What to Look for in WCAG Compliance Testing Services

You want an accessible website but you don’t know where to turn.

Have no fear–today’s post lays out some essential things every WCAG compliance testing company should offer.

Read on to learn what makes ClickTecs a WCAG compliance testing authority and what to look for in accessibility services.

WCAG Compliance Testing Experience

The explosion of website accessibility lawsuits over the past couple years has gotten lots of people talking about WCAG compliance testing–and rightly so. Spotting this panicked new demand, some web marketing companies rolled out WCAG compliance testing services overnight, hoping to capitalize.

Those are not the companies you want to partner with for your WCAG compliance testing. Choosing experienced providers with proven results is the only way to ensure you’re protected in this strange legal climate.

ClickTecs has been at the forefront of WCAG compliance testing services for years.

But don’t take our word for it–check out this video we posted more than 6 years ago highlighting the utility of one of our powerful website auditing tools.

This particular tool was designed to provide online competitive analysis for websites, and to quantify their performance in a number of key areas, such as content, marketing, technology, and (you guessed it) accessibility.

But that’s not the only tool in our arsenal. Our WCAG compliance testing process involves a number of W3-approved tools, along with a 300-point accessibility checklist developed by our accessibility specialists.

In other words, we’ve been doing this for awhile. The sensationalization of website accessibility as a result of exploitative lawsuits is a relatively new development, but ClickTecs has been leading the charge in WCAG compliance testing “back before it was cool.”

Cross-Platform Accessibility Testing Expertise

Getting your website in order is a good start, but it isn’t the only thing that will require testing. That’s like a restaurateur adding accessibility parking but not making their building wheelchair accessible. Business owners need to ensure all products, websites, documents, and mobile applications are accessible for people with disabilities.

ClickTecs is a one-stop shop for your digital accessibility needs. We specialize in franchise WCAG compliance testing, and have helped small, medium, and large businesses bring websites, documents, and ad campaigns up to code.

Plus, as co-creators of FranchiseSoft, the WCAG-compliant franchise management software used in multiple countries, the ClickTecs team has proven expertise in software and mobile application accessibility.

A Trusted Reputation and Strong WCAG Compliance Testing Endorsements

Who better to tell you about ClickTecs’ reputation and WCAG compliance testing than a valued client?

Gary Prenevost is a longtime ClickTecs service user and one of the top FranNet franchisees in North America with more than 17 years of experience. When asked what stood out about ClickTecs WCAG compliance testing services, Gary had this to say:

“Well, the first thing is the attentiveness,” he told ClickTecs in a testimonial. “If I have questions, the speed at which I’m getting the answers. I’m expecting two, three, four weeks, but it’s coming back in days. It’s really fast, and what I’ve asked them for is thorough. I’m able to make better decisions with the information that’s coming back, like with my website, which I thought was an adequate website.”

So would Mr. Prenevost recommend ClickTecs WCAG compliance testing services?

“Absolutely,” Prenevost smiles. “I’m suggesting that others enter the annual contract that I have. So I’m very happy.”

You can find more testimonials at https://www.youtube.com/user/clicktecs/videos.

Book a WCAG Compliance Testing Consultation with ClickTecs

Visit https://www.clicktecs.com for a no-cost, no-commitment conversation and find out how we can help make your business accessible to everyone.

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Virtualizing Your Franchise Development in 2018

If you’re not taking your franchise development online, you’re leaving money on the table.

Online Franchise Development Gets Big Results

According to the 2018 Annual Franchise Development Report, digital media is the number-one source of high-quality leads next to referrals.

Back in 2014, a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Economic Themes set out to highlight the importance of using modern information and communication technology (ICT) in the development of franchise systems. They concluded that there was a “statistically significant strong positive correlation between the use of the web site for linking franchisors and their franchisees and the number of franchise units” (Stefanović&Stanković, 2014, p. 409).

