As the saying goes, ‘you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure’…In our business, quite often we are told by clients that their friend or a family member was building/has built their website but:
…they have spent months (even years) working on it and it’s still not finished
...it doesn’t look the way they thought it was going to
...it's not working the way that they want it to
Usually, when they are a friend or family member (and not a web designer), they invariably take an off-the-shelf package thinking 'how hard can it be?’. It’s true that building a website from one of these off-the shelf-packages isn't necessarily hard, but do they really know what they are doing? Do they really understand how to make a website perform well and not just look good?
There are thousands of cook books out there and it's easy to follow a recipe, but that doesn't mean the results will always be the same, or that what you make will even taste nice. There is a knack to good cooking and the same principle applies when building a website.
Often it's the things that look simple that can be complex underneath.
Building a website in itself isn't rocket science, but there is a method to making a website great. A website with all the right elements in place will add value to your business. A nice looking website, may simply be aesthetically pleasing but does nothing for the growth of your business. The fundamental components you need include:
By that it needs to be clear, well-written, grammatically correct and keyword rich. Content IS King. Being found in search results is determined by the search engines algorithms matching the users’ keywords with the content on the site. If your content is sparse, poorly written, not properly thought through (using a range of keywords) it is likely that you will feature low down in the rankings.
Search Engine Optimised headings
Headings carry more weight than body text, so ensure that your headings are relevant to what your audience is searching for. Using keyword-rich content in header tags will improve the search engine visibility for your target keyword. Mashable also recommends not having the same article title as you would for your page title, and advises how to write a good meta description.
Easy to use navigation
If your user experience is cumbersome and clunky, it's likely to put customers off. Make sure that you think carefully about how your users might navigate through your web site. Keep it clean and simple. Before you ‘go live’, test your website out as if you were visiting it for the first time. Can customers navigate your website easily? Is it clear and easy to understand? Could any steps be simplified?
High quality images, but not high resolution
There are so many stock photo agencies these days, that having low quality images is not an excuse any more. Your photos need to be clear and crisp, but they must also be saved as smaller files. Large image files will make loading your page slow, which may put people off staying on your website.
Calls to Action
A Call to Action (CTA) on a website is a prompt to get the user to take some specified action. It could be a button asking you to ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Subscribe’. Visually it can be a button or hyperlink. When designing your website consider how your customer might want to get in touch with your business. Are you making it easy for them to do so? Are you giving them choice; email, online forms, telephone numbers? Find out more about why Calls to Actions are important.
When Perfect Layout Digital Marketing works with customers, these are the core principles which we adhere to as the starting point for building their website. These fundamental steps are the foundations to having the building blocks for great online presence. Though don’t be mistaken with thinking that the work starts and ends with a website alone. Consider the website edging of the puzzle - there are still other pieces to put together before the picture is complete. Perfect Layout Digital Marketing can talk you through what other digital strategies would work best for your business.
Before starting a new web project you might want to read website trends for 2017. This article was published by Forbes magazine at the beginning of the year, and it might be useful for you to think about how you would like your website to look and any features that you might like to see.
Perfect Layout can, of course, simply do a website build. However, we prefer not to do that. Instead, we encourage our customers to take up a support package, where month-by-month we will monitor your website against the competition, check where it is ranking in organic search, and if needed, suggest tweaks.
We also apply other digital strategies to ensure that your visibility online is not just limited to your website. Are you active on the right social media channels? Is your business listed correctly in external directories?
If you are unsure of what your next step should be, give us a call and let’s have a chat today.
It was earlier this year, when we were away for my son's rugby tour, when the stars seemed to align and offer me another opening for a client for newly formed Perfect Layout. As you do (when staying in a holiday camp as part of a rugby tour) I headed to the club house to socialise with other parents from the team and partake in a little beverage - mine was a white wine!
As I arrived at the table, I heard one of the dads moan about his website and how it was doing 'nothing' for his business. In the seven years that he had been with this reputable household-name web design company, he said that the only calls he was getting were cold calls. All of his work came from word of mouth. He was thinking of ending the contract, as he was paying a considerable amount of money each month with no real results and couldn’t see the point in continuing.
I decided to join in the conversation and let him know about Perfect Layout Digital Marketing and the work that we do. I didn't lay it on thick; that's not how we work. But I asked him what the domain was and that when I had a moment I would take a look, do a quick website analysis and let him know my observations. Over that weekend, when I found a connection to Wi-Fi (not so great in the middle of the country) and had a look. I was shocked!
