Web Hosting – It’s More Important Than You Think…

It’s no secret that many businesses run based on the services and information provided on their websites – From setting appointments to purchasing items. Web hosting is like electricity. You may not appreciate it fully until it’s gone. Making a decision to pick a proper web host, should be a decision that is not taken lightly. Before you enter into an agreement with a web host, make sure you consider the following:

1. Price – However tempting it may be, never let price be the deciding factor. If the pricing is too good to be true, chances are it is. Extremely inexpensive hosting plans can signal lack of technical support and unreliable services that are based strictly on volume.

2. Technical Support – When or if your website goes down, will you know who to call? Further, will you rest assured knowing that you’ll get a timely response and prompt service? Before you pick a provider and a plan, make sure that you inquire about their commitments and standards on support. When trouble hits, you want to make sure that you’re best interests will be in mind. 

3. Extra Services – Take a moment to explore a web hosting provider’s additional services, such as a data back-up. Similar to insurance, it may seem like money that could be spent in other places than a ‘what if’ moment, but if the worst case scenario strikes, you’re covered and it will be worth the investment. 

4. Testimonials and Feedback – Often, there is no better feedback then from a current or past client.  Do your research and find out what others are saying about the company or web host that you’re looking to engage. If you cannot find testimonials or reviews online, ask said web hosting provider for references. 

Web hosting may seem like a small decision but if your business runs on the features of the website, your decision couldn’t be any more crucial.

CC Communications, one of Charlotte’s most trusted web development companies over the last 19 years, is proud to offer web hosting and tech support for our clients. We invite you to explore our offerings and services that we provide our clients and hope to have the opportunity to earn your business and trust. To speak further with our team, please visit http://www.cccommunications.com/contactus.aspx or call 704.761.4676.

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Happy Birthday, Google! The 3 Best Things You’ve Given Us

Can you believe that it has been 15 years since the search engine giant launched? It’s nearly surreal to think back to a time where Google was not an integrated fixture in our lives or the last time we didn’t utter the word “Google” at some point during the day. Truthfully, what did we say when we wanted to search for something online prior to “Googling It”?

Google has truly changed our Internet experience – From the way we navigate, to the way we live, to the way we learn, to the way we communicate. But, what is the best of the best when it comes to Google? Well, there are many,many reasons of why Google has stolen our hearts. To keep this post relatively brief, let’s hit the high points, shall we? Here’s our top three reasons why Google is our favorite:

1. Matt Cutts – If you’re not familiar with Matt Cutts, catch up on him via YouTube (yet another reason Google rocks!). Not only is he extremely knowledgeable, he has an incredible knack of speaking the ‘commoners’ tone. Regardless of your experience and knowledge of SEO and the online word, Cutts does an impeccable job of explaining tactics and changes without making your head spin or finding yourself drowning in deeper confusion.

2. Gmail – Unlimited storage, incredible spam blocking, superior integration with essential tools, such as Google Drive & Google Calendar, and easily organizable filing. True, you may not be a fan of Gmail’s newest change to your inbox, but overall, the experience is unparalleled.

3. Google Maps – It’s never been easier to get lost or get found. With full integration to navigate and explore a city like a champ, Google Maps has changed the game with acclimating ourselves with our world… and we’re not even talking about the Street View, where we’re given the opportunity to see any place we’d like in what almost feels like real-time.

Looking for a blast from the past? Take a gander at what Google looked like 15 years ago. Recognizable, yet so unfamiliar. We’ve come a long way, baby!

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Formed in 1994, CC Communications is one of the first Charlotte web development companies to enter the market. Today, CC Communications is the trusted online marketing and web development company to nearly 300 businesses and organizations throughout the Southeast. For more than 19 years, we’ve been helping our clients online presence thrive with innovative web development practices and thorough internet marketing campaigns.

To learn more about our our services can revolutionize your web presence, please Contact Us or call 704.761.4676.

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Is Your Website Missing Something?

Your website is typically the first line of defense when a potential client takes the step to explore your product or service options. Does your website encompass key assets to allow your website visitors to becoming raving clients?

Take a glimpse at the following 5 points that may take your website engagement to the next level.

