Podcast Episodes

Website Rebranding

What should you be thinking about when you do a website rebranding?
Jason Ciment specializes in website marketing and will talk about how you can design a website WITHOUT using the standard hero-section at the top of the website.

So if you are going to do something different, what should you do? That’s the topic for today’s expert interview.

Tobin Slaven 0:00

It is time for another episode of Book of Experts.tv and today, you know, maybe you've been thinking it's time to update your website, it's time for a rebrand of your website. What you might not realize is there's never been a better time for this kind of conversation. That's what our guest, Jason Ciment, I'm going to bring him on now. Welcome to Book of Experts, TV, Jason, I, I've been excited to chat with you. In general, like you've been sharing some pretty cool stuff in your newsletter, and you and I were chatting about some of that. But let's hit the let's hit the headline hard, why is now the perfect time to start to talk about updating your website and doing a rebrand?

Jason Ciment 0:37

So there's two reasons. One is because Uncle Sam can pay for a lot of it. And two, because Google has introduced a new ranking algorithm that they call core vitals. And that is forcing websites who want to maintain rankings or earn new rankings to revamp their websites to make sure that they comply with the core vitals requirements. So those are the two biggest reasons.

Tobin Slaven 1:04

Alright, so we hit this right off right off the top, because I know some of you guys were thinking about, what's this all about? I was gonna sneak away. But now that you heard that Uncle Sam will pay for the website update and redesign. Now I know you're hooked for that. Let's talk about Jason for a second. Jason. Get visible.com you're joining us from LA I know you've got a footprint of multiple offices. You've got developers all around the world. And you've got clients all over the all over North America. How did you get into this space? Why is this the game that you chose to play?

Jason Ciment 1:34

So I was a CPA for a big firm back in 1990. Then I went to law school, I thought I was going to be an estate attorney, I passed the bar I got sworn in and standing in the courtroom, I was like, I'm not going to do this right yet. Let me see about starting a business, I could always be a lawyer go back to get an LLM. And just do it that way. And I ended up starting an e commerce business back in 96. And it worked. I was selling magazine subscriptions of all things I was doing search engine rankings on AltaVista and Yahoo, and excite before Google was ever named brand. Google was actually a client of ours, they bought every magazine on our catalog for a few years. And people used to come to me, they say, Hey, I see that you know about the internet? Can you do this? Can you help me build a website, things like that. And then in 2003, I bought out the company that built my magazine, website series of websites by that point. So now I own his technology. I partnered with somebody, and we started leasing out the e commerce platform. So I started doing e commerce marketing. And then in 2005 or so started the agency get visible Originally, it was called La design. But now it's to get visible in order to do the marketing. And we started first with SEO, then we added pay per click, then social media reputation management. So every couple years, we would add more headcount and more clients as we grow. So we've been growing organically for over 15 years.

Tobin Slaven 3:02

So you really got a long history and seeing the changes, which is going to make this conversation really interesting, because we're going to talk about some of the more recent changes. Let's return Can you can you share a little bit more about what's going on in the space with I want to hone in on this $5,000 tax credit from the government and how you think people can leverage this to their advantage, because there's, there's a timeframe here that people need to be aware of.

Jason Ciment 3:28

Right. So my understanding, and I just learned about this recently is that under the American Disabilities Act, you always think of that as a ramp into an office. But there's also a compliance for a website that you can do which someone who is blind or visually impaired, they use a machine to read a web page, they can't see photos. So any image has to have text describing the image, they can't read the link. So the reader tells them this is a link and what it's pointing to. And so there are tools that you can embed into your website that connect with the reader or with the browser to enable an impaired person to take over the screen. But on top of it, there's coding you have to do in your website. So under the IRS code, if you create a website, invest into your website to make it compliant with ADA, if you spend $10,250 up to that amount, I think the first 250 doesn't count, you get a 50% of what you spend. For this ADA compliant website. You can take off as not a deduction, but an actual tax credit. So let's say you spent $10,250 you get the write off as the expense on top of it, you get another 5000 credit that goes directly against the taxes you're paying. So I mean, this is is better than PPP money because PPP payback here, you literally get the money for free and apparently you can use this every year. So right now for 2021. If you're making your plans for the web, So the core vital thing from Google, that's just a catalyst. But now the government is saying we're incentivizing you to do this.

