WEBSITE DESIGN & ONLINE MARKETING

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Keyword research

Written by Hamish Braddick on November 19th, 2009.      0 comments

Before you optimise your website for the search engines you need to decide what keywords and key phrases you will target in the search engines.  You will want to target keywords and phrases that your target customers will be searching on.

Try to think about keywords and phrases that are not too common. Also think about combinations of keywords such as “barbeque steak, order online, New Zealand”.

Think about your target customer– put yourself in their shoes.  If you were your customer, what would you type into a search engine if you were searching for your product or service?  Unless you have a well-established brand, they will definitely not type-in your brand name.  They are going to search for the type of product or service they are looking for, or the features of the product or service they are looking for.

Start brainstorming a list of keywords and phrases that your target customer is likely to be searching on.  Think about what your product or service does.  What are the features?

Check out your competition to see what keywords they are targeting.  You can use the Meta Tag Analyser on the Zeald website to check out the keywords your competitors use. (www.zeald.com/Resources/Free+Tools/Meta+Tag+Analyzer.html)

Think about misspellings, variations and strange ways of typing your key phrases. It’s amazing how much traffic you can receive based on words that are spelt incorrectly.

Geo-Targeting Keywords
Geo-targeting your keywords is where you target your keywords at a particular geographical region or population segment.  Remember – most search engines are global.  But if you can only deliver products or services within a specific geographical location, then consider targeting your keywords at that geographical area.  For example, if you deliver Indian meals in Albany, Auckland, then use keywords like “New Zealand, Albany, Indian Food”.

Finally, once you have a long list of keywords and key phrases it is time to do some analysis on them to see which are the best ones to target.  The best way to do this is to use a 'keyword research tool'.  An outline of the different keyword research tools is below.
  1. Wordtracker
    The most popular of all the keyword research tools.  There is a simple free version and then a paid version that has more functionality.
  2. Google Adwords Keyword Research
    Google Adwords contains a keyword research tool within it available for anyone who has a Google Adwords account. Google autocomplete can also come in handy.
  3. Searchmetric's Keyword Analysis Tool
    Searchmetrics is an up to date keyword research tool with a huge database.
Based on the information provided by your keyword research tool, you should be able to narrow your list down to a small set of keywords and phrases to target.

It's important to note that although keyword research principles have virtually remained the same throughout the years, algorithm updates might render a few techniques obsolete. For instance, recent updates in algorithms have made Google more sophisticated. Instead of looking at search queries in terms of keywords, these queries are now analysed in terms of user intent.  

Now you should be able to produce a list of the following:
  • No.1 Keyword or Phrase - Your No.1 keyword or phrase is the priority keyword or phrase that you would like to target in the search engines.
  • Secondary Keywords or Phrases - Your secondary keywords or phrases should be a short list of secondary keywords and phrases that you would also like to target.
 

Test, Measure & Tune

Written by David Kelly on November 13th, 2009.      0 comments

This is the final and most important section in the whole process of establishing a successful website.  The Test, Measure & Tune phase is an ongoing process that should never end. 

Every successful website that I have witnessed is the result of consistent ongoing improvement.  You should look to make it part of your website culture.

If you want to develop a highly persuasive website then you must commit yourself to a system of consistent ongoing improvement and in order to do this successfully in your company,  then you will need to be following a ‘Test, Measure and Tune’ (TMT) process.

A website is comparable to just about any business.  If you set up a new company it is impossible (even for the most experienced professional) to establish any organisation that runs perfectly from day one.  Good businesses become great only through consistent ongoing improvements.  A website is no different.  It is impossible to get a website perfect from day one (no matter how good you are).  A fantastic website only becomes so through careful TMT!

Importance of testing

This is the final and most important phase in the whole process.  The Test, Measure & Tune phase is an ongoing process that should never end.  

Every successful website that I have witnessed is the result of consistent ongoing improvement.  You should look to make it part of your website culture.

If you want to develop a highly persuasive website then you must commit yourself to a system of consistent ongoing improvement and in order to do this successfully in your company,  then you will need to be following a ‘Test, Measure and Tune’ (TMT) process.

