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Makeover your website this Christmas

Written by Sarah Gleeson on November 29th, 2013.      1 comments

A lot of people will be venturing to the internet this holiday season to track down the best deals. Just like putting up the tree and stringing up lights, you can give your website a festive vibe to get your online shoppers full of Christmas cheer.

You can choose to either go all out or just a quick makeover, it is completely up to you. Even a few changes can make all the difference to the shopping and browsing experience of your customer.

Here at Zeald, we make our own Christmas advent calendar that we share with our customers. While we have some fun making it, we hope that they enjoy it too and choose to visit more often. 

A Christmas quick fix

  • Add a Christmas vibe to some of your main images. This can be as simple as changing out a few images to include your products or models wearing Christmas hats. Have a look at PicMonkey for a few ideas, you can add in a Christmas feel to any image!
  • Change your display picture or cover photo on Facebook or Twitter to include a festive image. Anything that helps attract attention to your brand helps!

A more intensive Christmas do over

  • Change the colour scheme of your website home page to include green and red. People will quickly get the idea that your business is celebrating the approaching holiday.
  • christmas profile
  • Dress up your logo with a Christmas theme. Add some fairy lights to your logo, or a gift box. It may seem silly, but it will help your logo stand out from your competitors.
  • Add some Christmas specials. A ‘Christmas only’ deal creates urgency, and people feel like they are getting a good holiday bargain. People often look for Christmas deals around the big day, as financial pressure mounts; so make sure you can ease this burden for your customers.
  • Add a countdown to Christmas on your home page. People love a good countdown, it also helps to add a bit of urgency to their shopping. If you have deals going, a countdown could be just the thing to help move a stuborn customer along. 
  • Send out an email marketing campaign. You can center this around wishing your clients a Merry Christmas, and add in some of your one-off deals.
 

Instagram as a recommendation tool

Written by Sarah Gleeson on November 5th, 2013.      0 comments

If you own a restaurant or sell any food related goodies, Instagram is the place to be. I’m sure everyone has seen people taking more and more photos of their food as of late. So why not make the most of this, instead of thinking it is weird. Encourage people to take photos of your food and drinks!

What better way to get it out there that you make the best chocolate mud cake, than have someone post it on Instagram with your company tagged in it. Not only will it just go onto Instagram, but it has the potential to make its way to Facebook and Twitter as well.

Of course this is not just for café, restaurant, and bar owers; but anyone with a product that can be dressed up. While this may not be a strategy for plumbers, Instagram is a great platform for getting beautiful images of your product out in the public in a natural way. This also acts as a testimonial of sorts, as customers are recommending your product or service to people like them.

foodieinstagram furnitureinstagram-as-recommendation-tool

                    

So what are my tips to get your customers snap happy?

  • Pay attention to the details. Instagram is all about looks, it may be the best cake in the world, but if it doesn’t look nice, chances are that it won’t make it to Instagram.
  • Set the scene. Put some nice decorations on the café table, or set up your store so it looks like stepping into a magazine. People will be only too happy to start snapping away.
  • Create your own #hashtag. This could be something like #Coffeekickstart@Jennys,  #Notguiltydessert, #cutestbabyclothes. It should be something short and memorable so that everyone knows that it is your company. Preferably, something that can also be spelled right. 
  • Let people know your shop is Insta-friendly. Put up signs with your Instagram name, and hashtag.

Businesses that should be on Instagram (in my opinion at least)

  • Cafes, restaurants, bars
  • Homeware 
  • Furniture 
  • Jewellery/ accessory 
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Stationary and craft 
  • Gifts
  • Beauty
  • Design
  • Athletic and sporting goods
  • The entire travel industry
  • Charities 
  • Plants and outdoors
  • Music & Arts
  • Entertainment
  • Wedding
  • Builders (photos of the great houses you have built!)
 

Kick start a contest in the build up to Christmas

Written by Sarah Gleeson on November 5th, 2013.      0 comments

 As people begin their Christmas present hunt, you want to showcase how you can meet their needs and now.  A great way to get your name circulating is to set up a contest. People are always looking for ways to tighten the belt around Christmas, so a contest that saves some money will always be a winner.

As Facebook changed its rules on contests lately, this would be a great medium to generate hype around your contest. Have a good read of the rules first!

 What's in it for me?