In other words, franchisors who took their franchise development online had better results than those who didn’t.

But this probably doesn’t come as a big surprise.

After all, there is a tremendous body of research providing clear evidence of the advantages of “going digital” in the business-to-business (B2B) market–for instance, we know that virtualizing your franchise development lets you:

  • Build relationships with thousands of potential customers in real time via email and web marketing, lead portal outreach, and social media recruiting (O’Brien, 2008).
  • Enhance marketing capabilities with comprehensive research tools and highly targeted virtual marketing channels (O’Brien, 2008).
  • Improve communication with suppliers, franchisees, shareholders, and candidates through efficient “search and information exchange” (Zettelmeyer, 2000).
  • Increase “connectivity and interactivity” to strengthen the ties of your franchise family and up system adherence (Dutta and Biren, 2001).
  • Keep your brand relevant with a website–Franson and DeSmith (2005) write that “for modern customers, the fact that the company does not have a website, is as shocking as when the get to the cash register in the store and realize that they can only pay in cash.”

But this research is a decade old–if you’re not online already, you’re already behind the eight ball (and if that’s the case, we can help).

What’s changed? How should digital franchise development look in 2018?

7 Online Franchise Development Essentials in 2018

  • A high-quality website. Your website is the #1 tool in your online franchise development arsenal. This is where you’ll be driving traffic, so it better be good! Beyond an intuitive, efficient site architecture and pleasing design, your site needs quality information and multimedia content highlighting your franchise opportunity. In 2018, accessibility and mobile-responsiveness are part and parcel of a quality website.
  • Social media optimization (SMO). Social media makes networking easier than ever, and many of the professionals you want to target will already have a profile on the site. In fact, some interested parties are probably already searching for information about your franchise. You should be searchable on all social media sites, but especially LinkedIn, which has been a fount for franchise candidates.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). If people can’t find your website or contact information, the marketing budget goes down the drain.
  • Pay per click marketing to get eyes on your opportunity fast while maintaining strict control of your budget and knowing where every penny goes.
  • Online reputation management (ORM) to keep your online reputation clear of slanderous reviews by competitors and be sure to attract like-minded individuals.
  • Mobile marketing to get your highly targeted ads in front of the biggest audience.
  • Franchise development software to make email campaigns, lead management, lead tracking, and onboarding easier than ever, and totally manageable from your mobile device.

Learn More About Online Franchise Development

Visit our website to book a free consultation or call our team now at 905-564-0020.

References

Dutta, S. and B. Biren.(2001).Business Transformation on the Internet: Results from the 2000 Study. European Management Journal, 19(5): 449-62.

Franson, B., and D. DeSmith (2005). Does the Internet Solve Franchisees’ Problems? Franchising World. Retrieved from http://www.franchise.org/Franchise-News-Detail.aspx?id= 40616.

O’Brien, K. (2008). “Grow your franchise with online marketing tools.” Franchising World. Retrieved from http://www.franchise.org/Franchise-News-Detail.aspx?id=41890  

Stefanović, S., &Stanković, M. (2014). The Role of ICT and the Internet in the Development of Franchise Systems. Economic Themes, 52(4), 409-435.

Zettelmeyer, F. (2000). Expanding to the Internet: Pricing and communications strategies when firms compete on multiple channels. Journal of Marketing Research, 37 (3): 292-309.  

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Greenhorns' Guide to Franchise SEO Services: What Am I Paying For?

So you’re new to franchise SEO services, and you’re a little skeptical. You could use a walkthrough.

But maybe you’re not ready to talk, or you’re just feeling overwhelmed.

No problem–we’ve prepared a greenhorn’s guide to franchise SEO services in which we explain the basics of franchise SEO, share helpful industry stats, and point you towards helpful starter resources.

Franchise SEO Services Help Clients Find Your Business

Not convinced about all this SEO stuff?

