably more videos.

Video is an extremely popular way to get your message across to your audience. It’s a great way for your audience to get to know the business by seeing behind-the-scenes as well as deliver a clear, concise message. Naturally, as we use video more, this means video marketing trends will continue to grow and evolve. This will certainly impact mobile marketing trends.

Because video is so huge and Google has taken notice, it’s imperative that your brand starts to use video marketing, too.

5. Location-Based Marketing

Location-based marketing is a direct marketing strategy. It’s where you uses a mobile device’s location to alert the mobile user about an offer going on at a nearby business through SMS-text.

It’s is personal, targeted, and well-timed.

Think about your favorite pizza chain that sends you texts, about once a week, about what deals they have on. That’s location-based marketing. Location-based marketing is something a user can opt into when they download your app.

It puts the brand in your user’s mind and may entice them to take advantage of your deal.

6. Big Data

Big data is something that has been around for ages and will always be around.

It’s data marketers have always used.

With technology, data is everywhere. This is especially true with mobile phones since they’re so popular. Big data is a valuable tool in mobile marketing trends. It will help create more valuable services and advertisements for the mobile consumer.

So, how are you using big data for your brand?

7. Voice Search

Voice search is a function that is gaining momentum.

With Apple pushing Siri, Windows pushing Cortana, Google pushing Google Voice, and Amazon pushing Alexa, more people are turning to using their voice to search. This means the way that we do digital marketing must evolve and change.

After all, we don’t speak in keywords – we speak in full sentences. That’s how we talk to Siri or Cortana, too.

Are you optimizing for voice search?

Mobile Marketing Trends Wrap-Up

Mobile usage shows no signs of slowing down – only evolution. These mobile marketing trends listed above will only continue to rise until we move onto the next big thing in technology.

With these growing changes, it can be tough to keep up or even getting your foot through the door.

If you need help, feel free to contact us at Buzzhive Marketing. We’ll make sure your website is found through search and help you keep up with the latest trends.

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us and boost your rankings today.

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7 Web Design Trends to Boost Your Website in 2017 http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/05/17/7-web-design-trends-to-boost-your-website-in-2017/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/05/17/7-web-design-trends-to-boost-your-website-in-2017/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 13:31:33 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=3432 7 Web Design Trends to Boost Your Website in 2017
In an evolving digital age, it’s important to remain up-to-date about the latest web design trends. Continue reading to learn how to further boost your website.

Keyword(s): web design trends

We tend to think of the internet as ubiquitous — and research bears that out.

According to Pew Research, nearly nine out of 10 Americans are online to some extent. More and more of us are accessing the internet through mobile devices such as smartphones, and that trend is reflected in the trajectory that web design is taking.

There was once a time when all good websites were packed with stuff: pictures, graphics, banners, Flash animation, navigation bars, buttons, hit counters and even 3D animations of dancing babies (remember that?).

Nowadays, if you find a website that’s cluttered with such stuff, it looks like it’s a relic — and that’s because it is.

So what’s next in terms of web design trends? Let’s find out!

7 Web Design Trends to Boost Your Website in 2017

1. Simplicity/Minimalism

Perhaps the overall theme for up-to-date web design is the absence of that aforementioned clutter. Websites have been getting cleaner and more streamlined in recent years, and 2017’s designs are continuing that trend.

Bold typography, simplified navigational structures (goodbye, hamburger menu!), limited visual imagery, and little to no color — or color used very strategically, which we’ll discuss below — all contribute to the sense of minimalism.

Looking at a modern website feels like standing in a clean white room with only a few essential pieces of furniture. Web design trends of the past have more closely resembled a Victorian parlor, with so much bric-a-brac and knick-knacks that you can barely see the room itself.

2. Content Takes Center Stage

The simplicity that has taken over website design serves the purpose, in many cases, of putting the spotlight back on content.

As the SEO gurus have been telling us for years, content is king, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. It makes sense to strip away any distractions and let content take center stage once again.

How, exactly, does this play out? In some cases, viewers of a site see only one bold photograph, one bold headline, and a paragraph or less of text. A click takes them to the remainder of the text.

In other instances, content decks made up of individual cards or modular design might be the focal points.

However, there are no sidebars, no thumbnails suggesting additional content, no constantly refreshing comments or tweets.

3. Pared-Down Navigation

Mobile browsing is responsible for fully half of all global web traffic, and our third web design trend shows how influential mobile usage has become. Cleaner, simpler sites work best on mobile, but they’re also increasingly preferred even for desktop sites.

Complicated navigation menus, dropdowns, and nested navigation are all giving way to four or five nav options on any given page — at most.

