Posts about web design, site structure, coding, etc.

NFL Prospect & Future Film Maker Nate Boyer Launches NateBoyer.com

AUSTIN, TEXAS, April 29, 2015 — Leverage Marketing announces the launch of UT football player and Green Beret Nate Boyer’s new website: nateboyer.com. Nate Boyer has an extraordinary story that is now consolidated in one place online. It all began with an ordinary American life and an intrinsic, incessant internal drive that takes Nate around the world as first a volunteer to Darfur, then as a Green Beret to Iraq and Afghanistan, and finally brings him back home to become a rising football star at the age of 34. Furthermore, he’s currently learning to make movies with Peter Berg at the Film 44 production company in L.A. while he trains for NFL try-outs.

According to this 34-year-old long snapper, there’s nothing extraordinary about Nate himself. He believes anything can be accomplished through dedication and hard work, and he wants others to realize the same, which is why he takes on speaking engagements to inspire people, especially young people and veterans, to do anything they put their minds to. “Don’t let imaginary barriers stop you,” says Nate.

This is also why Nate wants to be in the film industry and play for the NFL. “It’s not all about me,” he says. “There’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life in my opinion, and the film industry has so much power and influence over people. It affects the way they think and takes them outside themselves to see other problems and other points of view.” He also hopes that if he does make the NFL, it will inspire veterans to see that if they work hard, which they’re already used to doing, they can do whatever they want. Nate’s an active advocate for veterans through 22 Kill, an organization that raises awareness about veteran suicide.

Nateboyer.com is a place where fans, media and even movie producers can now find all of Nate’s pictures, videos, interviews, articles and more all in one place. It’s where people can go to get in touch with Nate, keep up with the latest news, and take part in his message. Nate will also be adding some of his own blog posts to the site.

Bob Kehoe, Leverage CEO and former college football player himself says, “From that first meeting at Darrel K. Royal stadium, I knew Nate was someone special, and after getting to know him, my opinion hasn’t changed. This is a story that needs to be told. I’m proud that my company is able to be involved in the next chapter of his life by creating his online presence at nateboyer.com. We are all excited to see where Nate takes his many talents next.”

About Leverage Marketing

Leverage Marketing is an Austin-based digital marketing firm that strives to help companies and organizations reach their business goals through integrated, strategic digital marketing campaigns that produce measurable results. Leverage marketing specializes in all aspects of online marketing from paid and organic search to content creation and design.

Press contact: Matt Hooks
press@nateboyer.com

Mobile-Friendly Becomes Mandatory: How to Overcome ‘Mobilegeddon’

It’s been a hot topic for webmasters and SEO analysts this past month. It’s been discussed in widely-circulated blog posts and given the ominous nickname ‘Mobilegeddon’. However, those outside of the SEO world may not have heard a whole lot about Google’s upcoming mobile-friendly update.

Here are the basics that you should know, especially if you’re a business owner: on April 21st, Google will implement an algorithm update that will give a website’s mobile-friendliness additional weight as a ranking signal. Mobile usability is already a factor in page rankings, but it’s about to become more important than ever.

Essentially, if you have a website that is optimized for mobile devices (i.e. looks as good on a phone or tablet as it does on a desktop computer), you should rank higher in Google’s search results than a competitor who hasn’t optimized their site for mobile.

Worried Mobilegeddon will negatively affect your business?

Contact Us for help with your mobile site.

So what’s Google’s rationale for the update? It boils down to improving the user experience. More than 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, and 34% of those people use the internet more frequently on their phone than on any other device, according to a Pew Research Center report. Google wants to ensure users are getting search results that display well and work properly on any device.

If you’re starting to worry that your company’s website is going to be banished to the far reaches of the internet, read on to learn how you can optimize your site before April 21st.

How Do You Know If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly?

You may already know that your site is mobile-friendly—or that it isn’t. On the other hand, you may be saying to yourself, ‘Didn’t I have a web designer optimize my site last year? Am I good to go?’

If you’re unsure whether Google’s new update is going to be kind to your site, the first thing you should do is put your site to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. All you have to do is enter a web page URL, and Google will tell you if it meets the requirements for being mobile-friendly. Be sure to plug in multiple pages, as mobile-friendliness is determined at the page rather than site level.

Here are some common issues that might cause one or more pages of your site to fail the Mobile-Friendly Test:
• Text is too small to easily read on a smartphone screen
• Your content exceeds the screen width
• Links are too close together to easily click on a small touchscreen
• Your mobile viewport is not properly configured (you can read more about this here)

If Your Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly, What’s Next?