Greenhorn readers, consider what the following stats say about the value of franchise SEO services in 2018:

  • Search Engine Journal reports that SEO leads have an average close rate of 14.6%
  • 81% of people research a brand online before making an investment or purchase decision
  • In 2018, the average franchise allocates over 40% of their marketing budget to online advertising and SEO, and this is expected to grow for the foreseeable future.

Quite simply, if you aren’t investing in franchise SEO services, you’re letting leads slip away. Your company needs to be visible online in search results, with content and brand information presented in a way that appeals to targeted audiences and drives real business results–this is what franchise SEO services are all about!

Why are Some Franchise SEO Services so Cheap Compared to Others?

If you’re Googling franchise SEO services, you’ve undoubtedly seen claims (maybe even in ALL CAPS) from what Moz’s Kenneth Dreyer calls “the low-cost with 100% guaranteed results guy.” They’re the ones vowing to get you #1 search engine rankings and 30,000 unique site visits per month for dirt cheap, and in practically no time at all.

Here’s a shocker: they sometimes follow through. Kind of.

Though Google’s algorithm is getting more sophisticated (and thus, harder to fool) every day, there are still various blackhat methods that can get you huge traffic spikes and #1 rankings. Sometimes you end up ranking #1 in a search engine you’ve never heard of (maybe Guggle?). And sometimes your site just gets flooded with totally irrelevant “junk traffic.”

Either way, it’s not what you asked for, which was tangible business results.

Here’s the reality: franchise SEO services takes time, effort, and specialized skills. If somebody is offering you franchise SEO services at a rate that considerably undercuts the market standard, they’re almost definitely up to no good. And if they’re guaranteeing results in Google, that’s another warning sign.

What Am I Paying For?

Quality franchise SEO services should include:

  • Website Development. Your website is your business card, sales funnel, and first impression all wrapped into one. If your site’s design, load time, mobile-responsiveness, or architecture aren’t up to par, you’ll struggle being seen and getting results. Everything from the front-page content to backend tags needs to be tweaked and optimized.
  • Multimedia Content Creation. 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a franchise before contacting a sales representative, according to a Demand Gen report.
  • Mobile Marketing. 54% of smartphone users regularly search for business hours on their phones, and 53% regularly search for directions, according to a Google report.
  • Local Search Optimization. Google “near me” searches have seen a 15-fold increase since 2013 according to SearchEngineWatch. Engaging local customers by appearing at the top of geo-targeted searches (i.e. those that include city names) is the surest way to generate sales for the vast majority of businesses.
  • Social Media Optimization. Social media is a great way to grow your digital footprint to stand out from the crowd and increase opportunities to interact with potential leads.
  • Powerful Reporting. Franchise SEO services ought to report their results to you on a regular basis, and also share user engagement metrics to help with marketing.

Talk to a Franchise SEO Services Consultant

Now that you’ve reviewed the fundamentals, you’ve probably got questions.

Call ClickTecs at 905-564-0020 or visit our website to pick the brains of some of our best and brightest, and learn what franchise SEO services can do for you.

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Best Practices for Franchise Development Companies in 2018

Franchising is a winner, and everybody knows it.

For the last six years, franchise sales and development in the US has shown significant growth, according to a Statista report. That same report estimated the total number of franchise establishments in operation in the US at around 745,290.

With franchise systems now more popular and successful than ever, competition in the online franchise development arena is fierce.