4. Microinteractions

As you might infer from the name, “microinteractions” are small and subtle, yet compelling, ways to interact with a website. Click animations, scrolling effects, and perhaps most importantly, hover or rollover actions in which visitors are rewarded with more information simply for moving their cursor over an image, are growing in popularity.

Such powerful but essentially hidden interactions are one way that websites can streamline design and reduce navigational elements, while still offering the same amount of information.

Look for these microinteractions to become one of the biggest web design trends of the foreseeable future.

5. Cinemagraphs

Flash animations are most decidedly out — they are not supported on many devices and they drain the battery life of others. Flash is the Gwyneth Paltrow of the web design world: everyone loves to hate it, and yet it never seems to totally go away.

That doesn’t mean that website content has gone back to being static, however. We still love to watch things move on our computers. GIFs, videos, and now cinemagraphs are proof of that.

What’s a cinemagraph, you ask? Well, it’s sort of the love child of a photograph and a video clip. Most of the image is still, but there is a small, repetitive movement that plays in a continual loop.

Imagine a photo in which a beautiful bowl of oranges forms an almost-still life, except for a tiny insect crawling upon one leaf attached to one piece of fruit.

The cinemagraph below (available at shutterstock.com) is most inviting…

6. Fresh, Clean Approaches to Color

Gradient color, in which one shade gently morphs into another without a clear-cut transition, is going to be big in 2017.

So is duotone, which is essentially the use of two colors, but which can have a huge impact. The two colors can be high-contrast or right next to one another on the palette.

Either way, the use of duotone design is increasing in popularity and will likely be one of the hottest web design trends this year.

7. Wild and Crazy Geometry

Geometric shapes used as design elements, along with pictures and images that are geometric in nature, is another hot web design trend that we’re going to be seeing more of in the next few months.

Think avatars that are circular, not square. Photos that are cropped into a triangle or trapezoid. Bold lines that direct the eye around the page.

Is this a nod to the resurgence of a 1980s aesthetic? Perhaps. The increasing use of varied shapes, lines and patterns is, however, a definite departure from the boxy layout that so many websites still rely on.

This means we can forget about all visual hierarchies that we think we know, with the nav bar up top and the featured content in the middle. Get your eyes ready to look at websites differently.

Conclusion

Even if your website doesn’t aspire to be trendy or cutting edge, there are still many lessons you can take away from the world of web design and the direction it’s headed in 2017 and beyond.

Keep things clean and simple. Streamline complicated navigational structures, eliminate unnecessary bells and whistles. Swap out any legacy Flash elements with cinemagraphs or GIFs. Be bold with both your color palette and your typography.

Perhaps most important of all, keep the content front and center.

And if all of this advice is making your head spin, don’t hesitate to consult with website design professionals who can help you achieve your marketing goals.

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Why Mobile App Design Matters More than You Think http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/03/27/why-mobile-app-design-matters-more-than-you-think/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/03/27/why-mobile-app-design-matters-more-than-you-think/#respond Mon, 27 Mar 2017 18:58:54 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=3137
With millions of mobile apps across all mobile platforms, standing out is hard. But it’s made easier with great mobile app design, here’s how to do it right.

Keyword(s): mobile app design

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, you may be considering designing a mobile app.

If statistics are any indicator (and they are!), if you don’t have a mobile app as part of your online marketing campaign, you are missing out.

According to a Pew Research Center study with results released in January 2017, 95% of Americans own a cell phone — 77% of which are smartphones, up from just 35% in the same study conducted in 2011.

And they don’t just own them. They use them — a lot!

A study by comScore Mobile Metrix found that smartphone users in America — defined as those who were 18 or older, across all types of smartphones and including browsing and mobile app use — spent an average of 87 hours per month browsing on their phone!

Yahoo’s Flurry analytics reported that 90% of a cell phone user’s time on their device is spent using mobile apps!

It’s a staggering statistic that illustrates the importance of why you should have an app. But you just don’t want an app for the sake of having one.

You want to design one that allows your user to navigate easily through the app and find relevant useful information.

After all, who would want to use a mobile app that isn’t easy to click through or find useful information? Not you, right?!?

In short, your mobile app design is an important part of what will create your user’s experience and (hopefully) what keeps them coming back to spend their time, and eventually, their money, on the goods and services your business offers.

Your mobile app design matters more than you think. But why?

Users Want Simplicity

One of the strengths (or weaknesses) of your mobile app is in the design of its user interface (UI).

An app’s design principles, often called heuristics, are general guidelines that designers follow to improve the quality of UI design.

