6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

 

How much does your website contribute to your business goals, success, or income? What’s the return on investment (ROI)? How does it compare to your competitor’s website? Maybe you’ve already asked yourself and many others these questions regarding your website but did it lead to change and improvement? If you want to ensure success, then make these six questions be the catalysts to turning your website into a leading business performer. If you struggle to answer these questions, then you might just realise why your website is a liability and not the asset it should be.

 

What Problem is Your Website Solving?

 

what problem does your website solve

 

Your website should verify your position as an expert, as THE expert, the one person or business that can solve the particular problem that someone has. What is that problem? What is the purpose of your business?

  • A dentist’s purpose would be to encourage and practice great oral hygiene while providing a person with a winning smile.
  • A driving instructor would want to get nervous drivers qualified in a stress free, practical environment, in as short a time as possible.
  • A family law firm wants to ensure the security of the children during a marital breakup.

 

Ultimately your website should highlight the problem your business solves as that is why people are looking for your business or service. When people find you, provide them with relevant information that matches their needs.

 

Who is Your Website Solving it For?

 

who is your webiste for

There are far too many people in this world and online to make your website for everyone. Your website is not there to attract 2bn people; let companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon worry about that. Your website it is there to attract a select group, a micro niche of people, who would qualify to receive your products or services.

 

The criteria may be:

 

  • That the person lives within 30 miles of the physical location of your business.
  • Divorced women over the age of 50
  • Men aged between 18 and 35 with income of £30,000
  • Pet owners who take more than 5 holidays a year
  • Retired couples with savings of £250,000+

 

As you can see the groups are completely different. Could you imagine sending a retired couple to a small business website designed for men aged between 18 and 35? By then the days of fast cars and even faster women are usually well behind them. The point is the website content needs to be relevant to the targeted group of people that you are looking to service.

 

Take the time to work out exactly who your ideal customer is.

 

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where are they located?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What websites do they use?
  • What do they buy online?
  • How do they find new products or services?
  • What words would they use to find your website?
  • What device do they use to search?

 

If you know your customers well enough then you can answer these questions yourself. Otherwise, create a questionnaire and send an email to ask some of your loyal customers, customers who you would like to replicate, to complete the survey so you have the real answers.

 

How are you solving the problem?

  how does your website solve the users problems In other words what is in it for me, for the ideal client? People don’t look at websites to hear about how your business has invested in a Wide area network for your regional offices. That means nothing and it does not solve the prospective user’s problem.

 

If your business solves the problem of giving people winning smiles. Show it to them. Show what the smile was like before and after and what the patient had to say.

 

For nervous learner drivers, show your pass rate, show a video testimonial of a previous learner who failed with another instructor then came to you and passed first time.

 

If you are a pre eminent divorce lawyer who represents high earning females then highlight a successful case where you have done just that!

 

Your business website should have these results front and center for everyone to see, what practices you put in place, what safety measures are in place, the qualifications that you have. Everything on your website should be there to reinforce you as the best and ONLY person qualified to help them solve their problem.

What’s the most important thing people can get only from you?

 

stand-out-from-the-crowdLet’s not kid ourselves, in most towns there is always more than one choice for a service provider and with the internet, location often does not matter as searchers can access a pool of resources from all over the world. So what is it that makes your business stand out? What is the unique picture that places you and your business head and shoulders above the competition, resulting in them picking up the phone and calling you?

 

That is what you want to highlight: your unique selling proposition. It should be front and centre so that everyone in your target audience, can see exactly why you are the very best at helping them solve their problem.

 

What is your primary conversion goal?

convert-to-new-customers Each business website page should have a different conversion goal or call to action. It could be;

  • to sign up for an email newsletter,
  • click on an advert,
  • share on social media,
  • pick up the phone and call,
  • make an appointment,
  • place an order.

 

Whatever that goal is for the website, the content, structure and design of the website should support that end goal. Why? Because if you have an end goal then you have something to measure against. If your goal is to get people to join your mailing list then you may have a goal to start with of 2% of visitors sign up to your email list. If after a set period of time you assess this and find that less than 1% of people are signing up then you need to make changes to improve on the conversion goal.

 

Websites are living, breathing organisms and are a fundamental part of your marketing arsenal. If you don’t have conversion goals then the website is pretty worthless. Set a goal and test and track your website against that goal. If your website does not meet this goal then think about making changes so that next time it will.

 

How can your ideal customer find your website online?

 

how do you customers look for your website in google

 

With all the effort that goes into developing a website to capture the attention of  a specific target audience, you want to make sure that the key demographic who you can help, can find your website easily. This means that you have to consider how your website is represented and indexed online. This refers to search engine optimisation.

 

Your website helps the user solve a problem, when working out who the ideal target audience was you should have a clear idea of the questions they would ask. For example somebody looking for a dentist might be entering into the search engines;

  • toothache remedies,
  • fix broken tooth,
  • dentist in (YOUR AREA HERE),
  • teeth whitening procedure.
  • price for clear aligners

 

There are hundreds of individual search terms that could be relevant to your business. The keys are;

  1. select the ones that are the most relevant to the problems that you solve,
  2. have a good number of people looking for them
  3. choose those that are commercially feasible to target.

 

By getting your website in front of the right people at the right time it means the chances of that individual impacting your conversion goals are much greater.

 

It is absolutely crucial to establish the marketing significance of your website so that you can plan & execute a strategy that provides results for your overall business goals. You also need to make sure it is consistent with your marketing efforts so that the overall business message or brand is seamless.

 

Just like running a business, maintaining a website is an on-going effort, not a one-shot deal. The sooner you realise the commitment, the sooner you will reduce the chances of being disappointed and increase the chances of success.

If you are looking to at least, double the number of leads and sales your website produces, what this video now.

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

Every Business needs a little inspiration from time to time - so here's 7 Ways To Win New Customers | www.bigthinkingonline.com

New customers, clients or patients are the lifeblood of any business.

