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4 Show-Stopping Websites Created with Wix!

Image via Flickr.

Over the last little while, I’ve come across some impressive websites created with the Wix platform. I personally find it motivating how, with a little effort and the right tools, virtually anyone can create a website that is both beautiful and professional.

Once the wheels started turning, I got thinking about how my readers would be inspired by a sampling of these websites — real life examples of the Wix editor in the hands of average people that have crossed the path of procrastination and are well on the road to success.

But I wanted to do more…

Aside from just showcasing these sites for you, I wanted to get in touch with the people behind the scenes to find out what they loved most about using Wix. I think their curated comments along with a sneak peek at the work they’ve done so far will help you:

1) Stop procrastinating and get started building your website today

2) Fill you with some real-life ideas on how to take your site to the next level

Before we move on can I ask you a favor?

Can we show these websites a little love by sharing this post using the handy buttons on the left or by connecting with them directly on social media? Tell me which site you liked and why. Let’s get the conversation going so we can inspire even more people to build a website with Wix.

4 Show-Stopping Websites Created with Wix!

 

1.   Willow Rose Fashions

This ecommerce website features clothing from the brand, My Amelia James. I love the image that was used on the background strip and how you can start shopping right from the home page. (I might have been slightly distracted by the Manhattan Skirt — can you blame me?)

Favorite Wix features?

“I love the easy upload to build my sites and all the plug ins”

2.  www.little-lines.co.uk

 

 

This site by Kelly Jones, a UK-based professional graphic designer, does a wonderful job of putting the focus on Kelly’s beautiful line of custom wedding stationery.  Have a look under “Customisation Form” to see how she’s used a Wix form to gather details for each order. Hovering over the image on the product page enlarges it to give customers a closer look at the detail and design. Take a cue from Kelly and don’t be afraid to leave some ‘white space’ on your site. It gives the eye a place to rest, making the important information even more appealing to visitors.

Kelly’s favorite Wix features?

“I like that with Wix you can create a one page website very easily. If you don’t complicate the design too much, a one page site is a great option for smaller sites because it looks pretty good both on desktop and mobile. So you don’t have to worry about the world of responsive website design – great if you’re a beginner!”

3.  Motor City Decal Co.

Motor city is taking decals to the next level with a variety of products ideal for adding a personal touch to your vehicle, home, school supplies and much more. The logo and opening image immediately catch your eye, and once again, you can start shopping from the landing page. With so many products, it’s very important to keep the site organized for a positive shopping experience. Shop owner, Melissa has done a nice job of using dropdown menus for this purpose. Good thing Wix makes this feature so easy to implement.

Melissa’s favorite Wix features?

“I’m still learning how to maximize my new website and really don’t have much experience with building a site. I didn’t choose a theme to set it up, as I wanted to add exactly what I needed to the site. I have heard from a friend who used the themes, though, that her setup was even easier than mine.

My favorite features so far are the ease of adding new listings to my shop. There’s no lag in time with setting them up, unlike other selling sites that can be a bit more cumbersome. The listings look great right from the start.

I also really enjoy how Wix keeps all of my pictures used in their database, so I can see what pictures I’ve used and it actually helps me know what else needs to be added to the shop. I like how easy it is to move the pictures around until I have just the look I need.

Overall, while there is a bit of learning curve, I’m very happy with the site I’ve developed. Now I need to work on getting it some traffic!”

4.  www.avantgardensfarm.com

An top-notch sampling of what Wix has to offer, Avant Gardens Farm & Mushroomery (I believe I just learned a new word) showcases culinary delights ‘artfully grown’ on a first generation family farm. The opening background images is a stunner and be sure to scroll the homepage to see Wix’s ‘parallax’ effect in full swing(the background moves slower than the rest of the page, adding visual interest and a feeling of depth). Instead of showcasing the products for sale on the home page, like the other sites I’ve featured, Avant Gardens makes use of a stylish “Shop Now” button which takes you directly to their online store.

Corey and Bethany’s favorite Wix features?

“Wix is easy to use and regularly update. It’s intuitive and offers the artful presentation we need for our brand. We love it!”

Feeling Inspired?

I can hardly wait to get this post out to you. Please let me know what you think of these amazing websites all created with Wix! Are you moved to add another feature to your existing Wix website? Or perhaps this was just the motivation you needed to start building a Wix website of your own. Either way, thanks for reading and remember to say ‘thanks’ to all these generous contributors with a like or share.

Until next time…..

 

6 Ways to Improve Your Site’s Loading Time

                Image via Flickr.

