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  • Business Recovery Grant Can Help BC Companies Improve Online Presence

    by Sitefinity Support | May 26, 2021

    Assistance for companies that move online (or improve their online presence) is among the ways that small and medium sized businesses in BC that have been impacted by COVID-19 can utilize a government grant.

    It's part of the BC Government's Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program, which was recently extended until August 31st, 2021 (or until all the funds are used). This program is in addition to a separate grant that's meant to help BC businesses create their own ecommerce websites.

    Grant Requirements

    The recovery grant program is supporting local businesses that have suffered a revenue loss of 30% or more from March 2020 onward by providing anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. An extra $5,000 to $15,000 is available to eligible businesses in the tourism industry. The exact amount that a business will receive is dependent on its pre-COVID annual revenue. A breakdown of how much various small or medium sized businesses can receive is below.

    BC business recovery grant chart

    How Funding Can Be Used

    There are several different ways that BC businesses can use the funds in order to help their recovery. As mentioned, one of the primary ways the funding can be utilized is by moving your business online or expanding its existing online presence.

    The beauty of this particular initiative is it leaves plenty of room for interpretation. How you use the money depends on what strategy you think will work best to help your business recover from its financial hardships. That could include a newly designed website, an online store to offset the loss of in-person sales, a boost in digital marketing efforts, or a whole new digital strategy.

    Graphically Speaking is an experienced BC digital agency that has built thousands of websites over the years and can help your business with any online initiative, from web development to design to ecommerce solutions and much more. Contact us today to discuss your digital goals with us.


    In addition to online initiatives, the government funding can be used for a variety of other expenses, including:

    • Modifying your business location
    • Increasing both online and offline marketing efforts
    • Providing any type of new service or product to your clients
    • Buying equipment to change or improve your goods or services
    • Installing social distancing barriers at your physical business (e.g., glass barriers)

    How To Apply And What You Need

    If you'd like to apply for this grant, you must complete an online application from on the BC Government website and upload several different financial documents.

    The required documents include the T1-T2125 Statement of Business or Professional Activities that indicate the percentage of ownership for unincorporated businesses and a Shareholder register or Certificate of Incorporation for incorporated businesses.

    Additional documents that must be submitted include business tax returns from the last two reporting years and any payroll deductions from September 1st, 2019 up until now. You must also declare the past 24 months of monthly revenue. If your business has not been operating for 24 months, then 18 months of revenue is sufficient. Seasonal businesses should also provide information that is relevant to their specific business cycle.

    Click here for the full checklist of required documents

    Once again, more details on any aspect of the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program can be found here.

    If you're eligible for this grant and are considering using the funds to improve your online marketing or revamp your website, you're welcome to book a free consultation with us to find out how we can help.

  • Top Ecommerce Digital Marketing Tips

    by Sitefinity Support | Apr 23, 2021

    Among the most evident trends in the digital world over the last few years is the increase in ecommerce websites to meet the growing demand of people shopping online. Pandemic or not, online shopping has taken over and it's estimated that there are as many as 24 million e-commerce sites that could generate up to $4.5 trillion this year.

    However, that doesn't mean the market for these types of websites is saturated. In fact, 26.1 million Canadians made purchases online in the last year, which is virtually everyone in Canada between the ages of 15 and 70. There is a clearly a major appetite for many types of online stores, but if you want to capitalize on this revenue opportunity then you'll need to utilize a variety of ecommerce digital marketing techniques to help your website get noticed and drive sales.

    After all, a professionally designed website is only half the battle. A beautiful ecommerce site without a digital marketing strategy is like a luxury car without gas because neither will ever get noticed or be utilized to their full potential. So, without further ado, here are our top ecommerce digital marketing tips to help your site flourish:

    Utilize Google Shopping/PPC Ads

    By now, you've probably seen the rectangular boxes that display products and their most important info when you enter a product-related keyword into Google. These are called Google Shopping Ads or, more specifically, Google Product Listing Ads and they allow companies to advertise their items in a more visually appealing way to potential buyers.

    Google Shopping Ads

    These types of ads have been around for many years in the Shopping tab of Google and are now also appearing before position zero on Google's main search page, thus increasing their importance.

    To set up these product listing ads, you'll need a Google Merchant Center account where you upload your product data feed. After that, you launch a Shopping campaign in Google Ads, which relies on the data provided in the Merchant Center to target users. Your ads will then appear in on Google’s main search page, its Shopping page, and various websites that are Google Search Partners or part of the Google Display Network. You can also set up a regular Google Search PPC campaign for your product category pages that rely on keywords to target searchers.

    As with all Google Ads campaigns, we recommend using a PPC Advertising Specialist to come up with a strategy and set up the campaign(s).

    SEO Your Product Pages

    In addition to an ad campaign, you should also be dedicating resources to increasing the organic search engine traffic for your product and category pages. Executing the SEO on product pages involves a similar approach to regular pages on your website, with keyword-optimized titles, headings, and content being the most important aspects (don’t forget about meta descriptions and image alt tags too).

    Determining the primary keyword for each product is straight forward, as it's usually the name of the product. However, sometimes there are secondary keywords that require a bit of research and category pages can often have multiple title options. This is where an SEO Specialist with access to quality keyword search tools can come in handy.

    SEO experts can also write optimized content for product and category pages, which can sometimes include “Read More…” buttons that hide most of the text until a user clicks on it. These buttons ensure product images are not pushed too far down the page, while still allowing search engine bots to see the content.

    Read More button

    Create Remarketing Ad Campaigns

    It’s now easy to track and manage user data through the advertising platforms of Google and Facebook, which is why most successful online businesses are running ad campaigns targeting users who previously visited your site.

    For example, a properly executed Google Display Remarketing campaign will showcase your products or advertise a sale on other websites to a user who already visited your site but might not have completed a purchase. This way, the users is reminded of your products and might decide to return to your site to continue shopping. Even if it doesn't happen right away, these ads will keep your brand fresh in the user's mind for a possible purchase later.

    The Digital Marketing Specialists at Graphically Speaking can help with your ecommerce marketing strategy and execution. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer.

    Improve Your Email Marketing Strategy

    Email marketing always has been, and likely always will be, an important method to increase sales and brand awareness. If you want to run a successful email marketing campaign, developing a list of customer email addresses is only the beginning. You need to send emails that are attention grabbing and provide valuable content to your potential clients. A mix of sales-focused emails, lead-nurturing emails, and informative messages that educate clients about your industry and business are all important.

    These messages can include welcome emails, newsletters, blog teasers, promotional offers, personalized messages to select clients, and abandoned cart emails, which are especially important considering nearly 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned.

    Cross-Sell and Upsell

    Because selling to existing customers is less expensive than marketing to new ones, every ecommerce company should be cross-selling and upselling through their online store.

    Cross-selling is when you sell products that complement an item that has already been purchased by the customer (e.g., selling an extended warranty to a customer who just bought a computer). Upselling is when you encourage a customer to buy more add-on items related to what they're already buying (e.g., if they were only intending to buy a refrigerator, but end up buying an entire set of kitchen appliances).

    The best ecommerce websites will cross-sell and upsell products throughout the user's buying journey, whether they're still deciding what to buy or they've just added an item to their shopping cart. For example, the Magento ecommerce platform allows you to utilize an option called “Show Cross-Sell Items” next to the cart to encourage impulse purchases. You can also use filter controls to choose which items you cross-sell or upsell for each product.


    Mobile Responsiveness and Experience

    The importance of providing a fully responsive ecommerce website with product pages that look great on phones is extremely important for both UX and SEO purposes, which ties into digital marketing. Multiple studies show that more than 70% of online purchases come from mobile devices and over 50% of product-related searches are done on smartphones. This puts an even greater significance on how your product images, descriptions, and conversion buttons are displayed on phones. A better on-page experience for the user will naturally lead to higher conversion rate, which means the mobile experience of a customer something marketers needs to be more aware of.

    Not only that, but Google's search engine algorithm has switched to mobile-first indexing, meaning Google bots now crawl the mobile version of a page to determine its organic ranking. This only adds to the importance of mobile responsiveness to SEO and digital marketing in general. As a result, we recommend that every ecommerce business conduct a review of how their online store looks on a variety of mobile devices and if their content adjusts to fit all screen sizes.

    Positive User-Generated Content

    Whether it's your customer reviews or social media posts, you can use the content generated by others to your advantage. Many studies show that customers trust the word of a fellow buyer over marketing content written by the business and for good reason. They know the employee marketing the products has a clear bias, where as the customer does not. But how can you encourage user-generated content that promotes your products?

    You can start a social media marketing campaign that encourages existing customers to share stories about their favourite products, with the promise of a future discount for those who share. Another social media incentive for visual products such as clothing could be to create a draw where anyone who posts a photo of themselves wearing your clothes with a specific hashtag is entered to win a gift certificate. You can also send Thank You emails to users who bought your products and ask for a review by including a link to your Google My Business page. There are many ways to creatively entice users to do your marketing for you.

    Need a new ecommerce website? Put your trust in the design and development experts at Graphically Speaking. We've developed hundreds of ecommerce sites and are eager to help you achieve your goals. Get in touch with us today.


  • Why You Should Hire a Digital Agency for Your B2B Ecommerce

    by Greta Barbosa | Mar 30, 2021

    B2B industries are flourishing and a lot of it has to do with leading companies using ecommerce websites.

    You understand the need for digital tools to help market your business and fulfill obligations, but building an effective ecommerce platform is a big task.

    Ultimately, you're going to have to hire someone to help. The question is whether you should build your own in-house team or outsource the work of a digital agency.

    Below are some compelling reasons to consider working with a full-service digital web agency.

    Efficient Spending

    If you're going to expand your digital and ecommerce segments, you'll need to hire people. You need real experts to get the job done correctly.

    If you hire in-house, you get the full overhead cost of creating a new department. In addition to the base salaries, you have to give them space to work, tools to get the work done, support for those tools and the rest of the package that comes with additional hiring.

    If you go with a digital agency, you easily mitigate the overhead costs of expanding your digital world. It's pretty simple. You assume your agency has more than one client. That means general overhead costs are split across the clients. Dollar for dollar, you're spending less on overhead and more on the expertise you need to develop your ecommerce.

    Efficient Application

    By that same token, an organized digital agency is going to be more efficient in the development and deployment of all of your new digital assets. You're hiring a streamlined team to do the work. You expect their experience and cohesiveness to translate into a better process for all of your digital applications.

    business plan ecommerce 

    Whether they're designing a website from the ground up or rolling out a new marketing campaign, the expectation is that you are working with an already well-oiled machine.

    Getting your own in-house team to that level takes an investment of time and resources that can be difficult to justify.

    Cutting-Edge Resources

    The biggest difference between in-house and outsourced digital work is competitiveness. Your in-house team needs to be competitive within your vertical.

    The agency needs to be competitive across digital industries. That forces them to be more up-to-date and on top of trends and technology that are essential to your business. They have to innovate and adopt leading innovations just to stay in the game, and they will almost always be ahead of any in-house team you could plan to maintain.

    Additionally, they provide an outside perspective. This is one of the easiest ways to get fresh ideas that can be truly transformative and raise your B2B ecommerce to great heights.


    Working in B2B, scalability is a word you see a lot.

    It probably floats around in your dreams as you constantly strive to find ways to improve operations without resigning yourself to disruptive upgrades down the line. Scalability sits at the heart of B2B, and it's probably the single greatest advantage you gain from hiring a digital agency.

    Growing your in-house team with the rest of the business is expensive and a source of endless headaches. With an outsourced agency, scalability is an expectation. They will keep up with your growth, or they will be replaced, and they know that. All of the growing pains related to your ecommerce can be someone else's problem, and, more importantly, someone else's expense.

    Consistent Results

    Ecommerce covers a lot of projects and applications. You need web development, digital marketing, B2B support and countless other niches and jobs to make the machine run. If you handle it all in-house, you'll strive to hire good people for each task, but you aren't leading them from a position of expertise. You're not a master of ecommerce, or you wouldn't be here.

    Hiring an agency to do the job empowers you with organization that is built solely for digital work. It is run from a position of expertise, and that translates to consistency across all of these different cogs in the machine. This consistency helps the entire business run more smoothly, and it translates to consistency in your total operation.

    Brand Development

    Consistency within the business is important, but you also need to appear consistent to customers, clients and prospects. That's what branding is all about.

    The same consistency that empowers your business from within can develop your brand and its appearance across platforms. Advertising, social media, web presence, customer interaction and many other facets of brand development all shape your image, and you want that image to be consistent. It's the core of a strong marketing campaign that brings in big business.

    Return on Investment

    B2B ROI

    Let's hit all of the major buzzwords and phrases.

    ROI is a concept you can't escape in any business, and it's incredibly difficult to guarantee with in-house investments. Sure, you can demand a good ROI on your digital team, but the very structure of doing things in-house works against you.

    If your team isn't up to snuff, the obvious solution is to replace them with better people, but that forces turnover and increases your overhead, pushing a positive ROI even further out of reach.

    On the other hand, a digital agency should be able to work with you on ROI expectations and deliver you things of value. If they don't, replacing the agency typically incurs a much lower overhead cost than replacing an in-house team. The model is in your favor, and you stand to more reliably achieve your return goals with every investment.

    Choose the Right Digital Agency for your B2B Ecommerce

    There are a lot of reasons to look to a digital agency to help you develop or expand your B2B ecommerce.

    All of it boils down to one, simple idea. You want to partner with a proven expert to make sure your investments work, and that's why you need a B2B digital marketing agency in Vancouver to help take you business to next level.

    At Graphically Speaking, we specialize in cost-effective web solutions for B2B Ecommerce in Vancouver and across Canada. We are full service digital agency and deliver fully integrated digital solutions, including Web Design & Development, Content Management Systems, Ecommerce & Catalogues, Programming Services and Digital Marketing Services.


    Contact us today to book a consultation and to find out how our digital agency and web strategists can help add value to your B2B Ecommerce.

  • Government Grant for BC Businesses to Create Ecommerce Websites

    by Mike Giles | Mar 16, 2021

    With more consumers making their purchases online, the BC government has decided to provide funding for over 1,500 small- and medium-sized businesses in BC to have their own Ecommerce websites built or upgraded. 

    The Launch Online Ecommerce Grant program

    It’s part of an initiative called the Launch Online Grant program, which provides eligible businesses with up to $7,500 to create, or improve, an online store. The primary goal of this $12 million investment by the province is to help businesses adapt to recent changes in consumer behaviour and sell their products online.

    The reliance on online shopping has increased significantly over the last few years, with over $305 billion in ecommerce sales in Canada in 2019 and approximately double that number in 2020. Ecommerce sales are expected to increase even more in 2021, so by launching or upgrading an online store, local businesses can increase their sales and remain competitive in this rapidly changing business landscape.

    Choosing an Ecommerce Development Company to Build Your Online Store

    One of the great aspects of the Launch Online Grant program is the flexibility that eligible companies have to select their own style of online store and e-commerce platform.

