Whirl Sites Blog

At Whirl Sites we’re passionate about the web, and our blog is a place where we share resources, tips, and interesting links that we think are of value to our existing customers and to everyone else who loves web development as much as we do.

The Benefits of Email Marketing

If you are in charge of marketing for your small business, you know that there are many options available to you.  In fact, you may at times feel overwhelmed with your choices.  One simple option that is available to you is email marketing.  Here are some reasons that email marketing might be a good choice for you.

Simple to Use – Everyone Knows How to Use Email

Email marketing is a good option for small businesses because it is so easy.  Most people have an email account and have had this account for many years.  The platform itself is simple to use and in general people have a good understanding of how it works.  It doesn’t take special training or special knowledge.  Of course, if you are using a program like MailChimp, there will be a learning curve.  Yet these programs are generally pretty straightforward and easy to learn.  And of course, in order to get good results, the content of the emails should be relevant and the tactics well-thought-out.  But at least the basics will be familiar to employees who are tasked with this activity.

Easy to Reach – Most of Your Customers Have Email

The prevalence of email also makes it likely that many (if not all) your customers will have email.  Most people check emails at least daily.  Some are in almost constant oversight of email messages.  With so many customers and potential customers looking at email you are be confident that your marketing messages will reach its intended target with a high level of accuracy.

Inexpensive to Implement – Sending an Email is Free

Perhaps one of the most attractive features of email is its cost.  Sending an email costs you nothing, though this does not mean that you can run a successful email campaign for free.  You may need to invest in the content and design of your email marketing campaigns.  After all, you want to make sure that the contents of the email are interesting, clear, well-organized, and compelling. If you choose to use an email distribution platform, then there is usually a cost associated with that as well.  Using a distribution platform is often worth the expense due to the added capability they provide for you in delivering your emails as well as collecting data from them.

If you’re just dipping your toe in the marketing pool, then email marketing is a great way to get started.  And for businesses that are well established, email is another tool to take advantage of.  Every Whirl Site includes ten email addresses in our standard package with the option to add more if needed.  Call us or stop by our website for more information.  We are privileged to work with many great businesses in central Indiana, including the communities of Fishers, Avon, and Brownsburg.  We can help you too.  Give us a Whirl!

Website Content that Visitors Will Actually Read

There is a lot to think about when you are launching a website.  You want it to look great.  It needs to function correctly.  People must be able to find it.  Finally, you want its content to communicate to the audience.  This last objective can be difficult to accomplish, especially if your products or services are more technical or complicated.  Here are some tips to make your website content more readable.

Consider Your Audience

As you write your website content, your overarching principle should be to consider your audience.  As a small business owner, you are likely an expert in your products and services.  You probably know more about the industry in which you work than most of your customers even want to know.  While all your knowledge helps you run your business, it can actually prevent you from communicating effectively with potential customers.  You may assume that they know as much as you do.  Consequentially, you may forget to start with the basic information that prospects want and need to know.  It is to your advantage to take a step back and think about your product or service from the point of view of the typical visitor to your website.

Avoid Jargon

Another principle that follows from the first is to avoid jargon.  Your vocabulary is probably replete with words and phrases that are commonplace in your industry, yet unknown to the wider population.  To many prospects (even those in a related industry), this jargon is like a foreign language.  Since the words are not known or used outside your circle, others may be confused or misled by your use of jargon.  Or they may just assume that your content is incomprehensible and quit reading it altogether.  You should always use everyday, easily understood language that all visitors can understand, no matter how familiar they may be with your products or services.

Be Clear and Concise

In addition to choosing words that are clear, you should also strive to keep the whole text as clear and concise as possible.  It’s easy to get carried away by your passion for your business.  This can result in long, rambling sentences that are hard for outsiders to decipher.  You should keep your sentences simple and short.  This increases the chances that all readers will get the point of what you’re saying.  Business owners can also fall into the trap of making content too technical.  You may want to share every favorable spec or interesting feature.  Yet the problem is that most potential customers don’t care that much about the details of your product.  They just want to know how it benefits them!  Keep your content from getting bogged down with too many highly specific details.

Work with the Reader’s Eye

Finally, beyond just the words that you choosing to write, consider how the words look on the webpage.  Our brains have become accustomed to getting information in small chunks.  For ears, we like sound bites.  For eyes, it’s bullet points.  You can take advantage of this preference by giving them text that is arranged in a way that is pleasing to the eye.  In addition to bullets points, small paragraphs and informative headlines will also help your readers to stay engaged and get the information they need.  You will also want to make sure that you use easy-to-read fonts and instructive icons.  Making it easier on the reader’s eyes will make it easier for you to communicate.