If your site doesn’t fare well on mobile devices, stay calm and talk to an experienced web designer. There are a few different ways you can make your site mobile-friendly: you can create a mobile-only site, use responsive design, or use adaptive design.

It’s also possible to develop an app, which users download and open to access content from your site, rather than opening a web browser on their phone. While there are some benefits to creating an app, this is more of an add-on than a priority. Focus on the website first.

Mobile-Only Websites

A mobile-only, or m-dot site, contains many of the same elements as your full site, but is a separate website that loads when a web user clicks through to your site from their mobile device. This stripped-down site typically has simpler navigation for the benefit of people using smaller screens.

Pros: Mobile-only sites are relatively easy to build and typically provide a good user experience. Because they are separate from the main site, content can be tailored for mobile viewers. They are also usually (but not always) the most affordable type of mobile-friendly site to build.

Cons: When you create a mobile site that is separate from your main site, you’re essentially doubling the site maintenance with which you have to keep up.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Responsive design takes all elements on a web page and resizes them based on the resolution of the screen. If you’re on a computer, you can test out a responsive design site (The Leverage Marketing site is one) by resizing your browser—the page you’re on will expand or shrink so that the same elements are always visible.

Pros: RWD is the easiest mobile-optimized format for Google to crawl and index. It’s also flexible (it works well with all screen sizes) and gives your site a consistent design across platforms.

Cons: RWD tends to have a slower load time than mobile-only, especially when it comes to image-heavy sites. Images need to be optimized for all devices in order to reduce the load time so that users don’t get impatient and leave.

Adaptive Web Design (AWD)

Adaptive design detects what kind of device and operating system you’re using and tells the server to use different layouts for different devices. The main difference between AWD and RWD is that with AWD, the layout decision is made on the server side rather than the client side.

Pros: Because the layout decision is made on the server side, load times are faster on the client side. AWD also works well with a wider range of phones—including older and low-end mobile phones– because it uses more sophisticated device detection scripts. This won’t make a huge difference for most businesses, but may be beneficial if you are trying to reach developing markets outside of the US.

Cons: As the most complex mobile optimization option, AWD is also typically the most expensive. It requires a large budget and an experienced team of developers to implement, so it may not be a feasible option for all businesses.

Still Not Sure How to Optimize Your Site?

If you’re still not sure what kind of mobile optimization will be most beneficial to your business, talk to one of our web designers about your business goals and how you want customers or clients to use your website. We work together with our clients to come up with a design that fits their brand and makes the user experience positive on all devices.

Worried Mobilegeddon will negatively affect your business?

Contact Us for help with your mobile site.

THE NEED FOR SPEED

The Real Deal with Bob Kehoe

A few years ago, we worked with a very lucrative Midwest-based property management company, who sought out our services for their website. At the same time in which we were enhancing their Internet presence, they were also changing their management software from an antiquated program (think second Clinton term era) to a more streamlined and user-friendly program.

Having developed close relationships with their IT staff, I was often kept in the loop as to the progress of the software switch. After the launch, the new program crawled to the extent that employees returned to the DOS-based Clinton era software. Unfortunately, the property management company was tied to the new program contractually, and it would be several months – and ‘excruciating” ones at that, according to the IT head – before the kinks were worked out. Meanwhile, prospects and anyone else wanting to access the company’s site had to have the patience of a saint or bounce – the majority of them bounced.

How Site Speed Affects Your Sales

Significant loading time can be a factor in making or breaking a sale or scare off prospects from making further inquiries into a company’s operations. In an infographic provided by Kissmetrics, the following data was revealed related to consumers and page load time issues:

Could your site benefit from loading faster? GET A FREE SITE SPEED ANALYSIS

 

  • Nearly 50% of consumers anticipate waiting 2 seconds for a web page to load
  • 25% the users bounce from a website if the load time takes more than 4 seconds
  • 79% of shoppers were less likely to purchase from a site based on its subpar performance

 

Additionally, Amazon reported that a 100-millisecond increase in page speed translated to a 1% increase in its revenue. In 2010 Google announced that page load time is part of their ranking algorithm. If all this isn’t enough to convey the significance of page load speed to a business owner, I don’t know what is.

 

HOW DO WE REMEDY A SLOW WEBSITE?

