Secrets of Website Design: We Love Divi

Secrets of Website Design: We Love Divi

Selecting a website design for your online business is both exciting and challenging. Whether you’re just starting out or it’s time to revamp your existing site, there are so many options available you might not know where to begin.

For starters, you have to decide between free and premium themes. Is it better to shell out hard-earned cash, or can you get by with an inexpensive or even a free alternative?

Then, how can you tell which theme is the best for developing your site and implementing your business vision? The sheer number of themes available can make your decision confusing and frustrating.

What if you make the wrong choice and your site looks unprofessional or functions poorly? How do you know if a particular theme will end up being difficult to implement and maintain?

Not to worry! It is possible to avoid analysis paralysis and move ahead confidently. Even if building or maintaining a business website is more involved than you thought it might be, using Divi by Elegant Themes is the best way to simplify your web design, maintenance, and constant improvement.

VAWW Online uses Divi exclusively for all our web design projects (including our own!), so I’ll explain why it’s the framework of choice for plenty of other businesses as well.

Introducing Divi

Among the most popular WordPress themes in use today, Divi is extremely easy to use with little learning curve. You know it’s safe because the developers partnered with Sucuri.net to certify its security. And purchasing Divi is an extraordinary value that comes with even more bonus perks.

The team at Elegant Themes has been around for over 10 years and is committed to maintaining their products. Rest assured they’ll still be available to offer support for the foreseeable future.

And although it’s their flagship theme, Divi is not the only product included with every Elegant Themes subscription. Another 87 (not a typo!) more themes and plugins are provided as well. (Speaking of plugins, the Divi Builder Plugin works with any theme!) You also gain access to any new items created during your enrollment.

Website designers are not restricted to a certain number of uses, either. You’re free to use any of your Elegant Themes products on as many websites as you choose. Also of value to developers, Divi offers a split testing tool and can be translated into 32 languages.

It’s Incredibly Popular. Some may take Divi’s popularity as a negative because it’s currently being used on over 1 million sites worldwide, without considering the very reasons why it has become a favorite. Elegant Themes provides a value-packed bundle. Divi has numerous positive features that justify its huge and devoted following. Here’s a sample.

Divi by Elegant Themes is perfectly customizable.

Divi by Elegant Themes is perfectly customizable.

It’s Responsive. Right out of the box, Divi allows you to create sites that adjust to different screen sizes on the fly. Even better, its Visual Builder allows you to toggle between smartphone, tablet and desktop views while editing, and remains fully functional in all three modes. You can easily specify different settings for each view to completely customize your site for various screen sizes.

It’s E-Commerce Ready. Divi is fully compatible with WooCommerce, one of the web’s most popular e-commerce platforms. If you plan to do online selling, integrating Divi with WooCommerce is practically seamless and allows you to professionally showcase your products and services.

It’s Constantly Upgraded and Updated. Elegant Themes works hard to create the ultimate WordPress theme and make Divi the only one you’ll ever need. That means constantly refining and improving all their products to make them the best on the market. Significant Divi upgrades are routinely announced on the Elegant Themes blog and are instantly available to users.

It’s Infinitely Customizable. No two sites built with Divi look exactly alike — unless that was the intent. It’s so simple to personalize every aspect of your website, from layouts to fonts and colors to sizing and spacing, that you can achieve your true vision and have it online working for your brand in a few easy clicks.

Elegant Themes also provides innovative Layout Packs for a variety of industries, helping to kickstart your design with fully adaptable page layouts you can use as starting points to develop your brand’s website design.

And not only is the design customizable, the interface can be configured to your preferred specifications as well. That means you’re able to design your pages and content with effortless, intuitive controls that YOU tailored for your own ease of use.

It Inspires a Generous Online Community. Maybe it’s because Elegant Themes itself provides such value to its users, with great online support and documentation. Maybe it’s because Elegant Themes hosts a forum where users can connect to further explore common issues. Whatever the reason, the Divi community is engaged and helpful, with online groups and offline meetups to help one another solve problems and network.

