Eight top-notch companies with disappointing websites

You would think that the world’s biggest or influential companies should all be following modern web design trends. On the contrary – a quick glimpse at some of the World’s most renowned companies and organisations shows that you don’t need to have a decent looking website to do pretty good in business…

Since last year’s Mobilegeddon, every digital agency has had a new card to play with their clients. Something like: „Mr CEO (/CMO), your company website www.xyz.com may be facing significant drops in its Google rankings. The only way to prevent this is to have a mobile-friendly website, which might bring you more clients, too”. It’s not a sales schtick used by those „damn salesmen”, but a proven fact with full research and data to back it up.

By the same token, there are lots of well-established companies and organisations that don’t seem to be concerned with the look and usabillity of their websites.

Here’s a list of 8 well-established companies and organisations with really poor websites:

1. (WITH A VENGEANCE) BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY

The Omaha-based, multinational conglomerate led by Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger is the prime example. Over $200 million revenue in 2015 and a website that looks like… you know, just bad. Okay, let’s just say it’s quite modern if you’re still living in the mid 90’s. Apparently, the company’s IT dept (would bet my house that no professional agency was involved) hasn’t heard about “this fad” called web-design. Still, do you think that Mr. Buffet cares? Probably not, which is why the message is clear here: if your brand is already established, strong and speaks for itself, you really don’t need advertising and most people won’t even notice your horribly looking website.

2. LUKOIL

Same goes for the largest Russian privately owned company – Lukoil. You would think that gas stations in 11 countries all over Europe and USA are signs of a well established company. Can’t really argue with that, but only if we’re talking about annual revenues and market shares. Unfortunately, it’s another big brand that forgot about making sure that THE COMPANY’S MAIN WEBSITE doesn’t look outdated, and doesn’t make mobile users cringe. However, I do need to emphasize that someone made an effort (probably around 2009) to publish a company logo, basic navigation bar and … wait for it… a search field. Phew! Advanced online witchcraft. 🙂

3. PIXAR

Remember the animated film studio that produced all of those awesome movies like Toy Story, Monsters INC, The Incredibles? Pixar, right? Everytime I watch those movies, they make me feel like I’m 9 years old again. Well, let’s see their website. Since they have a long track record of creating memorable animated movies, I’m sure that they have a….

No… not again…. Nearly 400 employees, all of whom probably have great visual taste. Nobody stood up to say: „Boss, our website needs some work, let’s do it the Pixar way, please!”. To be 100% fair, their website is not that bad after all. Nevertheless I was expecting something spectacular – with the same slick look and eye-catching design as their animations have. What you see is a website that might as well have been created for a dentist clinic somewhere in New Jersey (not that there’s anything wrong with dentists from New Jersey).

4. YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ART

Yale University is one of the World’s most renowned colleges. At first glance, the University’s Art School surely has the full toolset for guiding future art masters, but unfortunately they lack masters in the web design department. A collage of random photos, pictures and 90’s-styled textboxes – the website looks more like an abstract art installation than a piece of modern web design. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Yale faculty said: „Well, it’s suppposed to look like this. We aimed for a neo-classical post-modernist look that’s a manifest against the injustice of men and women everywhere.” Sounds like a fine explanation. But at the same time, this is simply another well-established brand that apparently doesn’t need to focus on internet marketing.

5. HALLIBURTON

Okay, the world’s second biggest company in oilfield services – big business, big money, and … another not-as-great website design. It definately looks like your typical corporate site from 2008. The first thing that gets me thinking is the main banner – people using AdBlock with default settings may get an impression that the website is malfunctioning. The amount of subpages and wide-spread architecture only create more confusion – if it weren’t for Halliburton’s well established brand, I’m sure people would have major diffictulties in telling what the company’s all about – based only on their website. And it’s just a nightmare to navigate through the website on your smartphone. Although there is a mobile version of the website, the loading time was sooo long that it’s just a nightmare.

6. MOLSON COORS

The World’s seventh biggest brewing company – you’d expect a fully modern and user-friendly website in this case. Just in case you need to find out more about your favourite beverage, check out the latest stock exchange figures, or apply for a new job. That last one seems to have the greatest page title: „Careers in Beer Begin Here”… Well, if you ask me, I’d definitely recommend Homer Simpson as the new Senior Quality Inspector. But going back to the website, besides being mobile-unfriendly and some missing links in the hover menu.

…this website is just as bad as the rest of our contenders. I’d recommend their marketing team to pick a less over-processed and clip-artish photo in the main banner – as a good start. On the plus side, you actually get a sense of what the company is all about so I’d say that the site is fairly informative and navigation is kind of intuitive.