In the end, our overall goal is to have our clients up and running come the day to go live, glitch-free and optimized. We want our clients’ to profit from our work on their websites and for their consumers or viewers to spend quality time purchasing their goods or services, not waiting to see what they have to offer and, in the end, go somewhere else.

 

The Leverage development team tests the speed and usability of your site before launching, and is able to diagnose and fix page loading problems your site may currently be experiencing, whether they be due to a lack of image optimization, files that need to be compressed, web hosting, setting up browser caching or minification of Java and CSS files.

 

To talk to one of our design experts on how your design or coding may be affecting your web site speed, contact us now by phone or form and we’ll get back to you right away with some answers.

Nuts & Bolts of Online Niche Marketing | Leverage Marketing

When I was a young teenager – think between 13 and 15 years old – pickings were slim for a lot of my peers when it came to generating income independently.

 

Too old to completely rely on an allowance from your folks and, with the minimum age to work a proper part time job being 16, too young to find anything steady and that paid regularly, my choices, as well as most of my friends growing up in my neighborhood in the early 80s, were basically regulated to paper routes, cutting lawns, and odd jobs and errands for neighbors and family members.

 

Danny was a junior high school friend of mine who found a unique approach to lining his pockets:  most Saturday mornings, a couple days a week during the summer and on the occasional school day off, Danny weighed and filled tiny boxes of screws, nuts and bolts for a company that provided supplies to a supply wholesaler that catered primarily to electrical and industrial wholesale companies.

 

This being junior high, Danny was the butt of many a wisecrack and often went by the handle “screwball” or “screwhead,” depending on which clique you were in. But I gave Danny a lot of credit: he was industrious enough – or jumped at the opportunity offered by a friend or family connection – to take on work for himself at a job that wasn’t the norm for your average young urban teen.

 

I am extremely loath to refer to the company Danny worked for as “off the beaten path” but, as I’ve seen over the years,  many a small business that caters to a specific professional sect  give little, if any, attention to their wholesale internet marketing.

 

The business owners or CEO’s rationale for this may be valid: their companies primarily attract vendors and companies with whom they’ve already established working relationships, companies already considering doing business with them, and their competition. Also, given the industry-specific nature of their operations, a niche marketing strategy with a thriving website isn’t essential and/or worth investing in.

a key to specialty marketing success is in the content

Yet Leverage has made many specialized business owners change their tune in this regard and reap rewards he or she never thought possible with their niche marketing and online presence.

 

A key to this success is in content, and this is where the specialized nature of the business works in their favor. Online, we have a canvas to be thorough in our description of the business, its products or services, and its operations. We also have the opportunity to educate site readers on the history and workings of the particular industry as well. Throw in continuous updates with industry-minded news and content, and that website becomes a destination for those vendors, prospects, and competitors and the company may be recognized as leaders in their field.

 

Recently, we broadened the Internet horizons for a data center equipment company, a document scanning business and data storage outfit. And these are only three specialty companies who have seen what informing prospects online can do for them, thanks to the Leverage touch. As a prime example, our client selling data center equipment has seen an 858% increase in organic traffic since May of this year.

 

While a company’s reach may be tailored to a specific group, the opportunities a well-constructed and informative site can provide can prove to be boundless in the long run.

 

To get help with your online niche marketing approach, Contact Us.

Insuring Optimum Mobility

Responsive Design for mobile shopping

© Solidsdman | Dreamstime.com – Mobile Retail Shopping Photo

For many folks, insurance is perceived as an evil, be it a necessary one or otherwise.

 

But a few days ago, I found myself actually amazed by insurance. Or, to be more specific, how that industry has embraced mobile technology.

 

A friend of mine works as a sales representative for a big-name commercial insurance company, specializing in small business liability and property coverage. Like many, he and I both alternated between shooting the breeze, feeding our faces, and tending to our respective smartphones when we met up for lunch.

 

At one point, he raised his fist in victory, having bound coverage for a 24-unit condominium – a $10,000 policy when all was said and done – with a few scrolls and punches on his iPhone.  He then gave me an impromptu demonstration, creating a full and thorough quote for an apartment building that was good to be bound from where we sat. From start to finish, it took him ten minutes, I’d say, to put the quote together.

 

“Even ten years ago, this would’ve taken us at least a day to get a quote like this together,” he said. “From here, I can e-mail a full proposal to a client and offer multiple coverage options. Anyone that knows just enough about quoting insurance to be dangerous and knows how use an iPhone can do this. I’m not kidding.”