 

Have you noticed that web pages in general are loading slower?

If so, you’re right. And, you may have noticed that with your Wix website too.

According to this article from CNN there are several driving factors behind this lag in loading. These factors include the increased use of video and images, along with the proliferation of data tracking and analysis tools. A quote from Greg Adams brings up yet another contributing factor,  “The shift from desktop to mobile requests and consumption have had the biggest impact on website performance.”

While I could go on to talk about encryption, network congestion and a whole slew of other reasons, the bottom line is that a slow website is bad for business. Shaving off a few seconds — even milliseconds — can encourage your visitors to stay and engage with your content, instead of clicking away to the competition.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to improve your site’s loading time. Keep in mind that often, there’s a trade off. Many of the things we’re about to discuss can also boost your site’s appeal and your visitor’s experience — it’s all about balance and moderation.  

Time to dive in…

6 Ways to Improve the Loading Time of Your Wix Website

Divide and conquer! – Keep in mind that Wix loads your website page by page. If the majority of your site’s content is on your homepage, it’s a good idea to spread it out over multiple pages instead.

Lighten up your images – Uploading your files in JPEG format means they’re compressed, but still decent in quality. On the other hand, PNG images are higher in quality, but also heavier in format. To improve your site’s loading time, keep PNG files to a minimum.

Be audio/video savvy – Multiple videos take longer to load so again, edit what you don’t need and use the manual play setting instead of autoplay. Same goes for video files. Choose manual play when possible and try uploading audio files with a bit rate of 128 kbps to gain the edge on loading times.

*Tip: To check your audio file’s bit rate (before uploading it) you can right click the file, choose Properties then Details and the bit rate will display under the Audio section. An audio editor or online service can be used to modify your file’s bit rate if needed.

Reign in those fancy fonts – With so many beautiful fonts to choose from, it can be hard to choose just one, or two or… The truth is, font style and formatting can affect your loading time since some fonts are heavier than others. Overall, you should only use 2 or 3 fonts on your website and heavier fonts are best used in titles and subtitles as opposed to long paragraphs.

Use special effects sparingly – Again, I’m not saying not to use them just do so with a light hand. Things like animations, slideshows and other effects can slow down your loading time especially if they are set to autoplay.  Decide which elements provide the most value to your visitors’ and consider removing or reducing the rest.

Upgrade your plan – If you’re a free or premium user, upgrading your plan means you can tap into more bandwidth which in effect means that more information can get to and from your computer faster. This allows your data to download smoothly, keeping your site visitors’ happy. Get in touch if you’d like more information on upgrading your Wix plan.

How to Perform a Speed Test of your Wix Website

If you’ve done all you can and still feel your site is loading slowly you can use an online service to analyze your site’s speed. One of these services is called Pingdom.

Once you’re on the Pingdom site you’ll enter your URL(the web address of your site) and select a location to test from.

After a few minutes the test will be complete and a comprehensive summary will display including statistics and suggestions for optimizing your site’s performance. The results should give you a good idea of your site’s loading time as a real visitor would experience it.

Conclusion

To be sure, there are multiple factors to consider when it comes to slow loading times. This is likely something you’ll need to keep checking and tweaking overtime as you build your Wix website. For now, focus on the 6 things we’ve discussed in this article and you should see some good improvement. 

As always, reach out if you need more help with this.

How to Add a Blog to your Wix Website

Image via Flickr.

In a previous post, I discussed how blogging can boost your business website. Who doesn’t want to boost search results, engage with customers, build credibility and get to know their customers’?

Adding a blog can help you do all these things and much more.

In this post, we’ll go through the basics of adding a blog to your Wix website. Of course, if you start off with a blogging template, the blog will already be added for you and you simply need to customize it from there.

If not, it’s just as easy to add a blog using the Wix editor. Let’s begin by showing you what the blog icon looks like.

Once you click the icon, a box will pop up. Click the blue button.

Once the blog is ready, you will have the option to Add a New Blog Post or Manage Your Blog.

If you click Manage Your Blog, this is what you’ll see.

Let’s go over the 5 sections on the left side: All posts, Categories, Tags, Insights and Settings.

All posts: Here is where you can easily manage everything to do with your posts, whether they’ve already been published, saved as drafts or scheduled to post at a future date. Click the dropdown menu and click the section you want to work on.

Categories: Categories are a great way to sort your blog into different topics and give your readers a general idea what your blog posts are about.

Tags: Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as your site’s index words. You can use tags to to micro-categorize your content, whereas categories are used for broad grouping of post topics.