This reputable company was taking a fair amount of money each month, for nothing. Their web account manager appeared to be always on the upsell telling him if he did x, y and z, their organic search would improve. What a joke!!!
The only credit I can give - and don't get too excited - is that their website was on a mobile friendly platform, but the content was next to nothing! Across the entire site was a total of approximately 500 words. How would his company ever be recognised for the services he offered when there was no content talking about what he did on his website? How were search engines expected to return his company in organic search when there was so little to go on?
Through a few sketchy headings, you got a sense of what they did, but it didn't even come close to what the recommendations are today regarding the amount of content there should be on a website. It also failed to explain the services they provided and there was no geographic explanation of which areas they served. No wonder he was miffed in spending money each month on this.
To cut a long story short, we recently launched his new website (Oct 2017). We created a comprehensive home page giving a full overview of the company and developed unique pages for each of the services offered. Each page is rich in keywords, making it easier for the algorithms to decipher the business that this company is in. We are confident that in the next few weeks, we are going to see his site climbing up in organic search and that in the near future he is going to be receiving calls and winning new business.
This is the point where most companies would hand the website to the client, say thank you very much and leave you to it. Not with Perfect Layout. With all of our customers who are on a monthly package, we will invest our time on other digital marketing strategies. In our opinion, having a great website is like making a cake with all the right ingredients.
If you want a fantastic cake you will need to enrich it with flavours and toppings. In today’s world, being basic just won’t make you stand out.
So the moral of the story is: listen, because you never know what you might hear...and more importantly, speak. Don't ever be afraid to tell people what you can do, especially if you can offer your services. Whilst it was a 'win' for Perfect Layout to sign another client, our mission is always to strive for a 'win-win' all round.
We will monitor the site month-on-month and continue to apply digital marketing strategies to ensure that this website gets noticed. If you're not sure why your website isn't delivering leads to you, give us a call. Let's have a chat and we will schedule a free website consultation.
To ensure that your website delivers more business to you, we will follow these essential steps:
Mobile Friendly Design
In April 2015, Google announced that it would favour websites that are “mobile-friendly”. Companies that are not investing in new websites, could see a decline in their business leads as their websites fall down the rankings.
A responsive web design ensures that no matter what device someone uses (i.e. tablet, laptop, mobile phone) your website is displayed on the screen in the most effective way. No longer should mobile phone visitors see a website that is used for standard desktops, like a laptop, which can make viewing content, navigating menus and clicking on links difficult and awkward to use.
Your site will be built to be suitable on all devices.
High-Quality Content and Excellent Customer Experience
The content, or written word, on a website must be of good quality. Without it you can’t tell your story, attract new and repeat customers, or explain the services that you have to offer.
All content on your website should be informative, engaging and useful. It should be easy to read, and delivered in short paragraphs that match the interest of your customers. High-quality content demonstrates authority and will naturally lead visitors towards purchasing whatever your company has to offer.
Whatever the customer is searching for, it must be easily accessible. From company contact information, product specifications or prices, browsing should be a pleasure, not a burden. At its highest level, the function of your website should be about giving your customer what they want before they even know that they need it!
We will write content that encourages your visitors to purchase your services or products, whilst at the same time having a great online user experience.
Visitors will be more inclined to navigate your entire website if it looks good. It should appear clean, logical and informative, with the correct amount of visual content balanced alongside the written word.
The impact on a customer’s emotional response to your website should not be underestimated. Visual design has a huge part to play in how customers consciously and subconsciously perceive your company. If your website design has a below average visual appearance, the customer will believe that this is a reflection of your services/product. Nobody wants to give a sub-standard performance, so set yourself apart from the competition and invest in a website that is better than the rest.
We will work hard to ensure that all aspects, of your website are attractive to the visitor, encouraging them to stay on your site and find out more about you.
The platform upon which your website’s design is built will have a huge impact on its usability as well as how efficiently you are able to update content and interact with visitors. We can’t overstate how important this structure is to the performance of your website. This is particularly important for e-commerce websites (sites that sell goods).
To build your website on a platform that:
The Perfect Introduction
Having the perfect introduction to your site is really important. When meeting someone face-to-face for the first time, people form an impression within the first 60 seconds. It is no different for visitors browsing a new website and studies show that they spend less than a minute on most of the websites that they visit.