When creating an app, your UI must be built around the main tasks your user will want to accomplish with it. One of the ways to make things easiest for your user is to group similar things together and separate those that aren’t.

You also want to keep things simple — too much text or making a user search too much is going to make it harder to use.

And after all, why would someone want to spend time sorting through your app when there are others out there they could use instead.

Balance in Mobile App Design & Functionality

When creating your app, find the balance between design and functionality.

Doing this takes time on the front end, but can be what ultimately sets your app apart from the competition.

Take the Nike+ Running mobile app, for example. It’s considered the app to use when it comes to tracking your running performance — and for a variety of reasons.

The app uses GPS to monitor your runs, stores information on your past performances and also integrates with social media so that you can share what you have accomplished with others.

From a design standpoint, Nike’s mobile app design is based on their website, with big, bold text and unique graphics that help the user feel comfortable in navigating.

Web design is a major part of your online marketing campaign and can be the starting point for creating a successful mobile app.

When designing your app, consider the following:

(1) What’s the purpose of the app — why will someone use it;

(2) How can I present this to the user in the most efficient way; and

(3) What’s the balance between the two?

Testing & Feedback Refine App Design

When designing your app, don’t underestimate the importance of the testing process and receiving user feedback.

Before your app is complete, you should run it through a series of tests with a group of prospective users who replicate your target market. Not only in demographics but in the environment where you believe the app will be used.

For example, if you designing an app for ease of transportation on a bus or subway system, what’s like to use your app while riding a bus or subway?

Is it easy to navigate through it in the hustle and bustle of a big city in those environments?

Test your app with those people and in the environment that matters most. Listen to feedback from your test users and incorporate changes in your design that helps improve your app in the ways that are most important to those who will be using it.

Things to Remember

In today’s electronic world, a mobile app can be an important part of growing your business.

Despite the popularity of mobile apps, this doesn’t mean your app will be successful.

Take time to design a mobile app with UI that’s easy to use.

People have thousands of options when it comes to mobile apps. Why will they choose yours over another?

Strike a balance between design and functionality. Why you are creating your app and what ways do you want it to assist a client or prospective client?

Chances are if you are creating a mobile app that you already have a website.

What is it about your web design that’s worked well in the past and how can you integrate those features and that style into your mobile app in the most efficient way? Your website should be unique and if it’s not, we can help.

Lastly, test your app as part of the design process and refine it based on the feedback you receive. Be sure that your test users are accessing the app in the natural environment where they’d be using it when it’s finished.

What are your test users telling you works best about your app and what’s not functioning well with it?

What features in the app would they like to see and why?

Understand your target market and react to their feedback — after all, it is their opinion that matters most.

Creating a good mobile app can be the single most important part of your online marketing campaign but getting to that point is no easy feat.

However, understanding why a mobile app design matters before you begin the process is a good starting point for your business.

 

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Is Your Site Design Missing These Crucial Elements? http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/02/24/is-your-site-design-missing-these-crucial-elements/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/02/24/is-your-site-design-missing-these-crucial-elements/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:01:58 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=3086 Is Your Site Design Missing These Crucial Elements?
We’re sharing the most common mistakes we find on websites so you don’t make them. Is your site design missing the key to conversions? Find out here.

Keyword(s): site design

There’s no nice way to say it.  If you don’t have a good website in 2017, your business will suffer.

It’s estimated that only 4% of page views will last for 10 minutes or longer.  If you want to grab your audience’s attention and keep it, a buggy or poorly made site design isn’t going to help.

The fundamentals of site design

Proper site design is crucial for every business.

Your website needs to function flawlessly and look good.  That may sound simple, but if you don’t know much about site design it can be difficult to know where to start.

There are countless types of site design styles and elements you could use, but every successful and appealing website have a few things in common.

Simple navigation

If someone that has never been to your website before landed on your homepage would they know how to get around?

Could they easily find your contact or about us page?

Web sites shouldn’t be difficult to navigate.  Information should be presented in a way that’s easy to understand.  If you make visitors hunt for what they’re looking for, your bounce rates are going to skyrocket.

Make certain features apparent and don’t make visitors hunt for important things like a search option or additional links.

Modern design elements

Looks can matter a lot to new customers.

An outdated website can be just as harmful as a confusing navigation.

There are some web design trends that are best left in the past.  Customized cursors that look “fun” but are difficult to use, “stock-tickers” at the top and bottom of websites, and other gimmicks are played out.

Visual elements can be useful, but an abundance of gifs, autoplay videos, and moving design elements can be distracting and harm loading times. Busy websites aren’t appealing or easy to use, and they could easily turn off visitors.

