WEBSITE DESIGN & ONLINE MARKETING

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Does Your Business Need A Website?

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on November 28th, 2016.      0 comments



A common question startups and small businesses will ask themselves is, “Does my business need a website, or is an online business directory or Facebook page enough?”

The answer is simply ‘yes’. It’s not one or the other. You can build a website for your business so cheaply these days it’s unreasonable not to have one. The business directories (including Google My Business) and social media pages will then help people find it.

So let’s look at the differences. A directory listing will be a part of a larger website, like an online version of the white pages. Google My Business is the most widespread directory and shows up during a google search looking like this: 




You can also list your business details on local, or industry specific directories and it will look something like this:



It has all the information one would need to contact your business, and that’s about it. The benefit of a directory listing is cost. It’s cheap, if not free, and requires little to no maintenance. The downside is that you have no control over the directory as a whole, meaning the design and layout could change at any time. There is also no active marketing going on for your business. The business directory may be promoting the website itself, but again, you have no control over this.

Many small businesses rely solely on directories in order to promote themselves online. This may work fine for small businesses that are happy with their size, as they most likely rely on existing customers and word of mouth. For businesses that wish to grow however, a website is a necessity.

When combined with an active website, directory listings can become a more effective marketing tool. This is especially true when listing with a business directory that understands the importance of a separate website.

As you can see in this example, this directory acts as more of a portal to the main website. Almost everything on the page points the user to go visit our website, where they can find much more information about the business.


True website success won’t be achieved with just a directory listing and a website however. This all needs to be combined with active marketing campaigns, Google AdWords, SEO etc. There are only two reasons I can think of where you wouldn’t want to take advantage of all these online marketing opportunities. Either you’re content with running a small business and don’t want to grow, or you don’t want more work. Both options are fair enough, but if you’re interested in achieving success online you need to be looking at all your options.

If you need help with your online endeavours, feel free to get in touch with the experts at Zeald.
 

Tips & Tricks For Running a Successful E-commerce Website

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on November 15th, 2016.      0 comments


This blog was first posted in ‘The Meeting Room’, a blog dedicated to supporting small businesses.
Zeald contribute to The Meeting Room regularly as guest bloggers.


At Zeald, we believe there are three stages to running a successful website: promotion, persuasion and conversion. ‘Promotion’ involves promoting your product or service outside of your website through digital marketing. ‘Persuasion’ looks at the methods you implement on your website to persuade visitors that you have what they need. ‘Conversion’ is the process of pointing visitors in the right direction once they’ve been persuaded, and making purchasing as easy as possible. These three stages apply especially to e-commerce websites, where making sales (or conversions) is the ultimate objective. 

Many people that we deal with believe they should spend most of their budget and time on promotion. They already have a website, so they just need to focus on getting people there right? Visitors are bound to like their product once they get there! 

That’s not quite how it works. 

We recommend you focus primarily on persuasion and conversion before anything else. You have to make sure your website is effective at converting visitors into customers before you spend money trying to get them there. This comes down to something called ‘conversion rate optimisation’ or CRO; conversion rate being the most important statistic for any website. 

Divide the number of conversions (sales, enquiries, or whatever else you define as a conversion) by the number of unique visitors to your webpage or website, and multiply the result by 100. This gives you a conversion rate percentage that tells you how effective a particular page, or your site as a whole, is. 

According to the monetate quarterly e-commerce report, the average conversion rate for the fourth quarter in 2015 across all industries globally was 3.48%. That’s not very high. Simply put, it means less than 4% of website visitors are actually making a purchase. Before you focus on promoting your website or products, you want to make sure you get this percentage as high as possible.

Here’s how:
 
Good Design

CRO is all about making things as easy as possible for visitors to turn into customers. Good design will help you do that.
 
  • Responsive design: As we mentioned in our last blog post, you need to make sure your website displays correctly on all devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.).
  • Calls to action: It needs to be obvious where you want website visitors to click. Add buttons on landings pages that have phrases like ‘learn more’, ‘buy now’ etc.
  • Search function: Make it easy for your customers to find products that they wish to purchase. Put a search bar at the top of your website, ready to use when necessary.
  • Breadcrumb navigation: Sort all your products into categories so that you can show visitors exactly where they are browsing in your catalogue. The breadcrumb navigation bar appears at the top of the page, and will look something like this: Home > Products > Clothing > Footwear > Boots
  • Browsing history for personalisation: By using cookies to track where your visitors are browsing on your website, you can serve specific content based on what they have looked at (or purchased) previously. You can essentially tailor your website design for every unique customer in order to maximise the chances they will make a purchase.
Helpful information

Predicting what your website visitors want to know will help optimise your conversion rate. Make sure you are displaying all the information that a visitor might need to help them decide on a purchase.
 
  • Contact details/location/number: Make sure your business is easily contactable. Place contact information in the header or footer (or both) of your website so that no matter which page someone is viewing, they know how to contact you.
  • Easy to spot sales: If you're having a sale, make sure you advertise this effectively. It may sound like a no-brainer, but often companies will advertise their sales externally, while forgetting to make the items stand out on their website.
  • Live chat: While it may not be viable for smaller businesses, live chat has been proven to increase conversions. It’s a helpful resource for potential customers and helps build trust.
  • Item photos: Again, this may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many websites out there don’t display photos of all their products. Keep in mind that photos can bloat your website and cause slow load times, so it’s important to find that balance between quality and file size.
  • Mega menus: This is especially relevant for businesses boasting a large catalogue of products. Mega menus will divide each product into various categories and subcategories. This helps keep things organised and makes it easier for viewers to find what they’re after.
  • FAQ: Once your website has begun to get some traffic, you’ll notice that a lot of the feedback and enquiries from customers will be similar. Putting together an FAQ of these common questions and presenting it on your website will help your customers find what they need faster, and save you time responding to them individually.
  • Flaunt partners/associates: Build trust with potential customers by advertising partnerships with other well-known brands. If someone is already a customer of your partner, they are more likely to do business with you as well.
  • Trust badges: Often seen on checkout pages, or payment gateways, trust badges will display things like SSL certificates. While most visitors won’t know what this means, it subconsciously aids in the completion of the checkout process by associating a well known digital security brand (eg. McAfee) with your product. This can help a visitor feel more comfortable doing business with you.
  • Scarcity of products: Stating that a product is about to sell out is a good way to convince a visitors to make the purchase now, rather than thinking about it and coming back later. You can also display this in conjunction with a sale, saying that there are only 20 items left, and they’re selling fast!
  • Testimonials: Who better to promote your products than people who have already bought them? Requesting testimonials from happy customers and posting them on your website is a great way to convince others to become customers as well.
Simple checkout

Making the checkout process as simple as possible is the best way to ensure you are optimising your conversion rate. Using your website analytics to see where customers are dropping out of the checkout process will help you pinpoint exactly which pages need attention.
 