A website is comparable to just about any business.  If you set up a new company it is impossible (even for the most experienced professional) to establish any organisation that runs perfectly from day one.  Good businesses become great only through consistent ongoing improvements.  A website is no different.  It is impossible to get a website perfect from day one (no matter how good you are).  A fantastic website only becomes so through careful TMT

Choosing a success metric

In order to TMT your website it is imperative to have a measurable ‘success metric’ or ‘signal’;  an objective measure that you can use to know whether you’ve made something better or worse.   

The success metric that you will use depends on what area of your website you are specifically wanting to TMT.   A list of common success metrics are outlined below.
 
  • Visits
    The Visits is the number of visits that have occurred to your website (or an individual page) over a certain period of time.  Visits are often further broken down into visits from New Visitors and Returning Visitors.   Visits are one of the most common and popular success metrics used by web marketers – especially when measuring the effectiveness of a promotional campaign.   The more visits generated by the campaign the more effective it is considered to have been.    However, visits often need to be combined with the next success metric – Conversion Rate, to truly determine the overall effectiveness of the promotional campaign.  Some campaigns can generate large numbers of  visitors but very few actual results as the campaign is targeting the wrong target of people or put another way – the visits are of low quality. 
     
  • Conversion Rate (CR)
    The conversion rate is the most popular and common of all success metrics.  It is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of unique visits and multiplying the result by 100.  This s a great way of measuring the persuasiveness (or effectiveness) of a single web page (usually on the conversion pathway), or even an entire website.  

    It is very important when calculating this that you understand what constitutes a ‘conversion’ – which depends on what you are currently trying measure.  If it is the conversion of the entire website then your conversion will be your macro-conversion objective.     For some websites that might be an order,  a visitor submitting an enquiry form, registering for a free tool or signing up to the company e-zine.  For others it could be the number of visitors clicking on the ‘Contact Us’ page to locate the contact details for a company.

    However, if you are doing in-depth TMT you most likely will be trying to measure the conversion at a page level (or micro-action level) – i.e. you will want to measure what percentages of your visitors respond to individual calls to action.  Your micro-action might be ‘Add Product to Cart’, ‘Click here to find out more’ and any number of other things.
     
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
    The CTR success metric is usually associated with online advertising.  It is used to measure both the effectives of your online promotions (pay-per-click ads, banner advertisements, text ads, directory listings, email promotions and so on) and the effectiveness of any promotions placed on your site by other advertisers.  The CTR is calculated by dividing the total clicks on an item by the total visits to the page(s) that the promotion features on and multiplying the result by 100.
     
  • Page Views Per Visit
    This is often to used to test the effectiveness of your website content.   It outlines how many pages an average visitor views before leaving your website.  It is often a good measure of the effectiveness of your pre-sales content and the overall value of your website to your visitors.  The Page Views Per Visit success metric is calculated by dividing the total number of page views by the total number of visits.
     
  • Revenue Per Visitor (RPV)
    The RPV is used by e-commerce websites to measure how effective the website is at getting orders from its visitors.  The higher the RPV the more effective the site is at generating revenue.  The RPV is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the total number of visitors.
The conversion rate is often the easiest and best success metric to use within your TMT cycles.  But, depending on what you are trying to achieve, other success metrics are sometimes more appropriate.  It is important that you choose the right success metric for the job.

Understanding noise & latency

When planning your TMT cycles it is important to understand the concepts of ‘noise’ and ‘latency’ and the impact that they can have on your TMT cycles.   If you do not understand noise and latency you can end up coming to the wrong conclusions and making the wrong decisions because you have misinterpreted your results.

What is Noise?

Noise means any outside factors that can have an impact or skew the results of your test.  If you are not careful noise can cause the results of your test to be incorrect, which in turn will result in you making incorrect decisions. 
  • Examples of noise which might impact the results of your test are below.
  • Natural disasters (Volcano erupting, big storm etc)
  • Commercial noise (Interest rate rise, stock market crash etc)
  • Promotional noise (major changes in the promotion of your website)
  • Publicity / Media noise (articles in magazines or newspapers about your industry or organisation)
  • Competitive noise (competitor does something drastic or unusual in their webmarketing)
  • Seasonal noise (Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day etc)
  • Day of Week Noise (different results on different days)
You need to be asking yourself – what outside ‘noise’ could be impacting the results of this test.  Do I need to run the test for longer period of time?  Should I keep the length of test short?  Should I exclude results from a certain period of time from the overall test?