    BC Ecommerce Grant Requirements

    The only requirement is that successful applicants must use one or more local BC service providers to build their online store. Through this model, the grant funding can be reinvested in BC digital agencies to generate revenue for local companies and help grow jobs.

    As a leading ecommerce developer in BC, Graphically Speaking knows the importance of choosing the platform for your online store. We work with Magento and WooCommerce as our primary ecommerce platforms, as well as many other well-known ecommerce providers to design and develop an online store that’s customized for your business.

    From B2C retailers to B2B manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors, we have developed hundreds of Ecommerce websites. In fact, we’ve implemented more WordPress Ecommerce sites than any other web agency in Western Canada.

    What Can I Use the BC Ecommerce Grant For? 

    Recipients of the Launch Online Grant can use the funding for a variety of online-related expenses, including pictures, an online inventory system, advertising, subscription costs of an ecommerce platform, and training staff to manage the website, all of which Graphically Speaking can help with.

    “Businesses need access to the tools and supports that will help them adapt and pivot during this uniquely challenging time,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This program will provide business owners with the ability to expand their online presence and create a customized e-commerce site that will give them the boost they need to keep moving forward.”

    The program, which is administered by Alacrity Canada, is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response. Small-and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to apply online:

    Watch Facebook Video of Join Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation, for an announcement about a new grant program for BC-based small- and medium-sized businesses


    More Important Information:

    The Launch Online Grant program is based on a first come, first-served basis. The program will run until September 30, 2021, or until all funds are distributed. Eligibility criteria for businesses include having:

    • a goods and services tax number and paying taxes in BC;
    • generated sales of more than $30,000 in either 2019 or 2020;
    • one to 149 employees (applications can be submitted by sole proprietors); and
    • repeatable products, or in the case of artists and jewellers, individual items that have slight differences (e.g., paintings and rings).
    • As part of the application, businesses are required to develop a grant proposal that indicates how they plan to use the funds.
    For more information and requirement details, visit

    Get Started With Your BC Ecommerce Grant Process Today

    At Graphically Speaking, we are committed to helping businesses develop an ecommerce website that will deliver a experience your customers expect both rapidly and cost effectively.

    Contact us today to help you navigate the grant process and get your new online store set up rapidly and effectively.

    We encourage you to explore our portfolio to learn more and contact us to learn how we can help you start or improve your B2B ecommerce website.

    The team at Graphically Speaking would love to help you implement an e-commerce store and assist your business in taking advantage of this $7,500 grant opportunity.

    Learn more about our ecommerce development experience and don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
  • WooCommerce vs. Magento: Which Ecommerce Platform is Right For Your Business in 2021

    by Greta Barbosa | Jan 06, 2021

    Choosing a suitable ecommerce platform for an online store has never been an easy task for a business owner, especially the array of online selling platforms available in 2021. There is no definitive solution when it comes to e-commerce, but you can choose which ecommerce platform will best fit your unique needs, budget, and business.

    If you're looking for an e-commerce platform that allows you to manage everything in the store site, WooCommerce and Magento are great choices for your business. The key to make the right decision between the two ecommerce solutions is to do your research about each platform, learn about their features and find their pros and cons based on your needs. A digital agency that offers ecommerce website development services can also give you insightful information about each and how they can benefit your online business.

    To help you get started, our team of web experts wrote this article comparing both WooCommerce and Magento. You will find the pros and cons of each, their unique features, pricing, and much more.


    WooCommerce Ecommerce Platform

    WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world. It is an open source plugin for WordPress, which is designed for both B2C and B2B companies who sell their products or services online.

    It offers different features for e-commerce stores and is a highly customizable platform, allowing it to handle most technical requirements of a small to mid-size ecommerce store.  

    The Pros of a WooCommerce Ecommerce Platform

    • Setting up your store is free
    • User friendly and very easy to manage
    • Provides numerous third-party plugins and extensions
    • Customizable to meet the needs of most companies
    • Highly effective for search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Supports an unlimited number of products
    • Enables different payment processors by using extensions
    • Offers various free and premium themes

    The Cons of a WooCommerce Ecommerce Platform

    • It's not the best platform when it comes to complex products with a large amount of variations
    • Security and maintenance services are up to the business and store owner
    • The cost of premium themes and extensions can add up quickly

    WooCommerce Pricing

    Although both WooCommerce and WordPress are free, there could be other costs involved when opening your online store, which include:

    • Premium design themes: $20 to $100 per year
    • Shipping extensions (advanced choices): $9 to $100 per month
    • WooCommerce Developer: $5k-15k+
    • Self-hosted, shared, or dedicated servers: $120 on average per year
    • PCI compliance: $750+ yearly

    If WooCommerce sounds like the best ecommerce platform for your business, don't hesitate to get in touch with us to find out how our developers and designers can help you create a fantastic WooCommerce website.


    Magento Ecommerce Platform

    Magento is one of the most significant ecommerce platforms in the world that's suitable for both B2B and B2C businesses. It comes with a wide range of features and functionalities that can achieve most technical requirements. The enterprise ecommerce platform offers highly customizable integrations and capabilities that are designed for small to large online stores.

    According to Sergio Taddeo, Magento Ecommerce Director at Graphically Speaking, "Magento has helped small to large companies stay ahead of the competition with innovative and robust solutions. It also has a scalable and reliable environment, as any true eCommerce platform should."

    There are two available editions of Magento:

    1) Magento Open Source - a free platform that provides basic functionalities needed to run an e-commerce store.

    2) Magento Commerce - A premium paid edition of Magento with unique and robust features. It provides enhanced security and additional integrated capabilities for your online store.

    The Pros of a Magento Ecommerce Platform

    • Extensive professional features allowing multiple stores, locations, languages, and product types
    • Structured for productivity and high volumes
    • Highly flexible and customizable to meet most B2B and B2C requirements
    • Powerful integration capabilities with ERP, accounting, and CRM
    • Provides built-in SEO features
    • You can set up different stores with different languages and currencies
    • Offers extensive B2B pricing levels

    The Cons of a Magento Ecommerce Platform

    • Implementation is more complex, which requires highly trained employees and a specialized ecommerce Magento web developer to assure the delivery of a high quality online store
    • It involves a higher development cost due to its complexity
    • Magento technical support is provided by your developer or the Magento Community and not by Magento (only Magento Enterprise offers support)

    Magento Pricing

    • Open Source License: free
    • Commerce Starter License: $1600/month
    • Enterprise License: USD $25K+ USD yearly
    • Setup and creation of a Magento ecommerce store: 30K-200K
    • Dedicated hosting and management required: USD $99-$800/month
    • PCI Compliance: USD $750 yearly

    Graphically Speaking is a proud Magento partner and has several certified Magento developers that can help make your ideal ecommerce website a reality. Learn about our Magento Express Packages, as well as our Magento B2B solutions and the rest of our Magento ecommerce services today. If you're interested in having us help you create a great ecommerce website or you have questions about our services, please send us an email.

    Conclusion: Which Ecommerce Platform is Right for Your Business?

    Deciding which ecommerce platform to choose can be a complex thing to do, but when comparing Magento and WooCommerce, it comes down to two things: budget and your unique business needs.

    If you are on a budget with none or very little e-commerce experience, both the WooCommerce and Magento free version would be a good choice for your business. However, if you are looking for a more robust and geared platform, Magento Commerce would be a better option. Either way, you will be well equipped with both platforms.

    Contacting an ecommerce development agency will not only help you decide, but they will also build a well-rounded ecommerce store to help escalate your online business and stay ahead of your competitors.

    Talk To An Ecommerce Specialist Today

    Our experienced team of ecommerce specialists can help you achieve your online goals with custom ecommerce solutions. We will help you find the ecommerce platform and package that’s right for you and your business. We will also provide the tools, training, and support to take your online store to the next level.

    Contact us today for more information.

  • How To Measure The ROI Of SEO (Watch Webinar)

    by SF SF | Oct 20, 2020

    Getting the most from your Digital Marketing dollars is the theme of our September webinar, and based on the turnout, this proved to be a popular topic.

    We were joined by two subject matter experts in the field: Tom Patryshen, founder of the Data Collective, and Mike Giles, Digital Marketing Specialist from Graphically Speaking.

    Here are some insights that Tom and Mike shared with us during the webinar:

    Part 1: How to Improve Your Google Analytics Data Quality

    Presenter: Tom Petryshen - Founder at Data Collective -

    Tom Petryshen's talk focused on data and data sources, which for most organizations will reside in spreadsheets and Google analytics.

    To get the most out of your data, it needs to be clean. That begins with web developers producing error-free code. Your website's forms, UX and UI elements will be collected and analyzed, and that data from those sources needs to be clean so you can know what's working or what's not working on your website.

    One of the difficulties with today's online environment stems from the shear variety of data sources that contain your visitors' data. This makes it hard to identify and market to your contacts. However, there are excellent tools like Segment that are available to help you connect, clean, and sort your data so you can build targeted personalized marketing campaigns.

    Google Analytics is a great tool to start collecting and aggregating your website data, but only when your data is clean can you trust it to help you make informed marketing decisions for your campaigns.

    Here are some tips Tom shared that you can use to normalize your data:

    Segregate mobile and desktop metrics.

    It seems fundamental, but be sure your data starts with a clear division between mobile and desktop metrics.

    Tagging - fix the issue at the source

    To understand how your campaigns are working, it's essential to tag your sources. With Google's campaign URL builder, you can create tags that will filter traffic by source so you can analyze and manage your campaigns. For example, differentiating paid social data from regular social results. Otherwise, you'll end up with a non-descript bucket of data that won't give you insights.


    Clean the data with business intelligence tools

    You can also set up filters and aggregate unrelated data sources using BI tools like Power BI, Google Data studio, etc., but the best way to do this is to fix data issues at the source.

    Update organic search by applying filters in Google Analytics

    It is also important to update and organize your organic search sources in Google. You can do this by going into Google's Admin > Tracking Info > Organic Search Sources to add in search engines that Google isn't picking up (e.g. Yahoo, Bing, Duck Duck Go, Yandex, Baidu, and more). Google will then funnel your traffic into the related organic search baskets.

    Exclude internal traffic

    Website's traffic data can be muddied by visits that originate from inside the organization. This can skew bounce rates, pages per session rates, conversion rates, and more.

    Account for font case variants

    If something is described using lower case and upper case, Google will treat that as separate data entities. For example, Google sees "red dress" differently from "Red Dress" or "Red dress" so you'd end up with 3 different instances of red dress within your data.

    By going to Admin > View > Filters, you can set filters for campaign names, sources, media, content and page paths to ensure your data is consistent in Google Analytics.

    Combine disparate source data

    Traffic from social channels can originate from multiple URL sources (e.g.,,,, You'll want to combine these into a single manageable domain source, otherwise Google will see them as individual sources.

    Block bots and spiders

    Simply go into Admin > View > View Settings and click the text box to ensure that your excluding bots from messing with your data.


    Block crawler spam

    There's no shortage of crawler spam on the web and you'll want to block it. Tom provided a useful reference and link to Carlos Escalera's website. The site offers lots of analytics resources, including an updated crawler spam filter pattern list that you can apply to your analytics filter.

    Exclude ISP providers

    ISP crawlers can also crawl your site and create additional rows of data that will skew your analytics results. Carlos Escalera includes lists of crawler filter patterns that you can use to filter ISP provider bots.

    Exclude Query Parameters

    If you have a dynamic website with a lot of perimeters, Google will take each different perimeter and treat it as a different URL. This means you won't be able to see collated traffic for a single page. Instead, you end up with dozens of variations of a page within Google's top landing page report.

    Include your Host name

    You'll also want to stop ghost spam from infecting your data by creating a filter for your host name. This will exclude all data that might be assigned to a different domain name.

    Watch your language

    Language variants can disguise your data and negatively impact your campaigns. They should be removed from Google Analytics using the filter Admin > View > Filters > and placing the following filter pattern into the Filter Pattern field:


    Eliminate fake referral Spam

    Spammers with the goal to take you to their websites will inject spam into your analytics. Again, you can remove fake referral spam and clean up your data by introducing a filter pattern.

    Remove duplicate transactions

    When data is written into a Google table it stays there permanently, so with ecommerce websites where visitors may visit a transaction page several times over multiple sessions, this will create a problem and cause your transaction numbers to go up for the same ID and skew your data. You can mitigate this by creating a report in the custom report in Google Analytics that combines transaction IDs with transactions. You can also deal with it by creating a custom tag variable within Google Tag Manager to filter out the data.

    Filter after the fact

    Now that your filters are set and you're getting clean data, what if you want to compare data from before the time before you set up those filters? Well, you can filter out the old dirty data in Google Analytics. You can create filters within the segment portion of Google Analytics, and you can apply the filters that you previously set up in Google's admin section to the segments that you're dealing with now. The lets you designate a section for users' clean data, which essentially allows you to clear out all the old dirty data.

    Better ROI

    One of the difficulties with today's online environment stems from the shear variety of data sources that contain your visitors' data. This makes it hard to identify and market to your contacts. However, there are web-analytics consulting services and excellent tools like Segment that are available to help you connect, clean, and sort your data so you can build personalized marketing campaigns and ultimately enhance your marketing success.

    Part 2: How to Measure the ROI Of SEO

    Presenter: Mike Giles - Digital Marketing Specialist at Graphically Speaking -

    Mike Giles of Graphically Speaking went into detail on measuring and calculating the return on the investment of SEO.

    The SEO ROI Formula

    Given the expense to attain optimal organic search rankings, and the fact that, unlike Paid Ads, the metrics for SEO are intangible, SEO results can be difficult to understand, control or measure. The following formula can help calculate ROI.

    SEO ROI is a calculation that measures the return on investment of search engine optimization by looking at search engine rankings, organic website traffic, and goal completions, using the ROI SEO formula:

    (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment)/ Cost of Investment

    It's best to start this work early, as tagging and tracking conversions will give you data that can help you to make informed decisions regarding your marketing campaigns, UX design and other website features. We recommend using Google Tag Manager to set up conversion tracking, starting with a single snippet of code.

    Calculating SEO ROI begins with adding conversion tracking tags to your site so when someone completes an action you can assign a value to an action that you've defined as valuable. Downloading a newsletter or a content offer, submitting a quote request, clicking a phone number or buy button are all valuable conversions.

    The website's purpose will dictate the conversion tracking goals. The goals for a brochure site will differ from those of an ecommerce or lead generation website where monetary transactions, form submissions, and inbound calls will be measured.

    Common goals for lead-based businesses will include form submissions, requests for quotes, and phone calls. Segregating forms (e.g. contact and quote forms) will ensure that your data will be clean and manageable. A "thank you" page is a great way to gauge these conversions, as the page can only be generated after a form has been submitted from a specific page. This also gives you the opportunity to do some follow up marketing to prospective customers.

    For ecommerce websites, ROI is calculated as revenue generated by a campaign over time. This might be measured over 30, 60, 90 days, quarterly, or longer. By looking at how your channels are producing revenue, you can shift dollars away from low performing channels to higher performing ones.

