29 January

Game Changing e-Commerce Payment Processing Now Available with NopCommerce

by: Jody Roberts – Bayshore Solutions Development Team

For many of our customer’s business needs, we have found NopCommerce to fit the bill as the e-commerce platform for their websites. With new “plug-in” modules now available to NopCommerce developers, we are now able to recommend this e-commerce platform to address more online shopping specifications needs with secure payments processing.

We’re pleased to introduce NopCommerce customers to the First Data Payment gateway that offers a thorough implementation of secure and customer-friendly features into NopCommerce websites.

Once added in and configured, the website has the ability to perform partial and full online refunds directly to First Data, see below:

NopCommerce Refunds
NopCommerce Partial Refunds

 

Even more valuable to online store owners is the PCI compliance of storing and allowing customers to reuse credit cards. This is done through “tokenization” in First Data – in everyday terms: “Crazy mixed up highly-encrypted” numbers that only First Data can decrypt back to a credit card.

And for the cherry on top, this NopCommerce customer experience delivers a very comprehensive UI with one-click credit card selection:

NopCommerce Refunds

We’re very excited to be able to recommend and deliver even higher value shopping cart functionality with the First Data payment gateway in NopCommerce websites.

Do you have an eCommerce website (NopCommerce or other shopping cart system) that would benefit by upgrading this customer experience convenience?

Contact Us today – as a NopCommerce Gold Partner, we can help.

Jody Roberts

Jody Roberts

is a Senior Developer at Bayshore Solutions Digital Agency. Passionate People - Creative Ideas - Inspired Results

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26 January

How Long Should My Website Content be?

By: Janelle Jenkins – Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team

Can my copy be too long or too short?

Is my content length helping or hurting my SEO efforts?

At Bayshore Solutions, we get these type of questions all the time. As someone who writes online content on a daily basis, and who tends to be wordy both in life and on paper, I often have to re-evaluate whether my copy is helping or hurting my efforts. Just where exactly is the sweet spot when it comes to copy length?

The honest answer, “it depends.” As frustrating as that explanation may be, it’s the hard truth. The reality is, there isn’t a “One size fits all” answer for copy length.

Every website, business and industry is unique. If someone tells you otherwise, your website may come short of its purpose, getting your users the messaging they need, to convert.

With that said, here are a few guidelines and tips, to help you fine-tune your messaging to ensure both your website users and search engines find what they are looking for.

QUALITY VS. QUANTITY

We know the search engines algorithms focus on content quality, not quantity. In other words, focusing on meaningful content should be the basis of our content strategy. Whether its website copy, a blog, a press release, whitepapers or even social media posts, substance should always be your primary concern.

By providing rich information that includes relevant keywords in your copy, you showcase that you are a subject matter expert, on the topic of discussion. That’s exactly what your users and the search engines are looking for.

STRUCTURE FOR ENGAGEMENT

As a supplement to substance, as you layout your page or copy, think about why your online visitors are there. Write for people, not the search engines.

Think about your own user habits. As you read this blog, what are you looking for? An answer. So give it to them. Be helpful and relevant. Solve a problem or help them find what they came for.

If a user spends too much time on your website, landing page or blog, searching for something specific without finding it, eventually they’ll give up and go elsewhere. Don’t lose them in a bunch of words.

  • Break up your paragraphs,
  • Use headlines,
  • Bullet points, or
  • Calls to action that define your messaging.

Readers scan websites for information. Structure your page to make sure your users can easily find relevant copy, or can see they are just a click away from what they are looking for. Everything on your page should be there for a reason.

KEEP IT SIMPLE AND CONCISE

This is often the hardest part for most writers. If you are close to a project or business you’re trying to create content for, it can be tough to narrow down your thoughts to a few key points.

We have found that the more complicated you make your content, the lower your conversion rate will be. Try to keep it to two to three primary thoughts per page.

If the subject requires additional explanation, it may be worth creating a new page or landing page to compliment the first. Again, you don’t want to lose your readers in a bunch of words, so keep it simple.

BOTTOM LINE

There is no magical length for any piece of content, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to get your thoughts on a page.

Bottom line: there’s only one hard fast rule when it comes to content length, write for people, not for word count.