Today’s post is about how ClickTecs crushes the competition posed by other franchise development companies in 2018. Read on to learn why it makes sense to partner with our team.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Franchise Development

  • Web development. Your website and digital footprint as a whole is a reflection of your business. Quality candidates are online-savvy, and they’ll expect any brands in consideration to have sophisticated web assets.In and of itself, a website is a multidisciplinary endeavor. A good website needs to take into account graphics, content, functionality, placement of elements, user accessibility needs, and more. Websites also need to be mobile-responsive so that you don’t exclude the millions of users who prefer mobile browsing.But a website isn’t enough on its own. To be competitive in today’s digital climate, you’ll need to expand your digital footprint by creating a number of other web assets, such as citations in online directories and quality backlinks.
  • Social media optimization and social media marketing. Social media assets are another big part of your digital footprint, and another thing that 81% of potential franchise owners will be researching before they get in touch, according to AdWeek research.Social media optimization and marketing become must-haves in the franchise development mix. ClickTecs covers everything from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to online forums.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). SEO plays a major role in online franchise development. If you can’t find your site fast using a Google search, leads never will. In the early stages, candidates are fickle, and most would rather flit to the next opportunity on their list than waste 15 minutes combing the SERP for your website. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but every day that passes without franchise SEO potentially costs you sales.
  • Local search optimization. Searches for business opportunities “near me” have increased 15-fold since 2013 according to SearchEngineWatch. That means potential franchise owners are looking for local business opportunities, and if your brand isn’t discoverable, that business goes elsewhere.As local search optimization experts, ClickTecs can help you identify and correct the “on page” and “off page” factors impeding your local franchise development efforts.
  • Pay per click advertising (PPC). PPC gets immediate targeted traffic for your franchise advertisements and can generate franchise sales within weeks. Admittedly, Google makes their AdWords program “beginner-friendly,” but expert users get more cost-efficient results.

Leveraging Franchise Experience for Powerful Franchise Development Results

It’s one thing to read about web marketing best practices, but quite another to apply them to the world of franchising in a way that produces real results. The stiffest competition will be those who can combine web-savvy marketing with franchise industry insight.

This is one of ClickTecs’ greatest competitive advantages. Not only do we have franchise experience from both sides of the franchise development equation; we’ve also developed franchise development software of our own.

We know what franchise owners want because we are franchise owners. Who better to push your franchise development past the competition than web marketing experts with franchises of their own?

Learn more about ClickTecs franchise development at https://www.clicktecs.com

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Troubleshooting Poor Franchise Local Marketing Performance

Are you stressing over your franchise local marketing performance?

Bad news–youshould be.

Franchise local marketing matters more than ever. According to a Brightlocal study, about 92% of consumers use the internet to find a local business nowadays. And that number is climbing, according to a recent Google report saying the number of searches that include the phrase “near me” have increased by 34-times since 2011, and nearly doubled since last year.

Put simply, if you’re neglecting your franchise local marketing, or feel your current provider isn’t delivering results, you’re losing leads.

Unfortunately, franchise local marketing isn’t as easy as the single-business counterpart. When done improperly, franchise local marketing can force different locations into competition with one another, so that your brand ends up either cannibalizing its sales, or frustrating leads by sending them to the wrong location.

But ClickTecs is here to help.

Today’s post breaks down some common (but critical) problems that could be holding back your franchise local marketing performance.

Top-3 Franchise Local Marketing Mistakes

  • Letting website issues undermine your franchise local marketing. The website is the center of your online marketing campaign, so it’s important that you get it right. Without this foundation in place, your entire franchise local marketing campaign will fizzle.So how do you do that?

    Our first tip is to create “location pages,” which are unique, well-optimized pages with specific content about every business in the franchise family. Do this for every single franchise unit–don’t rely on regional pages, which rarely deliver the specific information searchers will need.

    Compared to creating custom websites for every single franchise unit, location pages are a far superior choice. Multiple websites are expensive to design and maintain, and they end up competing with each other for SERP visibility. On the contrary, location pages allow your individual franchise owners to piggyback off your main website’s authority. And every location page functions as a strong piece of content that will drive people to your main site in turn.

    Treat your location pages like any other. Make sure they’re well-optimized, usable on the phone, fast-loading, and filled with high-quality, unique content. Don’t copy-paste from other location pages, swap out the city names, and think you’re in the clear–that does more harm than good.

