Time to Toss Out the “Cookie Cutters”

Cookie cutters are great … for Christmas cookies! They are absolutely the best way to get festive, beautiful cookies without spending the time to carve out each one individually. However, when it comes to standing out above your competitors, your website should be individual, custom and all about you, your brand, and your specific marketing strategy – it’s time to toss out those “cookie cutter” websites!

Cookie cutter website builders rely on pre-made templates with limited functionality that can slow your business growth down for years to come. Let’s say you want start hosting events so you want an online calendar; or start selling products online, so you need an ecommerce store; or you want to display all that time you are investing in your social media, so you want to add a social media post feed to your website; or you want to start doing search engine optimization (SEO) so customers can find you better online, but your pre-made template builder doesn’t have all the tools. Now you are stuck. You will need to start all over with a new website. Invest in the right website company the first time to help your business grow. Our websites allow for constant customization …. made to expand, grow and change with your business… all our websites come with the ability to add these tools either now or in the future. We are a small, husband and wife team that meets with you face to face, listens to your needs and offers you

Sioux Falls Leadership Summit 2021

The SME Sioux Falls Board of Directors and the Sioux Falls Leadership Summit Committee did an amazing job putting together the Sioux Falls Leadership Summit that was finally able to take place this month! It was a HUGE success with an outstanding amount of attendance.

John Maxwell, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, world-renowned leadership expert and headlining speaker of the event was full of life tips, shared years of knowledge and inspired the entire audience. He especially reminded me that everything worth working hard for is an uphill. It’s not easy. Not only that, but consistency is truly key. Consistency … although, not a sexy word or most attractive trait, it is most important when working for your life goals. Consistency compounds. You need to not only work hard, but you need to work hard EVERY DAY.

John was very careful to speak to the entire audience, but also hinted at his underlying beliefs with his strong faith as an evangelical Christian. This made me relate and understand his message on an even deeper level.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event. It was inspiring – leaving me refreshed and motivated to work even harder.

It was a great event and I am already looking forward to SME’s next event!

New Administrative Executive!

We are so excited to announce our new administrative executive, Nichole DesLauriers to our team! Since we’ve downsized over the new year, one of our main goals were to spend more time in finding high quality team members with an education and background specifically in our industry. Furthermore we were looking for highly motivated individuals with a drive for helping small business owners reach their goals – and we found our girl! Nichole answered our ad in January and it was quick to see that she was going to be a great fit. Nichole has an extensive background in both psychology and business marketing. Furthermore her ability to effectively juggle administrative duties amazes us daily!

Nichole will be working from our new Clark, SD location and will be handling almost all administrative duties including answering phones, emails and project management. She also is in charge of account receivables and our recurring billing system. Furthermore, she assists in work production including social media posting, website editing and managing ad campaigns.

A big welcome to Nichole – we are truly blessed to have you on our team!

We are a Website Design Company serving Minneapolis, MN

Who are we? We are a website design company serving Minneapolis, MN. We are located downtown Anoka, MN and combined owners have been in business for more than 25 years. We offer website design and online marketing. This includes website design & development, e-commerce, online marketing, social media, PPC, SEO, on-page optimization, traffic reporting, press releases, back-link building and much more. Our goal is to meet and go beyond our client’s marketing goals. We build relationships with our clients, acting more like partners rather than doing a simple business deals. We are in it for the long haul, to help business owners succeed. Our client base for website design and online marketing includes Minneapolis, MN and surrounding areas, however we have clients nationwide. We’ve done over 500+ websites and retain a majority of our clients because of our ethical standards, quality and communication. We love our clients, and our clients love us!

Website Content Best Practices

The stuff on my website doesn’t matter that much, does it?

Does it?

Well, no not really.  Not if you want your website to just sit on the side of the road with a flat tire while the other sites go racing by.  BUT, if you actually want your website to work as a tool for you, then yesthe “stuff” on your website matters that much.

