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15 Tips to Create Better Lead Capture Forms to Close More Sales

15 Tips to Create Better Lead Capture Forms to Close More Sales

15 Tips to Create Better Lead Capture Forms to Close More Sales

As anyone in sales will tell you, capturing a lead is the first step in any sales process. Leads turn into prospects, which turn into sales, which turn into customers. The path is clear, but how do we get started?

The right web tools give you options to create lead capture forms. You see them everywhere. Most people don’t know how to design a suitable layout to bring in new leads. “Sign up for our newsletter” is almost like white noise to us at this point. Yes, we know you have a newsletter, but we’re going to skip right over your form.

Lead capture forms aren’t hard to create. In fact, we try to find the quickest and easiest way to build them, but we usually don’t end up with a quality product. How can you take steps to create forms that convert? Here are 15 tips to get you started.

  

1. Do your research.

You aren’t the only one trying to get leads! Look at what other websites are doing. How are they approaching form creation? Remember that every website in every industry uses some sort of lead capture form to build a pipeline. Don’t limit yourself to the competition. Scour the internet for ideas and find ones that suit you. 

 

2. Find your voice.

You have a brand. You have a look. Most form creation tools let you use templates, so find one that fits your voice. Authenticity is the name of the game. When people feel a bond with you, they’re more likely to sign up for whatever you’re selling. There are thousands of possibilities for different schemes. Use the one that you connect with the most, customers will follow. 

  

3. Keep it short.

No one wants to read a wall of text for any reason. They certainly aren’t interested in a pop-up with 400 words. Keep the form short. One or two questions and/or blanks to fill out will give you everything you need to know to get started with a lead. If you need to dive further, do it on your next contact, whether it’s another form or a conversation. Don’t overwhelm leads before they get started!

 

4. Keep it simple.

Don’t ask leads for too much information. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and design the simplest questions to get you there. If all you need to pursue a lead is an email address, stop there. If your lead qualification goes a little further, think of the most concise phrasing, and use it. 

 

5. Use conditional logic.

What is conditional logic? Conditional logic is where the customers’ answers to each question determine the next fields. For example, if the question is, “are you a citizen,” and you answer yes, you move on to the next question. If the answer is no, conditional logic redirects that person to a new field for non-citizens. This tool lets you keep your forms short by automatically skipping unnecessary questions.

 

6. Test calls to action.

The call to action may be the most vital element of lead generation. The CTA is your way to produce a desired response from the customer. “Click here” is a CTA, although it’s not a great one. Be specific to your product. “Test drive our system today!” builds more value and urgency to drive clicks. 

 

7. Automatically email signups.  

As soon as someone completes your form, send them a confirmation email. Confirmation emails serve a few purposes, aside from just letting the customer know you received their form. You can use them to start promoting products and services before your next contact point. Automatic emails can also help redirect leads to complete a deeper information dive to build on the one or two question signup form. 

 

8. Use the power of conversational marketing.

Nothing produces better results than connecting with a lead in a conversation. We’re coded to respond to usual conversational queues. I ask you a question, and you answer that one question. I don’t ask you five questions in a row and expect an answer for all five right then. Conversational marketing applies that idea to presenting forms to leads. As opposed to displaying a static, five-question form, you can ask leads questions one at a time to generate better responses. If you think you don’t know how to set up this type of lead capture tool, don’t worry. There are plenty of solutions to help.

9. Integrate your lead capture tools to other products.

When a lead fills out a form, they receive a confirmation email, but how do you know when someone submits a form? Integrations with other software products like Slack, Zapier, and Mailchimp can immediately notify you the second someone signs up. Connecting to these different solutions is straightforward since most of them are explicitly built for lead capture tools.

10. Follow up on partially completed forms.

Sometimes keeping a lead capture form short isn’t an option. That’s ok. Longer forms lead to fewer completions, though. Many people will start filling out the questions but not finish. Keep an eye on signup statuses to see where some leads began the process but didn’t finish. In many cases, you can reach out to these prospects to encourage them to finish filling out the form.  

11. Make your forms secure.

Cyber-security isn’t a buzz-word. Hackers are always trying to breach firewalls and intercept information, so putting in a “Captcha” tool can block tacit attacks that some hackers put in place. Google’s “reCAPTCHA” is completely free and provides an excellent layer of security for your site.

12. Learn about who is signing up.

Learning demographic details about your audience is every bit as important as their contact information or lead qualifications. Geolocation can help you begin to tailor your calls to action to attack a specific segment of the market or country. Lead capture forms are always evolving, so take every bit of information you can find to improve your conversion chances. 

