Is Your Small Business Website Secure

Is Your Small Business Website Secure

On July 2, ATX Web Designs CEO Daniel Griggs was featured in Forbes in an article titled Is Your Small Business Website Secure?. As website templates and DIY web design programs become more popular, they also increase the potential risk of security threats.

The article outlines several ways that small businesses in particular can help ensure their websites can protect customer information and company data, as well as preventing other security breaches.

Here are a few of the important security questions business owners should ask about their websites, as outlined in the Forbes piece:

Is your website hosted on a secure server with an SSL certificate? If you collect private information from site users, you need a hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS), which prevents the interception of data. Additionally, SSL will encrypt information so that it cannot be breached.

Does your website require complex passwords? Requiring all users to use complex passwords when signing into your site will help prevent their accounts from being hacked. For example, you can require users to use a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters and special characters in their passwords.

Do you have a firewall in place? Firewalls can block duplicate internet protocol (IP) addresses automatically, which prevents spammers and hackers from registering multiple accounts from the same computer.

Does your website contain custom coding? Unfortunately, website templates built through CMS like WordPress can be more susceptible to hacking. Custom coding is much more difficult to breach.

Are your plugins up to date? Failing to update your software and plugins can result in security vulnerabilities and issues on your website.

To read the complete article, click here.

The Top 20 Website Design Trends of 2021

The Top 20 Website Design Trends of 2021

The web design industry is a fast-paced and rapidly evolving one. Every year, new innovations in graphic design, user interface design, marketing, and backend development lead to new trends for websites and mobile applications.

Over the past year, we have seen businesses of all sizes increase their investment in their web presence. We were already living in a digital economy before COVID-19, but the global pandemic has emphasized the need for companies to improve their online brand and prioritize digital marketing.

Consumer habits have also changed, with more and more individuals choosing to shop online instead of in person. With the increased online participation and standards of the modern consumer, it is essential for businesses to keep up with design trends and present a digital brand that is relevant, engaging and effective in meeting its long-term goals.

Here are the top 20 website design trends predicted for 2021:

  1. Muted colors
  2. Authenticity and honesty
  3. Flat icons and illustrations
  4. Retro fonts
  5. Activism and supporting meaningful causes
  6. Parallax scroll animations
  7. Classic serif fonts
  8. Playfulness and optimism
  9. Illustrations
  10. Abstract and surreal art
  11. Minimalism
  12. Personalized experiences
  13. Vintage effects
  14. Animations
  15. Custom graphics
  16. Interactive landing pages
  17. Unique multimedia
  18. Embedded videos
  19. Non-traditional scrolling
  20. Gradient color schemes

Questions about how content marketing and web design strategies could elevate your brand and improve your bottom line? Schedule a consultation with one of our digital strategists by clicking here.

10 Tips for Writing Better Social Media Ads

10 Tips for Writing Better Social Media Ads

About 42 percent of the world’s population, or 3.2 billion people, use social media, and the average user spends 2-3 hours a day on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Businesses have recognized the value of engaging with this massive online audience and social media ads have become an essential piece of modern marketing.

There is an overwhelming amount of demand for user attention on social media websites and apps. The average social media user sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads per day and is inundated with content. That means that it is more important than ever for businesses to be smart about the advertising content they produce.

Here are 10 tips for creating better, more compelling social media ads.