You don’t write your website content for yourself.  You write it for your customers and prospects.  That’s why it’s so important that you tailor your content to make it easy for your readers.  This is just one piece of the complex task of producing a good-looking, well-functioning website.  At Whirl Sites, we get it!  We consider each of the elements necessary to produce a brilliant website.  From design to function to searchability to content, we will take care of it all for you.

In addition to our ability to quickly set up a customizable website for you, we also offer content creation services.  We can help you launch an effective website with a minimal investment of your time, effort, and capital.  Join the list of businesses and organizations in Brownsburg, Avon, Carmel, and throughout central Indiana that are benefitting from the Whirl Sites advantage.  Call us at 317-892-9435 to get started today!

4 Things Good Websites Communicate

As human beings, we are constantly observing and analyzing.  We use the information we gather to make wise decisions.  Your customers are no different.  In every interaction with your business, they are gathering data.  They are looking for clues about your company and your products or services.  This includes the interactions they have with you via the web.  What do you want to communicate to your customers when they visit your website?  Here are a few things good websites communicate.

Show Them You Are Trustworthy

Businesses that are new, small, or unknown may struggle with convincing prospective customers that they are worthy of trust.  Limited knowledge may lead a prospect to jump to less than flattering conclusions.  Just having a website can often go a long way in counteracting this tendency.  A website can communicate a sense of permanence and stability.  Your website also gives you a great place to promote your associations or awards, all of which improves your credibility. Furthermore, when the website works smoothly, looks professional, and contains helpful, error-free content, customers have more reason to trust the business.

Convince Them Your Product or Service is Worth Trying

No one knows your product or service better than you do.  One of your primary challenges is to communicate this knowledge to prospective customers.  A well-designed website gives you a great platform for doing this.  It is important that you take advantage of every available capability.  Great content that is clear, concise, and compelling is essential.  You can also use photos or even videos to showcase your product or service.  Beyond this, you can also use your website to report statistics about your business success or share the glowing reviews of current customers.

Demonstrate Your Excellent Customer Service

Prospective customers will be interested in your products, but they will also be looking for clues about how you treat your customers.  Will you be prompt in addressing their concerns?  Will you go to any length to make up for a bad experience?  If they need to contact you, will it be easy for them to talk to the right person?  While they can’t know for sure until they put your customer service to the test, they can get indications from your website.  You can demonstrate your dedication to making their experience a positive one by not only saying so in words, but also including clear methods for making direct contact with you.  Detailing a specific and simple process for contacting the appropriate people within your organization can demonstrate your commitment to treating them fairly and making sure they are happy.

Show Them How You Make Things Simple

Like you, your potential customers are likely to be busy people.  You don’t want them to have to work hard to investigate or buy your products.  Simplify your prospects’ interaction with you and you will go a long way toward cultivating a positive feeling toward your business and your products.  How can you do this?  First of all, make sure navigation is simple, straightforward, and intuitive.  Don’t hide important elements of your website or jumble unrelated information together.  Second, guide them with appropriate headlines and guideposts so they know where to look for the information they seek.  Third, utilize simple forms for common activities on your website, such as requesting information or contacting a salesperson.  Finally, if you sell online from your website, make that the e-commerce components on your site are simple and, most importantly, functional.

Your website is a great way to communicate to potential customers and actual customers about who you are and what you do.  If you don’t have a website or if your website needs to be updated, Whirl Sites can help.  All our sites begin with a foundation that is tuned in to the needs of online visitors.  They are designed to be mobile responsive and load quickly.  We utilize a navigation structure that is clear, simple, and intuitive.  If you need help with content, we offer a cost-effective solution.  Based in the greater Indianapolis area, Whirl Sites helps small businesses in Brownsburg, Carmel, Zionsville, and beyond to communicate with customers and prospects.  Our innovative websites are surprisingly affordable and require minimal time or effort on your part.  Give us a call (317.892.9435) or visit us online to see how easy it is to get started.

Using Video on Your Website

videoIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? Obviously much more than even a picture.  They are able to show movement, action, and change in a way that text and still pictures cannot.  When added to your website, video can quickly bring a new depth and breadth to your communication and customer interaction in these ways.

Make it Personal

With videos, you are better able to share your story and yourself.  Much human communication is nonverbal, and text and even pictures lose that whole aspect.  Videos allow you to introduce yourself is a memorable way to customers and potential customers.  This is especially important in a service-oriented business.  It is also important in cases where trust is a major factor in buying decisions.

