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  • Your landing page is your first chance to introduce your business to potential clients. It’s the way you’re going to make your first impression on a lot of new users, and it’s always important to keep your home page clean, concise, and compelling.

    We’ve told you before about a number of landing page tips and tricks, as well as the pitfalls you want to avoid. But the real truth is, just as no two businesses are exactly the same, no two landing pages are going to work exactly the same way. While we believe in best practices, there are some surprising factors that can lead to higher conversion rates for your site.

    Hubspot proved that maxim recently in an excellent blog post, compiling the conversion results from a series of A/B site testing on different landing pages. You’d be surprised what a difference a single minor tweak can make!

    Here are some of the most surprising takeaways from those tests, along with a few ideas of how you can start making the most of your landing page:

    A Successful Call-to-Action is All About Placement and Phrasing

  • 5 Essential Elements for Your Web Page (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    “My website is working! Why change it?”

    We hear this all the time, whether we’re networking with a Chicago business owner or just talking shop at the bar at the end of the day (yep, we really do talk about digital marketing in our free time, too… it’s what we do).

    We understand being resistant to change, and we get it – not everyone is a technical wonk. But if your website isn’t optimized for today’s digital landscape, then it’s not working; in fact, it may well be doing more harm than good.

    But where to start updating and refining your website? Start by making sure that your site includes all five of these essential elements. If you’re missing one, it may be high time to start the conversation about getting your website back on track!

    About Us

  • Looking to refresh your website? Starting a new business and ready to set up your online “forever home?”

    Well, by even considering these questions, you’re off to a great start… and likely miles ahead of some of your competitors.

    Having a functional, accessible website is one of the most important things you can do to secure future business. More importantly, having a sound strategy in place when implementing a new design can:

    • increase your chances of securing leads
    • help solidify your existing customer base

    Need some inspiration to get started? Consider these five essential areas when preparing to launch a new website…

    1. Efficient Backend Engine

    A foundational part of website design, coding dictates how your site will function. In essence, this is the infrastructure of your site. It’s your building material, your foundation – and so, it’s critical that you make great coding a top priority as you prepare to build your site.

    With that said, it’s important to consider what goes into constructing a functional, efficient site today. The web development process may have changed a bit since the last time you worked on a website.

  • App of the Week - Camelizer Browser Extension (Source: camelcamelcamel.com)

    Ever noticed how much prices can change on your favorite e-commerce sites? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly when prices are at their lowest, so you can jump on the bargains while they last?  

    For all of the curious online window shoppers who need a little push to seal the deal, or for budget-conscious sleuths always hunting down a sale, Camelizer is here to help.

    A browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, Camelizer takes stock of historical pricing data from camelcamelcamel.com, camelbuy.com, and camelegg.com, allowing you to look at pricing trends on just about any product without you having to so much as open a new window.

  • Boost SEO and Increase Traffic by Reviving Old Content

    Your website’s blog should always be updating with new, relevant content. But what about those old articles, the ones you’ve sort of let slip through the cracks over the months? Do they still have value?

    Short answer: Yep!

    Longer answer: With some tweaks, these old posts can be some of the most effective content on your site.

    Think of older posts as veterans with important experience under their belt: They’ve already been indexed by Google and are generating traffic, while also coming in with social shares, proof, and outside links.  This makes a difference, giving these older pieces of content a major leg up over a completely new post, which has to start from scratch and claw its way up in Google rankings.

    The even better news? It doesn’t take that much effort to refresh and revamp your old content. Whether you’re trying to elevate an underachieving blog post or boost a star article’s search rankings from good to great, here are five surefire strategies that will help you dramatically increase your traffic by reviving older content:  

    1.) Refresh and Enrich the Content…

  • 606 Speech

    When Geek took on the website design for 606 Speech, a Chicago speech language therapy resource, we knew that our focus would have to be on clear, direct communication.

    To that end, the 606 Speech site is all about intuitive design, engaging colors, and a fun – yet professional – visual aesthetic.

    Because so much of the group’s business involves working with young children, we saw this build as a chance to get playful with our design. With that in mind, we toyed around with different, out-of-the-ordinary fonts and incorporated bright, eye-grabbing cartoons into the layout, which also features vivid pictures of the 606 team doing what they do best – working side by side with their young clients to fix a variety of speech therapy issues in a supportive atmosphere.

  • Based in Chicago, with services available in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area,Cage + Aquarium Productions is a premier event DJ, emcee, and photography service. Cage + Aquarium connects event hosts with industry-leading DJs and photographers. Their expansive roster of DJs offer in-depth music knowledge and hundreds of hours of training on turntables withScratch DJ Academy, while their photographers bring a natural eye for visual storytelling and the skills to realize their clients’ vision. 