What is Latency?

On many occasions visitors will not immediately respond to your offers.  Sometimes they will take days, weeks or even months to respond to your offers.  This is called latency.  Even the most compelling, low-risk offers have a degree of latency.   High ticket offers and complex offers will often have very high latency.

If you are not aware of the latency associated with your test you can end up with the wrong result and in turn make a wrong decision.  Once you have stopped your test you will need to continue measuring your results for a period of time. 

Understanding the control

With any TMT cycle you need to have a ‘control’, ie what is  current best version,  and it is that you want to measure against.  Your control sets the standard.

Before you set up a test you want to know exactly what results your control produces.   You also should know the ‘latency’ associated with your control.

Planning your recipes

Once you know your success metric (‘signal’) and your control, you are ready to set up your recipes.  These are the variations to the control that you want to test.  You need to carefully plan your recipes before you start your TMT cycle.

There are an almost unlimited number of things that you can TMT but I would recommend that initially you focus on these elements in your recipes:
  1. Headlines
  2. Opening Hooks
  3. Pictures / Hero Shots
  4. Trust Building Elements
  5. Pre-Sales Copy
  6. Teasers and Short Copy
  7. Bulleted Lists of Benefits or Features
  8. Calls To Action
  9. Pricing / Your Offers
  10. Order Forms / Check-Outs
  11. Length of Forms
  12. Button & Link Messaging
  13. Cross Sells & Up Sells
  14. The P.S
In addition to testing the different elements outlined above it is often a good idea to test ‘element attributes’.  What I mean by this is: the element might be the headline.  But some element attributes might be font size, font colour and so on.  Examples of common element attributes are as follows.
  • Size
  • Alignment
  • Style
  • Colour
  • Background Colour
  • Position
  • Bold / Italics / Underline
The options are almost endless.  Use your intuition here and create recipes that you think are likely to lead to a positive result.  Focus on the elements that that appear on the screen without needing to scroll first.

How to test

There are a number of different ways that you can conduct a TMT cycle.  Before we look at this though - a very common and valid question is: how long do I need to run my test before I can trust the results?  Or how many visitors do I need to have to each different recipe before I can trust the result of the test?
This is very difficult question to answer as it depends on the noise and the difference in the results between the control and the recipe.   Good testing software will tell you the ‘Confidence Level’ that your test has achieved (i.e. 60%, 90%, 95%, 99% etc).  However if you don’t have sophisticated testing software, as a general rule of thumb, I like to run my tests on a minimum of 500-1000 high quality visitors (quality prospects – not random clickers etc) before trusting the results.

Let’s take a look at the different ways to conduct a TMT cycle.
  1. Basic Testing
    Run the control – run the recipe.  This sort of testing is very susceptible to the effects of noise.  Be very careful and think through any outside noise that may impact the results of the test.  And make sure you run large sample sizes to keep the confidence level of your tests nice and high.
     
  2. Split Testing
    Split testing allows you to run the control and the recipe(s) at the same time with the traffic split between the two.  This helps you minimise the impact of any noise.   Split testing requires specialised software, but as long as you have it the software is simple to use.  If you are new to testing, split testing is a good place to start because it is easier to get solid scientific data, gain some testing experience and avoid many of the common pitfalls. 
     
  3. Multivariate Testing
    Multivariate testing allows you to test many different variables at the same time using sophisticated statistical analysis.  Multivariate testing allows you to optimise a page as quick as possible but it requires powerful software, careful planning and it is complex to set up a successful TMT cycle.
Topics: Measure, Persuasion
 

Creating great sales copy

Written by David Kelly on November 13th, 2009.      0 comments

AIDA - the age-old copywriting success formula stands for:
  • Attention
    You must get your visitor’s attention.  This is extremely important on the Web, as it is so easy to go elsewhere.  One click and ‘poof’, they’re gone.  You generally catch your visitors attention with a strong punchy headline and a 'opening hook' – a sentence that is designed to 'hook' the reader into reading the copy.
     
