The Website Maintenance Checklist Every Business Needs (Including Yours!)

Your website is finished – you have the flow, design, and development all done and that’s great! But a complete website doesn’t mean you can stop all your efforts as the hard work doesn’t stop there. In fact, it keeps going. In order to keep your website running both effectively and efficiently, you have to complete a series of tasks on a monthly basis (or bi-weekly if you really feel like kicking your competition to the curb). These routine set of tasks you need to do aren’t actually difficult, but does take some commitment, dedication, and time to make sure they happen. When you have all of these tasks happening cohesively together on a set schedule, you’ve got a killer website that’s going to soar.

1. Optimize Your Content for Search Engine Optimization

I hate to break it to you, but SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not a one-time thing. It’s continuously ongoing. If and once you completely stop your SEO efforts, you’ll notice a decrease (most likely a slight one, but a major one if you’re unlucky) in views and visits – which is something you definitely don’t want.

If you want to keep your page ranking at the top of the Google Search, you’re going to have to expend a lot of effort and continuously update your content and keywords to stay up to date with what your potential customers are searching for. Hiring a professional for recurrent SEO maintenance is definitely going to be a little bit pricey, but the results are going to be worth it – especially if your website ranks on the first search results page of Google (or even better, ranks first at the top!) Hands down, the benefits of SEO are going to outweigh the costs of it.

2. Check for Any Broken Links and Pages

One of the worst things that can happen to a potential customer is stumbling upon a broken link (or even worse, an entire page on your website) and seeing the 404 error. Complete ouch.

Unfortunately, webpages can sometimes crash or link to a no longer active page. When things like these happen, you need to be proactive and make sure you find them before your customers do. We know, we know, clicking on each link is very time-consuming and tedious. But don’t worry, we have a free tool that’s going to simplify your life. By being proactive, you can mitigate the issue and save face from a negative impression of your website. You’re welcome.

3. Check and Optimize Your Loading Speed

It’s a fact, we all know it – people are impatient creatures and aren’t willing to wait for a website to load for more than two seconds (five seconds maximum if you’re lucky). If you have a slow loading webpage, chances are, your visitors are going to click out and go to one of your competitors with faster loading speeds. Even if your business is better suited for them, they won’t even stay to know.

But here’s the good news! You can avert this issue by optimizing your loading speed. Search for any images, documents, hosts, files, or pages that are slowing down your speed and once you’ve found them, make the necessary changes or adjustments to maximize your speed and get your website back to the speed racer that it is. You’ll want the help of a professional with this if you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of it.

4. Check Your Security Features

Having a secure website is incredibly important for your business. Not only is having an insecure website bad for your business’ security measures, but it’s also bad for your visitors as they’ll see your website as illegitimate (or even sketchy! 😳) and won’t want to click on it. If that happens, that’s going to be a big ouch for business.

The SSL certificate is literally critical for your business (I can’t stress this enough!) It keeps your website safe from hackers and also tells your visitors that the page is safe and secure. Whenever your website is insecure, it and its data are exposed to hackers and anyone could (literally) destroy it – which you definitely don’t want.

5. Update Your Information

If a potential customer contacts you through email or phone and they find out it’s been redirected to a different address or just bounced back entirely, you might have immediately lost their interest. What are the chances they are going to go through the effort of finding your correct information? Slim to none, so you know you’ve just lost them.

Your business isn’t a constant, so things are bound to change. One of the things you need to do is make sure that you sift and check through your information, content, and data to warrant that everything is up to date. If you’ve moved business addresses, have new hours, or offer new products, make sure that all of these are updated on your website.

If your social media handles have changed, make sure they’re updated too! Maintaining minor things like this are critical to the overall success of your business.

6. Backup Your Website

Backing up your website is a precautionary call that’s going to save the day for you if anything ever happens to your website. Every time you do some major (or even minor, just to be safe) changes with your website, it’s best to back it up so that you have a copy of it.

If anything compromises your website’s security, you can rest assured that you’ll have a backup copy of it so that you won’t have to start a brand new website from scratch. Phew!

While completing all of these tasks on a monthly (or bi-weekly) basis may seem tedious, time-consuming, and tiring, it’s definitely necessary if you want your business to excel. Now all that’s left is to start checking off the boxes as you go every month – you’re on your way to a killer constant website that’s going to knock your competition off the charts!

 

 

The 101 on Front-End, Back-End, and Full-Stack Developers

Have you ever been on a website and wondered how does all this happen? How does the click of a button lead to a different web page? How am I able to chat with my friends on a website? How am I able to listen to music and watch videos? All of these features you take for granted are thanks to the work of talentedly skilled people called developers.