  • FourStar Wealth Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor firm headquartered in Chicago, with advisors located in offices around the country, including Massachusetts and Nevada. FourStar Wealth Advisors takes an independent and client-focused approach to wealth management and financial planning, helping their clients define what is most important to them and then formulating the strategies that are suited for their needs, whether they are accumulating wealth or investing for income, solidifying a retirement plan, or devising a distribution approach that meets their  lifestyle and legacy goals.

    Our Mission 

    FourStar Wealth Advisors is a next generation wealth advisory firm, focused on using new and innovative technologies and finding creative ways to communicate with their clients. FourStar came to Geek Chicago looking for a modern site that spoke to their independence and their commitment to industry-leading innovation. 

  • Digital Marketing for Financial Professionals (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    With 69 million Americans banking online, and more than half of all Americans paying at least one bill online per month, there can be no question that the financial industry now lives and breathes on the internet. Whether you’re a planner, strategist, advisor, service provider, or any other financial pro, it’s time to make sure that you’re ready to thrive in the digital ecosystem.

    The first step? Bring your digital marketing campaign – including web development, social media, retention marketing, and content creation strategies – up to snuff. 

    Before we move on, let's first dispense with some reservations and myths about digital marketing that some of our financial advisor friends and colleagues have pointed out to us. Above all, it's important to bear in mind that FINRA and other regulatory agencies prevent financial advisors from marketing their accomplishments. From copyright to CAN-SPAM, we know the importance of keeping digital marketing on the right side of the law! But also know that while you may be unable to discuss, for example, specific returns, or guarantee a client's successes - check out FINRA for the exhaustive regulations - there are still plenty of things professionals can and should share, like the benefits of planning at all, or the importance of understanding all of the options available in the marketplace. 

    Ready to capture fresh leads and position yourself as a thought leader in your field? Here are the five keys to digital marketing success for pros in the finance industry:

    Meet Your Audience Where They Live and Work

  • Digital Marketing for Healthcare Professionals (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Healthcare is complicated, and marketing it seems like it would be even tougher. We’re talking about a multifaceted industry, one that includes actors ranging from hospitals and private practices to insurance providers, from pharmaceutical companies to medical device manufacturers, all bound by plenty of complicated regulations: HIPAA compliance, FDA restrictions on marketing, and the ongoing effects of the Affordable Care Act.

    With all of these variables and parties taken into consideration, it’s no wonder that “the healthcare industry as a whole tends to lag behind other industries when it comes to marketing by about two years,” according to HubSpot.

    So, whether you’re a healthcare provider reaching out directly to “payers and patients” or a medical company trying to reach physicians, shareholders, or advocacy groups, digital marketing is the key to a successful, healthy future.

    Here are five key elements of digital marketing to keep in mind for your healthcare brand:

    1.) Build a Functional, Responsive Website

  • Digital Marketing for Nonprofits (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Nonprofits and charity organizations have led the charge on so many amazing causes and campaigns over the years. We have the tireless work of nonprofit crusaders to thank for so many things, from cleaner water and air to safer streets.

    But how will these important organizations continue to do their essential work in a marketplace increasingly defined by shorter attention spans and tighter budgets? The answer is digital marketing.

    Here are five ways that nonprofits can put the power of the internet to work for their marketing, helping to drive in donations and increase outreach without breaking the bank:

    1.) Take Advantage of Unique SEM Opportunities…

  • Do You Have a Trustworthy Website? (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    What makes Facebook less “trustworthy” than LinkedIn in the eyes of small business owners? What makes Squarespace top Weebly or Wix?

    Asking why consumers prefer one thing over another can sometimes feel like asking why someone prefers red to blue, or finds clowns scarier than spiders. It’s just a “feeling,” a “vibe,” or an “impression,” they’ll say. It just seems more trustworthy, and that can’t be quantified!

    And while the whims of an audience might be impossible to ever fully understand, we know that there are all sorts of web design and content marketing best practices your brand can put into place to make a positive first impression on your visitors. And establishing trust is hugely important to establishing a relationship and turning searchers into customers – you might have the best Call-to-Action on the web, but nobody’s going to click it if they find your site untrustworthy.

    Want to increase your leads and conversions by making your site more trustworthy? Here are four website ideas sure to boost your brand in the eyes of your audience:

    1.) Build Confidence With “Social Proof”

  • 5 Places On Your Page to Optimize SEO (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    SEO is an ever-changing game, but there are a few rules that will always be fundamental. While some of the supposedly smart tactics of the past – like keyword stuffing and shady backlinking – have thankfully disappeared like yesterday’s meme, there will always be beneficial “white hat” tactics you can apply to your SEO campaign, the better to increase your organic traffic and improve your brand’s online reputation.

    We’ve always argued that the best way to boost your SEO is to provide high quality content that audiences actually want to read. And, fortunately, one of the best tactics for packaging quality content also helps your site appeals to search algorithms - keywording.

