Before you ask your website designer to mock-up a design for your new website, you should be analysing how your current website is performing.

Improving your website should not just be about a new look but include improvements to increase leads and ultimately sales.

Website-analytics-on-computer-screenDiscover the potential value of your website and what improvements are needed by asking the following questions:
  • Is your website generating the number of enquiries you would expect?
  • How many visitors do you get to your website and where are they coming from?
  • What devices are they using to view your website, phone, tablet or desktop?
  • How many potential clients are being lost before they reach a call to action and where are they abandoning your website?
  • How many monthly visits are your competitors getting and where are they obtaining their traffic?
  • Where is your website currently ranking on search engines and for which keywords?
  • What is the average value of a lead or transaction from your website?
Carrying out a website audit will answer all these questions and enable you to allocate a budget towards your new website that will provide a return on investment.

If you need help with this, we have the software tools to provide the statistics you will need to help improve your website.

Design process
Once we have established your budget and what you want to achieve, the next step is to develop a site map and navigation structure. This will involve discussions with you to analyse the website audit information to establish a page flow, listing your new pages and how they connect to help users find what they are looking for and act.

The website audit information is vital at this stage of the development. It will guide your new website structure and identify areas for improvement.

Website-redesign

Content
This may not seem the right stage in the process to be thinking about content. However, to give your words maximum impact and help tell your story, content should guide the design, not the other way around. Using the information from the website audit you need to ask:
  • Is your existing content converting traffic?
  • Does it perform well for organic searches, SEO and keywords?
  • Does it represent your current brand values and latest information?
  • Is it well written with good grammar and spell-checked?
  • Can you write it yourself?
If you need help with this, we can write copy for your pages, news and blog articles. Writing for your audience first but keeping keywords and SEO in mind at the same time for maximum impact and high page ranking.

Design visuals
Once we have your final content, including images that are available to use, we can start work on the design mock-ups for your pages.

This is where the creativity starts; using information from the website audit and the content provided, your web designer can then develop page designs and layouts, starting with the home page, ready for your approval.

This stage can take time to finalise as your team will want to have an input in this process. Colours, images and styling are all subject to individual tastes so it is vital to get all your feedback at this stage of the process because any changes later in the website development can impact on schedules and cost.

Designer_making_website_visuals_for_pages

Website development
Once design concepts are approved, development work can start. Depending on the size of your project, you may not see much in the way of progress for a while until a demo website is available for you to view.

If all the previous work has gone to plan and we have interpreted your requirements correctly, there should be no surprises at this stage. Your approved designs will be built and your approved content in place. There will always be some tweaking to be done. From experience, when content is viewed on a live page in context with images, some elements need to be moved around and these minor amends are usually included in the contingency costs up to a certain limit.

Mobile optimisation
All websites these days should be optimised for mobile devises. This is the last stage in the development process and cannot be carried out until your desktop website page designs and layouts are approved.

Testing and quality assurance
Testing is carried out in house, across several platforms and devices, the main ones being PC’s using Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Macintosh, using Safari and Mozilla Firefox.

Before launch, our team will individually check their own areas of input such as project management, design, content and development work, to make sure everything is as it should be and meets your brief.

All that needs be done now is to repoint the domain name to the new site and within (usually) 24 hours your new site will be live.

Continuous improvement
Whether you have opted to manage your website yourself using our bespoke content management system “Extanium” or you are happy for us to make the changes for you, new content added to your website will keep your pages up to date for your customers and provide more information for search engines to rank your pages.

An ideal way to add new content is via a blog or news section. This will have been flagged up following the website audit. Regular monthly posting of informative and interesting articles is the most effective way to improve your search engine rankings.

Start your web redesign by calling us on 01584 890725
 
Woman-looking-at-a-website-on-computerYou may think that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about search engines finding your website when a user searches in their browser. However, by optimising your website for search engines you will also be improving user experience and information for your website visitors at the same time.

Google is constantly striving to mimic human behaviour and is continuously refining its search algorithms to provide the best search experience; therefore, providing quality information to your readers is also going to help improve your search rankings.

Other important factors that Google and your customers will appreciate include faster page loading times, quality content and relevant images.

Technically, your website needs to be perfect, meeting industry standards such as w3c, have no errors and include a site map.

Let’s look at each of these and how to improve them for users and Google.

1.Page loading speed
Videos and images are the worst culprits for slowing a page down. How many times have you landed on a webpage and been frustrated while you wait for the page to load? This is even more noticeable when using a smartphone.

Images should be good quality and high resolution; however, image sizes should be reduced and compressed so they load quickly on the page.