 

13. Make your terms and conditions easy to follow.

No one likes reading terms and conditions. Most people don’t even read them. T&Cs can save your skin from a legal standpoint, so don’t overlook them as a business owner. That said, presenting them to a prospect during lead capture needs to be easy to stomach. Adding a clickthrough option or a small text box will do the trick, but adding too much information hurts your conversion rates. 

 

14. Hold up your end of the deal.

By completing a form, leads are entering an upfront contract with you. You are responsible for protecting their information and only using it for the agreed-upon means. Ensure you are transparent about what kinds of guidelines and security measures you put in place, so leads feel confident signing up. Your conversion rate will thank you.

 

15. Incentivize signups.

Everyone loves free stuff. Give leads a reason to enter their information. If offering a $25 Amazon gift card generated 2,000 new leads, and you close ten sales, that $25 is a drop in the bucket. Don’t be afraid to go big on a giveaway. Converting new leads is essential to a growing business. 

 

Summary

Shiny templates with strategic verbiage and design are only a few components of a useful form. Our list is by no means comprehensive, but at least you have a head start!

Creating and managing forms on Shamrck is as easy as picking a template and adding your content. We can make sure the leads are routed to the right location, making things easier for you to stay organized and keep all of your sales and marketing tools under one roof. Test drive Shamrck today to start getting your time back.  

15 Tips to Create Better Lead Capture Forms to Close More Sales

As anyone in sales will tell you, capturing a lead is the first step in any sales process. Leads turn into prospects, which turn into sales, which turn into customers. The path is clear, but how do we get started? The right web tools give you options to create lead...

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Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Small business owners don’t have enough hours in the day. Full Stop. It feels like there is always too much work and not enough time, but realistically, some organization can free up time. Most owners have issues with organization and time management. That’s not to say they’re bad with organization or time management, but everyone can use a little help. One of the easiest ways to get back on a schedule is to add appointment scheduling to your website. 

Planning out your day is chaotic at best, and things pop up left and right to derail everything, but scheduling appointments and sticking to them can help bring a little calm to the storm. Streamlining your operations is vital for any small business owner. Shouldn’t that include organizing your schedule?

Are you already scheduling appointments? How? Using an integrated appointment scheduler on your website helps customers set up times to talk, and it keeps them on your site. Win-win! Stop using post-its or scrap paper to “put something on the books.” Using an online scheduling system can help with creating events on your calendar and automatically sending out reminders. 

It turns out there are a lot of benefits to appointment scheduling for small businesses.

 

They’re dependable.

Do you have that one flakey friend in your life that always says they’ll come to dinner but cancels at the last minute? The business world is no different. Customers can say “call me” and never answer. Or worse, you forget to call them! 

Appointments help to make sure everyone has a set time and place to meet. Whether you’re on a conference call or out to lunch, setting a defined appointment increases the likelihood of avoiding no-shows. Using a scheduler directly on your website makes it difficult for a customer to say “I forgot” since they pick the time and get appointment reminders. 

 

Appointments are more organized.

Everyone has meetings with no structure. Those meetings are like herding cats. Nothing gets done, and there’s an email chain cracking jokes about how inefficient it was. For a small business owner, wasting an hour on a meeting where nothing gets done is money down the drain.

Instead, schedule meetings with a clear outline of what you plan to cover. Allow time at the beginning and end for pleasantries, but make sure the discussion is substantive and valuable. Writing down topics and agendas is a good start, but using an online appointment scheduler lets you create a detailed plan that can be shared with all invitees before the meeting starts. 

Streamlining how you spend your time is difficult any day, but having structured meeting time is a massive step in the right direction. 

 

Online scheduling saves time.

Imagine every phone call that leads to an appointment. It probably takes a few minutes to actually get to set up the time, then a few more discussing the meeting’s content, and then a few more if the customer likes to talk a lot. You could be spending 10 minutes or more on the phone to schedule one appointment. Multiply that by the number of meetings you schedule, and you could spend half your day on the phone just talking to customers or vendors about spending even more time with them. 

Online scheduling gives you all of that time back. Now you can direct customers to the online appointment scheduling system and move on to more essential items on your to-do list. Streamlining operations is the best way to become more efficient as a business. The key component is time management. 

 

You make more appointments and money.

Did we mention time is critical for an efficient business? Well, with more time, you can add more business. More appointments mean more chances to interact with customers and vendors, leading to more revenue. Queuing up times on an online calendar lets your customers fill your schedule for you. Booking free consultations is an incredibly effective way to get potential customers in the door. 