    Formulas for determining lead value and ROI:

    For Lead Generation websites:

    Determine how many leads convert to sales, then determine the average value of each sale, which will give you the value of each lead.


    • of 100 leads per month, 25 become clients = a 25% conversion rate.
    • each customer spends $200 = the average customer value is $200.

    Now divide the total value of conversions by the number of leads:

    • 25 customers x $200 = $5,000. And $5,000 / 100 leads = $50 (the value of your leads in this case is $50.00)

    For Ecommerce websites:

    The ROI for ecommerce websites can be calculated as revenue generated by a campaign over time, this might be measured over 30, 60, 90 days, quarterly, or longer.

    ROI formula for ecommerce:

    • gain from investment = $600,000
    • cost of your SEO $125,000
    • (600,000 - 125,000) / 125,000 = 3.8 *100 or %380!

    Want more webinars like this?

    Join Vancouver Web Design Meetup today where we share our upcoming events and gain valuable insights from experienced, local industry leaders on all topics related to website design, development and digital marketing.

    Talk to a Digital Marketing Specialist Today

    Digital marketing and data analysis can be time consuming, if not overwhelming. Its rapidly changing environment is often a big challenge for most business owners. If you or your staff don't have the knowledge, skill or resources to do it yourself, consider seeking professional digital marketing services from specialists with deeper expertise. They will help you define and execute a strategy to get a better ROI for your online marketing efforts.

    If you are looking for ways to improve your online visibility and the ROI of your SEO efforts, our Digital Marketing Specialists can help you stay on top with the latest digital marketing best practices and tools so that you can gain a competitive edge.

    Contact us today to learn more.

  • Why a Detailed SEO Performance Review Is Important For Your Business And ROI

    by Sitefinity Support | Sep 28, 2020

    Regardless of whether your website is the lifeblood of your business or it's just one of many ways you generate revenue, chances are you've likely invested a good deal of resources on the site. To that end, it can obviously be frustrating to spend a lot of time and money on the CMS, hosting, programming, and design for a website and not see enough results to make it worthwhile.

    But if you don't know why you're not attracting as many online customers as you'd like, you're not going to get the ROI you're hoping for. That's why you need a thorough SEO Performance Review (also known as an SEO Audit) to diagnose the problem and recommend the proper solutions.

    If you're looking to improve your traffic through search engines like Google and convert more visitors into sales, having a professional SEO Specialist review your site as part of the SEO Audit is essential. Without this review, you're essentially diagnosing your own website and guessing why you're falling short on your traffic and conversion goals, which is far from an ideal solution.

    After all, if your car wasn't performing properly and you couldn't pinpoint the problem, would you guess or take it to a mechanic?

    If you were suffering from an unclear health issue, would you attempt to diagnose it yourself or visit a doctor?

    The same logic should apply for your website. Unless you're completely certain on how to fix the problem, it's best to have an experienced pro do an overview of the site and provide advice on how to improve your SEO.

    Additionally, many of the recommendations that you'll be given will likely go beyond simply improving your site's SEO. The tips provided by a modern-day SEO Specialist should also help your overall marketing strategy and improve the user experience (UX) on the site, which should increase the likelihood of visitors converting to customers. That's why we prefer to think of this as an overall SEO Performance Review, as opposed to an SEO Audit.

    Important Sections in an SEO Review

    When you hire a professional to conduct an SEO Performance Review, you should receive a detailed overview of several different aspects of your website. Not only should your SEO Specialist do a deep dive into the analytics, but there should also be a review of the site's content, keyword usage, technical SEO, social media strategy, off-page SEO, and more. Let's breakdown the important aspects of a quality SEO Performance Review.


    SEO analyticsIn order to make the proper suggestions for your website and business, it's essential to know the most important metrics of the site. This can include how many users are visiting the site, what pages receive the most visits through search engines, how long visitors are staying on your site, and what percentage of your visitors are being converted to leads or sales.

    A good SEO Specialist will outline these stats, give his or her interpretation of them, and provide recommendations based on anything that stands out.


    The content on a website is a foundational aspect of SEO and is considered one of the most important ranking factors in Google's algorithm. When reviewing a site, an SEO Specialist can identify pages that are lacking in quality content and provide tips on additional info that can be added, as well as which keywords to include.

    Having quality content on a site will also make the experience more enjoyable for a visitor, so the SEO tips for content should also help the UX and turn more visitors into customers.

    Title Tags & Headings

    A lot of website managers don't realize how important a well-optimized page title (aka. title tag) and heading can be when it comes to SEO. These are vital places on a page to utilize your targeted keywords and attract users who are searching those terms in Google. SEO Specialists can provide tips on how to keyword-optimize some of the headings and titles on your most important pages.

    The Graphically Speaking SEO Performance Review is one of the best in the industry and is offered at a competitive rate. Ask us about this offer and find out if this review is right for you.

    Technical SEO

    This portion of the review can be worth its weight in gold if, for example, some of your pages aren't indexed or there are broken links on the site that you weren't aware of. In addition, a Technical SEO Audit can cover the quality of your sitemap, 404 errors, the robots.txt file, website speed, and mobile responsiveness. Your SEO Specialist can also suggest certain types of structured data for the site and tell you whether the errors that show up in automated site review tools are truly important.

    Backlinks/Off-Site SEO

    Another foundational SEO aspect is the quantity and quality of links pointing to your website from external sites, otherwise known as backlinks. The SEO Specialist reviewing your site should be able to provide you with an overview of the top web domains linking to your site, the number of valuable backlinks you have, and if there are potentially harmful links from spammy sites that should be disavowed.

    A professional SEO Specialist can also make recommendations on which directories and industry sites you could get a link from, as well as provide advice on how to improve your social media strategy.

    Choosing The Best SEO Audit For Your Business

    As with every service you buy, not all SEO Reviews/Audits are created equal, so you'll need to do your research before deciding what to purchase. Here are some important questions to ask the company or individual that's offering the audit:

    What sections are covered in the review?

    Any quality SEO Performance Review should cover, at minimum, the sections mentioned above. Reviews may also have separate sections specifically for keywords, site architecture/navigation, landing page structure, conversion optimization, and competitor analysis.

    Is the review done manually or is it automated?

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of free (or extremely cheap) SEO Audits that are nothing more than an automated scan of your website and provide little to no useful tips. While every company uses certain tools to learn about a website's backlinks and discover technical issues, you need a professional to interpret this data and manually review other aspects of your site in order to give the proper recommendations.

    What's even worse is these audits will often display unnecessary warnings in red font that are designed to scare you into purchasing a service to "fix" an irrelevant or non-existent issue. You're better off paying the proper rate for a qualified professional to review your site instead of choosing the cheapest audit you can find. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

    Does the review include a phone consultation?

    Even the clearest SEO Review can be tough to fully understand for the average person, so it's important to find out if you'll be able to speak with the person who reviewed your site. Phone consultations give the customer an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on certain stats and recommendations from the review.

    Not only does Graphically Speaking's SEO Performance Review include a phone call with an experienced SEO Specialist, but it also covers every important aspect of SEO and will provide you with valuable tips to improve your website's performance. Contact us today to learn more.

  • How Website Design & eCommerce is Helping Brands Adapt to a Changing Landscape [Webinar]

    by SF SF | Aug 04, 2020

    Last month we moved the Vancouver Web Design Meetup online.

    The Meetup took a webinar format with the topic “How website design and eCommerce is helping brands adapt to a changing landscape.”

    We had three panelists discuss how businesses are using the digital medium to stay relevant with social distancing and altered consumer behaviours.

    Here are some key takeaways and the webinar recordings:

    Part 1: Changes in the Website User and Their Buying Behaviour

    Presenter: Melody Shih - Graphically Speaking, VP, Operations & Creative 

    In her talk, panelist Melody Shih from Graphically Speaking outlined ways the pandemic is changing buyers’ purchasing behaviour and how companies can adapt their websites to accommodate those behaviours. She offered insights as to what businesses must pay attention to, not only today, but down the road, as some consumer behavioural changes will be permanent.

    Your Online User Has Changed

    One takeaway is that companies need to adapt their websites to serve entirely new user groups. New users will include an older persona, individuals that have become open and motivated to use technologies like video chat to stay in touch with families and friends.

    This same group has recently discovered the convenience of ordering groceries and other consumables online. Prosper Insights & Analytics found that 30% more consumers plan to shop online in the future and 28.3% of those consumers are individuals that are age 65 and over. This demographic represents 6.6 million potential new customers in Canada, which is a sizable group.

    Adapting Web Design for an Older Audience

    With such a sizable customer segment, designers need to understand older audience needs and employ best practices for user experience design and function when they create interfaces for older audiences, this can include:

    - Adding subtitles for video or audio content

    - Increasing colour contrast overall

    - Designing with minimum 16px fonts for legibility

    - Using simple gesture states to avoid problems with dexterity

    - Including a chat help feature to guide new users

    By designing sites to meet this demographic’s unique needs, users can experience a seamless and enjoyable online session; businesses that apply these standards will likely see repeat sales from loyal customers.

    Our Habits Have Changed

    For one thing, consumers are discovering new and different brands.

    Ipsos Research found that 25% of consumers tried a new brand or product due to the unavailability of their regular brand. Scarcity has forced consumers to look elsewhere. Nationalism also plays a role, as these days Canadian consumers are more interested in buying their products from local Canadian businesses.

    The Interconnected Customer Experience

    The pandemic has rapidly accelerated digital transformation, blurring the lines between physical and digital to the point where the customer journey, whether online or in-store, is interconnected. This omnichannel transformation with consistent merchant’s services across all touchpoints and channels is what customers expect from the companies they transact with.

    customer journey

    Convenience and Contactless Buying

    Convenience is an essential element of the online shopping experience.

    Innovative convenience features have popped up as a result of recent social distancing norms. Text messages alert customers of an order’s arrival or shipping status. And it’s become a standard practice for businesses to provide curbside delivery or the option to have free in-store pickup, making it easy and safe for customers to interact with physical stores.

    We’re seeing the health profession adapting to virtual care as physicians use chatbots and real-time video apps to diagnose or even treat their patients.

    "Prosper Insights & Analytics found that 30% more consumers plan to shop online in the future and 28.3% of those are individuals 65+ This demographic represents 6.6 million Canadians 65 years and above represents 6.6. million."

    Part 2: New eCommerce Business Landscape 

    Presenter: Sergio Taddeo - Graphically Speaking, E-Commerce Director 

    COVID -19 has proven to be the defining event for online commerce. Our next webinar panelist, Graphically Speaking’s ecommerce director, Sergio Taddeo, investigated some of the ways that businesses can engage and retain shoppers.

    Unprecedented Online Sales Numbers

    Online sales in April and May of this year jumped to $153 billion, which is 7% more than all the sales that were made during the Christmas season, and a massive 77% year-over-year increase compared to 2019.

    Activities Driving Sales

    Growth in Product categories that support stay at home activities; like bread makers, food products with long life spans, and essential consumables like cleaning supplies, over the counter medications, and grocery items are lifting sales and profits. Meanwhile, traditional apparel, luggage and travel related sales saw the steepest declines since the 2009 financial crisis.

    We’ll see more innovators succeed, as witness the industrial mutation that Joseph Schumpeter described as the “gale of creative destruction” where efficient and innovative new businesses rise to overtake or replace old businesses.

    Companies Pushed to Offer eCommerce

    Given the current conditions and limitations inherent to social distancing if sellers’ businesses are to succeed, they need to attract new customers and keep the clients that migrated from offline to online shopping. This always comes back to providing customers with an easy and positive online shopping experience.

    Sergio outlined some of the reasons customers shop online, and there are many:

    • online enables 24/7 shopping,
    • it’s easy to compare prices or read reviews
    • it saves buyers time and eliminates having to travel to a shopping destination
    • it’s convenient and safe to make a purchase from one’s sofa.

    Of course, there can be issues associated with online shopping; high shipping costs, excessive delivery wait times, lost or stolen items, and unclear or unfair return policies, to name a few.

    "Good companies will meet their customers’ expectations and deliver exactly what their customers expect to receive with products that look the same as advertised. They will also clearly spell out their policies for shipping and returns, doing this inspires trust and fosters brand loyalty."

    Knowing that customers prefer to see and touch products, online businesses can emulate a sensorial experience by displaying 360-degree product images and videos, this offers the user control and a more realistic view as to how the product looks.

    Showing products in their context can also give the customer a sense scale and how the product will fit into their environment. E-commerce sites incorporating many filterable and searchable product attributes on their product detail pages, e.g. showing part numbers, brand, available finishes, materials, dimensions, spec sheets and more, empower customers to make more reasoned and confident purchases.

    Part 3: New Business Models

    Presenter: Matt Boland
    Senior Manager, Partner Programs - Global SMB at Magento, an Adobe Company

    New up was Matt Boland from Adobe Magento. Matt wrapped up our webinar with practical tips on future proofing one’s business.

    Matt described some of the new business models with companies driving sales by offering a wider range of products --in fact more products than their brick and mortar stores sell. These products can be bundled and grouped to generate higher average sales per transaction. Companies are also offering subscription models, so their customers don’t need to worry about running out or reordering products.

    B2B x B2C eCommerce Practices

    Matt noted some buying methodology insights and a shift in B2B e-commerce practices, as B2B’s are taking lessons from the B2C world and incorporating personalization and user-centric website experiences that support standard buyer practices.

    Amazon was discussed as an additional sales channel opportunity and a means to control one’s brand by offering pricing, shipping, or other value incentives that can distinguish the brand from Amazon resellers.

    To help businesses navigate the rapid digital transformation that we’ve seen in the past few months, he shared an essential B2B business goals checklists. Adobe Magento created the list so B2B businesses know how to address the complexities of ecommerce, improve operational efficiencies, enhance the customer experience, and grow sales.

    Want more webinars like this?

    Join Vancouver Web Design Meetup today where we share our upcoming events and gain valuable insights from experience, local industry leaders on all topics related to website design, development and digital marketing.

    Talk to an Ecommerce Specialist Today

    Graphcally Speaking is a Magento Solution Partner. Learn how Graphically Speaking can help turn your ecommerce website into a dynamic marketing tool that will grow traffic, increase revenue, and build brand trust. 

    Check our ecommerce portfolio and contact us today for a quote.

  • The Web Design Meetup is Moving Online!

    by Greta Barbosa | Jun 24, 2020

    The Web Design Meetup is moving online!

    We’re excited to share an upcoming webinar with you. “How website design and ecommerce is helping brands adapt to a changing landscape”.

    Brands are rapidly adapting to an uncharted business environment, and their digital properties are helping them to engage and do business with their audiences in new ways.

    With so many physical outlets closed, online B2B and B2C sales are growing exponentially. This May, year-over-year online sales grew an unprecedented 77%! Businesses that can accommodate website visitors with smart user experience design and barrier-free user experiences will attract loyal customers and see their businesses grow.