  • Buying without registering: Allowing potential customers to checkout as a ‘guest’ is a necessity. Nobody likes being forced to register an account with a company just to buy one product. Giving customers the option will result in them being more likely to make an account when they return.
  • Shopping cart: It’s standard for an e-commerce website to have a cart, but make sure it’s free of bugs and easy to use. Go through the purchase process yourself to get an idea of any roadblocks your potential customers might come across. It’s a good idea to make the cart viewable and accessible at the top of any page a viewer might be visiting.
  • Related items: As mentioned above, keeping track of what customers are purchasing is useful in order to display ‘related items’ that they might be interested in. You can even offer a discount if a customer purchases both items together.
  • Free shipping: Free shipping is one of those things that we think should be standard, but often isn’t. So we advise offering free shipping on every e-commerce website, if possible. Customers prefer to see the full price for a product straight away, without shipping costs added at the end of the purchase process. Which brings us to...
  • Hidden charges: Processing fees, administration fees, exorbitant shipping fees. These charges that appear in the last step of the checkout process are a great way to get abandoned carts. List the full price on the product page so potential customers don’t bail when they see the price double upon checkout.
  • Persistent shopping carts: If a customer does happen to leave their cart full, without checking out, use cookies to ensure the cart is still there when they return. If a customer is coming back to your website a day later it probably means they’ve decided to make the purchase they abandoned Don’t make them go through the whole process again!
Use these points as a checklist for your e-commerce website. As always, when deciding on new website elements, measure the results of different approaches and find out what works best for your business. Test something new, measure the results, and tune each element to perfection. This is the essence of conversion rate optimisation and the key to running a successful website.

If you’d like more information on making e-commerce sites succeed, or help with any of the points above, please get in touch for a FREE consultation.
 

5 Ways To Speed Up Your Website

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on October 31st, 2016.      0 comments

5-ways-to-improve-webspeed

You already know that having a beautiful looking website is important. You want to give potential customers a great first impression of your company right? Of course you do, but this should never come at the cost of having a slow website. With a slow website you run the risk of your user not even hanging around for the first page to load, let alone navigating through multiple pages to purchase something or make an enquiry. Research shows that page abandonment increases with every passing second. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of visitors will have already left (Kissmetrics).

Obviously the most important factor when it comes to website load times is the user’s internet connection. Unfortunately we can’t control this aspect, but there are a few things you can control on your website to make sure your website loads as fast as possible for everyone.
 
1. Responsive design
Designing a website for mobile first has multiple benefits, one of which is speed. We’ve talked before about the importance of having a website optimised for mobile. The simple fact of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of people are now using mobile devices to access the internet. This can cause issues with loading speeds, as WiFi internet is slower than a wired connection and 3g/4g data connections aren’t always the most stable. A website tailored for viewing on a desktop computer is only going to exacerbate speed issues. It’s for this reason that current website trends dictate a heavy focus on the mobile experience first and foremost.
 
2. Optimise images
One of the most common reasons for websites to load slowly is the size of images on the page. Of course, images are a very important component and shouldn’t just be removed. They help to tell a story and break up large blocks of text. They are also a fantastic tool to display your products and services. The trick is to use them effectively so they look tidy and professional while also loading quickly. The best way to do this is to make sure that all your images are well optimised. There a number of things you can do to achieve this: you can crop them, resize them, use thumbnails, etc. While it is important to make sure your images are of a decent quality, huge images are going to load slowly. Find an appropriate balance between file size and image resolution.
 
3. Reduce clicks
Each page on your website should have a specific goal that is able to be completed with as few clicks as possible. Don’t lead potential customers on a treasure hunt around your website to get what they want. Every time they click a link, more content is going to have to load, slowing the process down. There are exceptions of course, say if you want to link to an article on your blog with more information, or a high resolution image gallery. In general though, try to avoid this by keeping all the information on one page. If you are worried that there is too much information on the one page, break it up into easily understood sections with headlines to describe each. That way, those that need the information will be able to find it easily, but it won’t distract those who are just looking to complete a transaction as quickly as possible.
 
4. Limit objects on your page
All the various image and text components you have on  your page should be limited to absolutely what is necessary. For every object to download on your visitor's computer, a request has to be sent to the server, processed, and then sent back to the user. Too many objects on your page can increase the time it takes for the whole page to display. On the flip side, you don’t want just one big object with all your text and images in it either.That will force the visitor to stare at a blank screen while waiting for one large object to load. Those first crucial seconds of attention will have been wasted. That's why you still need to have separate blocks of information when you layout your page. That way the parts of your page which are smaller in size will load first (which is usually the text on your website) and your visitor will have something to be engaged with while waiting for the whole web page to load. Keep this in mind when deciding on content for your web page. 
 
5. Avoid auto-playing audio/video
I’m sure most of you are asking ‘Do you really have to keep saying this?’. The answer is yes. Zeald still get requests to add automatically playing music or video to websites, and we still have to explain why it just isn’t a good idea. Always give your website visitor the choice to load up a video or music file on your website. If your video loads automatically every time someone lands on your page, not only will it add to the load time of the page but it will also ruin the usability of your website. There is nothing more annoying than having to listen to the same music or video the 5th time I've landed on your page. Even YouTube gives users the choice to load up videos or music, even though the entire purpose of the site is to provide video entertainment.


Want to know how well your website is performing? Get a FREE website audit from the experts at Zeald.
 

6 Common Website Mistakes (and how to fix them)

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on October 18th, 2016.      0 comments



This blog was first posted in ‘The Meeting Room’, a blog dedicated to supporting small businesses.
Zeald contribute to The Meeting Room regularly as guest bloggers.
 
 
1. Having no website (or having an old one)

Almost 90% of Kiwis and Aussies use the internet daily, and over half of us research new products online before buying (Consumer Barometer with Google 2015). Yet, at Zeald, we know there are many businesses that still don’t have a website. 

Key to running a successful business is understanding your customer and what they want. A great way to start understanding your customer is to build and develop a website. Once people are visiting your site, you can gather information about them. You can see where they come from, what they do, and begin to understand why they leave. This information is critical to not only evolve your site but your business as a whole. 

Some organisations rely on word of mouth and/or print media to generate business. Others are at the other end of the spectrum, relying solely on a Facebook page or other social media. These approaches to marketing aren’t inherently wrong, but they could be more effective with a website as a central hub . 

For example, social media can be great for generating new leads and interacting with people, but it is constantly changing. As a user you have little or no control over design and what information you can or can’t display. When using social media for your business, make sure to direct people to your website, where you have the most control. 

Potentially worse than having no website at all, however, is having an out-dated one. Few things will turn people off a business faster than a website that looks like it was built in 1992 and hasn’t had an update since. You’re better off pulling that old site down until you get something up to date.
 