Whether you’re creating a website for yourself with one of those free or cheap online makers, or you hire a pro to design your website, the content is going to play a key role in your site’s success.  SEO isn’t a simple, one-time application task.  It’s an ongoing effort of trying to keep up with search engine algorithms, keeping content fresh, finding the right keywords and making it all unique enough to help your target market find you, but not too unique that you limit your market. SEO is a journey.  Not a destination.

But we’re focusing on the content.  Let’s assume you or your designer have already started the SEO proccess: You’ve taken the time to get a list of killer keyword phrases and even tested them with an online tool like Keyword Spy or Google’s Keyword Planner.  You’ve even taken the time to do self-searches to see what competition pulls up when you search these killer keywords, and picked the ones you can compete with and still benefit your product.  Shnazzy.  Now, it’s time to build amazing content around this prep.

First, try to unlearn anything you learned before.  Whaaa?  Yes, unlearn it.  I know you’re tempted to fill your pages with so many keywords and phrases that Google or Bing won’t be able to pass your site up in a search.  But, this just isn’t the case anymore.  The algorithms are smarter.  Just like your Momma, they can see through your tricks and have eyes in the back of their…screens.  And also like your Mom, they want you to be happy being YOU.  Point being, it’s time to be yourself.  Be original, and try to be a genuine value to your viewers.  Yes, keep those keywords in mind but make sure you are using them genuinely or Mom will give you a time-out and you’ll go to bed without any rankings.

You need to think like your potential customer.

What does your customer need from you?  

What are they looking for or need help with?  

How can your product or service help them achieve their goals?  

What can they learn from you and your website?  

How is your website a value to their time and attention?

Website Content Best Practices Thumbs Up

Answer these questions as you write and design your site, and you’ll have yourself pages full of useful content.  And Mom (Google, Bing, Yahoo…) just may reward you with a cookie.  (did you catch the pun?)  You’ll also be adding the right kind of context to your keywords which makes those search engine algorithms very happy.

But we promised Website Content Best Practices, didn’t we.

So, here are a few Website Content Tips to keep in mind when you’re creating the “stuff” for your website.

Do NOT, we repeat, NOT copy and paste.  Oh, we know it’s tempting.  You sell four versions of virtually the same product but the only difference is color or speed.  How creative and original can you really get??  But I’m sorry, this is a big no-no.  Copying and pasting creates duplicate content, which can really hurt your search rankings.  So while it may be hard to stay original with every manufacturer description, this is a great time to give effort to that creative bug inside your head.

Variety is the spice of life.  Yes, even on the internet.  Having unique product page content is important, but let’s take it a little further.  Give some original effort to the story on your About Us page.  Do you have a list of people who love to brag about you?  Dedicate a page to their testimonials.  Maybe have a boring, but useful, page with your return policies, care instructions or Frequently Asked Questions.  And don’t forget how creative you can get with your blog posts, videos, guides and podcasts– All of which can be tied to your social media for even more attention!

Keepin’ it fresh!  No, not Ziplock baggie fresh.  Fresh as in, new.  “New is always better.” -Barney Stinson (any How I Met Your Mother fans out there?)  While Barney may have discovered that his rule of anything new always being better wasn’t necessarily true for everything in life, it certainly applies to website content.  Search engines are businesses.  They want to make money.  They do that by keeping their viewers happy with genuine, valuable, up-to-date resources.  This is why the internet continually scans website content.  So if you build yourself a store and just let it sit there, it might lose value and ranking fast.  So set yourself a routine: Plan a regular publishing plan for fresh content.  Update your product reviews or descriptions.  Make sure you’re blogging.  Give your site new images.  Get a calendar to post all of your company or even community events.  New is always better.

Content plays a large role on the success of your SEO efforts and your website.  Keep your SEO efforts in mind throughout the entire design process of your website.  Effective content, better accessibility processes and proper information are all key components for strong SEO.  If these aren’t kept in mind during the development of your website, you’ll end up backtracking and retrofitting.  Apply these few best practices to the development of your website content and you’ll be well on your way to bringin the most qualified shoppers to your site!