Modern site designs tend to be minimalist and don’t try to distract users with flashy elements.  Keep it simple and don’t worry about creating anything too crazy.

Helpful contact us forms

How many times have you submitted your information on a website only to never hear from them again?

There’s nothing more unappealing to a customer than feeling like their inquiries are going unanswered.  If you have a contact us form that just takes their information, you might as well not have anything at all.

Put the power back into the customer’s hands.  Your contact us page should let people know how they can reach you via e-mail or social media.  If you go the extra mile, some customers will put more effort into reaching out.

Interesting information about your company

Content can be a big part of site design, both go hand in hand.

It’s no secret that some customers like to buy from brands they feel that they can relate to.

Take a look at your “about us” page.  What would it tell a new site visitor about your company?

Information about company founders or the year it began are a given, but what kind of personality does your business have?

Do people know about that time your company won a local award in your industry?  Could they tell that you love your craft and are an expert in what you do?

If you’re sticking to basic information they could find on Google, you need to revamp your “about us” content.  Tell people about why you’re the best in the business.  Give them some personal info and let them know the real you.

While we’re on the topic of your content, it’s worth mentioning the importance of…

Innovative ways to display information

Text is the tried and true way to relay information online.

There’s no doubt about how popular visual content is.  A lot of businesses are finding different ways to present their content to their audience that goes beyond the written word.

Instead of having people read through another about us page, why not make a video about your company?

Videos, gifs, infographics, and even audio clips can engage your visitors and give them all of the information they need.

A simple to find search function

Ideally, your visitors should be able to find everything they need through your links and navigation, but sometimes they may need to do something extra.

Most websites have a search function, but some don’t display it well.

If your visitors are looking for information, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find it.  That’s why an easy to find search button or function is critical for websites.

It can only take a few seconds for a visitor to lose interest in your website.  Don’t make it easy for them by making them hunt for information they need.

Mobile responsiveness

The Pew Research Center estimates that 77% of Americans own a smartphone.

Mobile web traffic is on the rise and will only continue to grow as more Americans rely on their phones for internet usage.

When you’re figuring out your new site design, don’t forget your mobile users.

Layout and content elements should adapt to the size of the screen they’re being displayed on.  Links should be easy to click, and scrolling shouldn’t be an issue.

Authentic imagery

Stock photos may have been great filler content in the past, but those generic pictures can cause problems on a modern website.

Stock photography seems inauthentic and can be very unappealing to visitors.  They don’t show you any useful information about your business and don’t do much aside from taking up space.

Your website should try to incorporate some original pictures in your site design.  Snap a few pictures of your employees or take a photo of your headquarters.

Fast loading times

We’ve already established that people aren’t going to spend a lot of time on your website.

If they have to wait more than a few seconds for content to load they’re going to get frustrated and leave.

There are a variety of things that could be slowing down your website.  You may have to server problems or different issues, but as soon as you notice it slowing down you need to investigate.

Your turn

Site design is always changing.

What recent improvement did you make to your website? Let us know in our contact us section!

 

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Clean Website Design: Why Whitespace is the Design You Need http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/02/13/clean-website-design-why-whitespace-is-the-design-you-need/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/02/13/clean-website-design-why-whitespace-is-the-design-you-need/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 22:24:54 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=3027 Clean Website Design: Whitespace is the Design You Need
Nobody wants a website that turns away clients. The trend is moving towards clean website design – and, more specifically, whitespace. Here’s why.

Keyword(s): clean website design

Is your website’s design falling a little flat?

The design of a website is important. Something as simple as an ugly logo or design that isn’t user-friendly can turn visitors– and potential customers– away very fast.

Luckily, we put together a guide to simplifying your website and designing it in a minimalist, appealing way.

Are you ready to learn about clean website design? Check out our handy guide!

Why Clean Website Design Is Important

Any marketing expert will tell you that cramming too information into a website without breaking it up a bit is bad for business.

You probably have a lot you’d like to convey. Your hours, your menu if you are in the food business, plans, contracts, reviews, and many other things should definitely be implemented into a website.

However, not following a design procedure could result in a website that looks clunky and is hard to navigate.

The solution? Whitespace, of course.

Whitespace is essentially the negative space of your website, from the background to the spacing between paragraphs. Whitespace is far from wasted space.

Whitespace makes it easier for the eye to find navigation information easily, as well as reading something that will catch their interest and keep their attention.

Have you ever tried reading an article with little to no spacing between paragraphs? It’s overwhelming, hard to read, and usually results in abandoning interest.

Trying to navigate a website with busy columns full of text and images can also make it an overwhelming experience to navigate a website. To key is to put that whitespace in the right spots.