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Referrals
  • Social media ‘likes’ or followers
  • Increase of social media presence (i.e. more people interacting with your page/profile)

Vital information:

  • Where is the contest being held? I.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
  • Start date and end date
  • What people actually have to do to enter? Buy your product, spend a certain amount, like your page, comment on a post, retweet, pin, submit a photo or post to your page
  • Contest conditions
  • How winner will be drawn
  • How and when winner will be notified by
  • What happens if winner is not able to be reached
  • How long will the prize last for? - is there an expiry date?
  • What your prize is- your product/service, or a product/ service that you don’t sell i.e. overseas trip or car

Once you have these sorted out, get your best copywriter to come up with an amazing spiel that will capture your audience’s attention. You really want to sell your idea and business, while also getting people excited. Linking the contest to your website is also a great way to create a flow on effect from the contest, to your website.

After kick starting your contest, it is important to keep the buzz up- remind people that it is going on, and what they can do to enter. Social media is great for this, as people interacting with the post or your page, will keep your page at the top of other people’s timelines. 

When the contest draws to a close, make sure to make a big deal out of the end result- this is your last contest post that *hopefully* a lot of people have become invested in, so make the drum roll a good one!

After the contest is over, don’t go quiet on the social media platform, hopefully you have got some more likes, so keep people talking by continually posting new things to bring people back.

Topics: Promotion
 

Wunderlist: App of the week

Written by Emily Wilson on October 22nd, 2013.      0 comments

wunderlistI’ll confess I’m one of those people who have been blessed with a good memory. I’m especially good at remembering birthdays, and I always won the chocolate fish playing the memory game at birthday parties. Not so long ago I would look at people with their to-do lists with pity. Those fools who could not remember to buy milk or what time their meeting was. Then one Christmas I got an iPhone, and suddenly there was no longer a need for my brain to store all the information I normally put into it.

I had to start making lists. However, there were no scrappy bits of paper or back of envelopes for me. I wrote my lists on my phone’s notepad and could refer to them as I pleased. However, the notepad lacked the ability to satisfyingly tick or cross out what I had achieved on my list. There had to be a better way. There was, all I needed to do was add an app.

Now all my shopping lists, work tasks and appointments are neatly organised into one little app: Wunderlist. It works across Apple, Android and desktop platforms, so your list can go with you, wherever you are. It is simple to use and beautifully designed, with several choices of backgrounds and a cleanly illustrated checklist.

You can create several lists at once, which display the number of outstanding items next to each one. Priority items can be starred and accessed from a separate tab, where you can add due dates and notes with the swipe of your finger. Any due dates entered then show up under the calendar tab. If you don’t complete them on time, those items move to the overdue tab. You can also view your to-do items for tomorrow, the next seven days, or later dates and when you have an outstanding item for the day, the app icon displays a red badge (how handy!) The Wunderlist app also syncs with the free desktop application, so your lists will update when you are on the go.

Wunderlist features include:

  • Sync across all your Devices: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows and the Web
  • Shared Lists: Collaborate with your friends and teammates
  • Due Dates & Reminders: Never miss a deadline again
  • Recurring To-dos: Make   getting things done a habit
  • Star Items: Important to-dos are flagged
  • Add Notes & Images: For all-important details
  • Notifications: Stay in the loop with email, push and the Activity Centre
  • Action Bar: Sort, print and email your lists
  • Mail to Wunderlist: Turn your emails into actions

Did I mention it is free? You can upgrade to the Pro version for a small monthly fee if you want even more features, such as add files, including spreadsheets, assign to-do tasks, unlimited subtasks and conversations with collaborators. There is also a version for business, which allows teams to collaborate, transfer and store data.

If you are struggling keeping your life organised, my advice is to become a list taker and download Wunderlist for Apple or Android today. That way your brain will have room for remembering all those upcoming birthdays, unless you have an app for that too!

Want help

Topics: app
 

The importance of proportions in your images

Written by on October 2nd, 2013.      0 comments

When prospective clients visit your website they want to see good quality images of your products or services. The aim is to keep them flicking through your website, so they are more inclined to buy from you. 

So when you are uploading images for your website, it is important that you take the time to make sure they are perfect. Part of this is ensuring that your proportions are the same. This is important because you want all your product images to display the same way, especially if they are in a line next to each other. Images that are different sizes all over your website, can be distracting to a prospective client who wants to compare products and services. You want to make sure clients are paying attention to the content and images, not getting annoyed by the varying image sizes for products. 

Due to the large number of products your website can potentially host and display, it is important that you correctly manage product images.

