Before covering the use of Google Web Stories on WordPress, we first need to look at what Web Stories are. If you’ve used Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, you should be familiar with the “story” format where viewers tap or swipe between screens containing video, images, and text. Google Web Stories are a web-based version of that format, that can be hosted on your website rather than on a social media account.
Why Use Them?
If you have a small business website then web stories may help you achieve your business goals. It’s well worth the time to learn more about these stories and all of their perks or hire a WordPress website management company like us to do it for you.
Here are the top 3 reasons to use Google Web Stories:
Engagement. The story format has proven to be an engaging medium that people will watch and read.
Ownership. Maintaining control over your content is growing increasingly important, in this age of uncertainty – especially for businesses.
SEO. Web stories give you another way to attract organic search traffic, one that is currently far less crowded than other channels.
Google web stories open up all kinds of opportunities with images and video clips. This is one of the principal ways they aid brands that wish to showcase relevant and meaningful ideas consistent with their messaging.
The reach of Google web stories goes beyond the website they are created on. Not only do they show up in a standard Google search, but stories are seen in the images section of Google as well. People can learn about them via both Discover and classic search. Discover is the name of an app that’s suitable for mobile applications.
Why Do They Work?
Why do these stories stand out online? They’re not exactly like Facebook or Instagram stories, but because they use a similar visual format, most viewers are already familiar with them. This short-form visual content was created and perfected on social media platforms and is highly engaging.
Viewers are already accustomed to the format, so when a web story comes up in a Google search, it’s very familiar and easily understood. Because a majority of web searches are coming from phones these days, the story format is designed to display on mobile devices.
If you’re a business owner who is looking to motivate the members of your audience to purchase a specific product or service, then you may use Google Web stories for all sorts of reasons. You may want to include a CTA that directs people to sign up for your mailing list, subscribe to a monthly service, or buy a product.
How To Use Google Web Stories
There are several ways to use Google web stories in your content strategy. The most common is to use the short form format of a web story to direct users to either a call to action or longer-form content. Because the stories are easy to tap, it’s the perfect medium for a mobile phone.
Web Story Best Practices
Video First. Use video in the 9:16 ratio to keep your content engaging.
Be Concise. Keep your text as short as possible to keep it scannable.
Make it Readable. Use large text and contrasting colors.
Be Authentic. Use your voice to keep viewers engaged.
Google Web Stories For WordPress
The easiest way to get started with Google Web Stories on WordPress is to use the official Google Plugin made by the Google web stories team. The plugin gives users the power to set up web stories without having to leave their WordPress site. This integration also makes it simple to post web stories directly onto your website.
Using the Google Web Stories editor for WordPress, you can easily create your own web stories from templates or start fresh with a blank canvas. These visual narratives allow tappable interactions and can be shared easily across the web.
By creating web stories on your WordPress website, they belong to you and your company instead of being locked inside a closed platform.
Upon installation, the plugin also sets up a default archive for all your web stories at yourwebsite.com/web-stories. This is useful if you want to create a separate archive that puts all your stories in one place and is easily accessible from a menu.
Web Stories Editor
The Web Stories editor for WordPress is a powerful and user-friendly creation tool. If you have used the WordPress editor, navigating the web stories editor will be similar. Because the plugin lives on your WordPress installation, users can easily access their images in the media gallery. The only exception to this is when setting the default logo, which asks for the file to be uploaded.
Some of the key features are:
A visually rich and intuitive dashboard, allowing you to easily navigate the story creation process
Beautiful and expressive page templates to you get your story creation process started quickly and smoothly
Easy drag-and-drop capabilities, making it easy to compose beautiful stories
Convenient access to WordPress’ media library, enabling you to grab your media assets right from the plugin dashboard as you create your stories
Customizable color and text style presets, making it easy to tailor the style of your stories to the needs of your content strategy
Creating a Google Web Story on WordPress
Making a web story is super simple. If you haven’t done it before, the easiest thing to do is use a template. This still affords you full control over typography, colors, images, animations, and links, but you don’t have to figure all those out before starting.
