Vincent Aguirre: All right, we’ve got three people in the room. Hi everyone. We’re going to get started in just a minute. Let a few more people jump in.
[00:00:30] All right. Well hi everyone, my name’s Vince Aguirre. I’m president and founder of Distinct Web Design, joined here by a variety of friends and team members from around the world. Really excited to have you all [00:01:00] here and joining us.
A little bit about myself, I’m originally from Chicago, found my way to Indiana through a Posse scholarship, went to DePaul University. Been doing web design for quite a few years now, specifically under Distinct Web Design for about three years. We have a wide variety of clients and I’m sure Andrew might touch on.
Specifically with me, I’m also a certified airman for Commercial Drone Flight and a Google Apps administrator, certified through Google. Two fun facts. [00:01:30] But we’ll just kind of go through the line from here. I’ll let Andrew go next and he can pop on and introduce the next person. But thanks for joining us again, and we’re really excited to have you here.
Andrew Smith: Hey everybody. My name’s Andrew Smith. I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York. I’ve been working with Distinct Web Design for about almost two years now. Previously coming from Alumni Engagements and Fundraising at DePaul University. I’m the Project Manager for the company, and I help do a lot of client relations, out in the field getting sales, and just really trying to build the brand. [00:02:00] I’m excited to talk about the websites that we have a few examples of and to get into those. I’ll pass it over to our lead developer, Ayon, out of Singapore.
Ayon : Hi everyone. I’m Ayon and I currently live in Singapore. I'm one of the developers for Distinct Web Design and have been designing websites and managing servers on behalf of DWD for quite some time. That’s pretty much it, Jacob?.
Jacob Whitish: Hey, I am Jacob. I am in Seattle, so the other half of the U.S. over here. I’m actually pretty new to working with this team right now, but I specialize in advertising and demand generation marketing strategy. I help get you the traffic and customers as soon as these guys create you [00:03:00] an awesome website. That’s my quick spiel. Carl, on to you.
Carl Hill: Oh thank you. My name is Carl Hill Junior. I do not work with Distinct Web Design, we have done several projects together and we have traveled to Thailand together very recently. I’m a graduate of DePaul University from 2010, I graduated and I went to Taiwan and I’ve lived here for seven years as a manager and a head teacher at a private school in Danshui, Taiwan. I’m also the co founder of CP Travels, a full service [00:03:30] travel consultant company. We have a website that we’ve been running for about three and a half years now. We plan trips for all over the world, United States, we work with clients in the United States, helping them go abroad. We also work with some clients out here in Taiwan, sending them places all over the world as well.
I co founded the company with Patrick Springer who I’ll pass it to now.
Patrick Springer: Hey everybody I’m Patrick. Carl’s pretty much filled you all in on CP Travels. I am our company’s co founder and [00:04:00] web designer. I’m here to kind of offer as much insight as I can on style for a company that we founded, parts of international travel, especially for your websites and some of the issues that we faced with building our website and trying to up heal to a multilingual clientele.
Vincent Aguirre: We’ve had quite a few people who’ve joined already and I want to give you guys first preference. If you have any questions or if you want to submit your website. [00:04:30] Otherwise, what we’ve already begun is we have a list of people who have registered and we cherry picked your websites to go from there. If I don’t see any questions coming through, we’ll go ahead and jump in to some of the people who are registered, including this one that I have up on my screen right now.
Also, before we go any further, Andrew’s always really humble about himself, he’s also an owner of Distinct Web Design, not just a Project Manager. [00:05:00] He does a lot of good work outside of project managing and really couldn’t do this without him.
All right so I don’t see any specific questions coming in yet, so don’t be shy go ahead. You should be able to submit them, hopefully. This is our first time using this software so maybe you can’t. But yeah, so I wanted to pull this up first and maybe jump right in to Ayon or Andrew to talk about some things that they like, dislike. Maybe what they first noticed and how [00:05:30] they would want to improve this and then they can kind of pass it around and anyone can jump in. Feel free.
Andrew Smith: Okay awesome. I’ll jump in, Ayon, if you don’t mind. One of the first things that I notice on this page with J. M. Thompson Insurance is a lot of the white space on the sides. I think that could be a great avenue to provide maybe a quick contact form or to organize the columns on the side to the left, not necessarily [00:06:00] fill for the sake of fill, but it gives a nicer visual. I also felt that it did have everything I needed was presentable, if you need auto insurance, home insurance, commercial, and health, this is what you do. The number is right available on the home page, there was an email, so from a reference point of information, I think this site home page landing page did a great job. I think there’s a lot of white space that could be more developed. Ayon [00:06:30] what do you think?
Ayon : Well I think that it’s a good website. From what I see, I can see all of the information. Basically, as soon as I visit the website, I can see what do I need to know? The contact information is right there, it’s big, and then the Facebook icon, social networking, and then there’s the menu. As Andrew mentioned, there’s a lot of white space, especially for the logo. As you can see, the back drop of the header is like gray and then there’s white space, [00:07:00] so that is a little less appealing. Then, yeah pretty much it’s a good website, but there’s a lot of improvement that can be made. From what I see, it does not have a modern look, as in this website it looks like it was built in 2010 in that area. I guess that’s it. So, Vincent?
Andrew Smith: If [00:07:30] you don’t mind Vincent, I’d jump in, back in.
Vincent Aguirre: Sure, go for it.