For small businesses in particular, keeping a steady flow of new clients coming through on top of serving existing clients and tackling the day to day running of your business can be a constant struggle.

 

So, for any business that needs an injection of inspiration as to how to continually attract those new faces, here are some of the best tactics to add to your toolbox.

 

  1. Ask Your Customers To Refer Other People They Know.

Asking for referrals is definitely something that you should be doing. If you have given a great service to someone and they are happy, the chances are that they will know more people in a similar position to themselves who may also need your services.

 

If you ask every customer you work with to refer 3 people you know, you then get a “warm” introduction to a new group of people who will already have heard good things about you from their friend.

 

  1. Follow Up With Old Leads

We’ve all lost out on a few customers in our time, but getting a no doesn’t have to mean that you’ll never get a yes. It’s always worth keeping up a good relationship with anyone who you have never quite done business with, because as circumstances and requirements change you could find that you have another opportunity.

 

Similarly, just because that person wasn’t the right client for your business doesn’t mean that they won’t know someone else who might be – referrals can come from anywhere, but they typically come if you ask for them!

 

  1. Build Up A List Of Email Subscribers.

A list of email addresses allows you to stay in regular contact with a huge number of people cheaply and simply and in a non-intrusive manner. An email list is a great way to send out updates about what your business is working on, offers that might entice people back to you and most importantly, it’s a great way for you to build your authority by offering incredible value and be seen as the thought leader in your niche.

 

The next time that person needs something along the lines of what you do, they’ll remember your details because they see your emails and know that you can help, and that you want their business.

 

  1. Be Active On Social Media. 

No matter what your business is, social media is the main place where all your customers will be online. For many people, social media is their main experience of the Internet, it’s where they see recommendations to buy, read their news and chat to their friends.

 

The trick for businesses to do well on social media is to be friendly and conversational rather than sales focused. Asking and answering questions on Twitter is a good way to join the conversation there, try searching using relevant hashtags to find topics related to your business.

 

  1. Join And Participate In Relevant Facebook Groups.

If you manage a Facebook page for your business you’ll know how hard it is to reach more than a few of your fans with any given post. That being said, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful tool for businesses and shouldn’t be ignored. Try joining some of the millions of groups there are and joining in conversations, offering relevant advice and sharing appropriate updates from your business.

 

It might take a little searching to find the right groups for you, but it is worth it. Try searching for local groups if your business is location dependent, or groups geared at business owners, women, or groups for certain hobbies and interests that your business may align with.

 

When one of your page updates does well, consider boosting it as an advert. Typically if one of your posts gets a far higher than average engagement Facebook will ask if you want to boost it. It’s worth considering, because if your core customers and fans like the update, then the chances are that an extended group of people would also like it and you can raise your profile relatively cheaply to a much larger audience.

 

  1. Write Every Blog Post As Though It Is Directed To Your Ideal Customer.

Posting regular updates to your blog is a fantastic way to be seen as an expert, and to stick in people’s minds as someone they can turn to for advice, information, and eventually when they need your service, as a paying customer.

 

The thing to remember about blogging though is that you need to be consistent, not just with the frequency of what you write, but the actual content itself.

 

If your blog topics are vastly different every time you post then it will be hard to grow a regular reader base as they will be put off by the fact they never know what they’re going to get.

 

For example, readers of this site know to expect updates about Internet Marketing related topics, such as SEO, Social Media, Web Development and Online Reputation. What you won’t see on this blog are updates about holidays, family life or what I eat.

 

  1. Make Sure Your Website Is Search Engine Optimised. 

SEO is a great tool, and you should use it to your advantage. If your site is correctly optimised, then it won’t matter if people don’t know your business name, because when they search for the service that they need, your business name will appear.

 

It’s particularly powerful for locally based businesses, because if someone searches for a Dentist in their town you only have to compete against those few other Dentists near to you in order to show in the Top 3 of the Search results. A well optimised website can help attract a steady stream of new customers.

 

So there you have it, 7 ways to get new customers! I’ll even throw in a bonus number 8… Cold Calling! It may be unpopular, but it still works.

 

Have you tried any of these tactics for customer acquisition? What has been most effective for you? 

How to Choose A Good SEO Agency

How to Choose A Good SEO Agency

SEO can boost or harm you business, so don't risk it! Read How to Choose A good SEO Agency | www.bigthinkingonline.com

 

If you think it might be time to put an SEO Strategy in place,

but have no idea where to start, then here are some questions to consider before you call in the professionals.

 

What Do You Want To Achieve By Implementing SEO?

The most important step to take first is to understand for yourself why it is important for you to implement an SEO strategy for your business. If the only answers you can come up with are along the lines of “because I’ve heard I need it” or “because I want to rank at the top of Google” then I suggest you don’t have a clear enough goal.

 

If you can’t explain to yourself why you want SEO then you won’t be able to hire someone to do the job you want doing.

 

Instead, establish some goals that you want to achieve. It might be to increase the number of leads or phone calls you get by a certain percentage, it might be that you want to be known for a different service than people currently use from you, or perhaps you are launching a new product. If you know your goals, it will be easier for an SEO agency to provide the plan that meets your needs.

 

Get To Know Some Of The Basics Of SEO

I understand that the point of hiring an expert is because you need them to do a job that you can’t. However, in order to make sure you are getting the right job done, it makes sense to know enough of the subject matter so that you don’t get confused by jargon, and that you are confident enough to ask and understand relevant questions. Think of the last time you made a significant purchase, whether it was a house, a car or a new phone you probably did some research. Investing in a good SEO strategy for your business is no different, if you do your research you’ll be more satisfied that you made the right decision and that a good job has been done.

 

Ask Around

If you know anyone else who has a business, whether or not they are in a similar industry, why not ask them about who did their SEO? What did they like or dislike and what would they recommend?