7. CRAIGSLIST

Okay, I know that this isn’t a big Fortune 500 company, but after all these years, it is a well established name and a highly visited website. But what’s with the look? Come on, I know that the most crucial thing is the content and I’m sure the people looking for a pre-owned Prius, washing machine or a house in Malibu don’t mind the 90s design. Wait, maybe they were aiming for the Berkshire Hatthaway look? Well, a job well done ladies and gents!

8. COSTCO

Ranked #18 in the current Fortune 500 list, I’d say this is the best website in the retailing industry. Period. Just take a look:

Since there are so many key factors to the awesomeness of this site, let me write them out in bullet points:

 

    • ultra fast loading time

 

    • clear, definately not overstimulating design

 

    • great UI/UX

 

    • intuitive navigation

 

    • content is easily readable but the website itself isn’t text heavy.

 

It’s safe to say that this is a prime example of a modern corporate website for a Fortune 500 giant…

Okay, let’s not be so harsh. Apparently, there’s something wrong with Costco’s main website, but we’re not quite sure what might be the case. The UK website works fine and there’s even a mobile version. Nice!

Since I’m located in Poland, there’s a possibility that maybe Costco.com can be viewed by US users only. Which actually wouldn’t be much of a surprise, but a “US users only” information could be helpful.

Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for Entrepreneurs

How Keyword Rich Content is Directly Related to SEO for your Business

Ever wonder what SEO really is but were afraid to ask?

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. It’s the umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure your website is found by various search engine result pages (SERPs).

Google is the most widely used search engine but it’s certainly not the only one. There’s Bing, Yahoo!, AOL and others.

If your website does not appear higher up in their search rankings, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity.

The goal of SEO is to get qualified leads and prospects to discover your business when they are searching for products or services that you offer in the search engines.

SEO isn’t Rocket Science but it can be Complicated

When it comes to SEO, a few important tactics can greatly improve your presence in the increasingly crowded online space.

If you’re attempting search optimization on your own or more wisely hiring an SEO expert, it’s important to be informed with certain SEO fundamentals before proceeding.

Search engines try to provide the most relevant results to a searcher’s query. Whether it’s an answer to a simple question like, “how many ounces are in a gallon?” to more complicated queries such as, “what is the best Chinese restaurant nearest to me?”

After reading this article, you will gain a better understanding of what you need to know before beginning an SEO campaign and what your role is if you decide to outsource this valuable marketing strategy.

Know Your Audience and What Content They’re Looking For

Why Content Marketing Plays a Big Role in SEO

First let’s look at what SEO feeds on. And that is content (text, images, videos etc) found on your website.

Since great SEO relies on how well your content is ranked, as well as factoring in your social media and local engagements, you want to keep fluff content to a minimum and focus on quality.

While it sounds time-consuming, quality content has benefits that reach beyond SEO.

Good content is useful across all marketing mediums and forces you to think through your message from a topic and keyword perspective.

The key is to ensure you are honing in on what actually matters to your audience.

It’s imperative you know who would want to buy your products or services and what they’re searching for in the search engines in order for them to find your website as the solution to their needs.

Your initial instincts may be correct, but you might be missing things that could gain additional website traffic, potential relationship opportunities, or new market segments to your business.

Therefore, proper due diligence is paramount in order to map your target audience to the keywords, topics, and phrases they’re using in and around your industry.

Create SEO-Driven Content

Writing only for search engines usually makes your content boring. Typically that strategy won’t help to convert your visitors into customers.

It’s far better to focus on people first. Make your content as value-driven as possible and then optimize it for search engine bots without sacrificing the quality of your content.

The underlying content is extremely important. Too many people skimp on content but it’s one of the major anchors that tether you to Google’s relevancy algorithms.

The problem we see a lot of entrepreneurs run into is them creating content “they” think is perfect and sounds great to them but SEO wise, can at times be utterly worthless.

Being authentic is important but do so while factoring in the reason why you’re creating the content in the first place with marketing, branding, lead generation and of course SEO in mind.

Thin content with errors, or duplicate content and spun or spam content can really hurt you.

Instead, the content not only has to be lengthy, but it has to be well-written, keyword rich and highly engaging where readers are spending a good amount of time digesting and consuming that content.

Content Creation for SEO Success

As you create content, you’ll want to make sure each page is optimized for:
• Page speed,
• bot crawling,
• responsive friendliness, and
• overall findability.

An Initial investment in a site audit or recommendations for establishing a few initial best practices will save you much time and money in the long run.

Ideas for new content can be gathered from questions your own clients often ask or visit online forums and social media to find questions around your industry, products, and marketplace for more inspiration.

