4 Important Reasons to Optimise your Website

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For anyone who is building a new website for their business, it is essential that you optimise it for search engines – so that Google, Yahoo and Bing can see your site. This is a practice called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

SEO is vital for anyone who has a website. If done well you will begin to see results in how high your website appears on the search engine results page. For example, a really well known and well optimised site such as Facebook or BBC will sit at the top of the search engine results page whereas a website which has not been optimised will sit far down the list, not ranking even in the first few pages!

So why is it important to optimise your website?

  1. Increases Visitor Traffic

The one main reason to include SEO in your marketing programme is that it will, if done correctly, inevitably increase traffic to your website. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, studies have shown that the top result on search engine results pages gain 33% of the traffic, compared to 18% for the second position and a further decrease from there.

You don’t have to be a genius to understand why being higher up the search rankings will improve traffic. If your site is the first site that people see they are more likely to click through to your site. This does not guarantee that people will click through to your site but it gives you a great advantage over other, competing websites.

  1. Increases Your Website Conversions

A conversion is the completion of a desired action that occurs on your website. For example, for an Ecommerce site the conversion would be the visitor selecting an item and purchasing it. Because more people are seeing your site and clicking through into it, it makes sense that conversions will increase.

But remember, employing SEO tactics can increase the likelihood of conversions but it does not guarantee it. If the website is poorly laid out and the purchase procedure is unclear, then you are unlikely to gain conversions. There are some tactics that can help to convert traffic into sales, for example making it easy for customers to purchase is a sure fire way to help increase conversions. This is because if the website is laid out cleanly and it is clear where the customer has to click in order to purchase then they are more likely to convert.

  1. Make it easy for Mobile Users

Modifying your website so it is easy for users on a mobile device to navigate and use is an important step in the SEO process. It has been said that one quarter of global web searches are conducted on a mobile device which now means that mobile versions of websites are just as important, perhaps even more so as the trend for browsing on smart phones increases. Research has shown that over 50% of mobile visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than three seconds to load. This all points to the fact that marketers must optimise their websites for mobile platforms as to ignore this means neglecting a major portion of the global web user base.

As if all this wasn’t reason enough, Google has warned website owners that they see mobile as the future of search and if websites are not optimised for mobile devices their search ranking will be negatively affected.

  1. Your Competitors are Doing it

Even if you are optimising your site, you can guarantee that your competition is! So if you are not constantly changing and updating your website for SEO then you are losing ground to a competing website who will be. If you are already doing well, it is important you don’t make the simple mistake of ignoring SEO. Your competition won’t ignore it and  eventually they will leapfrog your rankings. Ignoring SEO means you will see your website slip down the search engine results pages meaning you can wave goodbye to new business leads!

We Build Websites are happy to conduct a website critique and evaluate your SEO, giving you some pointers as to how you can best optimise your website. Enquire here about this service.

Social Media Perils

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Social media can be a great tool for businesses to use in order to interact with their customer base, to advertise and to conduct research. But for all the good it can achieve it can also go horribly wrong and undermine years of hard work.

Below are a few examples of social media backfiring for companies often in quite a light hearted fashion but all with some consequence to the image of the brand.

You may have seen some of these before whilst browsing the internet but it is always good to be reminded about the perils of social media!

Q&A Sessions

Many celebrities and brands alike have conducted question and answer sessions on Twitter. Whilst this can be a great tool to interact with customers in a friendly way and answer some of their burning issues, it also has the potential to go wrong.

We have seen many examples of question and answer sessions being ‘hijacked’ by internet users in order to troll or take the mickey out of the person or celebrity in question.

For example, the footballer Steven Gerrard held a Q&A session which quickly got hijacked by rival fans to direct tweets at him, some light hearted and some downright insulting! To rub salt into the wound, one user simply asked ‘you sorry you started this now?’.

McDonald’s however is an example of a Twitter question and answer session done well. They encouraged their customers to direct questions at them so they could answer them and dispel some rumours. Instead of keeping this on Twitter, they created a brand new website which hosted all the sensible questions and allowed McDonald’s to effectively communicate with their customers. Well played!

Who has Access to your Social Media Administration? – HMV 

The retail chain HMV had to make redundancies back in 2013 which did not sit well with their employees. In fact, to express their displeasure, some employees took over the company’s official Twitter account to post ‘live updates’ about the events.

Tweets such as ‘There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution of loyal employees  who love the brand #hmvXFactorFiring’. This, of course proved greatly embarrassing for the HMV brand and serves to remind managers to know who has the passwords for the accounts in case of situations like this.

