Online Business Model For Your Website

Does Your Website Fit Your Online Business Model – 5 Questions You Want To Ask Yourself

In 2017 – everything is online. Communities, shopping, music, and entertainment – it’s all online. Your business should be too. As of January 2017, 77% of Americans own and use a smartphone every day. 88% of America is on the internet daily. What does this mean for you as a business owner?

It means not only should you have a mobile-friendly website, but you need the RIGHT kind of website.

Your website should fit your online business model – think “what is the true purpose of your business”. The wrong kind of website can severely impact your new client base and potential profits as well.

Not sure if the website you have fits what your business is about?

Check out some 5 questions that point to whether your website matches your online business model.

5 Questions To Determine Your Online Business Model

1-    Am I Using My Website To Provide Information About Services?

Is your online business model more about providing a visual aid to the types of services you offer? Instead of focusing on actually selling items, the website functions like a business card or brochure, providing useful information about what your company does and how it does it. Most small business websites are modeled after this one – The Portfolio site. They require minimal content updates and provide a useful visual aid for sales staff. However, unless your business has a powerful sales staff referencing and using the site– don’t expect too much natural or organic lead conversion via search engines.

2-    Am I Using My Website To Provide Sell Products and Services?

Does your business sell products and/or services? Can potential customers purchase what you provide without visiting a physical location? If you provide products directly to your customer than your website should be set up as a Commerce site. What is a Commerce site? Well, similar to a portfolio site, the website not only provides information but also a shop that allows users to purchase products or services online. The Commerce site is a great way to gain additional profit from users who might not necessarily shop at a physical location. With ecommerce becoming more and more of a trend as technology advances, you don’t want to miss out on this potential profit market!

3-     Am I Using My Website Primarily As A Space To Share My Message or Educational/Entertaining Content?

Is the sole purpose of your website to provide specific educational or entertaining content to your desired audience? Are you providing this content for free while advertisers pay you to get their message or product in front of your audience/subscribers? If so, then your site follows the Content model. Imagine the front-page of “Yahoo!” or “Buzzfeed” – There are various types of free content surrounded by ad space. Essentially, advertisers fund you. Consider the classic newspaper and magazine business: whose main source of revenue came from ads mixed in with the daily news or various articles. This “business model” isn’t really new but many business owners and content creators use it to turn profit while sharing their message with the public.

4-    Am I Using My Website To Provide A Sense of Community?

Are you a government body, a support forum, or a collaboration of freelancers/consultants? Then you know the way that your business survives is based on the level of community users feel when accessing your website. Success of the site is determined by the amount of users who interact and collaborate together – bringing them together as a community. Sites dependent on interaction and collaboration are called a Community site. The purpose of the site is to not only provide information but to provide a space for people to work and collaborate – providing a hub to voice concerns and ideas.

Why is this important for an online business model? Because having a place for constituents to interact directly with higher ups provides a sense of inclusion that this opportunity to work together and even interact with “industry experts” creates brand and user loyalty. This is a very unique business model but when leveraged properly online, you can see great success through your digital presence. NOTE: These sites are highly dependent as well on social media integration and management. After all, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are just another example of the community online business model.

5-    Am I Using My Website To Provide Ongoing Services?

Are you providing ongoing service to existing and potential clients? If so, then you might fall into the final online business model type: Subscription. The Subscription site is just that – providing users an ongoing experience for a reoccurring rate (either monthly or annually). Think Netflix, Spotify, HBO – all of these adhere to the Subscription style website – providing content via ongoing registration to their content at a set price. Other business have taken this model and applied them for their services or tools.

An example of this would be MOZ – a well-known SEO campaign tool and report compiling service. Access to their software and reporting toolkits are only allowed via a subscription – something set at either a monthly or yearly rate or which will allow for the user to access their tool or content. This is extremely profitable if you have a particular service you are wanting to sell to potential customers – something that is wholly online.

What is the difference between Subscription and Commerce? Commerce is a one-time payment of a good or service that is bought and sold online but can result in physical products being delivered and inventoried. Subscription is ongoing and service-focused, usually providing the user access to a particular tool or content. Both are quite successful, as long as you are applying it the correct way for your business.

