What to think about when considering a website redesign

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Website Content, Website Design, Website Development, Website Optimization |

More than ever, people go online to find out information about products, services, information and reputation checks before committing to a purchase. Every business understands the importance of having a website that fulfills these needs, but don’t always get it right. You need to take a hard look at your website, to see if you’re getting the most out of it and think about fixing it if you are not. It could mean a simple fix, or perhaps a complete revamp, but before you decide what route to take, ask yourself these five questions: 1. What is wrong with my current website? Ask your customers or friends who are far enough removed from your business to give you an honest opinion of your website and its functionality. Get reviews of your site and use analytics to determine which are your most viewed pages. Customers who spend a lot of time online, can give you insights into what your site may be missing or doing wrong. 2. What are the goals of the redesign? Think carefully if your website need refreshing, or if you are looking to rebrand your whole company – there’s a big difference. Websites do go out of style, so a visuals upgrade could be all it takes to keep people visiting your site. Remember to set goals and time frames for a redesign. 3. What are some features I want to include this time round? Do your research of other websites and see what you like in terms of look and feel, as well as what works for navigation. Not all the features you like may be suitable for your company’s product, or be what your customers are looking for. Check out your competitor’s websites and note which ones rank high for SEO and have high levels of engagement. Try not to copy outright – rather go beyond what other sites are doing. 4. Has my product or service offering changed? If the nature of your product or service offering has changed since your first website launch, use the opportunity to update your site while revealing product changes. Customers will respond well to a revamp, as it shows you are staying relevant and keeping up with trends. Be sure to include social media icons. 5. How do I want the website to function? Think of the specifics – do you want your website to be more content or information based, or is it about generating more leads? Do you want to drive sales, or bring customers to your physical location? Once you’ve determined this, the redesign can specifically focus on these areas. There’s a lot to think about when going through a website revamp or overhaul,...

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Eight ways to improve a web page

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Content Marketing, Website Content, Website Optimization |

Creating an awesome web page that people will visit again and again isn’t easy, but there are some things you can do to improve your chances. Ultimately, you want your readers to experience a page that is user-friendly and quick to look at, as well as offering something interesting that your readers will pass on to others. Here are eight simple tips to try: Ensure your page loads fast Internet connections are getting faster and faster, but there’s always something more to download. Speed is something people only notice when it’s absent, so while you might feel your efforts at improving your loading speed go unnoticed, it goes a long way to improve experience. Make sure your images are optimised for speed and that the page has no broken links. Keep your page simple These days, people skim read, so get to the point and avoid excessive content. Show your readers what they want to see, but provide enough detail to keep them satisfied. Have clear navigation Your readers need to be able to navigate round your page with ease and speed, or they won’t stick around. If the page is long, use anchor links to lead the way around. Use small images Make sure your images are resized and optimised to be as small (quick to load) as possible. Write for a global market Consider your readers might be from all over the world, so make sure things like currencies, measurements, dates and times are clear and not specific to a particular country. Check your spelling People judge websites by the quality of the writing, so make sure you don’t have errors. Make sure your links work Broken links show readers that your site is not maintained and they’re unlikely to spend time on your page. Use a HTML validator and link checker to help check older pages for broken links. Provide your contact information It doesn’t have to be every detail, but supplying a way for your readers to contact you often creates a level of trust. Usually, they’ll only contact you if there’s a problem. If you need help with your website design, or want to know more about creating a great page, give us a shout and we’ll point you in the right...

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Proven ways to increase your website rankings

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in SEO, Website Optimization |

Explaining SEO to the CEO While millennials find the new language of the digital age easy to grasp, it’s often a bit of a mystery. Search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, is no exception. In fact, because there are no hard and fast rules to fast-track the rankings of your website design and digital marketing strategy, it can seem even more mysterious than most digital concepts. Simply put, SEO is about trying to get your site as high up as possible on Google and Bing search-results pages by finding ways to increase your site’s appearance in web visitors’ search results. This results in more traffic to your site. More traffic to your site results in greater awareness of your brand, and ultimately in increased profits and growth. By re-thinking how you approach content on your site, search engine optimisation is well within your grasp: What words would someone looking for information on this topic use? These are your keywords which you should use strategically throughout your site – your titles, content, URLs, and image names. Place them naturally, though, because ridiculous numbers of keywords on your site makes you guilty of “keyword-stuffing”, which gets ignored by search engine algorithms. Make your URLs more search-engine-friendly by naming them with clear keywords. Which of these is more useful? “http://www.wsioms.co.za/services/search/search-engine-optimization”, or “http://www.wsioms.co.za/11789/s201.htm”. A tactical link building strategy on your site is an easy way to boost traffic to individual pages. As you post new content, be sure to link back to your archives frequently. Again, though, ensure your links are appropriate, and be careful not to link excessively. Add a site map (a page listing and linking to all the other major pages on your site) to make it easier for search engines’ spiders to search your site. For more information on how our digital marketing experts can assist you, please get in touch...