  • Interest
    You must immediately arouse your visitor’s interest and curiosity.  You can do this by telling a story or identifying a problem that your visitor is having (remember to focus on exactly who your target customer is here).  Understand the goals of your target customer and identify with them.  Pre-selling is often incorporated at this stage as the information that arouses interest can also be used to reinforce trust and credibility.
     
  • Desire
    Create ‘desire’ in your visitor.  This is usually achieved through clear promises that cater to the customer’s goals.  Focus here on your strongest benefits and outline them clearly and concisely so that they cannot be missed.  Maximise your visitor’s desire through good, strong ‘bonuses’ and bold guarantees.
  • Action
    Finally, finish with a clear ‘call-to-action’.  Make it absolutely clear what actions they must do on your website to achieve the desired outcome.

The Headline (“Attention”)

Headlines are the crucial first element of your copy.  Their purpose is to grab the attention of your target customer.  Remember– everyone will see your headline– and that headline could be the difference between a visitor wanting to find out more and exploring what you have to offer, or just ignoring your page and moving on. 

Some ways to approach writing a headline:
  • Promise a major benefit
    Reduce Your Waist Line By two Inches In 31 days!
  • Offer a solution to a problem
    Learn How To Reduce Your Credit Card Debt Instantly By 30%!
  • Flag your target customer
    Attention Homeowners! – Reduce Your Rates Bill By Over 50%!
  • Ask a question
    Have You Ever Been Ripped-off By a Used-Car Salesman?
  • Quote a testimonial
    “Thank You So Much! – My Website Sales Have Increased By 217%!”
  • Sound a warning
    Your Air-Conditioning Unit May Be Killing You!
Use ‘power words’ within your headlines.  ‘Power words’ are particular words that convey strong emotions with your readers. Typically they are words that represent something people are looking for.  When placed in a sentence they draw your attention.  The strongest ‘power word’ is - Free.  Some phrases that incorporate the ‘Free’ power word are:
  • Sign-up today to collect your free report!
  • Register for our free trial
  • Free gift (worth $19.95) for all new subscribers
  • You get our e-book ‘Website Fundamentals’ free!
  • Register today for a free demonstration
  • Sign-up today for our risk-free offer.
Another effective set of ‘power words’ is the “How to” phrase.  For example:
  • how to avoid…
  • how to reduce…
  • how to save…
  • how to create…
  • how to impress…
  • how to become…
  • how to generate…
“Learn” or “Discover” are also great power words:
  • discover 10 wealth secrets that  every millionaire knows!
  • learn the top 32 rugby coaching techniques used worldwide!
  • you will learn the secrets used by New Zealand’s top investors, who generate millions of dollars  every year!
  • learn my 10-point checklist for every property purchase!

There are many ‘power words’ that can be used effectively to give your headlines a boost. 

Here are some more ‘power words’ that work well: you, save, know, understand, results, proven, now, today, immediately, money, powerful, trust, create, and secrets.

Format your headlines to attract attention.  Use a large font size, with a bold style.  Try capitalising the first letter of every word, or put quotation marks around the headline.

The best way to come up with a good headline is to brainstorm.  Lock yourself in a quiet room and sit down and write out as many headlines as you possibly can.  Try to get out 20 or 30.  Once you have a good number of options go back through them all and pick out the top three.  Review and rewrite each of the top headlines – make them as sharp as possible. 

Then test each of the three different headlines for results and keep fine-tuning for maximum success.   A good headline will often require lots and lots of reworking.

The Opening Hook (“Attention”)

Now that you have caught the attention of your reader through the use of a strong headline, you need to ‘hook’ your reader and pull them into the main part of your copy.

An opening hook should continue from where your headline finished.  Present a problem, or outline the benefit to your reader in more detail and in a way that they can personally ‘identify’ with.  By doing this you are more likely to “strike a chord” with your reader.  Why?  Because you are demonstrating that you clearly understand their goals, needs and problems.