Tobin Slaven 5:08

And and did I hear you say that there's not a sunset date on this? This tax incentive.

Jason Ciment 5:15

So right now, there does not seem to be. But last week, the 11th circuit, I think, is released a position that suggests that a website may not actually be a DEA, public accommodation, which means there's potential it opens the door, that the government may come back and look at a DA as it relates to websites and say, you know, what, it's not a ramp and you're not getting credit for it. So right now, the credits available, and I think just political climate notwithstanding, I would interest in anything being there forever. So if you have a chance to use it, don't abuse it.

Tobin Slaven 5:51

Yeah, get in and get the word done. Plus, it's the right thing to do if you're if you're making your material, your information accessible to more people. So

Jason Ciment 6:01

correct. I mean, right now you hear talk of dei diversity, equity and inclusion. And I think that building a website that is equally accessible, and you shouldn't have to necessarily wait for the careers tab on a website, because that automatically puts you into a category that strongly suggests you should be ABA compliant. I think it's, it's morally, it's a good thing to do to make a site as compatible to everybody, as convey.

Tobin Slaven 6:28

Yeah. And I think that this discussion. So for example, having someone look at your website, or your marketing materials and say, you know, do we look like an inclusive organization? Are we welcoming to folks and including seeing folks with different skin tones in you know, different backgrounds? And how are we presenting ourselves and again, being so there's a number of different elements here. And this is seems like a perfect time to consider take advantage and make some of these adjustments. What else could or should people be thinking about if they, if now is the time for a rebrand of their website and update, you know, getting, stepping into a more modern stance with their marketing.

Jason Ciment 7:15

So if you use Google as an indicator, because most people are driven by concerns for search engine rankings, unless you're on a completely referral, base type business, the core vital list of requirements, the top of the list is speed of a website, yours pages have to load and zip by. That's why you're gonna start hearing things like headless CMS CMS content management system, you'll hear alternatives to WordPress, because WordPress is hard to hit the high performance levels when you start adding in third party plugins and things like that. And we build almost everything in WordPress, unless it's ecommerce, then we're building it in Agile commerce, Shopify. And so WordPress is still I think the numbers is 67%, maybe penetration in the marketplace. But even within that there are ways to hack WordPress to make it operate much faster. So I think what you're going to see is no more rotating sliders on websites that are concerned about this core vital stuff, you'll just see much more streamlined pages, they as well, you have to adapt for mobile. And a lot of times companies just punt on the mobile experience. And they just have the photos on there. And it just, it doesn't speak to the person on mobile. People talk about mobile first, but it's not necessarily honored in a way that it could be. So I think if you if you first step is I would actually look at your Google Analytics and determine where your traffic is coming from. And if you see substantive portion is on mobile, then you should rethink your entire mobile strategy to make sure that the bounce rates are good. And if they're not good, then it's another excuse to redesign.

Tobin Slaven 8:59

And and if someone has not if they're at the point in their process where they do not have access to those Google Analytics yet. I think we've seen more than half of the traffic in general crud, this would depend on the industries. But more than half the web traffic right now is coming through on the mobile side. Is that what would you agree with that?

Jason Ciment 9:18

Yeah, a lot of it depends on the type of business, for example, anything that's temporal time related, I mean, he used to be people were going to the movies, so anything related to going to movies, or restaurants or activities was majority and mobile, because people are are out and they're looking for how do I get there? What time is it open? what's the alternative? If this place is closed? Let me find someplace else. So it also depends on if you're a science website, and people are doing research, the likelihood is you're going to be sitting at a desk rather than sitting on their phones. So you have to determine who your audience is what type of experience you want to get. Also, if you don't care about search engines, then you can create some really exotic experiences for people with transitions and animations because what you're selling there is the brand and the experience. And you don't have to be so concerned, it doesn't mean you should dismiss mobile, it just means that the same concerns you might have for core vitals don't exist. So there isn't one rule, the one for design, the rule is know who your audience is, and designed for your audience.