1. Who You Are – Visitors like to know about who they’ll be engaging for services. Make sure to include information that makes your business unique. What’s standard to you could be a selling point to a website visitor.

2. Testimonials or Portfolios – Writing engaging copy is half of the battle; having the opportunity to show your visitors and clients the products and services you provide is priceless. Be mindful to straddle the line and not come across as boastful or ‘showy’. Illuminate your strengths and allow your visitors examples of how you can serve their needs and be the prime choice in the selection process.

3. Social Media Icons – How you present your self on social media is becoming more and more important from the perspective of potential clients and brand watchers. Allow your visitors to keep the engagement juices flowing by displaying linked icons to your utilized social media channels to encourage connection. If a particular social media channel is not properly maintained, opt to leave that platform off of your website. An unattended social media account could indicate to ‘likers’ and followers that your business is no longer or you’re customer value and service standards are not streamlined and consistent.

4. Call to Action – We know that it’s imperative to have a contact page for interested visitors to further contact you. Equally as important is a strong Call to Action, or an interactive way for a visitor to continue connecting with you. A Call to Action could be an incentive to join an eClub or make an online purchase.

5. A Great Benefit – There is no better way to position yourself as an expert than to offer your visitors an added bonus for coming to your website. Said benefit can be entry to an exclusive email list or an informative white paper – Something that markets you but more, offers your visitors an unexpected extra.

Interested in learning more tips and tricks from the CC Communications team? We’d love to speak further with you! Contact Us via www.CCCom.com or directly at 704.761.4676.

 

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You Said What? The Basic Guide to Hashtags on Social Media

Parents are naming their babies after them. One of Mariah Carey’s new hits includes one. And most major social media networks incorporate them.

So what is a hashtag? Plainly, inserting a hashtag directly in front of a keyword, helps to organize and track conversations surrounding a particular keyword on a particular social media network. First popularized by Twitter, hash tags can be utilized especially on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and of course, Twitter.

There really is no gray area with hashtags… You either love them or you hate them. Used correctly, hashtags can help you stay informed, engage in conversations where you can add valuable insight, and effectively promote yourself or your business. Used incorrectly, you can annoy your social media contacts, proving to be detrimental to your social media efforts.

Do not be fearful, though – Hashtags are quite easy to implement and use! Stick with the following do’s and do not’s and you’ll be incorporating one of social media’s newest phenomena’s like a champ.

Do’s

* Use a hashtag surrounding a current popularized topic or a topic line that you’d like to create.

Take for instance your favorite TV show. Say you missed out on watching the Deadliest Catch. You can take to your social media account and say, “I missed #DeadliestCatch last week; what did I miss?” In doing so, you open the door for other followers of this hashtag to converse with you about your comment or question.

* Use hashtags sparingly. Not every update on social media should have a hashtag and further, limit the number of hashtags that you use. We suggest to use no more than 2 hashtags per update.

Do Not’s

* #Do #Not #Hashtag #Each #Word – Not only is it obnoxious and forced, it serves no purpose. Would you really like to track the word ‘each’?

* Yes, you can be silly with hastags but really, what is the purpose of using a sequence like #ILikeToUseHashTagsALot? There really is not any. Keep your hashtag usage simple and non-obtrusive.

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It’s also important to keep in mind, you cannot exclusively claim or own a hash tag. Hashtags can be viewed as a public forum. With that being said, be very careful about what hashtag you select to begin promoting or utilizing. There have been dozens of stories of hashtag snafus, like this one. Do your research and ensure that a hashtag is ‘safe’.

So what’s your verdict? Are you a hashtag lover or a hater? Any valuable tips you’d like to share?

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Things to Consider During Labor Day Weekend

The countdown to a long weekend is on, but for many, especially entrepreneurs and business owners, Labor Day may just feel like another Monday to start your week.

The meaning to Labor Day, defined by Wikipedia, is a day to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. In theory, Labor Day is the ideal day to look at your world, your business, your career, your work, and see what tweaks need to be made, so you can create a most cohesive and fully evolved life for yourself, and those around you.

Getting away or taking a long weekend may be out of the question, but we encourage you to take some time, even if it is an hour, to reflect about your business and/or your current state of employment:

Are you fulfilled and happy with your career? If not, what can you do to change your outlook and feelings?

