Monthly Archives: August 2012

Five reasons to revamp, rather that rebuild, your website

If your business has evolved and your website no longer meets its objectives, or if you have refreshed your branding, there is no need to discard it and start again. Here are five reasons that a revamp might be a better approach.

Go live quickly

You already have the basic structure, so a new look and feel can be developed and finalised reasonably quickly, with just a few tweaks to the content and images.


Again, with a basic structure in place, a good professional designer can work with what is already there. So in the end, it looks like a brand new, customised website that matches your brand and company objectives.

Revised layout and graphics

Your website can look just like new without the time consuming (or costly) task to rewriting the content and updating the architecture. A new layout, some fresh graphics, a tweak of the fonts and colours may be all that it needs.

Less expense

It costs considerably less to refresh a website that to start from scratch. After all, you have probably already invested thousands of dollars into getting your custom-built website just right, and it just doesn’t make sense to do that again, especially when you can pay much less and end up with a perfect result.

Better return on investment

Not only will the initial upfront cost be less, but tweaking the website is likely to improve your conversion rates. Web developers and designers are learning new things everyday about attracting and retaining customers on line, not to mention new developments in such things as shopping carts and e-newsletters. And with constant changes to Google’s algorithms, it is well worth the time to ensure your search engine optimisation is up to scratch.

If you want more customers with a minimal outlay, then call Direct Sites Online today on 02 9557 7623, or email for a quote on a refresh of your website.

Video marketing: 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing

video cameraVideo marketing is a great way to boost your online presence and get noticed by search engines, but it can sometimes be hard to figure out what to put in a video

Here are 10 ideas to get you on your way.


The simplest and most obvious content would be a video telling people about your product or service. Talk about benefits, not features and what they can expect once they hit “buy now”.

Frequently asked questions

A video is a great way to answer those pesky FAQs in an entertaining and informative way. Do a few quick video clips, with the question then the answer. Another easy content solution that will you’re your customers.

Review a product

Find a complementary product or service (for example, if you sell flowers, then talk about a fertiliser) and do a review.

Call to action

Use the video as your websites call to action – whether it be to sign up for a newsletter, make a phone call, request a quote. And promise them something in return – ie every caller gets a free 15 minute consultation; or new newsletter subscribers get a free ebook.

Case studies

Use the video to demonstrate how your product or service solved a client’s problem. Or maybe get the client themselves to record a testimonial.

Tell your story

This is a great way to personalise your business, perhaps by explaining your motivation behind setting up your company and why you love what you do.

Demystify your industry

Set yourself up as a subject matter expert by debunking a few myths, and give examples to show customers the truth (for example, event management is not all cocktail parties and glamour, it’s strategy, planning and research – but the cocktail bit makes it fun)

Go behind the scenes

Shoot a short video of the manufacturing process, or of your staff. Again, this personalises your business and helps gain trust of potential clients and customers.

Ask for feedback

Use the YouTube comments section to seek feedback from customers and generate some true two-way conversations. Your first video post can be a simple request for your viewers to let them know what they need from your viewers. Future videos can address those comments (and it’s also worth addressing them as they come up in the comments.

Powerpoint slides

For example, if you own a product-based business, this could include step-by-step instructions on how to use your product. And for service businesses, it can be in the form of a workshop or e-seminar about your subject matter.

Direct Sites Online can help you make sure your videos hit the right spot, every time. Call us on 02 9557 7623 or email

Social media – don’t get left behind

social media bandwagonAs we have mentioned before – just once or twice – social media is a powerful marketing tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Yet we often hear businesses say it’s a waste of time, or it’s a fly-by-night trend, or that it is of no value to their business.

Well, it is time to get out of that mindset. As General Eric Shinseki, retired Chief of Staff, US Army, has been quoted as saying “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

And traditional marketing channels – such as the Yellow Pages – are becoming more and more irrelevant as Facebook, Twitter and others take over.

But we know that with running a business, there is little time left in you day to worry about whether you have tweeted enough, or updated your status, or grown your likers and followers.

We also know that there are good and bad ways to market yourself on social media, and unfortunately, a lot of businesses don’t know how to turn Facebook likers or Twitter followers into customers. And because of this, they did their toes in the water but give up when they don’t see any return on investment.

That’s where Direct Sites Online can help. We offer various affordable Social Media FB Page Management services.

We can manage your Facebook page or Twitter profile, including using internal marketing channels to grow your followers and likers, and turn them into customers.

Social media – along with a well-designed and optimised website – helps build brand recognition and trust and can set business owners up as subject matter experts.

Twitter and Facebook profiles can be customised to suit almost any business and are great for:

  • Promoting genuine two-way interaction with customers
  • Creating valuable links to your website
  • Seeking immediate feedback for your product or service
  • Raising brand awareness

With new technologies, and various time-saving online tools, there has never been a better time to market your business online.

Contact Direct Sites Online today on 02 9557 7623 or email about more information on our social media packages.

Web design: Show your customers some love

It can be tempting when writing content for your website to fill it with all sorts of information about your business, how accomplished it is, how many awards it has won, how many employees and clients it has.

And that is your first big mistake.

Instead, you need to remember that your website is there purely to attract your customers and make them buy your product or service. So it is important to put yourself in their shoes when writing content.

The following will help you create the right kind of content to turn leads into sales.

Understand your ideal customer

It is vital to know what customers expect from your business and what motivated them to visit. Don’t assume a degree of technical knowledge and keep any information relevant and simple.

