How often do I need to update my Website?

“Cartwheel Communications web design and SEO services are second to none.” — Gus Rosemark CPA in San Antonio.

Web Design in San Antonio

The title is a question that we get from time-to-time and the answer is simple.  There are the 3 indicators of when you should update your website:  1.  When your website quits driving traffic to your business.  2. When people quit commenting on you website.  3. Every 1-2 years.

Cartwheel main logo

Just ask yourself:  Have I ever been to a website and, after years, it looks old and boring?  Getting tired of Facebook yet?  Still go to the Netscape or AOL homepage?

Well, your customers are bored with your website and as a web design company in San Antonio we know it because they tell us all the time.  We get people telling us that we need to contact local businesses and organizations because their website is old or the pictures on that website are from 5 years ago or it’s impossible to navigate or because they don’t have a map on the homepage or because they don’t have their phone number on the homepage or because it’s boring and not updated.

The message that an outdated website sends is that it appears that the owners don’t really care about their online presence, their image or their business in general.  We know you do care…it is the reason that you update your inventory, your marketing and advertising strategy, your merchandise and look of your physical storefront all the time. Having an old, out-of-date website is like hanging a vinyl  banner on your shop and not taking it down for 3, 4, 5 or even after 10 years.

We live in a time with a different generation of customers and the online expectations increase every day. They are web savvy and expect to be able to find your site on their phone and expect your business to have a Google Map on the homepage along with the phone number for easy access when someone gets lost  trying to find your location. Use your phone right now and see how easy it is to contact you.  If you have to search around your site then you are more than likely losing customers.  A fresh website is a sign of strength to this technology savvy generation and is as important as is having a WIFI hotspot.

There are ways you can update the content portion with very little effort.  First, demand that your website be built on a content management system (CMS) so that you control the text updates.  Then keep the content fresh.  Update it from time-to-time.  Pictures – add new ones at least once per year if not every month.  And please keep your social media up-to-date.

The design may be a little more complicated.  Recently, Apple announced “flat” images for their latest operating system.  The images will still feel the same, but will look different.  The result: the appearance of more space on the display.  Do the same, change up your logo a bit.  Add a little shadow or change the colors just a tad.  Look at the difference between the logo at the top and the one below.  Or, look at our latest website:  Web design in San Antonio

Cart big banner II

Having a website is not enough…the searcher needs to be able to find it…

Did you know there are over 34,000 Google searches per second?  Next week we will explore the best practices and the importance of optimizing for search results. SEO

 

It’s more than just the design…lately.

Web Design San AntonioSan Antonio Website Design

It seems that lately a few of my initial website design in San Antonio appointments are going great. I am excited to report we are off to a great 2013! The problem is that our ratio of customers earned is down vs. the number of appointments.

I think I know why…

Cartwheel Communications Logo

Cartwheel Communications Logo

Customer service and understanding customers needs is critical in today’s business world. Understanding their budget is still pretty easy, but perceived value is still the most difficult part of the process. Please let me explain…

When it comes to web design or owning a web design company in San Antonio, it is very important to understand the market and the value threshold of the micro economy. From there you can easily understand your customers value perceptions and thus match their needs to their budgets. But, it get’s tricky when you get into offering Website Design, online marketing, SEO, or other similar services because the value can’t be touched. You are selling something that isn’t tangible. It’s not a car, a train, a plane or a flame.  It’s a concept and it’s a tool.

That said, it seem that many small business owners still have the perception that website design in San Antonio is something that is cheap and should take less than 2 weeks. The old comment (it keeps popping up), “my brother-in-law builds websites and he said it should cost $250.” True, if you want a basic HTML website with some rudimentary flash that is expensive to update down the road…then yes that would be a great choice. But, at least once per month someone is coming to me with a website that they can’t update or when they shopped it with other companies it would be expensive to update.  The brother-in-law is gone….what to do?

Lately…

A banner ad created by Cartwheel Communications

So, is it the customers that are off their rocker? Of course not. It is our job to make sure we are explaining the process to our customers effectively. Some times that means slowing down or other times it means using visuals to explain the process or sometimes it means going over it more than one time.  After all, they are our customers and it is important that they get the best service we offer and that means clarity.

