Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How to Correctly Brand Your Business Online

CC Communications can assist with your online branding.As you prepare for re-branding or a redesign of your website, consider evaluating your complete online identity to ensure your online presence is consistent across all platforms. This includes each social media account you have established, each directory listing, and any online ad campaigns you may be running through Google AdWords or Yahoo! Bing ads.

When it comes to your working business name, make sure that your business is listed uniformly in all of your directory listings, social media platforms, news articles, and blogs. Not only does this help your SEO campaign by remaining consistent with NAP Data (Name, Address, Phone), it provides users an easy path to find you. This also prevents browsers from assuming they're viewing conflicting or competing businesses.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest, allow you the opportunity to personalize your web address. This is called a vanity url, and it's the unique link that will lead a visitor directly to your dedicated page on a social media network. Since many of the major social media platforms are well established, you may find that other businesses may have grabbed your username already, so take some time to research a username that will allow your business to stay consistent across all platforms. If your business name is already taken, consider using derivations with an action word in front of your business name. For instance, @GoXYZCompany or @HireXYZCompany.

Overall, make sure that your social media handles relate to your business. Before you commit to a particular url or handle, do your due diligence to make sure that handle is available on all platforms.

Looking for more insight? Allow CC Communications the opportunity to evaluate your digital marketing needs. We proudly serve the Charlotte, North Carolina area and the entire Southeast. Reach us today at 704.761.4676 or by emailing Marketing@CCCom.com.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

5 Ways to Impress Your Website Visitors

You rock at search engine optimization. You can blog with the best of 'em. Your social media is on point. You notice that your website visits are growing... but don't celebrate, yet.

Building a website is much like 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?

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'?

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.

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 a first time visitor to 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.

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 don't - 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 how much you care and appreciate their business and trust.

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!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

We're Thankful For You!

From all of us at CC Communications, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please note our offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday in observance of the holiday. We'll return on Monday, November 30, 2015.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Your Mobile Guide to Christmas Town USA

CC Communications Launches A Mobile App Full of Holiday Cheer!
Holiday light sparkle in Christmas Town USA
Photo courtesy of Christmas Town USA

This week our team put the finishing touches on a new mobile app, just in time for the holiday season. It's called Christmas Town USA Mobile Tour and it's designed to guide you through the streets of McAdenville, North Carolina, during their beautiful holiday light show. This annual display showcases thousands of twinkling lights, which you can view for free along a driving tour through the town. It's one of the largest and most popular holiday light shows in the state, and our app, which is also free, is a perfect companion to download before you drive.

The Christmas Town USA Mobile Tour app provides you with an enhanced experience when visiting our holiday light display. A map of the area highlights can't-miss points of interest, and includes information about parking and wait times from key locations leading into McAdenville at different times of the month. Notifications within the app tell you when that day's light display is nearing the end, and notifications from organizers let you know of important, up to the minute information about the festivities within the app.

Download the app for free, here:

Download the Christmas Town USA Mobile Tour from the Apple StoreDownload the Christmas Town USA Mobile Tour from the Google Play Store

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Is Your Email Marketing Considered Spam?

Email marketing tips from CC Communications
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 300 billion emails are sent every day worldwide, and out of those, nearly 90% are considered spam.

As a business, email marketing is one of the most effective sales conversion tools you can use, but do it wrong and you'll see the number of unsubscribes grow, or worse, they'll hit the dreaded spam button. So how do you market your businesses via email without people hitting the spam button?

If you've ever received an e-newsletter from a company you've never done business with, then it can make you take pause. How exactly did they get your information? If it seems suspect, it's because it is. Occasionally marketers will buy or rent lists of leads and load them into their database. This is a surefire way to get yourself blacklisted by the search engines. Focus on building quality leads through signup forms on your website or social media channels, and require a double opt-in for good measure.

As people sift through their inbox they use the subject line to determine whether your email is worth opening. You've got 65 (or so) characters to impress so make it count. You should be personable and tease the e-mail content in a way that drives click-through. For example, "Don't miss out on our 24-hour flash sale" - Using pronouns like "our," "you," and "we" make it personable, and the limited time offer entices people to click now instead of later. Notice the absence of an exclamation mark in the example. Using those can get you flagged by spam bots so use sparingly. Also don't substitute numbers for letters. If you've obtained first names in your database, then by all means use them in the subject line. Most email marketing service providers have this feature built in and it helps when trying to catch someone's attention.

Have you ever opened an email and immediately deleted it simply because your mind is boggled by the sheer amount of text? Nobody has time to read an email novella. Keep your content brief with a clear call to action. When designing your email layout, work to find the proper balance of images & text. A good rule of thumb is to ensure recipients can understand the point of your email within 3 seconds.