An often overlooked aspect of setting appointments is taking deposits or payments directly from customers. Capture customers’ card information to hold their spots. This tactic will significantly decrease the likelihood of no-shows making your schedule more reliable. 

 

Online scheduling is popular for a reason. 

More and more businesses are employing online scheduling on their website. Most services make it straightforward to link social media pages directly to the calendar. Larger companies with multiple locations find it easier to centralize a scheduling process to avoid confusion. Customers select whichever area they need to meet and at what time. 

As small businesses grow, the process doesn’t change. You can maintain that same sense of centralization, whether you’re organizing multiple locations or multiple users. Most appointment setting software allows owners to create multiple users with individual usernames to receive notifications when a customer books an appointment without notifying everyone else. They can also control their availability, which may be different from the rest of the team. 

 

Conclusion

Most small business owners haven’t given online scheduling a second thought. In fact, many small businesses don’t think of a website as more than a logo and a phone number online. Integrated features like email campaigns and online calendars fly under the radar either by ignorance or not wanting to go through the trouble of setting them up. 

Maybe you have a trusty day planner where you keep all of your notes. Perhaps you prefer the organized chaos of sticky notes swamping your office. Regardless of how you do things now, this is a digital world. It’s time to go online. Drop the pen and paper, and start organizing your schedule online. The operational benefits far outweigh any added “trouble” of integrating systems. 

Shamrck is a complete website and business management suite designed to simplify sales and marketing for small businesses. Online scheduling is one of the many organizational tools at your disposal to help your business operate more efficiently. There are several benefits to appointment scheduling on your website. Maybe it’s time you started reaping the benefits for yourself. 

 

Start your free demo today to see if Shamrck is right for your business. 

 

15 Tips to Create Better Lead Capture Forms to Close More Sales

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9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

Every year, thousands of small businesses open, and thousands of small businesses fail. Building a successful business is much more challenging than most people imagine. Without doing the right research, people have no idea how much work goes into every facet of a business. From marketing to overhead to employees, running a company can consume every bit of your time. 

The challenge is daunting but not impossible. For every business that fails, another thrives. The question is, how can you make sure yours is the latter?

We want to only look at the fun sides of operations. You make your schedule and all the decisions. Every new sale or new customer feels like a cause for champagne. Success means watching the company bank account grow. 

However, we need to have perspective. How are you protecting yourself legally? You need to know exactly how much money you’re making, as well as how much you’re making. Are you innovating? Your competitors are. What is your strategy for customer retention? Launching a company is more than having a good idea. It’s a living being that requires your attention or else it won’t last.

Here are nine reasons why small businesses fail.

1. The Market Is Too Small

Finding a niche is one thing. Being too narrow is destructive. Markets can dry up with any shift in the economy or unforeseen circumstances. Your company can’t be so focused that it shuts down if one segment of the market disappears. No one can see the future, but you can plan for it. 

By making sure you stay agile and versatile, you guarantee that you can weather any storms (as best you can). Businesses need to find identifiable segments of the market to target and be broad enough to appeal to all of them. If one segment shifts, you need to be ready to move to another. Just like we’ll talk about later, market targeting comes down to research.

2. Bad Management

Being a successful manager is challenging under any circumstances. Managing every aspect of your business, including hiring and managing employees, presents an incredibly difficult challenge. Many business owners are not familiar with managing purchasing, bookkeeping, employment, office space, and everything else. We always want to think a good manager is good at delegation, but that’s not always true. 

Delegating tasks to the wrong people can run your business into the ground faster than anything you can do on your own. The most critical problem facing business owners is identifying when their employees are making poor decisions. Unfortunately, sinking everything you have into your business means there’s not much of a learning curve. You either sink or swim. That added pressure means putting proper management at the forefront of your business plan. Will you manage everything yourself? Are there ways to outsource some of your tasks? Where are the opportunities to protect yourself?

Worse than poor delegation is merely a dereliction of duty. Getting spread too thin and overlooking vital operations can also destroy your business, possibly before you even start. Be sure you are up to the challenge, and when it does become time to hire employees to help, be a good leader. Inspire your employees to do their best work, and take advantage of excellent staff.

3. Opening For The Wrong Reasons

Write down the reasons you want to open a new business. Is it just to make your own hours or be your own boss? Do you just think it’s an excellent way to make money? Discover the “why” buried deep within your business plan. If you can’t identify a reason you’re passionate about, the chances your business will succeed sink. You need a passion for what you do, or you can become bored or disinterested, and the company will fail.

Ask yourself some simple questions.

-Why do you want to open a business?

-Where do your passions come from?