But Divi is Not for Everyone

Some prefer and can afford a bespoke solution, and others simply need a quick and dirty premade template site.

Others think that Divi is hard to learn or difficult to work with, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Visual Builder shows you the results of your actions in real time, letting you see your website as it will look live. You don’t have to know any behind-the-scenes coding, but you can use advanced techniques as you gain familiarity and confidence.

You may be wondering if using Divi makes it difficult to switch themes later. It’s true that you’ll deal with a series of challenges any time you change themes. That’s why best practice is to work offline, in a staging environment, before taking any major updates, upgrades, or theme changes online.

Price is not an issue either, since Elegant Themes offers annual and lifetime subscriptions at a reasonable rate. Access to all their themes and plugins, as well as theme updates, premium support, and unlimited website usage, is available for $89 per year or a one-time $249 fee.

So don’t let any objections keep you from experiencing the ease of use Divi offers when developing your next website design.

Take Divi for a free test drive at this demo page!

Sign up for a 30-Day risk-free Elegant Themes membership here.

Or let us design your website for you! Contact us here for more information.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will be paid a small commission — at no extra cost to you — if you choose to click a link and make a purchase. This allows me to continue providing information and resources to you at no cost. And I only promote products that I use and trust.

4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

Target market research is the first step toward a better understanding of your clients. The next step is creating the buyer personas, or client avatars, to represent your ideal clients.

You know you will then use these avatars to appeal to your ideal clients, gain their trust by providing solutions to their problems, and encourage them to buy your products/services.

But no one tells you how to do that in any clear way.

And without an effective strategy your research could be faulty, leading you to make a mess of your entire content marketing plan.

Instead, try these four easy, reliable methods for researching your target audience to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Why Target Market Research Matters

Conducting target market research is required before you can create accurate client avatars to appeal to. Without this foundation, you are marketing in the dark.

First, realize that you can not — and will not! — appeal to everyone who comes across your website! It’s like the difference between preferring one brand of detergent over another while recognizing that they’re all pretty much the same in the end.

You must understand who your products/services appeal to most, and why. Then, give that audience a reason to select you from among their other available choices. You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

To produce content your ideal clients will love, you have to know your target market intimately. Luckily, the World Wide Web makes conducting this research incredibly easy.

Your target market is on the internet right now telling the world who they are, what they like, and what problems they need solved. Use these ideas for researching them online.

Social Media

Explore social media to research your audience. Look at the individual profiles of people who follow your brand.

The most obvious site for doing this is Facebook, since it has such robust profiles. These profiles can tell you:

  • Who they are
  • What they like
  • Their jobs, locations, ages, and family
  • Their general opinions

A goldmine of information is available on social media. Also, view people’s posts to see what they’re interested in and what questions they ask. This can give you greater insight into their needs.

Google Search Console

Sign up for this free service from Google to review a wide variety of metrics about your website and the behavior of your visitors.

Google Search Console tells you what keyword searches bring people to your site, how much time they’re spending on each page, what links they click on, and trends over time.

This information lets you know how people are interacting with your website. For example, if people spend a great deal of time on a particular page, you know that this is the type of content they’re looking for.

Conduct Online Surveys

The oldest and most effective method for collecting data about a target market is to conduct surveys and interviews. This used to be a costly undertaking for companies back when they had to physically get focus groups together or convince people to talk to them over the phone.

But now it’s easy to do online. You can conduct surveys any way you have contact with your audience. Try using social media or email.

Approach people on online forums to see if they’d answer some questions. Using Google Forms or one of many WordPress survey plugins, you also have the choice to create questionnaires directly on your website.

If you keep your surveys short, asking no more than three to five questions, you’re more likely to get responses. For longer surveys, offer an incentive such as a free piece of content to reward people who take part.

Track Your Content’s Performance

The best way to learn about your audience is to start presenting them with free content and see how they interact with it. You’ll quickly see which pieces are most popular and which drive the most engagement.