Andrew Smith: Okay, just also on the home page, I would’ve, you guys see at the bottom the quotes and the life insurance quotes, at first I thought those were potentially, I don’t know, maybe spam. It didn’t look like it belonged with the site, but once you click on them, they take you to an external portal that they’re using.
Vincent Aguirre: I see what you’re saying.
Andrew Smith: I would prefer [00:08:00] to move that up, maybe put a nice header above it to let a customer know that this is us, we’re affiliated with this, and also that this is a great way to find out if you can afford it, getting a quote is pretty important, so you definitely probably want to bring that up to make it more pronounced. But yeah, over to you Vince.
Ayon : Yeah I did find that it looked like someone … At first when I saw that it was Google advertising, because I couldn’t really differentiate it.
Vincent Aguirre: [00:08:30] Absolutely. It looks like we do have a comment saying it was designed last year. So comments are working. I’m going to live stream on Facebook if anyone wants to submit comments there. Carl or Patrick, if you were going to this site, what would be your first impression as a user? Not necessarily from a technical standpoint.
Patrick Springer: Well, I [00:09:00] kind of agree with [inaudible 00:09:02] that I see that is was created just last year, but in my opinion it does look a bit dated. It doesn’t look like it’s a modern website. Same thing with the logos that you have up there. Same thing with the logo, I do think that the logo takes a little bit of space, there’s a lot of white space. Visually, I think it’s a lot of work, but in terms of actually using the services, it puts all of the important information [00:09:30] right there in the front. It look easily accessible, at least in my opinion.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely.
Andrew Smith: Carl if you ain’t got nothing I got a couple against you items.
Carl Hill: Okay sure, go right ahead Andrew, thank you.
Andrew Smith: Please, also let us be forefront in saying this is not an attempt to belittle or to be demonstrative, this is just us trying to show you what would [00:10:00] be the best ways in our opinions and our experience to take your website to the next level. So please, please, please, hopefully we’re not offending anyone.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. On top of that, sorry I didn’t mean to cut you off, on top of that, we could pick apart each of our own websites just as much as any website we might talk about today. Websites can always be improved after you build it, they’re outdated in weeks, especially if you’re not constantly on it. So like Andrew said, [00:10:30] we’re not belittling any company, any organization, there’s just always room for improvement and that’s what we’re here to offer today. I apologize I’m trying to check out this site on mobile while we’re talking, so I apologize if you see all of the developers stuff popping up.
Ayon : Yeah I just noticed that it’s not mobile actually. [inaudible 00:10:51] website, it’s not responsive from what I see.
Andrew Smith: Expand on that a little bit Ayon.
Ayon : [00:11:00] Okay, websites these days right, most of the users who browse, more than 50% come from mobiles, now Google and other search engines, they give priority to mobile sites. So when your site is responsive and mobile, it could rank higher in the search engines. So that’s one plus point. So when your site is not mobile, that’s a bit of a problem. That is one of the things that you should focus [00:11:30] on. Even though this site was built last year, mobile has been there for some time now, at least two to three years. Making your site mobile responsive, is one of the key features of design.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely, very important, if not necessary. I mean, at this point it is necessary because Google will penalize you for not having a mobile ready website.
Andrew Smith: On the [00:12:00] contact page, I’m a big believer in having either quick contact forms, which is email, number, submit a quick message and get that emailed to you. From a client perspective, when that’s emailed to you, you have that stored and you can always refer to it just in the ease of access nowadays of have to call and maybe not able to call, and then the appropriate time from 8-5 as this is I would say I would [00:12:30] shoot you an email organization at J.M. Thompson are able to follow up with me, that customer service just goes a little further. So that’s an opportunity for one to keep information more organized, and then also for that customer service experience to be enhanced. Yeah.
Vincent Aguirre: Awesome.
Andrew Smith: Pat you were saying something?
Patrick Springer: I was just going to go back to the constant need to look at your website, like Vince was saying. I mean, we had to recently overhaul our [00:13:00] entire website just because it was completely dated, and we had just done that maybe like December, and we were already like no this looks dated, we need to do it again. I mean, everything is changing, so you constantly need to update and there’s always a way you can add something and improve on it.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. Anyone else have anything to offer? Also, can you guys check the chat and see if you see anything coming in? My chat might be messed up. I [00:13:30] just lost some messages. So do you guys see anything else coming in?
Andrew Smith: Also, I’d probably say last thing on this type of insurance experience is maybe a couple testimonials, you know, insurers essentially trusting that they’re going to take care of you and your needs. It would be very comforting to have a couple of testimonials about we had such and such damage and J.M. Thompson we can work with them, and they helped us out [00:14:00] through such and such. So I think testimonials are great value for businesses in general, but especially in type of businesses like insurance. That was my last thing. Sorry.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. One more thing from me, one thing I notice right away on a website is if their pictures look authentic. Maybe it’s because I’m in this realm and I know it more personally, but I think a lot of people can tell when you come on, this photo right here, it [00:14:30] looks like it’s probably where you’re located. I’m going to guess and I’m going to assume that’s really where you are. But the other photos that are coming up, I’m not confident that’s you, and I’d love to see who you are.
Ayon : Looks more like stock photos.