This means that you only have a few precious moments to convey who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why they should keep reading your site. So make sure you nail your pitch on your homepage, but also bear in mind the importance of content on your other pages as customers do not always start looking for what they want on your home page.
We will spend time with you perfecting your core marketing message and ensure that your logo design, tagline (catchphrase or slogan) and the initial paragraph of your website copy is clear. We will show that your business has credibility as well as describing what you offer upfront. There’s a lot to communicate in just one paragraph.
Clear Call to Actions (CTA)
A clear call to action is an instruction (to the audience) that should provoke an immediate response. Such as, ‘call now’, ‘find out more’, or ‘buy now’. The best website designs will include value-led CTAs that will subtly encourage visitors to take the next step and engage with the customer, guiding them to making a purchase. Visitors to your website need specific information before committing to make a purchase or inquiry. By using CTAs effectively, they can preempt the customer’s next step and gently lead them through your website in the way that you want them to experience your website, all the while delivering the information they are seeking.
All of our websites will have your phone number at the top of every page of your site and your contact information on the footer of every page along with quick links to your most valuable content. This is even more important for mobile websites where prospects are often just looking for a quick phone number, hours of business or address.
Track Your Conversions
Conversion tracking is a free tool that shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ad. It is a powerful insight into your customers’ habits and can often be overlooked as a useful tool by some web designers. Yet for every business, it is vital to know how many inquiries and sales are received through your website. For example, have those website customers purchased a product, signed up for your newsletter, called your business or downloaded your app? Conversion tracking allows you to accurately measure your marketing spend, evaluate the success of any improvements or modifications in your website design or online marketing, and ultimately measure the underlying success of your website and business.
We will help you with tracking your conversions and understand how your website is working for you.
Engaging ‘About Us’ Page
Your company exists for your customers. So by logical extension, your About Us page (even though it is about you) is also about your customers.
They want to be informed about the engaging profiles of the personalities behind your organisation because it gives them insight into who they will be working with.
They also want to know how you and your company are going to provide them with solutions. Your About Us page, like the rest of your website, should present all information in the context of how it will benefit your customers.
We will plan the best way to present your About Us page specific to your business – for your customer.
Marketing beyond the website build
An online presence alone isn’t enough to generate leads. You need a strategy to work out how best to broadcast your content, attract search traffic and convert browsing customers into buying customers. Options available to you include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO), email marketing and social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.). Depending on your business and industry some strategies will work better than others. The key is to find what best works for your business by experimenting with all of the available channels. Ultimately, it’s a process of trial and error while you discover what is most effective for your potential customers.
If you would like to use our marketing expertise to help drive more traffic to your business, we will create a package that is just right for you.
Carly runs an established ice cream van business that has been in the family for almost 20 years. Her desire to promote her customer base and hire out her services to the Essex public led her to us. We immediately knew that with our help she would be able to have an online presence that would bring in new and repeat customers to use her services.
We started from scratch. During the consultation, we gained valuable insight into who she was and what her business had to offer. Her busy schedule and lack of website design experience meant that she was happy for us to write her content, source her images and effectively design, build and maintain for her a fabulous website.
Whilst this is a niche sector, there is significant competition. Through implementing a number of tools and techniques we were able to get this website up on page 1, organic search for the following keyword searches: ‘ice cream vans Romford’, ‘ice cream van hire Romford’, ‘wedding ice cream vans Romford’, just to name a few.
Carly’s Ice Cream Vans is a website that is hosted by Perfect Layout Digital Marketing and has been search engine optimised and is mobile responsive. Call us now so that we can help you get more leads and grow your business.
Perfect Layout Digital Marketing is based in Romford, Essex and helps local businesses to grow and develop their business through optimising their digital presence.
Is your website optimised for mobile?
If your website is a few years old, it might mean that your site isn’t optimised for mobile. How can you tell? Take a look at your website on a mobile device (phone or tablet). If it doesn’t automatically fit the screen and you need to expand the text in order to read the small font, then your site is not optimised for Google, which may harm your rankings.
Would you like more leads?
If your business is a little slow, think about how your website is performing. Do you get a lot of leads directly from your website or social media channels? If the answer is ‘not many’, then it could mean that your website could do with a makeover to ensure that the content on it and the keywords that you include are improved. We can help you with that.
We sit down with each and every business owner to find out how their business operates in order to find the right digital solution for them.
Our mission is to help local businesses expand and grow, if this is you, then give us a call on 01708 578 015.