Check the competition with content ideas to ensure you’re on par with your competitors when it comes to covering topics and questions in the industry concerning your company.

Manage Your Keywords Wisely

The key to pleasing both search engines and visitors is to have quality content on our website that includes keywords your target market would be using in the search engines when looking for a solution to a problem your business can solve.

To do this, you want to run your keywords and topics through a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure the topics and keywords you have chosen have enough search volume and potential traffic to make them worthwhile.

Be sure to take into account the relevance of the search to your audience.

The narrower the topic focus, the lower the traffic typically. This is often offset by the accuracy and interest of the audience.

Do not Spam the keywords!

This also means using different connotations of the same words over and over again within your content.

Google loves NEW content. Keep in mind that websites are liquid so this is where your blog plays a major role in effective SEO.

What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For

Search engine spiders only have a certain amount of data storage. If you’re performing shady tactics or trying to trick them, chances are you’re going to hurt yourself and your business reputation in the long run.

At the end of the day, focusing on quality content that can be easily found by your target audience will benefit all of your marketing and sales efforts. Spend a lot of time on the things above and the rest will fall into place.

5 Video Surveillance Trends to Watch Out For

The video surveillance market is driving substantial growth in the security industry as a whole. With several major players launching modern and innovative surveillance solutions (many companies are making video analytics a standard feature in all their IP cameras), a large number of mergers and accusations happening, and the global demand for top-notch surveillance solutions (installed base of security cameras in North America is expected to reach 62 million in 2016), the industry is treading on the path of significant development.

There a number of elements are having a big impact on the industry, as well as on the adoption of surveillance technology in general. Although the surveillance industry is undergoing major transformation, with several trends happening, let’s look at 5 trends that are set to be at the core of the surveillance industry:
IP Cameras
• IP video cameras are going to become hugely popular in the industry; with the ability to send and receive data through the Internet, these cameras ensure secure transmission through advanced encryption and authentication methods.
• The remote accessibility capability allows operators to view live video from multiple cameras through PCs, smartphones and other handheld devices.
• Modern cameras are offering a plethora of features like anytime, anywhere recording, automatic remote backup and motion and tamper detection along with unparalleled image quality, advanced analytics, real-time alerts and reduced false alarms.

Panoramic Cameras
• The last few years has seen a stark increase in the popularity and adoption of large degree cameras – a trend that will continue to grow in the coming months.
• Featuring 180° or 360° field of view, panoramic cameras are ideal for mounting on ceilings, walls, and pillars and cover large areas like assembly lines, manufacturing units, factory shop floors, warehouses, and airport parking lots – they provide full field of view with zero blind spots.
• Modern Panoramic Megapixel Dome Cameras are weather and vandal resistant, and offer full 1080p resolution with dynamic processing, distortion correction, multiple transmission modes for versatile monitoring of wide areas in addition to face detection, and privacy zone masking.

4K Resolution
• High adoption rates of cameras with 4K resolution are a norm in the industry, as they enable security professionals to achieve more pixels with wider fields of view.
• 4K cameras have the ability to render colors more accurately, offering better resolution of objects
• The frame rate of 30 frames per second ensures you don’t miss miss crucial details that are essential for complete situational awareness.
• The 16:9 aspect ratio provides a broader coverage of the scene and can also be turned into 9:16 to monitor long corridors.
• Today’s high resolution cameras combine 4K resolution with low-light sensitivity and offer bandwidth optimization features, along with intelligent scene capture capability to adopt the best picture quality.

Video Management Software
• Video management software allows the automation of security actions and control external systems, reducing the amount of manual tasks.
• Centralized management give users the option of managing multiple geographically dispersed sites from one central location, saving time and operational costs.
• The ability to seamlessly work with a variety of other systems such as Point-of-Sale systems, gaming consoles, traffic signals, access control systems, and parking management systems make video management software an ideal choice for ensuring end-to-end surveillance.
• Video management software enables central management of a large number of cameras and allows monitoring of live or recorded images by authorized users from anywhere on the network.
• Designed with a user-intuitive graphical user interface, and a wide selection of viewing configurations enables operators to easily import site maps and monitor live images in real-time.

Cloud Based Systems
• Cloud Based Systems enable operators to view live and recorded video from any location using a standard web browser or any handheld device.
• These scalable systems generally work a number of IP cameras, enabling you to meet the needs of commercial businesses, as well as mid-size and small business owners.
• With no PCs to manage or software to install, cloud based systems allow users to get up and running quickly with minimal disruption to their daily business.
• Their high compatibility enables them to seamlessly integrate with a wide array of cameras, so you can leverage your existing cameras and store recorded video in the cloud.
• Cloud based video surveillance systems enable organizations to centrally manage and collaboratively share video surveillance from thousands of servers and cameras worldwide.
• Users can quickly and easily integrate these systems using existing networks, hardware, and infrastructure and enjoy all the benefits of the cloud.