Vincent Aguirre: Yeah it looks like a stock photo. Which is fine, most people use them, but I think there’s a much stronger impact in connection when I come on I see you shaking someone’s hand. It’s obvious, maybe the photo might not be as high of quality as these are, but to me it makes a big difference seeing someone I can relate [00:15:00] to. Just so everyone who came in late, we just had a bunch of people come in I’m hoping off of the Facebook invite, but if you’re seeing this, feel free to submit any comments, questions, or concerns you might have about your own website, and we’d love to touch on that. But we are going through a list if people do not submit their own. We’d love to have specific questions from you all.
Let’s jump on, [00:15:30] I see someone who’s in here but did not submit theirs, so I’m going to put them on the spot. Apologize, I’m using two screens and it’s…
Ayon : There’s one comment that came in.
Vincent Aguirre: Oh did it?
Vincent Aguirre: No thank you. Let me grab that.
Carl Hill: He said that he thought that the website would be mobile [00:16:00] ready, or he was told that it would be mobile ready.
Vincent Aguirre: Oh, that’s the one we just went over.
Carl Hill: J.M. Thompson.
Vincent Aguirre: That’s unfortunate. I’m actually using my cell phone to live stream. Ayon did you confirm that that’s not even on a mobile device?
Ayon : I just checked on this on my mobile and it seems to be that it’s mobile ready, but that fact that when I open it on my desktop and I reduce the screen size and it did not change, so that’s [00:16:30] a bit of a point to worry about. As you can see, it is mobile ready. I don’t know if you can see it on my phone.
Vincent Aguirre: It might be using one of the plugins or mobile sites that just adjust the website for mobile phones only. So it’s not responsive, which is what google really cares about, it just has a mobile site, which isn’t as good. I guess it gets the job done from a user perspective. That could cause some [00:17:00] issues.
Jacob Whitish: This looks better on mobile.
Vincent Aguirre: Oh really?
Carl Hill: Yeah it’s missing the Facebook icon, the words are a bit small on the mobile website, so the things don’t really jump out at you immediately. And the get quotes is at the bottom of the mobile site, which looks really, really good. But again, just from looking at it, it looks like it’s an ad and like not an actual part of the website would be my feedback with the [00:17:30] mobile site.
Vincent Aguirre: Interesting. That might be something they can…
Carl Hill: Sorry go ahead.
Vincent Aguirre: I said that might be something with an authentic photo instead of that stock photo. That’s very clearly a stock photo, but by having a photo of you and a customer, maybe just the team, that might look a little more authentic.
Andrew Smith: Just a note for folks listening, if you’re ever curious if a site’s mobile ready, you can go to search.google.com, [00:18:00] no I lied. That’s wrong. Search.google.com, I’ll actually paste it in the chat, and that you can check any site any time, and it will tell you if it’s mobile ready, mobile friendly, as Google says. I’ll put it in the chat for you guys.
Jacob Whitish: So do you guys want to do a really quick overview of like what the difference is between mobile ready versus mobile responsive might be?
Vincent Aguirre: [00:18:30] Ayon that sounds like a perfect answer for you.
Ayon n: Well actually, it’s pretty much the same thing, it’s just that people use different terms I believe. It depends on where you are coming from. Mobile ready and mobile responsive is basically is almost the same term. It’s just that the way you look at the website and then … how do I say it. It’s just that [00:19:00] when we were looking at the website right, on the desktop, and when I reduced the size, it just didn’t change to the mobile version. It basically was like the site, even though we reduced the size of the browser, the size of the website just remained the same. When it comes to this term, it pretty much has a similar term there.
Vincent Aguirre: I was going to say you [00:19:30] could differentiate off of you know, this site is mobile ready as in it’s kind of a different site on mobile whereas a mobile responsive site, it’s the same website, it just adjusts responsively to your screen size. A lot of newspapers I feel, especially smaller newspapers, use like an adrenocorticomimetic I don’t think New York Times actually does that, but there’s an M in front of it. High schools seem to do it a lot too. So it’s just a completely different site on mobile which fits the screen, but isn’t the same [00:20:00] website. Some people might differentiate it that way as well.
Real quick question for presenters, when I switch from screen share, i lost contact with everyone. Did anyone else lose that or is it just me?
Jacob Whitish: I think it was just you.
Vincent Aguirre: Okay cool. I want to make sure I’m not cutting everyone off. All right let me go back to screen share, we’ll go to the next one which is a local. I have it already [00:20:30] up there. This is a new site I know that for a fact, which I think it’s a really good site, but I also want to hear if there’s anything you guys would approach differently to the site. If it will load here. I’ll let you all pull it up as well and if you’re viewing at home feel free to view it as well if you don’t want to stare from my screen.
Jacob if you want to [00:21:00] jump in and anything that comes to mind maybe from a perspective if you were coming off of a Facebook post to this page? Maybe they just posted something that interested you and it came. I don’t think they as an organization would do much marketing on Facebook, it’s a government organization, really more informational, not trying to find clients necessarily. But from an informational standpoint, if you came here, what you’d be looking for and if you can find it.
Jacob Whitish: Yeah I’m just pulling [00:21:30] up the site right now really quick.
Vincent Aguirre: Sure. Sure.
Jacob Whitish: Well while it’s doing that, I can go off of the screen share here really quick. Initially, I really like that it’s very clearly a modern site. A lot of government sites look like they’re very dated. The first thing I see is oh this is clearly an interface that I’m used to, something that I like. I also really like [00:22:00] that the menu bar’s off on the side on this one and clearly is staying in the same place, I can get to whatever pages I would be looking for. Maybe let’s say, maybe we were talking about an event on Facebook and that’s what I clicked through for, I can see that there’s the calendar link right there on the side and find the calendar really easily, as well as all the different programs. The conservation programs, education programs, [00:22:30] so I like the navigation. Unfortunately, it’s not pulling up on my side right now it’s slow internet connection with the live stream going.
