Upgrading Your Worldwide Virtual Curb Appeal

Fifteen seconds — that’s the average length of time a customer spends on your website before they decide whether to stay or leave. That’s just enough time for them to glance at your logo, scan a headline or two, click a few links and maybe hit the “play” button on a video.

Bottom line: Everything on your homepage should be eye-catching, brief and memorable. If you operate on the principal that your online visitors (customers) need to be wowed or wooed, then you’re headed in the right direction.

People often judge the legitimacy of your store based on your virtual curb appeal — your brick-and-mortar shop isn’t the only storefront that needs maintaining. I can’t count how many times I’ve left a website because it was too difficult to navigate or poorly designed. That’s probably happened to you, also. I’m sure we’ve all missed out on some excellent deals, too, just based on the “look” of a company’s website.

Whether you’re thinking about upgrading your online presence or building your website from scratch, there are several ways to make it successful. Team up with a local web designer who can accomplish what you need. It’s well worth avoiding the headache of a less experienced designer, even if he is your brother’s friend’s dentist’s son who can give you a great deal. Here are a few basic elements your website needs:

• A modern and responsive design
• Easily accessible information
• Regular updates
• Connection to social media

Visually Appealing, User-Friendly

BLACKHAWK!’s recent website facelift is a great example of these elements in action. The website is visually appealing and extremely user-friendly. Optimized for mobile devices, it’s easily viewable on-the-go. This is important for today’s businesses.

In 2014, mobile devices became the most popular way to surf the web, surpassing desktop computers for the first time since the birth of the Internet. It’s crucial for your website to be “responsive,” one that adjusts for viewing on desktops, tablets and smartphones. If your website isn’t friendly to a phone’s browser, then you may be losing customers because it’s simply too difficult to navigate.

In addition, your navigation structure should make sense to your average visitor. There’s no reason to make someone perform index finger gymnastics while clicking through your site. BLACKHAWK! breaks down their navigation by product. Yours may look a bit different.

Relevant navigation links could include an “About” section (or more creatively labeled, “Faces of Our Store”), “Inventory” or “New Products,” “Location,” “Contact Us,” “Newsletter” signup, “Blog” and “Videos.” Some of these should be prominent on your main page, just like BLACKHAWK! features their newsletter signup as visitors scroll down their homepage. Consider displaying links to your training classes and events, as well as downloadable concealed carry forms.

Customers often associate how often you update your website with how relevant your actual store is. Nothing says “we’re out of touch with the market and our customers” like a website that hasn’t been updated in months — or even years. We’ve all been on websites and wondered if a business is even still open because their website is outdated.

BLACKHAWK! has a section called “What’s New,” keeping customers in touch with their latest products. In addition, the company rotates different “teasers” — eye-catching photos and headlines — regularly on the homepage. There’s a reason why it’s the first thing you notice and why it keeps you on their website.

BLACKHAWK! also displays links to their social media platforms on their homepage. Your goal is to keep customers on your website, or within your sphere of influence. If they click off your site to visit another, make sure it’s your Facebook page or your Twitter account. You can also add features to your website that allow visitors to share your site with their friends. It’s an important part of free marketing for your store.

One more important basic: What is the number one reason people visit your website? They are looking for your store location, hours of operation and contact information. These three items must be on your homepage somewhere, or you should have a prominent link at the top of the page that redirects them to this key information quickly. Once again, I’ve clicked out of businesses’ website when I couldn’t find their actual store location. It’s an easy fix that could gain more foot traffic to your store.

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BLACKHAWK!’s new website is visually appealing and extremely user-friendly
across all platforms, including mobile devices.

Create An Engaging Web Experience
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Browning Thanks Facebook Fans

Browning celebrated a 2-million-fan milestone on Facebook late last year. The company says the primary reason of high visitor traffic is customer service, frequently answer questions and updates about new products. In addition, Browning fans share product information and shooting tips with each other, which has increased the number of “Likes.”

The Browning Buckmark, proudly displayed on their page, has become a unifying symbol among fans. The company says the symbol “represents a mutual love of the outdoors and the outdoor lifestyle. It appears on the things we wear and use and make. It represents a common emotion that comes from quality time in the outdoors with family and friends. It represents a sense of excellence and quality.”

Browning’s mission statement also echoes a dedication to their fans: “This is the official Facebook page of the Browning Company. But it is really the official page of Browning fans. This is a place to be with other hunters and shooters who love the Browning brand just like you.”

Visit www.browning.com

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Ruger Introduces Ultra-Compact

Earlier this year, Ruger released their upgraded ultra-compact pistol, the Ruger LCP Custom. New features include a dovetailed rear sight with a photoluminescent front dot sight for easy target acquisition, a polished stainless steel guide rod and a wide skeletonized aluminum trigger for reduced felt trigger pull.

Utilizing the same build and size of the original LCP, the LCP Custom is 0.8 inches wide and weighs less than 10 ounces when unloaded. It holds 6+1 rounds of .380 ACP and a six-round magazine is included.

“As a rugged and reliable Ruger, its introduction brought the class of ultra-compact pistols to the mainstream shooting market,” said Mike Fifer, Ruger CEO. “Now, with its easier-to-see sights, wider trigger and stainless steel guide rod, the LCP Custom will continue to serve law-abiding citizens as the best in its class.”
Visit www.ruger.com

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Versacarry Offers POP Display

Versacarry is offering a point-of-purchase display to help dealers organize an assortment of the company’s ZeroBulk holsters. They encourage dealers to utilize the display to “enjoy versatility, high margins and fewer stocking headaches.”

The display holds 38 holsters ranging from extra small versions for .380 pistols to .38/357 revolvers. ZeroBulk Versacarry holsters are ideal for ambidextrous shooters, excellent for deep concealment and adaptable for firearms with lasers.
For more information, call (855) 278-9678 or by email: dealer@nullversacarry.com
By Taylor Smithfield

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