Online Business Model – Where Do You Fall?

Overall, the 5 types of online business models are fairly easy to implement, the hardest part is figuring out which one works best for you and your business. Most successful business websites usually end up being hybrid of 2 or 3 of these items. Research and strategic planning allow for designers and owners to accomplish multiple business models/approaches with a single website.

The key is to figure out what your true online business model is and apply it in a way that achieves maximum potential.

Not sure how to achieve that yourself?

Andromeda’s website development team is here to help you analyze and maximize your online business model and provide your end users a satisfying experience. Call one of our reps today!

heatmaps web design analytics

Heatmaps: The One Tool That Can Actually Tell You Where People Focus On Your Webpage

Websites are a lot of work. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into planning, designing, building and executing a well-developed professional website. However, the work is not over once the site launches. Continued analysis of your site is needed, as it not only helps increase your traffic flow as well as keeping your visitors up-to-date on your business’s happenings – it is needed to ensure that visitors are getting the right information when they need it.

Analysis – that must mean Google Analytics, right? Well, yes – Google Analytics does certainly help show what pages are being viewed, how many times and for how long. Great metrics to use when trying to determine what users are wanting when viewing your website. However, they do leave out one important detail – what the user is looking at when they are on the page. That is where Heatmaps come in.

What Are Heatmaps and Why Do They Matter?

Heatmaps are visual tools that allow for you to see where visitors go on a specific page of your website. Heatmaps allow for a visualization of what content is being viewed, or not viewed on the page. By being able to see where your visitors are going, and ultimately viewing, you can tailor your most important content to the heavily viewed areas. Highlights of varying intensities depict the density of user activity at each point of the page; typically annotated with data. For instance, number of clicks on elements and other useful ratios like clicks/hovers. Broadly, there are two kinds of heatmaps:

Eye-tracking: A variant of usability testing – this method asks you to engage in a sample size of your website’s visitor population and tracks their eye-movements as they engage in designated webpages. The Eye-tracking method is a bit more expensive and only somewhat reliable as it is only tracking a sample of the website’s population.

Mouse-tracking: The mouse movement heatmap tracks all mouse movement and activity of all users to the website over a period of time and are represented graphically. It is also a fairly good indicator of eye movement as studies found that eye-movement and mouse-movement have an average distance between curser and eye gaze of about 90 pixels. This method is the more preferred method as it is also the most affordable on top of being the most accurate.

What are the different kind of Mouse-Tracking Heatmaps?

There are three different kind of mouse-tracking heatmaps available. Each of these provides useful insight into how visitors are viewing your content- how they engage your website and how to increase your click-thru-rate.

Mouse-Movement Maps

Mouse-Movement maps are probably the closest way to getting an eye-tracking test without having to pay huge amounts of money for it. These maps do what they say in their name – track the mouse movements of users (hover and click-thru) and then converts that data onto the page. They provide insight into how users read and navigate a page on your website. Mouse-movement maps also show analytic data, such as how many visitors hover over a particular areas of the page – which can indicate how well content-areas are being received.

mouse movement heatmaps web design

Scroll Maps

Scroll maps analyze how visitors use the scroll on the page and where they abandon the page altogether. You can utilize this data be seeing where those points are and adjusting the length of the page for optimal effectiveness. According to a Nielsen Norman Group study, 80% of visitor’s attention is spent above the fold (or the space seen when loading a page before having to scroll).

scroll map data heatmaps

Now, that does not mean that your conversion rate will suffer if your webpages are long. However, it is good to test out where people lose interest. These maps provide analytic data in terms of the percentage of people dropping off from the page at any given point. Data from Scroll Maps can tell you if people are missing important content tucked away below the fold – and if you should restructure your page.