It is important that you keep the size of your product images consistent - i.e. that all your image's proportions are identical. The main reason for this, is that when your product images are displayed, both when viewing product categories, or a specific product, they display with a fixed width. This means that a long, skinny image will display much larger than a short, wide image even if they are of similar resolutions. 

pencil comparisson of image proportions

As can be seen above, the second image is displaying smaller, due to the proportions being different (height being low, when compared to the image's width), even though the images are the same resolution. (One is 500x100px, the other is 100x500px) This can be avoided by making sure all your product images have the same proportions as one another.

The easiest way to ensure your images are all of the same proportions, is to take them all on the same camera, and do not crop them before or after uploading them. 

If you do need to use images that are of different proportions, your best course of action is to crop these images to be the same proportion as your standard images.

Determining the desired proportions

  1. Find a product image that you are pleased with the way it is displaying.
  2. Open this image in the image manager by clicking on it in the product page of that product in the website manager and click edit.
  3. Then click Adjustments > Crop. Take a note of the height and the width of this image. Close the image editor without saving your changes.
How to get desired proportions in your images

The dimensions of this image are 330px x 250px. These values will give you the desired proportions of your product images.

Cropping images to your desired proportions

Once you have found your desired proportions, you can begin cropping your other product images to these same proportions. You can do this prior to importing them, using an image editing program, such as Photoshop, or free alternatives.

If your images have already been uploaded, you can perform these edits using the image editor built into our website manager. To do this, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the product image that you wish to crop in the image editor.
  2. Click 'Advanced Editor' in the bottom right.
  3. Click on the Cropping Tool as shown. Take a note of the width of the image.
  4. Select 'Aspect ratio' from the 'Constraint' drop down menu circled above.
  5. Enter your desired proportions into the 'Width' and 'Height' fields (330 x 250, therefore Width=330, Height=250)
  6. You can now drag a cropping rectangle over your image, and choose what to crop out. Keep your cropped image as large as possible, as has been done above. 
  7. Click Save, then click Ok.
Crop your images for consistent product images

Now you're done! If you keep all of your product images at the same proportions, they will display uniformly across your site. 

Topics: Web Design Tips
 

The battle of Android 4.4 KitKat and iOS7

Written by Jacob Ross-Murphy on September 26th, 2013.      0 comments

This month is shaping up to be a very busy one for the two tech giants, Apple and Google Android . With the recent release of iOS7, Apple is one step ahead in new smartphone operating systems. However, Android is hot on their heels, planning to release Android 4.4, dubbed Kitkat, early October. 

What we all want to know is; What’s better?

So far Android has been working efficiently with Nestle to promote their new operating system, but there is a lack of specification details from them just yet. However, the internet never fails to anticipate or gossip about what the latest Android sweet may encompass.

Rumours suggest the new update from Android will come with:

  • Updates for older devices
  • Fragmentation changes including screen resizing
  • Miracast updates
  • Color changes
  • New notification widgets

The partnership between Nestle and Android is rumoured to have been of no monetary exchange; though both companies benefit from the ‘you-scratch-my-back’ marketing that will occur through the partnership. Nestle, who have released new packaging on their confectionery bars to promote the release of 4.4 Kitkat, will benefit from having their name used on in conjunction with a Google product. As well as Android getting a good chunk of marketing done through Nestles funky marketing campaign. The new packaging released by Nestle includes details of a competition to win 1 of 1000 new Nexus 7’s (a Google tablet) or Google play credit.

On the flip side, Apple’s iOS7 was well received with 32% of Apple devices in the USA and Canada making the switch to iOS7 within 48 hours. Apple’s iOS7 was a massive overhaul to the slim, aesthetic vibe that Apple promotes. Minimalistic is the buzzword to describe the new platform.

Some of the new features to iOS7 include:

  • Automatic updates to make everyday use easier
  • Long-overdue Control Center gives quick access to most-used features
  • AirDrop to transfer files wirelessly from one device to another
  • iTunes Radio to make accessing and streaming music even easier
  • Easier to close running apps (some say this is more like Android)
  • Auto app updating
  • Edge-to-edge design
  • Folders now hold more icons

While there has inevitably been some backlash from the new iOS7, we are yet to see what Android is bringing to the table just yet (apart from a huge amount of chocolate).

It will be interesting to see how Android’s Kitkat plays out visually on older models of smartphones. Both platforms are at the top of smartphone technology; it seems there’s no end to the battle between Apple and Android.