Insights:  Wix Insights gathers statistics from the first day your site goes live. You can use it to get a general overview of your blog traffic and deep dive into specifics such as how many visitors you have, where your traffic is coming from, which blog posts are the most popular and when these are read most and much more. Armed with these vital stats, you can make strategic plans to grow your audience.

Settings: The Wix Blog allows you to update your subscribers every time you publish a new post. First you need to add the Wix Get Subscribers Form from the left side of the editor. Once you do that, you can open the blog manager, go to settings, and enable the Automatically update your Subscribers toggle.

Ready to blog?

While adding a blog to your Wix website is fairly straightforward, writing and maintaining your blog is another story. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought, I promise you you’re not alone. Give yourself a pat on the back for taking the first step by adding a blog, and watch out for my next blog post where I’ll give you some actionable tips that will help make your blog a success.

In the meantime, I’m an email/live chat away if you have any blog-related questions. You can also check out Wix’s support forum for an entire section on managing your blog. We’ve got you covered.

 

 

How Blogging can Boost your Business Website

 

 

Image via Flickr.

As I write this post, the U.S. is heading into Small Business Week. This initiative ‘recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.’

Around the globe, small and medium enterprises account for  “90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment.”  

With those stats in mind,  it’s no wonder that my most popular tutorial is how to build a business website. I love helping small business owners build an online presence and take it one step further by equipping them with the tools they need to stand out from the competition.

Speaking of tools, have you ever thought about adding a blog to your business website? Wondering if a blog is worth the effort and exactly what value it adds to your business?

By the end of this post you’ll have the answers to these questions and learn how a blog can:

  • Boost your search results
  • Promote your business
  • Help you get to know your customers
  • Build credibility in your industry

Boost organic search engine results

Most business websites have a fixed amount of pages. Naturally, these pages will include the basic pages I discuss here. You may tweak these pages from time to time, but for the most part they’re what we call ‘static’ pages; pages with information that more or less remains the same over time.

The idea of a blog is to have an area of your website where you post or write content regularly. Each time you do this, you’re adding fresh information to your site and this is a signal to Google and other search engines that  your website is active and that they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface. As you consistently put out valuable information, your chances of being found in organic(not paid) search results increases, helping more people to find your website.

Promote your business(for free)

By now you understand the value of social media and likely have various accounts(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) set up to match your business. Nevertheless, you may struggle with the content of your social media posts. If so, a blog can help.

A blog provides a steady source for relevant content about your business. You can promote entire posts or snippets of information yourself and encourage others to do the same. When they do, you’ll be exposing your business to an even wider audience, in essence getting your customers to advertise for you — for free!

Learn more about your customers

Blogging is an excellent opportunity to engage with your customers. Try to encourage conversation by ending your posts with a question. Read and respond to comments, you’ll learn a lot in the process and find out what people are looking for. Doing this will make your visitors feel important and create rapport and trust that will only build over time.

Use what you learn to inspire future posts, and think about using the blog to reward your customers with a special promotion or even a giveaway. Give them a reason to keep coming back and you can be sure they will.

Establish your credibility

If you want to establish credibility in your particular industry, a blog is a surefire way to get there. Your ongoing efforts to provide useful information will set you up as the ‘go-to’ expert in your field and this goes a long way when it comes to turning casual visitors into paying customers.

Blogging: it’s worth the effort

The work you put into each post can have long term effects:

“Once you hit that publish button, it’s forever there for new visitors to see – tomorrow, next week, or even years form now.” — Pat Flynn, Smart Passive Income.

Set a blogging schedule that works for you and then think of each post a chance to solidity the relationship you have with your existing customers, prove your authority, gain trust, and put your business in front of even more people!

Stay tuned for more blogging tips as well as how to add a blog to your Wix website.

 

How to Use Online Business Directories to Boost Your Business

 

Image via Flickr.

When you want to find information on a local business, where do you turn?

In 2014, Google commissioned a study and found that 80% of “consumers use search engines to find local information.” Of these, 88% search on a smartphone and 84% on a computer or tablet.

I guarantee these percentages will only continue to increase as more and more people gain access to the internet and realize how much easier it is than flipping through a 3-inch thick paper directory to find what they’re looking for.

As a savvy business owner, it’s essential that you take advantage of every opportunity to promote your business online.

What if I told you that doing so does not have to cost you a single penny?

Now you’re listening.

Get your Business Listed on Local Online Directories

Local online business directories make is super easy to get your website in front of the right people; people on the hunt for the very products/services or information you have to offer.

