Monthly Archives: August 2011

Website marketing: The importance of good copy

It’s all well and good to have a clean, crisp well-designed website, with keyword-rich copy and thousands of backlinks, but it will do you no good if no-one actually stays on your page long enough to make a sale.

Did you know that you have less than 10 seconds to impress a visitor to your site? If you don’t grab them straight away, you may lose them forever.

This is why your home page (or landing page, or welcome page) needs to not only be optimised for Google searches, but it also needs content that engages readers and makes them want to have a look around.

How do you know if people are staying? If you have Google Analytics installed (and you should) have a look at the bounce rate. This is the percentage of people who leave before looking at other pages. Anything over 50 per cent is a worry.

The good news is there in a simple to reduce the bounce rate and keep people on your site until they make a purchase. Or at least until they bookmark the page.

One word: content.

The longer solution is that cleverly, crafted engaging copywriting will keep them wanting more – it may turn 10 seconds into 30 seconds, into a minute, into a sale.

Among its many services, Direct Sites Online offers copywriting and editing to all its clients. Whether you need something crafted from scratch, or just want your own words fine-tuned, contact us on info@directsitesonline.com

Website promotion – Cost per impression

Before pay-per-click advertising was the norm, people who wanted to advertise online did it through cost-per-impression advertising.

What this fundamentally means is how many eyes might see your ad on a particular website. It was (and is) a common form of advertising in online newspapers (especially those who have a printed version as well) as it is similar to the advertising rates based on circulation.

The cost per impression is often measured using the CPM (Cost per Mille – or cost per 1000 impressions). The amount paid per impression is calculated by dividing the CPM by 1000. For example, a $10 CPM equals $.01 per impression.

With the advent of pay-per-click (PPC) Cost-per-impression advertising has become less common, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its benefits.

1/ It is especially useful on very targeted websites. For example, if you need to get the attention of business owners for branding reasons, but you don’t necessarily need them to click on to your site, then CPM advertising on a business website might be just the ticket.

2/ Often print or broadcast media will give advertisers a deal on CPM advertising on their online version as a loyalty bonus for booking offline spots.

CPM is also very useful for those of you who are planning on monetising your website – but only if you generate plenty of traffic.

The advantage to CPM over PPC advertising is that  you aren’t relying on quality ads to generate clicks – you will get paid for the number of people who see the ad, not just those who click through. And advertisers know that PPC means they get free advertising right up to that point.

If you are interested in developing some CPM advertising for your online business, or if you would like to monetize your site, then contact Direct Sites Online on info@directsitesonline.com.

 

Website marketing: RSS feeds

By now, most of you have probably heard about RSS feeds, but do you know exactly what they do – or how to set them up?

RSS feeds have been around for about 10 years or more, but until recently have remained in the techno-sphere. Nowadays, their use is becoming more widespread and it’s time to learn more.

Basically, when someone subscribes to an RSS feed on your website or blog, they get immediate notification – via their RSS reader – when that website has updated its content. It’s much more efficient than your customers having to bookmark your site, and it’s a great way to get return visitors.

And you can download an RSS reader for free – one of the most common is Google Reader (is there anything Google can’t do?) but there are many others.

Apart from the obvious benefits to your customers and clients of putting an RSS feed on to your site, there’s also the added bonus of search engine optimisation – that’s right, many search engines and directories accept feed submissions, which may well boost your ranking.

RSS feeds are a perfect way of telling your customers about special deals, new blog posts and more, without the fuss of collecting email addresses and sending newsletters.

If, however, your content is stale, then you need to fix that first. Search engines like active sites.

Contact us at info@directsitesonline.com to discuss how we can help you include an RSS feed on your website.

 

Website promotion: Pay-per-click advertising

So you have a website, but you’re not sure how to let people know it exists. Sure you can rely on organic means, such as word-of-mouth, email signature but they take a long time to turn into results.

A much quicker option  is to advertise your site on other websites, including Google’s search results.

“That’s sounds expensive, ” I hear you say. But you would be surprised how inexpensive it actually is.

Unlike traditional means of advertising, in which you pay for air time or print space but don’t really know how many people see your ad, the Web offers “pay-per-click” (PPC) advertising. This means you only pay when someone clicks through to your site. And you can say how much you want to pay.

The most well-known forms of PPC advertising are Google AdWords and Facebook.

We’ll start with AdWords.

These are the “sponsored link” advertisements on the side or top of the computer screen when the results of your Google search appear. They can also be placed directly on websites that are relevant to your audience. Which means, instead of a scattergun approach to advertising, it is very easy to target your ads for maximum return on investment.

And the best thing about them is that you can tell Google how much you are willing to pay-per-click.

So what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. But there are some things to be aware of when considering  AdWords.