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10 tips for writing better web copy

Written by Sarah Gleeson on September 10th, 2013.      0 comments

Writing copy for your website can seem like a formidable task. You spend hours agonising over each carefully crafted sentence, prudently selecting each word, until you have a perfect piece of writing that is keyword rich, speaks to your reader and gets across your point; only to edit it again and tweak it some more the next day!

The aim of any copywriting is to reach right out and pull your intended audience in before they can glaze past your main points. You want to know what is important to your audience; what their problems are, and how you can resolve them. It is essential to know this before you start typing. As our own Glen Sharkey once said; you need to know where your target is first before firing off arrows into any direction. By gathering this information, you are able to understand what will satisfy your audience and then write accordingly. Successful copy will spark interactions; suckful copy will increase your bounce rate.

Here at Zeald, we spend a lot of time copywriting for your website content, our own content, blogs and advertising. Because of this, we have become seasoned professionals. It can be gut-wrenching, not to mention costly, to discover that your web copy just isn’t working. No one is engaging, signing up for your newsletter, buying your product etc. So instead of agonising over your about us section or your latest blog post, follow our top 10 tips for writing better web copy.

  1. Appeal to your reader. As we mentioned you need to know your reader. You need to know their wants, worries and needs, and then write about what they want to read, not what you like to write about. Appeal to your reader by using “alluring words” such as YOU, IMAGINE and BECAUSE.
  2. Brainstorm attention grabbing headlines. Make sure it is catchy enough for people to want to read on. Numbers, questions, problems, and facts are a great ways to spark the attention of a reader. 
  3. Evoke emotion. People are more likely to remember it, and connect with what they are reading. For example, if you run a gardening shop, remind people how satisfying it is to have their own produce on the table.
  4. Acknowledge worries. You want to make people aware of what their concerns are with your industry and then address them (make sure you can address them). For example if you own a florist shop, highlight the concern of flowers not being delivered on time, then put their mind at ease with your track record, money back guarantee etc.
  5. Be confident. Words like “may, wish, hope, try, perhaps” leave your audience not knowing if you will come through, instead choose the words that instil confidence- “will, can, do”.
  6. Write for the here and now. Avoid using past tense; you want to engage with your audience straight away. Present tense is the key.
  7. Break up your paragraphs. People avoid big content blocks because they take effort to read. Play around with images, bullet points, headlines and your layout to keep their attention for longer.
  8. Use language your audience can understand. There is nothing worse than when a great message goes over someone’s head because they did not understand what was being said.
  9. Utilise stories. Most people avoid advertising at all costs. A relatable story can break down those barriers and create a more willing listener.
  10. Humour never killed anyone. A good chuckle from your reader may be more effective than you know. 
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Facebook, not everything in marketing

Written by Sarah Gleeson on September 4th, 2013.      0 comments

While social media can be a great platform to talk about your new products, it is important not to make it the be all end all. As an avid Facebook user, it is almost hard to write that! This is becoming especially apparent in the fashion industry where large companies who invested a lot of time and money into their social media platforms, are not reaping the rewards.

In 2011, retailers began to think that Facebook and other social media platforms would become flagship stores in their business strategies. Alex Bolen of Oscar de la Renta (a very high-end fashion label, for those of you out there who are not fashion obsessed), even stated, “We expect Facebook will become a major channel of commerce”. Unfortunately, this did not happen. They found that while a lot of people were viewing their Facebook page, not a lot of people were then clicking over to make purchases. This is mostly because, anyone can hit 'like' on Facebook; it barely involves any effort, which means that you may have millions of 'likes' but none that are quality.

A study by Custora showed that Social Media platforms were being significantly out-performed by search and email marketing. One of the ideas behind this is: if people are actively searching for your website, they are either looking for information, or looking to buy/enquire. However on Facebook, people are often just looking for inspiration, or to feel part of a brand they like.

The study, which examined data from 86 US retailers across 14 industries, found organic search to be the largest source of e-commerce customers (15.8% of all customers acquired), followed by cost-per-click (9.8%). Since 2009, customer acquisition via email has quadrupled, growing to 6.8%. Affiliate referral traffic has also grown significantly, and now accounts for 6.3% of customers acquired.

In contrast, Facebook accounted for just .17% of all e-commerce customers acquired, and Twitter was responsible for less than .01%.