-Are you driven enough to put in the hours?

-Can you learn from your mistakes and improve?

-Are you determined to make this company successful?

When you feel confident that your answers point in the right direction, you’ll be ready to start a successful business.

4. Not Enough Money

Not only does starting a business require a lot of time and effort, but it also requires a lot of capital. Many companies can’t make ends meet only a short time after they open. Poor planning is typically to blame, so remember to budget for all of your needs.

Make fundraising a core component of your business plan. Remember, there are options for capital other than your wallet. Investment firms, banks, and Small Business Association (SBA) loans are all alternatives to investing everything you have. 

Start with consultations. Many small business owners don’t fully understand all of the costs involved in opening and maintaining a business. If you’re unsure about what to expect, try the SBA startup calculator. Not planning for all expenses can be devastating. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

5. No Business Plan

Speaking of setting yourself up for failure, make a plan! You need a business plan. Dedication and hard work only go so far. This opportunity is where you flesh out all the details of your launch. If you don’t know where to start, you can find samples and templates all over the internet. You’ll need some guidance, but ultimately, you need to do the research and fill out the details. 

Here are some key elements to include.

-A Mission Statement: What does your business do, and what are your goals?

-Market Analysis: Identify challenges and opportunities within your target market.

-Competitive Analysis: Who are your competitors? What can you offer that they don’t?

-Finances: How much startup capital do you need? List all financial information, including all costs and expected income. 

-Remember to include everything from infrastructure to taxes to marketing.

Budget: After you list your financial details, create a budget accounting for everything, and always try to be conservative with your expectations.

Business plans need to be extensive. You need to address every detail of your business launch and operations, or you may be setting yourself up for failure.

6. Marketing

Obviously, web-based businesses require a detailed, well-designed website, but every business needs an online presence in today’s market. Websites are a necessity, and a poorly designed site can make your business look unprofessional. Marketing starts with creating an attractive website that engages customers. 

Step two is getting customers to visit your website. This step is where social media is essential. You may be able to get by without a social media presence, but you’re already behind your competitors. The great thing about social media is the price tag. You can create accounts on almost any social media platform for free, and millions of people traffic Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter daily. Each one is an opportunity.

Another critical aspect of social media is the paid advertising side. Yes, accounts are free, but directing customers to your social media accounts can be challenging to do organically. Facebook and Twitter offer reasonable prices to help you reach thousands of people. 

Without some marketing modicum, your business can stay invisible and fail before you have a chance to be successful.

7. Too Much Ambition

Typically, ambition is a virtue in the business world, but you can quickly outgrow your budget and over-extend yourself. Slow and steady growth is the key to success. An extremely memorable example is the Borders Bookstore franchise. By wildly expanding in the ’90s and 2000s, Borders failed to plan for a future being shaped by online stores. By the time online retailers like Amazon took over the market’s lion share, Borders was stretched too thin to survive. They declared bankruptcy in 2011.

Their biggest fault was equating growth with success. The ability to expand doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to do so. Remember your business plan. Hopefully, you included five and ten-year outlooks to try to foresee potential challenges. This kind of planning helps you be more conservative before deciding to expand too much. You want your small business to grow into a large company. Just don’t get too impatient!

8. Customer Diversification

Having a cornerstone customer is excellent, but relying too much on one customer is risky. We discussed making sure you can reach different segments of the market. You need to diversify your customer base so that you can absorb any large-scale losses. Try to go after a smaller market along with targeting “whales.” The diversity will help you be more agile if you lose one of your more substantial income streams.

9. Stubbornness

Many small business owners are set in their ways. They’re experts in their field and want to build a business on what they know. It makes sense. Stick with what you know. 

But are you ready to change with the times?

Many businesses fail because they’re unable or unwilling to pivot to fit the changing market. Understanding the business world isn’t the same as 30 or 20 or even ten years ago is critical to your success. You need to be flexible. Adopt new software that can help with operations. Get past the notion that you can’t teach a dog new tricks. Learn from your competition, and study the market. Getting complacent because “your way is the best way” is a sure-fire way to put your business in danger. 

Summary

Opening a successful small business is much more challenging than most people expect. The level of dedication, commitment, and planning that goes into just the launch is daunting. Before you decide to go down the incredibly difficult road of small business ownership, remember why you want to do it. There are many reasons why companies can fail. Staying vigilant and keeping focused is the best way to increase your odds of success. 

Plan thoroughly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s a world of resources available to you. Use them. 

Using a sales and marketing platform like Shamrck is invaluable for consolidating your tools and making you more efficient. Small business owners need to save time everywhere possible. Start your free trial with Shamrck to learn how we can help your business succeed. 