Don’t be a Robot – American Airlines

It can be tempting to use auto replies on social media, especially for large companies who get many tweets directed at them each day. But sometimes it can pay to take the time and respond to people with real replies rather than pre written ones.

An example of this in practice is a famous blunder by the American Airlines brand. American Airlines had just completed a merger with US Airways and one not so impressed customer tweeted them an expletive ridden tweet with his thoughts on the merger. American Airlines had clearly employed the use of automatic responses to tweets mentioning their name which thanked the user for his support and looked forward to a bright future. This obviously caused some embarrassment to the company and they quickly deleted the tweet.

This just shows the importance of employing a real person to handle social media issues who can post appropriately on the company’s behalf rather than risking the embarrassment of the auto-tweet!

Be Tactful – Bing

There are a few examples of companies jumping on bandwagons to promote their brand which is fine in theory but some have taken this one step too far in the eyes of the public.

Take, the search engine Bing as a textbook example. During the time of the Japan earthquake in 2011 Bing launched a Twitter campaign to donate $1 to the appeal for every retweet the tweet gained. This may seem like a charitable act but he company to donate to an emergency situation but the users of Twitter did not see it this way.

The tweet was perceived by many to be jumping on a situation of human suffering in order to promote their brand which caused widespread anger at the brand and spawned its own hashtag attacking Bing.

Bing then tried to make amends by issuing an apology but spawned more displeasure amongst users as their apology wasn’t actually much of an apology rather a statement expressing their regret that the tweet was negatively perceived.

This one is bound to stand the test of time as a classic example of a social media faux pas.

Check your Hashtag! – Susan Boyle

And finally, one for the dirty minds! Susan Boyle’s publicity team used the hashtag #susanalbumparty to promote her new album launch back in 2012. Susan album party seems like a perfectly appropriate hashtag for this event, but if your sense of humour is of a certain persuasion you may have noticed what is wrong with it!

Genuine mistake or genius ploy to generate more interest in the album launch? We’ll let you decide!

A day with Seth Godin

The hashtag #SethinLondon was trending on Tuesday as the man behind the blog was in London for one day only. During a five hour long question and answer session he offered his personal ideas on the world of marketing and beyond.

Seth talks with an air of great confidence with an almost textbook answer for any question thrown at him, you can tell he has done this before!

From the many questions and points raised by Seth, there were two that stood out above the others which any business of any size can use to rise above their competitors.

Do not be afraid of failing

The idea that Seth started with in his opening gambit was to not be afraid to fail. He believes that it is better to have many ideas and then to focus down on to one than to have only a handful of ideas. As he told us ‘rather than look for good ideas, focus on generating lots of bad ideas and some good ones will find their way in’ which harks back to the good old trial and error method where we only find out what works for us by trialling and testing it.

Take, for example, Seth’s own blog as a manifestation of this mantra. He told us at the seminar that each day he writes around 15 blog posts of which 11 he discards, 3 he types up and one is published. This reinforces the idea that you can come up with multiple ideas before you have a good one and that any idea is a bad idea until it is a good one. If it is true for Seth, it is true for us!

Find Your Niche

The second main point that was to be taken from the seminar was that for businesses, however large or small, it is vital to find a niche. Seth has always been critical of the idea of mass marketing, i.e. targeting your product or service to the largest possible number of people. Instead he advocates focusing on the smallest number of people possible that you are able to change which will enable you to then slowly access larger numbers of groups.

By this he means that it is much easier to change the behaviours and attitudes of individuals one by one or in small groups and then give them the courage and ammunition to spread the word and become evangelical. This is what Seth calls the layering affect where as you access one group and change their behaviours or attitudes to your product or service they will provide you with access to the next group (or layer) of potential customers. It is all about starting out small and working your way through layers of customers. He also said not to worry if you choose the wrong group of people to start with as ‘if people don’t get it, it is not for them’ which again takes us back to the aspect of not being afraid to make mistakes.

Seth gave us the example of Airbnb as a company who made it through using this layering affect. The company started out by reaching out to a small group of American ‘hipsters’ who needed a place to crash, effectively making it a couch surfing site. This small group of people used it and told others about it which allowed more people to be exposed to it which eventually made it the biggest hotel chain in the world.

In conclusion, Seth observes that for most start ups ‘scale must be as small as you can make it’ so our main thought taken from the seminar was; ‘to target the smallest number of people that will enable you to get to the next group of people’. A lesson we can surely all take on board.