  • Choose the right platform. Different social media platforms cater to different audiences. For example, members of Generation Z (16-24 year olds) are more likely to be active on apps like TikTok than they are to spend time on Facebook. Don’t waste time and money on social media ads that aren’t popular with your target demographic.
  • Focus on audience values. Effective social media ads offer an instant promise to meet the values and priorities of their audience. Identity your target demographic’s key values and create a list of ad keywords that speak to those values.
  • Include engaging photos and graphics. Most social media platforms are largely visual. If you want to quickly capture the attention of a user who is scrolling through social media, you need bold, engaging photos and graphics that will pause them in their tracks and encourage them to read your content.
  • Simplify your copy. Attention spans on social media platforms are incredibly short. Users are typically scrolling quickly and mindlessly through their feeds and don’t want to do more work than is necessary to read advertisements. To make it easier for your audience, simplify your ad copy by removing jargon, long words, adverbs and most adjectives.
  • Use a creative hook. A hook is the first line of your ad copy that catches the attention of a reader. A social media user may or may not even read your hook, but if they do, you want to make sure you are pulling them in with an intriguing question, a bold statement, a useful fact or a keyword that resonates with them.
  • Create a straightforward call to action. The call to action (CTA) is the next step you want someone to take after they read your ad. For the purpose of social media ads, CTAs should be short, simple and compelling. Try using motivating action words such as “create,” “discover,” “get,” and “try.”
  • Build a sense of urgency. You want to give your audience a reason to take action after reading your social media ad. Creating a sense of urgency will help motivate them to engage further with your brand and take the next step in the marketing funnel. For example, creating a special deal or discount with a time limit can persuade users to take action now instead of later.
  • Personalize your ads. Users are more likely to pay attention to ads that feel personal to them. Try including your audience’s city name in your ad headline or call out their demographic by name, such as “parents,” “college students” or “entrepreneurs.”
  • Maintain consistency between ads and landing pages. Consistency is key when it comes to online branding and the user experience. If your social ad is directing users to a landing page or website, make sure your colors, fonts, graphic design and content tone remain consistent between pages.
  • Collect data and experiment. To a certain extent, social media advertising is a giant experiment. What works well for one company may not work for yours—even if you fall within the same industry or cater to a similar audience. The most important part of social media marketing is to collect data on user behavior and engagement and modify your approach regularly to prioritize the type of copy and design that works for your audience.

Questions about how content marketing and web design strategies could elevate your brand and improve your bottom line? Schedule a consultation with one of our digital strategists by clicking here.

How to Instantly Improve Your Website Copy

How to Instantly Improve Your Website Copy

Having a well-designed, user-friendly website is the first step toward developing a successful online brand. But great web design is practically useless without good copy. The text on your website is just as important as its aesthetic and usability.

Studies have found that website visitors will navigate away from a page if they cannot find what they are looking for within 10 seconds. That means your website copy has 10 seconds to convince users that your company can solve their problems better than the competition can.

Many business owners and entrepreneurs do not know where to start when it comes to creating content for their websites. It can feel overwhelming to try to condense an entire company or brand down into a few simple paragraphs on a landing page or homepage. As a result, many websites are bogged down by irrelevant or cumbersome content that turns site visitors away instead of converting them into paying customers.

Working with a professional content creator or digital marketing company is the best way to make sure your website messaging and branding is just right. However, there are a few easy ways that you can instantly improve your website copy on your own. Here are five strategies for creating more engaging, effective content for your website:

  1. Focus on the user. Perform an audit of your site content and see how often you use the word “you.” The majority of your website copy, particularly on the home page, should be focused on the user and not on your company.
  2. Move from problem to solution. Digital content marketing is about connecting with an audience’s pain points (the problem) and presenting your company’s product or service as a solution. Frame your content in terms of your audience’s challenges and how you can make their life better.
  3. Promote benefits, not features
    . Instead of writing about the features of your product or service, concentrate your writing on the benefits customers will receive when using your product or service. This places the attention on the user and helps them feel more engaged with your copy and with your brand.
  4. Include clear Calls to Action. Don’t assume your audience understands the next step they need to take in moving down the path to purchase—or that they will take initiative to move forward on their own. Each section of your website should indicate some Call-to-Action, such as “learn more,” “sign up,” or “browse our products.”
  5. Provide value. Your audience’s attention needs to be earned, so each piece of content on your site should provide some sort of value. Identify what your specific audience values then use bold, simple headlines and straightforward copy that showcase how you can provide that value.