Sometimes it can be appropriate to emphasise the key points or benefit expressed in the main headline.  Give your reader a bit more detail.  Try to include the benefits of reading this website thoroughly.  If they want to explore and experience what you have to offer, it will be because you’ve given them a compelling desire to read more!

Headings (“Interest”)

Headings are used to summarise blocks of text  and paragraphs and you should think of them as being like mini-headlines.  Use them to summarise the main points for the accompanying paragraphs of text.

Less is definitely more.  These headings are there for one purpose only:  to provide your visitor the means to ‘scan’ your information, looking down your page to see if there is something that interests them.  For example, instead of a heading that says  ‘A Safe Boat is a Good Boat’ cut it back to ‘Boat Safety’  and let your text do some of the work. You get the general idea.

When drafting your copy regularly review your chosen headings and subheadings.  What they say must enhance the ‘scan-ability’ of your copy. These vital navigational tools are what many visitors will rely on in their reading - but be careful if you rework the paragraph text below them that they don’t become “out of context”.

Presenting content intended for a website is very different from communicating with your customers on an A4 piece of paper. Some visitors really just want to be able to visually skim your site. They do this by following your headings and sub-heading and highlighted text as visual markers, using them as their ‘sign-posts’.

If you have insufficient markers, your audience may become frustrated, bored, or worse, irritated.  Your target customers are online in the first place because one of their ‘characteristics’ as a customer group is that they demand instant information, presented logically, and in a manner that won’t hinder their objectives.

Once you have completed your sales copy make a list of the headings, by themselves, and put your headline at the top.  Review this list to ensure that your headings give readers a clear overview of your message.

The Introduction (“Interest”)

The purpose of the introduction is to introduce yourself to the reader and establish your credibility; you might use a well-placed testimonial, or select some ‘one-liners’ or ‘partial’ quotes from your testimonials. 

Telling a story is a great way to work an introduction.  People love stories! 

A well-presented story allows your target market to identify with you.  It will give people further confidence that you understand their goals, problems and needs.  As mentioned earlier pre-sales copy is often incorporated here as it is designed to provide valuable information to the visitor.

Think about how you came to be in the position you are now.  What made you offer the products or services that you are offering?  Share some of your passion!  People also love passion!

To tell a good story with passion you will need to allow some of your personality, or your brand’s personality, to shine through. By doing this you help build your customer’s trust in you by seeing you and your organisation as real people.  People do business with people they like.  By ensuring you are perceived in a likeable and ‘real’ way, you become more attractive to your target market.

The Body (“Interest”)

Do you remember the six questions your visitors will ask? 
  1. Do I trust you?
  2. Do I believe you?
  3. Do you understand my needs?
  4. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?
  5. What do you want from me?
  6. Is it worth it?
You should have addressed the first two questions right up front on the homepage of your website and in other supporting content pages (“About Us” pages etc).   Many times you will want to further reinforce your trust and credibility in your sales copy through further pre-sales information.   You can never have too much trust and credibility!

The third question should be addressed in part by your headline and the opening hook.

In the ‘body’ section of your sales copy you want to address the fourth question – “what’s in it for me’ (or “WIIFM”)?  

The best way to answer the fourth question is by showing benefits.  Remember, people do not buy a product/service because of the features.  They buy an end-result.  They buy what a product/service will do for them. 

Remember: “customers don’t want ¼” drill bits… they want ¼” holes”.  (Think about that for a second!)

This is the section where you should use your USP (in all its glory!), if you haven’t already. 

Think back to the list of goals for our target customer, with each of the benefits associated with those goals.  This is where you will focus on these benefits. 

Use bulleted lists whenever you can.  Keep things as clear as possible.  Don’t be afraid to really elaborate and give your reader substantial detail.  Your reader is interested in your product/service (which is why they are reading), so give them what they need, and keep it as benefit-focused as possible.

The Offer (“Desire”)

Now comes the time to present the offer.  Before you do this please ensure that you have covered everything possible to make it extremely compelling.  Have you created as much ‘value’ as possible through the presentation of your benefits?

Remind the reader of the goal, problem or need that is being solved/satisfied by your product or service.  Summarise the major benefits associated with your offering, and then … present your offer.