 

He’s right. The fields he went through to enter the quote were simple to understand and simple to maneuver. And for me, the setup and design of the quoting program he used was as impressive as his ability to create a $4,500 apartment quote over a chicken sandwich and diet coke.

 

The availability of the technology at his fingertips – especially given the competitive nature of his profession – as well as the user-friendly mobile responsive design of the program is paying off for my friend with his bosses when they track his sales numbers.

 

Websites that are optimized for mobile viewing are seemingly becoming the norm these days rather than the exception; Google is now alerting users if a site isn’t mobile-friendly as opposed to indicating a site has mobile capabilities. To me, that’s saying something about the importance of mobile accessibility for both the myriad of businesses embracing the platform as well as their visitors.

 

Additionally, the program my friend used to generate the quote was, he said, the same as the one he used at his office and on his laptop. Today, one website takes care of both pc/laptop and mobile strati as opposed to separate sites for each individual use, which was the case early on in the mobile era.

 

While mobile operations are becoming more and more commonplace, we at Leverage have long been aware of its potential and the rewards clients can reap from factoring this into their overall online operations.  We incorporate mobile use into our plans for clients and see the rewards of its applications and designs as essential in the long run.

 

Case in point: a client of ours who switched to a mobile-responsive design saw his order volume increase more than 150% over the first six months of this year when compared to the same time period last year. Additionally, his order revenue nearly matched that, up 148% the first half of 2014 compared to the first half of 2013.

 

Seeing my friend make $10K over lunch on his hand-held device and watching clients up their total revenue by 148% YOY reinforces my belief that there are many other companies out there that haven’t begun to scratch the surface of the potential benefits from smart phone ecommerce and responsive design. We’re ready to start scrolling and tapping away on any size device when you are.

 

Your Mom Hates Your Site

Your mom may be a lot like visitors to your web site. She may not want to or be able to tell you the bad news — your site sucks. Your site could actually be a huge factor in why you’re not seeing leads, sales and other conversions. In fact, a new study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology has found that it only takes two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form an opinion of your brand. Read more

Actionable Steps to Improve Your Website & Web Traffic in 2014

Audit and improve your website in 2014Whether it be a change in your lifestyle, family or business, the New Year is always a great time to start anew and make improvements. If you’ve resolved to improve your company’s website  and web traffic in 2014, we’ve got you covered. The best way to go about making real-life changes from any aspect is to first recognize and understand the problem. At Leverage we call this process the Audit phase. The most valuable thing you can do to start making changes on your site and get more traffic  is to audit it first. Once you gain awareness of possible problems, you can begin planning your solutions. Read more

How Important Is Landing Page Optimization?

Landing Page Heat MapIf your company relies on generating leads or selling products online, landing page optimization (LPO) is essential to your success. Depending on the size of your company, you could be losing thousands to millions of dollars a year due to something as miniscule as the text on your call to action button. Let’s take a look at some of the factors on your landing page that could boost your customer conversion rate between 20%-300%.
Read more

Before building the mobile version of your site, consider this:

People have access to mobile devices from virtually anywhere and shopping behavior is changing as well with the growing usage of smartphones and tablets. Studies and research have shown that consumers even prefer to use their smartphone/tablet at home, while watching TV instead of turning on their laptops or desktops. Many advertisers are only slowly adapting to this change by specifically targeting mobile users online. They are also often forgetting what happens after the consumer clicked on their online ad from their mobile device. Do they have a mobile-friendly site in place? What if the site doesn’t show up in the right format and the consumer leaves right away?

But before you begin to just blindly build out a mobile site for your business, you should be aware of two different ways to do so. You can either create a separate mobile website for your business or use a responsive design instead.

What is responsive design? Responsive design is an emerging trend among web developers which adapts to the device a consumer uses to view your website, whether it’s a tablet, smartphone or laptop. While a website built with responsive design automatically resizes for different devices, the advertiser still has to decide the content he wants to prioritize. Smartphone users might be more interested to find your contact information quickly, while tablet users just try to simplify their online purchases on the go or sitting at home on the couch. With responsive design you could focus on a click-to-call button for smartphone users, while the tablet site could prioritize the whole shopping experience, from selecting the product to an easy check-out process. If you wonder about the technical details to build a mobile-friendly site with responsive design, please read Google webmaster team’s blog post.

The illustration by Google below shows a quick overview and points out differences between the two approaches.

Google also helps you decide which mobile approach is best for your business with a few guidelines.