The main elements for each story are:
After you get comfortable creating and editing these elements, you can start to incorporate:
Web Stories Links
Links are one of the best features of web stories. Viewers like the visually engaging content, but some topics need more than an image to explain. In this case, you can use a web story as an introduction to a topic, and link to longer-form content.
Links can be added to a variety of elements from titles to text and backgrounds.
Web Stories Buttons
Adding a call to action is similarly simple to adding links. This is a great option if you are using web stories to attract potential customers for a product or service.
Google Web Stories + Google Site Kit = ❤️
If you are using the WordPress Google Web Stories plugin, installing the Google Site Kit plugin makes it super easy to connect your Analytics, Search Console, AdSense, Optimize, Tag Manager, and PageSpeed Insights. If you already have the Site Kite plugin installed, the Google Web Stories plugin will automatically detect and import the settings.
Because Web Stories is a Google product, it integrates tightly with other Google services like AdSense. Including ads on your web stories is super simple once connected. This visual, mobile-friendly design of web stories is a great way to integrate ads into your content.
Google Web Stories For Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner, Google web stories can help attract more visitors to your website. If done well, these stories can materially increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and lead to more revenue. Search Engine Optimization is one area where small businesses can compete with larger companies, and Google Web Stories are a relatively new format that isn’t nearly as competitive as other channels.
“Websites for Small Business” may sound like a cheesy infomercial, but I promise we’re serious about the topic.
Your website is either helping or hurting your business. Sadly, it’s the later for many of the businesses that need it most – small businesses. A website for small business should be much more than a brochure, an online menu, or some contact information and a fancy logo.
It’s your calling card. Your brand. It’s your 24x7x365 sales/ customer service employee. It can take messages, greet potential customers, or even welcome back current customers. It might persuade prospects to use your products and services instead of your competition.
Your website can answer questions or track and manage inventory. It can reach out to search engines to bring you more traffic from prospective clients. It can even tell you how people are finding it. Did I mention it can sell things 24 hours a day?
The fact is, the web has entered an era where a website can—and should be—a primary part of your business model. Customers shop based on how easily they can find information on your site and how it looks. Consumers investigate businesses online before stepping foot in a retail establishment or office. Today, people look for phone numbers and addresses on Google far more than they reach for a phone book (for you young folk this is a giant book they used to leave on your doorstep that had the phone number for all the businesses and people in your area).
With this in mind, here are five questions to ask yourself about your website—and these apply whether you have a site already or are planning on making one.
How can websites for small business make Life easier?
Sometimes, it’s as easy as building a Frequently Asked Questions page to help cut down time spent answering common questions. Sometimes it’s a more complex solution, like e-commerce, real-time inventory tracking, or something built around your business model. It could even be as simple as a forum where customers can help one another.
For restaurants, a well built site can take an order or reservation saving you both time and the potential for errors. Plus you get paid before you make anything…
Remember, your website works 24 hours a day. What could it be doing while you are at home with your family, enjoying a good movie?
Websites for small business should improve the overall operation of your company.
Does your website really represent the business?
Your business is your brand. When designing websites for small business it’s important that it authentically represents your business. If there is a difference between what your website communicates and what your customer ultimately experiences it can cost you. If your website sucks, they may not ever do business with you. Conversely, if your website sets high expectations and the customer experience underwhelms, you could lose future business.
Your website should accurately represent what a customer would feel if they walked into your business.
Is your website easy to use?
Actually, don’t ask yourself this question. Ask your customers. Ask your mother. Your grandmother. Next time you’re at your in-laws’ house for dinner, ask them to sit down on your web site and perform a specific task, such as finding a certain product, locating some specific information, or just surfing through it. Do not intervene. Just watch quietly and note where the stumbling blocks are. For your customers, send them an offer to get a 10% off coupon if they test your site and provide answers to a questionnaire about your site. You will begin to notice commonalities in the feedback you get, and those are where you want to start.
Do the search engines like websites for small business?