The reason We Build Websites ever got off the ground

What do you mean?
Hidden extras on website build

As autumn begins to loom on the horizon and as today is the 2nd of the month, this seems a sensible time to update you on our news. You might notice that We Build Websites has had a modest facelift. This was brought about in part by the theory that ‘in marketing there isn’t just one solution’.  The good practice, that you propose a strategy, test a theory, analyse results and then tweak the strategy is a good habit to get into.  Let me explain:

The idea behind We Build Websites came from receiving many requests for advice. People would ask me for my opinion regarding their website and how it should look, and was there a way of having an online presence that would keep it in their budget? The truth is, yes, there are many affordable ways of having an online presence. If you are tech savvy – even vaguely so – you can probably pick one of the self-build options online and get started with your online website.

The result of these conversations sparked the formation of the company We Build Websites Ltd. What I wanted to avoid was all the ‘extras’ that keep getting added to the, so-called, ‘free’ website builders. You can have one page, but you get charged extra for new pages; a contact form; a gallery page and there is an additional charge if you don’t want advertising on your site or if you want your website on your own domain.

And the idea? To offer websites, professionally designed for you (rather than a DIY template) with a super easy editing function. Thus, all the technophobes and the busy people (who don’t have time to mess about) have an accessible website platform that can be updated easily and simply for a small monthly fee. The hard work is taken out of the process. You tell us what you’d like to end up with and we do the hard work. A website is designed, put online for you to add photographs and words.

We Build Websites Ltd, doesn’t only offer the simple starter-website package. In fact, most of the projects we undertake are bespoke websites. These sites have a more complicated Content Management System. This enables our customer to be in control of things like the management of a customer database or sales-lead tracker, Event booking, online shops (eCommerce) and Bookkeeping systems.

But for now, our entry-level websites offer an honest well-priced website solution. It looks good on a mobile device as well as a desktop screen and there is help when you need it for all you people who haven’t got the time to do-it-yourself. And we offer a money-back guarantee on our websites.

If any of you reading this are interested in the #smallbusinesswebsites offering you can find more information Introductory Offer.  If you are seeking a more advanced option then get in touch with me, we’ve created a variety of bespoke solutions for our clients. You’ll find that not much is beyond us!

Optimising websites to show up in Google searches

Being found in a Google search
The journey of being found by Google

We Build Websites is aimed at the busy entrepreneur and those who genuinely don’t have the knowledge to create their own site using free tools available on the internet. We believe there is a market for this product, but can’t be sure of that until we get a significant influx of traffic to the We Build Websites promotion site webuild-websites.co.uk signing up for the product.

We Build Websites is in the same boat as your new website! This website is a brand new website, we want to go through the same journey that you are on. Not by paying vast amounts to an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) company, but spending an hour per week (hopefully that is a realistic target) doing the housekeeping in order to get the website seen by our potential customers. (The chaps here voted me to do this as I have the least experience in SEO! Thanks guys!)

So, We Build Websites, is now live and can be seen by Google*, but now the hard work starts in ensuring that Google starts to display it when people type in certain search terms relating to the website.

This blog will provide a fortnightly progress of the steps we take to optimise the website to be seen by our potential customers. It will take into account

  • the keywords on which we want to be found
  • the online tools we use to measure our effectiveness
  • our analytics results (Google Analytics – a free tool which enables you to measure, among other things, traffic to your website and where that traffic comes from)
  • and, if all goes to plan, we can pass on the tips and resources that will help your website be found by your potential customers.

Wish us luck, the journey starts here!

*NOTE: I’m using Google as a generic term in this post. I do mean it needs to be optimized for all search engines (Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Lycos, DuckDuckGo etc). It becomes quite time consuming to write them all out each time. I’m also aware not every knows that Google is known as a ‘search engine’.

Money back guarantee? Surely it’s a win-win situation for your new website

Money Back Guarantee
WBW offers a money back guarantee

I’m not going to plug our We Build Websites offers too often since this blog is intended to be a pool of information that will help beginners create an online presence and maintain it. However, I do think this is worth sharing with you.

The Team here at WBW has been creating websites since 2008 and we have delighted, very happy clients.

If you are unsure of who to choose for your new website, then We Build Websites offers a money back guarantee. Seriously!

The way it works is that we ask for a deposit from you before we start the design of your website. Then we talk to you, take a brief and design your website based on how you want it to look. If you aren’t happy, though, you don’t have to put up with it. You simply tell us you’re not happy and we will refund your deposit. You are free to go somewhere else and you’ve not lost anything.

(Oh, and for a limited time there is also a 10% discount for anyone who mentions this code WBWMBG when they ENQUIRE)

You can’t lose.