For those of us who don’t have much (or any 😅) experience with codes, programming languages, and computers in general, websites seem like an enigma – mysterious, puzzling, and difficult to understand. To be fair, websites are an enigma, even for the most talented developers at times, but that’s part of the fun. 😜

In the world of web developers, there are three different (but intertwined) kinds of roles – front-end, back-end, and full-stack. Firstly, we’ll talk about front-end and back-end, and then finish off with full-stack developers.

Looking at the Bigger Picture of Web Development

Before we dive into the specifics of what each role comprises of, we’re going to look at the bigger picture with a metaphor. Front-end and back-end developers are a tad bit different, but have their own respective similarities. In fact, there are some connected responsibilities between the two.

Let’s visualize it with a simple metaphor. Imagine your head. Yup, you heard that right.

If we’re looking at your head, then your face is the front-end because it’s the part of your head that interacts and communicates with people and the outside world around you. And if your face is the front-end, then your brain is the back-end because that’s where all the information you receive from your surroundings is stored and sent from.

Makes much more sense now, right? You’re welcome. 😉

Front-End Developers

Now, a little bit more into the specifics of what front-end entails. Front-end developers create the code for the things on the website (or application) that you see – hence, why it’s called the client-side of things. You’re referred to as the client and everything that you see and interact with is created by the front-end developers.

These front-end developers are responsible for everything that you see and play with when you’re navigating around the Internet. If you see it, they code it – fonts, colours, banners, dropdown menus, sliders, and more! In fact, they’re the ones who take the design and code it to create a functioning website. Talk about skills!

The key programming languages front-end developers use are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Back-End Developers

Back-end developers are slightly different than front-end developers. Unlike front-end developers, their work is primarily focused on the things that you can’t actually see in the browser, like the database and server – hence, why they’re called the server-side of things. Their responsibilities involve a strong focus on data as they need to be able to work across several databases and servers from different service providers.

While front-end and back-end developers constantly need to be able to work together in a mutually supportive relationship, back-end developers work with front-end developers specifically to make their code work within the website and over all front-end.

The key programming languages back-end developers use are PHP, Ruby, and Python.

Full-Stack Developers

Last, but not least: Full-stack developers. These developers are considered to be a hybrid of the two we talked about earlier and are familiar and work with both the front-end and back-end of a website. Because they need to be acquainted with both ends, they tend to be familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and one or more back-end programming languages.

Full-stack developers are responsible for the entire flow and experience on a website from its design, responsiveness, interactivity, structural composition, loading time, and more. That’s quite a load of work for one developer – and it is. But full-stack developers don’t necessarily work on all the functions and components on their own, they just have the experience and fluidity to be able to so they can get their hands dirty wherever they’re needed. Flexibility is a full-stack developer’s middle name. 😜

Now that you know about the different types of developers, are any of you motivated to become one yourself? 😜

Breaking Down SEO: A Guide

If you’ve come here for an easy to understand guide on SEO, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve come for a rather morbid joke, you’ve also come to the right place:

“If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.”

What an opening. While not actually true (obviously!), it emphasizes the significant importance of SEO.

Breaking Down a Foreign Language: SEO

Whether you’re a business, a marketer, or just you, you’ve probably seen these intimidating words … SEO. How daunting. What do these letters even mean? If you’re not familiar with SEO, it probably sounds like a foreign language (and probably is to most of you!) But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. We want to help you understand SEO and its BIG picture.

What Is SEO?

Let’s start with the basics: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and according to Google, refers to the “process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” WHOA. What?? What does that even mean? That’s definitely not the basics.

No stress. Let’s break it down further. Simply, SEO helps your website (or content) appear as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.

For example, if you’re a shoe retailer and your potential customer types in “comfortable everyday walking shoes” on Google, you want your business (or at least your comfortable walking shoes!) to appear at the top of the list results – which is exactly what SEO helps you do.

Instead of you reaching out to your audience like many marketing strategies would do, SEO allows your potential audience to reach you when they are actively searching for information related to your products and/or services. Because of SEO’s unique outreach strategy, leads from SEO have a 14.6% close rate, whereas other marketing channels only have a 1.7% close rate.

Why Are 3 Letters So Important?

With thousands, if not millions, of websites on Google’s search results, how can you make sure that your website is the one that appears at the top of the list? The answer to this question rests on 3 letters (hint that’s not really a hint: SEO) because it’s your new best friend that’s going to help your business grow and reach your corporate objectives.

