Monthly Archives: September 2011

Website design: is it time for a refresh?

Advances in website design come thick and fast these days, so if you have had an online presence for some years, it’s possibly looking out dated and a fresh approach is warranted.

As an added bonus, a redesign, with search engine optimised content and clever use of keyword-rich meta tags, might just help your business get heard above the noise of your competitors on the Web.

You may well have heard of the marketing acronym – AIDAS – which is the process by which a customer goes through the “conversion funnel” from arriving at your web page (or bricks and mortar shop) through to purchasing your product or service, and if you get it right, they will come back again and again.

So what does AIDAS stand for??

1/ Attention: It’s pretty much common knowledge that you have less than 10 seconds to impress a new visitor on your website. You have to grab them immediately, or they will likely be gone forever. So this means eye-catching layout and design to engage the customer.

2/Interest: So now you have their attention, next you must capture their interest. This is where content comes in. You need to not only accurately describe what you sell, but also what your point of difference is. And you need to do it in a way that the customer enjoys reading all about you.

3/Desire: The next step is to grab the customer by his or her emotions, which means a strong call to action that they can’t ignore. They must feel that they need your product or service and they need it now.

4/Action:  You’ve grabbed their attention, captured their interested and made them desire what you offer. Now what? Well, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to go through with their purchase, or seek a quote for service. This could be as simple as a clickable contact button, free newsletter subscriptions or simple enquiry forms. And if you are selling a product, this is why it’s worthwhile to include a privacy-protected shopping cart. People might be put off if they need to phone, or buy from a bricks and mortar outlet.

5/ Satisfaction:  Aah, a happy, satisfied customer. One who will come back to your business time and again, and could even refer their friends. And we all know referrals and good word-of-mouth is the best marketing you can’t buy.

Do you think your website would pass an AIDAS test? Contact Direct Sites Online today at info@directsitesonline.com.au to improve your website conversion rate.


 

Social Media: Google Plus

It’s been a couple of months now since the world of social media was given a bit of a shake-up with the advent of Google +. Things have settled down a bit now, do it’s probably worth having a good look at the new kid on the block and why it could be good for business.

1/ Building contacts: Although Google is yet to roll-out the business features of Google +, if you’re serious about leveraging your business through social media, you should be setting up a personal profile now. There are some benefits to this. Firstly, you can get your head around how Google + works and can take some time establishing your profile, but, even more importantly, you can start building contacts that you will be able to use once the business features are launched.

2/ Circles: By now, you have probably heard about “circles” and how you can file all your friends and acquaintances into one or more of your circles. That way, if you don’t want to share something with everyone, you can pick and choose who will see it. It’s similar to Facebook’s “friends” lists, but easier. And we can only hope that when it comes to the business profiles, it will mean the capacity to segment your marketing campaigns.

3/ Google Sparks: This feature allows you to get information directly related to your interests. Kind of like an RSS feed, but in a social network environment. Hopefully, this will mean that businesses should be able to share information directly with their target audience (For example, if you sell vintage clothing, and someone has listed vintage clothing as an interest, they should automatically get your feed, without actually having to know your page exists.) Users can also pass on the information to their friends and acquaintances with similar interests.

4/ The +1 button: Similar to the Facebook “like” button, this allows user to “vote” on a blog post, or an article, and share it on their Google + page. Hopefully, more and more people will then +1 the content and it could go viral. Direct Sites Online will be adding a +1 button soon. Will you?

One important thing to remember is the Google is cracking down on those who do not use their real name on their profile. The unknown quantity is what may happen with business pages. So, if you are signing up, do so under your name NOT your business name.

If you need any assistance with Google +, or any other social media platform, contact Direct Sites Online on info@directsitesonline.com.au

 

Website marketing: Link building

Link building is a great way to get search engines to notice your website. It can, however, be quite time consuming and needs a little bit of specialised knowledge.

So what is link building? Put simply it’s about creating effective backlinks to your site by using various means.

Here are some of the simpler strategies to get you started.

  • Internal linking: If you have a blog (and you should) on your site, hyperlink some of the text back to your site. This is a very easy link building option.
  • Article submission: Many online magazines (e-zines) accept articles which include links to relevant websites. Some of the more popular are www.ezinearticles.com and www.articlebase.com or there’s the Australian-based www.flyingsolo.com for micro-business.  Finally, there’s a website called www.buildmyrank.com which is kind of self-explanatory. Most e-zine articles should be around 500 words, except for build my rank, which accept articles as short as 150 words (and you can add one back link for each 150 words).
  • Press release distribution: This is similar to article writing, except it’s using online press release distribution services, rather than e-zines. The most common is www.prweb.com. All releases need to include a backlink. Not only is it a great link-building option, you might even get some press or blogging coverage.
  • Directory submission: There are many free online directories that accept business listing. Some are general, while others are targeted to your industry. Direct Sites Online can help you find the right directories.
  • Social media: Make sure all you social media accounts link back to your site. And that the links are easy to find.

There are a couple of important things to keep in mind when building links:

  • Relevant anchor text: Don’t use “click here” or “find out more” as your anchor text as it won’t help you search engine optimisation. (Don’t believe me? Google “click here” and see what comes up). Instead, make the text relevant to your business.
  • Content that people want to read: In order to get sales, you need people to return again and again to your site. Or, even better, you want third party links from other sites. That won’t happen if no-one wants to read your content. Or if you don’t continually refresh the information.

The bottom line is that building high quality links is not difficult, but it is extremely time consuming and requires basic SEO knowledge.

That’s why it’s best to leave it in the hands of the experts at Direct Sites Online – giving you time to concentrate on your business. Contact us on info@directsitesonline

 

Website design: Incorporating SEO into your design

It wasn’t long ago that website designers only had to think about design – was the website functional? Did it address the client’s requirements? Was it user-friendly? Did it look good?

Then, along came Google and people realised that in order to be seen by prospective clients, you needed to optimise your content for search engines. And a whole new niche was born.

So now, not only do we need good design and quality content, it also needs to be optimised. After all, your website is a vital marketing tool, and it’s no good if no-one sees it.

But how to you achieve both good design and good SEO without feeling you have sacrificed something?

Well, if you follow these five rules, it’s actually pretty easy.

1. Develop both simultaneously.

It’s best to research and integrate keyword phrases into the design in it early drafts. This means the text, the tags and the coding. If this doesn’t happen, and the keyword etc are added later, there’s a risk of stuffing up the design, not to mention changing the directory structure and introducing errors such as broken links.

2. Remember to KISS (keep it simple, stupid)

Search engines aren’t impressed by flash and other fancy add-ons. Neither are most users (after all, the novelty value of the web is well and truly over.), and smart phones won’t even load the site. And the bonus is simple designs are easy to alter if needed.

3. Sometimes design is king, sometimes SEO.

That’s right, you win some, you lose some. The key is to know which is which. If you are a local interior designer who relies on referrals, then obviously your website design needs to reflect your design sensibilities, but if you are an online retailer, then the only way people will see your site is with good SEO.

4. Sometimes your ‘perfect’ vision will be incompatible with the necessary SEO copywriting.

You might be upset at first, but if you start seeing an improvement in your bottom line, it will be worth it in the end.

Direct Sites Online designs and updates websites with the end user in mind, and integrates SEO into all its packages. Contact us now on info@directsitesonline.com