 

Get In Touch

Find an Agency, or a few agencies, that you’d like to find out more about and get in touch! Talk about your goals and what you want to achieve and find out how they would approach the issue. Don’t expect specifics at this stage, a good agency will want to do a little research on your specific issue before giving you any solid feedback.

 

You should, however be able to get a sense of how they approach their work, if they are methodical or seem a bit slapdash. You’ll be able to get a sense of how knowledgeable they are about their industry, or whether they are just hoping for a quick sale. You’ll also get an insight into their personality and if you think they’re someone you’ll be able to work with.

 

Find Out What The Bigger Picture Is

SEO is not a “one stop marketing shop”, meaning that on its own it won’t solve all the problems with your online presence. If the SEO Agency is going to be tasked with revamping your site so that it’s better placed in the search engines, it could mean that more work is needed across the site in order to give you a better result. For example, if your website is old and outdated the technical structure you have just may not support a robust SEO strategy.

 

It might be that your website needs completely rebuilding in order to support your SEO campaign, if so, can the same agency do all the work, or will they want to outsource?

 

Experience

Whilst there are plenty of SEO Agencies around, not all of them are equal! It should go without saying that a good SEO Agency will be able to show you examples of how they have helped other clients achieve their goals. Be very wary of anyone who guarantees you a top ranking – this is almost impossible to guarantee through organic SEO, especially for competitive keywords.

 

There are also agencies that specialise in particular niches or industries, choosing someone who specialises in working with similar businesses to you can have an advantage that they are familiar with the key words and terms, or the disadvantage that they are already working for a competitor in your area. Always check whether or not they offer any exclusivity in their contracts.

 

How Do They Track And Prove Results?

One of the best things about online processes is that almost every aspect can be tracked and measured, this allows a great transparency to businesses who are relying on others, such as an SEO Agency, to complete work for them.

 

Find out how your chosen agency plans on tracking their progress against your goals. How will this be communicated to you? How often? What are their processes for ensuring goals are met, and do they adapt these without telling you?

 

The more you can understand about how your agency works, then the easier it will be for you to trust them to do the job.

 

Are You Ready For A Long Term Partnership?

Don’t ever think that SEO can be done once and the results will last forever. It is an ongoing exercise. Search engines constantly update their algorithms, your competitors constantly tweak their own websites and therefore if you want to stay current your SEO will always need to be worked on. Make sure that whoever you choose to work with you are happy with their style of working, as to get any real benefit you’ll probably have to work together for a minimum of 6 months. 

 

If you want to know more about our own SEO offering and the businesses we’re currently working with then get in touch! We’d love to hear from you! 

 

Why Your Competitor’s Website Outperforms Yours In Search And What You Can Do About It!

Why Your Competitor’s Website Outperforms Yours In Search And What You Can Do About It!

Have you ever seen a website doing really well in the search engines and wondered why? Read this and your competitor's website will never outperform yours in search again! |www.bigthinkingonline.com

Quite often we consult with business owners who are frustrated,

No, down-right angry, that after investing heavily on a new website design their main competition and even businesses that they feel they are far better than, outrank them in Google and subsequently gain the majority of new business.

 

Let’s clear something up from the outset. In most cases a new website means new images, new branding, more modern design. Nothing more.

 

And although those things might have an impact on user friendliness, which is a positive, it is not going to make your website shoot to the top of Google or other search engines for commercially viable keyword phrases that are important to your business.

 

“But My Competitor’s Website Looks Dreadful”

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. And just because on the surface it might not look great, or you personally wouldn’t choose to represent your business and brand that way, it does not mean that the website is low quality as it could be built with a sound architectural infrastructure, have a solid social media presence and a whole host of high quality back links that point back to the site, giving it authority and relevance in the eyes of the search engines.  

 

What Do Search Engines Look For In A Good Website?

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When talking about search engines, specifically in the UK, I mean Google. As according to Statista, Google has an 88.58% dominance for search in the UK.

 

Google uses several factors to decide on how relevant a page is for any given search term. In fact it is commonly believed that there are over 200 such factors which impact how well a website ranks (no one outside of Google can truly know how many there are and comment on their Intellectual Property) These include the number of relevant inbound links, the history of the domain your website sits on and whether a sitemap has been submitted to Google or not.

 

However, there are other factors that can contribute to the success of your website in search such as:

How Many Pages People Visit On Your Website

If your website is good the chances are that visitors to that website will find the content good enough that they want to read or learn more on the subject matter and you.

 

How Often You Update Your Content

In everyday life there are advancements in technology, business, health, welfare, popular culture as well as content on the internet. A web page that was relevant two years ago may not be relevant today. A website that has not been updated for a long time may provide less relevant results than a web site or page produced yesterday.

 

How Long Your Content Is 

Serpiq published research that showed that the average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 search results in Google has at least 2,000 words. And it is no surprise that the higher you go up the page, from 10 to 1, the more words they have.

 

Average_Content_Length_in_Words_for_Top_10_Pages_in_Google

 

In the graph above you can see that on average the top result in Google has over 2400 words. The research was conducted across a range of 20,000 keywords and the results suggest that Google favours long form content.

 

Take a look at your website, take a look at the key pages or sales pages and ask yourself does the content provide enough depth and build enough value to keep the user engaged and build trust?

 

How Can You Improve Your Website To Rank Higher In Search Engines?

  1. Use Keyword Phrases That Are Relevant To Your Business.

If you are an accountant. The keyword phrases “Accountant in “Your Town Name” is relevant and important for you to rank for.

 

However this is not the only term that potential clients will search for related to accountancy and therefore your website should contain information that anyone looking for an accountant would find helpful, such as:

  • Tax return dates
  • Budget updates
  • Information on how to perfect a financial statement
  • How to monitor depreciation of assets.

 

The more RELEVANT subject matter that a user can find in one site will increase the authority of your site.