Have you defined your goals for the 4th quarter of 2013? Have you looked to 2014’s goals?

What can you immediately do to make a positive impact in your business and your life?

What can you do to be a better YOU?

How can you more broadly serve your community members and give back?

(Anyone care to share more powerful introspective comments? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below!)

Often in the grind of life, we focus on what’s right in front of our face instead of what’s to come. What’s even more powerful is reflecting on how far you’ve come in your business life and career. Not so much returning to the past, but more, seeing how your past and the experiences you’ve endured has shaped you into the person you are today.

On behalf of our full team at CC Communications, we wish you and yours a fun, safe, and hopefully relaxing Labor Day weekend!

As you take time to consider your business journey, please keep us in mind for your web development and online marketing needs. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, we’ve served the Southeast for over 19 years, servicing the online needs of over 300 clients. It’s our passion to create a proud, strategic, accelerating  online presence for our clients. It would be our honor to see what our team and build and create for your business, too!

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7 Tips to Consider in Your Online Marketing & Advertising Campaign

The world of online marketing and advertising can be extremely overwhelming, and finding means and methods to bring an eventual ROI can make your decision making process that much more difficult. Before you invest in your business, read through the following 7 consideration points to ensure you’re making the best decisions for the betterment and future of your business!

What WORKED Isn’t What WILL Work: Sometimes, we reflect on the past and project as what will happen in the future. Realistically, what was a good means to advertise 5 years ago, much less, last year isn’t always relevant. Ask around to your trusted posse about where and how they connect and learn about businesses – Find out what companies are making moves and dynamically adapting to trending communication, means and what companies are staying stagnant in their progression.

Don’t be Motivated on Price Solely: Weekly, our team hears horror stories of advertising nightmares and marketing blunders from our clients – From outlets that over-promise and under-deliver to others that turned around an ROI of 0.0.  Truly, you get what you pay for. If you get something for free or at little cost, do not expect miracles. Think of it this way… If a doctor offers you a free or deeply discounted treatment, would you be willing to accept all risks associated and be comfortable with the procedure?

You Gotta Do It:  The relatively new mindset is believing that if you have a huge social media base, throwing out some mentions on social media are going to gain you massive success… Not so much. There is a somewhat science and etiquette to social media and most do not market correctly. While social media can grow your business if used correctly, don’t skimp on advertising avenues that are built specifically for that cause. Social media is what is says… social – media.

Stay In Tune With Your Brand: Companies like Coca-Cola and Apple have done a fantastic job with their branding, marketing and advertising – Not only are these companies a household name, they are also brand consistent through all medias. You don’t have to spend a billion dollars a year in advertising to utilize their practices. If you have an ad on one media that is completely different than an ad on another media, you will do nothing but confuse the people you want to attract and you get people believing that the two companies they see are not related! Find a designer or Charlotte marketing agency that you love (YES, we can help!) and entrust them/us with giving you a strong, appealing, and consistent message that can be well received across all medias.

Diversify: Our social and communication culture is scattered and our attention spans are being taken in multiple directions. Here is a fun factoid: When one logs on to a website, their attention span averages 3.5 to 5 seconds. That is not a lot of time to make a bold statement. Do your homework and really find out where your customer and client base resides online. Are they active on LinkedIn? Do most come from search? What are their online patterns? Once you receive a baseline of information, you’ll be able to make worthy decision of what’s best for your business’ marketing and advertising.

Track, Track, Track: Once you use an advertising source, are you doing anything to see how the campaign was received? At the base, make sure you have Google Analytics or a similar reporting source integrated into your website. Take it further and ask people how they came to your website.  If someone purchases something from you online, send them an email and ask them how they heard about you and ask them pertinent questions about their experiences with your business and website. Granted, your answers will not be completely accurate (sometimes people don’t remember where they heard about you or give you an inaccurate answer) but it will give you a beginning base of information.

Give It Time: On average, it takes people 7 exposures to a business, event, product, etc., before they will take the step to engage. Our attention span is asked to be directed a thousand different ways and it takes time for a concept to sink in. Be patient.