The great news is that many of these are completely free or in many cases, offer free plans allowing you to upgrade from there. Invest a bit of your time entering key business details and you’ll add another layer of visibility to your website. (Hint: Use your internet browser’s autofill feature as you’ll be submitting the same information over and over again to each directory.)

I did some digging for you and came up with the list you’ll see below. No matter where you live, you can find additional local online directories with a quick search: “free online directories + (Country).” Give it a try and tweet me @buildwithleah if you find a good one you’d like to share.

Here we go:

18 Places to List Your Business Online for Free

1. Google My Business 

2. Bing Places 

3. Better Business Bureau

4. Yellow Pages 

5. Yelp 

6. Linkedin 

7. Hotfrog 

8. Angie’s List 

9. Manta 

10. Superpages 

11. Local 

12. EZ Local

13. Yahoo 

14. TripAdvisor

16. Merchant Circle 

17. 411.info 

18. Manta

Tip: On any of these sites, search to see if your business is already listed, then claim control of your existing listing instead of submitting a duplicate.

Watch Out For Spammy Directories

When it comes to online directories, not all are created equal. Stick to sites that are good quality and relevant to your business needs. There are plenty to choose from. You don’t want to run into problems connecting your site to low-quality, spam-ridden directories. Linking to these sites can actually hurt your search engine rankings so if in doubt, leave it out.

But Wait, There’s More…

Online business directories area great source of leads, consumer reviews and referral traffic. In addition to basic information, some will even allow you to add printable coupons, special offers, videos, images, preferred payment methods and other meaningful information.

Free or paid, it is important you control your business profile and connect with consumers where they want to be. Once you claim your profile, make sure your information is kept up-to-date and provide details about your business to draw new customers in. Last but not least, claim ownership now so that you can respond to positive and negative reviews of your business in the future. You’ll be glad you did.

SEO: The Simple Guide to Search Engine Optimization with Wix

Image via Flickr.

If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve likely heard the term SEO, the 3-letter acronym for Search Engine Optimization.

Why SEO Matters

Seo ecompasses all the things you do to make your website more visible and easier to find on Google and other search engines. When your website shows up higher in search results this means more people will be able to find it, learn about your business, and ultimately, purchase your products and/or services.

According to a study by Ahrefs.com, “almost 95% of newly published pages don’t get to the Top10 within a year.”

So, what is the reason behind the success of this 5%?

Ahref’s sums it up nicely:  “most likely hard work and great knowledge of SEO, not luck.”

That being said, no matter how daunting it may seem, you need to make SEO a priority, learning what you can and implementing any changes as soon as possible. Doing this gives your site a fighting chance among the more than 1 billion websites online today.

If you’re feeling a little panicky, fear-not, Wix has got your back!

Wix Simplifies SEO

SEO Wiz is an incredible tool designed exclusively for Wix users. It takes the fear out of SEO by creating a personalized plan to help you polish up your website’s SEO step by step. You’ll have access to a handy checklist and plenty of information to implement every suggestion. Wix will even track your progress and achievements to keep you on course. It couldn’t be easier.

Getting Started with SEO Wiz

Login to your account and look for SEO Wiz on your dashboard. Click the blue, Improve SEO button as shown below.

 

 

On the next screen, click Start Now and you’ll be asked to fill in your brand’s name so it’s easier for people to find you on Google. Fill in your location on the next screen(you can also skip this step if your business does not have a specific location.)

Next, you’ll come to the screen you see below. This is where you can enter up to 5 keywords —  the words and phrases that describe what you do. When people use search engines like Google, it matches their search terms with keywords to bring up a list of relevant websites.  

 

 

Tip: Watch the short video on the page for specific information on finding the right keywords. Keywords are crucial to your SEO plan, so take the time to choose the right words and improve your search results in the process.

Following Wix’s suggestions, I entered the following keywords for my sample coffee shop based in Toronto: coffee shop toronto, coffee shop toronto downtown, coffee and bakery toronto, cafe toronto, cafe and bakery toronto.

Once the keywords are entered, click Analyze My Keywords.

 

 

In my case, Wix came up with some stronger keywords(see below) so I swapped out some of the weaker ones and then clicked Create SEO Plan which you will see on the screenshot above.

 

 

Now it’s time for Wix to work its’ magic to develop your personalized SEO plan. The screen will show when your plan is ready. You’ll then be presented with an easy-to-follow checklist with a green check mark to indicate when you’re good to go in a particular area, or an exclamation point where improvement is needed.