15 Tips to Create Better Lead Capture Forms to Close More Sales

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Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Small business owners don’t have enough hours in the day. Full Stop. It feels like there is always too much work and not enough time, but realistically, some organization can free up time. Most owners have issues with organization and time management. That’s not to...

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Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

 

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

 

 

Caching your website is a crucial process for keeping your website fast. It relieves stress on the host and helps report information back to the browser. Great, right? We can do better. Shamrck uses world-class cloud hosting to make sure you have a reliable, speedy hosting service, but today, we’re going to talk more about WordPress content delivery networks, or CDN. 

 

You only have a few seconds to make a first impression on a site visitor, so slow page speeds set you back immediately. Website caching and image compression are excellent ways to maintain fast load times, so why do we need a CDN? Physical hosting sites help “store” your host on a server. The server location affects load times regardless of your compression settings or caching. This effect is called latency. Naturally, when information has farther to go, it will take longer to get there. CDNs help reduce latency.

 

 

 

What is a CDN?

 

Content delivery networks, or CDNs, are a way to speed up your website. They are a network of servers built to store static content. By storing static page information in an easy-to-access location, your site can retrieve page information and deliver it to a browser blazingly fast. 

 

 

 

How Does a CDN Work?

 

CDNs operate as a large network of servers meaning information can be stored anywhere in the world and relayed back to your website. Visitors anywhere can view your website faster. Your information is stored on a “host” server. As we mentioned earlier, the further away your visitor is, the longer the load times. This latency is due to “hops.” Hops refer to how often information needs to jump from server to server before being delivered to the visitor. The more hops, the longer the load time. Choosing the location for your host server is important because it will play a major role in your page load times.

 

By serving as a storage resource, CDNs automatically pull information from your website as information like HTML or JavaScript code for future use. Your server can then rewrite links to those pieces of information to make sure it’s pulled from the CDN moving forward.

 

 

 

CDN Benefits

 

A CDN can help your website perform better in every way, including sales. Visitors are more likely to have a better user experience when a site loads quickly and easily navigates from page to page. When you’re trying to convert leads to sales with website content, an engaging website is vital.

 

CDNs also employ a caching system much like your server. Site information moves from your server to the CDN freeing up bandwidth. On that note, a CDN is exactly that, a content delivery network. Utilizing the network helps handle large spikes in traffic since it can spread information over several servers. 

 

Most importantly, CDNs are scalable. Your website will see user ebbs and flows, but ultimately, the goal is to grow your visits. When that happens, your server needs to be ready to handle the new traffic. Content delivery networks are a ready-made solution to make sure you don’t run into any kinks.

 

 

 

CDN Speeds

 

CDNs are becoming more and more popular for their versatility and speed enhancements. Just like with caching, a CDN reduces latency and load times. We know slow page speeds can kill your traffic and SEO. Every additional second of load time costs you potential sales and crucial visitors. Since the CDN stores much of the site’s information, page speeds go up exponentially. 

 

One issue websites run into is a slow TTFB, or time to first byte. Without going too far into the weeds, this refers to how long it takes for your website to retrieve data for the browser request. Depending on the server and the data, your TTFB could have a negative impact on site performance. CDNs dramatically increase TTFB just by moving bits of information away from your server and onto the network. Shamrck’s website health check helps test for your time to first byte. 

 

 

 

Shamrck and DigitalOcean Spaces CDN

 

Shamrck hosts on a cloud server and uses DigitalOcean Spaces CDN to speed up websites even more. DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure with data centers all over the world. Spaces is an S3-compatible object storage service that lets you store and serve large amounts of data. By working with the power of DigitalOcean’s CDN, Shamrck is free to provide excellent hosting and website performance. 

 

 

 

Why a CDN is Right for Your Website

 

Working in tandem with your host, a CDN speeds up your site and boosts performance. It’s that simple. We walked through how CDNs work and some specific benefits, but everything leads back to enhancing load times, user experience, and other vital aspects of running a website. Utilizing a network of servers to store information and free up bandwidth on your host server is invaluable, and the results speak for themselves. 

 

 

 

We’d love to help you get started on your website improvements. Reach out today and we’ll do a full website health check!

 

 

 

Enter Caching.

 

Caching is the quick and (sometimes) easy way to speed everything up. At a server-level, caching can be broken down into very technical terms, but for the average end-user, plugins like WP Rocket help take care of the work for you. Here are some ways to speed up your website with caching.

 

 

What is Cache?