 

Think about the terms your ideal client will enter into the search engines when they are looking for the results that your service can provide. Make a list of them and then make sure that there is content on your website that provides the answers they are looking for.

  1. Optimise That Content For Google

Optimise_your_Website_For_Google

 

In order for Google to fully understand what your website is about it needs to be labelled correctly.

 

There are specific areas on a web page that Google looks at first in order to quantify what your page is about and subsequently where it should index to best serve searchers.

 

These areas include:

  • Page Title
  • Heading
  • Sub headings
  • How Image are labelled – Alt tags
  • URL of the page

 

All of these elements of the page are considered by the search engines when indexing your content in the correct place so that your ideal visitor can find it. But remember that if your page is over optimised, in other words you are writing for the search engines and not for human consumption by using too many keywords, a term known as keyword stuffing, then you will be penalised.

  1. Internal Linking

Internal linking is about how and where you link a page or post to other content that is relevant within your website. The point being that the search engines want to provide the user with the best possible experience they can.

 

Continuing with the “Accountant” from earlier, it would be of benefit if you could then link to pages on your website containing information and references to business audits, financing options and tax optimisation strategies

 

By doing this you are providing greater detail for the user, which will help them make a judgement on your suitability to help them. The search engines will also appreciate this. This will result on the user spending a greater time on your website by visiting more pages , which as I mentioned earlier is a factor that Google uses to rank your site.

  1. Write GREAT Content That Attracts Inbound Links.

If you want to rank higher in Google you have to Write Great Content

 

An inbound link is where another web site owner provides a contextual hyperlink back to your content from their site.

 

Google and the other search engines rely highly on other people linking to your website in order for them to establish how popular your website is. The more popular the website, the higher your return in the search results.

 

The goal here is to create highly valuable, unique content that people want to talk about and share.

 

The more people that link back to your site signifies to the search engines the popularity and value of the piece of content.

 

The more people with authority on that subject matter that link back and share the better.

 

For example an educational body that provides accountancy qualifications providing a link to a local accountant is more valuable than a backlink from Julie’s cake bake.

 

The quality and relevance of inbound links is often more important than quantity.

  1. Have A Social Media Plan

Social signals such as being liked tweeted or +1’d indicate to search engines that your website and content is popular.

 

That is why you need to have a social media plan that includes identifying which social channels your customers frequent, tracking social conversations, trending topics, managing your online reputation and developing and sharing optimised content.

 

By ensuring you can easily create and post relevant content to social channels on a regular basis, you will not only improve your search rankings, but reach more potential customers when your content is linked to, liked, or shared.

 

Search engine optimisation techniques are constantly changing. What doesn’t change, and in fact becomes more prominent, is the fact that if you invest the time creating quality content that has value with the readers on a regular basis you will be able to improve SEO and find your site and pages getting top search engine rankings, driving more clicks and ultimately converting to a higher number of sales.

  1. Cater For Mobile.

  2. 37F02BDB97

 

For the past few years Google has made it abundantly clear that they have been working towards making their search engine more mobile friendly.

 

In February 2015 Google made this statement on their webmasters blog;

“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. Today, we’re announcing two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:

1. More mobile-friendly websites in search results
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

 

What does that mean?

Well quite simply that Google will provide mobile users with mobile responsive web pages first. And this makes complete sense.

 

If you are on a mobile searching Google and they provide you with a website that you cannot read or whose buttons you cannot click because they are too small, then chances are you will go to another site. Over time if you continue to get presented these sites that leave you frustrated and unable to use you may choose to move to another search engine that provides better results.

 

Google wants to provide the user with the best possible search results, coupled that with the fact that in the UK the Smartphone has become the most important way for people to get online. Therefore, how your site ranks will also depend on whether it caters to a mobile audience.

 

Search engine optimisation is a constantly evolving landscape. What works today may not necessarily have the same effect tomorrow and that it is why SEO is an important part of any online marketing plan.

 

To make sure that your site out performs your competitors in search and not the other way around then you need to be producing quality content on a regular basis that is relevant and builds you and your brand to be the authority in your niche.

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A website’s performance rises or falls depending on the implementation of the factors discussed in this article, but there are also many more.

 

This Leaves You With Three Options To Improve The Status Quo:

  • Option1: Do It Yourself
  • Option 2: Task an employee to take charge of it.
  • Option 3: Employ a professional to do it.

 

Do you want to spend the time writing a two thousand word post, optimise that post for search engines, spend hours marketing that post on social media sites, emailing it to your list of subscribers or clients, looking for relevant sites that may be interested in sharing or linking to your content? Not many business owners have the time or the inclination to do that.

 

And that is why those select few businesses that choose to either invest the time or invest in the services of a professional search engine optimisation consultant will stand a far greater chance of gracing the top spots of the search engines for commercially viable keyword terms.

 

So next time you look at a competitor’s website that ranks above yours in Google and you consider it ugly, there might be a lot more time and investment gone into gaining those search engine results than meets the eye.

 

If you want to know more about building a website that works for you then download our FREE Blueprint!

Click here to turn your website into a client generating powerhouse

7 Ways To Use The Internet for Marketing

7 Ways To Use The Internet for Marketing

7 Ways To Use The Internet for Marketing | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Trying to Determine the Best Way

To market your business online can be overwhelming. It seems there are countless different ways to attract peoples’ attention, but unless you know how to execute any of them properly then standing out online can be virtually impossible. In this blog I’ll show you  seven ways you can break down your Internet marketing so that you can try and determine more clearly which avenues may suit you the best.

 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

 

If you have your own products but aren’t great at sales, affiliate marketing is a great way to get other people to do your selling for you without employing a single person. Take a look at sites such as Click Bank, Commission Junction and Epic Advertising to see what other people are selling as affiliate products, and get a sense of if there is a good market for your product.

This works the other way too – so if you’re desperate to get selling online but don’t have anything to sell you can sign up as an affiliate for other brands and receive a commission for everything you sell.