Connect with Visitors

Similarly, video gives you a platform to connect with visitors to your site.  Viewers will feel more personally connected to what they have seen.  This may make them feel more comfortable calling to ask a question.  It can also give them a sense of confidence in your business or organization.

Show Off Your Products or Services

Sometimes it is hard to describe in words how your product works or exactly what your service includes.  A video gives you the opportunity to show instead of tell.  Give prospects a glimpse at how easy it is to use.  Demonstrate the quality of your product by giving them a peak at the internal components.  Show them in real life how well the product works.  You can also include important information for current customers, such as how to assemble your product or perform routine maintenance.

Improve Your Search Rankings

Just as important as what you see is what you don’t see.  Behind the scenes, your website is being evaluated and ranked by search engines.  There are many things that you can do to improve those rankings, and video is just one.  Search engines view video favorably so the addition of a video to your site may get you pushed closer to the top of the page.

Keep Them Coming Back

When you have interesting content that grabs the attention of viewers and communicates relevant information, people will come back to your website.  In general, videos definitely get and keep the attention of visitors.  Videos that are clear and informative will make an impact.  If you are able to keep adding more videos, visitors will return to see what is new.  Increased traffic is always good for sales.

Whirl Sites websites allow you to add all kinds of content, even video, with ease.  We are helping small businesses and organizations in the greater Indianapolis area (and beyond) establish a more visible online presence with our well-designed and well-functioning websites.  Our streamlined process makes our websites simple and affordable for our customers, and we can have them ready to go in a few days. Whether your business is located in Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, or across the country, you would love to help you take your business to the next level with a quality website at a reasonable price. Call us at 317-892-9435 or visit our website to learn more.

Five Things You Can Accomplish with a Blog

blog

Blogs are a big marketing trend right now, but they are more than just a fad.  They really can help you reach some of your most important marketing objectives.  Here are just 5 things that you can accomplish with a blog.

Communicate Helpful Information.

In you’re like most small business owners, you have a lot you’d like to say.  You have a brain full of accumulated information that you’d love to share with your customers and prospects.  Information about your company, your product, your industry.  Blogging is a great way to share this information in a friendly way.

Connect with Customers and Prospects.

One strength of a blog is that it gives you the ability to give customers and prospects information they want and need.  While you may know your industry forward and backward, the general public doesn’t.  They are searching for background information and technical expertise as well as practical applications and tips to make them more knowledgeable consumers and users of your product.  With a blog you can communicate what you know with eager consumers.

Create Natural Sales Opportunities.

As you write about your industry, you will naturally be including facts about how your product fits into that industry.  Since you know your product really well, you have a great opportunity to share with your readers its best features and benefits.  Presenting your product or service within the context of the industry gives consumers the data they need to make an informed decision.  Hopefully, that informed decision will result in a sale.

Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert.

Today’s consumer wants to know more and more.  They want to know more about how things work, why things work the way they do, how to compare competing products, how to best use products, and just industry-related practical advice.  Since you live every day in your industry, you are an expert.  You know the things others want to know.  If you are willing to share that knowledge in a blog, consumers will look to you as an expert…because you are!

Boost Your SEO.

In addition to the natural advantages provided by blogs, there is also a less obvious benefit.  Behind the scenes, your online content is influencing your SEO rankings.  As you add more content to your website, your SEO will improve.  If you are adding relevant content regularly by posting blogs consistently, your SEO ranking will continue to advance.  This means that you will be more likely to be found in online searches.

Of course, before you can blog, you need a website with blogging capabilities.  All Whirl Sites websites include a blog so you can start writing and promoting yourself as soon as we get your site up and running.  Since our websites are built on the WordPress platform, blogs (and all your website content) are easy to post.  You don’t need any coding knowledge to post blogs on our sites.  In fact, if you know how to use Word, our WordPress-based websites will be no problem.  Whirl Sites serves customers in central Indiana, including the communities of Carmel, Brownsburg, Fishers, and Indianapolis.  We help small businesses and organizations to make the most of their limited resources by providing affordable websites that work smoothly and look professional and appealing.  Give us a call at 317-892-9435 or visit our website to learn more.

Understanding What Drives Website Traffic

website trafficWhen you create or evaluate your website, it’s easy to make it all about you.  What you like, what you want to say, what looks good to you.  And that’s fine because, after all, your website is a reflection of you.  But how much thought have you given to your potential website traffic?  As you make decisions about your website, it is helpful to think about why prospects may visit your site and what they are looking for.  Here are four reasons people may be visiting your site.