 

 

A cache is a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place. In the software world, we refer to it all the time. Traditionally, when someone clicks into a web page, the site has to request information from the server, which sends the data back to the browser, and users see the end result. Caching speeds up your website by not requiring it to request page information every time someone visits. 

 

Since most webpages contain headers, bodies, and footers, continually having to piece together every bit of information after each click is, understandably, time-consuming. The process slows down page load times since the server is processing so many requests at once. 

 

 

Why is caching important for websites?

 

 

Caching saves much of the website’s information for a server, so it doesn’t have to handle requests for every part of a web page anymore. The cache stores files to a disk or RAM, making it easier to duplicate the information when requested. This process limits the amount of work going into loading and reloading webpages, making them load faster.

 

Since these repeat files are stored, caching reduces the stress on your server. A fast server equals faster page load times, which has a substantial impact on your SEO. But more on that in a minute. This process also speeds up the time to first byte (TTFB). Essentially, the TTFB is the time it takes for a browser to start to receive information from the server. A low TTFB is crucial to fast load times.

 

 

Server-level caching with a good host.

 

 

A good host will handle caching for you. There are generally four types of caching done at the server-level: Bytecode, Page, Object, and CDN. We can break these down one at a time to understand why each is essential and why utilizing a speedy server with a good host is vital.

 

  • Bytecode: Bytecode cache deals with PHP code. PHP codes must be compiled into what’s known as a readable “opcode.” Once the opcode is in place, the server no longer needs to sift through the PHP to return browser requests. 

 

 

  • Page: Page caching refers to storing the entirety of the HTML from a webpage, so WordPress does not need to generate the page over and over. Most pages are static and evergreen, meaning they don’t change much. The server does not need to build the page for every click continually. 

 

 

  • Object: Object caching refers to storing database query information. Querying a database can be arduous and time-consuming for a server. Caching bits of data produced by a search means speeding up the page load times since there’s no need to query an entire database every time.

 

 

  • CDN: CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. CDN caching stores website files like javascript, CSS, and media. CDN caching is a more complicated process because it involves storing information away from the server on a, you guessed it, separate network. CDNs can deliver the website information instead of the server, reducing the stress on the server and speeding up load times.

 

Server-level caching is crucial because a good host does all of this behind the scenes. Since page load times are vital to your website’s SEO, caching as much information as possible is paramount.

 

 

WordPress Caching with WP Rocket.

 

 

Sometimes we need to go further than our server-level caching. WordPress has mechanisms in place to replace or supplement caching strategies. You can use plugins to perform caching functions if you are self-hosting or using a shared host. There are dozens of plugins to choose from, but we recommend WP Rocket. 

 

WP Rocket is exceptionally robust but simple to use. Developers will love the ability to play around inside the plugin, but we love that it is excellent for beginners who might feel overwhelmed quickly. The WP Rocket dashboard and settings are easy to set up and understand. The plugin also seamlessly works with eCommerce sites to make sure page load times are blazingly fast.

 

WP Rocket is a premium plugin offering different pricing plans, but given the usability and depth of the software, we recommend at least trying out the free trial.

 

 

How caching affects SEO

 

 

One of the largest hurdles websites face when trying to rank on Google is page load times. The Google search algorithms weigh load times heavily when ranking sites. This factor makes caching a must-have. Without caching, your server load speeds will deteriorate as your pages become more dynamic, and the servers have to request and report every line of code/image/etc. for every click. 

 

The stress will be too much for your server, and page load times will be slow. Not only will that affect your SEO, but you’ll lose traffic almost immediately. No one wants to wait more than five to seven seconds on a website to load. For every second it takes until TTFB, your site slips slightly further in the rankings and becomes more invisible in searches.

 

 

Caching is crucial

 

 

Websites today are dynamic, loaded with images, and interactive modal windows. Ecommerce sites have tons of media, links, and walls of text. The sheer amount of data on each page is enough to strain any server. This is why caching is so vital. Without caching, servers can be spread too thin, and page load speeds can drop dramatically. The consequences can be disastrous. 

 

Imagine your website is a store on the main street, but you start to open later in the day than other stores. So, the city moves your store to 3rd street. Search engines are no different. Search algorithms look for the “stores” that open early. Websites with fast speeds will outrank the slower ones, so make sure your site is as quick as possible. Don’t lose your place in the market because you didn’t apply some simple methods to make your website faster.

 

Shamrck knows website caching is crucial to a site’s success. We’d love to talk to you about your website’s performance and how some simple caching techniques can help immediately.