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Ten tips for top-notch SEO

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in SEO, Website Optimization |

Optimizing your content to drive traffic to your website is not rocket science, but there are simple ways to increase your company’s SEO. Here are ten tactics that every online marketer should be using: Stop using meta keywords Google has clamped down on meta keywords, since most people were using them incorrectly. They act as a spam signal to search engines, so are definitely worth avoiding. Focus on main keywords only Keyword density no longer has the importance it used to. It’s very obvious when a website or blog post is filled with awkwardly positioned keywords. Use natural search phrases just once or twice. Pay attention to your meta descriptions These 150-character descriptions of your site or article influence the click-through rates and contribute to search rankings. Add microdata Major companies are displaying more information in the Google search results, like phone numbers, logos or addresses. This addition of microdata can boost click-through rates by up to 25%. Keep URLs short and sweet While your titles can work as your URLs, they are often too long, which makes it difficult for search engines to categorise your website properly. Try to keep your URL to five words or less. Use title tags These tell the search engines what the page is all about and although you only have around 55 characters to do it in, your title tag should drive people to click on the site. Use header tags correctly Header tags (H1, H2, etc.) identify and determine the importance of the header. It is how sites are categorised, so avoid using generic tags. Optimize image alt text Search engines can’t see images, so image alt text helps to explain what the image is. A basic phrase that describes the image is all you need. Ensure inbound links are quality Monitor where any inbound links come from – they should be natural and relevant to your industry. Boost your site speed Site speed is a marker of quality, so any site that takes longer than five seconds to load is going to be ranked poorly by Google. You may need to upgrade your server, or reduce the size of the big files on your site, like videos or images. Building a site with high quality content that can easily obtain links from other high value sites, should be your aim. For more on SEO and the different strategies that work, contact us...

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How to improve your website content

Posted by on Jun 9, 2016 in Content Marketing, Website Optimization |

Whether your business is a new start up or big global corporation, your website and its contents can be very instrumental in your success or failure. With so much information readily available online, the competition is stiff, so you need to make sure your website content is geared towards promoting your brand and getting you excellent returns. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire a professional writer or content generator to re-create your website; there are a number of easy ways to improve your website writing. Understand how Google works, to optimize your blog posts Even with no SEO experience, you can increase the chances of your blogs being found. Google looks at all the content, not just keywords or titles when coming up with results for a search. Once your article is complete, do a quick search on Google using the title or basic outline. Scrolling down to the bottom of the page will show you searches related to the original search term, which shows you actual searches that have been made and are related to your content topic. By incorporating some of these related search phrases into your article, it increases the likelihood of your content being found by Google. Make sure your copy and design work well together Your visuals and writing need to complement each other, or they just won’t work. Choose readable fonts and be careful of using too many colours. Wrapping text around visual boxes can be distracting or cause readers to lose their place, so make sure your article is easy to absorb. Most people skim read and only actually read about a quarter of what is in front of them, so make sure your copy doesn’t get lost. Use Google Analytics to identify your best pages Log in to Google Analytics and click on ‘Behaviour’. From there, click on ‘Site Content’, then ‘All Pages’. This will bring up your top ten most visited pages – once you know where people are spending their time, you can devote your best writing to these pages. Spend time on your meta descriptions This refers to the copy that displays in a search result, under the web page address. It’s basically your last chance at convincing someone to click on your link. That little description (150 characters) could be what drives more traffic to your site, so make it user-friendly and to-the-point. Connect with your audience through your ‘About Us’ page People are driven by emotion, so if you reveal a bit of your personality and ‘humanise’ your site, you have more chance at engaging with your readers. Using photos is a good idea – people like to put a face to a name....

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Decreasing attention spans affect marketers

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Digital Media Marketing, Website Optimization |

There’s probably a deep and profound explanation for it, but the reality is, over the years, the average attention span of internet users has decreased steadily, making your job as a marketer even more difficult. With the typical time people spending on a web page being between 10 and 20 seconds, it’s not a very long time to convince your visitor to buy your product or use your service. Interesting, and quite alarming, studies have shown that the average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, but 15 years later, it’s down to 8.25 seconds. That’s a shorter attention span than a goldfish (9 seconds)! Memories are not what they used to be either – gone are the days when you used to have half a dozen phone numbers committed to memory, these days it’s a struggle to remember your own! With so much information available so easily, on a number of devices, it’s easy to get distracted – they call it an excess of external stimulation. Your average office worker will check their inbox 30 times in one hour, with the average phone user checking their phone 1 500 times per week! So while people are actively involved in online communication, it doesn’t seem to hold their attention. But it’s not all bad news for marketers. Nielsen research shows that pages with a clear value proposition are able to hold people’s attention for longer. This bottles down to five top tips: Be clear in your messaging Make navigation easy so people can find what they’re looking for, fast Keep your message short and sweet Tell stories that appeal to your customers Use rich media, like video Social media sharing doubled and content on the internet tripled in a just a couple of years and that pace has not slowed a bit. The upside of all this, is that our ability to multitask has improved dramatically in the digital age. On that note, here are five attention span destroying habits that you should try and get out of: Do not email first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. Emails can distract you early in the day, instead of giving you the time to organise and plan your day. At night, emails can stop you from sleeping well. Keep meetings and calls to 30 minutes, wherever possible. Meetings with no end time can ramble on with little progress. Check your email periodically at set times during the day, not responding every time a new email pops into your inbox. At least one day a week, leave your smartphone somewhere where you can’t access it. Try to get out of personal conversations when you’re working. You might come off...

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