Vincent Aguirre: That’s totally fine.
Jacob Whitish: That’s kind of the initial thoughts that I’m thinking so far.
Vincent Aguirre: Sure.
Andrew Smith: It’s clear what their goals are. They want you to learn about conservation in Putnam County, they can provide education, and if you’re interested, [00:23:00] contact us. So that’s all right there in the home page. I like the icons that they use for soil, water, and trees. It’s very clear their mission. Then there’s a clearer statement of why right there, so from a landing case perspective, I understand, in my opinion, what their goals are and then what I can do now that I’ve come to the website.
Vincent Aguirre: Sure. Anyone else have some [00:23:30] feedback on this?
Ayon : Actually I’ve been having some trouble. I’ve tried to pull this up on the mobile but I’m getting this error. Yeah I was trying to see if it was mobile responsive. Mobile ready actually.
Vincent Aguirre: We just drive too much traffic to it?
Ayon : Probably.
Vincent Aguirre: Sorry if we just took your site down from too much traffic. We have quite a few people viewing it. It shouldn’t be enough. It should [00:24:00] not be enough to take down the site I promise you that. So talk to your host if we did.
Patrick Springer: The front page looks really nice, though.
Vincent Aguirre: Interesting.
Andrew Smith: Well no, actually all the other links too.
Jacob Whitish: I got that same error the first time I tried putting it in, and when I added the “www” to the beginning then [00:24:30] it came through just fine. That might be it if you’re just typing in the route URL.
Vincent Aguirre: Oh okay. Interesting.
Vincent Aguirre: Overall I do think this is a really solid site. It gets information across pretty clearly, I don’t remember, I did look at it before, I don’t remember if the blog has content, but blogging’s definitely important to keep up and drive traffic to your site, so I’d highly recommend keeping that [00:25:00] as active as possible.
Patrick Springer: Yeah the blog does add content. At the very bottom, they have their recent posts that they published. It doesn’t look like they’ve added anything since March of last year, but they do have the blog with content on there.
Vincent Aguirre: Okay it looks like he commented and he said it does but it’s old. All right Shane, that’s your new job. You’ve got to get on there and start posting.
We do have content writers on our team, if you need some content [00:25:30] written, let us know. We’re here to help. No hard cells though, just soft cells. Contact us if you want that.
Patrick Springer: It says government website but again, it looks very, very modern. Most of them are usually old and pretty outdated, but this one looks very nice. It’s very inviting, like I want to click on these cells. I want to find out more about photo conservation.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely.
Andrew Smith: One thing I want folks to realize or [00:26:00] point out is one of the reasons we like this site or we’re excited and feel it’s modern, it is not text heavy, there are relevant pictures that make you understand what the goals are, and there’s not a bunch of information to read. It’s a couple sentences and you know exactly what’s happening. Many times we see clients or just experience thinking that providing more information is the better route, but in many cases, having less text and more relevant content is what’s most [00:26:30] vital for someone coming to your website in my opinion, and then also just what we’ve seen.
Jacob Whitish: Just really quick from the advertising perspective a really good lesson here for any site is that when I first land on this page, I can see my why. Why do I care? You have right up front who you are and what you do. That’s something that really any website should have, [00:27:00] it’s called above the fold. Imagine a paper newspaper, anything that was on the top half of that page is what you see immediately when you pick up the newspaper, and the same thing applies to websites. Whatever you see without having to scroll at all, that should tell me who you are and why I should care. In this case it does that.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. I agree 100%. That definitely applies to all sites. You definitely want to get your message across as quickly as possible. [00:27:30] All right let me pop over to another one, unless no one’s submitting them right now. Don’t be shy. I know there’s people watching, we can see you. Feel free to submit them. So this is another person who registered. I’m not sure actually if they’re in or not right now but we did pull their site to view. One thing I’ve got to say, although it’s not the most exciting picture, I’m confident that picture is your building [00:28:00] and I do enjoy seeing that. It looks like as you come down, these are definitely photos that I assume you took. They look authentic which I really appreciate that as a user. It really makes me feel like I can engage directly with the brand. As I play around on this site I don’t think I saw this one ahead of time, so I’ll let someone else jump in while I click around and see what’s going on.
Andrew Smith: I perused it. I thought, [00:28:30] like you said, from a photo base it looked like their plant, not look, it is all their equipment, all the pictures are real, it’s not stock photos. From that standpoint, I really really appreciated that. I don’t know too much about this field of machining, but I felt that I learned and was aware and knew what they had or didn’t have as I perused the website. Going back to I [00:29:00] think the first website we looked at, there’s a lot of white space on the sides, that can be used to promote the business better, whether it’s a quick contact form, or like we just saw in the previous website, a side lit with the machining fabrication and rigging categories and having a more pronounced picture up top. I do like that there’s an about us on the home page, but I necessarily wouldn’t want to read all of that, if I would choose [00:29:30] to then there should be about us page. I like the idea of the world wide experience icon, but I would definitely want that honed down as I can’t necessarily tell where these places exactly are, I just see general areas.
I think having a more defined location of defined visual would be a great start. I’ll let someone else dig in.