What you need to know, if you decide to use responsive design:

  • You don’t necessarily have to build a completely new site, if you want to use responsive design. A sophisticated web developer can implement the necessary changes and make adjustments. However, you should be aware of additional costs in terms of time and budget.
  • There will only be one URL for desktop, mobile and tablets for a site built with responsive design. If you built a separate mobile site, this site typically uses a different mobile URL. However, users should be taken there automatically if the desktop site has an auto redirect code enabled.
  • It is hard to determine what a responsive design for mobile costs as prices vary by developer and agency.

For additional information on how to build a mobile-friendly site, finding resources as well as testing the site, visit howtogomo.com.

 

Coding Series: Part 3 – Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking

Conversion tracking is important, but if you are selling multiple products at multiple price points to customers who are purchasing multiple units, it is much more tangible to track actual revenue generated from these purchases in order to determine return on advertising spend (ROAS). Ecommerce data is tracked through Google Analytics. The reporting functionality allowed with Ecommerce Tracking provides critical information into the behavior of your website visitors and is the only way to measure the sales cycle, including how many visits or days it takes for a purchase to take place.

Benefits: Ecommerce Tracking

Ecommerce reporting in Google Analytics will provide insight into which traffic sources are resulting in purchases, such as paid search or organic traffic, as well as the average value of a purchase, ecommerce conversion rate, purchases by day, revenue by geographic region, and the value of each website visit. This data can help you determine what marketing efforts are resulting in the most revenue for your business, which keywords convert best and are most cost effective, and who your target customer really is.

How It Works: Ecommerce Tracking

Ecommerce tracking works similarly to page view tracking in that data is sent to a Google Analytics server via a JavaScript Code. When a visitor submits a transaction to your server, the data is then processed. Once the transaction is processed, your server prepares a receipt to send back to the visitor. With the code correctly installed, the server will receive and process the transaction data. As the receipt is being prepared, some of the transaction data is extracted from the server and submitted to Google Analytics by way of the Google Analytics JavaScript. Simultaneously, a receipt is sent to the visitor’s browser while the ecommerce data is sent to Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracks both transaction data (transaction ID, purchase total, tax, shipping, etc.) and item data (SKU, product name, unit price, quantity).

Code Implementation: Ecommerce Tracking

There are two necessary steps in order to start tracking ecommerce transactions.

  1. Enable ecommerce reporting for your website's profile in your reports.
  1. Configure your shopping cart's receipt page to send ecommerce data to Google Analytics.

The first step is to simply enable the ecommerce reports within Google Analytics. In the profile settings of Google Analytics, you can edit the website information to specify that you have an ecommerce site, which activates the reports. There are other settings to consider if you have an international ecommerce site.

Double check that the Google Analytics code is correctly installed on your receipt page. Without this, you will not be able to track transactions because the ecommerce code is placed right within the Google Analytics JavaScript code. The JavaScript can be installed anywhere on the receipt page as long as it’s placed after the main Google Analytics page tag.

  • Sample Ecommerce Tracking Code

<script type="text/javascript">
pageTracker._addTrans(
      "order-id", // required
      "affiliate or store name",
      "total",
      "tax",
      "shipping",
      "city",
      "state",
      "country"
);

pageTracker._addItem(
      "order-id", // required
      "SKU",
      "product name",
      "product category",
      "unit price",  // required
      "quantity"  //required
);

pageTracker._trackTrans();
</script>

Technical Details: Ecommerce Tracking

If you take a close look at this code, you will see that there are three parts to the JavaScript. There are three distinct methods or actions for each section.

  • _addTrans() creates and stores all of the information about the transaction.
  • The _addItem() method adds an item to the transaction. You will need an _addItem() section for each product or SKU in the transaction. The order ID must match the same order ID in the -addTrans() method; otherwise, Google Analytics can’t tie the item to a transaction.
  • _trackTrans() method sends the data to Google Analytics by requesting the _utm.gif file once for the transaction and another time for each item in the transaction.

Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking provides reports on total revenue, conversion rate, average order value, product overview, product SKUs, categories, transactions, visits to purchase, and time to purchase. One of the main benefits to online marketing is being able to track all of your results, and with Ecommerce Tracking, you can tie sales revenue to performance and determine the return on investment for your marketing efforts. To find out more visit: http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/gaTrackingEcommerce.html. If you have any other questions about Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking or how to install the code, please feel free to follow up with your Leverage Marketing account manager.