Interested in learning more online marketing tips from CC Communications? Sign up for our e-newsletter below!

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Copywriting for SEO - Why it's Still Crucial for your New Website

Writing for Robots - Why copywriting for SEO still matters.
There are many things to consider when your company is gearing up for a website redesign. You have to consider every little detail - from the new site map, to your navigation, to ensuring your web pages are redirected properly. And the list only gets longer from there. With so many details to manage it may be tempting to attempt shortcuts, lifting items from your current website to integrate into your new website. Don't allow your content be one of those shortcuts!

When a website redesign action plan is put into place, most concentration is placed on making sure that the website is visually appealing, mobile responsive, and user-friendly. Yes, those facets are extremely important, but no matter how attractive a website looks, if the content on the website lacks, so too will the traffic generated from search engines. 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:

Content Comes First
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 get busy, and though you may have the best intentions to write your website copy, often times this crucial update is placed the back burner. Don't let this happen to you. There is likely to be a lot of attention when you launch your new website. Make sure that you put your best foot forward!

Mind Your Tone
If your website content was created in-house, chances are the content was written in an internal tone and voice, using insider, or fast-track, knowledge of your product or service. Chances are your website visitors do not share this same knowledge so make sure that the tone and language is not written in a way that would turn off or confuse website visitors. Also avoid using industry jargon, acronyms, or initials.

Writing for Robots
Your website content isn't just read by humans, it's also crawled by search engine bots to determine the subject and context of your website. Since these bots can't read or see websites as humans do, they scan your website structure, keywords, and layouts. It's important to note that as we enter a new era of semantic web, search engines are starting to recognize the intent behind our content, and keywords, while still important, are playing less of a role in search results. Your best bet is to write high-quality content that is relevant to your business or services and you will be rewarded with strong search results.

Keep it Fresh
Writing your website content is an ongoing process. To keep your website 'crawl-worthy' on a consistent basis, update your website regularly. This shows that your website is evolving and offers new content, which is a key tactic to maintaining SEO health. Make small tweaks to your home page copy, add new blog posts, or update your company news section on a monthly to quarterly basis to gain the most benefit from this strategy.

Do you need assistance evaluating your website content? Are you in the midst of a web re-design and need help to get your website content in tip-top shape? Email the CC Communications marketing team or call us at 706.761.4676. We're here to help!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What's in a Domain Name?

How to choose the best domain name for your business.Creating a domain name for your new website is extremely important as it serves a first impression for your online visitors. It defines your online presence. It can be the key to your online successes. It's how you're ultimately found. Make sure when choosing a domain name you're following these best practices.

Unique & Memorable
You want your domain to be well-branded with your business, but 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.

Keep it Short
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. As a general rule of thumb, keep your domain name under 20 characters.

Consistency Counts
Be sure to use brand elements from your domain across all of your inbound marketing channels. If your company is active on social media, then make sure your social media handles match your domain name. If you have an e-newsletter, then incorporate your domain name in the branding. The same goes for an online blog. Providing this consistence will create a stronger brand identity for your business online.

Your domain will also provide SEO benefits. One tip to help improve your search rank is to ix-nay dashes (-) from your domain name. While it may be easier to read, dashes within a domain name can and often indicate spammy 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. If you need assistance re-directing your domain name, making a good selection, or are seeking web development assistance, contact the CC Communications team.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

5 Things Your Website Must Have to Convert Visitors Into Customers

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When a potential client takes the step to explore your product or service options, your website will typically serve as the first line of defense. Getting customers to your website requires an effective inbound marketing strategy, but once you have them on your site, then what? Do you have the right elements in place to help convert them from a causal browser to a customer? Here are the top five things you should have in place to help bring in more customers from your website.

Tell Them Who You Are
Visitors like to know about who they'll be engaging for services. This is your chance to shine. Tell the word about the services you provide and what makes your business unique. Is your business complex? Write your copy in a way that anyone can understand. Also avoid marketing speak. Your message needs to be as natural as possible to convey a sense of authenticity. And while it's not imperative, you should consider adding a photo that shows off a bit of your company culture. Images of people can help instill a sense of trust, something you miss out on when you skip this pic.

Testimonials or Portfolios
To write engaging copy is only 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 show visitors examples of how you can serve their needs.

Social Media Icons
How you present yourself on social media is becoming more and more important. Allow your site visitors to remain engaged with your company by displaying social media icons which link to your social media channels. 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 followers that your business is no longer in operation.

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 to follow one of your social media channels, subscribe to your blog - or even better, fill out request for a new business quote! It's important not to bury this call to action below the scroll line - make it clearly visible on the page, and use color to draw attention.