Patrick Springer: Going back to world wide experience thing just like Andrew [00:30:00] was saying it made sense. [inaudible 00:30:05] I can see where all the places are, but I wish it had some kind of interactive element to it, like if I hovered over the area that you have down here, or Argentina or Brazil, I would want something to like kind of pop up and say this is a picture of our store or this is a contact or something that we do over here. I just think that would add an extra element to the website that would really take it to another level, [00:30:30] but the same with the white space on the sides. I think that’s a really good place to add more information about it or just expand everything so that the page is more full.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. On top of that, one thing I was playing around with while Andrew was talking, you might have noticed while you were watching, this site is not responsive, which you could tell, for some reason my computer’s slowing down right now, but when I minimize the page, [00:31:00] it was not adapting. I was trying to touch it on my screen share instead of on the actual page, when I minimized the page, it was not adapting to the size of my screen, so you can see what’s happening here. I imagine the white space issue might be better depending on what size screen you’re on and if it was responsive it would be better overall. I do agree with Patrick, it would be nice to have some kind of … Even if it wasn’t directly engagable, some maybe talk about the different countries, [00:31:30] or have photos of each country, the work you’ve done. Even if it’s not an interactive map, something along those lines, because I definitely would like to know more about that, it’s really interesting to me.
If someone else wants to give some feedback.
Andrew Smith: It raises the cool factor sometimes, you know, [inaudible 00:31:49] but from a client perspective, like Patrick pointed out, if I say oh you guys worked in Argentina and Chile and the United States and overseas and [00:32:00] I have a point of reference and I see that visual and term, maybe it’s a hover able location, you know, maybe it’s Google maps or something, you know, like I said it doesn’t have to be interactive full blown map, which would be something, but just raising the cool factor on your site gets people more engaged onto your site and to you as a business. I think that’d be something to definitely think about.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely.
Jacob Whitish: My guess is that the map is probably all of [00:32:30] the different job locations that they’ve had, or clients that they’ve had around the world. A kind of cool way to do that might be to, so Google lets you make your own custom maps and drop pins for everything that’s interesting. So you might do a Google map and drop a pin at each of these locations, and it’ll let you fill in information, like maybe it was a specific business, or just some notes, you could put little pins with all that information and then that will be [00:33:00] an embeddable map that you can put on here that people can actually scroll around, click on that, get information, that might be kind of a fun way to do that.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely.
All right we’re expecting to see that on CP Travels by the end of the month.
Andrew Smith: All right.
Jacob Whitish: Another factor to think of for all of these websites is just what’s the purpose of the website? Do you use it as just kind of an online [00:33:30] business card or is it actually designed to try and drive more business? My guess is that for most businesses, they use it kind of as an online business card in which case, just having the information there is probably enough. I’m guessing that these guys are probably a very much of a relationship based service, or a kind of just in time service, somebody just had something break, they do a really quick Google search just to see who is around that can handle that, in which case having that kind [00:34:00] of information up front would be a lot more important for other people like real estate agents, insurance like in that earlier example, things like that where people are actually coming through to try and compare your product to other products that it might have, it’ll change the information that you want to really feature on the website just to make sure that for whatever that purpose is, that purpose is being fulfilled. If that makes sense.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely.
Andrew Smith: [00:34:30] I’d actually like to give a compliment, they have a contact on their contact us, they have a quick contact form, name, company, email, message. They also provide their mailing address for contact information. I think those little things go a long way in terms of providing customers with information that’s relevant and necessary to them, and to organization. Kudos on that.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. I love the phone numbers on top, I think someone mentioned that earlier. Immediately you [00:35:00] can find that one thing that would be nice if your header scrolled down with the page, so you can have the contact us, you can have the phone number throughout the page because if I’m down pretty far on the home page, I’m looking at the map, you’d be surprised how lazy people can be whereas you know, it’s going to take 10 seconds maximum to get to the top of the page, but not everyone’s going to wait that long scrolling. If you’re right here, oh what about experience this is great, and then you get distracted, and it happens, [00:35:30] so definitely the easier you can make it for someone to contact you, by having that following down the page, more likely you are to get that contact information.
Jacob Whitish: Yeah multiple calls to action. In this case, that might just be something like having this phone number at top, and again down at the bottom, maybe say if you’re interested about our capabilities, contact us here and have a link or phone number or something like that. Kind of a good rule of thumb is something at the top, something at the bottom, and something in the middle if it’s a longer page.
Vincent Aguirre: [00:36:00] Absolutely. Absolutely. I do see a question coming in. Before we answer that I want to say after this site, we’ll jump into the Brownsburg website. I’m pretty sure he’s viewing live right now, I want to get to that for him so stick around. Jacob, if you want to answer that question, I actually have an opinion too. Hopefully we’ll have the same opinion, but if not that’s fine.
Jacob Whitish: So we had Shane ask if you’re just using your site as an online business card, could you just get by using a Facebook page?