Tobin Slaven 10:21

Yeah, I love that perspective of creating that that experience, including the discovery aspect, if that's part of your strategy or requirement, planning that step by step process and carrying it through. Jason, one of the things that I saw from you that that prompted our conversation today was, you were talking about one of your clients a website with a non hero section at the top of the website. And I thought, well, this is kind of interesting, because we see so many websites that seem to follow the same cookie cutter format. Can you talk a little bit about what those different experiences might look like and how you've catered them for various clients that you've worked with? I think that's that would be of interest for folks to sort of see an array.

Jason Ciment 11:06

So I'll give you what happened literally today, I was featured in another podcast for lawyers. And I posted on LinkedIn, the fact that I was featured but then what I said is, I have three choices, I could post a hashtag about content marketing, and hashtag about SEO for lawyers, and a hashtag for lawyer marketing. So they're all sort of related, but they have different audiences. And at the same point, I said, Now that I'm posting, where's the best place to post? Should I do LinkedIn? Should I do an email to my newsletter? Should I do a press release or a blog post? LinkedIn was like 90%, of the result of the survey, everybody literally said, you should totally post on LinkedIn. Which leads me now to say, Well, wait a second, maybe I shouldn't post on LinkedIn, if I really want to stand out, because maybe my voice is going to get lost on LinkedIn. Because if everybody's posting there, then I'm just another, you know, it's just more wind blowing. So still posted on LinkedIn. The question is, it got me thinking? So when you talk about the hero section, the problem with the hero section is that it's now white noise, because everybody expects a website to follow certain rules. And so therefore, if you just start with the hero, then your choices are Do I have sliding banners? Do I have just no photo and just a big positioning statement? Or do I have a positioning statement with some imagery behind it? That's pretty much where you're stuck with the hero. And so you're stuck with how much new do I give to somebody who doesn't know my brand? versus how can I just live within the familiar and make the messaging? The unique part of it? So, again, the rule isn't hero or no hero, the rule is, who's my audience? What's their tolerance for new? What's their desire for something new, so if I can skip the hero, and I can go right into a sales pitch, or a nurturing pitch, whatever the the, because that first five seconds, when you see the website, you got to grab them. So it's not necessarily the hero is good or bad? It's really the messaging more than anything. So again, hard to answer. It's, it's, I'll give one more thing I hate to be talking so long. But think about an article. When you write an article for a blog post, you can write to everybody. Or you could write to one prototype, one person who may have similar people like that person, the odds are if you write to that one, you're going to do much better for engagement and for sharing, than writing something in Jeanette in a generic way. So I think a website sort of has that same thing, who's your target audience, and then your highest target audience and devote your attention to that type of person first?

Tobin Slaven 13:55

Hopefully, that helps. Yeah, it does. And I like where you keep bringing it back to there's not one right answer here. It's going to depend on who your people are, and what's going to serve them best. Jason, we've talked about everything from diversity and inclusion, the ADA requirements, we've talked about the speed of how quickly website loads, the the web experience, the mobile experience, what are other factors that people should be thinking about that that might not be in their awareness yet, but from your, you know, some things that that the average Joe doesn't, what should we be thinking about as we sort of ponder, going into a rebrand of the website.

Jason Ciment 14:34

So two things that had happened this morning, I was in a meeting and we reviewed a company's website. They're a leader in their space. They've got all the technical things that look like they're working for search engine rankings, they've got the titles, the meta tags, the headers, they even have, Yoast SEO, which is an industry standard plugin for WordPress. They have it all, but they don't have the rankings. So why don't they have the rankings? So part of it is they haven't updated their website for the core vitals thing. That's number one. So they know they have a performance issue. Number two, the content even though they do not have duplicate content, they don't have great original content. And the content needs to have primary keywords and secondary or what's called semantic keywords. They didn't do a lot of keyword research to figure out what are the phrases that they should be ranking for? And what are secondary phrases that Google wants to see on those pages in order to make the entire topic sensitivity of the page standout? So number one is, how well are you doing in your content review of your competitors of people searching and getting that content into pages that are topically dominant. So that's number one. The second thing is you still need to pay attention to your linking. So no matter what anybody tells you, if you don't have a good backlink profile, you're not going to rank because the content is just context, it's relevance. But you have to be an authority and authority only comes from other people clicking linking to your website saying this is a worthy website. And every link is not the same. So authority comes from better valued links versus worst valued links. So those are the two things I would say.