 

Pay Per Click

Pay per click (PPC), is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay when the ad is clicked.

 

PPC is an excellent way to get your advert seen by people, and because you only pay for those who actually click your link it means that you can be reasonably sure that you are only paying for people who are interested in what you have. Tools such as Google Adwords allow you to research relevant keywords to make sure that you are choosing terms that people are searching. A good rule of thumb is that longer keyword phrases allow better targeting and therefore cheaper clicks.

 

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the Deliberate Organisation of your website so it shows up in the search engine results.

 

There are a lot of so –called SEO experts around who will promise to get your business to the top of the search engines. Whilst SEO does make this possible, there is usually a lot more to it and if you want your business to rank for a highly competitive term it’s unlikely that you will find yourself in the number one position overnight. Search Engines employ some of the smartest computer scientists in the world and they don’t want to be tricked! For this reason it’s far better to take a quality approach to SEO.

 

Create content that is relevant to keywords and phrases that your customers use, again, you can check Google Adwords to see how many people use certain phrases to make sure they’ll benefit you. It’s also important to get other sites to link to you to show that people appreciate your content and want to share it. Good SEO is an ongoing job but will come into its own in the long run when high quality visitors start to find your site.

 

Video Marketing

Video is one of the fastest growing areas of online marketing. Not only is it popular with people who prefer watching to reading, it allows you enormous flexibility to present your business in a way that just isn’t possible through words alone. YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google, and it’s free to host your videos there as well as many other video sites. Facebook now also encourages videos to be uploaded directly to your timeline there so that they play automatically in your followers’ news feeds.

 

The possibilities of using video are really quite extraordinary and a lot can be achieved without investing in expensive equipment, making it easily accessible even for small businesses.  

 

Social Media Marketing

One of the huge advantages to Social Media Marketing is that if is free to use even for business accounts, meaning you can put your business in front of its ideal customers who spend their time on social media over and above anything else. Most social media platforms also allow some level of paid advertising so that you can reach even more potential customers, often for a far lower cost than through other forms of online advertising such as PPC.

 

For many, the main cost of Social Media Marketing is the time it takes, as the whole point of the platform is to be social rather than to sell. In fact, most social media users are averse to advertising, what they want is a one-to-one relationship. Business that do well on social media do well because they are social. Links, photographs, video and blog posts all do well to help build your relationships, they also help you build credibility and expertise so that when people are ready to buy they will remember your business because they have been gently reminded of your name every time they’ve seen or liked a link on Social Media.

 

Content Marketing

Content is the word used to describe the articles, posts, videos, images and anything else that makes up the substance of your web page.

 

Websites rich in content are seen as trustable, the more you have to say on a subject, the more you must know about it, therefore you can show yourself to be an authority or an expert. If you have a website for your business, you should have a blog section there that you update regularly. Look for ways that you can use the content of your website or blog to market your business so that when people read your page you are giving them something they want – knowledge – and subtly pointing out that you can offer them more.

 

Look for ways to get your content in front of as many people as possible, because the more who see it and visit your site, the more it increases the chances of your content being shared and seen by even more people. Good content will also help with your SEO. If you’re not sure where to start with sharing your content, try some of the popular submission sites such as e-zine, Business2Community or look for something similar that serves your particular niche.

 

Online Advertising

This term includes other types of online advert that you see, such as Banner Ads and Text links Many of these fall under a PPC category, but istead of being on search engines they’re on other websites. One of the best things about online adverts is that if something works, you can quickly scale it up to a bigger audience. If it doesn’t work you can tweak it or turn it off.

 

Typically though, you’ll need to be prepared to do persistent testing and constant optimisation to get it right and as there is no such thing as a test environment, you could be throwing your own money away on adverts that don’t hit the spot with your audience. Unless you are confident with what you are doing it’s usually best to try out other, simpler avenues first before you transfer your learnings to the wider world of online ads.

 

In conclusion, you might find it best to choose one or two channels of internet marketing and master them first before you move on to the next. If you’re a complete beginner, Social Media, Video Marketing and blogs are a great introduction and most forgiving to mistakes. They also provide a great learning curve in the form of user feedback and comments – great for asking questions to your audience and getting a direct response.

 

A huge benefit to internet marketing is that you can track everything – and you should. If you analyze what you are doing you will know where you are getting your best returns so that you can put more effort into that area and increase the return even more. The first rule of marketing is knowing your numbers!

 

No-one gets their marketing strategy right first time, or second or third. Keep going, keep tracking your progress and don’t expect perfection.

 

If you’re still figuring out where to start, or if you are revamping your online presence, then why not have a read through our free report – Websites that sell. You can sign up and Download it here!

Power your business with a website that sells

Protect Your Online Assets – Even if You Don’t Think You Have Any!

Protect Your Online Assets – Even if You Don’t Think You Have Any!

Protect your online Assets – Even if You Don’t Think You Have Any!

protect your online assets - life ringWe’ve said it many times before, but a website really is a non-negotiable part of doing business. I spoke to a prospect earlier today who said that he doesn’t do any marketing, online or otherwise. Yet this same prospect had a website, has local directory listings and has clients leaving opinions of his services online, Google even brought up a newspaper article from last month that mentions his name and business directly. All of this was (except for his basic website that has been in place and unchanged for years) was without his knowledge and out of his control.

It’s never been easier for potential customers to find out what others think of your business. Likewise, it’s never been easier for existing customers to leave their opinions of you, good or bad, very publically and without contacting you to let you know.

Even if you are like the prospect that I spoke to earlier and don’t wish to actively market your business online there are steps you should be taking to protect your online interests that shouldn’t take you too much time, but will ensure that you are protecting your assets to a certain extent.

Claim your Google+ Local Listing.

