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Thursday, 24 June 2010

What EVERY Web Page should have, but most don't

There is something that every web page MUST have, and yet most are missing. Every page on your website is, or should be, a ‘SELLING’ page.

I don’t mean that you should suddenly look at your site and turn it into an e-commerce site of course; however we are all in business to sell something whether it be a service or a product, information etc; but what I do mean is that every single page on your website should guide your visitor closer to a sale.

Every page on your website must have a purpose towards that end, and fundamentally that purpose must be to move the visitor closer to a sale even if it’s not directly concerned with making the sale itself. In other words, move the visitor down through your sales funnel, either directly or by asking them to sign up as a member or to download free stuff or watch a demo video.

Whenever you design a web page (yourself, or with your web designer) you should always have at the back of your mind, what do I want the reader to DO next, and every page must have your desired action in it somewhere.

In Web Marketing, this is termed the ‘Call To Action’, and can be at it most effective if it is a ‘clickable’ button. Some great examples are ,

Try it for free

Book Tickets Now

Download a sample

Browse our Portfolio

Buy Now

See in Action

Join Up for Free

Learn More

Get Started Now

Own it Now

Buy It

Add to cart

Take a tour

You’ll notice that some of the above use urgent language; ‘Now’, ‘Buy’, ‘Own’, ‘Join’ etc.

These words encourage your visitors to take action. You can go even further by creating a sense of urgency by using the Call to Action alongside phrases such as ‘Limited Offer’ ‘Offer Expires Oct 11th’ ‘Order now for free gift’ ‘Early Bird Discount’

The call to action does not have to be the same on each page, it depends on that page’s purpose, and each page could serve to lead your visitor to the ultimate desired action.

Don’t leave a page without a call to action. That’s called a ‘Dead End’ and your visitor may well leave.

So, whether you are an affiliate site, an e-commerce site, selling products or services, a membership sign up site, offering information, or whatever you are, go through your website now and look at every page and ask the question “What is the purpose of this page?”.

If it’s not immediately clear and if the visitor is not immediately called to take that action, change the page or change the copy immediately.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

What are Website Metatags ?

For those of you who are thinking of buying a website and aren't familiar with the "inside workings" of a website, meta tags refers to the embedded data that is available to the search engine robots as they crawl around the web, rating websites for content and relevancy.

The Google bots then 'Index' the findings, and when a searcher looks for a particular phrase ; e.g. 'London Taxi' or 'Bosham Gardener'; the search engine is able to deliver the most relevant sites on the results page.

Website Metatags are somewhere between 'important' and 'quite' important as standalone entities, but 'very important', when taken alongside landing page (generally Home page) content.

There are two major metatags 1. Meta Description 2. Keywords

The meta description is the Description that a googler (other search engines are available!) will see underneath the Title of your website on the results page of a search. So in terms of passing quick information about your site to searchers, it's quite important. However, if you are on Page 10, no one will see it anyway.

A Meta description might read something like, 'Bosham Gardening Services. Lawnmowing, Hedgecutting, General Garden Maintenance by well established local company'

The Meta Keywords, used to be very important but are now fair to middling as stand alone. Keywords might look like;

'Bosham Gardening Services, Bosham, Hedgecutting, Garden, Maintenance'

Where the real value of meta tags comes into it's own, is where the data within them, corresponds very closely with the content on your landing page (generally Home page).

So if your landing page has the Title

'Bosham Gardening Services',

and body text such as

'Bosham Gardening Services are a local Garden Maintenance Company established since 1986. We can solve all your gardening maintenance problems while you sit back and enjoy the results. Our specialities are Regular Hedgecutting and Lawnmowing, preparing your garden for pleasure, not work'

..then you are half way to pleasing the search engine bots. The search engine robots will recognise that the description they will present on the results page is clearly very relevant to the keywords and to the content on your page. It would prefer to display your site as a result above one that didn't present itself as so relevant.

Page content alone is absolute KING, however, if you make your metadata relevant to your content, you give your site a pretty good boost.

This and other organic factors will help you reach page 1

Friday, 18 June 2010

Do I NEED a Website ?

This is the big question that many small businesses ask themselves at some point.

When you consider that 44% of Small businesses do not have a website, then that clearly means that if you are one of them, then 56% of your competitors DO have a website.

So that’s 56% of your competitors who are effectively open 24/7. When your doors are shut, or no one is manning the telephones, prospective buyers can contact your competitors, and can get instant information about their products and services.

Your competitor is at the same time projecting a professional image. He is showing potential (and existing) customers that he cares about them and has made an effort to provide the information that they are looking for, in an instant. By doing that, he has instilled confidence and shown respect.

Your competitor’s website is easily kept up to date with news, prices and new products. The brochures you printed last month are gathering dust because you wish you’d put something else on them after they were printed, or the prices are out of date. Basically then, your competitor has a 24/7, information packed, up to date, on line brochure that prospective clients can see or even download, whenever they like, whenever they have the time.

While he’s watching the telly, your competitor, depending on his line of business, is selling stuff, right now, from his site. That’s business that will get nowhere near your door.

Your competitor has gone to bed, but his website hasn’t. It’s collecting information for him from potential clients. People making enquiries perhaps, or asking for a quote.

His website has instant information for anyone who is looking for what you and he sell. You don’t have a site, so you don’t actually exist to some potential customers.

Well, this is all well and good you might be thinking, but I don’t use the internet and I don’t know many people that do, so how does being on the web help me ?