There are a number of techniques that can be used to make the offer as attractive as possible:
  • Demonstrate the value of your offer with the financial benefits or cost-savings that will be obtained through the use of your offering.
  • Show a price or offer that is discounted or different from the normal price or offer.
  • Compare your offer with that of similar products or services.

Bonuses (Desire)

If possible, immediately after presenting the offer, present a bonus (or even better, a number of bonuses) that you will ‘add-in for free’.  This is not something that you absolutely must do but it will strengthen your offer substantially. 

When looking for bonuses, try and find something that has high perceived value to your visitor but which costs you little (i.e. products or services that have an extremely good margin). 

Great examples of low cost bonuses are electronic informational products (e-books, ‘wallpapers’, software, etc).  They cost a set amount to create, but then you can distribute them again and again for very little capital outlay.

If you can’t think of anything that you can offer as a bonus perhaps you are able to offer a discount that is available for a “strictly limited time only”.  This also creates urgency, prompting them to buy sooner rather than later.

The Guarantee (“Desire”)

Remove as much of the risk for your ‘target customers’ as possible and make sure your sales copy reflects that loudly.

Offer the most compelling guarantee that you possibly can.  As long as you have a great product or service often the general ‘rule’ is, “the stronger the guarantee, the less claims on that guarantee”.

A good guarantee will have a huge impact on the amount of sales or enquiries that you generate online. 

This is one of the most important elements of your sales copy and one of the most important fundamentals for your website.  People can still be sceptical at times about buying online, and although this attitude is slowly changing, it is important to reassure your buyers as much as possible, and remove any perceived risk.

Make a ‘song and dance’ about your guarantee, as it is a key tool in gaining the trust of your buyers.  Remember, the first order is always the hardest!

Take a risk with your guarantee– make it compelling.  Remember, people are generally honest!  It is likely that the extra sales and the profits your compelling guarantee generates will hugely outweigh any increases in claims you may have on your guarantee (such as an increase in ‘returns’ from customers). Besides, if it doesn’t work - you can always change it.

If you are unable to offer an iron-clad guarantee, because margins are too tight or the product or service is non-returnable for instance, then at least show a stack of top-notch testimonials from happy customers.

The Call To Action (“Action”)

Now is the time to complete the persuasion process. When you believe a prospect has been convinced that they should respond to your offer, move quickly to complete the transaction. 
  • Summarise what has been outlined in the sales copy.
  • Summarise the target customer's goal, need or problem and the proposed solution.
  • Summarise the major benefits.
  • And then spell-out to your visitors exactly what they need to do in order to respond to your offer.  Give them a firm ‘call-to-action’.
Make this as clear as possible.  There should be no room for confusion as to what the reader needs to do in order to place their order or lodge their enquiry.

I like to say – make your call to action primate proof.  Your call to action should be so clear that you could sit a chimpanzee down in front of a computer and they would work out what to do!

Many ‘sales’ have been lost simply because the seller did not ask for the customer’s business. Strange, but true; they did not complete the persuasion process!

So provide as many different methods for facilitating their order or enquiry as possible:
  • Some people, no matter how good your website security is, will not put their credit card details over the Internet.  Remove this boundary to completing a sale by offering alternative means of payment (cheque, direct credit, money order, and so on).
  • Some people would prefer not to buy online at all: provide contact details so these customers can place their order over the phone instead.

The P.S (“Action”)

The P.S is one of the most important parts of a long copy page.  Many experts claim that apart from the headline, it is read more often than any other part of your sales copy!

The “P.S” is simply a block of text after you have finished your sales copy, and provided all of your calls to action, headed with “P.S.”.  It's like something you might use in a personal letter or email.

Use a ‘P.S’ to:
  • Re-state your offer one last time (and remind the reader of the major benefit of your offering).
  • Encourage the reader to ‘order’ or ‘enquire’ immediately.
  • Sometimes you might even wish to add another key benefit here, as a ‘surprise’ for your reader. 
These small and meaningful portions of text are often heavyweights in that last-minute decision-making process.