 

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Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Going it alone is hard. Business owners are well aware of this maxim because it applies to every aspect of running a company. Building and maintaining a website is no different. Website builders help users get started, but the perfect site requires more than a basic template and a few words. Resources like articles and videos help, but the most useful resource of all is a development team.

Most business owners aren’t also web developers. You don’t have time to learn how to code and create a custom website that fits your brand. Maybe you’ll find a template that’s close enough to what you want, but what happens when you’re ready to grow into something new? What happens when your simple site needs to be much, much more?

This step is where going it alone becomes more challenging. Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is critical. Content management systems come with all kinds of tools and resources. 

Development teams know exactly how to leverage those tools and resources.

 

What is a development team?

Businesses starting from scratch need to determine what approach they’re going to take to build their site. Will they use a website builder and simple templates? Some do, but general templates recycled styles don’t help a business stand out in the crowd. In today’s market, every business needs an online presence. Building a site with a fundamental website builder like Wix or Squarespace is like putting an ad in the White Pages (no one really sees it). Using a development team is like putting up a billboard on Main St.

Development teams come in all shapes and sizes, but the leading roles are web developers and web designers. People like to conflate development and design even though they’re two very different aspects of a website. Development is the construction of a site, the custom coding and creation. On the other hand, design refers to the aesthetics of the website, the schemes, and the look.

We can break these teammate roles down into a little further detail.

 

Back-End Developers

The back end of your website is where all the magic happens. Every click navigating to another page, every video on auto-play, and every pop-up happen because a back-end developer built it. Businesses need them to create custom elements that will make their website functional. These elements include site security and other applications, so finding the right back-end developer is essential. Developers also help build the kinds of flexibility that allow site owners to receive and manage user information. 

 

Front-End Developers

Front-end developers focus on user experience. The back-end developer will create the system for running searches or navigation, but your front-end developer makes it look awesome. The spinning wheels, zoom in/out buttons, and feature locations (among other things)? All of that stuff comes from on the front-end. 

Finding an excellent front-end developer is every bit as important as your back-end. The user-experience helps define your website. Visitors will judge not just your site but your entire business based on how your site behaves. An essential part of behavior is across multiple platforms. Your website needs to function the same whether someone visits on a computer, tablet, or phone. 

 

Web Designers

Web designers work in tandem with the developers, but they work on different aspects that flow together. The designer creates the look and feel of your website. Starting with the overview “template” of ideas, a designer will work closely with you to organize color schemes, create custom graphics, and help with the overall concept. Your brand is on display, and your brand is your business.

Keep in mind that designers are not developers. While they may have some experience with coding, their function is to design, not build. Working with a designer is almost an essential part of building your website, but you can’t count on them to make your site function.

 

Use a development team to make a change.

Website builders like Wix and Squarespace are extremely limited. Users start because the platforms offer attractive templates and a user-friendly dashboard. After a while, people realize their website can’t grow with their business and look elsewhere. 

If you already know there’s no future with a site builder, why bother at all?

Luckily, there are ways to migrate away from these other platforms (see our guides on Wix and Squarespace). Moving can be a challenge if you’re looking to do more than just change the look of your site. Using a development team to help you make the move removes confusion and limits mistakes. Plus, you get the bonus of expanding your current functionality by using developers to create new tools. 

 

Why you need a development team

The DIY route is challenging. As we mentioned before, you need a website. With internet traffic trends the way they are, your site needs to shine above everyone else. It has to be functional and chic. You need a website that represents your brand without sacrificing the user experience. More than anything, you need to be able to make changes. No business is the same. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so saving the ability to build custom features is essential.

Development teams do all of that for you. You get to choose the direction you want to go, work with the team, and watch as they turn your ideas into a beautiful website. The best part? You get to focus on the most critical aspects of your company, your customers. Some people believe they don’t have the budget for a development team. There are teams for all budgets, but all you need to remember is how much time and energy you’ll spend to build the perfect website. How many hours of work will you lose while you fumble through building a site? Compare your budget against how much money you’ll drop by not running your business and see how much it really costs to hire a development team.

 

We’d love to chat with you a little more about why a development team is a perfect business solution. Reach out, and let’s get started!

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How to Move From Wix to WordPress

How to Move From Wix to WordPress

How to Move From Wix to WordPress

Wix is one of many simple website creation tools businesses turn to have an online presence. The builder is easy to use. Users pick a template and use a straightforward drag and drop creation to construct a basic website. Wix isn’t complicated. It also isn’t versatile. That’s why users look to move from Wix.

WordPress blows Wix away when it comes to customization and flexibility. Users leave Wix once they realize they’re not building the website they want. Instead, users have to develop inside a box. Unfortunately, Wix doesn’t make a move to WordPress very easy, but we can still do it.