2. No responsive design

We no longer live in a world in which the desktop computer is the only portal to the internet. 

According to Consumer Barometer with Google, more than 75% of Kiwis and Aussies now use a smartphone, and over half use their smartphone at least as often as a computer. 

In the same study, Google found that on average each person uses three different devices to browse the internet; usually computer, a smartphone and a tablet - each with their own screen size and resolution. It’s important, then, that your website displays properly on each of these. That’s where responsive design comes in. 

Responsive design is a way of coding a website so it automatically changes the way it is displayed depending on what device is accessing it. Historically, websites were designed for viewing on a desktop computer and therefore looked distorted on other devices. A few years ago, the way around this was to create an entirely separate website specifically for mobile users. Now, through the use of complex code, a single website can adapt to any display. It’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach to website design, and is a necessity in this day and age. Google even ranks mobile-friendly websites higher in mobile search results.

If your business is still using a website designed solely for desktop computers, then that needs to change. Think about how you browse the internet. Are you going to try to navigate a website on your mobile device if it isn’t loading properly?

3. Ignoring metrics

Many small businesses we work with think that once their new website goes live that’s it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. To run a successful website, you need to be regularly monitoring the metrics, and making changes accordingly. If you don’t have access to your website metrics, don’t know how to find them, or have just ignored them, then this needs to be addressed.

Metrics are crucial to improving the performance of your website, as they can pinpoint exactly what website elements need attention.

Below are the top five metrics you should be looking at:
 
Traffic sources
Knowing where your traffic comes from is a sure-fire way to focus your advertising efforts accurately. If 90% of your visitors come from Google searches, then you probably want to step up your AdWords game to make sure you’re reaching as many people as possible. 

Bounce rate
Bounce rate, also known as abandonment rate, shows the number of visitors who leave (or ‘bounce’ away from) your website/webpage after only viewing one page. This is usually displayed in percentage form, as in, the percentage of visitors who ‘bounced’ off your website. The average bounce rate is about 41%-55% (statistic from Rocketfuel). There are exceptions, but generally speaking, anything less than that and you're doing quite well. Anything higher, you may need to look at what could be improved.
 
Exit pages
Similar to bounce rate, exit pages will show you where exactly the customer journey ends for your visitors. While bounce rate will only measure abandonment of a single page, exit pages will show you where a potential customer left your website, after clicking through a few pages.

Page views
This is the number of pages that a visitor clicks on during their time on your website. You can also track how long, on average, a visitor spends on specific pages. With this information you can build a better idea of the customer journey through your website and find areas to improve.
 
Visits/Unique visitors
This is the statistic every new website admin wants to know. How many people are actually visiting my website? How many for the first time? Both statistics are readily available through analytics.

4. No call to action
 
A call to action (CTA) is a phrase that is intended to motivate the reader to take action. On a webpage, a call to action would be something like ‘sign up’, ‘buy now’ or ‘click here’. Without a clear, compelling CTA, visitors to your website may not know what they can do there nor what your business can do for them.
 
5. Trying too hard
 
Let’s start off by saying, if your site automatically plays music...STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Nobody wants random music starting in their browser, especially when it plays again from the beginning if they click on anything. 

People generally start putting music on their website for one reason: they realised it was possible. The same thing happened when auto-playing video came around (please stop this too). The lesson here is that you don’t have to add something to your website just because you can. 

Adding all the latest features to your website just causes clutter and subsequently slows it down. This applies to images as well. The highest quality image isn’t always necessary, and can often be contributing to excessive load times. A successful website will load quickly and give visitors what they need: a solution to their problem. Keep it simple.
 
6. Using social media unnecessarily 
 
As mentioned above, social media is very useful for  connecting with your audience on a personal level. And just as it’s important to link to your website from these accounts, it’s also helpful to link to them from your website. Among other things, it extends the reach of your website.

But remember that you don’t have to cover all the platforms. As with mistake #5, just because all these different social media platforms exist, doesn’t mean you need accounts on all of them. Different platforms work for different businesses. By all means try them all out, but be sure to remove the account and any associated links if they don’t take off. Find out what works best for your business.
 

If you think that your website may be guilty of any of these digital deadly sins, but aren’t sure how to change your ways, the Google Certified experts at Zeald are always happy to sit down and talk it through.
 
 

How Zeald Works

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on October 3rd, 2016.      0 comments


Agile vs Waterfall
In any project, no matter the industry, there are a series of steps that have to be taken before arriving at a final outcome. These steps will all follow a certain methodology, whether that’s intentional or not. In the software industry, the most common two methodologies are agile and waterfall.
 
What is waterfall methodology?
Waterfall methodology is the traditional approach to software development and put simply, looks like this:



As you can see, waterfall methodology follows a linear path from concept to product. Everything is planned out at the start, giving a clear schedule for the design and build phases. Upon completion, testing is done of the final product as a whole. 
 
Advantages
  • A good record of events is kept. Every time a major task is finished, it can be approved and noted down as ‘complete’.
  • Client expectations are usually fulfilled. The plan is presented to the client beforehand, so everyone knows exactly what is going to happen.
  • In case of employee turnover, there is minimal project impact. The linear methodology means new staff can pick up where old staff left off. Good recording of the project supports this also.
Disadvantages
  • Poor overall quality. As the deadline looms, tasks left for later become rushed and quality suffers as a result. This also leaves less time for testing, meaning overall quality is compromised.
  • Poor visibility. Tasks may take longer than expected, but you won’t know until you get to them. Clients may not be able to see a product until it is finished.
  • Can’t handle change. Once one task is complete, staff will move on to the next piece. Changing a previous part of the project will result in major delays, as it will affect each subsequent piece.
  • Waterfall methodology is risky. Testing after the project is completed is asking for trouble. If a bug is found in a task that was completed early, it could have ramifications for each piece of the project down the line.
Appropriate for:
  • When both parties are in agreement and have a clear picture of what the final product should look like.
  • When clients are unable to make changes to the project as it is developed.
  • When clearly defined processes and products are the final goal, rather than getting the project finished quickly.
What is agile methodology?
Agile methodology is the modern approach to software development and put simply, looks like this:

With agile methodology, we divide the project into smaller chunks and test at the end of each  phase. There can be multiple phases in progress at the same time.
 