For example, if you install swimming pools and they just want a quick, rough quote of how much a pool will cost, don’t force them through the full quoting process and then tell them someone will call within the next 48 hours.

Many businesses, once they have a website, think the website can do all the customer service for them. But people still want to talk to a real person, especially when a large amount of money is changing hands.

Website structure

This is about the useability and navigation of your site. Again, simpler is better. Many businesses structure their site around categories – like they would in a shop – but that might not be best for the customer. A great way to find an ideal structure is to put topic headings on separate post it notes and rearrange them till you find the best groupings. Ask your friends and family to help.

It also pays to make commonly searched for items prominent, so customers can find them easily with no more than one click.

Speak to the customer

In other words, address them in the first person. So instead of a sentence that reads “XYZ Widgets recently won the International Widget Award for outstanding customer service”, use “You will find our customer service second-to-none”. This personal approach will ensure the reader is more receptive to your message.

Benefits, not features

This is a little similar to the tip above in that it puts the customer first by talking about the benefits they will gain from your product or service, rather than its features.

Unsure of the difference? A feature is “Or widgets come equipped with a five-speed doo-hickey and three-height seat adjustment”. On the other hand the benefit is “Your comfort is assured with a three-height seat adjustment, while the five-speed doo-hickey will satisfy your need to get the job done quickly.”

Another example is that a bookkeeper might want to talk about how experienced he or she is and what software is used, but instead should address the customer’s desire to be free of doing their own accounts.

No-one likes a bragger

Please, please don’t use precious space to catalogue a list of accolades and achievements. Sorry to say this, but no-one cares. If you must boast, keep it brief and only on your “about us” page. Or, even better, use third-party testimonials to sing your praises.

Keep it brief

It’s common wisdom that a website has about 8-10 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention, and that most people scan, rather than read web content. So the last thing they need are big blocks of boring text. It makes it hard for people to make a quick judgement about the relevance of the site, and they will choose to leave.

If your website content needs a revamp in order to speak to your customers, call Direct Sites Online on 02 9557 7623 or email

10 steps to rock your website marketing

As we have said before, your website is your online shopfront, but without the passing traffic of a brick and mortar store.

So how, then, can you get people to know you exist, come to your site and purchase your product or service.

Here at Direct Sites Online we offer a wide variety of web marketing services and we know these 10 steps – which we can offer your business – will get you well on your way.

Site review

This involves an audit of your site to see how your current online marketing is working. It includes looking at design, functionality and content, as well as researching the search engine racking for any keywords already on your site.

Search Engine Optimisation

Put simply, search engine optimisation involves ensuring search engines can “see” your site. That way when people search for “buy widgets in Newcastle”, your Newcastle-based widget retailer comes up on the first page of Google – if not the first couple of listings.

It involves identifying relevant keywords and incorporating them into your website content; adding such things as blogs, videos and internal links; evaluation and follow-up.

Link Building

Google and other search engines like to see quality backlinks to any website as a measurement of how “popular” it is. Its important to build links on sites that already have good traffic – it’s kind of like the Google equivalent of getting celebrity endorsement. Not only that, it could improve traffic to your site simply from people clicking on the link. It’s important to have a link-building strategy and use long-tailed keyword phrases in the links.


Think of Google like a spiders’ den, with spiders regularly heading out over the web looking for fresh content. Sites that don’t have any new content are ignored while the spiders report sites with new content back to Google, which then updates rankings accordingly. A blog is a great way to ensure your site has regular, fresh content. Not only that, but blogs can be posted on social media platforms, thus driving traffic to your website. It’s important to create compelling content that people want to read and share. Direct Sites Online can build you a blog and link it to your site, offer you a blog strategy, tips and ideas for optimised content, and if you don’t have the time or inclination to write regular posts, we can do that for you too.

Social media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more are great ways to truly engage your customers in a relaxed setting. A social media presence can help improve search engine rankings and can be a good way to drive traffic to your website. Again, we can help set up you profiles and give you hints and tips on how to make the most of them.

Google + Local (previously Google Places)

This is a great way to attract leads from your local area and improve your rankings when someone near your location searches for your service. Integrated with a Google+ business page, and allowing customers to review your business, Google+ Local it is a powerful marketing tool.

Google AdWords

For a small financial outlay – and only when people click on your advertisement – Adwords is the ideal way to get website traffic, and fast. But caution needs to be taken when researching keywords and setting up your advertisement, which is why it pays to engage an expert, such as Direct Sites Online.

Video Marketing

Videos are another great way to keep your website content fresh and improve your online visibility. After all, YouTube is the second biggest search site after Google. These days it’s easy to make a video – you can even do it on your phone – and we can then help you post them on YouTube, optimise them for search engines, integrate them into your site and even submit them to other sites for backlinks.

More SEO

Yes, we know, we’ve written SEO twice, but really it can’t be emphasised enough. And while it’s important to start with strong search engine optimisation, it is equally important to have an ongoing program of SEO activity, such as article submissions, directly listings, regular newsletters and more.


There is no point doing all the stuff above if you are not measuring its effectiveness. Google Analytics, which can be integrated into any website, is a perfect – and free! – tool to evaluate the success or otherwise of your web marketing strategies. Meanwhile, Google’s Webmaster Tools provides detailed information about how your site is ranking on Google and identifies broken links etc.

If you want your site to be seen by Google and potential customers, contact Direct Sites Online today on 02 9557 7623 or