 

 

Work through the list one by one. If you click on an item that needs improvement, Wix will clearly explain why that particular point matters, what you need to do and how to do it. You’ll learn a lot and feel like a SEO pro in no time!

Good Things Take Time

To be sure, it takes time to rank high on Google and other search engines. The sooner you begin the better. As we’ve discussed, SEO Wiz makes it super easy to get started and from there, you can explore other articles and videos to round out your knowledge and keep abreast of what’s new in the world of search engine optimization.

Reach out if you have questions on SEO or anything else. In the meantime, keep going! You’re getting there.

 

3(It’s Really 5) Clever Ways to Make Money Using Your Wix Website

Photo via Flickr.

Do a quick search of “how to make money online” and a whopping 164 000,000 results will be at your fingertips!

Needless to say, ‘making money’ is a hot topic these days and today, I’ve decided to dive in and bring you up to speed on how you can use your Wix website to make money — on your terms.

Even if you’re one of the many small-business owners I’ve had the pleasure to meet via buildasitewithleah.com, there may be opportunities you can pursue in addition to offering your services or promoting your brick-and-mortar business.

Sell Physical or Digital Products.

If you already sell physical products offline, why not expand your reach far beyond your local area by offering these items for purchase online as well?

Using the Wix Stores app, you can set up a beautiful online shop you can customize to provide a professional shopping experience for your users. Wix Stores has everything you need including built-in features to send promotional emails, offer coupons, create collections and more.

For a long time, a third-party app was needed to sell digital products via Wix,  but in response to many requests,  users can now use Wix Stores to sell digital products(i.e.., eBooks, images, audio files etc.) for download in Wix Stores.

How-to: Build your eCommerce site using my start-to-finish tutorial in Step 1! If you already have a site and want to add this feature, go to the app market and search Wix Stores to get started.

Google Adsense

As you make progress with your site and build your traffic, consider applying for Google AdSense. Once approved, Google will place relevant ads on your site which will appear alongside your website’s content. You can choose from a variety of ad sizes and formats, and customize the way your ads look to fit in with your site.

How-to: Wix users can apply for AdSense using the Google AdSense app available from the Wix App Market.

The Google AdSense app is available to all users, however having a domain connected to your site increases your chances of being approved by Google. If you need help upgrading your free Wix site, send me an email. I’ll walk you through.

Affiliate Marketing

With affiliate marketing, you partner with a company to promote their products/services via a unique link that tracks visitors referred from your site. If a purchase is made, you receive a commission. The great thing is that you are able to choose what products and/or services you want to offer making sure they align with your values and what’s best for your particular audience.

How to: You will apply to become an affiliate –each company will have it’s own procedure listed on their website — and once approved, you’ll receive unique links, ads or banners to use anywhere on your site. You can place affiliate links where appropriate, even linking an image or button to one of your affiliates.

You also have the option to become a Wix Affiliate, receiving a commission for every premium user referred from your website. Learn how to become a Wix Affiliate.

*Note: currently Wix Stores does not support affiliate linking but you can still place links elsewhere on your site.

Give it a Try!

The great thing about having your own website, is the freedom it gives you to explore opportunities and expand your reach. Once you’re established, go ahead and give one of the above money-making methods a try. Then, continue to promote your site and you’ll reap the results.

 

How to Drive the Right Traffic to Your Site

Have you already launched your stunning new website? Congratulations! You’ve taken a huge leap in establishing your online presence. (If not, click here to get started today.)

Even if you have the most amazing site on the planet, it’s up to you to let the right people know it exists. In tech-talk, these people are know as your target audience.

Generating traffic is all about promoting your website to your target audience.

Continue reading “How to Drive the Right Traffic to Your Site”

5 Important Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Website

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If you’re setting up small business, you’ve got your hands full — there’s no question about that. While ‘get a website’ may be on your list of to-do’s, following through can often seem like a daunting task.  You may have more questions than answers, or feel like you’re entering a rabbit hole of cost and confusion. The result? You put it off for ‘one day’ and before you know it, months or even years have gone by and there’s still no site in sight.

Continue reading “5 Important Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Website”

4 Smart Tips for Choosing the Best Domain Name for your Website

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Let’s travel back in time to borrow a well-known line from Shakespeare’s famous play, Romeo and Juliet:

“What’s in a name?”

A name may not have meant much to a love-struck Juliet, but if you’re building a website, a name can mean the difference between success and obscurity. Continue reading “4 Smart Tips for Choosing the Best Domain Name for your Website”