For each piece that’s successful, try to determine what it was about the content that people liked and try to repeat that. When your audience ignores a piece, try to figure out why and don’t do it again!

Creating a Persona

Use all the data you’ve gathered to create a persona describing your ideal client. This is a single person to whom you’ll aim all your marketing efforts.

You may actually have more than one client avatar, but it helps to stay focused on a single type of buyer for the best results.

Putting it All Together

Now that you have a better idea of where and how to research your target market online, it’s up to you to put in the work. Gather the information and develop a plan – then use it to attract and retain your ideal clients!

Armed with your completed research and understanding of your target market, you have the foundation to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Download your Content Marketing Strategy Workbook to develop the online marketing that will take your business to the next level.

Add to the conversation! Comment below to let us know about the tips and tricks you use to research your target market and develop buyer personas!

5 Simple Tips That Will Upgrade Your Content Marketing Plan

5 Simple Tips That Will Upgrade Your Content Marketing Plan

What, you don’t even have a content marketing plan? Someone told you that you don’t need one because you’re “just” a blogger. You might think you don’t “do” content marketing. Or you feel “marketing” means self-promotion (yikes!). Maybe you don’t know how to begin.

In truth, any online business can gain from using content marketing these days. It’s a cost-effective method of responding to the habits we’ve developed thanks to our digital world.

Shoppers today use online resources to inform them of the best products and services available. Providing the information your audience searches for is a major key to business success. Having a content marketing plan is the starting point.

It’s important to stick to proven techniques when developing and using a successful strategy. Here are five tips to remember that will deliver consistent results when creating your content marketing plan.

Set Up a Secure Foundation

These content marketing tips are a basic foundation to build your strategy on. Start here, and you’ll lay the groundwork for developing a winning marketing plan.

Have a mission statement. Knowing who you are as a business and the audience your business serves is the essence of success. Be clear on what you offer and understand those you wish to attract. Define what makes you different from your competitors. Boil that down into a concise message. Use it as your guide to steer your entire content marketing strategy.

Be authentic. Present your true self to your audience. Speak to your readers naturally, as if in conversation. Record yourself giving your message, and be sure you write in that same voice. But avoid using slang and bad grammar. That’s sure to turn even interested visitors away.

Remember these basic pointers to design an unbeatable content marketing plan.

Remember these basic pointers to design an unbeatable content marketing plan.

Solve problems. Make yourself invaluable! Give a steady stream of reliable information to help your ideal clients solve their problems. Direct your content toward your target market’s issues and concerns. Know what their needs and questions are, and discuss them fully. You then become a trusted resource they can rely on.

Do your research. Present the most insightful nuggets of information. Your audience has already heard the usual buzz in other blogs and marketing materials. To stand out and produce exceptional content, be able to bring something new to the table.

Repurpose and republish. Not everyone noticed the information the first time you presented it. Others prefer a different format than your original delivery. So feel free to reuse and promote your content in different ways. Turn blog posts into eBooks, podcasts, or webinars. Let people know about your new product on your social media channels. Tweet quotables from past posts to attract new readers. Maximizing your content gains new visitors.

Have a Guide

It’s helpful to have your marketing plan written out where you can review and update it as needed. Our SMART Content Marketing Strategy Workbook will help you put your ideas into action!

This easy-to-follow guidebook leads you through five simple steps to develop an unbeatable content marketing plan. Download yours here!

Once your content marketing plan is specified, the real fun begins! Following your guide makes it easier to create unique, inspiring, educational blog posts, infographics, and more.

Summing Up

Having a mission statement, being authentic, solving problems based on solid research, and providing your content in a variety of formats make up a solid foundation for developing every piece of material you produce.

VAWW Online empowers solopreneurs and small businesses by providing profitable online marketing strategies without breaking their budgets. Explore all the ways you will gain from having a thoughtful process behind all your marketing efforts.

Let’s develop a strategy to propel you ahead that meets your needs and budget. Contact me here!