Advantages
  • Overall quality is improved. Each task is tested whenever possible. This ensures everything works correctly.
  • Visibility is improved. Clients can see the product evolve as a whole, as each task develops.
  • Easier to adapt to change. Due to increased visibility, everyone involved can see potential mistakes, and request changes while the task is being worked on.
  • Easy to add features. If a new product is requested, work can begin on it straight away in conjunction with other aspects of the project. 
  • Fewer bugs. Constant testing means bugs are fixed as you go.
  • Usually runs to schedule. Because the products are tested so thoroughly with agile, the product could be launched at the end of any cycle. As a result, it’s more likely to reach its launch date.
Disadvantages
  • Needs reliable staff. With a bad project manager, the project can become delayed or run over budget.
  • Final product may differ from original plan. Due to the agile methodology, the finished product may look different to the original plan. The upside is that this is usually made clear during development.
Appropriate for:
  • When speed of delivery is a priority.
  • When clients are able to make changes on the fly.
  • When you have many skilled staff that can all work independently and adapt to new situations.
  • When the industry is prone to rapid change.
Why does Zeald use agile ?
Zeald uses agile methodology as it has become standard for the industry. We believe the benefits outlined above are extremely valuable and outweigh the benefits of waterfall methodology. Building a website is not like building a house, you don’t have to wait for the foundations to be built before tackling the interior. An agile approach means we can start working on all digital aspects of your business at the same time. Our digital marketing experts can begin keyword research for search engine optimisation at the same time as our developers put together your online store and our designers create the website layout. 

Agile methodology helps us to give you greater clarity on the project as it develops. This means greater flexibility and maneuverability around a project that is constantly evolving, like a website for your business. If you think your online efforts could be assisted by Zeald's agile approach, please request a free website audit.
 

3 Ways You Should Be Using Google For Your Business

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on September 13th, 2016.      0 comments



This blog was first posted in ‘The Meeting Room’, a blog dedicated to supporting small businesses.
Zeald contribute to The Meeting Room regularly as guest bloggers.


When looking at online marketing for your business, it’s hard to get past the online behemoth that is Google. With over 40,000 Google searches happening every second, it's easy to understand how even a minimal investment in the various Google platforms can still yield good results. If you are just starting out with an online business or are considering some form of digital marketing for your physical store, here are three things you should get onto ASAP.

1. SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, aka The quest to be at the top of Google Search results. SEO is all about your website visibility and making sure potential customers can find you online. To achieve better search results, you need to gain an in-depth understanding of how search engines work, and then change your website content and overall online approach to suit.

"But can’t I just pay them off?” Why of course you can! You can give Google money through AdWords (more on that later) in an attempt to list your website right at the very top of the search results. They will, however, inform everybody that you’ve done so by tagging it as an advertisement. You’ll also be competing with many other advertisers doing the same thing, which can get expensive. 

Also, some consumers have an inherent distrust of advertisements as well, so unpaid (organic) search results tend to get better results. SEO focusses on improving the chances of being featured as an organic search result by investing time in your website.

There are too many aspects to SEO than we have room to list, but here are a few that you can implement yourself with minimal time and effort.
 
Title Tag
SEO starts with your website, so a basic knowledge of website elements and how to edit them is required. Firstly, make sure your title tag and meta description are set up correctly; as you’d like them to appear in search results. The title tag is the main hyperlink that will show up in the search result, so should have your company name at the start, and then a few keywords about your product/s. The meta description is the small blurb below the title, which should include one or two sentences to further attract users to your website by clicking your link. For example, this is what Zeald’s looks like:

tag.PNG

Unfortunately, we can’t explain how to do this on your website specifically, as it is a slightly different process depending on which platform you use. However, Zeald works with a range of platforms so we can help you manage your SEO if you need some expert help.  
 
Tagging
Labelling and tagging website elements correctly will help search engines understand if your site has the content that a user is after. If your site sells shoes, for example, you want to make sure that your product images are titled appropriately. An image called ‘DSC_0003.jpg’ isn’t going to do you any SEO favours. Re-naming your image ‘gucci_red_loafer’ will help anyone searching using those keywords to find your product.

Links
Link building is another simple way to enhance your SEO. Google’s algorithm loves websites that everyone else loves too. If other sites link to your website, it builds the credibility of your operation and, in turn, your chances of appearing close to the top of search results. You can apply this internally as well. Linking to other pages within your website will help search engines get a better picture of your content.

Keywords
Keywords are what a user types into Google to find the product or service they are after, so they are vital to SEO. There are many tools available to help you think of keywords related to your product, such as?. Use these keywords in as many places as possible on your website, but make sure they are always relevant to the content. Whatever you do, don’t go listing hundreds of keywords all in one place in an attempt to fool a search engine into giving you a high ranking. They’re smarter than that.

2. Google My Business
 
Listing your business on Google is a must for SEO. Have you noticed that when you perform a Google Search for a business, or a search in Google Maps, that often it will pop up on the side and have all its contact information listed? If you can’t recall, it looks like this:

zeeeald.PNG

If you want your business to display like this (which you do), then you’ll need to sign up for Google My Business. It’s free, so unless you hate running a successful business, you should be registering right now. If you need further convincing, here is a brief overview of the product features: 
 
  • Google My Business puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ 
Your customers can find you, no matter what device they're using. It gives customers the right info at the right time including driving directions on Maps, hours of operation, and a ‘click to call’ phone number when browsing on a mobile device. Customers and businesses both benefit, as Google works to bring the two together as simply and efficiently as possible. The ease of use builds trust and credibility in your brand. Customers can see you are happy to work with Google, a brand they already use.
 
  • Google My Business incorporates a review system where customers can share their experiences with your company. 
If a customer has found your information via Google, then you know they have most likely checked out the competition as well. Google My Business’ review system helps potential customers to make informed decisions when considering your business. Reminding your customers to leave feedback is important, and remember that negative feedback can be turned into a positive if dealt with appropriately. Create an ‘active presence’ on Google by becoming verified, enabling you to respond to reviews. 

3. AdWords
 
As mentioned earlier, with the AdWords platform you can pay Google to serve ads to its users. When combined with good SEO, an effective AdWords strategy can mean your business appears twice in Google Search results.  A paid advertisement, along with an organic result, both appearing on the first page of Google Search results, is effectively the holy grail of digital marketing. It makes your business very difficult to ignore.

AdWords is relatively quick to set up and usually works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. With PPC, you pay a small amount every time a user clicks on your ad, rather than a one-time fee to list it. Alternatively you can pay for impressions, which means you pay whenever your ad is served, no matter how many clicks you get on it.

Much like SEO, and Google in general, AdWords revolves around the use of keywords. After you’ve built your advertisement, you will choose a number of keywords that relate to your product. Then you will place a bid. When a user searches with these keywords, the advertiser with the highest bid has a higher chance of their ad being served. 