 

Why is WordPress Better?

WordPress is an explosion of options and possibilities. WordPress has everything someone needs to build the perfect website from premade templates and plugins to the ability to create intricate customizations. Wix starts as an attractive option because the interface is user friendly, and the templates are enticing, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. 

As your business grows and your needs grow, Wix’s limitations become more and more evident. The Wix app store sports a paltry 250+ plugins to improve functionality. WordPress features more than 50,000, ready-made plugins affecting every part of your site. Wix limits the ability to build and add the custom code you may need too. More than anything, WordPress has shown to be more SEO friendly than Wix sites. As users get more and more frustrated with their Wix site, they quickly migrate to WordPress.

And here is how.

 

Import Content to WordPress

Wix is closed-source software, meaning there are no direct ways to migrate your content. You won’t have to recreate your content from scratch or copy and paste page after page. However, you’ll need to do a little work to grab your RSS feed and import it into WordPress. 

  1. Bring up your RSS feed by going to your domain and adding /feed.xml to the end.
  2. You’ll navigate to a page loaded with code. Right-click on the page and select Save As, so you’ll have a downloaded version of your XML file to upload.
  3. Go to your WordPress website and into the Tools -> Import section.
  4. Find the RSS area and click “Install Now.”
  5. After a second, you’ll be prompted to run the importer tool.
  6. Choose the file you want to import. You’ll be importing the RSS feed you recently downloaded and hit the Upload and Import File.
  7. You’ll be notified as soon as your import is finished!

Your content pages will show up, but unfortunately, not your images. Importing images from Wix requires a different process.

 

Import Images to WordPress

Like with the content, the move from Wix doesn’t allow a direct way to migrate images to the new website. Still, there is a simple way to upload your images with a little legwork. In this case, you’ll want to start by installing the Auto Upload Images plugin. The plugin helps you reupload all the images without having to do them one by one.

  1. Install the Auto Upload Images plugin.
  2. Re-save all of your posts in Wix that have images.
  3. Go to the All-Posts page and click on the Screen Options button.
  4. Make sure to update the items per page blank to 999 to include all of your pages.
  5. Select all posts and choose Edit from the drop-down.
  6. Click Apply. You’ll see an edit box come up, but just hit Update, and the plugin will update your posts.

 

Point Domain to New WordPress Install.

First, you can only redirect traffic to your WordPress website if you have a custom domain. If you have a custom domain, the move from Wix is a little more straightforward than some of our other steps. 

  1. Sign in to your account and go to Subscriptions.
  2. Click the Domains drop-down.
  3. Choose the domain you want.
  4. Click on the “Advanced” tab
  5. Choose Transfer away from Wix and then Send Code.

You’ll receive an authorization email from Wix, allowing you to transfer your domain. 

 

Recreate Your Template With Divi

Wix takes pride in offering a slew of crafted templates for their customers. Many users sign up mainly for a template they liked. That’s understandable. Some of these templates are chic, original, and beautifully done. However, there’s nothing done in Wix that you can’t do in WordPress. We completely understand wanting to bring your template when you move from Wix, but unfortunately, that’s not an option. 

Instead, you can recreate the template with the Divi page builder, except now, you can create and make changes as you see fit. No template is one-size-fits-all. Moving to WordPress means opening up options for everything, including web design. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to build a beautiful website when you have the right tools. 

 

Configure Permalinks

Finally, the last step is making sure your page links line up with the Wix links. Wix tends to follow a basic .com/blog-name link pattern. Since this recipe is one of the best for SEO and the easiest to manipulate, we recommend the same. 

  1. Open the WordPress dashboard and scroll over Settings on the left side.
  2. Click Permalinks to open the options.
  3. Click the Post Name radio button. 
  4. Save changes.

You’ll want to make sure any imported posts have this link style. You can visit the posts by going to the All Posts section under the Posts menu. All of your new pages will follow the same link style.

 

Making the Move from Wix

Making the move from Wix is inevitable for many users. As your business grows, you need more space. You need more functionality. You just need…more. WordPress is the answer, and partnering up with a premium development and hosting firm like WPClover maximizes the experience. Otherwise, you’re wasting the many tools and resources at your disposal. 

Your website is the face of your company. It’s the first impression your potential clients have. Take advantage of the possibilities WordPress offers by building the perfect site. Why settle for less?

 

We’d love to take some time to talk with you more about where you see your brand. Our team of experts is here to help you make the move from Wix, so reach out and get started.

 

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