How to Unlock the Secrets of SMART Content Marketing Goals

How to Unlock the Secrets of SMART Content Marketing Goals

Having SMART content marketing goals is vital to promote your services and products on the web. If you think that’s simple “blogging,” you might want to think again.

These days you need to do more than post a random series of articles whenever the mood strikes.

When your business has no audience and no inquiries, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Understanding why and how to set SMART content marketing goals produces proven results. Develop a content marketing strategy to attract new visitors. Engage a loyal audience, and convert prospects into your delighted clients.

Why Set SMART Content Marketing Goals?

Because 72% of content marketers who increased their level of success over the past year credit their strategy as a major contributor. Follow their example! Document your own content marketing strategy. Review it often, and update it as needed.

The SMART framework is especially useful for planning content marketing goals. Deliver materials to give potential customers the solutions to their problems. You’ll keep them coming back for more.

Produce content that will stimulate your ideal clients. Expect to do a little more than blogging, though. Attract and hold interested readers with useful information in a variety of formats.

A Quick Review of SMART Goals

SMART goals are specific, measurable, actionable, results-based, and time-bound. Breaking that down produces a foolproof content marketing strategy.

SPECIFIC: Set goals for each piece of content relating to your business objectives. Also consider the stage of development you’re in. A startup would likely have very different priorities than an established business.

Common reasons to produce content include increasing website traffic. You might want to attract more email subscribers or move up in Google’s search rankings.

To attract website visitors, one tactic is to create great headlines. Although 8 out of 10 people read headlines, only 2 out of 10 read the rest. Craft golden headlines followed up with useful, interesting information. Producing clickbait risks losing the authority and goodwill you’re hoping to build.

Everyone has divulged an email contact in exchange for a compelling lead magnet. That’s a common strategy for collecting information to expand a marketing list. Develop useful content that your audience finds valuable. It’s worth the effort if encouraging subscribers is a priority.

Rising to the top in search rankings is a long game. Hacks to make it happen overnight are unreliable at best. That makes it especially important to publish exceptional content. It’s the best way to attract searchers in your target market.

MEASURABLE: Analyze the results of your efforts to make well-informed decisions. Determine what content best serves your readers, and thus your SPECIFIC objectives. Tie those objectives to key performance indicators, or KPIs. This shows the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.

Google Analytics tracks and reports website traffic and marketing analytics. Use this information when planning your content. Produce more of the format types and topics that engage your visitors the most.

Your email marketing platform of choice provides statistics. These can help you generate meaningful offerings. Follow the results of your campaigns to develop suitable content.

Google Search Console checks your site’s indexing status. Integrating it with Google Analytics helps you generate appropriate content. Keep track of how it performs. Focus on developing material that drives impressive search engine results.

Develop SMART content marketing goals to power-up your content strategy.

Develop SMART content marketing goals to power-up your content strategy.

ACTIONABLE: Taking SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE actions leads to achieving your goals. This is where a comprehensive editorial calendar comes in. It’s a vital tool to help guide your way. Nothing fancy, a simple spreadsheet documenting your strategy will do.

Attracting targeted traffic to your website requires a variety of techniques. Chief among those is the tactical use of diverse content. Plot out what you will publish and when. This is the first step to developing your editorial calendar.

Optimize the landing pages for your lead magnets to increase email subscribers. Inventory assets on hand and upcoming content. Then make it easy for readers to sign up for the amazing information you provide!

Search engine optimization is key to climbing to the top of the results pages. Research relevant keywords and develop content featuring them. Knowing your audience helps drive search results.

RESULTS-BASED: Of course, you have an aim for each of the SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE ACTIONS you’ll be taking. Decide in advance how to determine success. Keep in mind that it’s important to set reasonable growth objectives.

No matter the goal, planning to go from zero to one hundred overnight will only gain you undue pressure. Be realistic when setting expectations.

Develop a mix of content formats to spark interest from a wider audience. Analyze your metrics to assess how much growth you can actually foresee in a given period. Which brings us to the final piece of the SMART goal framework.