I will explain this more in my next blog post: Cartwheel Communications offers more than just Basic Web Design. We offer web design with a full back-end system called CMS (Content Management System).  Here is an example of a CMS that really works well for our clients:  Content Management San Antonio.  What is a CMS…It is a system that allows our customers to “run” their own website with no web development knowledge. If you can send an e-mail you can run your own website…If it was built by Cartwheel Communications.

Lately, it’s us that needs to explain that it is more than just the design.

5 Musts of an effective Web Design

Web design in San AntonioSan Antonio Web Design

I have written in the past about the 3 must ask website questions, but what are the 5 most important features of an effective web design? What must be considered before a website project begins and how do you implement those features into your website?

1. The Header: Here is an example of an effective header:

We designed this header for Hill Country Jellystone and as you can see it clearly “tells the story” about what you can expect at the campground. The header reflects family, fun, water, weather, the outdoors and, besides the park ranger (which was placed to show safety), everything in the picture as it is shown is exactly what you can expect from the campground. The well designed Header also shows the phone number and address for quick reference. For more examples of our Web Designs, click here: Web Design in San Antonio

2. The Navigation: This is probably the best example of the best use of navigation: www.jacci.com You will notice that when you mouse over her navigation it asks a question. This gives the feel that the client wants. That said, just because the feel is right doesn’t make it perfect. It, also, has to work and by that, I mean navigate. If a person had difficulty finding what they are looking for or if it isn’t easy, they will simply leave the website.

Here is a good example of a navigation we incorporated into the Web design with the header included:

Texas Press Clipping

Notice how the Navigation just “fits” into place. I love this website. You can check out the Texas Press Clipping Bureau here: Texas Press Clipping

3. The Layout (Architecture): We get this from potential clients, “I have this wonderful website idea. I want to incorporate a social media website into a coupon site and then merge it with the local nightlife scene.” After a brief budget discussion, the form of the website starts to evolve into what web developers call “The Project”. This is when the developer is putting the website together in his/her head to come up with the scope of the project, the plan and the estimate of how much time it will take to complete the project.

A client of ours needed over 80 websites to be built (or a system in place) and needed to have the websites built as needed and preferably (down the road) by non-web developers. We scheduled a meeting and determined that what this entity needed was a system for organizing people into teams and allowing those teams to communicate. Out of that we developed: Volunteer, Communication, Organization, Training (VCOTS). The point is that initially one can never be sure how they would like the flow of the website to be incorporated, but usually after a discussion or two, it will become clear and then the process can begin.

I prefer a web design layout that is easy to read with clear information. Most websites today use the “dashboard” look. I like it because it works and if you want more information you and always read more on the next page. Of course…it’s always up to what is best for “The Project.”

4. The Photographs: Use photographs that convey what you want to say and use them instead of or as a way complement your message. Here are some images from a photo rotator from a website we built for an Accounting Firm: Armstrong, Vaughan & Associates: Notice how the two photographs really tell you something about the firm. Photographs placed as the Header above the Navigation Bar really tell a story.

5. The Content. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Make it easy for people to find your information. Make it easy for them to contact you. Make it easy!

Web design is not enough. You really need SEO!

The $1 million dollar mistake businesses make when it comes to Search Engine Optimization

Web Design in San Antonio

A professional website design is not enough. You need good web design plus you need to advertise it online.

As the owner of a web development company in San Antonio I see a lot of errors being made every day but none irks me more than to see a perfectly designed website with obvious gaping holes in the Search Engine Optimization. Some of these errors are so obvious that I know it is costing the company thousands of dollars per month.

About a year ago we met with a small business that wanted to have a website built. The owner was on a very limited budget and demanded a lot of our time to answer all of his questions. At our last meeting, as we were about to collect the check, I asked the guy how he intended to advertise. “I plan to put an ad on my van, maybe do some mailers and get my daughter to set up a Face Book Page.” This was a bad question to ask on my part because he then proceeded to say maybe he can’t afford a website and we lost the deal to his brother-in-laws–son-in-law who proceeded to put up a most unfriendly SEO website. The design is so poor that it screams: we really just put this up “because you are suppose to have a website.”