2.Copywriting for SEO
Writing good quality content means keeping copywriting simple, easy to read, interesting and relevant to your readers.

Google ranks copy that is easy to understand and flows naturally. If your readers have to re-read a sentence to understand what it means, Google will have the same problem and rank you down for it.

Write for your readers first, then optimise your article for all the relevant keywords and include the most important one in the title. Breaking your content into sub headings and adding more keywords throughout your article will help Google understand what the article is about and help readers searching for specific content.

3.Quality optimised images
Providing images to back up your copy helps to break up long content, explains complicated subjects using infographics and provides additional information to Google.

Naming your image is important and titles, filenames and captions should be relevant to the copy that goes next to the image. Include alt text to describe your image; alt text is used by non-sighted users with browser interpreters and search engines to help understand what your image is about.

4.Technical optimisation
We have mentioned site speed and it is worth mentioning again because it is one of the most important ranking markers used by Google, especially as more and more users access the web on their mobile phones.

Constant checking for broken links, optimising pages for ranking keywords and making sure errors are fixed will help to keep your pages ranking on Google search.

Continuous improvement of your content and making sure all your information is kept up to date will tell your visitors and Google that your site contains the latest information and is constantly evolving.

Adding information with blog articles is an ideal way to continuously add new content to your site and inform users about your products and services.

Organising your articles into subjects and including the keywords you want to be found for will improve your rankings for that set of keywords.

If you want to increase the number of visitors to your website and find out which keywords your customers are using to find you, call 01584 890725 and ask for Mark to arrange a free audit of your website.
 
Online_search_content_marketingWhere do you start when you want to find a service or product?

Most of us start with a Google search. Some may use other search engines, but Google is still the most popular by far, around 90% of searches in 2018.

If you want to be found on searches, you need to be continually assessing and improving the content on your website.

How do you get to the top of search results?
Everyone wants to be on page one of Google but how does Google rank your website and decide where it will appear for a specific search?

Content marketing is the key to search success. Google was built to serve the best and most relevant content to its users. The content may be on a website page, blog article, white paper, video or anything else that will educate or entertain your audience.

Google will assess your web page and rank it against similar content on the web. The challenge is to achieve a page one ranking for the keywords you want to be found for and create better content than your competitors.
 
  1. Before you start copywriting website content, you need to know which keywords your customers are using to find your products or services and how many searches are being made on these keywords. Don’t waste time writing about your services or products using keywords with few or no searches being made.
  2. On the other hand, your keywords must compete with other content on the web; therefore it is also useful to know how competitive your keywords are. For example, it may be better to use a less competitive keyword to achieve a page one result than a highly competitive keyword and rank nowhere. Once you have gained some rankings you can start using the more competitive keywords.
  3. It is also essential to find out what keywords your competitors are using and where they rank on Google.
Armed with this information, you can include all the most important and effective keywords in your blog article or on your web pages. However, overstuffing keywords can have the opposite effect and get your content downgraded. To be most effective your content needs to be regularly monitored and assessed against your competitors, adding or changing keywords to improve page rank. Getting the balance right is a challenge.

Get more from your content
To make the most of the time and effort that you spend copywriting for your website or blog, you can post articles to your social media pages with a link back to your website. Google will consider the quality of links to your website and backlinks from your social media pages will help improve your website’s page ranking.

You could also use the articles in a regular email newsletter to your clients and prospects, increasing exposure for your article and providing an opportunity for more backlinks to your website.

Additional exposure can be gained by producing regular sales leaflets based on the article that can be used by your sales team in PDF format or printed copy.

Monitor and measure return on investment
To measure the success of your articles and new page content, Google Analytics provides a range of reports covering which pages and articles are visited most so you can see exactly what is working and what is not.

From your emailer system, you will be able to get statistics on exactly who has opened the email and who has clicked through to your website links.

These are just some of the ways to benefit from content marketing. Please call 01584 890725 and ask for Mark if you would like to know how it could work for your business and get a free audit for up to 10 of your keywords.
SSL_CertificateDuring 2018 there was a lot of information circulating around the internet about SSL certificates (Secure Sockets Layer). This was mainly because in July Google started to mark all sites without an SSL certificate as “not secure”. Websites with an SSL certificate show up with a green padlock and “https://” before the address at the top of your browser.

Google is keen to improve internet security to make web browsing and the transfer of information safer for internet users and gradually, more sites are adding SSL certificates. All our new websites and any site refreshes we do will automatically have an SSL certificate, if requested.

How does an SSL certificate work?
SSL provides security between a web server and a browser by setting up an encrypted link between the two. This protects any data being transferred while you are connected to the website.