E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot, Custora, June,2013

Instead of using Facebook or Twitter as your silver bullet marketing strategy, use it more as a two-way communication tool for your brand, and start a conversation with your likers. This can easily be done by linking articles or pictures you think represent your brand, or asking your followers their opinions. Facebook has recently changed its rules on promotions and contests, so now you even have the option to run a contest on your Facebook. While this may seem less impressive, getting your own voice out there is important. You want a personality behind your company, to humanise yourself so that people are better able to relate to your business.

The best thing about Facebook is that you can interact with your audience. So make the most of this and listen to what they have to say!

help

Topics: Social Media
 

4 ways to keep your customers coming back!

Written by Sarah Gleeson on August 12th, 2013.      0 comments

Like most people, I am a creature of habit. I enjoy spending my money with companies which I know have exactly what I need. However, I am also at times forgetful, I know I loved a product, but will forget where I got it from. Part of optimising your website is having the ability to effectively drive business back to your website. Attracting a new customer costs five times as much as retaining an old one, but how do you hold onto them?

Here are some of my ideas for getting those customers clicking back to your website.

1. Coupons
These are a great way to get people coming back. This coupon may only last  3 months (or whichever time period you choose), but it serves its purpose of reminding customers that you are there. Consider the last time that you received a coupon; you probably printed it off and put it in your wallet or on the fridge for safe keeping. Then the next time you wanted that new hammer, or kids t shirt, you were reminded that you already had a helping hand and went straight back to the same website. To look into this for your own website, check out our coupon addon feature.

2. Deals after purchase
I was recently buying a present for a friend online. One day after the transaction, I was offered a discount on limited items within a small time frame. As I had only recently opened my virtual wallet, spending some more money at a discounted rate did not seem like a bad idea. The new deals had me thinking if there was another birthday coming up, so I had a good look and found a small gift for a birthday a month later. This is another way of getting repeat business, by offering customers new deals right now.

3. Birthday emails and vouchers
Birthday emails are a great way to nudge customers back to you, at a time when they are feeling particularly generous with their money. By gathering a customer’s information at the checkout, you are now able to add them to your email marketing database. Simply wish them a Happy Birthday, or even better, attach a small gift voucher. In doing this, you are reminding customers you stock products they like and have bought. You never know, you may be the only one who remembered their big day!

4. Post purchase emails
Think about the last time you went on a shopping binge, or bought a large gift; you probably felt a little guilty afterwards. This is problematic for online retailers because you do not want your customer to associate that feeling with you! Post purchase emails solve that problem. Send your customers product reviews, these  lower that negative feeling, by showing customers that other people just like them, have bought and loved their purchase. Encourage them to write a review too! Not only that, but thank them for their purchase, and loyalty; you can never have enough positive thoughts about your company.

 

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Make LinkedIn work for you

Written by Sarah Gleeson on July 18th, 2013.      0 comments

As a new graduate to the workforce, getting your name out there soon becomes a top priority. When I joined Zeald I had only considered referrals in the sense of recruitment, in that if you know the right people they can suggest your name for a new position. But after only a few days at Zeald, I soon realised how important referrals are for businesses too. How do you get your name to the people you want to reach?  Contacts you already know and have done business with are the hottest ticket.

You may have heard of LinkedIn, the networking site your marketing and HR people know all about. I was recently at a seminar when a man dismissed the idea of using it for his own business seeing it as another Facebook. My own dad has even sworn to never use it. It may seem like another social media contraption, but it has huge potential for anyone who uses it right!

LinkedIn puts you in front of your target audience by enlisting the help of people you already know. New Zealand is a very small country, I often marvel at the mutual friends I have with people who I met along the way. LinkedIn is great in that you can be introduced to desired people that your existing connections already know. Suddenly that supplier or potential client is not so far away.

Unfortunately, “don’t judge a book by its cover” fails here; you want people to look at your profile and want to know you!

What not to do:

LinkedIn-wrong

Unfortunately, no one is going to take me seriously with this photo or profile. I have not filled it in properly, and I seem quite apathetic about work.

What to do:

linkedIn-right2

In this profile, I have filled my title out properly, conveying that I am ready to work hard and am enthusiastic about my job. My photo is actually my work photo which is more friendly and professional. In this, someone who does not know me, would be able to place me in a work environment without much difficulty.

My top ten ways to Jazz up your profile, and get your desired connections.

  1. Get your photo right. It’s important people are able to see you in the workspace, avoid photos of partying or on holiday as you want to make connections, not drinking buddies.

  2. Make the most of your title! Using your professional title here is a wasted opportunity; people want to know what you can do for them.