    Join us on Zoom as experts from the web design and e-commerce world share their knowledge and industry insights in a free one-hour webinar. The event will take place Tuesday, June 30 at 12:00 PM PST.

    This is a great opportunity to learn from industry leaders.

    Please register for webinar (attendance is limited).

    We would love to see you online.

    Webinar Presenters

    Matt Boland - Adobe, Senior Manager, Partner Programs
    Melody Shih - Graphically Speaking, VP, Operations & Creative
    Sergio Taddeo - Graphically Speaking, E-Commerce Director

    This event is Sponsored by:

    Graphically Speaking – Vancouver’s Web Design, Ecommerce & Digital Marketing Agency

  • 8 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to Magento 2 Sooner Rather Than Later

    by Greta Barbosa | Jan 27, 2020

    If you’re in the Ecommerce space, you’ve probably heard a lot about Magento lately. The push for Magento 2 has been around for a while, but 2020 is seeing that push hit overdrive.

    There are approximately 46 thousand Magento 1 in the USA only. With the upcoming deadline, there will be soon a backlog of migrations which can delay your upgrade and possibly affect the security of your website and customers. 

    By upgrading now, you are not only taking your business to the next level, but you will also be getting your online store ahead of you competitors with all Magento 2 features and benefits.

    While change is good, we understand that this upgrade can bring some uncertainty to most businesses. To help you understand, our Magento Solution Specialists put together a list of 8 reasons why you should upgrade to Magento 2 sooner rather than later:

    1. Better Performance

    B2B ROI

    The newer version isn’t just polish and promise; it runs faster. It can handle substantially more traffic. It is a complete performance upgrade on every level.

    Magento 2 can handle just shy of 30 percent more orders per hour. Information on sites loads up to 50 percent faster. In general, it is built to handle 50 times the level of web traffic as Magento 1. 

    Homepage, Product listing pages and product detail pages load in less than 1.5 seconds. This is important once 53% Mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load, 1 second delay in page load time results in 7% loss in conversions, 11% loss in page views and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

    Those stat increases translate to tangible results. Shopzilla is a high-profile case that is often touted by Magento 2 proponents. After upgrading, the site saw a 25-percent increase in views and a 9.5-percent increase in revenue. It may not be fair to attribute all of those increases to a Magento upgrade, but there’s no question that removing throttling issues on an ecommerce website is good for your business.

    2. Security

    Ecommerce Security

    “Data breach” is the ultimate taboo word in Ecommerce. It’s a terrifying possibility that every website administrator has to understand. Magento 1 is not yet out of support. It is still receiving security updates (more on that in a minute). Even so, it’s not the favorite child of Adobe anymore.

    Magento 1 security updates mostly deal with obvious exploits. The big, systemic changes that stay ahead of the constant evolution of malicious attacks are all focused on Magento 2. 

    According to Sergio Taddeo, Eccomerce Director and Magento Solution Specialist:

    "Your holistic security landscape is better when you upgrade to Magento 2, even while Magento 1 is still under support."

    3. Improved Administration

    Ecommerce Team

    No matter how powerful your platform might be, you still have to run the website. It needs updates and oversight, and that means effort on your part.  

    When you compare both Magento 1 and Magento 2 admin, it’s clear that the first one was built by developers with the best of intentions, but let’s face it, good intentions don’t help when all you want is to add a new marketing promo rule. Magento 2 admin was made to increase the User Experience since a huge portion of people using Magento daily is from marketing, sales, customer representatives and they are not developers.

    Magento 2 is designed to make website administration more efficient. Product creation tools handle some of the workload of adding product to the website. Improved viewing and filtering don’t just help shoppers; they help you go through your own catalog and data to customize what you need. Additionally, a cleaner admin interface is streamlined to help you spend less time finding the resources you need and more time making the changes you deem to be important.

    Another new feature. Available on Magento Commerce (paid version) only, the page builder is a drag and drop page builder tool that allows non-technical people to create modern pages, fully responsive blocks, graphic assets, products and text within minutes. They can also design content updates, preview them live, and schedule publication without having to depend on other departments.

    4. The Customer Experience

    Ecommerce Customer Experience

    There is basically an entire industry of professionals dedicated to this one concept. The customer experience is everything for ecommerce. When going from Magento 1 to 2, there are countless little improvements that help with customer experience. They can be boiled down to three important changes.

    • First is search. Magento 2 search features are more powerful, and they help users find what they want faster and more reliably.
    • Second is checkout. The Magento 2 checkout reduces the number of steps in the process. Customers experience less frustration and spend less time in checkout.
    • Third, and most important, is mobile browsing. When Magento 1 was originally developed, the majority of internet traffic was still on traditional computers. Today, roughly two-thirds of all internet traffic is mobile. Your mobile experience is more important than your desktop browsing, and Magento 2 is designed with that in mind.

    5. Search Engines

    Magento SEO

    Optimizing a site for search engines in 2010 was completely unrecognizable by 2020 standards. Search engine algorithms have evolved substantially, and the means of getting to that elusive first page require more investment.

    Magento 2 is optimized for modern search engines. It’s easy for web crawlers to find the information they need and give you a fair ranking. You don’t want to be buried under thousands of pages of search results after working so hard on your site. Magento 2 Luma theme is fully responsive which makes easy to browse on all devices and this is a must-have since Google’s algorithms have been officially favouring mobile-friendly websites in ranking.

    Even if you don’t have an in-house SEO expert, Magento will automatically add URL Key, Meta Title, Meta Keyword and Description, based on your product name and product description.

    6. Database

    Ecommerce Database

    In its day, Magento 1 did good things to website databases. It allowed Ecommerce sites to handle large data pools rather efficiently. By today’s standards, Magento 1 is seriously lacking. The platform only allows for a single database for any domain. That forces you to combine customer, administrative and developer databases into a single system, and it’s easy to overload.

    Magento 2 starts you off with three segmented databases. By default, your product data, checkout and orders are all neatly separated. Overloads are far less common, and it’s easier to manage all your data.

    Multi-Source Inventory (MSI) is a brand-new functionality presented on Magento 2.3 version that allows merchants to combine inventory across multiple sources. Some examples of the source are warehouses, brick-and-mortar stores, distribution centers, and drop shippers. Any location can be designated as a source for virtual products. This allows merchants to provide a truly omnichannel experience through different points of sales and distribution centers.

    7. Extensions

    Magento Extensions

    One of the great changes to take over the internet over the years is extensions.

    In all manner of applications, extensions make life better. Or, they can make life miserable if you’re using a system that can’t handle your extensions.

    Using extensions in Magento 1 is clunky at best. Magento 2 makes things faster and easier by streamlining HTML5, LESS and CSS3 within the platform.

    8. Magento 1 Is Ending

    Magento 1 ending

    Here’s the bottom line. Magento has announced an official end of support for Magento 1: June 20, 2020.

    Magento provides software maintenance for Major and Minor Releases of the Magento Open Source software from the release date of each applicable Major and Minor Release based on the following lifecycle schedule:


    Release Date

    End of Magento-provided bug fix maintenance

    End of Magento-provided security maintenance*

    Community Edition 1.0

    March 2008

    March 2009

    March 2010

    Community Edition 1.1

    July 2008

    July 2009

    July 2010

    Community Edition 1.2

    December 2008

    December 2009

    December 2010

    Community Edition 1.3

    March 2009

    March 2010

    March 2011

    Community Edition 1.4

    February 2010

    February 2011

    February 2012

    Community Edition 1.5

    February 2011

    February 2012

    June 2020

    Community Edition 1.6

    August 2011

    August 2012

    June 2020

    Community Edition 1.7

    April 2012

    April 2013

    June 2020

    Community Edition 1.8

    September 2013

    September 2014

    June 2020

    Community Edition 1.9

    May 2014

    May 2015

    June 2020

    * Software version becomes unsupported by Magento after the date listed

    Aside from the plentiful improvements to the system, it keeps you in support, and it keeps those security updates coming.

    What happens If you don't Upgrade to Magento 2 from Magento 1?

    Magento 1 deadline

    Once June 2020 comes, there will be no more support. Security updates stop. Cross-platform support ends. You are entirely on your own.

    • No Security: Without the regular Magento security patches, your website will be vulnerable and easily hacked
    • No Competitive Advantage: Your website will be outdated and you won't be able to keep up with your customers' demands
    • No New Features: You will lose access to the new features and important updates from Magento.
    • No Support: you will no longer have access to Magento support

    It may seem frustrating or stressful to plan an upgrade, but you haven’t been given a lot of choice. When a platform becomes obsolete, you can change with the times or join the old system in its obsolescence.

    As a Magento Solution Agency Partner, we understand switching to a new platform can be daunting. We often get questions from our clients like when should I upgrade to Magento 2? How smooth is the process? How do I start the migration?

    Good news is that you don't actually need an in-house IT team to upgrade from Magento 1 to Magento 2. Our recommendation is to get in touch with a reliable Magento Solution Agency partner so they can help you put together a migration plan. They will do all the hard work for you. You just have to sit back and wait until your conversions and revenue start to grow again.

    Do you have any questions about the Magento 2 Upgrade? Talk to one of our Magento Solution Specialists, contact us today!

    Learn more about our Magento web development services.

  • 5 Key Traits B2B Ecommerce Solutions Must Have to Exceed Customer Expectations

    by Greta Barbosa | Dec 23, 2019

    Websites set up for B2B ecommerce must have certain elements in order to ensure the best customer experience.

    These sites are referred to as B2B ecommerce solutions, rather than just websites or shopping carts.

    When the right elements are present, sales increase and word spreads about how easy it is to do business with your company online. What are these key elements?

    Here are the top 5 B2B Ecommerce solutions that experts say your online business should have:

    1. Speed

    Everybody likes things to happen faster, and this includes B2B buyers. However, the speed at which the site operates isn't the only "speed" that's important in this scenario.

    You also need speed on your end – but in this case, you want a fast setup, quick return on your investment, and the ability to quickly adapt to changing trends in both demand and online sales.

    Your ecommerce solution also needs to allow you to provide a speedy response to your customers. It should let you easily find out who has ordered what, so you can quickly acknowledge and ship out the orders, complete with any invoices or other documentation that is needed.

    2. Agility

    In some ways, this is a subset of speed, but in other cases, it refers to the ability to quickly adapt to changing needs.

    Old-fashioned ecommerce sites are hard to change, and entering inventory data or updating prices takes hours. A modern solution lets you upload data in a variety of ways, eliminating the chore of manual updates. It also lets you do things like only upload part of your inventory, typically the types of things smaller customers order, so you can reserve the attention of your sales force for your larger clients or more-expensive items.

    Good site agility also allows you to adapt to more general trends in online business. For example, it's easy to change the way the site looks, which features are prominent, and similar factors. This ensures that your ecommerce solution won't feel dated to users after five or 10 years of operation. In turn, your entire company will seem fresh and ready to tackle whatever your customers currently need or want.

    3. Intuitive Search Function

    search function ecommerce

    It's very aggravating to go on a site to buy something, know that the company should have the item, and not be able to find its page to make the purchase. This problem can be solved by having an intuitive search function right on the site.

    Your search function should be truly integrated with the rest of the platform, so the customer is never exposed to listings from competing sources.

    Simply having a search bar isn't enough. Many sites have search bars that turn out to be outright useless at their purported functions. Be sure that your site's search actually returns the right result, and that the platform is able to do so quickly.

    4. Simplicity

    All too often, B2B sales is needlessly complicated, as if business customers all have PhD's in engineering or accounting. In reality, B2B buyers are just like everyone else – and they want simplicity, just like everyone else.

    Your B2B ecommerce solution should be at least as easy for customers to use as any major B2C ecommerce site.

    When everything is extra-clear, people feel more comfortable ordering since they don't have to worry about making a possibly-expensive mistake.

    5. Extra B2B-Centric Features

    B2B buyers are on your site because it's part of their jobs. Although they aren't interested in common B2C extras like "related products.", they still except to have the B2C experience when purchasing from a vendor.


    They want B2B features like the ability to save commonly-purchased items to a list for easy reordering, correlation between their product numbers and yours, and content like manuals and spec sheets. These things make their jobs easier and faster, and they will show their appreciation by buying through your site more often.

    This video explains other core features and functions of B2B ecommerce. 


    Getting everything set up doesn't require you to have an in-house technical specialist on staff. Instead, it's a good idea to hire a B2B digital agency to do the work.

    A digital agency understands the unique needs of B2B ecommerce solutions, and knows when – and when not – to use features that are common on typical ecommerce sites. The result is a tailored solution that meets the needs and expectations of your customers, allows you to conduct your own business more efficiently, and that can adapt to changes in the marketplace.

    B2B Ecommerce Solutions Experts 


    Graphically Speaking, a Magento B2B development company, is a digital agency and an expert in the ecommerce marketing industry. At Graphically Speaking, we use Magento, an extremely popular ecommerce platform, as the base for a wide variety of B2B-centric upgrades.As a Magento Certified Partner, we offer solutions highly stable thanks to the years of refinement that have been applied to the base code. Its B2B-focused customization include an array of further refinements to perfectly address the needs of wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors, and others.

    If you have realized that you need to modernize your B2B ecommerce solution, contact us today. Our Certified Magento Solution Specialists will discuss all of your requirements with you to find the best ecommerce solution for both you and you customers. Those on both sides of your site will then be glad to use it thanks to increased efficiency, better user-friendliness, and faster operation.

    We can help you understand what you should look for when choosing your web design company.


  • B2B Ecommerce Solutions: What You Need to Know

    by Stefan Reeves | Oct 16, 2018

    B2B customers state the "lack of speed in interactions with their suppliers" as the number one pain-point...twice as important as price.

    Increased and Improved Sales

    Your B2B Ecommerce website can take orders 24/7, easily handle re-orders, provide one click checkout and allow ordering online via their phone. In addition it can provide answers to frequently asked questions via self-service support sections. By leveraging personalization capabilities, you can customize the way your storefront looks or the products it displays based on buyer preferences and history.

    Customer-centric Experience

    It is clear that users now prefer do-it-yourself options for researching products prior to purchase. E-commerce websites can provide them with access to self-service portals/websites with product descriptions, pricing, inventory, reviews, shipping and handling information, as well as their order history.

    Higher Operational Efficiency

    Digitization and automation of your business takes care of the routine tasks that previously were handled manually by your employees. This reduces errors while enabling your staff to address things a machine cannot do – advising, consulting and supporting leads & clients.

    The Right Tools

    Gone are the days of B2B compa­nies trying to force B2C Ecommerce platforms to meet their needs. Today the ecommerce tools are available to meet most companies B2B requirements out of the box. This ensures adherence to best practices, far faster and less expensive implementations.

    The Right Implementer

    There are companies that now spe­cialize in B2B Ecommerce implemen­tations like Graphically Speaking. These specialists need to understand B2B businesses and how they work with the new breed of B2B Ecom­merce software. In addition they must have in-depth knowledge of product data, integrations with other software platforms, pricing, shipping and then all the other capabilities of B2C Ecommerce

    We can help you understand what you should look for when choosing your web design company

    Complex Pricing

    B2B companies typically have dif­ferent prices for different custom­ers. These prices can be achieved with combinations like: discount for customer groups; prices for specific product bundles; quantity and vol­ume discounts; or a combination of these methods.