Having a well-designed, user-friendly website is the first step toward developing a successful online brand. But great web design is practically useless without good copy. The text on your website is just as important as its aesthetic and usability.

Studies have found that website visitors will navigate away from a page if they cannot find what they are looking for within 10 seconds. That means your website copy has 10 seconds to convince users that your company can solve their problems better than the competition can.

Many business owners and entrepreneurs do not know where to start when it comes to creating content for their websites. It can feel overwhelming to try to condense an entire company or brand down into a few simple paragraphs on a landing page or homepage. As a result, many websites are bogged down by irrelevant or cumbersome content that turns site visitors away instead of converting them into paying customers.

Working with a professional content creator or digital marketing company is the best way to make sure your website messaging and branding is just right. However, there are a few easy ways that you can instantly improve your website copy on your own. Here are five strategies for creating more engaging, effective content for your website:

  1. Focus on the user. Perform an audit of your site content and see how often you use the word “you.” The majority of your website copy, particularly on the home page, should be focused on the user and not on your company.
  2. Move from problem to solution. Digital content marketing is about connecting with an audience’s pain points (the problem) and presenting your company’s product or service as a solution. Frame your content in terms of your audience’s challenges and how you can make their life better.
  3. Promote benefits, not features. Instead of writing about the features of your product or service, concentrate your writing on the benefits customers will receive when using your product or service. This places the attention on the user and helps them feel more engaged with your copy and with your brand.
  4. Include clear Calls to Action. Don’t assume your audience understands the next step they need to take in moving down the path to purchase—or that they will take initiative to move forward on their own. Each section of your website should indicate some Call-to-Action, such as “learn more,” “sign up,” or “browse our products.”
  5. Provide value. Your audience’s attention needs to be earned, so each piece of content on your site should provide some sort of value. Identify what your specific audience values then use bold, simple headlines and straightforward copy that showcase how you can provide that value.
7 Ways to Improve Your Brand’s Social Media Engagement

7 Ways to Improve Your Brand’s Social Media Engagement

Having a solid social media strategy for your business is a crucial element of brand marketing. The average person spends about two and a half hours on social media every day while millennials, the largest consumer demographic, spend closer to three.

Social media engagement—or the comments, likes and shares your posts receive—are the best indicator of an effective social presence. If your account has tens of thousands of followers but little interaction with those followers, your content is falling on deaf ears. As a commercial brand, your social media accounts should strive for quality over quantity and help you build a solid foundation of loyal fans and customers.

Whether you are a social media novice, or have an established company brand online, here are seven tips for improving engagement with your audience.

  1. Post eye-catching photos and videos. On social media, striking photos and video content coupled with text get significantly more engagement than a block of text on its own. Incorporating multimedia is especially important on platforms like Facebook and Twitter that don’t require images for posts. Your photo only needs to be loosely related to your content, but make sure it isn’t click bait or you will lose the trust of your audience and the social media algorithms may work against you.
  2. Ask questions. Polls and questions are great ways to interact with your followers on social media. Whether you post the question in your feed, stories, or in a live video or reel, you are sure to connect with your audience in a deeper way.
  3. Be funny. A Sprout Social survey found that humor is the most desired brand characteristic after honesty, helpfulness and friendliness. Three out of four respondents said they wanted their brands to be funny, although only one in three thought snarky humor was appealing.
  4. Get personal. Studies have shown that more and more consumers favor brands that feel personal and personable. Don’t hide behind a professional veneer (unless that supports your brand image). Try posting behind-the-scenes-content, personal photos, and posts that show you are a real company run by real people.
  5. Partner with other brands. Cross-promotions and collaborations can be a very effective way to increase followers, sales and engagement. Partner with brands that have a similar audience and style to yours so that you can double down on what your followers already know and love.

Questions about how content marketing and web design strategies could elevate your brand and improve your bottom line? Schedule a consultation with one of our digital strategists by clicking here.