Here is our guide to achieving clean website design from the best marketing professionals!

Clean Website Design – A Guide To Using Whitespace

Utilizing whitespace for clean website design is actually fairly simple.

Focusing On What Matters First

Check out the most used website ever– Google’s homepage.

You’ll see a clean white page with a brightly colored logo in the center, with a simple search box underneath.

The human eye likes to start at the top of a page when viewing a computer or piece of media, like a book or piece of art.

What catches your attention first is Google’s logo, and the logo isn’t anywhere near that top corner.

Whitespace is the magic that brought your eye down to the Google logo. Without any business around the page and only white, our eyes center on what’s most important: the logo and the search box.

When designing your website, consider placing your logo and navigation near the center and pad it with whitespace.

Organization Is Key

Organizing your website’s information is the next most important step. Figuring out where information should go will help minimize the amount of clutter on your website.

Be consistent with where things are grouped.

For example, say you run an art gallery. Your website could be organized like this.

  • Keep one column of the page dedicate to pieces of art– photos of paintings that serve as links to different artists that support the gallery.
  • Keep the second column of the page dedicated to art gallery newsletters and blogs with enticing, interesting information.
  • Have the head host both the website title and the navigation, which could include hours, an address, and relevant phone numbers.
  • Keep enough space between these three sections so the eye can follow them accordingly.

This is just one of many simple ways to organize your website content into relevant sections using whitespace.

Break Up Paragraphs

Be generous when it comes to whitespace between paragraphs if you specialize in blog posts. It’s much easier to read something if there is enough breakup between sentences.

Keep paragraphs at about two to four sentences and make sure there’s enough spacing between the lines, and even more spacing between the paragraphs.

You Don’t Have To Stick To White

That’s right– whitespace doesn’t have to be white! But it should be a color that aids in readability, not hinders it.

Something very light, like a pastel pink or blue, could accentuate the black of the text without being convoluted.

Whitespace is all about breaking up content with negative space so it’s more user-friendly. So don’t choose a color that will make that worse. Here are a few faux pas amateur website designers tend to make when it comes to using color:

  • Using a whitespace color too similar to your text color. (Example: A dark blue background against a slightly bluer bulk text.)
  • Using a tiled background against text. (The key is whitespace, so keep the colors print-free and just one hue.)
  • Using colors that make it difficult to focus. (Example: A bright fuschia or bright neon yellow background against black text.)

The Best Whitespace Examples

To help you get a visual on what good whitespace utilization looks like, let’s check out some great real-time example of clean website design.

Apple

Apple is definitely one of the best examples of using whitespace for website design.

The Apple website features ample amount of whitespace with an easy-to-navigate black header at the top of the page. Crisp, clean images placed in various places without cramming allows the eye to follow, not get confused.

There is a ton of whitespace between sections of relevant text, making it easy to find where a section begins and ends.

Built By Buffalo

Built By Buffalo implements whitespace well without sticking to an overly-minimalist design. Navigation spots are divided by cool honeycomb-style hexagons in different colors with clear labels.

If you want to create a website with a clean website design but don’t want to go overboard with cookie-cutter minimalism, go for something that incorporates aesthetically pleasing shapes and colors in conjunction with whitespace.

Something Splendid

This website is a great example of how to use whitespace in a portfolio design.

This company has since merged with another, but their website still exists as a portfolio of previous work. The header uses whitespace to bring the eye down and around the various links that exist in the form of simple images.

Using a hovering feature over a photo link to allow a headline to pop up is a great way to draw people into links through images first.

The symmetrical, organized design of the links with ample whitespace in between makes it easy to go from image to image without getting overwhelmed.

Design Your Website The Right Way

Was our guide to clean website design helpful in your website endeavors? Tell us what you think, along with your favorite clean website design tips, in the comments below!

 

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Local Search is More Important Than Ever: Here’s Why http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/02/02/local-search-is-more-important-than-ever-heres-why/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/02/02/local-search-is-more-important-than-ever-heres-why/#respond Thu, 02 Feb 2017 16:19:51 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=2998 Local Search is More Important Than Ever: Here’s Why
If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s time to invest in local SEO, stop. Local search is more important than it’s ever been – we prove why here.

Figuring out what to do with your money is a major part of being a business owner– that much is obvious.

But what do you do when you’re entering unknown territory like understanding SEO and whether or not it’s a good investment?

Buzzhive is here to help you better understand why you absolutely should invest in SEO to optimize your local search engine rankings.

We love helping people really take their business to the next level with a great online presence that makes their business more successful.

Our SEO packages include building your site and getting you the best search engine listings. So, why spend time figuring out what’s worth what when we can help?