I would be hesitant just to go with a Facebook page. [00:36:30] So many people the very first thing that they’re going to do when they’re searching for a local service is jump into Google and just type in and whatever engineering near me, plumbing near me, something like that. A Facebook page may or may not show up in those results, but a website absolutely will. If you just want it to be a static website that doesn’t change a whole lot, just kind of has the quick and dirty information to contact you, that’s fine. [00:37:00] I would say that if you wanted to go that route, make sure to put something on it to invite people over to that Facebook page. Maybe say here’s all the information, here’s what I do, and all that good local search engine optimization stuff so you show up in search results, but then have an invitation say hey, I’m really active on my Facebook page, we’d love to talk to you over there, here’s the link. I think that’s probably the route that I would go if you want to really focus on the Facebook page more.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. I would agree [00:37:30] with that. Especially, your website becomes your platform that you can control. Facebook gives you a lot of options that you could use as a business card type of environment, but having your own site you can really do a lot of different things with that as far as capturing people who are visiting your site, to grab their email address for any events you might be having. It’s a lot harder to do that on Facebook whereas on a website you can have a popup that comes up immediately and says hey give us your email. Different tracking [00:38:00] features and analytics you can do on a website that you can’t necessarily do on Facebook. If a business is just starting off, maybe you can get by with Facebook, just to start, but to really engage your audience, I think you should really have your platform, especially for blog posting and whatnot, and to make sure you’re up in Google searches having Google linked with your website when people type you in, they can find out where your office is. Assuming you want them to know where your office is. Yeah.
Jacob Whitish: [00:38:30] I think it also depends though on the industry. A really good example of where a Facebook page would be more liable than the website would be local service businesses in the sense of like a real estate agent because there’s not going to be a whole lot changing on the website, they can use it a lot, I’ve seen some really excellent real estate websites where people are using their blog, [00:39:00] having all kinds of cool downloadable content, but for the majority of real estate agents, they’ll have just their basic website that was provided by their brokerage, a quick property search, and then they’ll be really, really active on their Facebook page to engage their community that way, and then just drive people back to the website for specific property listings. You can kind of adjust it either way, but that would be I think a good example of when a Facebook page might be more valuable, but you still [00:39:30] want to have something there for Google to find.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. I’d agree with that. Even beyond the agencies page, there’s a lot you can do, I’m actually speaking to a realtor right now about showing their own listings on their site and helping boost people going directly to their site versus relying on the agency to do all that hard work for you.
Yeah just hard firm right now is just a one man office trying [00:40:00] to get things posted to website, Facebook, Twitter, and it’s a little bit overwhelming.
Jacob Whitish: Absolutely, I understand. It’s a lot of things. In that case, I might actually say pick one or two of the channels and just go all in on those and don’t worry about being spread too thin. It’s a lot worse to have five different social media networks and have half of them be inactive or dead [00:40:30] and only a couple that are alive, than to just have that couple and make sure that they are active a lot.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely.
Jacob Whitish: Yeah so. Go ahead.
Vincent Aguirre: Sorry. Sorry go ahead.
Jacob Whitish: I was just going to say, if you have right now website, Facebook, and Twitter, I am biased against Twitter. I don’t really like it as a platform, but it works for some people and it works for some industries. But I might just say focus on like, build content for the websites, and then [00:41:00] push it out through Facebook to build your community there, and then just have two channels, rather than several different channels. The only thing I really, really do love Twitter for is for customer service, so having that be like your customer service channel and then you don’t have to work on it too hard, and if people find the Twitter channel and are like it’s kind of dead, but they’re clearly using it to answer questions, then it won’t come off as a negative as opposed to [00:41:30] if it’s trying to be a networking channel, but kind of empty, then people might be like I don’t know, they haven’t posted in a month, are they still around? It’s kind of a contextual sort of thing of which channel works in the right situations and as a business owner you’ve got to focus on where to expand your energy and the most beneficial channels.
Vincent Aguirre: Yeah I want to ask Carl and Patrick for their opinion, before that, on the Twitter content, [00:42:00] if you target audience is a local audience, and you have less than 50,000 people in that audience, don’t use Twitter. Use Facebook. You’re going to hit so many people. If you have a national base, or a global base, I think Twitter’s worth it. Even a statewide base depending on your state, you have the more bang for your buck for Facebook and people, you’re going to have a wider range of ages using it, and yeah.
We’re a [00:42:30] pretty technical company, I was about to actually mention what Shane’s bringing up right now, we’re a pretty technical company, so we have a lot of integrations, I don’t know necessarily if Carl and Patrick do, they’re pretty technical too, so maybe they do, but when we post a blog post on our website, it can push out to our Facebook, it can push out to our Google, to our LinkedIn, so we try to kill a lot of birds with one stone by having everything just push out, and when we get messages on any platform, it all comes into one support platform that we use, which helps us [00:43:00] easily use these different platforms without overbearing ourself.
What do you guys do for CP Travel? Do you have any tricks like that or what you focus on?
Patrick Springer: Yeah actually we actually started out across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s just because of the clientele that we reach, I do a lot of Twitter. I have a fairly decent following, so I talk to a lot of people. Carl is excellent with Facebook. We found that for different clientele, that really works. We get a lot [00:43:30] of our consultations by doing things on Twitter and people sending me messages all the time. For Carl, I know he get a lot of like more serious packaged deals through Facebook and Instagram we use that just to gain more followers and send more traffic to the website because people do like seeing the pictures of people traveling. Anytime we post an article or anything in there we have the same ability to push those articles or push new photos directly out to everyone [00:44:00] across multiple platforms.