    Keeping the prices current for your customers and products can be a challenge. Plan for how you will ad­dress this. It’s typically via a system integration or via a file, to bulk upload pricing.

    Pricing information is one of the most sought after pieces of infor­mation on a B2B website.

    Flexible Checkout Process

    Your checkout process should match your company’s unique rules for payment and shipping.

    Examples include:

    • Purchase orders available only to certain customers based on their credit limit and approval.
    • Integration of the checkout into your customers’ buying and approval process.
    • Certain products being restricted from shipping to certain geographic locations.
    • Enabling customers to charge the shipping to their accounts.


    Helping Customers Buy The Way They Want To

    B2B buyers demand personalized self-service, full-service, and hybrid purchase options. Some Ecommerce sites offer customers different tracks for their individual purchase path: fast-track for repeat and bulk purchases; standard-track for regular purchases; and advanced-track for more complex, customized solutions.

    Customer Registration

    For B2B Ecommerce sites registra­tion is typically mandatory so that customers get access to custom prices, products, and terms. Autho­rized users can see products, prices, order-tracking information, and potentially pay for offline orders.

    Mobile Responsiveness

    Make it easy for mobile users to in­teract and purchase by making your website mobile responsive. Ensure the checkout process works flaw­lessly on mobile devices.

    Faceted Navigation

    Includes filters for many different attributes (or facets) of the objects in a set. In essence it provides multiple filters that allow users to analyze a large set of content and exclude any objects that don’t meet that criteria. This tools allows users to better un­derstand the content space and gives them ideas of what is available and how to search for it.


    The Ecommerce system itself may not hold all of the key customer and product information, thus integration with other systems can play an im­portant part of Ecommerce success. Integration tools and capabilities have improved dramatically over the last couple of years with low cost and robust solutions.


    Allow customers to get information they need in a more effective and timely manner. Examples can include custom catalogues, order history, special pricing, new product an­nouncements, specials, etc.

    Site Search

    Search is critical for Ecommerce. Most platforms come with some level of search capability but improving the quality of your site search can greatly help conversions for a quick-win ROI benefit. Sophisticated, third-party search tools can often pay for them­selves quickly.

    User Navigation

    Plan your site navigation to assist users to find what they need, especially for sites with a large number of products. Common navigational tools include: filtering by price, attribute or rating; viewing of most purchased prod­ucts; and personalized product recommendations.

    Email Marketing

    Email marketing is a good way to drive repeat sales from your B2B customers. Integrate your Ecommerce site with an email system to personalize and target messages based on customers’ site activity and order history. Customers appreciate emails that inform them of their prod­ucts journey and delivery and this is a great opportunity to cross-sell and upsell. 

    Quick Order

    B2B customers often know exactly what they want, right down to the item number or SKU. Provide a form where customers can enter item numbers and quanti­ties, to quickly add items to their cart without browsing and searching. Also if possible invoke one click checkout into your cart.

    Multiple Users in a Single Account

    For a lot of businesses, many people can place orders under a single ac­count. Account profiles can get com­plex and must be organized accord­ingly. Will each user see other users’ orders? How are the user profiles managed? What are the account re­strictions for each user?

    Tool for The Salespeople

    Many B2B companies are loading all of their product data, inventory, pricing information, etc. into their Ecommerce site. They then password protect the sensitive or confidential information and allow easy access for the sales or company representative.


    Configurators may be developed to solve all sorts of complications such as custom project pricing, parts specifica­tions or freight. Configurator’s help customers make complex purchases easier and can help vendors reduce the cost of sales support.

    Request a Quote

    Some products are complicated to quote and can require numerous interactions with the client. Built in quote management systems allow the potential customer to request a quote through a user friendly form, then the sales rep can configure, substitute products, price and send the quote back to the client. The client if necessary can then make modifications and send back to the sales rep for confirmation and then automatic entry into the Ecommerce platform. This can streamline the process making it faster and simpler to do business with your company.

    Real-time Inventory

    If a customer is in a rush to get an order, they need to know how much stock is available and ready for im­mediate shipment. They don’t have the patience to receive an email sometime later that states that half of the order is back ordered. This is one of the most sought after pieces of information from B2B customers.

    Continuity Orders (aka Repeat Orders or Subscription)

    Often a customer places the same order each month, much like a consumer may have a weekly grocery list. They can save a lot of time with a recurring order that automatically reorders items at a set interval. With online self-service, customers can also adjust those orders if something changes.


    With well-rounded B2B Ecommerce tools and experienced B2B imple­menters, customers can now expect a robust feature rich Ecommerce implementation to be done cost effectively and on a timely basis. Sometimes taking just a few short months.

  • Battle of the Content Management Systems

    by User Not Found | Dec 04, 2017

    This September's Vancouver Web Design Meetup saw four content management system (CMS) opinion leaders battle it out for CMS supremacy. You can read about the products they promoted in this blog.

    Choosing the right CMS

    The meetup kicked off with one presenter giving an overview of where the most popular content management systems fit within different size organizations. The presenter was not biased to any particular CMS but stressed the importance of selecting a CMS that fits the scale and scope of a company’s online endeavor.

    Websites were categorized as entry-level, mid-level or enterprise, based on website features, complexity and initial investment budgets.

    Essentially brochure style websites costing approximately $5k to $25k.

    Corporate sites of moderate complexity with simple integrations and costing approximately $25k to $200k.

    Complex, feature-rich websites with 3rd party system integrations, marketing automation suites and typical investments of $200k+.

    Where do you fit?

    Entry-level CMS Category

    An entry level CMS can be a good choice for an organization with limited online marketing budgets and in-house expertise. These organizations usually want to have practical website features along with the ability to simply add, modify, or delete web content.

    In our meetup, WordPress proved to be the de facto player in the entry-level field, however, it was argued that today’s WordPress can support entry and mid-level web requirements, and even some enterprise needs.

    Entry-level CMS will be:

    • Easy to use and manage by non-technical users.
    • Supported by a vast developer community.
    • Proven with lots of useful plugins or widgets.
    • Customizable to achieve your desired design standard.
    • Capable of supporting digital marketing initiatives, plugins, or 3rd party tools.

    Mid-level CMS Category

    Drupal, Sitefinity and Kentico CMS represented the mid-level field. Each of these systems offers a powerful and extensible CMS solution with:

    • Workflow management.
    • Extensive digital marketing capabilities.
    • Extreme scalability and customization opportunities.

    Enterprise Level CMS Category

    The enterprise systems that qualified here include offerings from: Acquia, Adobe, IBM, Oracle, Sitecore and Sitefinity. These are the CMS systems that will support organizations’ looking to evolve and execute a digital transformation strategy.

    CMS’s that fall under this category are proven to be highly reliable and scalable. They can integrate with ecommerce systems, CRM's and or POS systems.

    Enterprise CMS’s will have extensive marketing tools that enable marketers to organize data and continually enhance their web offerings to deliver exceptional user experiences and optimal conversions.

    To Choose a CMS, It's Important to Know Which Questions to Ask.

    Here is a checklist to consider when you make that decision.

    • What is the purpose of the website? Is it to sell, inform, provide customer service, market, or?
    • What do you want the site to do; i.e. what features and functions will you need it to provide?
    • Who is your audience and what devices will they use?
    • Will your site need to display multiple language versions?
    • Do you intend to deliver personalized content?
    • Will you employ marketing automation?
    • Who is going to manage your website? Will it be managed by marketers or technologists, and how many will do the work?
    • What CMS is your team familiar with now?
    • Are there trained personnel to support you in-house?
    • What level of CMS service support will you need?
    • Is there a preferred software framework preference; .NET or open source?
    • What are your hosting needs; hosted or SAAS?
    • Will your site accommodate multiple brands or micro-sites?

    CMS Offerings

    Knowing your business and what your site must do for it, we can start to compare some popular CMS offerings. In our meetup each presenter was passionate that their offering is ‘the best’, and although each offering can ‘technically’ satisfy most of your organization’s requirements, each will have strengths and limitations that you should be aware of.


    WordPress CMS - the popular entry-level system.

    WordPress is by far the CMS market-share leader with 59% of the CMS marketplace.

    As noted earlier, WordPress is typically employed for entry-level website builds, however, that notion was dismissed as the National Post, Southern Bancorp, The Obama Foundation and Five Thirty Eight news websites – all fairly complex and substantial - are all powered by WordPress.

    Our meetup’s WordPress advocate demonstrated the tool’s ease of use, its potential for customization, and WordPress’ flexibility to enable content contributors to create rich content via page builder, long scrolling pages, videos, and embedded social channels.

    One can’t talk about WordPress without discussing security. Since WordPress is the dominant world-wide CMS, it’s understandable that it is also the CMS that is most targeted by hackers. Our presenter pointed out various security plugins and protocols that can be applied to thwart those with bad intentions.

    As WordPress is essentially a free community developed product, you shouldn’t expect the same level of professional support that is offered with a paid licenced CMS. Nevertheless, our presenter pointed out that WordPress is supported by a vibrant and growing community that can help you develop, grow and improve your WordPress website. In addition, professional vendors should be able to offer you WordPress security support.


    Drupal - the open source CMS for mid and high-level builds.

    Our evening’s Drupal evangelist gave an account of the Drupal CMS and described Drupal as an open digital experience platform to help organizations deliver web content across channels and devices. Innovation, speed and scalability are hallmark features inherent to the platform.

    Drupal has been employed by a number of major brands, so the product is well proven and trusted in the marketplace.

    In terms of strengths, Drupal has many, the fact that Drupal is an open source technology means that the product is highly flexible, accessible, and free of license fees. With 37,000 free modules, 2,400 free themes, and a community of over 100,000 active developer contributors, Drupal can be configured to accommodate virtually any website scenario. It is built around responsive design and can integrate with an organization’s digital technology ecosystem.

    Drupal can fulfill both mid-level and enterprise requirements and the total cost of ownership when comparing Drupal to other enterprise-level is potentially lower. On average fifty percent of Drupal’s project budgets range between $75K and $300K.

    Of course there is no perfect CMS and among Drupal’s strengths are some notable drawbacks. Getting developers or in-house teams up to speed on Drupal can be daunting as the learning curve is steeper than many competitive CMS systems. Part of the reason for this has to do with the vast number of modules and connectors that are available with Drupal. And although the CMS is free, you can expect the overall development cost to be higher, as Drupal out-of-the-box is bare-bones and needs a lot of configuring.


    Sitecore - the original mid to high-level proprietary CMS.

    Sitecore is one of the earliest .NET content management systems and sits at the top of Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management 2017. Sitecore is an ideal CMS for enterprise-level organizations with corporate marketing departments.

    The CMS was spun out of Pentia A/S (a Microsoft systems integration company) in 2001. Today Sitecore positions its brand as a ‘customer experience management company’. To support this assertion Sitecore provides a robust and secure CMS that features a multi-channel marketing automation suite and flexible content authoring capabilities.

    A key feature of Sitecore’s marketing automation suite is the ability to ‘market in context’ which essentially enables marketers to market based on an individual customer’s behaviour. Sitecore calls this ‘contextual intelligence’. Contextual Intelligence gives you the information you need about you consumers, e.g. their location, profile, social sharing, content preferences, devices, etc. so the content you provide is more relevant to and the overall customer experience is more meaningful

    On the downside Sitecore’s feature set is so extensive that many features will never be used. And since it is a proprietary CMS system your organization will need to pay for an enterprise-level license that is likely to be out of reach to small and many mid- size organizations.

    And what may be both a pro and con of the CMS Sitecore is built on the .NET platform, so if you want to deploy custom controls or plugins you will need to be an expert .NET developer to make that happen. Nevertheless, .NET is an ideal platform to connect with 3rd party applications and other ASP.NET services.


    Sitefinity - an up-and-coming heavyweight among the mid to high-level proprietary CMSs.

    While we are talking about .NET systems, let’s look at an acknowledged up-and-comer, Sitefinity.

    For mid to large size organizations that are looking for a .NET CMS that is dead easy to use, scalable, secure, and comes with robust out-of-the-box modules plus an easy to use but sophisticated marketing suite, Sitefinity might be the right fit.

    Sitefinity is a proven and reliable CMS solution used by some heavyweight brands like Microsoft, Sony, 3M, IBM, Toshiba, Coca-Cola, BBC, Toyota, City Bank, to name a few. And this year Sitefinity CMS was named a Contender in the 2017 Forrester Wave Report for web content management systems.

    One major reason for choosing Sitefinity is its simple and intuitive user interface. Sitefinity is arguably the easiest to use CMS in the mid-size to enterprise space. The simple UI can mean better adoption across an organization as non-technical users can easily modify, create and maintain website content.

    What sets this product apart is the company’s focus on providing a digital experience that can help you improve your customer’s experience via segmentation / personalization, conversion tracking, touchpoint attribution, and other tools – like big data crunching and machine learning recommendations - that let marketers manage and continually improve the customer journey.

    Like Sitecore, Sitefinity comes with a licence fee, though Sitefinity’s licence cost is aimed to appeal to mid-market and enterprise organizations and will likely be out of reach to smaller organizations.

    Vancouver Web Design Meetup

    The content of this blog has been adapted from a recent Vancouver Web Design Meetup.

    Join Vancouver Web Design Meetup today and gain valuable insights from experience, local industry leaders on all topics related to website design, development and digital marketing. Events are FREE and held in downtown Vancouver.

    Talk to a Website Specialist Today

    Book a free consultation and learn how Graphically Speaking can help add value to your business.

  • Tools, Technologies & Tips for Ecommerce

    by User Not Found | Oct 25, 2017

    At a recent Vancouver Web Design Meetup event attended by over 250 people, a panel of five industry experts discussed the latest trends in the rapidly changing fields of ecommerce design and development. Here are their thoughts and recommendations.

    Ecommerce Market Trends

    As predicted, e-commerce and online shopping continues to grow with over 50% of consumers preferring to shop online. There are now a few cemented and some emerging ecommerce trends and tools that you will want to keep an eye on including:

    • Omni-channel sales.
    • Personalized shopping experience.
    • Mobile responsive design.
    • Artificial intelligence.
    • B2B strategies using advanced B2C tactics.

    Omni-Channel Sales

    With a multichannel approach to sales you can provide a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online, by telephone or in a brick & mortar store. For best results, the design of the website should remain consistent when viewed on a desktop or mobile device and should also compliment the physical store presence. Consumers can shop the same way through in-store, website and telephone. Regardless of the customers' location and time. The order can either be delivered to the address directly, picked up at the store, or picked up from a retail partner.

    Personalized Shopping Experience

    Whether in person or online, a good sale starts with a personal connection to the brand or product. There is plenty of opportunity to serve each shopper new, customizable, relevant and unique content with each visit. Using the right technology and business intelligence, companies are able to serve this content based on customers':

    • Purchase history
    • Visited products.
    • Geographic location.
    • Demographic profiles.
    • Market trends.
    • Brand interactions.