Still looking for more help? We’d be glad to serve you! Connect with the CC Communications team at Marketing@CCCom.com or call us at 704.761.4676 to chat further. After 19 years in the Charlotte web development and Charlotte online marketing community, we’re confident we can serve your business effectively and in tune with your brand and combined goals!

Posted in Business Acumen & Etiquette, Digital Marketing, Hot Topics, Trends and Technology, Web Development | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Is Your Email Marketing Campaign Doing Your Business Justice?

If our nose is buried in our smartphones, there is high probability that we’re doing one of three things: 1. texting 2. checking our favorite social media account or 3. checking and responding to emails.

It’s said that the ‘average’ person receives about 105 emails per day. (Anyone else feel like this number is severely deflated?) In any case, estimates suggest that nearly 300 billion, yes, BILLION, emails are sent every day. However, it’s estimated that nearly 90% of emails sent are considered spam. For spending so much time engaging in email communications, businesses and professionals are sure to encounter some push back when it comes to ensuring their targeted recipients receive and respond to their email campaigns.

Are tweaks and updates ready to be installed into your email marketing campaign? Consider these tips!

1. Study Your Email Subject. There is a lot to consider with your email title… Is it attention grabbing? Is it repetitive and/or generically titled? How many characters is your title? Consider a title that is snappy and catchy. As quickly as professionals filter through emails, it’s important to be bright and brief to make your email campaign sways from the mundane.
2. Text vs Images. Ever open an email and immediately delete it simply because your mind is boggled by the sheer amount of text? Yes, me, too. Work to find the proper balance of images & text. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that recipients know the point of your email, once opened, within 3 seconds.

3. What’s Next? Sending an generic email to your subscriber list is not enough… What do you want the next step to be? Would you like your subscribers to click for more information? Simply read an update? Call a specific number? Just as in website design, email communications should guide those who engage with you to eventual next step. Not only does this approach make it easy for tracking purposes, it allows subscribers a seamless, non-frustrating navigation with your messaging.

Interested in learning more tips and tricks from the CC Communications team? Interested in allowing our marketing and production team create and distribute your email campaigns? We’d love t speak further with you! Contact Us via www.CCCom.com or directly at 704.761.4676.

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What’s in a Domain?

It defines your online presence. It can be the key to your online successes. It’s how you’re ultimately found. Have you really considered how your domain name is working for your business?
Making the decision to re-direct your website or make a strong impression for a new website is an extremely important decision. Not only does a domain name need to become a staple to your business, it should be an obvious correlation with your potential website visitors.

First, consider your brand. If at all possible and if your company is active on social media, make sure that your social media handles match your website and vice versa. If your website is http://www.ABCCompany123.com, make it easy on your website visitors and attempt to ‘match’ your social media handles accordingly. Social Media is not going to die out anytime soon. Even if your company is not currently active on social media, it isn’t a bad idea to reserve your handles of the opportunity arises.

In keeping with a well-branded domain, it’s equally important for your domain to be memorable; either something that is exact to your business name or a variation that stands out and makes a statement for your business. For example, http://www.HireABCMovers.com.

Also, consider the length. If we’re in a hurry and are typing quickly, it’s extremely easy to make mistakes in entering a lengthy domain name. (Let’s be honest though… Even makes happen a lot typing; especially on smartphones!) As a general rule of thumb, keep your domain name under 20 characters.

Finally, yes, there can be SEO benefits in domain names! With that being said, ix-nay dashes (-) from domain names. Yes, it is easier to actually read but dashes within a domain name can and often indicate spam behavior to the search engines.

We’d love to hear what domain names have made a resonating impact on you! We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences below in a comment.

Can we serve you? If you need assistance re-directing your domain name, making a good selection, or are seeking web development assistance, contact the CC Communications team, email us at Marketing@CCCom.com or Contact Us directly!

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Copywriting for SEO – Why It’s Crucial for Your New Website Project

There are many things to consider when your company is gearing up for a website redesign… From creating strong Calls-to-Action to dialing into customized programming. With all the considerations and decisions that need to be made, it can be tempting to consider making shortcuts and lifting items from your current website to integrate into your new website.