Carl Hill: We do try to integrate as many of our social media platforms into our website kind of what Vince was talking about as well. Now when we do get blog posts from different people, we will actually put their Instagrams inside of the actual blog post. Like when you’re going and reading the articles about what they’re writing about, or if you guys want to see pictures of them and their experiences you can actually go to the website and access all the information just from one [00:44:30] particular place. Just to comment on what Shane said earlier, it is really difficult trying to manage a Facebook, and Instagram, a Twitter, all at one time. What we’ve actually done is we actually break it up by weeks and by the level of importance and by which content will engage our particular audiences a lot more, and we kind of use that method to decide which platforms we want to focus on each week to gain the most bang for our buck and in regards to reaching the most people that we possibly can.
Vincent Aguirre: [00:45:00] Absolutely. I agree with that completely. All right let’s jump into Brownsburg. This might take us into the end here, I’ll wrap up at noon eastern. Let’s go ahead and… Go for it.
Andrew Smith: So, and by the way, as Project Manager and someone who works with developers, I tend to be a little bit more critical, and a little more blunt, but [00:45:30] it’s all out of love and care. This Brownsburg website in my opinion is a great example of too much information being overwhelming. From a resource and information standpoint, everything, and I mean everything was there, however, the construction and organization of it was extremely overwhelming, including the design of the website. One of the first that [00:46:00] just made me cringe, was the right side let of every ribbon cutting, because what happens is it pushes the page all the way down, but there isn’t more content along with it, so the side let creates a long, long page, but there isn’t information along with that long page. Organizing it better creates less white space, as we’ve discussed over and over about how much of an issue that is, and also it just allows you as a user to feel in [00:46:30] control.
Just a small segway, it’s your website, but you want a user to feel like they have control over it when they get there. You want them to feel like they are able to understand where they need to go, what they need to do at any given point in time. If we go to the home page and see that there’s a speaker 11-1, okay and then you click the RSCP, but then I see this icon for Brownsburg [00:47:00] fire territory building. Is that the same event or something different? It looks like a different event to me. If you scroll down, I would assume this is just somewhere for event information, but there is a Brownsburg chamber, performance mannequin challenge, Brownsburg chamber benefit, member benefits, so there’s just a lot going on all at once. By the way, anyone jump in because I’ve got [00:47:30] a lot on this.
Vincent Aguirre: Go for it.
Andrew Smith: Living work, it would’ve been fantastic to see some visual photos of the community, of people doing stuff, people at work, people walking around, having all this text, I’m not reading it, I just like to see happy faces and people doing stuff, whether it’s kids. This is also an opportunity as a community to put forth your brand. What do you want to be known as. [00:48:00] The pictures sort of emulate that.
Here’s another thing events. I think the events page was solid in the information, but the organization, there’s too many flyers. I’m not sure what event is with what, and there’s just not separation of anything, and then if I go, because I’m nerdy, if I go to chamber events, click on the calendar, [00:48:30] there’s nothing there. So if I’m a potential business, I don’t think the chamber of commerce does any events. However, if I go to chamber info, there’s a list of events and luncheon and programming. This is an example of the site not being as I would say, continual in its goals. If you’re going to have a calendar of chamber events and it’s empty, then if I go to the next page this is where all the events are, we didn’t make that connection.
[00:49:00] These are just a few things that I think that organizing and doing these steps, you have a far greater experience as someone coming to the website than you do otherwise.
I had another thing too. One of the reasons this is important, having links is great, but if your quick links or your resource links aren’t doing what they should, it creates a big problem. I’m actually going to go back to [00:49:30] the home page, if you go to the quick links, and it talks about lodging, travel, I click once on the link, okay restaurants, now I have to click again on another link.
Vincent Aguirre: I can’t even find where the lodging travel is. Where is that out on this page?
Carl Hill: If you click on Brownsburg, it’s on the right hand side where quick links are.
Vincent Aguirre: Sorry. [00:50:00] Yeah. Okay.
Andrew Smith: So it takes me two to three clicks on the quick links to get to what I’m actually wanting to know. One actually major, major great compliment I do have though, is when you do do that and you go to the business and you get to the ultimate business that you want, Brownsburg has a platform that they use called weblink local that allows you to send an email directly to that business and the subject line is a referral to Brownsburg chamber of commerce [00:50:30] and so what that’s doing is showing you guys a business who’s coming in through your membership of chamber of commerce, and also Brownsburg community that allows you to tell businesses that you’re there with them and you’re trying to promote them and send people their way. I thought that was a really cool feature.
I think this Brownsburg website overall just needs some major overhaul in terms of organization and that’s my spiel.
Vincent Aguirre: One last thing to add to that list [00:51:00] and then I’ll give you the silver lining, hopefully you’re still watching after all that, but with this weblink local, I agree it’s very powerful. It looks like it would be very powerful, but if I was the average user, and I got to this page right here, I’d be lost. Even as us critiquing it, I got to this and I’m like where is he clicking? I was listening to Andrew talk I’m like I don’t want to click on that, and then I realized that this is where I click up here. Hopefully he has the ability to edit this, because it could be very [00:51:30] powerful to show you’re getting those referrals, but yeah. I would’ve been lost. The silver lining though is most clients we’ve ever worked with, the number one issue is they don’t have enough content. You’ve got it. You have so much content on this site, you can do amazing things. It just needs to be tweaked, some of the things Andrew mentioned he was spot on.
You have the content, and that’s hardest part by far, which is a good [00:52:00] thing. One thing I would say, and you could go do this right now, is take a smart phone, hopefully you have a modern phone from the last year, two years I’d say, turn it sideways and take a new picture of the sign, because it’d be a beautiful picture, but it’s not a very high quality photo right now, and that would make a huge difference on top of the things that Andrew mentioned. I’ll let anyone else speak to it.