    Mobile Responsive Design

    There can be missed sales without attention to mobile versus desktop viewing and buying habits. Desktop and mobile devices account for just over 40% of sessions each with tablets around 20%. However 63% of revenue is from desktop with only 21% from mobile and 17% from tablets.

    Some of the challenges with purchasing on mobile are:

    • Screen size.
    • Awkward navigation.
    • Concerns over privacy.

    Opportunities for mobile:

    • Improve ease of use & conversion optimization on small screens.
    • Add the ability for customers to share and save products and items.
    • Optimize your site for speed.

      Artificial Intelligence

      Machines are being trained to learn and solve problems. This is changing the way customer service is being handled—moving away from real people. Most queries can now be handled by bots. According to Gartner Research, by 2020 eighty-five percent of customer interactions will be handled without human interactions. Popular AI applications now are:

      • Voice search.
      • Self-driving cars.
      • Network routing.
      • Competing at strategic games.
      • Machine learning to interpret complex data.

      Ecommerce Platforms

      One of the biggest decisions you will have to make for your ecommerce website is what platform to use. With so many options it can be difficult to figure out which option best meets your needs. While there is no such thing as “the best ecommerce platform”, we have briefly reviewed our three favorites so you can determine which is best for your business needs.


      Shopify is great for small to midsize B2C websites with less complex data. This is a cloud service only and therefore is easier to setup. Shopify customers typically require an average $5,000 budget to create an ecommerce website on this platform.


      Good for simple to moderately difficult B2B and B2C websites. WooCommerce is an open-source plug-in for WordPress that requires hosting and security measures. It is excellent for content marketing. It is very customizable and boasts the second largest install base. Businesses should expect to budget $10,000 on an ecommerce website built with WordPress & WooCommerce.


      Magento is sold in two editions: Community for mid-sized businesses, and Enterprise for large businesses. It is based on open source technology and is excellent for integrations and customization. It has the largest install base and is relatively inexpeninexpensive
      compared to IBM, Oracle, SAP, etc. Budgets vary depending on edition; Community Edition requires a budget from $15,000 to $100,000, and Enterprise requires at least a $100,000 budget.

      Important Considerations

      Important considerations when choosing a CMS include: your product data and its complexity, plug-ins, integrations (POS, inventory, CMS, ERP, etc.). Other important considerations are the "multis":

      • Multi-store.
      • Multi-language.
      • Multi-currency.
      • Multi-brand.

      Live Chat

      Further reinforcing personalized shopping experiences, we have seen that Live Chat users spend on average 5% to 30% more on purchases. Conversion rates improve by 5 to 10 times following a live chat session. With the onset of machine learning and artificial intelligence, in the future, live chat will eventually be fully automated by bots.

      Digital Marketing Strategies

      Where to start? Digital Marketing is a never ending cycle, from picking your audience, figuring out their value, messaging them accordingly, and not wasting money.

      Finding Your Best Customers

      Pick a segment that is important to your business and identify the potential future value of these segments. What stage of the sales funnel is your customer at: initial interest, browsed products, abandoned basket, or abandoned high margin basket? Think of ways to help guide your customer through the buyer journey with micro-conversions and lead nurturing. Follow the four principles of attract, convert, nurture and support.

      Focus On Your High Value Customers

      Obviously these include shoppers who purchase high value product categories. Customers that have viewed multiple products, or abandoned baskets should also be identified as they have the highest potential for future value. Watch for segments and learn which ones are performing the best. Don't forget your return customers as they signify lifetime value.

      Make the Message Match the Customer

      Remind your users why they should take the next step and move them along the buyer journey. It's easy to get distracted, so help your clients stay on track. One tip is to provide incentives to prospects who have abandoned their cart. In addition use email marketing for post sales, cross-selling and marketing opportunities. Increasingly, sales transactions are on mobile so ensure you are testing for usability, conversion optimization and speed.

      Don't Waste Your Money

      Keep profitability in mind. Of your messages, which ones did your segments respond to the most? Cut your bottom 30% and reinvest in the winning segments. Continue to mine for new segments and repeat these steps again.

      Digital Marketing Tactics

      Tips for Digital Marketing:

      • Allow your customers to use an existing social profile to log in, cutting down on necessary registration steps and therefore increasing conversions.
      • Make sure your homepage, product pages and order confirmation pages all have easy social sharing buttons.
      • Include a mixture of contests, inspiration and tips. Ask questions, encourage discussions and sharing of ideas. Don't oversell.
      • Get visually creative, quotes, photographs, infographics, motivational images and usage examples are all types of visual content that should be considered.
      • Measure, improve and experiment as the social media tools allow you to measure the most important things to help you improve your performance.

      Social Media

      Social media is now an integral part of almost every consumer's online habits. There are many great reasons to maintain profiles on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram such as:

      • An extension of customer service.
      • A way to build brand awareness.
      • A place to improve customer engagement.
      • A way to gain insight into what your customers care about.

      Indirectly, all of these things can contribute to a rise in overall sales.

      Email Marketing

      Email marketing accounts for over 7% of all ecommerce transactions, making it the second most effective ecommerce marketing channel behind search.

      Some of the best practices for email marketing are:

      • Use an email marketing tool that includes marketing automation and event-triggered campaigns.
      • Encourage customers to review the products they have purchased.
      • Setup cart abandonment emails to identify bugs and improve your checkout conversion rate.
      • Contact your dormant customers with email offers.
      • Use email to market product seasonality and retail holidays.
      • Develop your transactional emails to improve brand perception and cross-sell relevant products as well as services.
      • Integrate your marketing with other campaigns such as social media and display advertising.
      • Further engage by asking for user's feedback using the latest survey tools.

      Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

      Organic search success with effective SEO is still considered the best digital marketing option that will produce a ROI above all other opportunities around ecommerce. As the recommended options are very dependent on your digital marketing maturity and your competition we will spend very little time on this tactic. For a refresher the basics are:

      • Keyword and competitive research.
      • On page optimization.
      • Quality links.
      • Voice search.
      • Relevant and high quality content.

      Site Speed Optimization

      According to an Aberdeen Group study, a single second of page load delay time causes an 11 percent drop in page views and a 7 percent drop in conversion. Speed is also an important consideration for how well your site ranks in SEO.

      The following five tips can boost the speed of an ecommerce site and increase sales:

      1. Ensure you have sufficient server capacity, reliability and security.
      2. Test for speed on mobile, most phones have less processing power and a far slower connection.
      3. Produce efficient code, reduce HTTP requests, implement caching and split up page content are just some of the techniques to employ.
      4. Reduce unnecessary items, such as social media widgets, animations, rotating banners, resource taxing plugins, complex designs and others that are not essential, especially on mobile.
      5. Optimize photography, to ensure download speed is reduced. We have seen load times drop in half with properly optimized imagery with no loss of quality.

      Vancouver Web Design Meetup

      The content of this blog has been adapted from a recent Vancouver Web Design Meetup.

      Join Vancouver Web Design Meetup today and gain valuable insights from experience, local industry leaders on all topics related to website design, development and digital marketing. Events are FREE and held in downtown Vancouver.

      Talk to an Ecommerce Specialist Today

      Book a free consultation and learn how Graphically Speaking can help turn your ecommerce website into a dynamic marketing tool that will grow traffic, increase revenue, and build brand trust.

    • Top 2017 Web Design & Development Trends

      by User Not Found | Feb 14, 2017

      At the recent Vancouver meetup event, we invited five leading industry experts to give us an insider's look at the hottest trends that will have an impact in 2017 and beyond. Here's what we learned.

      Web Design That Demands Attention

      A major design trend is going back to basics with more minimal website designs. When designing a website, developers must consider a growing amount of factors, and ease of use on multiple devices is one of the most important. Elaborate website designs can complicate customer flow and user experiences.

      Hamburger Menus

      Usability experts are recommending that we avoid using this navigation style at desktop resolutions for the following reasons:

      • Among desktop sessions, hidden menus are utilized just 27% of the time
      • It increases perceived task difficulty by 21%
      • Slows average task time by 39% on desktops and 15% on mobile devices

      Parallax Scrolling

      Industry experts are calling for a reduction in the use of parallax scrolling because it increases load speeds and creates challenges for peak organic search engine rankings.

      Reducing User Options

      Seven used to be the magic number for main navigation items and now it’s 3 to 4. Mega footers are also on their way out with a dramatic reduction of links at the bottom of pages. Bombarding webpages with upsells, product suggestions and various secondary links decreases conversions as they overload the user.


      Experts agree that the fastest way to success is through testing. Major decisions are no longer made based on the opinion of the development group or the highest paid person in the room. From card sorting, usability labs and now Google Optimize for A/B and multi-variate testing, several tools and techniques are available to take the guesswork out of the equation.


      It was common to build a website and then leave it for years before re-doing it again. As the website is most companies’ top marketing tool, the new standard after launching a website is to continuously measure, make recommendations for improvement (hypothesize), implement improvements and then test to ensure improvements provide a ROI.


      Website speed is a critical factor for usability, conversion optimization and a high Google ranking. This should be a top priority when developing or enhancing your website.

      Death of Apps

      On average, people have 27 apps on their phones, but the majority of times they use just four. For a mobile app to be successful, it must provide both value and a unique offering.

      Ecommerce for Guaranteed ROI

      Customers expect old-school customer service with the now-ness of online mediums when shopping. They want to order any product, anywhere, at any time and on any device, and then for that product to be delivered immediately to anywhere they desire. Obviously this is very difficult to do.

      Big Data

      Most ecommerce experts obsess over customer data to improve their sales, customer retention and customer satisfaction. Opportunities are plentiful for tracking your customers as they engage with your website, social media, online ratings and reviews, remarketing, chatbots and more.

      Consistent Brand Experience

      Experts agree that a consistent brand experience across all digital channels is a must-have. This is a difficult task considering the many different devices and channels that must be supported.


      From remarketing to reorganizing your navigation menu items for your target audiences, personalization produces results. When evaluating your customer journeys, look for opportunities to present the exact information that they want and when they want it. The tools for making this happen are now more readily available and AI will have a profound effect on personalization shortly.

      Future Trend: Conversational Commerce

      Messaging apps have outpaced social networks when it comes to where we spend our time. These tools are rapidly developing ecommerce interfaces and soon will be able to handle a complete transaction without the need for external platforms. Look to Amazon Echo and Google Home to understand how users will speak to their devices for a complete ecommerce experience, from product enquiry to purchase confirmation.

      Future Trend: Marketing to Devices

      Funny as it sounds, but as our devices get smarter they will be making purchasing decisions for us. That will make for some interesting marketing discussions as we try and persuade machines to choose us or our products over the competition.

      The Next Wave of CSS

      Web developers need to think with a “mobile first” attitude for optimal site performance and ecommerce conversions.

      Three main trends in front-end development stand at the forefront in 2017, and they are:

      CSS Flexbox

      First released as part of CSS3, the Flexbox is already a reliable layout mode. Designers can manipulate a webpage component’s elements, such as size, so that it best fits on any screen or display device.

      Benefits of the CSS Flexbox

      • Auto-adjusts items to fill free space on a screen, or contracts them to prevent overflow
      • Optimized for one-dimensional layouts
      • Ideal for component applications and websites with small layouts

      CSS Variables

      Introduced as a supplement to CSS Preprocessors with desktop-browser integration as early as 2014, CSS Variables are only now starting to take off in 2017 thanks to recent mobile-browser integration.

      Benefits of CSS Variables

      • More customization options—developers can tailor elements such as colours and component sizes within any selector they choose
      • Less repetitive CSS code and easier maintenance requirements for large projects.
      • Variables live within their browsers, so you can edit them in JavaScript to create richer mobile-responsive interfaces for users

      The Future: CSS Grid

      The CSS Grid is a new layout model that resolves many previous limitations for controlling the sizing and positioning of website components. Now developers can construct dramatic visual layouts for mobile websites without the pain of altering markup language.

      As of now it’s only partially supported in a small handful of browsers, but experts predict it will quickly become an industry standard for web development by 2018.

      Benefits of the CSS Grid

      • Conducive to explicit overlapping of elements on a website
      • Optimized for two-dimensional layouts
      • Ideal for complex websites with large layouts

      The Future of Digital Marketing


      Companies now realize there are risks in having too many choices for services. Watch as more brands decide to limit their focus to drive performance by doing a few things very well instead of a lot of things with underwhelming results. This trend works well for Facebook and Google as over 48% of all internet sessions involve interactions with one of those two brands. 

      Voice Search

      As of May 2016, Google stated that over 20% of mobile queries are voice searches, which means that over 10% of all searches are voice based. It’s time to start optimizing your website for this key trend.

      Walled Communities

      You would hope that Facebook and Google would be opening up their domains by sharing data and allowing other applications to interact with them, but the exact opposite is happening. For example, Facebook launched two algorithm updates in 2015 penalizing pages for promoting content organically. As well, Google’s 2011 update (expanded in 2013) encrypted keyword data to encourage marketers to shift more towards AdWords. Look for more of this to happen in the future as both Facebook and Google continue to aggressively monetize their offerings.

      Social is Driving ROI

      The debate is over: companies can and should successfully get an ROI with their investment in social to gauge if they are doing it right.

      Era of the Image

      By 2021, about 50% of all online searches will occur via images and other non-text forms. Make sure to increase your emphasis on visual content, from attention-grabbing images displayed prominently with blog posts to conveying information using graphics. Just as importantly, mine these visuals with data so that search algorithms can properly interpret them.

      B2B Marketing

      B2B has always lagged behind its more innovative B2C cousin. Some have made the excuse that B2B digital marketing is different, which is correct. However, watch successful B2B companies implement B2C tactics as their customers are expecting a similar experience. 


      Chatbots are a piece of software that you chat with to get things done or to be entertained; Siri is the most well-known example. Their future success is heavily dependent on new advances in AI technology. Soon a single Chatbot could be your personal assistant. When you ask it what the weather will be like today it knows that you are flying to San Francisco in the afternoon from Vancouver, and tells you the weather for both cities. 

      Virtual Reality (VR)

      Look for VR use to rapidly expand in media, education and training, video games, engineering, architecture & urban design, tourism, retail and marketing.

      Artificial Intelligence (AI)

      The power of AI is in its opportunity for mass personalization. Some say it will be the next big user interface (UI). B2C consumers and B2B clients view personalization, immediacy and intelligent engagements as key requirements when interacting with brands. AI in the future will be able to deliver exactly that.


      This industry is constantly growing and is now very broad. Focus on obtaining a wider knowledge to understand the big picture to complement your area of specialization. It’s very difficult to know everything, so specialization is still integral.

