I’m keen to have a website for my business, but money is tight. I’m thinking of creating one myself, any tips?
Whatever type of business you have, there is no getting away from the fact that people will expect you to have an online presence. Whilst some business owners are able to make a reasonable income via social media platforms (like Facebook and Instagram) or e-commerce platforms (like Etsy and Shopify) having your own website has many benefits.
If your budget limits you from hiring a website designer, or you are attracted to the idea of creating a website yourself, there are many website providers to choose from. They will advertise low-cost packages with guidance on how to do it yourself, but will the end result generate more customers coming to your site?
Five top tips to having a great website
Top tip 1 – ensure that the content on your site accurately reflects the services/products of your business. Your bounce rate will increase if your writing style includes over long sentences, has grammatical mistakes or has a dull/flat tone. Analyse your competitors and review what does and doesn’t work for them. Let your website reflect your personality and the type of business that you have so that you don’t come across as cold and boring.
Brainstorm the terms that your customers search for you. Googles keyword planner is a tool that can help you pinpoint relevant long and short tail keywords. Having relevant keywords allow search engines, like Bing and Google, to match the right business to the right customer.
We understand that creative writing is not everyone’s cup of tea, so if the thought of doing this doesn’t sit well with you, why not give us a call? We have an excellent copywriting service that can be accessed in isolation or as part of an ongoing package.
Top tip 2 – be sure to encourage your conversion rate by giving those perusing your site every opportunity to get in touch or make a purchase. Using Call to Actions (CTA’s) throughout your website are a great way of nudging customers to act. CTA’s can be contact forms, telephone or current special offers.
Top tip 3 – gone are the days when all websites were difficult to view on a mobile phone. Business owners on platforms that are not mobile friendly will be penalised by search engines, which could negatively affect your rankings.
When creating your site, make sure it has the ability to respond to the device (mobile phone, laptop or iPad) that is being used. Customers do not like websites that have poor navigation. Make it easy and obvious for people to find their way around your site as clumsy navigation that has not been thought through could lose you income.
Top tip 4 – take the time and get your business listed on external directories. This will help boost your online presence as search engines view you as a trustworthy business. Read our blog for more details about why your business needs to be listed on directories.
Top tip 5 – consider the layout of your website. Have a theme that limits the use of colours, fonts and gifs. You will want each page to look its best and engage with customers – not distract them. High engagement leads to a higher conversion rate. Pages that are cluttered will prohibit users from scanning text for key points.
The use of photographs can really bring a website to life. Avoid using stock images, wherever possible, as they can depersonalise your business. Having images of yourself, staff and business premises will assist customers build a picture of who you are and the service/product you offer.
This list will definitely put you on the right track to getting the most from your website. If you find that later down the line your rankings haven’t improved, why not get in touch? Our Perfect Layout web development team are ready to help!
There are good websites and there are bad websites. If you have had a website for a while, but you find that you are not getting much from it, in terms of traffic, leads, calls etc, it could be that people are finding your website tricky to navigate or difficult to find the right information. I know it’s hard, but every six months or so, it is worth doing an audit of your website with, 'a fresh pair of eyes’, to check that everything is relevant and it all still makes sense.
Is it mobile-optimised?
The first thing to check is whether or not your website is on a mobile optimised platform? If not, the search engines will penalise your organic rankings. You will also find that customers, who have to pinch and expand the page to read the text, will more often bounce off to find another website that has a better user experience.
- Check: Is your website built on a mobile optimised platform?
Is your site easy to navigate with clear navigation buttons?
Most websites follow a similar structure which includes, a home page, an about page, pages on the services that you offer and a contact page. It may also be useful to have pages about the areas you serve, a portfolio of what you offer (whether it’s services or products) and even a testimonial page.
- Check: Are your navigation headers clear for a brand new visitor to understand?
Do you explain what you do?
It is all well and good you knowing what you do, but is this clear to your potential customers? If your business is selling products, do they have relevant descriptions that will help minimise the chance of those products being returned? If you offer a service, do you explain, in everyday language, what it is that you offer? When you work in a particular sector, it can become second nature to speak the jargon of that industry. But would everybody be able understand such specific terminology? Also make sure that you have clear headings throughout each page to make it easy to skim read. Often people are time-poor, so make your website a breeze to read through.