Click here for web design in San Antonio!

If you type in the name of this company into Google you will find they are listed #78 in a very niche market. On top of that they have no H1 or H2 Tags…very basic stuff. The content on the homepage doesn’t reflect their message and they have not taken the time to set up a Google analytics account. I also noticed they didn’t sign up for Google+, Linkedin or any other Social Media Sites that offer free links. This is costing them hundreds if not thousands per month.

Why do business–especially start-ups–continue to ignore SEO?

The answer is simple: They are under educated or don’t completely understand the importance of how SEO works. They think that spending $2500 on a nicely designed website is enough. They think that Print advertising is still the best. They can’t “feel” SEO as a tangible.

The good news…

I explain SEO like this: In the old days companies once advertised in the phone book. They would pay up to $5 – $15k per month to get a premium spot so that if someone were searching for their services they would be found before their competition.

Now, for a fraction of the price ($500 – $2000 per month) a good SEO Company can deliver those same results or better and the business owners can reap those benefits and (unlike the Yellow Pages) you are the #1 listing on 10 pages. Or, you are fist listing or on the first page. Either way our are the company that get’s the calls while you competition waits for someone to tell them their H1 tags needs to be updated.

Web Design company In San Antonio

Web Design In San Anotnio

In today’s business world one of the most important commodities you have is time and at Cartwheel Communications we recognize that and have put together an entire line of business solutions that allow you to focus on what you do best – running your company!

The days of having to contact multiple vendors for your website design, website based management tool, graphic design, credit card processing, merchant services, e-commerce, online marketing, SEO, and advertising are over.

With one phone call to your Cartwheel Communications Specialist you can take care of all those issues and more…freeing up your time to give your company the daily attention that it needs.

From start to finish we have you covered.

Our web design experts are the best in the business. Weather you want a custom built website, or one coded in Joomla!, or maybe your need is a basic website, or maybe a high powered e-commerce website, whatever your need is regarding web design our expert web designers can do it all.

Our Merchant Services experts offer the best service at rate possible period. This ensures you won’t be ripped off by complicated pricing structures and gimmicks. Our Credit Card Processing Experts know the industry and always act in a professional manner. Also, by combining our knowledge regarding Merchant Services and our Knowledge with Web based applications, design and e-commerce we are able to offer you the one stop no hassle shop you deserve.

Our Printing service is very affordable. Combine it with Credit Card Processing and a nicely designed website and this will give you the 1, 2, 3 knockout you are looking for. After all, we already have your artwork…let us offer you a discount on our printing services. We are home of the $99 business card special. 1,0000 business cards for $100! Give us a try!

Your local web design in San Antonio!

We are here… where you live! Isn’t it time to in-source?

Being a Web Design company in San Antonio gives us the advantage of being able to have the one-on-one time on location with our clients. This allows the opportunity to discuss all of your needs – from Graphic design to Web design and SEO we have you covered in San Antonio!

We do that…

From e-commerce in Schertz, to large scale websites in New Braunfels, to individual website design in San Antonio, to graphic design in Schertz, to credit card processing in San Antonio, to Merchant Services in Live Oak: we offer full service turn key solutions for your business. We make it easy so you can worry about your day-to-day operations while we help to get your message out to the public while you sit back and relax. Web Design is our business!

3 must ask Website Questions

Being a web design company located in San Antonio we get calls from prospects asking questions, but the most common question is: How much does a website cost? Or, how much does it cost to design a website?

“That’s a good question” I tell the prospect but a difficult question to answer. “I need to know more about your company before I can give you a price. Would it be ok if I asked you a few questions?

Here are the questions that you can be expected to get from a good web development company:

1. What is the goal of the website? Or, generally speaking: What are you trying to accomplish? This question needs to be answered as thoroughly as possible. Some possible answers could be: We want to generate more traffic to increase sales to our company. Or, we want to have an online presence to enhance our status in an attempt to increase our prices and bottom line. What ever the reason you have to be honest here. If now you could get a website that is counterproductive.