Consider this then; research says that 60% of the population will look for something on the web once a day, every day; and 74% use the internet to look for services or products. It stands to reason then that three-quarters of the population will find your competitor, but again, you don’t exist.

Before you protest and point out that it’s only people of a certain age, maybe under 50, that use the internet, you should know that 60% of 50 to 70 yr olds use the web regularly, and this figure will naturally increase.

If you have a business, you MUST be on the web, or you simply may not exist at all

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Get a Professional

It happens time after time, and I'm seeing it more and more.

Money is tight and everyone who wants a website, is suddenly a website developer. There are literally hundreds of online website building applications out there, so it's easy to fall into the trap of maybe thinking you can design a website.

So, when I ask small businesses if they want me to design a website for them, I often get the answer, No thanks, I've built my own" or "I'll build my own for free".

Sooner or later those people will drop an e-mail in my in-box that says "er... how do I get on google?"

This is the point that I can get to tell them why they should have used a professional right from the start.

Sometimes the sites they have built are horrendous and fly in the face of any good web design, and are sure to send the visitor off to a competitor with a grimace, others are quite good but the content could do with a little optimising. But the point is that how a site LOOKS and what it says is just 10 percent of the job, unless you know how to optimise content, and make the site search engine friendly..

In the worse case, the web builder will not allow them to include SEO to the level required to keep search bots happy; at best, the software will, but a) it's gobbledegook and b) they don't know how to optimise, and c) if they did; wouldn't know where to start.

That's when I usually get to re-do their website for them.

If you must DIY a website, make sure that the website builder will let you do the fundamentals.

1. You can add keyword metadata (preferably for each page not just the site).
2. You can add description metadata (again preferably for every page).
3. When you add text that you are aware of whether it is Title or body.
4. That you can add a site map (and know how to offer it to Google)
5. That you can add HTML snippets in the right places so you can validate your website with Google, and sign up for Google Analytics.

Beyond this, your site content will be absolute king, and it must be highly relevant to what people are searching for.

If you are selling 'Brass Widgets', and expect people to put 'Brass Widgets' in the search engine; then your landing page must be about 'Brass Widgets'; not who you are and how long the company has been trading. Google will pass you by if you design your site that way.

But above all, remember that your website is a VERY important tool for your business. It's no good just slapping a few pages on the web and thinking that's all there is to it. It's not, and it's expensive to find that out.

HW Marketing UK are the Chichester Web Design Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable pricing packages start at £200.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

If you don't have a website, you don't exist

New research from a joint Nielsen Online and Webvisible survey found that 44% of small businesses don't have a website despite many people, like me, turning to search engines first for local small business information. That means that 56% of every small business’s competitors, HAVE a website that visitors can find.

There may be many reasons for not having a website. Cost, difficulty, not knowing where to start, finding a decent provider, or even thinking they don't need a website.

It’s a fact that 59% of the population use the internet at least once, every single day, and a massive 74% of the population use the internet to look for services(some research says 80%). It stands to reason then, that if you don’t have a website, you are invisible to three quarters of the population. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that these internet users are all under the age of 50. Nielsen Online and Webvisible have discovered that 60% of the population over the age of 50 and 65+ use the internet regularly, and this figure is increasing.

There are great benefits to having a website; A professionally designed website is one of the best ways to instill confidence in your new customers who are not familiar with your company already or even increase the confidence of your existing customer base. It gives the customer the impression that they are dealing with a firm they can trust and will generate a sense of respectability with your service and/or product. It also shows you care about and respect your customers by informing them and keeping them up to date with your products and services. People don’t use the yellow pages as much as you think and many small businesses refer to the overpriced print pages as a dead form of advertising. Almost every employee in the country that gets paid more than £15,000/year has a computer at their desk and a whopping 85% of them have their own personal PC while few have a copy of the yellow pages nearby. As habit, they will simply type in “Hair Salon Emsworth” in Google long before they hunt down a copy of the yellow pages. Of that 85% an overwhelming majority of searchers (92%) say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines, despite the fact that 39% report frequently not being able to locate a particular known business. Webvisible say this means that while searchers don’t always find the specific business (no online advertising/no website, etc.), they may choose to contact a similar business with a stronger online presence e.g. has a website.

Even those using Internet Yellow pages or similar directories, say that they will only contact a company that has a website linked to by that directory because they want information and it’s quicker than phoning up for info or a brochure.

You can pitch your product and answer questions by providing good website copy. By allowing your visitors to contact you through the website, they can ask specific questions, request quotes, reserve tables, hotel rooms; all 24/7 at their convenience.

It allows you to show your commitment and brand personality by replying to those queries in an appropriate timely fashion. You can also make big overhead savings by allowing visitors to download documents directly from your website rather than mailing printed materials.

Without a website, you simply may not exist to 30% of the average consumer.

Before you look back at all of your current success and totally disregard what I am saying just hear me out on this.

I need to buy a silver wedding present for tomorrow. I search on the web and I find that there is a shop quite close to where I live, but I'll have to wait until Saturday morning when I'm not working, and drive the 5 miles there and back.

What I didn't know, is that you have a silverware shop just around the corner from where I'll be having lunch with a client in three hours.

I didn't know because you either don't have a website, or you were not on Google when I searched locally.

For me and many other consumers, you didn’t even exist when I was making a decision on whom to do business with.

To exist in today’s market, you need a website

HW Marketing UK are the Chichester Web Design Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable pricing packages start at £200.