How to Pay Your Invoice Securely Online

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Paying your invoice online is easy and secure. Continue reading to learn how to pay your invoice in full or make a smaller payment.

After clicking the invoice payment link you will see your invoice details. After reviewing the invoice, choose an option to make a payment. You can choose to pay by Credit or Debit Card, or Apple Pay. All major cards are accepted including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

If paying by card payment, enter the information including the card number, expiration date, security code, name on the card, and the zip code associated with the card.

Your payment amount defaults to the total remaining balance of the invoice. If you would like to make a smaller payment, you can click to edit the payment amount:

For example, if you would like to make a $500 payment instead of the total remaining balance, edit the payment amount by typing in $500.

There are a few check boxes to review which include agreeing to the terms of service. The terms are written at the bottom of your invoice which you can find and review by scrolling down to the bottom of your invoice.

After completing all necessary fields, click the Pay Button.

If you need further assistance making a payment securely online, feel free to contact us.

Why Do You Need a Website?

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In today’s world, first impressions of a business are typically made online through the internet. What’s interesting is that you may not get a second chance to make an impression if your online presence isn’t portraying your business at its best.

Without a website, your business relies on information from third party websites and reviews others have written about your business which may, or may not, show your business in the best light.

Having your own website gives you the chance for others to learn about your business straight from your own words, and who wouldn’t want that? Don’t miss the opportunity to make your first impression a great one!

How Much Should I Spend on Marketing?

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With so many marketing options available, it can be overwhelming to decide where to focus and how much you should spend. After reading some best-selling classics (Good to Great by Jim Collins and Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson), we did some research and found some answers.

Experts say a good number for small businesses to aim for is at least 7% of revenues. For example, if $30,000 came in throughout the year before expenses & taxes, we should be spending a minimum of $2,000 on marketing. If your industry is fairly competitive, up to 15% of revenues should be invested on marketing.

That being said… What is the most cost-effective and fastest growing way to market your business? The answer is mobile-friendly web based marketing. A well designed mobile-friendly website can help build a strong visual representation of your business, trust, and should yield a positive return on your investment.

3 Reasons Why We Use WordPress

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It’s the #1 Content Management System in the World

Of all websites built with a Content Management System (CMS), WordPress powers 43% and is growing. Shopify is next in line at 4.3%, but we only recommend considering it if you plan on selling products on your website. Wix and Squarespace each rank below 2% and are best suited for solopreneurs or hobbyists who prefer to design their own website with a limited set of tools.

We’re WordPress Experts

We’ve been designing websites exclusively with WordPress for over a decade. Having experimented with other CMS like Joomla, Drupal, and Wix – it was clear to see that WordPress is by far the most professional and supported website platform.

It’s Supported and Scalable

WordPress is software designed with emphasis on accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. A large community of dedicated people collaborate and contribute to the open-source WordPress project and offer powerful features for growth and success.

5 Reasons Why People Leave Your Website

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It’s Not Responsive

More than 50% of web traffic worldwide comes from a mobile phone. If your website is not responsive (optimized for mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers) you are missing out on a huge audience and potential business.

It Looks Outdated

Did you know that 75% of website visitors make judgements about a company’s credibility based on visual design alone? Nowadays websites are typically the first encounter people will have with your businesses, so it’s more important than ever to have a visually-appealing and well-designed website to make your best first impression.

Navigation is Cumbersome

If visitors experience frustration navigating a website they will quickly abandon it. 88% of visitors are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience.

It’s Too Slow

If your site doesn’t load within a few seconds or less, visitors will continue their search elsewhere.

Poor Content Structure

Every page on a website should serve a purpose with a natural flow of information. If website visitors struggle to find key information or aren’t directed to a call of action afterwards, it might be time to rethink your site’s content structure.

The Importance of Website Maintenance

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I want you to get the MOST out of your website. My success comes when I deliver a project to a customer that gives them a return on investment. Essentially, I succeed when I help my customers succeed. I also have some in-depth knowledge about what makes websites successful that many clients haven’t been exposed to yet. I really want to change that. A website can’t just be published and left to grow. Like anything else we want to see flourish, we need to give it time, attention, and effort in order to see it become all we hoped for.

Your website must be maintained. By you, by me, or by someone else, it just has to get done. There are two main reasons your website must be maintained: Security & Software Updates. These things have some cross-over (and they don’t cover the continual improvement you want to make to the content of your site) but they are the foundations of keeping your website open for business.

Number 1: Security
The internet has completely changed our lives, and I cannot imagine a world without it now. But like anything in life- with the good comes the bad. We’ve seen how hackers can disrupt financial markets, cripple businesses, and interfere with governments. But it’s not just the “big fish” these troublemakers are after. Anyone who has a presence online is subject to hacking and viruses. Even a small business who runs a simple website. Your website’s goal is to bring you prospects, customers, brand awareness, sales and overall a good return on investment. A vulnerable website is putting all that at risk.

Number 2: Functionality
The software that powers your website is being produced by programmers around the world, and technology is in a constant state of improvement. It wasn’t long ago that websites were impossible to navigate on a cell phone (heck, it wasn’t long ago we didn’t have cell phones!). But all that has changed. And what is the standard today will be soon replaced with future technology. A lot of these improvements are things that help customers find, navigate, and use your website. We’ve all been to a website that looks completely outdated, and that can be a direct reflection on the company. If they aren’t keeping up with their website, are they keeping up with the times? Will they be able to help me? Those are NOT questions you want your visitors asking about your website.