SSL certificates are definitely needed if you are taking payments from your customers through a shop for example. If you have forms on your website which capture sensitive information, then you should probably get an SSL certificate. For straight forward content websites without any forms then the decision is not so clear; you probably will not need one unless some of the following benefits are important to you.

SSL benefits
By encrypting any data moving between your computer and the web server, you will avoid the risk of cyber criminals stealing information.

Visitors to your website will view your green padlock and will have confidence that your website is secure.
Google has communicated the fact that they are boosting the page rank of websites with SSL encryption. No one is sure how much of a boost this provides but if your competitors have an SSL site then there is an argument to say that you should also have one.

How do I get one?
We have set up a new server to quickly and effectively handle the addition of SSL certificates to all our existing customers’ websites.

We will have to transfer your website to the new server and test your website to ensure adding the SSL has not broken anything.

Because we are effectively changing your website’s URL, this can mean internal and external links will stop working unless we add 301 redirects. Therefore, some work is necessary to transfer your site to the new server and set up and manage the SSL certificate. The price to do this will depend on how large and complicated your site is.

After reading the above, if you would like to add an SSL certificate to your website or would like to discuss if you would benefit from it, please contact one of our team.
 
If you are searching for ways to increase sales in today’s competitive environment, there are 5 steps you can take to start generating enquiries.

infographic1.Website performance
Your website is the hub of all your online activity.

Even if you are advertising off-line using press ads or mail drops, the first thing most people will do is go online to check out your website and research your business before taking any further action.

Like a lot of things from designer clothes to product packaging, image and design are important and will create the first impression visitors will have of your business.

Quality of build is also important. What determines how successful your website pages are at being found by search engines will depend on how the site has been constructed, how engaging the content is and the relevance of the keywords used.

It takes the skills of a good designer and web developer with an understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to provide a sound foundation for your website to develop and grow as your business goes forward. With the right management, continuous SEO work and generation of new content, these skills will help you achieve a page one ranking on Google over a period of time.

A good website is an investment and you will reap long-term rewards if you take time at the beginning of the project to work with your developers to give your website the best chance of converting visitors into clients.

2.SEO
Assuming your website has been developed with SEO in mind, this will provide a good starting point to monitor and improve the rankings of your most important keywords on the main search engines.

A new website will take around 6 weeks to settle and start providing the keyword ranking information needed to identify where to concentrate efforts on improving page content to move keywords up the page rankings.

New content and improving existing content are amongst the most important factors in SEO. Having a Blog on your website and regularly posting informative articles will help improve your keyword rankings.

We already work with a select number of our clients to achieve page one rankings. First, we carry out a review of your keywords and competitor activity. Then, if we think we can achieve results for you we would recommend a programme of work to achieve success. We will be honest with you if we think SEO is not the best way for you to achieve results and we consider one of the other steps below to be more cost-effective for your particular business.

3.Social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are some of the most popular social media sites. For small businesses with limited time, I would recommend focussing on one social media platform and spend your time there. Social media can be very time consuming if you want to generate quality leads and increase your connections with the aim of sending them to your website or taking the conversation off-line for a more detailed discussion. Call me to find out how.

4.Advertising
Developing a successful advertising campaign will bring a constant supply of leads into the business.

Choosing where to advertise and creating the adverts for a campaign that will generate enquiries will need research into your products or services. Price comparisons, competitor research and an understanding of your target audience will help decide where to advertise and what to say in your adverts.

Online advertising such as Google Adwords can drive traffic to your website immediately. Campaigns can be set up and tested very quickly to find out what works using conversion tracking and Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of click-throughs to your website.

Social media paid advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn is relatively new and can be very effective for some businesses. Like Adwords, adverts can be tested and refined to maximise response rates and conversions to provide a constant supply of enquiries to your website.  

Press and TV advertising are still relevant for some businesses; however, it is more difficult to track responses to justify the cost unless you can direct readers to a specially developed landing page or unique phone number to record visitor numbers.

Whichever route is best for you, your website will be the hub of the activity.

5.Email marketing
Sending regular emails to your clients and prospects, providing you have their permission, is still one of the most effective ways of getting your message to your audience.

If you are writing a regular blog article for your website, as well as sharing on social media, send a link in your email to the article and continue to remind subscribers of your products or services.

Further reading
You will find more information about each of the above steps in some of our previous articles and I will be writing in more detail about each of the above in future articles. Alternatively, visit the Marketing Services section of our website.

Call 01584 890725 to discuss how you can use these and other marketing techniques to grow your business.

Mark Langston.
 
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