      Upcoming Events

      Vancouver Web Design Meetup

      How to Create Highly Effective Websites for 2017

      Get the inside view from our panel of experts in web strategy, design and technology as they share the best processes, tools and techniques for creating highly effective websites. You’ll get the insiders’ secrets on:

      1. The latest web strategies and methods
      2. How to plan, write, organize and manage content
      3. Best coding techniques for 2017
      4. Tips and tools to make the job easier


      Feb 23, 2017

      5:30-6 p.m. (networking, snack and drinks)

      6-8 p.m. (panel presentation and Q&A)


      CodeCore (142 W. Hastings St., Vancouver)

      Sponsored by Graphically Speaking and hosted by CodeCore.

    • 21 Digital Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

      by User Not Found | Nov 30, 2016

      The world of digital marketing can be overwhelming, especially for those who are just transitioning from traditional marketing – so naturally, mistakes are going to be made. In fact, even the most experienced marketers will occasionally have digital campaigns that don’t yield desired results. From SEO and content marketing to paid advertising and social media, make sure your next online campaign doesn’t meet with failure by avoiding these 21 digital marketing mistakes.

      Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

      1. Not Optimizing for Local Search

      With the recent “Possum” update, Google made a number of changes to their local search algorithm to enhance the searcher’s local results. For brick-and-mortar businesses, proximity to the searcher’s location has become even more important. Businesses that optimize their location information will be rewarded with higher positions on search engine results pages (SERPs).

      To improve your local ranking, include location-specific keywords in your meta descriptions and page titles. Make sure your business name and address are “cited” on directories, association listings and review networks.

      2. Not Using Custom Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

      Every page on your website should have a unique title tag and meta description. Not only does it provide search engines with an explanation about your page content, it is used on SERPs to display a snippet of what the page will be about.

      Besides using relevant keywords for SEO purposes, make sure your meta data is descriptive to entice people to click on your listing. Stay within character limits so that your meta data doesn’t get cut off on SERPs.

      3. Not Optimizing for the Right Keywords

      Keywords are the building blocks of search. While it’s easy to focus on keywords that may bring you lots of traffic, to attract qualified traffic it’s better to target specific phrases that closely match your offering.

      Examples of keywords to avoid:

      • National or global keywords, when you only sell locally
      • Keywords that bring in visitors seeking information rather than buying
      • Broad keywords that have higher traffic but are very competitive
      • Generic keywords attracting visitors who are not interested in your offering

      4. Not Controlling Internal Link Juice

      You’ve seen this before: that website with hundreds of links on the homepage. Businesses often make the mistake of linking everything from their main navigation. This actually reduces the SEO value – or link juice – that those internal links can pass through the website in the form of PageRank.

      Suppose your homepage links to a total of 200 pages, meaning the amount of authority passed from the homepage to each of those pages is divided by 200. By cutting the number of links in half, you’ll double the amount of authority passed from the homepage and increase the chance that your inner pages will rank.

      Link juice should be distributed as evenly throughout a website as possible. Tools like the PageRank Juice Calculator can tell you how much link juice a page has to distribute so you can better optimize your site’s navigation.

      Content Marketing

      5. Not Knowing Your Target Audience

      Content marketing success begins with knowing your target audience so you can create attractive and useful content. Besides demographic characteristics, define targeted audiences according to behaviours, interests, purchase intent and life events. With this in mind, you can develop content that actually helps your readers and compels them to choose you over the competition.

      6. Producing Content That’s Not Useful

      Most companies believe that they need to churn out a constant stream of content on all channels to have engagement. However, it’s best to focus on quality over quantity. Your content should provide answers to user questions or address your users’ needs. Always write for your audience first and search engines second.

      7. Not Writing Specifically For the Web

      Web copy is very different from print. Most online readers don’t actually read text on the Internet; instead, they scan the text to pick out valuable parts. To get your message across you’ll need to write scannable content for your online audiences.

      Here are some tips:

      • Be concise
      • Prioritize key information
      • Use easy-to-read fonts
      • Use large enough text
      • Have ample white space
      • Delete marketing fluff

      8. Not Promoting Your Content

      Once you have written quality content, be sure to use SEO tactics to increase the odds of readers finding the content. You can help your pages land a top spot in SERPs by using proper keywords, title tags, image tags and headings. Marketing your content on social media is also a good way to gain exposure. As no two social media channels are the same, be sure to adjust your content and tone to each channel accordingly.

      Online Advertising

      9. Trying Only One Source of Online Advertising

      Organic search is a great way to drive website traffic but it can often take months to get the results you are looking for. Online advertising can help you get results more quickly. We recommend starting off with a few platforms to see where your target audience is most likely to be found. For example, Google AdWords offers targeting based on search keywords while Facebook targets demographics and interests. For niche audiences, you can explore other channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Ultimately you want to find the online advertising sources that give you the best ROI.

      10. Not Matching Your Landing Page to Your Ads

      You may have the perfect ad campaign set up, but are your visitors staying on your landing page once they’ve clicked on your ad? People click on ads expecting to be brought to the exact information, product or service you advertised so your landing page should be consistent with your ad.

      According to Google AdWords, your landing page is evaluated based on relevancy, transparency, trustworthiness, ease of navigation and how well you encourage visitors to spend time on your site. If your landing page sufficiently meets these requirements, your Quality Score will improve – meaning you can expect your ads to perform better and your cost-per-click to be lower.

      11. Taking Remarketing Too Far

      Remarketing (or retargeting) involves showing your ads to people who have already visited your website to get them to return again. A remarketing campaign can be very effective, but consumers often find this tactic annoying since they feel like they’re being followed around on the web.

      To avoid irritating your potential customers:

      • Set a frequency cap to limit the number of times someone can see your ads
      • Fine-tune your ad placements and targeting method to ensure greater relevancy
      • Vary your ads and rotate your creatives to combat ad fatigue
      • Exclude visitors who have already converted from your remarketing list

      12. Not Optimizing Display Ad Placements

      With AdWords display campaigns, your ads can appear on a huge network of sites across the Internet whether it be pages, sites, mobile apps or video. Depending on your targeting method, Google will do the decision-making for you and use automatic placements even though they may not fit your brand or be relevant to your business.

      To combat this problem, navigate to the placements tab in AdWords and exclude any placements that aren’t appropriate for your campaign like spam websites and mobile apps. Be sure to monitor over a longer period of time and exclude any underperforming placements as well.


      Email Marketing

      13. Neglecting Email Marketing

      Email marketing is often neglected for “newer” forms of marketing such as social media. However, this could be a missed opportunity to connect with your audience. Email marketing is known to deliver a high ROI and remains one of the most effective ways to reach consumers online.

      • Always get permission to email people and provide a mechanism for them to unsubscribe
      • Segment your email list to better target your communications
      • Monitor the analytics of your email campaigns including open rate, click-through-rate and unsubscribes


      14. Not Building an Email List

      “The money is in the list” has been a mantra for digital marketers for years. To put it simply – grow your email list, grow your business. Your email list will help you connect with your audience repeatedly and foster them into long-term customers. To grow your email list:

      • Place opt-in forms on your website
      • Encourage subscribers to forward your emails
      • Invite social media followers to opt-in
      • Use pop-ups on your website to prompt visitors to subscribe
      • Offer discounts to customers that opt-in
      • Require email address in exchange to download high-quality content like e-books, guides and white papers
      • Pre-sell upcoming content such as blog articles or a new product

      15. Impersonal or Incorrect Personalization

      Personalization issues are unfortunately common when it comes to email marketing. Even though most people know that majority of emails sent out by companies are automated, a certain level of trust is lost when you get their name, gender or interests wrong.

      Most email marketing software allow you to properly test emails with full personalization before sending. Many platforms also offer insights technology to correctly identify your customers’ interests so you can properly pitch products and offers for their next purchase.


      Social Media

      16. Creating Too Many Accounts Too Quickly

      When starting out with social media marketing, businesses often create accounts on multiple platforms at once despite being unable to post regular content to engage followers. More often than not, they can’t keep up and abandon the platforms altogether. Implement a social media strategy with a manageable number of accounts to start and branch out only when you are certain that you can share relevant and engaging content on each platform regularly.

      17. Being Anti-social on Social Media

      Your audience wants to interact with real humans, not corporate robots, so develop a tone of voice that is personal and reflective of your brand. Engage in two-way communication rather than talk only about yourself. To stay on track, follow the social media “Rule of Thirds” – your social media content should be one-third about your brand, one-third sharing content in your industry or thought leaders, and one-third based on interactions with your audience.

      Conversion Optimization

      18. Not Having a Single Purpose

      As a marketer, you may already know that it’s important to send your ads to a dedicated landing page rather than to your homepage. While the homepage is designed to convey your overall brand and encourage visitors to explore your site, your landing page should serve one purpose only – to get your visitors to convert through a single call-to-action.

      Landing pages with a single purpose typically produce better results because they help narrow a visitor’s focus and get more people to follow through with your call-to-action. The more choices people have, the longer it will take them to make a decision – so reducing options will increase your conversions.

      19. Ignoring Site Speed

      According to Conversion XL, 57% of visitors will abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, so a slow website could result in lost conversions and sales. Besides delivering a better user experience, having a faster website also ranks better. Site speed is one of the signals used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages. You can improve your site speed by optimizing your code, optimizing your images, improving server response time and leveraging browser caching.

      Here are a few free tools to evaluate the speed of your website:

      20. Failing to A/B Test

      Conversion optimization is not about guessing what users want, copying other sites or applying “best practices” and hoping they work. If you don’t A/B test you won’t really know what’s causing your marketing efforts to succeed or fail.

      A/B testing or split testing involves comparing a variation of a webpage, app or email to the current version to determine which performs better. The next time you implement a campaign, conduct A/B testing so that you can make informed decisions based on “what you know” instead of “what you think.” Remember to test only one factor at a time and keep the features that result in positive changes.

      Wrapping It All Up

      21. Trying to Do Everything Yourself

      Digital marketing is a time-consuming endeavour that takes place in a rapidly changing environment. If you don’t have the knowledge, skills or resources to do it all by yourself, consider asking someone with deeper expertise to help you define and execute a strategy to get a better ROI. In addition, they can help you stay abreast of the latest digital marketing best practices and tools so that you can gain a competitive edge.
    • 21 Website Mistakes Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them

      by User Not Found | Nov 14, 2016

      As a marketing or business professional tasked to build or redesign a new company website, you’ll want to be certain that your web project hits the mark. Having strong web design guidance for your website’s construction is essential for the growth of your business online. To help you succeed, we’ve identified 21 common website mistakes to avoid.


      Planning & Strategy

      Mistake #1: Not Using Data to Drive Your Decisions

      Relying on too much gut and not enough evidence can lead you to make poor decisions about your website. We often meet clients who have minimal data to inform their site goals and decisions. Goals should be founded on data, which you can find from several sources:

      • Google Analytics
      • Google Search Console
      • Surveys
      • Keyword research
      • Usability testing 

      Monitoring and analyzing your current website’s performance will help you to better understand your audience’s behaviours and give you the background to build a winning website.

      Mistake #2: Not Defining Page Priorities

      There are a host of elements used in web design - headlines, content, calls-to-action, widgets, banners, graphics, photography, video and tools come to mind. Purposefully revealing these elements in a logical order to support your goals and your audience’s interests can make or break your site.  Figuring out what people want from your page is the first step. Then, by presenting information and features in order of importance, your site will deliver better conversions and a more satisfying user experience. One way to sequence your information with a page layout is using horizontal slices, where your first priority appears in the top slice, followed by next and so forth.

      Mistake #3: Not Knowing Your Audience

      To be really effective, your website needs to speak to and resonate with your target audience. Develop a persona around your ideal customer or visitor to better understand their goals, their decision-making processes and their expectations for your website. In addition, evaluate your competitors - what they are offering to your audience, and how can you be different? Don’t try to appeal to everyone or you could end up with a muddled website.

      Mistake #4: Not Differentiating Yourself

      For service-based companies, your potential customers will look at your company personality when deciding to hire your service. A generic website design won’t help customers determine whether you are a good fit. Inform your website with a personality that matches yours. For example, write with a voice that matches your business style or use the “About” page to showcase your personality. You can also include bios and photos of you or your team – but beware of headhunters and competitors trying to recruit your staff. 

      Mistake #5: Failing to Define Requirements

      By thoroughly outlining the scope and requirements for your website project, a web design agency can provide a more accurate fee estimate and make informed recommendations. Consider the following requirements:

      • Technical – What features and widgets will you need? Will you be connecting to a point-of-sale (POS) system or an intranet?
      • Content Optimization – What type of website will it be – lead generation, ecommerce, customer service, brochure, brand or content? Do you have existing content or will you create new content?
      • Design – Will you be leveraging existing brand materials or establishing a new standard? What will be the tone of your design (e.g., friendly, corporate, clinical)
      • Audience – Who will visit your website? What do they want and expect? How can you help them?

      Mistake #6: Having Unrealistic Time Expectations

      You’ll need to allow enough time to properly build your website. Most web projects include multiple steps, tasks and processes that are carried out by different teams and specialists. In addition, many tasks cannot begin until a previous task is completed and signed off on. 

      Other activities that may impact your timeline include coordinating with internal stakeholders to review and approve designs and allowing time for professional photographers and content writers to do their part.

      Mistake #7: Not Structuring Your Website for Growth

      Consider your corporate growth and acquisition strategy when planning your website. For example, think about whether you will be expanding your business and website with:

      • New products or services
      • New locations
      • Additional staff or management
      • Third-party systems
      • New content

      If your web design team understands your growth path, they can recommend a scalable design solution and content-management system (CMS) that more readily meet your present and future needs.

      Mistake #8: Building a Website That Doesn’t Convert

      Your website is one of the most important tools for your business – it can serve as a silent salesperson, an authoritative thought leader, a billboard and much more. To meet your communication objectives, you’ll need to make sure your website can elicit a response from your audience. Whether it is to fill out a form, sign up for a newsletter, or make a purchase, your website should be working for you.

      Optimizing a site for conversion is a science; as an ongoing practice we recommend experimenting to see what elements will help you elicit the desired response more readily. For example, you can conduct A/B testing on your calls-to-action, headlines or button placements. Be sure to only test one thing at a time and implement the variation that works. Over time, minor improvements in conversions will add up to significant results.

      Information Design

      Mistake #9: Not Being a Subject-Matter Expert

      Your visitors (and search engines) expect you to be an authority in your field and you want to build credibility with potential clients. Regurgitating “common knowledge content” simply to fill your page will not make you stand out from competitors. You will be seen as an expert if you consistently share content that is new, original, insightful and useful.

      Mistake #10: Bombarding Your Audience with Information

      Visitors will immediately leave a website if they can’t find what they are looking for, so keep your website design clean. Use straightforward and consistent messaging and don’t mix up messages on one page. Convey your most important information right away, and use adequate white space to break up large sections of text.

      Mistake #11: Not Compelling Your Visitors to Take Action

      Think about the specific actions you want your visitors to take as a result of coming to your site or any particular page. Vague or generic calls-to-action (CTA) will not convert as well as a specific CTA with descriptive copy. For example, “Shop our latest style trends now” will convert better than just “Shop.”