Search engines have become much more sophisticated over the years. It used to be that “clean” code and a bunch of links to your site could get you a higher rank. To a certain extent that’s still true, but as website builders have grown in popularity, their user friendly nature can come at a cost.
WordPress was among the first website builders and now powers tens of millions of websites – many of them small business. However, there are other platforms that have grown in popularity in recent years. Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, and Webflow are a few of the most popular.
Choosing the right platform for your small business website should be based on what you need it to do. The considerations range from technological competence to whether you plan on selling online, or not. Each service comes with it’s own strengths and limitations, so being clear on what you are trying to achieve is critical.
Among those strengths and limitations is how easily and effectively the SEO aspects of a website can me managed. Most of the platforms we listed do a decent job of the basics, but there are big disparities once you get beyond the rudimentary stuff.
How are people finding your site?
Once your site is up and running, there are a number of things you can do to help drive traffic to your site, many of them being quite simple. Search engine optimization is great, but it can take a while, and/ or incur a significant cost for a new website to generate meaningful traffic. Although this is an excellent way to build a long term stream of potential customers, there are other things you can do in the short term to help.
Start a business blog, making sure to keep it updated with real, useful information and content related to your business or industry. Make sure your blog has a link back to your site and vice-versa. Make sure your content is not just selling your business, but is useful and keyword-rich.
Get linked to (and link to) other sites. Google likes this and will ultimately improve where your site shows up in search engine rankings. Using Google My Business is like a secret weapon for increasing traffic to your website. Another option is to get you business listed on legitimate online business and industry directories. Just be sure to add your website links with links back to your site. Avoid getting into any arrangements with SPAM directories.
Share Your Website
Cross-pollinate with other sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any of the other social networking sites your customers use. More and more businesses are creating profiles on social networking and Web 2.0 sites. These profiles can ultimately act as another springboard to get more traffic to your site and to help you appeal to entirely new demographics.
Track your traffic. Take advantage of Google’s Webmaster Tools. Their Analytics product is simply powerful and there are multiple ways to display the data right on your WordPress website. Oh- and they are free. You can track your web site traffic, sources of traffic, paths users are taking through your site and even set up conversion goals to see how many people are following through with specific purchase paths. Did I mention it’s free?
So that’s it—a great starting point for you to use as a barometer to make your web site not only more useful to your customers, but also to you. If you would like a more in-depth consultation on how your web site may be able to help your business more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
As I’ve counseled, coached, and consulted with local businesses, there’s a common challenge that many of them face, mostly without realizing it: They haven’t clarified why they are in business and what they are trying to accomplish.
I’m not an advocate of “corporate” mission statements and other lip service declarations, but I do believe in developing a clear sense of Why, Who, What, and How for your company.
“When Values Are Clear, Decisions Are Easy”
Once you’ve identified your reasons for being in existence, decide on a goal to point your company at each year (or quarter, or some other reasonable cadence). After creating a defined and aligned objective, the last step is to determine how you’ll measure success.
I’ll share a condensed version of what I’ve learned and read about into simple principles you can start with, as well as a recommended reading list at the end of the post.
“Action to be effective must be directed to clearly conceived ends.”
A useful “mission” statement is simply a declaration of why you are in business and what you hope to accomplish, stated consistently with your company culture & communications. The simpler, the better. Your “Why” is the basis for everything your business will do. If you don’t have a mission yet – stated or otherwise, get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it can change, but if you don’t know why you are doing what you are doing – how will you know if your actions are effective?
Here’s a few “why” prompts to get you started:
Why are you in business?
What are you trying to accomplish?
What change are you trying to make?
What problems are you trying to solve?
Once you’ve got an idea of Why you are in business, who is your company intended to serve? Who are your customers? If your instinct is to say “anyone who will pay” you are not alone, and sometimes we have to do what we have to do to survive. However, it’s not a sustainable strategy for your business. Part of deciding who you serve – is to determine who you will not serve. Creating a “customer experience” is only possible if you know who that person is and how they’d prefer to interact with your company.