Interested in learning more about how our digital marketing team can help you create a successful content strategy to grow your business? Contact us today.

Janelle Jenkins

Janelle Jenkins

is an Account Manager on Bayshore Solutions' Digital Marketing team.

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19 January

Are You the Verified King of Your Web Domain?

Are You the Verified King of Your Web Domain? How to Protect Your Website’s Domain Verification

Tyler Dawes

By: Tyler Dawes – Bayshore SolutionsSystems Engineer

How to Protect Your Website’s Domain Verification

Within the past year the internet’s governing body, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), put in place some new rules which affect all generic top level domains (TLD) such as .COM, .NET, .ORG, as well as many other TLDs.

With these changes, ICANN now requires all registrars to formally contact their customers once a year to review their contact information and ensure it is up to date.

With new domain purchases, domain transfers, or for modifications to registrant information, you are now required to verify ownership of your domain.

The simple but critical steps to domain verification are:

  1. You will receive an email with an activation link from your domain registrar.
  2. Review and follow the link to complete activation.

If you do not complete this process, ICANN requires registrars to disable your domain, and your website will be suspended and replaced with a splash page displaying a domain verification error.

This also affects any Domain Name System (DNS) entries (computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network) associated with the specific domain. Under such a disabling scenario, any other DNS entries for the domain will cease to function, which would ultimately cause down-time for your business.

Here’s a proactive step ensure domain peace of mind:

As a domain owner, you should confirm that your admin and registrant email address is current. If it is not, you should update it and then follow the above procedures.

If you have any further questions about secure website hosting, need assistance, or would like to transfer or purchase a new domain through Bayshore Solutions, we will be happy to work with you to assist in a smooth transition and avoid any disruptions in service.

Bayshore Solutions

Bayshore Solutions

Passionate People, Creative Ideas & Inspired Results! We Integrate Technology & Marketing Expertise to Deliver Measurable Results for Our Customers.

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8 January

Website Themes – Cost Savers or Budget Busters?

Website Themes – Cost Savers or Budget Busters?

By: TTa Cruver – Bayshore Solutions Project Manager

Did you know there are approximately 3,000 free website themes on WordPress alone? If you’ve ever thought of building a new website or redesigning your current website and you’re on a budget, you’ve probably ran across or toyed with the idea of leveraging a website “theme”.

So how do you know when a website theme is a cost saver or a budget buster to your website design project? Before we can answer this question, let’s define what a website theme is and how it is used.

A website theme is the aesthetics of a website with predefined fonts, colors, page layouts, and animations. These items live within the CSS (cascading style sheet) and transform on the web page.

How are website themes used?

Website themes are used in conjunction with content management systems (WordPress, Kentico, Sitefinity, nopCommerce) or static web pages and are also referred to as ‘skins’.

How much do website themes cost?

Website themes vary in complexity and some are free while others have an associated monetary cost. You can expect to pay zero to a couple hundred dollars for a robust theme.

Now that we understand what a website theme is, how it is used and the associated cost, let’s circle back to our original question;

When is a theme a cost saver? When…

  1. The website design is flexible and there is zero need for a custom design.
  2. The theme is a fit for the content management system, if using one.
  3. The theme styles  (i.e.: the appearance of the navigation menu, icons, colors, font, etc.)align with the company brand.
  4. The theme functionality (i.e.: the navigation menu) is a traditional drop down and not a mega menu, and satisfies the website functional requirements.
  5. The theme page layouts and structure are a fit for all the website’s content needs.

A theme is a budget buster when…

  1. The website must have a unique design and be aesthetically set apart from other websites.
  2. The theme will not work with the content management system. Keep in mind, content management systems have versions and themes are not compatible with older or new versions. Therefore, check the version of the content management system to confirm a particular theme is compatible before purchasing.
  3. The styles do not align with the company brand. Icons are typically the culprit for when a theme does not meet the brand style guidelines, therefore review icons and ensure they are a fit before getting started.
  4. The functionality is not quite right or missing all together. Themes, like any website files may be adjusted or enhanced but if the theme doesn’t do what you need it to do then find another one. Custom coding a theme is high risk to timeline, budget, quality and integrity to the code.
  5. If custom functionality is needed the theme will likely not have the layout to support the customer screens; see #4.