Don’t allow your website content be one of those shortcuts.

When a website action plan is put into place, most concentration is placed on making sure that the website is visually appealing and user-friendly. Yes, those facets are extremely important, but no matter how attractive website looks, if the content on the website lacks, so will the traffic and eventual ROI. A few years back, website copywriting to accentuate your SEO campaign was not nearly as important as it is today.  The science and algorithms of a successful SEO campaign are being released, explored, and tested, and its been proven that one of the most important factors in SEO is having strong keyword rich content on your website.

Start your website off on the right foot and make some serious updates to your website content. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

1. If your website content was created in-house, chances are the content was written in an internal tone, meaning the writing has inside, fast track knowledge of your product or service. Chances are your website visitors do not. Make sure that the tone and language is not written in a way that would turn off or confuse website visitors.

2. Content for your website is just as important for your visitors as it is for the search engines. Search engines cannot read or see websites as humans do; they ‘read’ your website by the structure, keywords, and layouts. Writing website content for the purpose of SEO is not easy and without an industry insider or expert creating the website content, what’s expressed on your website can become a mess of delibrate keywords that does not serve your website, nor your visitors quest for information.

3. Don’t put website copywriting off until a later date; make an effort to implement your new website content when your website is first launched. We all know that business is busy and though you may have the best intentions to make the switch, situations can come up and this crucial update can get put on the back burner. Much less, there is likely to be a lot of attention when you launch your new website. Make sure that you put your best foot forward!

4. Remember that tweaking and fine-tuning your website content is an ongoing process. What will help your website become consistently ‘crawl-worthy’ is updating your website regularly. This shows that your website is evolving and offers new content, which is a staple to your SEO health.

Need help in evaluating your website content? In the midst of a web re-design and need help to get your website content in tip-top shape? Reach out to the CC Communications marketing team at Marketing@CCCom.com or call 706.761.4676. We’d be happy to help ensure that your website launch and SEO copywriting

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5 Ways to Impress Your Website Visitors

You rock at SEO. You can blog with the best of ’em. Your Social Media is on point. You notice that your website hits are growing… But don’t celebrate, yet.

Building a website is much maintaining your computer. You have to allow for system updates, edit what’s hosted on your computer, and clean out unused space so your computer will run optimally. So what can you do to make an impact to keep your visitors coming back for more?

1. Mind Your Design – Dated designs are easy to spot and could influence visitors to think that your website has not been updated in some time or that your company is not staying up-to-date. Think of your website design as the state of your home. If you were having a dinner party or inviting company over, would you want to present your home looking its best or when it’s rather ‘lived in’?

2. Minimize Errors – Make sure to consistently check your website for dead links, formatting issues, and bad re-directs. Not only can these issues negatively impact your SEO, they can be a hub of frustration for your visitors.

3. Make it Easy – Sometimes webmasters and marketers design websites for what looks best and not always what is most user-friendly. Take a moment to objectively look at your website from the eyes of your visitor. If this was the first time you were visiting a (your) website, would you encounter navigation frustration attempting to find what you’re seeking? It’s easy for visitors attention to be pulled many different ways that they become frustrated and confused, leading them to navigate away from the page. Impress your visitors by keeping your website uncluttered and allows their attention to flow naturally.

4. Set Yourself Apart – All businesses have a competitor in some form or fashion… Are you blending in with the pack or are you standing at the forefront of your industry? Want to really make a lasting impression with visitors and potential clients? Offer a service or amenity on your website that your competitors do not – This could be a complimentary consultation session or white paper, a complimentary gift, or extended customer service. Offer more and do more to show your web visitors (and clients in general!) how much you care and appreciate their business and trust.

5. A Good Reason to Come Back – Aside from intensifying your SEO presence, updating your website on a consistent basis adds urgency to return to your website, as new content, products, or services, given your business line, are added regularly. This gives your visitors extra incentive to return and become a loyal visitor or client.

Is your website craving a web re-design? Are you in need of making tweaks to your website and need assistance? The CC Communications Team is always here to help!

Please contact us at 704.761.4676, by emailing Marketing@CCCom.com, or by visiting www.CCCom.com/Contact Us.

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