TIME-BOUND: Have a predetermined ending point to your goals, whether long- or short-term. Be adaptable within yearly, quarterly, monthly, and even weekly sprints. But always have your ultimate goal in mind.

When preparing to take action, be sure you can sustain it for the most effective time frame. Don’t skip from action to action! Have specific, measurable, relevant initiatives at every stage.

Always Be Flexible

Direct all your efforts toward achieving your fundamental goals. Just don’t try to get there all at once. Break your strategies into smaller segments. That way you can make course corrections on the fly.

And don’t try to increase every single metric at the same time. Focus on what makes the most sense for your business at the current stage you’re in. Take the actions that will be most effective for your level of business development.

Create content that answers the questions your customers are asking. That’s a powerful foundation for building trust and rapport with your audience.

Final Thoughts

Before jumping in, think through and write down your plan of action. Clarify the SMART content marketing goals that best serve your business priorities. Establish a realistic time frame. And build in frequent checkpoints to review your progress.

Decide which metrics support your desired outcome and analyze them often. Update your content marketing strategy to incorporate things you learn from each challenge. Your rewards will be greater satisfaction and return on your investment.

Consistently provide useful information that matches the needs of your audience. The tribe you grow will learn to know, like and trust you. That overcomes the first hurdle toward converting them into satisfied customers.

Has SMART goal setting improved your content marketing strategy? Let us know in the COMMENTS!

What You Need to Know to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

What You Need to Know to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Without an effective content marketing strategy, your online business might as well not exist. It’s operating in a void if no one knows or cares about it.

Staring at a blank screen will NOT get your website noticed. Erratically throwing together 100 words on the first topic that comes to mind is sure to keep your rankings at the bottom of the search engine results pages.

And clickbait headlines can only get you so far once the reader realizes there is no substance to the rest of your post and clicks away.

You need a plan that will attract your ideal clients and keep them coming back for more, but the project seems overwhelming.

The biggest challenge content marketers face is constantly having to create so much material on an ongoing basis. Think of all of your different marketing channels — your blog, your YouTube channel, all of your social media accounts, your email list, and so on. You need unique content for each one.

Think also of the time frame. Your content stream develops over months or years, depending on your marketing plan. How on earth do the big, influential content creators stay on top of it all?

Of course, you can delegate or outsource, and tools can help. But being organized is the secret weapon. You’ll need to be organized if you want to use content to gain exposure, build relationships, and sell your products and services.

Don’t waste valuable time posting ineffective nonsense that could potentially alienate your target audience. Instead, understand how and why a content marketing strategy is essential for success — and create a simple, easy-to-follow plan even if you think you don’t know where to begin.

Why Content Marketing Strategy Matters

Having a documented content marketing strategy really is a big deal. Savvy shoppers these days avoid ads whenever possible, and 84% of people expect brands to create content. Content marketing costs 62% less yet generates 3x more leads than traditional marketing.

But although 72% of marketers have a strategy in place, only 30% have it documented. Considering that small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than those without, their competitors who have not documented their plan in favor of keeping it in their heads are far behind in terms of attracting leads and increasing revenue.

A strategy is simply a plan of action designed to meet a major aim. Your business has a major aim: Generate revenue and earn a profit. Having a documented content marketing strategy will help you do just that.

5 Steps to an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Step 1. Set SMART goals for your strategy. As we mentioned before, it’s the roadmap you’ll follow to make your business goals. So before you do anything else, define those goals and address why you’re creating content in the first place. SMART goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, results-based and time-bound are your starting point.

Next, inventory your existing content. You likely have blog posts, infographics, eBooks, case studies, and more. Be on the lookout for ways to repurpose these assets you already own to fill any gaps uncovered in your audit.

There are multitudes of creative ways to turn blogs into podcasts, eBooks into templates and worksheets, and other endless possibilities. So take stock of the various ways you might use new and existing content to achieve the business goals you’ve set. Providing the information your audience is looking for is the foundation of effective content marketing strategy.