Making profit on the Internet

 

There are so many ways to make profit on the Internet that you would need a complete e-book for it, and not a tiny article as this one. But lack of space should never deter one from sharing some good news. Let us see how the Internet can be used to make some good cash online. One totally fail-proof method to draw profits from the Net is to use pay-per-click to generate adsense income. This method is so simple to understand and easy to operate that absolutely anyone can do it.

In order to get a good and continuous income flow from the adsense ads, you will need to use a form of traffic arbitrage in combination of some good but low cost keywords and the bid on the different pay-per-click search engines – like Google. In order to have the system fail proof you will have to work initially to plug in any imbalances that may exist. You must take care about the following:

1. Keywords: You will need to choose exceptionally apt keywords, which will be high paying. For this you should be tuned in on what is the right combination and you should be able to attract the right type of crowd to your website. You will payment for PPC should be justified vis-à-vis the adsense ad, or you will not make money. Your keywords should attract sufficient traffic to attract enough traffic for you to make a neat income.

2. Content: You have to ensure that the ads and the content are highly relevant to the visitors or you will not attract them to click on your ad. You should be aware that when you are buying keywords you are actually purchasing a pass for your traffic. Hence, unless the content and the ad are complementary, you will not be able to raise any profit. This is one element that is taken for granted by most first-timers causing them loses where they could have made profit.

3. Cheaper keywords: Google is the best today – true. But they are not the only ones in the market. If you are functioning on a shoestring budget, you can definitely try out some other search engines. Some of the choices you can have are Brainfox, findwhat, etc. Try them out.

4. Track you ads: It is extremely wise to keep a check on how your money flows by tracking your advertising. In order to repair damages in time, you will need to know where and when you are hitting the wrong buttons. This information will be available for you only when you keep track of your ads with continuous tracking. For this purpose you may use the services of professional tracking agencies. This may be a bit costly but it is worth the effort. Another way to keep track is to set up a separate landing-page for each of your sources. In this way your own website can give you the requisite statistics and you can see clearly which search engine gives you the best results. This method can be very good if set up correctly. You will have to ensure that the feeder articles (pages) which propagate free traffic combine well with the PPC traffic so you can get a low per-visitor cost in the long run.

Importance of Chat Support to Small Businesses

Thinking that you can achieve online business success with a plain website that simply displays your product is a big mistake you should remedy as early as now. With technology continuously evolving, consumers are expecting more and more from online shops.

They want the convenience of shopping from home yet an experience close to that when shopping at a local store. One of the things they look for is the assistance they get from staff.

They usually have questions and they want answers. One way to meet this need is to get a live chat for website.

THE CONVENIENCE OF LIVE CHAT

Live chat is convenient for consumers. Even when shopping online, many consumers want to get help (when they need it) from a real person. What is surprising is that most of them would choose live chat support over assistance via phone or email.

Live chat is just more convenient than dialing a toll free number or composing a long email that contains all their concerns. Moreover, live chat for website usually involves a shorter wait time than call centers.

Emails are usually answered within 24 to 48 hours. Consumers want prompt answers.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CONSUMERS’ LOVE FOR LIVE CHAT

Take advantage of live chat support. With a live chat box on your website and a high number of consumers using it, you can double your sales and build or improve your customer base. It is best to have a team that can answer live chat queries 24/7.

While you can be offline, won’t it be great for you and your potential customers if there is a communication channel available round the clock?

SAVE ON LIVE CHAT SOFTWARE

Live chat for website has become cheaper than ever with several companies that offer similar programs. You can find an affordable live chat software and get all the necessary features. Just do your part – conduct research – before making a purchase.

Compared with phone support, live chat offers big savings to business owners. For instance, when the line is breaking up, callers tend to hang up and businesses would have to make a callback, which costs a few bucks, to salvage the sale.

With live chat for website, costs are reduced because the average interaction cost is also reduced.Save on Payroll with livechat

Moreover, you can reduce payroll expenses. Skilled live chat support representatives can handle several chat sessions simultaneously. Some live chat programs offer canned responses, making answering frequently asked questions fast.

Whether you have just started your online business or have been online for quite a while and want to boost your conversion rate, getting live chat for website is definitely a wise thing to do.

Provide consumers a convenient way to reach you. While phone and email work, adding a live chat box to your website can help a lot, especially in establishing your involvement.

Take advantage of consumers’ love for live chat support by meeting their expectations in terms of the quality and speed of customer service. Save on customer service expenses and see your conversion rates and sales soar.