Every business in the world has a Google + Local page or they can claim one. The vast majority of businesses haven’t done anything with theirs as they haven’t even realised it’s there to be claimed. If you claim your Google + Local page you can give yourself an advantage when potential clients are searching for businesses like yours in your local area because Google wants to offer its own results over and above anything else. An optimised Google + Local page will also help when people search directly on your business name, because Google will recognise this as another citation of your business being valid.

Claim your local directory sites.

customer reviews - yellSites such as Yell, Thomsonlocal and Yelp are like the evolved version of the old phonebooks. They list business contact details, addresses and usually a brief description. This information will most likely have been auto filled from your website, but won’t necessarily have been refreshed even if your website information has been. These local directory sites hold a large amount of credibility with search engines who recognise them as a valid source of information. Many local directory sites have been online since the early days of the internet, which adds into their trust factor as far as the search engines are concerned. If you claim your business listing in an online directory you are given the opportunity to add additional information, for example pictures, offers, or even just give more accurate detail about what you do.

Set up Social Media sites in your business name.

You may have no desire to represent your business on Social Media, but the fact is that millions of people do use it, and you may have customers or potential customers looking for you on there. The worst thing that could happen is that someone else could set up a page using your business name and pretending to be you. Ensure this doesn’t happen by setting yourself up, and if you don’t want to use the sites leave a message clearly stating the best ways to get in touch with you. Once you’ve set the sites up, set up email notifications for if anyone does write on your wall or send you a tweet just so nothing slips through the cracks.

Make sure your Business Name, Address and Postcode are correct.

Each business has a unique Name, Address and postcode (NAP) and Search Engines use this information to ensure that information they return is about the same business, not another business with the same name. If you have moved premises you’re likely to remember to update your stationary and forward your post, but you also need to make sure that you update your address details with all local directories, Google and on your own website so that online searchers can find you too. It’s also important to keep all citations of your name and address the same, for example if your building number is 24-26 High Street, some people may just list it as 24, or 26. Whilst a postman would hopefully understand and deliver your mail, a search engine would see these as different things and therefore not give you the same credibility in the search results.

Encourage Positive Reviews

local seo - excellent customer service

It’s an unfortunate fact that people are more likely to complain than they are to praise. Your business may have had hundreds of satisfied clients over the years, and you may even have a box full of glowing testimonials, but it only takes one dissatisfied client to vent their frustration publically online to ruin your online reputation. Whilst the obvious solution is to always provide excellent customer care, there’s always going to be an occasional slip. If you already have dozens of happy customers talking about you online then one bad review will be a drop in the ocean. If you have no positive reviews then the bad one is all that anyone can see. Take pre-emptive action by encouraging everyone you deal with to leave a positive review of your business online. If you’ve followed the advice above and claimed your local directory listings then you can even ask people to go to a specific site to leave their reviews. We set up private review portals for our clients to make sure reviews can be captured and posted as easily as possible.

Not every business wants to actively manage their online profile, but it is important to have some kind of system or process in place as even if you aren’t interested in being online, I can guarantee people will already be talking about you and your business on the internet.

To find out how you could make it easier for clients to share their great reviews about your business online click here!

How Do I Remove a Page From Google?

How Do I Remove a Page From Google?

How Do I Remove a Page From Google?

As a business owner, when somebody publishes something online about your business which casts your business in a negative light for everyone to see it can be quite distressing. Especially if that page talks about an unhappy experience received by a past client. For most people, the first thing that comes to mind is, “I want this page removed from Google!” and that leads to the question, “How can we get this page removed from Google?”

Contrary to popular belief Google does not own the internet, so when you search using Google you are not searching the whole internet you are searching Google’s stored version of the internet. Therefore even if Google does remove the page from its index then it will still be publically available from other search engines, social media sites or other links that people may have saved elsewhere.

3 Tips on Removing a Web page From Google!

1. Contact the person who wrote the negative piece and ask them to remove it.

If the negative comment is in the form of a review on a local business directory site or a review site then you could reach out to the person who left the review and try understanding exactly what their issue is and more importantly what you, as a business can do to make it better. Quite often people leave negative comments and reviews out of sheer frustration. If you or someone from within your business can reach out to that person and take ownership of the situation then work toward a resolution, that person may be willing to remove their review. You may even get the reviewer to edit the review to reflect the way the situation was handled, how they are now a satisfied client and they would recommend you.

In some cases this may not be possible, the reviewer may have chosen to remain anonymous or there may be action for recourse. If this is the case then you may want to look at the next option.

2. Contact the website owner

If the reviewer refuses to remove or edit their comments then your next step will be to contact the website owner and ask them if they will remove the content.

If the contact details of the website owner are not available then you can use the whois utility. to look up information on domain names.  This includes contact information as well as some technical information such as the domain’s name servers (DNS), to try to uncover details such as the web host and contact them putting forward the reasons why you would like the content removed.

Again this might prove tricky as many website owners are reluctant to move content, especially if the content is true and is supported.

Another reason why this approach may prove counterproductive is that the website owner may publish your request to remove the content. This will mean something that could have been years old will now get fresh content added to it which will increase the relevancy of the content in the eyes of the search engines.

3. Be proactive with your reputation.

Clients and consumers have more and more ways to publish their experiences about your business online. Whether you agree with that or support that it doesn’t matter because that is fact. It is not difficult for a consumer to open a web browser on their phone, sign on to Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and tell everyone they know and the entire internet about your business. It happens each and every day to businesses up and down the country. So rather than sitting back, thinking that everything is hunky dory and waiting for a disgruntled client to talk about your business online and then go into fire fighting mode – “How can I get this page removed from Google?” “Can I sue this person?” – be proactive about your online presence.

The more information you provide the search engines that is relevant about your business the better. Why? Because when someone says something negative then the searching public, your prospective customers and your existing business partners know that the comment is out of character and will simply dismiss it as a one off, especially when they can see all the great work that you do.