Again, this is a very simple explanation and, in reality, there are many different factors which determine when your ad is displayed. Things like popularity of keyword, quality of website, location and historical results all play a part. The main thing to remember at this stage is that, if done correctly, you can have an ad for your business appear above organic search results, looking like this: 



To help you tackle AdWords yourself, here are the top three things to consider:
  1. Broad keywords: You don’t want to appear in every result for a specific keyword.
    • Example: A mechanic doesn’t want to appear in searches for ‘rental car’ when using the keyword ‘car’.
  2. Negative keywords: There are certain words you don’t want your chosen keyword associated with.
    • Example: A seafood restaurant doesn’t want to appear in searches for ‘seafood poisoning’ or be grouped with results about the overfishing of our oceans when using the keyword ‘seafood’ 
  3. Ad groups: These will help you organise your campaigns. Within each campaign you can separate your ads and keywords into ad groups. You need to have different ads for different keywords. Don’t just show the same ad for every search.
In the first two examples, it would be best to create a central list of keywords that are either negative, or will likely provide unwanted impressions or clicks. This list can then be applied across multiple campaigns. This  approach will allow you to better manage negative keywords as you would be able to simply add the identified keyword to your central list, and have the change apply to all campaigns linked to the list.
 
The range of services that Google offers, and the enormous reach and clout it has, make it the obvious place to start your digital marketing. The cost of such efforts can usually scale to the size of your business, and Google products are very user friendly.

If, however, you are eager to take your business to the next level with Google but are not up for experimenting, remember Zeald is a Premier Google Partner and our Google Certified experts are always happy to help.
 
 

A Beginner's Guide to Payment Gateways

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on August 29th, 2016.      0 comments

Payment Gateways

What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is the final step of the sales process on an ecommerce website. It’s the form in which a customer will input their credit card information in order to complete a purchase. Technically speaking, a payment gateway is a piece of software that is connected to a server somewhere. This software has to be extremely secure as it transmits payment information back to the server, which then communicates with banks to facilitate transactions.

How does it work?
The payment process usually occurs as follows:
 
  1. A customer places an order by clicking ‘checkout’, ‘submit order’ or something along those lines.
  2. They then proceed to the payment stage where they will have to input credit card information into a form. The payment form can either be embedded on the original website, or the customer will be redirected to an external form hosted by the payment gateway provider. This form will be protected by SSL (secure socket layer) encryption.
  3. Wherever the form is hosted, the payment information (which includes credit card details, amount of transaction etc) will be sent to the payment gateway provider, again, encrypted with SSL.
  4. The payment gateway then forwards the transaction information to whichever payment processor is used by the merchant’s bank.
  5. The payment processor then forwards the transaction information to whichever bank issued the customer’s credit card.
  6. The bank then responds to the payment processor with a transaction approval or rejection.
  7. The payment processor forwards this result to the payment gateway, who in turn, forwards it to the website merchant and cardholder.
  8. This process usually takes only 2-3 seconds and results in the ‘transaction approved’ message being displayed.
  9. The merchant then fulfills the order and the banks handle the actual transfer of funds which can take 2-3 working days.
How to set up a payment gateway

Step 1: Before you can set up a payment gateway, you’ll need to set up a business merchant account with your bank. This is the account that all the payments will be transferred into. If you are already a retailer, you should such an account already.

Step 2: This step can be completed at the same time as Step 1. While you’re talking to your bank, ask them for a ‘merchant facility’. This will allow a payment gateway to connect directly to your bank account and deposit funds into your account from orders processed through your website. 
 
Remember: Ask exactly which credit cards will be able to be processed through this system, as some banks may have certain restrictions.

Step 3: Speak with your payment gateway provider to set up an account and link your bank accounts with their software. You may want to take this opportunity to ask any questions you might have about implementing their software into your website.

Step 4: Now that all the accounts are set up, you can integrate the payment gateway into your ecommerce website. Obviously this can take some technical knowledge, so should be done by an experienced developer to ensure everything is secure and will work properly.
 
Are payment gateways secure?
Major credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, Amex etc) have set certain requirements for organisations that handle their payments. These requirements are known as the ‘Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DSS.

There are 12 requirements in total:
  1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data.
  2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters.
  3. Protect stored cardholder data.
  4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks.
  5. Use and regularly update anti-virus software on all systems commonly affected by malware.
  6. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications.
  7. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know.
  8. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access.
  9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data.
  10. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data.
  11. Regularly test security systems and processes.
  12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security.

Most major payment gateways on popular websites are kept safe and secure. Websites hosting their own payment gateways however, may not have to comply with all the requirements. Laws will vary by country as well. United States federal law does not require organisations to comply with PCI DSS, for example. If you are processing your own payments, the security of the transaction is your responsibility and you may be liable for any breaches. Think about what your customers want/need when deciding how to set up payment processing for your website.

Many payment gateways also provide tools to automatically screen orders for fraud and calculate tax in real time prior to the authorisation request being sent to the processor. They use various methods to achieve this such as geolocation, velocity pattern analysis, blacklist checks, delivery address verification, etc.

Direct Payment Solutions (DPS)
DPS evolved from CSD, the software development company which produced and certified several leading processing solutions including the OCV Server (which was subsequently licensed to Ingenico), ANZ and St George banks in Australia, and PC Eftpos (the first integrated Windows POS / EFT-POS solution). In 2000 the PC EFTPOS technology was spun off in a multimillion-dollar deal to the ANZ bank and DPS replaced the legacy OCV Server with a next generation, zero hardware solution: Payment Express.

Payment Express is a leader in payment technology and offers a range of secure solutions to businesses with their PCI DSS compliant services. They are certified with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover and Diners. Payment Express is one of the largest integrated EFTPOS and ecommerce switching providers in the Asia-Pacific region, and are certified in over 10 regions, with multiple banks.

Zeald has a long-standing relationship with Payment Express and is also a Payment Express Premium Partner, enabling us to provide our clients favourable rates, high levels of service, and plans tailored to suit a range of payment gateway needs.

If you need help setting up a payment gateway on your website, or have any other questions about ecommerce websites, please request an audit from our Google Certified experts.
 

What to look for in a website developer

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on August 15th, 2016.      0 comments




There’s a lot to think about when it comes to deciding on who will define your brand online. It’s important therefore to make the right choice of website developer. You want to make sure they understand you, and more importantly your company, in order to convey your message as accurately as possible. Even if you have all your content ready, it’s not as simple as clicking upload and watching text and images come together to form a beautiful website. So what else is there to do? Why do so many businesses enlist the help of digital agencies to help them set up their online presence?

The decision is usually based on the following factors:
  • Price
  • Ease of use
  • Scalability
  • Ongoing support
For a website to be successful, it needs to be done right. That’s why businesses will often turn to the experts. With such an array of options available when it comes to website design, it can often be hard to make the right choice. So let’s take a look at each option, and hopefully, the answer will become clear.
 
DIY
There are numerous options available these days that enable you to have a crack at website development yourself. WordPress, Shopify, and even Zeald’s own product 'Tripledash' all exist to empower the average computer user with the tools needed to create a basic website. While this may seem like the cheapest option, you will still need to select a software package, purchase the software, learn how to use it, and spend the time creating the website yourself. The time and effort spent on this can quickly multiply and end up costing you a lot more than expected. When choosing a website developer, you also have to look at the cost over time, not just the upfront build.