- Check: Is your website easy to understand? Ask a friend or family member to read through to see if it is clear to them. Do they have any questions about elements that remain unclear?
Can you add more visual elements to your website?
As they saying goes: ‘A photo tells a thousand words.’ Remember to include high resolution photos (that are saved for web) that convey clearly your products and services. If you offer a service then show before and after photos of projects that you have worked on. Be proud of the transformation that you can achieve.
- Check: What are the photos like on your site? Do you have relevant images that are crystal clear? Blurry photos will convey a slap-dash image of your company.
Do you have ways that customers can reach you?
The majority of users will be viewing your website on a mobile device. No longer is it OK to have your phone number only on the Contact Us page. Think about adding your contact details in your footer, so that it is easy to find you. If you are on a mobile optimised platform your web designer will be able to enable phone number hyperlinks, so that visitors can click on your number and call you straight away. Also think about other Call to Action buttons that you could include on each page.
- Check: How you can optimise better user engagement on every page, so that visitors can contact you immediately. Does your footer have contact details?
What are your customers saying about you?
If you are getting positive feedback from clients, then add this to your website. Why not create a testimonial page to enable new visitors to see what your customers think of you. Lots of lovely reviews will more likely result in a new visitor engaging with you.
- Check: When did you last upload a testimonial? Visitors will look for recent reviews, so keep adding them to your site.
Is your logo on your website?
Add your logo to the top left of your pages. The readers’ eyes will read from left to right and top to bottom. So by adding your logo to the top left will ensure that it is the first thing the reader sees. This implants your branding into their memory; making it easier to remember you when they re-visit your site.
- Check: Is your logo positioned in the top left hand corner?
For more user-friendly tips for your website visit Hubspot’s article.
Is your website in need of redesigning in order to make it a more user-friendly? Or perhaps you want to take this opportunity to start afresh? Either way, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call on 01708 578 015.
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.
Perfect Layout can of course create a website that looks great and functions well - but we prefer not to do that. Because we want your business to beat your competitors and bring in a consistent stream of genuine customers, we encourage our customers to take up a support package. 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.
Having a good website seems easy to do these days. There are many website builders on the market offering web packages at reasonable prices, but there’s a lot you need to know when it comes to ensuring that your website design has everything in place to make it work for you - especially if you want to generate more leads.
1 Content is King. Make sure that you explain what your business is about, ensuring that you use keywords that customers will use when searching for you. Google can then marry up your website with their search terms. If you don’t have the copywriting skills yourself, we can help you get keyword-rich content onto your web pages.
2 Use Call to Actions. If you want your customers to strike while the iron is hot make sure that you have Call to Actions on your page. This could be your phone number, contact forms or special offers to make them act at that moment.
3 Make sure your website is user-friendly. Make it easy for people to find their way around your site. Bad navigation could lose you a lot of business.
4 Use external directories to help boost your online presence. Is the platform that you are building on mobile friendly?
5 If your website isn’t responsive Google will penalise you and your website could suffer in organic rankings.
These are 5 essential tips to keep in mind when you are looking to build your website. If you feel out-of-your-depth and would like some help, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing can offer you a free consultation and put together a digital strategy to get your business to where you want it to be. We can either look at hosting you on one of our monthly packages, or you can arrange ad-hoc work, such as re-writing your current website copy, based on our hourly fee.
If your website has already been built, but you feel like you are not getting enough new leads, it could be because you are missing out on other digital strategies that help boost your online presence; this is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If you don’t know how to do this, Perfect Layout can help you with elements such as keyword-rich content, setting up and activating Google My Business and Bing Places accounts, as well as listing you on other directories.
Perfect Layout Digital Marketing is a web design company in Romford, Essex. While most of our customers are local to us we do have clients in London and across Essex. Whether you need ad-hoc work to help improve your website design and online presence or you would like ongoing website support, we can help you.
Give the Perfect Layout web development team in Romford, Essex a call today on
01708 578 015.
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 pre-empt 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.