Here’s a few “who’s your customer” prompts to get started:
Who are your favorite customers to work with
Who are your most profitable customers
What customers refer you to other customers
Who are your repeat customers
To Be Continued…
Part 2 will continue our journey into better defining what we do and how we do it – followed by a deeper dive into aligning and defining organizational focus to make progress on your mission.
“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
Hosting Deficiency Syndrome (HDS) is a serious problem plaguing the WordPress community. Symptoms include slow page load times, the need for caching plugins, poor security, out of date WP installations, terrible customer service, and more.
Fortunately there is hope.
The treatment for HDS is Managed WordPress hosting from www.GetFlywheel.com. Their dedicated team of hosting professionals will migrate your site for free and have your website operating better in no time.
If you, or a company you know suffers from HDS, please contact them today.
Flywheel is an amazing WordPress hosting company based in Omaha, Nebraska (AKA The Silicon Prairie). They do an awesome job of managing WordPress hosting for design firms like us at Workshed.com. If your website is built on WordPress, check them out (Also they do free migrations, which is very, very, helpful). CONTACT FLYWHEEL
We approach design, marketing, and websites from a business owners perspective. Sure, we love cool tech just as much as the next geek, but we know that providing solutions to real business problems is a better way to provide value.
Back when I first started as a financial adviser, Van Kampen mutual funds was doing a big ‘value add’ push to attract more business. I’m not sure how successful their effort was for them, but one of the positive outcomes I received was an introduction to their office audit (along with a few books like “Storyselling for Financial Advisers” and “Millionaire’s Advisor“) which helped advisers understand the non verbal messages an office can communicate to clients and prospects. The typical suggestions usually consisted of things like “remove clutter,” “add pictures of family,” and “display your hobbies.” All of which were intended to instill confidence and make connections. The same is true (perhaps more so) of your website.
Here are a few questions to help you conduct an audit on your firm’s website:
How often to you add content?
Is the content written by you or someone at your firm?
Does your home page answer the WIFM question for prospects?
Is your website build to be search engine friendly?
How does your website look on a mobile phone or tablet?
Financial Advisor Websites Audit
Pull up your website and pretend it’s one of your competitors. If you were looking at it for the first time what would it say about you and your company? Does it help someone learn anything meaningful about your firm or differentiate you from all the other advisors out there?
Write down your answers to these questions. Have your staff do the same. Unless your answers were weekly, yes, yes yes, and great, there is room for improvement. Enhancements to anyone of these areas can lead to significant improvement in the conversion of visitors (or getting more visitors) into clients.
In reality there are many factors that go into building great looking, high performing financial advisor websites, but by starting with these 5 you’ll have an advantage (assuming you do something after asking the questions) over your competition. I’d also recommend reading Storyselling for Financial Advisers and Millionaire’s Advisor, they are great books that will help you connect with clients and run your practice more efficiently.
UPDATE: For the rest of March, we’re offering our social media makeover for 50% off!
Social media is one of the first places prospective clients are going to “meet” you and your company. What will their first impression be? Make sure your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts (yes you should have an account on each) are sending the right message, by letting the Workshed team create a custom profile and background image for each.
What’s it cost?
Typically we charge $500-$600 for this service, but through the end of March we’re “slashing our prices” (imagine the guy with the crazy radio voice) and offering it for $300. For those within the range of our photographer, that’s an epic deal, for the rest of you…you’ll have to settle for a great deal!
What about the free giveaway?
To enter the “Great Social Media Makeover Giveaway” is easy. Just tell us in the comments below how you currently use social media (if at all) to market your business and share this post to the social network of your choice.
Share the social media makeover
[clear]If you are selected we’ll contact you with the rest of the details.
For the forward thinking types who want to proceed with the social media makeover anyway (because it’s such a great deal, and you know how important it is) we’ll refund your payment if you are selected.
If you are within 30 miles of our office, we’ll send Brady over with his fancy camera to take pictures! If you’ve ever had professional pictures taken, you know this is a screaming deal. If you are not within range of our visual arts master, we take what you have and work with it. If it’s rubbish, we’ll do something with graphics instead.