Let’s talk a bit more about security.
Why on earth would someone want to hack onto your site anyway? There are actually many things hackers stand to gain from accessing your website. It’s likely their first mode of operation would be to scrape any financial information in your database. This could be customer’s credit cards, your account numbers, passwords to your financial accounts, etc. These things can give the hackers instant access to cash- typically with complete anonymity. But it’s not just money they are after. Once in your website, they can insert malicious scripts or code that work to infect the computers of anyone who visits your website. This can be a complete nightmare for you, and the angry customers that aren’t likely to come back and visit you. Not sure it’s true? I wasn’t either when I first started… But the truth is, hackers don’t need to personally come find your website, they’ve build sophisticated bots that can crawl thousands of websites with the click of a button.

There’s also the “software-side” of your website, which needs to stay up-to-date.
The typical website we build has over $1,000 worth of software behind it. Those software costs are ongoing and typically billed yearly.

WordPress is an open-source platform. This means there are thousands of developers producing software on the network. All of them working independently of one another. All the software must work in harmony together, and when they are all being updated and improved constantly, ensuring that they all play nice together is critical. When a software update arrives, it’s important to understand what changes are being made and if they might have an impact on any other software on your website. There can be conflicts that can cause anything from small annoyances all the way to completely shutting your website down. Blindly updating the software, or setting it update automatically is a recipe for disaster. But because of the security and functionality improvements the updates bring, it’s critical you keep them up to date.

A Website Care Plan can eliminate your headache entirely.
Website Care Plans are a typical offering of website development companies. That’s because developers understand the importance of keeping websites properly maintained. While every company’s Care Plan is different, typically they include keeping software up-to-date, security measures, and software licenses. Instead of spending your days away from your actual duties as a business owner, agencies can take these tasks off your plate and handle them for you. Not only does this save you time, but it will save you the headache of troubleshooting, diagnosing and implementing fixes when things inevitability break.

Sure, you can change the oil in your vehicle, but by the time you buy all the supplies, get completely filthy, find a way to dispose of the oil, and in my case become extremely frustrated, you could have paid $29 at the Jiffy Lube and been on your way. It’s this type of convenience that makes Care Plans a no-brainer for business owners.

What about software licenses? Yes, remember that $1,000 worth of software I mentioned was on the sites we build? They work off of licenses that allow you access to all of the updates they push out. A website owner needs a license in order to get the updates. These licenses range in costs, but typically go anywhere from $30-$200 per year for each piece of software. But developers and agencies typically have bulk licenses that allow us to install the software on multiple websites under one license and re-distribute it to our customers. This means our license can be installed on your website and kept up-to-date without you having to buy them all on your own. Because we purchase a bulk license, and spread the cost out among many customers, you can save hundreds of dollars per year being under our license instead of purchasing one of your own. This could be compared to buying into a group insurance policy.

In essence, a Care Plan is built to be a win-win for developers and business owners alike. Business owners can save money and focus their time on their business, not worrying about the upkeep on their website. Developers can keep their clients websites performing optimally (saving on support requests and reviving broken websites) and use their bulk licenses to make it affordable for themselves and clients.

Now that you have a better understanding, here’s the action you need to take. Like I mentioned before, someone needs to be taking care of your website. While it is possible to do this entirely yourself, many business owners find the convenience and time-savings worth the cost of a professional Website Care Plan from a reputable vendor.

Take inventory of all the software on your website, and make sure you have the proper, and active licenses to be receiving all the updates. Assess your website for any potential security threats. Common things like simplistic passwords are easy targets for hackers. There are many security platforms that can help safeguard you against malicious attacks. If you feel uncomfortable, or realize you don’t have time to handle this on your own, reach out to us to discuss which plan is best for your needs.

Web Terminology 101

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Domain Name

A domain name, also commonly referred to as a “domain”, is essentially an address which directs users to the location of your website on the internet. It is similar to your home’s mailing address. The first step in building your online presence with a website is acquiring a domain name. After searching for a domain name that nobody else is using, you pay an annual fee to own and register it.

Examples of domain names: Google.com, Facebook.com, Amazon.com

While there are many domain registrar companies, we recommend Google Domains. Using Google Domains makes things easy because it is likely you will also use other Google services like Business Profile, Analytics, Search Console, and Workspace. Having access to these tools under one account makes things much easier to manage. You may already have a Google account, and if not, setup is simple. Another popular domain registrar company is GoDaddy which you might have used to acquire a domain name in the past. Transferring your domain name from GoDaddy to Google Domains is a process we handle for all customers on a WebCare plan.

 

Web Hosting

Web hosting is essentially a “home” for your website on the internet. Just like in real life, there are many different types of “homes” that exist for websites on the internet. Some are in high-rise apartment buildings with thousands of neighbors, and others in gated communities with on-premise security to keep an eye out for security threats. Some are well maintained by an HOA and include amenities, while others are maintained by the residents to save money.

One thing to keep in mind: No matter how clean and tidy you keep your home, if your next door neighbors don’t do the same it’s only a matter of time before issues come your way. This is why we recommend managed web hosting so you can focus on your business and avoid all the web hosting hassles. We offer WebCare plans that include web hosting in a “gated community” where we take great care of your website.