Make sure our blog is your next stop if you want to keep learning about how SEO can change the way your business works.

Local search is quickly becoming the way people get their information when it comes to finding businesses they’ll purchase from. All of the search engines are shifting towards this trend and businesses have to keep up!

So why exactly should local SEO be at the top of your priority list?

Local search is now king

Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to make sure the results popping up from searches make the most sense.

How do they do this? One word: keywords.

Google is currently the most popular search engine, with over 1,600,000,000 monthly visitors. That’s why your business should be keeping up with what Google does to make sure that potential customers can still find you online when they search for something within your industry.

Some of Google’s updates, like the Google Snack Pack update, are zeroing in on local search and keywords that can link the searcher to your business through localized SEO.

This means that people searching for a specific business, like Chinese food in Downtown, will be given information for Downtown and the neighborhood they’re close to.

Why? Because that phone’s GPS and map location are now being taken into account by Google while results are being pulled up.

To use this update to local search algorithms to your advantage, you’ll want to make sure that the SEO keywords you’re using match up with your locality.

You’ll have to cater to your local search terms

Now more than ever before, business owners should be catering to the individual local search terms that are most relevant to them.

This doesn’t mean you should reach and drop city names that are an hour away but are popular. Google has a way of weeding sites that do that out of search rankings.

But you should dedicate some extra time to find what can closely link your business to your area. Gone are they days where straightforward keywords can be used and the job would be considered done.

Why invest in local SEO?

Most local searches happen on mobile devices

It’s safe to say that most of us look up different shops and items while we’re on the go using our phones.

This means that we’ve moved on from having to look up the location of a specific business (or type of business, like coffee shops) before we leave our houses while we still have access to our computers.

Instead, our mobile devices have the power to give us any information we’re looking for then direct us to that place. It’s so much easier that there’s no question that these search habits are here to stay.

In fact, most of Google’s searches happen on mobile devices. Think about changes to the algorithms that are being used to make the results better for local businesses and more mobile-friendly…

You’ll want to invest in local search optimization to reach those people looking for businesses like yours on mobile devices.

More people are likely to visit your business

When people are led to your business through their local search, it turns out that they’re also more likely to visit your business.

This means more people walking in through the physical doors of your location. And it can also mean more people visiting your website and purchasing goods online.

About 3 out of 4 people are more likely to visit stores or websites if your business appears in their local search. As a business owner, this statistic should really make a strong case for local search optimization– the numbers will really add up.

Make more sales with localized SEO

As a business owner, your main goals are focused on ensuring your business is successful.

Whether you’re based online or have a traditional brick-and-mortar location, sales are everything.

So what if we told you that local search results leading to your business can lead people to purchase from you within one day?

It’s true– 18% of local searches result in a purchase made within a day. This is totally different from the 7% sales that non-local searches end up with.

The point? Local search optimization needs to be your new best friend if you want to corner the market of people searching for the things your business provides!

Local search SEO is cost effective

By now you’ve heard all about how working with SEO to improve your local search results can get more people to see your information. And we know that many people end up making a sale very soon after finding a business through local search.

Making sure your business ranks highly on keyword searches relevant to your industry is a huge part of seeing more business come from online.

So here’s the best part: SEO is cost effective for how much it can help your business.

Working with a company that specializes in helping businesses succeed online is an investment in the future since SEO is going to be a staple for years to come.

Buzzhive is here to help you navigate the ever-changing internet to make SEO and other online marketing techniques work for you!

We have affordable plans and packages that are tailored to your specific needs. If you want more information, be sure to contact us so that we can chat about the process and any questions you may have.

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How To Make Your Brand More “Likeable” on Social Media http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/01/19/how-to-make-your-brand-more-likeable-on-social-media/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2017/01/19/how-to-make-your-brand-more-likeable-on-social-media/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:24:16 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=2931 Social Marketing: How to Increase Brand Likeability
Social marketing is a must for any business, but you have to do it right. These tips will not only get your name out there – they’ll increase brand likability.

You don’t have to be a social media strategist to have logged into a social media account today. That’s because over three-quarters of the American population has at least one social media profile.

The world of social media is a hugely influential one, and we go there in our millions. The average smartphone user checks into social media for a total of 106 minutes per day. 79% of smartphone users confess that they’re on their social media accounts within fifteen minutes of waking up.

What does all of this mean for you and your brand?

It means that social marketing is no longer a choice. It’s an absolute necessity.

But, with so many other competing forces, in a 24/7 arena, your social marketing has to hit the right note all of the time. In this regard, we have some pretty good news. There is a way to cut through the ever-present noise and stiff competition on social media.