scroll heatmaps web design analytics

Click Maps

Click maps analyze where users are clicking on your website. How can this help? It gives insight into where users flounder on the page, weeding out any unnecessary or unwanted distractions that could be blocking your conversion rate – or getting users to the contact or order pages and thus getting new business. You can see if links are working against each other on a given page as well as if any design elements are clogging up the works, so to speak. Having click maps gives that visual as to what is drawing the attention and where the user experience is going. With this information, you have the ability to clean things up and improve user experience.

click map heatmaps web design analytics

In essence, heatmaps are a great tool to help you visually understand your visitor’s experiences. They allow you to make sure the content you express to potential customers is getting viewed and processed, This allows you to focus on tactics that improve website conversion for your business. Just like any analytic tool set, having the data and numbers can help shape the ongoing user experience you have with your users. Still not sure about heatmaps or not sure how to set one up? Andromeda’s website development team can help! Give us a call, or reach out and we can start getting your website into top shape!

wordpress plugins for cms website development

Top 3 WordPress Plugins You Didn’t Even Know You Were Missing

A Website is essential to business; whether you are a startup or a titan of industry – websites provide an essential digital impression for your consumer base. What many people do not know is that for many Content Management System-based (CMS) websites, like WordPress, there are tools available to help take your business website to the next level. In an age where almost everyone is on the internet at any given time, it is key to help promote and protect your site. Here at Andromeda, we know some of the best WordPress plugins to add-on to any WordPress website and want to share our knowledge with you.

Top 3 WordPress plugins you didn’t even know you were missing.

  1. Sucuri Security – The first in our showcase of the best WordPress plugins involved website security. If you know anything about websites, then you might have heard of Sucuri. They are the leading website security platform out there. These platforms include packages offering complete firewall protection against various types of attacks that can be harmful to websites (i.e. malware, DDoS attacks). Packages for Sucuri do cost quite a bit. However, they do have a free firewall plugin that works great as a 1st step, basic protection. Allowing for top tier firewall protection, the Sucuri plugin also has a malware scanner that you can activate at any time – providing you a respected and resourceful tool in making sure your content is secure.
  2. Yoast – Second in our WordPress plugins showcase focuses on search engine optimization, or how users find your website in search engines. Yoast is one of the better-known, and most powerful, SEO plugins out there. While they do have premium plans, their free plugin provides a guiding step for optimizing the pages and content. These steps help your website achieve higher rankings within popular search engines like Google. With very easy-to-use features and guides – Yoast provides the input you need to make sure your website is being ranked and remains competitive with direct competition.
  3. WooCommerce – And the final plugin in our WordPress plugins showcase involved eCommerce. If you are any sort of retail or resale business, you need to look into WooCommerce for your WordPress website. WooCommerce is ranked the #1 plugin for eCommerce, allowing for you to manage your inventory, sales and processing all in one convenient place. The best part? WooCommerce actually comes pre-installed for many templates, all it needs is to be activated. In order to remain competitive, it is crucial to have single inventory/processing system and WooCommerce offers just that!

There are plenty of other WordPress plugins, both free and paid. We have simply found the three described in this article very helpful and user friendly. Site Speed, Spam Prevention, and Interactive Composers – the possibilities are endless. However, don’t feel too overwhelmed. Andromeda is here for all your website needs. We can be sure to guide you in the right direction and make the changes on your behalf.

hacked website

Your Website Got Hacked . . . Now What?

There are few worse feelings in business than going to your website only to find it suspended due to malware or a cyber-attack. You start to wonder, “Did I do something to cause this?”, “Why was my website hacked anyway?”, and “How can I get my site back up as quickly as possible?” The answer to this is simpler than you might believe, cyber criminals and hackers do not discriminate. You have data . . . data is valuable . . . they want cash.

Website security is a necessity for its health but most importantly, security is important because it creates trust for both your user and major search engines. A website that crashes due to malware attacks can cause the hacked website to become ‘blacklisted’ – meaning, search engines will not show the site in searches as not to infect users.

So what should you do if your website falls victim to hacking? Well, follow these steps and they should get your website back up-and-running in no time.