    Keywords are the backbone of your successful on-page SEO strategy. They help you quickly and efficiently make your points, both to your readers and to the search engines that they’re using to start their research.

  • Graphic Design Vocabulary For the Rest of Us

    According to AIGA, the Association for Professional Design, graphic design "is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content." As you make your way through the world, you encounter graphic design in grocery stores, on the CTA, and on your television. But, even though graphic design often communicates common ideas, the words associated with this field are foreign to outsiders. 

    Small business owners often have to work with graphic designers, which is why Pagemodo recently published an infographic explaining 28 basic design terms. It's a great place to begin. 

    But, if you're not in the mood for a visual representation, here are some basic graphic design concepts from the infographic. 

    • Wireframe

    • Here'w Why Users Hate Your Website (And What You Can Do About It) (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image

      Look, it's 2016. Every brand has a website. It's not a value-adding proposition anymore, it's a requirement. 

      But what many businesses and individuals don't realize is that their website is actually turning off users, well before they ever get the chance to become paying customers. The fact is, a lot of websites - especially those made with free "build-it-yourself" templates online - kind of stink, and it's costing companies precious business. 

      Well, we're not going to stand for it anymore. We're here to expose the dirty little secrets of web design - and, hopefully, help make your site better along the way. Here are the reasons your website is doing more harm than good - and what you can do to turn it all around:

      1.) It’s Too Slow to Load

    • How to Build Your Forever Website

      In real estate, a lot of buyers dream of their “Forever Home.” It’s a place where they can live… well… forever! It’s a consistent, lifelong investment and source of equity. It’s something that owners can pass on to their children or grandchildren years down the line.

      In short, a Forever Home is about stability and security. And it doesn’t just apply to real estate and families. In fact, your brand can have a Forever Website. And it’s easier to build and maintain than you might think – as long as you think and work strategically.

      Want to create the unique site that’s comfortable, accessible, and, above all, valuable for your brand? Here are four important things to keep in mind as you craft your Forever Site:

      Include a CMS for Your Content

    • How to Create a Call to Action That Really Stands Out

      You’ve got an incredible product. You’re producing high-quality, SEO-focused content on a regular basis. You’ve got a solid social media marketing strategy in place. That’s all well and good.

      But how do you ultimately turn curious visitors into paying customers?

      The answer is a strong call to action. Let’s explore what a call to action does – and how you can maximize your own to start turning visitors into leads:

      What is a Call to Action?

    •  How to Decode Your Most Pressing Google Analytics Questions (Source: plus.google.com)

      Google Analytics is the easiest way for marketers, developers, and businesses to track the successes and failings of a website – but for many, the powerful free tool just leaves more questions than it actually answers.

      “What exactly is bounce rate?”

      “How do I have such a high average time on page and a high bounce rate?"

      “Which metrics should I actually be concentrating on?”

      “Hey, what did you mean when you said that bounce rate and exit rates are different things?”

      “…Help?”

      At times, Analytics can be frustrating and a little confounding, even for the experts. Fortunately, like any program or process, there is a way to work through and logically break down all of your Google Analytics questions.

    • Is Your Site Indexed on Google? Here's Why It Matters

      We’ve talked again and again about the benefits of SEO. Crafting high quality content, perfectly primed to capture the eyes of curious search engine users, is a surefire way to increase your website traffic, bolstering your chances of retaining hot leads and creating conversions.

      But before you post a blog and call it a day, it’s important to ask yourself one key question: Do the search engines you’re trying to target even know that your site exists?

      The internet is a vast repository of information, so a lot of us naturally take for granted that everything we post is automatically filed away and given the same standing as the other content already housed online. This assumption isn’t wrong, per se, but it is a little misguided.

      Having a website that really succeeds with search engines all comes down to understanding just how Google, Bing, and Yahoo actually catalog and present their data. Let’s explore a little bit of the science behind the search, before breaking down the simple steps that will help ensure your website gets the attention it deserves.

      How Do Search Engines Find and Evaluate Content?

    • For any brand concerned with generating new clients or retaining existing ones, nothing is more important than getting discovered on search engines. Across industries, the simple fact is that most of your prospective customers are starting their journey with Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

      To reach these invaluable searchers, it pays to invest in search engine optimization, or SEO; this is our handy shorthand for the artistry behind getting your site to rank highly on search engines. And, believe it or not, SEO begins with your website itself!

      Home to your contact info, content, and more, your website is foundational to your SEO success. Look, feel, function: All of these matter when it comes to ranking on search engines and encouraging fresh organic traffic to visit your site.

      Of course, we could spend hundreds of thousands of words talking about great web design and development. For the sake of your eyesight, we won’t be getting too technical here. (If you want to skip straight ahead to chatting about the nitty-gritty, don’t hesitate to give us a call.)

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).