It’s a fact: the majority of search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions on any results page. If your page isn’t even on the first page, then you’ve already probably lost your target audience’s attention. So, it’s really important that you optimize your page to appear as close to the top as possible. The end goal is to have your page appear as the first result on the first page.

As a marketer or business owner, you probably don’t need to be told that the credibility of your business is important. Because your credibility is important, put yourself in the shoes of your audience for a moment and think about this question: If one business appears on page 1 and another appears on page 6, which one do you think will seem more reliable and credible? Understandably, your bet is probably on the first page and you’re right because your customers think the same way.

Your audience makes a mental note of the rankings for the terms they enter into search engines – for them, these rankings serve as a vote of confidence. With a higher search ranking, you will appear more credible in their eyes.

What Are the Benefits of SEO?

Maybe you’re still hesitant about SEO and need a little more convincing? That’s understandable but you’d be missing out and we don’t want you to miss out, which is why we’re here to let you know about the benefits of SEO.

1. Increased Traffic and Higher Quality Traffic

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, it’s SEO’s entire purpose! The whole reason you want your website to rank higher for specific keywords is to receive more traffic. On average, the #1 position on Google has a click-through rate of 27.5%.

You probably also have the question of why does SEO pull higher quality traffic? Simple. Because people on search engines are actively searching for the product that solves their problem. Instead of pushing your product towards your audience, SEO pulls the traffic of people who are already interested in what your business offers.

2. Measurable

While some marketing strategies can deliver vague and/or intangible results, SEO doesn’t. In fact, it can be measured through your organic website traffic and where your website comes up in the search. To figure out the first measure, meet your new (not to mention, free!) buddy: Google Analytics. By using Google Analytics, you can see traffic numbers and how that correlates with your organic search goals, where traffic is coming from, and more. The second measurement is pretty self-explanatory, just count how close (or far! Sad face) your website is to the first result on the first page. 

3. Live 24/7

Unlike your salesmen, SEO works 24 hours, 7 days a week. While I’m sure your employees would love to work for you 7 days a week without any breaks at all (can you sense the sarcasm), SEO already fills that position for them. Even when you’re dozing off with your counting sheep at night, SEO does not sleep or take rest.

4. Improves Website’s Click-Through Rate and Time-on-site

Undoubtedly and logically, high SEO rankings will improve your website’s click-through rate. What’s a click-through rate you ask? It’s the number of people who have clicked on your website divided by the number of people you’ve reached. As your click-through rate increases, your website’s time-on-site will increase as well.

To Do or Not To Do, That Is the Question

From friend to friend (yes, we are friends!), I’ve provided as much insight and information on why you should choose to do SEO to help your business thrive in today’s competitive industry (without trying to overwhelm you).

While the choice is still yours, engaging in an SEO strategy would be one of the smartest investments for your business. If you still have any questions, my friend, email me at service@evilnut.ca and let’s chat! J

Why Your Business Needs An App!

In 2018, there were approximately 25.32 million smartphone users and counting in Canada alone. These 25.32 million users are bound to have at least a few apps on their phone – whether they’re social media, shopping, traveling, or other related apps.

Less and less people are spending time on their desktop and laptop computers as mobile use now accounts for approximately 65% of total digital media consumption. With these numbers, it would seem like an advantageous idea for your business to invest in developing an app – and it is! Back in 2016, there were 90 billion app downloads, a significant increase from 2015’s 77 billion app downloads.

Mobile apps are programs downloaded onto mobile devices – making it easily accessible. Apps can serve multiple purposes such as entertainment, shopping, or customer service functions for users. 

If you know that your business has a problem that needs to be solved or an optimization that needs to be made, you should consider developing an app. The most successful apps aren’t created because a channel needs to be filled, but because there is an opportunity to optimize a process. Apps don’t need to be able to do everything or have an eternal lifespan, instead, the best apps identify short- or long-term purposes and determine how that purpose can be conveyed in the app.

1. Push Notifications

More than ever before, individuals (and youth especially!) are glued to their phones and receive a rush of thrill when their phones light up with notifications from social media networks and their friends. With an application, your business can submit these push notifications to your users as well. The ability to notify your users about important information on their mobile device becomes invaluable. These notifications can inform users of abandoned shopping carts, new products, special offers, and upcoming events. Your business and brand become easily available for your customers – making your content visible and relevant.

2. Constant Visibility and Exposure

With the amount of time that the average person spends on their mobile device, having an application can increase exposure among your customers. While only a handful of apps consume the majority of mobile consumption time, it doesn’t change the fact that users still need to unlock, scroll, and scan their device for the apps that they’re looking for. Because of the way our mind unconsciously records every image and/or text we come across (even if it’s unnoticed), being “in the way” can be advantageous for your business.