Testimonials for satisfied customers, news about the charity work you are doing, stories about new employees, business growth, accreditations; all of this information can be provided to the search engines and if other searchers find it relevant they will like it, comment on it and share it so the search engines will pick up on the relevance and include the results when people search on your business name.

One negative comment, review or web page among 10, 20 or 50 positive stories won’t be something to worry about; it will simply show your business for who you really are. The sooner you start to think proactively about your online reputation and less from a defensive stand point the greater position you will be in when the negative review turns up and the question “How do I remove this page from Google?” may not even need to cross your lips!

7 Ways To Get People To Visit Your Business Website

7 Ways To Get People To Visit Your Business Website

7 Ways To Get People To Visit Your Business Website

Getting a new website is an exciting time for any business, but that joy can soon be overshadowed when you find out that visiting numbers are small and conversions are few and far between. In this post we highlight several methods that you can employ to ensure that your website is a hot bed of activity!

Short, Snappy and to the Point!

business website - get to the point

If you plan to use your website as key tool in your sales cycle, providing valuable information, giving potential clients the opportunity to learn more about you and the way you do business, or quite simply to buy your services and products then you need to make sure that the name of your website or your domain name is memorable. If your domain name is overly complicated or difficult to spell then you may find that a large percentage of potential clients go somewhere else.

Go Offline to Drive Online

business website - man delivering post

The purpose of a website is to attract business from the hundreds of millions of users that are already online so why would you want to advertise offline? Because dependent on your target demographic there may be a large percentage of your market that still prefer, read and react to offline advertisements.

Advertise in your local newspaper, send out a press release about your new site to the local newspaper or a trade magazine, or place an advert on the local radio station with a strong call to action directing the reader back to your website.

Notify Your Existing Client Base.

business website

Your Business website is a not just a tool for lead generation. It is also a valuable resource for informing existing and past clients about your business, providing useful information about the services they receive and valuable resources on how to get the best out of your services. It can also be used for informing clients how and where they can contact you if and when a problem arises, outlining the process and procedures that are in place for them to follow to reach resolution in a shorter time scale. This is important in aiding the customer and reducing the impact on your customer care department.

Send an email or a series of emails to your existing database, or invest in a mailing list so you can inform those that have showed interest in the past, or people who fit your targeted demographic, about your website. Make sure that you follow the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations:

  • Have the person’s permission to send the email
  • Provide a means for the recipient to unsubscribe from future mailings.

Email should be an integral part of your marketing campaign, as such there should always be a method for new visitors of your website to sign up to your mailing list to learn more about your business. A good way to incentivise this is to provide a free giveaway; this could be a series of videos, a report or an eBook that would be of value to your potential clients and in the process help highlight your expertise in your field.

Market using the Search Engines

business website

You can use a service such as Google Adwords to pay for a short advert that provides a link back to your website in the Google search results when somebody searches for keywords and phrases related to your business and or niche. You only pay for this service when an interested party clicks on that link and visits your website.

Search engine marketing can send a lot of traffic to your website in a short amount of time and therefore it is very important to have a plan in place as to how you deal with those visitors when they arrive on your site. Consider the following to improve your conversion rate of visitors to leads:

Select the right keywords or phrases

  1. Use targeted ad text
  2. Provide a call to action in the ad
  3. Send the users to a specific landing page.
  4. Provide a free giveaway to gain access to the users email address.
  5. Make it extremely easy for the user to contact you or leave their details.

To learn more about Pay Per Click Advertising click here!

Optimise your website for search engines.

business website

Search engine optimisation is where you optimise the content on your website to appear higher up in the natural search engine results. The net effect is similar to search engine marketing; effectively your business website gets the vast majority of clicks from people searching for your keywords or phrases.

The main difference being that with search engine optimisation you do not pay for each click as your website is deemed a trusted authority for the keyword term and the clicks and visitors are free. This means you can benefit from search traffic without worrying about daily costs per click advertising budgets.

Although this may seem a far more sensible option than Pay per click advertising it can often take months of hard work and investment to get your website to be deemed as the authority.  And, as is the case in business there is always a new website or a new business that is looking to challenge and take your place; search engine optimisation is not a set and forget strategy! It requires constant work in order to maintain and improve.

Get Social

business websiteSocial media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are great ways for your business to connect with your target audience and build an enthused community of people that share in the interests of your business.

Social media is also a great way to disseminate messages to your existing customer bases and share great news stories and of course fun events that make people smile and share with their friends and family.

Make sure that you have a plan for your social media campaign because although social media is a free resource, the time needed to develop and maintain interests on social media can be a significant drain on resources.

Ask Your Clients to Tell A friend


business website

Encourage your happy clients to share their great experiences of your business to their family and friends, ask your happy clients to share their experiences by leaving reviews and testimonials of your business and then use these positive endorsements to attract more targeted clients to your website.

Your existing customers are the best advocates for your business or your brand so encourage them to share your website with people that they know. Word of mouth marketing is one of the best marketing sources on the planet!

A Content Marketing Strategy Founded on Quality!

A Content Marketing Strategy Founded on Quality!

A Content Marketing Strategy Founded on Quality!

content marketing strategyUseful, up to date content is one of the most powerful ingredients of a good website and should be at the very heart of any content marketing strategy. Much has been written, both by us and by countless others about the value of content marketing as it gives you the power to engage with your audience round the clock, it lets new customers find you and get to know you before you even speak to them and through sharing and social media it can allow word of mouth to spread like wildfire.

However, there is no point in churning out content for the sake of it. While posting a huge bulk of content on a regular basis may help you be found by search engine users in the short term, in the long term it won’t win you any fans if the quality is low. In addition, search engines will soon realise that readers aren’t staying on your page for long enough to prove your content is useful and will penalise you by dropping you down the rankings.

So how do you ensure that the content you post is always top quality? Take a look at these quality content marketing tips:

Do you add value to your topic?