  3. Make sure your tone is right, if you’re an expert, sell it! If you’re a worker bee, tell them!

  4. Share your good news! If you have a new exciting project underway or have a photo in the local paper, let people know this; create your own buzz.

  5. Write about activities or hobbies you enjoy. Someone who likes fishing is more likely to trust a fellow fisherman.

  6. Avoid the temptation to add just anyone, make sure the people you connect with want to sell you, and vice versa.

  7. Change the default note when connecting with people. Tell them how you know them, why you look forward to their connection, and sign off in a personal manner.

  8. Join groups where you can meet people and discuss similar thoughts e.g. Small Business Network for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

  9. Don’t be scared to ask for a testimonial. Choose people you have made a positive impact on professionally, and be specific in what you would like them to say.

  10.  Lastly, ask people to refer you, either find a connection they already have or someone they think would be good for you. In doing this, make sure you outline what you want from a future connection.

Topics: Social Media
 

Snowride, increases revenue by 161.5% in just 90 days (in the off season!) with the help of Zeald

Written by Sarah Gleeson on June 19th, 2013.      0 comments

www.snowride.co.nz

Online retail is a great way to target all geographic areas of your market, especially if you only have one shop down in Christchurch.  Richard Naylor, owner of Snowride, came to us looking to improve his website sales after having a few months of slow results. Considering snow gear is predominantly a seasonal buy, Richard needed to find a way to keep bringing people back to his website even in those warm summer months.  After talking with Richard, we agreed the best place to start would be to have a look at his existing website to see how it could be improved. Some of the results of this review, and the subsequent changes that we made can be seen in the image below.

What changes we made

The first noticeable difference when comparing the before and after, is the utilisation of space. We made sure to make the most of the valuable space by changing the positioning of the menu, header, and other important information such as a visible phone line. The menu was also simplified to be more customer friendly as the existing one was hard to navigate.

Situated above the fold was a large textbox, which no one read. Switching to a slideshow not only draws customers into the website, but also allows them to see offers, which acts as a conversion pathway. Introducing regular special updates is a good way to capture the customer’s attention and to keep them coming back. Not only that, but it is good for SEO.

Snowride Website Optimised Results by Zeald Snowride was aware that getting the right size was a main worry for their customers. We accommodated this by introducing a sizing chart. Additionally, the ‘Buy Back’ tab was implemented to act as another draw for the customer to return to Snowride. For parents, this is quite a favourable offer, especially for those with more than one child. By making this more visible, customers are more aware of this service.   

Our Strategy

The utilisation of both a heat and scrollmap helped us to understand customer behaviour after the website went live. The scrollmap showed us how far down the page customers were going, and whereabouts they abandoned the page. The heatmap lets us see what’s “hot” i.e. what links customers were interacting with the most. This allowed us to make any changes to the layout in order to increase conversions.  

Snowride Website Optimisation by Zeald

 


And the results are ...

Following from the changes on the website Snowride saw dramatic changes in the number of ski & snow gear sales..  Within the 90 days after their website went live, Snowride earned more than the entire 2012, this was a 161.5% increase. These results were particularly impressive as the 90 days were in summer and autumn months. (These results accurate at 24 May 2013.)

These results are already fantastic and we have not even hit the winter months yet!

Free Zeald Website Consultation

 

Take stock

Written by Emily Wilson on June 10th, 2013.      0 comments

Take Stock Blog written by Zeald An image is worth a thousand words, so stock images are a great way to quickly illustrate your point on sales and marketing materials. Not all of us are great photographers or have the equipment to take good images for our website, so it is great you can go to image depositories such as istockphoto.com, depositphotos.com and gettyimages.com (to name a few) and purchase photos and images to use across your promotional resources.

However for every great image there are hundreds of sub-par or just plain bad images. If you ever need some entertainment just look at this page for some amazingly bad examples! There are also some comic themes that pop up on these sites, such as “businessman doing yoga” or “woman laughing alone with salad” that will have you scratching your head in confusion or rolling on the floor laughing wondering what people must be writing about! 

Some tips to consider when selecting your stock images.

Take Stock blog written by Zeald If you can take a picture yourself, don’t use a stock image. 