It all begins and ends with brand likeability.

Curious to find out more? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’re about to share the best insider tips on how you can make your brand more “likable” on Social Media.

Ready? Great! Let’s get to it.

Social Marketing and Making Your Brand More “Likeable”

1. Be Authentic

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. This quote is often attributed to Theodore Roosevelt and the reason it’s so awesome is because it’s true.

In the social media world, we can go one step further. People won’t care what you have until they know who you are. And, it’s up to you to show them.

A key component of any social marketing strategy must be dedicated to telling the story of who you are in a transparent, interesting and unique way. The voice of your brand should be a human one and it must always be real and genuine. Essentially, this is like thinking from the inside out and allowing your brand to communicate that thinking in its own remarkable way.

2. Create a Community

After you’ve shown your audience who you are, it’s time to show them what you stand for.

Most people are social beings who want to feel part of something greater than themselves. Our need to seek out the company of others is, in many ways, what makes us human. From the moment we arrive on the planet, we are wired for connection.

The social media strategist in you can leverage this innate human need. You can make your brand more likable by striving to create a connection with your customer. You can do this by consistently sharing your mission and validating the choice your customers make every time they engage with you.

Every time your brand speaks on any social media platform, it can have one eye towards building a community of like-minded people. Every piece of content you provide should be saying, either in an implicit or explicit way, ‘You’re just like us. Come join us’.

3. Do More than Communicate, Seek to Engage

Everyone wants to be heard but not everyone is willing to listen. In the world of social media, and in the real world itself, many people forget that communication is a two-way process. It may sound counter-intuitive, but often, the most effective way to get attention is to give it.

If you’re thinking like a social media strategist, the implication here is clear. If you want your brand to become more “likable,” you must listen to your customers and you must never, ever stop listening.

Social media platforms offer you the unique opportunity to do this. You can engage with your customers by inviting discussion and asking them various questions about your brand, and topics related to your brand or even topics that are completely off the beaten track. Why? Because it makes you more “likable,” of course.

Engaging also means acknowledging feedback of all kinds – the good the bad and the ugly. It means responding to problems as they arise. Nobody said you were perfect, right? And who likes perfect anyway?

Engaging with your customers allows you to WOW your customers with that wonderfully “likable” listening ear.

4. Share Compelling Content

For the social media strategist, social marketing offers you a blank canvas on which to paint your message. To become popular, that message must be compelling, high-quality and it has got to add real value.

Your audience lives in a world of constant stimulation. On average, you have less than 8 seconds to grab someone’s attention or they are gone scrolling to the next entertaining thing. To reach above that noise, your content must be creative and shareable.

Adhere to the unwritten rules governing each particular platform and mix up your content so that it appeals to a cross section of people – go visual, use text, create videos and share other interesting content you happen to come across.

In essence, what you’re looking to do here is to take social marketing and permission marketing to the next level by being super nice, and super cool in the process.

5. Be Consistent

If we were to write the book for the social media strategist, the first line would probably read something like this: You must be consistent in all that you do. Forever and ever. Ok?

And, if you are to make your brand more “likable” on social media, let this be the golden rule for all your interactions. You absolutely must be consistent. Everywhere. With everything. All the time.

This means that everything you post, everything you do, and everything you like and comment on, must be in absolute congruence with who you are and what your brand stands for. Consistency, after all, is one of the key attributes of exceptionally likable people.

Social Marketing – Brand Likeability and You

If you can find a way to put all or even some of these tips into practice, you will probably never have to do the hard sell ever again. You may not even have to strive for the soft one.

Attracting an avid following of engaged customers takes time, effort and creativity, and it all begins and ends with “likeability.”

Set out to be authentic and build your community slowly over time. Then seek to engage with your audience by listening and sharing amazing content. And if you can do all of this while remaining consistent in all that you do, you may never have to sell anything ever again.

Because if you do all of that, your customers will flock to you all by themselves.

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The Best Ways to Use Facebook Groups to Get Social with Your Online Marketing http://www.buzzhive.net/2016/10/26/the-best-ways-to-use-facebook-groups-to-get-social-with-your-online-marketing/ http://www.buzzhive.net/2016/10/26/the-best-ways-to-use-facebook-groups-to-get-social-with-your-online-marketing/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:45:30 +0000 http://www.buzzhive.net/?p=2605 Online Marketing Gets Social: Using Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups are a fantastic, often untapped resource to funnel your online marketing efforts. Here are the best ways you can get started – read more here.

In the age of the internet, a lot of the old business strategies have become obsolete. Online marketing is here, and it’s changed everything.