Before starting any content piece, whether it’s video, blog, infographic or anything else, make sure that it is a subject that will be interesting to your readers. Make sure that the topic or subject matter is in line with what you usually deliver, that it adds something thought provoking or helpful and that there is information that you can provide that is worth sharing. Check similar topics from other blogs and websites and compare your content to theirs. Can you add more value that your competitor?

Check and Edit Every Page

Be diligent about editing. Check for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies and typing mistakes. It’s sometimes easier to have another person cast a critical eye over your work before you publish, but at the very least always run spell check. We always check our posts before they go out and even so errors can still slip through the cracks. Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes, just correct them and move on!

Create Authorship

Include a brief Author biography at the foot of every page. This helps with reader recognition as they’ll come to recognise you and know to search for you and your work. It also shows off your credibility and expertise in your specialist subject. You can also link content you publish on a certain domain (for example your blog) to your Google+ page, which will again help you with your search engine optimisation campaign.

Always be Original

Make sure every piece of content you publish is unique to you. Although you can by all means publish other peoples work every so often (with their permission of course!) the search engines love new, unique content more than anything else. If you’re stuck for ideas of what to publish take a look at these 25 blog ideas for professional services firms as inspiration!

Become a Recognised Authority

content marketing strategy

If you are seen as an expert in your field then you will be searched for more often, your work will be found more easily and you’ll reap the benefits. One of the best ways to be seen as an expert is by publishing lots of top quality content. Try posting your work on industry sites, writing a guest post for someone else, giving opinion pieces that you can link back to or issuing press releases if you have something newsworthy to say. We often post on sites such as Social Media Today and Business 2 Community amongst others.

Be Self Critical

By this I don’t just mean with regard to the editing process. I mean take a long hard look at your work before you publish it and ask yourself if it is something that you would be happy to share, bookmark, recommend to others and to have your name on it? If you hadn’t created this piece, would you be happy to share it? If not why not? You have to be able to see your work through others’ eyes, and if you aren’t happy then make the necessary changes before you ask other people to share it.

Avoid Repetition

In any industry there is a finite amount of material to write about. We find that certain topics on our blog are far more popular than others. Likewise, there are certain subjects that are easier to write about than others and some subjects that I struggle to write at all. Combine this with trying to produce new material every day and you soon find that your subjects will start to overlap. Overlapping subjects is fine, as long as you’re following the advice above and adding value with every new piece. Try also setting a limit on only writing about a certain subject once a fortnight or once a month so your readers aren’t constantly getting the exact same information.

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Search Engine Marketing

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Search Engine Marketing

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Search Engine Marketing?

Despite their being many benefits to search engine marketing is important to remember that it is not risk free. In fact, get it wrong and you stand to lose a lot of money in a short amount of time. Like every other form of business marketing Search engine marketing (SEM) requires careful planning, skilled execution and constant vigilance. Make sure you are not committing these 5 simple search engine marketing mistakes.

1. You Are Not Clear about Your Objectives!

Search engine marketing is a form of advertising, but it is very different from all other advertising that you may have done in the past. Crucially it is not just about creating brands it is about generating targeted leads.

search engine marketing

So begin with a clear understanding of how SEM will fit into your overall marketing mix and how many leads you want it to generate for you. But remember be realistic saying you want one hundred leads from ten pounds of advertising is unrealistic. Work out your average cost per lead and use this as your starting point. You can them come back and refine this figure, but it is always good to have a starting point.

2.You don’t have a suitable landing environment!

There is little point sending visitors to your website if those visitors don’t like what they find there. If you are advertising for conveyancing in Manchester, sending the visitor to a PPI claims web site is misleading and will result in the visitor clicking straight out because the web page is not relevant.

search engine marketing

If you are looking to increase conversion rate, and with pay per click advertising that is what you should be doing, you should think about building a specific landing page for each campaign, or service that you are advertising. People searching for Conveyancing see a page dedicated to conveyancing. People searching for accident claims seeing a page specifically for accident claims. Sending people directly to the home page of your website, unless this is well optimised for conversions can also reduce your conversion rate.

3. You are not getting your words right.

Bid on the right words and phrases and the right people will visit your site. It sounds really simple but the success of your search engine marketing campaign hinges on you getting it exactly right. You need to know exactly who you want to attract to your site, what words they will use to find your site and how to advertise on these specific words or phrases at the right price.

Are your target customers searching for a conveyancing solicitor in Manchester or house sale solicitors? There is a big difference, both mean the same thing but have different amounts of people searching, have a different cost and will convert at differing levels.

Always try to think what people are searching for if you don’t know ask your existing client base what they would search for if they were looking for your business or services in a search engine.

4. Your Ads are not Click worthy

Why oh why would your targeted customer want to click on your advert? What is in it for them? Yes it might be relevant to what they are searching for but what about the other 9 adverts on the page, all the organic listings, the map and Google plus local listings? What makes your advert stand out above all the others?

The whole point of pay per click marketing is to get people to click. If you are not receiving clicks then people will not be seeing your landing page and not be introduced to your products or services. Make you adverts enticing, engaging, and accurate and give a clear call to action.

5. You are not Tracking your results.

And when I say tracking I mean testing, tracking and then enhancing. With SEM you get almost real time information surrounding your campaign. That means you have the opportunity to make changes depending on the reception your adverts are receiving.

Forget traditional marketing where you but an advert for a set amount of time then see the results. The results are there for you to see and adapt so harness that astonishing capability to improve clicks, conversions and results.

If you have accidentally included a keyword that is a brand name or has another meaning which you knew nothing about and it is suddenly receiving hundreds of non relevant clicks then you can omit that keyword from your campaign before it does any lasting damage.

Search engine marketing is an incredibly powerful way to attract targeted visitors to your online presence and managed the right way can provide a large portion of your qualified visitors, leads and sales , so do your homework and make sure that you  get the best possible return on investment.