3. Superior User Experience

Your app will and should be developed in a manner that allows users to engage with common, desired functions, without the messiness of a website. Apps will seamlessly guide them where to go and what to do in a personalized manner. With superior user experience, there will be more positive reviews, more followers on social media, more brand loyalists, and more repeat customers.

4. Stronger Customer Engagement

Apps maximize customer engagement with your brand and business and allow users to easily connect with your company on social media. With easily shareable content, your customers will want to share – helping expand your social media reach and earning you new followers.

Regardless of what type of product or service you provide, your customers need a way to quickly contact you. Having messaging features within your app can improve communication and engagement. Providing the ease of being able to contact you directly without any tedious processes encourages your customers to be more inclined to connect with you.

5. Brand and Recognition

By having a mobile app for your business, you contribute to your brand awareness and recognition. By developing an app, you can showcase your brand in the palm of your customer’s hand. The way your app is designed and functions is up to you – so use that to your advantage to highlight and emphasize your brand! With a beautifully-designed functional app, your customers will more frequently visit your app. The more often your customer frequents your app, the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service – referred to as the “effective frequency.” The more often your visitors are exposed to your brand, products, and services, the more likely they will engage in an action or response.

With the number of people globally who have and use smartphones, it’s a smart idea to invest in an app.  If you’re interested in building your own app for your business, contact Evilnut today!

Web Apps 101

Web Apps 101

In the past, we’ve provided a brief of mobile apps 101. Today, we’ll discuss a different but similar topic – web apps.

A web application, or web app, is any computer program that performs a specific function by using a web browser as its client. These web apps use websites as the interface or front-end, making apps easily accessible from any computer connected to the Internet using a standard browser.

Web apps perform specific functions and can be as simple as a message board or contact form or as complex as a word processor or multi-player mobile gaming app. Web apps are also different from traditional desktop apps as these are installed on a local computer. Think of Google Drive as web apps and Microsoft Word as desktop apps. While web apps and desktop apps are different, almost any desktop software can be developed as a web app.

The Function of Web Apps

Because web apps are programs on the Internet that can be accessed in web browsers, they provide almost any kind of functionality for businesses and organizations to run smoothly. Some examples of webs apps include product catalogs, search engines, project management tools, web mail, and more.

Web apps are not only dynamic and ever-changing, they also allow users to automate day-to-day tasks and interact with the apps’ data to get the information they want. They can get users to interact with them either by contributing content (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) or by gathering data from other sources and presenting it as such (Google Analytics, Klout), or even both!

Web App Clients

In the context of web apps, clients are applications that communicate with a web server, using the programming language of HTTP.

In client-server environments, clients refer to the program the person uses to run the application. The “client” is the application used to enter the information and the “server” is the application used to store the information.

Before Developing a Web App …

If you’re considering building a web app, you probably want it to be as successful as possible. In order for it to be successful, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is it aimed at?

You need to know who your app is aimed at and figure out who your potential users are. Are they business professionals? Females under 30? Dog owners? University students? Who your app is aimed at doesn’t matter as long as you know who.

2. Why will they use it?

Now that you know who your app is aimed at, you need to know why they will use it. What need is your web app answering?

Remember, there’s a difference between answering someone’s need and want. Is their desire for it enough for them to use it even though they don’t need it? To figure this out, you can ask people that you trust – what’s their first reaction? You can even interact with your potential customers to get them to tell you what they need.

Regardless of whether your web app answers their needs and/or wants, make sure it’s practical. If it’s not, maybe the app isn’t worth the risk.

Web Apps Benefits

Developing a web app provides many business advantages for your company.

1. Cost-Effective Development

With web apps, because users can access the system through a uniform environment (a web browser), the app itself only needs to be developed for a single operating system. This saves the developer the time and effort of developing and testing it on all possible operating system versions and configurations.

2. Accessible Anywhere

Web apps can be accessed anytime and anywhere through any PC with an Internet connection. Unlike traditional applications, users have control of where and when they access the application, allowing real-time collaborations to occur on platforms like Google Drive.

3. Easily Customizable

Unlike traditional desktop applications, the user interface of web apps is easier to customize. With simple customization options, this makes it easier to update the look and feel of the app and/or customize the presentation of information to different user groups.

Just like our segment on mobile apps, it’s difficult to summarize web apps into nothing less than an essay. This brief 101 session should provide you with the basics of web apps, but if you’re interested in learning more, contact us today for more information. We’d love to answer any of your questions. 🙂