Enter Facebook. If your company doesn’t have a group on Facebook, you’re actively choosing not to engage with 1.19 billion monthly active users.

Of course, there’s more to it than just creating a group. And we’re going to break everything down for you in this post.

Read on to crack the Facebook Group code. We know it will help grow your business.

First, There are 3 Types of Facebook Groups

There are a few different options when it comes to creating a Facebook group, and each comes with its own set of strengths and drawbacks (depending on what you’re looking for).

Of course, you don’t need to limit yourself or your business to one type of group. Use each for its own advantages and convert more customers than ever before.

Closed Groups

This type of group is an ideal place for product support because other members of the group can see the conversations. You might answer a question for one customer, and provide a solution for a dozen more at the same time.

It can also help cut down on email clutter from customers if you use the group as your central product support hub.

Plus, it improves the end-user experience. Nobody wants to send a support ticket. Interacting on Facebook (even when you need help) can be much more fun.

Secret Groups

Secret (or private) groups don’t show up in searches and members can only be seen by other members.

Private groups provide a good place for current customers to network with other users and ask for expert advice from your other VIP customers.

The exclusivity of a “members only” group also demonstrates to your customers that you value them, which increases the probability that they will return.

And who doesn’t want to be part of a little “secret society”?

Open Groups

Create open groups to reach a wider audience and build brand awareness and interest.

This isn’t the place to try to sell directly to group members. Just establish authority on your business niche and prove your value to potential customers.

If you’re facilitating high-quality discussion, your group members will convert to customers in no time.

It’s a more personal spot to get to know your clients better – and they’ll get to know, trust, and like you on this platform.

Give Your Customers a Reason to Join

Use your group to incentivize people to become customers – not as a place to spam ads and try to sell to people.

Answer questions, provide support and communicate with your customers. This is how you build valuable long-term business relationships.

News and Current Events

Discuss current goings-on within your company to keep people up to date, but discuss the industry-at-large as well.

This establishes knowledge and authority on your part, which demonstrates the value of your business.

Promote Events, Products, and Upcoming Releases

728 million people who use Facebook are daily active users. It’s one of the fastest ways to reach a large group of people.

When you post an event announcement in your group, every member will be able to see it on their wall. And if you want to go a step further, send out an event invite to all the members in your group for fast and effective marketing!

Create a Quality Community Around Your Brand

As the admin of your Facebook group, you have the ability to decide who can and cannot join the group.

By accepting verified customers into your group, you ensure that people commenting on, sharing, and viewing your business are actual customers with a vested interest in your company.

If someone is just there to troll and harass your customers, you can block them from the group at a moment’s notice.

Benefits for You

Keep Your Team Together

Most businesses these days have at least a handful of people who work offsite, and some have team members all over the world.

Starting a Facebook Group for your team is an easy and effective way to keep everybody organized and on the same page.

Improve your SEO

By creating a group on facebook, you have a page that is constantly updated with mentions of your site and customer experiences.

By linking frequently back to your main website, you increase your search engine discoverability, which causes you to rank higher on Google and other search engines.

The closer your site is to the top, the more traffic you’ll receive to your site. (If you don’t have an SEO strategy yet, you really should.)

Using Your Groups Effectively

Join Other Groups

Don’t just stop at creating your own group. Join other groups related to your niche and introduce yourself there.

But don’t spam post or you could hurt your credibility with potential customers. Instead, post occasional content that’s always high-quality and new.

Instead, post occasional content that’s always high-quality and new.

Stay on Top of It

As beneficial as a Facebook group can be for your company, it’s not one of those “set it and forget it” resources.

Check back several times daily or hire a social media specialist who can stay on top of it for you.

The last thing you want is for a customer to come to you with a serious issue, and get radio silence from you until you check the group again. Answer questions, join in the conversations and offer insight wherever possible.

In the business world, people have gotten used to being answered by machines and put on hold by low-rung employees.

Nothing impresses a customer more than hands-on, direct communication from someone of authority, and of course, getting the problem fixed.

Did you know that 71% of users who receive a quick and effective response are likely to recommend that brand to others?

Facebook Groups Need to Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Now you know how easy it is to use Facebook groups for online marketing.

You can bring in new customers while building authority and legitimacy for your brand. You can use it to bring back return customers.

When it comes down to it, you can even sell products directly from your group, but avoid this as much as you can. People don’t join groups to be sold to. They want a discussion with people who share similar interests or needs.

With an open platform like this, there’s no limit to how much you can get out of it. As your community grows, so will your company.

So don’t wait another minute throwing away potential customers. Use Facebook groups to start building your company culture today!

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