We also have a question that I want to get to before we shut down. I’ll let you guys go ahead and if anyone has feedback on this site before we go [00:52:30] to that.
Carl Hill: I think Andrew did a great job of covering most of the things.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. Is it mobile friendly? I haven’t checked.
Carl Hill: Yes it is it’s a lot on the mobile site as well.
Ayon : Yes it is mobile friendly, but it seems to be like…
Andrew Smith: Imagine 50% of your users scrolling on their phone, how much scrolling are they going to do?
Jacob Whitish: Yeah just keep going, and going, and going.
Ayon : From [00:53:00] what I see is it is mobile friendly, but there’s a lot of text. I don’t see any pictures on the site though. It’s mainly like a text based mobile site. I noticed it’s also not mobile responsive.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely.
Ayon : Other than that, Andrew pretty much covered everything.
Vincent Aguirre: All right so there’s no more on that. [00:53:30] Mark had a question, I’m looking for secure employee portal used mostly on mobile devices, any examples? That’s a very specific question, I definitely want to dig deeper after the webinar, but I think it is an opportunity for us to talk about our favorite platform which is the word press platform for building websites and we use word press because it has the ability of jumping in and…
Patrick Springer: I think Vince, did Vince just cut out?
Vincent Aguirre: Add different features. Oh did [00:54:00] you lose me?
Ayon : Yes.
Vincent Aguirre: Okay. We use the word press platform because it allows you to install plugins, many of which are free, some of which you have to pay for, that can help make a site, add features to a site pretty easily. We’ve used word press for most of our sites in the last couple of years, and I have seen a few employee portals that might fit what you need, but I definitely want to talk to you offline specifically. I don’t know if anyone else here has any that [00:54:30] come to mind, but it really depends on your needs. Any of you guys use employee portals?
Jacob Whitish: I’ve built a few membership sites before which is essentially the same concept, so it’s not necessarily something that’s too specialized, it would just be a matter of finding the right plugin would actually keep it secure and still be mobile responsive.
Vincent Aguirre: Sure. Sure. One thing that comes to mind if you are using word press is the buddy press [00:55:00] plugin. It’s a very popular plugin. It might not be exactly what you need, because you did say secure, so I don’t know what information you’re trying to pass through there, but that is password protected for all of your employees, all of your members, but it might not be what you need. But again, I’ll shoot you an email if you want to contact us for that, we can talk more specifically. If I don’t see anymore questions coming in, I don’t see any coming in right now. I want to thank first of all the group of five people here joining me from literally across the world, [00:55:30] it was surprisingly easy to get this organized, although the time zones definitely made some of us struggle. I definitely want to thank them all let anyone say anything if you’d like and give Patrick and Carl an opportunity pitch CP Travels one more time. Cptravels.com for those of you viewing, definitely get on there.
If anyone has anyone to say, if not Carl and Patrick do your thing.
Andrew Smith: Thanks for your time everybody and I appreciate you allowing us to go over some websites, it helps [00:56:00] us to get our tools in terms of talking to clients better and just appreciate you guys tuning in. Thank you.
Carl Hill: Yes I’d like to say thank you very much to distinctweb.design for having us on. I know we’ve got a website up for about three years and Patrick handles most of our technical things with the website, but we do have a lot of experience with Facebook and Instagram and so the different social media platforms to reach out or clients we’re continuously trying to grow. This year CP [00:56:30] Travels is our paid for travel initiative, and this year we are raising money for two very important and two very special charities that we believe in very deeply. The first one is the B Foundation which is here what we’re raising awareness for brain aneurysm research. My mother herself has suffered two brain aneurysms but she has survived both of them, so throughout the course of the year, through all the trips we’re planning, through our paid for initiative we’ll be visiting ten different countries and ten different locations and [00:57:00] raising awareness for brain aneurysm research and collecting people all over the world to donate to the B foundation.
Second charity that we are working for and working with throughout our paid for experience I’ll let Patrick introduce it really quickly.
Patrick Springer: The second place that we’re donating money to through this travel initiative is through the lupus foundation of America. My mother, she has lupus, she has been diagnosed since my sophomore year of high school, so it’s something I’m really, really passionate about and something I’m trying to raise money [00:57:30] for and awareness for because I know it’s something that affects quite a few people, but again, once it hits near and dear to your home, then it’s something that you take a bit more care about. Through our travel initiative, not only are we trying to raise money, but honestly, we’re trying to get people out of the country, we’re trying to get them out, we’re trying to help them explore the world, and we’re trying to make it much, much easier for you. There’s a lot of things to do, so we want to make sure that everyone has access to all of those things. Travel does not have to be this crazy expensive thing [00:58:00] that you think it is, it’s actually pretty affordable if you know how to do it, and it’s a lot of fun.
Carl Hill: Thank you webdesign for having us on today and if we can be of any resource to anyone, for anything, not just travel related, we’re more than happy to help out anyway that we can.
Patrick Springer: Definitely.
Vincent Aguirre: Absolutely. Thank you all for joining. Those of you that were here live, and if you need anything as far as your website goes, if you need us [00:58:30] to help you partner up with Jacob to do some Facebook advertising, or Ayon to do some design work, we’re here to help. You can reach us at distinctweb.design and feel free to reach out. Thank you all. I’m going to end this I don’t know what’s going to happen here so if I don’t see you all thank you again.