1/ The strength and number of your keywords. If you are in a highly competitive field there will be a lot of other companies using AdWords, and there is a limited amount of space on Google’s front page. So you need great keywords and phrases, and lots of them.

2/ How much other people are paying for the same keywords. Say you tell Google you will pay $2 per click, but 10 of your competitors are willing to pay $5. It will be the competitors who get the prime positions.

3/ Historical click-through rates. Success breeds success so you need to go out fighting on your first attempt. This means you might get lucky, and your click-through rates will be high, which will help for the next time you use AdWords.

Okay, so how about Facebook advertising? Like AdWords, this is a great way to be seen by your target market. Facebook knows pretty much everything about its users. So it uses the browsing history to place your ads in front of the right eyes – or at least to the left of their Facebook page.

Like AdWords, you can “bid” an amount that you are willing to pay for each person that clicks on your ad. And what’s even better for keeping a rein on your budget, you can tell Facebook how much you are willing to pay each day, week, month or year.

By developing the best keywords and phrases, and designing an eye-catch ad, Direct Sites Online can help you get the most out of your AdWords or Facebook advertising budget. Contact us now at info@directsitesonline.com

 

Five benefits of WordPress

So, you think it’s time your business got on the web, but you have a limited budget and don’t need a site with all the bells and whistles.

The solution is simple – WordPress.

Once purely a blogging platform, WordPress has morphed into much, much more. And it’s ideal for small to medium businesses that have no need for a complex – and expensive – content management system.

There are at least five reasons why you should consider WordPress for your website.

1/ It’s free. That’s right, free. WordPress is “open source” software. Which means as long as you have a hosting platform, you can download it without paying a cent. And if you are at all technically-minded, you can probably customise it yourself as well. That said, I’m a big fan of sticking to your core business and paying someone else to stick to theirs. It’s false economy to think you will “save” money by doing something yourself if you don’t have the necessary skills.

2/ Easy of use: Once you have the design and initial content down pat, the developer can hand it over and you can update it yourself. WordPress uses a  WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editing platform, so no need to learn HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Which means making edits is both quicker and easier than the days when you had to go back and forth for every minor alteration.

3/ Plugins: There are countless “plugins” that are free to download and can customise the site even further. Popular ones include social media share buttons, or improve security or prevent spam.

4/ Search Engine Optimisation: Because you can customise such things as the URL and easily add tags and categories, search engines love WordPress. And you can take that love even further by downloading one of the many free SEO plugins.

5/Blog integration: Being a blogging platform originally, it is easy-peasy to include a blog on your WordPress site. And Google loves fresh content, which makes blogging a great way to improve your search engine ranking. Plus it lets your customers and clients know what’s going on with your business.

Do you want more information about WordPress, or ready to launch your business on the web? Contact Direct Sites Online today and we can help you decide on your best option.

Direct Sites Online also offers WordPress blog-only hosting and also WordPress set-ups including full customisation and branding of blogs.

 

Web hosting: What do I need from hosting service?

There are thousands of web-site hosting companies out there, with thousands of plans to suit everyone. But how do you know which is best for you?

When looking for a hosting plan, there are several factors to consider.

1/Cost: Naturally, you want the best price for your needs – but you don’t want to sacrifice reliability, customer support or uptime for affordability. On the other hand, if you just need a simple site, without big downloads, or a large number of pages and/or email addresses, then there is no point paying for a premium host.

2/ Reliability: This is especially important for e-commerce sites when downtime means thousands of dollars of lost sales. When your website is down, whatever the cause may be, you are losing revenue because your customers cannot reach your site.

Some of the really cheap options don’t have great reliability. They are cheap because you will be sharing a single server with hundreds, maybe thousands, of other users. Reliability cannot be ensured. Not a problem if you just want a website to share photos with friends, or to write a personal blog, but a huge liability if you rely on your website for your business.

3/Features: Some businesses might want heaps of sub-domains; others may need unlimited email addresses. It’s important to work out what your site might need – now and in the future. Also, if you don’t need a particular feature, don’t pay a premium price for it.

4/ Service: Again, if your business relies on your website for sales, then you will probably want – and need – 24/7 customer service in case anything goes wrong.

5/ Type of hosting plan: Most website of small and medium-sized business will do just fine on a shared service. But if you’re business is large, or has special requirements, you might need to consider a dedicated server. Another option is “cloud” hosting, which come somewhere between shared and dedicated in terms of price, and means your website is actually hosted on a number of linked servers.

Direct Sites Online can help with your hosting needs, whether it be virtual hosting or dedicated servers. We can cater to the individual wanting blog hosting with word press installed, to the small to medium businesses and, of course, the large-scale multinational company needing web site hosting with database hosting and more.

Contact us at www.directsitesonline.com.au or visit https://www.directsitesonline.com/web-site-hosting.html for more information.