This DIY method is often used as an initial attempt by small businesses or startups, simply due to cost. Unfortunately, the results are often lacklustre, and these businesses often end up enlisting the help of experts in the end regardless. The reason for this is that it takes a huge amount of time to learn not only how to use the software, but also to understand the techniques and methods used to make your website a success. Professional designers and web developers usually have a tertiary education and/or years of experience.

That’s not to say that this option won't work for you. Every business has their own specific requirements, and if you believe a DIY solution can fulfil these requirements then by all means, give it a go.

ACQUAINTANCES
So your aunty heard you’re looking for a website developer and “totally has a friend good at computers, has hundreds of YouTube subscribers and can like, fully build a website for you”. Avoid these situations at all costs! Unless you have seen evidence of what this person can build, and know that they are organised enough to see a project through to completion, then it just isn’t worth the hassle. 

Time and time again business owners are let down by acquaintances or ‘friends’ who “will get on that right away!”. They wait and wait, and rarely see a complete website of any kind, let alone a successful one. 
 
LONE WOLVES
A lone wolf web developer is any one person that offers a complete website build (and sometimes enlists their friends to help out). A lone wolf developer can have certain advantages, however quality can vary wildly. Who knows, you may come across a talented developer just starting out, eager to prove themselves, who puts a lot of effort into building you a quality website for an affordable price. Sadly, this is not commonplace.

A successful website requires a rare combination of artistic, technical, online sales and marketing skills. These skills are not often found in one person, and if they are, they will have been garnered from years of experience. Needless to say, these people probably aren’t working as solo developers; a large agency will be quick to snap them up. A one man band will have a weakness, and it’s not fun for any business to find out what that weakness is by becoming victim to it. 

WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES
A dedicated website development company specialises in the ideation, construction and development of successful websites. They have the combined knowledge and experience of multiple website professionals and the ability to tailor a solution for your specific requirements. Just like a rugby team has specialist players in different positions, a website development agency will have specialist experts in different areas like graphic design, website customisation, and copywriting. This team dynamic ensures the finished product has a certain standard of quality across the entire site. Of course, different agencies will have differing levels of quality, so business owners will definitely have to do their due diligence before deciding who to go with. 

The benefits of going to an agency with your website needs are similar to the benefits of doing business with any large company. Large companies are often large because they’ve produced good work and get a lot of business as a result. Experience plays a huge factor as well, as they may well have worked with similar businesses in the past and know exactly how to bring about online success in your industry. The fact of the matter is, you are most likely going to get the best results from a website developer that knows what they’re doing, and you won’t be able to enlist their help without a significant investment. 

One of the biggest advantages to enlisting the help of an agency, is the level of ongoing support. As your website evolves and develops (as any successful website should), things will break. Having someone there to help you in these situations is invaluable for any business. Look at testimonials on the website of your prospective web developer, or attempt to talk to existing clients to get an accurate idea of the level of ongoing support. This assistance isn’t just required when things go wrong either. If you need help making any sort of change to your website, a team of developers are going to be able to get this done much more efficiently than any other option.


The same advice applies no matter which path you might take. Make sure you do your research, and actually use the websites that your potential developer has built. Don’t just look at pictures of their designs. Create accounts, click all the links, maybe even purchase something from websites they’ve built. Read case studies to learn how these websites have helped businesses get results online. You’ll soon learn who makes the websites that would work for you and your business. Generally speaking in regards to website development, and many other similar industries, you get what you pay for.

At Zeald, we take pride in providing online solutions for businesses and budgets of any size. Discover how we can help your business by chatting to our Google certified experts, or requesting a free, no obligation audit of your current website.
 

Google AdWords Update

Written by Maria Lenzy Lala on August 3rd, 2016.      0 comments



ATTENTION ALL ADWORDS ADVERTISERS:
Google search ad content is about to double! 

Just last week Google released Expanded Text Ads, the updated format of Standard Text Ads. This may sound like a generic update, but it could be the change that takes your brand to the next level.
 
What’s changing?
To give you a refresher, let’s review what Text Ads are. 

Text Ads are Google’s simplest ad format which appear at the top, bottom and at the right hand side of search results. With the update however, they will only appear at the top and bottom. These ads are composed of three main parts: the headline, display URL and description.  

Here’s what’s new:
Upgraded components Standard Text Ads (STA) Expanded Text Ads (ETA) Benefit
Headlines 25 characters 2x 30 characters More prominent headlines and room for creativity.
Display URL 35 characters 2 paths x 15 characters Domains are now automatically extracted from your final URL. Two URL paths can now be customised.
Description lines 2x 35 characters per line 80 characters A single, consolidated description line improves the overall ad design.

 
 You can see the visual differences here:

sta-and-eta

Google has implemented these changes for three main reasons:
  • Improved user experience.
  • Mobile focussed design.
  • Consistency across platforms/devices.
Google will cease to approve ads in STA format, and fully implement the ETA format by October 26, 2016.
 

The Dangers of Changing Website Platforms

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on July 21st, 2016.      0 comments

2
 

When a business looks at changing their online strategy, we find that they often turn to look at their website. Subsequently the words ‘redesign’, ‘revamp’ and ‘rebuild’ start flying through the air. They’re not wrong either. A business website is an online hub that all other digital marketing should point towards. Online advertising, videos, social media; these should all push viewers towards the website. From there, it’s up to the website to convert visitors into customers. An effective website therefore, is the most important part of an online business strategy.

A business will look at website redesign for one reason: their current website isn’t achieving the desired result. Depending on your setup, and the options available, you may find yourself wanting/having to switch website platforms. This is where it gets complicated.

Every website is built on a specific platform. You may have heard of a few popular ones like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Shopify, or even Zeald’s own product: Zest. The main differences between these platforms are behind the scenes in the source code. When moving from one to another, it’s not a simple as copy and paste. Think of it like moving house. From an observer's perspective it may look like it’s as easy as picking up everything you own and putting it in your new home. But anyone who has done this knows that it’s not that simple. You may have to switch your gas stove out for an electric one. Your California King bed might not fit through the new bedroom door. Your double door fridge might not fit in the new kitchen space. The same goes for switching website platforms; certain features or customisations will have to be completely reprogrammed to integrate correctly with the new systems.

There are multiple things that could potentially go wrong when changing website platforms, depending on the complexity of your current website. Not all of these can be predicted either. The purpose of this post therefore, is to ensure that you are aware of certain areas that need special attention when changing website platforms. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully it can point you in the right direction.

Google rankings

This is the main concern when businesses go through a major website redesign or platform change. You’ve probably spent time and money already on optimising your SEO. Businesses don’t want to lose their hard earned spot in search results when switching to what is essentially a brand new website. There are a number of tools available to help you with this, but the thing to remember is to let Google know what you are doing. You can do this through your Google Webmaster account if you have one (which you should). 