      Placement and prominence of an effective call-to-action will encourage visitors to act, but you’ll also need to give your visitors enough time to orientate themselves to the site first. The CTA should follow a logical flow, meaning it should appear after your brand and main message.

      Mistake #12: Confusing Navigation

      While there is no standard for navigation, navigation must be intuitive, consistent and seamless. Use naming conventions that are clear, concise and familiar to your audience. Help visitors find information easily by showing navigation controls that match users’ goals – for example, if your visitor wants a service, provide a label that speaks to your services.

      Mistake #13: Not Building Your Website for SEO

      Your website may be a work of art, but if your audience can’t find it then it’s of little value to your business. Search-engine optimization (SEO) is too often postponed as an activity to be done at the end. To ensure your website is visible among search engines, SEO should be considered from the moment you start building your website:

      • Crawlable site architecture
      • Relevant, high-quality content
      • Use of headings and sub-headings
      • Metadata, image alt tags and site map
      • Optimum site speed

      Visual Design

      Mistake #14: Not Employing a Content-First Strategy

      In essence, a website is all about packaging your content or data, so you should have your website copy ready prior to the design phase (and don’t underestimate how much time and energy this will take!). If your design team has access to your web copy, then they can craft the design and layout around your copy. For example, they can emphasize titles, introduce photography or build relevant infographics to support your messaging.

      Mistake #15: Making a Poor First Impression

      According to studies done by Gitte Lindgaard, Gary Fernandes, Cathy Dudek and J. Brown, you have less than 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression on your website. This means that visitors will make an instant snap decision based on the initial look and feel of your website. Having a professional design, predictable navigation, clear messaging, compelling photography and scannable content are some of the things that will help you establish a positive first impression.

      Mistake #16: Inconsistent Interface Design

      Predictability is essential for proper usability. Once a visitor has been exposed to a single page on your website, they expect all the other pages to be structured in a similar fashion. If your design is inconsistent, it demands too much effort from visitors to navigate your website and they will likely leave. Make sure your navigation, brand, headlines, footer and utilities are consistent across your website.

      Mistake #17: Violating Design Conventions

      Jakob’s Law of the Web User Experience states that “users spend most of their time on other websites.” This means that they form their expectations for your site based on what’s commonly done on most other sites. 

      While you may have creative ideas for your website, if you deviate too much from the norm your site will be harder to use and less favourable to visitors, not to mention that your company may lose trust and credibility. Ask your web design team how far they can push creative without breaking convention.

      Mistake #18: Poor Use of Content and White Space

      Content is obviously a key part of your website. The way that content is presented on a page will guide and encourage your audience to read further or cause them to lose interest. Visitors scan copy before investing time to read it. So by eliminating long blocks of text, you will increase the chance that your page will be read. 

      Some tips: 

      • Include ample white space to allow your audience to easily view your content. This will also help move your visitor’s eye around the page and highlight important sections according to the priorities that you have laid out.
      • Select a typeface that is consistent with your brand.
      • Choose a font that is attractive and legible on all devices – sans serif fonts translate better than serif fonts on screen.

      Mistake #19: Visual Overload

      While it’s useful to include visuals like charts and videos to support your products or services, trying to cram too many on your page will cause “page noise” which turns off your visitors. Besides confusing your audience, too many page elements can also slow down your site. Every design element should be purposeful and support your goal – if it doesn’t, strip it out. Good design always simplifies rather than embellishes.

      Mistake #20: Using Poor Images

      Too often, the office camera buff is elected to take company photos. While this may save you money in the short-term, in the long-term it can compromise the quality of your site and degrade your brand. Employing high-quality, professional photography will elevate your website and your company brand.

      Make sure your photos are:

      • Relevant to your message
      • High resolution (they can be compressed later) and in focus
      • Properly lit (lighting is key)
      • On brand

      If it is not possible to hire a professional photographer, consider spending time to source relevant stock images – your web designer can help you with this. 

      Mistake #21: Not Delivering Properly Across All Devices

      Mobile site visits have now outpaced desktop visits. This highlights the importance of making sure your site displays correctly on all viewports or screen types to satisfy all users.

      Mobiole internet usage exceeds desktop usage in 2016.

      The mistake of not building your site to accommodate all devices can lead to limited site engagement, navigation barriers, high-abandonment rates and other issues. Your design team will understand and apply best practices for mobile information delivery.

      Talk to a web design expert today

      Preparing ahead of time when designing your website is important to help avoid many of the digital marketing mistakes that companies face regularly.

      Graphically Speaking has been one of British Columbia's leading web design agencies for over 30 years, having built over 3,000 websites that focus on strong digital marketing and design principles for increased conversions and traffic. Book a free consultation with us today to learn how our team of highly trained artists can make your website amazing.

    • 9 Things to Look For When Choosing a Web Design Company

      by User Not Found | Sep 22, 2016

      Since your website is one of the most important assets of your business, selecting the right web design services and team to work with you is not a decision to take lightly. Working with the wrong team can lead to costly mistakes, as well as missed objectives. Here are nine things you should look for when choosing your web design agency.

      They Listen To Your Needs

      Your web design team should listen to your ideas - after all, it is your website. Only work with a team who is willing to thoroughly understand your needs and do what they can to implement your ideas.

      They Add Value With Their Own Ideas

      Your web design team should be experts in their field and understand what works. They can add tremendous value by making recommendations that can effectively meet your needs. Work with a team who recommends ideas you may have overlooked on your own.

      An In-House Marketing Team is a Must

      Web design is part creativity and part marketing. Work with a team who has in-house digital marketers - this ensures that they understand marketing and know which marketing features should be included in your website’s design.

      Look for a Proven Track Record

      When determining whether the web design agency is well-established, three key questions to ask are:

      • How long has the company been designing websites?
      • How many clients do they have?
      • How many people are on their team?

      Having a long history of success with clients and projects indicates that the company will be able to support your business in the long term.

      Look for a Portfolio of Live Websites

      Most web design agencies have a live portfolio of past work in order to show their skills and work quality to future clients. Only work with agencies who can show you their portfolio so you can be confident that they can execute your project successfully. Avoid companies or freelancers that may not have the required experience and thus are learning on your dime.

      They Set You Up for Success

      Work with a web design agency who is familiar with the best content management systems and plethora of tools available. Implementing the best tools is important so that once the website is launched, you can add or update your content easily and save yourself from future headaches. Your web design agency should provide an ecosystem for you to manage your website and digital marketing initiatives.

      They Understand Conversion Optimization

      Yes - it’s important that your website looks fantastic, but more importantly, it should convert. Your web design team should understand the factors of a high conversion rate and implement them into the design of your website. Otherwise, you may find yourself with an attractive website but no customers.

      Experience in Multiple Industries is a Plus

      When a web design agency has experience with multiple industries and brands, they are more likely to know which features and functionalities are required for your website to succeed. They are also more likely to create a unique website that helps you stand out from the competition.

      Understanding of Modern Design Trends is a Must

      Web design changes year after year, and it is important to stay relevant by using modern design elements on your website. Take a look at your agency’s portfolio to see if they clearly understand modern web design features such as responsive design and rich animations.

      Talk to a web design expert today

      Graphically Speaking has been one of British Columbia's leading web design agencies for over 30 years, with a portfolio of over 3,000 websites that we're proud of. Book a free consultation with us today to learn how our team of highly trained artists can make your website amazing.

    • Top Website Redesign Mistakes Your Company Should Avoid

      by User Not Found | Sep 22, 2016

      A well-executed website redesign can greatly improve your business results, but it can also take a lot of time and energy to do it right. Once you’ve decided to pursue a website redesign, it’s important for you to properly plan your website redesign to avoid costly mistakes down the road.

      You can save your company valuable time and money by steering clear of the following redesign mistakes.

      Mistake #1: Failing to Set Clear Goals

      Before you pursue a website redesign, you should have a reason to do so. First identify where your current website falls short and what you would like to accomplish with a new website. Some of the many goals you could set are:

      • Increase site visits by X% in the next month
      • Increase leads by X% in the next quarter
      • Increase sales revenue by X% in the next year

      Set clear goals and priorities for your redesign project and use these goals to keep you on track throughout the redesign process.

      Mistake #2: Lack of Initial Planning

      Avoid the mistake of moving ahead too quickly with your redesign process without a proper plan and strategy. Develop your redesign strategy by:

      • Auditing your current website’s performance
      • Outlining your target audience
      • Evaluating your competitors
      • Reviewing your website’s content
      • Taking inventory of your website’s assets
      • Identifying ways to achieve your goals with redesign

      Mistake #3: Not Benchmarking Your Performance

      You should audit the existing site analytics data to understand what currently works well and identify what could be improved. Monitor these benchmarks after your redesigned website is launched so you can compare results. Some basic benchmarks to record include:

      • Page views
      • Visitors
      • Bounce rate
      • Time on site
      • Pages per session
      • Conversion rates
      • Site speed

      Mistake #4: Failing to Define Your Requirements

      You may have a fantastic redesign idea for your website, but it may require special technical skills or software to implement. Outline the scope and requirements of your redesign project before you meet with web design agencies to get proposals for your project. The agency can only deliver an accurate cost estimate if you provide them with correct project details.

      Mistake #5: Setting an Inadequate Budget

      It is quicker and easier to design a website today; however, most companies are requiring more advanced and custom features to meet their objectives. Think about what types of features will help your business and ask your web design agency for their recommendations. The quantity and complexity of features you want will impact the budget required for your redesign project.

      Mistake #6: Having Unrealistic Time Expectations

      Many web projects require multiple steps and processes carried out by different teams and specialists. In addition, many tasks cannot get started until a previous task is completed and signed off (think of building a house). Ensure you include input from all parties to keep your deadlines attainable.

      Mistake #7: Not Testing Your Website Before Launch

      There are a number of metrics you should measure before launching your website, otherwise you may face a troubled launch laden with performance and technical issues. In order to ensure a great website launch:

      • Test your website across multiple devices
      • Proofread every page thoroughly
      • Check for broken links
      • Ensure 301 redirects are working
      • Set up a 404 redirect page
      • Optimize for SEO best practices
      • Install Google Analytics
      • Test that forms are working properly

      Talk to a web design expert today

      Book a free consultation with Graphically Speaking to learn how our team of web design experts can make sure your website launches flawlessly and beautifully.

      Here are 9 things to look for when choosing a web design company. 

    • 70+ Questions You Might Ask When Developing or Redesigning Your Website

      by User Not Found | Sep 22, 2016

      Your website development project is a big deal, and you want to do it right. Small oversights can add up and cost you time and money. By asking yourself the right questions before you design a new website or redesign your existing website, you can more effectively meet your goals and objectives.

      We’ve compiled a list of over 70 questions you should ask yourself and your web design team before moving ahead on your project. Hopefully you will find them helpful in planning your website project.

      Background Information

      1. Who is your target audience?
      2. What is the purpose of the website?
      3. What are your goals for this website project?
      4. What are your company’s core values?
      5. How do you communicate your core values to your visitors?
      6. What makes you stand out from your competitors?
      7. Why should people do business with you rather than your competitors?
      8. Do you have any visual branding guidelines (e.g. typography, colours) that need to be followed?
      9. Do you have other marketing materials that the site needs to match with?
      10. Do you want to completely overhaul your website and its functionality, or are you striving for just a new look?
      11. What do you like most about your current website?
      12. Are there features or functions on your current website that you plan to keep?
      13. What are your top three frustrations with your current website?
      14. What do your competitors have on their websites that you wish to have?
      15. Are there any websites with designs that you like?
      16. What design features from these websites would you like to incorporate?
      17. What types of things do you see on other websites that you really like?
      18. What types of things do you see on other websites that you dislike?
      19. Do you have user names and passwords for your web host?
      20. Who will be involved from your company in the design and development of the website?
      21. Do you have a budget you are trying to meet?
      22. What is your timeframe to launch the new website?

        Scope & Specifications

      23. Do you plan on moving to a new host provider?
      24. Do you need help finding the right web host?
      25. Do you have an SSL certificate, or will you need this?
      26. Will your site pages announce their use of cookies?
      27. Will you need to plan for huge spikes in traffic, such as sales or giveaways?
      28. Do you have a completed site architecture for the new site, or will that need to be part of the scope of work?
      29. Approximately how many pages will the finished website be?
      30. Do you have any page wireframes prepared, or will those need to be produced as part of the scope of work?
      31. Do you have the content for the website ready, or will content creation be part of the scope of work?
      32. Who will be doing the importing and formatting of the content?
      33. What types of content will you publish?
      34. Do you or your team need training for publishing content and making website updates?
      35. Will we need to find or create any images for the website?
      36. Will video or audio be part of the new website?
      37. Will you provide us with the proper media files or will media creation be part of the scope of work?
      38. Do you have any other media or PDF documents that need to be incorporated?
      39. Do you have a preference for which content management system (CMS) to use?
      40. Do you need help selecting the best CMS for your needs?
      41. Will you need multiple levels of access?
      42. Do you need to be able to manage content publishing approval processes?
      43. Will you be looking for keyword optimization beyond the website development scope?
      44. Will you do user testing during or after the development process?

        Features & Functionality

      45. Do you require online or live chat features?
      46. Will your visitors require any special accessibility needs, such as screen readers or larger fonts?
      47. Do you have any specific mobile responsive requirements?
      48. Do you need multi-language translation or support?
      49. If so, in which languages will your website be available?
      50. Will you need a shopping cart system for ecommerce?
      51. Does your website need a blog or forum?
      52. Will you allow users to comment on blog posts?
      53. Will users need to log in to your website for any reason?
      54. Do you need any password-protected areas on your website?
      55. How many online forms (e.g. contact, sign-up) does your new website need?
      56. How will you want the submitted forms handled?
      57. How will users be able to share your website’s content?
      58. Do you need any social sharing features to be built in?
      59. Will there be any third-party applications that need to be integrated?
      60. Will you need an events calendar feature?
      61. Will you need a news listing?
      62. Do you have any subscription services?
      63. Do you use a third party for your subscription content delivery and/or payment?
      64. Do you need printer-friendly options?
      65. Do you wish to employ any rich animations on your website, such as animated banners?
      66. Do you wish to employ any “content-on-demand” features (i.e. ability to show or hide content)?
      67. Do you wish to employ any other interactive user-interface elements (e.g. popovers, tabs, overlays, etc.)?
      68. What features, sections or information do you want to emphasize on your website?
      69. How would you like that to be featured?
      70. Do you need an internal site search feature?
      71. Do you require a database?
      72. What specific functionality will the database need?
      73. Do you have any other specific functionalities that have not been addressed?

        Measurement & Analytics

      74. Do you have an Analytics account?
      75. What specific KPIs would you like to benchmark on your website?
      76. What types of data would you like to review on a monthly or yearly basis?


      By taking the time to think about your requirements, you can ensure a great website launch and save your company valuable time and money. Here's another blog about different ways you can get the most out of your website

      Talk to a web design expert today

      Book a free consultation and learn how Graphically Speaking can help you cover all of these essential pre-launch questions for your website to function and convert perfectly.

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