Tobin Slaven 16:21

So I'm going to for folks out there who I just want to break down what Jason's saying so we don't lose anyone along the way that this authority of the backlinking profile that you described and sort of the, there's going to be a quality score associated with these different links that are coming into your website. This you can think of this like almost like the networking that we do, the more connected you are to other people, including some impactful or influencers who carry a little bit more weight when they may make recommendations. The same thing is happening on the web, which is influencing the results in the search engine pages. The SERPs, SCR SC RP, search engine result pages, this is what's determining where you're showing up. It's a combination, it's a formula of all these different characteristics that we've talked about. So if this is important to you, and to your business, to be able to show up on the front page of Google, and ideally in the top half of that front page of Google, then you have to pay attention to these these factors. If your people are coming direct to you, because discovery or search is not a key part of your strategy, then you can focus more on, I guess you call it the experience, right? The the you talked about using animations on your website and other things that could create that cutting edge feel or experience. For a user, a new a new visitor to the website,

Jason Ciment 17:43

I'm gonna add one thing because it happened last week, I did three LinkedIn posts on the IRS tax credit. And I wanted to compare how well the posts would do and one post got like 2001 got 4001 got, I think over 8000 views all on the same topic. But the difference on the one that got the 8000 it's like you talked about the authority of a link, somebody shared my link with an influencer. And that just boosted the numbers dramatically. So in the same way that you can have a social media influencer, boost your views on a post or on a blog post, you have the same thing from a link, if you have an authority website that's linking to your website. It's the same it has similar impact on Google. So it's not quantity of links as much as the quality of links that matters for your backlink profile.

Tobin Slaven 18:36

I think that's a great illustration. Thank you for pulling that together. Jason. Before we wrap up here, we've got get visible.com as the URL What else should other folks know if they want to connect with you? They want to enter your world? Where should they go? What would be the best doorway to enter through?

Jason Ciment 18:52

I just got to get visible. I'm redoing Jason cement calm, but that's not really it's more personal stuff than the business stuff, I would say just got to get visible fill out a contact form. We only have 15 people, it's not hard to track me down.

Tobin Slaven 19:06

It's it also sounds like connecting, you know, through your social media profiles might be to follow some of the content, you've described several times content that you put out there that would be relevant to different audiences primarily focused on on website search and digital marketing. I guess e commerce would be another area as well.

Jason Ciment 19:26

Correct. So I definitely have my child in e commerce because we still run this ecommerce company. And I used to write for clickz. It's hard to believe 20 years ago on affiliate marketing. So I think since fourth grade when I was selling chewing gum to classmates, I've had this desire to be a business person. I don't care about the money as much as I care about the deal. So I think you'll find that one thing I've done is I've created different channels. For what I do so LinkedIn, I talk about marketing, Instagram, I talk about books that I've read, because I'm an avid reader. So I think that's another lesson for people is to use their channels in a way that's narrowly targeting the audiences they want to reach out to. I hope that Yeah,

Tobin Slaven 20:18

Yeah, I agree, totally be relevant to the conversation that's happening. They're not. My pet peeve these days are the and I'm guilty of this myself. I'm complaining about it. But I'm retraining myself but creating content, a piece of content, and then slicing and dicing and thinking I can put it everywhere. When you have to shape the right content for each of the channels. It shouldn't necessarily be the same thing everywhere. So he said, rather than make a great point, and I think you were I think you were born to be an entrepreneur. Jason, you you talked about all the way from selling the bubble guy. I know you've got the law background and the accounting background, but it seems like you This has been your thing, and it just keeps you keeps you going forward there.

Jason Ciment 20:57

It seems that way. I it's a series of accidents. I don't know maybe it's the Robert Frost thing. I keep trying to take the other road and hand it back on this.

Tobin Slaven 21:06

Well, it's the it's the road that was meant to be for you, Jason, I really appreciate you taking the time sharing a little bit of your background, some ideas of how about ways that people can improve their presence online, and particularly this tip about the tax credit in its availability, and I know some folks will really perk up when they hear that and be thinking how they can make that work for their businesses as well.

Jason Ciment 21:29

Excellent. Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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