AdWords

While we’re talking about Google, we should mention AdWords at the same time. If you are serving links to your current website via AdWords, you’ll have to check if these are working for the new website. If the URL has changed at all, it will break. Things like remarketing tags will also need to be looked at during the transition.

Broken URLs

As you know, your website contains internal links to help visitors navigate your website. You’ll need to make sure they’re all working correctly on the new site as well. An easy way to keep track of this is to build a sitemap of your current website (another thing you should have already) to compare to the new one. There are also web crawlers available that you can use on your own site to build a list of current links. Go through each link on the new website and make sure they work as intended. 

Inbound links

After you’ve made sure all the internal links on your website work correctly, you’ll also need to make sure external websites linking back to your site are also functioning. Perform an inbound link analysis to see a list of other websites linking to your content, and set up redirects if necessary to make sure people aren’t going to get error messages when trying to access your website. Using 301 redirects during this process will ensure visitors are landing on the correct page and may help individual web pages maintain their rankings.

Responsive design

We’ve covered the importance of responsive design in a previous blog post, so all we’ll say here is: make sure your new website is working correctly on all devices!

Analytics

Check your website analytics before switching over to the new website and note down your pages that see the most traffic. If you aren’t planning on copying the old website identically, this will tell you which areas of your website are most important. Analytics will tell you which pages are visited most often, which landing pages are most effective, and which pages are externally linked most often.

Customisations

Remember the analogy about moving house? If you have a piece of furniture custom built for your current house, it may be difficult finding a place for it in your new house. The same applies to websites. Anything custom made for your website most likely won’t work properly on a new platform. It’s important to factor in the time (and cost) this will take to move across.

The general rule when it comes to major changes to your website is that the more complex your website, the more complicated it becomes to change things. If you’re looking at switching website platforms, or redesigning your website in general, our Google certified experts can give you an idea of what’s involved through a free website audit.

 

Why do you have a website?

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on June 30th, 2016.      0 comments

WHY DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE-


Ask yourself a few questions: “Why do I have a website?”, “What does my website do?”, “Is my website getting the results I want for my business?”. Most of us know that businesses these days need a website in order to be successful, but you also need to know exactly what you want to achieve in order to maximise results.

Let’s start from the beginning. When people come to see us about building a website, the first three questions are often the same:
 
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What will it look like?

In order to answer these questions accurately, we’ll usually respond with some of our own:
 
  • What is your business objective?
  • What do you want your website to achieve?
  • What do your customers want/need from your website?

We use the answers to these questions to help define business goals for your business. By defining your goals at the start of the project, we can give you a clearer picture of cost, time frame and what the end result will look like. Deciding on these goals will also give you a greater chance of achieving them in the long run. So what do you want a website for?

Here are some common goals:
 
  • Attract new customers.
  • Provide customers with vital information (event info, documentation, libraries etc).
  • Gain marketing leads for an email database.
  • Promote products and/or services.
  • An online store where customers can purchase your products.

The second thing we need to do is make sure all parties involved have a clear picture of what the customer wants and needs. Putting ourselves in the mindset of a customer will help us understand this. We need to design the website and specific elements around the customers’ needs, which will ensure we create a more user friendly experience. While we do this, we find synergies between the business goals that were decided on earlier, and the customers’ needs that we’ve predicted. At Zeald we also take into account digital best practice for your specific industry, and learn from what has worked well for similar businesses. In doing this (and a few other tricks we’ve picked up in our many years experience), we have a solid foundation for a successful website.
 
Many of you reading this will already have a website for your business, but can’t say what your online business goal is. If that’s the case, then you need to define this goal, and undergo a website redesign to reflect it. 


For those of you who have a clear business goal that’s reflected in your website design, good on you! If you find that you still aren’t getting the desired results however, then it’s possible you aren’t fully in tune with your customers. Make sure you are split testing design choices to see which work best. Try a different image or advertisement landing page for a month and compare it to the performance from the month before. Look at the analytics and run with what works best. This is a simplified explanation, but you get the idea.

For a more detailed explanation on how to do this, check out our ebook on ‘Digital Marketing for Small Business’.

If you need assistance defining your business goals, or helping reflect those online, feel free to get in touch with our Google certified e-business consultants for a free, no-obligations chat.
 

What does your website look like on a mobile device?

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on June 10th, 2016.      0 comments

Mobile device usage stats

We no longer live in a world in which the desktop computer is the only portal to the internet. 

Laptops, tablets, smartphones and hybrids of all three exist, each with their own screen size and resolution. According to Consumer Barometer with Google 2015, more than 70% of Kiwis and Aussies now use a smartphone, and 56% use their smartphone at least as often as a computer. 

On average, every person uses 3 different devices to browse the internet. This is usually a computer, a smartphone and a tablet. It’s important then, that your website displays properly on each of these. That’s where responsive design comes in. 

Responsive design is a website that can automatically change the way it is displayed, depending on what device is being used to access it. Historically, websites were designed specifically for viewing on a desktop computer and therefore look distorted on other devices. A few years ago, the way around this was to create a completely separate website specifically for mobile users. Now, through the use of complex code, a single website can adapt to any display. It’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach to website design, and is a necessity in this day and age. Google even ranks mobile friendly websites higher in search results.
 
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.” - Bruce Lee

If you aren't sure that your website is displaying correctly on mobile devices, contact us for a free website audit.
 

What is Google AdWords and why is it important?

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on May 27th, 2016.      0 comments

welcomeadwords

If you have researched online marketing in any capacity, you would have heard of Google AdWords. Even if you haven’t done the research, you’ve probably seen the ads promising your business a prominent place on the front page of a Google search. While many of these promises cannot be guaranteed, this shouldn’t put you off using the platform for your business. In fact, this post is about convincing those of you who haven’t started with AdWords to do so, and making sure your business doesn’t get left behind.
 
"80% of consumers state that the internet is the first place they look for information."

- Consumer Barometer, 2015


Google AdWords is a godsend for small businesses. It can put your company on the world stage for relatively little investment, compared to many other marketing types. On the flip side, it can be a money sink if not used correctly. So, what is it exactly? Well why don’t we ask Google itself?
adewrds-160

“AdWords is an advertising service by Google for businesses wanting to display ads on Google and its advertising network.”

You may notice that the definition we were after is not the first thing we are presented with in the results here. Directly underneath the search bar, is an advertisement. This is a paid ad (shown by the small yellow box stating ‘ad’), ironically promoting another advertising service from search engine competitor ‘Bing’. How did Microsoft convince Google to promote their own Bing ads? Well, they paid for it using AdWords.

After creating an account, users can set their location target allowing them to specify which geographical location will be served their ads. You can then specify a daily budget, and how much you are willing to spend on each ad. Setting a budget of $20 per day however, doesn’t mean it will cost you $20 every day. Google AdWords uses a ‘pay per click’ (PPC) method of advertising, which means you are only charged when a user clicks on your ad. The amount you pay when a user clicks is completely up to you, however the higher your proposed cost per click, the more likely your ad will be served.