  • Messing up your Google assets. Setting up and managing a Google My Business account is one of the most important aspects of multi-unit franchise local marketing. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult; Google made public a relatively clear set of guidelines. But that doesn’t mean it’s foolproof–in fact, it’s surprisingly easy to remove yourself from local search listings with overaggressive SEO tactics and a few simple mistakes. The most common problems have to do with marketers trying to crowbar keywords/city names into inappropriate places (make sure you use the exact business name!) or omitting useful details (include your website URL, phone number, address, and don’t forget photos and descriptive copy!). If you need more help with GMB or other Google assets, get in touch with the ClickTecs team–we’re certified Google partners!
  • Neglecting local content. Throwing out clear location signals is tricky when you have a dozen members in the same franchise family. That’s where local content comes to the rescue. We recommend loading location-specific content into “silos” within the crawlable architecture of your website. For example, adding a section for location-specific news feeds, social integration, and promotions creates endless opportunities to slip in location signals.

Supercharge your Franchise Local Marketing Performance

Get in touch with our franchise local marketing specialists, book a free consultation, and find out how we can help.

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What Users Expect From Your Franchise Website in 2018

Think your franchise website stacks up to the competition in 2018?

Today’s post challenges that assumption.

We’re spotlighting the top 4 features that users expect in 2018 to help you self-audit your franchise website.

And if you find your franchise website lacking, ClickTecs can help.

Read on to start your franchise website audit.

  • ADA Compliance.

    In the same way that brick-and-mortar businesses are obligated to make their product and services accessible to all customers, regardless of any physical limitation or disability, so too must your website be navigable by everyone.

    The stakes are high when it comes to ADA compliance. A number of business and franchise owners have been targeted by what industry experts are referring to as “drive-by lawsuits,” which are filed by lawyers preying on the uninformed. Thus, ADA compliance is essential in 2018, both to protect against any liability, and to avoid alienating any disabled users.

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that has developed a set of accessibility standards to help guide web content producers’ ADA compliance, but simply studying their criteria isn’t enough. You still need to audit your web assets to spot any shortcomings, then implement the changes via web redesign and development.

    Don’t worry–ClickTecs can help. We are certified Google Partners and ADA compliance specialists who have helped numerous companies spot and solve ADA compliance problems fast. But if you’d rather try your hand at it first, these evaluation tools can help.

  • Fast Loading.

    Nobody wants to wait (and wait, and wait) for your website to load in 2018. If you’re not prioritizing prompt loading times, you’re losing leads. Many sites abide by the “15 second rule,” which assumes that users give your site a maximum of 15 seconds to load before bouncing off and looking for answers (or products, or services) elsewhere. But we feel it’s more like 5.

    You can use Pingdom or Pagespeed Insights by Google to check your website speed. To improve your load time, look for ways to compress big files (rich images and video are common culprits), clean up your site structure, and potential hosting problems. And if that all sounds like a foreign language, we can help.

  • Mobile Responsiveness.

    In 2017, the users using their mobile devices to get online grew from 57% to 63%, according to research by Stone Temple. That means the overwhelming majority–almost a full two-thirds–of your potential audience is looking at your website on their mobile device. And if your website isn’t mobile responsive, you might lose them all.

    With the variety of devices and screens currently on the market, adaptive web design is more challenging than ever. Building a responsive web design that dynamically changes in orientation to fit all screen sizes is the way of the future. Implementing a mobile design will improve the mobile user experience and decrease higher bounce rates hurting your organic ranking.

  • Diverse Content.

    Filling a website with quality written content is good, but it’s not enough to stand out in the Digital Age. Now more than ever, users expect engaging images and videos on-site. Certain people retain information better when they watch a video versus reading a paragraph, so it’s a good idea to offer options that engage all kinds of learners. Even something as simple as our video testimonials can be enough to grow your audience and send Google those favorable ranking signals.

You can find more franchise website tips on our blog at https://clicktecs.com/blog/

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