Information About Your Company

Sometimes people find their way to your website through an online search.  These visitors may have never heard of you before.  Think of your website as a way to introduce yourself to these visitors online.  Others may have heard of your business, but they want to know more.  In both cases, you would do well to think about what kind of information about your company will be the most helpful.  You also want to be sure that the organization of your site makes sense.   Make it easy for visitors to find pertinent information.

Information About Your Products or Services

Other visitors may not be interested in your business as an entity.  They may only care about the products or services that you provide.  You want to be sure that you provide relevant information.  Anticipate the questions prospective customers may have and then answer them.  Let them know how your products or services are superior to those of your competitors.  Be sure to focus on benefits that will appeal to visitors personally rather than features that you, as an industry expert, are impressed with.

Ways to Contact Your Business

Another subset of visitors will be familiar with your business and product but are interested in contacting you.  They may be current customers who have questions about a recent purchase.  Others may be considering a purchase but need additional information.  For these visitors, you want to make sure that your contact information is correct, easy to find, and presented in way that makes contact simple.

Special Deals You May Be Offering

Finally, other visitors will be customers that know how great your business is.  They are simply looking for a good deal that they can take advantage of.  Having a special offer gives shoppers a nudge to actually pull the trigger.  Can you offer a cost-savings as an extra enticement to buy?  Do you have a special package deal that you could promote?

Knowing what visitors are looking for is a good first step, whether you are creating a brand new website or improving your current one.   With that insight, you can construct an effective website.  If you’re ready to get started, Whirl Sites can help.  Our professionally designed templates utilize intuitive visuals to direct visitors to key information.  We also work with you to develop a simple, straightforward navigation structure to make information easy to find.  If you need it, we can even help you develop engaging content.  Whirl Sites has worked with businesses and organizations throughout the greater Indianapolis area from Avon to Zionsville as well as across the Midwest.  Visit our website to peruse our classy designs or call us at 317-892-9435 to find out more.

Facebook and Your Website Make a Great Marketing Team

Woman with laptop sit relaxed green grass

Chocolate cake is great – few people would argue with that.  Ice cream is a sweet treat – ask any kid on a summer day.  But together chocolate cake and ice cream are irresistible.  The combination of chocolately goodness and refreshing creaminess makes an unbeatable team.  Similarly (but with fewer calories), you can create a powerful marketing force by combining your Facebook page and website.

Using Facebook to Promote Your Website

Facebook is a smart way to promote your website and drive traffic to it.  Posting on Facebook gives you an opportunity to reach a broad audience.  You can take advantage of this reach by linking back to your blog or website.  Facebook also has the added benefit of enjoying preferred status on Google searches.  This means that your posts using strategic key words should show up closer to the top of the searches your potential customers are making.   With any luck (and interest-grabbing posts), those potential customers will then visit your website.

Using Your Website to Bolster Your Social Media Presence

But what if you don’t have a website?  There are some businesses who choose to operate without a website and count on a Facebook page alone to target customers.  However, choosing to limit your business in this way really puts you at a disadvantage.  Think about it – one avenue for getting found and reaching people is always inferior to two.  Additionally, when you only have a Facebook page and not a website, visitors will inevitably ask questions.  Is this a new business?  Is this business that small?  Is this business shady or unreliable?  These assumptions may be invalid but some prospects will still have them.  A website helps you to establish your credibility and give you a place to provide more detailed product information.

Maybe you are not getting the visits and leads you need from your Facebook page alone.  Or maybe you have a Facebook page and are getting some traction but would like to take your marketing to the next level.  Either way, Whirl Sites can provide you with a well-designed WordPress website that is customized to suit your tastes and your needs.  We’ll help you enhance your online presence whether you’re in local Brownsburg, Plainfield, and Zionsville or across the country.  Don’t miss out on the opportunities for using Facebook and a good website in tandem.  Get started now by calling us at 317-892-9435 or visiting us online.

Using a Landing Page to Accomplish Your Marketing Goals

landing pageHave you noticed that the world is full of chaos and noise?  Distraction is everywhere, and even important messages tend to get drown out by the clamor.  Connecting with prospects and customers requires businesses to think strategically.  Tools are available that can help you reach your customers, communicate with them, direct them, and gather information about them.  In fact, there is one that can help you with all these objectives. It’s called a landing page and here’s how you can use it for focused marketing efforts.