Sales Copy Outline

sales_copy_outline.gif
 

Add extra content pages for long tail search engine rankings

Written by David Kelly on November 12th, 2009.      0 comments

Using your keyword research and feedback from customers, determine further themes or topics that you could target with your optimisation efforts. Create web pages around certain themes and topics to target specific areas. For example a website selling meat may determine that many website users are searching for recipes. It makes sense to publish many pages of quality recipes. This not only provides great information for potential and existing customers but is likely to generate more traffic from the search engines.

When our customers ask us questions about websites in general we research, write and publish articles around each of these questions. This not only answers our customer’s questions and also saves time in answering that question in future, but it also provides a quality resource that users will send on to their friends and will rank well in the search engines.
Topics: Promotion
 

Ensure that your website address is listed on all your media

Written by Hamish Braddick on November 12th, 2009.      1 comments

It might sound obvious but it is often forgotten. Make sure your website is listed prominently every single media that you are using to promote your business. A few examples below:
  • The products themselves, clothing labels, tags etc - If you can include your web address anywhere on actual products - do so, only if it doesn't ruin the aesthetic of the product itself.
  • Business cards - This is an obvious one. If you have a business card, you should have your website address on it.
  • Brochures - If you have any flyers or sheets with information that you hand out to others, use that to put your website URL down.
  • Invoices - The GST invoices you supply to your customers should have your website on it.
  • Yellow page advertisement - Print or online, make sure your website is listed as well.
  • Email signatures - Another really obvious one, your email signature should include your name, company name, phone number and your website address. If you have a page on your site about yourself, you can link to that.
  • Social media - Facebook and Twitter both give you an opportunity to enter information and your website so use that space to promote your website and likewise if you have any printed material that you can include your social media information on, use it. Companies are being creative these days with this - some have printed their Facebook address and also Twitter names on their shopping bags, you could also do it on the invoices, etc.
  • Signage - Any company signage you have, for example on vehicles, work your website address into it. You could also put it on your license plate - doesn't mean you have to personalise it, you can have it on the edge of the license plate, which should be cheaper than personalised license plates.
  • Billboards
  • Packaging - Branding on your packaging with your website URL on it is a great way to promote it.
  • Radio advertising
  • Television advertising
  • Press releases
  • Magazine or News paper articles
And anything else that will be seen by your potential customers.
Topics: Promotion
 

Website measurement is vital

Written by David Kelly on November 12th, 2009.      0 comments

You have probably heard the quote – ‘if you can’t measure it – you can’t manage it’. Before you can improve something you need to carefully measure it - only once you know how something is currently performing can you can try new initiatives to see if you can improve it. 

Let me tell you a little story to illustrate my point:

A good friend of mine, John, tells an interesting story from when he worked as a business consultant in Melbourne, Australia.  During this time, he worked with a client who owned a car audio business. 

One of the first things John investigated on his first day on the job was the marketing expenditure of the company.  On talking with the owner of the business he discovered that the business was spending many thousands of dollars (the majority of its marketing budget) on radio advertising.  He asked the business owner how many sales resulted from the radio advertising on a weekly basis and was promptly informed that the business owner had absolutely no idea.

John then implemented a rudimentary measurement system whereby every customer who came to the counter to purchase some product was asked the question, “How did you hear about us?”  The answers to this question were recorded on a simple chart located beside the till.  After two weeks of careful measurement both John and the business owner were shocked to find that only two sales had occurred as a result of the radio advertising!

John's first recommendation to the business owner was that they scrap the radio advertising immediately.  On further analysis of the results, they also discovered that the majority of the sales over the two week period had resulted due to the location of the store.  People noticed the store on a daily basis because it was located next to a busy street that people used to drive to work and back again.  John’s next recommendation was that they develop some better store signage and put some further effort into their window displays.

The resulting changes made a huge impact on the business and they all occurred as the result of some simple measurement!

So … how can we apply the moral of this story to our websites?  If we want to improve our website results we must carefully measure the different aspects of our website's performance to discover what is working, and what is not working.  Makes sense, right?

The great news is this.   Measurement with a website is amazingly simpler than measurement in the real world!  The invention of the computer has made possible levels of measurement that were only dreamed about by previous generations.  On a website, provided you have the right systems (for example – a system created by Zeald!), absolutely everything can be automatically tracked and measured by the computer!