5 Steps for getting your hacked site back online after malicious infection attempt

  1. Run an anti-virus scan on your computer – Sometimes, hackers get into websites thru a hack on a local machine. Once allowed access into your machine, the hacker can watch your activity, gain access to passcodes and gather other vital security information. Before you do anything to fix the attack on your website, run an anti-virus scan on your local machine to make sure it is clean and safe to use.
  2. Change all passwords on all accounts– The next thing you will want to do is change all passcodes associated with your website account. This will mean CMS (content management system) template passwords, FTP passwords, and cpanel passwords (if your server has access to a cpanel). If your site is down due to a hacked system, you can reach out to server support. They can assist you with whitelisting your IP so you can make the necessary changes and perform the necessary cleaning. As mentioned in step 1, hackers get access to your site by stealing password information, by changing passwords; you remove their access to the site.
  3. Upgrade CMS Template to newest version– The next step is to upgrade the software for CMS template you are using for your website (*Note, if you do not use CMS, then you can skip this step). Each update executed for CMS platforms provides a security plug or patch that is necessary in order to keep your website secure. Keeping your template updated regularly can provide insurance that your site remains relatively healthy and safe. Performing regular updates is not a guarantee against hacking. However, keeping the CMS updated means there is one less hole in the template script for hackers to exploit. When updating, make sure to upgrade all plugins and themes as well.
  4. Clean out the website ­– Now comes the hard part, making sure your hacked website is completely clean. While some code might be easy to locate and remove, hacks can be quite intricate. Depending on how long a cyber-criminal had access to your site, code may be deeply buried within the core structure of your site. You’ll need to make sure to go thru it with a fine tooth comb. If you are unfamiliar with complex code, there are services and companies – including Andromeda Technology Solutions – that will assist you with this task. Once all malicious code is removed, you will need to submit the site for inspection with your server technicians.
  5. Resubmit site to search engines and increase website firewall security – Once your site is clear of vulnerabilities or malicious code, you still need to do two things:
    1. Resubmit your site to search engines if it is blacklisted – If search engines blacklisted your site, the only way to get your site viewable and searchable again is to go to the major search engines and let them know your site is clear and all hacked materials and code have been patched and/or removed. This can take a couple of days . . . be prepared.
    2. Increase the firewall prevention on your site. Once a site has been hacked, it can be slightly easier for it to become infected again. We know you don’t want that. One way to prevent a repeat attack is by increasing your website firewall. Having a proxy server that manages who and what can visit your site definitely helps. The proxy server provides an extra level of protection and deters cyber-criminal activity. Hackers and cyber bullies want to go after the lowest hanging fruit. A proxy server and beefed up firewall preventions make your site more difficult to tackle.

Seems like a lot, right? Well, don’t worry. Andromeda is here to help.

We pride ourselves in protecting clients against all kinds of threats from cyber bullies.

If website security is an area you know needs attention in your organization, fill out the form below for a promotional coupon good thru July 15th on Advanced Website Firewall and Monitoring. This service utilizes proxy servers as described above to protect your site. Additionally, our continued monitoring platform scans your site every 12 hours to ensure it is clean and clear. Rest easy at night knowing Andromeda has your back both on and off the web.

Fill Out This Form For Your Promotional Coupon Good For 2 Free Months of Advanced Website Firewall & Monitoring Services from Andromeda Technology Solutions

wordpress content management system web design and development

4 Reasons WordPress Is The Better Choice For Your Professional Website

Times, they are a-changin. When the internet first came ”online” (pun intended) over 20 years ago – websites were a luxury for most businesses. Now in 2017 – they are a necessity. With the world wide web at your fingertips (literally), it’s more important than ever to have a website as a marketing tool for your growing business. With all the choices available – it may be tempting to build a website yourself with proprietary website groups like Wix. However, using for-profit website builders can be costly and have a negative impact on your website down the line. For businesses that truly want a professional website that meets all best practices – traditional based content management systems (cms) like WordPress are the way to go. Let’s dive into a few reasons why:

Reasons To Choose WordPress over Wix

  1. Ads – One of the biggest selling points for proprietary sites is that they are less expensive. Which is great if you are on a budget; however, the less you pay the less you control what content displays on your website. Proprietary sites make revenue on their cheaper packages by allowing advertisements to display on your website. Do you really want your website designer or template creator choosing what ads display on your site? Do you want ads on your site at all? WordPress gives you the control over what content displays on your site. Make sure before engaging in any design for a website, you cover protocol and expectations for ads and content control.
  2. Customization/add-ons – Customization can be pricey. When you purchase a base package or template from a source like Wix, you run the risk of costly add ons adding up (pun intended). Most out-of-the-box templates on Wix do not support ecommerce or SEO. This means add ons need to be purchased in order for your basic functionality. Additionally, you only have access to two levels of pages. This can jeopardize your entire site if mishandled. These templates are also difficult to change. Most companies will not allow you to customize the base template. WordPress on the other hand allows for customization, add ons and SEO. It also plays very well with thousands of plug ins that add nifty functions and unique flare to your site.
  3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)– As stated in the previous point, SEO is not included with most Wix or other proprietary sites unless you pay extra each month. Much of SEO is about keywords and URL selection. With WordPress – you have the ability to customize urls as you see fit. Additionally, there are free SEO plugins that allow you to dive even further into analytics/SEO without incurring additional cost.
  4. Ownership – This is the most important reason to go with WordPress over a Wix site. With proprietary sites – you don’t actually own your domain or your website. The company you purchase from owns all of that. if you want to start something new or change platforms – your domain and your website is the property of Wix. With WordPress – you own your own domain and you own your content. This will allow you to make changes and updates to your overall look and digital marketing as you see fit. It is yours!

Overall, while Wix and other companies like it offer a quick, cheap way to get a website for your business, the cheapest route is rarely going to get you where you want to be. Choosing a cms site like WordPress allows you creativity, ownership, optimization and plug-in-play action you need. Andromeda has had years of experience working with and customizing WordPress websites. Ready to take your business to the next level? Give us a call!


3 Reasons You’re NOT Showing Up On Google’s First Page . . . And How Search Engine Optimization Can Help

Let’s face it – if you are trying to market your business at all – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google needs to be your best friend.  The only way that happens is to have your website appear on Page 1 of relevant searches.  With attention spans growing shorter than a Midwest day in December, even Page 2 is too little too late.

So, why aren’t you showing up on page 1?  Here are 3 reasons as well as some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) quick changes you can implement to increase those rankings.

Three Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Faux Pas and How To Fix Them

  1. Your site has too much in one place . . .

You are trying to be all things to all people and your site is just too general.  Search engine optimization (SEO) rule number 1: specifics drive traffic.  So, consider adding more pages to your site tailored to the content you want people to see.  In some cases, you might even want to dedicate an entire new site (called a microsite) to a specific topic with a specific domain name to further drive the point (and traffic).

  1. You aren’t paying attention to popular search terms and phrases . . .

If your site’s content is not in-line with what people are actually searching for, you are missing traffic.  Might be time to do a little market research. Try asking clients what they did to find you. If they used a search engine (most people do), what did they type in specifically? You might be surprised what patterns emerge when you start compiling this data. Once you’ve done this, refresh your content with these results in mind.

  1. Performance and load time matter . . .

If your site is not mobile friendly or it loads slowly, Google and your visitors will penalize you. Make sure the theme or design you choose for your website is responsive (meaning it will change to fit whatever screen it is on – smartphone, monitor, tablet etc.) In terms of load time, customers and google both dislike a slow site. While there are sites out there that give ‘free’ reports on speed and spam ratings, most of the information is very technical and you have to pay to get the extended reports.

Most likely, one of the above items alone isn’t enough to ruin your ratings but it doesn’t take long before things start adding up. Maintaining your site can turn into a full time job before you know it. If you are like most business owners, you don’t have the time to constantly dig into these issues. Lucky for you Andromeda can help. Our team of dedicated designers and website engineers can help you with web design, website development and maintenance, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Reach out and find out more about how we can help YOU with your search engine rankings!