Use images that support your content. An image should quickly tell a reader what your content is about and reinforce your message, not just decorate the page.
Take Stock Blog written by Zeald Don’t use a stock image for your products or staff. This may surprise you but it does happen. Having an image that isn't the actual product does nothing for the trust and credibility of your business. 
Take Stock blog written by Zeald Use stock images that depict real-life scenarios. Take the businessmen doing yoga example. The likelihood of someone in a park, in a suit and tie, doing downward dog, whilst on a laptop is probably rare. Your point will be illustrated much better with another image.
Take Stock Blog written by Zeald Beware of overused images. Take a look at your competitor’s sites and make sure you aren’t using the same or similar images. You need to find an image that will represent your brand in a unique way.
Take Stock Blog written by Zeald If you plan on using the image in print, don’t buy the low-resolution web version. Your picture will look pixelated and blurry when you try to make it bigger.
Take Stock Blog written by Zeald Refresh your images. Design trends change and so the image you purchased in 2002 will no doubt be outdated. Look at the people in your images and be aware of clothing and hairstyle trends that will date your images (unless you are specifically after a retro look).
Topics: Web Design Tips
 

Optimise your content for long tail keywords

Written by Casey Hartigan on May 14th, 2013.      1 comments

When trying to decide what keywords to optimise your website for, it’s easy to focus on broad terms like “builders” or “website design”. While these terms tend to generate a high number of searches each month, they are also highly competitive and tend to have low conversion rates.

Instead, you should consider turning your focus to the less commonly searched phrases that consist of long tail keywords. Long tail keyword searches are those that are made up of about three to six keywords and are used when the user is looking for a more specific result e.g. someone searching “master builder in Albany” instead of the generic term “builder”.

One of the main benefits of focusing on long tail keywords is that it is easy to see what the user’s intent is and therefore provide information that is relevant to them. For example, if someone searches for the term “weight loss”, it’s impossible to know exactly what they are looking for. Are they looking for the cause of their recent rapid weight loss, or are they looking for a way to lose weight? This ambiguity means that although the information that appears high in the search results may contain extremely informative and well-written content, it is likely that it does not contain the answer the searcher was looking for. This results in a high bounce rate for the generic terms. On the other hand, if someone is searching for “ways to lose weight easily”, it is easy to see that they are looking for weight loss tips. This means that the top-ranking results for this search are more likely to enjoy a higher conversion rate as the visitors will be more qualified.

The use and optimisation of long tail keywords has been around for a long time, but an increase of the number of people using these in their searches is likely. The introduction of software such as Apple’s Siri or Google Now, both of which allow people to voice their questions directly to their phone mean that searches phrased as questions are likely to become more common. This will allow businesses to provide more relevant results to searchers.

A good tool for finding long tail keyword searches relevant to your industry is Google Adwords. Type in a generic phrase related to your business and then sort by “Local Monthly Searches”. This tool shows the different variations of keywords that people have been searching and how many times in the last month that particular phrase has been searched for. The ones with the most searches are generally the shorter, highly competitive keywords. Have a look for the longer tail keywords with a reasonable amount of searches and choose some of these to optimise your content for. The more searches a phrase gets, the higher the competition to rank for it. However, it is important to remember that the keywords you decide to choose do have some people searching for them – it’s easy to rank high of obscure phrases, but if no-one’s searching for them then you’re not going to get any visitors.

 

Landing pages: What are they, why do you need them and how do you use them properly?

Written by Casey Hartigan on April 2nd, 2013.      0 comments

Learn more about Landing Pages with Zeald Website ConsultationGetting customers to either purchase from you or make an enquiry should be the main goal of any website, but actually getting customers to convert can be a tricky process. Landing pages help you with this conversion process by providing relevant information to specific groups of visitors and guiding them towards a main goal.

Essentially a landing page is a web page that is separate from you main website. It is typically linked from a campaign and contains

  • no navigation to other pages on your website
  • call to actions
  • tailored copy to suit particular visitor’s needs.
For example, if you were to send out an email campaign to your existing customers with a special offer for a new product, you would want to target the content on this page to people who are familiar with your offering. The purpose of this page would be completely different to one that was linked to from your Ad Words ad, which would typically be new customers who have only read a few sentences about your company.

So how should you use landing pages effectively?

1. Only have one message/goal per page

Unlike the rest of your website, which is likely to be more generic and aimed towards a wide range of people, a landing page should be extremely focused towards one particular customer group and goal. Don’t confuse your visitors – if they clicked through to find out more about a discounted product, only tell them about this product. Make sure your headline shows customers that they have come to the right page for what they are looking for.

2. Keep the main message the same throughout both the campaign/ad and the landing page.

The main benefit of a landing page is that you can tailor the copy to specifically match a particular campaign. For example, if you are sending out an email offering 25% off a new product to people who have purchased from you before, the email and landing page should both highlight this deal, so that when a customer decides to click through from your email to the website they are easily able to see that they are on the right track to getting their discount.