AdWords works using a keyword bidding system. First, you’ll need to think about what users are typing into Google in an attempt to find your business offering. If you sell footwear for example, your selection of keywords may include: shoes, boots, sandals, jandals etc. Now depending on the popularity of these keywords, the more expensive it will become to use them in your advertisement. ‘Shoes’ in particular will likely have a number of competing businesses all wanting their ad to show up when a user types ‘buy cheap shoes in Auckland’ into Google.  The result is that you may have to tell Google that you’ll pay 50c for every person who clicks on your ad, to out-bid the others who are only willing to pay 25c. This still doesn’t guarantee your ad will show up when somebody searches for ‘shoes’, but it gives you a higher chance, and potentially a higher placement on the page.

There isn’t any sure fire way to ensure that every ad campaign you run on AdWords will get the best placement in Google searches for the best price, but there are various things you can do to come as close as possible. Ad serving and placement is not solely determined by your keyword bid, but by AdWords quality score. This is determined by relevance, landing page (where your ad links to) and expected clickthrough rate. Each of these factors can be dissected even further but to put it simply, Google can determine if your customers are going to be interested in clicking the link, before it’s even shown to them. Obviously it’s in their best interests to display the most effective advertising, and so they do.
 
You can find out how to set up a Google Adwords campaign in this blog post.

Now that you have a basic understanding of Google AdWords and how it works, it should start to become clear how important this tool can be for small businesses. You can pay what you want, tap into a very large user base, and only reach those who will be most interested in what you have to offer. It gets even better though. Not only does AdWords allow advertising through Google Search, but through all of Google's networks. This means you can show your ads through YouTube, Google+, TV, mobile and the Google Display Network. The latter being a collection of over two million websites that give Google space on their sites to show advertisements. 

Google AdWords is absolutely a valuable investment for small business. Whether you just run a couple of ads every now and then, or analyse all the results and tailor the perfect digital marketing campaign, AdWords is a great way to get results online. 

You can check out this blog post to see if you should tackle AdWords yourself, or feel free to contact the Google Certified experts at Zeald.
 

Understanding Calls to Action

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on May 12th, 2016.      0 comments

CTA2

A call to action (CTA) is a phrase that is intended to motivate the reader to take action. On a website, a call to action would be something like ‘sign up’, ‘buy now’ or ‘click here’.

As you can see in the example above, an effective CTA will speak to the correct audience and urge them to click. Remember to keep the message short and use attention grabbing action verbs like ‘watch’, ‘discover’, ‘learn’, and ‘find’. You can also use words like ‘now’ to insert a sense of urgency, and encourage users to take action quickly. Another important thing to remember when deciding on the messaging, is to make sure it matches the page that the user will actually be led to. If you refer to your offering as a ‘white paper’ in your call to action, you don’t want it referred to as an ‘e-book’ on your landing page.

Once you’ve figured out exactly what you want your CTA to say, you’ll need to surround it with supporting messaging that communicates what is on offer. What makes clicking this so valuable? What is the user going to get out of it? Will they make money? Will they be happier? Again, be as brief as possible, while still getting an effective message across. This should be possible in one or two sentences max. You don’t want the user to be spending all their time reading this page, you want them to click the button to find out more!

Speaking of buttons, the CTA itself should be a big clickable button. You don’t want a little underlined piece of text, you want a massive button. It needs to be big and bright, and the most obvious thing to click on the page. You want users to be gravitating towards the CTA and hovering their cursor over the button before they’ve even decided to click on it. Just make sure it looks professional, and not like someone trying to steal credit card information.

Design is obviously a huge part of any CTA, so once you’re happy with your copy, it’s time to think about what sort of design will complement it best. Note that you don’t always want the CTA to match your website design. It’s often a good idea to have it contrast with your existing page design in order to stand out. Think about what colours and fonts ‘pop’ when superimposed over your website background. 

So once you’ve followed these steps and chosen what you think is the perfect CTA, it’s time for the real work to begin. 

What?

But we just made our CTA! It’s all done!

Not quite! Like all things web-related, your shiny new CTA needs to be tested. Oh, that bright orange button you thought was a great idea? Well it’s only getting 10 clicks a day, try a red one and see what happens. Every part of a CTA can be tested: font, colour, size, location etc. At Zeald for example, we use tools such as heat mapping for testing. This determines the placement of the CTA on a page. Creating a successful CTA is the exact same process as creating a successful website or digital marketing campaign. You need to test what happens when it's presented to a real audience, make changes, and learn from what works best. It’s all about testing, measuring and tuning your product so that you can get the best results possible.

If you need help with your calls to action, or digital marketing in general, don’t hesitate to...                        ctabutton
 

Zeald carries out strategic management restructure

Written by Andrew Wassenaar on April 5th, 2016.      1 comments

2016-04-04

Zeald, New Zealand’s largest website development and digital marketing company has undergone a tactical executive management restructure. After 15 years as CEO, company co-founder David Kelly will be moving into the role of Zeald Chairman.

 

This strategic decision has not been implemented lightly, and will see Zeald aligning with a tested ‘visionary and integrator’ business model. This approach will put Zeald in the best position for future growth in an ever changing industry.

 

With the organisation having reached its current size, the board and executive management felt that the often disparate roles of ‘visionary’ and ‘integrator’ should no longer be handled by one person alone. With this in mind, it was decided that leveraging David’s natural strategic and planning capabilities would be the best way to ensure that the company's vision is a key priority, and is interwoven into the very fabric of the organisation. This direction will see David focused on executing the company’s strategic plan, and moving away from the day-to-day management that an ever growing company requires.

 

David Kelly, incumbent CEO of Zeald says: “This move marks the next chapter in what has been a very exciting history for Zeald. Stepping into the role of company chairman is by no means an attempt to distance myself from the company. The truth is quite the opposite. I have always seen myself as more of a visionary, so completely support the decision, and am looking forward to investing myself in each individual facet of the company, developing it from the inside-out.”

 

While David moves into a more strategic role, Zeald’s CFO, Andrew Forsyth will be moving into the role of company general manager. Andrew will take the part of ‘integrator’ and fulfil the operational requirements of the company. Andrew has many years experience managing companies at an executive level, having been CEO of Premier Books and GM of Monarch, before joining Zeald in 2014.

 

“I have the utmost confidence in Andrew’s experience and ability; he is a tried and tested leader and I wish him all the best in his new role”, adds David.

 

This new structure will go a long way to bolstering Zeald’s existing position as a market leader and help them to stay ahead in a continually evolving digital landscape.

 
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About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest website design and digital marketing agency in New Zealand and has recently made moves into Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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