Make sure your website has powerful tracking and measurement systems in place.  You should be able to access critical information about the results of your website at the click of a button.  If you want to achieve amazing website results, great measurement is absolutely vital!
Topics: Measure
 

Optimising your web pages for the search engines

Written by Hamish Braddick on November 12th, 2009.      0 comments

Once you have discovered your target search phrases the next step is to saturate the content of your web pages with these keywords. Ensure that important keywords have pages of content specifically dedicated to them. Be careful to ensure that the keywords are in appropriate context however, as 'keyword stuffing' can result in penalisation. 

This section looks at how you can optimise your web pages to increase your chances of achieving good page rankings, for target keywords and phrases within the search engines.

Search engines rank your web page, for a keyword or phrase, based on the location of the keyword or phrase and the frequency the keyword or phrase appears in your page. Location is where on the web page a keyword or phrase is located and frequency is how often it appears on the web page, with some locations more important than others. Each of the key locations is outlined below, ranked in order of highest importance:

Theme your web pages

One of the best ways to optimise your web pages is to structure them into well defined themes.  One of the best aspects of themes is that they help keep your website well organized and on-topic - something that can become quite difficult as your online presence evolves and grows.  A correct theming structure will help you maintain a clear delineation between the different areas of your site, and allow you to target specific keywords and keyword variations to particular sections.

A themed website should follow a structure similar to this:

  • First level:  Buy Meat Online in New Zealand
  • Second level:  Buy Beef Online
  • Third Level:  Buy Beef T-Bone Steaks Online

The key is to forget about the search engines as much as possible and just write and create your site with the single purpose of reaching your target audience.  Stay focused on this goal alone.  When you are done, then you can review it in the light of the guidelines below and tweak it to fit.

Content optimisation guidelines

  • Incorporate the important key words and key phrases in the 'Heading 1', 'Heading 2' and 'Heading 3' formats.
  • Optimise your meta data so that it includes your key words and key phrases.
  • Include key words and key phrases in your internal links between pages whenever possible.

Title

The most important place to locate your keywords or phrases is in your web page titles. The title is the text that appears in the title bar of the web browser.

Headings

The second most important place to locate your keywords and phrases is in the headings of your website content. Within any web page you can have different levels of headings (heading 1, 2, 3 and so on). ‘Heading 1’ is the most important, with sub-headings having less ‘importance’.

Main text

The main text is one of the key content areas of your web page. It is the key area where you can influence the frequency of a keyword or phrase on your web page.

Graphics

Text that is inserted as a graphic on your web page cannot be ‘indexed’ by the search engines. However, graphics can include something called ‘alt’ text, which describes what the image is ‘about’, and this can be indexed. Make sure you use the ‘alt’ field to describe what each of your images is about.

Meta data

Meta data is the information that is included on a web page that is invisible to the online user, but is visible to a search engine. Meta information is designed to explain to a search engine what a web page is about. There are a number of different types of Meta information that can be included in a web page. The two most important types are:

Meta description

The Meta description in a web page describes in ‘plain English’ what the web page is about. The Meta description is very important, as some search engines will use this to describe your web page in the search results.

Meta keywords

The Meta keywords in a web page outline the key words that best describe the content of your web page. The use of Meta keywords has been subject to abuse by many authors in a quest to obtain higher search engine rankings. Because of this, many search engines now disregard Meta keywords completely, so do not spend too much time on your Meta keywords selection.

It is difficult to balance the needs of writing good sales copy versus the needs of writing copy that is optimised for the search engines. It is something that you will have to work out to achieve the best balance that you possibly can. That or hire one of our specialists to do this for you.

Look to write your copy so that your shortlist of keywords and phrases appear in the elements listed above as often as possible. Try different variations and measure the results.

A careful balance

It is difficult to balance the needs of writing good sales copy versus the needs of writing copy that is optimised for the search engines.  It is something that you will have to work out to achieve the best balance that you possibly can. That or hire one of our specialists to do this for you.

Look to write your copy so that your shortlist of keywords and phrases appear in the elements listed above as often as possible.  Try different variations and measure the results.
 
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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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