Focused Communication to Visitors

A landing page is a web page created around a specific offer or event.  You can funnel traffic to your landing page by presenting an attractive offer within a marketing campaign.  For example, you might offer free shipping or a free gift for visiting your landing page and following the directions. An effective landing page will clearly and concisely communicate what you want your visitors to do. For example, you might ask visitors to give you their email address or mailing address in order to receive what you’ve offered.  With a landing page that is well-thought-out, prospects get just the information that they need – nothing more and nothing less.  Presenting an easy-to-understand message, a clear offer, and simple instructions will increase the chances for success.

Valuable Information from Visitors

A landing page is an effective tool not only to communicate to customers but also to gather information from customers.  If your offer is valuable to visitors, they will willingly give you the information you are seeking in exchange.  This is a great way to capture data about interested customers, which is very valuable.  It gives you an opportunity to follow up further with people who are more likely to actually purchase your product or service.  In an environment filled with both relevant data and meaningless noise, a landing page connects you with quality customer data and creates sales opportunities with a higher likelihood of success.

So maybe a landing page is a great marketing tactic, but it must be difficult to put into place, right?  Well, no, actually they are usually fairly easy to create.  This is especially true if your website is built on the WordPress platform.  You can add or change pages, including landing pages, with ease and as often as needed.

We build our Whirl Sites websites on WordPress and thus provide you with the perfect backdrop for creating your own landing pages.  Landing pages can also be set up on a separate domain that then links to the main domain. So no matter what kind of existing website you have, we can build you a separate landing page linking back to your website.  Whirl Sites has experience providing customizable websites and landing pages to customers in the Indianapolis area as well as around the country.  Call us today at 317-892-9435 to get started!

Website Advantages: Six Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Website

advantages of having a websiteLife happens online these days.  It’s where we work, where we shop, even where we connect with others.  Yet some small business owners still wonder if they really need a website.  This question hardly deserves an answer, but I’m going to answer it anyway.  In short, YES – you do need a website!  Need to be convinced? Keep reading for our explanation of 6 website advantages.

A Website Establishes You as a Professional.

While in the past, a website may have been an “extra” that set you apart from your competition, those days are over.  Now it is just expected that any reputable business will have a website.  Without a website, businesses can seem small, unprofessional, or unprepared to prospective customers.  A website lends credibility to a business and conveys the idea of stability, history, and competence.

A Website Creates Opportunities to Introduce Yourself.

What is an introduction worth to you?  Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to sit down with someone who is interested in buying your product and telling them all about why it is a superior option compared to your competitors?  Think of your website as a means to do just that.  Buyers who are considering a purchase can access all the information about your product that you choose to put on your website.

A Website Gives You a Chance to Show What You Can Do.

Even beyond the information you share about your company and your product, a website is also an opportunity to actually demonstrate your product with more expanded detail.  This can be done through pictures, detailed diagrams, case studies, and testimonials from satisfied customers.  In this way, a website might actually provide you with the ability to give more detailed data and specific examples than you would be able to communicate in an in-person meeting.

A Website Expands Your Ability to Make a Sale.

The effectiveness of a website to communicate with prospective customers is accentuated by its availability at all times and in all locations.  Whereas a sales employee can only be in one place at one time, your website is there whenever a would-be buyer has an impulse to buy or a question to be answered.  Additionally, your website makes you accessible to anyone around the globe.  Your reach is virtually unlimited in terms of time and place.

A Website Provides Tools for Cost-Effective Marketing.

Every marketing tactic has a cost associated with it and that cost must be weighed against the potential reach of your tactic.   When you send out a mailing, your potential audience is the mailing list.  When you place an advertisement in a magazine, your potential audience is the list of subscribers to the magazine.  When you have a website, your potential audience is anyone with an internet connection.  Since the cost to set up a website is relatively low and there is not much ongoing expense, a website is a highly cost-effective strategy.

A Website Helps You Serve and Stay Connected to Your Customers.

A website is not only beneficial in reaching prospective customers and making individual sales, but it also helps you to serve the customers you already have.  You can strengthen customer loyalty and satisfaction by providing relevant information that your customers need or want through blogging or other features on your website.  This will also keep you at the forefront of your customers’ minds.

If you still don’t have a website but realize that you really do need one, it’s time to talk with the professional designers at Whirl Sites.  We understand that this is both a necessary investment and a fantastic opportunity.  By providing you with a website that looks great and functions smoothly, we will help you maximize the benefits of a website.  Visit our website to learn more about us.