3. Have a clear call to action

The call to action on your page needs to stand out. Ideally, there should be a call to action near the top (as soon as you’ve finished your initial sell) and then repeated further down the page as you answer any other questions people may have. This allows people to convert easily and quickly.

4. Ensure you landing page has a professional design

Your landing page is likely to be the first page that many potential customers click through to, so it’s extremely important that the design is clean, uncluttered and in line with the rest of your advertising. If you are using long blocks of copy, break it up by using bullet points and headings and include call to actions throughout.

5. Test, test and test some more

The single most effective way of ensuring that your landing pages are working the best that they can is to conduct split tests to test different versions and changes that you make. Split tests involve directing traffic from your campaigns to different variations of your landing page and provide you with actual data that you can use to make decisions on which one to use.

 

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Google Changes: Pandas and Penguins

Written by Emily Wilson on March 5th, 2013.      2 comments

Penguin and Panda Algorithm Zeald Website Consultation Google makes, on average, about 500 changes to its search engine algorithms each year.  Google do this to improve the quality of search results. They started making big, noticeable changes back in 2011 with the Panda algorithm and again in 2012 with the Penguin algorithm, in an effort to punish those that were cheating the SEO system to get their results to the top of the page. Read on to find out more about Panda, Penguin and what it means for SEO.

How Google works

Google basically has an automated system that searches the internet looking for new websites and updated content through links from other websites already known to Google. Once it finds a new website or content it sends the information back to its datacentre where it is stored (cached).

Google uses a very complex formula or algorithm to calculate the relevancy and the quality of a web page to a user's search query. Read more about how Google works.

This formula uses many factors to help calculate the relevancy and quality of a web page, including and not limited to:

  • Keywords found in the content of the page
  • The headings
  • Links on the page
  • Hidden meta data found in the code of the page
  • External links that link to the page

Google awards ranking for a page based on how often the keywords appear, how prominent they are on the page and the location of the keywords on the page.

Therefore, the more focused you are on a certain topic, the better you will rank, as Google will believe that you are an expert on the topic.

How Panda and Penguin have shook things up

Panda was designed to weed out the bad sites from the good to improve search results. “Content Farms” are pages that are overly optimised that offer little value to the searcher. They are merely pages of content with keywords that are designed to attract traffic so they can use those page views to generate advertising revenue.  Duplicate content is also penalised as it is seen to offer little value to the searcher so the pages appear low down in the search rankings.

Top Tip – If you legitimately offer duplicate content – for example have multiple sites for your business – then you can use rel=canonical to point back to the original content.  Ask us about how to do this with your Zeald site.

Penguin was more focused on punishing sites that were abusing links to gain search engine rankings.  Google’s idea behind Penguin is that it wanted people to focus more on creating great web content rather than optimisation. People who paid for links from low quality link directories, exchanges and other sites would more than likely have noticed a drop in their ranking. What this means is you want to have really good links to your site from other quality sites, you can do this by having great quality content that is worth sharing.

You also want to use different anchor text linking to your site (the words that hyperlink).  The anchor text of a back link tells Google what the website is about. So it is/was common practice to make a keyword the hyperlink. However if there are an abnormal number of identical anchor texts pointing to a site then you will be penalised. Penguin wants you to use more natural SEO. For example if you are always using identical keywords to link to your site then try to mix it up by using different words or word clusters that mean similar things and also non-targeted words that would be a natural link such as “click here.”

Based on the data that showed sites with 60% or more of their site with keyword anchor text were penalised; a general rule to avoid the Penguin penalty could be the following:

• 60% of backlinks should be URL based or non-keyword anchor texts like “click here”

• 30% broad match or partial keyword and rephrased anchor texts

• Only 10% exact match keyword anchor texts

Other things to be aware of that affect your ranking.

Keep your bounce rates low. This means when someone searches using a keyword and clicks on your site only to quickly click back to Google sends a signal to Google that you are not relevant for their search.  To reduce bounce rates some of the things you can do is; keep your site load time to less than 3 seconds, make your message immediately clear, consider a responsive designed site and keep distractions to a minimum.

If you would like some help with your SEO or content talk to our Professional Services Team.

 
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About Zeald

Zeald was formed in late 2000 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. 14 years later, Zeald is one of the largest and fastest growing website design and e-business consultancy companies in New Zealand. This is the Zeald story …

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