2. What specifically do you want the design to look like? A lot of of money can be wasted by not explaining this question properly. We have put together beautiful designs only to have them rejected due to just plain difference in taste. Web design companies are happy to help by redoing design, but usually you get charged more. Spend some time on this so we can help you get it right the first time.

Here is a website design example that Cartwheel Communications did for an advertisement that was used as a header: Web design header art

Notice how the water is falling into the logo. Well done by our artist.

3. What do you want the website to do? This is the most often overlooked and often most important piece of the website. Let’s take the Gorge website for example….When we first met with the administrator we discussed the goals and design. It seemed like a pretty simple project. She wanted to attract more customers and capture her share of the “internet” market. So I asked her, “Would you be interested in selling tickets for the tours on line? This could save you a ton of time in administrative cost. Also,it would allow your customers to shop anytime of day potentially increasing revenue.” She agreed that was a great idea and our conversation continued to the point where the website goals had changed to us building a fully functional shopping mall with a back-end user management system that allows her to manage all the tours, assign the guide for each particular tours and a lot more. The time savings alone was worth the investment and we built one of our most prized websites. She is getting more tours signed up with less effort.

Be sure to always answer these questions of your web development company. Also, be sure the company you are hiring ask you these questions….after-all it’s your money and your business and in the case of the Gorge…your time.

If you need a website in San Antonio you can find us at www.cartwheelcom.com

Why Mobile Marketing?

Why Mobile Marketing?

Mobile trends continue to show in 2010 that people are talking less yet doing more with their mobile phones and devices. According to the latest report from the Pew Research Center, their 2010 Mobile Access Survey shows that now 38% of users access the internet on their mobile device. However, the two mobile activities people do the most include: taking pictures on their phone (76%) and sending or receiving text messages (72% as of May 2010). Which is up 7% from April of 2009.  And is more than double the amount of users checking their emails.

5 Billion Text Messages sent/received each month in the US. Mobile Messaging continues to show enormous uptake in SMS and MMS.

Is your message one of the 5 billion messages sent each month? If not, we can help. Call today to find out how.

Merchant Services

Cartwheel Communications provides quality merchant service accounts for all sizes of business.  Some of our Clients include the City of Converse (for their online and in person bill pay which we also created a custom e commerce solution specifically for their city), SA Taste magazine, and Pragmatic Works.  We also provide free credit card terminals to our clients as well.

Advertising in San Antonio

With over 20 years of advertising experience in San Antonio Cartwheel Communications will help you come up with a complete advertising campaign if you like. We specialize in Billboards, Radio, Print, and Television. In addition we also offer SEO in San Antonio.

Web Design in San Antonio!

Web Design and Business Solutions in San antonio and around the world is what we do at Cartwheel Communications.

In today’s business world one of the most important commodities you have is time. At Cartwheel Communications we recognize that and have put together an entire line of business solutions for you and your company. The days of having to contact multiple vendors for your business card ordering, web site problems, promotional item needs, credit card processing, and advertising are over. With one phone call to your Cartwheel Communications Business Specialist you can take care of all those issues and more… freeing up your time to give your company the daily attention that it needs. What could you get done with a couple more hours a week?

Web Design in San Antonio!
Your wbesite is always on. We make sure it works for you!
Essential for all businesses, a website design can deliver your message, products and image to potential clients throughout the world at all hours of the day. An effectively designed website can be your hardest working sales tool or your very own public relations firm. We offer a wide variety of custom websites with all the extras that will help you serve your customers more efficiently. The short list includes: interactive calendars, email newsletters, content management areas, photo galleries, e-commerce and shopping carts, interactive online magazines or catalogs and more. All of these are designed with your customer base in mind and to give you complete control of your sites message.

With over 20 years of experience, Cartwheel Communications provides the full range of web services. From web design to flash elements, to hosting and maintenance, as well as website and search engine optimization we have you covered. Click here to check out our portfolio.

Domain Name Registration:
Your online name is just as important as your brand. .net, .com, .biz, .org, .tv, .edu, and .info we do it all!

Web Design in San Antonio:
Custom Designs for your company’s online presence. Our team of designers can design and program just about anything.

Website Hosting:
This is the house that your site lives in online. It needs to work all the time