Step 2. Perform target market research and develop buyer personas. You want your readers to look forward to your content to help them solve their problems as only you seem able to do — because you’ve taken the time to learn about them and understand their needs.

In order to produce content your audience loves, you have to know them well. You’ll need to collect data about them and use it to develop content. This requires an organized system of gathering and analyzing information about your audience, and keeping in constant contact with them so you can learn more.

The most effective content is that which offers a practical, unique solution to the problems your readers face. Your system should be designed to pay close attention to these needs and challenges.

Identify your market and find the types of content they prefer. Understand the emotions that lead your ideal clients on their journey from recognizing they need a solution to realizing that you are the solution they seek.

A content marketing strategy is essential. Create a simple, easy-to-follow plan.

A content marketing strategy is essential. Create a simple, easy-to-follow plan.

Step 3. Brainstorm topic ideas and keywords to target. If you’ve been paying attention, your potential clients have already given you much of this information. Use it to create a list of topics your audience has discussed online or asked about in forums. From that, make a keyword list of common search terms they might use to look for answers to those questions.

Don’t go overboard here, though. To create compelling content that readers will find valuable, always be sure to write for humans and not search engine bots. You’ll get better results than if you produce keyword-stuffed gibberish that doesn’t serve your target market.

Step 4. Create a content calendar. A content marketing strategy has many moving parts. The best way to organize these moving parts is to create an editorial calendar. Once your calendar is in place, you can simply open it each day and you’ll know what needs to be done.

Your editorial calendar should include each piece of content and when to publish it. It should also include each step along the way to creating the piece, such as planning, writing, image research, and editing.

Actually, every single task related to your marketing plan should be on this schedule, including brainstorming sessions, reaching out to any people involved, and monitoring your results.

Incorporate content ideas, keyword suggestions, and social media promotion. In addition to keeping you organized, this gives you a record of the types of content you’ve distributed, keywords you’ve used, and details on your social media sharing.

5. Develop remarkable content. With practice, this is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Assemble well-written material using proper spelling and grammar.
  • Avoid jargon and complex terminology.
  • Format text for skimming with plenty of headers, subheaders, bulleted lists, block quotes, bolding, and italics.
  • Acknowledge your research using stats, case studies, and examples.
  • Attract readers by addressing both their problems and their common objections to moving forward.
  • Maintain interest in your content using relevant, high-quality images.

Position yourself as someone your readers can begin to know, like, and trust. Once you’ve determined your target audience and the purpose of your content, it’s easier to integrate with your buyer’s journey.

Making Your Content Strategy Work

The most successful content marketing strategies focus on nurturing readers who care about the information being delivered. Helping your business gain traffic and enhancing your SEO rankings are only two benefits of a sound strategy. You’ll also generate more leads and convert more prospects.

Develop a strong foundation by examining your business goals and matching your expertise to your target market’s needs. Then you’ll have the tools to create content from your unique selling point.

Your advantage lies in highlighting the perspective that differentiates you from your competitors.

Seeing the Big Picture

All of these moving parts, your editorial calendar, and data collection from your market should be aligned with the “big picture,” your long-term business goals. The first step in getting organized is to review and/or clarify your major goals for the next year or few years. This allows you to see the big picture, which makes it easier to understand how your content fits in.

Each piece of content has its own mini-goal within the big picture. Some pieces are for attracting people to your marketing. Some are geared towards building relationships or generating leads. There could also be pieces that are designed to drive sales directly.

The best things about content marketing are that it’s relatively inexpensive, quite cost-effective, and yields long-term results. You only need to invest the time necessary to build an organized, streamlined system for producing, publishing, and promoting your content.

In Closing

Understanding why and how to create an effective content marketing strategy is just the beginning. It’s up to you to put in the work to clarify your business goals and determine how best to reach your target audience.

Have you created a content marketing strategy? Do you need more information? Comment below or contact us if you’d like help creating your own content marketing strategy!