A good rule of thumb for website themes is, “What you see is what you get”. If you don’t see what you need readily available in the theme, then it is not a fit for your project needs and will end up being a budget buster.

Website themes are meant to save on design and front end development costs, so before you leverage a website theme, be sure to ask yourself the questions above. Understanding if they are a good fit for your project needs will ensure that they are win and a cost saver.

Bayshore Solutions’ can help you understand the alternatives and their implications when faced with the decision of how to best approach your website, with full strategic consideration of your business’s brand and budget parameters, functionality requirements, and web performance needs. Contact us today to learn more.

 

TTa Cruver

TTa Cruver

is a Senior Project Manager at Bayshore Solutions Digital Agency. Passionate People - Creative Ideas - Inspired Results.

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2 January

Get Web-Fit for 2015

By: Nate Velazquez – Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team

When starting a new fitness plan, most people generally start the same way. First, you need a goal. Whether it’s losing weight, gaining strength, or running a faster mile, identifying your goal helps you create your unique plan to achieve it.

After identifying your goal, you next develop a plan. You may decide to eat more green vegetables, increase the amount of days you work out, or maybe you decide to get more sleep so your body can recover. Finally, you execute. You wake up early and hit the gym, you cook those healthy meals even though you don’t have time, and you put all of your energy into achieving your goal. It is much the same  process to get your digital marketing fitness plan functioning and generating results.

Set Your Goal 

A strong fitness plan is very similar to a strong Digital Marketing plan. Identifying your goal first is vital to determining what your strategy is. If your goal is to generate new leads, one strategy you may choose is creating more engaging content to establish yourself as an industry leader. Every strategy should be associated to one unique goal. You wouldn’t plan to lift heavy weights if you’re trying to run a faster mile, after all.

Work Your Plan

After you’ve determined your strategy, you then move into the action, or the tactics phase of the strategy. Using our goal of generating new leads as an example, some of the tactics we may choose are writing new industry related blogs. By publishing new blogs regularly, your audience will come to see you as a company that knows the ins and outs of your industry. Be sure to include a strong Call-To-Action as well, so your blog posts can add to your lead generation process.

Exercise Variety

Another tactic to generate new leads is utilizing social media properly. Social media works hand in hand with generating new leads in a variety of ways. Aside from promoting your latest offer or blog post, companies use social media to engage with their audience and address any issues they may have. Providing reliable and prompt customer service can separate your business from the rest of the industry when implemented correctly. Like fitness, it’s important to engage in different SEO tactics to keep your business healthy. Training all aspects of search engine optimization leads to well-balanced, healthy website.

Stick to it – Winners Never Quit

The hardest part many people have with SEO is sticking to it. At first, you’re excited and anxious to start your goal. But after a few weeks, some of us lose steam. Your blog posts go from every week to every other week, you ignore your 301 redirects, or maybe you stop posting on Facebook because it seems like your efforts aren’t being rewarded. Stick to your plan! You will not see overnight results in your personal health, or in your website’s health if you give up. Even though your traffic may not be seeing immediate lift, over time you will see your efforts begin to bear fruit.

Measure the Milestones

The best athletes and the best digital marketers both have two things in common: Dedication and Measurement. Like athletes, comparing your performance in a specified time period, say a month, to another may identify strengths or weaknesses in your overall SEO plan. A strong SEO plan will adapt and change over time as data becomes available.

A Professional Coach Makes a Big Difference

Sometimes we need some extra help. Athletes have coaches and trainers to help them achieve their goals. If your SEO plan is falling short, it may be time to speak with our team of digital experts. At Bayshore Solutions, we leverage our team members to create a strong strategic plan. Our digital marketers regularly consult with our developers and directly with our Agency Partner team at Google to ensure our strategy and tactics are in the best interest of our clients. Contact us today to discuss creating a strong digital marketing fitness plan to achieve your goals.

 

Nate Velazquez

Nate Velazquez

is a Digital Marketer at Bayshore Solutions Digital Agency. Passionate People - Creative Ideas - Inspired Results.

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