Added Value 
There's 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.

Follow CC Communications on Facebook to learn more tips and tricks from our team!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Do's and Don'ts of Hashtag Use on Social Media


The do's and don'ts when using a hashtag
The hashtag started off as an obscure way to search for content on Reddit and Twitter, and over time has become a social phenomenon, appearing on all social media networks, offline in other forms of media, and even spoofed on late night comedy shows. At this point you can't watch a show on television without seeing a hashtag in the corner the screen, prompting you to begin your two-screen experience.

For those who are still unclear on how to harness the power of the hashtag, it's a simple matter of inserting the pound symbol (#) directly in front of a keyword, which then helps organize and track conversations surrounding that particular keyword. 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.

Never fear, though - Hashtags are quite easy to implement and use! Stick with the CC Communications' list of do's and don'ts and you'll be incorporating one of social media's newest phenomenas like a champ.


* Use a hashtag surrounding a current news topic, trend, or create one specific for your brand, a la #JustDoIt

* Use hashtags sparingly. Not every update on social media should have a hashtag so limit the number you use. We suggest no more than 2 hashtags per update.

* Use hashtags to facilitate an online conversation like a Twitter chat.


* #Do #Not #Hashtag #Each #Word - Not only is it obnoxious and forced, it serves no purpose and is considered a spammy practice.

* Don't over-complicate your hashtag. Stringing an entire sentence like #ILoveToUseHashTagsALot is not a good method. Be obvious with your intended keyword and keep it simple.

It's also important to note that you cannot exclusively claim or own a hash tag, and it can be viewed in 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?

Monday, September 28, 2015

What is a CMS?

CC Communications offers CMS solutions to keep your website up to date.We’re in an ever-changing world and your business is not an exception to the rule. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Often, companies launch a new or redesigned website and wait for it to work for them. In a perfect world, this is how things would unfold, but unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Updating and refining your website content regularly not only plays a role to improve your SEO (more about SEO in future blog posts), but also helps to win your clients and visitors over with a well-maintained website that is chock full of relevant, updated information.

Websites can be intimidating. If you've ever seen the source code of a website, you know what I mean. (If you’re curious, go to a webpage, right click and click on ‘View Page Source’.) Making updates to a website can be tedious and if you’re not clear on how to make website content updates correctly, errors can be made that may prove detrimental to your entire website structure.

Our production team advocates for having a strong CMS (Content Management System) implemented within your website. A CMS is a platform that allows your company the opportunity to modify, edit, and publish your website content from a main interface.  Sound intimidating? It’s not. Not only can you ‘un-do’ errors, our production team takes the time to train our clients on how make edits and navigate the CMS platform; we’ll never leave our clients out in the woods at night without a flashlight.

One of our favorite and most used CMS platforms is DNN (DotNetNuke). Not only is DNN easy to use, many of the ‘skins’ (templates) offer a responsive design, which is a topic we’ll talk more about in a future blog post. In essence, a responsively designed website automatically adjusts to best serve the device that you’re utilizing to visit a website, whether that be a smartphone or a desktop computer. Aside from DNN, our production team employs several other CMS platforms based on our client’s unique needs. To learn about other CMS options, please visit our Content Management Systems page.

So we ask you… How easy is to update your website? Do you avoid updating your website because of the headache involved with making edits? Would your company’s sales and marketing departments benefit from a seamless solution to easily update your website with fresh and up-to-date content?

The CC Communications Team is here to help! We’ve been in business for over 21 years and specialize in helping Charlotte area clients bolster their online marketing and web development performance. We’d love to have a conversation with you to see if our team can be a catalyst for your business growth. We invite you to connect with the CC Communications sales team at Sales@CCCom.com or Contact Us directly.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hello, World - Welcome to the CC Communications Blog!

CC Communications in Charlotte NC
Welcome to the CC Communications Blog! We'll be delivering digital strategies each week relating to the world of web development, digital marketing, SEO, programming, and more. Our goal is to provide you with valuable and timely content that relates directly to your business’ future and to maximize your overall online marketing mix. We want to earn your trust to become your preferred partner to create online marketing and development success stories.

About CC Communications
We're a web design firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we've been helping clients maximize their web presence for over 21 years. Formed in 1994, we were one of the first Charlotte web development agencies to enter the market. Today, we're one of the most trusted online marketing and web development service provider for nearly 300 businesses and organizations throughout the Southeast.

We know website development like the back of our hands, and we promise not to inundate you with industry jargon. Instead, we’ll deliver the information that you need to know in an enjoyable and relaxed manner. If you have questions or would like to suggest blog topics, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to contact our chief blogger dholston@CCCom.com.